Author's Note: I, uhm... have no idea. But writing this made me very sad...
Well, I hope you guys enjoy it. Read it while listening to a sad song if you like to make the effect stronger. And if anyone here's a Supernatural freak, then you'll know...
The Brightest Star In The Sky
"Do you miss him?" Merlin asks softly as he stands beside Arthur, staring down over the vacant city shadowed by the dark night. And immediately, he regrets his words and desperately wishes to take them back, because... well, it's such a stupid question. Of course he misses him. He was his father, after all. The father he had lost exactly a year ago, and was now being mourned on the anniversary of his death by the people and, most of all, his beloved son.
But thankfully, Arthur doesn't seem to notice the mishap and the absurdity of his question as he simply answers, in a quiet whisper full of grief and longing, "Every day."
Merlin nods slightly, and stays silent for a while.
Then his mind flashes back to something he once heard from someone in his village when he dared open up to her about his father. Looking back, he didn't know why he did it. Maybe it was because of the fact that he never knew his father, and probably never will, became too much for him. And he didn't know who else to talk to. He didn't want his mother to worry about him or feel guilty, as if it was really her fault, and Will was sick at the time, so he couldn't really lay all his emotional troubles on him.
"Someone once told me that... that if you ever lost someone and..." he trails off hesitantly. He figures Arthur will probably wave it off with a snarky comment about how stupid it was. But he thought, maybe, just maybe... it was worth a try. "...and you miss them. Then just look at the sky, and... and search for the brightest star. And think of it as them." His voice held a delicate softness, as if the ambiance itself was fragile, and he mutely watched the albicant stars glowing in the black sky.
And he doesn't dare to glance at Arthur's face for a few seconds, before he finally does.
And the look on his face was just as he expected, and so were the words that followed. He was staring at him oddly through his deep blue eyes, like he had just grown a second head. And he opens his mouth for a while, his eyes knit, and then closes his mouth again and shakes his head. Then he says, "That... is probably the most ridiculous thing I've ever heard."
Merlin suppressed an eyeroll. "It's what I do when I miss someone I've lost. It helps, sometimes, talking to them," he says, and yet again, regrets his words.
Arthur raises his eyebrows. "You do know that they can't hear you, right?"
"Well, we don't know that," he countered, shrugging.
Arthur just rolls his eyes.
"Merlin!" he screams as he sees the bandit run his sword through his friend's back and run off. He quickly lunges his sword into the oncoming attacker and didn't even wait to watch him fall before he took off running towards Merlin.
Arthur catches him by the waist with one arm just as his knees hit the ground, and he falls down with him, still grasping him. He tugs him close, mostly because he wants to see the wound in his back, or so he tells himself as he places his hand over it. But he knows, somewhere in the back of his mind, that it's only an excuse and he just wants to hold him and console himself with his closeness and never let him go (because maybe if he holds on hard enough, he wouldn't go).
When he moves it away, there is blood. Dark, thick vermillion blood flowing steadily from the wound, right in the centre of his back, and he can see it soak through Merlin's jacket and see it cover all over his hand when he looked down his shoulder, his blue eyes blown wide with terror of losing the only true friend he ever had. So much blood, not leaving a single sight of bare skin on Arthur's calloused palm.
He pulls back and tries to smile reassuringly at him, but it turns out shaky and weak as he tries to catch his friend's drooping head with his other hand, feeling an ache deep in his heart as he watches Merlin fighting to open his eyes.
But he ignores it.
"Stop being such a coward, you idiot," he says, intending to sound like his irritated and annoyed usual self, but instead his voice comes out soft and shaky and desperate, and the trembling and small smile on his face seems to be a hopeless attempt at convincing himself that everything's fine.
That Merlin's not going to die.
But somewhere inside, he already knows where it will end.
There's a deathly stab wound in his back, most likely cutting clean through his spine. He's on his knees, barely able to keep his body or head upright and his eyes open. He's pale from blood loss, and the skin around his eyes are already visibly dark. There's blood on his lips, a thin ripple rushing down the corners of his chin, and he's feels so bloody cold and heavy, and yet, still so small and weak in his arms that Arthur wants to break down and cry.
That's why his voice quivers and breaks when he continues his pathetic and hopeless convincing, and though it's as if he's talking to Merlin, he knows it's mostly just to reassure himself. "You're going to be fine, you bloody girl. We're going to get you to Gaius, and he'll fix your injury, and soon enough, you'll be back to cleaning my chambers and polishing my boots and whining and complaining about how awful it is." He's stroking his hair back and cupping his face and he doesn't even know that he's crying and that there are tears streaming down his cheeks as he talks and talks and smiles so desperate and false that he's not even sure if he has managed to fool even himself with it.
There are so many things he wants to say to him, and they're right there on the tip of his tongue and yet, somehow, they're not. And all he can manage is, "You're not going to die, okay?"
"You can't. Because if I take your dead body over my shoulder back to Camelot, everyone's going to kill me. Gwaine, especially. And... and Gaius is probably going to poison me, and Gwen's going to be very upset." He just keeps on his babbling chatter, trying to keep Merlin with him through his voice, his thick voice that's seemingly worsens as it shakes and breaks in his words. "You're not going to die, you idiot. Half-decent servants are hard to come by, remember? I can't lose you now. Not when... when my chamber's still such a bloody mess." He tries for a laugh, but it comes out so hollow and empty that he lets it die.
You're my best friend. I need you. I care about you too much. I can't do this without you by my side.
You're my brother, and I love you.
And he suddenly notices how still he is, how still his chest is. How pale and cold he is, and how heavy his head is against his hands. And for a moment, he doesn't dare to move himself, and all he can think is, Nononononono. This can't be happening. This can't—
"Merlin?" then he asks quietly, voice a broken and terrified whisper, his erythraen blue eyes huge with fear.
He lets go of his head with one hand, and Merlin's head is falling sideways and Arthur stops breathing for a moment. And he could have sworn his heart stopped beating as well.
But he's gone. He knows. What else could that horrible agony be, like that of one half of your soul, one half of you is being ripped apart from you.
And he clenches his jaw and tries not to cry, tries to be strong even though he doesn't understand why. He doesn't understand anything anymore. Nothing's making sense, and everything in him just feels messed up and scattered and all over the place, like pieces of him. It was as if Merlin was the thing that held him together, and now that he's gone, everything's starting to fall apart. He doesn't understand why he's still living. Why his heart is still beating, why his lungs are still breathing, and why the sun is still shining and the world is still going. Not when Merlin's gone.
He pulls him in and clings to him, and he clings so hard that he could feel his every layer, flesh and bone, under his skin (maybe if he just holds on hard enough, he'd come back), and his face crumples as tears fall down his cheeks.
And he just cries.
He cries into his small shoulder until his shaking body runs out of tears and energy, cries until he couldn't even breathe properly because it bloody hurts. The despair and grief filling within him of the fact that he might never see his beautiful blue eyes open and soulful and puppy-like, that he might never hear his cheerful voice in the morning and hear him complain or whine and retort back insolently to his orders and insults and say some of the wisest things he had ever heard. That he might never get to talk to him again and banter and argue with him and call him an idiot and tell him all the things that he should have told him and—
And he might never see his warm, affectionate and comforting smile, or his bright, huge goofy grins.
All he can do is hold on to him and cry.
Night comes when the knights find them, find Arthur clinging to the dead and cold body of their youngest friend. His blue eyes are dry, but they're red-rimmed and dark and filled with a sorrow so deep underneath that impassiveness that they feel like they could drown in it. It was almost fitting, how his eyes are as blue as the sea, except that they're dull and sad like the depressing gray skies just when it rains.
There's dried red blood, on the ground, on Arthur's hands, on Merlin's clothes and chin. And Leon's kneeling beside him and gently asking him what happened, and then Gwaine's screaming and yelling at him for answers, extremely devastated himself.
But Arthur doesn't answer, barely understands the words being said to him. All he knows is that Merlin's gone Merlin's never coming back he's gone he's never coming back nevercomingbacknevercomingbackhe'sgonehe'sgonehe'sgone—
And it hurts.
He thinks about how they'll have to cremate Merlin's body, and he feels sick to his stomach. His thin, young body. Body. That's all he is now, a body. A dead body, lying cold and lifeless in his arms. It'll never be warm again, or have life in it, running around with Arthur, following him, always there when he just looked to his side.
And then there are hands on him, gentle and firm and rough from years of holding a sword, and he's being pulled away. But he doesn't let go, just holds on tighter onto Merlin as if he's his lifeline.
He probably was.
But now that lifeline's dead, so shouldn't he be as well?
(Maybe if he holds on, just a little bit longer, he'll come back to him. If he could get another chance with him, he'll be better to him. He'll lessen his chores and treat him more nicely and he'll hug him tight and never let him go. One more chance, a miracle, anything. Please).
He never comes back.
It's been a year.
He steps out into the courtyard under the cold, shadowed night, the air gently breezing and rustling his clothes. He stares down below at the empty, sleeping city, and then after a while, looks up at the dark sky, at the many twinkling stars that scatter over it like white dots on a black canvas.
His eyes fix on the brightest one.
And he smiles, small and sad, as he whispers softly to the glowing star.