Disclaimer: I think Merlin is glad I don't own him!

A/N: This is my longest story thus far. I hope you enjoy it.

Bad Day

It all started with a bucket of water dumped over his head. He sprang out of his bed and promptly fell on the floor, his legs tangled in the sheets.

"Come on, Merlin. I don't have all day." Arthur said, standing over his servant, dressed only in his night shirt and breeches.

"Sorry, sire." he replied, sprawled on the floor, legs still wrapped in his bedding.

"One of these days you might actually wake up on time. It's not that difficult." Merlin's head pounded as he squinted from the sun coming through the window.

"You haven't had your breakfast this morning, have you?" Merlin quipped. The rest of the water was poured over his head causing him to both shiver and sneeze. He glared up at the prince.

"Just get up, will you?" Arthur grumbled at his servant as he started down the stairs, "Oh, and we're going hunting today so meet me by the stables and don't forget to bring my breakfast." He turned and left, leaving his servant still lying on the ground, his aching head falling back onto the floor.

"You better get up, Merlin. You don't want to irritate Arthur more than you already have." Gaius said from his doorway.

"What?" he mumbled and then groaned, realizing he had fallen asleep again. He lifted himself from the ground, carefully stepping out of the sheets, pulled on some day clothes and grabbed a bag, before stumbling down the stairs and rushing towards the door. Sighing, he realized he forgot his jacket. He sprinted up the stairs, grabbed his coat laying halfway under his bed, turned and proceeded to tumble down the steps again.

"Breakfast?" Gaius called after him.

"No time." he grumbled, his voice barley audible to Gaius as he was already halfway down the hallway. Gaius shook his head.

Merlin twisted through the passageways on his way to the kitchen, passing oncoming servants on their way to their masters' chambers. He knocked into another manservant causing the jug he was carrying to spill all over the floor and unfortunately Merlin.

"Watch where you are going!" the servant exclaimed.

"Sorry." Merlin called over his shoulder. Frowning, he looked down at his shirt, noticing a giant water splotch in the middle and sighed as he realized he didn't have enough time to go back and change. This day was not starting out at all well.

He reached the kitchens, narrowly avoiding another accident, grabbed a plate and shoved some sausages, cheese, and an apple on it. Then, as an afterthought, he plucked another apple from the bin. He then proceeded to pack some bread, chicken, and cheese into the pack for lunch. After filling up the water bag with water, he slung the bag over his shoulder and headed towards the stables. Fortunately, the hallways were mostly empty now that the morning rush was over.

He hurried through the hallways and down a set of stairs not really watching where he was going. He slipped, sending Arthur's food flying as he crashed to the bottom of the steps. Merlin lay stunned for several seconds before moaning. He tried to move his head and winced. As if his head didn't hurt enough already. He tried to get up but the world seemed to have other ideas and he swayed for several moments.

Soon he felt able to rise and picked up the surviving pieces of Arthur's breakfast before dusting them off and hoping Arthur wouldn't look too closely. Merlin pouted as he realized that the extra apple he'd taken for himself was bruised beyond recognition. Luckily, the rest of the walk to the stables was uneventful.

As he entered the courtyard, the sun warmed his front, not the scorching heat of the day before but a gentle warmth. He smiled slightly as a light breeze carrying a cinnamon scent passed his nose. He tipped his head back, searching for clouds but there were none to be found. Hopefully, there would be no rain today.

Arthur was in a bad mood. He scowled and barked at the stable boy that had brought out their horses. He was already wearing his chain mail but, there was a pile of armour at Arthur's feet. Merlin couldn't help but wonder if Arthur had carried it down himself. Apparently Arthur heard him and turned, glaring at his approaching servant.

"There you are Merlin, it's about time," he said, as he glanced at his servant, "What happened to you?" Merlin winced, remembering as he looked at his shirt. Hopefully, the sun would dry it soon.

"An unfortunate encounter with a jug, sire. Here's your breakfast." He presented Arthur with the plate.

Arthur glanced at the plate, curiously inspecting the slightly bruised apple, "You better not have dropped it again."

Merlin nearly choked, "Of course not, sire." he replied, picking up gorget, vambraces, pauldron, and couter. They were all attached together, making it easier for the wearer to put on and remove the armour. He couldn't figure out why Arthur hadn't put it on himself as he had several dozen times before. Now, the armour was dusty and dirty. He was going to have to clean it again when he got back.

Arthur wolfed down the food, making Merlin's stomach grumble in protest as he placed the vambrace on Arthur's other arm. He handed Arthur his gauntlets and turned toward his horse to attach his pack to the back of the animal. He checked to see if Arthur had all his gear before looking back at his master who had quickly inhaled the apple.

When he was done, Arthur gave the plate to a passing servant, "We should head out." Arthur's mood seamed slightly improved. Merlin was glad and maybe if his head stopped throbbing, things might brighten up.

Merlin pulled himself up onto his mare, petting her behind the ears causing her snicker softly. Arthur mounted and led them into a trot out of the courtyard and into the lower town. From there, they rode out of the city itself and into the vast forest that surrounded Camelot.

Several minutes passed in silence, neither one of them saying a word. The only sound Merlin could hear was bird song. One particular happy bird flew over his head with a giant worm in his mouth.

"So..." Merlin began, trying to initiate a conversation.

"Shut up, Merlin." Apparently, Arthur was still testy. The prince picked up the pace into a canter, leaving his servant several feet behind.

Catching up, Merlin tried again, "What's wrong?"

Arthur turned and glared, "Nothing. If you don't have anything useful to say, then I'd rather you don't speak at all."

"But," Merlin replied.

"Fine, you really want to know. I woke up to find my lazy servant hadn't come into work. I had to drag myself down to his room and wake him up myself." Arthur retorted, his frown into a scowl. He urged his horse into a gallop

"Right." Merlin commented to air and ran his hand through his hair, flinching when he felt a knot on the back of his head. Then, he coaxed his horse to follow Arthur's mount.

They stopped in a clearing. Getting off their horses, Arthur turned to Merlin, "Grab my crossbow, will you." Then, he proceeded to stalk into the forest. Sighing, Merlin trailed behind him, an unhappy expression on his face.

For the next several hours, Arthur led him through the woods. It was cooler than it had been that morning but not enough for it to be chilly. They had stopped a few times and Arthur had caught some small prey. They had not come across anything substantial yet. He was glad his shirt had finally dried, though his head still throbbed slightly. Bored, Merlin looked up trying to find images in the white puffy clouds between the trees.

His foot caught on a stray roots causing him to trip and fall, scrapping his hands in the process and nearly stabbing himself with Arthur's sword.

Arthur twisted back to stare at his fallen servant and asked, "Is it possible for you be any clumsier?" He continued on leaving Merlin on the ground for the second time that day.

"Stop." He demanded, jumping to his feet.

Arthur froze and turned around slowly, "What did you say?" His body was tense and his voice lethal.

"Just stop. You've been in a foul mood all day. What is wrong?" Merlin said, standing his ground. He would not allow himself to be intimidated.

"You do realize I'm the prince, here." Arthur said quietly and deliberately.

"I know. We've been through this before. Would you just tell me, already!"

They stood in the middle of the forest, trees completely surrounding them, glaring at each other.

Finally, Arthur sighed, "My father wants to start sending out search parties for Morgana again."

"What?" Merlin asked surprised.

"He refuses to believe that Morgana has turned against us." He said her name like a swear word, making it obvious to Merlin exactly how he felt about his sister, "He believes that she has been bewitched by Morgause. I think he will stop at nothing to find her."

"Oh." Merlin couldn't quite find thing better to say.

"We should keep moving. I think I would like to find a deer before the day is out." Arthur walked between two trees, the branches swaying as he passed through them.

Merlin followed, "I'm sorry."

"Don't be." Arthur's anger seemed to have dissipated into something more melancholy and reserved. A cold wind passed through Merlin and he shivered.

It had gotten progressively colder and Merlin fervently wished for the warmth of the previous day. He tried to wrap his coat closer around his body but wasn't all that successful considering the three rabbits and the pack he was carrying. He couldn't believe he had almost forgotten it this morning.

Arthur had perked up though, probably due to the fact that they had picked up the trail of a stubborn deer.

"Can we head back now?" Merlin whined, as another gust of wind tore through him. Arthur with all his armour and chain mail never seemed to have a problem with the cold.

"Stop being such a girl, Merlin." said a considerably happier Arthur.

"It's cold." Merlin huffed, shaking and trying to rub his hands together.

"No more than the rest of the year." Arthur said absently.

"What if it rains?" Merlin asked, glancing up at the clouds that were now dark and puffy. He walked through some branches one of the whipped back and hit him in the face. He sighed.

"Then, we will find shelter. Really, Merlin, you have been my servant for nearly four years. You'd think you would be used to anything by now." He glanced back at his manservant.

"Sure, throw me an invincible army. Doesn't mean I have to like the rain." Merlin muttered.

"It does mean that I don't have to hear your prattle." Arthur replied carefully scanning the woods.

"You said it was my only redeemable quality." Merlin commented mischievously.

"A mistake on my part, believe me." Arthur quipped back.

"The great Arthur Pendragon admits to making a mistake." Merlin replied gleefully.

"Shut up, Merlin."

"What if I say no."

"No, Merlin, shut up." he hissed, stopping, his body alert with tension, as five bandits stepped out of the forest. Five big burly bandits.

"What do we have here?" the largest one said. He was bald, tall and menacing, obviously leading the foul smelling group who were all carrying swords except for one in the back carrying a crossbow.

"I suggest you carry on." Arthur said and motioned Merlin to pass him his sword. Merlin complied quickly. The leader grinned, his rotten teeth showing. Then, he laughed.

"What do we have here? A spoiled lord," He bowed mockingly, "And his runt. Shall we boys?"

"I'll have you know I am the Prince of Camelot and if you do not stop now. I'll be forced to take action."

The bandit stopped and seemed to be considering the prince's generous offer. For several moments, the forest was silent. Finally, the bandit guffawed. Merlin didn't even know people did that. The man continued for several more moments before saying, "Get them, boys."

Arthur stepped protectively in front of Merlin, sword raised.

The first one attacked rather clumsily, lifting his sword too high, allowing Arthur to easily stab him in the stomach. He dropped with a gasp and a cry, before falling silent. Two more bandits, one short and the other tall, came at Arthur from different directions. Working in unison, they posed a greater challenge.

Merlin picked up the weapon the first bandit had dropped as the leader advanced toward him, sword swinging and barely defended himself in time. The bandit cut toward him with the sword again causing Merlin to dodge out of its path, dancing backwards. He felt roughness behind him, his back against a broad oak tree. The man growled and thrust again making contact with Merlin's blade, pressing down with his superior strength before he was able to disengage.

Out of the corner of his eye, he saw the man with the crossbow sending arrows flying through the air towards Arthur. Merlin used his magic to blow the arrows off course and embed themselves safely in a tree trunk. At the same time, he made the man soar through the air and hit the ground causing his head to snap. He winced, that was a mistake for so many reasons.

Distracted, Merlin wasn't able to avoid the sword that cut into his arm, hissing and dropping his own weapon. He ducked as the man swung at him again. Grabbing his sword in his good arm, he prepared to defend himself once more.

The man swore as sharp metal found its way into his back. His eyes went bright with surprise, before turning dull and lifeless as Arthur pulled out his blade. He leaned down to wipe it on the grass.

Merlin stood and winced again as his arm scrapped against the side of the tree. Arthur's eyes narrowed in on the wound.

"You're injured." Arthur pulled Merlin toward him, inspecting the gash causing Merlin to grimace as the cloth tugged across it.

"Careful." he muttered, shrugging off his coat. He bit his lip until the discomfort subsided. The injury passed from the middle of his upper arm to the just past his elbow. It wasn't really more than a flesh wound. It stung more then anything else.

Merlin sighed when Arthur ripped off a substantial part of his own shirt but didn't bother saying anything, knowing that he would be the one fixing it. Arthur had so many shirts anyway that he would hardly miss this one.

He tied it around Merlin's arm, the slighter man cringing until he was done. Donning his jacket, they headed back toward the horses. He sighed, again. It was going to be a long couple of hours.

Merlin was pretty sure he was frozen solid. A blast of wind nearly swept them over and he hugged his jacket closer around him and shivered with cold. At least, he no longer had to carry the prey and crossbow due to his injured arm for which he was thankful. Merlin nearly toppled over again and, a few moments later, tied to scratch his arm.

An irritated sound came from in front of him, "Would you stop that?"

"Stop what?" Arthur turned around and Merlin pulled his hand away guiltily.

"That." He glared pointedly at Merlin.

"But, it itches." Merlin whined.

"Then, resist the urge. Honestly, you're worse than a child."

Merlin grinned, "Better than a girl."

Arthur smiled slightly, "A female child, then."

Merlin pouted.

"We better get a move on." Arthur said and started forward again.

Then, it started to rain. Torrents of water, splashing down through the trees, chilling them to the bone before a moment passed. Raindrops fell from his hair, trickling down his face, soaking his clothes and skin, and creating puddles in his boots. To say he was miserable would be an understatement.

They plodded on, heads down, neither of them saying a word, knowing that if the other did, a snap would be their response. Merlin was envious, not for the first time, that Arthur was wearing armour. Though, it provided him little protection, it was some protection nonetheless.

They had finally made it to the horses when Arthur unexpectedly slipped on a tree root. Merlin was ready and waiting with a jest, but Arthur didn't get up. Merlin cautiously approached Arthur, not quite worried. Yet.

"You okay?" he asked. Arthur didn't even moan. Merlin's anxiety increased tenfold as he rushed to his friend. He shook Arthur, but there was no response. "Come on, quit playing around. It's not funny." Merlin begged. Arthur didn't reply.

He turned him over to find a gash on his forehead, gushing blood and gasped. A rock had been waiting for Arthur on his way down. He pushed on Arthur's shoulder, trying to rouse him. No such luck.

He ripped off his neckerchief and placed it over Arthur's wound. The rain soaked the already wet scarf through in moments. Merlin glanced at the horses, who were happily grazing grass under a giant oak tree where it looked relatively dry. Merlin grabbed Arthur under his arms and started to pull him over to the tree. He cried out his own wound stretched and pulled, dropping Arthur.

He picked his friend up again and dragged him the rest of the way. By the time he was done, he was panting and sweating beneath his wet shirt. He searched through his pack for something dry to put on the wound. It worried him the Arthur hadn't woken up yet. He had learned from Gaius that head wounds were serious and not to be taken lightly. It reminded him about the dull headache that had persisted all day from his earlier fall.

Finding nothing in the bag, he glanced over at Arthur. Blood trailed down his forehead and across his chin to drip on to the ground as the prince shivered in his sleep. Merlin took his own jacket off and put it over him, hoping that even though it was wet it would help his friend a little.

Merlin grabbed the driest branches around the base of the tree, placed them in a lump together, and quickly set them alight with magic. He then tore the bottom of his shirt off, ripped it into two pieces and placed one on a rock near the fire. He turned to Arthur with the other piece still in his hand and started to wipe the blood off the prince's face before placing it over the wound.

Merlin waited, hoping Arthur would wake up. He flipped the cloth over.

Arthur's breath hitched and he started to shake slightly. Merlin hurried over, leaning over his friend. "What is wrong with you?" He touched Arthur's brow, finding it was hot to the touch. "This shouldn't be happening, not for a head wound."

Moving back, he inspected the prince. Merlin's shirt caught on Arthur's chain mail and he pulled it to reveal a bloody gash across his lower stomach causing him to gasp.

"You idiot. Why didn't you tell me?" he demanded to the unconscious Arthur as the prince started shaking again and Merlin tried to hold him still. It felt like his body was coming apart. "Come on, don't do this to me."

He grabbed the rag from the fire and tried to stop the blood that was oozing from the laceration. Tears prickled at his eyes. He wasn't good at healing with magic. It was his one weakness. He placed his hand over the wound.

He whispered, "Gestathole." Nothing happened. He wasn't that surprised. He tried another basic spell, "Thurhhaele."

"Come on work." he muttered, his frustration growing as tears slipped out of his eyes and down his face, "Gehæle." Blood still seeped from the injury. It wasn't working.

He stepped back and tried to breathe and angrily wiped the tears running down his face. Trying to control his nerves, he leaned down again, "Work with me, prat. Þurhhæle dolgbenn."

His head pounded from the effort, "Licsar gehæle nu!" Merlin sighed and tore off another piece of his shirt, attempting to soak up the blood.

"Don't do this to me." he glanced around and noticed that the rain had stopped. He laughed bitterly at the irony, the water rushing in streams down his cheeks was no longer rain. The day had grown dark around him.

He tried to remember the spell that Taliesin had used on Arthur. His head ached as he pushed his hands into his eyes, trying to force the words to come.

"Wel cene hole." he whispered, placing his hand on top of the wound. Nothing.

"Wel cene hole." he repeated, louder. Still nothing. He yelled in frustration, agitation, and despair.

In shear desperation, he said, the first thing that came to his mind, "Ábannan bilswæþ leáfa." A searing pain cut across his stomach. He raised his shirt to find a slice across his stomach in the same place that Arthur's was. He collapsed, his legs suddenly becoming weak beneath him.

He shut his eyes tightly and breathed through the pain. After several moments had passed he was able to raise himself up from the ground a little. He cried out as the movements aggravated his new wound. He lifted his shirt again, to find that the gash was still open but no longer bleeding.

Hearing a sound, he quickly glanced over at Arthur to find that his wound had mostly disappeared, leaving just a thin faded scar in its place. He didn't know how he managed it but he had somehow taken Arthur's injury for his own. He pulled the bloody rag away the now healed wound and tossed it, trying to hide the evidence, and as he did so Arthur stirred, his head moved slightly and his eyes tried to open. Merlin shuffled over towards him, "Arthur?" he questioned.

Arthur blinked rapidly, "Merlin?" Merlin sighed, in relief.


"What happened?" Arthur asked, trying to sit up.

"No, don't." Merlin said, gently pushing Arthur back down. "You fell."

"What do you mean I fell?"

Merlin grinned, "I mean you tripped over a root and hit your head."

"It's not funny."

"Actually, it is a bit funny." Merlin chuckled.

"Merlin." he admonished. Then, he smacked his lips, "Do you have any water?"

"Yes," Merlin looked over at the horses. The water was in the saddle bag.

"Well." Arthur asked, inspecting his servant closely.

"Yeah, yeah." He still hesitated. He couldn't afford Arthur to know that he was injured in the exact same spot as he was. He didn't know how he would explain where Arthur's injury had gone.

"So, a root, huh." Merlin teased as he raised himself to his feet and turned quickly. His eyes slammed shut and tears sprang to his eyes as the pain coursed through his body .

"Merlin!" Arthur exclaimed, "Are you asking for time in the stocks?"

"No." He bit on his lip as he moved toward the horses, his hand hovering protectively over his stomach. Merlin reached for the bag and pulled out the water skin, noticing a bedroll tied onto the back of Arthur's gelding. He laughed humourlessly as he realized what that meant. Typical Arthur, only giving him half the facts. He hadn't bothered to tell him that he planned for a two day hunting trip. It might have been a nice thing to know.

"What?" Arthur demanded.

"Nothing." He stretched up and pulled down the bedroll, dropping it as pain flared through his midsection. He clamped down on a cry that tried to escape his mouth. He screwed his eyes shut again, slowly breathing. He lifted up his shirt to look at the wound again. It still wasn't bleeding which was good but confusing. It hurt, though, viciously.

"Merlin." Arthur drawled lazily from the forest floor.

"Hm?" Merlin questioned, putting his shirt back down.

"The water?" Arthur said, annoyed.

He turned around and smiled, "Right." He grabbed the bedroll and water skin and headed back toward the prince.

"Here." He passed Arthur the skin.

Arthur gulped down a substantial amount of water, "Thanks." Merlin passed Arthur the bedroll.

"How are you feeling?" Merlin asked, adjusting the blanket around Arthur who batted away Merlin's hand, then proceeded to yawn.

"Fine." Arthur said, blinking tiredly.

"The gash on your head would say otherwise."

Arthur conceded, "It might ache a little." He frowned, trying to pull up his shirt and chain mail. "I could have sworn..."

"You really shouldn't do that." Merlin said, stopping Arthur's efforts. "Sleep. We will have to go back in the morning."

Arthur nodded, his eyes already drooping. Merlin moved a small distance off and tried to get comfortable on the ground.

He hissed quietly and shut his eyes again. Sleep, sleep would be good. He shivered slightly in his wet clothes.

A tired voice interrupted his painful numbness, "Come here, you idiot, or you will catch a cold."

Merlin crawled over to Arthur and slipped under the blanket.

"Why didn't you bring yours? Didn't you know it was a two day trip?" Arthur asked, and then looked curiously at his servant as he laughed at the question.

Finally, Merlin stopped, "No, you didn't bother to tell me, prat."

"You're my servant, you're supposed to be know these things."

"I'm supposed to be physic?" Merlin asked.

"Of course not, magic is banned."

"Right." Merlin murmured.


"Go to sleep." He muttered at his annoying master.


"Yes, night."

Hopefully, tomorrow would be better.

Gestathole. Thurhhaele. Cure. Make well. (From 1x13)

Þurhhæle dolgbenn. Heal thoroughly the wound. (From 3x05)

Licsar gehæle nu! Behold, cure the mortal wound! (From 3x05)

Wel cene hole. Do good to the perforation. (From 3x05)

Gehæle. Heal (From 3x13)

Ábannan bilswæþ leáfa. Command sword track wound to leave. (I made this one myself. I bet the grammer is horrible.)

I am planning on leaving this as a oneshot unless people convince me otherwise. :)

Edit (05/29/11): There will be a second part. I have been convinced and it should be out soonish. (Half a week?)