Coursing through the City of Camelot was a plague, something in the water that was causing them to lose it a little. As Gwen walked up through the main street towards the castle she noticed pair after pair locked in warm embraces, all so caught up in their other halves that they didn't notice the maid walking pass them. She thought nothing of it until she saw one suspiciously like her brother, "Elyan?" whoever it was he was so caught up they didn't notice her, neither did he.
She was going to be late if she didn't hurry up. She could question him about it later.
It was all a little strange; all these people all acting out of the ordinary. Gwen knew something was wrong, she knew it. The only time she'd seen people act this way was around St Valentine's Day which it was not at this moment.
Even the servants in the castle were acting the same.
She reached Morgana's chambers and was greeted at the door by an exiting Merlin. Confused, she greeted him. He looked positively sheepish, "Morning, Gwen," he said an quickly took of towards Arthur's chambers down the corridor.
"Morning, my lady," Gwen said as she entered, she looked around to see Morgana standing by the window. On the table she noticed a fresh bunch of flowers that hadn't been there the day before; one she hadn't brought for Morgana, "Who brought you flowers?" she asked conversationally as she opened the curtains surrounding Morgana's bed and tied them back.
"Merlin," she said with smile, "he said a patient bought them to Gaius as a thank you, but another patient was allergic to them so he thought I would give them a more appreciated home."
"Of course," Gwen smiled, "This early in the morning?"
"He has to wake Arthur, he would be late if he wasn't early," Gwen nodded her head and smiled.
Merlin sat at the table in his shared quarters and ate his lunch. Gaius had given him a cheese sandwich. It was enough to fill him until dinner. But there was something else eating him up from the inside, "What would you do if you did something you couldn't explain?" Merlin asked his guardian out of the blue.
"What have you done now, Merlin?"
"Nothing. Not intentionally."
"Did somebody find out about your magic?" he asked sternly.
"No, it's nothing to do with that."
"Then what is your problem?"
"Have you ever done something you can't explain?"
Merlin looked down at his sandwich and contemplated taking another bite from it before he answered. The tops of his ears turned pink, he swallowed air; "I kissed Morgana."
"You did what?"
"I know! I didn't mean to, it just happened," he replied fiddling with his hands and looking guilty. It hadn't been something he'd counted on. It was Morgana… he was only just able to be nice to her. What had come over him with the flowers as well completely baffled him.
"Things like that don't just happen."
"I was giving her the flowers Clarence gave you. They were better off with Morgana. Then it just happened."
"Well you can't let it happen again, if Uther found out-"
"I know. But it was weird. It was like I didn't have control over my own body."
"That's very strange. Maybe it just felt that way…" Giaus eyed him suspiciously. He knew about all about the troubles that Merlin had with her. It was puzzling to him.
"Yeah, maybe," It was puzzling to Merlin.
As Gwen walked down the corridor with Morgana's laundry in her arms she screamed, being pulled into the bay window. Before she had even taken her next breath a mouth was on hers repeatedly kissing her. He took the laundry carrier from her and threw it to the floor beside them and laced his fingers into her curls, "Ar-"
Every time his lips touched hers butterflies released in her stomach. It didn't matter how many times he did it the second his skin was in contact with hers she lost control. She knew it wasn't the best of ideas in the corridor; anybody could see them. Morgana for one and any number of guards for another but he didn't seem to care.
"Arthur," she breathed against his lips as he broke for air, "What's gotten into you?" she asked with a smile on her face, her forehead against his and her eyes still closed.
"I don't know, all I know is I needed you," he said, his breath hot against her skin.
"We need to be careful."
"That wasn't careful."
"I know," he said kissing her again.
With her hand against his chest she gently pushed him away, "Arthur, we can't."
"I know. I know," he ran his hands up her arms and rested them on her shoulders, "I don't know what came over to me."
"It seems there is something in the water."
The court physician was inundated with the youths of Camelot each coming to him with the same problems; they all seemed to need the contact of a person. Intimacy.
At first he hadn't seen a problem. They were young, they were likely to get that way at some point or another. But then it had been every case he had gotten all afternoon and after Merlin had come to him at lunchtime he started to think that maybe there was something behind it after all.
There was a soft knock on the door, the physician granted permission to enter and he was surprised to see Gwen standing before him; "What can I do for you, Guinevere?"
"I was wondering if you could help me?"
"What seems to be the problem?"
She seemed to consider her next words carefully, "It's Arthur."
"He's more," she searched for the word but her cheeks burned in her embarrassment. In the moment she wished that she didn't know the court physician quite so well. It wouldn't have been that bad if she could distance herself from him.
"What is it, Gwen?"
"He's more insatiable than usual."
Gaius' trademark expression graced his face, "He hasn't pressured you-"
"No!" she sharply interjected taking a short step towards him, "No, nothing like that. He would never."
"He is having problems being discreet and I fear should word get out the King will find out."
"I see," he fumbled in his case for a small vial and handed it to the maid, "I have had a number of young men come to me today. This should help him."
"Is there anything I can do, to help I mean?"
"I'm sure it is just a phase. If not then I shall start to research. Tell him to take it before he sleeps and after he wakes."
"Thank you, Gaius."
"Is there anything else?" he asked her.
She was looking intently at the vial but she smiled and acknowledged the old man with the glass container as she spoke; "No, no, this will do perfectly. Thank you."
Gaius trundled down the corridor towards the King's chambers as he made his rounds. He wasn't sleeping well again. The physician assumed it was something to do with his mind being far too much planted on Morgana but he didn't press the matter too far. The king needed sleep to be fit for duty.
As he passed the doorway to Morgana's chambers he found it bursting open and felt a harsh hand on his arm yanking him inside, "I'm so glad I caught you."
"I was wondering if you could help me?"
"Oh? Do you need a sleeping draught fixed, Morgana? I could conjure one up for you an bring it for you later?"
"No, that's not what I need. I was wondering if you had something for," she faltered, "Forward thinking."
"Forward thinking?" Morgana had always been a forward thinking child, she often said what she thought without little regard to how it would affect those around her.
"Forward thinking," she said raising her eyebrows.
The physician caught on quickly enough. It wasn't a phrase he had heard out of the many phrasings during the day but he knew what she meant. He fumbled in his carry case and handed her a small vial; "Here. Once before you sleep and you should be fine, my lady."
"Thank you, Gaius."
As a maid of Camelot Castle Gwen had little right to be in the Prince's chamber. He had a servant to collect his laundry and to deliver his breakfast and to do all the chores he needed but when needs must she would break all propriety and go to him.
A grin spread across his features as he laid eyes on her.
She was often on his mind as he worked through the council reports. He noticed a small bottle in her hands as she approached him, "What's that?"
"It's for you," he eyed it suspiciously, "We need to be careful and this should rid you of your impulses for a while."
"We must be careful. We cannot risk your father finding out," there were many things they could risk, his father becoming savvy to their true feelings was barely a scratch on the surface of a whole plethora of problems they could come across if they weren't careful.
"Thank you," he took it from her and listened to her instructions as well as her explanation that he didn't seem to be the only one suffering today, "There is something going around? Sorcery?"
"I don't know, Arthur, but it certainly is strange."
"Well, thank you for this. I'll keep a cap on the situation from now on."
It was late when the court physician made it to bed that night. He hadn't been expecting anybody to be waiting for him on his return to his chambers. He had expected to climb straight into his bed and to sleep; "My lord?"
"That potion you gave Gwen," Arthur started as he sat on the bench facing him, "Is there anything stronger?"
"What do you mean, my lord?"
"I took it before I slept but it didn't stop the," he cleared his throat and shifted awkwardly, "the dreams."
"All I can think about is her."
"Is this a recent occurrence?"
"Not in the slightest."
"I fear there is little I can do for you, Arthur. Where there is magic at work it easily masked but the spell you are under is different."
"Love as an enchantment is a dangerous one, but one not even the finest physician could treat you for."
"Right," he stood and walked towards the door, "This plague," he started referring to the reams of youths Gaius had tended to that day, "What is causing it?"
"I fear there may be sorcery at work, my lord, but I don't know for sure."
Arthur nodded, "Let me know when you know more."
Gaius didn't sleep once the Prince left him. He pulled out his books and worked late into the night. There had to be an explanation for the behaviour of the youths of Camelot. Book after book he searched through but nothing displayed itself as the correct answer.
Whatever it was it was powerful enough to effect a whole collection of different people.
Merlin woke himself the next morning, dressed and scuttled down into Gaius' chamber. He spotted the old man sleeping with his head in a book, left open on a page. Merlin read it over his shoulder. It said a number of things about enchanted behaviour of the younger population of a city. He frowned an gently extracted the book from beneath his guardian's head.
He could sort this.
There were a whole number of reasons but the main one, for him, revolved around his dislike of not being able to control himself around the one female he disliked. He couldn't let his guard drop around her, kissing her was by far the wrong tack.
He started to chant the words and he could feel the magic course through him.
"Woah," he said gasping for breath. It was powerful magic, that much he knew.
That morning when Gwen left for the castle the city was a whole different story. The same people stood with each other this time they looked to the floor and shifted awkwardly from one foot to the other.
Whatever it was, Gaius had sorted it. If only temporarily.
When she reached the castle she didn't come across Merlin in Morgana's chamber nor was she pulled into any crevice as she went about her work.
After lunch she knocked on Arthur's door and let herself in. He sat at his table surrounded by papers; "Guinevere?"
"I see the potion is working."
"One would think so."
"I just wanted you to know," she started awkwardly, girlishly looking at the floor in embarrassment, "that you weren't the only one."
"You weren't the only one having those urges. That's why it wasn't good for us to be near each other."
"Well that is good to know."
"I'll leave you to your work."
"Okay. Thank you," she turned to leave, "Oh and Guinevere?" she looked back over her shoulder at him, "It doesn't take a spell to make me think like that," he said truthfully.