Love and Lakes

Worry, Worry, Worry

Merlin was having a bad time of it.

His sleep, that is.

He was twisting and turning, panting and sweating. The dream he was having was not good, not good at all. His breathing became sharper and louder as he delved into this world of nightmare.

It was dark and dank, and smelled of mold and rainwater. The stone wall was rough and wet, as if it was a cave wall. Two figures were chained to the wall by their arms, and the rest of them were sitting on the floor, slumped over and tired. Their breathing was rasping and long, pitiful.

Soon, the door to their cell opened and light was let in on their faces. They lifted their heads towards the intimidating figure walking over to them, and their breathing became more ragged, searching for air, some good air, enough to fill their lungs.

It was Leon and Elyan. Their faces were damp with sweat, cut up and bruised, and screwed up in pain.

Merlin sat up suddenly in shock, beads of sweat rolling down his forehead and hyperventilating violently. Without knowing what he was doing, his eyes flashed gold, and objects started to fly around the room crazily and with no direct location of landing.

Merlin’s breathing started to ease up, but was still very worried. Leon and Elyan were currently out on a patrol near the border of Odin’s kingdom, and now their safety was compromised. Well, definitely more than compromised.

Soon, the objects flying around Merlin’s room slowed down, and then dropped out of the air like flies. His breathing went back down to the normal scale, but he didn’t go back to sleep. He was scared of what he might see.

When the sun rose, he trudged out of his room and made himself breathless. Gaius wasn’t home right now - he was helping a woman deliver a baby, and apparently he was still helping. It was lucky, because Gaius would surely ask him what was all the commotion, and Merlin just did not want to talk about it.

As soon as he was done with breakfast, and much more awake, he realized that he had to tell Arthur. There were lives on the line! And he had to look for Leon and Elyan himself, that was really important. He launched himself out the door, hurrying to pick up Arthur’s breakfast so he could talk to him.

Soon, he barged into Arthur’s room. Gwen gave him a smile as she walked out, and Freya soon joined her. Gwen said, “Arthur, we’re going for a ride. See you later!” Freya kissed Merlin on the cheek on her way out as Merlin sighed and approached the deliriously tired King who would no doubt refuse to get out of bed, and throw something at him, and call him an idiot or something worse than that.

Merlin threw open the shades half-heartedly and quietly said, “C’mon Arthur, I have to talk to you. Wake up.” Arthur poked his head up at the sudden lack of cheeriness, but soon stuffed it back in his pillow.

Merlin sighed and impatiently walked over to Arthur, where he shook him awake. “Arthur. I need to talk to you.” Arthur groaned and threw his other pillow at Merlin’s face, who caught it and looked at it longingly. He started to wish that he had slept, or at least he had a more comfortable place to relax.

Arthur turned his head to look at Merlin. He had dark bags under his eyes and looked incredibly worried. Usually, Merlin was happy and very, very annoying: what was wrong? Arthur decided that Merlin needed to be cheered up a bit. “You are an idiot, do you know that?” Merlin didn’t return the semi-friendly gesture.

“Arthur,” he asked, “Have Leon and Elyan’s patrol returned yet?” A hint of Merlin’s worry seeped into his words.

Arthur was perturbed. Why did Merlin care? “No, they haven’t. It’s normal for a patrol to be out this long.” Merlin suddenly looked a lot more tired, and worried.

“Arthur, I’m - I’m worried about them. I feel like they’re in danger.” Arthur furrowed his brow.

“Why, is it another one of your funny feelings again?” Arthur took on a mocking tone. “And we know how reliable that is.”

Merlin was not amused. “Yes, very reliable if you remember. I’m always right in the end.” Arthur smiled.

“Please, Merlin. They’ll come back - they’re two of Camelot’s finest knights! They can handle themselves. There is no reason to be worried, you’re just being stupid.”

Arthur thought it was a perfectly good answer, but was disturbed at how little it affected Merlin. He was still tired, and his sapphire eyes were still flooded with worry. There was more to the story, Arthur was sure of it, but Merlin wouldn’t be telling. “Well, now that we have that all cleared up -” Arthur knew that it wasn’t but there was no proof that Merlin was right - “You can go and polish my armor.”

Merlin sighed and got up slowly. As soon as he did, he started to sway and put his hand to his forehead. Arthur sat up in bed, suddenly equally worried. “Merlin?” he said cautiously. “Are you alright?”

Merlin didn’t say anything, but suddenly the bags under his eyes and the tired expression was suddenly much more prominent. He started to stagger away, but Arthur jumped out of bed and sat Merlin down, concern written all over his face. Arthur knew that last time Merlin had been feeling faint, and almost passed out, many bad things had happened. He put his hands on Merlin’s shoulders and said more slowly, “Are you alright?” Merlin nodded.

“I - I just didn’t get much sleep last night.”

Arthur scrunched his eyebrows and asked another question. “Exactly how much sleep did you get, Merlin?”

“About three hours.” However, the lie was obvious. Somehow Merlin had gotten even less sleep than that.

Arthur was outraged. “Merlin! You have to take better care of yourself! I know you’re worried but it’s no reason to lose slee-” But he was interrupted by screams from the courtyard.

A brown horse was slowly trotting in, and a rider was on his back. But as Arthur came close to the window, he realized the rider was slumped over on the horse. And that there was an arrow sticking out of his back.

Arthur put his hand to his forehead and grabbed Merlin, bringing him carefully down the stairs and outside. “What’s happened?” Arthur yelled in his most kingly voice.

As they took the man off the horse, it was obvious that the man was a guard. He had been sent on the patrol... the same patrol with Leon and Elyan on it. As he turned the man over to see his back, and the arrow, there was a note stuck to the arrow.

It read: Hello, King Arthur. I do hope that this note comes to you in one piece, for it contains an important message. I have kidnapped your knights, Sir Leon and ‘Sir’ Elyan, I believe. They are being held currently in a secure place in my kingdom, and will be ransomed off for you at one hundred gold pieces for each man. All of the guards who accompanied these poor excuses for knights are dead. And thank you, Good King, for your cooperation.

His Majesty, King Odin

Arthur read the note, shocked, and turned around to face his concerned servant.
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