Chapter 2

Warning/s: Quite graphic descriptions.

A/N: Sorry this took so long…I had it all written, then I deleted it all, then did that several times because I wasn't happy with it. Still not, but I'm just going to put this up and hope for the best.

Disclaimer: I own Merlin. So, logically, I am writing fanfiction and not putting this into one of the episodes.


Tantalizing pain ripped through his body. It seemed to be mocking him; as soon as he managed to pinpoint where the most extreme pain was it shifted away. He felt the skin crack and shred on his back; the very thought of what it looked like made him nauseous but the blinding haze of agony distracted him. He felt his bones move, the ribs making a fairly unpleasant cracking and clicking sound as they slowly disjointed and then moulded themselves together again. The increasing amount of torture forced him to close his eyes as tight as he could and doing likewise with his mouth, suppressing the yell that he so wanted to let out.

Merlin's legs finally gave out as his ankle joints cracked apart and slotted back together again. The kneecaps were perhaps the most painful; they slowly, almost hesitantly broke themselves apart and then stretched out their fibres to join up with their original placeholders. Slowly, his thighbones loosened and reconnected painstakingly slowly. His pelvis cracked and then realigned. From his position on all fours his arms slid out from under him, his elbow joints making a sickening crunch as they broke off, finally leaving him on his side. His arms pieced themselves back together, each single tiny bone of his hand having broken off, swirled around for a little while – which was a very weird feeling – before they zoomed back to their places, occasionally bumping into each other. But then they'd fused together, all the weird feelings disappearing and replaced by molten pain.

Please let me pass out soon, Merlin thought to himself. I don't want to have to do my head while I'm still conscious again.

The pain had reached his neck, the extreme and vast quantity of it causing him to bite on his lip so violently he'd drawn blood. Not that it mattered; he had worse to deal with.

Pain traced its cold, merciless fingers up the base of Merlin's skull and began its descent. His skull cracked in one, fluid motion and suddenly his world went black.


It was a strange place, Limbo. Neither here nor there – really, it shouldn't have existed.

Yet here he was.

It was very white, but also very dark; the two contrasting shades swirled with each other, twisting in the air around him.

"Emrys," said a voice behind him.

He turned, devoid of any pain his material body was feeling. That body existed on the first plane of existence; he was currently on the seventh, he knew that.

The woman who had spoken wore an icy-coloured dress; it had varying layers of palest blue and sharp white. Her hair was also white, and flowed down her back like a curtain of snow. Her lipstick, in contrast, was black, and it coated her mouth like a dying man clinging to a friend.

"You must decide your fate, Emrys," she said.

"What do you mean?" Merlin demanded, slightly wary of the woman.

"I mean, that your friends" – she gave it an ironic twist for whatever reason – "just witnessed your…transformation, for lack of a better word. When you wake, they'll want to know what happened.

"Now you must choose what you are going to do. Will you, mighty Emrys, tell them?" She strode around him in a wide circle, smirking with the dark smile of liberty. "Or will you lie, as you always do? Speak up!"

Merlin made a snap decision. "I will tell them," he whispered.

"I'm sorry – I didn't quite catch that."

"I will tell them," Merlin said louder, voice ringing out in the barren lands of nothing.

"Right answer," smiled the woman, looking gratified. She made a sweeping motion with her right hand and a void opened. She invited him to step through it with a gesture.

As Merlin stepped through, he called back, "Wait! Who are you?"

She laughed softly, a tinkling sound, and whispered, her voice like balm to a wound, "Arianrhod. My name is Arianrhod."


"Merlin?" Arthur asked, watching as the man's eyelids fluttered.

"Arthur?" Merlin quizzed groggily, blinking a few times.

"Merlin!" Arthur yelled excitedly.

"Arthur!" Merlin mocked Arthur's tone, only quieter.

"Gwaine!" Gwaine shouted. "I felt left out."

"That's lovely Gwaine."

"How are you feeling?" Arthur asked, concern lacing his voice.

"Like I've been dismembered and then put back together." Hey, that's kind of the truth! "So not great."

"I can imagine…what did actually happen back there…with the…" Arthur gestured awkwardly towards Merlin's left, and Merlin moved his head from his position on the floor without moving otherwise. There, he could see the patch where he had his 'transformation', as Arianrhod had put it. Speaking of which…

"I had a…I don't know what it is." Merlin rubbed his face tiredly. "Basically, every five years, my body overflows with the excess magic and it kind of…breaks my entire body and then puts it back together again."

"What?" Arthur exclaimed.

"We agree; no more secrets, Merlin," Gwaine said.

"I know. Sorry." Merlin sat up hesitantly. He could see the horses in his peripheral vision, and Leon, Percival and Elyan.

"So this happens every five years?" Arthur questioned, drawing Merlin's attention back to him.

"Pretty much…not pleasant."

"Let's get back to Camelot – hopefully Gaius will be able to give you something."


They set off, laughing and talking and joking, and for the first time that day, Merlin forgets the pain.

And smiles.


A/N: Reviews? Pwetty please?

And Arianrhod is a Celtic goddess. I just kind of stole her because I liked the name.