Hi guys! This is my first fic and I had written it for my friend previously from a drabble idea, but I decided to post it on here. Let me know what you think! :D

Camelot felt empty. Cold. Unreal. Despite the fact that the Kingdom was in the midst of the summer season and the sun shone brightly, Arthur suffered under his own dark cloud. He roamed the castle grounds and halls of the citadel alone, removed from everyone and lost in his thoughts.

It's been a year and a half, but he still finds his heart aching. A year and a half since Morgana was defeated. In fact, Merlin defeated her himself. Arthur remembers the pang of sorrow he felt when Merlin ran the sword through his sister's gut; his sister-the stubborn girl who had lost her way, but had kept on fighting. Greater than that pain, however, was a swelling of pride that his manservant, and best friend, had finally brought peace to the land.

Unfortunately, that peace was short-lived, at least for Arthur. He stumbled with Merlin to the field near the spot where Morgana had fallen. He fell, dragging Merlin down with him. Arthur felt his life ebbing out of him, but he wanted to convey his gratitude for everything Merlin had done for him. He also desperately wanted to let Merlin know how he felt about him, regardless of his magic or his social status. He prayed Merlin could see what he truly meant in his eyes as he whispered "Thank you." He reached up to cradle Merlin's head as he took his final breath.

Or at least he had believed it had been the end.

Arthur woke to the sound of water lapping near his ears. He blinked open his eyes, utter confusion clouding his brain. A shadow fell over him and he looked up. Fear coursed through him as he gazed upon a giant dragon standing a small distance from him. He stood, posed ready to fight, but the creature shook its head. It gestured to Arthur's left and as he turned to look, he felt his heart shatter.

Merlin lay in the sand, the water reaching his waist. He looked unnaturally pale and as Arthur sat and took his hand. It was cold. He scrambled to feel for a pulse, but he knew it was in vain. Tears began to pool in his eyes as tried to shake his best friend awake. He called his name and it grew into a shout. He wanted- no, needed him to be okay. How was he supposed to do anything without his idiot by his side?

"Arthur, there is nothing you can do."

Arthur jumped at the sound. He had never heard a dragon speak before. It had moved closer, but if it was dangerous, he couldn't care less. If it was going to kill him, well then, at least he'd be with Merlin again. He continued to watch it out of the corner of his eye as he tried to gather Merlin up into his arms.

"There is no way to revive the warlock, young King. He bid his life for yours. The creatures of Avalon accepted, and the Gates are now closed."

"What? I didn't ask him to do this! Why can't he learn to do what I tell him to do…" The last part dropped off as Arthur choked up. "There must be a way I can bring him back!"

"I am sorry, young King, but unless you wanted to rip a veil between the worlds, there is not. But do not let his sacrifice be in vain. It was his destiny to protect you and create a peaceful Albion. Now it is yours to carry out his wish. Take heart, Arthur Pendragon, for once your destiny has been completed, you shall seen the Warlock again." With that, the dragon extended his wings and took to the sky.

Arthur watched as it disappeared in the horizon. He couldn't bear to look down again, to face the tragedy he held in his arms, but he forced his head to move. As he gazed down, the tears began to spill freely. He hugged Merlin tightly to his chest as he shook, not wanting to let go. He let out a gut-wrenching cry as he shouted his pain to the heavens. He felt as if he had been stabbed all over again, but this time, Merlin was not there to save him.

Merlin was not there to save him.

The phrase was almost too much to bear. His servant, who had been there through everything, was gone. After learning these past few days all the things Merlin had done to protect him, Arthur realized just how safe he had always been. Even when Merlin's magic was still a secret, he somehow always felt safer with his friend by his side. But now…

"I told you I didn't want you to change. But now I wish, just this once, you had. I wish you had let me die. Because how am I supposed to just move on from this, you idiot. But you couldn't change because you're Merlin and that's why I-"

He couldn't finish. It would be too hard to sound the words that Merlin would never hear. He swallowed with difficulty and wiped his tears. He had to get back. He had a Kingdom to run. But how could he run it without Merlin by his side? No. He couldn't dwell on that. He had Gwen. She was a good Queen. She was clever and loyal and good with the people. But she wasn't Merlin. She didn't tease him. She didn't call him a clot pole, dollop head, or prat. She didn't tell him he was wrong when he was making a rash decision. But she would do.

He gathered Merlin up into his arms and started the walk back to Camelot. He met up with Percival on the way. They lay Merlin on the horse Percival had been riding, and then trudged back. He held a funeral for Merlin, followed by a ceremony in his honor. At the end of it, he signed a law to lift the ban on magic, which was named 'Merlin's Law' after his best friend.

Arthur never got another manservant. Gwen had tried to hire George for him again, but that just wouldn't do. He became a quiet King, going through his days, which quickly grew monotonous without the excitement brought by his manservant. Despite a few small threats, the land was at peace, so there was no need to fret over any growing evils. Camelot became the center of the land that everyone dreamed of- a united Albion. Arthur, too, was pleased, but how could he ever truly be happy when the man who had helped him build all of this was not there with him to share in its glory?

Please let me know what you guys think and review! :D