Disclaimer: I love Merlin, but that doesn't mean I own it. Pure fan love here.
Story: Merlin's life should've been easier. She was just a high school student, friends with rich kids Arthur and Morgana Pendragon and Gwen Jennings, kind maid to the family. And yet, it isn't –not when she's suddenly best friends with depressed Uther Pendragon, father to Arthur and Morgana, and a woman named Nimueh keeps testing her. It doesn't help to think she's the reincarnation of the famous wizened old wizard of Arthurian legends and she keeps dreaming about it. Parallel semi-sequel to The Day the Whole World Went Away.
Set as an AU, genderbending fic, and future!fic/reincarnation!fic.
Spoilers: I'm not sure anymore, since I'm going off path here. So be careful…? Definite spoilers for my original fic though…
Warnings: Hm, I need to think about this time.
Pairings: Merlin/Arthur, Gwen/Lancelot, Morgana/?, heavily implied past-Uther/Ingraine, one-sided Gwen/Merlin…
The Day the Whole World Slept
Chapter One: If I Could Write Out My Own Dream
Merlin sighed to herself, tapping the side of her pencil on her lap. She wished school would just be over, but time was ticking by slowly.
"And that, class, is why you don't fuck with chemicals," Edwin Muirden, the resident science teacher of all sciences, drawled with a sneer on his face. And even with the private school, he didn't care an inch about his use of vulgar language.
Gwen elbowed her lightly in the ribs. "Hey, are you ready for tonight's sleepover at Morgana's?"
The two sat together at a table, lab partners, while Morgana unfortunately had to suffer farther up with one of Arthur's lackeys flirting up a storm with her.
"As ready as I can," she gave a strained smile.
She rubbed at her eyes tiredly. She hadn't been sleeping well, dreams of an odd time haunting her nights. It was so ridiculous, that she even pictured herself as the Merlin from the Arthurian legends. Which was crazy –that Merlin was supposed to be an old man with a long white beard. In her dreams, he was neither. Merlin was her, female, cold-hearted, powerful, youthful, but most of all dedicated entirely to King Arthur.
Like she said, crazy stuff.
"Ms. Amber, are you awake enough to answer the next question?" Edwin cut in, sneer still plastered onto his face.
She blushed steadily and shook her head, "I'm sorry, Mr. Muirden. I haven't been feeling well."
"Be that as it may, at least try to let some information sink into that useless brain of yours," he retorted, but a flash of worry appeared in his eyes before being wiped completely clean and he returned back to his usual creepy and jerky self.
It was unnoticeable and Merlin only caught it because she was becoming more observant as of late.
She thought nothing more of it as she returned to her morose state and watched the rain splatter outside in pouring torrents. School ended and she stood outside, staring blankly at the droplets of water.
"You will listen to me, girl. You used this devilry to save Arthur. And you will continue to do so."
That voice. It was so familiar. But she'd never heard it before.
She shook herself out of her daze, and started the long walk home in the rain. Lance was at football practice, which left her to walk home in the cold by herself. She couldn't really be bothered to care. Her mind was preoccupied with her thoughts, and she walked with no cover from the pouring waters above her.
"For him, I would do anything. Even damn the rest."
Merlin was an old man. All the legends said he was. He didn't serve as High Sorceress of Camelot, and he was he. Not a she.
So why did she feel as if the Arthurian legends were all wrong?
Her hair clung to her face and her clothing to her body, her backpack receiving the same treatment. She knew if it weren't for the cases she insisted on putting her stuff in, her stuff would be ruined. But at the moment, she'd didn't really care. It was as if she was numb.
"I have lost so much…Ingraine…I know I am losing Arthur, and I'm not sure I ever truly had Morgana. I don't want to lose you as well."
"You are my only Queen and I will have no other bear my children."
She smiled blankly and thought she was going insane.
She took a hot bath when she got home, changing into her pajamas and slipping into her bed, ignoring the gray and stormy weather outside. The weather had become worse than when she had been walking home. She hoped her brother was alright in football practice, as well as Morgana and Gwen since they were in cheerleading practice right alongside the team.
She ignored the part of her that wished for Arthur's wellness as well.
Her home phone rang and she answered it, wondering who it could be. Her mother was still at work, Gaius was at a doctor's convention for the month, so that left any of her friends or Lance.
"Merlin? Hey, practice is over! I'm coming over with Gwen to pick you up," Morgana's voice immediately chattered to her once she'd picked up the phone.
"Okay," she softly said, hanging up abruptly.
She lay back on her side on her bed, gazing blankly at her wall and seeing lightning flash violently outside her window. The lightning triggered another flashback.
"I love you, Merlin. Please let me hear you say it," a handsome blond man murmured, holding her close as they lay in bed.
Her long dark hair was tangled into calloused hands as he pulled her closer, roughly and desperately kissing her lips.
"Say it," he ordered in a rough voice.
"I love you," she replied with glazed eyes, and he laid her back onto the bed and began kissing a trail down her neck and ending in the valley between her breasts, before stopping and adjusting himself to position himself between her legs.
There was a loud and persistent knocking on her door, and she groggily climbed out of her bed and forcibly pushed the images out of her head. She must be going crazy. She didn't know who that was, and she certainly wouldn't be doing that with just anyone.
She's never even seen the act before (no porn for her, no siree) and she may know the goings on, but her eyes were definitely virgin.
Oh God, her virgin eyes…
"Merlin! What's wrong with you? You look completely out of it," Morgana broke into her thoughts, beating her inside by finding the extra key.
Merlin shrugged, "Weird dreams. And I mean weird. It's alright though, Morgana. Let's just get to your house. I'll grab my stuff, and meet you in your car. Gwen's there?"
"Yeah, she fell asleep in the back."
"Okay, I'll be really quick."
Merlin sighed, running back up the stairs and grabbing the bag she'd prepared, hopping back down the stairs so she could run out and slide into the passenger seat of her friend's car. She glanced at the back and smiled at the picture of Gwen sprawled in the backseat, lightly snoring.
"Too bad. There's no way we can get Gwen up now, the little heavy sleeper that she is. I had this whole thing planned out to spend the entire night and stay up, and then sleep the day tomorrow," Morgana pouted.
"We could sleep tonight and stay up all of tomorrow and tomorrow night, then sleep it off Sunday?" Merlin suggested.
"Oh, if we must," the other girl reluctantly agreed.
At Morgana's home, the two of them helped carry Gwen up before Merlin came back for her bag. Since she was already in pajamas, she stayed up a little to wait for Morgana to change into hers, and then the girls went to bed.
But Merlin couldn't go to sleep. In fact, she only lay in bed, with her eyes wide open and staring at the wall in despair. She couldn't sleep. She didn't want to think. She hadn't been able to even relax for one second. So she got up and slipped out of Morgana's room, tentatively tiptoeing her way around and trying to see in the dark, with only the flashes of lightning outside for illumination. At least it wasn't raining anymore.
Merlin walked across the soft-carpeted hallway, feeling a little insomnia. Maybe she shouldn't have agreed to Morgana's sleepover, not with the dreams she's been having…
Seeing a silhouette of someone on the balcony, she cautiously came closer.
"Mr. Pendragon?" she called out, finally recognizing the figure sitting at the edge of the balcony and peering into the sky.
She'd never seen the man before, at least not in person. She had, however, frequently seen the man in not only her friend's pictures but also on TV, the newspaper, and even embarrassingly enough tabloids. She studied him again and was more aware of his perch.
The balcony was dangerous because it had no railings, and with him sitting at the edge with his legs dangling over, he was in a precarious position that foreshadowed serious motives.
"I'm not here to kill myself, Ms. Amber," he called her out on her thoughts.
She blinked in surprise, but came closer and sat next to him, folding her legs closer to her and tucking her knees under her chin.
"Sorry…I just assumed…Um, just call me Merlin. Everyone does, Mr. Pendragon."
"How long have you been Morgana's friend? I may not have met you before, but the two of you have known each other since you were kids. Call me Uther."
She giggled, "That's kinda funny. Morgana and I have been friends for a long time, and I've only met you now."
His lips twitched upward. "Yeah. Interesting fact. I do seem to feel like I know you already, however. With how much Morgana talks about you. And occasionally, so does little Gwen. Well…so does Arthur. In fact, my son speaks very fondly of you."
Merlin blushed terribly and muttered something under her breath. He laughed at her, but not cruelly, and she hesitantly smiled back and started to slowly laugh along with him.
"What do you like to listen to?" Uther asked casually, starting a minor conversation.
"Um, well I like just about anything. But the Beatles and John Lennon are my favorite," Merlin beamed.
Uther grinned back, "I love the Beatles. I prefer Paul over John though."
"What's your favorite song?" Merlin blurted out, feeling extremely happy for some reason.
"Eleanor Rigby. What about you?"
"Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds."
He grinned and sang the first sentence.
"Picture yourself in a boat on a river –"
"With tangerine trees and marmalade skies," she cut in.
"Somebody calls you, you answer quite slowly," he sang back.
"A girl with kaleidoscope eyes," they both sang together.
For the rest of the night, she just sat there with him, talking about anything and everything. And she noticed, that as they talked, the sadness she saw in his eyes disappeared for then.
Merlin yawned, blinking sleepily at the front of the class and barely paying attention. Really now, it was hard to keep so focused. She was just so sleepy, and she blamed those stupid dreams for making her so tired all the time.
She even blamed them for making her rent that stupid Arthurian legends encyclopedia.
She sighed and slumped in her chair, idly glancing outside the class. She blinked and sat up straight, leaning to get a closer look and not believing her eyes. Squinting, she tried to get a clearer view.
There was a woman standing in the middle of the street staring at her.
Merlin gulped and nervously clenched and unclenched her right hand over and over. The woman just kept staring, seeming to actually be staring straight into Merlin's eyes. The strange woman wore a tattered scarlet dress, had no shoes on, and electric blue eyes that seemed to scream that they knew all of the universe's secrets.
She could hear a car coming fast, directly in the woman's direction, and she stumbled upwards in a panic, lurching over to the window.
The woman smirked at her and the car drove right into her.
But Merlin blinked in confusion, because the car sped passed and there was no sign of the woman. No body. No woman there at all. No sign that she had even been there.
"Ms. Amber, are you alright?" Edwin stared at her suspiciously, but she noticed the tenseness of his posture and the worried flash in his eyes.
Then she took note of herself.
Without even looking at herself in a mirror, she could tell she was a mess. Her school uniform was rumpled and looked slept in, her hair was carelessly put up, there were bags under her eyes, and if it was possible –she actually looked paler than usual. Her normally bright golden eyes were dim and almost seem to look like a sickly yellow in certain lighting, and her posture screamed exhaustion, at the same time that her shoulders maintained a perpetual slump.
This was not accounting the fact that she'd abruptly stood up in class, drawing attention to herself, and apparently unhearing of her teacher having tried to call her several times before he finally managed to reach her just now. Or that she had a wild look in her eyes and that she looked like a cornered animal.
She straightened up with a wince and nervously patted down her front, licking her lips uncertainly.
"Um, sorry, Mr. Muirden. I'm fine. I was just…I thought I saw something," she muttered the last part.
A look of panicked surprise and a bit of anxiety flashed briefly through his eyes, though no one but she had caught it. She didn't understand it.
Then his face blanked out and he nodded curtly at her.
"Try not to make it a habit of disrupting the class, Ms. Amber," he drawled. "Meet me after class, please."
She sighed inwardly, but nodded to him in confirmation.
Class soon passed by quicker after that, and then suddenly she was in front of his desk with the usually caustic teacher slumping over his desk and leaning his forehead against his hand, his eyes closed tightly.
"Mr. Muirden?" she tentatively called out for his attention.
"Just…hold on, Ms. Amber," he muttered, not looking up just yet.
When he finally did, he'd narrowed his eyes at her and was studying her closely, making her more nervous than earlier and anxious about what was going on. He opened a drawer to his desk and brought out a piece of paper, handing it to her. She blinked in confusion and stared down at the paper, trying to make sense of it and also understand why he'd handed it to her.
"Mr. Muirden, what is this?" she questioned, more than just a little lost.
"That is for you to find out," he answered confusingly. "You must understand that formula. Understand and decipher it, especially its importance. When you do, you will understand it and everything else. You have until the end of the school year, and you mustn't waste time. Everything depends on you, Merlin."
He actually called her by her nickname, making things even stranger.
"And beware of those you feel a connection with, whose presence seem to cause what feels like a mild electric charge searing through your skin and almost seem to pull you in like gravity," he finished quietly.
Merlin almost flinched in front of him, not knowing how he'd known she sometimes felt that with some people. Like earlier with that woman, despite the distance…
Or even the times when she was around Edwin Muirden. Strange how he seemed to be warning her against even himself.
Started 9/29/09 –Completed 6/20/10
A/n: Long time no see, eh Merlin fans? Yeah, I haven't given up on "The Day the Whole World Went Away" for those of you who are worrying. I'm just having a huge, and I mean HUGE block concerning the next episode I have to write for. And when I have a block, I tend to procrastinate and push it away until I get like a huge burst of inspiration or I force myself to come up with something. So here's to hoping I get that out soon, huh? But at least you can content yourselves with the first chapter of the semi-parallel sequel. It's short, but at least it meets my minimum requirements.