Word of the Day Challenge: Opprobrius
This one got long… Can’t really explain where it came from, only that it involves the characters in my secondary Merlin OTP (though this isn’t intended as romantic). I might try and incorporate this as a storyline in my planned series, but I’m not too sure at the moment. I’ve written it so that it fits in with what I’ve planned already, just in case.
Opprobrius – outrageously disgraceful or shameful
Warning: some self-hating; some reference to violence
Spoilers for: Basically all of Merlin canon
Disclaimer: Don’t own Merlin
The shout would have been loud enough to wake him, had he not already been awake. Merlin shot up in his bed,the cry still ringing in his ears.
His hammering heart settled quickly when he realised that the shout had not come to him through conventional means. It had echoed through his mind in a way that only magical communication could.
And there was only one person in Camelot who could do that and who knew his other name.
He settled back down, ready to try another hand at sleeping – cause it had been so successful the first time.
Merlin scowled, reaching up to cover his ears, as though it would stop him from hearing the young knight’s cries. A few years ago, he would have raced to those pleas, would have risked his life to make them stop.
But now he had seen the future. Now he understood why Kilgharrah had been so desperate to stop him.
Now he knew better.
Yet as much as he tried to convince himself that the panic in that voice was fake – was a deception with the sole purpose of drawing him out into a trap – he just couldn’t help but feel that it was genuine.
That Mordred was really crying – screaming – for his help, and he was purposefully ignoring him.
And no matter how much had changed since he had seen that awful vision, he dearly hoped that he hadn’t stopped running to help someone who needed it.
Especially when – as of yet – they hadn’t done anything to warrant being left.
Sighing, he sat up once more, sliding his legs off of his bed until his bare feet touched the floor.
“Where are you?” he asked, as he pulled his boots, tunic, and neckscarf on.
A noise entered his head that could have been a laugh or a sob, and which only served to make him feel even more guilty.
“I-in my chambers.”
“I’m on my way.”
It was rather scary how easy it was to sneak around the castle at ungodly hours. He had half a mind to bring it up with Arthur – but then he would have to admit that he had been sneaking around the castle at ungodly hours, and that would require coming up with an excuse, and they both knew that he was a terrible liar.
He reached the knights’ quarters in less than ten minutes, and was standing outside Mordred’s door in another two.
Not wanting to knock, just in case it was a little more difficult to sneak around the castle than he had always assumed and the noise alerted his presence to a passing guard, he chose to announce his presence in another way.
“I’m here,” he thought to the door, and in an instant, there was the sound of a lock clicking open, and the door swung ajar.
Merlin stepped inside, closing the door behind him.
He expected to see the knight standing beside him – or anywhere – but when he turned to face the room, Mordred was still in his bed, eyes wide and face pale, the beads of sweat on his forehead visible in the soft moonlight streaming through the window.
The knight’s breathing was heavy and far too fast, and his knuckles were white with the tightness of his grip on his sheets.
Another flare of guilt rose up within Merlin as he took a tentative step nearer the bed.
“What’s going on?” he whispered.
Mordred gulped. “I… I had a nightmare.”
Merlin mentally slapped himself. “A nightmare?” Mordred nodded. “It’s hardly the most opprobrius thing, is it? Aren’t you old enough to deal with them on your own?”
Mordred sighed, the panic burning in his eyes.
“You don’t understand!” he whined. “It was more like… a vision.”
This had Merlin interested. He took a few steps further into the room, stopping a few feet from the end of the bed.
“And what happened in this vision?” he asked slowly, afraid of what he might hear.
“There was a battlefield. And bodies – so many bodies.”
Merlin tried to keep the panic from his face as he hoped desperately that the knight wasn’t going to say what he thought he was going to say.
“Arthur was standing in front of me, and there was a sword in my hand.”
Merlin wished he’d never come down here.
“And then… I stabbed him. Ran him through.”
The same image flashed before Merlin’s eyes, and bile rose up his throat.
Mordred was shaking now, his entire body trembling.
“Emrys… Tell me it was just a dream. Tell me I don’t kill Arthur.”
Merlin couldn’t remember ever hating himself as much as he did right now. All these months, he had mistrusted the boy whose life he’d once saved. He’d second-guessed his every action, his every word, thinking that it had some double meaning, some ulterior motive.
But he had been completely unaware of his destiny, and the thought of it terrified him to his very core.