Chapter 5: Nightmares
In her dream, Morgana was angry.
She saw herself riding through a forest in the dead of the night, her face a mask of pain. She felt betrayed. She felt unloved. She felt like she didn't have a friend in the world. She didn't even know where she was going, but it was better than where she had been, where people pretended to care. Her horse reared up suddenly in alarm and Morgana braced herself for danger as somebody grabbed the reins…
There was a burst of bright, white light and the scene changed. An army was charging into Camelot. There were so many armed men, more than she could even dream to count. They filled the streets, heading right for the castle. There was fighting and shouting and confusion. Morgana saw herself there, in the dining room, a dagger in her hand. Up ahead, she saw someone in a red cape fall to the ground. She couldn't tell if it was Uther or Arthur. But she could tell that whoever it was wasn't moving…
The scene changed and Morgana saw her own face twisted in rage, screaming as her wet, green eyes concentrated only on one thing…the body that she was stabbing continuously in front of her…
She sat up in bed and let out one, loud, terrified scream. She hadn't had a nightmare that intense in quite awhile. And if this nightmare held events that would come to pass, like many of her other nightmares had, then the weight she felt was real. Camelot would be in danger and either Uther or Arthur would die. And what of herself? She couldn't imagine why she would be running away in the woods, or why she would feel such hatred that she would continue to stab something that was already dead.
Gaius and Merlin had burst through the door, but she didn't see them. She was too busy twisting Merlin's blanket between her fingers, trying to make sense of what she had seen and trying to decide what she should do.
"Milady? Milady, are you all right?" came Gaius's voice from her left.
She didn't know. Should she tell them? Or would they just think she was insane? But Gaius and Merlin knew it was magic, they knew. They would have to take her seriously. Gaius knew that things she had dreamed had already come to pass before.
"Morgana!" came Merlin's voice from her right. "Morgana!"
Someone was shaking her. She forced her eyes away from the one spot she had been concentrating on and snapped her attention to Gaius and Merlin.
"Yes," she said quickly, forcing herself to smile. "Yes, I'm fine."
Merlin and Gaius exchanged a glance. Why did it seem like they were always doing that?
"You were screaming," said Gaius, his brow furrowed in concern. "Did you have another nightmare?"
"That's all it was," Morgana said dismissively. "Just another silly nightmare. I'm fine." As if to prove her point, she smiled again, although Merlin saw that it didn't reach her eyes.
Gaius patted her arm. "I'll go prepare you a sleeping draught," he said grimly, before handing Merlin the candle and leaving the room.
Silence filled the air as Morgana thought. She couldn't believe that she was capable of being such a monster.
Merlin noticed that Morgana was shaking slightly. He wondered what she could have seen that disturbed her so.
"Would you like me to get you another blanket?" Merlin asked quietly, wincing internally at the stupid question he had just asked. She's not shaking because she's cold, Merlin!
"No thank you, Merlin," Morgana said, her voice even quieter than his had been.
Again with the silence. Merlin didn't force her to say anything. He waited patiently for her to break the silence.
"I don't understand why I'm like this," she said finally, her voice barely above a whisper. "I don't understand why I was cursed with this."
"Don't think that," Merlin said firmly. He never wanted people to think of their magic as a curse, because he knew if magic was used the right way, it was never a curse. "It's a gift. You have it for a reason."
For the first time since she had awoken, Morgana raised her head to look at him. "What's that reason?"
"I don't know," Merlin admitted. "But I do know that you're not cursed."
Gaius came back at that moment and gave her the sleeping draught. Morgana took it gratefully, although she wasn't sure if it would help. Gaius, after asking if she needed anyting else, bid her goodnight. But as Merlin bowed his head to say goodnight and went to follow Gaius out of the room, Morgana stopped him.
"Wait, Merlin," she said.
Merlin looked to Gaius, who merely shrugged and went down the stairs.
When he looked back at Morgana, he saw that she looked small and unsure of herself. "Will you stay with me?" she asked him. "Just for a little while?"
Merlin, a bit surprised, nodded. He understood that she didn't want to be alone. He pulled a chair out of the corner and sat next to the bed.
For the hour or two that Morgana remained awake, Merlin talked to her. He helped her sort through her feelings about magic and about her own gift, until she accepted it and gradually forgot about her nightmare. He told her stories about Arthur and made her laugh, until he was laughing himself. They reminisced about earlier in the day, when they had snuck through the castle like a pair of fools. And when she had finally fallen asleep, Merlin quietly left and went downstairs.
Gaius was not sleeping. He was sitting at the table and by the light of the candle, Merlin saw all the books were gone.
"You found a way to turn her good?" Merlin asked, cheering up slightly.
The light illuminated Gaius's face. "No," he said. "I've found that there isn't a way to turn her."
Merlin sat down across from the man who had been a father figure for so long. "What do you mean?"
"She has to turn herself," Gaius said simply. "There isn't anything we can do to force it."
Merlin's hopes sunk. "No," he whispered, thinking a moment, before saying louder, "No. The Morgana we've come to know is set in her ways. She'll destroy the Camelot we know. It's suicide, Gaius."
"Perhaps," Gaius replied. "Perhaps not. We have no way of knowing. And we have no choice but to let the forgetting potion wear off."
"How will we know?" Merlin asked timidly. "How can we tell when that begins to happen?"
Gaius pulled a lone book out from under the table. It was a dull blue book, the pages yellow from age and the book itself thick. He placed it next to the candle.
"According to this book," Gaius explained, giving the book a friendly pat, "there are three signs that will occur when the potion has begun to wear off. However, they are all very difficult to sense. Only Morgana herself would truly be able to feel what is happening and she won't even know they are signs. We will have to keep a very close eye on her and see if her behavior changes."
Merlin leaned forward urgently. "What are the signs?"
Gaius took his hand off the book. "The first sign is that the taker of the potion will gain a feeling back, a feeling that they strongly had before they took the potion. In Morgana's case, I'm guessing that this will be a feeling of hatred or evil."
Merlin nodded, listening intensely.
"The second sign is that the taker of the potion will gain back a single memory of an event that has happened very recently, just around the time that they consumed the potion. For Morgana, this could be anything during the time when she was briefly Queen of Camelot."
Merlin felt his chest tighten. Gaius was right; these signs were going to be very difficult to notice because they would all be in Morgana's heart and mind. They couldn't tell what exactly was in her mind unless she told them.
"The third sign is that the taker of the potion will gain back a single memory that happened in the past. This memory will be a traumatic one, and one that is not too old and not too recent. For Morgana, it will most likely be something that happened at least over a year ago."
Gaius fell silent as he finished. Merlin said nothing as he thought about this new, distressing information.
"I don't think any of these signs have occurred yet," Gaius added reassuringly. "That is the bright side, if there is such a thing in our case."
"How much time do we have left?" Merlin asked suddenly.
"I haven't the slightest idea."
Merlin nodded. He got up from the table. Before he could leave, Gaius held out a hand to stop him.
"I fear what it is she saw in her dream," Gaius said in a low voice. "Did she tell you?"
Merlin shook his head. He realized that she hadn't mentioned it, and he hadn't tried to ask her.
A/N: So yup, the potion will now start to wear off. Everyone still think this is making sense and going in the right direction? Your feedback totally helps. :)