Racing through the bustling corridors of Camelot castle, Merlin evaded knocking over three servants only by being nimble on his feet.
They all shot him dirty looks, but smiles never left their mouths or their eyes as they continued with their jobs.
Merlin, and it would shock some of the other servants, would not have begrudged having to fold sheets or hang flowers and banners, if it meant getting out of running around after Arthur.
He skidded into the laundry room and nearly knocked Gwen's maid flying, who was holding a basket of washing carefully.
"Whoa!" He cried, "Sorry!"
His hands fluttered to make sure that she was not going to fall over.
The maid flushed and giggled slightly.
"No harm done." She smiled at him.
"Good… great…" Merlin was gasping, trying to get his breath back.
When the silence between them grew awkward Merlin coughed.
"So erm, yeh I should probably get going, plenty to do and get done…"
"If you are looking for his majesties shirt, I have folded it for you." The maid gestured with her sparkling blue eyes to the shirt, on a hanger, atop the basket of washing.
Merlin grinned, "Thank you, thanks… um…"
He shifted uncomfortably.
She smiled, "Tanya."
"Tanya." He grinned, "Great, thank you."
He lifted the shirt from the basket and held it in front of him.
"Thank you, I owe you one!" He called as he raced away.
She laughed and shook her head.
Merlin was well aware that this was only one thing, perhaps the only thing; he had managed to chalk off of his list that Arthur had presented him with this morning.
He was also sure that when he saw Arthur again, the royal prat would have thought of at least another three things for Merlin to do.
As the servant skidded around another corner he only just ducked under three women hanging streams of flowers, white lilies, the same flowers that Arthur and Gwen, Queen Guinevere had had at their wedding.
He collided with a servant carrying a jug of wine.
The shirt fell to the floor and Merlin sank to his knees, as the other servant with the jug continued on his way.
Merlin felt his knees go damp at what he was kneeling in, and he groaned when he saw the shirt lying in a pool of crimson wine.
He lifted it to examine it and groaned again at the large patch that covered the front.
"Arthur is going to kill me." He groaned.
THE ROYAL CHAMBER
"I know, I know I am late." Merlin skidded into the room letting the large oak doors crash behind him.
Tanya was stood behind Gwen, finishing arranging the woman's skirts.
Gwen smiled at Merlin in the mirror, catching sight of the shirt Merlin was trying to hide behind his back.
"He is not here Merlin." She smiled and thanked Tanya.
The girl curtsied and moved to pick up her washing basket.
She then walked towards the door Merlin was still stood in front of while Gwen checked herself in the mirror.
"What did you do to it?" The girl hissed when she caught sight of the stained shirt in Merlin's hands.
He screwed it even further, wrapping it around the hanger, in his fists behind his back and raised both his eyebrows at her, leaning his head close.
"I am working on it."
She shook her head and flushed before leaving, shutting the doors behind her.
Gwen sighed and turned to face him.
Her dress swept the floor around her feet and her hair was braided and plaited away from her face.
"Wow Gwen you look…" He chuckled and she narrowed her eyes at him as she walked closer, although a flush was creeping over her cheeks.
"And happy birthday." He finished.
He laughed and mocked her by bowing.
"You look radiant your majesty."
She sighed and rolled her eyes, not before smirking at him and playfully punching his arm, in a very un-queenly fashion.
"Very funny Merlin." She mocked her husband and the way her spoke both her name and the servants.
She then reached around his back and took the shirt from his grip.
"Oh no, no Gwen please…"
"Oh dear…" She lifted it to look at it, not even trying to hide her laugh at Merlin's mortified face.
"He is not going to be pleased with you."
"I know." Merlin stated, looking around anxiously as she set it on the table and stood giggling at it.
"Gwen it is not funny!" He cried and then to annoy her, "Your majesty."
She glared at him for a moment before sighing.
"Go to the kitchens and soak it in salt water." She smiled and handed it back to him.
He folded both his hands over the hanger and held it at waist height in front of him.
"Thank you." He grinned and she smiled at him as he turned and scampered towards the door.
He pulled it open slightly before throwing a grin at her.
"I will tell the cook the queen sent me."
Her title, which it had been for a while now, still felt alien too her.
Her roles and duties she performed to the best of her ability, and she was successful in them all.
Well, almost all of them.
She would not let her smile drop.
The door opened before Merlin could step out and Arthur strode in, barely glancing at the servant as he looked at a piece of parchment he held.
"Ah Merlin I am glad I have seen you, I need you to polish my armour, feed and water my horse and give this to Sir Leon." He stopped half way between Merlin and his wife, fluttering the paper vaguely towards Merlin as a gesture.
His eyes lifted to look at his wife briefly and he closed the gap between them to put his free hand on her hip and smile at her.
"You look wonderful." He said warmly and kissed her gently, before turning to step back towards Merlin with the parchment outstretched in his hand.
"But none of that until you have brought me my shirt…"
At that he looked up, arm outstretched with the piece of parchment in it, intended for Merlin to give to Sir Leon.
"Good god that's not it is it?" Arthur demanded.
Merlin looked down at it in shock as though he had never seen it before.
"Oh this… no no this is a different shirt."
Arthur saw through his lie as the servant took the paper for Leon from his hand.
"You are totally, useless Merlin."
"Don't worry!" Merlin grinned, "I have it all under control."
Arthur smirked at him as the servant left, "Well that is reassuring."
As the doors closed behind him and they were alone, Arthur turned to look at Gwen.
"Now," He smiled slowly and walked closer.
She smiled too and rested her hands on his shoulders as his fell to her waist.
"We have nothing to do…" He started but she cut him off.
"We have plenty to do Arthur. There are papers to look at... things to sign from the council and…"
"We have time for this." Arthur bent closer and captures her lips with his mouth.
She didn't stop him.
He pulled back to smile at her.
"There, there was time for that wasn't there?" He asked, raising his eyebrows slightly.
She smiled and her arms lid further around his neck.
"It seems we have more time than I thought."
Arthur chuckled and pressed his lips to hers, pulling her closer as he did so.