Author's note: Well, another idea popped into my head, and I decided to write it out. This is going to be a short fic, so don't expect frequent updates. Just a few warnings: set after season 3, but before season 4, AU, no slash, (sorry,) and just arwen for pairings, though I'm not sure if there will be much of it yet... probably not. And I'm not good at making up dares, so this first chapter may be a bit weird to those experienced in the art of embarrassment. Anyway, enjoy!

Disclaimer: I don't own Merlin or any of its characters.

Gwaine laughed as Elyan reentered the clearing, soaking wet and grumbling. The knight sat down next to the fire, grimacing at Gwaine and then shifting his gaze to the rest of the group.

"Never again," he stated simply, and the rest of the group joined in Gwaine's laughter. Arthur smirked as he looked at Merlin.

"Your turn," he stated simply, and Merlin sighed.

'Truth or Dare' was definitely Merlin's least favorite game. It was either protect your honor while simultaneously losing it in a game or tell an embarrassing story to a group of laughing- sometimes drunken- people. Not to mention the looks you get if you forfeit.

He had been forced into the game by Gwaine, who was the one to suggest it in the first place, and would not have it if Merlin refused. Merlin had only played the game once before with Will, and he found that it was significantly more embarrassing if you're playing with people that you haven't known all your childhood- people who don't know most of the embarrassing stories that you have to tell. Merlin raised his eyes to the heavens and silently cursed whoever invented the game.

Arthur cleared his throat as Merlin didn't say anything, "Well, Merlin, truth or dare?"

Merlin swallowed, thinking for a moment before saying "Truth," not wanting to lose what dignity he had left. He earned himself a bunch of drunken giggles from Lancelot, who had previously had a drinking contest with Gwaine at Percival's suggestion. Gwaine won, obviously- the group had stopped the contest as Lancelot had started singing a surprisingly well-composed song about donkeys.

Arthur raised an eyebrow at Merlin's answer, and made a silent vow to get revenge on Merlin for his dare- dance with Sir Leon whilst singing a song, which Merlin had titled 'Of Prats and Their Traditions.'

"Swear," Arthur ordered, Merlin clearing his throat.

"I, Merlin Ambrosius-" Merlin noticed smugly Arthur's expression at the warlock's full name, "-swear to tell the whole truth and only the truth. So do I swear."

Arthur nodded, the starts of a smirk visible on the edges of the prince's mouth, "So, your question-" the prince paused here for dramatic effect, looking around at the group before continuing:

"What is your biggest secret?"

Lancelot giggled uncontrollably at this statement, hiccupping a few times and giving Merlin a look that stated 'you're in for it now.'

Merlin swallowed, creasing his brow. He was definitely forfeiting this one. There was no way he was going to let it end in a game, no way he would let it end like this. He had covered it up for too long for it to end this way.

These thoughts were the ones going through his head as he simply stated "Forfeit," ignoring the way eager faces were replaced with that of disappointment as he agreed to the forfeit. Gwaine stood up, though, and laughed.

"I was wondering when somebody would take it! Come here, buddy!" he said, giving Merlin a noogie before leading him off toward a tree.

And Arthur watched with a raised eyebrow as Merlin hung upside-down from a tree-branch for five minutes, his surprisingly thin chest exposed as the group threw clods of dirt at him, and the prince wondered as he formed another ball of dirt what big secret Merlin could have that he wouldn't share with them.

And, that night, he resolved to find out.