Author's Note: Hi! So, I was in the mood to write some bromance, so this is the result. Please note that I'm currently sleep-deprived and may have missed a few errors or this may seem OOC to some (blame that on my lack of sleep too, if yes). I hope you readers love it and hopefully I'll break a few hearts and make you guys shed a few tears. XD
My writing may not be my best since I've been out of practice for a month or two. But I hope it's okay. :)
Thank you all for reading/tagging/reviewing my other fics. To those who haven't yet, I hope you could spare some time to check them out!
May You Find Some Comfort Here
He slowly shut the door behind him, hearing the dull thud emanating from the background. His knees were weakening and his hands were trembling with grief and dread as he walked inside the chambers quietly, his motions hesitant. He swallowed convulsively and clasped his fingers together in front of him, letting it hang low in front of him as he bowed his head down, just like a good servant would. "Sire," he whispered softly, blinking furiously at the wet burning in his eyes and loathing the way his voice trembled and broke with painful grief.
Merlin looked at him through his raven-black fringe, watching. Scrutinizing. He was standing by the window, his arms crossed over his chest as he leaned against the wall on the side, seeming as if he was staring out of it, though Merlin knew better. It was what he always did whenever he was distressed or needed to think, and he knew exactly what worries and fears were currently plaguing his anxious mind. He could see that he hadn't acquired a significantly healthy amount of sleep due to the dark shadows rounding his eyes, nor has he been taking care of his hygiene due to the dishevelled hair and the unchanged clothes.
Though he hated it, he didn't blame him.
But seeing his king in this state made him want to turn away immediately and flee like a coward, because he knew that what would happen next would only worsen his condition. He wished that he didn't have to be the one to tell him the horrible news, but everyone in the city knew that Merlin was the only one who could make him understand. Who could understand him. The only one who could say the right words to calm him, to help him. The only one who could deal with him.
Other than Gwen, of course. Sweet, kind, beautiful Gwen. With her gentle brown eyes, her loving smile. Her compassionate heart.
Unshed tears welled up in the servant's azure eyes at the thought of her, an aching lump settling itself inside his throat as he stubbornly held the restraint over the grievous sobs and tears struggling to explode out of him. It felt like something hollow and dark was weighing heavily on his pounding heart; a wave of melancholy and longing for his friend washing over him, threatening to drown him into it's deep, suffocating depths of agony and loss and sorrow. If this was how he felt, he couldn't imagine how Arthur would feel at the news of her death.
Even from afar, he could see the little orange flames of candles that the people were holding outside the window, as a way to say goodbye to their dying queen.
"When..." Arthur's sudden voice cutting through the depressing silence startled him out of his reverie. Merlin wanted to cry all over again at the sound of his broken, hoarse voice, probably because it was the first time he ever heard it directed towards him all day. And because he sounded so fragile. Vulnerable. As if one wrong word, one wrong touch, one wrong move could easily break him down into a million pieces. And that thought hurt, because it was quite truthful in a sense. Because that was exactly what would happen after he told him of the hurtful words that coiled themselves around his insides and clenched them painfully. Words that he couldn't seem to push past his throat. But Merlin had to be strong for him. He had to tell him, and he had to be there for him when he did, taking care of him as he always had. That was what Gwen would've wanted him to do. "When we were finally back together, after... After Lancelot and..." he trailed off, and Merlin could see him closing his eyes and swallowing, as if it hurt him to merely speak. He continued, "Guinevere made a promise to me, that she will always be by my side. That she'll always love me.
That she will never leave me."
His voice broke again, at the end.
And Merlin had to grip the table beside him with one hand at the despair and grief that ripped through him, feeling as if it was about to stifle him. The true reality of the situation, of the sudden and unexpected loss of the very first friend he found in Camelot, hit him so hard that it left him completely breathless for a second.
"She won't leave me. I know she won't. She promi - "
"I'm sorry," Merlin blurted out, choked it out through an oncoming sob as he pressed the bumps of his knuckles against his mouth.
Arthur immediately silenced, stilling completely at the lugubrious apology. He turned his head to look at him, his arms uncrossing in alarm.
"I'm sorry," he echoed, his voice a soft, broken whisper this time.
Realization dawned on Arthur instantly and his throat bobbed shakily, shaking his head as his large, fearful blue eyes blurred. "No..." he forced despondently, pleading. (So much hurt in his voice.)
"I'm so sorry," Merlin voiced ruefully, stepping forward as his contrite features crumpled slightly.
"NO!" Arthur yelled angrily, his mouth twisting in desperation. And before his mind could catch up with his actions, he found himself slamming his manservant against the wall, his shaking hands fisted into the collar of his brown jacket, his jaw clenched and teeth grinded.
"She's..." Dead. "She's gone," he told him softly, brokenly, voice cracking at the last word. His hands holding onto his friend's arms, but not fighting him.
"No," Arthur shook his head again, his tears falling down his cheeks, his pale fists tightening, his voice small and strained as he said forlornly, "Sh-she can't."
"I'm sorry," Merlin said, for the fourth time. He didn't know what else to say. There were no words he could think of that seemed enough to make it better. He should know, after he lost Freya. There are no words comforting enough to soothe the agony of losing the love of your life. At least, not right now, when the wound (gouge) was still so fresh. He could feel his heartache double at his friend's tears and hurt and fragilty, pain shooting sharply across his chest.
Arthur let his forehead fall forward, as if too tired to keep it upright anymore, right on his friend's as he closed his eyes and breathed through the anguish shredding through him, tears streaming down his cheeks as he did so.
"She already lost too much blood by the time we reached here," Merlin said shakily, his soft voice wretched and sorrowful, and he swallowed hard to push down another rising sob. "The arrow was poisoned. There was no way."
Arthur let out a shaky sob.
"Her last words were for you, Arthur... I was the only one there. Gaius was out treating a sick noble. I was coming to get you, but she stopped me. She said she didn't have much time. She wanted me to tell you..." Merlin bit his quivering bottom lip, and moved his own trembling hand up to take his king's. "To tell you how much she loved you. She told me that you have always meant the world to her, ever since she fell in love with you. She was sorry about what she did, with... with Lancelot and everything. She t-told me that she wished she could see you one last time, but she could feel herself slipping away, and she didn't want to take the risk of not being able to say all that she wanted. She said that... that she will always love you. That she believed in you, and the king you will become. She said that she knows that you'll rule Camelot with compassion and justice."
He raised his hands and pressed the tender, warm skin of his palms to his friend's wet cheeks, grasping his face as he looked into his tearful blue eyes. "She said that you're strong. And that you'll be okay."
Arthur sobbed hard as he tightened his fingers on his jacket, holding on to it as if it was the only thing keeping him grounded. He let out another sob. A gasping, shaky and mournful sound that gripped at Merlin's heart and crushed it.
And then, in one swift movement, he punched the wall beside Merlin angrily, causing him to flinch slightly, the side of his fist colliding hard against it as he cried.
And Merlin was right there, holding him as his knees buckled and he fell, sliding down with him when his resilience and resolve wavered and he no longer had any strength left in him to hold himself up. He was there, consoling him through his every tear and sob, constantly whispering gentle reassurances in the hopes of dispelling some of his grief and heartache, in the hopes of being enough to hold on to until Arthur could accept everything and move on.
From the shadows of the dark, cold room, she watched. Sad, almond brown eyes staring at her two boys wordlessly with a sorrowful smile; one who was like her brother, the other who was her lover, both leaning against the wall as her friend held her grieving spouse.
"It'll be okay, Arthur," Merlin reassured wetly through his thick voice as he buried his face into his soft golden hair. "I promise."
But she didn't have to worry about her trouble-prone husband. She knew Merlin would look after him.
And so, comforted and satisfied with that thought, she tore her eyes away from them and turned, vanishing into the air.