"Merlin, Arthur's manservant, is a sorcerer!"

Uther did not groan. He did not roll his eyes or put his head in his hands. He did not answer sarcastically.

But he really wanted to.

Merlin? A sorcerer? Again? How many times could Camelot have the same misunderstanding? How many times could people stand there with a straight face and tell their king that Arthur's manservant was magical and expect him to believe it? Did they think he was stupid, or were they idiots themselves?

For one thing, they always pointed out that Merlin was Arthur's manservant, which was completely unnecessary. Uther knew who he was. After all, the king had arrested him at least three times for sorcery, tried to arrest him once for thievery, and appointed him for his job as manservant. Uther had seen the boy save Arthur's life and the king's life. He'd thanked the boy and threatened him. He'd accused the boy of being stupid and woken up to his permanent suspiciously cheerful smile more time than he could count. He'd signed the boy's death warrant. For heaven's sake, the boy was the ward of Uther's advisor! Uther knew who he was!

So he found people's constant "Merlin, Arthur's manservant"s quite annoying. Sure, he just referred to him as "Gaius's boy", but that was for form's sake.

Then, and more importantly, they always accused the boy of being a sorcerer. Being the prince's manservant had doubtless made him a target for the envious and scheming, but really, the number of times this had happened in the past years was ridiculous. If Arthur's manservant was a sorcerer, why in the world would Arthur still be alive?

Also, Arthur trusted the boy. Arthur didn't give his trust lightly, even to idiots who couldn't plot against the throne to save their lives, so the fact that he firmly refused to believe Merlin was a traitor told Uther a lot. Uther knew that if he were, at this very moment, to turn his head to the side, Arthur's face would be arranging itself into an expression of disbelief.

And there was the little fact that they'd tried arresting Merlin before. It always happened the same way: the boy was arrested, Uther thought the threat was past, the boy escaped (Uther still wondered how he managed to do that), the real threat was revealed, and then somebody – sometimes several somebodies – died, and all was forgiven. Even though no one ever seemed to apologize.

It should have apparent to anyone with a memory that he wasn't a sorcerer this time either! Would people never learn?

But Uther was the king. He had to at least pretend to take this seriously, and that is why, a second after the accusation was voiced, Uther leapt to his feet and bellowed yet again:

"A sorcerer? Guards! Arrest him!"

Oh, this was starting to get very boring. Uther gave it five minutes before Merlin escaped yet again.