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 was waiting in front of a rather intimidating limestone mansion, at the top of he stairs rimmed by two giant banisters. The only greenery in the yard - massive flowerpots with evergreen shrubs and were symmetrically placed to a point of obsession. And the grovelled yard alone could easily fit the whole of uncle Gaius's house and the back yard with it. Indeed, anyone from a modest working class background would inevitably feel intimidated by the sheer grandure of the facade, just as he, too, would have been a mere week ago.
The door opened, and instead of Arthur, he was faced with Pendragon the senior, a gradually graying man in a modest plaid shirt, apparently trying to mitigate the air of command his offspring (as well everyone else) seemed to latch on to immediately. No man can escape their shadow... Stretching out his hand, Merlin introduced himself as Cal.
'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 incomperensibly odd.
Merlin was then ushered to the so-called 'crystal cage', but the sight that opened to him was in fact a rather comfortable wooden floored hall, with white walls and but a few interior elements. 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. 'We thought this could help cheer her up.'
Merlin commented on it as 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 step-father? 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 wave of heat coursing down her body. It was as if like there was a early summer, not Christmas time hiding behind the wall of white curtains. Uther had insisted to put up the decorations way too early, still over-compensating for the things he hardly needed to, but Morgana decided not to mind and 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, watching Gwen fuss with her pillows, the thermometer and medicine on her bedside table. When she finally left, her visitor was alreadeady standing beside of the door, hands behind his back, looking uncharacterisically reserved.
Then he smiled. This was the Merlin she knew.
The same boyish, excited face. He looked less scruffy than before, in a checkered shirt, and a winter jacket she didn't recognize. She got a distinct impression of him preenin in front of the hallway 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 secretly wondered if that was 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. Where 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 managed that.'
'Getting job or putting up with Arthur?'
Morgana grinned and nudged him playfully in his shoulder, breaking the barrier of contact. His laughter was clear and untroubled.
'So how long will you be working for him?' Morgana asked, as light as possible. He nodded, searching for her reaction.
'Just for the time being. 'Sides, he could use someone with a little backbone. His words, mind you.'
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 leaned at the bed, took her hand in his, resting on the edge of the bed. His skin was hot compared to hers, and her pulse trembled in his hand. He breathed out.
'I am so, so sorry, for what I said last time.'
'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 beat him to it. 'I can cope with it now. Please don't pity 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... Magic. 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.
'For a second I thought I was going 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 burrowed through his jacket down 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.
'I have a good feeling about this.'
A/N: Merlin and Morgana, on magical worldtravelling adventures. I would pay to see that show.