"Good morning sire!" Merlin said cheerfully as he drew open the drapes covering the windows of Arthur's Chambers. Arthur groaned and rolled over. Merlin sighed as he regarded his king. It was said Arthur was three things: Loyal to his people, Brave, and Caring. Merlin had added a slew of items to that list over the years, most prominent among them: Not a Morning Person. Slowly he walked over to the bed.
"Arthur, you have to face the world sooner or later, your people need you" he said. Arthur gave a gruff reply into his pillow, before finally turning over.
"Why do you have to always be so damned happy in the morning?" Arthur asked him sulking. Merlin grinned.
"Because if we all woke up like you every day then Camelot would be a lot darker" Merlin replied.
"And what's that meant to mean?" asked Arthur as he stood, pulling on his tunic. Merlin shrugged.
"It mean's your doing your job right, except first things in the morning" Merlin replied.
"You know Merlin, carrying the weight of responsibility for an entire kingdom on my shoulders isn't actually an easy burden, I know you servant's probably think all I do all day is walk around giving out commands to people, attending pointless meetings with the guild of weavers, or the guild of smithies, or occasionally, very occasionally I might add, running out to stop Morgana's latest plot to bring us down. So is it to much to ask, when it's quiet that I could at least get a small lie in?" Arthur asked. Merlin thought for a moment.
"No" he said shaking his head, actually feeling a little angry at Arthur's accusation that he didn't know what went on in his life.
"What do you mean no?" Arthur asked as he sat down to breakfast.
"nothing" Merlin shook his head. Arthur glanced up at him where he stood next to the table, water jug in hand.
"Merlin, if you have something to say, then I suggest you say it" Arthur said to him.
"You wouldn't like it, so lets just put it out of our minds and get on with the day" Merlin replied.
"No" Arthur said, putting his fork down. "Not until you tell me what's bothering you"
"Fine, but in case you hadn't noticed, you moan about all these responsibilities as king, you put on smiles and all that when you entertain guests, and when you decide to rush out and stop Morgana's or Odin's or whoever's latest plot, you seem to forget I'm always there. I'm up at the crack of dawn every day, seven days a week, usually a good hour or so before you, just so I can be presentable enough you don't feel ashamed to be seen with me in public! I polish your armour daily I do your laundry daily I muck out your stables daily I have to serve your guests, hold your target's when you train and above all that I still have to do errands for Gaius, and that means that most nights I'm awake for another good hour or so after you're snugly tucked in and snoring! So I would thank you sire if you didn't just bundle me into so generic cookie cutter idea of being a servant" Merlin replied. Arthur blinking at him.
"Merlin, I had no idea" he said quietly. Merlin sighed.
"Well now you do" Merlin replied. Arthur nodded.
"Is it really that bad?" he asked. Merlin shrugged.
"I'm used to it. I admit it was difficult at first, but some days I'm just so tired" he admitted.
"Surely your friends would help with your chores?" Arthur asked.
"I don't have any, not really, not outside of Gwen, Gaius, Gwaine and you" he said.
"None?" asked Arthur.
"Nope. I've tried, but you see just as its not proper for you to be friends with me, it's not proper for me to be friends with another servant" Merlin stated.
"That's absurd" Arthur told him.
"Nope, it was bad enough when I was the princes man servant. Now I'm the kings manservant, people keep me at arms length, scared if they say something I'll come back and tell you" Merlin said. He took a deep breath, then looked back at Arthur.
"Water?" he asked holding up the jug. Arthur shook his head as he chewed absently of some food.
"Merlin, I honestly didn't realise it was that difficult for you" Arthur said at last. Then he looked up. "Why do you stay?"
"Because it's my job, its what I have to do, and because I believe in the end it will all be worth it, you leading your kingdom to greatness" Merlin said.
"So you do it for me?" Arthur asked.
"Why else?" Merlin asked. Arthur lapsed into silence, finishing his breakfast, which Merlin quickly cleared away, before setting to work making the bed. Arthur moved behind the dressing screen, and shook his head. If anything Merlin had made him feel mightily guilty.
"So… why are you so happy every morning?" asked Arthur from behind the dressing screen. Merlin looked over and grinned.
"Because it's another day that's dawned where nothing bad has happened, where the kingdom can go about it's business in peace, where I know I've done just the smallest part the day before to help you see that happens" Merlin replied. Arthur nodded, and watched as Merlin went back to his work. Before, head in turmoil, he left the room.