So this is my first real story I've ever posted but despite that it is MY story, so please no complete plot thefts okay? But I don't have many worries because people who watch Merlin are awesome and cool, and awesome and cool (coolsome/awesool?) people don't steal others stories ;)

Title: To Tell a Tale

Summary: Arthur started it, he had practically dared him. Fine then. He would show them, he would show them all. They were about to get their socks blow off. In which Merlin tells a tale and Arthur pays attention, who knew story time could be so complicated?

Chapter 1: Challenge Accepted

"Merlin should tell a story." Gwaine said cheerily, elbowing Merlin in the side, a wicked gleam in his eye.

"Ah, Merlin could only tell peasant stories about cattle and crops, we need a battle story." Arthur teased, thoroughly enjoying his joke and waiting for his manservant's reaction. Sure enough, Merlin looked up and gave him a glare, which only caused Arthur to laugh, as one of his joys in life was to nettle Merlin with barbs of his own brand of witty humor.

Lancelot rolled his eyes and took a sip of his drink. Honestly, Arthur and Merlin... the future King of Camelot and a servant who secretly practiced magic, the two most unlikely to ever be friends and yet, here they were. Although Arthur still had a hard time calling Merlin his "friend", but anyone who spent any time with the pair could tell that's exactly what they were. They would probably be best friends but for Merlin's little secret.

"Arthur, I'm sure Merlin can tell a good story." Gwen defended slapping Arthur's arm and giving him a disapproving look that she couldn't quite pull off, especially when Arthur looked at her with that smile...

"I could tell one then. Have you guys heard about the time I woke up on the sands of the ocean, the waves were lapping at my toes and I had this terrible headache with no memory of how I got there, I -" Gwaine took a breath to continue, but was swiftly cut off by groans and exclamations,


"Oh, not another one Gwaine!"

"Please, not another drinking story..."

Gwaine's mouth opened in shock before he closed it with a snap and frowned at his fellows, his mouth forming a pout.

"Well, I'm offended. My stories are very interesting, and you lot are just jealous" He muttered sullenly.

"Maybe the first few times, but they're all pretty much the same mate." Elyan remarked, snorting in amusement. Gwaine glowered.

"We've all had our moment, I think it's Merlin's turn." Leon agreed with Gwaine, nodding in the Knight's direction. That seemed to loosen Gwaine up and he bounced back with smile, reaching for his drink, it wasn't in Gwaine's nature to be offended for long.

The group of them had been out hunting and were now relaxing, around a nice, bright campfire. This outing had been Gwen's idea but had quickly been seconded by Merlin and the rest. Arthur had been showing obvious signs of stress over being the new Regent of Camelot, those signs mainly included him being more bossy, moody, and irritable than usual, what Merlin diagnosed as Arthur's "pratishness acting up again".

During the months after Morgana's Reign of Terror and Destruction as Gwaine called it, the brotherhood of the Round Table had continued to meet on a regular basis, offering support and opinions to Arthur who had been thrust into this position rather suddenly. Rebuilding Camelot was no easy task, but now it was finally nearing completion and people's lives were finally beginning to return to normal. Which was why, upon seeing the stress showing on her beloved's face, Gwen had suggested he go on a hunting trip with his knights for a little vacation. Arthur had refused at first, but after hearing Gaius tell him that he would benefit from some time off, he warmed to the idea immediately. It was supposed to be just Arthur and his knights but obviously Merlin had to come to carry things and set up camp (as well as the fact that Arthur wanted him there but wouldn't admit it) and Arthur had then insisted that Gwen come as well.

"You are as much a part of this as anyone." He had insisted adamantly, to which Gwen responded by flushing prettily. She couldn't deny that having Arthur include her, and having him want her with him made her feel rather wonderful.

During the few days they'd been away, each night after hunting, swimming or just riding about, tales would be told around the fire.

The first night they had managed to get Perceval to talk and he told them of his childhood and its tragic ending. Then Lancelot had broken the following sadness and tension with his own story of what had happened to him after he had left Arthur, Gwen, and Merlin in the forest outside Hengist's castle, and how he had eventually met Perceval.

On another night, Elyan had described some of his adventures wandering the lands, and Gwaine had endlessly recounted various drinking adventures. Gwen had spoken of how she came to be Morgana's maid after Arthur had convinced her that it was okay to mention his traitorous half-sister, and both Leon and Arthur had told the group about various quests they had gone on, including the one where Arthur had slain the Great Dragon (no one caught Merlin stifling a chuckle).

"Merlin should tell a story." Perceval announced suddenly, causing Arthur to sighed dramatically,

"Very well Merlin. Regale us with a story about weeding the garden." Arthur replied, his self-satisfied smirk still in place.

Merlin narrowed his eyes at the prince. He had been about to do just that, tell a simple story from his youth in Ealdor. He was nothing if not cautious. However, he also couldn't stand to see Arthur proved right. Merlin lived for the times when Arthur was proved wrong, and it was even better when Merlin did the 'proving' himself.

This would be one of those times.

Surely it couldn't hurt to tell one story…no one would guess his involvement, especially Arthur. It couldn't hurt to make Arthur eat some crow; his ego had become too inflated lately anyway what with all this 'Regent of Camelot' business. So, Merlin steeled himself, pushed aside his misgivings, and ignored that annoying voice in his head that he referred to as his "Gaius Magic Alarm", and decided to effectively put Arthur in his place. His mind made up, Merlin straightened his posture and he placed a hand on his chin, his eyes growing contemplative, picking through the recesses of his memories for the perfect tale to tell these battle-hardened warriors.

Unbeknownst to the young warlock, the group around him became silent as everyone began to glimpse a hint of the other side of Merlin, this person behind the mask. Arthur straightened too, instinctively mimicking Merlin and his eyes lost their mocking mirth as the air around the glowing fire grew more serious. Arthur held his breath, he always forgot how unnerving this Merlin was, how very different from the bumbling, naïve servant he was so familiar with. After a few minutes Merlin spoke, his voice taking on a timbre Arthur had never heard before.

"Very well." Merlin said, his voice deep, already getting into character.

"I'll tell you a story. I will tell you the tale of the Sword in the Stone."

AN Begins here: This was mostly just a prologue, next chapter will be longer. So, I have an idea of where I want this to go but I'm always up for input, and I love ideas. This shouldn't be too long, maybe three or four chapters, I haven't quite decided. If there are any grammatical errors feel free to let me know as I'm still getting the hang of actually publishing stories...

Thanks for reading!