Merlin sort of hated dreaming.
Dreaming, when his sleep was light enough to allow it, always caused him worry. Or distress. Or, more often than not, a combination of the two. Maybe with a pinch of confusion, you know, for taste. Nonetheless, Merlin found his dreams were never just him parading into a royal banquet without any pants on, or him as a hero and being knighted. He had always been told (by Will, his mum, Gwen, even) about their frivolous, meaningless dreams.
Merlin’s dreams always had emphasis. They were always something that played into his grand destiny blah blah blah. Or they were just Kilgharrah playing with his head. Despite their supposed larger meaning, they had never been particularly cruel dreams. At least, he never found himself waking up with a start, sweat in his fringe, and feeling….disappointed. Disappointed that it had been nothing but a dream.
His lips still tingled with the phantom sensation of Arthur’s lips. Dream Arthur’s lips, he corrected himself bitterly.
Merlin looked down at himself. He wiggled his toes - check, legs in order. Then his fingers. And finally examined the wound in his chest; it was leaking a yellow pussy fluid, but beside that, it had dulled into an entirely manageable throb. Surely that meant he was improving - probably with the help of his magic - and he had earned himself a stroll around his room. Well, that and Merlin’s attention span was demanding a change of scenery.
He shifted his legs over the side of the cot and sat up. He grunted, a hand flying to claw at the bandages around his torso (as the puss oozed quicker, but he was going to ignore that bit; gross). He grit his teeth and pushed himself up the rest of the way. His legs wobbled in protest, but thankfully, remained erect. He was shaking so hard Gillian’s remedies shook on the table beside him as he latched his hand onto the wood for support.
He wouldn’t let his body betray him. Not again. When Arthur was weakened, he still had a sword, chain-mail, or countless other tools to protect and aid him. He was rarely defenseless, and rarely left with the vulnerability of just flesh. Merlin wasn’t as lucky. Merlin’s mortal blood and bones were his weapon. More than that, Merlin’s body held his gift. The one thing that made him special, made worth anything. Made him, dream or not, worthy of Arthur.
So he pushed on. He stood on his own for two minutes - give or take, if Arthur asked it was nearly an hour - before his legs found they were just too put upon and collapsed beneath him.
Merlin toppled to the floor, his limbs sprawled out beside him and his chest pounding. “Right, that went well,” He ground out gruffly. He tried to stand and get back into the bed, but the floor was just so comfy. And it would take an awful lot of energy to get back up. He would just stay here for another minute…
Footsteps. Wonderful. Someone was coming and Merlin was a heap on the floor. Not that he was a stubborn idiot. Or clumsy. No, he preferred the term “dedicated.” The door creaked open and Merlin’s eyes darted around for a solution. Finding none, he clanked his eyes shut and held himself still - ah-ha! Now he looked inconspicuous.