Hey guys. So for the late update. I've been on vacation and mainly focusing on my Hunger Games stories for the past while. Anyway, this idea comes from 'Bananaberry12' .
AU Ep. 5x08~ What if Arthur had found Merlin poisoned instead of Daegal?
Merlin was late for his duties. I mean, I'm not surprised, of course. I just feel like something's a bit... off. I don't know what. I just have this strange feeling in the pit of my stomach, telling me that something isn't right.
I headed over to Gaius and Merlin's Chambers and walked into find Gaius reading a book on herbs. I walked towards him. "Gaius?"
Gaius jumped slightly, standing up. "My Lord, how may I be of assistance?"
"Where's Merlin? He's late per usual, but I need him now," I asked, hands on my hips and glancing around the room.
"He is not here, Sire."
I cocked an eyebrow. "Then where is he?" I stuck my hand out, palm up, "Wait, let me guess. Tavern?"
"No my Lord. He is out collecting herbs for a potion I am brewing. I sent him out this morning."
I studied the old man's face for a moment, then, taking another sweeping look around the room, nodded to him and exited his Chambers.
I gathered up a bag containing all the necessities for going into the woods, readied myself on my horse, and headed off in search of Merlin.
Something just didn't seem right. When I searched Gaius' face, I found a hint of uneasiness and fear. It wasn't just today that Merlin was late, for he didn't return last night with my bath water. I doubt that he would be out collecting herbs, and I seriously doubt that he left this morning. Something is definitely wrong.
My horse trotted into the forest and I looked around for any sign of Merlin. Not too far off, I spotted two fading pairs of footprints in the mud.
"Well, it's better than nothing." I muttered to myself. Tugging on the reins of my horse, I set off following the trail.
Around late afternoon, I jumped off my horse and started to cook up a lunch.
I boiled some water, then added some herbs and other ingredients that I had collected from the kitchens before I left. Ten minutes, I poured my soup into a bowl and took a sip. A spat it out immediately. Well, I've established a few things today. One: I can't cook. Two: I need to ask Merlin how to.
After I successfully washed my dishes and repacked them, I continued on my search for Merlin.
The footprints were deeper now, for they weren't as old and were covered by trees, so no rain could wash them away.
Filled with determination, I willed my horse to go faster.
It started to get dark quick, seeing it was nearing winter and the area I was currently passing through was secluded in many tall trees.
I passed by a wide expanse with no trees. There was a cliff up ahead and I decided it would be a good place to camp.
After I tied my horse to a tree and created a fire, I went off in search of some berries.
There should be some near by, I thought to myself. After about five minutes of walking, I entered a smaller clearing. It looked like there had been a fight not too long ago. There was a branch snapped off of a tree and laying out in the open, a dent in a tree where someone must have been pushed into, and a set of muddy footprints leading to another cliff. Strangely, the footprints ended about two feet from the edge of the cliff but didn't continue.
I peered over the edge of the cliff and stood there startled.
For there was Merlin. On his back, with his arms wide. He could've sleeping if it weren't for the black, bubbly substance protruding from his mouth, his eyes rolled back in his head, his pale skin, his ragged breath, and his shaking body in general. I leaped down from the cliff and kneeled beside my man-servant. Grasping his shoulders and slightly shaking them in an attempt to awake him, I could feel just how cold he was. He felt as if had been burried deep within a snowbank. But at the same time, he felt like he had just come out of the oven. How could someone be so cold, yet so hot at the same time?
I was torn to whether I should cover him with a blanket and make a fire, or to strip of his coat and shirt to cool him down. I settled for creating a small fire about three feet away from him and placing a cold, damp cloth on his forehead. I headed back to my horse, packed up my things and settled down beside Merlin.
I watched as Merlin looked like he were being tortured. "Merlin..." I muttered, staring at him. Who did this? Who would do this? What did Merlin ever do that could get him in to this much trouble?
I tried to stay wide awake. I had set up camp and lay down about four feet from Merlin. If I ever found whoever did this, they would be punished. Severely.
I awoke to the sun shining through the cracks in the trees, the water from the near by creek running, and the birds chirping.
I must've fallen asleep, I thought to myself as I sat up groggily, rubbing the sleep from my eyes. I looked over to Merlin, who still looked like he was being stabbed all over with pin needles. His face was scrunched in pain, and his breath was slowing.
I grabbed a bucket, made my way over to the creek and splashed some water in my face. I then scooped up a bucket full of water and de-germified it. Setting it above the fire, I let the bucket boil.
Sitting with my knees drawn up to my chest, arms wrapped around them and chin resting atop, I stared ahead into the open expanse. I saw a few deer and rabbits pass along by, but I was not in the mood for hunting. Not when my friend was dying.
There was a startled gasp behind me, and I jumped to my feet, whirling around. Merlin was awake. Awake and gasping for breath.
"Merlin!" I exclaimed and rushed to his side.
Merlin's eyebrows creased and he turned his head, painfully, towards me. "A - Arthur?" I nodded.
"Merlin, what happened to you?"
"M - Mor - Morgana." He let out between breaths.
I could feel my eyes widen in fury.
Morgana. Even the name is a disgrace to hear.
"M - make - make a tinc - a tincture." Merlin said and listed of the ingredients and instructions.
I returned fifteen minutes later with the tincture, and cautiously poured it in to Merlin's mouth. Nothing happened for a moment. Then suddenly, Merlin reached out and grasped my hand tightly; I didn't pull back. Merlin's entire body began to shudder violently. The bubbly, black substance from before reappeared and poured out his mouth, onto his shirt. The shaking and the substance seized to a halt all at once. Merlin stared wide-eyed and un-blinking into the morning sun.
I stared wide eyed at him for a moment. It looked like he was dead. I immediately sighed in relief when I felt that faint, yet steadying pulse in his neck. Merlin began to shiver and I threw my blanket over top of him. He still wasn't blinking. I sat beside him and just waited. Waited for a sign of life.
It took two hours before Merlin made even a sudden move. He started to blink rapidly and lifted his hand up to his head, rubbing away the pain. "Ow," he muttered as he sat up.
"Dear God, Merlin are you alright! How are you feeling?" I pestered.
Merlin stared at me for a moment, still rapidly blinking. "A hell of a lot better, thanks to you," he finally said after a few minute's silence.
I sigh in relief. "What were you doing here?" I asked.
"I -" Merlin was hesitant for a moment. "I was out collecting herbs for Gaius, when I tripped over this cliff."
I couldn't tell Arthur about Daegal. No matter how much of a traitor he was. Arthur would question why I went to help a 'druid'. I couldn't tell him.
"But earlier, you told me Morgana did this to you." I reminded him.
Merlin winced, as he stretched out his legs, then stared at me for a moment. "I - did?"
"Yes," I nodded.
"I don't recall..."
"Merlin. What did she do?"
Merlin stared at the ground ahead for a moment. "N - nothing."
"Merlin!" I exclaimed. "I order you to tell me what she did. Now."
Gulping, Merlin explained, "She pushed threw me into a tree and pushed me off the cliff. Then she poisoned me." He looked at me.
Then she poisoned me.
Then she poisoned me.
Then she poisoned me.
I ran the words through my mind multiple times before I could finally make sense of them. Merlin's poisoned. This tiny little tincture wouldn't help that. I stood up and grabbed Merlin's arms, hauling him to his feet, ignoring his protests of pain. "We need to get you to Gaius before this becomes anymore serious."
Merlin took a step forward and winced greatly. "Arthur, I can't-" I picked Merlin up and threw him around the back of my neck, carrying him to my horse. I then set him gently on his stomach and we rode to Camelot. I don't think Gwen will be happy about my absence.
We reached Camelot half a day later. I rode the horse into the citadel and immediately brought Merlin up to Gaius.
"Merlin! You're alright!" Gaius exclaimed, dropping what he was doing and rushing over to us.
"He's been poisoned Gaius. He needs your help." I said, as Gaius slung Merlin's other arm around his neck. We dragged Merlin over to Gaius' bed and lay him down.
"Thank-you, Sire." Gaus nodded, bowing.
I opened my mouth to talk to Gaius about how he lied to me about Merlin, but thought better of it. I looked to Merlin one more time, then nodded to Gaius. "Let me know of any changes."
I then left his Chambers to go explain to Gwen of my absence, then to attend a meeting of the Round Table.
So I hope you guys enjoyed that!
I'd like to give a shoutout to 'Bookluver1999'. Her Harry Potter story 'Inside the Story' is truly amazing. For all you Potterheads out there, please give it a shot! :)