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Twilight of the Gods

Title: Twilight of the Gods
Recipient: winterstorrm
Author: j_corrosion
Rating: R
Pairings: Percival/Merlin
Word Count: 4,067
Content/Warnings: Violence, Angst
Summary: The day of the battle, all Percival could do was close his eyes and think of Merlin.
Author's Notes: Written for merlin_holidays
I apologise for the direction this story took, it meant to have more Percival/Merlin but other plot elements were being stubborn. I promise to winterstorrm that I will do a sequel with more of the pairing.
Disclaimer: The characters depicted herein belong to Shine and BBC. I make no profit from this endeavour.

Percival was bone weary, just the effort of sitting upright had become a challenge at this point in time. And it didn’t look like the fighting would be concluded any time soon. Resting his head against the remains of a farmer’s boundary wall at the edge of their battle camp, Percival did his best to block out the moans of pain around him but knew that his likely to get little to no rest.

Arthur’s army had fought against two smaller contingents of Odin’s army and had destroyed both but not without cost to his own. And now the remaining bulk of Odin’s army was advancing, their numbers not quite matching Arthur’s but his troops were fresh, well rested and well fed. Arthur believed that the first two attacks were meant as sacrifices to wear them down for the main attack. Arthur seethed at this, he would never, under any circumstances, sacrifice good men like that. Not in such a cowardly, uncaring way.

Percival enjoyed battle, he was built for war and was extremely good at it. However, this time the battle was too much, too many friends and brothers at arms had fallen or sustained severe injury. Every time he shut his eyes, the screams would build to such a crescendo that he jolted painfully awake, visions of burning flesh fading into the night. The next time this happened he felt a hand against his shoulder and was about to wrench it off when he realised that it was Elyan’s soft eyes on him and no dismembered corpse.
“Are you alright?” Elyan’s warm voice cut through the violent dreams and Percival managed a small smile. Elyan looked as bad as he felt, it was a wonder how the man was still standing let alone comforting him.
“Elyan” Percival ignored the shaking in his own voice, “I am well”. It was partially true at least, he had sustained little injury beyond minor cuts and scrapes. The armour afforded to him as one of King Arthur’s knights was the best possible and has kept him safe from many a wound that could have killed him. He remembered the days of fighting in leather tunics and basic mail alone and felt a stab of empathy for the vast majority of the army fighting with little protection.

Elyan gave him a knowing look, “You don’t look well” Percival opened his mouth to reply but Elyan silenced him by holding up a hand, “Its okay, I don’t think any of us are all that well at the moment”. Percival’s eyes locked with Elyan’s and for that moment they shared all their worry and unease and yet gave each other strength at the same time. They were brothers in arms and they would fight to the death for one another. Percival’s thoughts fell to Merlin for a moment and thanked the gods that he was safe back in Camelot.
Percival grasped Elyan’s arm in a silent thank you, “We should get some rest. Tomorrow will be a long day”. Elyan smiled warmly and inclined his head in agreement, “Until the morrow” he returned, leaving to find his spot in the camp and Percival to his solitude.
Percival sighed and shut his eyes, the sounds of the wounded army were still flooding his mind but he did his best to let sleep wash over him. He allowed himself a moment to think of Merlin and his heart lifted for a moment as he drifted off to big blue eyes.


Percival awoke to a feeling of dread, a heavy weight settled in the bottom of his stomach which only got worse as memory of what the day entails filtered through from sleep to wakefulness. The sun had barely begun to rise so the surrounding fields are dark and eerie; a foreboding hush surrounded the men.
And soon enough, the war was upon them once again. The horn blew clear in the crisp morning air, the signal to form battle positions, so Percival took his place alongside the elite. He and the knights of the round table were on horseback alongside king Arthur and were prepared, more so than the rest of the army, to fight and die for him. They were his best and also his bodyguard, not that he would ever admit such a thing. Percival felt a fierce swell of pride that a low born man such as himself was so highly regarded by someone like Arthur.
Percival looked at his fellow knights; Leon and Elyan were to Arthur’s right with Gwaine and himself to Arthur’s left. He wanted to smile at the sight of them but he couldn’t bring himself to do so, too many had been lost and too many would be lost in the battle ahead.

Arthur pulled his white stallion to stand facing them and the army, Eddard, the gentle young man recently promoted to be his standard bearer stepped with him so the Pendragon banner fluttered triumphantly in the breeze behind the king.
“It seems that time is upon us once again, gentlemen” Arthur’s voice rang sharp, “Today we face another challenge. Odin may think he can beat us with unsavoury tactics, but he is wrong” Arthur paused, a look of defiance on his face. “We fight for our friends. For our families. For our loved ones” he paused and Percival couldn’t help but think of Merlin and immediately felt guilt. Merlin was no more his than anyone else was, despite how much he wanted him to be. But a few chaste kisses stolen in solitude hadn’t had the time to flower into anything else and it made his heart ache at the thought of it.
“We are the better men and because of this, we will win”
At that, a rumble came from the other side of the field as Odin’s army finally came crashing into the field.
Any fear that Percival felt was pushed deep inside as his hand went instinctively to the hilt of his sword.
“For Camelot!” Arthur roared, raising his sword in the air, “For Camelot!” Percival roared back, the same shout that echoed through the field as Arthur’s loyal army responded like warriors.

For Percival, time seemed to slow as he pushed his horse forward towards the enemy, his blood singing with the excitement of battle. All that existed was the lance in his right hand, the horse beneath his knees that was as enraged as he was and the enemy soldiers locked within his sights. He was more used to fighting on his own two feet with only wits on his side but he and the horse had become close, so much so that fighting on the mare’s back had become an extension of himself.
He drove her onwards, the reminders of what had become of many of Arthur’s soldiers, his friends, spurring him forwards. Through the visor of his helmet he saw fear in the enemy’s eyes just as they clashed and his lance crunched viciously into the man’s chest, killing him instantly.
With barely a breath of pause, Percival had the sword out of his hilt and had turned to the next man, his heavy blow biting deep into the infantry man’s shoulder. The man dropped his weapon in shock and fell off his horse, clutching at the most likely fatal wound dealt to him.

Everything came as easy breathing to Percival, his sword hitting their targets at every strike. One man made an attempt at parrying Percival’s strike but the blow was woefully underpowered and Percival threw the man from his horse as if we nothing but the weight of a child.
Arrows occasionally rained down around them but Percival barely registered them, there was only the next soldier, the next weapon to stop, the next splash of blood.
Percival’s battle lust was invaded as a foot soldier’s poleaxe tore the neck of his horse and he found himself crashing to the ground under a screaming horse. Rolling away as to not be trapped under the weight of the thrashing animal, he let out a roar and without losing his footing; he took two paces and slammed his sword to the hilt through the foot soldier’s stomach. At the screams of pain from the dying mare, Percival felt a pang of sadness at the horse had that led him safely through several battles yet now lay dying in so much pain. He used his sword and put an end to her misery, “Rest easy, girl” he muttered and turned back to the battle.

Things weren’t looking great at the moment, Percival could see the King by his standard bearer, was no longer upon his horse either and was locked in battle with three older men. Percival felt worry biting at the back of his mind but knew that he had nothing to worry about. Arthur was the greatest fighter of the all, he knew what he was doing. Besides, he could see Leon and Elyan by his side, and they would never let anything happen to him.
Stepping over the carnage of battle, one of Odin’s knights caught sight of him and made a growling noise. The man was almost of a height with Percival himself but was twice as wide and had a face like an angry bear. The strength of the man’s swing caught Percival off guard and he dropped to his right knee, sword raised and braced against his opponent’s sword. With a grunt he gathered all his strength and shoved his shoulder against the chain mail covered gut. The man staggered back and Percival swayed a moment, feeling like he had run into a stone wall. Now he knew how people felt punching him.
Using his youthful speed, he was upon the enemy knight in an instant, each blow wearing the man down until Percival could find an opening in the man’s armour to pierce. However, the knight’s equal amount of strength was wearing him too. One blow slashed his left thigh, another almost piercing his mail. One slash came far too close and sliced at his sword hand. It was all he could do to not drop the sword and carry on the parry.
Breathing harshly, he noticed his opponent had dropped his stance, he blocked, twirled inwards and drove the point of his sword in the soft place between helmet and mail. Not giving anything up to chance, Percival placed his foot on the giant man’s chest and pushed him on to the ground. A roar came from the knight but blood was spraying from his mouth and it quickly turned into a drowning gurgle.
The blood dripping from his own head was starting to get in his eyes and block his vision so he ripped off his own helmet. He hadn’t realised that he’d had a blow to the head strong enough to dent his helmet and bash his temple, though he didn’t dwell on it.

Percival didn’t have chance to breathe before another two men were upon him, slicing and hacking at him in tandem. He noticed they were backing him slowly into the woods and a brief flicker of panic ignited inside him. That could only mean one thing; that there was a trap waiting in the cover of the trees for him. But he didn’t have time to panic, using his size and greater reach to his full advantage, he stepped out of range of their swords and swung heavily at one before dropping lower and taking out the feet of the other man.
As the two crashed to the ground another two seemed to appear out of thin air and were upon him like dogs, once again driving him backwards towards the woods. He caught a glimpse of Gwaine out the corner of his eye as he parried and blocked the two new enemies. Gwaine dispatched with his enemy and was making his way to Percival, to Percival’s relief, the constant attacks were draining his remaining energy quite dramatically now. With his attention momentarily distracted, one of his enemies drove his blade between the links of the mail on his shoulder and pierced his shoulder.
He grunted and staggered backwards, a haze filling his vision, “Percival!” he heard Gwaine’s shout echo in his ears but he couldn’t place him.

The pain forked out through his body and he wanted to drop and rest but he knew that if he gave up now, he would be dead. Gritting his teeth, he heaved both of the advancing men and sent them into the air and then smashing to ground. At times like these, he was very happy to have giant arms.
He looked up a moment and saw that Gwaine now also had two opponents but was using his speed to deftly skip out of their way and take the advantage.
Not one to let the same tricks work twice, he returned his full attention to his attackers who had now paused and we’re giving each other worried looks. Percival took this moment as an opening and grinned menacingly at them, knowing that the blood dripping from his temple and shoulder was likely to magnify the effect. The two men held their ground but didn’t look as confident as they did sticking a sword into his shoulder. He leapt at them and took them by surprise, taking down one and then the other in rapid succession.
But then, seemingly out of nowhere, another three came to replace the two he had dispatched and pressed him towards the woods. Every time he killed one, another one appeared. All he could see was the flash of blades and teeth grit in the strain of battle, and before he knew it, the sounds of any other battle had disappeared and he found himself inside the woods; just where he didn’t want to be.
One of the men he was fighting paused a moment and whistled sharply through his fingers; Percival’s stomach dropped at the sound. He knew that whatever the man was signalling would not be good.
The other two men also paused and started to grin, one of them even started to laugh. Percival wanted desperately to choke him against a tree but barely had the energy to hold himself upright, let alone much else.
Percival’s breathing felt ragged in his chest and hurt as it left his lungs, the blow to his head was starting to knock him off balance too. He wasn’t sure how much more of this he could take. As much as he didn’t want to admit it, he needed Gwaine or Elyan or any of his brother knights with him right now.

Three more men had now entered the clearing, soldiers of Odin. Percival’s heart sank but his body did not reflect this. He stood up straighter and let his larger size try and intimidate some of them, it was all he had left. Never let them seem you weak, he had been taught.
Six men. He knew he was larger and stronger than most men but six was definitely beyond his limit, especially when three of the men were knights by the looks of them, and better trained than most.
They spread out, moving to circle around him. Percival’s eyes flickered around at them as he moved, sword held as steady as his injured arms would allow.
“Big man’s not so big now is he?” One taunted, an ugly look of glee stretching his narrow face.
Percival growled and swung at the knight who easily stepped back out of the way, he had definitely come fresh into this battle, probably hadn’t even fought at all as of yet.
They laughed again as they watched, the sounded maddening to Percival’s pained head. He lunged again and missed, causing another round of obnoxious laughter. This time Percival knew what to do.
Feigning injury on his right leg, he appeared to stumble but then swiftly reversed and grabbed one of the laughing men. He had the slit the man’s throat before he even registered that Percival had moved.

The attack then began. All five men rushed at him landing blow after blow, Percival was doing the best he could to deflect and block but too many were breaking through. Something heavy caught him at the side of his head and faltered, groaning.
At one point, he managed to use his good shoulder to knock a man to the floor but someone else caught his legs and ruined his advantage. He managed to get up to block and deflect once more but five minutes was all it took. The ugly knight found an opening and drove his blade straight in to Percival’s stomach.

Percival froze, his whole body screaming at him, his vision was only partial now, a red mist swimming in and out of focus. He’d barely even realised that he’d collapsed to the floor, only a vague question about the sideways trees hinted at the back of his mind. The laughter though was as sharp as his favourite axe back home, he could also hear more taunting but he couldn’t quite make out all the words. The pain was dulling his mind.

But then there was an odd silence; he thought at first that it was something wrong with him but then a strange crackling washed over his body and he knew instinctively that there was powerful magic nearby. He’d felt it before near Morgana, and oddly once when he had kissed Merlin but he had never really dwelt upon that.

Then the screaming started.

He had no idea what was happening but he couldn’t even bring himself to panic at the torment so clearly happening around him but the pain was too much and he was quite sure that he was dead anyway.
He wasn’t sure how long it lasted but eventually the silence returned.
Percival concentrated on moving his body but all that got him was an uncontrollable shudder and a pain so strong that he almost blacked out. He moaned and lay back down until the pain became more bearable.
Suddenly, there were cool hands upon his forehead and someone was whispering his name. It sounded like…no, it couldn’t be. It sounded like Merlin.

He gasped and opened his eyes; “Merlin?” his voice sounded thin and broken, just how he felt right at that moment. A pair of large blue eyes entered his line of sight; Merlin’s mouth was set in a grim line of determination.
“Rest, Percival” he whispered, leaning over to take hold of his hand, “I’m going to make you better”.
Percival opened his mouth to speak but coughed instead, blood trickling from his mouth. He found the last reserves of his energy to reach up and grasp Merlin’s sleeve, “Merlin. Please” he choked out, wanting desperately to say goodbye.
A worried but serious look crossed Merlin’s face as he took hold of Percival’s arm and lay him back down. Percival noticed that Merlin had been crying at some point and wanted to do anything in his power to make him smile once more, he looked better smiling.
“I promise you, you will be okay” Merlin leant down and pressed a soft kiss to Percival’s lips.
Percival felt the blackness tugging at his vision and a comforting warmth surround him. He wanted to fight back and stay with Merlin but he knew he was fighting a losing battle. Percival fell into unconsciousness.


Percival wasn’t expecting to wake up again; he especially wasn’t expecting to wake up in Merlin’s bed.
He attempted to sit up but shooting pains shot through his body, groaning, his head fell back onto the makeshift bed.
“Percival!” he recognised the voice of his King anywhere and shot bolt up-right, ignoring the pain.
“Take in easy” Percival turned to find Merlin at his elbow looking worried but with an easy smile on his face. He felt a smile tugging at his face too and a vague memory that didn’t seem to fit into place in his mind.

Arthur approached the bed with, Gwaine at his side to Percival’s huge relief, he’d survived the battle.
“Sire, the battle?” his voice was pained and raw, he needed to know as it seemed that he had missed a great deal.
Arthur looked pale and had a few cuts and bruises littering his face but seemed hale in comparison. Gwaine too had bandages covering his arms but also seemed well, Percival was glad that they had come out of the battle relatively unscathed but he still feared for the others.

“There were many losses, but out superior skills and numbers won out in the end” Arthur’s voice was distant; Percival knew that he would take each and every casualty to heart.
“How are you feeling?” Arthur asked, turning those intense eyes over to him, Percival almost wanted to squirm under the gaze. “Still living so it seems”
Gwaine made a spluttering noise and crossed his arms over his chest, though Percival noticed the wince when he knocked his arm, “Barely, you were in pretty bad shape when we found you in the woods”.
Percival frowned, he was sure someone else had been with him there. There was a flash of blue and gold eyes, Merlin, surely it was Merlin and yet it couldn’t have been.
“Merlin…” he muttered, his voice thick with confusion. Had he hit his head that hard?

“Merlin patched you up when we got back” Arthur answered, “At least he comes in handy for something” he grinned at Merlin who jokingly sulked in response. Percival wanted to smile but it didn’t feel right, he was so sure that Merlin had saved him. Saved him with magic.

“It’s a good job you had that thick skull of yours to protect you, not many could fight off so many men at once” there was a warmth in Gwaine’s teasing that made him smile. He longed to be back with the knights, laughing at teasing one another.

“Leon, Elyan…” He left the question hanging, afraid of what the answer might be. He couldn’t bear to lose any of his new found brothers.

“They are just fine” Merlin squeezed his arm gently, “Elyan only had minor wounds and Leon is downstairs recovering well from a stab wound.”

“Seems the big guy gets the bed” Gwaine smiled, his eyes locked on to Percival’s.

“Hey, I need the space” he feigned a sulk but couldn’t help a laugh, which quickly turned into a cough. Percival started to notice the shaking in his hands.

“We’ll let you know the full details tomorrow” Arthur said, crossing the room to place a hand on his shoulder, “I’m glad you’re okay” he said with a small, genuine smile. Pride swelled in Percival’s chest, he still wasn’t used to his King personally caring about him.

“Me too, big guy. It wouldn’t be the same without you” Gwaine smiled, winked and then followed Arthur downstairs. It left Percival alone with Merlin.

There was a comfortable silence as Percival worked up the courage to ask a question he was pretty sure was going to sound absolutely crazy. No matter how he phrased it in his mind it sounded like a stab wound induced hallucination.

Percival opened his mouth to speak, but not for the first time, Merlin interrupted and put his hand to his lips to silence him.

“I know what you’re going to ask” Merlin said, his voice thick and with a curious tone that Percival couldn’t place. “I had planned to tell you that you were imagining things and that it was completely and utterly ridiculous, that I was all the way back here” he paused, eyes downcast and contemplating.
“But I can’t do that to you. I care about you too much to lie to you. I want you to know me, properly”.

Percival was overwhelmed. This wasn’t what he expected, though that always seemed to happen around Merlin. Merlin was magic. Merlin was powerful. Merlin cared about him. Merlin cared about him! For some reason, only that last part really registered with him.

Ignoring all the pain, Percival reached up to cup his hand behind Merlin’s head, “Thank you for saving my life” he whispered and pulled him into a kiss. Merlin smiled into the kiss and pulled him in deeper.

Percival was quite sure he was going to like getting to know Merlin better.


David Mitchell

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