"Merlin, you are an absolute idiot!"
Merlin resisted the urge to roll his eyes at the Prince and simply just winced slightly as Arthur tightened his grip on Merlin's wrist. Merlin was still bleeding profusely, and Arthur had ripped some of the bed sheets to wrap around the bleeding mess that was Merlin's wrist. Merlin honestly didn't get Arthur sometimes. He acted as if Merlin had woken up this morning thinking, Hm, I wonder what I can do to irritate Arthur today? Let's fall over my feet while I'm carrying his weapons and cut myself open on his sword. That ought to do the trick.
"Yes, of course, because I completely planned this whole thing in my head before I did it," Merlin bit out sarcastically, voicing his thoughts.
"Just when I thought you couldn't get any clumsier," Arthur snapped out and carefully unwrapped the sheets from around Merlin's wrist. The four inch gash was still bleeding heavily and Merlin looked away, feeling a little sick, his mind going hazy. Arthur sighed and shook his head and wrapped his wrist with the sheet again. "We need to hold your wrist high," Arthur demonstrated, holding Merlin's wrist over his head.
"Like I meant to practically stab myself with your sword," Merlin muttered, feeling irritated. He had been carrying Arthur's knives and sword across Arthur's bed-chambers when he had stumbled over his own feet, crashing to the floor noisily, and in the process cut open his wrist on Arthur's sword. As if his day couldn't get any worse. Now he felt like he was about to pass out. His wrist ached and throbbed horribly and he felt nauseous.
"You're right," Arthur agreed with a dark smirk. "You are totally absurd."
"It's practically your fault any way," Merlin threw back.
"Excuse you?" Arthur looked at Merlin, his eyebrows raised. "It's my fault that your legs are way to gangly for your own good and that you can barely walk anymore?"
"Yes!" Merlin blurted out and used his other hand to smack Arthur lightly on his chest. "Mean."
Arthur smirked devilishly. "Remember that you're speaking to the future King of Camelot."
"Oh, I am shaking on my very legs," Merlin said, giving an exaggerated tremble in mocking.
"You're being extremely cute with me today," Arthur cocked his head. "I am going to let it pass because of your obvious blood-loss and impaired judgement." Arthur squeezed Merlin's wrist tightly and Merlin gave a yelp of pain.
"Ow! That hurts!"
"Good," Arthur replied curtly. "You're bleeding all over my carpet; we need to get you to Gaius."
Merlin let out a small noise and pouted. "Can't we just get Gaius to come here?"
A smile tugged at Arthur's lips. "Did you just whimper?"
"No!" Merlin said, horrified. Arthur gave his wrist another hard squeeze. "Ow."
Merlin leaned against the bed-post, his face breaking out in a slight cold-sweat. His wrist wasn't really hurting that bad, it was actually starting to feel pretty numb, but Merlin tasted bile in the back of this throat and that was not a good sign. Merlin gave a small groan and leaned over. Arthur put a hand on his shoulder and steadied him.
"You're looking awfully pale," Arthur frowned, his eyes scurrying over Merlin's face, criticizing. Arthur placed a cold hand on his cheek and Merlin eagerly leaned into it, closing his eyes.
"Well, you keep squeezing the living daylight out of my wrist," Merlin reminded him weakly.
"All right, let's go see Gaius," Arthur sighed and steered Merlin towards the door, still holding a firm grip on Merlin's wrist.
They made it about three feet down the hallway before Merlin started babbling about absolutely nothing. He'd noticed that he'd been doing that lately for no reason at all. When Merlin had been sick, he'd also found himself talking excessively. His head felt overly heavy and he leaned into Arthur's side as they walked, heading towards Gaius' quarters.
"It's funny, really," Merlin mumbled, his eyelids dropped slightly and he wondered why he felt so tired all of a sudden.
"I fail to see the humour," Arthur replied blankly, his voice stern.
Merlin let out a small snort that sounded suspiciously much like a giggle. "No, trust me, I don't find the situation that I am pretty much bleeding to death humorous." Arthur gave him a strange look. "I meant, it's funny, because I really don't dislike blood or anything. And I am not that sensitive."
Merlin felt Arthur's grip on his wrist tighten as white dots swarm in Merlin's vision and he started to feel unbelievably sluggish. "Your point being?" he distantly heard Arthur ask as his world suddenly blackened for a moment. Merlin was confused, he couldn't figure out what was happening. And as fast as the world had disappeared, it returned. Merlin was leaning against the cold wall and Arthur was leaning against him, his hand on Merlin's shoulder, steadying him.
"Oh," Merlin groaned, swallowing. "That's not good."
"Thank you for paying at least a little bit attention," Arthur growled and glared at Merlin, but Merlin could see the intense worry on his face.
"I'm sorry," Merlin mumbled, straightening up. "I'm fine."
Arthur shook his head and they slowly started moving again. "You've lost a lot of blood," Arthur commented matter-of-factly and Merlin rolled his eyes. Really?
"Are you going to be sick?" Arthur asked as Merlin moaned. "Please let me know beforehand, because I don't want you to throw up all over my clothing." Merlin smiled at that, he knew Arthur was trying to keep a witty façade but he heard the concern breaking through.
"I am the one's going to have to wash them anyway," Merlin reminded him with a small smile.
"True," Arthur agreed. "Do you want to stop? We can stop." Arthur was still holding Merlin's bleeding wrist firmly and the idea of stopping actually sounded quite tempting, but Merlin felt awful and right now he just needed Gaius to make him better.
"No," Merlin shook his head and forced his body to walk faster. Mind over matter. "Let's just go."
A few hours and potions later, Merlin was feeling quite merry and joyful as Gaius stitched up his wrist, Arthur standing in the background, leaning against the wall, watching the scene like a hawk ready to strike. Merlin chuckled at him and Arthur gave him a sharp glare. Merlin found it hilarious that Arthur was always on his guard when it came to Merlin being hurt. Even if it was just a little scratch. A little scratch that took 25 stitches and about five potions for Merlin to swallow, but still, just a scratch. Merlin yelped quietly as Gaius tugged at his skin with the needle. Gaius gave him a look that clearly said, Merlin, don't even start, you've been rubbed with a numbing salve.
"Well, Merlin," Gaius said as he finished up his work on Merlin's wrist. "I can't decide if you're either extremely lucky or extremely stupid. An inch more to the left and you would have nicked your artery and you probably would've bled to the death." Merlin threw Arthur a quick glance and Arthur stared back, his eyes narrowed into slits, but Merlin could imagine what he was thinking.
Arthur swallowed roughly, clearing his throat and moving closer. "He was extremely stupid, weren't you, Merlin?"
"Thanks for your support, lover," Merlin rolled his eyes and Arthur cleared his throat again, uncomfortably, glancing at Gaius meaningfully. Gaius stood up and gave Arthur the numbing salve jar. With a last reprimanding look at Merlin, Gaius walked out of the room, leaving the Prince and his manservant alone. Arthur sighed and sat down opposite Merlin.
"Stupid manservant," Arthur said gruffly as he started putting some more slave on Merlin's wrist, massaging it tenderly. "You shouldn't do stupid and silly things like this. Stupid man-servant."
"Stupid prince," Merlin slurred back and leaned in.
"Luckily you're not going to remember how rude you were to your Prince tomorrow morning," Arthur told him with a smirk. "You're loopy."
"I am so loopy," Merlin agreed and gave Arthur a huge, goofy smile. "Gaius' potions are absolutely, absolutely wonderful."
"I bet they are," Arthur muttered.
"I am loopy," Merlin repeated, and leaned in even closer. "I want you to kiss me."
Arthur put down the jar and placed his hands on Merlin's knees, leaning in as well. "I don't take advantage of loopy manservants," Arthur said with a knowing smile, his eyes going dark.
"You're not taking advantage," Merlin rubbed his nose against Arthur's, his voice low and husky. "I am giving you permission, so you're not actually taking advantage. Besides, it's not like you've never taken advantage before."
Arthur made a noise of protest. "When you're drunk. That is a completely different thing. It's not like I attack you when you're unconscious."
Merlin licked his lips suggestively. "I wouldn't mind."
"You are going to rest, lover," Arthur said quietly and pulled Merlin's hands into his warm ones. "And you're going to seriously consider your stupidity and make sure it doesn't happen again." Arthur pressed his lips against Merlin's softly, and Merlin made an appreciative noise. Arthur pulled back and Merlin groaned, pouting. Arthur resisted the urge to bite down on those delicious and sinful lips.
"You're holding back," Merlin whispered, his eyes still closed. "I am impressed. You're not thinking with your groin anymore. Impressive."
Arthur snorted in laughter; he couldn't quite believe Merlin had actually said that. "I am so going to hold this against you in the morning," Arthur grinned evilly and kissed Merlin's lips once again before pulling back.
"You probably will," Merlin nodded, agreeing. "Will you stay with me until I fall asleep?" Merlin looked at him with one of this famous puppy-eyed looks and Arthur sighed, resisting the urge to throw him a witty comeback.
"Of course I will," Arthur said softly and kissed Merlin's temple, slowly pulling his manservant to his feet and helping him into his bedchambers.
Merlin fell asleep peacefully that night in Arthur's strong and warm arms. Arthur rested uneasily. He kept waking up with an intense fear coursing through his whole body, flashes of blood and Merlin screaming in his mind, and he had to remind himself that Merlin was still here, sleeping right next to him. However, that didn't keep Arthur's fingers from constantly seeking out the gash on Merlin's wrist, feeling the stitches under his fingers.
Months later, the scar on Merlin's wrist still made Arthur look away, but he never told Merlin that.