A/N: I'm Alive! I sincerely apologize for my absentness! Life got in the way but that is still not an excuse! Hopefully, this one-shot was worth the wait.

This one-shot is for Ariel, who wanted an extent on the Dorocha scene (Arthur's thoughts/actions) and the filling between 4.01 and 4.02. I hope I live up to your expectations, Ariel!

Disclaimer: I do not own Merlin.

Enjoy!

Chapter Five

"Merlin!" My shout lingered in the frigid air as Merlin fell. There was no breath, no words as I rushed to his side; the room had dispersed into a silent shadow. As I rolled him onto his back, I was met by his unseeing eyes. The sight was horrid!

"No..." a broken whisper fell from my lips. I turned away, unable to look upon my lifeless friend. It wasn't true! It couldn't be true! Merlin wasn't dead!

"NO!" a desperate shriek ripped from my lungs. I stormed away from Merlin's frozen corpse, letting another mangling scream fill the room. Thick, hot tears flooded my eyes, shattering against my cheeks. The pure, unbearable agony pilled against me and brought me to my knees. My chest felt empty. My heart no longer beat, my blood no longer flowed for they had beat and flowed in Merlin. Without Merlin, I was lost and alone. Never again would I hear his childlike chuckle. Never again would I throw various items at him because he was an idiot. Never again...

I grabbed and pulled at my hair as I heaved broken sobs. My heart yearned for Merlin's warmth, desperately needing his touch.

Merlin is dead. Merlin is dead. Merlin is dead...

Those three words repeated in my head until I felt my ears would bleed. I desperately pressed the heels of my palms against my ears, pleading the voices to stop. I squeezed my eyes shut. I wanted everything to stop.

Suddenly, a rough hand grasped my shoulder. I flinched in surprise. "Arthur!" I opened my eyes to see the knights staring in disbelief at Lancelot. "Arthur, he's alive."

I starred longingly into the crackling fire, willing it to heal Merlin and bring him back to me. He lay, cocooned in bundles of blankets, awkwardly in my arms. I tightened my grip around him as if that would be enough to pull him away from death. I feared, more than anything, losing him to the horrid cold and darkness of the Dorocha. As if on command, a kaleidoscope of gut wrenching flashbacks clouded my mind and I grimaced. The memories; Merlin's scream, his lifeless body, his dead eyes, were still as fresh in my mind as an open wound. I loathed my worthless self for putting him in this dire situation. How could I have let him get hurt? How could I have put his life in danger?

Because you are nothing...you are useless…you couldn't even protect your best friend.

A whisper formed in the back of my mind and I believed it. I was useless. I couldn't see the evil thriving in Morgana, I couldn't fix my father's withering mind, and I couldn't keep Merlin safe.

'I always thought that if things had been different, we'd be good friends.'

Merlin's voice echoed through the corners of my mind and shattered my feeling of control. A painful lump formed in my throat and tears in my eyes. Merlin didn't know! He was dying and he didn't even know that I considered him my most loyal friend, my only friend. How could I have been so stupid! All these years lay regretfully behind and I'd never spoke a word of my feeling towards Merlin. I never said thank you...thank you for going into battle with me, thank you for always being by my side, thank you for sacrificing yourself for me. He sacrificed himself for me! It couldn't be true! I covered my pounding ears, praying the words were a lie. I could not lose him! The stars would fall, the sun would darken, the heavens would cry if Merlin was taken from this would. I would not say good bye; not yet.

"Merlin. Merlin I need you to listen to me," I finally spoke, my voice gruff from crying. "Merlin, I need you to come back to me. I need you to fight. I know that I've called you a coward, too many times to count, but I was wrong. And you need to prove me wrong! You need to fight this and be the brave man I know you are. Please..." my voice broke again but I continued on.

"Merlin, I am begging you, for once in your life, do as I say! You're my best friend and I need you. Don't you die on me, not like this!" as if in response to my begging, Merlin groaned and twitched in my arms.

"Merlin! Can you hear me?" I tapped his cold cheek. "Merlin, I need you to wake up. Open your eyes."

He moaned again, his eye brows furrowing. He looked disastrous. His skin was a sickly shade of grey, almost transparent. It was stretched across his cheek bones, surrounding his sunken eyes with a frail shadow. He looked like a corpse.

Suddenly, one ocean eye squinted open. The frozen eyelashes fluttered swiftly then drooped shut.

"No!" the relief that had controlled me fell away, leaving only dread. My shaking hands hovered over his face, afraid to feel for a pulse. I touched too fingers to his neck, pressing deep into his skin. For several devastating seconds there was nothing but then a weak thump lived in my fingers. He was alive!

Today would not be the day I let go of my best friend!

Thanks for reading! Please review!

The next one-shot will be for Compliment Giver.