Disclaimer: Merlin's not mine. But I reckon if it was, I would get some of the Merlin fic writers on here to help me with some killer plot lines. ;)

A/N: Hello everyone! This is my second M/M fic (one of the best ships ever, I have to say), because The Witch's Quickening inspired me, and I'm joining in with the campaign for more M/M fics! I was interested by Morgana's internal conflict this episode, because although she despises the way Uther rules, she clearly does not want to hurt her friends (and she was even slightly hesitant at the start when Mordred begs her to help him). I think at this point Merlin can sense that Morgana's on the brink of doing something bad, and this one shot slots in before she steals Arthur's keys, and I basically wanted a slightly enigmatic conversational scene with Merlin where she's deciding whether or not to do as Mordred asks. . .

Mordred's Call, Merlin's Cry

He plucked another one from the soil, holding it up to his eye before throwing it away. Whatever mushroom Gaius told him to get, he strongly doubted he was going to find it. The temptation to lie down and soak up the beauty of the forest was becoming ever more appealing, knowing that Arthur wouldn't realise he was absent from Camelot until his search of the town was finished. Where are you Mordred?

Merlin bit his lip as he went and crouched down by the nearby stream, splashing his face with the clear water. Why was Mordred back in Camelot? And why was he seeking out Morgana? He felt a queasy sensation run through him- either Mordred hadn't ever made it to Morgana's chambers, or Morgana had lied. The latter didn't sit well with him- if his destiny one day was to kill Arthur, then him creating a bond with Morgana was never going to end well.

"Merlin." he suddenly heard a soft, slightly surprised voice say- he felt his heart jump a hurdle, turning his head to look behind him as he slowly stood up from his position by the water's edge, moving carefully as if she were a little bird about to fly away.

She looked beautiful, her glossy black hair hanging in long, loose waves, half of it twisted elegantly into a bun. Her pale green eyes matched the earthy colours of her surroundings, her soft, pink lips parted as she watched him.

"Milady." he replied, bowing slightly as he held her eye, "May I ask what brings you alone so far from Camelot?"

His formal tone caught her off guard, her mouth opening a little as if she was about to speak, instead she closes it as she looks down at her clasped hands, "I. . . I needed a little time to think." she whispered, "Uther would kill me if he found out I was on my own, but I needed some time to myself."

She looks up again to see his sky blue eyes watching her intently, almost as if he can see right through her, "Would you like me to escort you back to Camelot?" he asks gently, never tearing his eyes off her.

"No-" she says suddenly, her face alarmed, "I mean, if you would escort me. . .not back to Camelot." she flusters, a nervous smile appearing, "Walk with me?"

He smiles at her softly, sadly almost, his hands joined neatly behind his back as he starts to walk beside her. He wants to look at her, but he can't. He knows if he looks, he'll see her creamy white skin almost glowing, bathing serenely in the sunlight leaking through the leafy canopy. He cannot betray himself when he feels the tension radiating off her, she's frightened.

"Do you come out here often?" he asks carefully, his eyes skimming the floor.

"Not often, no. . .but sometimes when the walls of the castle feel too enclosed, I come out to the forest. I feel at peace here, like I have nothing to fear."

He can't help but glance at her now, and he can see the conflict on her face, flitting behind her eyes. He wonders when she became like this- the fiesty, headstrong coquette faded to reveal the core of her- so vulnerable and so alone. Merlin knows her magic has done this to her- stripped down her defences as she questions herself, analyses herself, and he wants nothing more than to wrap her up and heal her, "You are frightened though." Merlin says simply, "I can tell."

She lets out a shaky breath, one she didn't realise she was holding; he was the one person who could always read her, "I am Merlin. I'm scared about who I am-what I am. I feel like. . .my path is being laid out in front of me, and that I have no other choice. Uther is slowly pushing me away, and I feel the pull from others. " she replies enigmatically, wringing her hands restlessly.

He looks at her tear filled eyes, and he feels her isolation keenly, he knows what it's like to feel so lonely, "You always have a choice Morgana, even if it's not necessarily the easy one to make. Don't do things for the wrong reasons, this kingdom one day will accept you for who you are."

Morgana's laugh holds more sadness than humour, "I can't wait for a day that may never come Merlin. I fear death more than anything, and for years I feel like I have lived a life so close to death- so dark, so alone that I barely know what it feels to truly live."

He stops suddenly, gazing at her brokenly as she stands a few paces in front, "I. . .I don't want you to get hurt anymore than you are, Morgana." he whispers, the sincerity in his voice piercing her heart as she swallows back more tears, "Destroying what's killing you won't necessarily bring you to life."

She collects herself for a minute, blinking quickly to clear her blurring vision as she slowly moves back towards him, "My heart is already tied to its destiny Merlin, I know I don't belong here."

Her eyes sparkle almost darkly, and he recognises that face she wears- that fierce, uninhibited look that he knows he sometimes sends Gaius- an edge of recklessness in himself that can't be stopped even with words of warning from the Dragon. Merlin always makes his own decisions.

"You don't have to do anything you don't want to." Merlin whispers urgently as he moves to her side, his hand gently reaching out and touching her forearm- he didn't want to feel her slip through his fingers.

The determination in her eyes disappears, the helplessness re-emerging as she feels the pads of his fingers rest on her skin, "I know Merlin." she smiles tearfully, her composure cracking, "And the only thing I don't want to do anymore is pretend someone I'm not."

He holds her gaze, their steady breathing falling out of sync as his fingers slowly slip from her arm. He thought about all the things he could say to her to make her better, to make her understand that she belonged here, that he was like no one else in the world and she fitted right there with him.

Cowardice clenched at his heart, and the words on his tongue dissolved into nothingness, the almost hopeful expression on her face fading as she looked away. . .walked away.

He stood there, his heart barely beating in its empty hollow; today was the day he lost her forever.

A/N:Hope you liked it! Reviews are much appreciated! I love the angst/drama/(romance) pairing of these twoso much, I'm disappointed by the lack of this pairing since "The Nightmare Begins", all I want is a ruddy conversation. Good grief. Is that too much to ask?!