Title: Twisting, Turning, Tilting
WARNINGS: Implied torture and the fallout of that
Disclaimer: Yeah, I own nothing. At all. Not even a little.
Summary: It's not the first lie that Merlin has told you. You pray that it won't be the last.
AN: This AN, much unlike twins, comes to you in six parts. ONE! This was originally posted on Kinkme_Merlin on livejournal in a desperate attempt to cure my writer's block where my other fic Noir is concerned. TWO! The attempt to kill my writer's block for Noir proved unsuccessful. THREE! This can be slash or it doesn't have to be slash. Whatever floats your boat. FOUR! Noir has not been abandoned, and will be updated. The reason I haven't updated in a while is because of the aforementioned writer's block (I've the last third of it written, it's just the damn chapter four that won't DO WHAT I WANT) and I'm also in the UK studying abroad until June. Jet lag did not help the writer's block. Super sexy Scottish accents have not helped the writer's block. I am very easily distracted by super sexy men with Scottish accents. True story. FIVE! Very different from all my other stuff, this oneshot. I think that's why it didn't break the writer's block. SIX! I also wanted to post something so y'all know I'm still around. :)
"Don't worry, Arthur. It'll be fine."
It's not the first lie that Merlin has told you.
You pray that it won't be the last.
You dream that you're standing on the roof of Camelot's tallest tower.
Merlin's there too.
His back is to you, but he has his arms stretched out on either side of him like wings made of sticks. You try to call out, to bark at him to get away, he'll fall, the clumsy fool, but your voice sticks in your throat and your words stay writhing on your tongue, desperate to escape. He turns to you, smiling widely, and says, "Don't worry, Arthur. It'll be fine."
He steps forward and is sucked away.
Even once you wake, the bellow stays locked in your chest.
"What are you doing here?" Gwaine says, as soon as you push open the door. Percival is standing near Gaius at the table, and Gwaine is half of the way down the stairs.
"I'm here to see Merlin," you say.
"Get out," Gwaine says, and it's only Percival grabbing a hold of him that stops him from flying across the room to try and throttle you. You know that. Gwaine isn't done though, and bellows out, "You've no right to be here!"
"Gwaine," Gaius says, sounding shocked.
"You should've protected him!" Gwaine roars. He wrenches his arms from Percival's grip, staring at Arthur, eyes red and broken. He repeats himself, quieter, damning, "You should have protected him."
You bow your head. "I know," you say. You stare at the floor as Percival drags the other knight from the room. He says nothing, but you can feel his eyes on the back of your head until the door swings shut.
"We've questions for you, my Liege," the man says, looming in your space. His breath smells awful, and his teeth are mossy and decayed. You think that if you were a lesser man, it would have you gagging.
"No, look at him. He won't break for pain. Too noble for that," says the other, and his eyes stray over towards Merlin. "Take the servant. Maybe our King here will speak to save him."
And your heart stops.
Now you dream that you're riding through the woods on your horse. Merlin has just spurred his mount ahead. "Careful," you say, your heart already making a bid for freedom, pounding at your ribcage, "Don't go too far in front."
Merlin turns in his saddle, trying to look serious. The smile breaks through on his face nonetheless. "What's the matter, Arthur?" he says, and the twinkle in his eyes threatens to break you. "Worried about me?"
Yes, you want to say. Terribly, awfully, irrevocably terrified for him. Instead you hear a light laugh come from your mouth, and "Yes, Merlin, because as the King all I have time to do is worry about you."
Merlin scoffs, rolls his eyes. "Well, don't worry, Arthur. It'll be fine."
That's when the arrow hits.
Merlin's dead before he hits the ground.
You're sitting up straight before you're completely awake.
Once Percival has dragged Gwaine from the room, it is only you and Gaius, and the question comes before you even register opening your mouth. "How is he?"
"It's difficult to say," Gaius answers. He isn't meeting your eyes, or maybe you aren't meeting his. Beyond his shoulder, you can see the stairs leading to Merlin's room. You can see the foot of his bed. You cannot see him, though. "His injuries are healing, and from all outward signs seem to be positive. However, head wounds are tricky, Sire. And Merlin is showing no signs of waking."
"Then we must wake him."
"There's nothing I can do that will accomplish that," Gaius answers, softly. "He either will or won't. It's no longer in our hands."
"May I," you start to ask, but stop, not sure how to proceed. This is new, this is…this is wrong, it isn't right, and you hate it down to your bones.
Gaius, though, he understands what you're not able to say. "I have some deliveries to make, Sire," he says, "I would appreciate it if you would stay with him until I return."
"Don't worry, Arthur," Merlin says, a forced smile on his face, "It'll be fine."
They drag him away. The heavy wooden door slams shut. You still, chains stretched forward as far as they'll go, and you stare at the door, willing it to give way and let you through, willing the chains to break, for Merlin to fight back, for a miracle, for anything.
Then you can hear him screaming. You think it's the worst thing you've ever heard. You yell and fight and everything goes hazy, everything except for the sounds of Merlin in pain, Merlin hurting, Merlin. You rage and roar and you don't even know if you're using words anymore.
The screaming stops. You freeze, the chains pulled tight as your weight pulls forward.
You were wrong, it seems.
The silence is even worse than the noise.
You bow your head, taking his hand in yours, feeling his fragile pulse beneath his skin.
And if you cry – Well. Then you cry.
"Don't worry, Merlin," you say. You lie. Just like Merlin. "It'll be fine."
You don't realize you expected an answer until it doesn't come.
And you cry.