A/N: Hey everyone, I know it's been a while since the last update. Busy life and all of that, but I hope you enjoy this one.
I was still lying in my bed, staring at absolutely nothing. I had been stuck in the same room for long over a week now, and I was starting to lose my mind because of it all. The only people I saw all the time was Arthur and Merlin. Occasionally Gaius would come and check on me, but most of the time it was Merlin relaying information back to him about how I was doing. Morgana and Gwen had popped by a few times, but it had always bee such a brief visit. I was starting to get extremely restless, and very sick of soup all the time.
"Bored, bored, bored, bored. Bored!" I moaned, throwing my head back against my pillow. I was so fed up with being sick now. I was still coughing, but nowhere near as much as it had been. But Arthur still wouldn't let me leave my bed because there was still some pain there. Until Gaius was completely sure that I was perfectly healthy, I was not allowed to do anything at all.
Suddenly the door opened, and I closed my eyes, pretending that I was asleep. "Isabella, is everything all right?" I heard a soft voice call that made me smile.
I opened my eyes and sat up quickly. "Gwen, you have to save me from this. I feel like a prisoner, stuck in the room all the time. I need to get out, I need to do something. Please, please help me." I pleaded with her, hoping that she would take pity on me and at least keep me company for a while.
"Prince Arthur is still refusing to let you do anything apart from lay in bed all day?" Gwen asked me, entering my room fully and closing the door gently behind herself.
"I can't deal with it any more, Gwen. The man is suffocating me. I need to do something. I keep telling him, I'm not dying, I can do things for myself, I can walk and I can talk. But he won't listen to me." I told her, moaning like a little kid.
All Gwen did was chuckle a little at me, which only made me sulk. "He cares about you, Isabella, anyone can see that. Arthur is just trying to make sure that you are all right, and that nothing terrible is going to happen to you."
"Something terrible is going to happen if he keeps me locked up in this chamber for much longer." I muttered. "I'm going to either go very insane, or come up with some fun games for me to play."
Gwen seemed to raise her eyebrow when I mentioned games. "Oh, and what sort of games would you play?"
A smile graced my lips as I looked at her. "How loud do I have to scream to make Arthur come running? How long can I pretend to be asleep for before Arthur starts to panic? How easily can I destroy this room without putting too much effort into it?"
The raised eyebrow was gone completely and there was a shocked look on her face now. "Why would you do something like that, Isabella? Why would you make Arthur think something was wrong?"
I shrugged my shoulders at her. "Because there is nothing else for me to do?"
The woman let out a sigh as she sat down in the chair beside my bed that was usually occupied by Arthur. "Isabella, Arthur cares about you. Since you have arrived in Camelot, we have all seen a change in him, and change that happened because of you." I was pretty sure that my eyes were about to pop out of my head. "Before, Arthur was arrogant, self-obsessed and a bully. But now, he is different, and it's all because of you, Isabella."
I shook my head at her frantically, things were not exactly going to plan. "No, no it's not because of me, Gwen. Arthur was always going to grow and change and become a better man. I had nothing to do with it."
"Well, I still think that if you had never come to Camelot, he would still be the arrogant Prince." I could see that Gwen was going to be stubborn on the issue, so I knew that I needed to take another approach.
"Right, well, forget about that, that doesn't matter. What do you think of Arthur now?" I had the hope that she had finally formed a different opinion of the prince and saw him in a much better light. Although I did like Arthur, and I did care about him, I knew that I was not the person he was ever meant to be with.
There was a frown now on Gwen's face. "Well, he certainly is a much better man. And one day, he will make a great king."
"Of course he will make a great king. Arthur is going to be the greatest king there has ever been. And it has absolutely nothing to do with meeting me." I told her, the determination strong in my voice. I knew how things were meant to go, and I was going to damn well make sure that they stayed that way.
"Isabella, whether you wish to admit it or not, Arthur has changed because of you."
I let out a groan. "Well then, I better leave right now before I change him anymore then, hadn't I? It's not my place to change him, Gwen. I'm going to go back to Elbear eventually, I will be leaving Camelot."
It was amazing how quickly Gwen's frown could change into wide eyes and shock. "Isabella, what are you saying? You can't leave, not until your uncle has been caught."
"Gwen, he may never be caught. I am not going to spend the rest of my life running and hiding from him. If he finds me, he finds me, and I'll deal with that. He isn't going to give up looking for me, not ever. So I'm never going to be free of him, but I won't let him ruin my life." I knew that what I was saying was completely and utterly stupid, and far beyond the truth that was in my mind, but I had to get her to realise that Arthur and I were not going to be together forever, we weren't even together as it was.
"Arthur is doing everything he can to find him and stop him, Isabella. You have to believe in him." I could see the sincerity in Gwen's eyes, and I could see that she honestly had the faith in Arthur that he was going to stop my uncle.
"Do you real believe that, Gwen? Do you honestly think that Arthur will stop him, allowing me to be free to go home? To return to Elbear and spend the rest of my life with my brothers?"
A smile graced her face, as she looked at me. "Oh, Arthur will stop him, but I don't think he will let you leave." She actually sounded pretty smug to me, it was as if she knew something that I didn't.
I simply shook my head at her. "No, Gwen. Once my uncle is caught, when all this is over, I will be going home. I don't belong here, I have never belonged here."
"How can you say that, Isabella?" Gwen asked me in slight shock and surprise. "Just look at what you've done since you've been here."
Now it was my turn to be completely and utterly confused. "And what exactly have I done, Gwen? Apart from bring trouble and chaos and get myself sick? You say that I've changed Arthur, but I haven't. That man has changed all on his own, I had no part of it. Arthur has always had the capability of being the greatest man to ever live, he just needs the right people around him to be that man."
"And you are the right person. Isabella, you are the person that he needs around him." Gwen insisted. I wanted to believe her, I really did, but I knew that I was not that person, I would never be that person.
"No, I'm really not. Do you… do you believe in fate or destiny, Gwen?" I ended up asking her, trying to find a way to get it out of her head that Arthur and I would ever be together.
I was sure that the look on her face was telling me that she thought it was totally crazy. "I don't know. Maybe. I think that Arthur finding you and bringing you back here was fate. Because he needed you, we all did."
"We? And who exactly is we?" Now I was more than just a little lost. I could understand her saying that Arthur needed me, even though that was definitely not true at all. But how could anyone else in Camelot have ever needed me to be there?
"Well, you've helped Morgana." Gwen told me, a soft smile on her face. "If she has a nightmare, she knows she can talk to you about them. She doesn't seem so scared anymore, talking to you about them has helped her." I hadn't thought about that, about the impact my presence would have on anyone other than Arthur and Merlin. "And you stand up for Merlin. You defend him against Arthur all the time. I've seen you, I've heard you, stand up to Arthur when he has been harsh with him or when you don't agree with him."
"That's only because I'm not scared of Arthur. I mean, sure he could throw me in the cells, but the worst he could do to me is send me home. If he ever thought of doing anything else, my brothers would burn Camelot to the ground, and I think Arthur knows that." It made me wonder what my brothers would do if any harm ever came to me while I was in Camelot. I remember, back home, when we were younger, they would always be there if I needed them. When another child picked on me, they would be the ones to get in trouble because they would defend me. It was actually rather worrying what they might do if anything were to happen to me.
"No, it's more than that. Isabella, you treat everyone like a normal person. You don't care if they are a royal or not. I'm just a servant, the same as Merlin, but you speak to both of us as if we are your friends."
"Gwen, you are my friend. I've never had many friends, but you are definitely one of them. I know I can talk to you, just be myself around you. I don't have to be the princess that everyone expects of me, because you know who I really am." Okay, so that may not have been completely true, but there was some truth to it. I could just be me, and she wouldn't think anything bad of me. Just like Arthur, I guess.
Then I noticed her laughing a little. "Isabella, you never act like a princess, unless you're standing before the King." Gwen told me, still laughing a little. "You treat us like people, not slaves or objects. You treat us with respect, and never ask us to do anything we don't want to do. I have never met anyone like you before, I don't think any of us have."
That just reminded me of something that Arthur had said before. "Well, I am one of a kind. Always remember that, Gwen."
"You are, you're unique. And I am so glad that Arthur found you and brought you here." The next thing I knew, Gwen was hugging me tightly. It was slightly unexpected, but welcomed none the less. After my family died, back in the future, in the place that was really my home, there was only one woman who ever gave me hugs.
Sally was my second mother. She was always there when I needed her, giving me hugs when I needed them, words of encouragement when I felt like giving up on everything. Sal had been everything to me, she was the one who looked after me when I needed someone the most. But I didn't have her anymore, now I had so many more people instead. But it didn't stop me from missing her.
"Isabella? Are you okay?" Gwen's voice brought me back to reality and I looked at her, a worried expression on her face.
I nodded at her slightly. "Yeah, I'm fine. Why?"
I watched as she tugged at the sleeved of her dress, gathering a little of it up in her hand and reaching towards my face. "You're crying, Isabella." She told me, wiping away a few tears that I didn't even know had fallen.
"Sorry, I just… my life now, it is so very different to the life I had before. I've never really had friends before, Gwen. I don't… it's just…" I wasn't entirely sure what I was trying to tell her, but I knew that I was struggling to even form a sentence. "I lived a life of solitude. It was just me, in my own little world, and no one else. Camelot has changed me as well, you know. I guess I needed Camelot."
The look on Gwen's face told me that she didn't really understand what I was saying. "But you had your brothers. I don't understand."
I smiled at her, brushing my face with my hand, making sure that it was now free of all tears. "Mitch and Dom both had their own lives to lead. The only female company I ever really had was from my mother. I never had another little girl to play with when I was younger, that's why I'm so good at getting into trouble I guess, because I was always with my brothers."
"Do you remember much about your childhood?" It was clear to see that she was interested, but that she was worried as well. I couldn't understand why these people even bothered with me. Since arriving in Camelot I had brought nothing but trouble with me.
I ended up shaking my head at her. "Not that much. There is still so much that I can't remember. I remember playing in the forest with my brothers, and them taking the blame for the things that I used to do. And I… I remember cooking with my mother. Oh, she loved to cook, and so did I."
"Cook?" Gwen asked me, obviously a little confused with that comment.
I nodded at her. "Yeah, my mother loved cooking. I remember, on Sundays, she would always cook. No one else was allowed in the kitchen, it was just me and her, cooking for the family." I could remember those days, the Sunday roast the she used to let me help with. I was still young, so she didn't let me do too much, but she always made sure that I was involved with it.
"What else did you do with you're mother?" Gwen asked me eagerly. I knew that she hadn't known her mother, that she had spent most of her life with her father and brother.
I couldn't help but smile at her. "Cook. That was the main thing that we done together. It was kind of our thing, cooking. She taught me how to bake as well as make soup." I remembered the time when she let me help her make my brother's birthday cakes. Oh, it had been so much fun that day, baking not one, but two large cakes with her. And the best bit was, she let me ice and decorate them after. So my icing hadn't been the best, and it just looked like a sloppy mess, but my brother's loved it all the same.
That was when I felt a cloth against my cheeks again, and noticed Gwen was wiping them with the sleeve of her dress again. I felt so embarrassed, keep letting tears escape because I was thinking of my old family and the life I had with them. "I'm sorry, Isabella, I don't mean to upset you."
I shook my head a little and gave her a smile. "No, it's okay, Gwen. You're not upsetting me, I'm glad to finally be able to remember more. There is so much from my life that is missing, things that I know my brothers will be able to fill for me."
"Then why don't you ask them? I'm sure that if you had things that you wanted to know, they would be able to answer them for you."
"Because I want to remember on my own." I told her, even though it was far from the truth. I would never remember, because I was never there. They had lived a whole other life there, but I hadn't, I had just gone from one time to another. "I want to remember things for myself, not have them told to me like stories. I want to remember every little detail. All the smells and sounds, everything." But I could remember, I remembered the smell of the forest, of my mums cooking, and my dad's aftershave. Then, in idea struck me, and a smile spread across my face. "Gwen, you want to help me out with something?"
"What is it, Isabella?"
"Well, do you think Morgana will mind if you hang out with me for a few hours?" I asked her, a nice plan forming in my head. "Because I'm going to need your help, and I'm going to need Morgana's help to keep Arthur distracted and away from here as well."
The look on Gwen's face told me that she wasn't entirely sure that she was going to like my little plan. "I can ask her. What exactly are you planning, Isabella? I hope it isn't anything stupid or dangerous. Arthur had been telling people that you seemed to have a thing about danger, about enjoying being in danger or something."
I rolled my eyes at her as I tossed the bed covers to the side, freeing my legs and letting my feet breathe. "That was one time, Gwen. But no, look, it's nothing dangerous or anything like that. I'm not even going to leave the castle, if that makes it any better. And you will be with me the whole time." I knew that she was still sceptical about it all, but I really hoped that she would help me.
Eventually she gave up and let out a sigh. "Okay, what is this plan of yours?"
After I had told her my whole plan, Gwen was fully on board. Morgana was ready to play her part in keeping Arthur distracted and away from my chamber, since I wasn't even going to be in there. If Arthur knew that I wasn't in my room, then he would go absolutely mental and probably have me locked up in the dungeon to make sure I stayed put.
"Why have you suddenly decided to do this?" Gwen asked me as I pottered around in the castles kitchen. There was no one else in there, which suited me fine, I needed it empty, and I had Morgana to thank for that.
"I don't really know. It's just… all this talk about cooking and stuff has made me want to do some. I'm not off out causing trouble, and you can keep an eye on me." I told her, grabbing as much of the stuff that I needed in one go. "Plus, it gives you and Merlin a night off from cooking." I told her, giving her one of my best smiles.
"Arthur's right, you really are strange, Isabella." Gwen told me, taking some of the things from my hands and putting them down on the side. "So, what exactly are you planning on making here?"
"Well, ever since I got sick, I've had nothing but soup. And, no offence to Merlin's cooking, but it hasn't been the greatest. So, I'm going to make a real soup." The truth was, I was absolutely sick to death of having soup all the time. But I decided that if I had to stick to eating soup, then I may as well make it myself, using one of my mothers recipes that I had stored in my head. "And there is going to be plenty to go around."
Gwen just looked at me, while her hands still worked at removing the corn from the cob and putting them all into a pot. "Are you planning on cooking for the whole castle or something?"
I smiled at her as I finished preparing the chicken, which was going to take some time to actually cook. "Nope, not everyone. Just you, Morgana, Merlin, Gaius, Arthur, and myself."
"Well, we had better stop all this chatting and get on with making dinner for everyone then, hadn't we?" There was a smile on Gwen's face now as well, and it just made me forget about the stabbing pains that I had constantly been getting, and that tickle at the back of my throat.
Cook with Gwen ended up being a wonderful experience. I knew most of the recipe, but there were little things that I just couldn't remember. But Gwen was always able to help me, to help me figure out what was missing. Every time I tasted it, and knew something was missing, Gwen was able to make suggestions until we found what we needed.
Although I had enjoyed every minute of it, I was completely exhausted by the time I made it back to my chamber. Gwen could see it as well, because there was a worried look on her face. "Are you sure you're all right, Isabella?" She asked me, holding the door to my room open for me.
I nodded at her slightly. "Yeah, I'm okay. Just a little tired. All I've been doing in lying in bed, so it's kind of taken everything out of me by wandering around, plotting and planning." There was still worry on her face, but I could see hints of a smile working its way onto her face.
"Are you sure? You're looking a little pale."
This time I rolled my eyes at her. "Come on, Gwen. I'm okay, really, so stop worrying." The woman just shook her head at me, knowing that I was being stubborn and that there was no point even trying to argue with me. "I just want to say, thank you, Gwen. For everything, for today, it's been fun."
"I enjoyed it. We're going to have to do it more often. You can teach me some of the things your mother used to cook for you." Gwen told me, helping me get back into my bed. We needed to make it look like I had been there the whole day, which meant I needed to be tucked in and comfy.
"That would be good. And I'm sure there are some things that you can teach me as well." That was when it dawned on me. "Hey, I know! I've always wanted to learn to sew, maybe one day you could teach me?"
Gwen looked at me like I was completely crazy. "A Princess that wants to learn to sew?" She said in utter disbelief. "Isabella, you really are one of a kind."
I chuckled as I looked at her. "Oh, yes. I certainly am one of a kind. But yeah, how about it, Gwen? Want to show me how to make my own dresses?" By now I was giving her a pleading look. I had always wanted to make my own clothes, what with living with my uncle and never having the money to actually buy mew things.
When I had been a little girl, I had always been designing dresses. I had so many ideas in my head for this princess dresses that I wanted, so pretty and sparkling, but not in pink. Pink was never a favourite colour of mine, and it never would be. My mother had said that when I was a little older, she would help me make some of those dresses. She died before that ever happened.
"Isabella?" I looked up at Gwen and her worried expression. "You're… uh, you're crying again."
I let out a groan as I threw myself back on my bed. "Sorry, I was just thinking of my mother. She was going to teach me, she was going to help me make things myself. But stuff happened, and you know…" I trailed off as I wiped my eyes with the back of my hand. I seemed to be remembering and crying a little too much for my liking.
The smile on Gwen's face was a soft one. She understood what it was like, what it was like to not have a mother. "I had better go and check in with Morgana now. Are you going to be okay until Arthur gets here?" I nodded at her, shifting around in the bed a little to get more comfortable. "Are you sure?"
"I'll be fine, Gwen. I'm made of the tough stuff, you should know that by now. So, get out of here. All that cooking has made me hungry." I told her, shooing her with my hands towards the door.
Gwen smiled as me as she made her way over to the door. "Oh, and Isabella? I'd love to teach you have to sew." She said to me, before leaving me alone in my chamber.
Overall, it had been a rather good day. Sure, I had still been in pain, but there hadn't been that much coughing, which was a bonus. I had managed to spend some time with Gwen, to get to know her better. She really was a lovely person, and she did deserve to be happy. The only thing was, every time I brought up the topic of Arthur, she went on about how well Arthur and I fit together. That was definitely not right. I needed to change her mind, to get her interested in Arthur.
I was just starting to doze off when my chamber door opened. I heard someone's footsteps come closer to the bed, but I wasn't that bothered, because I knew it was going to be Arthur. I could recognise those footsteps of his anywhere. Also, he was becoming as bad as Merlin by not bothering to knock before entering.
I heard him let out a sigh as he sat himself down in the chair beside my bed. "Isabella?" He whispered to me, gently brushing some of my hair away from my face. "Isabella, it's time to wake up now."
A groan escaped my lips, after all, I was pretending to be asleep. "I'm tired. Go away." I mumbled at him, trying to snuggle down a little more. It didn't feel like I was pretending to sleep, because I was actually starting to fall asleep.
"Please, Isabella. I haven't seen you all day. Can you not spare just a few minutes for me?" He was using the tone that really made me feel guilty. Whenever he used that tone, I just gave in, and it hated it.
"Fine. You go two minutes. Starting now." I told him, finally opening my eyes and looking at him. He was just sitting there smiling at me.
"I'm sorry to have left you on your own all day, Isabella. Morgana was being annoying, and I was just being kept so busy all the time." I could see that he was genuinely sorry for not being around during the day, but I wasn't upset about it.
"It's okay, Gwen has kept me company for most of the day." I admitted to him. "She's going to teach me how to sew."
The confusion was soon on his face. "She's going to teach you to… sew?" I nodded my head at him, a grin on my face just showing my excitement. "You truly are a very strange princess, Isabella."
"I know. But Gwen is just fantastic. She has such a kind heart, and she will make someone very happy one day." I had given it a good shot with Gwen during the day, now it was time to try and work the magic on Arthur.
"Yes, I am sure she will." The look on his face told me that he really wasn't paying that much attention to what I was saying. "So how have you been feeling today?"
"I've been fine. I haven't really been coughing, but there is still some pain. In a few days I should be ready to take on the world once more." The pain was now pretty minimal, which I was very grateful for. "I just hope the world is ready for me."
There was a grin on Arthur's face as he looked at him. "I don't think the world has ever been ready for you. And I am pretty sure it never will be."
I rolled my eyes at him. "Oh, shut up. I'm hungry, what's for dinner?" I asked, already knowing what it was, but not wanting him to let on that I knew anything. He was not supposed to know what I had been up to all day until after dinner. That was if I bothered to tell him at all.
"I have absolutely no idea. But he should be here with it soon." The moment he said that, the door opened and a confused look Merlin came in with a big pot. "Well, that was perfect timing. Isabella, what are you doing?"
"What does it look like I'm doing?" I told him, getting myself out of bed still. "I'm going to sit at the table and have the dinner that Merlin has made for me." I was determined not to have another meal in that bed, I wanted to sit at the table and eat properly for once.
"Uh, actually, I didn't make it." Merlin admitted, causing me to hide my smile as Arthur, ever the gentleman, escorted me over to the table. "Gwen said that there's a new girl in the kitchen and she helped her to make it."
"Well, come on and dish it up then, Merlin. I've been in here and bored for most of the day, apart from when Gwen came to visit me." That ended up with me getting strange looks from both Arthur and Merlin. "What? Do I have something on my face?"
The Prince eyed me suspiciously. "You seem rather eager to have your dinner, for once. Usually I have to fight with you to get you to eat something. Why are you suddenly so excited?"
He was right, I hadn't been very good at eating recently, but that was only because I was sick of the food I kept being given. At least now I knew that it was something I was going to enjoy eating. "I don't know, I guess I'm just hungry. You got a problem with that?" I gave him a challenging look, waiting to see if he was going to say anything more. But he didn't. He sat down at the table while Merlin set everything up for dinner. "So, come on, Merlin. What we got for dinner?"
He came over with the pot, a worried expression on his face. "Uh, soup?"
"Lovely. I can't remember the last time I had soup." Once again I was pretending to be all excited about it. "What's in it?"
"Um, I have no idea."
I couldn't help but roll my eyes at him. "Oh well, only one way to find out." I said, before swiftly placing my spoon into the bowl and scooping up some of the soup. It looked rather perfect, which only served to make me smile even more. I could see both Arthur and Merlin watching my curiously. "It's good. Try it." I told them both, before getting another spoonful.
I saw Arthur eye the soup, before he finally decided to take the plunge and try the soup. I was eagerly waiting to see what his reaction was going to be. There was a look of surprise on his face. "This is good. Actually, this is really good." A grin just spread across my face as I watched him eat more and more of the soup. But it appeared that Arthur had noticed my grin. "What are you smiling about?"
I shook my head at him quickly. "Nothing. Nothing at all." I told him, before slurping down more of my own soup.
"You're lying, Isabella. What are you hiding?"
"So, you like the soup then?" I was trying to hard to hide that grin of mine, but it really wasn't working.
"Yes, now stop avoiding the question. What's going on Isabella?" Arthur asked me.
I looked up at him, giving up on trying to hide the grin. "Well, maybe I should cook more often. If you like this, then you'll probably love my stew as well." I told him, before going back to my dinner. "I make a pretty good stew."
Without even looking, I knew that Arthur was going to be shocked, if he decided to believe that I was the one to make the soup. "Wait, you made this? When did you make this?"
"With Gwen, today. I wanted to prove to you that I am not incapable of doing anything, Arthur. I needed to show you that I could do things for myself. She was with me the whole time, but I managed. You need to stop treating me like I can't do anything." That was one of the reasons why I had decided to make the soup. It wasn't just about getting out of the room and spending some time with Gwen, I wanted to prove a point. And judging by the look on Arthur's face, I had managed to do that.
"You're right. I'm sorry, Isabella. Perhaps, tomorrow, we can go for a walk." The moment he said that my eyes lit up. I had been desperate to get out for days now, I hated be stuck inside all the time.
"I'd love that, Arthur. Now, eat your dinner. And Merlin, go home and eat as well. I've left some with Gaius for you both to try as well. So I hope you both enjoy it." I still had a grin on my face. I couldn't help it, but I had made my point and Arthur had actually accepted the fact that I was dying and that forcing me to stay in my chamber all day every day until Gaius gave me the all clear was not the best of thing to do. Now he had decided that he was actually going to let me out, and I could not wait to finally see the outside world again.
A/N: I know how this chapter may seem completely irrelevant to everything, but trust me, it really isn't. I have it all planned out in my head, there are notes everywhere around me.
I hope you all enjoyed the chapter, and like the bonding between Gwen and Isabella. I have realised that Gwen has been a little neglected, so expect to see a bit more of her in the future.
Now, I would like to say a big thank you to all of you who have favourited/followed this story. I always want to say a massive thank you to everyone who has taken the time to leave a review. I do love reading your reviews, and I do pay attention to what you guys say.
Anyway, enough chatter from me. Until the next time.