Part 2

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That was how Merlin and Ellie had met. He had stopped her from doing something foolish, had saved her from herself. After doing what they could to stop the witch trials, Ellie fled with Merlin. She joined him in his worldly travels and they'd learned all about each other's lives. Ellie became Merlin's apprentice as he further schooled her in the ways of sorcery, though Merlin had always thought she didn't need much help from him. He was sure she would have always become a powerful sorcerer on her own. She had become the most powerful sorcerer of all those Merlin had ever met.

At some point throughout their many years together, Ellie fell in love with Merlin. She hadn't meant to, had tried not to, but to her it seemed inevitable. Merlin was kind, gentle, and compassionate despite the hardness that had settled on his heart. He was also funny and could bring light to mostly any situation, something that was essential if one planned on living for hundreds of years. Perhaps the most important thing Ellie had learned from Merlin was the ability to manipulate one's lifespan. Merlin had the power to extend his life as long as necessary as it took for Arthur's return. It took Ellie years but eventually she too mastered this gift, freezing her age at her prime. She did not plan on doing this forever, only until Arthur returned so that she could be there for Merlin in the meantime.

One night in Italy, Ellie entered the bedroom Merlin was using at their temporary home. He looked pensive and so, so unbearably cute. As he gazed out his window, the moonlight did wonderful things for his cheekbones and jawline. Then again, they pretty much always looked amazing. There was something about him in that moment that made Ellie want to unleash her feelings. Determinedly, she approached. He continued to gaze out the window.

"Merlin?" she spoke hesitantly.

He turned to her, "Yes?"

And she could bear to say no more, lest she lose her nerve. She simply strode over to him, placed her hands on his face, felt those wonderful cheekbones, and kissed him. Merlin did nothing to stop her. In fact he welcomed this contact. It had been so, so long since he'd had this kind of contact with anyone. He wasn't in love with Ellie, which was why in hindsight he should have stopped her, but he did love her in some kind of way and for a moment he thought maybe that was enough.

Ellie was not the first person Merlin had slept with. In the space of the roughly 700 years before he met her, after his original life, he'd had liaisons with various people. Being alive for all these years, one needed this kind of connection every now and then. Sometimes they were meaningful relationships, sometimes, a fast affair. However lovely, none of these people ever held a candle to Arthur. No matter how many people there were or how much time had passed, Merlin's relationship with Arthur was the biggest and brightest in his life. What he had with Ellie was certainly a meaningful relationship. But it was an unbalanced relationship because Ellie was in love with Merlin but Merlin was not in love with her. Not in that way. Deep down they both knew this. Ellie was quite perceptive, even aside from her ability to see people's auras and sense their emotions. She knew in her heart something was missing. And, having learned all about Merlin's original life, she knew it was Arthur. Merlin had never outwardly admitted to being in love with Arthur, but Ellie knew he was. There was a time when Ellie thought, or more like hoped, that she and Merlin could truly be together forever. She was fooling herself and she knew this, but she couldn't stop hoping as long as their physical relationship continued. Merlin knew that continuing this kind of relationship with Ellie was wrong, was completely unfair to her, which was why he planned to put an end to it.

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