Title: So Close That I Might See (3)
Character/s: Arthur, Merlin
Summary: After an accident Arthur goes to limbo, but gets one opportunity to go back and set things right.
Word Count: 450
Prompt: #320: Eavesdrop
Author's Notes: One | Two
It is a shock of terrible magnitude for Arthur to open his eyes and find Elena peering down at him, her nose almost touching his, as she levitates above him, her hair floating around, sunlight making it shine.
Arthur jolts away, sitting up abruptly on the bed, and knocking over the lamp on the bedside table along with the glass of water that spills over the matress. "Fuck," he yelps, kicking at the covers tangled on his legs, only making things messier.
"Um, I guess this isn't a good morning?" Elena asks, sheepishly.
Arthur glares. "What do you think?" Somewhere between falling asleep and waking up startled in the middle of the night, Arthur had decided the limbo bussiness was clearly a post injury hallucination. But Elena is here, smiling tentative, sitting on the corner of his bed, too real to be a figment of his imagination. His stomach lurches painfully.
He's about to ask her what she wants when the door bursts open and in comes Merlin wide eyed and breathless. His hair is tousled, sticking up in different directions, he's only wearing a thin cotton shirt and pants. He looks soft and homely rumpled with sleep. Arthur pushes down the warmth bursting from his breastbone, and stares pointedly at Merlin's face, nowhere else.
"What happened? Arthur, are you okay?"
"Yeah, I just. I was thirsty," he says, pulling the covers closer to his chest. The glass tumbles down to the floor. Merlin frowns and goes to pick it up.
"Are you sure you were only thirsty? If you're not feeling good we should go to the hospital?"
"I'm perfectly fine," Arthur snaps, annoyed by the edge of worry he detects in Merlin's tone.
Merlin purses his lips and without hesitation presses his palm against his forehead, his fingers are cold but insted of drawing back from the touch he remains still. "You don't have a fever at least."
"I could've told you that," Arthur says, "Now, if you'll excuse me I have to get ready for work."
"Work? You really want to go to work after last night? You're crazy," Merlin says, insolent as always, his hands have gone to his hips.
"Yes, work. I have a very important case and I can't let Cenred swoop in like the vulture he is."
"Stop mothering me, Merlin. I'll survive."
Arthur gets up from the bed, fighting through the wave of nausea that hits him by breathing deeply. He moves past Merlin, hoping his steps are steady and certain as ever.
Elena is perched on top of a dresser, watching them with hawk-like attention, he ignores her. Arthur is not comfortable with having some angel knock-off eavesdropping and being a silent witness to his life. He ends up hiding in the walk-in closet to avoid her stare and Merlin's exasperated sighs.