Total Knockout by Emachinescat
A Merlin Fan-Fiction
SUMMARY: Or "Why Arthur Should Stop Getting Knocked Unconscious at Strategic Moments Throughout the Show so that Merlin Can Do Magic Without Getting Caught." It's Arthur's coronation day, but the new king isn't quite… himself this morning.
A/N: This story was spawned by a conversation between my friend Kelsey and I at dinner this evening. I was expressing my irritation at the ridiculous lengths the show is going to to keep Merlin's magic from Arthur (i.e. Arthur getting knocked out every time Merlin needs to do some magic) and this story just kind of… flowed. :) Pure crack ahead, brace yourselves. This is going to be FUN. Please review! XD It takes place about a year or so after the third season.
It was a beautiful day. The sun was shining down merrily on Camelot, the birds were singing, the sky was blue, and everyone in the city was happy because King Uther had finally decided to step back because he was matter than a very mad hatter. It wasn't that they hated the man – he had been a good king in his own way but everyone agreed that it was time for his son to take over. Arthur had proved himself to be a good and kind man that cared about the people and didn't seem to have the same prejudices against magic. It would be best for everyone – Camelot would have a new, not-psycho king; Arthur and Merlin's destiny would unfold; and Uther would spend the rest of his days training fleas for his flea circus and knitting socks for the army. Everyone was happy. Everyone won.
Merlin was on his way to wake up Arthur and get him ready for his coronation. Merlin couldn't be more proud of his master and friend. He had grown so much in the years that they had known each other and Merlin was thrilled to see their destiny finally unfolding. He was also a bit nervous because he was planning on telling Arthur something very important before the ceremony, something that he had wanted to tell him for a long time now. He hoped that Arthur wouldn't be angry at him for keeping his magic a secret but Merlin figured that Arthur could hardly blame him, what with Uther's blind hatred of magic.
He yawned as he opened the door to Arthur's room. Yesterday had been a long, hard day. Morgana had sent a group of men to try and capture Arthur and Merlin had put a stop to it, but not before Arthur got knocked out by one of the men. It was convenient, really, because he didn't want Arthur to see him use magic just yet. He wanted to tell him on his own terms, the day Arthur became king.
Merlin had found himself wondering at all the times Arthur had been knocked unconscious right at the opportune moment – right when Merlin needed to use magic the most. When the Great Dragon attacked, for example. Granted, there had been a few times that Merlin himself had hit Arthur on the head (like the time when he was pretending to be the old sorcerer to save Gwen), but all in all, Merlin had been very lucky (and Arthur not so lucky) that Arthur always got knocked out when his secret sorcerer needed to do magic.
Now Merlin walked into the room, intending on waking Arthur up but finding that he was already awake, sitting up in bed and staring around the room blankly. Merlin scratched his head in confusion. Arthur looked perfectly content to lounge in bed and it was the biggest day of his life. Something didn't seem right here.
Arthur heard Merlin walk in, smiled widely, and said in a cheerful but uncertain tone, "Hullo." Merlin started to get the feeling that something was wrong with Arthur. His suspicions were confirmed when Arthur kept smiling dopily before commenting innocently, "This is a nice place; do you live here?"
Merlin's jaw dropped. He walked forward a few steps, hesitant to approach this strange, too-nice and polite being that looked like the king of Camelot. He chuckled weakly. "Ha ha. Now come on, we've got to get you ready."
Arthur gave him a strange look. "For what?" There was an awkward pause. "And who are you, anyway?"
Merlin's mind was whirring. What on earth was going on with Arthur? "I'm Merlin, remember?" the servant said, mimicking the tone and inflection that Arthur tended to use on Merlin's name whenever he was irritated with him (which was a lot of the time, actually).
Arthur grinned. "Merlin," he repeated slowly. "Merlin," he said again. "Ha! That has a nice ring to it. Merlin. Merlin! MERlin!"
At his loud exclamation of Merlin's name, Merlin snapped, "What?"
Arthur laughed. "Are you always this cranky?"
Merlin fumed and tried to cover up his worry. "Are you always this stupid?" he retorted.
Arthur looked hurt. "That was uncalled for, Merlin."
Merlin sighed. "Arthur, what's wrong with you?"
Arthur sat on his bed, glancing around pleasantly.
Merlin tried again. "Arthur, what's going on with you today? Are you okay?"
Arthur looked at the ceiling.
"Arthur… why are you ignoring me?"
Arthur scratched his nose.
"Look, I'm sorry about the stupid comment, okay, Arthur?"
Finally Arthur spoke up. "Merlin, I don't think this 'Arthur' person can hear you, you know. You should really stop talking to people who aren't here; people will think you're crazy."
Merlin's stomach dropped to his feet. "You mean… you don't know who you are?"
Arthur rolled his eyes. "I'm me, of course, silly!" His brow puckered as if in deep thought. "Who are you, again?"
Merlin hit his head with his palm. "I'm Merlin, remember?"
"Oh right." Arthur rubbed his strong jaw. "And who am I?"
Merlin paled. "You are… staying right there until I get back with someone who can help you!" Merlin declared, dashing out of Arthur's chambers and barreling through the corridors until he reached his and Gaius's.
The old man was sitting at the table, eating breakfast. He looked up in surprise when Merlin burst into the room. "Merlin! What are you doing here; I thought you were supposed to be helping Arthur get ready for his coronation." He saw the terrified look on his ward's face. "Merlin… what has happened? Why do you look more jumpy than a one-eyed frog in a green bog?"
"Because – wait, what?" Merlin digressed, eyebrow quirking at Gaius's words.
Gaius shrugged. "I'm running out of similes."
"What was it you wanted to tell me, Merlin?"
Merlin's eyes grew wide as he remembered what he had come here for. "It's Arthur, Gaius – he can't remember anything! He asked who I was and if I lived in his room and who he was and…"
"I'll be right there," Gaius assured him, "right after I finish my porridge."
"But, Gaius – Arthur's coronation is in half an hour and he doesn't remember who he is and I need you to make him better!"
Gaius frowned at Merlin. "Merlin, a good, hearty breakfast is essential for a physician to do his best work. Go and stay with Arthur until I finish my porridge and then I will 'make him better.'"
Merlin sighed. "Fine. But that prat better have stayed put while I was gone."
Arthur didn't stay put while Merlin was gone.
Merlin raced through the hallways, heart pounding, afraid of where Arthur in his state of mind would have wandered off to. It didn't take him long to find him on the training field – still in his sleep clothes. Gwaine was talking to him earnestly while Lancelot looked on disapprovingly and Leon just looked helplessly confused.
"Oh, hullo, Merlin," Arthur said as Merlin ran up to the four men, panting heavily from his race through the castle. Apparently Arthur had remembered who his servant was this time. For a moment, Merlin hoped that he might be cured. Then Arthur spoke again.
"I was just talking to Sir Gwaine the Incredible about how things are done in here in Spamalot. Since I'm the king and he's my favorite knight, I pay him double what all the others get." Merlin's eyes widened and Gwaine's face looked like it was going to split in two from his wide smile.
"Well, Arthur—" Merlin began, but Arthur wasn't finished.
"Also, he has the choice of any maiden – or maidens – in the land (even princesses!) and all the ale he can drink. And I promised to buy him a lifetime supply of pickled eggs after he single-handedly saved the kingdom from the giant, fluffy, pink, ferocious, farting unicorn of doom!"
Merlin looked at Gwaine, eyebrow raised in a scary impression of Gaius. "Really, Gwaine?" he said flatly.
Gwaine smiled shamelessly, looking like he was having the best day of his life. "I just really wanted to hear him say giant fluffy pink ferocious farting unicorn of doom," he cackled.
Merlin, Lancelot, and Leon smacked their foreheads with their palms in perfect synchronization. Leon gave Merlin a worried smile. "We tried to stop him but he just kept telling Arthur story after story and he believed every word…"
"Oh, and did you know that although my name is Arthur, all my friends call me 'Dollop Head'?" Arthur announced gleefully.
Merlin exchanged an amused look with Gwaine. It took all of his willpower not to burst into uncontrollable peals of laughter then and there. Before he could respond, Lancelot had his arm and led Merlin to the side before speaking to him in a whisper. "Merlin – what's wrong with him?"
Merlin sighed, frustrated. "I don't know. He was like this when he woke up this morning – couldn't remember anything." He paused. "When did you all realize something wasn't right?"
Lancelot thought for a moment. "It was either when we saw him asking a butterfly for directions to the chamber pot or when he came up to us asking where his 'bestest buddy in the whole wide world, Merlin,' was."
Merlin snorted, beginning to enjoy this despite the dire implications that could come from it. "He said that I'm his best friend?"
"Bestest buddy in the whole wide world," Lancelot corrected distractedly, glancing back at Arthur who was now in the middle of brushing Gwaine's perfect, shiny, bouncy hair for the knight.
"Er… what's he doing?" Merlin asked, a little concerned at the sight of Arthur combing his fingers through Gwaine's hair.
Lancelot sighed, rubbing his temples. "Gwaine also told Arthur that he is his personal barber."
Merlin scratched his chin, not sure if he wanted to laugh, cry, or both. "Gwaine's… er… really enjoying himself, isn't he?"
Lancelot looked at his fellow knight darkly before growling. "You have no idea." He sighed wearily. "Do you think Morgana could have put a spell on him when she attacked yesterday?"
Merlin thought for a moment. "It's possible," he said slowly. "Maybe magic is involved. Maybe I can fix this!"
Lancelot looked a bit alarmed. "But to fix him, you'd have to do magic on him. And that means you'd have to do magic in front of him!"
Merlin nodded. "But look at him, I don't think he's in a state to care at the moment." Lancelot glanced over to where Arthur was watching intently as Leon and Gwaine argued over something before getting bored and flopping down to lie on the grass, a vacant expression on his once-regal face. "And even if he does remember once I've fixed him, I was planning on telling him about my magic today anyway."
Lancelot nodded jerkily. In a grave voice he said, "I hope you're right."
"Me too," Merlin murmured, suddenly fearing for Camelot as Arthur screamed and fled from a grasshopper that had suddenly leapt out of the grass. "Me too."
"Okay, Arthur," Merlin said after he had led his friend back to his room and had him seated on the bed. "You are going to be crowned king in twenty minutes. That means we have to get your memory back and get you back to your usual prattish self before then, and since Gaius is too busy stuffing his face, I'm going to have to fix you!"
Arthur nodded. Then: "I met a girl. Her name was Gwen and she said she loved me," he said slowly. "Is she my mother?"
Merlin fought the urge to hit his forehead again. "No, Arthur," Merlin said in a forced-calm voice. "Gwen is your girlfriend. Your mother… well, she's… dead," he said softly.
Arthur's eyes welled with tears. "NOOOO!" he yelled in denial. "NOOOO!"
After the wails had subsided and Merlin managed to get Arthur calmed down again (now only fifteen minutes until the coronation), Merlin turned to talk to Arthur again. "Okay, Arthur. You've got to listen to me. I think that something happened to you when Morgana—"
"Morgana," Arthur repeated in a dreamy voice. "Is she my mother?"
"No," Merlin ground out through gritted teeth. He could have sworn they'd had this conversation just five minutes ago. "We just went through this. Your mother is dead, Arthur."
Merlin rubbed his temples and proceeded to wait out Arthur's fit. When the prince (er, king) was done, Merlin decided not to mention any more female names because they only had ten minutes until the coronation and because Arthur was extremely annoying when he yelled.
"Alright, Arthur, I'm going to show you something, something that I have kept a secret from you for a long time. I just didn't want to get into trouble for it. But now I know that we're friends and that you'll accept me no matter what. So I'm just going to go out and say it.
"I have magic."
"Of course you do," Arthur said.
Merlin furrowed his brow. "What do you mean by that?"
"It isn't magic that is frowned on in Spamalot," Arthur informed him in an all-knowing tone. "It's the people who have pet llamas, those are the ones we have to watch out for!"
"Nooo," Merlin drawled, patience coming to an end. "Llamas are allowed in Camelot."
"But Sir Gwaine the Incredible said –"
"I don't care what Gwaine said, Arthur! This is about you and how you are suddenly even dumber than… than…" he struggled to think of something that Arthur was dumber than.
"You?" Arthur supplied helpfully.
"Yes, now that you're suddenly dumber than me!" Merlin agreed before realizing what he'd just said. "Hey!" He took a deep breath. "I'm going try to fix you using magic, okay, Arthur?"
Arthur shrugged. "Whatever."
Merlin closed his eyes and then opened them, his eyes turning gold. A brilliant rainbow light encased Arthur and he floated a few feet off the ground as Merlin's magic swept him up. Arthur started laughing almost maniacally and Merlin worried about his sanity until he remembered that Arthur had already lost his mind. Arthur let out an unprincely "WOO-HOO!" from his place hovering a few feet off the floor surrounded by sparkling rainbow colors. "This is just like magic!"
Merlin wasn't able to stop his hand from smacking into his face this time.
"I just don't know what to do," Merlin groaned as he watched Arthur try to catch a magic light he'd conjured to keep the overly-curious king-to-be occupied while he tried to reason a way through this. It was five minutes until the coronation and none of the spells had produced the desired results. Gaius apparently was taking his own sweet time to eat his breakfast and Merlin didn't know what to do, as he'd just told himself.
He tried to go over everything that happened yesterday. "Okay, so Morgana's men attacked. I got ready to fight them off… and then… then… Arthur got hit in the head, and then – wait! Arthur got hit in the head!"
And suddenly it all made sense. How many times had Arthur been knocked out? More times than Merlin could count, but probably about once an episode, at least. Merlin couldn't quite figure out what an episode was or why he was counting the times Arthur got hit on the head by them but now wasn't the time to be questioning his own sanity when Arthur's was on the line.
That had to be it, though! Arthur had been hit on the head, knocked out, and clobbered more times than most men twice his age. Looking back, Merlin thought that it was surprising that this sudden, drastic loss of memory hadn't happened sooner. Apparently this last jolt to the noggin had done him in. Now Merlin just needed to fix it, and since he knew the cause, maybe he could come up with a more specific spell to get Arthur's memories back.
Sucking in a deep breath, Merlin pointed at Arthur and said in an all-powerful voice, "A chur amach ar an damáiste inchinne in aigne an Arthur, déan dearmad air tar éis a leag amach I gcónaí!"
Arthur was once again swept up into a whirlwind of power before being tossed about in the air a bit, this time yelling, "Make it stop; make it stoop!" Finally, Merlin's magic set him down on the bed, unconscious, and Merlin ran to his friend's side.
"Merlin?" Arthur asked hesitantly as he came to. "Is that… is that you?"
Merlin's palms were sweaty and he was nervous that the spell hadn't worked. "Arthur… do you remember?"
"What, that you're a complete idiot?" Arthur groused and all worry fled from Merlin's mind. This was the Arthur he knew and everyone else loved!
"You're back!" Merlin all but squealed.
Arthur sat up, rubbing his head. "And you," he said softly, "are a sorcerer."
Merlin laughed nervously. "A ha ha, funny story, actually, you see…"
Arthur held up a hand. "Merlin. I don't want to hear it."
Merlin hung his head. He had thought for sure that Arthur would accept him for who he was; lord knows they had been through enough together. Apparently not. As he waited for his master to pass sentence he flinched as Arthur's strong hand landed on his shoulder. This is it…
Merlin's head jerked up and his eyes found Arthur's serious blue ones. "Wha…?" he trailed off, too shocked to form a coherent word, let alone a sentence.
Arthur shook his head. "Still unable to talk without making a fool out of yourself, Merlin?"
Merlin grinned sheepishly. "You mean… you're okay… with me having magic?"
Arthur nodded, smiling warmly at his friend. "You just saved me from making a fool out of myself in front of the entire kingdom, not to mention a lifetime of brushing 'Sir Gwaine the Incredible's' hair."
Arthur's eyes lit up. "Hey, Merlin… now that I know you have magic, do you think we can get back at Gwaine for making me look so foolish after the coronation?"
Merlin grinned. "What do you have in mind, King Arthur?"
Arthur pursed his lips in thought. "Can you turn people into animals?"
Merlin nodded slowly. "Yes."
"Er… I don't see why not…"
"So, theoretically," Arthur said, getting more excited with every word, "if someone – say your king, for example – ordered you to turn a certain impertinent knight into a… say… a giant, fluffy, pink, ferocious, farting unicorn of doom… could you do it?"
Merlin felt a grin creep over his face. "In theory."
Arthur nodded and said in full seriousness, eyes never leaving Merlin's, in the tone of a man about send troops into battle, "See that it's done."
Merlin bowed respectfully, a smile twitching at his lips. "Yes, my lord."
Gaius chose that moment to amble into Arthur's chambers, his mouth smeared with porridge. "Okay, Merlin, what seems to be the problem?"
Arthur and Merlin looked at one another, rolled their eyes, and then Arthur answered, "It's okay, Gaius, Merlin already fixed me up."
Gaius glared at Merlin. "Then why did you feel the need to interrupt my breakfast, Merlin?"
"Er…" said Merlin, "I hadn't fixed him yet and I wasn't sure if I could do it?"
"That's no excuse," Gaius admonished him in the stern voice that only a seasoned parent (or old physician turned guardian) could muster. Then he looked at Arthur. "Sire, why are you still in your pajamas?"
Arthur and Merlin looked at each other and suddenly Arthur squeaked out, "Oh no! The coronation! It's time and I'm not ready!"
Merlin thought furiously before his eyes flashed gold and suddenly Arthur was ready for his coronation ceremony, dressed in the finest clothes and all spruced up and ready to go. Gaius, meanwhile, was gaping at the open display of magic in front of Arthur, his mouth opening and closing it, looking not unlike a fish, while his eyebrow shot up so high that Merlin thought it might have jumped clean off his face.
Without bothering to explain to Gaius, Merlin jerked his head toward the door. "C'mon, sire, we've got to get you to the ceremony. You coming, Gaius?"
Still trying to process what had just happened, Gaius silently followed the prince and manservant/court sorcerer as they rushed through the corridors to make it to the coronation on time. As Arthur was crowned king, Merlin realized that their destiny had truly begun. Arthur was going to be a great king… as long as Merlin kept him from getting hit on the head again.
The next day, no one could find Sir Gwaine anywhere but Sirs Leon and Lancelot did discover a very disgruntled looking big, pink, fluffy unicorn with a bad case of gas sulking in the knight's chambers. Camelot, Lancelot thought as he and Leon shook their heads and went on their merry way, is a very strange place.
A/N: I used Irish for the spell because the Welsh just looked silly this time. It meant: take away the brain damage in the mind of Arthur, make him remember after being knocked out constantly, or whatever variation of that Google translator decided to pop out. :) Also, I stole a few lines "This is a nice place, do you live here?" and "This is just like magic!" from Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. Sorry, y'all. I couldn't resist. XD
What did you think? I, for one, had a marvelous time writing this and I hope you enjoyed reading it as well. Please drop me a review and let me know your thoughts. XD I'd love to hear your responses. :D