Hello, my fair Merlinions! It's been awhile, hasn't it? In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if you've forgotten all about me. Quick—what's my name? And no peeking at the top of this page... ;P

I don't really have much of an excuse for not writing, other than Life (real, not the board game) and Sherlock (the show, not some magical incarnation of the fictional detective I met on the street—though how cool would that be? ;D). I've also been working on some longer, Merlin-related oneshots (all of which have yet to be finished), a short, angsty Cabin Pressure fic (which I HAVE finished and posted, if you want check it out... ;P), and a real, live, actual book.

Okay. Now. About today's story. You probably don't remember my last chapter (Quick recap: Merlin and Arthur get sprayed by a skunk—who may or may not be a cousin of the Evil Beaver—and learn from Gaius that they need to bathe in tomato juice to get rid of the stench. Because they don't have buckets of tomatoes, they decide to spend the afternoon in the stocks and have people pelt them with the fruit. There's more, and it's hopefully funnier than I've just made it out to be, but that's the gist.). By popular request, I've finally written a sequel to the story (showing everyone's reactions to finding Arthur in the stocks). Hope you enjoy it! :)

Description: Christmas has come early for Gwaine.

Disclaimer: .nilreM nwo ton od I

Warning: As I said before, this IS a sequel to my last story. So if you don't remember what that one was about, go back and reread it or look in my above AN.

Additional AN: Oh, and I guess this is slightly AU, since it takes place after season 3 but Uther isn't all catatonic.

Taking Stock

"Hey, Percy," Gwaine said, coming to a stop next to his large friend. "Am I drunk?

Percival frowned and slowly shook his head from side to side, unable to tear his eyes away from the sight before him. "Nope—I see it, too…"

"Maybe we're both asleep," Gwaine suggested thoughtfully.

"Well, this is like a dream come true," Percival replied with a smirk.

Unable to take their banter anymore, Arthur spoke up. "Very funny, you two," he growled, glaring at the knights (Well, as much as he was able, given that he could barely lift his head.). "Now either throw something or get out of the way—you're holding up the line!"

Gwaine raised his eyebrows, his lips curling with glee. "Do my ears deceive me, Perce, or did the Princess just order us to throw rotten fruit at him?"

Percival nodded gravely. "I believe he did, my friend."

"Well, law-abiding citizen that I am–" (here the other three couldn't help but snort) "–I would never disobey a royal command!" Gwaine declared. So saying, he reached into the bag he was carrying and began to pull out various fruits and vegetables: lettuce, tomatoes, grapes, celery, and even…

"No," Arthur said in his most authoritative voice. "I absolutely draw the line at watermelons."

"Spoilsport," Gwaine muttered, tucking the overripe melon back in his bag. Arthur scowled.

"It's only supposed to be tomatoes, anyway. We're trying to get rid of the smell!"

"Oh, is that what this is all about?" Gwaine asked, grinning. "I thought maybe you'd overheard Gwen say that she finds men in stocks attractive…"

"And why would she say that?"

"Well, why else would she have had feelings for Merlin?"

"She what?" Arthur yelped—said, rather; princes don't yelp—turning to face his cringing manservant.

"Yes, well… Well… Gwaine flirted with her!" Merlin blurted out frantically.

"Merlin kissed her!"

"Gwaine filled your pillow with pickled eggs!"

"Merlin used dirty dishwater to make your soup last night!"

"Gwaine told everyone at the tavern that you have eleven toes!"

"Percy sleeps with a teddy bear!"


"Oops," Gwaine said, smiling sheepishly. "Sorry, Perce…" He opened his mouth to reveal another secret—something about Merlin and sheep—but was interrupted by the arrival of none other than Uther Pendragon himself.

The king took one look at his son in the stocks and froze, his mouth gaping in disbelief. Arthur turned an alarming shade of white and desperately wracked his brain for something—anything—to say.

Gwaine, as usual, had no such problem. Glancing from Uther to Arthur, he smirked.

"Bet you wish you had that watermelon on your head now…"

Sooooooo... What'd you think? Am I a bit rusty? Or was it the same old Delea-goodness you know and tolerate? :P

Yes, I do think Gwaine carries around a bag of rotten fruit at all times (just in case something like this ever happens). Yes, I do think Merlin probably told Gwaine about the whole Gwen thing (probably when they went to rescue Arthur on his quest for the Fisher King and they couldn't sleep because they were surrounded by pheasants). And yes, I DID have way too much fun writing the part where they're blurting out each other's secrets (Poor Arthur... With friends like these, who needs enemies, right? ;P And poor Percy got caught in the cross-fire, as well...).

Speaking of anachronism (Well, we weren't, actually, but I was thinking about it), did anyone else notice Gaius's glass reading-thingamajigger in the new season? Did the writers finally realize that glasses hadn't been invented yet? Are they making an effort to be more historically accurate? Does this mean the characters will no longer be able to eat tomatoes and watermelons?! What a shame...

I wonder what Gwaine was going to say about Merlin and sheep...

Because I'm a terrible person (feel free to deny it), I didn't respond to any of the reviews for the last chapter. I feel extremely guilty about that, so I just want to say thanks to Cloud-Dee, Autumn Moon Fae, whitecrossgirl, Enchanted Worlds, Starkid191, Stephy-Lou Clark-Weasley, merlinandfreyaFTW, 97 Diagon Alley, merlinisawesome, GracefulLikeAGazelle, Woooodlf, Motaku1235, MaraudersNumber1Fan, and DekaGale. You guys rock my socks, blues my shoes, and do other music-related things to my random inanimate possessions. ;P

Oh, and special thanks to Yagami Byakuya for being my 100th follower!

I have no idea when my next update will be (hopefully sooner than a month), but, until then: Smile, watch Merlin, and don't wear stocks with sandals! ;P

Hugs and Butterfly Kisses,

Your DeleaMarie