There Goes the Queen – by Parisindy

Takes place during and directly after the episode 508 - The Hollow Queen, a couple of missing scenes – All spoilers apply

Disclaimer: This Merlin Fanfic was made for the fun and entertainment, no infringement intended.

Note: It's been a long time since I have done any writing so please forgive my rustiness

Sunlight streamed through the castle's windows causing Merlin to squint with its harshness. Daegel and The Sarrum were both dead, but thankfully Arthur was still alive. He let his hand fall from Daegel's cooling face and fell back against the wall stifling a sob of sorrow and relief. Daegel would never grow up, but maybe there was a chance Arthur could grow old.

It was all catching up with him, the poison, exhaustion, the cuts and the bruises. He closed his eyes letting the sun warm his face. Sometimes it was hard to believe the sun could still shine despite all the darkness.

There were shouting and stomping and yelling but it all seemed so far away, until a heavy hand landed on his shoulder startling him. 'Merlin! You always pick the oddest places to take a nap. Did you see what happened?' Gwaine grabbed Merlin's arm and hauled him to his feet before he even had a chance to respond. When his legs gave way and he reached out his arm, the knight grabbed him and held him upright.

'Whoa there, looks like you got a story to tell, but first to Giaus eh?' Merlin looked at his friend confused. He was sure that sentence made sense but in his exhaustion he could not sort it out. Only as Gwaine started to haul him away and the shouting got quieter, did Merlin become aware of the fact that he was actually being taken to Giaus' chambers and not to where Arthur had been below them.

'I'm okay.' He tried to break free from the Knight vainly a few times; but Gwaine's grip remained as steady as the man's constant chatter.

'We've been worried about you, me and Percy. Leon seemed to think you were fine, but Percy and I know the kind of trouble you can find yourself in sometimes. I had kind of hoped you were at the tavern or maybe shacked up with that young barmaid. But when you were gone another night I just knew something was wrong and...'

As they entered Giaus's chamber, Merlin finally managed to break free and stumbled to the nearby chair, plunking his head on the table they usually used for their supper. 'I'm fine. Things are just spinning a bit.'

'And why's that? What have you been up to? Did you know the boy they found up there with the assassin?' Gwaine paused then eyeing Merlin shrewdly. 'You're bleeding.'

Merlin laughed and it really wasn't that funny. 'Oh yeah I forgot about that.'

Gwaine hauled him to him feet again and this time he did protest. 'Will you quit dragging me about!?'

The knight led him to the extra cot they kept for wounded people. 'Shut it and lie down.'

Once Merlin was settled and the fire was stoked, Gwaine pulled up a chair and, well there was no other word for it, he hovered. Merlin knew Gwaine was struggling for words. Something was bothering the knight and even in his exhausted state Merlin took notice. It wasn't very often Gwaine didn't know what to say. 'What?' his voice croaked

Gwaine straightened in his chair. 'I thought we were mates.'

Merlin closed his eyes. 'Yeah, of course.'

'You would come to me if you were in some kind of trouble then, right?'

Merlin sighed, he was just too tired to have a heart-to-heart conversation right now, but here it was. 'Of course and...and I'm not in trouble, not really. Things have just gotten away from me a bit lately, and I am just so very weary...' his voice trailed off.

Gwaine gave a derisive snort. 'Aren't we all.'

Just then Giaus burst in. 'Merlin! Are you alright?'

'No.' Both he and Gwaine replied in unison.

Gaius shuffled forward urgently to examine Merlin. 'What happened? Where have you been?' Merlin suddenly felt bad for the worry he put the older man through. Gaius really deserved a better apprentice, one that didn't run off and frighten him with all the events and drama that seemed to surround the young Warlock's life.

'Quiet as a mouse this one; he's not said a word about where he's been.' Gwaine jested; cutting off any answer Merlin might have given. But it was the concern that was evident in the knight's voice that also drew his attention. So many people he caused to worry... so many people he had let down. Merlin tried to form an appropriate response but he seemed one step behind, by the time he thought of an appropriate answer the conversation had moved on without him.

'C-can I tell you later?' His strength utterly failing him then, he was not unconscious but he was beyond responding further, everything seemed distant and he shivered with cold. Giaus ordered Gwaine to fetch some blankets and they covered him as best they could as Giaus continued to search for problems. A wet cloth wiped the side of his head, and not long after Giaus pried his eyes open with a sure hand.

'His eyes are uneven, from the head wound. Not too bad but we'll have to watch him and wake him when we can. He primarily seems exhausted, though there is a deep cut on his leg.'

Merlin groaned despite himself, he just wanted to sleep, why couldn't he sleep? Then he remembered, it seemed so long ago now... 'Morgana,' he moaned... 'poison, mmm, okay now.'

The other two men's voices grew agitated then but finally the darkness called to him and he slept.

Merlin dreamed of dragons and fire, and a white dragon's fire that burnt him, not with heat but with the sharp bite of ice. It grew closer and he threw out his arm to brace himself.

'Aetstandan! Acwence pa baelblyse!' Cool hands gripped his shoulders. 'Merlin, my boy, it's okay wake up, now.' Merlin blinked his eyes open, the room was dark and he could barely see his friend leaning over him.

'Giaus?' his voice sounded weak and raspy even to him. 'Why is it so dark?'

Giaus let out a tired sigh, 'Because you are running a fever and keep blowing out the fire and all the candles.'

'But why would I do that? It's cold in here?'

Giaus pressed a glass of water to his lips, 'Because you are sick and running a fever.' He said it in such a way that Merlin realized he must have said it multiple times.

'I'm sorry.'

'Yes, we know, now sleep.'

And Merlin did just that.

Merlin was furious.

Gaius had told him that his fever was brought on by exhaustion, stress, and more than likely, the last dredges of the poison that worked his way through his system. The sickness and fever did pass quickly, but it left him feeling weak and shaky. Not willing to face further exhausting himself he left his leg to heal naturally, he would just have to put up with the ache and the lameness for now.

After sleeping the previous day through and most of the morning, Merlin was feeling marginally better, and was able to do some light work for Arthur in the late afternoon. The events of the last month weighed on him heavily and trying to sort it all out made his head hurt, the menial work was a welcome distraction. But as he was serving the King and Queen their evening meal an innocent question from Arthur nearly made his blood boil. Gwen, had wove him into her lies by covering for Morgana with stories about how Merlin had been off with some girl.

He left quickly after that, with a half truth excuse of not feeling well. By the time he got back to the chambers Gaius and he shared, the rage was uncontainable. As he went through the doors he kicked the closest thing he could find, a half filled water bucket. The bucket flew violently across the room, much farther than a normal kick should have been able to manage. Magic or not his foot felt the impact and his injured leg threatened to buckle. 'Dammit' he swore, he staggered in the room looking for something else he could obliterate. One of Gaius' herb plants was the closest victims and it shattered in to a million pieces. Giaus opened the door to the side room where he had been sorting laundry.

'Hey now! I liked that plant!" Merlin turned with a growl sending books flying off their shelves, Giaus dashed to his side grabbing his arms. 'Calm down. What is it? What's wrong?'

Merlin stood there quivering with fury.

'Take a breath and sit down, before you fall down,' advised the physician, directing Merlin to the table where they ate their meals. It wasn't that long ago that Gwaine had done the exact same thing. And Gaius was now giving him the same look Gwaine had: concerned, and confused, their eyes both crinkled in the same way when worried...weird that. Merlin took the deep breath, then another.

'I know she has been bewitched, but it's just so damned hard to look into her face and watch her lie. Especially when it's on behalf of Morgana. Is there really nothing left of my friend? They have tried to kill me and Arthur! How could she do it!? How could she let Morgana get inside her head!?'

'Now, Merlin...' Gaius began but Merlin cut him off, by jumping to his feet once more.

'No, I have had enough of people not being who they say they are! First Morgana, then Daegel and now Gwen. I once felt horrible for poisoning Morgana. I will not feel that way again.' He headed for the door, slowing only when Gaius called after him.

'Merlin! What are going to do?'

He turned back to his mentor, his friend, meeting his eyes. 'This is the beginning of the end, in some way; I can feel it in my bones. This can't keep on. I need to talk to Arthur.'

~end