it was meant to be angsty but it isn't really
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He’d been pushing himself too hard. He was well aware of that, having stayed up helping patients well into the early hours of the morning nearly every night, barely stopping to rest. He wasn’t even entirely sure he’d eaten anything last night. He definitely hadn’t been taking the proper precautions to protect himself from the illness he’d been trying to treat.
Which actually made things make a lot more sense, Merlin realized when the cough threatened again. He must’ve caught it as he was working. Maybe that meant he should take it easy, like he would recommend to anyone else in this situation; but then again, he wasn’t anyone else. People still needed his help, and it’s not like he could transmit it to the patients anyway, because they already had it. So he could just keep working through it, right? It wasn’t that bad yet.
(aka Merlin doesn't know how to take care of himself, so everyone else has to do it for him)