A/N: No, tragedy is not the end of things, it just makes all the nice things even better. So, as promised, the conclusion. All is Mergana and nothing hurts.
At World's End (All Words End)
Merlin waited at the front of the stone mansion, rimmed by giant banisters and what looked like massive flowerpots with evergreen shrubs and plants inside. The ornaments were symmetrical and evenly divided, curving into wide steps that stretched out to the grovel yard that could easily fit the whole of uncle Gaius's house and the garden with it. Anyone from his social background should have felt intimidated by the grand exterior, as he would have, too, a mere week ago.
The door opened, and instead of Arthur, he was faced with his father, a slowly graying man in a plaid shirt, who did not seem to have the air of command his offspring so loved to dwell on. Suppose no man can escape their shadow... Stretching out a palm, Merlin introduced himself as Cal - rather unnecessarily, for they had previously been informed about his coming.
'Of course. The man to whom we owe the return of our precious Morgana.'
Merlin mumbled it was not all quite like that, but was met by Uther's handshake, which was firm and dry, and for a brief moment, the familiar nature of their greeting felt unbelievably odd.
Merlin was ushered into the so-called 'crystal palace', but the sight that opened to him was in fact a warm wood-floored hall, with white walls and tasteful interior. In the adjoining hall, an oversized Christmas tree had been set up, the lights cast a faint glow into the afternoon dimness.
'We set up the decorations a week early,' Uther explained. 'Thought it would help cheer her up.'
Merlin admitted that it was nice, splendid even, unsure whether he meant the decorations, the house, or the meeting with Uther himself. Merlin's eyes darted around, and up above the wide staircase, trying to catch a glimpse of a familiar figure.
'Has she, uhm, asked about me?'
Uther's mouth twisted into something of a knowing smile. Had she told them about him, and more importantly, what and how much had she actually told to her guardian? Merlin's head filled with questions - questions he could not dare to ask.
'Gwen, come here.'
It could have been a coincidence with the names, but the girl who appeared had a perfect measure of graceful softness, medium length curly hair, and earnest brown eyes that erased all doubts. With no hints of recognition, she greeted him kindly and proceeded to show him upstairs. Merlin followed. Even in scrubs and a pair of trainers, she made quite a dashing nurse.
The second floor consisted mostly of bedrooms, lined up in a long hallway. Gwen poked her head in the room on the left, and whispered, 'Morgana, are you ready? He's here.'
The 'he' had quite a household feel, which Merlin found oddly pleasing. And then, his nerves broke out.
Quite unexpectedly, Morgana felt a warm glow rise up her body. For a moment, it felt like there was a early summer, not Christmas time, behind the windows hiding behind the white curtains. Uther had invested a great deal in this room for it to look less... hospital-like, still compensating for the things he didn't need to, and Morgana had decided not to mind this time, let him be what he needs to be around her.
She stretched her bare feet on top of the covers, trying to regain her cool, watched Gwen scurry around her to fix the pillows, put the thermometer on the bedside table and finally left her with her visitor, who stood at the side of the door, hands behind his back, appearing so reserved all of a sudden.
Merlin. The same bright, boyish, excited face. He looked less scrubby than before, in a checkered shirt, and a winter jacket she didn't recognize. She had a distinct impression of him in front of the mirror, fixing every piece of his untamable hair.
Rumours had reached her that he was working for Arthur now, passing small messages of her recovery. She silently wondered why he hadn't come to see her sooner.
'You look well.'
Merlin was excited, but no longer nervous, as if powered by a secret force. It reminded her too much of the Merlin she once knew. Even before they became enemies.
Morgana raised an eyebrow. Her hair in a messy bun, and she was dressed in a softest set of gray pajamas. For a moment, she was so focused on how she might look like that she almost missed the bunch of wildflowers he pulled out of his jacket and set on her night table. How he had managed to get them at this time of the year was another mystery.
'Thanks. So do you.' Morgana was stunned.
He raked a hand at the back of his head self-consciously. 'I take it you've heard already, from Arthur.'
'I can't imagine how you manage.'
'The job or Arthur?'
Morgana punched him playfully in his shoulder, breaking the invisible barrier of contact. His laughter was clear and untroubled.
'So you're keeping it?' Morgana asked, as light as possible. He nodded, searching for her reaction.
'Just for the while.'
Merlin stepped closer and the electrostatic tension between them doubled. Both stared at each other for an unknown while. The feelings, and everything that had happened between them came flooding down, threatening to drown her like a tidal wave. And all of a sudden, he was closer again, so unbearably close, not close enough.
Merlin took her hand in his, brought his forehead to rest against the inside of her wrist. His skin was hot compared to hers, and her pulse trembled in his hand. He breathed,
'I am so, so sorry, for what I said.'
'Don't-' Morgana stopped him with a hand on his lips. 'I have come to accept this. What I am. I know that there are things I see that are not real. You made me face it.'
He tried to speak again, but she needed to finish. 'I can cope with it now. Don't feel pity for me... I'm fine. I really am.'
Merlin just shook his head, and closed his fist. When he opened it again, there was a flame, bright and blue against his bare palm, burning but not scalding. It was a miracle, it was... Morgana stared, until she started believing, until she no longer thought she had started hallucinating again.
'But how? I thought all magic was dead. Our powers-'
'Magic is like memories. It's never gone. Once it's touched you, it stays there, like a seed for times to come.'
She closed his hand, watched the fire disappear and jump up again as she opened it. She laughed, amazed. And so did he.
'And I thought I was mad.'
'You're not mad, Morgana. You never were.'
Making some more room on her side, Morgana pulled Merlin on the bed with her, closing tight around each other like clams. Her hand borrowed through his jacket to the front of his shirt, counting the heartbeats that were going increasingly faster. She wanted to ask, to know, to be around him so much more, but for the wonderful peaceful while she was content to stay like this.
Merlin spoke first.
'Do you have any plans, for holidays?' It was played to sound like a simple question. Morgana shook her head, holding her breath.
'Good, me neither.'
He was going to let it hang, like an open invitation, one she could not refuse. It was now, not never.
'We should go somewhere,' Morgana leaned up, caught a glimpse of his eyes, still deep cobalt blue. 'And please don't let it be 'nowhere' again. I'm done with this cold.'
'Yeah. Me too.' Merlin understood and grinned. 'I've always wanted to see India.'
Turquoise and red, bright yellow saris filled her mind like a vision, blue silk that wrapped around her waist and covered her arm, laden with golden hoops and rings. Temples and gurus. Walking through multicolored dye and spice markets, his warm hand steady on her back.
Morgana hummed, closing her eyes.
'It could work.'
A/N: Merlin and Morgana, on magical worldtravelling adventures. I would pay to see that show.