So I decided to add this chapter to the story, because it explains a lot.
Former summary: They are hunting him - the one who was never supposed to be chased. Never.
The current summary: The Queen of Camelot has betrayed her king. Arthur is dying.
I have never written anything like this before, so please tell me what you think.
The chambers were eerily quiet.
Merlin dragged himself tiredly next to Arthur's bed, holding his fist against his mouth not to break out in pieces.
He sighed deeply, deciding to sit on to the side of the bed. His knees almost buckled; it seemed that all of the strength had faded from them.
Heavily, he landed on the expensive red material.
Merlin avoided at thinking about this.
He refused. He refused to let the shock in.
Merlin took one long, calming breath, before he laid his eyes on Arthur. He was barely concious, sweat on his pale forehead and his lips a bit bluiesh.
Merlin felt the agony dwelling inside of him. Arthur blinked as he seemed to notice his friend's presence. The hazy blue eyes searched for him, and when they locked with Merlin's, Merlin almost choked to his breath.
Arthur's eyes were filled with pain. Hurt, agony.
Merlin swallowed and felt his eyes burning.
-I'm so sorry, he whispered quietly.
Arthur swallowed and looked away. Few emotions crossed his face, and he opened his mouth to answer, but didn't.
Merlin swallowed the tears back.
-How are you feeling?" he asked weakly.
Arthur had a bitter look on him. -I've been better." he said quietly, his heavy emotions shinining through, breathing coming out a bit ragged.
Merlin nodded and without a second thought, placed his hand over Arthur's abdomen. But Arthur just caught his hand from the wrist.
Merlin looked up, confused. -I would've just...
-You already healed me enough. There is no reason for you to exhaust yourself, Merlin," Arthur said, now with a softer voice.
Merlin glanced at his right hand. Arthur hadn't let go of his wrist. Merlin didn't pull his hand away, just let it be there.
-What has been told to the people?" Arthur asked and turning his glance towards the window.
Merlin bit his lip. -That...that one of your knights attacked you." he replied.
Arthur's face tensed. -That's not completely true, is it?" he said ironically.
Merlin felt empathy in his chest.
Merlin looked at him, surprised.
Arthur swallowed and had an oddly empty but hurt look in his eyes. -Don't tell me that it's alright. It's not. And there is no way you can magically fix this. What was done, is done." Arthur said with slightly shaking voice.
Merlin could feel tears filling his eyes. -But..."
Arthur blinked and he clearly struggled not to lose it to his emotions.
-No. Merlin...Please don't. Just...keep me some company." he said, his tone almost pleading.
He sounded so fragile that Merlin had to fight with everything he had not to break out to tears.
He nodded. -Of course." he said, meaning it with all his heart.
Arthur nodded tiredly as a thank you. He still hadn't let go of Merlin's wrist.
Long, heavy moments, filled with shock, agony and despair. The night deepened outside the windows, the fire rattled. Merlin watched as Arthur wavered in and out of the fever, in and out of conciousness.
But Merlin didn't move, didn't even think about leaving. His place was here.
As Arthur finally fell asleep, Merlin pulled the sheets slightly away to reveal the bandaged wound right in Arthur's stomach. Air got stuck on Merlin's throat.
This wound had been fatal. Arthur would have died to it.
It just all made him feel even more sicker.
Without his magic, Arthur would be dead now.
How could she? And how could he?
Merlin whispered another spell. The wound shrank and healed a bit, and Merlin could sense how he drove Arthur's fever down. Then he put the covers back and let his gaze slide to the window.
And then, the tears broke free.
He could have never believed this would happen.
Gwen. Sweet, innocent, loving and caring Gwen. Loyal and honest. A wonderful queen that everyone had learnt to adore.
How could she?
How could she do this?
It was like Merlin hadn't known her at all.
Lancelot - the kind, brave, humble and the most loyal knight there could be. Even if he had become even more quieter in the few past years.
Of course Merlin had known their feelings for each other, the long glances and whispered words in the corridors - but he could have not believed this. Not in million years.
Gwen was the queen. Arthur's queen. The one Arthur had loved with all his heart, would have given everything for her. And she betrayed her king.
Merlin let out a silent sob. He couldn't believe that the Queen of Camelot had broke her wedding vows, broke everything.
Arthur's heart, for instance.
Merlin turned his gaze on Arthur. He could sense how crushed he was. How betrayed, how hurt.
Arthur would never get over this.
Two people he had trusted, had failed him.
Merlin brushed the tears away with his free hand and looked outside again.
There, somewhere, was Lancelot, running against time and the hounds of Camelot. Somewhere, was Gwen, aware of what she had done.
And here was him and Arthur. Him, the only one who was on Arthur's side right now, the only one Arthur allowed to be there.
The only one he could trust.
Only one left.
Slowly, the tears stopped.
Merlin looked at the Arthur with empathy, wondering what Uther was doing right now.
Would he feel grateful that he had commanded Gwen to be killed? Right there, on the throne room when she and Lancelot had declared their love to the court, and where Uther had commanded her to be put to death.
Arthur had told them not to, even if he was too shocked to do anything else.
So Uther had ran forward, drawing his sword, Arthur rushing to stop him, and Lancelot stepping between Uther and Gwen.
Just the second Uther was giving a mortal blow to Gwen and Lancelot was giving a mortal blow to Uther, Arthur got in the way.
Merlin could remember the shocked silence in the throne room, as Arthur had gasped painfully for air for a second, before he had fallen to the ground. The court had watched their king collapse.
Lancelot had looked panicked, even more shocked than anyone else, as his own sword was stained with Arthur's, the king's blood.
He had immediately dropped his sword, Gwen letting out a desperate cry.
Uther had never been so angry before, as he commanded the guards to seize Lancelot.
Lancelot had broke off to run.
Merlin had ran hastily to Arthur's side, dropped to his knees and made the most powerful spell he had ever casted. It took every bit of magic in him, but he did it. Arthur survived the fatal blow and would make it.
Lancelot was chased. Uther wanted Gwen to be executed, but her posession as a queen forced him not to. Uther wasn't the king anymore, after all, but an old man, so he just had the power to banish Gwen.
No matter how she begged to see Arthur or cried or apologized, the guards dragged her out of the castle and away from Camelot. If she would step a foot in the kingdom ever again, she would be hunted down and killed immediately.
Merlin took a deep breath.
He watched as Arthur drew troubled breaths and held his wrist firmly, even if he was asleep.
Maybe he needed someone to hold onto, someone who wouldn't let go. Merlin didn't know or didn't really care - he wouldn't leave Arthur. Not ever.
He hung his head.
He was the only one here.
Only one left, only one on Arthur's side. Merlin could see the sorrow on Arthur's face, even through the curtains of sleep. The king had been betrayed. In the worst way there was. Even Morgana's betrayal lost its sharpness compared to this.
Merlin bit his lip and turned his glance to the window. He would stay here through the night, watching as the night deepened outside, listening to the eerie silence that lingered.
Words had no power here. Not anymore.
Arthur's grip tightened faintly around Merlin's wrist.