+ WHAT BINDS US +

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"Heartbeat"

By: The Fray

We're on an open bed truck on the highway
The rain is coming down and we're on the run
Think I can feel the breath in your body
We gotta keep on running 'til we see the sun

Oh you got a fire and it's burning in the rain
Thought that it went out, but it's burning just the same
And you don't look back, not for anything
'Cause if you love someone, you love them all the same
If you love someone, you love them all the same

Oh, I feel your heartbeat
And you're coming around, coming around, coming around
If you can love somebody, love them all the same
You gotta love somebody, love them all the same
Singing, oh, I feel your heartbeat

I'm trying to put it all back together.
I've got a story and I'm trying to tell it right.
I got the kerosene and a desire.
I'm trying to start a flame in the heart of the night

Oh you got a fire and it's burning in the rain
Thought that it went out, but it's burning just the same
And you don't look back, not for anything
'Cause if you love someone, you love them all the same
If you love someone, you love them all the same

Oh, I feel your heartbeat
And you're coming around, coming around, coming around
If you can love somebody, love them all the same
You gotta love somebody, love them all the same
Singing, oh, I feel your heartbeat

Ooh, ooh
I know the memories are rushing into mind
I wanna kiss your scars tonight, baby
'Cause you gotta try
You gotta let me in
Let me in

Oh, I feel your heartbeat
And you're coming around, coming around, coming around
You gotta love somebody
You got, you gotta love somebody
You got, you got
Oh, I feel your heartbeat

Oh yeah, oh yeah
Heartbeat

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Rating: T – MA for violence, language and adult situations.

Genre: Romance/Drama/Angst

Summary: The daughter of Gaius' old friends suddenly appears in Camelot in need of shelter and protection. What secrets does this mysterious woman have? What will happen when she catches the eyes of certain Knights of Camelot? Lancelot/OC/Gwaine. Slightly AU.

Disclaimer: This story is pure fanfiction. I don't own any of the recognizable characters from the show. I own Lourdes and other stock characters.

Author's Note: My first "Merlin" fanfic! This will be geared towards a more mature audience (as you will see in later chapters!) It's good to be writing again. Might be a bit shorter than my other fics because of the limited time I have to work on this, but hopefully it'll still be up to par. Read and review! Would be much appreciated. =)

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Chapter 1: Escape

Her heart felt as though it were ready to halt its beating. Battered, bruised, and half-delirious from the fatigue of travelling for weeks, on her own, and the weight that bore heavily on her shoulders, Lourdes Villeamour knew that she had to press on, to will her shaking legs to keep moving, and to do the one thing that she was commanded to do:

Run.

It took all of her strength to place one foot in front of the other, to capture as much oxygen as she could into her weakened lungs. She wrapped her cloak around her more tightly as the night air nipped at her skin, securing the large, dark hood above her golden-brown head. As the night continued to blanket the sky, her body begged her to rest and fill herself with some form of nourishment, but she continually willed herself not to. She had to make it to Camelot by morning; she needed to find Gaius and seek his protection.

They would be coming for her, sooner or later.

And they would not rest until they have captured her.

Just as she reached the peak of a hill, Lourdes caught sight of white castle turrets in the distance. That must be the castle of Camelot, she breathed in a sigh of relief. She estimated that it would take her less than an hour to reach its doors. And then what? She scoffed inwardly, gritting her teeth as she continued to move expertly down a rocky slope. Present yourself to the castle guards and expect to be swiftly taken to Gaius, without question or proof of identity? This escape must have driven you mad! Lourdes felt at a loss then; she only knew the plans to escape and never really thought of the consequences that she would be met with when she reached her destination of Camelot.

She had to try somehow; she wouldn't last another day in her current state.

As Lourdes reached a small clearing, she felt the hairs behind her neck rise. Suddenly upright and alert, she attempted to quiet her breathing and listen to the sounds before her. A dying campfire. Light breathing and snoring of a handful of people. Horses chewing softly on the grass by their hooves…

…and then she felt the tip of a steel blade meet her upper back.

"Lift your arms where I can see them!" Though not quite shouting, the deep voice behind her commanded sternly, "Show yourself!"

Lourdes weighed her options as she felt for the hilt of her sword. What damage could she possibly do at her current state? Attempting to take a few steps forward and take the discomfort of a sword upon her body, the blade only pressed upon her back even more, the pressure hard enough to slightly cut through her cloak. "I will not repeat myself, stranger."

Such rage built inside her now as the weight of her circumstances at present deterred her from her goal of reaching Camelot. She was running away to escape danger, not run right into it. In a split-second decision, she unsheathed her sword and swung purposely around her in a circular motion, effectively pushing the man's blade away from her back; however, her swing proved too weak to knock the sword from the man's grip. Hearing him grunt in simultaneous surprise and annoyance, she quickly backed away defensively in a crouch, sword held steadily in front of her. In the dim moonlight, and with the help of the campfire behind her, Lourdes could make out her assailant's features: dark, almost unkempt hair tousled in the breeze; his high cheekbones and strong, stubbled jaw showing experience and strength; dark, almond-shaped eyes exhibiting a mixture of alertness, wonder, and…kindness. Quite handsome, her mind automatically thought; she quickly perished the thought from her mind, cursing at herself for being momentarily distracted.

Lourdes studied his long, red cape as he continued to brandish his sword in front of him. As he pushed the cape back, she recognized the distinct emblem upon it. He must be a knight of Camelot, she thought. Although she felt relieved that he was not some bandit or murderer, she kept her guard up, knowing that he did not know if she were a villain or not.

Lourdes felt confusion as to why the knight did not make a move; she then noticed that her hood had fallen from her head, allowing her long hair to freely play in the wind and her entire face to be revealed. He was taking in her form, and a look of indecision appeared on his countenance. The two remained in a silent standstill as dawn began to break, illuminating her identity to the knight even more as rays of sun danced upon her cheeks.

The knight's eyes suddenly shifted to her left. Before Lourdes could react to the movement behind her, she felt a sharp pain in her hand and arms as her sword was forcefully knocked from her grasp. With a cry, she felt herself rapidly falling upon her back as her legs were kicked out from underneath her. Bracing herself, she placed her hands upon the ground first. Lifting her head upwards, she freely exposed her neck to a readied sword.

The second man above her shared similar features with the first: dark eyes, dark hair, and strong facial features; however, his hair was much longer, almost to his shoulders. He wore a quizzical expression as his lips curled into a small smirk, eyes bright with mirth. Somewhat raising his sword from her neck, the knight drawled, "Well, well, what do we have here?"

"Wait, Gwaine." The first knight sheathed his sword back into his scabbard as he moved towards his fellow knight. "I do not think she means us any harm."

Gwaine gave out a scoff, raising an eyebrow. "Not what it looked like from where I was standing, Lancelot." Turning his attention back to Lourdes, he kept his sword near her neck as he crouched, "Look, m'lady, my friend Lancey here does not think you mean us any harm. Now, I do not know that for sure, but what I do know is…" he gave her body a once-over, "…that you're clearly not from around here. So, while my sword rests comfortably upon your neck, please do me the honour of sharing with me what you are called and where you hail from?"

Lourdes scowled at Gwaine's jesting tone as his cheeky character was revealed to her instantly. In her mother tongue, Lourdes spat, "I have no time for your arrogance, you son of a pig!"

The knights remained stalk- still as they shared a wide-eyed look.

"What did she say, Lancelot?"
"I don't know, Gwaine, but it doesn't sound like she likes you one bit."

"Impossible. All women love me."

Lancelot shot Gwaine a tired look before lifting the sword from Lourdes' neck. Meeting her eyes, almost apologetically, he shot out his hand, saying slowly, "If you can understand me, please know that we mean you no harm. I am Lancelot, a Knight of Camelot. We just wish to know who you are and your business here." Lancelot remained patient as Lourdes eyed his outstretched hand, seemingly trying to decide whether to trust him or not. "Do you think she understands me, Gwaine?"

Gwaine opened his mouth to reply, but before words could escape, Lourdes gingerly took Lancelot's hand into her own. Upon contact, she closed her eyes in pain as blurry visions flashed inside her head. Lourdes could barely make out what was happening, but one thing was clear to her: Lancelot's blood-covered body upon the ground. With a small gasp, she opened her eyes once more, the visions and headache disappearing at once, and carefully studied the knight's face. Lancelot's eyes were wide, fixated upon the contact of their hands. With a gulp, the knight's orbs met hers, seemingly questioning what had just transpired, looking for an explanation of the jolting feeling that ran through his body upon their contact. Gwaine, completely oblivious as to what had just transpired between Lourdes and Lancelot, placed a supporting hand upon Lourdes' back as Lancelot delicately pulled her upwards.

"I'll give word to Arthur that we have a…visitor." Gwaine announced, sheathing his sword. Pivoting on his heels before walking back to camp, he called out, "Perhaps we can let him decide what exactly to do with her!"

Just when Lancelot thought that Lourdes was upright, her knees buckled in fatigue. Lancelot's arms tightly wrapped around her body as he prevented her fall. He placed the palm of his hand upon the back of her head, examining her state. Lourdes gave out a slight groan. "Gaius…" she weakly called out as she felt her eyes involuntarily shutting.

All went black.

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A/N: Please review! Let me know what you think so far. =) xoxo IFHD