His whole sense of consciousness was ebbing in and out in a strangely comforting way, and he wasn’t sure if that was concerning or not. He wasn’t much in the state to care. So Matthew wasn’t sure if he heard Arthur correctly when he denied his apology—it didn’t upset him, but maybe Arthur just didn’t understand the whole situation, that was fine—and the sound that registered in his head was a complete jumble. It wasn’t so much Arthur’s voice as so much more and it was almost disorientating in just that one little word. His eyes, the violet in them slowly returning and shining through the muddy brown, looked up through a haze and confusion. If he hadn’t been trying to make sense of that, he probably would have missed those lips move and mouth words that were oddly comforting. He relaxed a little into Arthur’s touch, unsure whether it was from those silent words or his own sore fatigue.
There was a sudden jolt shooting through him when Arthur started to move, missing the gesture toward the house in the blur of his own haze and almost wanted to protest, but he didn’t. It was either from his inability to voice much of anything or from trusting Arthur, he wasn’t sure, but his hand reached up and gripped the other man’s blood soaked shirt. He tried not to let a sound of pain out. The thought that it might have been a little odd to be so easily carried by Arthur hadn’t occurred to him. He never questioned it as a groan slipped past as he was placed on his own bed , and it was in a slight daze did he realise with a bit of clarity that had been escaping him what Arthur was doing and brilliant white that wasn’t his own. At least he was sure that before that it wasn’t. But never said anything while Arthur did who knows what. It never really registered what exactly that was.
It was with that touch to his cheeks that brought his attention back up to look up at Arthur with all the attention he could muster right then. His heart beat heavily in his chest for a moment and he wasn’t sure if it was from his current situation and adjusting to it or deciphering those whispered words from those lips above him. He wanted to believe it was the latter. And although he missed the mouthed apologies being worded right in front of him, feeling Arthur right there, pressed against his forehead and this strange sense of calm around them, Matthew held no ill feelings or doubts or regrets anymore. It hurt to move still, but even through that he brought his arms up around the other man and held him tight—as tight as he could, considering the circumstances.
Who knows how long they stayed like that, silent and content through the pain and weight of what had happened, and though most of it Matthew tried his best not to let himself cry. He had felt those few tears fall on his skin from Arthur, and he’d wait for them to stop. He’d wait until he knew was fine and until then, he’d act it. Mumbling a soft “It’s okay,” seemed like the right thing to say right then. Though once his awareness of his surroundings was coming back to him and he could think a little clearly, that white was coming into focus. Matthew was fairly certain that Arthur never had any kind of wings. Maybe he was still out of it more than he thought. And his next words were out of his mouth sooner than he registered.
“Am I dead—?” His words were hoarse and uncertain, as he was confused by the sight and the evidence against such a statement. How many times has he died, and something like this never happened. His country was still going strong, and even if the notion was true shouldn’t all this pain be gone? It just didn’t add up to him and the idea that what he was seeing was truly real didn’t occur to him. There simply had to be an explanation and the ones where he either was still unconscious, or simply had gone mad seemed rather plausible. His arms tightened around the other man as he tried to make sense of everything, “Arthur wh—” and his words didn’t seem to work for him anymore.
Matthew’s confusion was more than warranted and Arthur certainly couldn’t begrudge him that. The arms that came up to embrace him were a surprise, however, and left him nearly groaning at the sudden burst of pain through his torn shoulder, but he bit back the sounds and returned it as gingerly as he could manage. Ah, they really were both in sad shape, weren’t they? But the beast had fled and they were alive, and he couldn’t ask for much more than that.
He nearly chuckled at his lover’s muddled attempts at comfort; trust Matthew to be the one trying to make others feel better, even when he himself lay battered and bloody. It was okay, it would be okay, but if anyone should be saying such things it should probably be Arthur. You’re such a ridiculous, precious lad, he thought to himself, wanting to touch and soothe but doing as little of it as possible in an attempt to keep from bringing him more pain. I should be the one saying that, not you.
Dead? Arthur tilted his head to the side, almost bird-like, before a brittle sort of smile spread across his face and he shook his head. Of course the boy was trying to decipher the situation, to make sense of the magic which in his world just wasn’t real. Well, he was just going to have to deal with them for now, because he wasn’t about to expend the energy needed to switch forms just yet; he was in a lot of pain and exhausted, and the spell he’d need to perform would likely knock him unconscious in such a state. How would that help either of them? Stretching out his wings just a little, Arthur shook them and let them settle back against his back. ‘You’re not dead, and you’re not mad,’ he replied in as soft and slow a voice as he could manage. ‘What you see is a reality, though it’s not one that you are used to. That is all.’
Normally this would be Arthur’s cue to go off on a long and vaguely scolding rant that would all boil down to I told you so, but Matthew brains had been rattled entirely too much at present and he really didn’t need to be adding to it with the sound of his resonate voice. Gently pulling back, the Englishman resumed his earlier activity, peeling bits of charred fabric back from Matthew’s body and tossing it over the side of the bed to worry about later. ‘You were dead, obviously,’ he murmured, hands that could wield a blade or cast devastating spells now sliding over him with a healer’s touch, ‘but you’re back now. That creature of yours really put you through the wringer, and my attempts to wrest control of the situation certainly didn’t help. I don’t… I don’t like burning people, but it was the only thing I could think of to free you.’
The lad desperately needed a bath to get the worst of the grime from his skin, but for now Arthur merely dabbed at the worst spots with a damp cloth, mindful of any pain he might cause. What a sight the two of them must make, one a bedraggled angel covered in blood and the other badly singed and barely conscious. Several long moments passed as Arthur silently worked, his own mind going a mile a minute, and eventually his odd voice broke into the room once more. ’If you’ve got questions, you may ask. But if my voice causes you too much pain you must tell me and I’ll remain quiet. I don’t wish to hurt you any more than I already have.’