As much as I know this whole, alternate end thing has been overdone...this is a story, well a scene really, that has been running through my head ever since the series finale, so I felt compelled to write it down. It takes place between or in the last episodes. So if you haven't seen the series finale yet, and don't want plot spoilers, read no further!
This was originally supposed to be a one shot, but will end up being a few short chapters, so as to get out at least something for you all today. Hope you enjoy!
Merlin walked the battle field. Two emotions drove him forward. Worry and anger. He was worried he wouldn't find or get to Arthur in time. After his lightning show, the Saxons had retreated, but that didn't mean Arthur was safe. Merlin wished his 80 yr old body could move faster. He was thankful for the staff for support, especially as his cloak kept catching on fallen swords and shields. As much as he didn't want to, he had to stare at all the bodies, in Camelot red, to be sure the King wasn't among them. So much needless death. He was disgusted by the sight, and it fueled his anger towards Morgana and Mordred. He knew the only way Morgana could've known that he was Emrys, was that Mordred had betrayed them. Because of one boy's selfish act, his magic, the core of his being had been ripped from him, leaving him feeling more helpless than he had ever felt, and he had had to leave Arthur, at a time when he needed him the most. He would never forget the look of disappointment and betrayal on Arthur's face. He prayed he had the opportunity to make it up to him someday.
A cold feeling swept over Merlin as once again he feared he would be too late to save Arthur from Mordred's hand; and he found for the first time in his life, murder burned in his heart. It did not matter if Arthur was dead or still alive, if Merlin found Mordred, he would kill him, and he wouldn't shed one tear of regret or guilt.
**ELSEWHERE ON THE BATTLEFIELD**
Arthur lifted an injured soldier off the ground guided him back towards camp. He had made it about 5 steps when two other knights came and took the man from him. It had been like that since the Saxons had retreated. He had led a large group of the un-injured out to the battlefield to recover the wounded, they would deal with the dead, and there were many, after attending to the living. However his men wouldn't let him fully escort anyone back to camp. As much as he appreciated their dedication to each other, and him, it made him feel rather useless.
He knelt down next to a man who appeared to be unconscious, with blood trailing down the side of his head. He felt for a pulse and listened for breathing.
Relief flooded him. "Over here!" He shouted back towards the knights, who came and carried the man away.
He watched them leave, pride filling his heart, and stood up. He froze when he turned around. Further down the battlefield, a figure moved between the fallen and the dead, in a similar manner to what Arthur had been doing. Conflicting emotions flooded him as he took in the red robe, and long white hair and beard. He couldn't stop the anger, that that face triggered. The face of the man that had promised to save his father, and had failed. At the same time Arthur knew that without the old sorcerer, the battle would have been lost. The amount of power the old man had displayed, scared Arthur, but he was thankful at the same time.
Suddenly the old man paused as well, and met Arthur's gaze. "Arthur!"
Arthur was startled by the voice, for he knew he was too far away to have heard anything, but he could hear the relief in the voice that said his name. He stared dumbfounded as the old man's movement changed and he began heading straight towards the young king.
By now, some to of the knights had noticed Arthur's lack of movement and followed his gaze. They gathered around, swords drawn, ready to defend their King. Focused on the old man, no one noticed the dark figure moving in the shadows.
He stood still in between the two rock faces. The darkness of the crevice, hiding hiding his presence. He was ashamed to admit it, but he had run. When he saw him, up on the hill, commanding the lightning, fear gripped him and he had hid. He listened to the shouts of the knights of Camelot combing the battlefield looking for survivors. Then, his heart had stopped as Arthur came into view. He watched his former King as he went from man to man checking for the living. It surprised and amazed him to see Arthur, not just checking and calling for help for those in red cloaks and chain-mail, but Saxons as well. It reminded him of why he had chosen to follow Arthur in the first place, what he had seen in him. Compassion and honor. Yet, anger burned as he thought of Cora. Where was the great King's compassion then? He looked at the sword in his hand. He had never wielded such a powerful weapon of magic before. When Morgana had presented it to him, he had been proud to be her chosen warrior. He looked at it now conflicted. It was a weapon forged for one purpose. To bring Death. He looked back towards the battlefield. Arthur had moved past him. He crept forward slightly, keeping in the shadows, until he came into view once more. Arthur stood, still like a statue, looking off in the distance. Mordred could not see what it was that had caught the young king's attention, but it had drawn the attention of the knights as well. They had placed themselves in front of and to the side of Arthur. All attention was away from where Mordred lurked in the shadows. There was a clear path to Arthur. Fear and doubt gripped him as he tried to build up the courage to do what he knew he must. He steeled himself, took a deep breath and moved from the shadows.
Arthur watched as the sorcerer steadily made his way towards them. The knights' presence didn't seem to both him. His nerves twinged as if to say 'DANGER!' but he knew that if the old man had intended to harm him, he would have done so already. He had stuck down dozens of Saxons, from three times the distance he was to Arthur now. Logic told Arthur, if the sorcerer had meant him ill, he would already be dead, but he couldn't shake a nagging feeling that something was off. He was so lost in his thoughts, he almost missed the sounds of someone approaching, slowly from behind. It was what made him such a great warrior and hunter, even when distracted, his senses were always alert. He was loath to take his attention away from the sorcerer, but could tell by the rate of movement, that whoever it was, was moving slowly trying not to be heard, which was never a good thing. He gripped his sword tightly and waited until his foe was just past striking distance. As he turned around quickly, he heard someone shout his name.
Merlin tried to control his excitement and he moved towards Arthur. He wanted to drop the aging spell so he could run to his friend's side. Of course that was not a wise idea, especially as the knights gathered to protect their king. He knew he needed to approach this situation with care. He was only a few meters away now. A small rock outcropping was the only thing that stood in his path. While normally he could have hopped up, onto and down it with ease, right now he may as well have been trying to climb a mountain. He grunted as he got up on top of the rock, using his staff to push himself up, and stopped to catch a breath before attempting the step down. He glanced towards Arthur, who still seemed so far away. That's when he noticed a slight movement behind the king. A dark figure, the glint of a sword. "Arthur!" He yelled and jumped forward. He cursed as he hit the ground and tumbled as his old legs gave out under the strain. He looked up, all had turned around. He couldn't see Arthur or Mordred, just the backs of the knights. He muttered a spell to give himself a burst of energy, pushed himself off the ground and raced forward praying he wasn't too late.
Wishing everyone a HAPPY NEW YEAR!