Title: Simple Contact
Character/s: Merlin, Mordred, Arthur
Summary: set between episodes one and two of series 5. Merlin forgets what other's magic feels like
Warnings: This is my first time actually posting any writing so things may be pretty wonky. I apologize for making you my guinea pigs!
Word Count: 1077 (eeek!)
Author's Notes: I originally stopped at the break, because a much larger story had formed around the prompt, but I figured that was a cop out so then this happened. Special thanks to ortthree for the beta and to work through some things. Also there's a doodle, because I couldn't help myself!
Recognizing the Druid wasn’t a strictly visual thing. The years had changed him a lot, it was no wonder Arthur could not place his face. However his magic, his aura was too similar for it to be anyone else.
“Mordred.” Merlin lets out in a low heavy breath, staring at him in disbelief. Mordred turns throwing a fleeting smirk at Merlin before returning to Arthur’s gaze, looking as if he was ignoring Merlin but Mordred’s magic was lingering on him, tentatively brushing up against Merlin’s own, that years of practice had kept tucked well within himself.
Feeling the sweep of such strong magic being tender with the sore underused edges of Merlin’s own felt like someone rubbing a salve against wounds so long inflamed one had forgotten what life was like without the pain. Merlin felt physical aches drain from him, and he caught himself unconsciously trying to lean into the phantom touch. His magic tentatively unfurling against his will. He struggled to compose himself, this was the man from the vision, the one who had slain Arthur. He turned to Arthur to express his outrage but the Saxons were upon them tying his hands.
The caravan of prisoners finally came to a stop for the night, still within the forest, but the temperature had dropped fiercely from more than just the sun’s retreat past the horizon. Merlin had stayed close to Arthur through the day, making sure Mordred didn’t try anything. A day of being beaten, only being fed the crusts of moldy bread left them exhausted. As the embers of the campfire die out Merlin still searches for Mordred, however not long after their initial capture he’d been no where to be seen. Farther up at the front of the convoy Merlin expected.
Once their captors had retired to their tents he dares to huddle close to where Arthur was laying. Arthur had remained strangely silent during the day, after their muttered conversation of escape plans once they were closer to Morgana’s keep. Merlin thinks to the beatings that were doled out to his fellow prisoners and thinks it was probably for the best as their captors did not seem to enjoy conversation amongst the rabble. Merlin chuckled a bit with a forced sweet smile, to think for once Arthur was applying strategy, it was amazing how much he had matured over the years. He looked down on his king, trying to figure out if he was still awake. “Sire?” He let come out as a hushed plea. There was a distant snort, and Arthur’s tired eyes look toward the sound nodding Merlin in that direction.
Merlin cranes his neck to look but he doesn’t need the fleeting visual confirmation through the dark of dusk to know who it is. While his magic doesn’t reach out to Merlin’s as it had earlier in the day he can still easily sense the Druid and the power he carries with him. “Mordred.” Merlin scowls as he says the name, it tasting bitter in his mouth image of Arthur’s death swimming through his mind. He gets up defensively blocking Arthur.
“Emrys.” Mordred nods, a soft smile on his face, but still with hard accusatory eyes. Merlin takes a step back from the sound of the ancient Druid name, it lingering in the air between them a caustic cloud as Mordred closes the distance between them.
“What do you want?” Merlin steps forward too, wanting to take Mordred as far away from Arthur as possible despite his bounds and confinement. This just makes the corners of Mordred mouth turn up more, as he angles his head inquisitorially.
“You call him sire.” Mordred shakes his head, a breathless laugh escaping him as he stops barely a foot away from Merlin.
“He is my king.”
“You’ve lived too long playing the servant dear Merlin.” As he says it he raises his hand to Merlin’s tied together in front of him. Merlin tries to pull back defensively but is taken by surprise; there is Mordred’s magic behind him, not a solid wall of force to hold him in place, but as a gently enveloping him, there to encourage Merlin toward him. “There is no king, alive or dead, that could ever preside over Emrys.” Merlin feels the comforting caress of his Magic being coaxed out of it’s confines, comfortably intertwining with Mordred’s and it makes him weak in the knees, a comfort he’s never known, never knew he needed. “Emrys?” Mordred pulls his hands in toward himself and Merlin has to fight, he cannot let Mordred confuse him like this.
“Don’t call me that.” Merlin tries to sound venomous and angry but it comes out soft on a breath he didn’t know he was holding in, the feeling of magics intertwining so closely and so purposefully overwhelming him he starts to shake. “Don’t.” Merlin pushes his tied fists into the fabric of the scarf draped around Mordred’s neck, hoping to make purchase on his chest, force Mordred away, make his magic stop the marvelous dance with his own, but Mordred is much more slight than Merlin expected and he falls forward into the warmth of Mordred’s heavily clothed form. The shock of the physical contact on his already newly and over stimulated being make him lose all purchase, and he leans his whole weight against Mordred who slowly settles them both to the ground.
“Wha- what are you doing?” Merlin isn’t surprised to find his voice unsteady considering the state he’s in, but hearing it echo about hoarsely in the air around them still makes him reel. Or it would if he wasn’t enveloped by Mordred in this soothing comforting warmth, magically and now physically.
“Oh Eh...” Mordred breathes in deeply rethinking what he was saying, “Merlin. My dear Merlin. I’m not doing anything.” He smiles down at Merlin, watching him try to pull himself together, and he bends over the slightest but to place a fleeting kiss on his shaking forehead. “Look what they’ve done to you.” He breathes against his skin while tightening his grip on Merlin. “You’ve been away from real magic for too long.”
Merlin tries to stifle his shaky wheeze, seeing his breath cloud before him, tangible evidence of his failure. Why is Mordred here, now? Can he protect Arthur against this? How when he’s so quickly developed a need for this bond? This weakness. Merlin lets them stay there, in this strange bliss he’s never known.