Title: Destiny's Tool
Character/s: Mordred, Galahad(OC), Arthur
Summary: Everyone has their flaws, Mordred more so than anyone
Warnings: Major character death and lots of heartbreak
Word Count: 1014... but let's pretend it says 1000
Author's Notes: And here it is, the angsty drabble. For anyone who hasn't read my Galahad before, I write him quite a lot because I wanted to see more of the next generation of knights in the last few series of Merlin, to give us an idea of Camelot carrying on, but also because they're some of the best stories and they got missed out entirely. But mostly because I'm an Arthurian nut and Galahad is my favourite... and a way better motivator than Kara, or at least I think so!
Everyone has their flaws, Mordred more so than anyone. But Galahad… Galahad isn’t flawed at all. It’s the world around him, the way it is full of sin and evil and ill-meaning, and someone as perfect as Galahad doesn’t know how to react to that.
It’s Mordred’s theory anyway, and it’s why he loves Galahad quite so much as he does. Galahad is everything he can never be, everything he can never have. They stand side by side in the middle of an unexpected battlefield, defending from the ambush of a band of Saxons, sword to sword. At night, after one too many flagons of ale, Galahad presses in close and hangs onto Mordred’s shoulders, kisses him too softly for Mordred to deserve.
Sometimes Mordred will break and push Galahad into an alcove, tug down his breeches and suck him until he’s scrabbling for cracks in the stonework to hold himself up by. But that’s all it can ever be. They can stand together, they can kiss and they can be far too close for Mordred’s sanity, but Mordred has seen glimpses of his future. It’s not clear; it’s hazy and blurred, but it’s fixed in something stronger even than stone. It’s tied to the land itself. And, by all accounts, it isn’t pleasant. There’s blood in it, and betrayal, and Mordred hopes against hope that it isn’t Galahad he will be set against.
It can never be any more than this, he thinks as Galahad teases him on the practice field. Mordred doesn’t respond, but he does hoard each of the words. He can never keep any more for himself.
He tells himself that it doesn’t mean anything when Galahad sneaks into his room at night, not even slightly drunk and wearing only a shift, crossing the room to kneel next to him on his bed and kiss him. When Galahad pulls the covers away from Mordred’s body and sheds the shift, sinks down already prepared onto Mordred’s cock, he convinces himself that it has no significance other than the relief of tension. Doubts creep in when Galahad buries his head in Mordred’s shoulder to muffle his cries as he comes, when he runs his fingers through Mordred’s hair and kisses him afterwards, and makes no effort to leave.
When Morgana’s men, sorcerers and mercenaries alike, push Galahad to the ground and threaten him with a dagger if he does not tell Arthur’s secrets, Mordred tries the excuse that it is only concern for a fellow knight that makes him scream like he did, all those years ago, running from Camelot. Scream, until his magic strikes out like a wave at the enemy, washing carefully around Galahad, a lump of pure terror like ice in Mordred’s heart. It won’t really stick, though; Mordred knows what he felt and, holding Galahad in his arms and checking him over for hurt, Mordred knows he can’t deny his affections.
He resolves to keep them secret, from Galahad more than anyone, and to refuse to act on them. Except the plan starts to fail, when he goes to Galahad’s room at night, just to check on him, and when it turns into so much more than a check-up. When the visits become near nightly. When Arthur unsubtly hints that they have his approval to get hand-fasted and move into the same room, if they want it. When Galahad asks him, quietly, as they lie in the dark how about it, love? Us, together?
He has to snap back at Galahad. Has to push him away with lies about never loving him, because how else will he protect Galahad from what’s to come? When Galahad leaves the very next day on some quest to rid the land of Morgana’s magic by finding some stupid cup, Mordred isn’t there to see him off. Galahad will never know, but he’s kneeling on the cold stone floor of the garderobe, tears choking him, retching at his regrets and anguish until he can’t try to rid himself of the nausea any more.
Looking back, it’s the worst decision of his life. But how was he to know that the stupid quest would get Galahad killed. He wallows in misery, but only for a while. Because if Arthur had decriminalised magic, if Merlin’s promise had come true like he’d waited years for, then Galahad wouldn’t be dead. He and Merlin would have stopped Morgana’s curses, and Galahad would never have had to leave.
Mordred slips away in the midst of Galahad’s memorial. He amasses his army, and he marches on Camelot.
Only to find that he’s made another mistake. In leaving Camelot, he isolated himself, and he never found out. Because half way through the battle a second wave of Arthur’s troops comes. Headed by his beautiful, perfect Galahad, looking like vengeance with a golden circlet now inlaid into his helmet. He saved the kingdom. He came back from the dead. Of course he’s Arthur’s heir now, too.
Mordred wants to call a retreat but he can’t. It’s too late. Arthur stands before him, ready to attack. Mordred cuts his King down, but not before Arthur can run him through, too.
There’s a moment then, where everything makes sense. His whole life has been a mess of errors of judgement made in the best of intentions. Destiny has taken his flaws and made them its tools, and it’s broken him, hurt so many others.
He hears Galahad’s voice call out across the battlefield, but at this distance he doesn’t know whether it’s a war cry or grief, for him or for Arthur.
He doesn’t have the strength to hold on for any longer, try as he might. Galahad is too far, and he has too little blood left. He succumbs to the light-headed feeling, and his vision whites out.
Galahad steps over the body of his King and seizes Mordred in his arms. He holds him, close to his chest, broken and bloodied, and he refuses to cry.
“No, you idiot,” he chokes out, “You weren’t supposed to die. I wanted you back.”