Besides, when movies give me love triangles, I see threesomes and the film was much better on second viewing; largely because I didn't spend two hours trying to figure out where I'd seen the Bens before (3:10 to Yuma and Pride respectively. Plus, Howard fucking Stark, no wonder Llane looked familiar).
Title: No Magic Strong Enough
Pairings: Pre-slash Anduin/Khadgar
Rating: Canon-typical violence
Word Count: 1463
Disclaimer: I own nothing.
Summary: Khadgar doesn't let Callan die that easily.
Khadgar is halfway up the side of the canyon when he hears Lothar scream. He looks back to see Callan trapped on the wrong side of Medivh's magic, the young knight and half a dozen of his comrades facing the orcs without hope of victory.
“Medivh! Take it down!” Lothar shouts, beating his fist against the barrier until he's thrown backward to the ground.
The mage looks up at the top of the cliff, waiting for the Guardian to answer Lothar's call. Medivh has to answer; the knight is his friend and that's his only child. No one with a heart could let him die. But the Guardian doesn't appear and his magic doesn't falter; Medivh isn't going to save the day this time.
So Khadgar grits his teeth and climbs down off his horse. He can't let this happen. If the Guardian won't save Callan, then it’s up to him instead. He may not know what the Hell he's doing, but he knows that Lothar should never scream like that again. The knight isn't supposed to sound like his heart is breaking; Anduin Lothar is supposed to be a smirking asshole and the mage didn't realize how much he'd depended on that constant until now.
Khadgar drops to his knees and starts scribing runes as quickly as he can. While teleporting short distances requires less power than a longer jump, a lack of precision could still kill him instantly. But the mage will take the risk for Lothar and his son.
“What are you doing?” Garona shouts as he starts gathering his power, runes flaring blue around his feet.
“I have no idea,” Khadgar admits and then blinks out.
He reappears on the battlefield, a gust of wind slamming the closest orcs off their feet. His aim was good and when he looks around, he sees Callan a few feet away. The young knight is bloody and battered but he's still alive for now.
Khadgar runs over and grabs Callan's arm, trying to pull the other man to his feet. Trying because the knight must be double his weight in armor and all the mage does is stagger where he stands.
“Shit,” he curses when he loses his grip and falls over backward. Khadgar flails a bit, accidentally kicking Callan's shoulder as he struggles to his knees. The knight grunts at the impact and finally seems to get with the program, looking over at the other man hazily.
“Khadgar?” he asks, brows furrowing just like his father's before Lothar says something particularly obtuse.
“Yeah, it's me. Talk later,” Khadgar replies, sending a fireball at three orcs who are charging at them before taking one last glance around the battlefield. He's looking for survivors but all he sees is corpses littering the ground. Khadgar gags at a particularly gruesome decapitation, the smell of blood making his stomach turn. This is only his second fight and it hasn’t gotten any easier to deal with; he's still completely terrified.
But the mage won't run. These knights faced their deaths with courage and he can't dishonor them. Khadgar can't leave Callan, not when he glances back through the barrier and sees the hope in Lothar's eyes.
So Khadgar risks one more spell, an inversion of the magic that he used against Garona. His power snakes across the battlefield, searching out the knights of Stormwind and grabbing hold of anyone with life inside their veins. There are only two. One unconscious and one wearing shredded armor, a broken dagger in her hands. He's burning too much magic but their lives are worth it and he drops the spell as soon as they're in range.
“Stay close,” the mage orders as he starts to draw another circle, glowing runes carved into the sand. The orcs are wary of magic, keeping their distance after his latest fireball, and that's probably the only reason that he’s still alive. But his circle is only half-finished when a deafening howl echoes around the canyon and an enormous wolf leaps at his head.
Khadgar flinches backward, throwing his arms up in the air. The rune circle shatters into nothing as the mage twists his power in a new direction and the wolf's claws scrabble helplessly against a glowing shield.
Instinct saved him from a mauling but now they’re trapped. Khadgar can't cast two spells at once – he doesn't have the training – and if he drops the shield, he's going to die before he has to the chance to teleport.
“I really should have planned this better,” Khadgar mutters, pouring more power into his spell when the wolf attacks again. He's hoping for inspiration but he's having trouble thinking about anything but the creature’s slavering jaws. So he just keeps retreating, Callan and the other knight dragging their unconscious comrade at his side.
The mage retreats until the edge of his shield runs into Medivh's barrier and the shock of power almost brings him to his knees. The shield flickers, massive claws slicing red lines down Khadgar's cheek. He winces before gritting his teeth and forcing the wolf back with another burst of will.
Lothar actually sounds worried and when the mage glances over his shoulder, the other man is almost close enough to touch. The knight shoves his hand against the barrier, forcing his way past Medivh's magic with the sheer strength of his will. Khadgar knows that Lothar is probably reaching for his son but it feels like he's reaching out for Khadgar and all the mage wants to do is take his hand.
The moment only lasts a few seconds before the barrier throws Lothar back again. But that's enough to give Khadgar an idea. If Lothar can manage that much through stubbornness, why can't he do one better? It's not like he has another plan.
“Whatever you do, keep moving,” he orders Callan. “Drag me if you have to.”
Then Khadgar pours magic into his shield and walks directly at the barrier. It feels as though he's walking directly into a windstorm, Medivh's power slamming into his shield like a hammer-strike. But the mage just locks his eyes on Lothar and keeps moving forward inch by inch. The Guardian's magic presses down on his shoulders, the weight growing stronger with every step he takes. Soon Khadgar is struggling to hold the spell against the force of Medivh's power, his shield cracking and twisting dangerously.
Callan and the other knights press close to Khadgar and he can feel them flinching with every lightning strike. The mage can hardly blame them when he's running out of power. He's not running out of magic – he doesn't think that's possible. But he's running out of the energy to bend the magic to his will.
Khadgar's vision is starting to turn grey around the edges and he bites his lip so hard that he tastes blood as the world narrows to Lothar's pleading face.
The mage takes two more steps and then he crumples. His shield dissolves, Callan throwing himself forward as the Guardian's barrier snaps back into place across his heels. Khadgar just falls, fully expecting to face plant in the gravel until strong hands catch him round the waist.
“I've got you,” Lothar murmurs, lifting Khadgar in his arms. The knight is strong and solid and while his armor isn't exactly comfortable, the mage can't stop himself from curling into Lothar's chest.
“Are they all right?” he asks, struggling to stay awake. “Did Callan make it?”
“Yeah, Spellchucker. You saved him. You did good,” the other man replies, the words putting a helpless smile on his face. Khadgar has never considered himself desperate for validation but he can't deny that Lothar's different; he's wanted the other man to like him ever since that first contentious meeting and now he's finally made him proud.
“Seriously, thank you,” Lothar says again. He isn't sure if Khadgar hears him – the mage seems to be asleep – but he needs to say the words out loud. For all the shit he's given Khadgar, the other man just saved his son while Medivh did nothing and Lothar owes him everything for that.
So he holds Khadgar in his arms protectively as he checks Callan over and then orders his soldiers to retreat. Lothar isn't going to let the mage get hurt on his watch, not when the blood on Khadgar's cheek is making his gut twist uncomfortably. Watching the mage fight made him realize that he cares about the other man as more than just a comrade and while he's not sure when that happened, Lothar has always been willing to die for the people that he loves.