Disclaimer: Don't own though I dreamt I did... It was pure heaven!
AN: This is it. This is the final chapter. I hope it doesn't come too abrupt, but I hinted at it since the beginning of the story. Morgana killing Merlin would break the spell... I am not too pleased about the chapter though. I couldn't find the flow of it and writing the scene between Morgana and Morgause was very tricky. But enough of my blabber.
Read on :)
Any Other World
Morgana watched as Merlin closed his eyes, relief flooding his pale face as the first rain poured down on them. Carefully, she walked forward and vaguely felt Arthur grab her arm, but she pulled it loose and continued to walk forward. Kneeling down besides Merlin, she could see every detail in his features.
He looked exhausted an in pain and Morgana couldn't but feel compassion towards the warlock. After all, he was suffering as much as they were. Her voice was soft, "Merlin?"
Merlin's eyes fluttered open and instantly locked with Morgana's gaze. "Is she...dead?"
"Yes," she told him, "she's dead."
Morgana didn't know what had gotten into her, but a strange pity grabbed hold of her heart. The warlock laying before her had killed one of her best friends, but she could see the hurt and regret in his eyes none the less. Slowly, her hand reached for his cheek and gently caressed his skin.
A tired smile curved her lips upwards. "Merlin, everything will be alright."
The words of the Dragon flickered through her mind. 'You must kill him for the spell to break.' They felt like a slap across her face. She didn't want to kill him, but what else could she do? If there was the slightest chance she could bring back Lancelot, then she needed to take it. For Gwen's sake. For Arthur's sake.
Her free hand disappeared into her cloak and pulled out a long, sharp dagger. A moment passed where Morgana hesitated. What if all she did was kill this man? What if nothing changed and the Dragon had lied to her?
Dismissing her own thoughts, she pushed the blade deep into Merlin's chest. His eyes instantly widened with shock and Morgana held her breath. She could not look at Merlin now, not while she was killing him.
"Everything will be alright," she repeated. How ironic her own words were, Morgana thought. Her fingers remained clasped around the hilt of the dagger while she finally found the courage to look into Merlin's eyes again.
Beneath her, the warlock twisted and spluttered. She felt how he was trying to move away from her, but he was too weak. His hand tried to push aside the dagger and she could read the panic and betrayal in his eyes. She only continued to caress his cheek, feeling his tears roll down her hand.
Her own breath hitched inside her chest and her voice trembled, "I'm sorry. I'm so sorry!"
As tears escaped the corners of her eyes - horrified with herself for what she had done - she released the hilt of the dagger. Merlin's eyes remained wide, cold and for the shortest moment, they changed colour; gold.
A white flash born from deep within Merlin expanded until it covered the entire Isle of the Blessed.
Morgana shrieked and stumbled away from Merlin. The sky above her rumbled threateningly and the earth shook violently. She turned towards Arthur who averted his eyes from the too bright light. She wanted to shout his name, ask if he was alright, but suddenly everything changed and-
Morgana felt how she was being thrown back. Her back slammed into something hard and all the air was knocked from her lungs. Desperately gasping for breath, she tried to understand what had just happened. The bright light had vanished and her eyes needed a moment to adjust to her new, dark surroundings.
Where was she?
Hurried footsteps approached her and two soft hands reached for her face. Was that Arthur? No, Arthur certainly didn't have soft hands. A thousand small stars flooder her vision and Morgana felt a sting behind her eyes. Patiently waiting for her vision to clear, Morgana hear a worried voice near her ear.
"Morgana," – definitely a woman's voice – "Morgana?"
The little stars dulled into oblivion and Morgana gazed up to meet brown eyes looking down at her. She no longer stood on the Isle of the Blessed and Arthur was nowhere to be found. Fear filled her heart for a moment, until she realized who it was exactly that stood before her.
The back of her head felt as if a hundred long needles were slowly being inserted in her skull. What had happened? Memories flooded back to her, wave after wave, but only one kept echoing. She had killed Merlin. She had killed Merlin! She and Morgause had been planning this for so long and finally, Morgana had succeeded. She had killed Merlin.
Joy flooded her veins, a warm and easy sensation settling in. New memories came back to her and she suddenly remembered Lancelot's death, a heartbroken Gwen and a vengeful Arthur. Merlin had been responsible for it all. Horror replaced her joy when she realized sh hadn't killed him. If anything, she had saved him.
The black haired witch stared into Morgause's brown eyes and finally remembered. They had travelled back in time and Merlin had been ready to kill Arthur and his cursed father – her father. However, she had stopped him. Not only had she sabotaged her own plan, she had caused everything to turn back to normal. How stupid. How completely and utterly idiotic.
Morgause's voice became more urgent and Morgana realized she had missed her sister's words. Annoyance filtered through the blonde witch's voice, "Morgana?"
With the help of Morgause, Morgana stood up from the floor. She threatened to lose her balance and new stars were born within her vision. Morgause quickly aided her offered her hands to help her steady herself.
"It failed," Morgana hissed while ignoring the painful throbbing in the back of her head.
A deep frown covered Morgause's brow and she looked at Morgana as if she had gone mad. "We never travelled to the past, Sister. I'm not sure what has happened, but the crystal must not have been powerful enough. The magic backfired and you were thrown across the room," slowly, she turned away to gaze at the empty crystal, "do not fear, though, I'll find another way."
Morgana shook her head, "No, our plan worked, but something went wrong and all was rectified again. Nothing has changed, Morgause. We can't go interfering with the past again, it's too dangerous."
Morgause narrowed her eyes and examined her carefully. Slowly, she walked towards the crystal that was now as clear as glass. When the eldest sister placed her hand onto the smooth surface, nothing happened. Before, a cloud-like substance had twisted and coiled inside, but now it remained eerily still.
"You remember," Morgause said almost accusingly. She turned back to face her sister, an almost deadly look glaring from her eyes. "Tell me everything. What has happened?"
Morgana knew Morgause was on to something. Did she already knew it was she who had rectified it all? Insecurity made her hesitate about telling the truth. Morgause would not be pleased with it. After all, it was Morgana who had destroyed their own plan.
She still could scarcely believe what she had done exactly. Victory had been within her grasp, but in stead she had gone and saved that backstabbing pathetic warlock. She remembered feeling pity for him when she had killed him and she felt disgusted with herself. She should have tortured him into a slow death. Was that not what he deserved after all? He had been willing to poison her.
"Morgana," Morgause stepped forward, a softer gaze in her eyes, "tell me."
"Merlin was everything you wanted him to be," she began, venom dripping from her tongue as she spoke his name, "hateful and cold. He almost killed the Pendragons, but Arthur stopped him."
Morgause nodded and took Morgana's hand into her own as encouragement to continue speaking.
"I killed him, Morgause, I felt Merlin's blood flowing through my fingers."
"Killing him ended it," Morgause understood already, "killing Merlin made everything turn back to normal. You couldn't have known, Sister." A warm smile played across her face, but Morgana didn't return the smile.
Now that the pain in the back of her head had subsided, Morgana was able to think more clearly. She had long forgotten what it had been like to care for Arthur and Gwen. She had long forgotten that warmth, but now those emotions lay freshly in her mind and heart again.
The question that mattered, however, was if she still felt it. Looking at Morgause, Morgana realized that she loved her sister. She meant the world to her and she was willing to die for her. However, she also learned that she didn't hate the others – with the exception of Merlin of course. It was a peculiar idea, but it was the truth. It was important that no one found it, especially not Morgause.
After all, she still wanted Uther's throne and Morgause would help her with that cause. But no longer was she willing to kill so many innocent lives.
Merlin jolted up from his bed, his breathing quick and irregular. He had dreamed so vividly. His hand reached for his chest where only a second ago, a dagger had pierced his skin and ribs.
It was just a dream. It was just a really bad dream. It was just a nightmare.
It hadn't been dream.
He lifted his shirt and expected a deep stab-wound, but his skin was perfectly healthy.
It had been just a dream, a really bad dream.
Blinking rapidly, he tried to remember all the details. A tightness clasped around his heart when he recalled Lancelot's death at his hands. He had killed one of his dearest friends and he hadn't cared about it. He remembered Gaius being in his dream and...Nimueh. She had cast blood magic on him, stripping him from all emotions. His mother had been in his dream, as had Morgana and Arthur.
Arthur. He'd planned on killing the Prince. Shock stung him. Protecting Arthur was his destiny so why would he dream of wanting to kill him?
It was just a dream. It was just a really bad dream. It was just a nightmare.
It hadn't been dream.
Merlin was certain of it now and he desperately needed to remember the end. He felt that gaping whole in his chest again and knew it was Morgana who had stabbed him. Not in a dream, but in reality. Morgana had killed him!
Inhaling deeply to steady himself, he reminded himself that he was still very much alive. Somehow, Morgana killing him had turned everything back to normal. Little made sense. What had altered reality in the first place? Why had Morgana undone it? There was only one constant that would never change; the two wicked sister-witches were responsible.
Everything was fine now, Merlin told himself, everything was back to normal.
Turning to look out of his small window, the young warlock noticed that dawn was nearly upon them. Knowing that he couldn't go back to sleep since so many thoughts were occupying his mind, he pushed aside his blanket and got up. He changed into his regular clothes before silently exiting his bedroom. Gaius was still sleeping and only stirred slightly when Merlin accidentally knocked his shin against the edge of a chair, followed by a muffled "Ow".
However, the physician continued snoring softly and Merlin stepped into the hallway. He felt his stomach growl faintly, but he decided he would fetch something to eat from the kitchen later on in the morning. He somehow knew he wouldn't get a bit down his throat, not when still thinking of his own death. The last thing Merlin remembered, was reaching out for his magic and suddenly, a bright light had consumed him.
He didn't know why really, but he felt the urge to check up on Arthur. The Prince had been present in his dream – no, reality – and Merlin needed to know if he was alright. Perhaps Morgana had done something to Arthur as well.
When he entered the Prince's chambers, Merlin found Arthur soundly asleep in his bed. His lips were parted a small trail of drool ran down his chin. He looked ever so elegantly, thought Merlin which made him smile.
But could it be that everything was alright? Merlin might remember all the details of that strange...event, but did Arthur remember? His heart began beating violently in his chest. He had openly used magic and the Prince had most definitely seen. If Arthur still remembered, then Merlin was in deep trouble.
The sun first peaked over the horizon and Merlin couldn't stand the wait. In stead, he walked towards the curtains and threw them open. The faint light was enough for Arthur to stir. A low growl came from his lips, but Merlin couldn't understand.
Like always, he made sure he sounded too happy, "Rise and shine, Sire!"
Arthur opened his eyes and sighed heavily. "Why on earth are you so happy each morning, Merlin?"
A second past and Merlin waited to see if Arthur would suddenly grab his sword and accuse him of sorcery. Nothing of that sort happened and relief made Merlin smile broadly. "Because I know how much it annoys you." He quickly ducked when Arthur threw a pillow at his head.
"Just get me breakfast," Arthur ordered.
Merlin nodded and turned away from him, "Of course, Prince Prat." He darted out of the door before a goblet could connect with the back of his head.
He was certain now, however, that Arthur remembered nothing at all. The entire world has probably forgotten and everything was normal. Lancelot wasn't dead and he certainly wasn't dead. He knew, for some reason, that Morgana still remembered though.
What that meant exactly was beyond Merlin's knowledge. He made a mental note to himself to ask the Dragon about it, but he already knew he would get a mysterious and completely useless answer.
But he knew that all was well, that nothing had changed and that the world continued to turn. Arthur was safe and Morgana was back with her sister - plotting most likely. Uther was still King and Merlin was back to being a clumsy servant. A relieved sigh escaped his lips.
All was well.
AN: Yes, that last line is in honour of Harry Potter :)
DONE. *Goes to cheer a bit and returns to write this author's note* The updates came slowly, the writing wasn't always spectacular and the characters were turned upside down, but this story has ended. I'm actually rather proud of this little tale.
Thank you so much for sticking with me until the end. Thanks for the reviews, the favourites and alerts. You lot are amazing, you are!
Now for the last time: review?