Little something that nagged me until I wrote it. Just a short one shot.

Disclaimer: I do not own Merlin.

Don't, Arthur. Please.

They are the last words he says to you before he's bleeding all over your hands. You don't care at that moment because they're just words and they mean nothing to you then, but they will haunt you later. In your dreams you'll hear them, hollow and distant and pleading. Three simple words, meaningless words you've heard him say a thousand times before, suddenly meaningful.

"Why are we doing this?" he asked when you were already a mile out of Camelot. "Don't you think your father shouldn't be making these kinds of decisions right now?"

Of course he had a point, because for some strange reason Merlin seemed to know what he was talking about these days. It didn't keep you from lashing out at him, though.

"I would hold my tongue, Merlin. If the King orders us on this search, then we'll see it through." Your tone was harsher than you intended, but maybe it's because you knew he was right. You hate it when he's right.

Why did he have to be right?

Don't, Arthur. Please.

"Merlin!" You choke on his name, on your knees with his body tense in your grip. He looks small and pale and you're afraid. His mouth twitches as he tries to say something but all you can hear is a deep, agonizing moan. Your stomach lurches and Merlin feels heavy in your arms.

This is all your fault.

"I think this is a bad idea, and I'm not just saying that to make you angry," Merlin whispered quickly, out of earshot of the other Knights. His face was genuine, but you just shook your head.

"Merlin, you think everything is a bad idea," you snapped carelessly, brushing his comments aside as if they meant nothing. They did, they meant something, just not then.

"Why won't you ever listen to me, you pompous prat?"

You should have listened to him.

Don't, Arthur.

The arrow sticks out of Merlin's side, sharp and painful.


He pushes you out of the way, risks his own life for yours once again. It's happened before, and they've been very close calls, but this time it seems so definite as his blood soaks through your breeches. It's warm and there is too much of it. There shouldn't be this much.

You pull him closer to you, squeeze him tighter, beg him to hold on. Order him, you order him to hold on, and he smiles through the pain and nods his head in agreement.

"We don't have to do this. It's suicide, and if your father was in the right state of mind he would see how stupid this really is!" Merlin didn't try to keep his voice low that time as he was beyond caring by then. Inside, you laughed at how brave the little fool really was.

"Shut up, Merlin," you growled, never breaking your stride. Merlin is concerned, you understood that, but he really shouldn't talk to you that way.

"Don't, Arthur. Please," Merlin begged.

With a sigh, you turned around and stared at him; a hard, soul-crushing stare that lasted at least a minute long. Soon, Merlin's shoulders drooped and you knew you had won. You always won.

You wish you hadn't won.

Don't Arthur. Please.

You're losing him, a reality you don't want to face, one you will not face.

His body shakes violently, blood still thick on your hands. You look into his eyes and wish you would have listened as his breath slows down. You can't feel your own body anymore because fear slices through every bone, taking every ounce of feeling you have with each cut.

You beg.

"Don't, Merlin. Please."

Your mouth goes dry when his eyes close. "Please, Merlin." The words are strangled and you're not sure that's what you even said, though it's what you meant to say.

Please, Merlin.

Then he breathes.

And suddenly there's hope.

Thoughts? I hope you enjoyed.