A random idea that wouldn't go away until I wrote it. Leave a review when you've read, with nice things, or how you think I could improve it, ect.
The moment he woke up he realised it was the day. It was an odd feeling; not unlike his magic, which he could feel constantly moving round his body, as natural as veins and arteries, but not actually that similar. It was a feeling like he had some kind of infectious parasite zipping around his body; it was there but he couldn't put his finger on the exact spot. It was infuriating, like an itch that never seemed to fade, and appeared in the strangest of places, only to dwindle away to another patch as you scratched it. It was currently in his back, brushing light fingers against his fragile spine. Merlin arched his back and rolled over, still half-asleep, and fell out of bed with a yelp. He lay winded on the floor, looking confusedly around him. Gaius burst through his door, one eyebrow raised impressively high, even for him.
"What are you doing on the floor?" Gaius demanded, kicking a boot out of the path as he made his way to his ward and surrogate son.
"I fell out of bed," Merlin said, and glanced round doggedly still.
"I can see that," Gaius frowned as he helped Merlin up and sat down on the bed beside him. "What I meant was why did you feel out of bed?" Then as he studied the man in his mid-twenties before him, he noticed a sheen of sweat across his forehead. "You're burning up! You've got a fever," Gaius exclaimed, trying to put a head on Merlin's head.
"Gaius! I'm fine, honestly." Merlin pleaded with Gaius to understand. There wasn't a cure for this; it was just something that would happen and pass.
"I'll tell Arthur you're not well," Gaius said, already walking to the door.
"No!" Merlin said. He surged to his feet and grabbed the end of the bed when light-headedness took over. "I'm fine. It's just a bit hot in here." The tone of his voice had convinced Gaius he was intent on serving Arthur today.
"Fine. But take it easy, do you hear?" Merlin nodded and Gaius left, already making a mental note to keep an eye on him. He was acting weirdly today, no doubt. Normally he'd do anything for a day off, considering how hard Arthur worked him, but when he actually was ill?***
Knock. Knock. Knock. Knock-knock-knock! "Alright Merlin, you can come in!" Arthur's irritated voice echoed from under the bed covers and Gwen giggled slightly, gathering her hair in an untied knot at the nape of her neck and using it as a cushion against the hard, wooden back board.
"Well, I didn't want to walk in on-well, yeah," Merlin blushed a bright red and set the two breakfast plates down on the table.
"You've never walked in on us-Merlin!" Arthur emerged from the sheets and suddenly looks very nervous. "Merlin, do you mean to say that you've walked in on…us…" Merlin nodded cheerfully, and Arthur went a bright pink and buried his face in his hands. Gwen, on the other hand, laughed until she could barely breathe. Merlin smiled wearily at both of them and Arthur took a closer glance at his insanely loyal manservant, who was leaning on the table for support, to stop his legs from collapsing under him.
"You all right?" Arthur said, the concern in his voice audible. Merlin blinked, focused on Arthur and nodded. "Meet us down on the training grounds in half an hour. I need you to polish some armour." Merlin nodded once more and backed out. He kept his face calm on the outside, but inwardly he was eternally glad that he wouldn't be the personal target, and instead could sit. Although it required elbow grease it wasn't as half demanding as usual training.***
"Is he alright?" Gwaine asked, as he shaded his eyes to glance over to where Merlin was sitting, polishing a sword with long, effortless strokes.
"I don't know. He seems a little…off." 'Off' seemed to be the only word to describe it.
"He doesn't look well," Percival joined in.
"I don't think he is," Arthur sighed. "But he insisted on coming in."***
"How was work today?" Gaius asked as soon as Merlin walked in the door.
"Good. Arthur gave me jobs that were actually manageable today." Merlin grinned and shut the door behind him. He turned to face Gaius when a sudden, crippling pain hit him. It started in the pit of his stomach and slowly snaked up to his chest, and he suddenly found he couldn't breathe easily, like tendrils had wrapped themselves round his lungs. Luckily for Merlin Gaius wasn't looking up as he doubled over, managing to stay upright, but only just.
"Gaius?" And to his surprise, his voice sounded normal.
"Yes, my boy?"
"I'm going out. With Gwaine. He invited me to the tavern." Merlin invented wildly, hoping he didn't sound as nervous as he felt.
"You planning on getting blind drunk?"
"I'm planning on dragging Gwaine home when he's blind drunk."
Gaius chuckled and waved a hand, telling him he could go.***
The tree roots threatened to trip him at every step; his couldn't see where he was going, what with the inescapable pain rendering him sightless. He was causing such a racket, snapping twigs, reducing crispy leaves to dust, that he didn't hear the whispers behind him, the occasional groan of fragile land as a big, burly knight stepped on it. The pain had him firmly in his hand now; it was squeezing him, playing with him, and needless to say, he didn't like it. A tree came up in his path and he stumbled to the left to avoid it, clutching at his stomach, where the worst of the pain seemed to be.***
"Everyone ready?" Arthur said, from his post by the window, where the figure of Merlin was just about viewable in the dim light. He wasn't walking normally; it wasn't totally tripping or lame, either, but Arthur knew that this wasn't his normal walk. He looked…in pain. "Then let's go." He said, at everyone's nods.
Well? What did you think? I'll be putting the next chapter up. Unless I don't fit everything into that one, it'll be a two-shot.