Title: A simple thing
Characters: Merlin, Arthur
Summary: In the end, a heart is a simple thing and easily broken.
Warning: Major character death
Word count: 273
Disclaimer: I do not own the BBC version of Merlin; They and Shine do. I am very respectfully borrowing them with no intent to profit. No credits have changed hands. No copyright infringement is intended.
It was strange.
As he sunk down, soaking in blood and death and utter despair, his body numbed with regret, he could feel his mind slipping away from the unbearable reality, flitting past the carnage, past the body of the man to whom he'd sacrificed everything and focused instead on the oddity that was a heartbeat.
A simple thing.
He ignored it most of the time. Didn't even notice it. After all, his heart was just doing its job as he did his. A steady thump, thump, thump that he could tune out and focus on other things, like sleeping or eating or getting out of chores. He ignored the steady beat mostly; after all, that was normal, right?
Of course, he'd known when it strained close to bursting, when he, exhausted, pushed on anyway, knowing that if he didn't, someone he loved would die. Or when his heart seemed clad in joy as a quiet smile or unexpected hug or shared laughter came his way.
But now, it seemed to stutter, to slow with every breath, as if the ravening emptiness, an Arthur-sized hole in his chest that kept growing and growing and growing until it would seem his skin could not keep it from bursting out, was leaving a kind of nothingness in its wake.
A simple thing, a heartbeat, but one needed for life it would seem. And now even that was ending.
Fitting enough, Merlin thought. After all, why should my heart beat when Arthur's grew still?
So he knelt there in the offal and congealing blood, holding onto his cold destiny and waited.
For the final dull thud.