This little idea popped into my head while dropping off to sleep. A series of one – two shots covering 'what if's' of Merlin, and I want YOU to send me your idea's! I am good with most genres, so feel free to review or PM me with your 'what if.' (Original ideas also welcome!) The only thing I steer WELL clear of is male/fem slash. I am not judgemental or homophobic; in fact I embrace other people's choices. I just can't WRITE about it (The boys are too much of brothers in my eyes for that kind of pairing)

I will make the first move. First review/PM request gets the next chapter, and so forth! Said Author will receive special mention!

And don't worry, I am still working on 'The Blood Spell,' Chapter 3 will be up soon

Oh, and I don't own Merlin =[


The Kindness of Kings

CHARACTERS: Merlin & Arthur, with brief appearances of Gwaine, Mordred and Finna

RATED: T for mild violence and the use of the word 'shit'

What If…5x10, The Kindness of Strangers.

In which Arthur notices Merlin missing from the camp and decides to pursue him. Arrives after Merlin uses his magic (No reveals) but not in time to stop the arrow from piercing him.

When Arthur awoke from his slumber the next morning, he knew there was something amiss. He could hear his Knights rushing frantically around the camp, packing up their belongings and fastening them the saddles of their horses.

'What's going on?' Arthur demanded, as Sir Gwaine rushed past, hurriedly rolling up his blanket.

The man stopped to help the King to his feet. 'Merlin's gone. He left during the night to pursue a Druid, according to Mordred,' Gwaine explained quickly, eyeing said Knight as he sat upon a log, his head in his hands.

His heart leapt into his throat as panic for his servant's safety threatened to take over.

'What happened, Mordred?' Arthur asked, standing before the young Knight.

Mordred shook his head, his blue eyes holding such remorse. 'I tried to stop him, sire. Honestly I did, but you know how stubborn can get!'

Arthur scuffed his boot viciously in the dirt. 'Merlin, you idiot!' he cried angrily. Next time he saw the boy, he was going to lock him up in the stocks for a week for wandering off.

'Sire, there is more,' Gwaine muttered as the others mounted their steeds. 'We think he may be in grave danger – if Morgana truly is involved, he could get himself killed,'

The King pursed his lips, trying to stay angry, because it was much easier than the pit of dread forming in his stomach.

"Alright, you carry on with the men – complete the mission. I'm going out to look for that utterly useless twit of a manservant,' Arthur ordered.

Mordred began to argue, but shut his mouth at the sight of the King's determined gaze.

Arthur swiftly mounted his steed, and nodded to his men. 'Good luck, Knights,' he muttered with a nod, before galloping after the quite obvious trail of his manservant.

Oh, he really had a bad feeling about this…


Merlin peered around a large tree and watched as the Katha stacked more wood upon the merry blaze. With a smile, he stumbled into the clearing, startling the woman.

'Finna,' he greeted, as she gasped in relief.

'Master,' she replied, bowing deeply.

The young Warlock reached out, embarrassed. 'Please, don't. Don't,' he murmured as their eyes met.

'I thought I lost you!' Finna cried.

A grin spread across his aquiline features. 'You doubted me?' he enquired with humour.

Her eyes flashed in horror. 'Never!'

As the words left her lips, three men charged into the clearing, two grasping swords, while the other held a crossbow.

Merlin felt for his magic and his eyes flashed amber, sending the two men wielding swords crashing onto the forest floor.

He turned to dispatch the last, but his heart almost stopped when he saw Arthur leap out from the shadows, his sword plunging into the man's back – but the damage was done. He had already released the arrow.

The forest was now silent, three men were dead.

Arthur was about to launch a tirade and smack the servant around his ridiculous ears, but hesitated.

He followed Merlin's wide eyed gaze as he looked down, almost recoiling in shock at the sight of the arrow protruding from his abdomen.

Merlin looked back up, his wide blue orbs meeting Arthurs as he fell to his knees.

Spurred into action, the King rushed forth, ignoring the woman whom Merlin had been with and slid to the ground gripping the boy's shoulders as he began to fall back.

'Merlin, you idiot,' Arthur breathed, lowering his friend slowly to the ground. 'What were you thinking?'

The warlock blinked rapidly, barely noticing the Kings presence.

'The others won't be far behind,' Arthur began, his fingers playing around the shaft of the arrow, not willing to touch it for fear of causing the boy further pain.

'It must be removed,' the woman said quietly. 'We can't let Morgana find him,'

His brow beetled angrily at the mention of his traitorous half-sister, but nodded with understanding. Arthur took Merlin's hand, and placed it close to the shaft. 'Merlin, listen to me. As soon as I pull it out, you need to put pressure on it to stop the bleeding. I'm warning you, this will hurt,' He said softly, his heart wrenching at the quick and shallow breaths his friend was taking.

'C-could it possibly h-hurt any more than it does now?' He asked as a small, pained smile quirked upon his lips.

Not wanting to be dishonest to Merlin, he responded gently. 'Yes, Merlin, it will hurt a hell of a lot more. Now please lie still.'

Merlin nodded slowly, bracing himself for the inevitable agony that would come – but honestly, nothing could have prepared him. Arthur gripped the shaft of the arrow and without hesitation, pulled it swiftly from the boy's side. Merlin arched slightly, grunting as the pain burning in his side threatened to pull him under. His face contorted as he withdrew his sword, planting it in the soft ground to steady himself as he rose. His hand pressed at the hole in his belly, thick crimson already staining his lithe fingers.

'Where can we go?' He grunted, wincing as he almost fell back to his knees. Arthur draped his arm over his shoulder gently, so the wound wouldn't pull so much, and helped him the rest of the way.

'I know of a watch tower at the other side of the valley, ' the woman offered. Arthur desperately wanted to know who this woman was, but now was not the time to be asking questions. Everything except saving Merlin's life and avoiding Morgana at all costs, was irrelevant.

'Can you walk?' Arthur asked gently as Merlin groaned and nodded.

'Yeah, I think so,' he breathed, leaning into Arthur.

'Come, it's not far,' the woman assured, walking ahead of the two men.

As they traipsed through the undergrowth, the King turned to his friend.

'What, in the name of Avalon where you thinking Merlin, running off like that? And who the hell is she?' Arthur hissed.

Whimpering, as the fire in his side burned constantly, Merlin shook his head. 'Please, Arthur,' he begged. 'Not now,'

Arthur swallowed the lump in the back of his throat and tried to ignore the tears prickling in his eyes.

The injured man stumbled, but thanks to the aid of Arthur and his sword as a crutch, he did not fall.

'The tower is just ahead...I will go and see if it is safe. Let the boy rest in the meantime, ' she said to Arthur, he gentle eyes holding compassion and worry.

The king nodded, and lowered Merlin to the ground, leaning him against the trunk of a tree.

'I need to look,' he said, his voice wavering. He crouched by his friend and moved his trembling hand from the wound, which had been bleeding quite badly while they walked. The appendage was slick with it and Arthur felt sick.

The King peeled his tunic away, trying to ignore the sharp intake of breath the small and gentle elicited from the servant.

The ragged hole was red and puffy, in stark contrast to the pallor of his skin. Arthur removed a glove and peered up at his injured friend. 'Merlin, I have to see how deep the wound is, ok?'

The boy merely inclined his head in agreement, closing his eyes and resting his head against the rough bark of the tree.

With a sigh of guilt at the pain he was about to cause, Arthur inserted his finger into the wound, probing gently to determine the severity of the injury.

Merlin let out a harsh cry, tears spilling forth as he slammed his head against the tree, and Arthur stopped, quickly removing his finger and grabbing the boy's lolling head.

'Gods, I'm sorry Merlin,' he uttered, resting his forehead against Merlin's

'S'ok,' he replied softly, blinking owlishly. 'How deep?'

'Pretty deep...like the shit you always seem to get yourself into,' the king replied with a chuckle.

'Prat,' Merlin responded softly, his ears pricking at the sound of approaching feet.

It was Finna.

'It's safe. Are you ready?' she asked, leaning down to assist Arthur.

As Merlin struggled to rise, he let out a hiss, and agony contorted his features once more.

Propped up by his sword and his friend, they headed for the tower, with Finna in the lead.


It was nearing nightfall when they arrived at the ominous tower. Merlin was panting in pain and exhaustion, so close to passing out.

'Come on,' Arthur encouraged. 'Not long now and you can have a rest,'

They entered the dim watchtower, and Arthur baulked at the stairs. How in the world was Merlin going to make it up there?

Undeterred, Merlin pulled away from Arthur's support, and began to climb the stairs, spiralling round and round, determined to get Finna out of harm's way.

Halfway up, he stumbled with exertion and fell on his hands.

'Merlin!' Arthur cried softly, racing forth.

The boy looked utterly spent. Purple shadows sat beneath his eyes and his skin was pale and cold.

'I-I just need to rest...f-for a minute,' he gasped.

'No, come on Merlin,' The king said, hating that he could not let his friend stop. Merlin tried to stand and cried out, a frown of pain etching his features as he sat back.

'Merlin, we have to move,' Arthur insisted, as the baying of hounds met their ears.

'Are you always going to be an insufferable clot pole?' Merlin asked, his grew lids growing heavier.

'Shut up and move,' Arthur hissed, as the barking came nearer.

With what little strength he had left, Merlin rose and continued the spiralling stumble up the stairs.

Finally, they reached and old door, which Arthur promptly kicked down.

'Where the hell too now?' Arthur demanded. 'We're surrounded!'

Finna gripped the regents shoulder with a firmness that belied her age. 'Sire, take him to the roof...they are after me and they assume I am alone. Once they find me, they will look no further.'

Arthur made no indication of moving, and did not notice Merlin slide to the floor in utter in exhaustion.

'Arthur, you must protect the boy as he would you...he is far more important to the future of Albion than you will ever know.'

The baying was growing nearer, and Arthur was spurred into action. He hefted Merlin bodily from the floor.

'Grant me a favour, before you leave Merlin,' she said, gripping the Warlock's wrist. 'Leave me your sword,'

Merlin handed it over hesitantly and smiled lightly.

'Thank you,' he murmured, allowing Arthur to pull him away.

'It has been an honour to know you,' Finna replied with a sad smile. She turned to Arthur once more. 'Do not forget my words King. Merlin must survive!'

And with those last words, they headed to the roof.


They stumbled into the night, after the tedious climb, and Arthur was not able to stop Merlin from falling to his hands and knees.

'C'mon Merlin,' he urged gently, trying to lift the boy.

'Ar-tur...' he gasped, as his tired limbs collapsed beneath him.

Arthur shut the heavy oak door quietly before hefting Merlin up from under the armpits and dragging him as far away from the door as he could.

The king stumbled and fell back with a surprised grunt, and Merlin fell into his chest with a pained moan. The boy was shivering now, the huge amount of blood loss and lack of rest, taking its toll on his injured body.

Arthur pressed his hand to the wound as Merlin's fell away, panic overwhelming him as the boy failed to react in any way to the pain.

The young king struggled to lift him higher, until his trembling chin rested atop Merlin's raven mop.

'C'mon Merlin, don't you dare die on me,' he muttered, tears spilling from his blue eyes.

'T-that an order, sire?' came a small voice from below. Arthur almost hugged him in relief.

'Yes Merlin. As the King of Camelot, I order you not to die,'

Merlin's soft chuckle turned into a deep painful cough.

'A-Arthur..' he mumbled through painful, gasping breaths.

'Hush Merlin...I will get you back safe...' He promised, praying to the God's that he would not break it.

'A-are you ever not a dollop-head?' Merlin wheezed, looking up to his King. 'Are you crying, Arthur?'

The king did not even bother to wipe the tears away. 'It's just my allergies, Merlin. I'm not a girls petticoat, like you are,' he replied with a watery smile.

Merlin coughed again, his abdomen clenching painfully. His lids began to flutter, and his vision blurred.

The two Arthur's above him frowned. 'Don't you dare...I gave you a direct order,'

But Merlin could no longer maintain his stoic exterior. He began to sob.

'Arthur, I'm so cold...so scared,' he admitted, as darkness crept in. 'I...I...sorry...'

And his eyes slid closed, as he finally fell into black...

When Merlin next opened his eyes, the sunlight burned – forcing them shut again.

'Oww,' he groaned, trying to sit.

'Don't move, Merlin. You'll ruin Gaius's handy needle work,' came a voice from close by.


'The one and only.'

Merlin opened his eyes again, and peered at the young King. His blonde hair was messy and it looked as though his hadn't slept in weeks, but he was smiling. 'How do you feel?' he asked.

'Like I've been shot with an arrow and dragged across half the countryside,' Merlin grumbled.

Arthur chuckled. 'Good, it means you remember...'

'Ugh...I remember you crying like a lass,' the young warlock teased with a cheeky grin.

The smile fell from Arthur's lips. 'You almost disobeyed my orders Merlin,' he said in a warning tone.

'Not for the first time, Prat,'

Arthur smiled again, glad that Merlin was making cheeky banter. I meant he would recover.

The boy wrinkled his nose in disgust as the king bent down to ruffle his hair.

'Have you bathed recently sire? Because frankly, you are a little on the pungent side,'

'I was busy making sure you didn't die, idiot,'

Merlin's grinned widened. 'And you cried, because you couldn't bear the thought of losing me,'

The king rolled his eyes. 'It's just hard to come across a servant nowadays...I was merely sad that I would have to start the search again and...' Arthur's eyes narrowed. 'Merlin...I swear, if you utter a word to anyone...I will throw you in the stocks for a full week...now sleep. Gaius will be mad if he gets back to discover I've had to do something drastic to stop you from being such a clot pole,'

'Hey that's my word –'

'Oh, just shut up Merlin,'

The boy closed his eyes, and soon he was in a deep sleep.

Arthur wiped his eyes and smiled knowing his friend would be okay.

Okay, now it's YOUR turn. Drop me a line!