elfflame

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That Nano Time of Year!

So I didn't give any warning. No clue if anyone is still here, let alone interested in Merlin fic, but I'm doing my usual. I hope someone out there will follow along.

Title: Meet Me at the Avalon
Author: [info]elfflame
Rating: NC-17
Pairing: Arthur/Merlin, many others in passing
Summary: Through all the centuries, Merlin has found a home, and brings his friends there when he finds them again and again, but never Arthur. Until one day, Arthur finds him.
A/N: Here’s my NaNoWriMo for this year. Unedited, as always. This is a Post-Merlin story, set after the events of the final episode, set in Modern day, and featuring many of the familiar faces from the series, and detailing some of the events that happened to Merlin in the centuries in between, as well as finding his way back to Arthur after so very long.


The Avalon had been on the site for more years than anyone remembered. The place before it at least twice as long. No one knew who the owner was, but everyone knew it was the place to go when you didn’t want to be seen, or to not be judged for your preferences when it came to bed partners or what you did with them.

The building had that old feel; the kind that only comes with extreme age when it has been remodeled and rebuilt so many times that one can no longer tell what period it was built in. The owner had cultivated the look over the years, to the point where it was run-down and slightly unsavoury looking. It was the best way to drive away those who did not belong there.

The clientele who frequented the club knew it by word of mouth or invitation by a member or staff member. No one got past the front door easily without one or the other unless they were a regular. The men who guarded the front door were a handsome lot, but no one to mess with, no matter how friendly they might seem. The current manager, an old curmudgeon who looked more like someone who should run a bookshop than a club, always managed to hire the best and brightest for the door. No one ever made it past his men.

Gaius, the manager, had a core staff of six men who rotated guarding the front door, each seeming bigger or stronger than the last. Particularly Percy, who looked like he belonged either on an American football team, or possibly basketball. Some suggested he was a former wrestler, others said he was trained in all the martial arts he could manage to find a teacher for, and gave classes to clients when they asked.

The interior of the club was run by Gaius and two young women who seemed far more capable than their years. Gwen ran the bar and kept the place ship shape. Morgan acted as hostess and planned festivities and events for the clients. She also arranged for private rooms for those who needed them, and some said that she even arranged for more, but only if you knew how to ask.

Young, old, gay or straight, vanilla or kinky, the Avalon was the place to go. So long as you could wrangle an invitation.

* 1 *


Gwen was in the back store-room, getting a few things for the activity Morgan had planned for the night when a rather unkempt man stepped through the back door. He was tall and slender, wispy grey hair surrounding a sharp chin and high cheekbones that looked enough to cut someone. He had a black knit cap pulled down over his head, so that only a few clumps escaped to frame his face. When he looked up and saw Gwen, he stopped abruptly. “Gwen.” His voice was hoarse.

“Oh, Merlin…” She moved to his side and gave him a hug. “You went again, didn’t you?”

He looked away, but it was enough. Though she’d only known him for a handful of years, she’d known him long enough to understand his compulsions. “Gaius says you go every time. What is it you hope to see?”

“It doesn’t matter. I never does. Could you… not let the others know I’m home yet?” he asked, his voice still low and raspy. “I’d like to get changed. Maybe… take a shower.” He waved a hand at himself. “Take care of the look.”

Gwen frowned. She knew that Merlin wasn’t as old as he looked physically. Or that he was far older, in actuality, but could look any age he wished. He only pretended to age so as not to alarm those who saw him casually every day, but weren’t aware of his true identity. “I know you think you have to, Merlin, but I still don’t understand why you do it.”

“Simpler, Gwen. I tried the other way once. It… didn’t end well.”

She bit her lip, wishing she could ask, but nodded. “So… will we still be calling you Merlin, then?”

He chuckled. “Yes. My young nephew Merlin, who was named for me,” he said with a wink. “He’ll be taking over the ownership as soon as Gaius and I can arrange it.” He turned to head toward the staircase. “I’ll be down for supper in a while.”

A thousand questions crowded Gwen’s tongue, but she held them back. There was still so much she didn’t know about this strange man. So much she was afraid to ask. “How about I send up one of the boys with supper for you?” she asked instead. “Perhaps food and someone to relax with will help?”

Merlin stilled, one foot on the bottom stair, then turned to look at her. “Is Will still about?” he asked.

She smiled. “Actually, he’s visiting tonight,” she said.

“Perfect,” Merlin said, his smile actually reaching his eyes this time. “Give me a half hour, all right?”

She nodded, watching him head up the steps, then called after him. “Oh, by the way? Welcome home, Merlin.”

* * *


Merlin stepped into his private quarters and looked around, sighing. It was good to be home. He wished he’d not had to return here alone, but at least he had this much. And his friends around him. Even if they didn’t always know who they were. At least he could spend time with them, and, if he thought they were open to it, tell them who they truly were. Or at least, who they had been in a past life.

But every new “life” without Arthur seemed harder and harder. Some days he wondered if he could wait long enough. Sure, he had found Arthur a few times over the decades, but it had never lasted long. Arthur was always too highly placed, and either others were plotting his death, or he was right on the front lines of some war. Most times, Merlin barely convinced him of the truth before he lost him once more. The last time, during the Great War, Arthur hadn’t believed at all, despite wanting to keep Merlin close. He’d merely humoured him, letting him go on and on about their past lives together, and about the destiny Merlin swore they still had. Even when he’d died, Merlin had known. Not that life, anyway.

All he could hope was that it would be soon.

He set his bag near the door, then pulled off his cap and began to unbutton his coat, occasionally brushing hair from his face, the colour growing darker with each annoyed brush. He hated changing his looks for others, but really, it was far simpler than dealing with the questions that arose if he did not. People noticed. And sometimes were very spooked by what they saw. And spooked people did idiotic things. He wasn’t about to risk another mob trying to burn down the Avalon. It had taken him a decade back in the sixteen-hundreds to rebuild, and that had been the last time he’d let anyone but his inner circle know the truth—that he simply did not age, and never would.

Next part here

Comments

Nov. 2nd, 2013 07:41 pm (UTC)
“It doesn’t matter. I never does.
I or It never does?

I'm glad to see you are writing another Arthur/Merlin fic. *snugs*
Nov. 2nd, 2013 07:47 pm (UTC)
It, definitely. Thanks. :)

Thanks, hon. How are you doing?
Nov. 2nd, 2013 10:24 pm (UTC)
I'm doing all right. I've got a shiny new medication so we'll see how focused I remain on Nano. I'm noticing interesting spelling errors. It's like my dyslexik filter is fof
Nov. 3rd, 2013 12:32 am (UTC)
*snugs* Spelling errors are for December. Just means your creativity is showing. Like when I spell the pronoun whe. ;D I wouldn't worry about them too much.