Krel maybe should have slept more last night, because he honestly barely blinks when he walks into the kitchen and Morgana is eating pancakes at the bar. He sits next to her and grunts out a greeting, then holds his plate up to catch a pancake. Archie, sleeping on the other side of the bar, jerks awake when a pancake lands on his head. Krel hides a laugh and the cat glares at him and relocates to the living room.
"Good morning," Mort says as he walks in. He grabs a pancake out of the air as Lucy flips it, then freezes before taking a bite.
"Good morning, nephew," says Morgana.
Mort stares at her a second longer before his face morphs into a scowl.
"What are you doing here?" Mort forces out, setting the pancake down and flexing his hands like he wants to form focusers but knows better than to start a fight.
"Eating breakfast," she says.
Wait. Wait. Why is Morgana here? When did Morgana get here? Oh, no, have Morgana and Lucy been bonding?
"I can see that," says Mort flatly. "Why are you eating breakfast here instead of – wherever you've been living?"
"I've decided I'm living here."
Mort gapes at her for a moment, before gesturing angrily. "No. No, absolutely not. No."
"So rude," scoffs Morgana. Douxie choses that moment to walk in the room with a yawn. "Oh, good morning, Douxie!"
"Morning, Aunt Morgana," Douxie mumbles. Mort looks horrified. Douxie does a double-take. "What are you doing here?"
"I live here now," she says.
"You do not," says Mort.
"The boys don't mind," she says. "Do you, nephews?"
"Uh," says Douxie. It takes Krel a second to realise he's also included in "nephews" for whatever reason. He takes a bite of his pancake so he doesn't have to answer.
"They don't mind," says Morgana. "Must you be so rude, Mordred?"
"You can't just move in somewhere without warning," says Mort. "And you two, don't encourage her."
"I'm going to teach you both so much," says Morgana. "Did Mordred ever teach you how to turn someone inside out?"
Douxie looks mildly ill. "Uh. Nope."
"I'm not a wizard," says Krel.
Morgana scoffs. "You're close enough. We shall figure it out."
"I don't really want to learn how to turn someone inside out," says Douxie.
"Exactly," says Mort. "Please don't teach the boys things like that."
"Of course you want to learn how to turn someone inside out," says Morgana. "But we'll start smaller. There are so many ways to murder."
"Murder is bad," says Krel, which sounds kind of dumb but he's also still waking up.
Morgana pats his cheek. "Illegal does not mean bad, child."
"Murder is illegal and bad," says Mort flatly, frown deepening further.
"Matter of opinion." Morgana takes another bite of her pancake. Douxie eyes her like she might suddenly go evil-sorceress on them at any moment. Krel's never seen her go evil-sorceress. She's not any more eccentric than Varvatos, really, and Varvatos isn't evil. Some people just have murder as a hobby.
"Was she here when you woke up?" Douxie mutters to Krel.
Krel nods. "Yep."
"Oh, wonderful," Douxie mumbles. He catches a pancake and clears his throat. "Well, I have school. Think I'm gonna walk today. So. Best leave now. Have a good day."
He side-steps out of the room to go get his backpack. Mort scowls and mutters something that sounds suspiciously like "traitor". Krel glances between the two adults and wonders if he can escape. Somehow, he doubts he can. Also, he maybe shouldn't. He'd hate for them to end up fighting if he leaves them unsupervised. He takes an awkward bite of his pancake.
"I'm going to be driving Krel to school in a few minutes," says Mort. "I expect you gone by the time I get back."
Morgana scoffs. "Is that any way to treat family, Mordred?"
"You tried to cause the end of the world," says Mort, "multiple times."
"And yet the world is still here," says Morgana.
"Krel, are you ready to go?" Mort asks, turning pointedly away from his aunt. Krel stares at him for a second, caught unprepared. He swallows his bite of pancake.
"Uh, my backpack is in my room," he says.
"Go get it," says Mort. "We're leaving."
Krel glances down at his unfinished pancake. Mort sighs.
"Bring it in the car," he says.
"Okay," says Krel unsurely. He glances at Morgana again. She seems unbothered. Krel shrugs.
Toby is going to love this.
Toby does love it. He finds it hilarious. He's warmed up to Morgana significantly after she helped Jim and continued to not take over the world in the past few weeks. Claire is the only one besides Mort who still seems to hate her, and Krel understands even if he doesn't know the full story why.
Judging by Mort's mood when he shows up in the car line that afternoon, Morgana has not left. Krel doesn't expect she'll leave anytime soon, to be honest. He doesn't know her that well but he knows that when she wants something, almost nothing can stop her from getting it.
"Why do you hate her so much?" he asks as they drive across town to pick up Douxie. Mort's hands tighten on the steering wheel and he sighs.
"Hate is maybe too strong a word," he says. Krel raises an eyebrow. Mort chuckles dryly. "Well. Maybe not. She's just – we don't agree on a lot of things, and I don't want her to be a bad influence on you boys."
"There's more than that," says Krel.
"Yes," says Mort, his expression hardening. "My aunt and I haven't gotten along since I was younger than you. She – I just don't want her around you."
Krel wants to ask more, but even he can sense that the conversation is over. Mort doesn't want to talk about it.
"Maybe she's changed," Krel says. "She helped Jim. She helped all of us."
Mort's lips thin and he shakes his head. "She's not safe."
They've reached Douxie's school by now. Krel decides not to press the issue for now – it's clear Mort isn't going to say anything else about it, and it's clear he's not going to trust Morgana.
Douxie walks up to the car and scowls at Krel through the window. Krel grins at him and Douxie climbs in the back seat.
"I get shotgun next time," he says.
"Shotgun goes to the kid that didn't leave me high and dry this morning," Mort shoots back.
Douxie shrugs. "What can I say? Too early for family drama. She still there?"
"Unfortunately," says Mort. "Who wants to spend the afternoon at the shop? All in favour, yes? Great."
"Ah, so avoiding her is your plan," Douxie says.
"Come on, you love the shop–"
"Red light," Krel says.
"Shit," Mort blurts, slamming on the brakes the jerk them to a stop at the intersection. He must be distracted if he's cursing in front of them. The most they usually ever got out of him was 'kleb' before he knew what it meant.
"Avoiding your problems won't make them go away," Douxie points out. "You should talk to her, work out whatever your problem is. Communication is good."
Mort sighs. "It's not that simple, kiddo. Not in this case."
"Why not?" Douxie demands, even as Krel tries to subtly tell him not to ask. "What's up between you? You're usually so – nice to people. The only other person I've seen you hate this much is Merlin."
"She's a bad person, can we just leave it there?" says Mort, frustration lacing his voice. He shakes his head and plasters on a fake smile. "How did you do on that test you had the other day? You said you'd be getting it back today, right?"
Krel glances back at Douxie. The younger wizard is scowling at the subject change, but he shakes his head and luckily drops it. "Got a 93. Not too bad."
"Well done," says Mort. "How was the rest of your day? Good?"
"Pretty average," says Douxie.
Mort nods then glances Krel's way. "What about you, Krel, you didn't tell me earlier?"
While it's pretty routine for Mort to ask about their days, it's clear today he's really, really trying to avoid the Morgana subject. Krel looks back to glare at Douxie. They can drop it for now.
"Good," Krel says. "I won dodgeball. And then I was told I wasn't allowed to use my powers. And then I lost dodgeball."
"Does Coach Lawrence normally let you use your powers?" Douxie asks. "Coach Stephenson told us that if she sees us using magic for any shenanigans, she'll make us sit out and dock participation points for the day."
"Define shenanigans," Krel says. Douxie laughs. "But no. We're not allowed to use powers or magic in gym, technically."
"Just because magic is known in Arcadia now doesn't mean you can just use it at school all the time," says Mort.
"I know," says Douxie. "But it would be nice."
"You can't rely on magic for everything," says Mort. "Magic can fail or be blocked and you have to be ready."
In the rear-view mirror, Krel sees Douxie's eyes dart to him and his expression darken. "Yeah. I learned that lesson the hard way."
Mort's face turns grim as well, although he keeps his eyes focused on the road. "Most people do."
Morgana is still there when they get home that night. Mort glares and tells Krel and Douxie that they're sleeping down in the mothership tonight. Douxie and Krel decide not to argue. Mort's already in a bad mood. If it will make him feel better, they can sleep in Krel's lab with the entrance locked. Mort even draws protective runes at the entrances to both the ship itself and Krel's lab.
What Krel is a little annoyed with is when Douxie wakes him up in the middle of the night. He scowls groggily at the older boy.
"Shh," whispers Douxie, nodding to Mort in a sleeping bag nearby and Archie curled up on top of Mort. He nods towards the door. Krel climbs out of his sleeping bag as quietly as he can and follows Douxie out of his lab.
"You better have a good reason for waking me up at this hour," he says once their far enough away that they won't wake Mort. They walk into the control room of the mothership and Douxie holds up a book.
"Nabbed this from the shop earlier," he says. "If Mort won't tell us why he hates Morgana so much, I figured we could just take a peek into the past and find out ourselves."
"I'm not so sure about this," says Krel.
"Relax." Douxie sets the book down and stretches his arms. "I know what I'm doing. Mostly. Besides, don't you want to know?"
Unfortunately, Krel's curiosity outweighs his logic, which he's been told will get him killed someday. That's probably accurate. He sits on a chair and Douxie skims the book. He rubs his hands together.
"If I do this right," he says, "it should show us the moment it all went sour between Mort and Morgana. I hope. I dunno, this spell prefers for the caster to know what they're trying to see, but I've always been good with winging it."
"That just instils me with confidence," says Krel flatly.
Douxie spreads his hands apart and glowing blue-grey energy forms around them. A few complicated hand motions later, he throws his arms out and the energy engulfs the room. Krel shields his eyes at the sudden brightness. When it fades, they are in a stone-walled corridor.
"Woah," says Krel.
"Look," says Douxie. He points to a blond-haired kid, maybe two or three years younger than Krel, creeping along the wall. "I think that's Mort."
"He's just a kid," says Krel. He'd never actually imagined Mort as a kid before. It was one of those things he'd never even considered. Mini-Mort's – well, he guesses it's Mordred right now – Mordred's face is split by a smile, the kind Krel's seen Aja get when she's doing something she shouldn't and getting away with it.
Then, out of nowhere, a shrill scream pierces the air and is suddenly cut off. Douxie pulls Krel behind him, even though it's a memory and nothing can hurt either of them. Mordred's smile falls instantly.
"Gwen?" he mumbles. His eyes go wide. "Gwen! Guinevere!"
He takes off running, towards the scream. Douxie and Krel start to follow, but the memory moves for them. Mordred skids to a stop. Krel clutches Douxie's arms.
"Oh my god," whispers Douxie.
Morgana is standing on the ground, arm out, suspending a dark-haired woman in her golden magic. There is a wound in the woman's side, blood spilling from it and staining her pale blue dress crimson. Her eyes dart to Mordred and widen in horror.
"Aunt Morgana…?" Mordred asks weakly. "Gwen? I – I don't – what's going on?"
"Mordred, get out of here," the dark-haired woman forces out. This must be Guinevere, then. Mordred's eyes well with tears. "Mordred, run. Run, get your sister and go hide–"
She cuts off abruptly with a choked gasp as a golden dagger – Morgana's magic – sinks into her chest. Douxie drags Krel closer in horror.
"NO!" Mordred screams. "MUM! NO!"
Morgana's cold face fills with rage. She drops Guinevere's body and whirls on Mordred. Douxie lurches forward as the golden magic surrounds the small boy, no more than just barely a teenager. It's a memory. They can't do anything. Krel doesn't want to see any more. He understands now.
"She's not your mother!" Morgana hisses. "My sister was your mother! Don't call Guinevere your mother!"
Mordred sobs and struggles against Morgana's magic. She walks towards him and cups his cheek, face softening.
"There, there," she coos. "It's alright, little one."
Footsteps sound down the hall. Two men skid onto the scene, one dark-haired and the other blond, swords in hand. The blond man looks a lot like Steve – King Arthur, Krel guesses. He doesn't know who the dark-haired man is.
"Gwen," whispers the dark-haired man in horror.
"Mordred!" cries Arthur. "Release my son, Morgana."
"Dad!" Mordred chokes out. "Lancelot!"
"It's going to be okay, Mordred, you're going to be okay," says the man who must be Lancelot. His face hardens as he glares at Morgana. "Let him go, sorceress."
Morgana drags Mordred in front of her. "I'd be careful what you do now, boys, your precious little one is in the way."
"I don't want to see any more," Krel says. "I don't – I think we've seen enough."
Arthur and Lancelot, unaware of the spectators, exchange terrified looks. Douxie shakes his head, eyes wide. "I don't know how to stop the spell."
"I don't know how to stop it!" Douxie reaches out a hand, as if he could grab Mordred away from Morgana, but his hand passes straight through both of them like they're made of mist. "I don't know, I didn't think it'd be this bad."
"What do you want?" Arthur asks, breaking off Douxie and Krel's conversation. The king's voice trembles. This – Guinevere – must have been someone he cared about, and now his son is in danger. Krel knows Mordred will be okay, or at least not dead, but Arthur and this Lancelot don't.
"The prince is coming with me," she says. Mordred's shoulders shake and more tears slip down his cheeks.
"No," says Lancelot. "No, anything else. You can't take him. Please, he's just a kid."
"He is my nephew," Morgana says.
"He is my son," Arthur shoots back.
Morgana pulls Mordred closer to her. "You lost your rights to him when you let my sister die!"
Arthur's brow raises and he sucks in a breath. Lancelot glances briefly at him before tightening his grip on his sword.
"Is that what this is?" he asks. "Revenge for Morgause? We didn't know. There was nothing we could have done!"
"Liars!" spits Morgana. "Don't tell me you didn't know."
A chill runs down Krel's spine, and a second later he realises why – a red-headed girl has just walked through him, another part of the memory. She's probably around Douxie's age. Her eyes dart to Guinevere, then to Morgana holding Mordred, and she grips a dagger in her right hand. Arthur face shifts when he realises she's there.
"This is your last chance, Morgana," he says. "Let my son go."
Her eyes narrow beneath her helmet. "Or what?"
The girl charges forward and leaps onto Morgana, digging her dagger into Morgana's upper arm, relatively unprotected compared to the rest of her armour. Morgana shrieks. The spell on Mordred drops and he scrambles away, eyes wide. The girl leaps off of Morgana and runs to Mordred, pulling him to his feet and dragging him to Arthur and Lancelot. Arthur steps protectively in front of them, sword outstretched, as Lancelot kneels next to a shaking Mordred and pulls him into a hug.
"Leave," Arthur says, eyes sad. "I'm giving you one last chance, Morgana, and only because you're family. Leave."
"You're weak, Arthur," Morgana snarls. "It's going to be your downfall."
She turns and flees. Arthur's shoulders drop and he turns to face Mordred. Lancelot stands and rests a hand on Mordred's shoulder.
"Are you hurt?" Arthur asks.
Mordred notes mutely and sniffles. He rubs at his cheeks. "Mum."
"Come here," whispers Arthur, wrapping his arms around his son. The vision fades. They're back in the control room. Douxie falls to his knees, hand going to cover his mouth. Krel stares at the spot Guinevere's body had laid in the memory.
"That was Uncle Mort's mother," whispers Douxie. "Or – or at least she was a mother to him. And Morgana killed her."
"No wonder he doesn't trust her," says Krel softly. They can't ask Mort to trust her, even if she's changed, which is something Krel's not even sure of. It'd be like asking Krel to trust Morando. "Seklos and Gaylen."
Douxie swallows and shakes his head. "We should – try to get some sleep."
Krel nods numbly. He has a feeling neither of them are going to sleep much tonight.
Morgana is still there the next morning, already eating pancakes when they come up. Krel expected that. Archie leaps onto the counter and lays down. Mort glares at her but says nothing. Also expected. Douxie's face twists in anger and he slams his hands down on the counter across from her.
Okay. Not expected.
"Get out," Douxie demands coldly.
"Excuse me?" says Morgana.
"Get out!" Douxie yells. "Leave! Don't make me say it again."
"Douxie!" Archie exclaims in shock.
Mort takes a step forward, brow furrowed. "Douxie, what has gotten into you?"
"You killed my grandmother!" Douxie snarls. Morgana's eyes widen, either in surprise or confusion or a mixture of both. Douxie's hands curl into fists on the counter and blue-grey magic sparks around them with his anger.
"Your – Douxie, what are you talking about?" Mort asks. He spins Douxie to face him and grabs his wrists. The magic vanishes. Douxie stares at his uncle, eyes wide, before hugging him. Mort still looks confused, but he pulls Douxie closer anyway. "Hey. Hey, it's okay."
"What on Earth was that?" Morgana exclaims. "You really were raised by Mordred, after all."
Douxie pushes away from Mort, anger returning, but Krel's had enough.
"Don't talk about him like that," he says coldly. Morgana's eyebrows raise. "Mort's a better parent than you'd ever be. Leave. We won't be as patient as King Arthur."
Mort's brow furrows for a brief second, before his eyes widen. "You boys went snooping."
"What did you expect us to do?" Douxie asks. "You wouldn't tell us, so we found out for ourselves."
"And we saw that she murdered your Guinevere," says Krel, crossing his arms and glaring at Morgana.
Morgana bristles. "Guinevere murdered my sister!"
Krel and Douxie exchange looks. That hadn't been mentioned in the memory. Mort frowns and shakes his head.
"That isn't true," he says. "That can't be true. She wouldn't have hurt a fly."
Morgana's glare softens and she sighs. "Maybe it isn't true. I don't know anymore. I thought I did then, but my information came from Merlin, and – well. Merlin."
"It isn't true," says Mort again.
"It came from Merlin, of course it isn't true." Douxie crosses his arms. Archie butts his head against his wizard's arm, and Douxie unfolds his arms to pet him, though his scowl doesn't lessen. "Even if it was true, you can't just come here and expect Uncle Mort to welcome you. You murdered his mother in front of him!"
"Guinevere was not–"
"She was the closest thing he had!"
"Douxie," Mort says softly. "That's enough."
Douxie spins to face him. "But–"
"No," says Mort. "That's enough."
Douxie reluctantly moves to stand beside Krel, a half-step in front of him as if to protect him if Morgana tries anything. Krel doesn't need protection, but if it makes Douxie feel better, he won't complain.
"You boys have school today." Mort holds up a hand when Douxie jerks forward to protest. "No. No arguments. Grab some breakfast downtown. I'll pick you up this afternoon."
"Uncle Mort," Douxie objects.
"We're not leaving you alone with her," Krel says.
"Ahem," Archie says.
Krel shakes his head. "You know what I mean."
Mort glances back at them and smiles softly. "It's okay. I know what you saw scared you, but I can handle her if she tries anything. And I think my aunt and I are long overdue for a conversation."
Krel doesn't really want to leave, and he knows Douxie doesn't. Mort nods to the door. Krel sighs and steers Douxie by the shoulder out the door, activating his transduction on the way out.
"You're just going to listen to him?" Douxie demands.
"Well, yeah," says Krel. "If Mort wants to talk to her without us there, we should let him. She's his aunt."
"He can protect himself better than we can protect him," Krel points out. Douxie grumbles something unintelligible under his breath. "Come on. Let's go get breakfast."
Krel's not exactly sure what he can – or should – tell his friends about the recent developments with Morgana. Toby asks, of course, and Steve tries to pretend he's not curious at lunch but he definitely is. Krel just tells them it's complicated, because apparently it is.
True to his word, Mort shows up to pick him up after school. The conversation on the way to get Douxie doesn't stray into Morgana territory yet. When they arrive at Douxie's school, Krel is once again greeted with a glare from the older boy.
"My turn," says Douxie.
"That's not how it works," says Krel.
"Yes, it is," says Douxie.
"He's right," says Mort. "Douxie's turn."
Krel pouts and climbs out of the car to sit in the back. He thinks it should be first come, first serve, but he supposes that's unfair to Douxie since his school is further. At least Douxie is mildly less competitive than Aja.
"How was your day?" Mort asks.
"Fine," says Douxie. "What's the deal with Morgana?"
Mort chuckles. "Never any beating around the bushes with you, is there?"
"Nope," says Douxie.
"She agreed to leave," Mort says. "We talked. I wouldn't say we're on good terms, but better than before. Things… make a bit more sense now."
"At least she's gone," says Douxie, crossing his arms and slumping in his seat.
Mort inclines his head but makes no other response to this. There's a long moment of silence. Krel awkwardly adjusts his seatbelt.
"How exactly did you boys find out about what happened?" Mort asks finally.
"Douxie did some spell," says Krel. Douxie swivels his head to shoot him a betrayed look. Krel shrugs at him. "We saw the whole thing happen like we were there. I don't know the spell. He winged it."
"I've told you not to wing spells," Mort scolds immediately. He shakes his head. "But a memory spell. I see. Those can be dangerous."
"It worked fine," says Douxie.
"Yes, I got that," says Mort dryly. He lets out a sigh as they slow to a stop at a red light. "I suppose I should have just told you, but if she has changed – I didn't want to colour your perception too much. It isn't fair to anyone involved. And apparently it makes Douxie tackle people."
"She deserved it," mutters Douxie.
"I'll be more honest with you boys," says Mort. "But you must remember that it's been centuries since a lot of this stuff happened. Just because my past haunts me sometimes doesn't mean you should let it haunt you."
"Do you think you might tell us more about your childhood?" Krel asks hesitantly. "The good stuff, maybe."
He sees Mort's eyebrows raise in the rear-view mirror, as if he's surprised Krel's asking. Douxie nods enthusiastically.
"We want to know about them," he says. "Arthur and Guinevere and Lancelot and your sister and anyone else. You should have the chance to talk about the happy things – if you want, I mean."
Mort glances between the two of them with a fond smile. Krel and Douxie both smile back.
"Maybe it will do me well to talk about them again," Mort agrees. He laughs and nods as if one of them has said something else, even though they haven't. "You're good kids, you know that?"
"You're always there for us," says Douxie. "Let us be there for you, too."
"That's what family's for," Krel adds, because that's what Mort and Douxie are. Family. Krel never would have imagined a few months ago that he'd have more family like this, but he's glad for it. Mort chuckles again. There's something fond and heartfelt in the sound.
"Yes," he says. "Yes, I suppose you're quite right about that."
A/N: Well, everyone wanted to know what happened to Morgana, and my original idea was "oh, yeah, she moved in with them". And then I started writing. And then I actually learned Mort's backstory. And then that got thrown out the window and this happened. So she's getting her own apartment, I guess. Also, I'm sorry to people who actually know King Arthur stuff but I got confused while researching and just decided to go full-on "loosely inspired by" instead. Hope you enjoyed!