Forget, wedding, Amy


we're all stories in the end

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World Gone Wrong (Fix Me)
Forget, wedding, Amy
Title:World Gone Wrong (Fix Me)
Author: Diana Prallon
Spoilers: 502
Ships: Arthur/Merlin; Merlin/Mordred
Genre: Drama; Hurt/Comfort; Romance?
Word Count: 2,864
Warnings: Spoilers for Arthur's Bane Part 2;

World Gone Wrong (Fix Me)

Mordred had had a very complicated life. He thought, as young people do, that he’d know how he would react when he finally met Emrys again.

He had imagined the moment for many years – since he fled Alvarr camp. He couldn’t forgive Merlin for that. After a long while, he understood that, in his own clumsy way, Merlin was protecting him from being used by another man. Alvarr had never cared for Mordred, he only cared for the power Mordred could give him. As he grew up and learned, he discovered how much he could have lost if he had used the crystal of Neathid before he was ready.

Mordred could even understand that Merlin’s loyalty was to Arthur and not to Alvarr – the prince had proved to be a good man, willing to save those who were innocent, and Alvarr was anything but. No, he might not support Merlin’s actions in leading men to get Alvarr, but he could see why he did it.

What he couldn’t accept was what happened when they got there – he couldn’t forgive neither Merlin nor Arthur for the deaths of those who were innocent of everything. Not everyone in the camp had been a soldier – there were those who were just children and people looking for the protection of numbers. It hadn’t matter to them as they attacked – some had fled, and were hunted down as animals. They were supposed to be kin, but Merlin went after him as if he was a monster, knowing that they would execute him if he was ever taken to Camelot, child or not.

It wasn’t the first time either – Merlin had been with Camelot’s patrol when they raided the druid camp in which he had met Morgana for the second time. Aglain had been a peaceful leader, wise and honest, who wished no one harm – not even Uther. Then, at least, Merlin had tried to help the innocents to flee, but there was no way they would have ever found the camp without his help. All those deaths were in Merlin’s hands.

It felt so much like a betrayal that those two events mixed inside Mordred, leading him to hate the man about whom there were so many prophecies. The same man who was supposed to save them all and refused, time after time, to actually use his position and influence to help those with magic. It didn’t take long to figure out that Morgana didn’t know the truth about him, that it was still a secret in Camelot. It was also clear that Merlin was the person closest to Arthur, and did little to try and transform the King into someone that could rise above Uther’s petty beliefs.

It was meant to be his duty, his responsibility, but the way Mordred saw it, he shrank from it at every turn. Even after Uther was gone and the worst had past, Merlin still kept his silence. He wasn’t worth of all those things that had been foretold, and Mordred hated him for it.

At least, that was what he thought, before meeting him again.

Yes, the anger had flared in his heart when he saw him standing in the clearing, ready to defy the others. It was too late now, and Mordred stepped into the scene, wanting to make it clear that he had messed up too much to use the easy way out now. He had felt powerful and important when he walked towards Arthur, guaranteeing his life.
But he had been taken aback by the intensity of the hatred in Merlin’s eyes. He couldn’t understand it, honestly – it felt like he was going to be attacked at any moment. He looked at Mordred as if he were a threat for simply existing.
And, yes, Mordred had done his fair share of stupid things that might have led to it, but it had been years ago. He had been just a boy, surely Merlin could see the difference?

Maybe he couldn’t. The years had been more merciful with Merlin than they had been with Arthur. He still looked young, untested and not yet ready, while the other had grown to a full man and King, the first lines of worry marking his face. For the first time in his life, Mordred wondered if he had been wrong, if Merlin wasn’t a failure, but just someone desperately lonely, crushed by destiny and yet trying to play his part.

He looked vulnerable as they marched, and unsure as they set camp, completely different from the Merlin in his memories. People generally grow to look more and more like themselves as the years pass by, but the opposite had happened here. Merlin had been confident, loyal, hopeful. Now he was helpless, distrustful, and clearly feared something.
That hurt Mordred, because this wasn’t how it was supposed to happen. He was not the kind of man that would kick the dog when he was already down. He couldn’t hate Merlin for being lost – he had felt lost himself too often.
The looks Merlin gave him hurt – it made him feel unworthy. He tried to talk to the man, to explain he had grown up. He had gone through a lot, and he wasn’t looking for revenge; he just wanted someone so he wouldn’t be so alone, and Morgana was the only person who would accept him with open arms. Clearly, Merlin would rather he dropped dead on the floor, and it made him feel sick in his stomach that someone should feel that way about him.

The truth is that Merlin had never even actually known him and was ready to judge him as not worthy of trust, love or acceptance. This felt extremely unfair to Mordred, for he had always thought that, if things had been different, they would have made excellent friends. There was so much they could teach each other. There was so much they could share. He and Merlin and Morgana might have bonded and grown together, as a makeshift family; like the Knights of the Round Table, only magical.
It had been only a boy’s fantasy, and he knew it, but he had cherished it anyway, along with so many others “what ifs” in his life. That was what kept him sane – kept him trying. He truly believed that some things could be different, if everyone tried hard enough. In some ways, Mordred was just an optimistic, even if he never showed that to anyone. He had learned from a very young age to be a private person, life was safer that way.

Well, so had Merlin. And he wouldn’t want to let Mordred in.

He wasn’t surprised at all when they escaped – he had known they would, some parts of him had known that when he pledged for their life, he had guaranteed that they’d survive the situation. There was no way they would have walked up to Morgana willingly.
Even as he chased them, his attempts were half-hearted, more of a show of loyalty than a true wish to get them back. He was surprised that Merlin was so quick to use magic in front of Arthur to avoid his coming – which was also a bit silly, for Mordred too could have used magic to get to them.

He didn’t want to.

He just waited, for a long while, to see what Arthur would do; to see if the King was the same man that the Prince had been or if he had grown too much like Uther. He wasn’t surprised when he wasn’t hit. He walked back, slowly, trying to consider what that meant, what that could change. His good thoughts were interrupted by Merlin’s cries of rage against Arthur for not having killed Mordred when he had the chance, and, in those moments, he wished that Arthur had indeed hit him so he wouldn’t have to hear all those things – every single innocent dream being torn apart by Merlin’s words, feeling betrayed once more even if he knew this was a silly thing to think, for Merlin had made clear too many times that he would never trust Mordred or accept him. He could – he did – expect it from Arthur; for this was the way of Kings, but the Merlin he had known would have believed that there was another way.

Mordred hadn’t been the only one to change.

The whole way to Ismere, he tried to reconcile himself with the idea what there would be no peace in his life while Merlin believed him to be a problem to be dealt with this harshly. He hoped to meet Morgana, and that things would fall into place, somehow, against all logic, and he’d show both of them – and to the whole of Camelot – that magic didn’t have to mean fighting against other people.

He was still a very young man, after all.

Morgana looked ages older, just a shadow of the amazing beauty that she once had been. She looked emaciated, sick, so pale that her skin was almost translucent. She smiled at him as if she would have changed most things in the world for that moment, and Mordred felt the same, while his heart ached for the friend he knew he had lost, for this woman, the last of the High Priestesses, wasn’t the same one that he had welcomed into camp to learn about her powers. There was a glint of steel in her teeth, insanity had kissed her eyes.

It took him all his discipline to sit with her and not flinch at what she had become. She had had such potential, and yet, it all seemed to be lost within innumerous layers of pain and suffering, to the point she was set on a goal that she couldn’t really see. She had always been harsh, but now violence was the only step she could walk and vengeance the only tune she could sing. The madness within reflected in her voice, in her gestures, in her movements, and it kept Mordred on the edge.
Mordred had loved Morgana, and loved her still, even know, but looking at her broke his heart. Her broken spirit was almost too much for him to handle, even with everything he had been through. He would always love her, but he found out that he couldn’t trust her – not as he wished to, with his whole self. He had always thought that Morgana would take care of him, as she had done when he was young, but this woman was no longer the loving mother figure she had been then. And it hurt too, for the world was wrong, and none of them were what they were supposed to be.

Morgana was powerful, and many of her ideas and ideals were Mordred’s own, but she was so far gone that she’d now always look at him as a tool and not a person. He had no wish to be anyone’s tool, he wanted to be himself.

So it wasn’t so hard to move against her – for she had betrayed herself somewhere along the way. His hands did tremble when he used the dagger against her, and she must have felt it, and even if his eyes said nothing, he hoped she would understand he was doing it for the girl that saved him, for nothing else could have saved her now.

He looked around, not knowing what to do, and picked Arthur up from the floor. He didn’t know if Merlin was still alive, and part of him hoped that he wasn’t – that this war would end here and now, Merlin and Morgana fallen on the floor, and the future ready to happen.

Still, he was relieved and happy when Merlin showed up, almost completely healed from his injuries. He still looked dark and haunted, but not in the same way he did before. There was something in the way he looked at Mordred that allowed him to hope.
Everything else was a blur of motion – carts and knights, freed slaves and an injured king. He was treated accordingly to his actions; a mix of distrust and freedom, as they travelled back to Camelot. He tried not to call any attention to himself, blurring himself as much as he could, and didn’t try to talk to Merlin either. He soon noticed, though, that someone must have filled him in on Mordred’s actions, for the warlock now looked at him differently.

Still not enough – not as he wanted to be looked upon, as precious and important, and worth of his time – but was already something that he didn’t look like he couldn’t wait to kill Mordred with his bare hands and no magic.

Arriving in Camelot was a funny business. Soon, everyone was going out of their way to talk to him, to help him. Arthur made it clear that he wanted Mordred to be rewarded, and that he trusted him, and when the King said his mind, everyone rushed to make him feel accepted and welcome.

Yet, those were not his people – Merlin was. And Merlin avoided him like the plague.

Maybe he was indeed the plague.

The queen had thanked him profusely, and even old Gaius had nodded approvingly. Sir Leon, the most loyal of knights, clapped his back, and Sir Gwaine offered him an apple – to which the other knights warned him that he should be aware, since Gwaine didn’t share his food well and might want something in return. It was easy to fit in, in some ways, to allow himself to be part of their banter. They accepted him for his actions, and asked little about who he was previously. It didn’t matter.
As soon as Arthur was up, he made it clear that he wanted Mordred to become one of his knights. He couldn’t have refused even if it didn’t feel like the only option he had left. In some ways, it made him feel better, more worthy, more hopeful. As he kneeled in front of the King, he took a second to appreciate that the whole of Camelot seemed to have come to accept him as part of them.

Except, of course, Merlin.

If he didn’t make a conscious effort in every minute of every day to control his emotions, he might have cried in frustration and agony. He wouldn’t, of course, and he kept in his minds Arthur’s last words before he left the hall: that no man was worth his tears. It didn’t matter that he might have wished for Merlin and him to develop some sort of relationship; it clearly wasn’t happening and he would learn to deal with it.
He was truly surprised to hear his voice when he stepped out of the room to take off his cloak (it was a pretty thing, but not very handy) – and even more surprised with the words Merlin said.

“Here, let me.”

One ridiculous part of him actually believed – hoped – that now everything would change; but he was wrong. As Merlin’s hands circled his shoulders to untie to knot, it wasn’t protection, but a veiled threat. He had come to warn Mordred that he should be careful with his actions, or he would answer to him alone.

It wasn’t hard to explain to Merlin why he had done what he had done – it was simple, easy, right. He could tell that Merlin hadn’t believed him fully, but he hadn’t thought he would either. He had wanted to allow himself to be lost in an embrace, but he would not, could not, ignore the fact that Merlin wasn’t ready to trust him just yet. It might be that, with time, he would start to see Mordred for who he really was.

It was the one thing that he needed to believe that this world gone wrong could still be fixed, that the time of prophecies was still coming for them, that magic would be restored, that he would be accepted, not persecuted for things beyond his control or used as a tool in other’s men’s games. It was what he needed not to break, not to lose all hope, not to fall into the dark abyss that had swallowed Morgana, Alvarr, Ruadan, and so many others of his kin.

And it might have been asking for too much – surely was something he couldn’t possibly put into words – but it was all that he had ever wanted, and all that he’d ever want; and it all began and ended with Merlin – Emrys – the one man who was supposed to give him his freedom, even if he never came to give him the love he had started to crave.

It had all gone wrong before, now; all he could do was wait.

(In the end, his dreams and hopes are his own undoing, dragging him down in a spiral of pain as he understand that it will never, never, never be him; that he will never be as important as the golden King, and that he’ll never have anything but bits and pieces of a whole that is, forever, Arthur’s. And this, too, was destiny’s call).


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