Title: Nulled Redemption
Character/s: Mordred (reincarnated), Merlin (immortal)
Summary: People called him paranoid. He wished it were that simple.
Warnings: asphyxiation, death, dark!Merlin
Word Count: 500
Prompt: #76: Nervous
Author's Notes: Written also to fill two bingo spaces: darkfantasybingo: Soul Bound, bloodyvalentine: Snuff/Death
Morty was a good man, but he knew he was being hunted.
With every step through the forest, a phantom step bled through the trees. He could spin around and search for the source, could ask his companions - when he had some - if they’d heard the same, but the mystery always remained unsolved. It was just in his head, they said. Some kind of mental affliction, some even suggested. This was the way it had always been for him.
He was a nervous man, but he wasn’t stupid. He didn’t go looking for trouble. In fact, he wished for a noble campaign to fight for, to ease him out of his unstable, vagabond life, suspicious of every shadow that lurked where his campfire did not reach. Though these suspicions consumed him, they didn’t mean he would turn away a stranger who stumbled out of the cold, seeking a bit of heat from Morty’s campfire.
“Merlin,” the man introduced himself, gaze penetrating.
He looked a bit unusual, like he’d come from another kingdom. Morty welcomed the company. Only later did his deep-seated paranoia berate him for this, when he awoke to find Merlin looming over him like an angry spirit.
Morty struggled, but was held down by some magic.
"What wrong have I done you?" he demanded.
Merlin’s touch grazed the delicate skin of Morty’s neck, as though he’d known intimacy with that neck before, one way or another. Despite Morty’s sudden fear, it was not Merlin’s hand that gripped him, but his gold eyes. And then, rising to the surface of his memory: a dead king, a sword ablaze with magic. All the better to recognize the blaze in these eyes. The ancient depths of its embers.
"This won’t bring him back," Morty told him, hardly knowing what he was saying, yet knowing it to be true. His tone conveyed calmness he didn't feel, that he now knew to have been beaten down by this endless hunt. Merlin’s calmness was intact. He appeared to reach a decision, and placed his hand over Morty’s mouth and nose. Morty could make no move to stop him.
Merlin finally broke his prolonged silence.
“That isn’t why I do it, Mordred.”
He coolly surveyed the few possessions Morty owned, strewn around his small camp. He seemed to dismiss them one by one, as if the evidence of Morty’s innocent life did nothing to separate him from his past ones. He begged behind Merlin’s hand in the irrational hope that he might stir compassion. The hope was dashed when Merlin shut his eyes; whether it was to downplay his act of murder or savor it, Morty could not be sure. He could only be sure that he didn’t stand a chance, now. He’d had only one chance, and all the rest were taken from him, casting into darkness the redemption his sorry soul longed for.