A/N; Thank you for the people who has followed, favourited and reviewed , glad you're enjoying it:)
Disclaimer; I don't own Merlin or the characters.
He wasn't out for long thankfully.
As soon as he saw Merlin's eyes flicker open, Arthur spoke to him.
"Merlin," he said gently, "are you all-right?"
Merlin looked around for a few seconds before answering.
"What? Erm, yes. Arthur, why am I on the floor?"
"You fainted Merlin. And I think we both know why."
"We'll talk later Merlin. Come on, I'll take you to Gaius, he's on his way anyway."
Arthur helped his friend up slowly. He didn't like how pale his friend was, his natural complexion was pale anyway but he looked completely white. How had he not noticed just how bad he had looked before now? He was supposed to be his master, it was his responsibility..No. He was supposed to be his friend. He was supposed to notice these things.
"Can you walk?"
Merlin nodded but it was quite clear he couldn't as he swayed as soon as he put his first leg forward.
This time though, Arthur was ready and put his arms forward to stop the boy from falling. He was shocked at how little he weighed.
He lifted Merlin's arm onto his shoulder and started to make his way to Gaius's chambers. When Merlin stopped looking like he was about to keel over, Arthur was going to have a serious talk with him.
The last thing Merlin remembered before waking up on the floor was the room spinning.
He had been feeling sick the whole day. He was so tired and hungry, it didn't help it was a hot day. Gaius wasn't there in the morning so at least he didn't have to deal with him telling Merlin to eat something. He just didn't have the time, why couldn't Gaius just accept that. He only ate the damn apple because of him.
There was much more important things to do than Merlin eating, such as Arthur's safety. What did it matter if he missed a few meals if it meant Arthur was safe? He didn't understand why Gaius, Gwen and Gwaine all made such a big deal out of it. Though at least they cared. It seemed the more Merlin battled to keep Arthur safe, the more Arthur forgot about his existance.
Which is why he was so confused when he woke up on the floor with Arthur leaning over him looking worried.
His first question was obviously asking why he was on the floor.
He wasn't surprised when Arthur told him he had fainted as he had been doing it quite a lot the past few days, he was just embarrassed. Especially when Arthur told him he knew the reason.
He tried to speak but Arthur stopped him just saying they would speak later.
Well that was a conversation Merlin was most definitely not looking forward to.
Merlin noticed Arthur was helping him up but he didn't want to get up. He just wanted to lie down and sleep, god, he was tired. More tired than he'd ever been in his life.
He could feel his eyes closing and didn't even try fight it this time, he didn't need to hide it anymore, Arthur had already seen him.
He felt himself falling, only this time he didn't feel the pain of hitting off the floor, someone was holding him up and helping him stand again.
Merlin tried to open his eyes again. It was Arthur holding him up. Since when had he cared?
He felt Arthur put his arm around him and lifted Merlin's arm onto his shoulder.
He would say they walked, but it was more like Arthur dragging him along.
Eventually he heard Gaius's concerned voice and felt him getting put down gently into a bed.
Could he sleep now?
"What's wrong with him Gaius?" Arthur asked after he had helped the physician put the man in the most comfortable position they could.
"He's severely undernourished Sire. He hasn't been eating nor sleeping and has been working too hard, his body is just simply shutting down."
"Working too hard?" Arthur asked. The words lay heavy in Arthur's throat, like cement.
Had he caused this?
"Yes Sire. He should make a full recovery as long as he eats from a certain diet over a period of time and rest. I know things are very busy for you now Sire, but can I recommend you allow him some time off?"
Arthur was barely listening, he was too busy looking at Merlin's skeletal frame on the bed. He looked horrible, the circles under his eyes were dark which was a startling contrast to how white his skin was. His whole body was all bones. Arthur couldn't stop thinking he was the one to blame for this.
"What? Oh, yes, of course."
"It's late Arthur. You should sleep."
"Actually Gaius, I was wondering if I could stay.." Arthur didn't think Gaius would allow it, saying Merlin needed to rest but surprising enough, he didn't.
Instead, all the old man said was "I'll get a blanket for you", then left the room.
Arthur wondered what his father would think if he saw him now. Sleeping on the floor in a servant's room just because he was worried. But he had to stay. Not only was it his fault, Merlin was his friend, his best friend and there was no way Arthur was going to leave him now.
He would let Merlin rest for now but he would have a lot of questions for him to answer in the morning.
Merlin woke feeling more rested than he had in a very long time. How long had he slept for? Oh god, Arthur was going to kill him. Even though his stomach was growling and was so empty it hurt, he would have to skip breakfast again.
It was only then at the thought of Arthur, he noticed his masters head on his bed.
"Arthur?" Merlin said weakly.
Arthur stirred slowly, making a small groan.
"Merlin!" Arthur said happily jumping up.
"You have a lot of questions to answer Merlin. But first, you need to eat."
"No, Arthur, I have to get to work."
Arthur looked taken aback.
"You must be joking! Don't be such an idiot Merlin, you have the next week off at least."
"What, why?" All he had done was faint, he didn't need a whole week off. Why was Arthur being so generous all of a sudden, had something happened?
"Because, Merlin, you fainted twice last night and I doubt it's the first time you've done so. Now would you like to explain why in god's name you haven't been eating or sleeping?!"
"I didn't have time." Merlin said simply.
"You didn't have time? Merlin, this isn't some stupid chore you don't have time to do, this is basic things you need to survive. There is no excuse for being so darn right stupid!"
"Well I know you've been stressed lately, I just wanted to make things easier for you, I didn't have time to eat and do all the work."
"So what about sleeping?!"
Merlin paused. He couldn't exactly tell him that he used his magic to secretly save his life.
"I was doing the extra chores I missed."
Merlin didn't understand why Arthur was looking so angry and upset.
"I'm sorry Arthur, I'll catch up with all the work I missed last night. I really don't need a week off."
Arthur looked absolutely furious.
"You think I care about the work Merlin?! I care about you half killing yourself! How could you be so stupid?! You are taking this week off and you will eat and sleep when Gaius tells you to with no arguments, you will not be doing any chores. I'm perfectly capable of looking after myself until you get better."
Merlin scoffed at this.
But Arthur wasn't in the mood for jokes.
"Merlin..I'm sorry. I didn't realise just how hard I was working you."
"It's okay, you've had a lot on your mind."
"No, Merlin, that's not an excuse. I've let you down and I'm sorry."
"Knew you cared really," he said in a teasing way, thinking Arthur would do it back. But he seemed shaken about the whole experience.
"You're right Merlin, I do. I know I haven't been acting like it lately but you're more than servant, you're my friend. A very good one at that. So just get better."
Merlin nodded. He was genuinely touched.
"Mind you, if you tell anyone I said that, you'll end up in the stocks."
"Of course Sire," he grinned.
That was the first time he had said "Sire" in his normal joking tone for weeks.
"Idiot." Arthur said fondly.
"Clotpole." Merlin retorted back.
"Now, I'm away to go request my breakfast from the kitchens. And you will eat with me too, no arguments."
"Well, I suppose you'll get fat if I don't, got to keep you in shape."
"I am not fat!" Arthur exclaimed before smiling.
Despite the stress and fear of the upcoming war, things with his best friend had went back to normal, and that made Arthur feel happier than he had been for weeks.
As long as Merlin was by his side, the war didn't seem that much of a problem. With Merlin by his side, he could do anything.
A/N; The end! Remember to review what you think, hope you enjoyed it:)