Disclaimer: I do not, nor have I ever owned Merlin except in my own imagination.
A/N: So here it is, the Merlin/Arthur reincarnation fic I promised. Although, nothing really magical happens quite yet, at the moment I'm trying to set things out so you understand what goes on in later chapters. That is, if people like this and want me to continue - If so, then once you've read it, reviews are always loved and will inspire me to write the next chapter. If people do not like this on the otherhand, I shall not continue as I don't see any point. Anyway, enjoy.
Fire reigned from the sky, blazing in its eternal glory as Merlin manoeuvred himself through the burning forest, smoke and ash threatening to choke him as he fled from the fiery creatures. They were everywhere, their skin radiating a deep orange as tiny flecks of fire raged off their backs and onto the foliage around them as they scattered across the forest floor after him.
Arthur was only just in front of him, the rest of the hunting party had fallen behind only to lose their lives to the ungodly creatures, slowly turning to cinders by the intense heat of the salamanders.
Not once in Merlin's life had he seen such beautiful, yet horrifying creatures. Many times Gaius had told stories of creatures made of the pure essence of fire, but not once had he seen one until today that is.
Leaves quickly disintegrated in a burst of flames, the ash and specks of fire blowing away in the breeze only to set more trees alight. Nature was winning, and Merlin couldn't do anything to stop it.
His magic had little effect on the elemental creatures, even when he conjured up water to dampen the creatures with, hoping that by putting out their flames they would wither and die. But that would have just been too easy, wouldn't it? Yes, their fire did indeed go out and they would turn to ash, but before Merlin knew what was going on, the salamanders would rise from their ashes in pairs.
There was a slight burning sensation on his arm as Merlin continued dashing through the burning trees towards Camelot, which could now be seen in the distance. Glancing down, he began waving his arm frantically as he realised it was on fire. Luckily he was able to put it out with a simple incantation.
"Hurry up Merlin!" Arthur yelled out from ahead, the salamanders closing in from every direction, their tails flicking fireballs towards them and at one point nearly hitting Merlin in the face.
"Not everyone can run as fast as you!" Merlin shouted back in fury, jumping over a flaming log that lay across the ground in front of him.
That's when it happened. The salamanders managed to get ahead of them, blocking their path entirely, providing no means of escape. They were completely and utterly surrounded by fire.
"We're trapped," Merlin pointed out subconsciously. The heat was already beginning to get to him, droplets of sweat running from his hairline down his face.
"Oh really?" Arthur stated, pulling out his sword and wavering it about at the salamanders as they closed in on them. "Thank you for that lovely insight of information, Merlin. Obviously you think I'm incapable of seeing what's in front of my face!"
"Well maybe if you weren't such a prat, we wouldn't be in this mess!" Merlin snapped flinching away quickly as a salamander went to bite him.
It was Arthur's fault anyway. He was the one that went into their cave and killed the queen, not knowing that an army of salamanders waited patiently in the dark to attack anyone who dared enter. The only reason Arthur had managed to escape was because Merlin had collapsed the entrance, but the rocks quickly melted away due to the concentrated heat of the salamanders, freeing themselves from the darkened tomb and into daylight.
"How dare you speak to me like that!" Arthur replied, thrusting his sword at one of the salamanders, its agonizing cry filling the air as its fire went out and slowly turned to ash, only for two more to arise and grow exponentially before their eyes.
"Forgive me, sire," Merlin mocked, pressing his back against Arthur's as they began rotating in circles, glancing out into the sea of fire. "I don't know what came over me. Wait, of course I do! Because of you, we're trapped with no hope of getting out unless..."
"Unless what?" Arthur snapped, plunging his sword down one of the salamander's throats.
Merlin knew it was the only way, if not then they'd both die and Arthur's destiny with it. It was one of those brief moments that you can't help but feel the world is entirely on your shoulders, which, for Merlin, had started to become a daily basis.
"Arthur," Merlin took a deep breath, closing his eyes as he quickly incarnated a spell over some Salamanders Arthur couldn't see. "Do you trust me?"
"What sort of question is-"
"Arthur," Merlin repeated with a stern voice. "Do you trust me?"
For a few moments, Arthur didn't reply, instead he continued waving his sword about at the salamanders, killing them off, only for them to spawn from the ashes.
"Yes," Arthur spoke finally, their eyes meeting briefly.
It's funny how the last moments of your life make you see things clearer than ever before. Not once had Merlin noticed how beautiful Arthur's blue eyes were, and how his hair shimmered in the light, or fire, like golden thread.
For the first time in his entire life, Merlin knew what he wanted and took the final chance he'd ever get and leaned forward, gently pressing his lips against a stunned Arthur's. The prince didn't move away from the kiss, nor did he attempt to further it. In the end, though, Merlin pulled away and turned towards the salamanders.
Glancing towards the sky, Merlin's eyes blazed gold and suddenly the red sky began turning dark. Storm clouds appeared from nowhere, the dark matter swirling until fierce droplets of rain surged down from the heavens, and onto everything around them, including the Salamanders.
Merlin could feel Arthur staring at him in horror as his eyes continued to radiate gold. Already he could feel his magic draining away, weakening him by the second as his body paralysed itself underneath him. The rain got heavier, extinguishing all the Salamanders fire until there was nothing around them but ash. Only then did Merlin speak up.
"Don't just stand there!" Merlin said somewhere between tears and rage. "Run!"
And that's exactly what Arthur did. Within seconds Arthur had already dashed through the ashes and was now running towards the open gates of Camelot.
As the last speck of gold left Merlin's eyes, the rain eased to a halt, sunlight passing through the clouds as they disappeared into nothingness.
He tried to run, but Merlin didn't have enough energy in him to move as salamanders slowly rose up from the ashes in their hundreds, all converging onto Merlin.
Closing his eyes for the final time, all he could do was pray that he'd done the right thing. The heat suddenly got too much for Merlin, his skin began to rapidly burn causing him to howl out in pain as the salamanders began turning his clothes into cinders. The last thing Merlin remembered was his skin boiling as he was slowly reduced to ash.
Merlin woke up panting, his entire body covered in sweat as the alarm clock his mother had given him for his birthday went off. The irritating ringing noise penetrating his ears until his fist slammed down upon the button on top of the annoying device, switching it off instantly.
"Monday," Merlin groaned after looking over at the calendar. "I hate Mondays."
Sitting up off his bed, Merlin began rubbing his hands over his face as he recalled the nightmare he'd just had. Lately they seemed to be getting worse, and not just a tiny bit, but with each passing day they'd been getting more intense, and this so far had been the worst.
Grabbing a fresh shirt and a pair of jeans, Merlin walked out of his room and towards the bathroom, stripping himself of his boxer shorts before hopping into the shower.
Washing his hair with shampoo and conditioner, and rubbing soap over his entire body until he deemed himself clean, Merlin rinsed himself and turned off the taps and sluggishly removed himself from the shower, feeling slightly more awake than he had been beforehand.
Drying himself off with a towel, he pulled on all of his clothes and made his way downstairs to where his mother was already cooking breakfast. Many people found it quite strange that Merlin still lived with his mother, given his age of twenty-one. Especially since most of his friends had already moved in with someone else, or were currently sharing an apartment with someone else.
On many occasions Morgana had insisted that he should find someone, to fall in love, but love was just something Merlin didn't see any point in. It was just another one of those pointless human emotions that heartbreak and devastation lie in the wake of, so Merlin found it better to stay well clear of it.
Currently he had finished school, and was doing a degree in medieval studies at a nearby university while, at the same time, working as a tour guide at the local museum in Ealdor. It wasn't that big, and he didn't get paid much, but just being able to walk through the exhibits seemed to calm Merlin more than anything else.
"Have you taken your meds?" Hunith asked, sliding a plate of pancakes dribbled with honey in front of him as Merlin sat down at the table.
"Not yet," Merlin replied, and began shovelling the pancakes into his mouth as the hunger finally set in.
Merlin suffered from depression, it wasn't just normal depression, but major depression, the kind that almost makes you jump off the highest building around so you no longer have to live through a pointless life. But through some psychiatric help from Gaius, who happened to be a family friend, he was able to convince Merlin that it wasn't worth killing himself. That was two years ago, and since then he hadn't tried again.
Pouring himself a glass of orange juice, Merlin took the pills of his mother and placed them into his mouth, using the juice to help wash away the metallic taste they always left behind.
Running his plate in the sink, Merlin dashed upstairs and grabbed his red neckerchief and the bag he kept all his notebooks in for university. Tying the neckerchief up at the back of his neck, he made his way down stairs and opened the front door.
"What time will you be back?" Hunith called out over the sound of the running tap.
Merlin shrugged. His classes ran until three in the afternoon, and the museum didn't close until eight and he had already promised to go out for drinks with Morgana...
"About nine o'clock tonight!" Merlin shouted back, shivering slightly from the coolness of the breeze that was creeping inside. "See you later!"
"Bye sweetheart," she said, appearing from around the corner and planting a wet kiss on his left cheek.
Chuckling, Merlin left the house as Hunith closed the door behind him and he began walking towards the bus stop that departed in half an hour to the university.
Yep. Merlin definitely hated Mondays. Halfway through one of the lectures, Merlin had found himself falling asleep. He already knew everything the guy was babbling on about. Camelot. Seriously, it was one of the first things that intrigued Merlin in the first place to learn about medieval history, but having to listen to a person tell him what he already knew was just too much.
By the time he'd woken up, the class was long over and Merlin had to quickly rush to catch the next bus to the museum.
Thankfully the bus trip only took five minutes. Rushing down the path Merlin pushed at the front door only to slam into the glass, collapsing onto the ground.
"You would think, by now, that you would realise you have pull this door, not push," Morgana mocked with a light laugh, helping Merlin off the ground.
"I was in a hurry!" Merlin said as an excuse, brushing the dirt off his clothes as they both strode into the museum.
"Really?" Morgana asked with probably a touch more sarcasm than necessary before giving a light laugh. "I couldn't tell."
Merlin let out a laugh before rolling his eyes, disappearing behind the main desk to place his bag in its usual spot. Grabbing his ID badge, he threaded the pin through his shirt until it was secure.
"How come you're here anyway?" Merlin asked, slightly curious to why Morgana had decided to arrive early, especially seeing that he wasn't due to finish work for another six hours at least.
"Can't a girl just come and see her best friend work?" Morgana smiled, fluttering her eyelids innocently, but Merlin wasn't falling for that for a second.
"Nope, now spill," Merlin laughed placing a sign in front of him that read 'tour guides every ten minutes'.
"Fine," Morgana pouted, examining her nails thoroughly before continuing. "I was hoping that you would be able to assist me in my studies. You don't happen to know anything about astrophysics by chance?" Morgana asked, grabbing a piece of paper out of her pocket that was lined with complex mathematical equations that went right over Merlin's head.
"Sorry to disappoint you, but I don't," Merlin admitted, feeling slightly guilty that he couldn't help her, but shrugged it off as a woman and two children came over for a tour of the museum, followed by an old couple and a couple of other people.
"In that case, I guess I'll just have to wait here until you're finished then," Morgana sighed, grabbing her glasses out of her bag and putting them on her face.
She was very intimidating when she wore them, apparently it made her look sexy for the boys, and even Merlin had to admit she pulled sexy off quite nicely, well the guys seemed to think so anyway. Merlin on the other hand wasn't able to attract guys like she could, not that he was jealous of Morgana at all. Although, in some ways he wished that someone like Arthur from his dreams would appear out of nowhere and sweep him away to some far away land.
Yeah, right, as if that would ever happen.
"If you would be kind enough to follow me I shall commence the tour," Merlin announced with a smug look printed across his face. At least there were some things he was better at than others. He knew this entire museum off by heart, not one exhibit or inch of this place had been unseen by Merlin Emrys.
Walking through the museum, Merlin explained all about their Egyptian exhibit, especially all about the mummification procedure. All the way down to the part where they stuck a hot iron rod up your nose to turn your brain mush, so they could pull it out of your nose will an iron hook. That always got people squirming, and Merlin couldn't help but chuckle slightly as one of the children didn't understand what he was talking about, and decided to ask his mother.
"I'll explain later," which was obviously a lie, as she was already turning a light green colour.
Eventually Merlin lead the group to the alchemy part of the museum, filled with devices and information from people such as Zosimu; the alchemist who believe everything was made up of the four elements earth, wind, fire and water and other alchemists such as Geber, Isaac Newton and Paracelsus.
Moving on through the exhibits, Merlin came to the very last one; a stone tablet with medieval ruins on it, which had been found under no more than ten meters of dirt on the very outskirts of Ealdor.
"This stone tablet is the only known medieval artefact with inscription on it found in the local area. Would you all like to know what it says?" Merlin grinned as the two children jumped up and down.
"We do!" the chanted together.
Sphere's of the gods from the heavens above,
Align with the power, wisdom and knowledge of one.
Time passes with every bell that tolls,
As the final seconds of life unfold.
Past, present and future all dismiss,
That one day a second chance will again emit.
Through the ages of old and into the new,
The day shall dawn close as the gods draw a straight line known to few.
Destiny cannot be stopped, nor halted,
Nor time as it will always come back for you.
You cannot escape from your destiny.
It is a part of you.
"What does it mean?" Morgana asked from the back of the small crowd.
"To be honest, nobody really knows," Merlin admitted with a shrug of his shoulders. "That marks the end of our tour, if you have any questions or inquiries, feel free to ask me or someone at the reception desk. Don't forget to check out our gift shop on the way out."
For the next six hours, Merlin repeated the same act over and over again until it was time to leave. Morgana had gotten bored after the twentieth time around, and ended up spending the rest of her time in the small cafe where she worked on her astrophysics.
"Done?" Merlin asked, placing his nametag back in the container at the desk, grabbing his bag and flinging it over his shoulder.
"I've been done for the last hour," Morgana sighed, grabbing her stuff and shoving it into her bag, placing the strap around her shoulder.
"Sorry about that," Merlin apologized with a smirk which meant he wasn't really sorry.
"Uh huh," Morgana laughed, placing her hand around Merlin's shoulder as they walked out of the museum and towards the closest pub they could find.
"What can I get you?" the barmaid asked, opening up her small notebook.
"Two beers thanks," Morgana smiled, and the barmaid wrote it down and walked away. A few minutes later she returned with their beers, the froth at least an inch thick on the top.
"Enjoy," she said and disappeared into the late night crowd.
"So," Morgana started, taking a sip from her beverage, almost waiting for Merlin to start the conversation. "How are the nightmares lately?"
"Great," Merlin replied sarcastically at her bluntness. "They're filled with unicorns and rainbows. Oh, and leprechauns. Although, I must admit those guys are little pests, always stealing my luck-"
Morgana, who had poured half of her drink on his lap, cut Merlin's ramblings short. "Liar," she muttered, drinking the remainder of her drink.
"What was that for?!" Merlin sulked as he could already feel the liquid absorbing into his underwear, which wasn't pleasant in the slightest.
"I know when you're lying," she mused, unphased by Merlin who was now wiping his jeans down with the pile of napkins that were on the table.
"Fine," Merlin said, giving up wiping his jeans down, it wasn't making much difference anyway. "They're bad, worse in fact."
"And are you still dreaming of a certain blonde prince charming?" Morgana sung, causing Merlin to lower into his seat before sculling down the rest of his beer, which was probably not a good idea as alcohol and Merlin didn't mix quite well, in the sense that he's off his head after one drink.
"Shut up," Merlin replied with a tone of annoyance. "If you're going to mock me about my dreams at least do it somewhere private otherwise not at all. And anyway," he continued feeling in the mood for an argument. "He doesn't even exist, so just lay off it, okay?"
"Gesh, talk about touchy," Morgana said raising her hands in surrender. "Remind me not to bring the subject up again."
"I won't need too," Merlin replied, staring out the window next to him.
"And why's that?" Morgana queered.
"Because you're not going to bring it up again," Merlin finalized, knowing it was a bad idea quarrelling with Morgana. The last time he'd done that, the red mark across his face from where she'd slapped him lasted for over a week.
"Sorry, I didn't mean to make you angry," she sighed, tapping on her glass with her fingernail until Merlin found it annoying and stood up.
"Same," Merlin replied, a forced smile playing across his lips. "Anyway, I better go otherwise mum's going to be angry. I'll see you tomorrow."
"Okay, see you Merlin," Morgana farewelled, embracing Merlin for a quick hug as they left the pub, separating in different directions.
Walking at night wasn't the really something Merlin enjoyed doing, for some reason he felt open, exposed, and the strange noises coming from the trees and bushes around him certainly weren't helping.
Turning around the a few corners and walking anxiously down a few streets, Merlin finally saw his house in the distance. Speeding up his pace, he couldn't help but notice as the animalistic noises got louder as the wind seemed to pick up, almost blowing Merlin's neckerchief off.
And that's when he saw him. Only for a brief moment; a blonde man, most likely the same age as Merlin, wearing chainmail and gripping tightly onto a sword. Their eyes met briefly, and instantly Merlin recognised him.
"Arthur?" Merlin said, rubbing his eyes slightly. Clearly he had drunk that beer way to fast, as he was suddenly feeling lightheaded and his vision was losing focus.
But when he opened his eyes again, Arthur had vanished from where he stood. Looking at the grass, it was perfectly fine, no trod marks to say that anyone had once stood there recently.
"Going insane now," Merlin remarked to himself, pushing what he'd just seen to the back of his mind, quickly pacing himself down the street towards his house. Opening the front door with his key, Merlin closed it behind him, resting his back against the door, breathing slightly uneven.
"Is that you, dear?" Hunith called out from the living room.
"Yes, mum. It's me," Merlin replied, trying to figure out why he'd just run away from nothing.
Slightly amused at himself, Merlin walked upstairs and quickly removed his wet trousers and underwear, putting on a lightweight top and a pair of boxers as he lay down upon his bed.
Closing his eyes reluctantly, he allowed himself to fall victim to the nightmares yet again, not realising that a blonde figure materialised outside the front of his house again, only to be engulfed by darkness, almost as if he was never there.
To be continued...
A/N: So what do you guys think, should I continue? If you think so, then a review is appreciated, otherwise I won't both writing another chapter as I have an original fiction I wish to write that's been bugging me for ages. Until then, I have homework to do. Yay.