To Kiss a Frog

"You always take me for granted!" Merlin was shouting, managing to look quite intimidating as he stood across from Arthur, despite his slim build. "It's: Merlin, light the fire! Merlin, stop that dragon from killing us! Merlin, make us something to eat! Merlin, do this! Merlin, do that!"

The Knights – Gwaine, Percival, Elyan and Leon – backed away from the arguing pair. The King's sorcerer had seemed in a bad mood today, and he hadn't had his usual witty comebacks to Arthur's insults, but Merlin didn't usually shout so loudly and look so… terrifying. An aura of magic was crackling around him, and his eyes were glowing slightly, as if a spell lingered right behind the surface.

"I am not some slave to be ordered around! I am the most powerful warlock in Albion, and you damn well better treat me with some respect!" He was still shouting.

Arthur stood his ground, still grinning. That, the Knights reflected later, was probably where he went wrong. That and what he said next. "And I'm the King, Merlin. What are you going to do? Turn me into a frog?"

That was the exact second Merlin lost control. His eyes glowed gold, and his aura of magic seemed to explode outwards, so powerfully that it actually set fire to the grass, which was dry as a bone in the summer heat. Incidentally, the reason Merlin was upset because Arthur had suggested that he end this drought in Southern Camelot by just making it rain or something, as if changing the weather was completely normal and didn't cost the warlock any energy at all.

The Knights watched with shock as the golden magic obscured Arthur's form, swirling around him like some sort of shimmering tornado, and then faded.

The King had disappeared.

Merlin suddenly looked horrified. He twisted his fingers into his brunette hair and he spun around in a circle, eyes panicked. "Arthur?"

A very annoyed-sounded croaking emanated from the bone-dry grass, and the warlock suddenly dropped to his knees, reaching down to scoop something up from the ground on the spot where Arthur had been standing.

It was a frog. A very annoyed looking frog with a baleful glare, but a frog nonetheless.

For a moment there was silence, and then Gwaine burst into gales of laughter. "Serves you right, Arthur! You did give him the idea!" The Knights gathered around the horrified Merlin and the disgruntled frog he held, snickering.

"Oh, God," Merlin looked like he wanted to sink through the ground and never be heard from again. "I'm so sorry, Arthur. I wasn't thinking at all."

The frog who was Arthur made an undignified croaking sound, which could loosely be interpreted as: "Change me back!"

"Can you change him back?" Percival asked, stifling his snickers as he realized this could be a really big problem.

Merlin looked stricken. "I don't know. I just used magic on impulse. I didn't use a verbal spell or anything, so I don't know how to undo it."

Elyan eyed the slimy King. "Isn't there some story about a Prince who got turned into a frog? And his true love kissed him and he turned back? Gwen always liked that story."

The warlock moved his wide-eyed gaze from the frog in his hands to the Knight. "Um, I think I remember that story, and it is true that a lot of transformation spells can be reversed by a kiss from someone who truly loves them."

Gwaine, who was still snickering, suddenly leaned down and pressed his lips to the frog's head. Arthur croaked in surprise and performed an amazing leap onto Merlin's shoulder, where he sat and croaked angrily at Gwaine for a few seconds.

The Knight didn't pay him any mind, too busy wiping his lips and guffawing with laughter. "Sorry, Your Highness, guess I don't love you."

Elyan whacked him around the head with a gauntleted hand. "Idiot! Obviously he needs to be taken back to Gwen."

Percival frowned. "But that's several days ride away."

Arthur the frog started making very angry noises. He definitely did not want to remain a frog for a couple of days. A bug suddenly flew by, and his unintelligible monologue stopped as his tongue shot out of its own accord, neatly snagging the insect and pulling it into his mouth. He made a sound that was half-squeak, half-croak, and leapt off Merlin's shoulder.

The warlock's arms shot out in a moment of unusual talent and caught the slimy royal creature in both hands. The frog hid in Merlin's hands for a few moments, scrunched into a tiny green ball, and then he slowly un-cramped his limbs, looking up at his court sorcerer with wide, horrified eyes. The message in his gaze was obvious: Please make it stop!

Merlin stared helplessly down at his King. "I'm so sorry, Arthur. I didn't mean to do this at all."

Leon shot a calculating look at the unusual pair. "We might not need to go back to Gwen," he stated suddenly.

"What do you mean?" Merlin asked, sending a hopeful look at the knight.

"Well, you said he has to be kissed by someone who truly loves him."

Merlin nodded slowly. "Yes, like Gwen."

Leon gave the warlock a pointed look. "…or you."

The court sorcerer shot him a look of horror and extended his arms so he held Arthur as far away from him as possible. "I am not kissing a frog!"

Gwaine stopped laughing and Merlin suddenly realized that he had not exactly protested the thing that most people would've expected him to.

"Erm… I mean…" The frog looked a bit stunned at the flush coloring the sorcerer's cheeks.

Leon rolled his eyes. "Well, obviously, you don't love him in quite that way, not the Gwen and Arthur way, but you do love him."

Merlin was blushing furiously. "Er…" He cast a conflicted look at Arthur, who was all wet and slippery and… well… froggy. "Still… he's all slimy and gross." He made a disgusted face. "I do not want to kiss a frog."

It was Gwaine's turn to roll his eyes. "Don't be such a girl, Merlin. I kissed him."

The warlock glared at him. "This would be easier if I was a girl," he grumbled. He stared, a little disgusted, at the slimy amphibian in his hands, and then slowly brought Arthur closer to him. After a moment's hesitation, he dropped a kiss on the frog's head.

…And promptly let go as Arthur started glowing gold. The frog made a croak of protest as he fell to the ground, and then the Knights were taking hurried steps backward as the glow intensified, obscuring the little green creature from sight.

A minute later, a very bedraggled, disgruntled looking King of Camelot was sitting in the grass.

After another awkward minute of silence, Gwaine burst into gales of laughter. "No way, Merlin! You actually truly love Arthur?"

The man in question stood up, brushing dust from his robes in time to see an upset-looking Merlin's eyes glow gold.

"Oh no! Merlin! Don't!" He took a step towards the warlock.

It was too late. A little green frog was sitting in the grass where Gwaine had been standing.

The Knights and King of Camelot glared at the blushing court sorcerer, looking resigned.

"Don't look at me!" Merlin said, voice shooting up an octave too high as he took a wary step back, waving his hands in panic. "I'm apparently in love with Arthur!"

Disclaimer: Nope, I don't own Merlin, as much as I would love to. ;)

Hope you guys enjoyed that as much as I enjoyed writing it! I'm betting there are more than a few of you who think I should be working on my other story, The End is Only the Beginning, but a girl's gotta take a break once in a while, right? I'll hopefully be back to that one tomorrow. ;)