Summary: Merlin falls in the doo-doo. He needs a good scrubbing.

Bathing His Boy by frostygossamer

It was a cold wet morning when Merlin bumped into Guinevere in the castle courtyard.

"Morning," he said cheerfully.

"Oh, Good Morning," she replied. "I can't stop and talk, Merlin. Lady Morgana has given me a great load of work to do this morning. She really is a hard taskmistress sometimes."

"Poor you," Merlin replied sympathetically. "Morgana can be a bit of an evil witch now and again."

At that precise moment Morgana walked around the corner. She composed her face so as to not look as if she had heard that last remark of Merlin's. But she determined to get him back for it, some time. Morgana was a bad person to get on the wrong side of.

Later that day Merlin was innocently mucking out the stables. He had just got all of the offensive effluent shovelled over to one side, and he was leaning on his shovel, waiting for the boy with the muck-cart to come and take it all away to spread on the vegetable garden.

Morgana spotted him from an upstairs window and a wicked smirk darkened her face. Uttering a swift spell and rubbing the magic trinket she carried in her pocket, Morgana caused Merlin's shovel to suddenly move three feet to the right, resulting in Merlin ending arse-up in the middle of the great steaming pile of horse poo.

Merlin picked himself up and tried to dust himself off, but he was covered in filth. Sighing, he wandered off towards his room, to change into his other set of clothes. And he had already changed them this week too.

When he entered Gaius's workroom he found Gaius working at his potions. Gaius didn't see him enter but the revolting stink soon reached his nose.

"Great Heavens, Merlin. What is that toe-curling niff?" he complained.

"I fell in the horse manure," Merlin replied. "I need a change of clothes."

"You need more than that, my boy," Gaius exclaimed. "Wait there while I get your clean things."

Gaius retrieved Merlin's other clothes from his room, then frog-marched him by his ear down to the castle well for a wash.

"Strip," Gaius commanded.

Merlin complied reluctantly and stood naked and shivering as Gaius dumped several successive bucket-loads of cold well water over his head.

"There!" he finally declared. "That's a lot better. Put on your clothes and I'll make you a bowl of elderberry, marshmallow and ivy soup to warm you up."

Unfortunately, without the use of soap there was still quite a bit of a whiff hanging around Merlin. Gaius was happy, but the castle's female servants were a bit grumbly whenever Merlin walked into a room, holding their noses and whispering to each other.

Merlin ended up spending the rest of the day working outside. Happily, a sympathetic scullery-maid passed him some bread and cheese through a window. She was wearing a peg on her nose.

By evening time he was convinced that the pong had faded a bit, so he went, as usual, to Arthur's bedchamber and magicked up a bathtub of steaming hot water for the prince's return.

Merlin could hear the sound of grumbling coming along the corridor before Arthur even entered the room.

"Holy Heavens, Merlin," he cried. "What the blazes is that ungodly stench? I could almost smell it from downstairs."

Arthur, as a young man of nobility, obviously had a more refined nose than old Gaius. As soon as he got close to Merlin, Arthur was in no doubt where the vile aroma was coming from.

"In the name of all the gods, Merlin," he exclaimed. "For pity's sake, go and stand by the open window and let the breeze blow away that disgusting odour while I have my bath, or I might just pass out and drown."

Merlin did as he was told, anything for a quiet life, but he was sure his hum was minimal by now.

"Finickity fusspot," he muttered under his breath.

After a few minutes of splish-splashing and loud tuneless singing, Arthur re-emerged from his bathtub glowing, a towel wrapped around his hips. He approached Merlin, waiting by the window, and proceeded to sniff him carefully.

"No, Merlin," he pronounced. "Even now you're a bit high. My bath water is still warm. I'm going to make you have a proper wash."

Merlin protested, "But Arthur, I've already had a bath this month!"

Arthur snorted. Still protesting under his breath, Merlin climbed into Arthur's bathtub and began to throw water over himself unenthusiastically.

"No, Merlin. That won't do," Arthur complained. "I see I'm going to have to sort you out myself."

He grabbed a big sponge, doused it with perfumed unguent of the kind used by princes and other wealthy persons and began to vigorously scrub Merlin's back, arms, chest, neck, ears and face with it. He even tipped some into Merlin's thick black hair and kneaded it roughly right down into his scalp. Merlin moaned and thrashed about a bit.

"Be still," Arthur commanded. "I'll get you clean if I have to soak you in lye! Right! Stand up. Let's do the bottom half."

Merlin stood upright in the tub a little embarrassed, hiding his privates with his hands.

"Right leg up," Arthur ordered and scrubbed that leg. "Left leg," and did the same.

Then he turned his attention to Merlin's little bottom. Arthur lathered each cheek with a slow circular motion. He was beginning to like this.

"Bend forward," he ordered and, when Merlin complied, he ran the sponge quickly between his cheeks, underneath and back again. Merlin coughed with surprise.

Arthur chuckled. "Fine," he said. "Last bit. Face front."

Merlin hesitantly turned to face him.

"Hands off," Arthur snapped, then, deliberately slowly, swabbed the sloppy sponge around Merlin's wedding tackle.

Merlin bit his lip and tried not to squeak. Arthur was definitely enjoying this now.

"All done," Arthur finished, throwing the sponge into the bath and stepping back to admire his handiwork. "Right, duck under and I'll get a towel."

He came back with a soft towel held double-oven-glove-style.

"Come here," he demanded.

Merlin stood up again and Arthur began to towel his head, then his back, his arms, his chest, his bottom, especially gently, and then he buffed his precious family jewels very tenderly, very teasingly. Merlin was trying to avoid his eyes.

"Look at me, Merlin," Arthur whispered softly, and he felt Merlin grow rigid in his towelled hand.

Arthur lifted Merlin out of the bathtub to stand on the floor. He knelt down, his face level with his sweet pudenda, and quickly dried his two legs. Then, on impulse, he swept him up fireman-style and carried him to his bed.

Merlin protested as he laid him down, but only weakly. Arthur grinned, discarding the towel he himself was wearing, and climbed onto the bed to straddle his prostrate servant boy. He sniffed Merlin very thoroughly all over.

"Now that's what I call clean," he declared triumphantly and leant forward to lay a kiss on his lips.

Merlin turned his face to the side avoiding his kiss. Arthur sighed in disappointment. He knelt back on his heels and looked down at Merlin.

"You can go if you want, Merlin," he said. "I won't be angry with you. I'm your prince but I'm not a monster. I don't want to make you do anything you don't want to. I disagree with that 'Droit de Seigneur' nonsense."

"Go?" Merlin thought. "When I'm all warm and cosy from the bath and Arthur's bed is so comfy and Arthur is so nice? If it wasn't for that scary thing I'd be glad to stay," and he eyed Arthur's sizeable appendage as it lay unashamed in his naked lap.

Arthur followed his gaze and smiled proudly. "Don't worry," he chuckled. "I'll be careful not to hurt you. As a knight I'm fully trained in the safe handling of this dangerous weapon."

Merlin relaxed and wriggled comfortably.

"But will you respect me in the morning?" he asked.

"I don't respect you now," Arthur rejoined. "But I do care for you. And I'll still care for you in the morning. Perhaps even more."

"First tell me what you are going to do to me," Merlin asked nervously.

Arthur considered for a moment. "I'm going to touch and taste every inch of your silly skin," he whispered. "I'm going to cram my giant sausage into your narrow alleyway," he went on. "And then I'm going to fill you brimful of my hot princely milk."

Merlin giggled. "Oh," he said. "Then you're not going to kiss me?"

"That too," Arthur replied, and did.


In the morning Merlin was awoken by Arthur kicking him out of bed.

"Hey," Merlin complained. "I thought you were going to be more caring to me from now on."

"I'm still your prince, Merlin," Arthur retorted. "So go and get my breakfast. You can borrow an old tunic and breeches of mine until you can get yours thoroughly boiled," he added pointedly.

Merlin dressed quickly and made to leave, but Arthur stopped him to say, "And if you manage to get yourself dirty again, report to me straight away, so I can make sure you're clean. I can't be seen to keep a scruffy servant. I have a reputation to uphold," and he laughed heartily.

Merlin smiled to himself as he hurried down to the kitchen.

"Fusspot!" he thought.

The End

A/N: Oh dear! Merthur took control of my keyboard again. Hope you enjoyed this. ;)