Thanks also to my fellow competitors - who by this time were whittled down to just absynthess, snottygrrl and hermette - and to everyone who took the time to read and vote!
Week Ten Uther & Merlin Magic
Title: Balance Rating: G Warnings: Implied character death Notes:
"He's my father" Arthur grits out.
"It's not that I don't want to!" Merlin tries to keep his voice down. Gaius is asleep in the chair beside Uther's bed, too exhausted to watch any longer. The likelihood is that Uther will never wake again.
"Look!" Merlin orders, taking Arthur's hands in his. "Look out of the window and tell me what you see." He mutters the words of the spell low but Arthur casts a resentful look at him before obeying.
"What am I seeing?" He is bewildered.
Arthur can see little sparks of light coursing through every living thing outside; rushing through the veins of the trees and lighting the pulsing bodies of his knights on the training field. Gawain glows brightest of all, while Kay is a bare shimmer of light.
High above them a kestrel gleams as it hovers and dips.
Arthur turns to ask more, but his eye catches his father and he stops quite still. Uther is the only living creature he has seen without a spark of light. The darkness is like a slap to the face.
"Why?" he breathes. Uther's breath rasps slow and uneven from the large, cold bed.
"I think..." Arthur knows that anxious, earnest voice, trusts it beyond reason. "I think that he has rejected magic so strongly that the magic rejected him back. I... I'm sorry Arthur. I don't have anything to work with!"
Arthur nods, unseeing.
"You may go," he says, reaching out to take his father's hand.
The blinding light that is Merlin slips quietly out of the door. Arthur kneels there beside his father's bed until Gaius wakes to tell him what he already knows.
Week Nine Arthur and Morgana Sibling Rivalry
Title: At the end Rating: PG Warnings: violence, character death Notes:
Here they stand at the end of the world. Behind them he hears the clang and clamour of men fighting desperately for their lives.
"Still relying on Merlin to do your dirty work?" she sneers. "He won't be coming this time."
"Still relying on Morgause to do your thinking?" he pants. "I never took you for a lapdog, Morgana."
One step brings her close enough to touch. Her hair coils dark and beautiful down her back. His fringe drips with sweat. He could never hurt her. He doesn't understand how it came to this.
"She's my sister!" Morgana hisses.
"You're my sister!" The words break from him unbidden. "Where was she when you cried because Colm said you could never be a knight? Where was she when you slapped Isolda's face for telling the whole court that I was a bad kisser? Where..."
"She was in exile!" Morgana spits. "Because of your father!"
"He loved you until his death, Morgana," Arthur says, because she needs to know.
It is without surprise that he feels the sword pierce him from behind. Mordred is never far from Morgana and this moment has long been prophesied. Above him, Morgana's face is a rictus of horror.
"I love you still," he tries to say, but the words bubble and froth with blood.
As the world draws in to a pinpoint of light he thinks perhaps she might have called him an arrogant, blind fool, but her arms around him bely the harsh words. He has cheated death for a long time now and he is tired. It is not so bad to rest at last in the trembling arms of his sister.
Week Eight Merlin & Gwen Friendship
Title: In the event of something happening to me Rating: PG Warnings: none Notes:
The first time Merlin found her here she was curled into a silent ball in the middle of Morgana's bed, her eyes fixed on the place where limewash failed to completely conceal an old scorchmark on the wall. They didn't speak. He sat by the window embrasure looking down at the cobbled yard where he had seen his first sorcerer executed until, eventually, the noon bell rang and he had to fetch the prat his meal.
She wouldn't speak to anyone. Gaius had tried, Merlin knew, and Arthur had offered halting assurances which she had accepted with gracious patience. Uther had sent word via the housekeeper that she was to assist with general duties while she awaited the Lady Morgana's return.
The flowers in Morgana's room were always fresh.
The second time she found him already here. She hesitated on the threshold before coming in, her hands full of daisies from the clearing where they used to train.
"I think of her too," he said. She didn't answer him, but the silence was not unfriendly. She emptied out the old flowers and replaced them with new, cutting their stems and tweaking until their arrangement pleased her as he watched her quietly from his position at the window - and then she came to him and he embraced her, awkwardly, as she clutched with tight fists at his tunic and didn't cry.
The third time they lay together on the silken coverlet and he kissed her gently, the kiss of a friend. She kissed him back with desperation, but he knew it was not him the kisses were meant for.
"Do you think she's alright?" she asked quietly, after.
He tucked her under his chin, safe. "I think so," he said, and he hoped that it was true.