This story is for the song/fic challenge I started.
Warning: Character's death and is rather depressing
Into the Dark
If there's no one beside you,
When your soul embarks
Then I'll follow you into the dark
Death Cab for Cutie - I will follow you into the Dark
Arthur Pendragon will never forget this day. The dark clouds, the strong smell of burning flesh, the roaring winds, they are not the reason he'll never forget it, the reason this dark day will stay with him is because it's the day he watched Merlin die. It's the day he screamed until his lungs were hoarse, the day he cried shameless in front of his people, in front of the man who just killed the man he loved. It's the day the earth stood still just to make sure Arthur suffered fully as he watched those flames burn away the pale skin he had spent hours upon hours caressing. Everyone in Camelot watched Merlin Emrys burn and the prince fall.
A thousand tears fell that day, the rain doesn't come until that night, washing away the echo of Merlin's pain filled screams and the sound of Arthur's heart breaking. The smoke is thick in the air; the screams are coming from both Merlin and Arthur. He is desperately trying to save him, to just try and somehow, somehow end this. The guards aren't letting go, the fire is growing stronger, Merlin is burning. Why won't the rain fall now? Why won't the water just come pouring from the sky so heavy that it forces everyone to their knees? Why must it be the smell of burning flesh that reaches Arthur's nostrils and makes him want to be ill?
The wind is blowing the smoke away from Merlin, his face is a mask of agony and streaked with tears, the flames are licking at the air. Burning away his legs. Arthur can see him hold onto life, grasp at each second with both hands. He is hoping Arthur will save him, but he can't, he is being forced to watch Merlin die and he can't make his mind work and he can't break free of the guards vice-like hold and he knows he has failed. From the very moment Arthur learnt of Merlin's magic he vowed to keep him safe from his magic hating father, he failed. Uther heard whispers of his son's affair, 'the prince is sleeping with his manservant' the maids had gossiped and for once they were right.
Uther went to see if those rumors were true, he got more than he was looking for. His son in bed, in the midst making love to his manservant, his magical manservant. The castle shook with screams; Arthur tried in vain to protect Merlin from the wrath of his father. The young warlock was sentenced to death at the stake for putting a spell on the prince of Camelot, he never even allowed Uther to see his magic. He was so full of hatred that he assumed his son were under a spell. Arthur screamed himself hoarse trying to prove to his father that this was no spell, it was just destiny.
He can't see Merlin anymore; the screams are just audible over the roaring fire and howling wind. The pain will end soon, for Merlin. Arthur will burn forever. The screams die, Arthur dies, the guards slacken their hold on him, Uther steps forwards and orders the fire to be put out. Arthur looks away, he is having trouble keeping the images of his lover's burnt remands from his mind, and he does not wish to see them. He will already be haunted forever.
No one looks at Merlin once the flames are gone; the smell of burnt flesh is enough. The broken prince keeps his eyes shut tight and his head bowed, the tears are still falling, his body is quivering and he has only minutes if not seconds away from collapsing to the ground. He can't a hear thing, everything is silent, the world has truly stopped spinning, no more days, no more nights, no more Merlin. When Arthur lets out an anguished cry Uther grabs his hair and forces him to his knees and holds his head up so that if he were to open his eyes he'd see Merlin. Not smiling, not laughing, unmoving.
Uther screams at him to open his eyes, he slams him across the face; it doesn't feel the sting, his nerves died in those flames. He can't make out what his father's saying, something about 'you are no son of mine' Arthur thinks he should have burnt him as well then. A different voice drifts threw the screams, it's the voice he has heard late at night and early in the morning, it's the voice that brings a smile to his face. Now it brings tears, heartache and silence.
His father has stopped yelling and the crowd gasps in shock and Arthur forces himself to open his eyes. The sight before him makes him want to run, to run for miles and miles until he finds himself back in Merlin's arms. Merlin doesn't really have arms now, no legs either, he can't focus on the charred body, its making him suffocate. But Merlin's face, those pronounced cheek bones that he has caressed, those lips he has kissed, are not burnt.
Arthur can taste the magic in the air, feel it dance against his skin and leave a trail of goosebumps behind. Merlin is holding onto life, he is holding onto Arthur, to those endless kisses and timeless love. He won't leave his prince; Arthur can see that, he should have known that. They are the same side of one coin; one cannot be whole without the other. If Merlin could not die because Arthur lived, then he'd follow him into the dark.
Camelot will never forget this day. The dark clouds, the strong smell of burning flesh, the roaring winds, they are not the reason they'll never forget it, the reason this dark day will stay with them forever is because it's the day they watched the prince and the wizard die.