Title: No Fairy Tale
Pairing/s: None (depending on your glasses)
Character/s: Arthur, Merlin, Leon, Mordred
Summary: Merlin did his best, but found the ending was not going to go as planned
Warnings: Angst like not tomorrow! Major character death
Word Count: 869
Prompt: #35 Amnesty post – (#1 Skin, #3 Scars, #4 Surrender, #5 Crown, #8 Burn, #9 Tears, #10 Tangled, #11 Temptation, #12 Tease, #13 Time, #14 Reflections, #15 Confessions, #16 Picture Prompt: Bleeding Heart, #18 Gold, #21 Promise, #23 Red, #26 Assumption, #31 Heartbeats, #32 Laugh, #33 Choices, #34 Devotion)
Author's Notes: I couldn’t help myself. When I looked at the list of prompts, with the emotion I’ve been feeling for this season, it all just popped out at me. I intend to write a sequel, but it probably won't be written in time to post it here.
The sword pierced Arthur’s hauberk, shirt and then skin. He was shocked, not expecting one of his own knights to turn on him. Merlin felt time slow as he heard Leon scream. He turned to where the sound, knowing he had last seen Leon at Arthur side, and found the scene he had been hoping would not come to pass. In what felt like slow motion, he saw Mordred drawing his sword out of Arthur’s stomach and then Leon rushing to his side. Merlin had already been on the move, instinct kicking in as he witnessed the events unfold. He could not get there fast enough.
The knights who had seen their King fall did not surrender. They continued to fight and they would until the last man from either side lay down. When Merlin got to Arthur’s side, Leon left to go after Mordred who had fled into the raging battle.
Merlin knelt at Arthur’s side, looking down on him. The King’s golden hair was tangled from sweat and gore. The red of blood was splatter through it and when he looked further down, a red stain was getting larger on Arthur’s abdomen, covering the hand holding it. He clutched his sword in his hand, the gold pommel glistening. Merlin saw the reflections of knights fighting behind them in the sword’s blade, occasionally interrupted by the red of blood spattered over it.
“Merlin,” Arthur said with a weak smile.
“I won’t let you die on me,” Merlin said, holding back a sob. “I promised Gwen I’d look after you.” He used the excuse to hide his true feelings. He looked around to see if there was any danger. There wasn’t; the knights were doing their job to protect their King.
There was nothing for it. There was no time for anything else. Arthur was losing blood too quickly. He moved Arthur’s hand and with a deep breath pushed as much of his power into healing Arthur’s wound as he could.
Arthur was looking up at him. He heard the word come out of Merlin’s mouth, but with Merlin’s head down, he could not see the change in his eyes. “Mer-lin,” he coughed. “What do you think you are doing?”
“Using everything in my power to heal you,” Merlin confessed without missing a heartbeat.
“What do you mean?” Arthur’s words seemed laboured. Merlin tried to heal him again and this time felt another power push back at him. He held back the moisture that threatened to spill from his eyes. “Are you trying to use magic?”
“Arthur,” Merlin said, nearly choking on his master’s name. “I am the most powerful warlock there is. I’m not trying to use magic. I am using magic but it isn’t helping. I need more time and—“
Merlin looked around to try and find something that would help him apply more pressure to Arthur’s wound and stem the bleeding. He had healed worse wounds than this before; he had assumed he would be able to do it again. But it wasn’t just a flesh wound. Mordred had put magic into it and Merlin wasn’t sure even his instincts would help.
Merlin ripped of his neckerchief and pressed it to Arthur’s wound. When he looked into Arthur’s face, his lips had made a small smile.
“I knew,” Arthur started before coughing and trying again in a softer voice. “I knew there was something about you.”
Merlin couldn’t help but smile and let out a small laugh at Arthur’s words. He had always good for a bit of a tease and making light of a bad situation.
Merlin tried to heal Arthur again, not using words this time, just letting his eyes glow and power flow as he looked into Arthur’s eyes. To let Arthur see that not all magic was evil.
Arthur’s chest rose and felt with each breathe and Merlin could feel his heartbeats through his chest, but it was still weak and growing weaker. His magic wasn’t helping. He tried again and Arthur’s eyes closed, face scrunch up in pain. When Merlin stopped, almost entirely exhausted from the effort he was putting in, Arthur opened his eyes and his face relaxed.
Merlin saw love in Arthur’s eyes.
Before Merlin had time to react again, he was gone. Arthur’s eyes were blank.
The tears that had been threatening began to flow and burn Merlin’s cheeks.
Arthur’s wounds would never heal. No more scars from battle would form for him to show and tell the tales of how they came to be. The crown of Camelot was lost and Merlin wailed.
Crying over Arthur’s body he felt the temptation to call out to Kilgharrah. To blame the Great Dragon for everything, but he had had choices, no matter how much he didn’t want to admit it. He had told Arthur not to accept magic, thinking that was the right decision and Mordred would die because of it. But Merlin had failed Arthur. Failed himself.
Mordred had made his choices too. By killing Arthur, Merlin felt like Mordred had ripped his heart out of his back and held it, bloody, in his hand.
The devotion Merlin felt towards Arthur could not let Mordred go unpunished.