AN: I do not own Merlin-obviously.
"What would you do?"
Merlin felt his heart crack a little. He knew what he would do; he knew what he almost did. But he pressed on regardless. "You can't," He whispered.
Mordred stared at him. "Tell me you wouldn't do the same. For the woman you loved."
Merlin wanted to cry from the agony. "Don't be foolish."
Mordred stared at him. Seeing into his soul. "You see, you cannot."
Merlin watched him turn away. Felt his heart break at the memories pouring into him. The soft hair, the brown eyes. The kind warm soul.
"Her name was Freya." Mordred stopped. But Merlin didn't see him any more. His mind was far away. Deep in the catacombs. Sitting by a lake. Anywhere but here. "I loved her."
"Loved?" Mordred asked.
"With all my heart." Merlin paused, struggling momentarily to keep the pain out of his voice. "I would have left everything behind for her."
"Why didn't you?" Mordred's voice held both accusation and curiosity.
"We were going to… that night." He choked back a silent sob. Oh how he missed her. "But she didn't want me to give up everything. She ran while I collected provisions for us."
"She left you." Merlin stayed silent for a moment.
"She didn't make it past the gates. She was a druid, an escaped druid at that. They were looking for her." Merlin stopped.
"She was executed." Mordred was staring at him now.
Merlin let out a hoarse laugh. "She had been cursed. By a sorceress who blamed Freya for her sons death." His heart was breaking all over again. "They had her cornered. And… she changed into a Bastet."
Mordred gave a sharp gasp.
"It wasn't her fault." Merlin felt as though he was begging Mordred to understand. No one else had ever heard this story. No one else had ever been able to understand with him, to help heal him. "She would never hurt a soul."
Mordred stared at him; there was a slow nod. "The knights killed her before you could stop them."
Another hoarse laugh was torn from his throat. "No. Arthur killed her."
Mordred took a step back. "Arthur?"
Merlin couldn't take it anymore. He stumbled backwards until his back was against the wall, and slid down to the ground. He was lost in the memories, lost in the pain. He didn't think he had ever truly been allowed to grieve for Freya. It had been years since her death. Years since he had been allowed to see her in the lake for a short time. Years since he had allowed himself to look at the gaping wound in his soul.
He didn't even comprehend that Mordred was moving towards him. Didn't comprehend that Mordred slid down cautiously to sit next to him.
Merlin stared at Mordred for a moment. "You would do anything for her, because you love her beyond all comprehension. You love her more than destiny, and fate, and magic itself. And you would give all of it up. Everything, because she understood you. She knew you. And it didn't matter to her what mistakes you had made, and it didn't matter to you what mistakes she had made. You loved her. More than anything."
He turned to look at Mordred, he felt like he was begging again. "But it doesn't matter, because deep down you know, it didn't matter what course of action you take. Something was going to go wrong. And either way her death was going to be your fault." He took a deep shuddering breath. He couldn't say any more. He was to close to completely breaking.
Mordred moved closer to him. Merlin felt himself get pulled closer until his head was resting on Mordred's shoulder and the tears that he had been trying so hard to stop trailed down. The two sat silent, no one said anything, and the pain was to thick in his throat and his heart for any words to get past. Blankly he wonders why he was never allowed the chance to do this before.
"If you run with her I won't tell." He didn't know where the words came from, or how the words managed to get past the painful lump in his throat. But he remembered. He remembered loving someone so much that you would give everything for them. Do anything for them. He didn't want Arthur to die. But if he was Mordred, if he had a chance with Freya again. He would hope that someone, anyone, would give him a chance to be with her. And he remembered, oh he remembered. And as selfish and foolish as it was-when it came to that deep soul wrenching love. Albion, magic, everything. It seemed so empty. Because what was magic, and destiny, and fate, if there was no love. And he had been denied love to often. He had been denied a chance at happiness for to long. He couldn't. Just couldn't deny Mordred.
"You would let us go." The words were soft. Mordred sounded surprised and hesitant. Merlin didn't blame him, couldn't blame him.
"I wish someone would have given me a chance." He hiccupped. He was starting to feel numb. He expected Mordred to move away, to go to the girl in the cell.
"How long?" Merlin looked up at Mordred, a bit of confusion managing to pierce through the fog.
"How long what?"
"How long have you been alone?"
Merlin stayed silent. "Mum never really understood, she loved me, I know that. But I think there was some small part of her that was frightened by me. She loved me so much, but she never understood. Will too, he wasn't frightened. But, he never really comprehended why I hid myself. He never understood how dangerous Magic could be. Gaius, Gaius tries. I know he does. But I've always been the question without an answer to him. And I know he tries to understand. But how can you understand the pressure of an impossible destiny without first feeling it?"
He fell silent again. Sudden indecision attacking him now as the weight of his destiny fell on him again. The warnings not to trust the man sitting next to him clenching at his heart.
Mordred kept silent for a moment, before gently pressing on "How long, Emrys?"
The words poured out despite his hesitancy. He needed someone to understand, anyone, even if it was only the man who was supposed to destroy his destiny. "Lancelot found out. But he left immediately afterward, and despite the fact that he knew, I was still left alone, because he was gone, off to prove himself." He hesitated "I don't blame him, I understand why he left. But still part of me broke when I had found a confidant only to lose him so soon." His eyes closed, the silent tears that had been pouring down his cheeks slowing. "I wanted to tell Morgana, I truly did. I saw how afraid and lonely she felt. I knew personally how painful it was. But I was afraid. I had never actually told anyone. And she was the King's Ward. I was a servant. So I sent her to the druids, but it all went wrong, and more people died because of me, because I was too afraid to tell a lonely girl that she wasn't alone. And then, she turned to Morgause, and suddenly I couldn't tell her even if I wanted to. Because I was to late to tell the truth, and she was too far gone for me to reach. And it was my fault. I wasn't there for her. And then, I poisoned her. It was her life or hundreds of others. And I poisoned her like a common coward. I held her as she started to die. And she'll never understand that it broke my heart just as much as it broke hers." He stopped again.
"I don't understand love. It doesn't make sense. But I loved Freya. I saved her from a bounty hunter, hid her in the catacombs. I filched food from Arthur and a dress from Morgana." He frowned again "This was before Morgana turned, before I failed her." He shook off the thought, only half conscious of the fact that his head was still on Mordred's shoulder and that Mordred was listening to him. He was just speaking now, relaying the pain and loneliness that had been his companion for far to long. "She was beautiful, not just on the outside, you could see the beauty in her broken eyes, and her hesitant smile. I made her smile you know. My magic made her smile. And more than destiny ever had, her smile made my magic feel worth it. Made me feel worth it. I made the flames dance for her, I tried to make her strawberries, I failed though. I ended up making her a rose instead. She really smiled then. It was beautiful, she was beautiful, and for a minute I think I helped heal her, she didn't seem so broken and afraid down there with the flames and the rose. I practiced you know, after her death. I practiced constantly until I could make strawberries. She loved strawberries." He cupped his hands for a moment and felt the magic flow through him. But he didn't uncup his hands, he couldn't. Mordred's eyes were still on him. And slowly his hand moved towards his and uncupped his hands to look at the strawberry nestled into his hand. "I was going to run with her. Because she made me feel more alive than any adventure, any destiny. But she loved me, and she ran, because she didn't want me to lose what I had. Even though I would have given it all away for her."
"She ran, but she didn't run fast enough, soon enough, and the cornered her just before midnight. I made it down to the catacombs to find her gone. I screamed for her then. Because even then I knew, I knew that it was going to go wrong. I found her transformed into a Bastet, surrounded by the knights and Arthur. I stood there and watched as Arthur gave her a fatal wound. They were going to go for her again, but I dropped a gargoyle on them. She ran then, ran back to the catacombs. I went with her, watched as she changed back to her human form and the wound that was fatal as a bastet was even worse as a human, and there was nothing I could do. I kept her alive long enough to put her in Morgana's dress and get her to the Lake of Avalon. She died there, She died in my arms. And she thanked me. She thanked me as she died. Told me that I saved her, and she died. And I didn't save her, I wasn't strong enough. I couldn't. I burned her on the lake."
He couldn't breathe anymore. It was too much, to painful. And it hurt. Oh it hurt. "I saw her one last time, when she gave me the sword Excalibur. And it broke my heart again. She said that since I had saved her she was going to help save me. And I wanted to leave destiny all over again, to join her in the lake. I didn't obviously, I'm not even sure if it was possible, but I so desperately wanted to though."
He sighed, he was to far along to stop talking now. "And then Lancelot was back. And I felt like I didn't have to be alone. He helped me hide my magic, although I had gotten pretty good at hiding it, obviously since I was still alive. But it felt safer, and he wanted to see my magic, and that made it seem like less of a curse and a burden. And then he went and sacrificed himself. Sometimes I still wish that he had let me sacrifice myself. I hated myself for so long after we lost Lancelot. Because he sacrificed himself in part because he believed I had a bigger destiny." He laughed then, a hoarse, painful laugh. "Destiny, I hate that word." He was lost in thought again. Lost in the depths of his mind.
"Emrys." He raised his head to look at Mordred. "You're not done Emrys."
"Why aren't you saving her yet? I'm letting you save, promising to not interfere. Why aren't you saving her?"
Mordred just stared at him. "Go on Emrys, finish."
And Merlin let his head fall back to Mordred's shoulder. Because he was listening, and no one had ever really listened before. "Lancelot came back as some sort of wraith. And I think that killed me just as much as having him gone. Because he was there, but he wasn't. And he didn't remember. After he killed himself I took him to the Lake of Avalon too. I forced the part of him controlled by Morgana out, and he was there long enough to thank me. And then he died again. He thanked me! But I couldn't save him, I wasn't there for Gwen when she was banished. I had failed all over again."
"Gwen, oh Gwen. She's one of my dearest friends. Her, and Gwaine, and Arthur. But none of them see. Gwen thinks that I'm a sweet friend, powerless, but strong. She's always thanking me for being there for her. But I don't feel as though I really am, I would do everything for her, everything but tell her the truth. And she's so in love, and she's so happy, that even if I could go to her I don't think I would. Because she's so happy."
His voice broke again. "And Gwaine he trusts me, he told me I was his first friend. And he told me his deepest secret. And I couldn't tell him my own secret. And even now, even now he tells me his secrets and his fears. And I can't tell him mine. And I feel like a traitor because, I want to tell him. I want to, I do. But I can't. The words get stuck in my throat and the fear flares up, and I feel even more alone. Because he would listen, I know he would. But the fear is to much, and I can't, I can't tell. And I think it's going to break me."
He fell silent again, because he felt a little farther away from breaking than he had before, and he thinks it can only be because for the first time in nine years he's finally told someone. And he can't help but snort at the irony that he's telling Mordred. Mordred the man that will kill Arthur, Mordred the man the he just told to take Kara, the girl who had tried to kill Arthur, and run. And he wonders how he got here.
"And Arthur?" Mordred again, prompting him, trying to help him finish, to end this.
"Not yet. Kilgharrah tries too." He stops for a moment. "He's a dragon," He added lamely, because he doesn't think that anyone actually knows Kilgharrah. "Kilgharrah was alone for so long, so he understands, or tries to. But he gets so caught up in destiny that he doesn't see what the weight of destiny does. He doesn't really see how much it hurts to have the pressure of Albion on your shoulders." He stops for a second. "Did I say how much I hate that word?" He sighed again.
"It was because of Kilgharrah that I met my father. I had set him free and he was burning Camelot, and we had to find the last Dragon Lord. Arthur and I set out to find him, and before we left, Gaius told me that he, Balinor, was my father. And it hurt, because that meant that Uther had forced me to grow up without a father, and that Uther was the reason I had to hide who I was. Uther was the reason my mother was alone and I was afraid. And it hurt because my father was alive, and I had never even known his name. We found him. He was living in a cave. All alone, and he was so bitter, and so alone, and so hurt. And I imagined that was going to be me in the future, alone, afraid and hunted. But despite the fact that he was bitter and angry, he came with us. And I don't think it was for Camelot, I don't think that it was for the people or for the dragon, and it certainly wasn't for Uther. I think he came back for me. And then we were attacked. And he jumped in front of a sword for me. And he died in my arms too. And it hurt, because I had just found him, and I had wanted to take him back to Ealdor to see my mother. And he was dead, and it was my fault, because I let the dragon free, I convinced him to come, I was to slow to save myself. And he saved me. And he left me with one more power that I didn't want." Merlin stopped "I never told my mother. I never told her that I met Balinor, I never told her that he died in my arms, or that he left me as the last Dragon Lord. And a carved dragon. He left me a carved dragon, and I don't think I will ever give it up. Because it's the only thing I have of him."
He stopped again, two more… there were just two more left.
"Arthur is my best friend. I would give my life for him. I have already given up everything else. And it hurts, because he doesn't know me, he doesn't understand me. And it hurts because I will always come second. I will always be pushed away for the newest knight, or some noble. And he says that he trusts me with everything. But every time I warn him, every time I tell him that something has gone wrong, or that something has happened, he pushes me away and tells me to leave. And then he reminds me that I am just a servant. And it hurts. Because I have given him everything, and he can't even trust me. And it hurts, because I can't count the times I've been left behind. And he walks away and just expects me to show up and follow. And he doesn't even see that it's breaking me."
He shifted a little, "When did I become so weak?" He didn't wait for Mordred to answer.
"And then there's you." He felt Mordred shift in surprise and then stiffen. But Merlin continued before he could say anything. "You're the only one who could ever understand, but I couldn't turn to you, I couldn't trust you. So many people, so many people telling me to not trust you. Finna, the dragon, the crystal. And it hurt, because you were like me, and you wanted to help, and you wanted my help, and I had to push you away, and I wanted nothing more than to tell you that it was going to be ok, that you didn't have to be alone in this kingdom without magic. But I couldn't because they said not to trust you, and I was so afraid, so afraid of what you could do, what you might do. And so this time I was all alone, and it was more my fault than ever." He stopped again, and took a shuddering breath. "And I can never tell you sorry enough, because I let you go through all this alone, when I know just how painful it is to be alone."
Mordred said nothing. Merlin didn't expect him to. He pulled himself away from Mordred. "Save her. Be happy." Mordred didn't move for a moment. He moved away slowly, moving towards the cells, towards Kara. And even as Merlin felt the fear of failing his destiny. He didn't stop him. He made no move to tell Arthur. Because he had been alone for so long. And he couldn't help but hope that Mordred would never have to be alone again. He sat there. He didn't think he was going to move anytime soon. Maybe in the morning. By then Mordred and Kara should be gone, be free. Be happy and together.
He thinks he's fallen asleep, there on the floor leaning against the wall. Because time passes faster than it should have. And he wondered if it was normal to feel both light and heavy at the same time. The pain from the night before has lessened. Along with the ache of countless secrets and stories. It's still there, still heavy. But he thinks now that each day won't be quite as painful.
He doesn't want to see Kilgharrah again. Doesn't want to face him and tell him that he let Mordred go, practically pushed him to Morgana. Pushed him into a position from which he can kill Arthur.
He doesn't want to face Arthur again. Doesn't want to realize that it will be all his fault if Mordred does kill Arthur. He doesn't want to see the pain in Gwen's face, or feel the loss of the kingdom at losing their king.
But he can't feel like it's wrong. Because what is destiny if there is no love. And he's lived so long without love.
He's still sitting there lost in his thoughts when Mordred sits next to him. He doesn't know how long Mordred's been sitting there before he actually notices that he's there.
Mordred sits there for a moment, saying nothing. But Merlin notices that he's trembling, and there are tears pouring down his cheeks. And Merlin doesn't know what to think except to pull Mordred to him until this time Mordred's head is on his shoulder.
"She's going to die in a few hours." Merlin doesn't say anything. He doesn't know if there is anything to say. Because he doesn't understand. He sent Mordred to Kara. Told him to run. Why would Mordred be here now, letting her die?
Mordred continued to shake in Merlin's arms. "Please don't let me be alone anymore." Merlin pulled him closer. He didn't understand now. But someday he would.
"Never again." He whispered "Never again."
They sat there. Huddled in on each other. Trying to block the pain they were both feeling.
Neither said anything when they felt Kara's life force come to a shattering end. Neither said anything when Percival came across them several hours later.
Percival didn't say anything either. He merely moved on, and Merlin had a stray thought that perhaps Percival was the reason that no one else ventured down that hall for the rest of the day.
It was hours later when Mordred finally spoke. "I think part of me has died."
Merlin didn't say anything. Just pulled Mordred a little closer. Because he understood all to well what Mordred meant.
It was only later that he wondered if that was the death that Kilgharrah had meant. And he wondered distractedly if it would have been kinder to have actually been killed.
AN: If there are some people out there who want to hear what I think Mordred was thinking during this exchange I'd love to know, because then I might actually have the enthusiasm needed to finish that up. But if this itself was junk than I don't think I'll bother. So let me know if this was any good and if you think that Mordred's Point of View would be an interesting read. If so than I will definitely add Mordred's Point of View.