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Title: Through the Dark
Author: kepp0xy
Pairing(s)/Character(s): Merlin/Morgana (pre-ship), Gwen
Warnings: None!
Spoilers: allusions to 2.03
Rating: G
Word Count: 1500
Summary: A bit of a 2.03 rewrite - after Morgana returns from the druids, Merlin decides to reveal his secret.

Author's Note: This was written for slightlytookish for camelotsolstice! She wanted Merlin/Morgana and learning magic from one another. I shower many thanks upon mancalahour for her helpful beta work as always ♥! And ♥ to tater_mae for acting as sounding board for this. Original posting here



I.

He doesn't sleep.

He feigns it, when Gaius looks in. And then he spends the night pacing from one side of his bed to the other, letting light snap from his fingers, or summoning dust into malleable balls that he makes trail behind him clumsily.

right it's not right it's not right it's not right it's not right it's not

He can't shake the mantra. He had seen her face, how at peace she was, how much happier she seemed.

Merlin had envied her. He coveted the solidarity she had found amongst the druids, and then felt guilty because Gaius tried to give him so much.

It just... It wasn't the same as being understood.

And why did Morgana have to give up that sense of peace, when he could provide it to some degree? And then, perhaps, he would also receive some small measure in return.

When the light turns from ink black to murky blue, Merlin slips quickly - and miraculously quietly - from Gaius' chambers and heads towards the castle.



II.

She can't sleep.

But at least this insomnia has nothing to do with dreams (well, little to do with dreams) and everything to do with reality.

Morgana remembers tents and beds made of animal pelts and tree branches. She remembers fires that burned with the scent of pine and leaves and mystery herbs which had meaning she would one day learn. She remembers serenity, born of being amongst those who understand and a profound sense of safety.

The stone walls are cold and bare. Her bed is large and soft. The fire crackles and smells simply of burning wood. She knows bereavement, born of being secluded and paranoid.

The lightening outside her windows brings no solace, and with the knock on her door, she jumps with a small trill of fear before she remembers that she is alone in the Pendragon household with powers; Uther has scarcely been able to read faces, let alone minds.

Merlin's face is the last she expects to see, but he is strangely welcome. It's nice to have someone know, even if they can't do anything.

But he says, "There's something I need to tell you," and the twist of fear in her stomach vanishes once he's in the room.

She thinks for a moment that the sudden warmth and light is simply a creation of her mind formed from her relief.

Then he turns, with eyes of gold and a dancing ball of flames suspended just above his fingertips.



III.

At first, Merlin doesn't really understand why she's so angry with him.

But it doesn't matter. They need each other and he won't let her slip away from him.



IV.

Morgana has to admit he is persistent.

She watches Gwen's fingers pick deftly through the stalks of the flowers he had left for her - weeks ago now. The day after his confession.

"Honestly, I've never seen flowers last this long in a vase," Gwen says, obviously deeply baffled. "They're not even beginning to wilt."

Morgana doesn't risk meeting Gwen's eye. "You take good care of them, Gwen," she says faithfully. She will not admit that Merlin's trick is an impressive (and inherently sweet) one.

"Mm," is all Gwen responds as she turns to change the flower's water.



V.

The door clatters open and Merlin turns from the pot of boiling soup to find Morgana striding towards him, followed by streams of expensive fabric.

"Where's Gaius?" she demands as she comes to stop before him.

Merlin almost balks, but instead he straightens and eyes her cautiously. "He's meeting with the king, but he should be back by nightfall..."

Already Morgana has turned around and is walking away purposefully.

"Wait!" Merlin calls, though he doesn't actually need to. She shuts the door, and turns to face him, untying her cloak and hanging it on a hook.

He's dumbfounded, watching her. Those two words are the first she's spoken to him since he revealed himself, and while he's been persistent in trying to find a moment to talk alone, Merlin suspects she's been equally persistent in ensuring that opportunity never arises.

He feels as though this is his chance; as though he ought to say some perfect phrase right now to smooth the stormy waters between them, but before he can, Morgana speaks.

"I want to know how you made those flowers last," she says. "It's Gwen's birthday in two days, and I think she'd appreciate a gift like that."



VI.

Morgana's still angry with him; for the deception, and the way he told her of his magic as though it were the answer to each one of her quandaries.

But for all Gwen was only a maidservant, she knew the girl didn't want for much. Flowers were Gwen's constant companion, however, and Morgana wanted to give her something that would bring her joy through the coming wintry months.

She watches as Merlin's face goes through several emotions: shock, irritation, relief, disbelief... Before he settles for amicability.

"All right," he says and gestures for her to sit on a stool across from him in front of the fire.

He whispers some words while breathing over his closed palms, opening them with little flourish to reveal a small red rose.

"How did you do that?" Morgana asks, and decides she won't resent the wonder in her voice.

Merlin's grin is instantaneous and bashful, and she can feel her anger beginning to leech away from her, regardless of how hard she tries to hold on to it.

"I'll show you later," he says; it sounds like a promise. "It's a bit more complex."

Morgana nods when he meets her eyes, and his lips quirk a little bit.

"Okay," he begins then with a preparatory rub of his hands, and Morgana finds herself lost for the next hour.



VII.

It takes her some time to master the spell, as the words come out garbled at first. But then they are only clumsy; finally slightly halting. At last, they are smooth, but he thinks she's missing some part of it as the flower still refuses enchantment.

"Has it worked?" Morgana asks tiredly, rotating the slender stalk between her fingers as Merlin peers at the flower closely.

He twitches his nose, not wanting to tell the truth. "No," he finally says and Morgana throws her head back with a loud sigh of frustration. "You're just... You've got to feel the magic," he says desperately.

She doesn't respond.

After a brief hesitation, Merlin slips his fingers through hers. She raises her head back up slowly, eyeing him suspiciously for a moment before he grins nervously and twiddles his fingers. "Tell me if you feel anything," he says.

He closes his eyes, ignoring that he can feel her gaze intensely on his face, and focuses on the power. It's like a river swirling, and a breeze dancing, and the reaching fingers of a flame. It's life and death and song and silence blended into a never ending writhing ribbon of the undiluted wild, desperate to be harnessed - by him.

He intones the words, hears Morgana's gasp, and can see the difference in the flower when he opens his eyes.

"I... I felt that!" she exclaims in his ear. "I... Did it - is that what you always feel?"

Shaking his head, suddenly shy, Merlin lets his fingers slip from hers and plucks the flower from her hold, just to throw it to the flames. Gaius will wonder why the room smells so heavily of roses.

"Try again," he implores, summoning a new rose, and watches as she tries.



VIII.

It's when she thinks of that sensation, almost like it's the pure essence of the eye of a storm, and imagines it weaving with her love for Gwen like an intricate tapestry, that the spell works.

And Morgana tries not to bounce at the wonder in Merlin's eyes as he takes the flower from her fingers and brings it close to his face for inspection.

"How did you make it shimmer like this?" he asks breathlessly, offering her the flower again.

Morgana blinks. She had not intended... But there it is - a very soft, nearly imperceptible glow to each delicate petal. A sudden thrill runs through her from toe to finger tip and she smiles.

"I thought of the magic, and how much I love Gwen," she says and Merlin watches her so closely, she wants to turn away.

She can't remember the last time anyone had made her feel bashful.



IX.

The pause between pitch night and bright morning becomes their time.

Morgana learns how to feel for the magic, and coax it to her will. Merlin relearns how to revel in the joy of his abilities.

They feel almost as though what they do isn't hiding. Because there's two of them; because they do it in the almost-light of dawn.

They never break from each other until after sunrise crests in the east, and when they do part, it's with the promise of another meeting.

Comments

( 12 comments — Leave a comment )
maroon_sue
Jan. 26th, 2010 10:33 am (UTC)
This is fantastic!

I love the fluency of the words, how they basically melt into each other as one sentence flow to the next. There was something almost lyrical to it, and I really enjoyed reading this :)

You know, sometimes I wonder, if Merlin had reveal his magic to Morgana after she got back from the druids, she won't go to Morgausse(sp?) that easily. I think one of the reason she left was because of the feeling that she was alone in Camelot, that there was no one who would understand her. And if she had find out about Merlin, that they do have something else in common, maybe she won't leave. Just an idea I've been toying with :)

Anyway, thanks for sharing this with us!
starry_laa
Jan. 26th, 2010 10:51 am (UTC)
This was lovely. I always thought there was such potential with Merlin/Morgana and it frustrated me to no end that their relationship (even a platonic one) was not explored very well in series 2.

But I loved how you wrote them here- that build up, the uncertainity slowly transforming into trust, the metaphorical extending of an olive branch, and the whole flower thing. I really enjoyed this.
nouf89
Jan. 26th, 2010 12:38 pm (UTC)
I LOVE this! There aren't enough Merlin/Morgana fics out there, which is a shame when they are such an interesting pair with so much potential. The what-if scenario here is a perect example of that. The way you wrote this makes me wish - ever more than I already did - that Merlin had revealed his secret to Morgana. You handled this scenario really well, from Morgana's anger to the reason she asks Merlin for help - everything is perfectly in character. I like how the chemistry between them in added in very subtley, even though the fic isn't about a romantic relationship between them, for example here:
""I thought of the magic, and how much I love Gwen," she says and Merlin watches her so closely, she wants to turn away.

She can't remember the last time anyone had made her feel bashful."

My fav part though is how Morgana first made the spell work, with Merlin's help of course, but also on her own when she thought of her love for Gwen. And I also like how she surprised Merlin with the result. It shows that they could both learn from each other.

They're a fascinating pair, and you showed that wonderfully in this fic. I hope you write more! :)
loveandthetruth
Jan. 26th, 2010 02:55 pm (UTC)
I love your Merlin/Morgana.

It's always so angsty-sweet and quietly hot.

:)
safetytardis
Jan. 26th, 2010 03:14 pm (UTC)
THANK YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
This is how I wished that episode had gone! Lovely!
This made me so happy, you have no idea. :D
imigination
Jan. 26th, 2010 09:50 pm (UTC)
AH. This was the first Merlin/Morgana fic I've read, and it was beautiful. ♥

In a crazy way, it feels much more fragile than Arthur/Gwen ... like the hold is tenuous at best, has to be nurtured very carefully, delicately. I love the moment when she relents to Merlin's persistency, because you can see someone as strong willed as Morgana holding out forever. I like that she bridges the gap between them.

There were so many lyrical, poetic lines ... but this might be my favorite bit in the whole story:

He closes his eyes, ignoring that he can feel her gaze intensely on his face, and focuses on the power. It's like a river swirling, and a breeze dancing, and the reaching fingers of a flame. It's life and death and song and silence blended into a never ending writhing ribbon of the undiluted wild, desperate to be harnessed - by him.

"a never ending writhing ribbon of the undiluted wild" ... ♥

GOLDEN, bb.


Edited at 2010-01-26 09:51 pm (UTC)
dame_margaret
Jan. 27th, 2010 01:29 am (UTC)
This was a beautiful and sweet story.

For so long, I was hoping for a relationship between Morgana and Merlin, and it's sad that it never happened. But your story is a wonderful step in that direction.

Great job!
cifan70
Jan. 27th, 2010 03:04 am (UTC)
This was quite good. I enjoyed the read.
marycontraire
Jan. 27th, 2010 03:34 am (UTC)
I adore this piece! It's so lovely and understated, and I'm glad that Morgana's friendship with Gwen came into it. OH, HOW I WISH THIS WERE WHAT REALLY HAPPENED.
rocketgirl2
Jan. 28th, 2010 12:40 am (UTC)
Ooh, that's so pretty! And the ending is just perfect. Awesome fic.
dollfaced
Apr. 30th, 2010 03:26 pm (UTC)
Amazing! Beautifully written. I loved the gradual build up and the intensity of their relationship in this.
okelay
Jul. 14th, 2010 03:17 am (UTC)
oh, wonderful!
I love the idea of Merlin and Morgana sharing their magic, it's lovely
( 12 comments — Leave a comment )

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