Title: The Last Thing
Character/s: Arthur, Merlin
Summary: This wasn't how Arthur imagined dying, but he wouldn't have it any other way.
Warnings: Canonical character death/S5E13
Word Count: 328
Author's Notes: Apologizes for this being super late! In the end, I wasn't too happy with how this little drabble turned out.
If someone had asked Arthur how he imagined dying, his first response would have been that he wanted to be somewhere on a battlefield defending Camelot. Some of it was about the glory, but most of it was that Arthur couldn't imagine dying any other way than protecting what he loved the most.
He didn't want to go as his father did, with ghosts haunting him and pain etched across his face with regrets. The slow fading away, slowly losing awareness to everything around him. But in the quiet moments that he allowed himself, he often mused that dying of old age wouldn't be too bad as long as the person he loved was by his side.
This wasn't how Arthur had imagined it, but he wouldn't have it any other way.
The pain from the wound felt muted, eased away by the warmth of Merlin's arms around him. The hot press of Merlin's forehead against his steadied him but even that couldn't stop the world slowly fading away at the edges. The short bursts of air against his cheek as Merlin struggled to breathe without completely breaking down and the sharp desperation on Merlin's face made Arthur wished that he still had strength to move his hand to comfort Merlin and to brush away the tears. To hold Merlin against him, to tell him it's okay. To tell Merlin that he meant more to him than he could ever know and that he's glad that it's Merlin who is here with him and not anyone else. But all Arthur can say is “Thank you,” and hope that Merlin understands just what he means. That there is more than just friendship and love between them, that he knows how much Merlin has done for him.
And that he can't imagine dying another way than being right here in Merlin's arms.
As he slips away, the last thing Arthur remembers is the brilliant blue of Merlin's eyes.