sorry for the delay guys! really, I am quite sorry. Pendragon.P a s s i o n. is on Facebook now so PLEASE go like me!
Give it up for a little Gaius-angst in this chappie! Also when Freya is talking to Gaius, I am kind of basing her off Jo from Spooks in case anyone cares. You know that eo at the end of season 6 when she and Adam *epic!SQUEE* get taken and she is like begging him to kill her so that the bad dudes can't do anything. Well, you know how she is all messed up and sort of out of it and saying just weird shit. Obviously not to that level, but yeah, Freya in that convo is sorta based off Jo. And if you haven't seen Spooks and don't know what I am talking about then just forget you read this. :)
Rain was beating down on Arthur. Wind was storming around him and the sky was grey and dark. The cold stung his face and the droplets of rain were a million tiny arrows attempting to pierce through his skin, but he was numb to it all. The Prince of Camelot sat in mud, his back against a rough wall, and his eyes were closed, as if trying to block out all the bad of the world. The weather was a bad turn to an already horrible day. It was cold. Wet. Black. Depressing. Though somehow it seemed fitting. It felt like the world knew that day was a sad one, like it was mourning for Merlin in its own way. Arthur had to admit, it would be wrong if Merlin was dying on a bright sunny day, well, more wrong than Merlin dying usually would be.
Arthur hated the world. He hated Halig. He hated Gaius for not being able to mend his friend. He hated Freya for causing the situation. He hated Merlin for being the genuine person that he was, for being too kind, too caring, too loving and too selfless. He hated Merlin for not running, not screaming with all he had, for not fighting back. Arthur hated that Merlin was the best friend he had and now he was dying because the stupid prat could not stand to see anyone suffering. Yes, Arthur hated the world, but more than anything he hated himself. He could not stand to know that if he had not stopped briefly on his way to find Merlin to comfort an old man, Merlin might be better. If he had not slowed down his pace to let a servant girl walk before him through a doorway, Merlin might not be dying. Arthur hated that every factor was seeming to want Merlin to die, and that nothing and no one could do anything at all to fix his friend.
Yes, Arthur hated the world.
It was now almost night, dark as it was already, it would soon begin to grow darker. Arthur thought back to just a few hours before. He could still see the light in Merlin's eyes dim as he lost hope in life. He could still see the disappointed look in Merlin's face as Gaius told him there was nothing he could do. And then he could see the look of coping and Arthur was annoyed at how Merlin seemed to be ok with what he had heard. How come Merlin can cope so well? It wasn't fair. But, of course, Arthur realised it was only an act, and that Merlin really was as unhappy about the situation as Arthur was.
Arthur could still hear the girl's gasp as she heard the verdict, and hear her heart-wrenching sobs as she cried and cried. She had still been wailing when Arthur left.
It amazed him, the way Merlin and Freya were two good, kind, caring people, and how they found such love in each other in such a small amount of time, in such a dire and cruel situation. And then to have them ripped from each other so violently. Arthur hoped that he would never have to endure such pain.
Gaius' calloused hands were surprisingly soft as he lifted Freya up from the ground next to Merlin's bed, into a standing position. Merlin had fallen asleep about over an hour ago, obviously exhausted, but Freya refused to move from his side. But now, Gaius thought it was time to take action. She was clearly in a bad way herself, after being a prisoner to Halig and going through god only knows what else.
The old man directed her out of Merlin's room and sat her on a chair. He looked her over, finding she was in surprisingly good shape, only having bruises and superficial wounds. The only worrying thing Gaius found was her left wrist was spained, but after strapping it up it was fine.
"Do you want anything to eat?"
Freya shook her head, "No, thank you."
"Are you sure?"
"Arthur and I had lunch before we came here."
"Right then, perhaps something to drink?"
Freya's eyes lit up slightly, "I would love some water, please."
Gaius nodded and poured her a drink in the largest cup he could find. "Drink it slowly, we do not want you to get sick."
There were a few minutes of silence, broken only by the faint noises of Merlin breathing coming from the other room, until Freya started to speak again.
"How many people have you seen die, Gaius?"
The old man was a little put off by the question, but he answered. "Countless." It was clear from the girl's face that she wanted him to elaborate. "I have seen many battles during my time, all of which had casualties. I lived through the Great Purge, skirmishes, assaults and tournaments. Sicknesses never stop appearing, people never stop getting sick. Death is a thing of life, no one can avoid or escape it, and anyone who thinks they can is a fool."
"So, you are a little immune to seeing someone die then?"
"That's not what I said. Watching someone die is not something that becomes easier the more it happens. If anything it turns out to be harder the more people you see die. Especially if you are a physician. Freya, I am a man whose sole purpose in life is to help people, and when a person leaves this life for the next it is a failure on my part."
"But if there is no way you can help them, how are you failing?"
"Because they died. They still died, and nothing will change that."
"I've seen people die. I've killed people, when I turn, but I have never seen anyone die that I haven't killed."
Gaius could tell Freya was exhausted and in bad shock, and only talking for the sake of talking. "I think you should get some rest."
"Have you ever wondered what happens after you die, Gaius?"
"Come on," Gaius turned to his table and found some herbs. He sprinkled some in Freya's cup. "This will help you sleep," he said. He guided the cup to Freya's mouth, which she drank. Then, he lead her over to the bed near the fire and tucked her in. "Get some sleep."
Freya, too tired to do anything else, complied.
The Prince's footsteps echoed heavily throughout the dungeons. Arthur was trudging. (A/N To trudge: the slow, weary, depressing yet determined walk of a man who has nothing left in life except the impulse to simply soldier on. A Knight's Tale FTW!) He was dripping wet, and undoubtedly cold, but he had given himself a mission. That mission was to get the truth out of Halig. There were two guards outside Halig's cell who quickly moved out of the way when they saw their prince coming. Arthur found the key on his belt, and swiftly unlocked the heavy iron door. The bars rattled deeply as he swung it shut behind him, the noise startling awake the dozing Halig.
"Get up." Halig only needed to take one short glance at the eyes of the prince to realise that he was not in a situation of negotiation. Slowly, and with a groan, the man picked himself up from the ground and stood to face Arthur.
"My lord," he greeted.
Arthur made a deliberate slow motion of moving his hand from his side, up to rest on the hilt of his sword. "I want you to tell me, honestly, what happened to my servant." He spoke slowly and purposefully, allowing each word to sink in as they came out. "I will give you one chance to answer me, and one chance only." The air between the two men grew so foggy with tension that even the sharpest hot blade would not have been able to slice though.
Halig bowed his head slightly in recognition of what Arthur and submission. He was not a stupid man, he had tried to lie and it had obviously failed. He was a man who knew when to give in. "I suspected...Merlin," the way he said Merlin's name gave Arthur chills down his spine, and right at that moment the prince decided he hated the man before him with every fibre of his being, "of helping the druid girl. Obviously, I had no hard evidence to suggest it, so I cornered him and intended to make him confess. I admit, my lord, I was caught up in the moment and took things too far, but I know he helped the girl."
Arthur was disgusted to say the least. He had known that Halig had beaten Merlin, but to hear it from his own mouth, without a hint of remorse or guilt or sadness or even emotion was too much. "I will consider your punishment," was all Arthur could manage to say to the man without yelling or breaking down or lashing out before he exited the cell.
Gaius was dozing on a chair next to Merlin when he heard somebody stumble through the front door. Instantly he was up, ready to make his defence to whoever it might be about why the druid girl was sleeping in his chambers.
"Relax, Gaius," Arthur saw the old man's reaction and realised he had startled him. "It is just me."
Gaius walked out of Merlin's room to greet the prince. "How are you?"
Arthur flopped down into the nearest chair, "Exhausted."
"You look it, you should go sleep."
"I can't," Arthur shook his head. "I have too much to do. I just went and saw Halig in the dungeons and he confessed." Arthur wiped a hand over his face, "What am I going to do, Gaius? As much as I want to, I can't possibly have the man executed. I doubt my father would ever allow such an ally to be executed for the injuries of a servant, and besides, Merlin would never accept a man being killed because of him, would he?"
"I doubt so, Arthur."
The prince sighed heavily, his mind in turmoil. "How is Freya?" He indicated to the sleeping girl near the fire.
Gaius looked at her sadly, "Not good at all. She is in severe shock, I think. Exhausted and hurt and cold and in shock, the combination makes for odd conversation on her part, but I think she is dealing. I had to drug her to sleep, she just refused to otherwise."
"I guess we are all in a bad way," Arthur spoke quietly. Then, as quick and sharp as an electric shock through his body the blonde had a thought. "Oh, Gaius." He stood quickly.
"What is it?" the old man asked, clearly alarmed.
"No one has told Guinevere!"
Oh no, Gaius thought. How could they have neglected to inform Gwen of Merlin's state? Before Gaius could say anything to Arthur, the young man was out the door and disappeared from sight.
Gaius took his place on the chair and sat still for a moment. He was exhausted too, but there were no more beds in his chambers so he sat and rested his eyes, preparing himself for another sad and desperate face looking up at him, and accusing him of not doing anything.
So, there you have it. As always guys PLEASE REVIEW! Gwen and also Uther in the next chapter. Go like me on facebook if you want and yeah.
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