She was beautiful. Even as she stood like a crazed animal and covered in blood, she was beautiful.
He stared at her as she gloated over her victory. Her words floated over his head, falling away to where he could not hear them.
Nothing mattered anymore, not now that she had one. Arthur was dead, and with him Camelot. There was nothing worth saving.
But even as he thought this, he stared into the eyes of the woman in front of him, he saw a shimmer of something that made his heart lurch and his mind remembered moments long forgotten.
"Shush Morgana, can't you see I don't care?"
The woman jumped and stared at him in surprise, her mouth agape. "You don't care? Don't care that I just destroyed your precious Arthur? Don't care that you are now at my mercy?"
A harsh laugh slipped through his throat. "Why should I care what you do to me? I deserve nothing less. The fact that it is you dealing the punishment is all the more right."
She seemed to understand now and began to advance towards him. "Yes, that is something you would say. You did, after all, always have a keen sense of irony. But I don't think I will kill you. There is no better reward than watching you broken, as broken as I was after you killed me. No, I will keep you alive."
With her last words she reached him and flung his head against the bloodied ground.
He sighed with relief and let the memories take him.
He was in the library, searching for books on Latin; he'd begun to learn the language and was immediately fascinated by it, although he had a long ways to go before he was fluent.
Once he had reached the back of the room, his arms so piled with books he could hardly see over the top, he tripped over something that felt suspiciously like a human. He'd about died of shock when he'd looked down to apologize and saw the King's Ward.
The lady laughed at his shocked expression. "Well, it seems you've discovered my secret."
The sunlight broke through the trees gloriously and he decided he had never seen something so wonderful in his life.
Apparently, so had Morgana for she flung herself at the forest floor, lying at the horses feet. Staring up at the sky, she sighed. "Thank you Merlin. I really did need this."
And staring at her as she sprawled over the grass – looking, for the first time in months actually relaxed-realized that he did, too.
He sat in front of the hearth, restocking the fire. Gentle laughter filled his ears. "Really Merlin, you don't need to do that. Here you're not just a servant."
A grin spread over his face. "That doesn't mean I'm going to freeze just because it's not my job."
Morgana knelt down in front of him and grabbed his hands, kissing his knuckles. "I can think of a much better way to keep you from freezing." And she smirked before moving her mouth to reach his.
He should have known she'd hold no love for him, but when they had found her in the decimated camp, he could not contain the pure joy from his heart.
Looking at her now, though, he wished they'd never found her.
At least then he'd never have to face the consequences of his actions.
'Her sister.' The words froze in his mind, repeating over and over as he stared at the bloody woman before him.
The sound of swords clattering filled his ears and he took a deep breath. It did not matter, if Morgana would never forgive him; it needed to be done.
The smoke rose from the city and Merlin closed his eyes. He was sitting on a hill outside of Camelot, trying to purge the hateful thing that had just happened from his mind but knowing he could not.
It didn't take long for him to hear footsteps crackling over the leaves, and he swiveled to see her approaching her, in all her dignified rage.
He sighed, burying his face in his hands. "I was wondering when you would find me."
He heard a huff and the footsteps continue until they stopped in front of him. "Find you? Of course I would find you after what you have done!"
"I understand why it hurts you, and I am sorry, but it had to be done."
She growled , then his hands were pulled from his face and he was left staring into the tearful eyes of the Lady Morgana. "Had to be done? You helped in the incrimination and murder of an innocent woman!"
"Morgause was hardly innocent Morgana, surely you must know this."
"She was as innocent as you!"
He tore his eyes away from the woman's and looked instead towards Camelot and the smoke that still rose. "You're right of course. It was a horrible thing, and you will never know how sorry I am. But you must not blame Arthur."
Instead of arguing as he expected she laughed. "Of course I will not blame Arthur, for I know it was not his fault. I do not even lay much blame with Uther for this time. No, the only one at fault is you, and I hope you burn in Hell for this." Then she walked briskly away and Merlin knew it would be years before he saw her again.
Pausing before entering the small cottage, he took a deep breath. It had taken him almost two years before he found her.
He was absolutely positive she would not be pleased to see him, but he had missed her too much to care.
The cottage was bigger than he expected and nicer than what he had feared. She was sitting over a fire, stirring over a pot when he went inside. As he closed the door, she jumped up and stared up at him before giving a yelp and jumping out of her seat.
As he expected, she began to yell, shouting at him and throwing curses. He took the abuse silently; glad to suffer if it meant he could see her.
He was unprepared, though, when she flung herself at him, openly crying. "I've missed you so much."
He'd spent weeks with her, apologizing profusely and basking in her glow. He found that while she had not forgiven him, she no longer blamed him completely and had longed for him just as he had longed for her.
They became complete during those weeks, knowing each other completely and loving the other fully, and Merlin had decided that there was nothing he liked better than the feel of her skin against his and the sound of her singing voice.
Of course, the peace did not last.
It was during a particularly restless night that he heard noises coming from outside.
Being a careful soul, he got up from the bed, being sure not to wake Morgana, and went out to check. As soon as he stepped out the door, he saw the house surrounded by a group of bandits, some holding torches and he cursed. He should have expected this sooner, after all the cottage was in the middle of the forest and an incredibly easy target for robbing.
A burly man stepped forward, holding his sword out in front of him. "Ya better step outside and let us take your house; we won't hurt ya if ya don't interfere.
Merlin just rolled his eyes. "I'm very sorry, but I'm afraid I can't do that. Now I'll ask you nicely to turn around and I won't have to respond."
The men laughed. "Do you really think we'd believe you could stand a chance against us?"
He sighed. "Well I hadn't really, but I'd hopped." Then he stretched out his hand and watched with a smirk as they all fell back, dead at his feet.
The moment was short lived, however, for a little voice squeaked out, "Merlin?"
He rapidly spun around, the breath rushing out of his throat.
Morgana stood in the doorway, her arms around her middle and her eyes frozen with unshed tears.
A short gasp escaped his throat. "Morgana, I…"
Before he could continue, she laughed, a cold, bitter laugh. "All this time? I should have known. You've betrayed me in every other way; of course you'd betray me in this way too."
He ran towards her, standing just out of arms reach. "Please, just listen. Just let me explain."
She stared at him long and hard, and for a moment he believed she would deny him, but then she slowly nodded and closed her eyes.
So he quickly began to speak, telling her everything, since he first met the dragon until the death of Morgause, and did not pause until his story was complete.
Her eyes opened at the ending, and she took in a shaky breath. "That does not explain why you have sided with Uther; you could have killed him years ago and been done with it."
"I couldn't, for Arthur was not ready for the throne and he would hate magic all the more if it had taken his father."
Morgana let out another laugh, that same laugh that was beginning to scare him and chill his bones. "What else have you kept from me Merlin? I would be a fool to believe anything you say. Everything you've ever said could be a lie."
He could feel the tears now, pushing against his eyes and begging to be released. "That isn't true. I've never lied about my love for you."
It was silent for a moment and then that laugh again, followed by the words that shattered his already cracked heart. "That isn't good enough Merlin."
Uther Pendragon passed, Gwen was the one who found him.
He was lying in his bed, staring up at nothing, and ornate dagger in his chest.
When Merlin was called in to help Gaius move the body, he had to blink several times to keep the tears from his eyes. He would recognize that dagger anywhere.
When he awoke, Morgana was nowhere in sight.
He slowly rose to his feet, keenly aware of the wound on his head, and began to walk the silent battlefield.
Bodies littered the ground, blood shinning even in the dark, and he took time not to look at their blank faces for fear of seeing one he knew.
Soon he reached the place where he had seen the king fall and he laughed at the bloody spaces where two bodies should have lain.
Of course Morgana would have taken care of it; her battle was never entirely with Arthur-though he was glad she still had the decency to do take her brother to the lake-and Mordred had always been like a son to her.
Taking a deep breath he stood, before walking north. All that was left for him to do was to walk, and wait for his king. There was no way he would go back to Camelot, and he knew he would carry his burden alone.
After all, he didn't deserve anything better.
I hope this was alright and not too hard to understand. And even if you didn't get the context of the highlighted stuff, that's alright because it's Merlin's memories and I figured they'd be everywhere.
Anyways, I hope you liked it, and I'd be happy to hear what you think in a review.