This can be seen as a kind of 'alternate ending' to The Ever-Faithful Servant, if you were dissatisfied by the ending.
But you can also read this as a stand alone one-shot, if you don't want to read the other one (but it would be cool if you did…) Not sure how much sense it would make though…
Warnings: Implications of torture, mentions of blood and injury. Character death
Sooo, yeah, enjoy! I don't own Merlin – that is property of the BBC.
The body thudded dully against the ground as it was carelessly thrown off the back of a horse, and left for dead at the foot of the towering gates. A small groan pushed past its lips, accompanied by a trickle of blood from the corner of its mouth. The horse's rider quickly galloped away, melting into the darkness of the night, and the body was left alone.
The King of Camelot cantered along the cobblestone path to the castle where the clipping of hooves against the pavement was the only noise to be heard. His sharp, yet tired, eyes were trained directly ahead. His horse, he noticed, was beginning to slow - most likely from exhaustion due to the long ride it had suffered that day. Arthur patted the animal's neck and pulled on the reigns to slow his pace to a walk, and took the opportunity to glance around. The streets were silent and dark; the only sources of light were the flickering torches and lanterns hung outside some of the houses, or emitting from a few of the windows, which casted long, grotesque shadows up the opposite walls.
From the corner of his eye, Arthur noticed some movement outside the gate to Camelot; a shape – the size of a large horse – riding away from the gates. Curious, he yanked on one reign to turn his horse and trotted down to investigate.
The eyes creaked open, giving sight to the endless pool of blackness which was the sky above. Its ears could just about pick up a clicking noise, like stones being bashed together. A familiar noise – what was it? Hooves: horse's hooves.
And soon enough a healthy, chestnut coloured creature entered the body's line of vision, and a figure dismounted. Behind the figure was something red which billowed out behind him in the wind.
Arthur's voice cracked, his throat was dry. The sight of his friend's bloodied, broken form made Arthur want to throw up. His stomach clenched and churned uncomfortably as he knelt down by the body. Slightly hesitantly, Arthur reached out to touch his shoulder – his fingers immediately staining red with blood – and turned the figure over so his face now tilted towards his.
"A…Ah…" he tried to speak, but found he could not do any more than produce moans and grunts. His throat ached, his lips were swollen.
"Sh, Merlin. I'll…I'll get you to Gaius, he can help you." Arthur bent down to heave the body up, but as soon as he touched him, a loud hiss of agony emitted from his throat. His head shook wildly from side to side; too much pain. "Then I'll get Gaius myself, and bring him here. Hold on."
Again, he shook his head and slowly reached his arm out to touch Arthur's elbow. Merlin tried again to speak.
Arthur stopped and looked back down. Those blue eyes were staring at him, pleading; the sort of gaze that seemed as if it was staring straight into his soul. "Merlin. I can't just sit here, doing nothing. I-you're…I can't just let you die." The last sentence came out as a whisper, almost as if the King didn't want it to be heard. "This is my fault."
The broken boy didn't respond and just continued to gaze at him.
Arthur shook his head, almost fondly, but the smile which usually accompanied this couldn't be summoned. Instead, his mouth was pulled down and tears collected in his eyes. "Merlin, you idiot…" he murmured. "How did this happen?"
Merlin gallantly tried to crack a smile, but remained silent.
"What happened, Merlin? Why didn't you defend yourself?" Arthur asked quietly. Every instinct told him to rub his eyes before the tears had a chance to tumble over his eyelids, but he couldn't bring himself to move, not when his attention was focussed so closely on his friend.
"Y-you being a prat," Merlin croaked hoarsely, the weak smile still in place. "That's what happened."
"I'm sorry Merlin." The first tear fell, and rolled slowly down Arthur's cheek. He felt its progress, steadily down hill, warm against his cool skin. "I am so, so sorry. This is my fault…I was wrong. I-I shouldn't have told you to leave, I shouldn't have betrayed you like that."
Merlin tried to shake his head. "S'alright Arthur…I don't blame you."
"No, Merlin. Don't…don't say that! Be angry Merlin! Damn it Merlin, be angry! I deserve it! After how I treated you…and now you're…"
He broke off and said no more. More tears streamed down his face, sliding off his chin and splashing onto Merlin's tattered shirt.
"Arthur…" Merlin's smile was gone, replaced by a strange determination. "You are destined to be the greatest king this land has ever known…the Once and Future King..."
"I'm sorry, Arthur. I…"
"Merlin, no. Don't die, not now. I…I don't – I can't lose you." The young boy's eyes were beginning to dim, but he didn't drop his gaze. Arthur shook his head frantically, grabbing Merlin's shoulder in one hand, and his cheek in the other. "No, Merlin. Hold on…I...you're not going to die. You can't die, you're Merlin…you can't leave me. What will I do without you."
His last breath was pulled past his dying lips, and he slouched back to stare blindly at the black, starless sky.
Any feedback you can give would be awesome, thanks. What did you think of Arthur's dialogue – I was pretty unsure about it. Still, it's done now.
Hope you liked it, I'd love to know what you thought! :D
Review please! :)