In Sickness and Health.

Chapter Nineteen

Summary: Gwaine and Merlin are attacked by a sorcerer. While Gwaine comes out scratch free, Merlin realizes that not only has he fallen sick, but his magic. Now, Merlin must rely on the help of others to cure him before his time runs out.

A/N: Well, it was a pleasure to write for you all. Thanks for sticking with it, and I hope you enjoyed the long, bumpy, ride. Farvel!

Merlin woke up and refused to open his eyes. In his past experience, the bright morning sun of Camelot was just too much for him to handle, especially with the screaming headache and the pulsing pain ricocheting all throughout his body.

But then a few things occurred to Merlin.

First and foremost, he didn't fear the pulsing pain ricocheting all throughout his body. Then, he realized he did not in fact have a screaming headache.

So he opened his eyes and smiled.

The first thing that graced his field of vision was Mordred's sleeping form on the chair closest to him.

Well, he thought he was sleeping, anyways.

"Merlin!" Mordred jumped up and quickly crossed the small distance in between them. "How are you?"

"Better... A lot better," Merlin grinned. "How...? Did Alator's spell work?"

"I'll answer your questions, but let's first get you some water." Mordred turned away, happy at any excuse to avoid the subject of their late friend Alator. He took his time pouring a cup of water out of a bucket he had fetched earlier that same day. Merlin would not be happy when he heard about what Alator had done. Mordred finally turned around and offered the glass to Merlin, who greedily drank it.

"Thank you," Merlin said. Mordred just nodded. "So, how did Alator do it? The last thing I remember is being in a ditch and listening to some sort of fight. Was that Alator?"

"Yes, yes it was. But, Merlin, he couldn't anchor the spell to the other sorcerer. He killed himself once he realized what Alator was trying to do."

Merlin frowned. "Then, how...?" But he stopped, because he already knew the answer to the question on his mind.

"I'm sorry, Merlin. I couldn't stop him..."

"No, not if Alator had made his mind up to do something you couldn't."

"Alator was close to you. Any one of us would have been willing to, actually."

Merlin didn't know what to say. Alator was dead, and it was because of him. He fought back his biting emotions and just nodded.

"It's early," Mordred sighed. "Why don't you try to sleep for a while longer?"

"Alright," Merlin nodded.

Mordred stood up and closed the blinds. He offered one last glance at Merlin before he too laid down again.

-Merlin-

The knights of Camelot were able to leave the very next day. Overnight all of Queen Aniss's crops had grown back. It was a miracle, really.

"Thank you for your willingness to help, King Arthur. Although, I must say, I am quite glad that we didn't need your help after all."

"And I must admit that I feel the same," Arthur smiled. "Camelot is always glad to help a friend. Please, feel free to send for help if you need it."

"And you the same." The two rulers shook hands, and then the knights of Camelot were on their way.

Once they had started their journey, Arthur pulled his horse next to Mordred's, which had a cart carrying Merlin in the back.

"How is he?"

"Much better," Mordred smiled. "A bit under the weather still, but he is making excellent progress."

"Thank you for helping him. Merlin has been with me for quite some time now, and I honestly don't know what I would have done if something had happened to him."

"Merlin is a great man," Mordred nodded. "And hopefully a great friend now, too."

Arthur grinned and nodded.

The knights were only permitted to travel a few more miles, however, for a gruesome storm fogged their vision and soaked their pathway. So they pulled over to set up camp for the night.

An hour or so later, Merlin finally awoke again.

"Merlin," a hushed tone whispered. The warlock glanced up to see Mordred wearing a cape. "Follow me." Merlin didn't ask why, rather, he merely stood up, donned a cape, and allowed Mordred to lead him a bit deeper into the woods. "Nice storm," Merlin muttered. He glanced up at Mordred and exchanged a quick, knowing smile.

Soon enough, they reached their destination.

Waiting there was a marked grave and a strong sense of magic.

"You buried him," Merlin breathed.

"Alator was a good man. It was the least he deserved," Mordred nodded.

"Thank you, Mordred. Alator...was a close friend of mine. I really appreciate this, and I know he would too."

The two sorcerers stood in the rain for a while longer, the events of the last few days washing over their minds. They had survived, but Alator hadn't been so lucky. He had given his life for Merlin, and that was something neither of them would take for granted. Merlin would do whatever he could to fulfill his destiny, and Mordred would do whatever he could to help Merlin. No more would they be two enemies fighting but rather a single force working toward a shared goal. Today, destiny had changed.

"Come on," Mordred said, patting Merlin's shoulder. "Tomorrow is a new day."

-Merlin-

Arthur watched as Merlin and Mordred took off in the woods. He was not so stupid as to be blind to whatever the two of them had been doing during the last few days, though he did have to plea guilty to not knowing what exactly was going on. Curious, he followed them into the woods and watched as they stopped at a grave. Who's grave, Arthur had no clue. Their muffled voices were drowned out by the rain, but he did manage to hear a few things.

"You buried him...thank you...and close friend of mine..." For a while there was no conversation between his two friends. He pressed himself against the tree a bit more and waited to hear them talk again.

"Come on. Tomorrow is a new day."

Arthur watched as the duo started off again. He contemplated visiting the grave himself, but he wasn't so sure that he was supposed to. So he instead waited until he was sure they were well ahead of him before starting off again. So they were friends now, it would seem. A hint of a smile graced his face. Perhaps, after all the misery and lies and secrets, there was a sunrise threatening to lift the darkness and cut the veil that had been lowered. And perhaps everything actually would be all right.

Tomorrow would be a new day, after all.