Earthworms

Disclaimer: I don't own anything or anyone you may recognize from King Arthur. If you think I have ripped you off, sorry. This came purely from my own imagination, such as it is. I don't even claim that my story is any good...

Summary: Just a bit of fun with Bors, his herd and Tristan


Bors shook Gilly awake, trying to control the foolish grin he currently had on his face.

"C'mon son. Wake up."

The young boy opened one eye, glaring at his father. "What now?"

"It's nearly stopped raining." With that, Gilly shot up, dislodging another boy away as he did. Stumbling sleepily out of the bed, he pulled on his already equally dirty trousers and tunic. They'd be even worse later.

"Wassa matter?" Number three asked. Sitting up and rubbing his eyes.

Gilly ignored his brother, pulling on his boots in a half-hopping way. Nearly falling over at one point, he was in such a hurry.

"It's almost done raining, boy." Bors grumbled happily to his son, throwing him his discarded clothes. "Get dressed and get the others."

Not five minutes later, Bors and Gilly were joined by six more boys and one very small, very sleepy red-headed girl.

Bors smiled at the youngun, picking her up. "Go back inside, Nine. Your ma won't like you gettin' dirty."

Nine gave her father a little whimper. "The boys are going." She innocently stuck out her bottom lip. Her big green eyes starting to tear.

As Bors looked at his next youngest daughter, he was struck by how much she looked like her mother. Right down to the pout. And because he couldn't resist Vanora anything when she pouted like that, he couldn't resist when Nine did it.

Bors kissed the girl, setting her next to him on the ground. Looking around he surveyed the large group, realizing that this lot were his children, his blood. A fierce sense of pride hit his old, scarred heart.

Every one of his sons, save for the baby, was there. All were wearing the worst clothes they could find. And several of them even had boots that were to large for them. Every last one of them held a wooden bucket. Gilly, Three, Eight and Five were carrying lanterns, already lit and waiting.

Nine was standing with her hand in his, her old dress torn and dirty. Her to large boots looked like they would swallow her small legs.

He couldn't help but smile at the small child. She was forever chasing after her older brothers. Always getting into as much as, or more, mischief than they. And she had a temper to boot.

'She'll make a fine warrior some day." Bors thought proudly as he ruffled the girl's red hair.

"Alright, split up as usual. Nine comes with me." The children started to rush out, trying to be as quiet as they could. Their laughter getting the best of them as they ran into the rain.

Splashes of water could be heard as his brood made their way, not as quiet as he would have liked, to the large field just outside the fort's lesser gates. The bobbing lantern lights getting smaller as the young children got further and further ahead of Bors and Nine.

Shouts of "I got one" and "Gods, there are so many this time" reached Bors' ears.

But it didn't matter that the boys were ahead. He knew where they were going and he was enjoying the walk with his daughter. His large hand enveloping her much smaller one. He didn't get to do this as much as he would have liked.

Bors let out a chuckle as Nine splashed in a water puddle, soaking his legs from the shin down. Her peals of laughter warming his soul. She was so much like her mother.

As he passed the gates he glanced high on the wall, looking to the tower watches. There stood three shapes he recognized.

Bending as low as his creaking knees would allow, Bors whispered into Nine's ear. Her face lighting up as told her what to do. Nodding, she took off like a shot, headed to the men on watch.

0o0o0o

Lancelot, Tristan and Galahad were on watch this rainy night. All three waiting for it to end. It hadn't been to terribly bad, only down pouring twice. Each one soaked to the skin.

Galahad was off, safely ensconced under the tower's wooden awning. The lad had been complaining the most about the rain, so to shut him up, Tristan had sent the boy to relative cover while he looked out over the fort's outer wall. Lancelot next to him, only his back was to the woods.

A smile appeared on Tristan's face as he saw half of Bors' herd run out into the field, kicking mud and splashing in every mud hole they could find. Their laughter lifting to the men. The game was on.

Reaching out, he smacked Lancelot in the arm, pointing to the children.

Lancelot half-smiled himself as he turned to look. "They're at it again I see."

Tristan nodded his head, opening his mouth to speak when he was interrupted by a tug on his shirt hem. Looking down, he was met with the very happy face of Nine.

As he bent down level with the girl, her hand came out to pull on his braid. Something she always did when she saw him. "Uncle Tristan?" Her tiny face lit into a toothy smile.

Tristan couldn't hit Lancelot when he laughed outright by the name she called him. It wouldn't be proper manners if he did. So he chose to ignore the sniggers he heard from his friend. "What child?" He asked her gently, his voice hoarse from the wet weather.

"Daddy says come." Nine pulled his hand, doing her best to pull him forward. Little grunts leaving her lips as she tried.

Tristan stood up, stretching his back as he did. He looked at Lancelot, wanting to smack him at the look he had on his face. Picking up the small child, he whispered in her ear, grinning as her face broke into another smile. Setting her down, he starting to head down the stone steps.

He turned around in time to hear Lancelot yell as Nine stomped as hard as she could on his toes. She then ran past him making her way back down the steps to where her father and brothers were.

"Ow!" He looked at the scout, then after the small red head. "What'd she do that for?" He was moving around, trying to walk off the pain Nine had inflicted on him. For such a very small thing, she had a very hard stomp.

Tristan snorted at his friend, stopping halfway down the stairs. "Because I told her to" He called as his head disappeared.

Galahad, noticing the commotion came over to stand beside Lancelot, who was now watching the merry scene below him. "What's that all about?"

Lancelot smiled, pointing down below.

There were children running about in the water and in the mud. Occasionally stooping to pick something off the ground. More often than not, a victory yell could be heard as the object was put into the waiting bucket. Thier shouts of discovery could be heard all aound the small field.

Galahad watched as Bors handed a small bucket to Nine, pointing to one of the older boys. The girl let out a happy squeal, dumping the bucket over the unsuspecting boy's head and shoulders as he bent low to the ground.

The boy, who Galahad thought was Five, jumped up brushing off his head and shaking the mud off his shoulders. Taking off after a still laughing Nine. Who took refuge behind Tristan. Her small head peeking around his legs.

Tristan just stood there, his own bucket in hand. He held it up, the threat of tossing its contents after the charging boy.

The boy slid into a sudden stop, almost not making it in the slippery mud. He and Tristan each stood their ground with Tristan slowly lifting the bucket up higher... Five lifting his bucket...

UntilTristan was hit in the head by a handful of mud and earthworms. The wriggling creatures getting stuck in his hair. A thunderous whoop of laughter coming form Bors, who stood not but a few feet away from him.

"Gotcha!" Bors was ginning form ear to ear, completely covered in mud and one giant of an earthworm dangling close to one eye.

Tristan's eyes narrowed, planning his next move. He brought his bucket close to his stomach, turning away from Bors. It looked as though he was just going to walk off. Then he attacked.

His first handful of mud and worms landed directly into the forehead of Five, who stumbled backward falling in the puddle behind him.

Turning around in his usually fast way, he grabbed another handful, this time hitting Bors in the neck.

"Gotcha." He answered back as he watched a particularly fat worm slide its way down the front of Bors' open tunic. Taking Nine's hand, he casually walked off, helping the girl gather more worms to replace the ones that had been happily sacrificed for their entertainment.

0o0o0o

High on the wall, Galahad couldn't process what he was seeing. Bors was out there with more than half his lot, with Tristan looking like he was having to good of a time.

"What are they doing?" He wondered aloud.

Lancelot clapped the younger knight on the back. "What they do every chance they get."

"Which is?"

"Hunting earthworms."

A/N: There. I hope you like this. Just a very small, very bad snippet. It's been raining here in PA and this morning I was reminded of something we used to do after it would rain. After a good rain, grab a flashlight and a pail. Head out into a field or maybe your backyard. Usually after it rains, the earthworms will come up to the surface. Pick them up and now you have lots of unhappy worms to go fishing with.

And I thought it would be fun to have Bors do this with his children.