Author's Note: Story starts a few weeks after the end of "Camelot Returns." If you haven't read that episode/story, please do so prior to reading this one. This is just the second 'episodic story' from me. Just a few scenes/ideas I'd like to see in the 4th series of Merlin relating to Arthur, Gwen, Uther, and of course, Merlin. Possibly a bit of Morgana as well.
Disclaimer: I do not own Merlin. I do not own its characters.
Black, White and Gray – by AudiRox
It has been almost four weeks since Arthur and Merlin had returned from Cenred's Kingdom. Four weeks since Gwen had offered to tend to Uther until he got back on his feet and resumed the role of King. Almost four weeks since Uther witnessed his son embrace his nursemaid assuming the king was asleep.
Four weeks had passed and Uther hadn't said a word about his new knowledge to anyone. Not even Gwen, his nurse and only companion as he regained his mental strength after being through turmoil caused by his daughter, Morgana.
It is a couple of hours since sunrise and Uther, sitting up in his bed, observes his new servant as she pulls open the curtains, organizers his morning meal and goes about tidying up the chambers. The king isn't in a hurry to get out of bed. He is, however, annoyed. Annoyed that he now has to get used to a new person.
"Where is my nursemaid?" asks the king with a firm voice.
The new servant quickly looks up at her sovereign. "My lord, it was instructed that I tend to your chambers. Especially since Gwen is no longer a servant of Camelot."
"This is nonsense. Very inconvenient, indeed. She has been tending to me for weeks now."
The servant girl is a little nervous she might say the wrong thing, so she goes back to her duties leaving Uther to his own thoughts. "This is most inconvenient," he thinks. Just then, there is a knock on the massive doors.
"Enter," says the king with more energy and color in his voice than just a few days ago.
Gwen is seen entering the chambers with a small tray of medicine for the king. "Good morning, sire," she says as she takes a quick bow.
"What's the meaning of this?" he asks despite being pleased to see her. "Why is there a stranger tending to my chambers this morning?"
The servant stops what she's doing and looks at Gwen.
Gwen sympathetically smiles at her, and then turns to the king. "Lisbeth will be tending to most of your needs, sire. She has been with us since she was just a child and is one of Camelot's finest maids."
Uther shakes his head. "This is most disturbing. You were to be my nursemaid."
Gwen, with more ease than before, sets the tray down and responds to the king with no hesitation. "Yes, and I'll continue to be so. But I have been relieved of my duties as a servant since…" she hesitates to say, but continues, "…since Lady Morgana's departure, but to make it easier on you, I tended to everything until you transitioned."
"Transitioned? Transition into what?" asks the king with annoyance.
Gwen sighs but with a hint of a smile, she continues, "Sire, I believe you're doing a lot better." She adds more weight by adding, "Gaius thinks you're improving. And so, he believed this would be a good time to…" she adds with a bit of hesitation, "transition."
The servant goes back to her duties. She picks up a basket full of laundry and takes leave.
Gwen takes a small bottle from the tray, adds a couple of drops into a goblet, pours a bit of water in it and stirs it with a spoon while Uther gets up from his bed and walks over to the window.
The young lady takes the goblet and walks over to the king and hands it to him. "Here you go, sire."
Uther takes the goblet in his hand without looking at Gwen. He forces himself to swallow the medicine in one gulp. "Wretched!" he says as he tries to get rid of the aftertaste. But Gwen is two steps ahead. She holds out her other hand bearing another goblet filled with just water. Uther looks at the shiny object, and then at Gwen. He nods and takes it in his hand and proceeds to rinse his mouth to rid of the nasty taste.
Gwen looks out the window from behind the king. "Maybe today, sire, you're up for a walk?"
Uther dismisses it and walks over to the bowl of water in front of his bed. He quickly rinses his face and pats it with a small towel. "I'm in no state to go for a walk."
Gwen tries to reason with him, "A bit of sunshine will do a lot of good, my lord. You haven't left these chambers for weeks. It is most unhealthy, sire."
As Uther walks over to the table to have his morning meal, "You're starting to sound more and more like Gaius."
Gwen sighs with worry, "Gaius is your physician and he asks that I convince you to take leave of these chambers and get some fresh air, sire."
Uther sighs as he hears strain in Gwen's voice. He has somehow adapted to the ways of the servant. Former-servant. He barely lifts his head as he chews on a grape. "Not today."
Gwen knows when not to force the issue and so she takes a bow and heads towards the door.
"Wait," commands the king.
Gwen turns around, "Yes, sire?"
"Where is Arthur?"
She, herself, hasn't seen Arthur in a couple of days since he has been tied down with kingly duties. Even then, she only saw him briefly. She cannot remember the last time they were alone to themselves. "I believe he's tending to court matters this morning, my lord."
"I haven't seen him since he returned from Cenred's kingdom."
Gwen realizes where this is going. "He has been very busy, sire."
"Too busy to see his own father?" the king asks with just a hint of hurt in his voice.
Gwen can't help but feel sorry for her sovereign. She had already noticed that Arthur was avoiding his father. He would ask for updates from her, when he saw her, which was rare. Or Gaius. But it was mainly Merlin that gave him updates on the king's health. Merlin received updates from Gwen and Gaius.
"Tell me. Why does my son avoid me?" the king suddenly asks, placing Gwen in an awkward situation.
Gwen opens her mouth, but is at a loss for words. She takes a deep breath and responds, "I do not claim to know, sire. The prince alone has your answer." She contemplates and adds, "It is not my place to guess, my lord."
The king looks up directly at his nursemaid. "Is it not?"
Gwen is very uncomfortable by his question that she is left speechless. "Excuse me my lord; I need to tend to other matters."
Gwen quickly takes another bow and exits the chambers as fast as she can. Uther watches her as she closes the door behind her.
With the door closed behind her, Gwen takes a deep breath and wonders what the king meant by his question.
Edited: Please continue onto chapter two...
End Notes: I have decided to continue with a few more ideas/stories/episodes after reading your reviews. Which, by the way, I very much appreciate. With the holidays right around the corner, I can only manage to write a bit at a time, so here's just a teaser to keep the interest alive. Please let me know what you think.
I'm not a "writer" but a speculator and/or dreamer of how I'd like storylines to play out. Let me know what you think. Thank you for reading.