Character/s: Merlin and Arthur
Summary: He will see his love again, he knows, but nothing can ease the horror of loss.
Warnings: Character death
Word Count: 217
Prompt: 1. Skin
Merlin’s eyes are tender, his touch feather-light. Drawing his fingertips over the veins in Arthur’s wrist, he maps all the sacred places where he once laid his lips and poured the contents of his heart.
There, in the crook of Arthur’s elbow where the skin is so soft, and there, over his bicep where muscle cords so powerfully under tanned skin, even now.
He threads his own fingers between Arthur’s, over calluses and rough knuckles, seasoned with war upon war fought to keep the land safe. They’re warrior’s hands, yet so gentle when Merlin had needed them to be.
And here, where Merlin’s fingers are now, their grip tightening over Arthur’s wrist, so finely boned for one with such heavy burdens to carry.
Merlin digs the tips of his fingers into Arthur’s flesh, wincing at the cold, rigid reality.
The skin and bones which once held his love are now only that, and no more.
The burn of loss and loneliness slays Merlin where he stands, and he folds to his knees beside Arthur’s deathbed. Silently, he screams his agony into the palm of the hand he can’t bring himself to release.
Oblivious to the embalmers’ astonished glares, he lays Arthur’s hand on his own tear-streaked face, skin to skin for the last time, in this life.