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A Word for Forgotten Songs (2/20)

Title: A Word for Forgotten Songs
Fandom: Merlin
Characters: Merlin, Arthur, Uther, Gaius, Gwen, Morgana, Leon, OMC
Rated: PG-13
Word Count: 923 (this chapter)
Summary: A strange warrior arrives in time to save Arthur and Merlin from bandits. He is wounded and falls ill. As Gaius cares for the wound, he knows the blade was dipped in a potion that only affects those with magic. After he heals, Merlin talks with him of magic and Arthur spars with him. They then learn that the bandit attack was not random.
Author's Note: This has been sitting on my computer for over 3 years! It's still not done but I couldn't put off the posting any longer. The original character is from one of my series and I kinda place him in lots of fandoms. His original series can be found here. The story is set in series 2, somewhat early on. It's unbeta'd so all mistakes are my own.

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Merlin liked Alan but he couldn’t place him. At times, he acted like a noble then at others, he could be normal, like everyone else--except when talking back to the prince of the realm. The look on Arthur’s face had been priceless. Now sharing a horse with him, Merlin also learned that Alan was curious. He wanted to know about life at Camelot in every little detail. Arthur slowed his horse until he was beside them and contributed his “hectic” schedule for discussion.

“Yes, I can see how that might be taxing,” Alan said placating.

“Finally, someone who understands.” Arthur moved ahead.

“Insufferable little prat, isn’t he?” Alan muttered.

“He’s actually improved,” Merlin whispered back with a smile.

“You have just risen in my estimation for putting up with him. Now, tell me about your side of things.”

Merlin began to tell of his typical day, doing chores and errands for both Arthur and Gaius. Alan listened without interrupting.

“Look at that, Merlin. Your days are so boring, you put him to sleep.”

Merlin could feel the heat radiating from the other man. Why hadn’t he noticed it earlier? “I don’t think it’s sleep. He’s running a fever.”

“His wound must be infected.”

Arthur was concerned for a stranger who had saved his life. It was at times like this that Merlin was proud to serve him.

“We’re within sight of the main gate. Can you manage to keep him upright if we pick up the pace a little?”

“I think so.” He reached around with one hand and gripped Alan’s tunic. The horse, knowing it was home, followed closely after Arthur’s without much guidance. He didn’t say anything to Arthur, but there was a chance that the bandits’ blades were poisoned. A simple infection wouldn’t have taken effect so quickly.

They entered the courtyard. “Find Gaius!” Arthur ordered a passing servant as he dismounted. “We have a wounded man here!” The boy ran off and Arthur reached up to take Alan.

“Be careful,” Merlin cautioned.

“Really, Merlin? I hadn’t thought of that.” Arthur placed Alan facedown across his upper back and shoulders.

“Do you need--”

“I have him, Merlin. Just go ahead and make sure the way is clear.”

Merlin did as requested though most had already heard Arthur’s shouts and stood back as their prince carried an unconscious stranger up to the physician. He rushed up the stairs and opened the door to the rooms he shared with Gaius. As the man wasn’t there, Merlin immediately began to clear the books off the bed. Thankfully they were just on herbs and medicines and didn’t need any special attention.

Arthur entered at that moment and Merlin could see the strain of carrying the man was getting to him. He went to help and between the two of them, they lowered Alan gently to the bed.

“What do you think it is?” Arthur asked.

Merlin was surprised that Arthur thought he knew, or at least wanted his opinion. “I don’t know,” he answered as he gathered the items Gaius might need. “You said earlier that his wound could be infected.”

“But that quickly? It doesn’t seem right,” Arthur mused.

“Fortunately for the patient that I’m here, then,” declared Gaius as he strode in. “The two of you would debate the cause instead of treat his symptoms.” Gaius put a hand on Alan’s forehead. “Fever. Good thing I asked Gwen to fetch some water. Merlin, help me take his shirt off. I need to examine the wound.”

Merlin held Alan up as Gaius carefully pulled the tunic across Alan’s back and down the injured arm. He then lowered the unconscious man slowly back to the bed.

“Nicely bandaged, Merlin.”

“Thank you.” Merlin beamed.

“You were paying attention.”

Arthur didn’t even bother to hide his smirk. It was one thing for Gaius to tease him, but to do it when Arthur was there? That just wasn’t fair.

Underneath the bandage, the area around the wound was red and swollen. The wound itself was a clean slice but it seemed to glitter as if something were inside, residue from the blade.

“Here’s your water, Gaius,” Gwen said as she lugged the pail into the room. “Oh.” She stopped when she saw the shirtless stranger on the bed. Merlin thought she blushed a little. “Here’s the water you asked for, Gaius,” she said again.

“Thank you, Gwen.”

She didn’t leave. “I could, um, stay and help.”

Arthur looked at her. “I’m sure Morgana needs you…for something.”

“No, I’m quite free,” Gwen countered.

Merlin rolled his eyes. If they kept this banter up, all of Camelot would know how they felt about each other, and if word ever reached Uther…

There was a knock on the open door. “Sire,” said Sir Leon, “your father wishes to see you.”

“Let me know if there’s any change,” he told Gaius. “I’ll be back when I can.” Arthur left with Sir Leon.

Now that Arthur had gone, Gwen decided to leave as well. “If you need my help, please let me know,” she said at the door.

“Thank you, Gwen,” said Gaius. He sighed once they were alone. “Thank goodness.”

“What is it?”

“I’ve seen this a few times before.”

“Why didn’t you say anything while Arthur was here?”

“Because this is magic. This potion only affects those with magic.”

Merlin ignored Gaius’ stare and looked at the sleeping figure. “I wonder if he knows.”

“Merlin, this means that the bandits weren’t after Arthur. They meant to kill you.”



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