Title: Entanglement of Destiny
Characters Arthur, Merlin (all Arthur’s POV)
Summary: A trap of fate…
Word Count: 1000
Author's Notes: This is future cannon with a ‘what if’ kind of situation.
Entanglement of Destiny
He was in a fiery pit dug thirty feet into the ground, bound by floating ropes, arms forced outward, eastward and western directions.
He felt like a fool, but if he did nothing he could die here. Albion was becoming a stronger entity. Beyond that was family.
“Excalibur, rise to your duty.”
It remained, not even tensing to get out of his belt. Arthur lowered his head, defeated and frightened.
Night was filling the forest. With each hour he remained trapped, his body was lowering inch by inch to that fiery pit.
“Excalibur, I order you. Free me.”
“Doesn’t quite work that way.”
Arthur would have jumped if he could. “Show yourself!”
“I don’t think you’re in a position to be so demanding.” Light filled the forest. “But then why should I be surprised? After all, you’re a royal prat.”
Arthur startled, tangled with annoyance and happiness.
The man’s face was shadowed by a gray hood. Still, the gleam of blue orbs shone through. “Yes Sire.”
The binds let Arthur go, but before he could fall, magic wrapped around his flailing body, and gently placed him upon the forest ground.
“Sorry about that. Morgana and Mordred’s accomplice sorcerers sometimes enter the woods.”
The trap disappeared. Arthur marveled. “Should have known it was you. Wise yet strange.”
Two years ago Arthur imprisoned Merlin; this was his first time seeing him again. Morgana and Mordred had killed and tortured many the previous year. His hand forced, Arthur tightened the lock on magic, but when Merlin’s secret was exposed Arthur couldn’t execute him. Instead he covertly encouraged him to escape imprisonment in the night.
Excalibur lifted into the air now.
“I told you Tom forged this and Kilgharrah burnished it, but it’s not a dog, Arthur.” Merlin teased, mischievously getting the sword to fly into Arthur’s grasp.
“Come back.” Arthur’s hands lifted away the hood, revealing the longer length of Merlin’s hair now. He tangled his fingers within. “Merlin.”
“Too soon. My return would threaten Albion.”
“Three more kingdoms joined.”
“Your purpose is to unite more. I can keep Morgana and Mordred in pursuit of me.”
Arthur saw it now, Merlin’s right arm sporting brutally bubbled up patches of skin. “What happened?”
“Wars of magic.”
“Yes. But I delivered my own.”
There was no happiness in that answer, just commitment, even from afar, to protect his king.
“Guinevere misses you.”
“How is she? Last I saw her your son was just born. How is he?”
Arthur smiled with tenderness. “Healthy and lively. At two he keeps his mother and father running around. But now Guinevere needs more rest often. She is flushed with another, Merlin.”
Merlin smiled, “You’ll have much to celebrate then. You’re far from Camelot, Arthur.”
“I am? Guessed so. You see I was hunting, alone, to get away. Spotted a wild boar who ran. After injuring my leg a few months back I’m moving slower. Physician said to not travel too much.”
“Which you didn’t listen to.”
“Sit down.” Grumbling, Arthur allowed Merlin to push him to the ground.
“What happened?” Merlin asked, examining the wound.
“Lot makes things tough. Had no choice but to go to war. Lost good men. Leon.”
Merlin’s eyes widened. “No.”
“One of the best.”
Wonder tangled with Arthur’s sad agreement as Merlin began it. Before he only got a glimpse of Merlin’s magic, used then in haste and with trepidation. Now he saw it freed.
The globe of light floated around them like it had in that cave of spiders. Arthur concentrated upon Merlin’s focused face, his golden eyes.
Born of it, Merlin’s didn’t just have a grasp upon magic. His mind and body were tangled into it. The scar faded away. Merlin’s hand fell weakly. Arthur adjusted his position, grasping with concern. “Too much?”
Merlin leaned against his friend’s bolster, eyes closed before he slowly reopened them. “I’ve had to heal my own wounds a few times.”
“Return with me.”
Merlin got up from the ground. Arthur followed suit, standing beside.
“I can’t. Not until Camelot is bonded with more kingdoms. If you can find me then, I’ll come back.”
Arthur grasped his servant’s shoulders, noticing the inch or two Merlin had over him. “I have another servant now. It’s not…the same.”
“Suppose not. “
“He does everything I say. Bores me silly."
Merlin chuckled. “At least Gwen can keep you in line then.”
Arthur grunted, emotions battling. “Camelot is your home, Merlin. Not these woods.”
Merlin’s eyes welled. “They’re alright. Your leg shouldn’t be so bad now. Didn’t remove all the scarring, will be too suspicious.”
“It’s fine. Adds character. Guinevere rolls her eyes when I say that, insisting I be careful. “
“She only loves you.”
“Arthur, go. I’m able to conceal my emotions, but sometimes Mordred can still feel me.”
Arthur grimaced with stubbornness. “Clumsiest servant ever. Disappeared to the ‘tavern’ too often. And you rarely shut up. But I don’t care. There’s no one else like you Merlin. I miss that. I miss you.”
Arthur reached out in a rush, holding his servant strongly in his arms, not wanting to let go, but then Merlin pushed away.
The king nodded, clasping his hand tightly. “I’ll find you again when the time is right. I swear it.”
Merlin smiled softly. “I know.”
Their hands separated and Arthur was on his way. If he looked back he may not be able to move forward. After ten steps his stomach coiled with upset, forcing his head to turn.
But the woods were vacant.
Arthur’s head lowered, his fingers brusquely wiping away the wetness filling his cheeks, his free hand clutching Excalibur. Already he missed his honest ‘idiot’ faithful friend.
But he’d see him again. And when he did, Merlin’s gift would no longer be a crime. It would instead be tangled into the normal. A part of Camelot.
Let that day come soon.”