Arthur laughed. Since when was Merlin good at dancing?
He watched from his window as Merlin danced in the courtyard with Freya, among the other crowds of people. The festival in honor of Mithian’s arrival had been Gwen’s idea, so as not to make Mithian uncomfortable that Gwen was the Queen now. She had decided upon a festival of music and dance, and everyone was thoroughly enjoying it. This was the big dance, which had followed a magnificent feast. Both Arthur and Gwen would attend, but that would be later - Gwen needed time to rest, and Arthur needed time to make fun of Merlin's dreadful dancing, which had admittedly turned out slightly different than expected.
He had to say, this festival was much more fun than he had originally thought it would be. Watching Merlin dance with Freya was one of the things he had been looking forward to, though. Merlin was the clumsiest person he had ever seen, so this should be interesting!
He looked on as Freya dragged a blushing Merlin into the groups of people dancing along to the music, and was surprised to see that Merlin wasn’t half-bad. He had truly expected Merlin to trip and knock over every couple in the ring of people, but he managed to stay on his feet. He gave an approving smile, and felt his heart warm as Freya giggled and wrapped her arms around him, hugging him. Arthur shook off the feeling quickly, though - since when had he become a romantically inclined, giggling girl?
Merlin smiled, but Arthur noticed that he looked a bit pale. Heh, he must have been tired from trying (and for once succeeding) to not trip over himself. As Freya led him back over to the side, out of the group of dancing people, he started to pant. Arthur’s smile faded a little.
He could see Freya worriedly questioning him. Her smile slid off her face slowly, and Merlin put a hand on his head and his side, bending over as he gasped for air. Suddenly, he straightened, his pale face filled with panic. He said something to Freya, and then slid to the ground.
3 Hours Before
Mithian was having much more fun than she had had in a very long time. The new Queen, Guinevere, had held a festival of music and dance in honor of her arrival. Mithian appreciated the efforts - it made her feel welcome, and she was enjoying the festival very much.
As she looked out the window, watching the people dance, she smiled. Camelot truly was a fine kingdom, ruled by kind and just royals.
A soft padding of feet let her know that she was with company. She turned around with a smile, and was greeted with the sight of the Head Knight, Sir Leon. He smiled back at her, and walked so that he was close to her, but still a respectful distance away. That was Sir Leon, ever the gentlemen.
“Are you... enjoying the festival, my lady?” He asked slowly. She closed her eyes, taking in the sound of his voice before answering.
“Yes, it was very generous of the Queen to do so for me.”
“I imagine it was the Queen’s pleasure. You deserve it.”
“Why, thank you, Sir Leon. I am enjoying the festival immensely.”
He looked down at his shoes, blushing slightly before meeting her eyes again. He had a sly smile. “Would you like to accompany me to the main event of the evening? It is a dance, after all, and I cannot see you going without a partner.” She felt her heart pounding - she had wanted this.
“I would love to.” She replied softly, trying to reign in her emotions. “There is no other person who I would rather go with.”
His large grin betrayed his formal words. “Thank you, my lady.”
She sighed softly before adding: “Sir Leon?”
Curiously, he replied. “Yes, my lady?”
“Could we drop the formalities, please?”
He looked incredibly relieved. “Thank goodness.” She laughed, and cheekily asked him her next question.
“So how long have you been wanting to ask me to dance?”
He blushed a bit. “For a very long while.”
She took a step forward. “And I have been waiting for you to ask me for a long while as well.” He looked down at her face, which was now close enough to his to be dubbed ‘less than appropriate’.
Damn appropriateness, he thought, and damn the rules. I’ve broken them before, and I will definitely break them again. And he put his finger under her chin and lifted it up so that she was looking at him, before leaning in and kissing her.
Mithian, though shocked, smiled against his lips and wrapped her arms around his neck, standing on her toes so that she could get closer to him. She felt warm and happy inside, a tingling and burning feeling that spread from her lips all through her body.
She was very glad, at that moment, that Arthur had chosen Guinevere instead of her.
Later, Leon was accompanying Mithian to the feast that took place before the dance. She was on his arm, and beaming up at him. He could not believe his luck - him, ending up with a princess, who loved him as much as he loved her. He smiled back at her warmly, swimming in the feelings that had overtaken him, when something in the background caught his eye.
It was Merlin. He was leaning against a wall, catching his breath and looking quite pale. Leon looked at Mithian, who seemed curious at Leon’s worried expression, and said, “Excuse me for a moment, I have to talk to Merlin...” He frowned, kissed her hand, and sped towards Merlin quite quickly.
Leon felt a bit of rising panic - last time Merlin had a hard time breathing, it hadn’t been good. Once he got close enough, he said, “Merlin? What’s troubling you?”
Merlin looked up, his breathing easing a bit, though still worrying. “I dunno,” he gasped. “I’ve felt like this for a bit - but it’s not so bad, really.” He quickly added after seeing Leon’s concerned expression.
Leon leaned in a bit closer, his tone of voice very quiet and hesitant. “Is there anything you can do with your magic to fix it?” Merlin made a skeptical look, pursed his lips, and shook his head.
“Don’t think so.” Merlin answered. Leon sighed, and then replied.
“Well, if there’s anything I can do...” He suggested. Merlin’s features darkened.
“I don’t think there is much, but thanks for the offer.” Leon nodded his head in goodbye, and walked back to where Mithian was watching them curiously.
“What was all that about?” She instantly inquired.
Leon bit his lip as she took his arm they continued their walk to the feast. “I don’t know yet... but it’s nothing good.”
Freya grabbed Merlin’s hand and smiled, happy to have him with her. She had been looking forward to the big dance for a long time now, because it was the one where Merlin agreed to dance with her, just the one time. He had always been wary of dancing - she knew it was because he didn’t want to step on her toes.
He smiled back at her, and kissed her forehead before bringing her close to him and hugging her, feeling her chest rise and fall steadily against his, which was not-so-steadily struggling along. He half-knew what was happening, but didn’t want to believe it.
She then smiled and buried her head in his chest a bit, before looking up and giggling. “Let’s go dance,” she chimed, and then ran to the group of dancing people with him dragged along behind.
The circle of people was large and fast-moving, and there were many people around him. Merlin summoned every part of him that he knew wasn’t clumsy at all, and maybe a tiny bit of magic to keep himself from falling over and hurting somebody. He gave a tiny smile - when he was given his powers, all those years ago when he was born, they probably hadn’t had it in mind that he would use it for this purpose.
At his smile, Freya looked up at him and giggled, wrapping her arms around him. He looked down at her, and at his arms that were wrapped around her (they looked incredibly pale) and whispered, “Could we... go off to - the side for... a moment? I’m a bit tired.” She gave him a curious look, as she should, since they had only been dancing a few minutes, but complied and led him out of the circle.
He caught his breath, taking large, struggling pants as he leaned against a wall, putting one hand on his head and another on his side. She stared at him worriedly. “Merlin?” She inquired. “What’s wrong?”
“I don’t know,” he breathed, doubling over as he gasped for air. “I... I can’t get enough... air, and... my head feels... light, and...” He straightened, pure panic filling his features.
“Morgana.” He whispered. Turning to Freya, he breathlessly continued. “Get Arthur. Tell him it’s happening again.” And with that, he slid to the ground, unconscious.