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18 July 2011 @ 01:45 am
Mordred / Merlin: snippet (edited: 7/20/2011)  
So, I read a fic on AO3 that inspired me to write this little piece here. It's not finished, but I figured I'd share what I had of it with you folks. Feedback would be lovely~

In this dark place of nightmares, Mordred has forgotten what daylight is like.

In this silent prison of hatred and shame, he no longer recalls the sound of voices.

In this frigid world of forever-sleep, he can't remember how to love.

Merlin comes to see him every century or so – only once, and only for a single cycle of twenty-four hours. Sometimes, they reminisce about old times, if Mordred can remember; sometimes, they fuck, if Mordred can gather the strength; mostly, though, they sit in silence broken only by a few words here and there, communing mostly through touch and breath and magic. They never say the things that led to these meetings:

Arthur is dead, and Mordred killed him.

Mordred will never die, because Merlin has imprisoned him here.

In the beginning, Mordred wasted all of his time and energy on hatred: hating Merlin, and Arthur, and himself, but as ages passed by, he lost hatred as he lost everything else. Marking the passage of time by Merlin's visits, it has been two thousand three hundred years. Neither of them look any different now than they did all that time ago, except Merlin is a little more haggard, Mordred a bit more pale, but in truth, time has changed them both beyond measure.

"Can you speak today?" asks Merlin, softly, when he steps through the darkness. Mordred is sitting cross-legged on what can only be called the "floor", although there is nothing truly solid here. It is all magic, all illusion. Grey eyes peer up at him, long since drained of their light.

"I can." The nature of this place is fickle, sometimes stealing away Mordred's speech or his senses. Many times, Merlin has come to see him only to find him curled up in a drooling, muttering heap; or else unable to move or talk. He's quietly pleased that Mordred seems to be in possession of all of his faculties, today. There are things he wishes to discuss. "I remembered something. I don't know when, it was long ago. After you left last time, I think. But I still have it. It hasn't been taken from me, yet. Arthur."

"Just that name?" Merlin folds himself down before Mordred, who has a blank expression on his face. He seems empty this time, uncaring and distracted. Merlin hates these days the most. Mordred blinks slowly and leans forward to pillow his head on Merlin's shoulder. Merlin wraps his arms around the thin, naked body.

"Is it a name? I suppose it must be. Tell me, what does it mean?" The words are muffled, as Mordred's face is buried in the crook of his neck, but Merlin hears and his heart clenches. His reply is very quiet, but there is no other sound but their breathing, so it doesn't matter.

"Nothing. Forget about it." Mordred shrugs and closes his eyes. Like that, it's out of mind; it doesn't take much to forget here, and there's no reason for Mordred to care in a place like this. Merlin knows this, sees what the darkness has done – and it's all for the best. Because of Mordred, Arthur is dead; he knew it would happen and all along, he knew that Mordred would end up here. Tragic in its necessity, which was why Merlin came to visit him every hundred years, to sit with him and talk, or have sex if one or the other felt so inclined. Occasionally, Mordred seemed to come back to himself, and they would argue, but those times were rare; usually, it was like this. Quiet, with Mordred relishing contact he didn't know he missed, and Merlin giving it because he knew what it was to be deprived. It was only a few years that he was trapped in this place himself, by Nimue, his erstwhile paramour and student; those few years shook him more than he would ever let show. Was he heartless, to lay down this torture upon Mordred, who acted only in accordance with the demands of destiny?

Perhaps, but it wasn't his fate to be merciful. Mordred committed a crime, and this was the only punishment Merlin deemed fit to mete out. Nevertheless, in silence, Merlin strokes Mordred's hair, almost as dark as the darkness surrounding them, and Mordred simply relaxes and lets it happen. "I know you," he murmurs after a time, in a small voice with deliberate words. He says this like it's a revelation, like he didn't just mention Merlin's past visits moments before. In this place, memory is fleeting. "You come here often. Why?"

Merlin shifts, pulls Mordred into his lap, where the boy instinctively curls up into a pair of protective arms. "To check on you," the ageless sorcerer says simply.

"Ah. Did you – put me here?" There's only curiosity in his tone, no blame or worry. This is why Merlin can fearlessly respond.

"I did. For your own good." Of course, Mordred nods and settles back into silence, accepting the explanation with no argument or questions. Over the centuries, the millennia, this lack of interest has never ceased to disturb Merlin. His own stint in this prison was not nearly long enough to eradicate all memory or feeling, thus he had not foreseen it happening to Mordred. He should have known, in hindsight: spending ages in this dark void is bound to rob one of something. Merlin catches himself wondering at the reason for his pity – is it because it grieves him to see another human being in such a helpless state, or is it because the boy is Arthur's son? The latter frightens him a little, because of how truly it rings. He knows that Arthur, had he lived, would have been the first to forgive Mordred and embrace him once again as a comrade and as his son; he would never have wanted this fate for the boy, even if Merlin swore to him on all manner of relics of both religions that it was the right thing to do. Yet, it was this same naïve willingness to trust Mordred that led to Arthur's death. He knew all along that the lad would turn on him in the end, yet his arms opened still. A fool's choice, but one that proved Arthur's true nature and worth as King.

Mordred squirms a little, interrupting Merlin's thoughts. Those pale eyes peer up at him through a fringe much too long (he thinks that, next time, he'll bring scissors and give the boy a haircut). Softly, Mordred inquires, "What are you thinking of? You look as if you want to cry."

Does he? Merlin attempts to school his face into blankness, and replies, "Nothing. You wouldn't understand." It's as if he's speaking to a child.

And like a child, unlike the times before, Mordred presses, "I may. Won't you tell me?" Merlin keeps silent, gently nudges Mordred's head back down onto his shoulder, and continues running his fingers through it. Definitely, he needs a haircut. Though he does not age here, his hair has grown – albeit more slowly than it would have outside in as many years. With the lack of answer, Mordred once more seems to forget, and makes a soft, contented sound. His eyes are closed again, and his fingers tangle in Merlin's shirt. He isn't asleep, for one cannot sleep in this place, nor faint, nor die. Consciousness is eternal here, but it appears to Merlin that Mordred has, in his long incarceration, learned to close his mind to every discomfort. A type of madness, the sorcerer supposes, but a clever one. Mordred was always clever, so much so that it ought to have been a crime.

"Are you cold?" The question speaks itself, without Merlin really realizing that it's in response to Mordred shivering, though only very slightly. Mordred replies with only a nod; Merlin removes his coat – for it's winter outside, and snowing – and places it around the boy's too-thin shoulders.
 
 
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Babydrackybabydracky on July 18th, 2011 06:20 am (UTC)
Really interesting.
This prison is so very worst than death for Mordred... Poor little thing. What will happen to him when Merlin forgets about him?
Morgan Arthur: BB Mordred kingspax_morgana on July 18th, 2011 06:50 am (UTC)
Mayhap we'll find out! Thanks for the comment. <3
amaranthine_7: merlin_mordredamaranthine_7 on July 18th, 2011 09:19 am (UTC)
This is very intriguing.
I like the setting of the scene and the idea of the prison. I hope you'll post more of this text in the future :D It sounds really good.

allis
Morgan Arthur: Mordred smilepax_morgana on July 19th, 2011 12:24 am (UTC)
Thanks, love! I did add a little bit to the end. Not much, but some.
amaranthine_7: merlin_mordredamaranthine_7 on July 19th, 2011 08:33 pm (UTC)
I really enjoyed reading what you added :D
The idea of your story is really gripping and interesting to read.
Morgan Arthur: Lisbeth smokepax_morgana on July 20th, 2011 01:13 am (UTC)
Heee, thank you! I'm not quite sure where I want to take it, though. I'll have to think about it a bit.
Guerilla-Pfannkuchen.: sso: cleo - rainmessiah_noire on July 18th, 2011 11:05 pm (UTC)
This is heart-breaking. Poor Mordred, this certainly is a fate worse than death. :(
Yet, wonderfully written! <3
Morgan Arthur: Caleb Hydrapax_morgana on July 19th, 2011 12:22 am (UTC)
Aww, thank you. <3 I added a little bit more. It's not over, by a longshot, I don't think.