So I had to continue this because there are just too many mini!Merlin fics and not enough giant!Merlin ones. So, I wrote up a bunch of (very strange) one-shots that take place in the same universe.
The hunt was going horribly and even Arthur had to agree with Merlin that returning to Camelot would be a blessing. They trudged on however, because Arthur couldn't let the giant win so easily.
Eventually, his breath seemed to run out and the boy stopped complaining about how sore his feet were, grumbling on about how there weren't any giant horses to ride and how inconsiderate that witch was for not making him one. He fell into a tiresome silence. But then even his footsteps faded away from beneath the rhythmic trot of hooves. Curious and a bit wary, Arthur turned in his saddle.
"Where's Merlin?" he asked the knights upon finding that the man had vanished from the tow of the party.
The knights all looked about one another, finding no trace of their towering friend.
Gwaine scoffed. "How we managed to lose a giant is beyond me," he laughed. "Only Merlin could slip away at nine feet tall!"
It wasn't hard to find him though. The combined effort of his weight and his large feet made fine footprints for tracking. So, they followed them, leading the knights to a babbling brook. They were just going to march on after him, but they collectively decided to stay hidden for a short while longer out of curiosity.
They watched as Merlin toed off his boots and stepped into the stream, head bowed and eyes fixated on something the knights couldn't see. He marched about halfway across before stepping carefully over something and turning around. The men ducked lower out of sight in precaution, not wanting to be spotted just yet. With Merlin's shadow out of the way, the knights could see something shimmering in the water and they all either sighed or rolled their eyes at their friend's fascination.
Merlin crouched down and reached for the light, picking up something small and brilliant with his finger and his thumb. Then he returned to the bank and sat on one of the rocks, feet still in the water. He huddled over what he was holding, eyeing it with gleam.
Arthur chose this moment to reveal himself and the knights followed. The boy didn't seem to notice them at first, distracted as he was by the trinket in his hand.
"What you got there, mate?" Gwaine asked.
Merlin looked up and blushed violently. Then, sheepishly, he held out his hand, gingerly holding a small ring between his digits.
"Nice find," Percival muttered with an amused smile.
Merlin smiled, cheeks still flushed with color. It often made him feel foolish when someone witnessed his strange habits, ones he obtained after being magicked into a half giant, ones he couldn't control. But the knights never belittled him and he was grateful for it.
Arthur put a hand on his shoulder (being about Merlin's height now that he was sitting down and hunched over himself), bidding that they return home.
Merlin tugged on his boots and followed his friends away from the brook, pocketing the ring as he went.
"Merlin!" Arthur shouted as he barged through his servant's door, half dressed and irritated. He spotted the man under his lump of blankets and marched over to his bed, bare feet slapping against the floor as he did so. "You're late!" he growled. "The meeting today is important! I told you to have me up early! We need to arrange provisions for winter!"
He whipped the sheets off of Merlin's head and stared down at the eyes that squeezed shut against the light.
"Merlin," Arthur said again, eyes narrowed.
Slowly, blearily, one eye drifted open and he was met with a glazed blue iris, hazy and blood shot with exhaustion.
But Arthur was having none of it. "Wake up!" he barked, tugging the blanket further off of his shoulder. Merlin groaned and his eye fluttered shut again.
Arthur shook him, causing more tired sounds of protest to rumble from the boy's chest. Sighing in defeat when Merlin forced the quilts back up and over his head, Arthur looked up at the window. It was frosted white and only hazy images could be seen through it, but he knew that slush and snow was layering the courtyard below. The winter weather had come early this year, and that was why the meeting was so important.
With one last attempt to rouse his drowsy friend, Arthur felt for Merlin's arm, gripped it tight, and shook it with all his might. All he received in return was a hand poking out from beneath the blankets, shoving him away with such force that the king nearly fell flat on his bum.
"So it's one of those days, is it?" Arthur mumbled to himself, unable to hide the affectionate tone in his voice. "Fine, I'll send Gaius up just to be sure, and maybe I'll have someone competent dress me for once!"
With that, he strode out of the room and Merlin curled in on himself, sheltering against the cold.
Ban and Bors
The visiting lords, Ban and Bors, had heard much about the telltale giant sorcerer that resided in Camelot. They were there on official business, of course, regarding uncooperative serfs, but could they really be blamed for being just a tad bit curious.
Once the matter of vassals was resolved, Arthur bid that they hold a feast to honor the guests in his household. After all, the two lords did contribute much to Camelot, always offering people under their command to their king when need be without hesitation. So, a party commenced and soon the dining hall was alive with cheerful nobles and boasting royalty.
The lords couldn't help but notice that there was neither talk nor sight of the fabled giant and they wondered how they could have missed such a towering marvel, if it was real in any case. When no sign of the beast could be shown, they precariously approached the king, hoping for answers.
"Milord," Lord Bors greeted, turning to his king and bowing his head with respect.
"What is it, Lord Bors?" Arthur questioned, nodding to him and his fellow noble as they approached.
"I couldn't help but wonder if the rumors I have heard about your house are true," he commented, sharing a glance with Ban.
"What sort of rumors?" Arthur questioned, brow furrowed in concern.
"I hear tell that you keep a giant within your walls," Lord Ban whispered, leaning in to tell his king. "A powerful thing with magic and wit."
Arthur barked a laugh. "I'm not entirely sure he has any wits about him, but yes, these rumors are true!"
"Then how, pray tell," Lord Bors replied, "have we not seen a beast of such size?"
Arthur gave him a strange look, perturbed by the way the man talked of Merlin as if he were a creature instead of a man. However, the lords seemed not to notice. "He is out. I granted he take a walk in the woods this evening. He likes to stretch."
Ban's eyes widened. "You let him roam unattended?"
"I do," Arthur confirmed. "He is a trusted advisor."
"I wonder might we lay eyes upon this spectacle before our leave?" Lord Bors questioned with interest.
"Actually," Arthur pondered, "he is meant to be serving me. He must have doddled. Maybe he found some shiny and got lost again." He chuckled to himself at the joke the lords did not understand.
"Are you not concerned, Milord?"
"Nah," Arthur huffed, shrugging. "He'll find his way back before it gets too dark, I'm sure."
"But your majesty," Lord Ban objected, "Are giants not of a simple mind?"
Arthur paused, placing his cup back down from where it lingered in the air, halfway to his lips. "Pardon?"
"We do not mean to offend," Ban defended. "It is just, from what we have heard of the ancient creatures, they are simpleminded, primitive, if I dare say."
The king pursed his lips. "No," he answered. "You are right to believe that. However, my Merlin is only half giant. He has the mind of a man and I'm afraid may not be as tall as you hope for."
"I thought you said he had no wit about him, sire?" questioned Lord Bors.
Arthur scoffed. "I did," he admitted. "But I assure you he is quite intelligent, if a bit foolish at times. But he was like that before he became so large." When the lords gave him a confused look Arthur explained. "He was once a man, turned giant by a treacherous witch. This is why he is but half giant. We soiled her plans before he was able to complete my servant's transformation, leaving him a thing in between."
"How tall is he, Milord?" asked the Lord Bors with raised eyebrows.
Arthur smiled. "See for yourself," he said, nodding towards the entrance.
The lords, Ban and Bors, turned round to see the tall form of Merlin entering the hall. Many knights came to greet him and he smiled at their futile attempts to knock him about in play.
"Merlin!" Arthur called, a triumphant grin on his face upon seeing the shocked looks on the lords' faces.
The boy looked across the room before carefully making his way over, avoiding the tables and stray chairs. He knelt down between the lords and his king, smiling despite the exhaustion relevant in his eyes. "Yes, sire?"
"Meet the lords, Ban and Bors," Arthur piped, gesturing to the men sitting beside him.
Merlin turned, a smile on his face. He nodded a bow to the lords. "I am Merlin," he said, then held out his hand.
Hesitantly, Bors took it and they shook. He ogled at how long Merlin's hands were in comparison to his. When he moved on to Ban, he too realized that he could only grasp the giant's fingers in his grip, whilst Merlin could have taken hold of the whole half of his arm.
Merlin shared an amused look with Arthur. It wasn't every day that they got to baffle visitors and it was great fun indeed.
Too Small, Too Tall
Sighing, Merlin adjusted his position, trying to become comfortable huddled on the ground. He was used to it by now, sitting on the floor or in the dirt when the chairs were too small, but it wasn't necessarily his seating that was causing him discomfort.
He leaned back against the wall of the small cottage, testing to see if it could hold his weight before lying back entirely. Arthur was inside, speaking to a huntsman who refused to stop hunting on reserves that he had no claim to.
In most places, Merlin could fit through, kneeling, crouching, or sometimes even crawling through the door. But this little hut in the woods was so damn small that he could barely get his shoulders through without the walls threatening to be pulled inward along with him. So, he was stuck waiting outside, bored out of his mind.
When Arthur finally exited, it was with a huff of annoyance and a slam of the door. "Merlin," he groaned, "I'm almost tempted to have you trampled all over this shack of his! With luck, you'd break all his things and he wouldn't even have anything to hunt with!"
Merlin smiled as he rose to his feet, following Arthur back to the path so that they could return home.
"Maybe Gaius was wrong," Arthur teased, smirking back at Merlin. "Maybe you do have the wit of a giant!"
Merlin rolled his eyes as he stomped along after Arthur. He was tired. They'd been on this quest for days without finding anything. Could he really be to blame if he irrationally voiced the opinions of his hazed mind?
"Oh, come on, Merlin," Arthur pestered. "You can't pretend I'm in the wrong. I honestly doubt that this poacher turned into an eagle of all things before flying away from Camelot!"
"It was just a silly thought I had," Merlin replied, playing it off like he hadn't considered the theory to be true in his half asleep state. "I thought it would amuse you."
"Well," Arthur laughed, "you were right about that!"
Merlin mumbled something about prattish royals and kicked at a rock before watching it roll off the path. They were hunting down a poacher who stole into the woods and skinned creatures they weren't allowed to hunt. Two of the unicorns near Camelot had already gone missing (the city having strict laws on what magical creatures were peaceful and to be left alone). It was a wonder this man was even still alive with that much misfortune undoubtedly bestowed upon him. Merlin reasoned that he might have a charm or spell that left him immune to Anhora's bad luck. Along with that, a baby phoenix (birds that were relatively harmless unless provoked) was discovered near Brechffa when it was entirely out of season for them to pass. With Merlin's studies on magic increasing with the freedom that came from outing himself, he learned much about the fiery birds and they tend to only die of natural causes in the spring. Finding a babe in the fall, along with an arrow not far from where it teetered in ashes, they could only conclude that the poacher unwittingly tried to kill the bird.
He hid his tracks well, making up for not cleaning his messes. Now, Merlin followed Arthur's horse, ducking beneath the thick branches of the dense wood they were in. He hoped that man didn't have a charm because the wrath of the unicorns was all that man deserved for putting him through such discomfort.
Suddenly, Arthur stopped his horse and turned his head.
"Shh! Merlin!" Arthur hushed, holding out his hand for silence.
Merlin stopped and listened. The woods were utterly silent around them. It was unnerving and Merlin and Arthur both knew that that could only mean one thing; something had scared away the birds.
They waited in the tense silence, anxiously anticipating the reveal of some beast or the poacher himself. Time went ever so slowly as they stood there, still but for their racing hearts.
Then, without any predecessor, there was a whistle in the air and Merlin pitched forwards like a felled tree, thumping on the ground, an arrow shaft protruding from his back.
"Merlin!" Arthur cried, flinging himself off of his horse. He ran to him, kneeling and using all of his strength to turn his friend onto his side. His heart stopped in fear for the man at the sight of blood pooling about his torso. Merlin groaned and Arthur let out a strained sigh of relief.
A twig snapped and he looked up to see a haggard man stumbling out of the bushes. The king was on his feet in an instant, sword drawn and putting himself between the poacher and his fallen friend.
The man drew a dagger, puny in comparison to Arthur's blade. But he was quick on his feet and did indeed have charms to protect him. The king struggled valiantly against his opponent but found victory just out of reach. Just as their limbs were beginning to tremble, the poacher suddenly flew back, head knocking against the thick trunk of a sturdy tree.
Arthur turned, met with eyes fading gold and a weary expression. He went back to Merlin, checked that he was alright. He was lucky. The poacher was not as skilled as he seemed. It would take time to recover, but Merlin would prevail.
Merlin patched himself up enough that he could stand while Arthur tied the accused to his horse He walked with an unsteady Merlin until sundown. He thought bitterly to himself that whatever protective charm he had must be wearing off. For, when he woke up, he would have hell to pay.
Tired and weary from a long day of running after Arthur, whilst also avoiding the visiting nobleman, Sir Robin, who seemed extremely interested in the value of a giant's hide, Merlin sat down with a heavy sigh next to Percival on the steps in the courtyard.
"What troubles you, Merlin?" the knight asked, smiling up at him.
"Oh, nothing," Merlin huffed. "Except that brave, noble Sir Robin keeps eyeing me like a piece of meat!"
"He'll be leaving tomorrow," Percival assured.
"No," Merlin mumbled. "He requested a longer stay, claims that his soothsayer, poor man, has seen storms in his dreams that will prevent him from returning home safely."
"Sorry, Merlin," Percival offered.
"I think it's a load of hogwash!" Merlin muttered. "That old soothsayer looked offended when he said it! I bet he saw clear skies in those dreams and that Sir Robin just wants more of a chance to take me home with him in pieces!"
"Probably," Percival said flatly. Merlin looked down at him with his brow furrowed but smiled when he saw the upward curl of his friend's lips.
There was a long, content silence where neither of them spoke, both just watching the goings on of the townsfolk. Then, Percival looked skyward towards Merlin and said, "You're a pain in my neck. Did you know that?"
"Ever since that witch took you I've had to swivel my head about in ways I never knew it could," the knight joked. "Never, before you, have I had to look up to anyone."
Merlin scoffed. "And never did I think that I would have to look down on you," he agreed.
Itty Bitty Living Space
Merlin sat, twitching and shifting nervously. He was in Ealdor and, every time he came, it was even more awkward than the last.
His mother was distraught the first time he arrived, measuring at nine feet in height. She cried over him, even though he had long since become accustomed to his own disfigurement. It took him a while, but he eventually managed to assure her that everything was alright and that his friends supported him.
Now, the ban on magic having been lifted some time ago and Arthur accompanying him on his visit, he sat alone in his old room on a rickety stool. Hunith had wanted to run into town to collect some supplies for dinner and Arthur offered to keep her company as well as insist on paying for some of the materials.
After some debate, it was decided that Merlin was to stay behind. Cenred's land still did not take kindly to magic, especially on the outlying villages. Even now, with a new king, the people still feared it, for Cenred used sorcerers to threaten his kingdom into being obedient.
So, Merlin sat, knees brought up to his chest and head ducked down from the low ceiling, trying to fight the urge to stand up and burst through the roof. There wasn't much he could do and they had strictly forbidden that he go outside. The village had been tormented by a witch not too long ago and the citizens were still on edge and would not take too kindly to a giant roaming about.
He tapped his foot and fidgeted his fingers, knotting them around each other in some fruitless effort to form a design with his hands.
At long last, the door flew open and Arthur came in with arms full of baskets with breads and cheeses, a motherly figure following behind him going on about how he'd spent too much.
"I've told you, Hunith," he protested, "Merlin does need to eat quite a bit these days, no matter what he says on the contrary." He shot the boy a look which told him not to try such schemes now.
They all sat round and talked merrily about the fire as the stew was brewed and the bread was toasted. Then, they ate in the loving company of each other, sharing stories of Merlin and Arthur's adventures in Camelot and tales of villagers who kept trying to steal Hunith's wagon.
Halfway through the meal, however, Merlin's chair splintered and burst apart beneath him, causing him to land on his rump with a crack. They all laughed and tossed the broken bits of stool into the fire.
Arthur had walked in on a very peculiar sight. Upon opening the door, he was met with Merlin's hunched figure, sitting on the floor. And, in his hands, was a small dead mouse.
"Merlin?" Arthur questioned upon seeing the melancholy expression on his servant's face.
The boy looked to him, holding the rodent's body close.
"What happened?" the king questioned, lost as to why he would seem so distraught over an invasive vermin.
Merlin bowed his head. "It ate through my boots," he mumbled.
"Are you alright?" he asked, figuring that his sadness may actually be unrelated to the rat in his hands.
Merlin offered a small smiled. "I was angry," he answered, barely audible.
"Oh," Arthur said, realizing what he meant. Merlin's temper was one of the hardest things for the boy to control. It was short and there were often times when he'd become upset or enraged about things that used to have little effect on him, or that he had once merely kept bottled up. But now, with the temper of a giant, he easily snapped when given the right circumstances (mostly when he was tired or had already been in a sour mood). It often left Merlin in a bad way afterwards.
"I threw a chair," Merlin uttered, sounding apologetic. "It was hiding behind the leg."
Arthur looked to where Merlin nodded. Against the wall was a mess of wood that might have once resembled a piece of furniture.
When Merlin had slipped on his boots that morning, he was disgusted to find that there was a large hole where his big left toe should go. He frowned and kicked the shoes off his feet, flinging them to the side. Not only were they his only boots, but it would be days before he'd have new ones because he'd have to make them especially for himself, his feet were so big. He was tired, having stayed up far later than he could have ever wanted with Gaius, researching methods of defeating Camelot's latest magical threat. Given this, he was quickly enraged as he stomped around his chambers in search for the culprit. When he'd finally found it, he scrambled, diving for the thing like his life depended on its capture. It hid behind the leg of a chair after it once again escaped Merlin's reach, not thinking to use his magic in his rage. He tore the chair away from the floor and whipped it away, sending it smashing into the wall with a clatter. Finally, he stomped on the mouse, crushing it enough to stop its heart.
It wasn't the death of the rodent that made him so woeful. It was why he had killed it. His bouts of anger made him question himself, wonder if he was losing himself to the giant's blood. He didn't act like himself when he was enraged. It was different than when he was truly angry, more of a blind fit than any sort of real feeling. And it was always small things, things he shouldn't be so upset about.
"Here," Arthur said, taking out a hankie and wrapping the rat in it before tucking it in his belt for later disposal. Then, he held out his hand and helped Merlin to stand, almost falling on his face when his weight pulled on him. "Come on," he said, taking Merlin's hand and leading him out the door. "Let's go find Gwen and we'll get you a new pair of boots."
He'd been taken. A couple of travelers had entered Camelot, feigning peace, claiming that they wish to appraise the legendary giant that Arthur had in his service. He showed him to them and they assessed his worth, making comments on his size and asking curios questions about his abilities. Merlin had felt uneasy throughout all of it but Arthur assured him that this was to be expected. He was, after all, an amazing sight to those who were new to or interested in magical beings. The king had promised that he would let nothing go wrong.
Merlin was currently locked in a crate, being carted off away from Camelot by those very travelers. It would be an easy escape, really. All he would have to do is utter a spell and open the prison he was in. But, for the life of him, he couldn't remember the words and his magic seemed to run frantically through him with no control.
It was hot. The sun was blazing overhead and the confines of the crate made it humid inside with his sweat. His breaths were short and weighed on his chest with a crushing pressure. The air was thick and couldn't get enough down his raw, parched throat.
Wherever skin touched skin he sweated slick, heavy sweat. His knees pressed into his chest, putting pressure on his ribs and forcing his back to stay uncomfortably straight. Every bit of him was crammed into a space far too small and he felt trapped. He was trapped. Only, he could get out of this. He could burst through the box and wreak havoc on his captors if he could only just focus.
But he couldn't. His mind was elsewhere, a mess of fear and pain and lonesome panic. He heard a scuffle outside and his weight shifted. He felt the side of the box come into contact with the ground, hard, jostling him about inside.
He began to breathe quickly, each breath accompanied by a sharp gasp or high pitched wheeze. It was too hot and too small and too humid and too cramped.
The top of the crate was pried open and a rush of cooler air swept over him. He sucked in a loud, eager breath and allowed the worried hands of friends to pull him out.
He collapsed, crawling away from the prison before spreading himself out. He was tired, so tired. He didn't want to move but his chest was pumping up and down in a dangerously quick rhythm, hyperventilating. His limbs twitched and he blinked at the sunlight that doused his face.
Someone came up behind him and he flinched. Two pairs of hands wrapped around them and he wriggled in their grasp, not wanting to be touched, not wanting to sweat because of contact. Their bodies were too warm. Eventually, they managed to life him up, pushing him into a sitting position and his lungs exploded with much needed air. He took a few massive breaths before finally passing out.
"Gaius!" Merlin called out, tumbling into the small, cluttered chambers, limbs flying about.
"Ah! Merlin," Gaius greeted. "Have a seat before you break something!"
Merlin nodded and sat on a stool by the fire.
"How are you feeling?" he prompted, hobbling over to his surrogate son.
"Fine," Merlin huffed. It was the first day of the month and it was customary that he visit the doctoring old man for a checkup. Every now and then his back would ache or his breathing would falter and he would be prescribed a remedy for it.
The old man bustled about him, listening to his breathing and prodding him, asking him whether or not it hurt. He gave him the monthly potion that strengthens his bones and offered that he stay for lunch. Merlin giddily agreed, missing the days when he used to live so close to his mentor.
After eating and enjoying each other's company, Gaius asked Merlin if her could put some books and supplies away for him. There were a few things that belonged on the bookshelf in the loft and he couldn't quite persuade his old bones to carry him up there. So he'd had a small pile put aside for a later day when he felt up to it. But Merlin was here now and tall enough to not even need the ladder, capable of reaching up without aid. Merlin agreed and set to filing away the tomes.
It was an easy, simple task. He didn't even need a stepping block. He could slide the books through the railing and push them into place. All went well. That is, until the last book.
It belonged on the top shelf and its place was just out of reach. He didn't want Gaius to have to trouble with it later but he couldn't use the latter (and even if he could, he doubted the thin support of the loft would hold him). So, he stood on his tiptoes and stretched his arm as far as it would go. He could just barely touch the edge of the shelf with the side of the book and, with a quick, jerking shove, he tossed it into place perfectly.
But then he let his heels drop back down to the floor and the ground shook, knocking a few nearby vials off of the table.
Gaius made a noise of alarm and Merlin mumbled about apologies and how he would clean it up, no problem. He bent over and began hastily scooping up shards of broken glass. Due to his nervous rush, he didn't hear Gaius's warnings and his fingers were already wet with whatever chemicals had been spilled.
Then his hands started to sting.
"Ah!" he winced, dropping the shards and stumbling backwards. His rump bumped into the mantel and he quickly stumbled forwards, elbowing a (thankfully unlit) torch from the wall before bumping his head against the ceiling beneath the loft. The force of it knocked him to the ground and he brought a few books down with him in the fall.
The place was a mess of potions, glass, and papers, a large, blushing fool sitting in the middle of it.
Gaius scurried over to him, sporting his notorious eyebrow, and fumbled with his hands, trying to get a look at Merlin's burn. All the while he rambled on in apologies and promises to clean the mess up.
The old man sighed and stepped back, surveying the poor boy before him. "Merlin," he said, cutting off his babbling. He gave him a warm smile. "Your hand should be fine as long as you don't irritate it," he said. "Now get out of here before you break something else!" He chuckled at the boy's wide eyes.
"I'm sorry, Gaius, I didn't—"
The physician put a hand on his shoulder. "It's not your fault, my boy."
Merlin grinned back at him, if still feeling incredibly guilty for it all.
"No go on!" Gaius ushered. "Or else you'll bring the walls down next!"
He heard a crash and a thump and reluctantly was drawn out of bed by it. Merlin had just sent him to sleep not a few moments ago and now there was a clatter roaring from his room. He rolled his eyes as he slugged out the door and made the short pace to his servant's room. Upon opening the door, he was appalled.
A red faced, shaking Merlin was running about the room, turning things over and destroying everything in his wake. His table was upturned and his chairs were in varying positions, ranging from toppled against the wall to sitting dangerously close to the fire. The covers of his bed were strewn all over the place and his pillows had been unstuffed, a pile of down accumulating in the corner. The rug by the fire was nowhere to be found and his wardrobe had been emptied.
Just as Arthur collected himself, the boy stuck his head back into said cabinet, grumbling and yelling as he did only when he was on a giant's rampage.
This could not be good.
"Merlin!" Arthur called, voice high pitched and eyes wide.
The boy's head popped out of the wardrobe and he looked at Arthur with fiery eyes.
"What is going on?" Arthur asked, striding further into the room, ogling the catastrophe around him.
"Where is it?" Merlin growled, face set in anger.
Arthur narrowed his eyes. "It's right there, you idiot," he said, trying to joke and calm Merlin down. He prodded him in the torso and smiled. Usually something like this would bring Merlin out of a tantrum, but it seemed that, this time, he was too far gone.
Instead of falling back into normality, being released from the giant's rage and settling back into himself, he simply took a sharp intake through the nose as his eyes glared murderously down at his king. Then, he turned and stormed off, rummaging through the shelves and cabinets on the far wall.
After a few moments of contemplating the situation, Arthur followed him and said, "What chest, Merlin?"
"My chest!" he spat, whirling around and towering over Arthur.
"What was in it?" he asked, trying to remain calm.
"My shinies!" Merlin rumbled, pushing Arthur aside a bit too hard, causing him to stumble and fall. His eyes went wide as he realized why the boy was so angry. He, the knights, and Gwen had taken to calling the sparkling trinkets Merlin collected shinies as a joke. He was always collecting them and, although he never took them out except to add more to the stock, he was very protective over them.
Merlin sat down next to his bed with a thud and lifted the covers from where they draped off the mattress and onto the floor. He pointed a stiff finger underneath and said accusingly, "They're not there."
Merlin was never very articulate when he was in one of his fits, often resorting to small words and short sentences, the giant's blood getting the best of him.
Arthur nodded from where he sat across the room. Then, he got up and brushed himself off. "I'll have people on the lookout for it, Merlin," he assured, righting a nearby chair. "I could be that you've just misplaced it."
"Then we will find the man responsible," Arthur amended, hoping not to further irritate an unstable giant.
Merlin gave him a nod but still seemed to brood over his missing things.
"But," Arthur continued, placing a hand up on Merlin's shoulder, "for now, you should get some rest. Perhaps some sleep with help you recall where you last saw it."
Merlin shifted where he sat and grabbed Arthur's arm, tearing it from his shoulder and pulling him until he was forced to get down on all fours. Being thrown onto the ground, Arthur was met with the under of Merlin's bed. "It was there," he affirmed aggressively.
"Alright," Arthur said, pretending to look around underneath before sitting back on his knees. "I believe you. You should still get some sleep, though. It's been a long day." Talking to Merlin when he was like this was like speaking to a stubborn child.
The boy pouted and glanced around the room with a heated stare, as if the perpetrator with his chest could have appeared whilst his back was turned.
"Look at me," Arthur said, tapping Merlin's arm.
Reluctantly, he tore his eyes away from his search.
"We'll find it. I promise."
Brow furrowed, Merlin nodded.
"Now get into bed," Arthur piped. "We can't look for your treasures on no sleep, can we?"
"No," he mumbled as he climbed into the mess of blankets beside him.
Arthur watched as Merlin fell asleep. He hoped that, when he woke, he might be relieved of his anger. However, as the moments passed, the crease in the giant's brow did not fade. It was clear that Merlin would remain this way until the situation was fixed. So, with a weighted sigh, he turned and left for Gaius's chambers.
In the early morning, Gaius followed his king to the warlock's room where he still slumbered.
"By the gods!" Gaius rasped in a quiet exclamation when he saw the state of the place.
"It's really upset him Gaius," Arthur explained, striding into the room. "I don't think he'll go back to normal until we find it."
"Did he say where he last saw it?"
"Under his bed, where it's kept."
"Perhaps he's mistaken."
"He refuses to believe that he could have misplaced it."
"Then we must find it before his anger reaches its peak!" Gaius concluded, grimacing at the thought of Merlin wrecking giant, magical havoc on the city.
"I'll ask the knights," Arthur said, "and Gwen. You stay here and try to keep him calm."
"Me?" Gaius gaped.
"Yes," the king confirmed. "We can't have him roaming the castle in this state. He tousled me around last night! I can only imagine what he'd do whilst trying to interrogate everyone with a wit the size of a pinhead!"
"Indeed," Gaius agreed.
"You what?" Arthur questioned quite loudly at the training grounds later that day.
"It was just a bit of a joke," Gwaine excused.
"Yeah," Arthur said sarcastically, "a joke that's got Merlin stomping around in a fit of rage!"
"I didn't think he'd be that upset about it!"
"He can't help it, Gwaine!" Arthur hollered for all to hear. "He's not himself when he falls into these moods! It isn't normal anger! You've seen him!"
"He always comes around after a bit," Gwaine supplied.
"Yes," Arthur agreed, "but, not only have you upset him, but you've triggered him! Both the anger and the collecting of shinies is an effect of the giant's blood! He's been angry for hours, Gwaine! It's lasting far longer than it usually does and it's because of this horrible combination!"
"Alright, I get it," the knight huffed, flipping his hair out of his face.
There was a short silence which Arthur used to catch his breath and compose himself.
"Where is Merlin now?" Percival asked.
"Gaius is watching him," Arthur answered. "You should have seen him. His room was a catastrophe."
"What do we do then?" Gwaine questioned.
"Well, first we need to get that chest back," Arthur supplied. "Where did you hide it?"
For a moment, a look of fear crossed over Gwaine's face, but he quickly hid it. "It's, uh . . ."
"I put it in Leon's saddlebag actually . . ."
"What?" Arthur screamed.
"Well," Gwaine explained, "I was a bit drunk and . . . well, I thought it would be a good laugh if he missed it for a few days . . . It sounded brilliant at the time."
Arthur let out an utterly agitated sigh. "Well you'll be the one riding after him. We need to stay here and make sure Merlin doesn't get into any more trouble."
As it turned out, it was too late for that.
Being the old man that he was, Gaius was unable to keep Merlin back and he refused to take a sleeping draught and there was no way that he could force it down the throat of a man twice his size. So, Merlin got out and was storming down the halls when Arthur and the knights were almost stomped on by him.
"Merlin!" Arthur cried, picking up his pace to follow after the lad.
Merlin said nothing as he continued to march about the halls, looking left and right as if his chest of goodies would be hidden around each corner. Any people they passed in the corridors eyed him fearfully for he looked as if he were ready to crush any passersby.
"He's worse than I thought," Percival commented to himself as he hurried after them, two other knights on his heel.
After trying and failing to get the boy's attention, Arthur relied on his last resort. "Merlin, we've found it!"
Immediately, Merlin spun around, knocking a tapestry off the wall as he did so. "Where?"
"It'll be a few hours, but it's on its way."
"Where is it?"
"Gwaine's gone to fetch it," Arthur said. "Leon has it with him."
"Leon!" Merlin shrieked.
"He didn't take it, Merlin!" Arthur fussed, trying futilely to stop Merlin from going after him. "It was a mistake!"
"I want it!"
"And you'll have it," Arthur assured, "but not unless you go back to your rooms."
Merlin stopped and looked down at Arthur where he had been backing away in caution. "Why?"
"Well," Arthur stammered, not knowing what to say next, "Gwaine is bringing it there! So, if you are anywhere else when he finds it, you will miss it and it will be gone again!"
Merlin's eyes went wide and he mumbled some agreement before letting the king lead him back to his chambers where they met a worried Gaius and a trashed room.
Gwaine rode hard and fast through the woods on Camelot's strongest steed, eager to catch up to Leon. He'd left the day before with a few knights to investigate a sighting of bandits. Luckily, he was able to catch the man and, after a rushed explanation and an awkward exchange, was racing back to the city in no time.
He dashed through the halls, panting and sweating with the need to move forwards, chest clutched under his arm. He burst through the doors without thinking and fell into an exhausted heap on the floor, arm held out and chest in hand.
Merlin looked up from where he was struggling to check the fireplace again, against Arthur's will, and his eyes were wide as saucers.
"Shiny!" he hollered, bounding across the room and tearing the treasures' containment from Gwaine's grubby fingers. He fell to the floor with a rumbled that cause the missing rug to fall from somewhere on the ceiling and land onf Gwaine's head. He sat with his legs crossed as he flung open the lid. Everything was there and in place.
He sighed with relief and then fussed to dig a loose button from his pocket before adding it to the pile. Then he closed the box and held it tightly to his chest, eyes closed in earnest affection.
He spent the rest of the day sitting on the floor in front of his bed, guarding his precious treasures.
The next day Merlin's face was red again but for a different reason. His memory of the last two days was not exact but he knew what he had done and it embarrassed him immensely. Whenever anyone mentioned the events that had conspired, his cheeks burned with the heat of humility. However, Arthur assured him that he would never have to experience such massive embarrassment again, for Gwaine would most definitely learn his lesson.