Title: Lightning in a Bottle
Pairing: Merlin/Arthur, AU
Warnings: Angst. Language.
Word Count: 645
Characters: Merlin, Arthur, mentions of Uther, Lance, Gwen and Leon.
Prompt: #49 Lost
Summary: Losing something precious once is bad enough, but losing it twice...
I remember the precise moment that I lost you for good.
It was a Saturday in November. It was unseasonably warm outside, despite the steady rain that was falling, and I was in your room.
In those days, in the aftermath, I could always be found in your room.
In spite of all the tubes, monitors and steady beeps that had held sway over your body, I knew that you would come back to me in time. I never allowed myself to doubt that fact. Not once.
For a time, life went on. Weeks of waiting for you to wake up turned to months. Flowers entered your room in full, glorious bloom and left in withered pieces, which I would always take outside the hospital to dispose of myself, giving them back to the earth from where they had come.
You were loved in those days, Arthur, oh, you were so fucking loved, and that knowledge made my very heart sing, even in my weakest moments.
It, somehow, made it bearable.
I had given guilt a free home in my psyche, unable to accept how I could walk away from such an accident with only a scratch and you had been left so completely shattered. I wished you had let me do the driving that night.
Even when the doctors uttered the word "comatose", even then, I told myself that you were too strong to let something like that hold you back. A matter of time, that's what your father and your friends and I always said; it would only be a matter of time until you came back to us for good.
You were still mine, you see.
I hadn't lost you yet.
Then finally, one day, one beautiful fucking day, while I was napping, my head on your pillow next to you, you shivered and opened your eyes. Lance and Gwen and Leon, as well as your father were there too. And oh, it was a homecoming, it was like angels singing, it was like my heart was filled with this unstoppable emotion because finally, you were here again and you were mine and we would be able to live our lives together again. The love would come rushing back, the bond we shared would burst to life again, you would shed a tear, I would shed a million, and when you kissed me it would be the single happiest moment of my life. It would be the new beginning that the doctors told me repeatedly not to expect. And, oh, I wanted nothing more than to shout at them that they were wrong, that they were the worst kind of fools, because you were here, you were back and you were mine.
But, you merely looked at me with a crinkled brow and pulled back. Three weak and exhausted words left your lips, but they were not the ones I had envisioned hearing in this moment.
"Who are you."
I didn't understand.
I still don't understand.
I started to walk. I made it to the door and down the hall a few steps until I collapsed against the wall, and I still to this day don't know if it was Lance or Leon who took me into their arms. I don't remember which doctor first said the word "amnesia" and which one added the word "permanent" but I suppose it doesn't matter, really.
All that mattered, all that will ever matter, even three years later as I sit at my window alone, staring out at the snow, is the fact that I lost the love of my life on a rainy Saturday afternoon.
Sometimes I see you, in town, with him on your arm. You look so happy, so beautiful.
They say that it's better to have loved and lost than to never have loved at all.
They are wrong.