Disclaimer: I don't own either Supernatural or Merlin.
A/N: Hello. Well ... this is going to be a little bit of an experiment for me as this is my first cross-over fic. I'm publishing it as a WIP in the hopes that I can update it at least once a week and get me back into the habit of writing on a consistent basis. Anyways ... I hope you enjoy and drop me a line to let me know what you think of it, good or bad. This also doesn't have a beta, so all mistakes are completely mine.
Takes place season 8 of Supernatural and mid-season 3 of Merlin
Look, but Don't Touch
Sam blew off a layer of dust from yet another box and tried to hold in a sneeze.
He sneezed anyway.
Dean sent a half-sympathetic look towards his brother as he stacked another box onto the shelf, "Gesundheit".
"Damn … "Sam sniffed, "Just how much stuff you think is in here?" He asked, looking uncertainly into the depths of the cavernous storage vault. Dean had just found the room in the bowels of their new-found 'bat-cave' as he called it and immediately dragged Sam down to see it as well.
Dean blew out a breath, seeming to be just as overwhelmed as Sam over the sheer amount of stuff that filled the space, "Dunno … but I guess we should get an inventory." He replied, picking up a small trinket that neither of them knew the purpose of, turning it over in his hands, "Ya know … for men of letters, you'd think they'd label a thing or two."
Sam couldn't help but agree with Dean for once, and snorted, taking the trinket from his brother's hands and carefully placing it back on the shelf. "Yeah … and we don't know what half of these things down here do, so be careful. Wouldn't want either one of us to get accidentally cursed … again." He remarked, clearly recalling a certain run-in with a rather unlucky rabbit's foot.
Dean grunted and nodded distractedly, walking further into the vault while eying the shelves stacked twelve feet high with various curse boxes, weapons, and objects.
Sam too was fascinated and followed Dean slowly into the space. Dean stopped before one shelf and whistled lowly, "Whoa … take a look at this." Dean pulled a large, wooden crossbow from a shelf and eyed it admiringly, "This thing is ancient. Think it still works?"
Sam Shot Dean an exasperated glare." Dean … seriously?"
"Oh right … look, but don't touch."
"Got it in one."
"You're no fun."
Eventually, the brothers drifted apart towards opposite ends of the vault on their own, each exploring the items they had apparently inherited. Most of the objects appeared to be contained in hex boxes, so Sam didn't even bother with trying to open them or find out what was in them, trusting that they were in them for a good reason, but some things were left out in plain view and he was caught up in wonder, imagining the history behind them all. There were weapons of all kinds; guns, knives, swords, even a freaking bazooka, but some of the other items appeared to be rather innocuous in nature; ornamental vases, mortars and pestles, including an enigma machine from WWII.
Despite the enormity of the collection, Sam wasn't sure there was much they could really do with it all except keep it all locked in the vault. Just as he finished that thought, Sam turned a corner towards another row of shelves and felt a strange sensation wash over him.
He could feel it in his toes and fingertips; a weird tingling that expanded with each step like he was pulled toward into an electromagnet. He found he couldn't stop himself or turn around and go back, he could only move forward. His feet didn't stop until he was standing in front of a shelf.
Upon the shelf sat a crystal. It wasn't anything really all that remarkable, just a shard of quartz that looked to have been cut and polished, yet at the same time there was something about it that Sam couldn't tear his eyes from.
Every thought in his head was telling him to turn around, to leave the thing alone since he didn't know what it was or what it did, but his hands wouldn't listen to his mind and lifted on their own. He simply could not resist it, like it was compelling him to touch it.
Sam's fingertips met the smooth, polished surface of the stone. It was cold to the touch at first, it soon became warm as a soft white glow began to emanate from the crystal's core. Transfixed by the light growing from its center, Sam's grip only tightened while the stone grew hot, but despite the heat searing his hands, he couldn't let it go.
The crystal suddenly flashed and an explosion of light engulfed him, blinding him and sending all of his senses into nothingness.
Merlin sighed long and wearily.
Arthur answered by rolling his eyes and retuning his servant's sigh with one of his own, whispering, "Will you cut that out?"
"Cut what out?"
"You know what."
"If I did know what you were talking about, then why did I just ask what I should cut out?"
"You're going to scare away the game if you keep making noise."
"You're the one that started talking."
Arthur turned his head and glared, unwilling to concede Merlin's point, instead he simply growled low in his throat and readied his bow. Merlin knew he shouldn't push the prince, but in truth he was utterly and thoroughly bored. They had been tracking the same deer for hours, but each time the stag came into view and Arthur lined up shot with his longbow, the deer would either move till it was obscured by trees or amble off leisurely, just fast enough to get itself out of arrow's range.
It was like it was just toying with them.
Arthur was irritated and seemed to take the behavior of the buck as a persona affront to his hunting skills. He wasn't about to let this one go and it had become clear to Merlin that they were never going to leave the forest unless Arthur had that deer's carcass draped over his saddle.
Night was quickly approaching, however, and the shadows of the woods were growing long under the glow of the coming sunset. Soon there wouldn't be enough light for them to head back to the castle let alone catch a fickle deer.
"Don't you think we've been at this long enough?" Merlin asked, heedless of Arthur's annoyance, "This deer has clearly outsmarted you."
"Merlin …" Arthur growled, gritting his teeth, "I swear to all that is good and honest in this world that if you do not shut up, I will hunt you instead of the deer."
Merlin muttered under his breath something about pratty princes, but just as he was thinking about pointing out how dark it was getting, Arthur raised his hand at the sound of a rustling breaking through the trees. Crouching, both Arthur and Merlin readied themselves behind a bush and a large tree, the prince pulling an arrow from his quiver and nocking it to the bow's string, preparing for his chance to finally take down the blasted deer.
At last, the buck's antlers came into view as he stepped into the clearing, dipping its head to the forest floor to graze on some acorns. Carefully and quietly, Arthur stood, raised his bow and arrow to the sky then pulled back on the bowstring while lowering it down to aim for the deer's midsection. It was a clear shot, but Arthur was took care to make sure his aim was true and was still as a statue for several moments, holding the nock of the arrow with his fingers pressed against his cheek as he calmed his breathing.
Merlin held his breath. He hated this part of the hunt; knowing that the deer was soon to die by Arthur's hand. He felt nothing but sympathy for the animal and he had half a mind to shift or cough in order to scare the deer away since he really didn't like seeing such majestic creatures killed, but it was pointless to even try that when Arthur was so determined and they may never leave this forest until his master had his trophy.
It turned out that Merlin needed not make a single noise when the deer's head suddenly lifted, its ears flattening against its head just before it darted off into the forest at full pelt. Arthur's reaction was instantaneous as he let loose his arrow, but he was still a half second too late and the arrow embedded itself into a tree just behind the spot where the deer had previously been grazing.
Arthur stomped his feet and let fly a string of curse words that even Gwaine would have blushed to hear. He turned on Merlin, his face beet-red and angry, "Merlin! What did you do?"
"I didn't do anything, I swear!" Merlin came back, raising his hands. For once, he really hadn't done anything to scare the animals away.
"You must have made some kind of noise. Deer don't just run unless –"
A grunting and snorting sound followed by a rustling in the bushes quickly had Arthur shutting his mouth and raising his guard.
"Boar?" Merlin asked.
"Possibly … hand me my spear."
Merlin reached the spear attached to the pack on his pack and handed it off to Arthur, who took a step out from the bush, tense and hefting his spear up, ready to throw the moment he saw the boar. Cautiously, he moved forward, holding a hand out towards Merlin, silently communicating for him to stay back. More growling noises erupted from the line of bushes opposite the clearing from them causing a knot of anxiety to twist in Merlin's stomach – it was starting to sound less and less like a boar, but the cover of the bushes was too thick for the creature to be seen.
Ignoring the Prince's direction to stay behind the bush, Merlin quickly shucked off the pack he had been carrying all day and pulled his sword from its scabbard. In truth, he was rubbish with a sword, but holding it in his hands while Arthur moved towards the sounds coming from the bushes gave him a slight measure of comfort. Even though he really didn't need a sword given the magic he had flowing through his veins, Merlin had to be careful when he used it, and especially around Arthur who still knew nothing about him being a warlock and whose father would readily sentence him to death if he was discovered. He couldn't really go about casting spells right in front of him, so sword he would wield unless he was forced to use magic to save their backsides … again.
Arthur was only a few steps in front of Merlin when the rustling in the bushes in front of him suddenly stopped and all went deafeningly quiet – not a single bird peeped or cricket chirped.
"What the –" halting, the prince looked about in confusion. Merlin felt his hair stand on end as a terrible dread washed over him and sent his magical instincts into a full-tilt panic. Whatever it was – it was no boar.
They needed to get out of there – now.
Before Merlin could open his mouth to warn Arthur, the bush in front of him exploded outward, leaves and twigs flying in all directions. All he saw was a mass of black fur and long, vicious teeth as his ears were filled with a deafening, wild roar. Had the creature been about four times smaller, Merlin would have thought it a wolf, but it wasn't just its size that set it apart from any normal dog or wolf, it was its red, glowing eyes that radiated pure evil – the likes of which he had never seen before.
Instantly, the beast charged, knocking Arthur into a nearby tree with a simple swipe of one clawed paw, tossing the young man into a nearby tree before Merlin could do a damn thing to stop it. Arthur's head connected forcefully with a sickening crack against the trunk and he fell boneless to the ground in a heap, his spear lying useless by his side. In a blur, the beast reared on Merlin and before he could breathe a word of any kind of spell that might repel the creature's attack, the thing pounced on him, knocking him onto his back, his sword flying from his hand. It landed on soundly on his chest, its weight crushing him as its long claws sank deep into his chest.
Merlin cried out in pain, his eyes flashing gold while his magic reacted instinctively, strengthening his arms in order to keep the teeth of the animal from tearing into his throat. This only served to anger the beast further and its claws dug in deeper, searing into flesh and muscle, its rancid, hot breath and spittle hitting him full in the face.
Pain encompassed Merlin. With the weight of beast upon his chest, he could hardly breathe and his vision was darkening, filling with black spots that floated in and out. Even his magic was weakening as he fought to throw the creature from him, but the more he tried to fight it, the stronger the thing seemed to become as though it was draining the magic from him and using it for itself.
Merlin pulled back his magic, using what was left of his physical strength to fight, but he knew it was not going to be enough. He could feel himself slipping. He was going to die. He was going to fail Arthur and Camelot.
His hold on consciousness loosening, Merlin mentally prepared himself for the finishing blow when the weight on his chest suddenly lifted and the claws ripped from his skin. The creature roared angrily and whirled, a spear embedded in its back while just behind it, Arthur wobbled unsteadily, breathing heavily as he dove for the sword Merlin had dropped, rolling as he grabbed it from the ground and started swinging.
Merlin's relief at seeing Arthur on his feet and still alive was short lived as he realized wearily that despite Arthur's incredible skills with a sword, he knew that that alone wasn't going to stop the beast.
He was going to need Merlin's help.
While the prince was distracted with the fight, Merlin raised a shaky hand and sent a wave of his magic into the sword, strengthening the blade, and sharpening its edges to make it deadlier just as Arthur managed to get a cutting blow in across the animal's muzzle.
With a pitiful whine, the beast fell back, shaking its head in pain. Arthur moved into to make the kill, but before he could get close enough, the beast roared then leaped into the bushes, disappearing into the forest just as quickly as it had attacked.
Merlin let his head fall back to the ground, his vision spinning and wavering as pain took a new hold over him. In the next second, Arthur's face filled his vision, backlit by a growing white light. His mouth was moving as if he was speaking, but Merlin couldn't hear a word of it – the blood rushing in his ears was too loud. At the same time, a strange tingling sensation had taken over his body, replacing the pain with numbness and soon Arthur's face was fading into a bright, white light.
Merlin felt as if he was being pulled up and out in all directions at once and in a flash, the light was all around him until he knew nothing anymore.
He was aware of pain – deep in his chest, but for the life of him he couldn't remember how he had been injured. Had they been hunting something? He didn't think so. He tried to think about the last thing he had been doing, but he only came up blank. He pondered all of this without bothering to open his eyes – he was too tired and in his body ached too much for him to come around completely and instead, he slipped back into blissful nothingness.
When he woke again, it was to the sound of voices.
"How long is he going to be out?" A young man asked.
What was that? A British accent?
"Hard to say, Sire. He lost a good deal of blood." An older voice answered.
Sire? Who the hell calls anyone sire? What the hell?
He tried to open his eyes, but it was like peeling duct tape off a hairy arm, it almost physically hurt. However, if he was going to get any answers, he needed to get his stubborn eyelids to work. Finally, he managed to get them apart a slit and was immediately assaulted by light streaming in from a nearby window, causing him to wince and moan. He could now add headache to his lists of pains.
"I think he's coming around." The older man spoke.
The younger man grumbled, a hint of worry lacing his voice, "It's about time."
He blinked several times as his eyes adjusted better to the light and soon two faces entered his field of vision. One was a young man, blond and rugged while the other man was far older with white hair down to his shoulders. But what worried him more than waking up to two strangers' faces was the fact that both of them looked as though they had stolen their outfits from a Medieval Times restaurant.
"There you are, my boy. How are you feeling?" The old man asked.
He squeezed his eyes shut for a moment, hoping that when he opened again that things wouldn't be so confusing and he might be somewhere he recognized, but upon opening them again, the two faces remained watching him intensely. He groaned.
"I see he's just as articulate as usual." The young man quipped, sounding an awful lot like a British version of his older brother.
He opened his mouth to speak and to start asking the many, many questions he had swirling in his head, but all that came out was a dry croak.
The old man quickly realized his predicament and reached for a cup of water, holding it up to his lips so he could gulp down several mouthfuls.
Thirst slated and throat calmed, he tested his voice again, "Where?" He coughed, "Where am I?
The younger and older man looked at each other warily, "You're in your room, idiot." The blond man answered, "Where else?"
"Uh …" He was even more confused now, "my motel room? Wait … you two are LARPers, aren't you?"
Now it was the blond guy's turn to be confused, "What on Earth is a motel? And who this Larp person?"
Okay … that was it. He needed answers yesterday. He made to sit up but was gently pushed back down by the old man.
"Lie back, Merlin. You'll only pull those stiches out."
He froze. Merlin?
"What did you just call me?" He asked, his heart beginning to pound.
"Your name, Merlin. You do remember that, don't you?"
He shook his head in disbelief, feeling all of the blood drain from his face. "What? That's not my name – Merlin isn't a real person. My name is -"He then turned his gaze downwards. His chest was swathed in bandages – or rather – not his chest, but someone else's.
The body he was currently attached to was definitely not his. This body was at least half a foot too short and about fifty pounds too skinny to be his.
Someone had body swapped him … again.
Shit – shit, shit, shit …
Many, many years later another young man was just waking up as well – not that he really wanted to – he was quite comfortable actually.
He must have been sleeping on a cloud. That was the only explanation for the heavenly softness under his body. Gods … he had never felt anything so soft and cushioned. He hummed contentedly and rolled to his side. The cushion beneath him shifted and then molded to his body's new position perfectly as if it knew exactly where he needed more support.
"Hey … you awake?"
He felt a hand shake his shoulder. He just wanted them to go away and let him go back to the business of sleeping on this wonderful bed.
He mumbled something that he hoped would send them away, but instead the hand on his shoulder just shook him harder. Must be Arthur - only that prat would wake him from such bliss. He probably had some stables that needed mucking or armor to polish, but right now, he really didn't care. He just wanted to sleep a little bit longer on this cloud.
"C'mon, Sammy. I know the memory foam is awesome, but you've been out for hours. Just open your eyes and let me know you're okay then you can go back to sleep."
Something clicked in his head – Sammy?
His eyes snapped open and he shot up, immediately encountering the concerned face of a stranger.
"Whoa … take it easy. You okay?" The man asked.
His wide eyes roamed around the unfamiliar room and then landed again on the other man.
"Where am I? What's …? He turned his head as he caught his reflection in a large mirror sitting on what looked to be a chest of drawers. He stopped cold and gulped.
That was not him.
But when he moved his head, the reflection followed.
He gulped and looked back at the strange man, "What the hell is happening?" He pointed towards the mirror, "Who is that?"
The other man stared at him with a mixture of concern and confusion, "That's you, dumbass."
He looked down at his hands.
They were not his hands.
They were huge … his whole body was huge.
This was not his body.
Shite, shite, shite …