Random story that popped up after seeing a tumblr post. This is based early on, so Arthur is still a little bit of an arse like S1/2. Basically I was just going to write a teeny fic but I thought it was a bit too short and needed extra, so some of this is just space filler. haha. No beta, I don't own Merlin, no copyright intended.

He strode through the castle corridors, annoyance and aggravation far outweighing the shame. His father had shouted at him in front of nearly half the council, including some of his Knights. It wasn't that the man had never yelled at him before, that was his first memory, but to do so, and with so much vigour, in front of people he was meant to be above, who were meant to respect him, was devastating. He had seen sniggers, had heard muffled laughs somehow hidden by coughs a second later. They had no right, no damn right, laughing at the Prince of Camelot.

To top it all off, that useless oaf of a manservant had skipped target practice and had completely neglected half his chores that day. Arthur was most definitely not in the mood for Merlin to make today his 'terrible manservant but look at my puppy dog eyes' day. Because it would not work this time.

"Sire." Leon's breath was short, had he been running after him since he stormed out of the throne room?

Arthur didn't stop, just continued to storm toward his room.

"Sire." Leon said again.

This time he did stop and he did turn around, but so much so that Leon, the long standing Knight, took a step back. "What!"

"I was just wanting to make sure you were ok. I know I must not speak against the King but he was not in the right this time. You did what was best for the people you were protecting and..."

"Have you seen Merlin?"

The sudden question and change of conversation startled Leon even more than when Arthur turned on him. "Erm...n..no. I cannot say I have. Why?"

"I haven't seen him all day. He was to polish my armour this morning and wash my shirt, but instead he did whatever an atrocity of a manservant does and I had to stand in front of my father in a week old shirt."

"This is not Merlin's fault Sire do not take it out on him."

"He is my manservant, I can do as I please." He paused when he rethought what Leon had said. "And what do you mean 'take it out on him' I would never harm him."

"No, Sire, you misunderstand me, it is just...there have been many occasions you yell at him too much, go too far and...I don't want to say he is a sensitive soul but he is not as used to is as us Knights are."

Arthur stopped, his mind calming and momentarily forgetting all that had happened with his father. "Of course Sir Leon, my apologies. Just, if you see him send him to me please. I do really need my sword sharpening if we are to be out again tomorrow."

The noble knight nodded, smiled and turned the way he had come. Arthur thought once again over the whereabouts of his manservant, he had been all over the castle- of course not looking for the fool, but on his own errands, as a Prince- and not a sign. The sound of more footfalls brought him out of his thoughts, to be confronted by none other than Sir Jules, his father's most loyal knight. Surely you are well past the age of a Knight, retire already.

"Arthur." His voice was as sour as his breath.


"You will do well to remember not to speak as such to your father. What would your mother say?"

Always with the mother guilt. Arthur was not in the mood for this, he turned on his heel and continued on his way to his room. The guards on his door stood to attention the moment he rounded the final corner and didn't even try to hide the eye roll that 'his royal highness was having a tantrum again'.

Sir Jules' voice continued to drone on, rattling off nonsense about him being rude to his father and how he had a reputation to uphold. It was a miracle he didn't turn around and punch the man in the face.

Thankfully his door was suddenly in front of him and the guards flanked him on either side as the Knight stopped, knowing he could not take another step. It was something Arthur had laid down a long time ago, nobody was to enter his chambers without his permission. There were few with that such privilege: Uther, Morgana, Leon and...Merlin. Of course, Gaius and Guinevere, when it came down to it. But most definitely not Sir poop (ok, a childish nickname he gave to him nearly 15 years ago, but it showed how long he'd been a bane on his life).

With all the force within him he threw open the door, Sir Jules still lecturing him and now mentioning something about his shoddy Knights and ridiculous excuse of a manservant.

For what felt like the hundredth time that day, Arthur spun on his heel, facing out the door to Jules' wrinkled face. "I am a man now. You no longer have the right to lecture, bully, and disgrace me. I am your Prince and soon to be your King. If, by some miracle, you are still alive when that happens, you best hope I am forgiving. My Knights may not be completely up to standard yet but as the Gods are my witnesses they will be! When the time is right they will be perfect. And as for Merlin, wherever his scrawny backside is, you have no right to offend him, to talk of him in that way. He gets the job done, eventually, and he does it well. Do not dare follow me and lecture me, do not dare think yourself better than me because you have been my father's arse kisser for what must be half a century. I do not take orders or 'advice' from you, that is for those I trust, who win my respect and you Sir have never had such thing."

And with that he slammed the door shut. The entire thing rattling on its hinges and echoing around the room. It was then, and only then did he notice the figure stood behind his door. Hidden...or that was until he had slammed the large wooden structure.

A pause. Wide, confused, blue eyes meeting wide, startled blue eyes. Then. "What. Are you doing?"

Merlin stood stock still for a few seconds, clearly contemplating his options. "Erm...dusting the door." A sheepish smile. "That was until you nearly knocked me out with it. You could have knocked you know?"

"Knocked? On my own chamber doors?"

His servant tutted, rolling his eyes and gave a 'how dumb a question' look as he said, "Well yes."

Arthur was shocked for a second until another thought crossed his mind. "Do you mean that all those times I was trying to find you, after you missed a chore, or ended up in the stocks again or...whatever the hell kind of trouble you'd gotten into, you were behind a door?"

"Not...not everytime. Sometimes I was under a bed." He gave the second as a sort of balm, until he realised he had sort of landed himself in it. "Oops."

The Prince was lost for words, he didn't know if to scream at the idiot or laugh.

"All those times. Behind a damn door!"

"And...and under beds."

"For the love of...Merlin..." Ding, another realisation. "The tavern. How many times that I looked for you were you actually in there?"

The boy screwed up his face. "Unless it's with you, I've never stepped foot in one."

He laughed. He thought it best rather than an even worse throat after the shouting from today. Clasping a hand on Merlin's shoulder (and yes, he would ignore the flinch he got as his hand came down on the bony shoulder) he shook his head, the smile catching on his manservant who in turn giggled.

"Behind a bloody door." Arthur said, exasperated.

"I'm going to have to find a new place to hide now." Merlin said it with a hint of a smile but the Prince knew that he a part of him was actually being deadly serious.

"Or...do as I ask. Don't get into trouble with my father and actually do your job."

The young man screwed his face up in that way he did when feigning a thought process, when he and everybody knew that what he'd just been told would be ignored. "Mmmm...no. No that sounds like more hard work."

Arthur guffawed. When did he ever become so lenient with people, so...forgiving and playful with them. And especially when the person that mostly fell into that category was...Merlin.

Squeezing his servants shoulder he winked and said "You have a list of things to do Merlin, and with what just happened with my father I have some anger to release on the training field. You can hide behind your second favourite wooden object. A shield."

Merlin's groan brought a second bowt of laughter from Arthur. "I best get the equipment then."

"Ok. But if you're not on the field in half an hour, remember I will know you're behind the armoury door."

Yet another moan from Merlin before he turned and left the room, leaving Arthur to shake his head in disbelief. Of course the dollophead would hide behind obvious objects trying to get away from his jobs, it seemed ridiculous to Arthur that he hadn't thought such a thing before now. Afterall, this was a man who hid behind a tree when the whole area was surrounded by bandits.

And like that, his anger had ebbed away. And somehow it was nearly always Merlin who was able to take the tension from his Prince. Maybe he didn't need the training field afterall. But no, it was a fitting reward to bombard Merlin for a little while, he deserved it for being a little shit.

Your manservant is a little shit.

He may be, but he's my little shit and I will punish him, not you...whenever I find him.

Have you tried under beds. Or behind a door. It fits the little rat he is.

Arthur only realised he was laughing madly when the door opened and his guard asked if he was alright.

"I'm fine, just fine thank you. I will be leaving for the training field shortly, did you see which way Merlin went?"

"Yes Sire, to the left. I would say he was going back to his own chambers."

That would be right. The quickest route to the armoury was right, left was quicker to Gaius' rooms.

Ok then, he wants to play hide and seek, Arthur would make sure he got that!

First stop: Gaius' door.

tumblr user: rosereturns then the post: /post/37239936853 (hopefully this works if you decide to search for it, and I hope the creator doesn't mind me writing this rubbish)