A/N: This is a tag to Moon Fox's Brave New World, chapter 61.
As always, I only wish I owned it.
"Merlin!" The shout ringing through the citadel had become relatively common over the past week since Merlin had been "rewarded" with the unenviable position as the royal prat's personal manservant. Typically, the shouting had to do with getting dressed, meals, polishing armour, combat practice, hunting, or some other seeming failure of the young man. But this time, it was for a completely different and extremely unpleasant reason.
"Yes?" came the much calmer reply.
"Come here. I need you to wipe my bum."
Merlin paused at the edge of the screen shielding Arthur from view. "You want to what?!"
"I. Want you. To wipe. My bum." Arthur repeated slowly, as if speaking to an idiot.
"Why can't you just wipe yourself, like any other person?" Merlin asked, struggling to comprehend the reasoning why Arthur would ask him to perform such an unusual task. Merlin would rather muck out the stables than acquiesce to the request.
"William would normally do it, but he's taken ill and so I'm telling you to do it." Arthur was becoming exasperated with his manservant. Having been accustomed to having someone do for him, he naturally assumed that his new manservant would do the same. He should have realized by now that Merlin was not like any of the others, but some people are just naturally dense in the head.
"You mean you really can't wipe your own arse?" Merlin asked, with much amusement.
"Merlin." Arthur ground out, "if you don't get in here and wipe my arse, you will find your own in the stocks. There is an important council meeting in five minutes that I must be at. And if I'm late, it's you who will be sorry."
That sounded much more serious than any of the previous threats Arthur had made over the past week that Merlin had been his manservant. But Merlin was not going to give in so easily. "If you insist," he said, cringing and entering the garderobe area. As he moved around behind Arthur and picked up the cleaning leaves, his eyes briefly flashed gold, adding a layer of something to the leaves.
Finishing as quickly as possible, Merlin threw the used leaves into the garderobe and moved to wash his hands. Arthur pulled his trousers up, fastening them as he quickly moved to the door. "Out of all the servants, I had to end up with you," he groused. Merlin did not reply as he followed Arthur to the Council chambers. He would not miss the coming show for the world.
At first, Arthur carried on in the meeting as if nothing was wrong. But to the patient go the greatest rewards. Roughly 15 minutes into the session, Merlin noticed the first signs of discomfort in Arthur's posture. Just the slightest tensing of his shoulders and shifting of his weight. His fingers began to twitch a few minutes later, like he was trying to not scratch an itch.
As time pasted and the meeting dragged on, Arthur's discomfort increased and became more and more noticeable to the others. Even Uther started to cast curious glances at Arthur whenever he shifted in his chair.
For Merlin, however, he was having an increasingly difficult time keeping his amusement to himself and off his face. It would not do for Arthur to catch him out on this and be put in the stocks or to muck out the stable. And there was always the risk of being caught having magic, and to be caught on this, well, Merlin would just die from the shame.
Finally, the council was finished, and Arthur hurried out as fast as he could without actually running. Merlin followed him, still trying to keep his amusement off his face. Out away from earshot of anyone else, Arthur turned on Merlin. "What leaves did you use?!"
"Sire?" came the confused response.
"When you wiped my arse earlier, what leaves did you use?" Arthur repeated.
"The ones that were there. They looked like oak leaves."
"Merlin!" Arthur shouted, "how can you not recognize poisonous oak?! Any child knows the difference between toilet leaves and poisonous oak!" With that Arthur stormed off, heading for Gaius' chambers to get some cream to relieve the itching and discomfort on his nether regions. "Never again, Merlin. Never again."
Merlin just stood there until he was out of sight, then his withheld snickers broke loose. 'Yes,' he thought, 'Never again.'