Title: lost in only you now
Summary: Merlin and Morgana find themselves graced with a second chance.
Disclaimer: Merlin and its characters belong to BBC/Shine. If I owned it, the show would have been about Morgana, and she and Merlin would have acted on their chemistry way back in season three. :P
A/N: Hello again! I know it's been a while. Work, school, and life have been completely overwhelming, but I thought I'd take a break from them to write this fic and get my creative juices flowing again. Hope you all are well!
For those of you who have read This Night is Flawless, I promise I haven't forgotten about it. I plan to finish it, but I just can't put a timeline on it at the moment. I promise to do it as soon as I can, though.
You wonder every single day if I'm lost in my old ways
It's not a simple thing to prove, that I'm lost in only you now
But if you go, I'll go
And if you stay, I'll stay
We may fall in love, we may fall down
But I'm ready to be so heavy
- "Heavy," Midnight Cinema
He waits centuries for her, spurred on by the feeble hope of their reunion.
After enduring generations without her, without her light and her love, he finds her once more—at a party of all places. She wears a gown of deep red, and he has to force the memories from his mind, has to force the breath back into his lungs. Her dark hair is pulled back, setting off her fair complexion and exposing the delicate curve of her neck. But it's her eyes, shining with laughter, that capture him.
She looks happy.
He takes a gulp of wine. After waiting so long for this moment, he finds himself stripped of all courage. Would making himself known to her change their current paths for the better, or would he be succumbing to the most selfish of desires? Given the damage he'd wreaked the first time around, she may very well be better off without him. The thought chills his heart. He's doomed to walk this earth until Arthur's return, but must he be doomed to walk it alone?
But then she lifts her gaze. Even from across the room, he sees the shock of recognition in her eyes. Before he can move, she makes the decision for him, abruptly leaving the small group she's been talking to.
He fiddles with the ring that hangs on a chain around his neck, his mother's ring that he's carried all this time.
She's not smiling when she reaches him, but her guarded, curious expression allows him a modicum of hope. Her gaze rakes over his face. He wonders what she sees there. The man she hated, who abandoned her at her darkest hour, who chose a king's legacy over hers? Or the man she trusted, whom she called a friend, who once stirred something in her heart?
"Is it really you?" she asks, her voice breathy with disbelief.
He nods. There are so many words, apologies and regrets, bouncing around on his tongue, but he can give speech to none of them.
She stares at him for a long while. He submits to her scrutiny, aware it could have easily been scorn and grateful that it's not.
Just as he thinks she'll turn away, she lifts her arms, slides them around his waist, and draws him to her. He returns the embrace as she rests her chin on his shoulder. His heart, which has so long searched for its missing mate, leaps. She smells like pomegranate shampoo, and she feels like home.
He wants nothing so much as to have her beside him for the rest of eternity.
She lets go and, still without another word, takes his hand, draws him outside into the gardens and into the hedge maze. She leads him through the moonlight down the twisting pathways. After he's lost count of how many corners they've turned, she stops and turns to him.
"How is this possible?"
Sometimes, he wonders if Arthur will ever wake up, wonders if whatever power resides above has kept him alive this long just so he could find her, so he could set things right.
"I've been searching for you. I'd search forever for you."
A smile lights her face before she drags him down for a kiss, slow and searching at first, then more possessive.
She tastes of champagne and promises.
Without the weight of destiny crushing them, they slide together easily now, perfect complements. Her laughter lifts his long-standing melancholy. His steadiness roots her indirection. Her body fits against his the way he'd always thought it would but never had a chance to find out. And each kiss feels like forgiveness.
They spend the summer afternoons lying in the park, simply enjoying the sunshine and each other. She rests her head in his lap and props up a book on her knees while he watches joggers pass by and children chase each other.
"Do you ever wonder why we've been given a second chance?"
Her question catches him off guard. It had plagued his mind once, but after their first hour together, he'd decided the 'why' shouldn't concern him. Instead, gratitude that he's found her overwhelms him, and he preoccupies himself with how, this time, he can stay with her.
"Only," he tells her, "to wonder if I deserve it."
They haven't talked about the past; they haven't argued over who carries the greater blame. He doesn't really want to. If she's content to take him as he is, then he swears on his magic to love her as only he could.
"I made as many mistakes as you." She reaches up to intertwine her fingers with his. "But I don't want to talk about what happened then."
He squints against the sun. "No? What, then?"
With a deep breath, she flips over to regard him uncertainly. "Whatever this is, whatever happens now," she says, "I need to know that I'm your first choice. I can't . . . I can't be second place again, not this time."
An entire lifetime together may not be enough to make up for their first, but there's a freedom in this age that comes from not having to lie to her, or not choosing to, and that's something.
He places a hand on her cheek. "I have walked this earth for over a millennium, and I have loved you better with each passing day." He swallowed thickly. "This time, I promise to love you right."
She leans into his touch and then drops a kiss against his wrist. "We can't do this, you know."
"Forgive each other but continue to blame ourselves."
"No. We can't."
She sits up, pulls him close, and rests her forehead against his. "A fresh start, then."
He smiles. "Yes. A fresh start."
She likes to watch the sunrise on the balcony of her flat. It overlooks the city, and she sits, mesmerized, in a wicker chair with her knees up, a mug of tea cupped in her hands, and a book waiting for her on the glass table once the show ends.
Once he figures this out, he joins her, and it becomes their time before the world starts. They don't even have to speak. He simply sits beside her and holds her hand.
One morning, when summer has bled into autumn and they bundle up in sweaters and beanies, he takes the ring from around his neck and offers it to her. It's small and delicate, a round emerald surrounded by a wispy silver dragon, the tail curling around to create the ring. It's certainly not modern, but it's a symbol of who he is, where he comes from. Despite their promise of a new start, he wants her to have all of him—his good and his bad, his triumphs and his regrets.
He'd practiced a speech, but it seems so inadequate now. What passes between them and threads them together can no longer be contained in mere words.
She leans over and, grasping his face in her hands, kisses him deeply. He slides the ring on her finger, and she smiles. Then she leans back in his arms as they watch the sunrise.
They find a house, a retreat, in the country. The ample space allows them to create their new lives and wrap themselves in each other far away from the craziness of the world. She brings her monstrous collection of books, and the library, with its fireplace and comfortable armchairs, becomes their favorite place. She helps him outfit the kitchen with brand-new appliances so that he can do most of the cooking. He takes great delight in dragging her, protesting, to local markets and then watching as, grinning, she finds new types of jam or insists he try the 'absolute freshest strawberries' she's ever tasted.
They find friends, people their age who reinforce the importance of connection and older ones who give them something to look up to. They throw parties and host dinners, showing off their home and beaming at the opportunity to say that word. And when they go out, they revel in the company. But when the guests leave, when they return late from a night out, they always come back to each other, come back to each other's arms.
In the dark, bathed in moonlight, has always been their time. Lies were easier in the dark back then, but now they have no need of them. He hears her truth in her whispers in his ear, feels it in her limbs snaked around him, in her lips against his.
As they lie in bed late one night, silvery light streaming in through the window and contrasting the black of her hair, she presses tender kisses to his neck.
"Merlin," she murmurs contentedly.
He tangles his fingers with hers, their rings sparkling. "Yes, my love?"
"I know you're very fond of our life here," she tells him.
He can feel her smile against his neck.
"But," she continues, "I believe some things will have to change very soon."
He picks up his head. She meets his eyes, and he's momentarily dazzled by the brilliance of those emerald eyes.
He has a sudden flash of concern. Has he not done enough to prove that the only thing he's lost in is her? "What do you mean?"
Her smile widens, and she threads her fingers through his hair. "Well, we'll need to baby-proof this place, for one."
She laughs at the shock on his face and, still laughing, leans down to capture his lips with hers.
He sits in a wooden rocking bench on the porch, looking out at the lush green of the hills and cradling their baby daughter. She has a shock of black curls; wide, intelligent blue eyes; and adorable dimples that never fail to make him smile. She's the finest reflection of them, and not just physically. They will teach her what it is to be honorable, compassionate, good. They will teach her what it is to put trust in friendship and faith in love. They will teach her to be brave.
The porch door slides open, and she steps out in bare feet, boxer shorts, and an oversized t-shirt, a mug of steaming tea in each hand. She sets them on the low table before sitting beside him and kissing him on the cheek. Snuggling into him, she takes their daughter's tiny hand in her larger one and smatters it with kisses.
"Oh, we're going to spoil her, aren't we?"
"Indeed," he chuckles, "but that is because she's perfect and deserves it."
Her musical laugh rings through the bright morning air. She reaches for her tea, takes a sip, and then curls into him again. "Merlin."
She strokes their daughter's hair, runs a thumb over her forehead. "Thank you for finding me."
Their infant in his arms, he nuzzles against her cheek. He rests his forehead on her temple and whispers, "I don't think it was you who was lost."
She smiles, one hand teasing the hair at the nape of his neck, and kisses him, the kind of kiss he can, and often does, lose himself in.
They're not normal. They never will be. But for whatever reason, they've been blessed with a second chance. They can build a life together, learn what it is to lean on one another, find the best of themselves in one another.
Destiny may have led him to greatness, but love has led him home.