Another one-shot. We obviously can't help ourselves.
Warnings: Arthur is immature. And we don't own Merlin.
Merlin couldn't decide exactly where to tally this new development. It certainly didn't go under good. At least not directly under it. And the warlock couldn't bring himself to think of this as entirely bad. Arthur wasn't trying to kill Merlin. But then, if the prat kept up this behavior Merlin very well might die.
But still, at least Arthur wasn't reenacting what he did at discovering Merlin's secret two months ago. Luckily, they were in the middle of nowhere at the time. The prince's language was... colorful—to say the least. (Gwen would have gasped in horror had she heard any of it.) Not only that, he tried to hack his servant into unrecognizable bits. Merlin used magic to steal Arthur's sword. He even knocked the prince onto his rear several times. Neither action did anything to curb Arthur's homicidal mood. It was amazing how determined the prat was to chase Merlin and show off his knowledge of insults and profanities. No good, worthless, evil, backstabbing, sorcerer, and traitor were the kindest words Arthur roared.
After about an hour of ring around the rosies, Arthur finally simmered down. Then he started accusing the warlock of helping via magic in several past instances. He even made up a few examples. At the time, he seemed to have forgotten that luck did indeed still exist.
In the end, Merlin did manage to make it back to Camelot in one piece. And, as a bonus, he wasn't a prisoner either.
For about a week after Arthur found out, Merlin was still afraid to cast a spell in the presence of his master. Arthur was furious about being lied to. Then, Arthur decided that Merlin should clean using magic. Merlin didn't mind too much. It was risky to be sure. But it was a good sign if Arthur was asking Merlin to use magic. Also, Merlin finished his chores faster, even if the workload got heavier.
During this time Arthur kept Merlin so busy that the warlock barely remembered to tell Gaius about the prince's discovery. And he completely forgot to tell Lancelot that Arthur knew Merlin's secret. Or vice versa. This led to a very awkward situation.
Merlin was blatantly polishing Arthur's boots and armor with magic whilst sharpening the sword mundanely. (Polishing with magic was fine, but heaven forbid ever sharpening a blade with magic!) Arthur stood about doing whatever it was he did in his room. Then there was a rap on the door. Arthur quickly glanced at his servant to make sure all magical activity had stopped.
"Enter," Arthur called crisply.
The door opened and Lancelot walked in. Since there was no danger Merlin immediately resumed cleaning magically.
"Merlin! What do you think you're doing?" Lancelot asked in horror.
In the same moment Arthur snarled, "Merlin! You idiot!" He hit Merlin across the top of the head.
"Ouch!" Merlin protested. He glared at Arthur.
Arthur returned Merlin's glare with an even more annoyed glare. Then the prince turned on his knight, "Lancelot, you didn't see anything. Thus, you will mention this to no one. Is that understood?"
Lancelot was taken aback. Before he could recover his wits Merlin spoke.
"Arthur, he knows."
"Of course he does," Arthur snapped. "He saw it, imbecile! Now, Lancel—"
"No, Arthur. He knows. He caught me before you did."
Arthur's jaw dropped. "How long has he known?" He sounded indignant.
"The griffin," Lancelot supplied cautiously. "He tried to convince me that I killed it."
Merlin nodded, biting his lip. Somehow he didn't think now was the time to provoke Arthur.
"What did you do?" Arthur asked, giving his manservant a probing look.
"I enchanted the lance—"
"You enchanted Lancelot!"
"No! His lance."
"And, that's it."
"It sprouted blue flames," Lancelot added, trying to get Arthur and Merlin to stop talking about him as if he wasn't there.
"So you burnt Lancelot and nearly took off my head," Arthur observed.
"I did not!"
Arthur continued as though Merlin hadn't spoken, "Why am I letting you use magic?"
"I did not get burned, sire," Lancelot cut in while trying to remain respectful.
"Well you still tried to take off my head," Arthur amended his accusation.
"Take off your head? You are such a clotpole! No wonder you went so insane when you caught me using magic. I thought it was entirely your upbringing. Now I know your stupidity played a part in your behavior!"
Maybe Merlin shouldn't have goaded Arthur. The prince determined that his manservant shouldn't be allowed to use magic for a week. But the opportunity was too good! Besides, Arthur couldn't stick that decision. Nothing was getting done fast enough anymore. He contradicted his order before the day was out.
Later, about three weeks after that, Arthur and Merlin were in the woods doing what they always did in the woods. Hunting. It was a typical hunting trip. In other words, it was inevitably interrupted by something unpleasant. That day, the unpleasant something was bandits.
As the bandits closed in around Arthur and Merlin, the warlock decided that he wasn't in the mood to watch the prince fight. So the battle was over before Arthur could so much as fell one bandit.
"Merlin!" Arthur barked.
"I could've handled them."
"So!" Arthur snapped. "I need to prove myself!"
Merlin stared around incredulously. "Who are you trying to 'prove yourself' to? Because I know it isn't me. If it is, we need to have a long talk."
Arthur had pride issues. Merlin understood that. The prince needed to stroke his own ego. But what was happening today... Arthur was not only going prideless, but completely shameless too! Now, two months after violently reacting to discovering his manservant's gift, the prince was getting far too comfortable with his manservant having magic. Merlin had never before considered how to deal with a prince who wanted to use magic for the wrong reasons. Merlin never thought he'd be wishing Arthur would... perhaps shun Merlin a bit? It would be better that this!
"Please," Arthur begged.
"No," Merlin said firmly. He crossed his arms.
"Why won't you do as I tell you?"
Merlin glowered. "Because it's..." Merlin paused, trying to think of a new adjective to describe the prat's new and persistent whim. The warlock had already used 'petty,' 'adolescent,' 'bratty,' 'childish,' and 'foolish' to name only a few. The prince was entirely undeterred. "Wrong," Merlin decided. "It's just wrong."
"He deserves it," Arthur insisted.
"According to you."
"You should have seen the way he was flirting with her!"
"And yet, I remain unmoved. Arthur, really, you're overreacting."
"Over—overreacting," Arthur sputtered angrily. "I'll show you 'overreacting.' If you don't, I will hold you in contempt. I will have no choice but to expose you."
Merlin's jaw dropped. "You wouldn't."
"Fine, I'll do it. Even if you are blackmailing. And bluffing!"
Merlin couldn't believe he was doing this for Arthur. He couldn't believe the prince was asking for it! Hopefully Arthur won't have a whim like this one again any time soon.
The next day...
An embarrassed and apologetic Lancelot stood in the council chambers. Merlin could tell that he was trying to give his report as quickly as possible. However, his hurry caused him to skip over details. As a result, his report was taking longer than usual because he had to keep backtracking and clarifying. Normally, that wouldn't be too much of an issue. But today, the poor knight had a terrible bout of flatulence. Merlin could tell that Gwen was having flashbacks of when the goblin got out. Uther was giving Arthur a look (which Arthur was oblivious to) that said, And is this why you wanted him to be a knight? Most of the room was in shock about the whole situation.
Except for Arthur and Merlin. Arthur was torn between hiding his glee and hiding his need to find a breathing area. Merlin was completely mortified. Mortified that he had a large hand in this. The warlock consoled himself by imagining ways to get back at Arthur. The revenge would have to less stinky though. Merlin didn't think he could go a whole day around a prat that was destroying his breathing space.
The next day...
"Hic, Merlin! Hic," Arthur attempted to bellow.
"Yes?" Merlin said, trying and failing to look innocent. He was quite enjoying Arthur's predicament. The prince had been trying to train his knights while uncontrollably hiccuping. Somehow, Arthur's voice lost its authority when punctuated with high, squeaky 'hics.' The prince also had trouble fighting with coordination as his body got shaken by each involuntary squeak.
"You, hic, di—hic, did, hic, this!" The prat accused.
"Sorry, did what?"
Merlin heard Arthur try to snarl a reply. However, whatever his royal highness wanted to say was lost amidst all the 'hics.'
One week later...
"How dare you!" Arthur yelled.
"What, save your life?"
"Merlin," Arthur warned, "we've had this conversation."
"So you'll force me to do petty pranks on pain of death, but you won't let me save your life?"
"My life didn't need saving!"
Two weeks later...
"Because it's a bad idea," Merlin said, trying to discourage Arthur.
"Come on. If anyone deserves it, he does."
"That's not the point. It's risk—"
"Stop being such a pessimist. There isn't anything to worry about."
"Easy for you to say. It won't be your life on the line."
"Ha, since when does anyone notice you do one of your little tricks?"
"Are you admitting to your incompetence?"
"Merlin!" Arthur warned.
"Alright! I'll do it," Merlin conceded hastily. "But if I get caught... I'm holding you responsible!"
The banquet hall was filled with feasting and conversation. King Alined sat beside King Uther. The two kings were speaking about some political intricacy. The visiting king noticed that his cup was running low. This, of course, had to be fixed.
"So," Alined's voice came out in a dramatic stage whisper, to his and everyone else's surprise. Embarrassed, the king attempted to steady his tone. Instead of leveling his voice, Alined found himself bellowing, "I NEED MORE WINE!"
Arthur fought the urge to laugh. "You heard the man," he told Merlin.
After the Banquet...
"Alined's outburst was almost satisfactory," Arthur remarked, being carefully round about his compliments.
Merlin grunted and nodded, "Thank you, sire."
"Now, that wasn't so hard," Arthur commented. "Now do something to Trickler."
"I already have been," Merlin's eyes glinted impishly.
"That explains a lot," Arthur said thoughtfully. He suddenly gave his servant a sharp glare, "You said you weren't willing to do anything to Alined because it was 'risky.'"
"Yes." Merlin didn't like where this was going.
"Well, you pranked Trickler despite the 'risks'! And without any encouragement from me." The prat pinched his servant's cheek.
"Ouch!" Merlin yelped, pulling himself away from the overgrown brat. Apparently Arthur wasn't giving up so easily because he put Merlin in a headlock. "Arthur!" Merlin protested.
"So," Arthur said cheerily while beginning to walk around whilst holding the warlock's head hostage, "why did you give me flack about Alined? You clearly have no problem with cursing Trickler."
"There's a difference."
"Oh? Like Trickler needing to see Gaius after you were done with him?"
"Then what's the difference?"
"What was that?"
"It has to do with the issue of my word against his. Besides, what's he going to say? His magic made my magic blow up?"
"He was using magic?" Arthur asked without thinking.
"Yes. He can do that, you know," Merlin said pertly. "Now let go of me before I decide you need to spend the rest of the week braying!"
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