To the Masses: It's been a while, yeah? Considering my masses are made up of –I'd go check, but I'm sure the number is still small.

Soundtrack: Changing (Airborn Toxic Event), Teenage Dream (Katy Perry, Edward and Lily's official song so far), and The Ballad of Mona Lisa (Panic At The Disco)

Warnings: AU & OOC (All fanfics are), Slash, mentions of some very disturbing things like child abuse and sexual assault, mention of character death. OC's. Hopefully no bashing of any character, but if it's there I didn't notice.

Disclaimer: I do not own Twilight or BBC Merlin. I also didn't intent this Merlin to be like BBC!Merlin…but there might be some similarities.


Chapter Three

I would not anticipate the relish of any happiness, nor feel the weight of any misery, before it actually arrives. ~ Anon

Edward

Edward recalled the first time he'd ever seen Myrddin Emrys. It was during the war, and most of the vampires were meeting in Russia to be assigned groups and ranks. Edward was remembering his human father, who died during the first Great War. Just beyond that everyone else within a ten mile radius was recalling their own conflicts. That night Edward witnessed the Picts fight the Celts, the French Revolution, Spartans at battle, and through Lily he witnessed Claudius conquer Britain.

Then a mind entered his spear of power, and for the first time ever he thought magic could actually exist.

Myrddin Emrys was magic, or as close to it as vampires could get. He didn't see the world like most people, every perception as different as fingerprints. He was one of the rare few, that Edward thought only comprised of himself and Lily, that saw everything as it truly was –safe for the glowing additions of his gift.

Edward loved the olden letters that danced through the air as Lily saw them, but he was absolutely captivated by the curtain of equations written in old runes he'd seen somewhere before, instead of roman numerals. He watched as a line of runes ran across Myrddin's vision and combusted –when they did a peace lily appeared out of thin air and floated towards Laelius.

"Giving flowers to strange men now, are you Merlin?" his companion had drawled lewdly. The blond man turned out to be Arthur, the mythical king. Those two hadn't spent more than a day apart since they were in their twenties –until Africa.

While standing in the middle of the wilderness without a stitch to his name, Edward contemplated the relationship between the Magician and his Lily. He knew there was nothing sexual between them, but Edward couldn't help but feel a bit jealous. He wanted to live forever with the little roman, in Odin's Cabin, in the middle of nowhere –and he wanted to do it without hearing Lily's every thought.

Myrddin couldn't have been very happy to see him though; Edward rationalized as he stood naked in the middle of the small courtyard. Either the Magician wasn't happy to see him or that particular trap was set to be triggered by everyone walking along that path.

"Are you just going to stand there?" Lily asked from behind him.

Edward turned on the balls of his feet and automatically looked down to meet Lily's sunset eyes. Pure happiness washed over him and he felt as if he'd taken his first breath in eight years. Lily had appeared to him as flawed perfection. He pulled his old lover into his arms and rubbed his nose into the Ancient's temple where the smell of him was potent on his skin. He then let go, not because of the awkwardness of being naked but he needed to allow himself at least the mockery of control.

"I was thinking, and wondering how pissed Merlin is to have magically stolen my clothes," Edward strove to be as honest as possible but Lily could still see a short stream of coded words appear above his head. Whatever those characters meant only brightened Lily's disposition.

"I missed you also," he replied, "and Merly isn't mad at all. He just thought that if you were naked I could jump your bones and all the worlds' problems would be solved. In fact, he's already left with Leo to Forks."

That sounded like Myrddin-logic alright, it also didn't seem like the entire truth. "But?" he asked, because they couldn't talk about Merlin without also talking about his latest plot.

"He is planning something," Lily admitted, his bright eyes looking skyward in thought while he tapped a thin finger to his chin, "but he hasn't let his mind accept specifics." He turned and began walking forward; a part of his mind reminding them both that there was no time to just stand around talking. He took hold of Edwards hand to lead him into the house and continued, "So the Absolute Truth is very general. All I know is he's planning something called Operation You're-Both-Assholes and Alice is holding the details."

"Interesting," Edward said and by that he meant he was annoyed with Merlin and his sister.

Lily smiled as he read the truth from the air. "I know, right?" he said in agreement.

Edward took a nano second to look around the courtyard and commit its small changes to mind. Lily had planted different flowers and the fountain in the center, that had once been an image of a cherub, was replaced with a Celtic inspired tree.

That was the limit of changes the entire house had undergone. One he stepped inside Edward was taken back; it felt like the forties all over again –when Edward and Lily had built the cabin by hand. The woodwork was still the original, heavy and warm with ravens carved in subtle places. Lily's silks and roman quirks still decorated their home. Edward's upright piano was still against one wall –still the main feature of the room. Lily kept everything the same. Lily's mind was telling him that the little roman had even kept some of his old clothes. It was like he never really left.

Edward held onto Laleius' hand all the way into their bedroom, where the targa armoire still took up a lot of room, there was still not light fixture, and the bed still looked like a mountain of quilts and silk things. His drawers were still probably full of his things.

"I'm all packed, we're just waiting on you now," Lily teased as he left Edward, so the younger vampire could dress in privacy.

Edward quickly chose things that looked most in-style; a pair of wool trousers, a plain white shirt, and a waistcoat. He liked the vest, it was so old people were probably calling it vintage and it reminded him of the time he was born into. Alice never let him wear waistcoats, just like she never let Emmett wear suspenders or Jasper wear double-breasted jackets. He donned socks and a pair of wingtip shoes before he went in search of Lily.

Edward found him in the kitchen, checking and rechecking the coolers of blood –to make sure that Merlin would have enough food to last them a while. Neither of the little black haired trouble makers liked the task of breaking into blood banks, Edward recalled. Lily was simply fretting, but not over the blood –there was something else on his mind.

"You know about Bella," he said aloud. They might as well talk about it before they arrive at Forks. Once they returned to Washington there would be no such thing as privacy or free time.

Lily nodded, his long black curls swayed slowly. "As far as I know, everyone with the fight of Universal Foresight knows. Merly saw it one day, while he was playing with time equations." That word, 'equations' was the word Merlin preferred people talk about his gift –even though he'd always called it magic in his own mind. Edward supposed they'd seen too many witch burnings to be comfortable with anything else.

"He saw me with Bella?" Edward pressed on, swallowing the lump ion his throat, "forever?"

"He saw you happier than you've ever been before, because you found your blessed silence," Lily answered flippantly. One hand on his cocked hip was not a good sign, but he had no ill thoughts towards Edward. "Just before New Years, nine years ago." That explained the timing of that painful experience; Lily making him promise to try and make it work with someone else. "If that means you marry a human girl then so be it," he threw his small hands into the air, but his words and intentions were sure.

"You know that if I marry her," Edward flinched at the tense and ignored Lily's curious expression, "when I marry her, we can no longer be together. I take my vows seriously."

That had always been an odd issue between them. Edward grew up in a time when religion, the Catholic religion, was a life-style; people weren't gay and they most certainly were monogamous. Lily was raised in ancient Rome –he'd been a lover to the seventh and last king of Rome and lived in Tarquin's house along side the king's wife. It had been a culturally acceptable thing.

To Edward though, marriage meant he'd stop sleeping with Lily. That their once-a-decade-maybe-twice meetings would end.

Lily made an 'ew' face but said nothing. Mentally, he said plenty. Visions of Edward knowing a woman biblically were interrupted by an angry Lily with a baseball bat. In Lily's imagination he then climbed into the bed –from there his mind took a deviant turn, far more so than bludgeoning a woman to death.

Edward cleared his throat and reminded them both they had somewhere to be, whatever those words actually meant (Edward was sure it was along the lines of 'I really, really want do –but I can't') made Lily grin widely.

'I thought you said you have packed,' Edward wanted to say, but what came out was "Where are your bags?" which happened to be the honesty of his thoughts.

Lily shouldered the cooler with the blood in it. His mind turned to the truck that Leo was driving, with an image of Merly sitting in the passenger side undulating oddly to the radio –Leo did not look amused. In the back of the pickup was a mountain of belongings. Edward was sure Lily had only packed a single suitcase of tunics and a pair of pants for the entire trip, even though he knew it would be a while until they return to Odin's Cabin.

On the other hand, Merlin was under the impression his world would be in ruin if he didn't bring everything he thought he might need –mostly tools he used for infusing his equations with inanimate objects, and the occasional potion.

Edward recalled that Merlin had jumped on the humanitarian diet the moment he'd heard of it, and he'd dragged Arthur along with him. Unfortunately, there was a vital antigen in human blood that Merlin couldn't survive without –hence the human blood Lily had packed. So in recent years his meals consisted of a blend of animal blood and whatever type they could pilfer from various banks. He mixed it all together and drank form a thermos. In consequence Merlin's eyes resembled the color of molten lava, rather than the lighter shades of pure vegetarians. It never stopped him for looking for a substitute for the antigen he needed –thus he never moved without a full 'potions lab' at his disposal. It lifted Edward's mood to know that his friend didn't quit.

Turning back to Lily, Edward gave a genuine smile. He was happy, for the first time in a while. Bella made him happy, that was true, but not like family and friends did. "Let's go, we still have to stop by Rogue Manor on the way back."

Lily's own expression became lighter. He'd always liked the forests of Oregon, not as much as his and Edwards home in northern California, but there was something about having a place to go –a place where his own kind could survive on animals and without the temptation of humans. It did make hauling human blood around a little awkward though…

"I talked to Charlotte just yesterday," Lily told Edward as she pulled his tunic over his head, leaving the leather belt and the case that hung across his backside. There were no fabrics in existence that could survive the friction of vampiric speed. Edward stripped his own clothing and stuffed them into Lily's side satchel. Then he and Edward began their jaunt northbound. They passed tree's that looked more like blurs, but their endurance was great and conversation wasn't a challenge. "They want to start keeping cows, to graze and feed off of," Lily continued.

"That's an idea," Edward replied. None of the immortals he knew kept livestock, it seemed useless. Once they gave themselves over to the hunt primal instinct looked to feed off of anything warm blooded in the area, usually resulting in death. Merly, like always, was an unusual case, and couldn't stand to kill animals. Usually it was Lily who went out into the forest and milked the wild life with a rather intimidating needle, a rubber tube, and gallon jugs. They ate at the dinner table, out of various collections of cups and goblets. Edward was sure they were about to introduce the method to his family, who would only be too willing to take on that tradition. Maybe Carlisle would be interesting in buying some goats or something.

Rogue Manor was only a couple hours jog north, but despite being faster on their feet than Leo was in his beat up old truck –the Spartan and the Magician would arrive in Forks first. They could drive straight through and meet Carlisle at their hidden colonial before Lily and Edward could pull themselves away from the safe-house.

It was just as soon as Edward and Lily had coasted to a stop in front of the tall estate that Anya had taken one look at Lily and pulled her beau into the house and pushing Peter out. Edward and Lily, Mind and Truth, took that opportunity to put their clothes back on. It was only polite.

Lily wasn't much of a talker unless the company was over a hundred years old, which Aubrey Hanson was certainly not. The gangly blond was thirty eight with the looks of a twenty-one year old, a baby by Ancient terms, irked the Roman by just being in the same territory. Aubrey's sire and lover was Anya, one of Lily's youngest coven sisters, and more historically known as Grand Duchess Anastasia Nikolaevna of Russia. Edward had never met her before, but he was excited.

They appeared to be the same age, in exactness. Both were born in 1901 and had been sired when they were seventeen, making them twins by vampire standards. According to Lily's memories it was Rebecca who took the role of teacher, which was normal for their large coven. Edward squinted in thought as he realized that their actual sire, the one who turned them, was never around. It seemed he appeared to turn someone, stayed three days to ensure they survived, and then foisted them off on one of his other children. Edward made a frustrated noise in the back of his throat that Lily accurately translated but didn't answer.

Lily's care for Anya was obvious great, even though he could barely stand to be around her in her early years. Edward thought maybe, just maybe the reason he'd allowed Edward to get close to him that first night was because of the guilt he felt for not taking care of his own sister –leaving Rebecca to instead.

Because of the little Roman's aversion to newborns there wouldn't be much conversation, Edward knew and from a glimpse of his vampire Twins memories he could see she also understood. That didn't mean the Russian princess loved her awkward nerd any less, and Anya had spent some time explaining her siblings so that the young one could understand as well.

Anya and Peter approached them casually; Anya wrapped her arms around her brother carefully in a very human greeting. The way Lily rubbed his nose against her temple, which was purely a vampire greeting, one that most vampires weren't taught.

"Brat," she said the Russian word for Brother, with much affection. They were never as close as Anya was to Rebecca, but he'd taken care of her in his own way and she understood that.

"Infantia," Lily teased back and then pulled away to greet Peter as well. "This is Edward," he introduced to Anya, because while Edward may know her mind inside and out by now, she did not know his. He knew Peter though, through the War and then through his own brother.

"I've heard of you," Anya said happily, "we're aetas cognatus." She said it properly, in it's Latin form, and smiled at Edward kindly. She truly was beautiful, and he felt the connection of aetas even though they'd never met before. Much like he had with Rose and Alice, when he'd been minding his own business and just realized 'these are my sisters,' and all that meant. It made things a little more complicated, but Edward was simply tickled.

"I've heard of you as well," Edward replied and smiled, genuinely and not that crazy smile he sometimes got when he'd thought of something particularly cleaver. Then he turned to Jasper's friend, "Peter," he said in equal, if less enthusiastic, fondness. This man was also family, through the shared vampirism and their care of a certain General.

"Edward," The small Mexican greeted. "Alice called ahead," Peter always was straight to business, which made him half successful in the rehabilitation of sanguinarians. The other half was his equally small wife, Charlotte. Peter, Edward read through the Spanish maps carefully, was nervous for another war. He'd been apart of the last newborn uprising and knew what they were capable of, and while he didn't detest newborns on the same level as Lily, he didn't believe armies of them should exist. There was something more there though, a piece of a puzzle that Merlin and Alice were trying to hide.

Edward turned to Lily to see if he'd gleaned any information. Peter may have said one thing but he meant 'We need to hurry. Something great is about to happen.'

Edward and Lily gave Peter suspicious looks but otherwise said nothing. It would do them no good if everyone and their sire knew Lily had a gift of Absolute Truth, or for Operation You're-Both-Assholes to shut down before they could figure out what was going on.

Merlin

Leonidus and Merlin arrived in Forks near night fall, the safest time for their kind. It had been a while since either of them had entered a human settlement and it was unnerving, that smell of warm blood. It didn't tempt Merlin as it used to, when it meant the difference between being competent and starved out of his mind in hunger. The smell was delicious still, but now when he thought about human blood it was more in the way one thought about a particularly tasty vitamin. It wasn't the entire meal, and Merlin did not approve of killing thousands of humans just for one person to survive.

Leo understood that. He was a Spartan, who lived to fight and still felt anger for his sire for denying him his Glorious Death, but killing needlessly went against everything he knew about life.

Arthur, Merlin thought under a heavy weight, Arthur valued people –he thought they were wonderful in all of their little creations and all of their greatest faults. Occasionally one would let him down, completely crush his world of happiness with acts of unrepentant cruelty. That was why they went off to war…

Merlin cut the train of thought off while he still could. It would only lead to debilitating sadness when he needed to be productive. He found the task hard to achieve though, because almost all of his thoughts led straight to Arthur. What would Arthur think, I can't wait to tell Arthur, Arthur would laugh at that joke, Arthur would have called me an idiot and…it just went on and on.

The Magician turned to his friend. The only things Leo and Arthur had in common had been their kingly presence and golden hair. Leonidus had actually been in charge of Merlin's welfare during the 90's, after Poca (his name for Rebecca) and Anya, but before Lily. He knew that they were his babysitters, that he needed someone to be with him after Arthur…and he appreciated it.

War was stain on his memory, but his conflict could actually bolster Operation You're-Both-Assholes as well as his plans to investigate the Volturi. Already they were probably stirring in curiosity since Demetri, their tracker, was told to keep tabs on all of their locations. They weren't aware of all the Ancients, but Leo and Lily were on their short list –as were the Cullen's. Poca had also made the list; if Merlin remembered right her stunt with the Paradise Birds won her a lot of attention. Anya, who Merlin had met occasionally, was safe from recognition –everyone, including the Volturi, thought she'd died with the rest of her family.

The presence of Lilly and Leo with the Cullens might not attract attention because Lily's and Edward's spitfire romance was legendary, but Poca was known for being where the fight is. Leo had gotten word to the French coven, who would arrive within a week, and they were as high profile as a vampire could get. It was only a matter of time, about a week –maybe two, before the Italians begin to wonder what they're up to. Then they'd investigate, and those jerks would likely take the opportunity to launch an attack of their own. There's nothing Aro would like more than to crush those more powerful than him.

"You're thinking again," Leo said in a warning tone, glancing out of his peripheral to check on the gangly Magician. Deep-thinking-Merlin was never a safe Merlin, he'd learned sometime in 1992. It usually meant that something was going to explode, not that Merlin ever intended for his experiments to blow up –but the failed ones tended to. One memorable occasion Merlin tried to set Leo up with a tall, well-meaning girl and she was nearly blown to pieces –supposedly for having anything to do with Merlin, and ended up falling for his sister instead.

"A bit," Merlin admitted kindly, with a happy looking smile. "The list of our friends is pretty high profile. I'm not very excited to see the Volturi." They'd taken his King, after all. "…and your sire," Merlin added reluctantly.

The Coven of the Ancients didn't talk about their creator often. Once in a while he'd seek out one of his children and drop off a newborn, but he'd disappear again. If he wasn't creating them then he was…Merlin shook the thoughts out of his head. He wasn't one of the Ancients –well, technically he was, but he wasn't apart of their coven – so he didn't have a clear understanding of them.

Leonidus understood that and nodded, but there was nothing he could say to comfort his friend of himself. Arthur would have told him he was being an idiot and they had to pay for their crimes, Merlin thought as they'd passed the last of the little buildings and were encased in a sheath of trees. The tall greens and clouded sky were comforting, reminding him of his old home in the castle somewhere in modern Britain. He knew where it was of course, under layer after layer of equations that hide it from view and protected the families that still lived here.

Camelot was the last European refuge from the vampires that didn't wish to live under the Volturi's rule. There was not another like it, not in the Orient, not in Canada or Mexico. Life there was timeless, as no one aged and no one really wanted to. Technology was wasted on them, and a healthy pig was as valued as a teenager's iPhone.

It was stagnant, Merlin thought bitterly. That's why they left, because the both of them were so damn bored.

"Turn here," Merlin suddenly said, and Leonidus did so without complaint. He didn't have to ask the Magician why, because Merlin provided a clear answer. Kings never did like being told what to do suddenly, unless they got to know the reason for it. "There's a territory here, a hidden house. It's probably where we're meant to park. I feel them though, and the Skinwalkers. They're collected in a clearing twenty miles that way." Merlin pointed towards the north. Leonidus just shook his head; an Ancient and he still didn't know which direction was which.

Just a hand full of minutes later Leo's old truck was parked in the drive of a pristine colonial, and the two vampires had approached the clearing.

Immediately Leo's sword was drawn. He never went anywhere without a blade, and the memories of that last batch of Skinwalkers didn't help his paranoia any. The wolves didn't do them any favors, by letting loose ferocious warnings as soon as they were within smelling distance.

Leo wrinkled his nose obviously while Merlin pretended nothing stank. Truth was though, that Merlin had never smelt anything so horrible. It was as if their very existence was screaming 'get off our land.' Instinctively Merlin's mind began to conjure runes, invincible to everyone but him, and led them down the length of his arm. The energy pooled there and read the intent of the symbols, creating an aerosol can. Inside was a complex formula he liked to call 'non-scent.' The spray nullified every smell, like magic.

"I don't think I've ever been so happy to see you," someone said from Merlin's right. He hadn't been paying attention to his surroundings and, in consequence, he'd nearly jumped out of his skin.

It was only Jasper though, looking as torn between control and savagery as he always did, but slightly relieved for the conjured can of 'non-scent.' There was guilt there, though. Merlin didn't blame him, or maybe he did. It was Jasper Witlock who led him and Arthur against Ciaus…but Arthur had wanted it also.

Merlin covered those thoughts with a jubilant smile and half turned so he could wrap the bony Texan in a hug. A real hug that required the use of his entire body, not one of those emotionally backwards side hugs that Arthur was always so fond of. Merlin went so far as to wrap his legs around the General, who stood there with the patients of a saint.

"Oh," Merlin said in remembrance and returned his feet to the ground. Immediately he started digging through his pockets, the hundreds and hundreds of pockets on his magical pants. Then he found the little gold and red coin he was looking for and shoved it in Japser's hands before the other vampire could pull away. "It's to commemorate your first fifty years. I would have given it to you earlier, but I kept forgetting," he said innocently enough.

Jasper looked down into his hand, at the gold and the intricately carved Latin words done in ruby. It was a 'fifty year chip,' in memory of the time that had gone by without drinking from humans. He knew Rebecca had one, as did Edward. Emmett and Rose knew they existed but hadn't asked for one, and Alice kept hers in her sock drawer until she could display it proudly next to him. Carlisle had a wonderful gold coin with emerald inlay for never having tasted the blood of a human, as did Esme.

Jasper held his coin up to the light and smiled without strain. There were allies on their way, friends that knew no bounds, and thanks to Merlin's non-scent he couldn't Bella's blood or the foul stench of the wolves.

Life was good.

Then a small girl with long russet curls broke through the tree line with conviction, making a beeline for the only human. Merlin recognized Anya almost instantly, and he could smell the rest of the crowd just outside the clearing –no doubt putting their clothes back on.

Naked as the day she was born, Anya walked up to the only human and shouted at a volume slightly greater than a humans "You're not good enough for him!"


To Those Who Just Read:

This took a while to finish. Actually, I'm sure I'm still forgetting something…I'll figure it out later.

Anyway…more ancients, I think I went a little too far.

It's just that…I was sort of in a rush. My friend and I have a new commitment, we post a new chapter every day for a week, take a week off, and then undergo another full week. So…today marks the first day of our first On Week. Yay!

I don't know what else to say...

Thank you for reading.

I like quotes, song suggestions, and reviews (especially the reviews)

Al