Title: Sneak Attack
Character/s: Arthur, Merlin, Gaius
Summary: Someone poisons Arthur's water, but he's not the one affected.
Word Count: 676
Prompt: 419, bingo round 2, poisoning
Author's Notes: canon era
Merlin was having an average day cleaning up after Arthur, following Arthur around, and doing odd jobs for Gaius now and then. He’d just fetched Arthur’s dinner and carried it up to Arthur’s chambers, which were empty. He poured some water in the goblet and took a few sips. There hadn’t been much time during the day to drink anything.
The door to the chamber began to open, so he quickly sat the goblet down and poured new water in it. Arthur entered and said, “There you are, hanging around like a bad scent. Is that dinner? I’m starving.”
Merlin opened his mouth to retort, but felt a tickle at the back of his throat. It caused him to cough, not unlike the time he’d drunk poison for Arthur. He looked imploringly at Arthur, who was standing there, looking half concerned. “Caught another cold? Well don’t come near me. I don’t need to be sick for a week.”
When Merlin kept coughing, Arthur came up and put a hand on his shoulder. “Hey, are you all right?”
Merlin shook his head and attempted to speak. “Poison,” he tried, but it came out garbled.
“What was that?”
“Poison.” This time it came out much clearer.
“Poison? You’ve been poisoned?” Arthur said in alarm.
“You need water?”
Merlin shook his head no.
“Oh, it’s in the water.”
Merlin nodded. “Gaius.”
“Gaius, oh yes, of course. I’ll have Gaius fetched immediately.” Arthur went to the door and flagged a passing servant. “Fetch Gaius immediately.” The servant answered in the affirmative and hurried off. Arthur returned to Merlin, who’d fallen to his knees, still coughing.
“Is there anything I can do?” he asked Merlin.
Merlin shook his head and suddenly pitched forward. Arthur caught him and eased him to the floor. “Gaius is on his way.”
A few tense minutes later, Gaius knocked on the door. He heard a yelled “Enter!” and entered the chambers. When he saw Merlin on the floor, he hurried over. “What happened?”
“He’s been poisoned. He said it was in the water.”
Gaius sat his bag down. “So we are looking for something that can be carried in water and is tasteless?”
“All right. That narrows things down considerably.” He looked at Arthur. “Best not to let word of a poisoning get out. You should investigate very carefully.”
“Good idea,” Arthur replied.
Gaius looked through his bottles. “This one should do the trick.” He pulled one from the bag and pulled out the stopper. “Hold him up so he can drink this.”
Arthur picked up Merlin’s upper half and held him still so Gaius could pour the medicine down Merlin’s throat. Gaius covered Merlin’s mouth so he couldn’t cough the medicine back out. After a couple minutes, Merlin stopped coughing Gaius had Arthur lay Merlin down on his bed.
“Merlin, can you speak?” Gaius asked him.
“I—I think so,” he whispered.
“Good. Rest here for a while.” He turned to Arthur. “When he’s ready, make sure he gets back to my chambers safely.”
“Yes, Gaius,” Arthur replied.
Gaius left as Arthur turned to Merlin. “How are you feeling?”
“Horrible,” whispered Merlin.
“I cannot even imagine what it must be like. At least it was a different poison this time, eh?”
“Sorry. Normally I rely on you to keep up the conversation.”
Merlin rolled his eyes. “I’d love to, but my throat still hurts.”
“Ah, sorry.” Just then, his stomach rumbled. “I don’t suppose the chicken is safe?”
“I wouldn’t trust it. Just go get yourself a new dinner.”
“Princes don’t fetch themselves dinner.”
“Think of it as starting your investigation.”
Arthur grinned. “That’s actually a good idea.”
“I do have them now and then.”
“Just take it easy. I’ll be back later.” Arthur opened the door and left.
Merlin smiled. He had an unspecified amount of time by himself, and he didn’t have to do anything. The added bonus was that he was on Arthur’s sumptuous bed. He was going to enjoy this for as long as he could.