Disclaimer: All belongs to the BBC. If the show was mine… well. I'm a slash-fan, so the slash in the show would be text, not subtext.
Title: Prince Bunny
Rating: T. Just because.
Summary: Merlin's magic goes a bit haywire, and it's all Arthur's fault. Gwaine finds it hilarious, Lancelot panics, and Gwen is bemused, confused, and amused.
A/N: Sequel to And I'm Not A Drunk and Hypothetically Speaking. Reading those is not necessary, but will be useful if you want to laugh more. If you haven't read those, this is set between Seasons 3 and 4. Uther's still alive. Gwaine, Lancelot and Arthur all know about Merlin's magic.
A/N2: Sorry this took so very long to get out; Real Life has kind of been attacking me with a crowbar lately. Midterms are a bitch and a half.
It was one of Uther's better days. Sometimes he could pay attention to reality long enough to be a true King again; on days like this, Arthur tended to step back and let his father be the King. On these days, Arthur was not seen very much.
This was a good thing, a small, logical, calm fragment of Merlin's mind noted gratefully. If Arthur's presence had been required just then….
"This is not good," Merlin muttered, running his hands over his hair.
The fuzzy white rabbit sitting on the chair in front of the young warlock hopped up and down furiously, baring its teeth as though it would like to bite Merlin's face off.
"It's not my fault!" Merlin snapped at the rabbit angrily. "You're the one who wanted a demonstration! And you distracted me! If anything, it's your fault!"
The rabbit jumped at Merlin, making awkward squeaking sounds that were as close to a growl as it could get.
"AUGH!" Merlin yelled, grabbing the rabbit around the middle and shoving it away from his face. "Arthur! Stop it, you stupid prat! I can't help you if you kick my head in!"
"Um…" a voice came from the door.
Merlin and the rabbit froze, and then, in unison, looked towards the door.
Gwaine and Lancelot stood in the doorway, eyes bugged out and confused.
"Did… did you just call that rabbit 'Arthur'?" Lancelot asked hesitantly, eyeing said bunny nervously.
"Uh…" Merlin said hesitantly.
"Merlin, did you turn Arthur into a rabbit?" Gwaine asked, clearly fighting a grin. "Because that would… that would just make today a wonderful day."
The rabbit snarled at Gwaine, and Merlin huffed, "You know, Gwaine, you aren't helping. At all."
"No, but did you really turn Arthur into a rabbit?" Lancelot asked anxiously, reaching carefully for the rabbit, which bared its teeth at him. Lancelot flinched back, and said, "Ohhh, no, you really did. You did. Merlin, you… oh no. Ohhh, no. This is not good."
"Calm down, Lancelot," Gwaine said cheerfully, patting the rabbit on the head, much to its indignation. "At least it's a cute little fuzzy rabbit. It could be so much worse."
"Really? It could be worse?" Lancelot said irritably. "How could it possibly be worse, Gwaine? Arthur's a rabbit!"
"He could be a toad," Gwaine grinned at the other knight brightly. "Or a snake. Or something poisonous. Ow!" Gwaine jerked his hand back, shaking it in pain. "The little bastard bit me!"
"Don't call him a bastard, Gwaine, he's the Prince!" Lancelot scolded, still eyeing the rabbit warily.
"I am so doomed," Merlin groaned, burying his head in his hands. "I turned the Crown Prince of magic-hating Camelot into a rabbit. I'm going to get caught, and then beheaded. And then Arthur won't be able to unite all of Albion, and Morgana will come back and kill everyone, and we're all doomed!" Merlin rounded on Arthur. "See what you did? You made me doom us all!"
"Merlin," Gwaine said seriously, putting a hand on Merlin's shoulder. "First of all, Lancelot and I would never let you get beheaded. Ever. I can promise you that much. You are our dearest friend, and we will die for you if it comes down to that."
There was a moment of silence, with everyone in the room appreciating the solemnity of the moment.
And then Gwaine said, "Of course, that doesn't mean I won't mock you for turning Arthur into a cute little bunny."
"What part of 'not helping' didn't you understand?" Merlin said in frustration.
"Look, just turn him back," Lancelot said nervously, glancing at the door. "Before someone comes looking for the Prince and finds a rabbit."
"Don't you think I would have done that already if I could?" Merlin sighed, resting his chin on his hands and staring at Arthur-Rabbit. "I don't know how I turned him into a rabbit. If I don't know that, I'm not sure how I'd turn him back."
"Did you ask Gaius?" Lancelot suggested.
"Gaius knows about magic?"
"Yes, Gwaine, Gaius knows about magic. Gaius knew before any of us. Try to keep up."
Gwaine scowled at Lancelot as Merlin ignored their exchange. "If Gaius finds out Arthur knows, and that I turned him into a rabbit, I'll be even more doomed."
"Gaius wouldn't do anything to hurt you, Merlin," Lancelot frowned.
"No, but he'll lecture me until my ears fall off," Merlin retorted.
Both Lancelot and Gwaine nobly refrained from poking fun at Merlin's ears, although Arthur chattered his teeth as though he wanted to.
"But Gaius might be able to help, right?" Lancelot persisted.
Merlin shook his head. "He wouldn't know what to do here. I mean, he knows a fair bit about magic, but he'd just tell me to figure it out myself."
"Nice mentor," Gwaine sighed, and stared intently at Arthur. "D'you think it might just wear off?"
"What?" Merlin raised his eyebrows.
"Well, in a lot of old stories, magic would eventually wear off," Gwaine said, shrugging his shoulders. "Then again, there's always 'True Love's Kiss'."
Lancelot looked at the ground, clearly a little bit uncomfortable.
"What, you think if Gwen kissed him he'd turn back into a human?" Merlin asked.
The rabbit started leaping up and down frantically, shaking its head back and forth in a manner that clearly indicated 'NO BLOODY WAY IN HELL, YOU IDIOTS!'
"Look, Arthur's all for it!" Gwaine said cheerfully.
"And how would we explain it?" Lancelot interjected. "How would we get her to kiss a rabbit?"
"Well, we could say it's for the safety and protection of Camelot," Gwaine suggested brightly. "And it would even be true!"
"That… might work?" Merlin said hesitantly.
"It's our best option at this point, besides waiting and doing nothing," Gwaine nodded.
Arthur, however, disagreed. A lot. With the whole plan. He wanted to go to Gaius and make him help. He did not, under any circumstances, want to go to Gwen and have her see him as a bunny and have her be the one who saved the day. Normally, he was all for the day being saved. But it was better when he did the saving. Arthur didn't particularly care for being saved. The very idea of Gwen saving him from being a bunny rabbit made him physically ill. So he did the only thing he could do.
Gwen was exhausted. There had been an accident in town earlier that day, with a large number of people getting hurt. She was unclear as to what, exactly, had happened, but she blamed Merlin. Not for the accident, but for her exhaustion. Merlin was usually the one who helped Gaius with this sort of thing (although Gwen usually pitched in anyway), but the young servant had been nowhere to be found. So Gwen had been dragged into being the primary physician's aide for several hours, and she was tired enough to drop where she stood.
Naturally, she was a little surprised at what met her eyes when she rounded a corner near Arthur's rooms. She thought for a brief moment that she was hallucinating, and then decided that no, she just lived in a madhouse.
Gwaine, one of the celebrated Knights of Camelot, was sprawled face-down on the floor, laughing madly as Merlin and Lancelot (another fabled Knight of Camelot) chased a large, floppy white rabbit in circles, yelling incoherently.
For a moment, she merely stood there, imprinting the scene in her memory forever. Hilarious madcap tomfoolery like this didn't happen as often as it used to.
"Um, excuse me?" she said, stepping forward towards the others.
The Knights, the Servant, and the Rabbit all froze where they were.
"Uh… hi," Gwaine said, grinning widely, eyes darting sideways to the rabbit. "What, um. What are you doing here?"
"I was coming to find Arthur," Gwen said, determinedly not looking at Lancelot, who was staring intently at the floor. "We were supposed to… well. We had… plans."
"Oh, well. He's, uh… he's not here," Merlin said abruptly, making another grab for the rabbit and succeeding this time. "But before he… left on that… thing… he gave me this to give to you," Merlin shoved the rabbit towards Gwen, who took it to keep the servant from dropping the poor thing. "He said it was a present for you. I, uh, meant to give it to you earlier, but. Um. I, uh, forgot, and then it tried to run off, so… well. There we are."
The rabbit kicked frantically in Gwen's arms, and she shifted it to get a better grip on it. "It doesn't seem very – friendly," she frowned at it.
"Well, no, that's because it's sad and alone," Gwaine said hastily. "See, it had a lady-friend rabbit. But, uh, she ran off with a wild hare from… uh… Mercia? Yes. And he's really upset about it."
Gwen looked at him skeptically, and then shrugged.
"So, Gwen, you should take the bunny," Gwaine continued. "Give it a kiss, eh?"
"Gwaine, shut up," Lancelot interrupted, and turned to Gwen, who looked confused. "Sorry. He's… well, he's Gwaine."
"Yes, I know," Gwen said, absently patting the still struggling rabbit on the head. "So, I'm sorry, but why did Arthur get me a rabbit?"
"Um…" Merlin glanced at Gwaine, who shrugged, and then at Lancelot, who waved his hand in a 'take-it-away' gesture. "Because… well. He… um."
"Really," Gwen said, raising an eyebrow skeptically.
"Alright then, cards on the table," Merlin said abruptly, throwing his hands in the air. "Arthur didn't get you the rabbit."
"I didn't think so," Gwen said with a wry smile.
"Arthur is the rabbit," Merlin continued.
For a moment, Gwen was silent, staring blankly at Merlin and the rabbit.
"Gwen? You alright?" Merlin asked hesitantly.
"I'm sorry, I could have sworn you just said that Arthur has been turned into a rabbit," Gwen said with a semi-hysterical laugh. "But that's absurd. That couldn't be what happened."
"Well…" Gwaine raised his eyebrows in a 'sometimes-these-things-happen' expression.
Gwen lifted the rabbit up to scrutinize it more closely. It had given up struggling, and merely stared back at her with big, sad, embarrassed eyes.
"Oh, my… it is Arthur!" she gasped. "What… what happened? Who did this? Was it Morgana? Is she back?"
"No, no, it's nothing that bad," Merlin said hastily, and then frowned nervously. "It. Um. Well. See, there's this thing… which I haven't told you about. And it's not because I don't trust you, because I do, but it's just been… I mean, I never wanted to get anyone into trouble, and this thing is sort of a recipe for disaster, and I thought if I just didn't say anything, everything would eventually work out, but apparently it's 'Let's Tell Everyone Merlin's Secret' week in Camelot, and I guess I have to come clean, and I really just hope you don't hate me, because I didn't want to lie to you, especially after we became friends, and I want you to know that I'm still me, even though there's this thing, which I can do, and I know everyone always says it's evil, but it isn't, and I'm not, so, well. There it is, I guess."
Gwen stared at him for a moment, and then said, "I have no idea what you're talking about."
"You didn't actually say anything, Merlin," Gwaine chimed in apologetically. "You just sort of… wandered in circles around the topic."
"Oh," Merlin sighed, and then, obviously steeling himself for something unpleasant, said, "Gwen, I… have magic. I always have. I was born with it. And I turned Arthur into a rabbit. By accident. Because he distracted me in the middle of a spell I was trying to do, because he wanted some kind of demonstration because he didn't really believe I had magic, even though the Dragon told him I did."
"You…" Gwen stood in the hallway, holding Arthur-Rabbit loosely in her arms as she goggled at Merlin. "You have magic?"
Merlin nodded once.
"And you two knew about it?" she cut her eyes towards the two Knights, who nodded as well.
"What about him?" she lifted the rabbit a little bit. "He knew too?"
Merlin nodded again.
"And Gaius knows, I assume?"
"Anyone else know about this?"
"A few people. Will knew. My mother. Mordred," Merlin looked uncomfortable.
"Oh. So, Mordred, a little boy you've really only met once or twice, knew this great important secret of yours before I did!" Gwen threw her arms in the air, accidentally chucking Arthur straight up. Gwaine hurled himself forward and caught the Prince-Rabbit before he hit the floor, and shot Gwen a look of reproof. She didn't notice, however; she was too involved with yelling at Merlin.
"I thought we were friends!"
"Then why didn't you tell me?"
"I didn't want you to get hurt! It's illegal, Gwen! I should be executed!"
"Don't you dare try to pull that!" Gwen actually shook her finger at Merlin. "Do you really think Arthur would let that happen? Do you have so little faith in him?"
"It's Uther I have no faith in!" Merlin shoved Gwen's hand out from under his nose. "If he actually realized what I am, and what I can do, he'd have my head off before I could blink!"
"Arthur would never let that happen," Gwen insisted.
"I know, but that doesn't change the fact that I was trying to protect you by not telling you."
"Don't assume you have any right to try to protect me!" Gwen snapped angrily. "You're my friend! Friends tell each other important things like this! And why did you turn Arthur into a rabbit?"
"It was an accident!"
"Well fix it!"
"What do you mean you can't?"
"You have to fix it!"
"Me? How am I supposed to fix it?"
"…Are you mad? You want me to kiss a rabbit?"
"No, I want you to kiss Arthur."
"Arthur is a rabbit!"
"But he's also Arthur! Just do it and he'll turn back into himself! Probably."
"Just do it!"
With that, Gwen reached down, snatched the rabbit from Gwaine's hands, and kissed it.
With a poof and a cloud of blue, sparkly light, the rabbit disappeared, revealing the Crown Prince of Camelot, Arthur Pendragon, standing in its place.
"Oh. Well, that worked, then," Gwen said, sounding very relieved.
"Yes, um. Well," Arthur coughed, and then rounded on Merlin. "You turned me into a rabbit!"
"But you got better!" Gwaine offered up cheerfully.
After much yelling on Arthur and Gwen's parts, and a lot of explaining and apologizing on Merlin's (along with a few snide remarks from Gwaine), the little group slowly dispersed, leaving only Gwen and Merlin standing in the hallway (which, thankfully, was still deserted).
"So, do you forgive me for not telling you about this before?" Merlin asked morosely, slumping down to sit at the base of the wall.
Gwen sighed, and sat down beside him. "Yes, I suppose. I mean, I understand why you didn't, at first. You didn't know me, I didn't know you. But… I mean, Merlin, it's been years. You're one of my closest friends. I thought you trusted me."
"I do!" Merlin protested. "It's just… I've been keeping this a secret for my whole life, Gwen. Having people know about it… it's different. It's actually kind of uncomfortable. I don't know how to deal with it. So after Lancelot found out, I just…. It was easier not to tell. To keep lying about it," Merlin sighed, and leaned his head back against the wall. "And the more time passed, the harder it would be to come clean. The angrier you would be. So, I just didn't."
"Not a very good strategy," Gwen said wryly.
"No, it's kind of a terrible one," Merlin shook his head. "But, do you think you can forgive me for lying?"
"Of course I can," Gwen patted his shoulder. "It might take some time for me to fully trust you again, but I know you, Merlin. You aren't evil."
"Thanks," Merlin said, smiling wanly.
And, just like that, Merlin and Gwen were alright again.
Except for the part where he turned Arthur into a rabbit. She never really got over that.
A/N: Ohhh I am not satisfied with this. The ending makes me cringe. But the Monty Python reference makes it OK. Sort of. Anyway, please review! I'm thinking about writing more in this little 'verse, but I can't really figure out what to write about next. It might just be hilarious madcap tomfoolery, without any hint of a plot. But that won't be out for a while yet. Midterms, as I said, are a bitch and a half.