Pendragon Gratitude

A/N- Scene I decided to add to "The Changeling." Takes place after Uther scolds Arthur for not going through with the wedding to Elayna. Wrote this before series 4 aired.

Y'all know how Arthur said (in "Diamond of the Day") that "thank you" was something he'd never said to Merlin before? He said these words at least twice in "His Father's Son." Just thought I'd mention, so that a line in this story doesn't seem any less canon than that episode. ;-) As always, tell me what you think! I love getting reviews, even though this is an older work.

The sound of thunderous footsteps followed the king as he left Arthur's chambers in a huff. Merlin waited for the echoes to fade before daring to tread through the hallway himself.

"Ah, Merlin," Arthur addressed as his servant entered the room. The younger boy withheld a sigh of relief that he remained in one piece.

"Arthur, that was very-"

"Look, before you go off and tell me how utterly proud you are-"

"-close," Merlin supplied. "Yeah, that was really close- I thought for sure you were a goner!"

Arthur rolled his eyes. "I was going to tell you…" he paused- as if his next words were so very hard to ground out- "thank you. For what you told me. Even… if I had to order you to do so."

Merlin gave a small shrug, but couldn't suppress a grin. "Seeing as it was an order, I don't know why you're bothering to thank me."

Clearly annoyed that his attempt at a serious word with Merlin hadn't flown, Arthur shook his head. "To be honest, I don't either. …But I am grateful. I think you may have helped to keep me from making one of the biggest mistakes of my life. And by a hair."

Merlin considered informing him that he simply felt the prince had made enough mistakes in his life, but decided against it. "Happy to help," he answered with a wide smile.

An odd look entering his eye, Arthur nodded. "Oh, I mean it when I say I'm grateful, Merlin- and because I'm so grateful, I mean to give you a…" -he reached down to pick up the cape he'd previously dropped and hurled it in his servant's direction- "'nother chore; as a token of my unappeasable gratitude."

Catching the cape while his grin rapidly waned, Merlin found himself wishing to rid Arthur of that aggravating smirk.

"You may clean this for me." His master looked as if he'd just said something brilliant and gracious- in response to which, one word, and one word alone popped into Merlin's head.


That's not to say he couldn't think of many other creative terms to describe him.

"You really are too good to me," Merlin said with blatant sarcasm, and sighed. "I cleaned your ceremonial cape thoroughly yesterday." Calling what he felt 'exasperation' would be a great understatement.

"And you did so perfectly well," Arthur replied- adding not quite under his breath, "for a change."

"You hardly even had the chance to wear it-"

"Merlin. Are you going to stand there complaining all day or clean the bloody thing?"

"It's not like you're going to need it again anytime soon," Merlin told him, thinking this a very reasonable argument- though of course his master would find a way to get out of it…

"Well, you never know when I'll spontaneously decide to get married again," Arthur said, walking farther into the room.

Merlin saw an opening and took it. "I doubt you'll have to worry about your next marriage being so sudden- Gwen really isn't the hurrying type…"

Arthur stopped and turned to fix his servant with a glare. "When you're done with that, you can dust my room- and clean up this mess…" Even as he spoke, he scattered a few sturdy- and noisy- items from a tabletop to the floor- for effect, if nothing else. "And then you can wash my clothes-"

"And polish your armor and sharpen your sword," Merlin finished for him solemnly.

The blond princeling had the nerve to grin widely. "You're learning, Merlin," he declared, putting stress on surprise which he obviously didn't feel.

Merlin merely quirked an eyebrow before leaving the room, cape in hand- the cape he had no intention of re-washing, but that information would join the list of things that Arthur really didn't need to know.

"Slowly, but steadily," he said to himself.