Author: When inspiration fails, I pay Medivh a visit. He always has a cup of tea ready for me.
Disclaimer: I barely make my bills.
Medivh knew that Khadgar was planning something, but also knew that whatever it was wouldn't interfere with his work, and so let the boy have his 'secret'. It wasn't as if he couldn't pry it from his apprentice's words and actions easily enough—he just couldn't be bothered to. There were nations to topple, afterall—what was the scheming of one apprentice compared to that? Especially if said apprentice was in the palm of his hand.
Medivh looked away from the latest gnomish invention he had managed to get his hands on. Nothing seemed terribly out of place regarding the young man, but there was an air about him that said the 'secret' he had been keeping was going to be willingly revealed.
"Yes, Young Trust?" Medivh asked, mildly irritated at being interrupted.
Why ever did I decide that having an apprentice was a good thing? He wondered as he watched Khadgar approach, both purpose and anxeity in his stride. Having one is annoying, I have to be careful anymore. Better to just kill him now. I can arrange for Lothar to kill me or—
Medivh was caught off guard when Khadgar gently, carefully hugged him.
Medivh hadn't had much in the way of physical contact since…well, since before he fell into his coma. People were afraid of him, afraid of what getting close enough to touch him might do to them.
Khadgar pulled back after a second, although he kept his hands on Medivh's arms.
"Well…you didn't tell me your birthday, so I picked a day. But then I couldn't figure out what a Master Mage would like as a present, since you already have more books than I think any other sane person could read in a lifetime, and I don't get away from Karazhan much. So, since you've been in a mood lately, I figured that something silly and simple that most take for granted would be the best gift."
Medivh knew that the boy would continue to ramble in the face of his shocked silence, but Medivh was having a hard time processing someone wanting to do something for him without expecting anything in return.
"Young Trust," he said and couldn't stop the small, rueful smile that tugged at his lips.
Khadgar smiled carefully back and released his grip on Medivh's arms.
Medivh was astonished at how sharp the feeling of lonliness was that hit him. He was suddenly, inexplicably cold and his body ached for the touch that had, if temporarily, cleared his thoughts of the darkness that had been plaguing him.
"I…I'm sorry, Master," Khadgar murmured and rubbed the back of his neck in self-conciousness. "I just thought that maybe…" he trailed off before picking up another thought: "Cook let me make a birthday cake for you."
Medivh was bewildered, but kept it from showing on his face. For me?
"I don't promise it being the best cake ever, certainly nothing like what you must've had in Stormwind, but—"
Khadgar abruptly quieted when Medivh put a careful hand on his apprentice's shoulder. "You're a fool, Young Trust, but a well-meaning one." He caught Khadgar's chin and made him look at him, holding his eyes. "Thank you."
Medivh was amused by how Khadgar's breath caught, and was intrigued at the pleasant, warm tingle he received from such simple contact.
It was enough to make him want more, but he knew enough that his desires were secondary to his plans.
"You're welcome," Khadgar said softly.
Medivh tried to force himself to let go, but it felt so nice to have another mortal touching him in a way not purely meant to heal. It was personal, it recognized Medivh as Medivh and not as just another body.
So he was not as surprised as he maybe should have been when he dragged Khadgar back for another hug.
"Thank you," Medivh murmured again into Khadgar's ear.
"Happy Birthday, Master," Khadgar replied breathlessly.
The young man's lips lightly brushed against his neck as he spoke, and it was only through force of will that Medivh didn't jump.
There was something else in that contact, brief and innocent as it may have seemed. Something that Medivh didn't understand and that Sargeras raged at.
Perhaps Khadgar had come to see him as something slightly more than his teacher.
Perhaps he had begun to see Khadgar as more than just his assassin.
Medivh let go and held Khadgar's eyes again, searching for something, anything that would explain the shiver in his magic that said that there could be other, deeper reasons for Medivh accepting Khadgar as his own.
"I assume the…cake…will be served after dinner, and as dinner is yet an hour or so away, that means you have time to help me finish deconstructing this," Medivh said as evenly as he could, even though each step away from Khadgar sent both his body and magic yelling at him, calling him thousands of kinds of fool.
Khadgar had to clear his throat before he could say, "Yes, Master."
Come, now, Medivh, Medivh chided himself as he turned the globe over in his hands, picking out the subtle hinges and locks to open it. You're not a teenager.
Medivh paused at the thought and tapped his fingers lightly against the metal. Not that I know what being a teenager is like.
Medivh was slowly unwinding a wire when his valet's voice interupted his concentration: "Master?"
"Yes?" Medivh replied and looked up from the pile that had once been an intact sphere to see Morose standing dourly in the doorway.
"Dinner is ready," the valet intoned in his wheezy, musty voice.
Has time passed that quickly?
Medivh's eyes darted over to Khadgar, who was doing an admirable job of restraining a smile. Medivh put the remnants of the globe down on an uncluttered piece of desk and walked past his apprentice.
"Come. We don't want the food to be cold, do we?"
"No, Master," Khadgar replied, a suppressed laugh in his voice.
Medivh found himself oddly aware of where Khadgar was in relation to him as they took the stairs to the dining room, ghostly music floating through the hallways.
Medivh stopped abruptly when they reached the dining room, which surprised Khadgar enough to run into him.
The contact sent shivers through his magic and Medivh winced inwardly at the dawning realization.
"Do you like it?" Khadgar asked as he straightened his clothing and stood beside Medivh.
The dining hall was decorated festively, although sparingly. Medivh was fairly sure that Khadgar had raided the stores to find whatever was left over from the last banquet Medivh had held to entertain the ghosts of Karazhan, and had made rather ingeneous use of it.
Medivh hummed and said, "Perhaps we can have the cake first, just so we can get it over with."
Khadgar huffed in annoyance, although the wry smile that dragged at the corners of his mouth told him that Khadgar had become far too adept at reading beneath what he said.
Cook bustled out with the small cake once he and Khadgar had sat down, and Medivh regarded the plainly-decorated confection with intrigue.
"Do you mind chocolate?" Khadgar asked as he lit the candle stuck in the middle of the cake with a flick of his fingers.
"No-one has ever asked,"Medivh said as he watched the dancing flame set before him. "You're getting better."
"Thank you, Master."
"What do I do now?"
The look of surprise on Khadgar's face made Medivh scowl.
"I sing 'happy birthday' to you, then you blow out the candles and make a wish. Then we cut the cake and eat it. Didn't you…?"
"My birthday was never observed," Medivh muttered, glaring at the candle.
"No-one ever sung for you?"
Medivh's scowl deepened as the aching sense of lack flowed through him. He didn't often lament the loss of twenty years of his life, but there were times that it bothered him and made him hate the being that controlled most of his soul.
"Well, you'll have to pardon my singing voice, then."
Medivh looked over to his apprentice, who—for the first time Medivh could recall—sang happy birthday to him.
It made him feel strangely warm and tingly.
I can't get too attached to him, Medivh warned himself. He is my executioner, afterall.
"Now blow out the candle and wish for something," Khadgar prompted.
"What do I have to wish for?" Medivh drawled, although a flicker of thought obligingly extinguished the feeble flame. "Like you said, I have everything I could possibly want."
The smile Khadgar gave him was worth the inanity of the gestures.
"C'mon, try it, try it," Khadgar insisted and cut the cake for Medivh. "I did my best, but there wasn't a lot to work with in your kitchen."
Cook had the grace to look mildly offended.
Medivh had never been one for sweets, if only because Llane adored them and someone had to be contrary to the heir to keep him in line, but took the conservative slice offered him.
It actually didn't taste as bad as Medivh had feared—then again, he had nothing to compare it to, so it could have been awful.
Something in his face must have shown, however, since he heard Khadgar give a relieved sigh.
"I'd prefer you focus on your magic more than your baking, Young Trust," Medivh said, and Khadgar smiled sheepishly.
"Today was different—it was important."
Medivh blinked. Important?
He knew he was important, if only because of his power and bloodline, but Khadgar meant it in a different way, he meant that Medivh was important as a person, and not as the Guardian of Tirisfal or the most powerful mage in Azeroth.
Dinner was a silent affair after that, Medivh mulling over the occurances of the past few hours.
Khadgar is dangerous, he concluded. He can get under my skin. He'll make me hesitate. And, I suppose, that is how he will be my downfall. How he already is my downfall.
Medivh finished most of his dinner before teleporting up to his observatory, taking in a deep breath of the twilight air.
Resonance, he thought as he stroked his beard. I thought it was myth. I thought that mages simply were contrary. How…interesting.
Medivh pulled down his hood and summoned Ate'ish to him, wrapping his hand around the familiar, comforting, demonic-tainted staff.
I must stick to my plans. The destruction of Azeroth and the ressurection of Sargeras are what matter. Khadgar is simply a tool, perhaps even a liability.
Medivh turned towards the door that would take him to his upper chambers, but hesitated.
He didn't want to kill him. He honestly didn't want to watch the life drain out of Khadgar's bright, trusting eyes.
The boy must die.
Medivh gripped his head and leaned heavily on his staff. He can still be useful, he found himself protesting.
Perhaps he had come to see Khadgar as more than just his apprentice.
He is a distraction.
He is necessary.
You are becoming too attached to him.
He is my apprentice.
Add him to Karazhan's secrets.
Medivh grit his teeth. I will not.
You would challenge me?
Khadgar is mine, Medivh snarled. He is my apprentice, my responsibility, mine to take care of.
Your paltry emotions are hindering your judgement.
Medivh grimaced and leaned heavily on Ate'ish, falling to his knees.
No. I will destroy nations in Your name, but I will not destroy Khadgar. Not for you.
Then you are a fool.
Medivh shuddered as Sargeras seeped into his mind, and snarled as he pushed back. You will not have Khadgar.
How long do you think you will last, mage?
As long as it takes, Medivh replied stubbornly even as he felt his body grow heavy. He slumped onto his side, Ate'ish falling out of unresponsive fingers. As long as it takes.
A laugh that was and was-not his echoed in his mind as he pulled Sargeras down with him, denying him his body, if only for a little while.
One last thought flit through him before oblivion and shadows claimed him: I hope Khadgar finds me soon; it's getting cold and late and I'd rather not freeze to death.