Character/s: Morgana, Merlin
Summary: On the way to facing her past, Morgana gets a reprieve.
Word Count: 879
Prompt: #82, storm
Author's Notes: This takes place in my AU where Merlin and Morgana are professors and Mordred their student, and can be found at AO3.
Though she tried outpacing the angry clouds that chased them as soon as they were on the road, Morgana had no choice but to pull off the motorway at the Oxford services when her petrol light came on. She meant it to be a quick stop. Petrol, toilet break, a frappuccino, maybe a donut from Krispy Kreme. Everything she needed to help settle the flutters in her stomach from sitting next to Merlin for the past two hours.
But as soon as she stepped out of the toilet, the pelting rain against the roof and windows distracted her from the sugar and caffeine run. She half-jogged to the plate glass and stared with dismay at the torrent currently flooding the car park, the sky black and venomous as it unleashed its fury.
"Damn it," she muttered. She could deal with driving in the rain, but on the motorway approaching London with it falling as violently as it was, the road would be packed with idiots. Not exactly the relaxing atmosphere she needed to help cope with visiting Arthur's grave tomorrow.
Ducking her head, she darted out and ran for her car. Merlin had opted not to go in, but as she approached, she found him not in the passenger seat, but leaning against the car door, head tilted back as the summer storm soaked him to the skin.
"Merlin! What're you doing?"
He smiled as he looked down at her. His black hair was plastered to his skull, and fat raindrops clung to his clumped lashes, but it was the sheer peace in his shining eyes that stopped her dead in her tracks. "What's it look like?" he teased.
In order to shake her stuttering heart back into its normal rhythm, she opted for a less than approving tone. "It looks like you're about to ruin my leather seat."
He remained unfazed, his smile just as bright. "Looks like you will, too."
"Why on earth did you get out of the car?"
"Why not?" He flicked the moisture off his fingertips into her face, making her blink. "It's not like it's cold."
"And since when is that a problem?"
But her rejoinder choked off in her throat as she caught his deliberate scan down her body. Her shirt was molded to her chest, her peaked nipples visible through the thin cotton, but his suddenly heated gaze tightened them even further.
"I know why you want this little roadtrip," he said, his voice softer, his smile even more so. "But you've been tense ever since we left. You're going to be a wreck by the time we get there tomorrow if you don't relax."
He was right, and she hated him a little for it. Though the instinct to fold her arms over her chest and block him out rose its familiar head, she fought it back, lifting her chin to stare him down. "Standing around in the rain isn't my idea of a good time."
"What about drying off?" He nodded toward the Days Inn behind the services. "Let's check in and stop for the night. We can raid Waitrose and Krispy Kreme, and pretend we're back in uni where we don't have to fuss about the crap we're putting into our bodies."
Morgana snorted. "Like you ever have to worry about putting on a few pounds."
"That doesn't sound like a no."
He gazed at her with such expectation, she couldn't help but laugh and shake her head. "You're impossible."
"So is that a yes?"
"It's me saving my poor carseat from your wet bum." The storm made the hotel entrance look miles away, but she could be cozy and dry in no time at all. Even sooner if...
"Last one there has to pay!" she called back over her shoulder as she broke into a run.
His laughter reached out as he joined her, enveloping her in added warmth as they both raced for the lobby doors. At the curb, Merlin shocked her by grabbing her around her waist, yanking her back against his lean body.
"That's cheating!" she said as she struggled to get free.
"Only if I planned on winning." His breath was hot against her neck, his mouth dangerously close. Slowly, his fingers curled around the curve of her hip, his claim telling and deliberate. "Tell me we're only getting one room, Morgana."
Her flesh erupted in goosebumps, and it wasn't just from the husky echo of his voice in her ear. He was putting the ultimate decision in her hands, power she would've thrown back at him at any point before the last few months, terrified of the responsibility of another dire mistake. The lesson she knew better than all else was that consequences could weigh you down for a lifetime.
But this wasn't a mistake. This was a choice. And Merlin was practically begging her to make the same one he would.
"One room," she whispered.
Tomorrow, she might end up regretting succumbing to the impulse. If she lost Merlin again, it would taint the memories of what was to come.
Morgana folded her hand over his, entwining their wet fingers as her pulse continued to thunder.
She hadn't lost him yet.