A/N; Hello! So this story is based off the stimulus of prompt 9 from WritingReadingLaughing, see here- topic/64876/64369328/List-of-Random-Ideas. Will just be a a short story, please review and tell me what you think:)
Summary; Merlin collapses from exhaustion and Arthur is worried and guilty. Bromance.
Disclaimer; I don't own Merlin or the characters.
Set in Series 5.
Merlin was tired. Just so tired.
Not only was he having to protect Arthur more than ever, Arthur had been stressed with Morgana declaring war and was making Merlin do more than ever.
He had barely seen his friend in the past few weeks, he was always busy with council meetings, training the knights and making up defense plans.
Arthur was more affected than he let on, it wasn't just a declaration of war on his kingdom, it was a declaration of war from his own sister. Uther wasn't the only one who had been hurt by Morgana's betrayal, Merlin knew that. Which is why he didn't blame him for giving so much work to him and being out of character.
Merlin was starting to get sick of himself. So much people were dying lately so Merlin could fulfil his destiny and protect Arthur but he wasn't even sure he could do that.
What hope did he have, Morgana was getting more and more powerful and with Mordred right at the heart of Camelot, it was surely doomed. Arthur had been spending more time with Mordred than Merlin lately and that worried him.
Arthur was so busy preparing for war, he didn't have the time to know about all the attacks and threats on his life that had been happening in the meantime. That was up to Merlin to stop. But Merlin couldn't exactly protect Arthur and do all of his extra chores he had at he same time, so he often skipped them which just made Arthur even more angry and made him do all the ones he missed and more as punishment.
Arthur was a man on edge, his jokes with Merlin had stopped and he had started actually punishing him when he spoke out of turn or didn't do his work. It wasn't his fault, Merlin knew that, but it still hurt him when it seemed Arthur had forgotten everything the men had been through together and shunned him like he really was just a simple servant, not the friend Merlin knew Arthur now thought him as. It was like they had gone back in time and he treated him the same way they did when they first met.
He wasn't just tired emotionally though, he was exhausted. All the extra work and the extra work after that Arthur had given him was tiring enough, but the attacks Merlin had been stopping always happened at night, so he hadn't been sleeping, there was just no time. He had only had about four hours sleep for the whole week and if he didn't have time to sleep he definitely didn't have time to eat. The most he had eaten the past few days was an apple.
Merlin was good at keeping secrets, it's what he had to learn to do to survive. So keeping the secret he had been passing out a lot lately, even from Gaius, was easy.
Arthur was tired too.
Why was he sitting here having to discuss arrangements of which borders got which sheep when there was a war about to start?
It was driving Arthur mad.
How was he supposed to keep the people of his kingdom safe if he was too busy sorting out a sheep dispute?
For the first time in a few years, Arthur was seriously doubting his ability as a King.
He had no idea how to keep his people safe, they couldn't win against his sister's powerful sorcery. His sister. How could the kind, caring girl he grew up with be declaring a war on her own brother and the kingdom she grew up in?
Arthur would never understand how she had come to this. How they had come to it.
But he did know that Camelot deserved a better king.
He was so busy with his thoughts, he only vaguely heard Guinevere saying his name and shaking his arm. Eventually he snapped to attention. What hope did he have of winning a war against sorcery if he couldn't even focus on a council meeting?
"Perhaps we should continue this later" Gwen, his queen, said softly.
Arthur didn't even bother to argue. He mumbled his agreement then left for his chambers.
Merlin was already there sweeping the room.
"Sire", Merlin said to acknowledge Arthur's entrance.
Arthur hated Merlin calling him that. It just wasn't normal. But a lot of things wasn't normal anymore.
Arthur had taken out his frustrations lately on his servant, he knew he shouldn't but he just couldn't help himself.
Arthur just nodded at his servant and made his way to his desk to look at some defence plans.
After only a few minutes of staring at the plan, Arthur heard a clatter.
The stupid idiot must have dropped the broom. Stupid things like this annoyed Arthur more than ever these days and he was about to shout at the clumsy fool until he saw what was happening.
Merlin was falling to the floor with his eyes closed. When he fell, he hit his head off the floor.
"MERLIN!" Arthur shouted and ran over to his manservant on the ground.
He shook his body to wake him up but recoiled in horror.
This was the first time Arthur had properly looked at Merlin for weeks.
He had dark circles under his eyes as if he hadn't been sleeping for days and when he touched his body, all he could feel was skin and bones.
"Get Gaius." Arthur commanded to a guard who had come in to see what all the noise was about. "Now."
The guard nodded then rushed off.
"What have you done to yourself Merlin?" Arthur whispered softly.
A/N; So there you go:) As I said it's only a short story so next chapter will be the last, expect some bromance;) Thanks for reading, remember to leave a review:)