Ignoring Your Injury 101
Leaning on each other’s shoulders again, the two scarred, troubled, injured, yet alive young men limped back to Camelot. Upon arrival, the knights clapped their King on the arm as Gaius came striding forward quickly to attend to their wounds.
Arthur was sent to his room, where he would rest as Gwen watched over him. All he needed was food, water, and sleep and he would make a quick recovery. However, Merlin’s burns were worse than they looked, and he could not work for a few days.
Merlin was already accustomed to the stinging, burning pain that came with his injury, so the fact that he had gotten three days off because of his 'grievous' burns caused him great joy. Gaius, amused, walked out of Merlin’s room chuckling. He waited on asking Merlin what had happened, hoping to maintain the boy's happiness for just a moment longer.
Around noon, Merlin came out of his bedroom, in pain from the tight bandages but also in high spirits. He limped down the stairs, the red lines streaking down his legs sending small shoots of pain up as he took a step. “Hello,” he said, a smile lighting up his features.
Gwen, who was talking to Gaius, saw Merlin, and ran over to hug him. “Oh, thank goodness you’re alright,” she said, “And thank you for keeping Arthur safe too.” Merlin, remembering that Guinevere and Arthur got to be together and happy, smiled a little less widely.
Gwen stepped back to look at him. “Do you want to go see him? I’m sure he’d be glad to see you’re doing better.” Merlin nodded, and started limping down to Arthur’s chambers.
When he opened the door, Arthur was sitting up in bed and eating his lunch. “Ah,” he said, “there you are. I need you to clean my room, muck the stables, clean the horses, and-” When he saw Merlin lifting up his arm, which were in pretty painful looking bandages, he stopped.
“I can’t,” Merlin interjected. “The burns I got from Morgana, they are very serious.” He said so with a smile. “I have three days off of work.” Arthur looked scandalized.
“Three days?! How will I get on for three days without a servant?!”
Merlin grinned, amused. “So you do need me!”
Arthur, mouth open, realized what trap he had been led into. “Er, no, I don’t need you. I am a King, after all, and can do things on my own. I don’t need some lazy servant to do everything for me.” Both of them knew this wasn’t true at all, which both enhanced Merlin’s smile and deepened Arthur’s frown.
Merlin’s smile soon faded into the sad and lonely face Arthur had become accustomed to seeing in the last three months. Arthur, suddenly worried, said, “You know, I -” but Merlin cut him off once again.
“I - I just want to go see Freya.” He sighed, and looked away from Arthur, ashamed.
Arthur dropped his arrogant, rude demeanor and looked on, worriedly, at his friend. “I’ll come with you.” When Merlin seemed about to object, he said, “I do need to get out, and I doubt Morgana is still out there.”
Merlin submitted, and said: “Just us two, right? I - I don’t really want anyone else there.”
Arthur gave a small smile and said kindly, “Just us two.”
They prepared to ride out before first light, just in case Gaius objected. It would not be a mission that was widely known: only Guinevere was aware of the plans they had made.
Merlin was tired, and he had a hard time preparing the packs they were to bring; it twinged and burned quite horribly whenever he lifted it up too high. Arthur said nothing, but he loaded up the rest of Merlin’s pack while he was off doing something else. He felt bad for him.
Soon, when the moon was at its highest peak, Arthur and Merlin set off for the woods, being quiet and trying not to be seen.
The guards, Arthur decided, were not very perceptive. He would have to train them more thoroughly, he thought, as both he and Merlin snuck out. Didn’t hear or see much, did they?
As he glanced over at Merlin, his face was set, pale and determined in the moonlight. The boy had grown up some, and he suddenly looked much older than he really was. Especially his eyes; his eyes looked older than they had any right to be.
Arthur considered elbowing him, trying to get him to joke again, but he felt that his clumsy oaf of a servant would not take that in a stealthy, quiet sort of way, so he crawled along as he was before.As soon as the two made their way into the woods, their spirits were lifted, and they laughed for a little while at the rash decision they had made, but they were glad for it. They had just gotten out of the woods, just got back from a bad experience, and there they were putting themselves back in danger.