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Fic - Wrath of Magic (1/4)

Title: Wrath of Magic
Rating: R
Pairings: Arthur/Merlin, Morgana/Leon, hints of Gwen/Lance
Warnings: violence, blood, magic, supernatural themes
Word Count: 30,439 (*only just made it*)
Summary: Modern AU. Arthur Pendragon has hunted the creatures that lurked in the dark since he was old enough to hold a weapon. But when his father’s friend’s daughter, Sophia, goes missing, and he meets an odd Doctor called Merlin, who he can’t get out of his mind, he and his band of hunters, the Knights, will learn that not every creature is as dark as they thought. Will Arthur be able to figure it all out before the wrath of magic is released?
A/N: A huge, huge thank you to jelazakazonefor the awesome beta'ing and arna12 for jumping in at the end. Huge thanks to  lillithblack for the awesome, awesome artwork. I can't believe I actually finished! Woo! Big thanks to the_muppetfor organising the BB. And I will be posting this on AO3 soon (once my computer starts co-operating ;))

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One

Pushing himself to run faster, Arthur ignored the burning in his legs, reminding himself that if he let the creature go, that other innocent people could get hurt, would get hurt. The thought helped, blocking out the pain, and allowing him to put on that extra burst of speed he needed to catch up to his target and tackle the thing to the ground.

Unfortunately, that wasn’t the end of it; Arthur had to use all his strength and skill to stop himself from being bitten. The creature, vampire, he reminded himself, rolled away from him, hissing as he stood up, eyes a glowing amber. There was a burning above his right eye that Arthur knew was a cut, which told him that the thing was probably smelling some of his blood, something viscous running down the side of his face.

The vampires were the hardest thing to hunt, blending into society so well that the only way you could really tell them apart was when they felt threatened or when they were feeding. That’s when their fangs would descend and their irises would turn slightly amber. Other than that, they could walk down the street, past Arthur and his team, and none of them would be able to tell.

Jumping to his feet, Arthur watched the creature, circling as the thing tried to move behind him. The creatures had speed, but Arthur knew that they liked to stalk their prey, to make them feel fear before they struck their killer blow, usually going straight for a person’s carotid.

The stake in his hand calmed Arthur, allowing him to clear his mind, to watch and wait for the perfect moment to strike. The vamp moved the second that Arthur did, Arthur wondering in the split second before contact whether the vampire had moved at the same time as him, or had moved because of him. Either way it didn’t matter, Arthur positioned himself so that the thing impaled itself on his silver stake, the creatures eyes widening before it gave one last hiss, before it collapsed onto the ground.

Letting out a shaky breath, Arthur looked down at the body, wondering if he would ever be able to stop that bit of guilt that always ran through him once the creatures were dead, when he looked down at the faces that were entirely too human, blank eyes staring back at him, almost accusingly. He winced as he moved his wrist, his arm and shoulder having taken the brunt of the vampire’s blow, and he had a feeling a trip to the hospital might be in order.

“You alright there, Wart?” Leon asked, as he and the rest of Arthur’s team made their way around the corner.

“Fine,” he replied, straightening up. “The others?”

“Finished,” Gwaine replied, cocky grin on his face. “You know, I know you have this strange death wish, but if you’d just waited a few minutes, we could’ve backed you up, Princess.”

“It would’ve gotten away,” Arthur replied, wincing again as he put his stake away, his wrist throbbing in a way that told him it was more than a sprain.

“You hurt?”

Looking up into concerned brown eyes, Arthur patted Lance on the shoulder, the medic of the team scowling at him as he walked past.

“I’ll be fine,” he answered, limping a little as he realised his hip had taken some damage in the fracas as well.

“Not really an answer to my question,” Lance replied, falling into step on his left, Leon on his right, while Gwaine, Elyan and Percival joked around behind them.

“Might have hurt my wrist,” he said, gritting his teeth as he tried to move his hand, flinching as Lance reached out and stopped him, looked down and gently prodded his arm.

“It’s swollen,” Lance murmured, looking up at him when Arthur flinched at his questing fingers. “Does that hurt?”

“Did the bad vampire hurt you?” Gwaine asked, pinching Arthur’s cheeks. Flipping him off, Arthur let Lance finish his examination, before they continued on to their cars.

“You need to get that looked at,” Lance said, glaring at Gwaine when the man went to say something. Gwaine held his hands up, all the men knew not to mess with Lancelot when he glared at them. “I think it may be broken.”

“Fantastic, just what we need,” Arthur muttered.

The Knights of the Round Table, or KRT for short, had only been running as a team for four months. It had started off with three members; Arthur, Leon and Lance, the three of them somehow finding their way together, all with horror stories of what monsters had done to their families.

It wasn’t common knowledge out there, that supernatural things were real, that there really were things that went bump in the night; but Arthur had been brought up knowing they existed. His father, Uther, had told him as soon as he was old enough that a vampire had killed his mother not long after his birth.

Uther Pendragon was one of the most powerful Hunters out there, everyone in the business knew his name, and all the monsters did too. Uther had killed more monsters than anyone. Arthur was still sometimes shocked at the hatred his father had for the creatures, for the way he went after them, with no mercy, but Uther had gotten old. Not as fast and agile as he had been, the old man had passed on the torch, but still aided with weapon manufacturing. It helped that he owned a company that had a weapons division.

Leon and Lance had had their lives torn apart by creatures too, the two men having lost family members. It had just been chance that they had both been in the same bar as Arthur when he’d been trying to take out a faerie, and they jumped in even though they had no idea what they were fighting. The two of them had managed to take the thing out, Arthur only surviving because Lance had pulled him out of the lake the faerie had been dragging him into, while Leon was killing it.

Elyan, Percival and Gwaine had joined later, all with similar stories, stumbling into the path of the Knights, being incorporated into team when they had proven themselves in a trial by fire.

“Could be worse, Wart,” Leon said, sending him a smile when Arthur scowled at the nickname, opening the passenger side door for Arthur. “Could’ve been a lot worse.”

Nodding, he managed to hold back the groan as he got into the SUV, Lance getting in behind him, as the other three made their way over to the other car.

“We’ll see you at the office in an hour,” he called out to the other three men.

Leaning his head back, he tried not to focus on the pain, tried to use the tricks that Lance had showed him with focusing on something else. Unfortunately, he wasn’t as zen as Lance, and the trick didn’t work, the throbbing in his wrist, hip and head getting worse, the pain making him feel light headed, his breaths coming in short pants.

The hospital wasn’t too far away and before he knew it Arthur was sitting in a cubicle waiting for the doctor, watching as the nurse, Gwen her name tag said, took his vitals. He hadn’t wanted to come to the Mercian, but when Leon had refused to take him elsewhere, he’d prayed that Morgana wouldn’t be working tonight.

Before he could ask how long he would have to wait, the curtain was pulled open, a man stepping inside. Arthur found himself taking in the man, all long, pale limbs, dark raven hair falling haphazardly over his forehead, and bright blue eyes that seemed to be able to look straight through him.

Even though the man looked like he should still be in high school, university at the very least, there was something about him, something that Arthur couldn’t quite put his finger on, something that seemed to rush along Arthur’s skin. It made him feel hot and cold at the same time, made him want to move towards this person who made him feel the sensation.

“… octor, what’s brought you in this evening?” the man asked, small smile on his face.

“Sorry?” Arthur replied, shaking his head and pulling himself together.

“I asked what’s brought you in tonight,” the man repeated, his smile turning into more of a grin as he exchanged a look with the nurse.

“You’re my doctor?” Arthur asked, sure that the man had to be a student or something.

“That’s me,” the man replied, grinning. “Doctor Merlin Emerson. Although I get that a lot, apparently I look a lot younger than I am. So what’s brought you in?”

“Oh, um, I fell, onto my wrist,” Arthur said, holding his wrist up as if it were evidence. He winced a little, wondering when he had turned into an idiot, although Emerson didn’t seem to notice. He reached out and gently took hold of Arthur’s hand.

Arthur couldn’t help the gasp that left him as he felt a shock travel up his arm, his skin tingling, as he looked up into wide blue eyes, the doctor clearly having felt it if the way he looked back was any indication. They stayed that way for a long moment, the two of them staring at each other, Arthur feeling the tingle rush over his body, before Emerson dropped his hand, causing it to flare up in pain and push the tingling to the back ground.

“I’m sorry,” Emerson said, still looking at him with a shocked, and almost panicked expression. “I, uh … I have to go help with the resus … another doctor will see to you.”

With that he rushed out of the room, Arthur staring after him, watching the way the doctor seemed to trip over his feet, not graceful in the slightest.

“A resus means there’s an emergency, priority one coming in, sir,” Gwen said, giving him a small smile. “I’m sure Doctor Emerson will make sure that another doctor sees you shortly, if you’ll excuse me.”

Watching her go, Arthur tried to shake off the feeling that he was missing something, though he couldn’t quiet shake the tingling that still ran across his skin. He reminded himself that strange people worked in every profession, including Medicine; Morgana was the prime example.

**

Grinning, Arthur kissed down the smooth chest, chuckling as he heard an unmanly giggle above him, wondering how the other man was so ticklish, given what he was. He almost sighed when hands threaded through his hair, gentle, so unlike anything Arthur thought he would be like.

“There’s just something about you,” Arthur said against the pale skin, letting his tongue sneak out and lick a small stripe, before biting gentle on the skin, kissing it in apology afterwards. “I can’t quite put my finger on it.”

“Arthur.”

Looking up into blue eyes, Arthur felt his heart race, wondering how he had managed to find someone who seemed to be the other half of his coin, wondering if it was fate or destiny or some twisted plan by a higher being who had made him hurt his wrist that night.

“Merlin,” he replied.


Bolting up in bed, Arthur looked around his room, running a hand over his face, before running it through his hair, wondering when he had started having sappy, cheesy dreams, and tried to ignore the tingle that was flickering across his skin. Throwing the blankets back, he put his feet on the floor, resting his elbows on his knees and his head in his hands. He had only met the man for a few seconds, not nearly long enough to form any kind of … liking, let alone a bond.

Another doctor had come in minutes after Doctor Merlin Emerson had disappeared, the X-Rays the other doctor had ordered confirming Arthur’s fear that he had broken his wrist. Luckily the fracture wasn’t displaced, which meant he had to have a cast but no surgery. A cast for at least six weeks the doctor had said. The cut above his eye was only superficial, and the doctor had cleaned it and glued it back together, while his hip had just been badly bruised.

But there was still pain from all the injuries, and he had been sent home on pain killers, pain killers that were clearly affecting his dreams. Standing up, he decided that he would stop the pain killers, and that would clearly stop these ridiculous dreams.

Making his way to the kitchen, he pushed the button to his answering machine, making his way over to his coffee machine as it started to run.

“Arthur, word has it you hurt yourself on your little mission last night. I only wish I’d been working so I could’ve … helped. Take care of yourself baby brother. I’ll see you soon.”

Rolling his eyes, Arthur was once again thankful that Morgana hadn’t been working, wondering how she would’ve humiliated him if she had been, shuddering a bit at the thoughts that crossed his mind. His sister was kind of evil, although in a weirdly protective way. She was allowed to annoy and make fun of him, but no one else could.

“Wart, just letting you know that everything’s quiet on the work front. We got the entire nest last night. So I guess we’ll all have a few days off until the next info comes through.”

Leon’s voice cut off, and Arthur wondered if the other man honestly thought that he didn’t know he was dating Morgana, and that it probably would’ve been easier if the two of them had just left a message at the same time, Arthur sure that they had been together when the calls had been made.

“Arthur, it’s your father, I have some information for you. Please come by my office at 3 o’clock.”

Taking a sip of his coffee, Arthur looked at his watch, rolling his eyes when he saw it was already two thirty. Of course his dad would call to have a meeting in thirty minutes. That just seemed to be Arthur’s life.

**

“Ah, Arthur, so glad you could make it.”

Uther Pendragon was an intimidating man, his sharp blue eyes and hair with wisps of grey, along with his physique, made even the bravest of business men feel slightly unsure of themselves. Arthur had grown up with it, had stopped being intimidated by his father’s presence a long time ago.

His words and tone however, still managed to make him feel like a failure who would never live up to his father’s hopes and dreams.

“I apologise for my tardiness, father,” Arthur replied, taking a seat when his father indicated to a chair. “There was an incident last night and the pain killers I took knocked me out for longer than I thought they would.”

“Are you hurt?” Uther asked, Arthur almost convinced that there was actually concern in his voice.

“Broken wrist, bump on the head and hip, but they’ll heal,” Arthur replied, tapping his uninjured hand lightly against the cast.

“Good,” Uther said, eyes running over Arthur once before looking back at his computer. “But that was not why I called you here today.”

Arthur nodded, well aware that his father hadn’t called him here to check on his health.

“An old friend of mine called me the other day,” Uther started. Arthur felt a pit forming in his stomach as he saw a murderous look cross his father’s face. “Your remember Aulfric and his daughter Sophia?”

Arthur nodded. How could he forget the girl who had been chasing after him since he was thirteen, even after he had told her in quite explicit terms that he was gay, and no, he wasn’t confused and he didn’t need her to convince him otherwise.

“Three days ago, Sophia went to a club with her friends,” Uther continued, pushing a file across the desk towards Arthur. “A club that caters to a very … specific clientele. She hasn’t been home since.”

Taking the file, Arthur opened it, taking in the photo of Sophia, before looking at the other pictures and statements from witnesses who said they had been to the club.

“Her friends are unable to remember where the club is or where Sophia disappeared,” Uther said, leaning forward. “Aulfric called me because he has exhausted all other avenues, and he had heard, through underground channels, that I would be able to find her. Or, if she is no longer living, avenge her.”

Nodding, Arthur skimmed through the last statement, already starting to piece the facts together, thinking of people he could speak to that could help them find out more information.

“Someday,” Uther said. “Someday they won’t be able to hide in the dark. The general population will be told that these monsters exist, and when that time comes, we’ll be able to punish those who hide these creatures as harshly as we treat the creatures. Until then, caution is necessary.”

“We’ll take care of it, father,” Arthur replied, standing up, knowing that the meeting was over, that his father had given him as much time as he would allow. Flipping through the file, he made his way over to the door.

“Oh, Arthur?”

Turning at his father’s voice, Arthur took in Uther, sitting regally in an extravagant leather chair, a framed oil painting of his mother on the wall behind him. Arthur dismissed it as a business trick that his father had set up to further intimidate those he worked with.

“Watch out for yourself, Arthur,” Uther said, nodding at him once, before looking down at the papers in his hands. “It would … be unacceptable if something happened to you.”

“I will, father,” Arthur replied, before opening the door and walking out, feeling a little lighter.

Reading through the informants stories, Arthur quickly realised they would have to do some recon. None of the witnesses were able to remember where the club was, or when Sophia had disappeared, just that it had been ‘awesome’ and that there had been these people with amber eyes.

Arthur sighed as he read that, realising if they weren’t careful, that the newest fad would be fake amber eyes, people wearing contacts to give them the look, which would make their job that much harder, taking away the one thing that could give the vampires away.

“I can’t believe he called you the day after you broke your wrist.”

Arthur couldn’t help but smile at the voice, even though he knew that he was about to have an afternoon of Morgana annoying him.

“I mean surely even you are allowed sick days?” Morgana continued, linking her arm through his good one.

“Hello, Morgana,” Arthur replied, turning his head to take his sister in, amusement clear in her green eyes. “What brings you out here on one of your days off?”

“Leon told me you were meeting father,” she answered. “And you shouldn’t be driving with your cast, Arthur. Especially since you only had it put on this morning. So I’m going to drive you home.”

“I’m not going home, Morgana,” Arthur replied. “I’m going to the office.”

“No you’re not, Arthur,” Morgana replied, Arthur’s keys magically appearing in her hand. “As a doctor, I’m ordering, for your health, a day off. At least one. No monsters, no research. Just a nice relaxing night at home.”

“Morgana,” Arthur started only to be cut off when Morgana pinched his arm.

“No arguments, Wart,” she said, glaring at him. “One night. Your team just finished up a job, so you all deserve one, if not a few, days and nights off. And that’s my professional opinion. When was the last time you went out? When was the last time you went on a date?”

Sighing, Arthur let her drag him to the car, knowing that he wasn’t going to win the argument, that Morgana had no doubt called the others and told them they at least had one night off. Luckily, Arthur still had the file Uther gave him, so he could still do something while on his forced night in.

Morgana drove him home, and then glared at him until he went and had a shower, getting into his pyjamas, before she left, sending him a suspicious look before closing the door. Pulling out the file, he went through the stories individually, slowly putting together where the club could be from little things that each person had said.

He had it narrowed down to the warehouse district before he fell asleep.

**

Panting, eyes closed, Arthur gripped the hair in his hands a little harder, trying to hold off his orgasm, even as the warmth around his cock vibrated, the owner chuckling, clearly amused at something, while the head continued to bob up and down, making the coil in Arthur’s stomach curl tighter.

Letting out a groan, he opened his eyes, staring down into the blue ones that were fixed on his face, before taking in the messed up raven hair, the pale skin, the sharp cheekbones. He bit his lip as he felt his pleasure increase, as the other man worked him deeper into his throat, their eyes never straying from each other, until the pleasure got too much for Arthur, his orgasm ripping through him as he arched off the bed.

He couldn’t help the lethargy that followed his orgasm, feeling content as kisses were made up his body, until a gentle one was put on his lips.

“Arthur.”

“Merlin,” Arthur replied, smile spreading across his face, as he looked up into eyes circled with gold-


Gasping awake, Arthur stared around the dawn lit room, swallowing as he played the last part of his dream over in his head, seeing the golden eyes again, so different and yet too similar to a vampire’s to be a coincidence.

He winced as he moved to get out of bed, the stickiness in his boxers pulling on his skin. He hadn’t taken any pain killers this time, so he couldn’t blame them for him dreaming of a man he’d met for only a minute.

“Ridiculous,” he muttered to himself, getting out of bed and making his way to his shower. He’d never had dreams like that before, so intense and real that he almost wished it was. Which was ridiculous, he didn’t even know the man, he could be a complete psychopath for all Arthur knew.

Not to mention the fact that Arthur was acting kind of crazy himself. Who dreamed about someone they’d only met for a minute? He knew what Morgana would say; that he was working himself too hard, that he needed to go out and get laid.

But he had a job to do, and it was something that protected people, stopped kids from living the life that he had lived. Besides he went out, when he wanted to, and he could have a boyfriend if he wanted to, he just chose not to. Relationships made the job harder, having to either lie to the person or tell them the truth, it usually always ended with the other person walking away.

After showering, and knowing he wasn’t going to get anymore sleep today, he made his way out of his apartment, making the quick trip to the office.

The ‘office’ as it was referred to, was actually a small warehouse that they had set up with desks, computers and white boards. It was big enough to hold all their equipment, weapons and cars and no unlucky pedestrian to walk past and come into the building to see what they were doing.

Striding across the floor, he made his way to the small room that was his office, putting the file on his desk as he made his way over to the whiteboard, wiping off the information he had on there about the old case and starting to put up the pieces of evidence that he had gleaned from the papers he had.

After having written everything up on the whiteboard, he was almost convinced that his first thought was right. All the hints seemed to point to the club being in the warehouse district. It made sense, if there were any … accidents, being in that district would make it easy to make unfortunate incidents disappear.

“I’m pretty sure your sister told you to have a few days off.”

Not turning, Arthur continued to look at the board, Leon coming to sit next to him on his desk.

“Then why are you here?” he asked, turning to send his second an amused glance.

“Had a feeling you wouldn’t listen,” Leon replied, grinning at him, before turning back to the board. “New creature club?”

“Mmm, looks like,” Arthur said, standing up and making his way over to the board, looking at the map he’d printed off of the warehouse district. “An old friend of my father rang him, his daughter went missing after visiting the club.”

“So those days off aren’t happening?” Leon asked, Arthur hearing the amusement in his voice.

“Don’t tell Morgana,” Arthur replied, turning around and glaring at the other man.

“No offense, but I’m more scared of your sister, Wart,” Leon said, holding his hands up.

“No loyalty these days,” Arthur muttered, turning around before he grinned, knowing that Morgana scared more people than he ever would.

“So you think the club’s around here then?” Leon asked, turning back to the issue at hand.

“That’s what I’m getting from the information.”

Before they could get any further, a door banged open, Gwaine waltzing in and making his way into Arthur’s office, his hair a mess, sunglasses still covering his eyes, as he took a long sip from the coffee in his hand.

“Gentleman,” he said, bowing to them before taking a seat at Arthur’s desk.

“Someone got lucky,” Leon muttered to Arthur, Arthur grinning back at the other man, before knocking Gwaine’s feet back to the floor when he’d put them up on his desk.

“And what brings you fine gentleman in so early?” Gwaine asked, taking another long sip from his drink, as he read through the papers at Arthur’s desk.

“Wart’s father gave him some information about a possible case,” Leon replied, before raising an eyebrow in question. “Although I’m more interested in why you’re here, on a day that we were all meant to have off.”

Gwaine’s carefree attitude dropped, the shaggy haired man leaning forward his face serious.

“So while I was out last night, I met this girl, had some interesting information,” he said, standing up from the desk and making his way over to the white board. “Her story pretty much matched the one’s you have. Except for one little detail.”

Gwaine picked up a marker, looking intensely at the map, before putting a cross on it.

“This is where she thinks the club is,” he said.

“She remembered?” Arthur asked, walking over and looking at the mark.

“Nothing,” Gwaine replied. “She didn’t remember a thing. Except for the cool amber eyes some of the people had. She did, however, drive there initially, leaving her car there. She reported it, and two days later the cops found it parked there.”

“So the club’s most likely in one of the warehouses around that spot,” Leon said. “I’m surprised they made such a mistake after making sure that none of the others seemed to remember.”

“Always bound to happen,” Gwaine answered, shrugging his shoulders. “One little thing that people don’t realise makes all the difference. Not to mention vampires are as arrogant as they come.”

“Call the others,” Arthur said, looking at Leon. “Let them know we’ve got a mission tonight.”

**

Arthur and Gwaine were the two who went undercover, the two easily fitting into the crowd as they waited to see if they’d be let in.

In the end it hadn’t been as hard as they thought finding the club, Elyan quickly going through records of sales in the past few months in the district and finding a sale for a building which was the perfect size for a club.

They’d staked it out and once they’d seen the people filing in, they knew they’d found the right place. Getting in the first door had been the easy part, getting in the second door seemed to be the hard bit.

The guards were thoroughly inspecting each person who got to the front of the line, before either letting them in one of two doors. Arthur couldn’t help but feel a little nervous, wondering what was behind each door, how the guards were deciding which door each person went through.

As he and Gwaine got to the front of the line, Arthur forced himself to relax, having had practice at keeping his heart beat stable, his breathing even. This wasn’t the first time he had gone under cover after all.

As it turned out, he and Gwaine clearly had whatever it was the guards were looking for, the two of them ushered through one of the doors into a small room, which then opened to the club, the sound of the music hitting them as the door was opened.

Making their way over to the bar, Arthur took in the way people were dancing, the way couples were making out … although he was sure that some of the ‘kisses’ being placed on people’s necks weren’t what they appeared.

Gwaine ordered them both a drink, before being hit on by a woman who had just come up next to him, Arthur grinning to himself, before turning and watching the dance floor. He wasn’t much for clubs these days, the noise and the atmosphere no longer something he enjoyed, not to mention majority of the time he was in clubs these days, it was hunting down creatures.

A couple of hours in, Gwaine had left to talk to some girl, and Arthur still hadn’t seen anything that could lead him to Sophia or that pointed to anything odd about the club. There weren’t any obvious clues that there were creatures here, nothing that could help lead him to more of the monsters.

Sighing, he took another sip of his beer, his second of the night, freezing when he noticed a girl stumbling, seemingly out of it, and being led off to the side, the man leading her taking a shifty look around the club before pushing a door open. The girl seemed to perk up at what Arthur imagined was the cool air, trying to pull her grip out of the man’s arm, only to wince as the man pulled her through it.

Putting his beer down, Arthur looked around the club, gritting his teeth when he realised he couldn’t see Gwaine. Pulling his phone out, he sent a quick message to the team, letting them know what was going on, and hoping Gwaine would see it soon and follow him out through the door.

Making his way over to the door, he opened it slowly, not surprised when he saw it led to an alleyway outside. The man and girl were nowhere to be seen, and Arthur moved outside slowly, wishing he had one of his weapons on him, something about the situation not sitting right with him.

His thoughts were confirmed when he was knocked from behind, the hit propelling him forward and into a brick wall, his shoulder slamming hard against it, lights flashing in front of his vision as he slid down the wall.

“Arthur Pendragon. I was wondering how long it would take you to come here.”

Looking up at the woman, Arthur took in her proud face, her blonde hair, blue eyes, enhanced with black eye liner, flashing. The girl and the guy were nowhere in sight, Arthur sparing a thought to hope that the girl was okay.

“You shouldn’t have come,” she continued, grinning at him, everything about her posture screaming predator, and Arthur had hunted enough to know she was a vampire even before the amber surrounded her eyes.

In a flash she was in front of him, hand around his throat, slamming him up against the wall and holding him so that his feet were dangling.

“You hunt us like we’re animals,” she hissed, face drawing closer. “I wonder what you would think if you actually knew the truth?”

“I …,” he gasped, unable to get the words past the tight grip around his throat.

The woman squeezed harder, grinning at him, before throwing him against the other wall, his hip hitting it hard, before she was there again, kicking him in the chest and abdomen. Struggling to stand, he coughed, wincing as he felt the fluid that came up with it. He had barely made it to his knees before he was hit in the face, the punch feeling like a sledge hammer to his face, and he had known vampires were strong, but none had felt like this.

“Your father is a hypocrite,” the woman spat, her words followed up by another kick. “He asked for it, he asked for it and then turned around and hunted us when it wasn’t what he wanted.”

Rolling onto his side, Arthur couldn’t help but notice the way it hurt to breath, the fluid that kept coming up when he coughed, the way his throat and whole body ached, as if he’d been hit by a truck. He was roughly pushed over onto his back, a boot pressing down on his shoulder, the blue eyes glaring down at him.

“And now,” she continued, voice almost a whisper. “We get our revenge!”

Her eyes had turned from amber to almost golden, Arthur knowing what was coming when the woman leaned down, her fangs clear to see in the light. Making one last effort, he hit out at the woman, only for his fist to be caught by an invisible force in mid-air when she’d whispered something, the force pushing it down so it was by his head.

“This will hurt a lot,” she said, Arthur feeling her mouth on his neck as the sharp pierce of fangs slid into his throat.

He felt the sting for only a second before they were ripped away, the woman flying backwards, hitting the wall hard enough that flecks of brick fell around her.

“Merlin,” she hissed, Arthur’s heart racing, his head screaming in agony as he tried to look up, shocked when he saw the lanky doctor standing just behind him. His face was hidden in shadow but every line of him radiated fury, such a contrast from the clumsy, grinning doctor he’d met at the Emergency Department.

“He’s mine,” she continued, standing up. Arthur tried to concentrate, to will the blackness that was clouding his vision to leave, so that he could figure out what was going to happen, sure that it was important.

“Go,” he gasped, the single word causing pain to lance up and down his chest and back, his throat screaming in protest, liquid filling his throat as he struggled to continue. “Leave … Merlin.”

Arthur somehow saw a flash of Merlin’s blue eyes, part of him wondering how he knew the man so well when they had barely even met, and saw the way they hardened, the warmth that had been in them completely gone, as the man foolishly turned back to the vampire, not understanding what Arthur had been trying to tell him.

“No,” Merlin replied, “he’s not … yours … belongs to no … mine.”

The woman’s yell was the last thing Arthur heard, before the darkness won, taking everything, including the pain, away from him. The last thought Arthur had, was that he hoped the woman wouldn’t hurt Merlin, that she would knock him aside and turn back to him.

Coming to, the first thing Arthur realised was that he was warm, warm and relaxed, none of the pain he’d been feeling before present. He wondered if the woman had finished him off, had tossed Merlin aside and killed him, and now he was in heaven. Although he couldn’t understand why people would be whispering in heaven

“… thought the whole point you didn’t help him was because you wanted to stay away from him,” a female voice whispered.

“I wasn’t about to let him die, Freya,” a male voice whispered back, and even as quiet as it was, Arthur knew that voice.

Merlin.

“Maybe it would’ve been for the best,” the girl, Freya, replied.

Arthur felt the tingle that he’d felt back at the hospital run over his skin again, the feel of it making him feel warm and protected, something he hadn’t felt around other people for a long time, in fact he couldn’t ever remember feeling this way.

He heard a feminine snort, before Freya spoke again.

“I’m just saying, Merlin. This guy and his team hunt us, it might not have been the worst thing in the world if Morgause had taken him out of the equation.”

“No,” Merlin replied, his voice reminding Arthur of the man back in the alley way. “He’ll change things.”

“You can’t honestly believe that,” Freya said, her disbelief clear for Arthur to hear.

“I think he’s waking up,” another voice added, Arthur recognising the female voice, although he couldn’t quiet place it.

Opening his eyes, he quickly shut them again when the light hurt them, opening them more slowly the second time around. Looking around, he took in the room, seeing the medical text books, the warm tones of the room, and realised he was actually in someone’s bedroom.

“Hello, again,” the familiar female voice said, before a kind face, surrounded in brown curls popped into his line of sight. Looking at the small smile, he remembered he’d seen the woman at the hospital, she’d been the nurse who’d apologised for the way Merlin had run out. Gwen, he thought he remembered seeing on her name tag.

“Where am I?” he rasped out, grateful when a cup with a straw was placed in front of him, the water the best thing he’d tasted in a long time.

“Our flat,” Gwen replied, smiling at him. “Merlin brought you back here after … the fight you were in.”

Arthur winced as he remembered the ‘fight’, remembered the way he’d been tossed around by the female vampire. He’d been seriously injured, he definitely remembered that, had known that the pain from his ribs and the fluid he’d been coughing up meant that he’d been in serious trouble, meant that he would need quick medical attention.

“What day is it?” he asked, knowing he should ask who the ‘our’ entailed, but needing to know how many days he had been out.

“Friday,” Gwen replied, before frowning. “Or, no, actually it’s Saturday now, Saturday morning.”

“How long have I been out?” he asked.

“Um, four or five?” she replied.

“Weeks?” he blurted out, sitting up, still shocked when there was no pain when he did. Even if he had been out that long, he should still feel sore from being in bed that long.

“Hours, Arthur,” Gwen replied, placing a comforting hand on his shoulder, concern in her eyes.

“How is that possible?” he whispered to himself, running a hand over his face.

“Merlin brought you back here after the fight,” she said, eyes narrowing before she turned. “And he said you hadn’t been that hurt.”

Looking up, Arthur followed her line of sight, taking in a quick breath as he took in the man leaning against a desk, a sheepish expression on his face, nothing like the man Arthur had seen standing over him in the alley, looking more like the clumsy man he’d seen in the hospital. When their eyes met, Arthur felt the sensation that was fast becoming normal, the sparks and tingle crossing his skin making him feel warm and safe.

“Tell me you didn’t, Merlin,” Gwen continued, standing up crossing her arms, Arthur sure she was glaring at the other man. “Tell me you weren’t that stupid!”

“He was dying!” Merlin replied, crossing his arms and glaring back. “I wasn’t going to stand by when I could help.”

“You could’ve taken him to the hospital, Merlin,” Gwen answered.

“No, Gwen,” Merlin replied, shaking his head. “I really couldn’t have. It was the only way.”

“What was the only way?” Arthur asked, knowing he was missing something huge.

“How will he not know what you are now, Merlin?” Gwen hissed, standing up, glaring at Merlin with her hands on her hips. “This isn’t flying under the radar.”

“What was the only way?” Arthur asked again.

“I couldn’t watch him die, Gwen. I couldn’t,” Merlin answered, voice so quiet that Arthur almost missed it. The way the other man spoke, Arthur couldn’t help but feel like he should’ve felt awkward, uncomfortable, but the quiet words made the warmth in him increase.

“Oh, Merlin,” Gwen said, moving over towards him and pulling him into a hug.

“What was the only way?” Arthur repeated, deciding that no-one was going to pay attention to him while he was still lying in the comfortable bed, and throwing the covers off, wondering who had taken his shirt off when the cooler air of the bedroom hit his bare chest.

The two others turned to him quickly, almost as if they had forgotten he was in the room, both looking at him with something like guilt on their faces, before Arthur noticed the way Merlin’s eyes lingered on his chest, before their eyes met. He couldn’t stop himself from taking a small step forward, before he reminded himself that he needed to know what was going on.

He’d been hurt, badly, only a few hours ago, and yet here he stood now, completely unscathed, as if he hadn’t been in a fight with a vampire that had seemed hell bent on killing him.

“I think that’s my cue to leave,” Gwen said, looking between them before making her way out of the room.

“What was the only way?” Arthur asked again, still staring at Merlin.

“You were hurt,” Merlin replied, looking at him for a moment longer, before staring at his feet.

“And now I’m not,” Arthur said, moving closer to the man. “How is that?”

“Does it matter?” Merlin answered. “You’re okay now, that’s all that matters.”

“You said I was dying,” Arthur said, stopping just in front of the other man. “How could I be dying only hours ago and be standing here, not a scratch on me, now?”

Merlin looked up at him with wide eyes, and Arthur wondered how the man’s eyes were so blue, wondered how it was they seemed to make his heart freeze one second and race the next. He didn’t even know this man, so how could he have gotten under his skin so quickly?

They were so close now, so close that Arthur didn’t even need to reach out to touch Merlin, could just breathe deeply and they’d be touching. The near contact made him feel hot and twitchy, like he needed to do something, anything but just stand there.

Merlin seemed to sway closer to him, their eyes locked together, their lips so close that Arthur could feel Merlin’s breath against his, before Merlin shook his head and looked away.

“I … I healed you,” Merlin whispered, staring away, before looking back at Arthur, eyes almost pleading.

“You healed me?” Arthur asked slowly.

“How?”

Merlin stared up at him with an almost helpless look, opening his mouth, only to close it again a moment later.

“Merlin,” he continued, only just stopping himself from reaching out and grabbing the other man, even though every part of him wanted to. “How did you heal me?”

“What does it matter, Arthur?” Merlin answered, running a hand through his hair. “You’re okay, and she won’t try and hurt you again.”

“How. Did. You. Heal. Me?” Arthur asked, a pit forming in his stomach, telling him that he wouldn’t like the answer.

“Blood,” Merlin whispered.

“What?” Arthur replied, taking a step back, his mind making the links with just that one word.

“Blood and magic to be exact,” Merlin continued, taking a step towards Arthur, one hand coming up, almost like he was trying to calm a wild animal. “I gave you some of my blood … it healed you. It was the only way, Arthur.”

Blood. Magic. Blood magic.

They’d heard of it before, Gwaine once telling them how he’d seen vampire blood make people stronger, faster, that it could heal people when they were hurt.

Arthur had never quiet believed it, part of him sceptical that there was something vampires could actually do to help and that it was just something that the vamps had spread to make killing them less appealing.

But if Merlin was saying he used his blood to heal Arthur …

Moving quickly, he was across the room from Merlin, his eyes searching the room, trying to figure out a way to escape.

“I’m not going to hurt you, Arthur,” Merlin said, something like pleading in his face. “Please.”

“You’re a vampire,” Arthur whispered, swallowing hard, and wondering what it meant that vampire blood had healed him. Would he become a vampire now? Would he become the very thing his father hated, that he hunted?

“It won’t change you into a vampire, Arthur,” Merlin said, almost as if the other man had read his thoughts. “And I didn’t read your mind. It was clear on your face what you were thinking.”

“You’re a vampire,” Arthur repeated slowly, making his way towards the window.

“We’re not all bad, Arthur,” Merlin replied, not moving, standing in the corner and watching Arthur with sad eyes, the look making something twist in Arthur, made him want to rid the look from Merlin’s face, to protect him from anyone who would make him feel that way. Before he reminded himself that the other man was a vampire and he didn’t protect vampires.

“Please, just … just let me explain,” Merlin continued, hopeful look on his face.

Shaking his head, Arthur reminded himself how clever vampires were, how they knew the best way to get to their prey, and he couldn’t afford to let what he was feeling cloud his mind, his better judgement.

With one last look at Merlin, his heart aching at the lost look on the other’s face, Arthur grabbed the first jumper he saw, and took off through the window onto the fire escape, quickly making his way down and into the alley way, not letting himself look back, or notice how much quicker he was moving than usual.

Chapter 2 >>

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