Title: The Call of the Dragon
Summary: Merlin hears a voice in his head and knows it’s time to tell Arthur the truth about their past.
Prompt: #201 - “The Dragon’s Call”
A/N: Part nineteen of my reincarnation series Merlin and Arthur Live Again. I hope this fits the prompt properly. I wanted to incorporate it into my series and, as it was good timing, I chose to write this.
Merlin looked over the top of the car at Arthur, who didn’t look up to the task of driving after only a couple hours of sleep. It was early. Too early to be awake. Too early for words. Too early to be travelling to Camelot to have breakfast at Arthur’s house with his father. Too early for anything other than sleep.
“You can sleep on the way,” Arthur said through a yawn as he opened his door and climbed in.
Once Merlin got settled and propped the pillow behind his head, he turned and looked at Arthur, who was flipping through the radio stations, no doubt searching for loud music to keep him awake. “I’m too nervous to sleep.”
Arthur leaned across the console and pecked Merlin on the cheek before starting the motor. “Breathe. My father isn’t going to bite, I assure you; he only wants to talk to us about our plans for uni,” he said before turning up the music and grinning as his left hand made its way into Merlin’s.
Merlin closed his eyes and attempted to drift off, but each time be got close he heard someone calling his name. Merlin. Meeerlin. The voice sounded vaguely familiar, but he couldn’t place it. What he did know with little doubt was that the voice wasn’t one from his present. It had to be from his past, which meant that it was time to tell Arthur the secret he’d been hiding for almost seven years. The thought made Merlin tense up. Soon after his tenth birthday he’d told Arthur he remembered having magic, but he hadn’t told him anything else, and there was plenty else to tell.
When they finally pulled up to the large house that was as familiar to Merlin as his own, his feelings of dread threatened to send him into a panic, but he was determined to not make a fool of himself, a task that was made all the harder when he opened the door to see Uther Pendragon standing merely metres away. Merlin panicked, but almost immediately a hand snaked its way into his. Somewhat calmed, he stepped out of the car and stood, thankful for Arthur. They walked to where Uther stood and Merlin watched as the elder Pendragon stuck out his hand. Merlin took it in his and shook it.
Everything went black.
“Merlin? Merlin,” Arthur repeated. “Can you hear me?”
Merlin opened his eyes and nodded. “Yeah, sorry,” he said, confused. He looked around and noticed that he was in Arthur’s bed. How long had he been out?
“What happened, Merlin? That wasn’t a panic attack and it didn't look like your magic. I’ve never seen you like that before,” Arthur said, looking worried as he hovered, moving his hands over Merlin as if to prove he was awake.
Merlin glanced around the room to make sure Arthur’s father wasn’t anywhere near. Satisfied when he couldn’t see him, Merlin turned and faced Arthur. “Do you remember when I had that dream and told my mum I remembered?” Merlin was now trembling.
“Yeah,” Arthur replied, his face losing its colour as he began to shake, much the same as Merlin.
Merlin swallowed. Why did Arthur look so pale? He took a deep breath and attempted to calm himself. Something was very wrong. Maybe he shouldn't say anything. He hadn’t planned on telling Arthur like this, but he knew he had to. The voice from earlier had meant that it was time, and then the flashback after shaking Mr Pendragon’s hand had meant there was no turning back. If Merlin didn’t tell Arthur now, he feared something dire would happen. “I wasn’t completely truthful with you when I told you I only remembered that I had magic.” Merlin watched Arthur close his eyes.
“Go on,” Arthur said in little more than a whisper as he grasped Merlin’s trembling hands in his and gently squeezed.
“I swear I’m not mental, Arthur, but you and I have lived before. Over a thousand years ago. I’ve known since that night, but when your father shook my hand it was as if I was taken back in time and I was standing in this great hall and I had just saved your life. Your father was there, only he was a king and he told me that I was to be your manservant. I only ever see flashes of memories, but I know we've lived this life,” Merlin finished, panic clear in his voice and on his face as he waited for Arthur's reaction.
Arthur slowly stood up and walked over to the window and looked out over the grounds. “But my mother wasn’t there, was she?” he asked, his voice thick with emotion.
“N—No," Merlin said hesitantly, "but how would you know that?” he asked as he tried to sit up, but his head was throbbing. He gave up and closed his eyes.
“In that life she died soon after my birth. I, too, have had flashes of memories, Merlin. I’ve had them since I was four or five.” Arthur turned around and leant against the window and faced Merlin. “I thought you probably knew as well; why else would you have those horrific nightmares, but I couldn’t take that chance and tell you. It was hard enough for me to accept it all. I couldn’t stand to think of hurting you more by telling you how it ended for us last time.” Arthur slowly walked to his bed and settled next to Merlin.
“You’ve kept this to yourself all these years?” Merlin asked, feeling such sadness for the huge secret that Arthur hadn’t been able to share with anyone. At least he had been able to talk to his father. He’d never confided in his mother about his previous life, but he’d told his father everything.
“Yeah. I couldn’t tell my parents. How could I tell them we lived before but both of them died before I was thirty? And I wanted to tell you, but like I said, I couldn't face the truth of how things ended for us. You were going through enough with your nightmares, Merlin."
Merlin traced Arthur’s face with his right hand. “I’m not sending you out into a lake ever again, Arthur. I lost you in that life, but the final chapter of this life hasn’t been foretold. You may die in my arms one day, but let’s hope it’s many many many many years from now.”