A/N: Hey guys! Decided to do a follow up of Chapter One in Arthur's POV. Not the best, and has been VERY annoying and wasn't saving it after edits. Um, there is a happy ending but there is some angst too. Sorry for any spelling mistakes or grammar problems; Word isn't working for me today and spell check isn't either. Hope you like it!
You're so confused. So, so confused. Merlin has lunged at you and you fight (God, that's all you know how to do anymore) and talk. He asks you why it hurts. You tell him, a serious expression painted across your face. And for a second, there a no cracks, no fractures in the relationship. It's just you and Merlin.
You lash out. It's how your are. You don't deal well with emotions, you're a man of action. So you lash out and swear and yell and God, what were you thinking? You weren't, that's the problem. You never think.
Merlin didn't fight back, didn't yell or swear like he would have done before. He just pushes you off and you're so surprised. Since when did Merlin get so strong? Probably in the months since you've had a civil conversation, your mind whispers.
He says goodbye. He says goodbye and walks away and you can't stop staring after him, feeling dread settle in your stomach. You sit on the floor, worry and surprise on your face. Seconds pass and then you're father is there, bending over you and demanding to know what the Crown Prince of Camelot is doing on the floor.
You do something you've never done. You tell him to shut up, and then you storm off, searching. Searching for Merlin. You walk around with no idea of where to go, but you have to keep moving or everything will fall to Hell.
You see the old tower, where not many people go anymore. The old, heavy door is open and you know, with a dreadful certainty that Merlin is up there. You start up the staircase, calling out, praying for a response. You get none and you speed up. The dread is like lead in your stomach, weighing you down.
You arrive to see a wild, manic smile spread across Merlin's face. "No!" you scream, and you don't know if you think it or say it. It doesn't matter. All that matters is Merlin is falling and why haven't you moved yet?
You can't move. Why not? Why isn't your body responding to your commands. It's almost like time has slowed down around you and you see a flash of gold. Blue eyes have turned gold with a whispered word and you know. Merlin is magic and he's stopping you from saving him.
You struggle. God, you struggle so hard. You have to move, have to help. You realise how much you need this silly, improper man and you need to keep him with you.
But he's so strong. So very strong and the most you can do is fall to your knees as tears stream down your face. The world speeds up to normal but you still can't move. You need to move so bad it hurts, but this is Merlin. Since when has he cared what you need, what you want? He's stubborn and strong and he was such a good friend.
Then all at once, you're moving again. You're up and running but it's too late. Merlin is lying, spread-eagle on the ground, surrounded by a group of screaming women and crying men. You realise that you're moving because he's dead. You'd rather never move again if that meant Merlin was still there, still breathing.
But he's not and you're moving and you realise you're running, faster than you thought possible. Barely a minute passes and you're there, kneeling next to Merlin's broken body. A loud, plaintive wail echoes in a sudden silence and it takes a second for you to figure out that you're making the noise.
Tears are streaming down your face, dripping off your chin and onto the ground. You reach out and grab Merlin's wrist, searching desperately for a pulse. He has to be alive. You need him to be alive.
There's no pulse.
You whisper a denial, then you're screaming it. Nonononononononononono. It overtakes every thought, every feeling. He can't be dead. He can't. Not Merlin, the bumbling idiot who always had a snarky comment at the ready. No.
But he is. He's gone and you can't go rescue him this time. You'll never get to tell him you're sorry, never get to tell him that he's your best friend and always will be. You've let him slip through your fingers and there's nothing you can do.
A day passes.
You lock yourself in your room, pushing the bed against the door to stop anyone getting in. The table is up against the windows so nobody can get in that way. You won't be needing either of those. You won't be getting any sleep and it seems like your stomach has vanished.
Like the light in Merlin's eyes.
You shove the thought away, sitting in your darkened room. Why have light there? You don't deserve it. You think it's your fault. You're sure of it. You think that if you had never swore and yelled at Merlin, that he would be there, opening the curtains for the morning, an hour late as usual.
Merlin sprawled on the floor flashes across your mind and you dry heave.
A day passes.
A week passes.
You're still locked in your haven't eaten in days. The only sleep you get is when you just fall asleep, and that never lasts long. You keep seeing his lifeless eyes, looking up at a sky they couldn't see. It makes you feel sick in your stomach. This isn't how it was supposed to go.
You're stomach grumbles in hunger but you pay it no mind. You know if you eat you'll only be sick and even though you feel like you deserve it you never do handle being sick well.
There is someone banging on your door. It takes you a second to recognise it as your father. You don't respond to any of his threats. You just sit with days old tear tracks on your face. You're stomach growls again and you stare at it, angry that it could be demanding food when Merlin is dead.
God, he's dead.
It hits you again and you choke on your breath as the tears start streaming again. You're father leaves, and there is no noise apart from the sound of your tears hitting the ground and your choked, ragged breaths.
A week passes.
A month passes.
You came out of your room two weeks after Merlin's death. Gwen came by and she talked to you, telling you what was going on in the kingdom. She didn't ask you to come out, just talked. Something about her, or maybe everything about her, made you come out. She had left by the time you actually found the will to come out, but you were out.
You still don't sleep well or eat much. You're skin is pale, your hair is lank and you very rarely show emotion. You don't know if your father is worried, but he acts like everything is fine. Almost like he's wishing that if he pretends everything is normal, then it will be.
Morgana is dark. Your conversations are filled with biting undertones. She agrees with you when you say it's your fault. You realise she loves Merlin. She did and still does, despite the fact that they haven't been anything vaugely close to friends for a long while.
Gwen is... strong. She cries, yes, but she stays strong. For you. Neither of you say it, but you both know that she's being strong so you don't have to. You would love her for that, but you've forgotten love.
Gaius has gone. From what you know, he stayed for Merlin's burial then left, retreating to Ealdor with Hunith. You wish you had been able to talk to her, to apologise for being the reason her son, her wonderful son, is dead.
Nights are filled with fevered nightmares, days filled with unshed tears and choked back screams.
A month passes.
A year passes.
You're back to a healthy weight. You're skin is it's normal colour, you're hair has it's shine back. You're sleeping better, though you still have nightmares. Nothing is perfect, nowhere close to it, but you've reached the point where you can carry on living without breaking down at the slightest reminder of Merlin.
You can remember him the way you want to. With his eyes light up as he grins that infuriating, goofy grin. You don't believe you are the reason for his death any more. Morgana has revealed herself as a witch and an evil one at that. Your father is old and getting older, and you think that soon you might become King. Gwen will, hopefully, agree to being your Queen.
Life is getting better. You are not fully over Merlin's death, and a part of you knows you never will be. He was your best friend and you will never forget the times he has helped you in the years gone by. Sometimes, you feel like he is there, watching over you. You know, deep inside, that he has forgiven you and you have forgiven him.
A year passes.
Time goes by, as it always will.
You marry Gwen and you have three, beautiful children. Two girls and a boy. Camelot flourishes and magic along with it. There are battles, but the happy moments, the times of peace level it out.
You grow old and watch your children grow into great, wonderful people. You see the birth of your grandchildren and you stay alive long enough for their first birthdays, first Christmases. Gwen passes away before you. You do not take long to join her and Merlin. You go peacefully in your sleep, not in battle like was predicted. You are welcomed by Merlin's huge smile, Gwen's kiss and Morgana's tearful, apologetic hug. You are in your 21 year old body again, and there is no pain, no anger or betrayal. It is just like old times, only forever.
You are dead, but you think it is impossible to be happier than you are.
Time goes by, as it always will.