Harlequin's Slash Fic

Destinies Entangled

Title: Destinies Entangled
Author: Harlequin
Universe: Merlin
Characters featured: Arthur/adult!Mordred, with Arthur/Merlin and Arthur/Gwen
Category, Word count: Short story; 3169 words
Rating: NC17
Summary: King Arthur goes in search of his missing warlock, and instead finds a druid.
Notes: This is set about seven years after the first season of Merlin, and ignores what we know so far of the second season. It was written for my friend babydracky, Mordred fan extraordinaire. (I hope I wrote him good for you, hon!)

Destinies Entangled

King Arthur handed his sceptre and with it his power over to Queen Guinevere, and passed on various duties to Sir Lancelot, who of course already knew them thoroughly. Then he shrugged on an old suit of armour, and rode out alone, passing through the gates of Camelot as humble Sir Galeron. It was the one freedom they still allowed him, these minor quests.

Well, minor depended on one’s perspective, Arthur reflected as his mare Passelande topped the last rise and started down the hill, and the turrets of Camelot disappeared behind him. Gwen didn’t consider these quests minor, nor did Lance, and nor did poor old Gaius. Nor did Arthur himself. He would hear a rumour or a tale, and as soon as he could reasonably leave his responsibilities with Gwen, he would ride out in order to enquire further.

This time the story had come from a villager, and had told of a man with flashing golden eyes and long dark hair tangled with leaves, running mad and barely clothed through the forests beyond the Annwyn pass. It wasn’t only the golden eyes that made Arthur hope this rumour might actually come to something, it was the location near a path that Merlin had sometimes taken when visiting his former home of Ealdor. Yes. It had to be him.

‘Merlin.’ He let himself say the name out loud, and then he shivered at the memory of the villager intoning running mad as if it were a kind of mystical doom, as if it were a fate to be expected and even respected in a creature such as Merlin was. Arthur had said it himself when Merlin had announced his intentions a long seven months ago. ‘You must be mad.’

‘Actually, I’m saner than you are, sire,’ Merlin had replied with a twinkle of those ocean–deep eyes.

‘Why would you do that, when I need you here with me?’

‘It is necessary if I am to fulfil my destiny.’

‘I thought I was your destiny,’ the king had protested, like a sulky child. They had been lovers for seven years, since soon after Arthur turned twenty–one. He’d thought that was the one thing in his life he could rely upon.

‘Oh, you are,’ Merlin had responded fervently, beginning once more to prove that or perhaps illustrate it with his body. ‘Arthur, you are.’

‘Necessary,’ Arthur muttered to himself now, rolling his eyes in an effort to mock rather than mourn. Merlin had said he’d only be gone for a few days. Arthur had become increasingly anxious after a week. He began deliberately seeking out tidings of anything that might give him a clue to Merlin’s whereabouts. After a month, he began riding out himself to try to track the man down.

Two nights after he left Camelot, Arthur made camp near where the mad man must have lived. There were scattered traces of someone sleeping rough, making do, getting by. Whoever it was hadn’t been there for some while, though. Arthur sighed, staring into the fire he’d made. There was no sign… There was nothing to suggest it had been Merlin, in any case. And there was nothing more than that, either.

Arthur sighed again. He’d hoped that Merlin would remember him, and leave a message of some kind or simply a sign to let Arthur know he was all right. Surely the man realised Arthur would be out hunting for him. Surely…

The forest was quiet. Preternaturally silent.

Arthur stilled, held his breath, listening. It was as if the whole world had stopped. He stood, drawing his sword and turning away from the fire, giving his eyes a chance to adjust to the surrounding darkness.

Then a footfall from behind him, and he spun around again to see startling blue eyes, a pale face. For a moment Arthur’s heart pounded – though he’d already realised it wasn’t Merlin. Someone tall, with long dark hair, but his face while lean was a little rounder, and his mouth was wider, his lips thinner. There was something familiar about him, but it wasn’t Merlin. ‘Who goes there?’ Arthur demanded in the kingly way that expected answers.

A mocking eyebrow lifted. ‘A seeker of truths.’

Arthur shrugged, and did not sheath his sword. ‘I could say the same.’

The other man was confident, though he was too full of energy to be easy or calm. He paced a little closer, coming round the fire. Not too close, though. He kept a wary distance. He hardly stayed still for a moment, but prowled.

‘Your name?’ Arthur asked again.

‘Yours first.’

Arthur shrugged. ‘Galeron. Sir Galeron of Mercia.’

‘Hah!’ The young man had the nerve to put his head back and laugh, and as he bared his throat Arthur glimpsed a swirling tattoo running down beneath his shirt. Druid. ‘No, you’re not Galeron, if there even is such a man.’ His eyes narrowed, and his head dropped a little so that he was staring at Arthur from under his brow. ‘I know you,’ he announced.

Arthur put it together then. ‘Mordred.’

‘Arthur Pendragon.’

He nodded once in an abrupt though courteous acknowledgement, and he put the sword away. ‘What truths are you seeking?’

‘The same as you, I imagine.’

‘I doubt that.’

Mordred dropped his head again, staring directly at Arthur in an unsettlingly lupine stance. And he announced, ‘Morgana sent me.’

‘Morgana!’ he blurted.

‘Yes. What did you think had happened to her?’

Arthur sighed, and sat down again on the old fallen tree. ‘I hardly dared imagine.’

‘She’s living with us now. She’s living with the druids.’ Mordred lowered his voice. ‘She’s concerned for Emrys. Merlin, as you call him. She sent me here to find him, if I could.’

Arthur stared up at the man. This was too much. It was all too much. ‘What – What does she know of Merlin? Does she have news? And Morgana herself – is she well? Is she whole?’

‘Whole?’ Mordred repeated.

There. He’d managed to surprise him. ‘Look – Sit down, would you? You’re making me nervous with all this pacing about.’ And Mordred quickly folded down where he stood, so he was sitting cross–legged on the ground. Arthur continued, ‘She seemed lost to us when she left. Lost to us all. She seemed… shattered into pieces. A thousand tiny pieces.’

Mordred thought about this for a long moment, and then nodded gravely. ‘She is whole.’

‘Good. I would have – If I could –’ Arthur closed his eyes for a moment. ‘There was nothing either I or Guinevere could do. A king doesn’t like admitting that.’

‘Shall I tell her that?’

‘Yes. And now tell me what you know of Merlin.’

A sneer – or perhaps a snarl – marred that handsome face. ‘Why do you all care so much for him?’

Arthur glanced away. When he looked back at Mordred, he said very steadily, ‘If you have to ask that, then you are too small and petty a man to see the truth about him.’

Mordred shrugged this off. ‘We heard the same as you, I suppose. About a madman living here, with eyes that flashed gold.’

‘Nothing more than that?’

‘Nothing more. But he’s not here, is he?’

‘Not now. Perhaps a while ago. I don’t know.’

‘Morgana worries for him.’ Mordred threw him one of those lupine stares. ‘Morgana never worries.’

‘God…’ Arthur groaned, his stomach sinking. Everything within him sinking. He let his eyes close, and his face fall into his hands.

‘Why do you even care?’

It was whispered, almost hissed, full of a yearning need to know – and right by Arthur’s ear. He glanced up, startled, to find that Mordred was sitting beside him on the log, leaning in close. ‘I – I love him.’ Seeker of truths. Arthur swallowed, shocked to have found himself blurting it out. He tried to mitigate this with another truth. ‘We all love him.’

Mordred was searching his face, ravenous for knowledge. ‘You love him so much that you leave your kingdom behind – You risk everything – You leave your queen with her knight –’

‘Have a care, Mordred,’ Arthur warned.

‘You know what will happen between them.’

‘They are two of my best and closest friends. I have had four best friends in my life. Only two are left to me now. I love them too much to stand in their way. Gwen never once stood in mine.’ Arthur suddenly heard himself, and sprang to his feet. ‘What have you done?’ he demanded, drawing his sword again, and letting the tip settle in the hollow at the base of Mordred’s throat. ‘What have you done to me, that I should tell you this?’

Mordred laughed easily up at him. ‘Nothing, I swear it.’

‘Some kind of spell or uncanny influence. Seeker of truths. What does that even mean?’

‘If I have a gift of insight –’

‘Not enough to understand who Merlin is.’

Mordred frowned. ‘No. I cannot see into him.’ Then he added, ‘Maybe he is not worth understanding.’

Arthur shook his head in bemusement, and let the swordpoint lower towards the ground. ‘Obviously I have nothing to fear from you, whelp.’

‘Do you not?’ Suddenly Mordred was on all fours, prowling towards him, then kneeling at his feet with his thighs wide and Arthur’s sword resting on the ground just between where those thighs met… Mordred leaned forward a little, pressed his chest against the flat of the sword, rubbed his cheek up Arthur’s hand where it fisted the hilt. ‘You miss him, don’t you?’

‘Yes!’ Arthur gasped the word as if his breath had suddenly left him.

Mordred’s hands settled on Arthur’s thighs – large hands wrapping around the front of his thighs, and then easing back around, up to his buttocks, shaping themselves to him. Shaping Arthur to Mordred. No one had dared touch Arthur like this for months. ‘You miss him so much…’ Let me do this for you

‘What?’

‘So very much…’

‘Not that – Did you say –?’

Arthur

He wasn’t imagining it – he’d heard that within his own mind. Mordred’s voice in Arthur’s mind. ‘I can feel you speaking –’

Yes.

‘Don’t –’ Even as he drew the sword up, so that it no longer came between them, it no longer protected him. Even as he let it fall harmlessly to the ground at his side. ‘Don’t do that. I can feel you inside me.’

Yes. Inside you. I want that, too.

‘For god’s sake, Mordred –’ Even as he let himself be hauled down, pushed back. ‘Even Merlin never…’

Oh, I can do such things for you

Arthur huffed, the annoyance provoked by the young man’s self–satisfaction recalling a spark of sanity. Even as Arthur’s britches were wrestled off his uncooperative legs. As if this whelp could ever be a lover such as Merlin had been. ‘What are you?’ Arthur asked coldly. ‘All of seventeen now? Eighteen?’

‘Old enough,’ he growled. And he was kneeling between Arthur’s bare thighs, shoving Arthur’s shirt up his chest – and then ripping it in two to expose him, in a sudden excess of need.

Arthur moaned despite himself. That hungry mouth roamed his belly for a moment, that nose snuffled up his breastbone, making his chest hair prickle, his nipples pebble. ‘Mordred, please…’

And the young man surged forward, and Arthur was sundered – Mordred plunging into him, snarling at Arthur’s throat before biting it – Arthur!

Arthur arching back, pushing his hips up. ‘Mordred – Mordred – More, god damn you! More!

Deep within him, in his mind, in his arse, in places only Merlin had ever been before. Biting at him. Ravenous. This? Mordred asked desperate. This?

Yes.

This. Now. Mordred’s hand wrapping round him, stroking him once. Hard.

Arthur arched back further, lifting off the ground – and he came.

Mordred howled.

They lay there tangled together afterwards, somehow both clinging and abandoned. Mordred looked contemplative, yet absurdly satisfied.

After a while Arthur wiped himself clean, reached for his britches and hauled them back on. There was nothing to be done about the shirt, so he just pulled the torn ends round himself. The night was growing cool. He nudged Mordred with an elbow. ‘Fetch my blanket, would you?’

‘I’m not your servant,’ the young man complained. But he got up anyway, collected the blanket, and wrapped them both up close in it, wrapped Arthur up in his arms. Perhaps they each needed the comfort, or the illusion of it.

Arthur reflected, ‘Someone once told me you’d be the death of me.’

‘He told me that, too.’

‘Who?’ As if he needed to ask.

‘Emrys.’

‘I don’t suppose our fates are set in stone.’

‘We can make our own fates,’ Mordred earnestly agreed, looking at him with those blue eyes – startling, but paler than Merlin’s. So young. He was so very young and untried.

‘Then let’s do that.’ Arthur sighed. ‘What’s Merlin’s fate? And what has he made of it? Can you tell me that?’

The answer came in hushed tones, ‘Not even Morgana could say.’

‘He promised he’d be at my side for as long as I needed him.’

‘Maybe he is, but you just can’t see him.’ Mordred yawned, and soon with a young man’s peace of mind he fell into sleep.

Arthur lay restless for a long while. ‘I’d rather see him,’ he eventually muttered.

Arthur.

He blinked awake and lay still for a moment. Turned to Mordred, who slumbered on.

Arthur.

He lifted his head – and there across the embers of the fire were ocean–deep eyes and a pale face. Merlin! Arthur carefully eased out of Mordred’s embrace, and stood to face him. ‘Merlin. Is it really you?’

‘Yes. Yes, of course it’s me. Who else would it be?’

‘But…’ He looked around. Perhaps it was moonlight, although he couldn’t quite see the moon, but the forest was bathed in an eldritch milky–blue light. ‘I’m dreaming, aren’t I?’

Merlin grinned up at him from where he sat. ‘Idiot. Whether you’re awake or dreaming, it’s still really me.’ He guffawed. ‘How d’you think this works? Prat.’

Arthur was grinning, too, because Merlin was sitting there across the fire from him in his old familiar attire. The blue shirt, the red neckerchief, the brown jacket. Looking bright and cheerful and sane. ‘So you’re all right, are you? Or is there another you who’s currently running around forests, maddened and naked…?’

That beloved head tilted in consideration. ‘Whatever’s happening, it’s necessary.’

Arthur rolled his eyes. ‘Necessary,’ he repeated flatly. ‘So I’ve heard.’

‘You didn’t have to go to such lengths to summon me, you know.’

‘What?’

‘That boy,’ Merlin said in disapproving tones – and his face twisted sourly. ‘Letting him have you. You didn’t have to go that far.’

‘Didn’t I?’ He was abruptly really really incredibly irritated. ‘Well, I’m sorry if I didn’t know the right spell or enchantment or what–have–you to summon you, Merlin. If you hadn’t noticed, my chief warlock has absented himself from my court. What was I supposed to do?’ He’d got well into the rhythm of it now. ‘Here I’ve been, if you hadn’t noticed, riding up and down half of Albion, chasing every lame–arsed rumour of magical happenings and golden–eyed idiots and wandering fey beauties, and apparently all I needed to do all along was summon you… Maybe you could have explained that to me before you left!’

And Merlin was just sitting there, smiling up at him, letting the tirade flow through him as if he’d missed Arthur like a man would miss water.

Have you?

Yes. I’ve missed you like the stuff of life itself.

Arthur blinked. ‘Now we’re doing it, too!’

Merlin’s smiled faltered after a moment, and he cast a malevolent glare at Mordred. ‘Arthur, you have to leave here. Leave him behind. Just pack up your gear now, and go home.’

‘What?! Why?’

‘He’ll do you harm.’

Arthur groaned in annoyance and frustration. ‘Why do you two dislike each other so? This isn’t just jealousy, is it?’

‘No! I don’t trust him. He means –’

‘He means me harm. Yes. I get it. I just don’t know if I believe it.’

‘Go home,’ Merlin said forbiddingly.

‘But if you’re here, then –’

‘No. Forget about me. Go home to your kingdom, your wife, your friend. Your people. They need you, Arthur.’

Arthur crossed his arms and stared down at his feet for a long moment, before saying in a very small voice, ‘And I need you.’ Kings didn’t like admitting such things.

‘I know. I’ll be back soon enough. I promise.’

Arthur sighed, glanced back at Mordred. ‘But Morgana… He knows where she –’

‘She’s all right, Arthur. I can promise you that, too. She’s all right. Don’t go chasing after her. And there’s no need to chase after me again. I’ll be back in Camelot before you know it.’

‘Will you? And what kind of state will you be in?’

Merlin gazed back at him a bit apologetically. ‘You may need to take care of me for a while. Gaius will help. He’ll know what to do. Tell Gaius to hang on. I won’t be much longer.’ Merlin added, almost fiercely, ‘I know I can rely upon you – in everything, Arthur.’

‘Yes,’ he vowed. ‘In everything.’

‘Fare well, Arthur,’ Merlin murmured.

‘Fare –’

Arthur blinked. It was the cold hour before dawn, and he was warm, held deep in Mordred’s arms. God… So it had been a dream. And leaving the young man was about the last thing he wanted to do just then. But he knew that he had to. Because it hadn’t only been a dream. It had also been real. Arthur eased once more out of Mordred’s embrace. And the young man, perhaps caught up in lingering eerie strands of moonlight, slept soundly.

Gwen greeted him with a warm clasp of his hand in hers. ‘You didn’t find him,’ she concluded, hardly even needing to glance at his worn face. ‘I’m sorry.’

‘He promised to come back soon,’ Arthur said. He told her of the dream, and a little of Mordred. They talked long about Morgana. But then, inevitably, Arthur’s thoughts returned to Merlin. ‘He said he knew he could rely upon me. I wish I could say the same of him.’

‘Of course you can rely upon him,’ Gwen said, almost as if she were fondly scolding him.

‘Why is that?’

‘He loves you because you are pure of heart, Arthur. And that will never change.’

‘Guinevere…’ he murmured, thoroughly humbled and chagrined. ‘I can only wish it were so.’

She clasped his hand again, and then held it entwined in both of hers. ‘It is so. Your heart may break one day, Arthur, but it will remain pure forever.’

‘My friend, my dear wife, my queen – what nonsense you talk.’ But when she bent to press a kiss to his palm, Arthur knelt at her feet, and lay his head in her lap. And he waited for their shared destinies to guide them all along their tangled way.

Posted in: Merlin, Slash fic

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4 responses to “Destinies Entangled”

  1. avatar Sme says:

    Wow. This was really amazing. Because I obviously fail at reading, I didn’t see that this was also Arthur/Merlin and so many fuzzy warm feeling erupted through me with the Arthur/Merlin interaction in this fic.

    :) Really well done, I loved it!

    • avatar Harlequin says:

      Sme – Thank you so much! I’m really glad this worked for you, and especially with the warm M/A fuzzies… I mean, I try to make every fic have that erupting effect on the readers, but they so rarely do. :-) Thank you for commenting, hon. I really appreciate it!

  2. avatar dark_angelis says:

    A really intriguing story. I liked how you didn’t explain why Merlin left and what exactly he was doing. It sort of helps the reader identify with Arthur because we’re as in the dark about Merlin as he is. The Arthur/Mordred interaction was great. The sex was intense and I liked how both of them didn’t want to subscribe to the idea that they would destroy one another. A very interesting story :D

    • avatar Harlequin says:

      dark_angelis – Thank you so much for your comment! I’m really glad this one worked for you, and I’m delighted by the things you’ve chosen to mention – the mystery of Merlin for both the reader and Arthur, the interaction between Arthur and Mordred including the intense sex (hurrah!) and the mutual resistance to their reported destiny. It seems like it reads as I’d hoped it would! Thank you again.

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