Suffering

It's important to remember that King Arthur is human, too, and these things… They happen to humans. Completely innocent amusing oneshot! Set anytime after Lancelot comes back to court and before the ending of the last book.

(Yes, Merlin readers, you will not understand what's going on unless you've read these books!)

A Squire's Tales Fanfic by Kitty O


Blast them all, thought Arthur vindictively.

He was sitting next to his beautiful wife, overlooking his peaceful knights and full table of food (a symbol to him personally of his prosperous people), but for a moment – a very short moment – he found it in his heart to hate them.

He hated them intensely, if briefly, because of this frustration. They were all so indifferent to the agony he was suffering; they didn't even notice. Arthur could barely sit still and yet they continued to act as if nothing was wrong. Guinevere sat straight and pretty in her chair, never glancing his way. Lancelot was chatting away to Sir Bedivere beside him about tournaments or training, he wasn't sure which. Gawain was cheerfully discussing war or something else nasty with Sir Kai, and both were so absorbed that neither even glanced at their afflicted sovereign. The visiting dignitaries, unfortunately, did more than glance at Arthur while they talked. They were looking straight at him and so he was trapped.

And no one noticed that he was miserable.

Well, no, that wasn't quite fair. Arthur knew that Squire Terence, standing behind his master, was paying attention to his problem. Terence was always aware of everything. But rather than finding a way to help, or even expressing his sympathy silently, Terence looked amused.

Amused!

Blast him most of all.


"Well," Kai finished his story with an amused growl, "it certainly shut him up."

Gawain laughed boisterously, shaking his head and commenting about how he didn't blame Kai in the slightest. Looking back at his squire, he expected to see Terence in agreement with him, but was surprised that the man wasn't paying attention to him. Rather, he was smiling towards the head of the banquet table.

"Terence?"

Terence blinked once and dragged his eyes away from the king, his smile slipping away. "Milord?"

"What on earth are you smiling at?"

Terence looked at him as though perhaps he was a few pecks short of a bushel. "The king, milord. I thought that was obvious."

Gawain rolled his eyes towards the ceiling. "I can see that. What's so funny over there? What are you looking at?"

"King Arthur," replied Terence promptly, still acting as though his master was a bit slow.

"…Why?" Now Kai was listening in too, as this concerned his foster brother.

Terence shrugged innocently. "I'm just waiting. To see how long he makes it."

"What do you mean?" asked Kai gruffly, beginning to grow worried as his gaze settled on Arthur. The king did indeed seem to be having a problem; he was squirming in his seat, but trying not to attract attention to it. His face had settled into an expression between a scowl and a wince, but he was trying to disguise it with a blank look.

Terence continued to watch Arthur (and Arthur pretended not to notice, though inside he was simmering), and he calmly explained, "I believe, Sir Kai, that the king has an itch on his rear, and he is trying very hard not to scratch it, as the dignitaries are watching. But now, if I'm not mistaken" – and Terence, Kai knew, was very rarely mistaken – "the itch is beginning to spread up his back, and he's thinking it will be covering him soon."

Sir Kai laughed, but Sir Gawain winced in sympathy as though he'd been there before.

"Is that all?" said Kai, and then he forgot his brother's problem and went back to his food, leaving his king to suffer quite callously.

Terence nearly commented, "Isn't that enough?" but he decided against it.


Arthur's hands were clenched into fists at this point, and he was biting the inside of his cheek. It would not do to scream in the middle of a banquet, he reminded himself constantly, however appealing the idea sounded. Sir Kai, down the table, laughed and continued eating his meal. He could laugh. Arthur squirmed in discomfort, knowing that he would either find some discreet way to scratch or suffer through the meal.

And really, King Arthur decided, manfully trying to ignore it until the jabbering dignitaries looked away. I don't think there's any pain quite like that of an unscratched itch.


Nothing spectacular, but I hope it made you smile at least. Consider leaving me a review and telling me what you thought? It only takes a few seconds. Go on. Click the button below. Do it… There you go…