Hello, fellow Merlin fans!

Whilst I am writing a big, multi-chapter story, my plot bunny hit me... again... so this is the result! This happened to me during the week, and was something my family and friends thought was a cause for celebration, which was nice of them...

Anywho, so this is set say around series two, where Arthur and Merlin are definitely friends, though will not admit that they care about each other (in a non slashy way!), and Gwen is still, well, Gwen. Lol.

DISCLAIMER: I don't own Merlin, else I would be happy. Very happy.


What's wrong with Merlin?

Gaius was a firm believer that staring was rude, and would never hesitate to berate someone for doing so; unless of course it was a member of the royal family. He did once have to chastise a certain nine year old prince when he would not stop staring at a knight who had been mauled by a bear. The facial wounds had been ugly, but thankfully the knight had survived with only scarring. From that moment on, Gaius could barely remember any times he had had to remind the young Pendragon that staring was rude. Being a physician meant he saw many things; things that most would stare at. This morning however, Gaius couldn't help but stare at his ward as the young warlock finished his soup and left their chambers.

His ward had risen from bed with much reluctance, washed, changed, and eaten his breakfast as usual. To those who did not know Merlin, they would not have known just how odd Gaius was finding this morning in particular, perhaps only thinking that Merlin was not a morning person. This was true to an extent, something that the young warlock would most likely deny.

It wasn't the fact that it took several attempts for Gaius to wake a reluctant Merlin, or the fact that he had to remind Merlin not to inhale his food that was odd. Instead it was something that Gaius never thought he would witness with Merlin around.

It had been a quiet morning, like most. This morning however, came with a quiet Merlin. He had not uttered a single word.

"Are you alright, Merlin?" Gaius had asked with concern, his eyebrows raised. The only response he had received was a confused look and a smile, followed by a nod. He had missed the strange amused look that Merlin had given him when he had turned away to resume grinding some lavender, satisfied with the response he had received. It was because of this he was surprised when he heard the closing of the door, without so much as a bye from his usually chatty ward.

The morning's events up until now were what caused Gaius to put down his pestle nearly an hour after Merlin leaving, and go and see Arthur. Perhaps he might know what was wrong with Merlin, as something was clearly wrong with the usually talkative warlock. The prince and warlock were friends in all but name, so surely Arthur would know? Gaius was usually one to wait for Merlin to come and speak to him as opposed to bombarding him with questions, but he was concerned.

Wiping his hands on a damp cloth on the side, Gaius left the room in search for some answers.


Arthur could have sworn he had heard Merlin breathe a sigh of relief as his manservant entered his chambers, accompanied by a tray with a goblet and plate of cheese, ham and fresh warm bread balanced on it. He immediately dismissed the sigh when his stomach growled hungrily at the comforting smell of the bread.

Merlin set the plate before the hungry prince and poured him some water, without so much as spilling a drop. Looking away from his servant, Arthur hungrily cast his eyes down on food before him. Setting the pitcher down, Merlin placed the tray on the far end of the table before going about his morning chores, completely oblivious to the rather confused looks he was on the end of.

Arthur knew something was wrong with Merlin the moment he entered his chambers with his breakfast.

Whilst chewing thoughtfully on some bread, his observant eyes followed Merlin's movements, like a bird of prey waiting to make their strike, in the hope that he could work out what exactly was wrong.

He watched as Merlin smoothed the bed sheets and tucked any bits that had come loose beneath the large mattress, looking for any sign of something wrong in his movements. Arthur continued to watch as Merlin shook the top sheet, laid it flat and fluffed the pillows before nodding at his work and turning his attention to Arthur's wardrobe, opening it to get out some clothes for the day.

Arthur's conclusion?


Popping a chunk of bread into his mouth, Arthur frowned, never letting his gaze leave the hard at work Merlin.

Merlin was walking normally with no outward signs of discomfort or pain, and his movements were the same as ever; efficient, though Arthur was loathe to admit it. He was no paler than usual, was not sweating, and did not seem exhausted. This allowed Arthur to come to the relived conclusion that Merlin was not injured or ill. So what was wrong? What was different?

Arthur took a gulp from his goblet, and set it down in frustration; with more force than intended. This earned him a startled glance form Merlin, who just as quickly returned his attention to unfolding some clean breeches – and that was when it clicked.

He was quiet. Merlin was never quiet. To the contrary, his lazy servant never shut up.

"Merlin?" Arthur called uncertainly.

Merlin turned to his prince with raised eyebrows, waiting. The action, or lack of, surprised Arthur.

Silence enveloped the two for a minute until Arthur finally broke it, raising his eyebrows in turn. "Well?" he demanded dubiously. "Nothing?"

Merlin merely shrugged and turned his back to Arthur, pulling open another drawer. Arthur let out a shocked laugh in disbelief.

"So you're just going to ignore me. And why is that?" Arthur waited for a response, but never received one. Wiping his mouth with a napkin, Arthur rose from his chair and walked towards Merlin. "I know you ignore me, Merlin, but this is taking it to a ridiculous level."

Merlin continued unfolding clothes, and turned to face Arthur, holding them out. When Arthur didn't take them from him, he shrugged again and hung them over the wooden screen, waiting.

"Fine," Arthur all but huffed, "be an idiot." He strode past Merlin and disappeared behind the screen, before getting undressed and thinking over what could possibly be wrong.

In his mind he ran over the past few days events, trying to remember anything that might indicate any reason for Merlin's sudden silence. Yesterday Merlin had been doing chores, as he had been in countless council meetings with his father. When they last spoke yesterday, Arthur was annoyed at a topic brought up in the council, and had thrown something at his man servant for his cheek. Merlin wasn't offended, was he? Usually Merlin just shrugged it off and continued regardless.

Fastening the ties of his tunic, Arthur stepped out from behind the screen and went to sit down to put his boots on.

"Is everything all right?" he asked cautiously, whilst trying to maintain a non-concerned tone of voice. He was failing.

"Mmm-hmm," Merlin replied with a small wince. Well, in Arthur's books, it wasn't really a reply, but it was the most noise Merlin had made this morning which was a good sign.

"sure?" Arthur asked, struggling for words. He was useless at this kind of thing.

Merlin nodded.

"So sure that you aren't going to say anything? It's not because I threw that plate at you yesterday is it?" he asked with a wince.

A smile this time.

Time for a different tactic.

As Merlin walked over with his newly polished boots, Arthur smirked. "I thought we could do some training today... I need to practise my mace work."

Merlin threw the boots to Arthur instead of passing them, an exasperated sigh making itself heard.

"Idiot." Not even a retort. "No objections, well that is a first," Arthur exclaimed in mock surprise.

Merlin narrowed his eyes and smiled a humourless smile as he crossed his arms. Arthur smiled pleasantly, despite being internally a bit worried. He clapped his hands and rubbed them together.

"Right, well you can go and get the armour out. I'll see you on the training field," Arthur said cheerfully.

When Merlin didn't move, Arthur indicated Merlin should go with a tilt of his head. Not even bothering to hide his sigh or the rolling of his eyes, Merlin uncrossed his arms and headed out of the chambers.

Arthur was rather suspicious that if Merlin was talking, something along the lines of 'clot-pole' or 'dollop-head' would have been aimed in his direction.

Making quick work of pulling on his boots, Arthur threw on his jacket and left his room, heading not to the training grounds, but Gaius' chambers instead.

What was wrong with Merlin? The silence was unnerving to say the least, and Merlin was certainly not one to be quiet or bootlicking. He was going to see if Gaius knew anything.


Gaius was walking down the corridor where Arthur's chambers were, when the man in question closed his doors and walked in Gaius' direction.

"Gaius!" Arthur exclaimed, stopping mid-walk. "Just the man."

Gaius gave a nod. "Sire. I was just on my way to find you."

Arthur looked surprised. "Likewise, I need to ask you something."

Both stepped to the side to allow two guards to walk by, ignoring the surprised glances the guards were giving each other about the fact that their prince just moved out of their way. "Is everything alright, sire?" Gaius asked in his physician's tone. Arthur nodded.

"Yes. Well, with me everything is alright."

Gaius nodded slowly, waiting for the young man to speak. He didn't have to wait long.

"Did you notice anything... unusual about Merlin this morning?" he asked quickly, trying his hardest not to sound overly concerned. Gaius concealed his pleasant surprise that Arthur was even asking him about Merlin's being when the warlock was not even unconscious. He forgot this thought as Arthur's words sunk in.

"Actually, sire," he began rather deflated, "that was what I was going to ask you. Did he say anything to you?"

Arthur blinked. "Oh. No he didn't." He furrowed his brows in thought. "That was what I was going to ask you. Because, though I may not want to admit it," he paused and glanced around before whispering, "but I actually missed his incessant chatter this morning."

Gaius frowned and rested his chin in his wrinkled hand. "He said nothing, which is most unusual for him."

A sigh escaped from Arthur. "He hasn't got himself into any trouble, has he? I wouldn't put it passed the idiot."

"no, not that I know of; he usually tells me. Eventually anyway," Gaius finished. On his way to find Arthur he had entertained the notion that Merlin had got into trouble of the magical kind. It happened before, and it certainly wouldn't be the last time. He was confident that Merlin would turn to him if he needed any help or was in trouble...

Arthur crossed his arms and started pacing. "Well I didn't notice any injuries on him, and he didn't appear ill... it's not a day of any significance to Merlin is it?" he asked, hopeful.

Gaius raked his brain for anything. It wasn't his birthday, or anyone else's – but surely that would be a cause for celebration – and nor was it an anniversary for a death. He could do nothing but shake his head and shrug slowly.

"My suggestion is that we go and ask him outright," he suggested, "and just hope it isn't anything serious," he added seriously.

Arthur narrowed his eyes. "Hmm, I suppose we should. But don't make it too obvious that I'm concerned. Because I am, just, I don't want him to know it..." he finished lamely. Gaius smiled inwardly; some things with the prince would never change. "He's hopefully at the training field- unless the clumsy oaf got himself lost on the way."

Arthur ignored Gaius' amused smile and turned to walk down the corridor, with the elderly physician following suit.


Merlin was rounding the corner of the corridor leading to the armoury when he suddenly collided with someone, followed swiftly by a "sorry!"

Merlin smiled when he recognised the squeak. Bending down, he collected some of the sheets in his hands and returned them to Gwen's laundry basket that lay on the floor.

"Merlin!" she exclaimed embarrassingly, her cheeks blushing. "I'm sorry, I completely missed you! Not that I was aiming for you, I meant I didn't see you there, but I'm not saying you're easy to miss, because you're not. Oh, I didn't mean you are difficult to miss, you're just... I didn't see you."

Merlin laughed, placing his hand on her shoulder in attempt to stop her from getting herself much more flustered. It seemed to work, as Gwen stopped and laughed.

"Sorry," she apologised again, smiling as she gathered the last of the sheets. "You just surprised me. Not that you aren't a nice surprise," she trailed off at Merlin's raised eyebrows before blushing furiously again.

Clearing her throat, she stood up and took the basket from Merlin who had gone slightly pink.

Trying to cover her awkwardness, Gwen lifted the laundry basket in indication. "Well, I better get going, work to do," she said. "I hope Arthur isn't working you too hard."

The response she got was a snort, followed by both of them laughing. Merlin shook his head and pointed to the way Gwen had just come, his mouth open as though he was going to say something. He quickly closed it again and grinned.

"Yes, I need to get going too. I'll see you later," Gwen said, realising that they were both stalling.

As they went their separate ways, Gwen glanced behind her shoulder and frowned. Usually Merlin was quite chatty but today he seemed keen to get to work; two things that were amiss.


It didn't take long for Arthur and Gaius to reach the armoury, even with them bumping into Gwen on the way down. Both men had glanced at each other when Gwen had asked them if Merlin was alright, as he hadn't spoken to her either. Smiling, Gaius had assured her that Merlin was most probably well and that they were on their way down to see him anyway. Satisfied with their answer, Gwen had left to continue with her work after making them promise to tell her their verdict. She had stuttered when she realised that she had just made the crowned prince promise her, but Arthur had smiled affectionately and said it was alright, trying to ignore the way her blushing made her look all the more sweeter.

Sure enough, as Arthur led Gaius through to the armoury, Merlin was there, armour balancing precariously in his arms as he reached down to pick up one of the maces.

Gaius silently thanked the heavens that Merlin hadn't been using magic to keep the armour balancing. He didn't really want to consider the thoughts of what could have happened and what the consequences would have been.

The sound of Arthur clearing his throat snapped him out of his thoughts and resulted in Merlin jumping, the armour crashing to the floor deafeningly.

Wincing, Merlin bent down to pick them, and squinted in apology before looking at the two men before him in turns, his eyebrows rising in confusion at their concerned expressions.

"Merlin," Arthur began somewhat reluctantly. He trailed off uncertainly and tenured his attention to Gaius, silently indicating – and almost pleading – for him to continue.

Stepping forward, Gaius began wringing his hands. "Merlin, is everything alright?"

Merlin let out an exasperated breath and rolled his eyes. His mouth open slightly, he slowly nodded, making sure both Arthur and Gaius knew he was being sincere. Arthur thought he almost looked agitated.

"Really?" Arthur ventured. "Because you haven't said a word today. As I have said before; you're inability to shut up is probably your only redeemable feature. So come on. What is wrong?" he finished raising his palms and tapping his foot impatiently.

Merlin's shoulders stooped and he sighed loudly in agitation. They were not going to leave him be until he told them. Raising a finger to indicate they wait there, Merlin scooted past them and left the armoury at a small run, leaving a perplexed Arthur and Gaius in his wake.

Looking at each other, Arthur screwed his face up in impatience. "What is he doing?" Gaius just shook his baffled head, his mouth opening and closing like a fish.

Before wither could say another word, Merlin returned carrying a parchment, quill and ink pot. Arthur raised one eyebrow at his manservant's antics.

Setting the rolled parchment flat on the table and smoothing it flat with his hand, Merlin unscrewed the ink pot lid and dipped the quill in, before scrawling something down.

A few seconds later, Merlin set the quill down and passed the note to a worried looking Gaius, who glanced at it and squinted to read – he had forgotten his eye glasses – holding it at elbow length.

Arthur impatiently watched the physician's eyes move across the parchment as he read it, observing how Gaius' face eventually broke into an eased smile. The prince took Gaius' relieved laugh as an indication that he had finished reading, and quickly snatched the note, half of his mind registering what Gaius was saying.

"I have to say I'm relieved, my boy," Gaius told a not very amused Merlin. "I thought you'd gotten yourself into trou-" he was broken off by Arthur's hearty laugh that sounded suspiciously triumphant. Merlin rolled his eyes, preparing himself for whatever snarky comment he was sure to receive any second now. He was not disappointed.

"Ha! The one person who couldn't shut up if his life depended on it has lost his voice! Ha! Brilliant!" Arthur strode over to where Merlin stood and clapped him on the shoulder, making him stumble. "So you physically cannot say a thing? Not even a word?"

Merlin shook his head and looked up at the ceiling, mouthing 'no'. Gaius smiled sympathetically at Merlin, knowing that Arthur was not going to let this drop.

"Well this is fantastic!" Arthur all but cheered. "Right then, Merlin, change of plan. I'm making the most of this and so we are going hunting. We have more of a chance of actually catching something today, assuming you don't keep tripping over." He grinned manically, placing both of his hands on Merlin's shoulders before blinking in mock astonishment. "What? What's this?" he looked from Gaius to Merlin, eyes widening. "No retort? No argument? Nothing? What a shame, I might have listened," he smiled sarcastically and patted Merlin on the cheek several times. "Prepare the horses, and I will meet you in the courtyard," he said, turning to leave the room.

Merlin clenched his jaw and turned to look at Gaius as though daring him to laugh again. He narrowed his eyes when he heard Arthur's laughter all the way down the corridor, making Gaius nudge him.

"Don't think about it Merlin, your magic is not to be used in that way and you know it," he chastised. "And trust me; I will know if you do anything." Merlin opened his mouth in mock hurt before smiling. "Go on, you'd better not keep Arthur waiting. I'll bring you a tonic to help your throat."

As Merlin mouthed his thanks, he restacked the mace and lifted the armour onto the table before heading towards the door to go the stables.

"Oh, and Merlin?" Merlin stopped and turned around; waiting to hear what Gaius had to say. The physician smiled. "Have fun."

Merlin merely rolled his eyes.


Hehe, hope you liked it!

I really appreciate story favourites etc, but what I really appreciate more are reviews! Even a 'good' or 'bad' (though I'd like to know why it is bad lol) or a quote of a bit you like will make me smile... and will really make my day! Seriously, reviews are something I really eagerly anticipate!

Lady Elrayen x