Disclamier: I don't own any of the characters but I live in hope.
A/n: If anytime in the story you are confused by any horsey terms, or just what is generally going on, feel free to message me.
A/n 2: Merlin's now human again so it shouldn't sound too weird.
A/n 3: This chapter isn't brilliant but I just wanted to get in the last bit of speech.
Merlin woke to birdsong; dawn's light brushing his face. Standing and stretching, the past few days seemed like a dream. Looking down, he spotted the deep hoofmarks in turf all around him. Rubbing his eyes, recent events came pouring back. Grinning at the surprise he had in store for Arthur, he threw his bag on his back and set off for Camelot, easily levitating over the bushes.
He reached the castle before noon, dumping his bag in his room before joining Gaius for a lunch of bread cheese. They spent a companionably hour chatting about Merlin's 'adventure', and having a laugh about the warlock's idiocy. Then Gaius had to get on with his rounds and Merlin sped off to arrange Arthur's surprise. He bumped into Gwen later on as he carried laundry down to the washerwomen, and they had a nice chat before they had to get back to work. By the time the sun set, everything was prepared.
Arthur and his knights clattered in a couple of hours later, the prince on the best of the bandit horses. He strode to the throne to make a concise report, and then stormed up to his room in a definite bad mood. But when he stepped through the door to his chambers, he froze in shock. It was clean! Not an item was out of place and there was no dirt to be seen. A delicious-looking spread of food covered the oak table, and steam rose from behind the screen, indicating a hot bath waiting for him. And standing the centre of the room, a massive grin on his face, was Merlin.
"Welcome back Sire. Did you have a good trip?" he said, the picture of a perfect servant.
"What on earth has happened to you? You never..." Arthur trailed off, staring round in complete amazement.
"Just thought I'd actually do my job for once. Bath?" Merlin asked, removing the prince's jacket and gently guided the stunned prince behind the screen. This was a bit too much for Arthur's pride and he shook himself out of his shock.
"Get your hands off me. I don't need any help to have a bath" he stalked around the screen. A splash and a groan not long after showed that Arthur was relaxing in the tub. Merlin stood on the other side of the screen, watching the fire crackling. The prince needed very little encouragement to start talking about his trip. By the time he was eating his dinner, Merlin's ears had been nearly talked off, mostly about the stunning horse Arthur had ridden. The warlock had to hide the smiles that came to his face when Arthur's words jogged his memory.
Arthur finally shut up about his trip when his exhaustion caught up with him, so he started listing jobs for Merlin to do. On the way out with a pile of armour, Merlin called out.
"Missed you too!"
Then he dodged out of the way of the boot Arthur threw at him, and trotted down the corridor laughing.
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