Disclaimer: BBC owns Merlin, Stephenie Meyer and Summit Entertainment own Twilight.
Inspired by the 'Merlin's my favorite vegetarian vampire' picture kicking around on Fanpop.
There will be a sequel as soon as I can get it written :)
She met him the first time while shopping with Alice in Seattle.
"Sorry." He said sheepishly, holding out a hand. Bella grabbed it and hauled herself off the floor.
"It's okay," she said. "I'm just clumsy. If it wasn't you, I'd have tripped on air or something."
She watched as something akin to reminiscence came over the young man with jet-black hair and oddly protruding ears.
"I can understand that." he said, grinning widely. "I am too."
Bella smiled back. There was something about this guy. She blushed.
Two minutes ago, she'd left Alice to head to the bathroom, and before long, tripped and bumped into him, nearly knocking them both over. But he'd said something that sounded to Bella like gibberish and steadied himself while Bella was left to fall rather embarrassingly on her backside.
Anchoring herself to the present she looked into his startling blue eyes and held out her hand.
"Bella Swan." she introduced.
"Nice to meet you, Bella. I'm Merlin."
Bella burst into subtle laughter before quickly wondering whether she'd offended him.
"Really?" she asked innocently.
Merlin shrugged. "My parents liked the legends," he replied, and they went their separate ways.
Alice nudged Bella when she returned, smirking and saying, "Merlin? Wow, you do manage to find the interesting ones, Bella." But Bella just blushed and teased her back about all the guys who had tried to pick Alice up that day. They'd left the mall, and neither had spoken of it. Yet despite their best efforts Edward had found out and been quite distraught until Bella told him she wasn't interested in Merlin.
She met him the second time at Forks High. He was the new history teacher. Bella asked him nervously after class how he knew she lived there, and he replied that he didn't.
Edward frowned when he found out who the teacher was, and sent him scowls for weeks. Unfortunately for Bella, it hadn't helped her case that Edward could not for the life of him read Mr. Emery's mind. One day Merlin pulled Bella aside with a hefty grin on his face and casually asked if that was her boyfriend sulking in the corner every class. She'd laughed and replied in the affirmative and Merlin had chuckled too, before asking her to tell Edward to meet him the next morning.
Edward showed up, barely composed despite realizing earlier he was being ridiculously jealous, as well as unreasonably annoyed at not being able to read the man. Merlin had paused when Edward entered, saying only, "Take a seat."
Edward frowned but did as the man asked, carefully analyzing him while he waited for the unusual teacher to speak.
"You don't have to worry." Merlin said, his reddening ears the only indication of his embarrassment at the situation. In his nervousness, Merlin slipped back into the old way of talking.
"Rather than make this awkward for the two of us, I'll get straight to the point. I don't fancy her that way." He admitted. "And even if rules permitted such a thing, I would not court another man's lady."
Merlin's face was sincere, Edward realized, and he could detect no malice, so he'd calmed himself and nodded. His previous anger was quickly replaced with overwhelming curiosity, especially about the man's speech patterns, which seemed ancient even to his own.
The two sat and analyzed each other for a minute before their eyes met. Expressive cerulean eyes blazed into Edward's topaz ones and he realized Merlin knew what he was. The odd teacher dismissed Edward with a nod of his head and Edward stood, but wasn't about to leave.
Over the past few weeks, despite being agitated toward the man for being a possible competitor for Bella's affections, he'd also been captivated by Merlin's teaching. Edward had lived through the entire 20th century, so he knew it well, but Merlin was even more knowledgeable than he. The man spoke as though in many instances he had been there, though Edward knew that could not be true; Merlin was no vampire, after all. Yet Merlin had corrected historical errors and spoke with the fervor of a person who could only have lived through the changes. Furthermore he'd alluded to legends and magic, of all things, eyes lighting up with interest, leaving Edward to speculate and feed his own suspicions.
In the present, Edward leaned over Merlin's desk, waiting for the man to acknowledge his lingering presence.
"Is there something else I might help you with?" Merlin asked, not missing a beat.
"Yes. How do you possibly know so much about history? You sound as though you've lived it." Edward's voice was cutting, accusatory.
Merlin turned his head to match Edward's dagger-like stare with one of his own, and Edward near flinched at the apparent flicker of gold tendrils in diamond blue eyes.
"I studied." Merlin said cautiously.
Edward laughed. "And you expect me to believe that?"
Merlin frowned and stood to face him, considering his next actions. "If you mention this to anyone, I shall be forced to slip out that you might be one of the undead." Merlin said slyly, to Edward's shock.
"Who do you think you are that you can threaten me so easily?" he growled.
The gold crept back into Merlin's gaze but this time it swept completely through his irises, settling over the brilliant azure from moments ago. Edward was rendered immobile against the wall before he could blink. Merlin left him there for a minute to make his point before smiling thoughtfully and letting him go.
"I suggest you take your leave now." he advised. "And stop trying to invade my thoughts, or I shall begin to invade yours."
Astonished and angry, Edward left the classroom in a huff, but as requested, told no one of Merlin, not even Bella.
She met him the third time when he showed up at the Cullen house Friday night, and despite Edward's insistence that nothing had happened in that classroom a week ago, Bella knew better. Since then, he had regarded Merlin with fear, and when she'd asked why, he'd simply changed the subject.
Merlin and Carlisle immediately headed to the kitchen to talk, their bodies tense, but emerged relaxed and jovial, Carlisle's eyes shining with knowledge and Merlin's with the promise of friendship. Carlisle refused to say what had happened, except to Esme, and Bella felt quite put out. What was it about Merlin, anyway?
Her question was answered when he saved her from a random vampire attack on Quileute land. Though she soon learned she was the queen of misinterpretation.
"Y-you're a vampire?" she stuttered, as Merlin moved fluently out of the path of an attack and struck with amazing force just by looking at the enemy.
He snorted, then nearly died with laughter until Bella crossed her arms and asked what was so funny. He motioned for her to sit on a nearby log, vampire still burning in the distance, and he told her he could use magic.
"Magic?" she asked, surprised. The implications had hit her fast. "You're the Merlin? The famous wizard?"
She gasped but then fell over in fits of giggles, confusing him to no end before he asked with annoyance what she was guffawing at.
"To be honest, I kind of expected you to look like Dumbledore or Gandalf," she admitted.
Merlin brought his hand to his face in agitation before sighing, leading her to believe he'd heard that misconception one time too many.
Edward met them on the treaty line, his face lined with worry. By now he'd learned to trust the ancient wizard, and simply thanked him for saving Bella. Ever observant, Bella saw their unspoken exchange and immediately thwacked Edward for keeping this from her. In retrospect that was a bad idea because she nearly broke her hand. Then Merlin had healed it for her.
For weeks after discovering that her history teacher and now, friend, was indeed the greatest sorcerer who ever lived, Bella had wondered about magic and vampires. She finally decided to pose a question to Edward.
"Why are your eyes topaz?" She asked, eyes glistening with curiosity.
Edward smirked before pulling her close and planting a kiss on her temple. "I thought you already knew the answer to that."
Bella frowned and her brow furrowed while she wracked her brain for the answer. Suddenly she realized that they weren't on the same wavelength and play-punched Edward in the shoulder. He looked at her, surprised.
"Sorry," she said, cheeks reddening, "but I know what the colors mean about your diet. I'm just wondering...why topaz? Why crimson? Who picked those colors anyway?"
Edward paused briefly in shock before recovering and glancing at Bella's book. Spells. He chuckled.
"Trying to be a witch now, are you? Vampires boring you?" he asked, skillfully avoiding the question.
Bella placed the book down on her bed and glared ferociously at Edward. "No. I was just curious how you can live after, well, after your heart stops. I thought..." She said, a crimson wave adorning her cheeks. "I thought it might be magic."
The room filled with Edward's roaring laughter as he stroked Bella's hair. "Oh Bella, you have the silliest ideas. We aren't magical in the least."
Bella huffed before sitting up and folding her arms. "How do you know? Don't you think those abilities you all have might have come from somewhere?"
"Bella, listen to me. Carlisle has researched this for centuries, and he has yet to find an answer. We're not made of magic, we're just...damned." He said cautiously, knowing Bella's feelings about his soul.
"Edward Cullen, you know better than that!" she exclaimed, but was abruptly shut up as Edward pulled her in closer and lips closed around hers.
Bella quickly pulled away, glaring at the offending vampire with irritation. She opened her mouth to protest but Edward cut her off again, shushing her with a single index finger to the lips. She finally sighed, exasperated, and slid into his arms. Her eyes narrowed in determination, but that night, she didn't mention it again.
Edward's discomfort and avoidance of the question on several occasions told Bella she would not get an answer out of him, and so she went to the one she should have asked first: Merlin.
He was making what seemed to be a complicated potion when she entered his house, and wearing an odd red scarf she hadn't seen before. Just as she opened her mouth to ask about his strange attire, he shushed her, and proceeded to whisper some ancient words to the pot before leaving it to set. Merlin motioned for her to sit and casually plopped into the seat beside her.
"So, to what do I owe this visit?" he asked politely.
Bella's inquisitive and impatient nature caused her to blurt out her question without tact.
"Merlin, why are vampires' eyes gold or red? Are vampires magical?"
Merlin laughed. "I guess I should have figured this day would come." he said, a twinkle in his eye.
"What do you mean?" she asked, eager to know more.
"I really shouldn't tell you. Edward's not quite comfortable with it yet."
"I knew he knew," she exclaimed, and Merlin laughed a hearty laugh before beginning to explain.
"There once was a warlock, a druid, who was prophesied to kill King Arthur."
Bella's eyes widened. "Mordred?" she asked.
Merlin nodded, impressed that she'd known her literature.
"He was powerful, almost as near in power to me." She listened, but there was no hint of arrogance in his voice.
"Mordred wanted to create a weapon that would either put me to death or keep me busy enough to allow him access to Arthur. So he went to the Sidhe, and asked them for help."
"Wait, the Sidhe?" Bella had said. "Like the fairies?"
"Magical creatures that look similar to fairies, but they are hardly benevolent. They used to live in Avalon, but during Arthur's reign they were exiled. Sidhe are very dangerous, especially when angered."
Bella sat back in her chair, looking very interested. Merlin grinned at her obvious fascination and continued.
"They gave him one of their own: a Sidhe in the form of a human - Sophia. I thought I'd put an end to her years before, but when I saw her standing there...well to say I was rather shocked would be an understatement."
He paused. "Her magic had become darker and stronger since we last met. The first time a knight fell, we knew just how powerful she'd become. And as more knights and soldiers died, Sophia continued to raise them. But they weren't human. They were only soulless corpses, controlled by magic. In more modern terms, you'd could say they were zombies." he said with a little amusement.
Bella's posture suddenly shifted as her mind briefly contemplated all that was being said. "Zombies." She said, shaking her head. "Is there anything that isn't real? Next thing you're going to tell me there are aliens here too."
Merlin laughed. "Well, no, zombies aren't real. And as for aliens...well not that I know of anyway. I wish. I'd love to have a conversation with the Doctor."
Her confused facial expression clued him in that Bella had no idea what he was talking about.
"Sorry." He said. "British television. I guess you wouldn't watch it."
"Now I'm curious. But I'm more curious about your story."
Merlin cleared his throat before remembering where he left off.
"Right. Well, dead things with no conscience are never good, so I had to find a way to counteract the curse. I managed to create a spell that conjured their essence back to their bodies. They even looked almost human. What I hadn't factored in was that they would need to drink blood to survive." Merlin admitted. "And despite having their humanity back, some of them enjoyed the killing."
He stood up, heading guiltily over to the counter and leaning against it. Merlin sighed. "It just created a bigger war. Some stayed with Sophia, but some loyalties swayed to me. Those who allied with Arthur and I changed diets to animal blood out of respect for human life."
"So what about the eyes, then?" Bella asked, still amazed that the wizard before her had a hand in creating vampires.
"Sorry. I get carried away." He said with a goofy grin. "Well, um, right. Watch."
He looked directly at a teacup in the middle of the table and Bella saw it rise up before settling on the table again. She laughed.
"So? I knew you could do that."
"Watch my eyes." he said in a playfully annoyed tone.
Bella watched his face as he repeated the trick and gasped, causing him to break concentration and drop the cup, which smashed, causing tea to spill onto the floor. He took another glance at it, before the cup repaired itself, landing on the table just before the liquid flowed back into it. He grinned sheepishly.
"T-Topaz..." she blurted.
"Yes." He said, blushing. "Though in my time we used the word 'gold' more often."
"As you probably guessed, Sophia's magic kept her army alive, much like my magic did for my own followers. Because Sophia is a Sidhe, her magic asserts itself as red irises instead of gold."
"So then, the ones who drank animal blood - the ones loyal to you - had golden eyes."
"Exactly." Merlin admitted, heading over to check the fast thickening potion.
"Wow." Bella said. "Wow. Then that means..."
The coal-haired man turned and smiled. "It means that he should have no qualms with your request. He has his essence, or, well, soul, as you call it. I do think that was his reason for keeping this from you." Merlin said apologetically.
"You don't call it that?"
Merlin simply smiled. "I've lived a long time, Bella. My beliefs would be considered ancient by most. It's probably best we don't discuss it now."
There was a beat, where Bella considered his words and stored them for future use, but her curiosity was not yet satisfied.
"So wait, I still have questions," she insisted.
Merlin chuckled. "I'd be surprised if you didn't."
"How did they stay alive after the battle was over? How come they can make more of each other? How can they live so long? And some have gifts."
"Hey, one at a time." he said, considering her inquiries. "Magic prevents them from dying, but since their bodies are already dead it's impossible for them to age. It's a different story for me. The magic keeps me young. Anyone with especially powerful magic is protected by it."
He sighed. "As far as I know, I might live forever."
"And if you died?"
The question was blunt, and Bella immediately covered her mouth as she saw Merlin's wide eyes. "I'm sorry." She said. "I didn't mean..."
He frowned. "No, that's quite alright. I've been wondering the same thing, actually. But the truth is, despite my best efforts, I have no answer for either of us."
Merlin lifted the spoon out of the pot and smelled it, then placed it on the counter before picking up the stirring stick, and magicking it to stir for another minute. He looked the mixture, content, before continuing to give Bella her answers.
"As for their gifts, they also come from the magic. It amplifies their exceptional traits from their first life."
"You said that the owner of the magic is protected from dying. How could it keep them alive, if it was your magic?"
"I used a powerful spell that bound their souls to their bodies until..."
"Well, part of the incantation translates to, 'Until bone and sinew is separated and consumed in the flames.'"
Bella flinched at that. "You certainly made them difficult to kill."
He nodded, ashamedly. "We needed them to be durable for battle. The spell I used is sort of a cheat, really, allowing someone to exist after they should have died, yet requiring no price for their life. Though I suppose that living forever can be price enough."
Merlin sighed and then bit his lip, trying to remember the next question. "Sophia is responsible for their ability to, um, transfer their condition. She used the incantation, 'They shall pass their scourge through bite and blood,' when she raised them."
Bella shivered, and rubbed her arms unconsciously.
"Hey. I didn't meant to scare you. Are you all right?"
"I'm fine. Magic is a powerful thing, isn't it?" Bella asked, feeling rather insignificant and weak.
"Yes it is." he admitted, eyes softening. "But I'm on the side of good, Bella. Never forget that. Despite having to use some powerful spells, it was only ever for good." He swallowed sadly as his mind added, and for Arthur. But he wouldn't say that aloud.
Bella smiled at his comforting words, and took Merlin by surprise as she happily pulled him into a massive hug. Merlin's infectious grin appeared, and he hugged her back.
"So you're not afraid of magic then?" he mumbled to her hair.
She shook her head. "I never was."
"Well that's good." he said, eyes alight, and pulled out of the hug. "Because there's something I've been meaning to tell you for ages now."
"Oh, and what's that?" she asked wryly.
"You're a witch."
The look on her face was priceless.