Title: Three Times Merlin Lied to Arthur and One Time He Didn't
Character/s: Merlin, Arthur, Gaius
Summary: Merlin has been lying to Arthur about his magical activities.
Word Count: 1055 (oops)
Prompt: #66 Reasons
Author's Notes: Thanks to inspired_being for beta'ing my drabbles.
The sun had been up for a good while when Merlin finally arrived at Arthur's chambers. He entered the room without knocking as usual, and was surprised to see a fully dressed Arthur being served his breakfast by the ever efficient George.
"You're up and dressed," Merlin pointed out needlessly.
"Good of you to join us, Merlin," Arthur said with heavy sarcasm. "George and I were just discussion proper behavior for the King's manservant. You know, things like being on time to wake me, assisting me in dressing and having breakfast ready. Not all that difficult, except for you, it seems. So what's the reason you're late this time?"
Merlin sighed. It was times like this he really felt unappreciated. Little did Arthur know he had spent the night visiting Kilgharrah over the latest threat to Arthur and then trying to make sense of the riddles the Great Dragon had told him. He hadn’t gone to bed, but had been so absorbed in finding the right spell, he was late to awaken Arthur. "I overslept," was all Merlin said.
Arthur looked closely at Merlin. "Your eyes look bloodshot. Are you sure you weren't at the tavern last night?"
"No. Yes. I mean--yes, I'm sure I wasn't at the tavern last night." Under his breath, Merlin muttered, "Wish I was."
Arthur had been chafing under the heavy duties of the kingdom recently, so Merlin wasn't surprised when he declared it was time for a hunting party to gather game for the palace kitchens. Hunting was Arthur's way of relieving stress. A handful of his closest knights and Merlin would camp out for few nights, hunting during the day.
They ventured close to the border of Ascetir and were set upon by a group of bandits. The bandits were no match for the Knights of Camelot, but the knights were outnumbered three to one. Merlin stumbled off his horse when the bandits struck and stayed down on the ground. He was able to drop a heavy branch on several robbers at once with a whispered spell. With another enchantment, one man's sword hit a tree and stuck there when he swung and missed Gwaine. When most of the villains were dispatched, the few remaining fled the scene.
Seeing the enemy was defeated, Arthur took stock of the condition of his own men. Nothing but a superficial wound to Percival's arm. Where was Merlin, the fool? On the ground cowering. At least he knew to leave the fighting to the knights. "You can get up now, Merlin, the danger's gone."
"I wasn't hiding from the fight," Merlin protested. That part was true. The "I just had my breath knocked out of me when I hit the ground hard," was the lie. He hated that Arthur thought him a coward and didn't know his true nature.
Arthur was deathly ill. Gaius suspected poisoning, but had not been able to work out an antidote. Merlin was desperate: he couldn't lose Arthur. They hadn't completed their destiny yet.
"There's nothing I can do, but you, with your magic, may be able to help him, Merlin," Gaius said gently as they both hovered at the unconscious Arthur's bedside.
"You know I'm rubbish at healing spells. But I'll try." With that Merlin placed both his hands on Arthur's chest and closed his eyes. He summoned the power and energy of his magic from deep within himself and pushed it out to Arthur. He felt the magic sink into Arthur and find a foul trail of poison through his body. He pushed against the poison, overpowering it, chasing it as it retreated from his magic. Finally he smothered all traces of the poison and withdrew his magic from Arthur. He collapsed across Arthur's chest, exhausted with the effort of healing.
"Merlin, are you alright? Did it work?" Gaius asked anxiously.
"It took a lot out of me but I think I got all the poison." He struggled to a seated position on the bed.
Gaius leaned over and listened to Arthur's chest. He pronounced, "His breathing is less labored and his heart sounds stronger. We'll know for sure when he returns to consciousness."
Merlin breathed a sigh of relief and closed his own eyes, lying down on the bed beside Arthur. "I'll just rest a bit."
In a few more moments, Arthur's eyes flickered open and revealed the sight of his manservant reclining beside him. He shoved Merlin, demanding, "What are you doing in my bed?"
"What?" Merlin mumbled, but then he was fully alert. "Arthur, you're awake! Are you feeling alright? You've been very ill."
"What happened?" Arthur asked as he ran his hand through his hair.
"You were poisoned. Gaius worked out an antidote and cured you." Once again, Merlin lied.
The next time he was late attending to Arthur was before a banquet. He'd been challenging a sorcerer who planned to assassinate the King for his stand against magic. Merlin had been slammed hard into the wall before he'd been able to defeat the man and had been woozy afterwards. He was unable to get back to his work as Arthur's manservant until his head cleared.
Arthur was fuming when Merlin finally arrived. "Hurry up and get the bath ready, I don't want to be late to the banquet. Where were you? What's your reason this time for not being here when I told you to be?"
Merlin had had enough. Without thinking it through in his frustration, he blurted out the truth. "I was busy saving your life by defeating a sorcerer intent on killing you, which I was able to do since I'm the most powerful sorcerer to ever have lived!"
Arthur just stared at him blankly for a few moments, then threw back his head and laughed. "You, a sorcerer? That's a good one, Merlin." More seriously, he said, "No, honestly, what's the real reason you were late?"
Merlin sucked in a breath. He had been given a second chance, to reverse his hasty revelation. He said the first thing that came into his head. "I was in the tavern."
Arthur nodded knowingly. "I thought so. Well, see it doesn't happen again or I'll have you cleaning the stables all day and polishing armour all night, so you'll have no time for the tavern."