A/n. Hi there, this is just a little something that struck me after watching 'the poisoned chalice.' and it's taken me a week or two to work out whether it was worth doing anything with. But hey if I put it up here you guys can tell me that.

It starts a little more than half way through the episode, and takes a different path, hopefully that's obvious when you get to read it. (could almost be a missing scene if you choose to read it that way)

Lightly implied Merthur, You can miss it if you wish.

Hope you enjoy and review. There is a front cover picture to accompany this fic now on my bio:)

Oh yes the disclaimer, knew I forgot something. I don't own them, I don't make any money from this, I'm just playing, and I promise to put them back when I'm done. ;P

ok so...

Chapter One

Arthur paused at the gate, had he really heard those words correct.

"I'm sorry sire, you're under arrest," The guard repeated, and fought to keep the nervousness coursing through his veins from his voice. It was not every day he had to speak those words to a prince.

"No," Arthur shook his head, as his grip on his horses rein tightened; he had gone through too much, to be thwarted now. Looking over his shoulder, his eyes found the blue orb that had lit his way home, flitting in and around the edge of the forest, almost as if it was reluctant to leave. Someone had helped him, he was sure of it, and he couldn't let that go to waste.

"NO!" he repeated louder this time, and with his tight grip pulled his horse up onto its back legs, forcing the guards blocking his way scrambling for cover or risk being trampled.

With the path now free, he urged the animal forward into the courtyard with as much speed as he could muster. He knew he would not have long before the guards he had just scattered, caught up with him, but he had to try.

Throwing himself from the saddle, he abandoned the horse in the middle of the square, and with a smack on its haunch, intended to keep it moving, he turned away. He could already hear the thundering footsteps of heavily armoured guards, heading his way, but hoped the loose animal would at least buy him a couple more seconds. With his heart in his mouth, he took the steps up to Gaius chamber two at a time.


Gaius stood by the window, looking up at the ever changing sky. His hands moved automatically mixing the potion he held. It wouldn't make a difference he knew that, but he had to try something. Finally looking back to the boy on the bed he sighed, he had known him such a short time, yet he meant so much now. To all of them truly, a companion to himself, the son he had never had if he was honest. A true friend to Gwen, Morgana and Arthur, maybe even more. With his easy way and honest heart, he had charmed them all, and if today were to be his last, Gaius couldn't help but think on how unfair that would be.

His eyes unwittingly moved to the bright blue orb still floating just above Merlin's right hand. Even when the boy was unconscious he couldn't stop using magic. If the consequences of such were not so dire, Gaius would have been tempted to chuckle.

He wasn't.

He had already lied, to ban Gwen from the room to keep her from seeing.

Setting down the potion, Gaius lowered his tired bones to a nearby stool, and rested for a second, he felt so helpless. The magic Merlin used in his unconsciousness was so strong he didn't even know how it came about; let alone how to stop it, if needed.

He could only hope the need for the magic, something to do with helping Arthur if Merlin's confused words were anything to go by, would be gone by the time the prince returned. After all a servant girl's gossip could easily be dismissed, if Gwen had witnessed anything; Arthur's word how ever could be the end for all of them.

Like so many of Gaius' wishes, the last one was to be un-granted.


With sweat on his brow, and half of his armour discarded on the stairs, Arthur reached Gaius room, only to find the door closed, and Gwen leaning silently against it. The sight flipped his stomach over.

"He's not de…" the word stumbled on his lips.

Surprised to see her prince so dishevelled, it took Gwen a second before she realised he had even spoken. "No, No Sire." She quickly reassured him moving away from the door. "Gaius just asked me to…"

Arthur was moving again, her denial was all he needed. Throwing himself at the closed door, he stumbled into the room as the catch broke under his weight.

"Gaius I have…" his words failed him again, as his eyes moved to the brightest thing in the room.

Jumping up Gaius moved quicker than he had in years, and tried to throw the blanket Merlin had kicked of yet again, back over his frail body, and the orb, but he was not quick enough, and now the Arthur moved through the room quicker.

A small gasp at the door drew Gaius' attention for a second, but seeing only Gwen there his eyes returned to the prince.

"What is that?" Arthur fought to steady his voice, and he heard it turn cold. Moving closer to Merlin, his eyes were transfixed on the blue shimmering globe.

"That light, I saw it! Did Merlin send it? Is it… magic?" Arthur's thoughts tumbled from his mouth as his brain worked hard to try to piece things together.

"Please sire," Gaius moved closer to the bed, "he is just a boy." The word's the physician had used on the king were now aimed at the prince. "He doesn't know what he's doing, he's sick."

Arthur's top lip twitched, he wasn't listening to the old man, he could not pull his eyes from the globe, and the thought it brought; Merlin had saved him, again.

The tromp of the boots that were following Arthur, suddenly sounded loud in his head, and a shout from Gwen let him know his fathers soldiers would soon be on him.

Panic shot through the boy prince, they couldn't see this, they would tell his father, and he would kill Merlin himself, he couldn't let that happen.

"Merlin." His hand moved to the boys shoulder and shook him roughly. "Merlin stop it!" he ordered in his best prince voice. The one that made most servants run to comply with his wishes. "Come on, wake up."

"I don't think he can." Gaius whispered, leaning close to the prince. Realising it for the first time as he said it. "He doesn't have the strength."

"Prince Arthur!" the guards were so close they were calling his name now. His frantic eyes for a second met Gaius worried ones, before he instinctively knew what he had to do. Throwing his own hand out his fingers moved around the ball of light and magic, and making a fist he crushed it in one quick movement.

Merlin reacted almost immediately, his eyes opened wide, and his body jolted upright on the bed, as a gasp of breath ripped through his chest.

"Merlin," the word had barely left Arthurs lips before the guards that he had been dreading had their hands on him, and were trying to pull him from the room.

The young magician did not answer him; he did not even turn his way. As quick as they had opened his eyes were shut and he fell back heavy to the bed, his chest still, not even moving to take a breath.

"No, no," Arthur fought against the guards harder now as they dragged him to the door. He could see Gaius, his head against Merlin's chest desperately seeking some kind of sign the boy was ok.

Looking first to Gwen, now by his side and then to Arthur by the door, Gaius fought against the tears welling in his eyes, "His heart has stopped."

A sob escaped Gwen as she fell to the floor, but it paled against the howl that ripped from Arthur's throat, as he was bundled finally through the door and away from the man; he had tried so hard to save.


a/n. yay a cliff hanger (oh i do love them)
ok so, is it worth a second chapter? did you like?
thanks for reading wheather you enjoyed or (hopefully not) not.
please review, it makes me happy.

PP xx