Reviews: (well color me impressed .o.)
IndiaMoore: XD I'm glad you like it, hope this chapter is just as satisfying as the first.
TheCresantMoonWolf: I swear, you're the only one that reads the rest of my fanfiction and not just Demon's Tail XD I updated! :D Same, I feel so sorry for the guy though. XD
Mika271170: Stuff. Stuff is happening to Merlin ._. XD I'm glad you like, thanks for the review
Huphuggers2: *throws the chapter at you* take iiittttt!
TeganL74: It's delish indeed. Seriously, I get pleanty of rain where I'm from, writing about it's like second nature XD Haha, glad you liked. Hope this satisfies the craving for now ;)
TheImpossiblePen: Thank you, I'm glad to hear that you like it.
JelloGirl323: XD I feel like not much has changed in this chapter compared to the last one. He's still friggn miserable.
April29Roses: Thanks, I'm glad you like.
MamzelleHermy: yay~ I seem to get that a lot with my writing, people say it's an original style. Hope this chapter is just as good as the first!
I swear to god I'll start writing these authors notes in Spanish O.O (though I'm not sure why I feel the need to…) ¡GRACIAS POR LOS COMENTARIOS!
Disclaimer: Don't own.
Alice hadn't wanted to hurt the poor boy, in fact she saw through his eyes a soul so full of pain that her instinctual need to heal flared considerably. He held a kindness that he seemed to not know of, a power he could not be proud of. She saw no thought for himself in those round blue orbs. She saw a young adult who fought tooth and nail to protect the people around him, even if it meant preserving a time of old for the prince he served. Even if it meant saving a man he should surly hate with every ounce of his being. But bless the boy, he hated himself- loathed his very existence and seemed to not think of his own preservation. Oh how she wanted to cry for him, to tell him it was alright, comfort him. Something about the way he moved, the way he observed the world around him made her protective of him and she realized that somehow she'd already begun to think of him both as a son and a patient. Alice had quickly tried to squash the feeling after realization had struck but it was like a fire feeding on oil and she was attempting to put it out with a thin blanket.
The healer didn't want to kill him.
She'd become a saint following the laws of a devil, shackled by it's power. And that devil told her Merlin would be a hindrance to their plan, that if she didn't poison him with the Manticore's venom he'd use her body to kill Gaius for ruining it's strategy. Left with no other choice Alice had forced her heavy limbs, hands laden with lead to insert the liquid death into an apple using a needle. She'd then asked Gaius to give it to him, saying she thought he would not take it should she attempt to give it to him herself because she felt unwelcome.
It seemed that Merlin had only just recently decided it was time to eat the apple and since the Manticore's poison was too deceptive to be tasted he would not have realized what had happened until he found himself standing on the other side. Alice could only take pleasure in this one horrible, bitter detail- knowing that the child would die quickly, a reassurance that wasn't painted by suspicion.
It seemed though, that nothing in her life could ever be trusted to stay that way. She lived upside down and backwards in her beliefs now-a-days, turned over again and again like a pair of dice in the hands of evil. Nothing was ever peaceful and nothing ever stayed the same.
A blond man about the same age as Merlin who she recognized to be the King's altruistic son had burst through the chamber's door and shouted for Gaius with urgency in his voice unbefitting for that of a prince speaking of his servant.
She'd watched as he was brought it, slung over the prince's shoulder and lain onto Gaius' bed. The man with whom she'd fallen in love with so long ago examined the boy, the prince stepping back to give him room though still close enough in proximity to be called upon should his help be required. Alice's heart broke at the sound of struggle coming from the boy's body, his chest jerking up and down and muscles clenching as she forced herself to move. Merlin was soaked through like he'd been sitting outside for the better part of 3 hours and judging from his more recent behavior he probably had been.
"Alice, get me some wolfsbane. Arthur, I need a bucket of cold water and a cloth," Gaius instructed, no longer caring about titles and respect (1). As she turned to fetch what was required of her she heard the rapid steps of the blond prince fading with the physicians old voice chasing after him, "hurry or we'll loose him!"
She had never wanted this.
Pain was a distant memory to the awakening boy.
Like paint on a piece of paper that fades as the water washes it away. He struggled to force air into his battered lungs and found himself releasing strange wheezes as he did so. His ribs were sore, feeling like bruises beaten black and blue and a sharp pain in his chest made his breathing stagger.
A chair beside him creaked, chainmail settling and clanking loud enough to make him flinch. The person sitting vigil at his side tucked away a breath of their own and held it in their lungs as silence filled the room once again. Merlin waited for something to happen but nothing did.
Not until fingers pressed themselves into his neck with a type of unexpected urgency one would expect a man loosing his dearest friend would use. His lungs burned with the desire to be filled with air again and only then did Merlin realize he'd stopped breathing and granted his bodies need.
A sigh of relief filled the air.
Despite already being closed his eyes felt heavy and stung as though he'd never shut them. His skin crawled as sweat cradled his face and soaked through his clothes. A tickle in his throat provoked a cough that became a weak hack that became ragged breathing, wheezing in the musty smell of dusk. Every sound, every movement, every action that covered the vicinity around him was heard and amplified ten-fold.
Exhausted, Merlin missed the sound of approaching footsteps amongst a sea of other sounds and clenched his teeth as words were exchanged.
"He's gotten no better," a voice reported, likely the one at his side.
There was a hesitation before the other said, "then we must hope that this brings about some improvement. Grab his nose for me, please." Fingers clamped down on his nose and Merlin struggled to move away and get out from underneath the sick haze he was in so he could figure out what was going on. Something cold, smooth, and round touched his lips and he jerked a little in surprise. "Easy Merlin," the second voice soothed, comfortingly ancient, "drink this." Merlin let out a little wheeze of protest, wanting not to drink the foul tasting liquid that poured over his tongue but the voice would not let him. "Come on, you must drink it," it urged and poured more into his mouth. His gag reflex was hit and Merlin was really given no other choice but to follow his orders and drink the obscene liquid.
The pressure on his nose lifted and Merlin shifted uncomfortably in the sheets, resuming his struggle to breath. He could feel two pairs of eyes watching him closely and swallowed under the weight of their expecting gazes. It was as though they anticipated him to recover with a snap of their fingers and he felt his body's pain actually ease up a bit. But it wasn't enough to show significant signs of improvement.
"Well, if this works we should see improvement over the next few hours. Until then I'll have Gwen monitor him for me, sire, you need rest as well."
"No, I'll be fine here," refused the first voice, "it's partly my fault for overworking him anyway." Why was Merlin so stunned to find such sincerity in that tone?
"Sire, it is important that you get some rest. You'll be of no use to the Kingdom if you collapse from exhaustion."
"Same to you, Gaius."
Silence followed where neither Gaius nor the prince moved.
Wait, prince? Where had he gotten that word from.
"Are you worried about that sorcerer as well?" the prince asked quietly, oddly humble.
There was surprised hesitation in the air before Gaius said, "why would I be, sire?"
"You look at her like you know her well Gaius, don't try and fool me."
A few heartbeats of hesitation. "My apologies but I do not understand what it is you mean. If you'll excuse me I must get back to work sire, I'll bring Gwen in shortly."
"Gaius," the second voice strained the name with an exasperated tone but got no response back.
A feeling of discomfort pushed through Merlin's senses, as though his magic was trying to warn him of something. He sucked in a slow but deep breath and pulled his shoulders back a bit and he shifted on the sheets, trying once again to reach some form of comfort. Only the sounds of Merlin's struggle filled the room for quite some time and in that time the serving boy felt himself slipping. It was as though trying to keep a grip on a rope when your hands were covered in butter. No matter how many times he refreshed his grip he just went down a little more and before Merlin recognized how far down he'd gone he'd already met blackness.
He could hear the loud, reverberating sound of bells, more specifically the castle's alarm bells. They were screaming into the night reports of an escaped prisoner and Merlin could feel his head scream right along with it.
A low groan escaped his lips and the rustle of cloth sounded beside him. His brow was dabbed with a soft fabric and the scent of flowers reached him before the cool texture was taken from his forehead.
"Gaius?" a feminine voice called out. Footsteps neared and there was the sound of a latch being lifted followed by the groan of an opening door. "What's going on? What's happened?"
Gaius must have shaken his head because there was no answer for a few moments.
"I do not know. But I'm sure if it's something dangerous we will hear of it shortly," he informed, deceptively calm.
"Of course," the feminine voice wandered into oblivion and silence as the rustle of fabric approached Merlin's bedside. A wrinkled old hand was pressed into his troubled brow a moment later and the young warlock shifted restlessly, praying for the loud blare of the mighty bells to stop. Without his noticing another groan slipped past his lips and he turned his head to the side. "He's really not doing well, is he?"
"Merlin's certainly been better," agreed Gaius, "but he is stronger than he seems. In time he'll come around."
"Gaius, this isn't an ordinary disease," protested the feminine voice, "if it was he would have recovered days ago. Please, just tell me what's wrong."
For a few minutes Gaius did not respond, as if wondering what to say.
"I cannot say if I do not know myself, Gwen."
"But surely there must be something in one of your books."
The splash of water broke through silent pondering and Merlin felt the cool cloth brush down his neck and over his collar bone in an effort to tame the heat as the teen felt himself being dragged away by the need to sleep.
"There is nothing. Not in any of mine."
Darkness came down on Merlin with the weight of a thousand suns.
Ok, to those who can guess what's making the poison so much worse for Merlin than it was for Uther gets a cat AND a bunny o_o I'm srs.
I have a feeling that Alice is better at reading people than Gaius because for one thing, she's a woman and another, being a sorcerer I think reading another magic user should be relatively easier for her since she's fresher in such an art than Gaius.
If that makes sense?
(1) The first person to tell that wolfsbane is for open bleeding wounds is going to get puked on. Not that critism isn't unwelcome, just that I already know thanks. I'd look it up but really, do you care that much?