Title: A Pain Worse than Any
Summary: Just when Merlin begins to feel hopeless in the aftermath of Arthur's death, he receives news that makes his magic return once more.
Word Count: 753
Prompt: Insomnia (Angst)
Author's Notes: This is a companion story to last week's story. That story can be found here. I hope I've made it a little better for everyone.
“Arthur is dead.”
Merlin woke up with a start and stared around the darkness of the cell with eyes that were desperate to see someone that would assure him that this was all a nightmare. However, as his eyes grew accustomed to the dark, and he could make out the walls of his prison, he knew that this was his new reality. There was no escape from it. Arthur was dead. Killed shortly before the end of the latest battle by Morgana herself.
How could you die? Merlin fumed as he tried to get himself into a more comfortable position. You were a great king. You were a warrior king. You were trained from birth how to fight and yet you fall because of a Witch’s evil spell.
He felt disgusted at these thoughts as they overtook him. In the end, he could never blame Arthur for what happened, could never find it within himself to hate a man whom he loved as dear as a brother for leaving him alone. He laughed at himself, the sound as dead as he felt, and tried to think of other things.
He hadn’t been able to sleep much since that day. The loss of Arthur made him think horrible thoughts. He had suffered pain worse than any he had ever felt before. It had taken him a long time to accept that his king was dead, but when the reality finally sunk in, it had nearly destroyed him.
These days he rarely slept, and though he was good at pretending to sleep, his thoughts constantly went back to that day. He had seen Arthur fighting with Morgana, had seen the look of triumph on his face when he dealt her a blow that he thought would kill her, had seen that triumph turn into surprise as Morgana’s spell hit him straight in the heart. The memory of Arthur falling back would forever haunt Merlin’s dreams, and though he tried to convince himself that it was not his fault, that he had been preoccupied by some sorcerers giving him trouble, he blamed himself entirely for the death of his king.
His other nightmares were no better. In his dreams, he saw a round table fragmented in two, a Pendragon’s banner burning in a wind that he never felt, and Arthur… his face hard, his eyes accusatory… It was enough to make him never want to sleep, but sometimes he was so exhausted he couldn’t help but close his eyes for just a little bit.
There were times when Merlin wanted nothing more than to die. However, Morgana wanted him to suffer a fate worse than death. She wished him nothing but pain over this loss, and she knew that he was being driven mad with the torment of the tragedy of losing a friend so dear to his heart.
He bolted to his feet, ignoring the pain he felt as the chain that bound him to the floor bit painfully into his wrists. Unless he had been dreaming, and he could very well have been, he thought he had heard Kilgharrah’s voice. Could that mean that the Great Dragon had finally found out that Merlin was imprisoned by the Witch? Was he here in Camelot to rescue him from this darkness?
“The time has come. It is Camelot’s darkest hour. If you choose to not fight for the future that you and Arthur are to build together, then all will be lost.”
Merlin sank to the floor with his hands over his ears, trying with all his might to block out the voice of the Great Dragon.
“Arthur is dead!” he screamed out into the darkness of the room. For the first time in months, his eyes glowed amber and a few rocks that barricaded the window crashed to the floor. “There is no future!”
“Arthur is still alive and he needs you now more than ever before,” Kilgharrah said, and though Merlin knew that the voice was inside his head, and that the Great Dragon was miles away, he felt a rush of happiness over this news. “The magic that hit Arthur has weakened him. If you do not find him, all will be destroyed.”
Merlin closed his eyes and for the first time since his capture saw the true Arthur, horribly weakened and unable to lift his head, but undoubtedly alive. He opened his eyes and took in the darkness of the prison cell one last time.
His eyes flashed gold once more.