Ring Around the Rosie is actually about the Black Plague, believe it or not. So I figured, what would happen if Camelot was in the 1300s? And thus this angsty fic was born.
I no own Merlin, nor the little kid's song.
Ring around the rosie...
Merlin looked at the child. All over her body were rose colored lumps, surrounded by a red ring. Her lymph nodes were swollen. She was coughing up blood and trying not to throw up. Gaius had never seen these syptoms before, he said. So far several people had come to him complaining of the same things. Whatever it was, it was spreading.
"I'm sorry," Gaius told the girl's parents. "I can't do anything. Perhaps she will fight it off for herself."
Merlin followed Gaius back to the castle, carryign the physician's bag. "What is it, Gaius?" he asked nervously.
Gaius frowned. "I don't know, Merlin. I have never seen all these symptoms at once before. We can only hope it will go away on it's own."
Merlin didn't like the chances of that. Nothing ever went away on it's own in Camelot.
A pocket full of posies...
Several days passed. More people fell sick, and the first ones began dying. The smell of the bodies was terrible.
"It's the smell that does it!" Gaius exclaimed. Merlin jumped from where he had been eating his soup, then looked up at his guardian.
"Everybody who's fallen ill, they've all been smelling the bodies. The gravediggers, the families of the people. Maybe if people can't smell the disease it won't spread."
"Maybe," answered Merlin doubtfully.
The word spread. People carried around flowers. The throne room smelled sweet.
"Those posies are very masculine, Arthur," Merlin laughed drily.
"Shut up, Merlin," Arthur snapped. He rubbed his temples like he had a headache.
Merlin shut up. It had been a cruel joke. And Arthur was coming down with somethi- oh no.
Arthur lay in his bed. Gaius, Merlin, and Uther stood over him. There was nothing anybody could do. Gaius was aplying all the herbs and remedies he knew of, but nothing made a difference to his swollen lymph nodes, dead skin, bloody coughs. Through the window, smoke could be seen as corses were burned. Despite being a miles outside Camelot, the ashes blown into the city, coating everything sitting still in a fine layer of dust that horrified the mind and irritated the sinuses.
"You would have made a great king, Arthur," Merlin whispered, trying to keep the tears from flowing, trying not to sneeze from the tickle in his throat, trying to ignore the chilliness of the room.
"I'm..still..alive...idiot," choked Arthur.
Uther was sobbing openly. "My only son," he moaned. "Taken by this disease. How is there no cure, Gaius?"
"I'm sorry sire," Gaius said sadly. "I'm doing all I can."
Everybody jumped when Merlin sneezed violently, spraying flecks of blood into his hands. He shivered.
"Not you too Merlin," moaned Gaius. Merlin shivered, trying not to faint. He vaguely heard Arthur's groan from nearby.
We all fall down.
Arthur lay dying in his chambers. Merlin lay dying in his. It was all over. Everything. Destiny was detroyed. Morgana, somewhere far away, had won.
Merlin moaned, clutching his head. Everything hurt. It seemed that his body was dying from the outside in, his skin dead and decaying with him still inside. It was horrific.
He could see faces swirling just in his line of sight. Gaius and Freya and Gwaine and Will and Balinor and his mother. Weren't some of them dead? Merlin didn't care. Everyone was calling him. Merlin wasn't sure what they wanted him to do. Why were they calling him, couldn't they se he was sick?
Merlin did the easiest thing he could. He took Freya's hand, and stood up. He followed his friends, hoping beyond a hope that Arthur wouldn't join him. But in a few moments, Arthur did.
And destiny died.
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