Character/s: Merlin, Arthur
Summary: Why had his magic brought him back to the lake now, after all of these years?
Word Count: 1000
Author's Notes: Successful morning = break = drabble! Yay! Ooh, I could just write one each time I stop, that could be fun...
The water lapped softly at his feet as Merlin sighed, staring out across the lake. He could feel his magic bubbling under his skin, anxious to be free again. It wasn’t an unpleasant feeling, but Merlin just didn’t understand why it was happening now. His magic hadn’t acted up for years. The safe and boring life Merlin led had been chosen for that particular reason – the power running through his veins couldn’t react if there was no threat to react to.
But why was it acting up now?
He didn’t even remember the dream that had plagued his mind the night before, driving him to find his shoes and coat almost before he had truly woken up. He had never been able to move far from the lake, knowing that he needed to be close to his destiny in order to survive. Somehow, the lake had remained untouched for all of these years. Building sites had come and gone on every other spare scrap of land, yet for some reason no one even thought to put a proposal in on the land here.
Part of Merlin knew why. He knew that he was not the only one who could feel the magic about the place. It settled deep into his veins and made him feel vibrant and alive. He would have blamed it on his magic and the fact this was the one place that he could still feel Arthur, but he knew that wasn’t all. He had watched, watched as others had come down to his lake and left with the same look of wonder on their faces that he knew he could feel.
It was almost as if they could sense Arthur’s presence as well, sense that there was a great king resting in the centre, just waiting to be needed again…
Merlin sniffed, wiping his hand across his eyes as he turned his attention back onto the still body of water. There was no point thinking about Arthur now. It didn’t matter what magic he had thrown at the water, he had never received so much of a hint that Arthur was truly there. He had to believe though, for without that thread of hope he knew that he had nothing.
He sighed, making to turn away. Even when trying not to think about Arthur made the king’s face swim before his eyes and his soul ache with the need to be filled once again. It was as if part of him had been stripped away and thrown into the lake with his king. If he was honest, Merlin wouldn’t have been surprised if that had happened. He had vowed that he was not going to leave Arthur’s side and his magic had a strange way of making his promises come true, regardless of whether he truly meant them or not.
Huffing a laugh at the randomness of his thought processes, Merlin turned his back on the lake. And then he stopped. Very slowly, he spun back around, scarcely daring to blink in case it was just his mind playing tricks on him again. But even when his eyes did flicker shut before flying open again, the rippling in the water was still happening. Merlin stumbled forward a step, not noticing the way the water was lapping gently at his toes and gradually soaking them. He took a second step, and then a third. In fact, he didn’t stop until he was almost waist deep in water, not realising that he was already beginning to shiver.
The rippling had stopped, but Merlin’s magic kept him rooted to the spot. His eyes were locked on the centre of the lake and as he watched, a bright light gradually began to appear. It wasn’t obvious to start with, but grew in intensity until Merlin had no choice but to look away. The second he did, the whole world seemed to go dark and Merlin’s head whipped back around.
He wasn’t sure if he expected an answer to his trembling whisper. He wasn’t sure how he would react whether there came an answer or not. What if he was still just asleep and this was his dream making his true desires play out before his eyes. Merlin couldn’t take another night of seeing his destiny return to him, only to wake up and find it was nothing more than a vision.
But when a shaking cough reached his ear, Merlin was moving before he knew it. How he managed to find the body, he had no idea, but it felt like he had barely moved before there was the familiar weight of his king back in his arms. He was quick to flip Arthur onto his back before straightening them both up, clearing the king’s head and chest from the water. Arthur coughed again and again, his whole body trembling as he fought to breathe.
“I’ve got you, it’s alright… Just breathe, Arthur, I’m right here.” Merlin kept up a stream of murmurs, attempting to calm Arthur down. His chainmail had vanished, but Merlin knew the casual clothes he was dressed in were still garments from their time. He couldn’t believe it, couldn’t believe that Arthur was back in his arms. Despite being soaked from head to toe, Merlin knew it wasn’t the lake that caused rivets of water to trickle down his cheeks.
“I’ve got you.”
Arthur’s coughs eventually eased away and Merlin focused on getting them back to shore. He momentarily panicked when he realised that Arthur was unconscious, but then he forced himself to calm down. There could be no telling what he had gone through to come back and Merlin knew he wouldn’t have been returned only to be snatched back. He was breathing, that was the important thing.
Merlin lay him gently down on the ground, making sure his airways were clear. But then his hand rested on Arthur’s chest and he moved forward until their foreheads touched.
“Not letting you go this time.”