I was watching clips of my friend and her dance school do choreographed group waltzes and it's beautiful, and makes me want to write Golden Age fic.
In similar news, Thing #740987493 I Shouldn't Be Doing During Finals: writing Merlin/Morgana fic.
Oh, wondrous 1sentence! Fandom's gift to the ADD fanfic writer.
the only things that echo
Merlin. Merlin/Morgana, Arthur/Gwen, Gwen/Morgana-ish, Lancelot/Gwen-ish. R. The title and epigraph are from 'Conversations With Objects' by Viola Lee. Warning: semicolon abuse. 1666 words.
Futurefic. Comings and goings.
#01 - Walking
The early days of spring are cold and muddy, and Morgana says, "Gwen was right, I should've worn my other boots," trying to sound light, but Merlin hears how her voice cracks, how she sneaks glances over her shoulders at the receding shape of Camelot.
#02 - Waltz
Morgana replies, "Seeing the future is like dancing with someone who doesn't know how to dance, and who doesn't realize there are rules for where you put your hands and where your feet go next, but then you begin to wonder, 'Who made these rules anyway?'"
#03 - Wishes
"Stop talking like you're the only one who left something behind."
#04 - Wonder
"Everyday," he says softly, "but I wouldn't change a thing: none of it, none of this," as he bends the fire into shapes, tints them green and violet, his own eyes gleaming gold.
#05 - Worry
Morgana starts from sleep with a gasp, and when Merlin asks her what's wrong, she says, "He's back."
#06 - Whimsy
They tell themselves they are only doing what is necessary, that they will return when Arthur restores peace and much-needed sanity to the land, but they sense each other's loss in every weary smile, every offer of comfort; he learns when to leave her to her thoughts, and she learns when to distract him from his.
#07 - Waste/Wasteland
The trees are still bare here, and the ground still hard, the cold still pervasive even when they enchant the fire to be bigger, warmer; she huddles closer to Merlin and watches the dusk drain the world of color, wondering when, and how, and why.
#08 - Whiskey and rum
No one knows them here so they allow themselves the luxury of carelessness, drinking wine until their faces are red, laughing at things that weren't funny when they were cold and hungry, so maybe this is where it begins: Morgana leans in, her hand on his knee, and Merlin doesn't back away.
#09 - War
Morgana squeezes his hand and says, "It is not yet time for Camelot to fall," which Merlin knows is true, but he is restless with the inability to contribute, to fight, and to be at Arthur's side.
#10 - Weddings
They watch the ceremony in a scrying bowl that was once a dented skillet: Gwen is resplendent in white, and Arthur smiles at her with genuine affection, but when Merlin says, "Gwen will make a good queen," Morgana is strangely silent.
#11 - Birthday
They lose track of the days, aware only of the past they can no longer have and the future seeping out of Morgana's dreams; she sees the future now even when awake.
#12 - Blessing
Morgana grins: "You only say that because you're a shoddy hunter, and you would've starved to death by now if it weren't for me," but when they sleep that night, she puts her arm around him and pulls him closer, her lips at the nape of his neck, her body aware of his quickening heartbeat.
#13 - Bias
After she recounts her latest vision to him, Merlin cocks his head to the side and says, "You're not telling me something," and when he continues to question her, she snaps at him.
#14 - Burning
Somewhere near the border of Mercia, they save a boy from being burnt at the stake and it feels better than anything Merlin has done in weeks - to finally fight instead of incessantly running - and one look at Morgana tells him she feels the same.
#15 - Breathing
"This isn't us, Morgana," Merlin says, "this running and hiding: that's not who I am, and that's not who you are."
#16 - Breaking
Merlin lists all the things they'll do once they return to Camelot, all the things they can finally teach each other now that they'll finally have time and peace of mind; he tells her stories, tells her his fears and his own dreams: anything to keep her from slipping away into the future, and to keep the distance in her eyes at bay.
#17 - Belief
"I don't need to believe," Morgana replies, "because I know."
#18 - Balloon
She knew it was coming because she had dreamt it, but she is unprepared for how his kiss makes her feel: the stoking of a slow fire in her stomach, the reminder that she is more than just a vessel of Time; the reawakening of the desire to take something because she wants it, and not because destiny has willed it to be so.
#19 - Balcony
Behind him, Gwen says, "Come away from there, Arthur," and Arthur complies because he doesn't want her to worry, but he also sees her watching for them sometimes, feels her waiting for their return, as he is too.
#20 - Bane
But instead, Morgana's eyes flash with anger, and she says, "Uther was stubborn and selfish, and he let fear get the best of him, but he raised me, Merlin, and I loved him, and I miss him as much as I think he deserved everything he got."
#21 - Quiet
It is warm enough to actually enjoy sleeping outside: she wakes up to the penultimate twinkling of the stars, relishing the peace of it before the future creeps in at the edges of her vision.
#22 - Quirks
She leaves scratches and bite-marks; she doesn't muffle her cries; she is alive, under him and above him; she is human, sweaty and warm and clumsy with desire.
#23 - Question
Morgana shakes her head and says, "I can't tell you that."
#24 - Quarrel
They fear and expect that nothing will be the same when they return, but they both know the weight of destiny, and they know where they must be.
#25 - Quitting
Merlin had to say her name three times before Morgana even looks at him, and he sees her trying to refocus, trying to remember, straining to be here, now, again.
#26 - Jump
Arthur says, "I thought I told you not to come back; it's too dangerous for your kind here right now," but he cannot keep the relief from his voice, and Gwen cannot keep the joy from her face.
#27 - Jester
"Who needs a jester when you've got a Merlin?" Arthur says, and they all laugh, and for a while everything is as it should be.
#28 - Jousting
Merlin teaches Morgana to draw the lightning from the sky, and she teaches him how to force truths from the murky depths of dreams; he deflects her fireballs, she interprets his prophecies, and together they protect their king and queen.
#29 - Jewel
Morgana touches the necklace around Gwen's neck - a present from herself years ago - and Gwen smiles and replies, "Of course I still have it."
#30 - Just
Neither Morgana nor Lancelot would disclose what they had talked about the night after Morgana's return, but their interactions since then have been perfunctory, almost cold.
#31 - Smirk
Morgana makes jokes about destiny that no one finds funny, but the court laughs to please her, because they admire her beauty and fear her power, not realizing that she will never care for any of these things.
#32 - Sorrow
"You've changed," Gwen says softly.
#33 - Stupidity
Arthur rolls his eyes and tousles his manservant's hair, saying, "You haven't changed a bit."
#34 - Serenade
"I'm not blind, Merlin," Arthur says, and looks up with a guileless expression that asks for the same candour from him, and asks, "Do you love her?"
#35 - Sarcasm
Morgana sighs and says, "Arthur, you know how much I appreciate your zealous interest in my personal business," and pushes past him without answering his question.
#36 - Sordid
"Well, do you?" Gwen demands, the glimmer of tears in her eyes, and Morgana responds by pulling her closer and kissing her forehead, her cheek, the edge of her mouth.
#37 - Soliloquy
"Seeing the future," Morgana muses, "is like having a conversation with a raving lunatic: it's all a bit one-sided, and they're not going to pay attention to what you have to say anyway -- sort of like talking to you, Arthur."
#38 - Sojourn
But Merlin grabs her arm and says, "Stop that, we're just worried about you," to which Morgana replies, "No, you just don't want to lose me, which isn't the same thing."
#39 - Share
She clenches around him and rasps his name, the magic pulsating from her body in incandescent waves, and with eyes closed Morgana sees: castles burning, the land divided, an indefinite vigil for a fallen king.
#40 - Solitary
"Far from it," Morgana laughs, "for there are a thousand voices in my head, all clamoring to be heard, as I know there are a thousand voices in yours, Merlin, that you choose not to hear."
#41 - Nowhere
"She's gone," Gwen sobs.
#42 - Neutral
As he rides out, Merlin promises himself that, when he finds her, he will not be quick to anger, will not be clouded by his heart, will not be weighed down by the duties and despair of the mortal world: but then, he wonders, what will I have?
#43 - Nuance
The late days of autumn are cold and muddy, and Merlin thinks maybe he should've worn his other boots; he sneaks glances over his shoulders at the receding shape of Camelot.
#44 - Near
He can feel the soft edges of Morgana's magic when he closes his eyes and concentrates, feels it becoming fainter with each day, and he doesn't know whether it means she is running faster and farther, or if she is learning to shield herself from them all.
#45 - Natural
Morgana has always been comfortable in her skin, but there is a wildness to her now, an air of something unleashed, and she has never looked more at home in the shadows of the forest and the light of the moon.
#46 - Horizon
Behind her, Gwen hears, "You'll catch cold standing there all night," but her gaze remains on the horizon and she doesn't move from the window, so Arthur kisses her cheek and whispers good night, leaves her be.
#47 - Valiant
Behind her, she hears, "My queen, what troubles you?" and when Gwen turns around, she sees Lancelot, his expression open, his eyes warm.
#48 - Virtuous
"Come now, Merlin," says Morgana, holding out her hand, "we are no longer children, and no longer tied to the past."
#49 - Victory
The worlds roil through her veins and tumble through her synapses, and when she looks up at the sky, she hears the stars sing: a thousand empires crumble, a thousand rise, and as the universe opens itself to her, she breathes it all in.
#50 - Defeat
He returns to Camelot alone.