Hello! So after crying over yesterday's episode of Merlin for over an hour I decided to make a fanfic to make myself feel better. I warn you now, in case you missed it in the summary but this story is Merthur, so if you don't like that pairing you'd be wasting your time with this fic.
That having been said, Merry Christmas everyone! Here's your present, I hope you like it.
EDIT: Corrected the proper name for the lake people. Thanks to Lady Slytherin Of Camelot for the correction.
One week. Exactly one week since Arthur's death and Merlin still refused to eat most of the time, only doing so when absolutely necessary. He'd completely abandoned sleep. Most of his day was now spent sat in the more untravelled paths of the castle, just sat on the steps, staring forwards barely there. Gwen had initially taken care of him, making sure he ate but she was eventually pulled away by her sudden workload as the Queen. Merlin didn't mind. It gave him time to be alone, though most of the time alone, he spent thinking about everything he could have done differently. Everything he could have done to save him. He shook his head forcefully and, attempting to divert his focus to something else, anything else he mentally listed the people who knew about his magic; Gwen, Gauis... that was it really. Although the knights by now would probably know. They hadn't shown much sign of it. Then again, people hadn't exactly been talking to him, or even looking at him lately. As people walked by, they'd throw pity glances at him when they thought he couldn't see. He didn't bother to react most of the time. Gwaine had been saved though. That was one thing. Percival had brought him back to Camelot and Merlin had returned just in time to help him. No-one had seen the flash of gold in his eyes as the only other person in the room was Gauis, as he'd asked everyone else to leave so they could concentrate. Merlin knew the real reason was because he'd need magic to heal Gwaine and he was thankful to Gauis for not letting anyone else know. He didn't think he'd be able to explain everything yet. Hell, if he'd ever be able to explain anything.
Merlin was jerked out of his thoughts harshly and abruptly by the sound of commotion around him. People rushed by him, loud whispers criss-crossing so fast that Merlin was unable to determine what was actually being said. He flattened himself against the wall as the people dashed past and only breathed again once everyone had gone. The corridor was now deserted of it's few previous inhabitants and Merlin sighed, the sound echoing round. He slumped to the floor again and rested his forehead against the cool stone of the wall, feeling alone. Even when there were people there they hadn't spoken to him but at least they'd been there. A solid presence that he could see. Now there was just stone. The first tear ran, unnoticed by Merlin but the torrent that followed caused him to swipe at them angrily. He gave up after a minute and let them continue their silent course down his cheekbones and onto his neckerchief. He let out a small, choked sound and ran his hands through his hair, resting his forehead against his knees. He muttered quietly, nonsensical ramblings at first but eventually began recounting quietly what he'd have said to Arthur had he been given the chance.
"I'd have told you everything you know. All about my magic. That I was born with it. I'd have told you about my dad. Who he really was. I'd have told you about all those times I saved your dollop-head." He took a shaky breath and let out a sob. "I'd... I'd have told you how I really felt. Feel." He let out a mirthless laugh that was more of a sob and muttered, "I'd have told you.. that I love you."
He barely heard the clack of shoes against the floor behind him but as a warm pair of arms curled around his torso, Merlin froze. He turned slightly, and blinked as a soft mop of blonde hair greeted him. His breath caught in his throat and he turned properly, pulling away from the embrace and stared straight into bright blue eyes.
Fresh tears sprung to Merlin's eyes and he shut them quickly, pulling his knees to his chest. The arms encircled him again and this time he didn't have the strength to pull away. After a few minutes with the both of them sat in absolute silence, Merlin's head resting against a solid chest that definitely had a heartbeat, he pulled away and looked up at Arthur again. He drew in a shaky breath and began to speak just as Arthur opened his mouth.
Merlin shook his head vigorously, clinging to Arthur's shoulders.
"What do you have to be sorry about?" Before Arthur had a chance to answer, Merlin asked another question, "How are you even here?"
Arthur looked a little sheepish at that question and glanced around them at the deserted corridor before answering.
"The lake people."
"The Sidhe," Merlin corrected automatically. "They healed you?"
Arthur nodded. "They said something about Albion not being ready to go on without me yet." He glanced down. "And I wasn't really ready to leave."
Merlin hesitated for a moment and extended a hand, placing his fingers over Arthur's pulse point in his neck. The steady rhythm reassured him slightly. He cleared his throat after a moment and let his hand drop, only to have it caught in Arthur's. Merlin looked at him, slightly surprised.
"Before, when you didn't know I was here, what were you saying?"
Merlin blushed and ducked his head. "Doesn't matter now."
Arthur frowned and shook his head, shifting closer to Merlin. "Tell me."
"I... I was saying what I'd tell you if you had survived."
"I was going to explain everything about my magic and I was going to tell you about my father. And about..." Merlin trailed off, his blush intensifying.
Merlin shook his head and closed his eyes again, pulling his hand back from Arthur's. "Doesn't matter."
"I can't Arthur."
"And why not?"
Merlin sighed and glanced up at Arthur, mouth open, about to speak, when the words died on his lips at the short distance between them. Arthur smiled slightly and moved so there was only a tiny gap between their lips.
"I heard the first time you know. But it'd be nice to hear it again."
Merlin cleared his throat quietly and stared at Arthur's lips, mere inches from his own. As Arthur spoke, his breath ghosted over Merlin's lips, making him shiver slightly. Arthur grinned.
"Thought as much," he murmured, leaning forwards to close the gap and capture Merlin's lips with his own.
Any doubt Merlin may have had about the legitimacy of Arthur's appearance was quenched in that moment. The lips pressed firmly against his own were far too solid to be anything but real.
Merlin didn't know how long they'd been kissing but it felt like forever until Arthur began to pull away. After that it felt far too quick. Arthur grinned at him again and brushed his thumbs over Merlin's cheekbones, wiping away any trace of his tears from earlier. Merlin wrapped his own arms round Arthur's shoulders and pressed their foreheads together. Arthur pulled them both up and they stood for a little while, just holding each other.
After some time, Arthur pulled back, hands resting at Merlin's hips. "What else was it you wanted to tell me?" he asked, a teasing lilt to his voice.
Merlin chuckled quietly, meeting his gaze.
"I love you, dollop-head"