They found him easily enough. He wasn't doing anything unusual. He was just sitting in his room at his desk, trying to concentrate of some reports but in reality ruminating over some memory that had just popped into his mind. And he was just sitting there, eyes slightly glazed, thinking over the memory of Sophia and wondering distantly what had ever become of her and her father, when they found him.
He wished he could say that he'd seen it coming, felt it in the air.
He hadn't. When Gwaine, Percival, and Leon entered the room, all he'd felt was mild interest and a thought spared to where Elyan would be. The group was usually together. Retaking a kingdom did tend to cement friendships.
They were silent as they approached his desk, and that's when he would have had to admit that he hadn't seen anything coming. If he had, he wouldn't have sat there calmly. He wouldn't have sighed or said, "Well? What is it?"
And then he knew things were very wrong.
Arthur didn't have time to do anything but let his eyes grow wide before Gwaine lunged forward and wrapped both hands around the king's throat. His grip was tight, restricting, and all of the sudden Arthur couldn't breathe.
He tried to leap to his feet, but Gwaine was stronger than Arthur remembered. He pushed away the other man with his arms, pulling away in an attempt to get free. He was shocked. But not so shocked that he couldn't think to try and get at his sword.
This wasn't, after all, the first time he'd been attacked by people he held dear.
His sword wasn't in his belt. It was by his bed. Arthur pushed Gwaine away a final time and tried to get at the bed while keeping the desk between himself and the new attacker… attackers? Because before he got far, Leon grabbed Arthur by the back of his shirt, making the besieged king lose his balance.
Arthur stumbled and nearly fell, but kept his balance until another blow landed on his side – and again, he hadn't known any of his knights were that strong. He crashed to the ground, wincing as his arm crumpled beneath them. They were still just standing around him. Why weren't they drawing their swords? Hadn't he taught them better than to attack while unarmed? He blindly reached out one hand to try to grab one of them by the ankles, but stopped short with a muted scream.
It was all pain from that direction, fogging his mind, but when he concentrated he thought he could pinpoint the source of his pain. His hand had been stomped on, and Percival's foot had broken it. He knew it was broken, and when he looked, it was leaking blood from where his nails had curled into his palm.
That's what made it real, and it suddenly dawned on him like it hadn't before.
He was in his room, lying on the floor, injured, being attacked by his friends. His most trusted friends.
He twisted so he was looking up at the stone hard faces of his knights. Gwaine, looking ridiculous without his smile. Leon, looking horribly out of place. Percival, looking scary without the usual gleam of amusement in his eyes.
"What?" he choked in a strained voice, for the pain from his hand was still washing through his system and was blockading his throat. "Why are you…? Why…?"
And as he looked at them, he realized with a start that if he focused on them, the knights disappeared, and he could see brown-robed figures with hard, staring faces behind the form of his knights. Sorcerers. That's why they hadn't drawn the weapons. They weren't real weapons. These people weren't his knights.
And despite everything, he found that comforting.
The sorcerer in the middle, who kept changing into Percival when Arthur blinked, bent down towards the decked king. Arthur drew back into the floor and pulled his arm closer to himself, fearful that someone would touch it. It already felt twice its normal size, and he was having trouble focusing for the pain it was sending through him. As the man, who had a thick, fat face, leant down towards him, Arthur had the sudden urge to retch.
He couldn't reach his sword. He couldn't punch. And he was surrounded. It was too late to scream. Probably no one would hear if he did anyway.
He was in deep, deep trouble.
The man was right in his face now, disgusting breath washing over Arthur's mouth and nose. He had to force himself not to gag or hold his breath.
Just an inch or so away, the sorcerer in the cloak stopped and his eyes flashed gold.
It's over, Arthur thought.
The man said, "Gwneud yn anymwybodol."
Everything went dark, and Arthur's last thought was that his hand hurt very, very badly.
A/N: I'm assuming I'll continue this. But, to be honest, I'm not positive how. When I started out the story, it was supposed to go an entirely different direction. But what does the muse care about my plans? So, if anyone has any suggestions, I'm open.
What I think this story will contain: No slash (a given!), some bromance, Protective and/or bamf!Merlin, and Arthur whump. Arthur doesn't get whumped enough, really. But we will see.
So, please review. Is it worth continuing? To a three shot? Full fledged story? Tell me what the public wants!
For now, Kitty O, out!