"Merlin, you idiot! When I tell you not to follow me, what is it going to take for you to actually listen?"

If Merlin could have gotten his teeth to stop chattering long enough to answer, he would have. As it was, all he could do was huddle in on himself and shiver right down to his bones. He could tell that Arthur was near because of how close the Prince's voice sounded and he could feel himself being jerked this way and that. But he could barely feel Arthur's hands on him and he didn't need to be a physician's apprentice to know that things were bad.

"Damn it," Arthur whispered, his voice strained with worry, "your lips are turning blue. Come on, I'm not going to let your idiocy kill you. We have to get back to Camelot now."

Suddenly Merlin was jerked into a sitting position and then up over Arthur's shoulder and dumped in the saddle of Arthur's horse. Arthur jumped up behind him, whistled to get the attention of Merlin's mare, and took off at a canter. Merlin's body begged him to just shut his eyes and give in but the constant jostling of the horse wouldn't let him, which he knew was for the best. As if reading his thoughts, Arthur gave him a fierce one-armed shake.

"Don't you dare, you hear me?" Arthur whispered fiercely, jerking the reins sharply as they reached the edge of the wood to cut across a field.

"Don't you dare."