A/N: So This is a re-working of this story. Not much has changed at all, so don't worry if you don't quite feel like re-reading everything. I understand completely. For those of you who want the short version, skip to the bottom of this chapter!
For those of you who are new readers, hello! This story has been in the works since 2009, and I'm finally getting back to it. I hope that you enjoy reading it as much as I have writing it!
Constructive and well thought out reviews are greatly appreciated. I will do my best to reply to all reviewers individually and to read at least a sample of your work and provide my own review. =)
Disclaimer: Not mine.
She was running. The forestry swirled around her in unnatural greens and browns as she ran head first into the trees, the chill of morning biting at her face with an intensity she was not familiar with. She had never ran like this before. She had never had a reason to run. But here she was, lungs burning, feet aching, legs screaming as she forced herself to keep moving. There was terror in every gasp she took as she continued to look forward. He was still in front of her, not saying anything for he to was concentrating on not collapsing. They had been running for what seemed like ages. She never imagined this would happen, but it was. She wasn't even sure how she had become involved. Everything seemed unclear at this moment. It was all blurred together with the forestry and damp ground beneath her feet.
She could feel her legs wobble under her and she slowed her pace ever so slightly. He didn't notice. He was inching further from her by the second. She could no longer reach for his hand. She wasn't matching his strides as she once had. Instead she let panic take over. Her knees buckled, and she went head first to the ground. She instantly threw her hands in front of her to brace the fall and landed on all fours. The sting of fresh wounds began to creep into her palms.
"Morgana!" He had turned to see her fall. He began to turn back, he would never think to leave her behind. She called back to him between shallow breaths.
"Don't! Keep moving. They won't kill me, they're after you!" While inwardly she knew it was a lie, she hoped that it was enough to keep him moving. It wasn't.
"I won't leave you." He met her, just as out of breath as she was, and offered a hand to lift her to her feet.
"I'll only slow you down." But her words were no good to him now. In an instant there was a sharp concentrated wind that cut the normal air. A flash of red and gold skimmed past Morgana's vision and a scream followed. It had happened too fast. She almost didn't comprehend what she was seeing before her. He laid in front of her, where he had been standing offering her his hand only seconds ago. There was blood, more blood than she would have thought possible seeping from his chest. His eyes were open but there was no life behind them. She had no time to process what happened as rough voices came in from behind her. She was seized by two men. She screamed, kicked, tried everything she could think of. But it was no good. Her last spark of hope flickered out as she saw Merlin's hand fall limply to his side. She took one last breath before a searing pain exploded in her abdomen. She shrieked and everything went red.
Her eyes bolted open and she sat straight up in bed. No screams escaped her mouth. This was not the kind of fear that left you screaming. No, this was the nightmare that gripped you so tightly that when you awoke there was no screaming. Just shock and utter terror. Morgana had had nightmares, almost every night she was plagued with horrible dreams, but never had they been this vivid. Her heart stammered to a nervous rhythm in her chest as she wiped perspiration from her brow, but where her hand had been still felt damp. Uneasiness knotted itself in her stomach as she turned her hands over to see her palms, scratched and bloodied. She looked down at her sheets, where only moments ago she had been jarred awake, clinging to them like a lifeline. There were two bloody hand prints soiling the once immaculate, white linen. She forced herself to withhold a scream, threw her legs over the side of the bed, and left the room.
Calm down Morgana, she told herself as she exited her room in a haste that was be deemed inappropriate for a lady. She broke out into a run in the hallway and turned down another corridor, finding the staircase and taking to it, nearly losing her footing.
There was no need to knock at this hour. It was indecent of her, and most certainly unladylike for her to enter someone's home at two in the morning, but she threw all of those concerns away. She pulled the door open, very nearly collapsing in the doorway but being caught by something very human rather than meeting the floor.
Merlin grabbed her by the shoulders and steadied her. Morgana hadn't realized how dizzy she felt. The state that she appeared before him in shocked him for a moment but he regained composure long enough to speak.
"What's happened?" Without warning his hand flew to her forehead. She suddenly realized how horrific she must've looked, stumbling into their chambers in the middle of the night in her nightgown, face smeared with blood. She tried so very hard to find a coherent thought, wanted to voice desperately what she had saw. But she couldn't answer. Sobs were forcing their way out of her mouth and she found herself gasping for air. She was moved to a chair and there was a faint shuffle followed by another voice.
"My goodness child, what's the matter?"
She tried very hard to find the words that were cluttering the back of her mind, but failed to say anything. "I-I-I had a-"
"Look at this! You're bleeding. Morgana, what's wrong?" Gaius turned her hands upwards to examine them better. Morgana eyed her bloody palms and then looked back to Gaius. Suddenly everything became clearer and she finally found her voice.
"I had a nightmare." She shuddered slightly and a hand was placed on her forehead.
"You're burning up. I'm afraid you might be coming down with something my dear. Keep an eye on her while I get something to bandage her hands up with will you?"
Merlin nodded as Gaius went to the broom closet hoping to find a salve and bandages.
Merlin took this opportunity to look Morgana over. He fought momentarily over wiping the blood from her face and wondered if she'd find it inappropriate. His inner Gaius said it was all in the name of medicine, and he dabbed a cloth in warm water and slowly began to clean her face. When she didn't fight him, he decided to speak.
"Morgana, what happened?"
She could not meet his eyes.
"How did you fall?"
This grabbed her attention. She did not lift her head but spoke in a hushed voice she did not want Gaius to hear. "I did not fall."
He almost laughed then. "Then how did you get the scratches on your palms Morgana?"
"Don't think me stupid Merlin. I didn't fall on my way here. If I had fallen my knees would be dirty. One who braces a fall with their hands almost always lands on their knees." Her voice trailed and she sniffled.
Merlin couldn't help but direct his gaze downward. Her knees were in fact, unscathed. "So how did your palms get bloodied?"
She took a deep breath and continued to stare at the floor. "I fell in my nightmare Merlin."
He looked at her for a moment with curiosity dancing about his eyes. It pained him to know of Morgana's abilities. He was unable to ask her about them or confide in her secrets of his own powers for fear of persecution. In truth, she fascinated him to no end. But now as she sat before him worn thin and broken, he couldn't help but be afraid. Afraid of what this power was doing to her, but also, afraid of what she herself was capable of. He couldn't push the memories of Morgana's plot to kill Uther out of his mind just yet.
"What happened in the dream?"
At this, she started crying again. "Oh Merlin, it was so terrible, there was so much blood, and it felt so real. It was so bad. I don't want to see it again. I don't want to. Please, please, help me."
She buried her face in her hands and sobbed. Never before had Merlin seen her so weak, so exposed before him. He felt the need to excuse himself from the room. There had to be something that prohibited a lowly commoner like him from seeing someone like Morgana in distress. He wanted so much to comfort her, wanted so much to reveal his true self that he almost did in that very moment. But he restrained himself and very cautiously lifted Morgana's chin so that they were eye level. In the dim candle light the hollow spaces under her eyes made her look ghostly.
"Morgana." This time he whispered in a firm voice. "I can't help you unless you tell me what you saw."
She looked him straight in the eyes. There was a terrible sense of desperation in them, longing, sadness, and something else. Something dark that Merlin couldn't name, but starting into Morgana's eyes made him a little unhinged.
She exhaled slowly never leaving his gaze. There was a long silence between them.
"I saw-" She looked away from him for a moment.
When she returned her eyes to his, they were fresh with tears.
"Merlin, I saw your death."
A/N: Things that have changed so far:
-Morgana's dream (not by much, but a certain blonde is involved now) and her reaction to it.
So not so many changes so far, but as the story progresses it will change quite a bit. This has evolved into a two part story, with the second part outlined (I am not an outliner- EVER. But this story demanded it of me, and I had to appease the ff gods!)