Honesty is the Best Policy
This story is brought to you by evil plot bunnies who were inspired by a scene in The Son of a Sorcerer by Literaria You don't need to have read it to understand this, but I still highly recommend you do – it's really good! (As are all of her stories)
Disclaimer: Sadly not mine. The wonderful characters belong to BBC and the plot belongs to Literaria. (Thanks for letting me borrow them!)
Sir Leon stretched his stiff muscles – knights were meant to wield swords and fight for justice, not sit in small rooms questioning each and every citizen of Camelot about sorcery. However, King Uther had commanded that everyone be questioned and Leon had sworn to obey his commands – no matter how paranoid and irrational. The loyal knight looked up as the guards unceremoniously shoved the next person for questioning into the small room that he'd been using for the interrogations. He just had time to see a tall lanky form stumble into the room and knock over an empty water pitcher with a loud clang as he tripped, followed by a yelp of pain as Merlin hit his elbow on the table in his failed attempt to catch the falling jug. Leon chuckled and grinned - as if Merlin could be a sorcerer!
"Merlin! I've been expecting you, come on in. Don't worry, this shouldn't take long- I just have a few standard questions we're asking everyone…. You understand."
Merlin nodded and looked around. His eyes were flitting around the room and he seemed anxious. When he finally realised it was just Leon, he smiled and seemed to relax a bit, though his timid smile was far from his usual grin.
"Right then - You understand that you are honour bound to tell the truth in your answers?"
For some reason, Merlin looked a bit worried at this but he twitched his head in a motion Leon chose to interpret as a nod. Scribbling Merlin's name down on the long list of people he'd questioned that day, Leon looked down at his notes "All right, first question - Would you ever betray Camelot?"
"Never." Merlin replied without hesitation. "I'd die before letting any harm come to Camelot – in fact, I almost have a few times." Leon smiled at the young servant's response. He'd seen Merlin following Arthur on enough harebrained plans to know that it was certainly true. How the young man was still alive was a mystery,
"Too true. Alright, next question – do you harbour any ill will towards Arthur or the king?"
"Ill will?" Merlin paused and looked as if he were considering his options. "Well, honestly I mean - Arthur did use me for moving target practice again yesterday, then he threw a goblet at my head this morning, and he made me polish all his boots even though he only ever wears the one pair, and he throws things at me all the time, and he drags me through forests hunting when he knows I hate it, and did I mention he throws things at me? Hard things. Hard things that hurt?"
"And really – would it kill him to say thank you once in a while? I mean after all I've done I think a thank you is overdue wouldn't you say? " Merlin started warming to his rant, talking faster and louder all the time. "I do everything for his pratness and what do– "
"Merlin!" Leon interrupted the babbling. Apparently Merlin had been spending a lot of time with Gwen lately. "Are you saying you DO harbour ill will towards the prince?"
"Of course not!" Merlin looked offended at the very thought, "Arthur may be – well you know Arthur… but he's well – you know…. Arthur… " Merlin shrugged, apparently at a loss to explain. Leon just shook his head. The knights had a running bet with a prize of ten silver pieces for whoever could get Arthur or Merlin to admit they were friends. It seemed highly unlikely anyone would ever win the prize.
"All right so I'll take that as no ill will. Next question - have you ever practiced sorcery?"
"Oh yeah - all the time." Merlin said in a deadpan voice. Leon looked up in surprise. "Like an idiot, every day I practice magic right under Uther's nose, right here in the very heart of Camelot. In fact I use it around you knights a fair bit too – not that you lot have ever noticed." Merlin rolled his eyes "In between mucking out the stables, scrubbing floors, being used as a target, and cleaning Arthur's socks - I'm enchanting weapons and scrub brushes, lighting fires with my incredible powers and then learning new spells at night, holed up with my secret spell book. You see – "Merlin leaned forward and whispered in a conspiratorial one "I'm actually an all-powerful sorcerer. I just still feel this strange need to scrub Arthur's floors and let him throw things at me." Merlin stood up straight and smied at Leon with an air of total innocence.
Leon snorted and shook his head. Only Merlin would joke while being questioned about sorcery. Admittedly it was a rather foolish question – no sorcerer would ever actually come out and admit they used magic, but Leon just read the questions he was given.
"Honestly Merlin, you shouldn't joke about such things. Never mind - I know you're no sorcerer." Leon pushed the papers away and leaned back as he gestured for Merlin to sit. "Let's just dispense with the official questions. More importantly - how's Guinevere? I've not seen her around lately and my mother was asking after her…."