University was going great, Arthur was top of all his classes, had assignments completed way before due dates and had an excellent timetable making time for study, work, and personal time, including meeting Merlin. It was the end of his first year, he had already returned home and was waiting for everyone else to finish, so he was taking time out with his father instead. Uther had not been happy to say the least when he had found out his son was gay, but had chosen to accept it on the terms that the family was already 'broken' and he did not want to ruin it completely by disowning Arthur; which had gone down spectacularly well with Arthur, who was furious that he thought his father saw them as 'broken' when it was clearly his father's doing that they were so. Over the year, Uther had grown and altered a lot of perspectives of life, including his views on relationships. He had cut down work hours, decided to spend more time with his family, and also changed his attitude towards staff, choosing to be less of a 'King' to them, and more of a 'friend'.
Today, Arthur was spending the day with Uther at a newly opened Museum. He had promised to come here with Merlin, but his father had pouted so much when he declined that he thought he had no choice. Though, walking around the place he realised he wouldn't mind coming again in a few weeks time, it was wonderful and so very intriguing. There was one section on lesser known kingdoms that used to dwell on the small town they now inhabited, as well as the kings who used to rule over them.
"Arthur look at this..." Uther was pointing to an area coated in royal red and gold, with a very familiar dragon emblem stitched into the material. "Pendragon!"
"Merlin was right then." He walked over to the display looking down at the ring his boyfriend had given to him just over a year and a half ago.
"Merlin. When he gave me this ring he said about it being a King's ring, and that we may have royal blood."
"The boy's a good'n." Uther smiled.
"He sure is." Arthur couldn't help but give an even bigger grin in return to his father's; he never once thought he would see Uther this happy about his son being in a healthy relationship with another man.
"You will have to come back here with Merlin. I'm sure he will love it." Uther was pouring sugar into his coffee cup in the museum's cafe and opening his muffin when Arthur joined him.
"I shall. We spoke about coming a few weeks before it opened. What flavour muffin you get?" He sat down and looked over the coffee cups to his father's snack.
"Chocolate chip, why?"
"They didn't have any I liked, so I got white chocolate." He hated white chocolate, except milky bar.
"They had blueberry when I got mine. Anyway, here, have mine, I prefer white chocolate anyway."
"The guy in front of me nabbed it. Ohh, great dad thanks." He grabbed the muffin and shoved a load in his mouth before opening the booklet they'd been given on entrance to the museum. "Great, they've got a gift shop!"
"You're such a child. You always did have to buy something before leaving a place. Cost us a fortune!" His dad laughed again, not maliciously, but in a genuinely kind fatherly way, a way in which he had never done before until around 6 months ago.
"They were souvenirs! How else am I going to remember everywhere I've been?"
Father and son both laughed, before returning to their muffins, coffees and booklets. Arthur noticed on the information board that they were looking for help, so he put his book down and headed towards the counter.
"Hello. I noticed you were looking for help."
"Oh yes, we need a 'bus boy' in here or they need assistants in the gift shop." The young woman was pretty, and Arthur noticed she was giving him the eye.
"Well, I'm a university student but will be free the next few months. Unless you do not wish to have part timers."
"No, it's fine. We can always advertise again in a few months once you've returned to university." Now she was playing with her hair.
"Good. I'll let my boyfriend know, he's looking for work too." He would be lying if he said he wasn't a little smug at the look on her face. It's not that he hated girls throwing themselves at him, it was just nature, but he liked to see their reactions, though that bit he didn't know why.
"Oh that would be...sweet. For one of you to work in here and the other in the gift shop." She tried to smile but couldn't quite make it reach the same height it had a few seconds before.
"Is there some forms that I can..." He was cut off when his phone buzzed. he was a little confused, he was pretty sure Merlin was in a lecture, and all his other friends were in exams or working. "Sorry, excuse me."
he smiled at the girl and walked off towards a leaflet stand, taking out his phone he saw the caller ID. "Merl? I thought you had a lecture?"
"I did yeah...I hope I get the notes for that, they might be important."
"What do you...I'm confused and you've only said about 10 words. What do you mean you hope you get the notes?" was that panic rising in his chest?
"Yeah...erm I don't want you freaking out...I'm at the hospital." He could almost hear the embarrassment in the boy's voice.
"I had a funny turn. Not quite sure if I'm honest, last thing I remember I was in my dorm room. Just don't lose it, but I'd prefer it if you could come here please."
"Of course, where are you?"
"Local, in the head injuries block. Room 221B. I must be Sherlock. haha." Ok, that laugh was half-hearted, not Merlin's usual cheeriness.
"I'll be there as soon as I can, about half an hour, that ok?"
"Mmhhmm... listen I need to go, feel a bit...weird again. Just don't drive here like a lunatic. Promise me."
"I promise. Bye...love you." Best say it in-case it's the last chance you get! Fucking internal monologue, why must you hate life and ruin everything!
Walking over to his dad, he nearly tripped in his haste. Out of breath (more from worry than actual physical exertion), he asked "Could you drive me to the hospital please?"
"Why, what's wrong?" Uther clearly knew Arthur himself was ok, he wasn't stupid.
"Merlin's been taken in. Not sure why, he just said he had a funny turn and collapsed."
"Of course. Come on let's go." Grabbing his coat, coffee and muffin, he set off after his son, looks like the booklet would have to be waiting room reading material instead.
"Which room did you say he was in?"
"221B." Arthur was racing down corridors trying to find his bearing.
"You're joking right!"
"There isn't any that low, these are all 2000's. Hang on let me ask someone before you keel over. Excuse me love..." Uther patted a passing cleaner. "Could you tell me where 221B is?"
She chuckled. "London." Then a serious face past over her. "Sorry sir, my apologies for my rudeness. The 220's are in the main hospital, these rooms go between 2000 and 3000."
"Wait, dad, if he was having bad vision he may have mistaken an 8 for a 'B'."
"You're right, ok then, so in that case where is 2218? Please."
"Down this corridor, to the t-junction, then left and it's about half way down. Look out for the vending machine, it's near there."
"Thank you sweetheart. Come on Arthur."
The pair power walked, almost jogged, the way shown and quickly found the vending machine. It was right next to a deserted waiting area and a few rooms numbered 2217, 2218 and 2219. These rooms seemed larger than the others they had passed, leaving Arthur slightly more worried at the actual severity of the situation.
"I'll stay out here, call me if you want me. You go in, give him my wishes."
Arthur nodded and knocked on the door before cautiously walking in. He saw his friend sat pale, sweaty and trembling, staring as intently at a spot on the wall as possible.
Arthur had simply hugged Merlin and spoken to him for the last 10 minutes as the boy calmed down; he'd found that Merlin was trying his damned hardest to not throw up and it was that which had caused the sweating and shaking.
"Thanks. You always know how to distract me." Merlin's voice was a bit smaller than usual.
"It's because I'm such a great guy." Arthur gave his biggest grin. "You feeling better? Or do you still want the bucket next to you?"
"No it's gone now...well...mainly gone." Merlin gestured to the spot beside him on the bed. "Sit down, I'm craning my neck looking up at you."
Arthur complied and sat as close to the boy as possible, without having him confined and suffocating. "So let me in. What's gone off?"
"It's nothing. Just...had a bit of head trouble over the last few days."
"Why didn't you tell me?"
"Because I knew you'd worry, and I knew you were having time with your dad...and besides I just thought it was work stress and would pass after finishing my year. Which would be Sunday by the way."
"So you've been having headaches again?"
"Yeah, plus not sleeping and feeling sick and dizzy." His cheeks reddened as he opened up.
Arthur's mind went straight to the 'event' nearly 2 years ago. It was always on his mind but had been pushed back since things seemed to be going fine. A car crash involving Merlin and Arthur had damaged Merlin's brain to such an extent it pained him 24/7, made him act very differently and become a completely different person. He had to have checks every 2 months to make sure there was no delayed problems, but they had stopped since he'd been given the all clear. Now, 8 months since his last scan, he was back in the hospital with head problems. It was only natural for Arthur to think the worst straight away.
"Ok. Brilliant...not." He squeezed his friend's hand reassuringly. "Now tell me what happened to land you in here? This is the serious injury area, they wouldn't bring you here if you just fainted. I'm guessing you ended up on the floor anyway, judging by the mark on your head." It was true, he'd noticed it when Merlin was talking, a bruised lump just below the hairline.
Merlin reddened further, if that was at all possible. He clearly refused to tell his secret, but knew it would do him no good to keep it from anyone, particularly Arthur. "I had a fit." Could he get his voice any quieter?
"A fit. I had a seizure and collapsed in my room."
"Fuck." Arthur pulled away from Merlin, off the bed, and towards the door...he needed fresh air before he collapsed.
"Arthur don't leave me...I'm scared."
With his hand on the doorknob, he froze, hairs tingling up and down his arm and neck. He hadn't heard Merlin say that since his breakdown after the crash. It snapped him out of his own self pity and turned back towards his partner.
"Oh god Merlin. I know...I know you are. I'd be lying if I said I wasn't too." He re-took his seat next to the raven haired boy. "So what have the doctor's said?"
"Nothing yet, they're waiting for a free scanner then they're taking me in for tests. They've checked me over for concussion because, like you said, I'd hit my head when falling."
"Did they say you had a concussion?"
"A bit of one, but I said most of my symptoms were just the usual feelings, y'know, bleary eyed, light headedness..."
"That would explain your cock up of the room number...I'll tell you this, Sherlock won't be hiring you any time soon, Anderson!"
"What? Why?" Despite everything, he saw a glint of humour in the boy's face.
"The room number, it's 2218, not 221B."
"Hey...easy mistake when you're...woah..." Merlin fell forward slightly and grabbed Arthur's arm for support.
"You need to be sick?"
Merlin shook his head. "Dizzy. Room's spinning." When Arthur made to leave in order to get someone, Merlin just tightened his grip. "No. Don't go. Please."
"But I need to get someone Merl. I need to get the doctor." Merlin just shook his head again, looking down and closing his eyes as if to block out the world. "OK, I'll stay, block your ears." He did. "DAAAD!"
Uther Pendragon crashed through the door upon hearing Arthur call him, spilled coffee evident on his jeans. "Can you get someone, Merlin isn't good and he doesn't want me to leave him."
"Yes of course. I'll be right back." And he was gone again. Truly, Arthur could not believe this man, it was as if someone had built an exact replica but replaced the programming and swapped him for the old tyrant he was used to. Turning back, he hugged him close, waiting until either the moment passed or someone came to help.
"Hello Merlin, I was just coming for you. What do we have then?" This doctor was too layed back for Arthur's liking.
"What do you mean 'what do we have', we've got a patient who had a full blown seizure, collapsed, banged his head, and is now suffering from a severe case of dizziness, nausea and headaches. I'm sure you've got his notes, he's potentially dangerous when it comes to his head and you flounce in acting like he's just cut his bloody finger!" He hated getting mad at people, it reminded him too much of his father, but when it came to his friends' safety, particularly Merlin's, it hit him where it mattered.
"I am sorry son, I simply hoped to keep him calm. I know the circumstances of your friend's situation, and the risks that come with it. Now please, the scanning rooms are free and waiting for Mr Emrys. Would you like to bring him through." When Arthur helped Merlin off the table, the boy stumbled, the doctor turned around and looked back towards Arthur. "Do you want a wheelchair brought?"
"No." Merlin barely whispered.
"Yes. Please. And I am sorry doctor. I'm just worried."
"Do not worry, I've seen a lot of people in my time who were truly angry and what I saw in you was nothing but worry and protection. I shall get that chair for you."
The second part will be up tomorrow guys. Thanks for reading. :)