Wow, thanks for the reviews!
Within the next few hours Merlin was moved into one of the castle's many spare rooms. He entered the room which occupied Gaius, Merlin, Gwen and Gwaine. Leon had followed behind Arthur.
Arthur stared in sickening horror as he saw how pale Merlin looked. Merlin kept on moaning as he thrashed on the bed, as if in pain, as sweat trickled down his forehead. His legs were in a bucket of ice and Gaius was rubbing them with cold water. An uncomfortable feeling crept towards Arthur and made him shiver. It felt like Merlin was on his death bed.
"How is he?" He asked as he stepped closer. The old physician looked up and sighed.
"No change, sire, but the fever has gone down."
Arthur nodded, grim faced.
"Good, I guess that's good."
He felt unsure of what to do and Arthur never liked to feel that way, to feel this helpless.
"Is there any other physicians that might be able to help?" He asked. Gaius frowned.
"I do not think so. First I need to find out what's wrong with him."
Arthur stiffened at that thought.
"Do you think it's poison?" He asked darkly, remembering the last time Merlin had been poisoned. And it was because of him, too.
Gaius shook his head slowly.
"No, it strikes me more of an illness."
Arthur nodded as he continued to study Merlin.
A pain washed over him as he watched. Suddenly Merlin started to cough and Arthur's whole body went rigid as he watched. And then he saw blood appear and his face grew paler.
"Is that blood?"
Gaius nodded, grim faced, as he wiped Merlin's mouth and raised the boy's head to get him to drink water.
"He started to cough up blood early this morning, while we were moving him."
Arthur bit his lip. He didn't like this, at all.
He wished it was him instead. Merlin didn't deserve this fate.
It was an hour later when Gaius suggested that everyone let Merlin get some rest. But Arthur refused to budge.
"Arthur?"Gwen questioned. Arthur sighed.
"I'm staying with him, through the night."
"Sire he might be extremely contagious..."
"I don't care," said Arthur simply. He stared at the the old man and saw the concern in his eyes. "I'll be all right, Gaius. You should rest now, you've earned it."
Again Gaius paused in hesitation.
"Yes, I will contact you if there is a problem."
The others started to leave, but Gwaine pulled up a chair next to Arthur.
"Gwaine, what are you doing?"
"You can't stay in this room unguarded, sire," he stated calmly. "It's not safe."
Arthur glanced over at Gwen who smiled. They were both aware of what Gwaine was doing, and why. He nodded.
"Very well, you may stay."
Gwaine looked relieved not to be ordered away. Finally everyone had left and the three were alone for a very long night.
Arthur sat there and watched as Merlin twisted and moaned. Gwaine watched the king with fascination and a new kind of respect.
"Never thought I'd see a king stay up all night and sit on the bedside of a mere servant."
"I'm not like most kings," said Arthur softly. Gwaine nodded.
"True, that is very true."
"And Merlin is much more than a mere servant."
"That is also true."
"He'd do the same for me," finished Arthur, almost defensively.
Gwaine nodded for a third time.
"Again, all true. But still, it's unusual..."
Arthur sighed. He didn't like this side of him being exploited and made out to be wrong. He couldn't help how he felt.
"Is that so wrong?"
Gwaine shook his head.
"No, sir, it's not. It's very refreshing. You are the first royalty I have wanted to follow. The first king I would give my life for."
Arthur looked at Gwaine, startled. He didn't realize how adamant Gwaine's hatred towards kings and princes's had been.
"Before I met Merlin I had hated all royalty " Gwaine explained. "But Merlin had shown me how different you are. It took me a while, but I started to see it, and I am still seeing it. In moments like this, where you would care for a servant until sunrise-and not worried about getting sick."
Arthur swallowed as he thought about losing Merlin and what that would do to him and to everyone.
"Thank you,but some of this is selfish. I do not want to lose Merlin."
"No one would, that is not selfish. You do not want to lose him because he is your friend, right? Much more than a servant?"
Arthur slowly nodded.
"That is correct." He had never called Merlin a friend outside of Gwen's presence, but all the knights had already guessed it.
"Then it's not selfish at all, to want your friend to live."
And with that they lapsed into silence while Arthur placed a cold cloth onto Merlin's forehead and they waited for morning, which seemed to very far away, to arrive.
I hope it wasn't too crappy and Gwaine wasn't OOC!