It's Fern's fault! No really, she wrote this before I even knew this idea came into existence. I couldn't help it. It made me... No seriously, it threaten to prevent me from getting anything productive done.
Disclaimer: Because of Fern's paranoia, we will continue reminding you that we don't own Merlin.
"Gaius, I've come to a conclusion," Merlin declared. "It's all your fault. And you're going to pay for it."
Gaius rose his eyebrow, looking alarmed. "My boy, what am I paying for?"
"I don't know why you think that you need—"
"I'm a compulsive liar, Gaius. And it's your fault. When I first came here, I was a horrible liar... But now, under your tutelage... I can't stop."
"Merlin, don't you think your exaggerating your tendencies a little?"
"No, Arthur has sentenced me to three years of therapist sessions. And it's all your fault."
"This is the first I've heard of this. And how could it possibly be my fault? What did you do?"
"A rat got into the kitchens and—"
"You let a rat into the kitchens?"
"No," Merlin grimaced at the thought. "The rat got into the kitchens by—" Merlin swallowed, biting back the urge to lie. "The usual way rats get into kitchens."
Gaius raised his eyebrow.
"I'm telling the truth."
"Merlin, you just told me that you're a compulsive liar."
"Anyways," Merlin continued quickly, "the rat caused an uproar. In the chaos, Arthur's dinner was knocked to the ground."
"Merlin, I'm not sure where your going with this."
"Gaius! I'm not done with my story. So I had no choice." Suddenly Merlin couldn't help it anymore. He had been telling the truth for far too long. He needed to lie about something. " I used magic to stop it."
"No one saw me." Merlin flinched. Technically, that was true. He had to remedy his honesty with another lie. "Arthur got sick of waiting for his food and marched down to kitchens to demand to be fed."
"That ordeal must have lasted a long time for it to delay you like that."
"It did. Arthur was ready to eat me. He was so hungry. And I panicked. And I told him that—"
"That the rat had drug his dinner into fire with such speed that I couldn't stop it. And—"
"And Arthur might not have believed me."
"Well, I think not with such a story as that."
"Well," Merlin sputtered, defending his fib, "I had to say something."
"I suppose your—"
Gaius was interrupted by his door opening. Arthur Pendragon strutted in.
"Gaius, I need to speak with you," the king declared.
"I think I'll go," Merlin muttered and started to walk off.
"No, I think you should hear what I have to say."
"But—" Merlin began to protest.
"Sit," Arthur commanded. He turned back to Gaius. "We both know that Merlin's mental state is questionable at best." Merlin glowered at the king. "But today's events have shown me that we should not ignore it any longer."
"Sire, surely it wasn't that bad," Gaius tried to sooth Arthur.
"Gaius," Arthur said seriously, "Merlin somehow chased a rat out of the kitchens and into my chambers—"
Gaius gave Merlin a piercing look before replying to Arthur, "Sire, forgive me, but I don't think that is cause for alarm."
"Oh," Arthur said in his dangerous voice. "I haven't gotten to the best part. The rat took cover in my curtains. Do you know what Merlin here did?"
"I'm afraid I don't."
"He threw a lit candle at it," Arthur declared. "And you know what he said? He said that he was doing an experiment for you. Something about the 'rate of burning.'"
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