Summary: Morgana waits by Morgause's bedside and wonders what the future will bring.
Warnings: Angst. Some spoilers for Arthurian legend.
A/N: Morgana's side of the head-canon universe "Like the Tide Pulls Me Under" and "Fix the Twist in You" are from. Plays a bit with the fact that hemlock is a neurotoxin and might have affected Morgana's visions. Not entirely pleased with this one, but wanted it for the sake of completeness. My post-s3 head-canon for Merlin should be up within the next few days, if all goes well. Title is from Sarah Slean's "Lonely Side of the Moon."
Disclaimer: I do not own Merlin.
Morgana’s magic can only do so much. Her sister has taught her so much, since rescuing her from the prison that Camelot had become, but it is much easier to learn to wound and to kill than to heal. It wasn’t something she regretted, until now, with Morgause pale and still on her bed, pulse thready, breath shallow. It’s all the life Morgana has been able to will into her, and she wishes she knew more of the arcane rites, or at least that she’d thought to take the Cup of Life when she left Camelot. She would willingly sacrifice another’s life so Morgause could live.
She hopes that, if she figures out how to do it, it’s Uther or Merlin who pays the price. The tyrant or the traitor. She would have considered both of them a horrible loss, once. But many things were different then. Morgause wasn’t the only one that she could trust then.
It seems a different world now, one where she was surrounded by those she loved and who she thought loved her. Uther, who for all his flaws and murder of her kind loved and respected her (Uther, who would not even tell her that he sired her and who has the nerve to slaughter a nation in the name of a wife he can’t have cared for as much as he always says, if Morgana’s mother was in his bed as well). Arthur, who teased her and let her be herself, even if he didn’t always approve (Arthur, who is still under his father’s thumb even when he should step up and be a man, not just a prince). Gaius, who listened to her nightmares and tries his best to soothe them (Gaius, who knew what she is and let her believe herself mad). Merlin, bumbling and sweet and always ready to help wherever he could (Merlin, who killed her). And Gwen, oh Gwen, sweet loyal Gwen (Gwen who was more interested in batting her eyes at Arthur than watching her mistress go mad before her eyes).
She cannot bear the sight of them any longer, but she sees them every time she sleeps.
It was a few weeks after Merlin poisoned her that Morgana realized there was something different about her visions. The dreams were and are mostly the same, though Morgause’s training and help have taught her to deal with them better, and made it easier for her to rest. Sometimes, though, words and names will come to her with no warning, or a brief flash of a face or a scene, and not always while she’s sleeping. Morgause called it fancy and soothed her when Morgana told her, then gave her another round of drinks to flush poison from her system. Morgana didn’t mention it again, but they never went away.
She knows, she thinks, more than any one Seer should. Know too much of destiny and you’ll start trying to change it, and Morgana tried, and thought she succeeded, but it seems it’s just a slightly different path to the same end.
Uther will die. (Perhaps she even hastened his ending. She can be proud of that much, at least. She wonders when blood on her hands became a matter of pride. Perhaps in Ealdor, though she hardly recognizes who she was then. Who any of them were then.)
Merlin will show his magic. (She isn’t meant to know about that, so she couldn’t do anything about it. Every time she thought how much easier it would be to whisper about magic in Uther’s ear her tongue tied itself in knots. Destiny protects itself, even if it lets her see it.)
Arthur will be ten times the king his father was. (She will forgive him his stupidity when he brings magic back to the land, but he won’t forgive her, and she won’t forgive Merlin or Gwen, his constant companions, so nothing will change.)
Albion will be great, and it will all come crashing down.
Someday, she will guide Arthur’s boat through the mists to Avalon. She won’t be dying, but it will be her time nonetheless, and she will look back to the shore and see Merlin, broken and alone, and she will think There, we are the same now and she will forgive him.
Between now and then, though, moments slip through her hands like water. Some things are inevitable, but when and how they happen changes every day. She can almost guess what’s going on in Camelot while she waits by Morgause’s bedside just from what she dreams.
Uther will die this winter, half-mad and raving, calling for the wife who left him, the friend who caused her death, the daughter who betrayed him. Uther will die in five years, strong until the last and cut down by a warrior’s sword or a Druid’s magic. Uther will die when Morgana figures out how to sacrifice him for Morgause.
Merlin will reveal his magic while Uther is still alive and Arthur will visit him in the dungeons, ranting betrayal but desperately trying to find a way to get him out. Merlin will reveal his magic when Arthur is king and Arthur will use him as an advisor but never forgive him the deceptions. Merlin will say it late one night in Arthur’s chambers and Arthur will just say “I know” and go back to what he was doing.
Gwen will sob an apology when Arthur catches her with Lancelot, and Arthur will watch her coldly before turning and walking out. Gwen will tell Arthur gently that she can’t be what he wants any longer, and Arthur will release her and lock himself in his chambers for a week. It will happen a year after they are wed, ten years, two weeks before Arthur loses his final battle.
Mordred will kill Arthur a year after Albion is united. Mordred will kill Arthur when Arthur is nearly as old as Uther is now. He will do it because he hates Merlin, or because he loves Morgana, or because Arthur betrays the Druids in one of a hundred ways at some point in this nebulous future.
She will marry a man named Urien, or one named Accolon, and even might love the latter. It doesn’t matter. She outlives them both, even if she doesn’t meet them.
One thing never changes: Avalon will be peaceful, and somehow they will make things right, no matter that it will take a long time.
It is too easy for Morgana to dwell on the future while her sister hovers between life and death. The days blend, and she plots revenge against those who were once her family, because knowing she’ll forgive most of them someday doesn’t mean she forgives them yet. The lies and betrayals are still too recent--and they aren’t yet the people she will someday forgive. This Arthur is still unsure about magic. This Merlin hasn’t learned the pain she feels with only Morgause telling her the truth and that only lifeline nearly dead.
Tomorrow, Mordred will arrive with a way to revive Morgause. Next month, Mordred will come with a plan to kill the king.
Morgana will wake in the morning with Morgause’s hand cold in hers. Morgause’s eyes will open any moment and she will tell Morgana how to make her better.
Morgana waits to see which future will come.