Merlin was down by the river trying to bathe in peace whilst he knew that the knights and Arthur were still sleeping. He knew they'd be up soon so he'd have to hurry up.

He froze as he heard a rustle in the bushes behind him, he climbed cautiously out of the water and started to dress, if he was going to be ambushed he didn't want to be naked at the same time.

He relaxed slightly as Arthur emerged. "Honestly Merlin, you came out here without even a sword. What if I had been a bandit?"

Merlin inwardly rolled his eyes, "Well you wouldn't have been a very good one given that I heard you and had time to get half-dressed before you leisurely strolled out. Anyway, I didn't know you cared."

"I Merlin am a master of stealth and could have stayed hidden had I chosen to," Merlin nodded in a sort of 'course you could' way, "and I don't care, do you know how long I've been training you. A half decent servant is had to come by."

"Half decent? Here's me thinking you thought I was incompetent." Merlin teased.

"I do, I didn't say that you were half decent. I just haven't come across one yet." Arthur covered himself quickly.

Merlin just raised his eyebrows and walked around him to collect his shirt from a nearby rock; he stopped suddenly when Arthur held out an arm to stop him. Turning around he frowned at the prince.

"Yes?" Merlin frowned.

"What's that?" Arthur asked pointing to a mark on his back. Merlin twisted uncomfortably and looked down at the scar that spread from his shoulder to just under his neck.





"Yeah, when you hit me with the broom after our mace fight in the lower town."

Arthur flinched slightly and Merlin turned to get his shirt before he was stopped again.

"And this one?"

Merlin twisted again, "that's a sting mark."

"Merlin it's the size of my fist."

"Yeah, well, it was a big sting can I get dressed now?"

Arthur waved him away again before stopping him again when he saw a bruise on his chest.

"What about that one?"

"Honestly Arthur, if you're going to ask about every single mark I have then we're going to be here for some time." Merlin sighed.

"Well I know you're clumsy but you don't trip that much Merlin. How the hell have you got so many scars? You've got more than me!"

"Of course I've got more than you, you into battle in full armour. I get attacked by hypothetical whilst bathing."

Arthur rolled his eyes.

"Stop pretending to be interesting and tell me."

Merlin sighed and began to work systematically through the marks covering his torso.

"Training with you, training with you, training with you, evil sorcerer, training with you, training with you, goblet thrown by you, training with Gwaine, Bandits, training with you, training with you, tavern brawl with Gwaine, training with Lancelot, collecting herbs for Gaius-"


"Don't ask. – training with you, getting thrown at the wall, another goblet thrown by you, evil sorcerer, training with you, fighting the dragon, training with you, griffin attack –Lancelot saved me – training with you and fireball from Nimueh."

"When did Nimueh ever throw a fireball at you?"

"She did! She had it in for me!"

"And what would she want with you?"

"I dunno…"

"So most of them are from training with me?"

"Yeah, and you throwing goblets, most of them just leave a bruise for a week or so but a couple have those ornate little marking that can really hurt!"

"Well it's probably your own fault for giving me a reason to throw them."

"Oh yes, your anger issues are all my fault." Merlin finally got to put on his shirt.

Arthur looked around for something to throw but upon seeing nothing walked back through the forest to where they were camping. Merlin frowned after him and turned around to pick up his neckerchief. He straightened up sharply when something hit his back.

He turned to see Arthur – back again now – standing behind him. He looked to the floor to see a goblet lying there innocently. He looked up and scowled before pointing to the newly forming bruise on his back "goblet thrown by you." Arthur smirked and Merlin walked back to the camp to begin breakfast.

He missed the look of guilt that crossed Arthur's face as he stared after his servant.