Title: Something to Hold
Character/s: Merlin, Arthur
Summary: It's the same dream again.
Word Count: 346
Author's Notes: So I really really didn't want to write angst this week... and so I put the ending of this in. Cliche'd get out clause, I know.
It’s the same dream again. Merlin’s running, running without end, as the castle walls crumble to dust around him. The ground’s shifting, breaking, separating. Out of the windows and the gaps in the walls he can see the land on fire, smoke stretching past the horizon, the lakes dried up. It’s a world of ash and dust and heat, even the sky dyed to a sickly yellow.
Gone are the forests, the fields, the towns and villages. Gone too are the kingdom’s treasures, and its defences. Gone are the people.
Merlin can hear a screaming, but he can’t see the cause of it. No matter how fast he runs, no matter where he looks. It might even be his own. But sometimes it sounds like his mother. Sometimes Arthur. Sometimes one of the knights. Even though he knows they’re all gone, never to return.
Camelot is dying, or maybe is already even dead. With it, everyone he loves. Everything he and Arthur built. It’s all gone, and he will never bring it back, no matter how he tries. And he’s forced to watch it disappear, watch it slip through his fingers, unable to turn away or do a thing about it.
He wakes, gasping, trapped in the sheets and still smelling the sulphur smoke of the burning castle. There’s a heavy weight draped over him, too hot, and Merlin shoves it off, shaking, twisting to get away. But something clamps down on his arm, and he freezes, until his eyes focus on the glow of golden hair in the dull light that slips in through the cracks around the door.
“The same one?” Arthur asks, quietly, sleepily. He wipes Merlin’s face, and it’s only then that he notices it’s wet.
Merlin’s only answer is to nod. He’s disappointed and angry that he’s woken Arthur up; he deserves his sleep. But Arthur holds him, and all the pain and the anger and the sadness and the despair drift away. He’s safe; they both are, and they will build something new. Something they can hold this time.