Title: So Close That I Might See (4)
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: 753
Prompt: #321: Child. Spring. Window.
Author's Notes: One | Two | Three
His hideout fails because Elena appears in the closet within seconds, contemplating his shoe collection with interest. Arthur groans loudly and considers raising his voice to scare her away, but he doesn't want to attract Merlin's attention and having him think he's become delusional because of the head injury.
"That won't work," Elena says, smiling at him, all sweet and calm, her hands are behind her back and she bounces on her feet getting closer to him. "I know that you are angry and confused, this can't be easy, especially with how you can see me now."
Arthur deflates a little, it's hardly her fault he is in this mess. Two weeks ago he would've laughed if someone had brought up the possibility of returning from the dead and the existence of nosy divine spirits. He rubs a hand against his cheek letting out a long breath. "I'm sorry. I don't even know what's happening with me and— wait, so it's true? You have always been here." Arthur isn't quite sure if he's more nauseous or alarmed.
Elena's eyes soften, she pats his arm soothingly. "I'm afraid so. And yes, before you ask, I do know about that inauspicious dalliance you had last spring, which reminds me, you should go out more often. Meet nicer blokes, maybe take a look around. You never know what you've been missing."
"What?" In any other situation, Arthur would be mortified by the squeakiness of his voice. Having learned Elena knows about his dirty weekend with Gwaine— as he insisted on calling it — smothers any embarrassment he might feel. "Do you...okay. Let me get this straight. Since my birth you've had a front row seat to my life."
"You know a lot about me."
"Twenty-eight years worth of knowledge."
Arthur nods, taking in her words. "And you obviously know all about Gwaine and the things I'm thinking, so, does that means you can read my mind and feel when I... you know." The thought alone makes Arthur cringe.
"Oh, no! No, no, definitely not!" Elena says, waving her hands around. "I can't nor will I ever read your mind, sure, it would make my job easier, but it's a terrible invasion of privacy." Arthur refrains from telling her how this is also invasive. "And I want to make it clear that I never see, or feel, or witness when you engage in carnal relations," she whispers the last words. Arthur bites his lip to hide the grin threatening to appear on his face.
"That makes me feel better," Arthur says, sighing. He has to process all the information he has acquired. It's a lot in so little time, his head is about to explode. "I need a shower, a long hot one. Don't follow me."
"Wasn't going to. What kind of warden do you think I am?"
Merlin surprises Arthur by being dressed and ready for work and having breakfast ready on the table. He passes him a hot cup of black coffee, exactly what Arthur needs on the mornings, and reminds him he has to take another pill in an hour. Arthur likes to complain about Merlin's abilities as an assistant, but he does get things done. Arthur smiles against the cup.
Twenty minutes later Arthur is fighting Merlin when he insists on driving them to work. Arthur detests being treated like a helpless child, he has zero impediments to drive, except for a bit of nausea, he's in good condition.
"Could you stop being stubborn for once? It's not like it's the first time I've driven your car," Merlin says.
Arthur rolls his eyes handing over the keys. "Fine. But you can't put any of your awful music."
"The Spice Girls are a classic." Merlin smirks at the horrified look Arthur gives him.
The drive is pleasant enough, Merlin sticks to talking about the pending issues they have at work, and Arthur nods at the right times, half listening to him. His nausea grows stronger, his head is throbbing with pain. He rolls down the window to breathe in the crisp morning air, inhaling greedily.
"Arthur? Are you feeling fine?" Merlin asks his hand curls around his bicep.
Arthur shakes his head, afraid that if he opens his mouth he'll empty his stomach's content on Merlin.
"Okay, that's it. I don't care what you say, and you can fire me if you want, but I'm taking you to the hospital."
Curling on his seat, Arthur closes his eyes, wanting the world to stop turning.