An Educated Idiot
So, I ended my last fic so I would concentrate on studying but clearly that didn't work as here I am again! This is a 3 or 4 piece fiction and I will upload a part at least every other day, maybe sooner depending on reviews. Please be nice, and I hope you enjoy it.
"Prat! Clotpole! Dollop Head! His Royal Pratness! Prince Pratdragon! Idiot! Big-Headed! Conceited! Ass! Woodworm! Spoon-threatener! Toad Paste! Sheep Brain! Cabbage Head! Turnip Head! Buffoon! Donkey-eared! Gravy-faced! PRAT!"
Merlin was fuming, storming around Gaius' chambers and cursing Arthur with every insult he knew, which judging by the sound of things this was a pretty extensive list. After all Merlin had been lucky enough to receive years of practise whilst working with Arthur the one and future King.
He thumped up and down the room, his anger quickly diminishing into panic. 'Great, well done Merlin, got yourself into the dung again! What am I going to do? Why are you such an idiot? That was a rhetorical question brain! Oh for the love of goblins what am I going to do?' Merlin slumped onto the chair next to Gaius' desk and cleared himself a small space, knocking three vials and a rather strange looking purple plant over in the process, only adding to his despair. His eyes glowed gold and the glass vials and plant shot back onto the table in one piece, but alas the potions previously inside the vials had not been restored. On top of everything he now had to explain to Gaius that the potions he had spent the last two days making were destroyed. Brilliant! He placed the blank scroll in front of him and stared at it, hoping beyond all hope that words would suddenly manifest and grow on the blank parchment. Of course, they didn't, when was Merlin's life ever that easy? Once again Merlin's desperation surged and he felt anger bubble up inside him again, like one of Gaius' concoctions for headaches. Merlin grabbed the inkwell by his right hand and launching it across the room and allowed a small smile to spread across his lips, the smashing sound and tinkling of glass hitting the floor was rather satisfying when done deliberately. However, the smile soon vanished as the door in said wall swung open to reveal a haggard and concerned Gaius.
"Merlin, what on earth do you think you are doing? What have I told you about practising magic in my chambers? Do it in your own room! I mean really, last time you blew up my cauldron, the time before that you turned my candlestick into a gerbil, and need I remind you of the wild boar incident?"
Merlin flushed scarlet and contemplated his options, well option, he was useless at lying to Gaius so would have to tell the truth. Gaius would find out one way or another and Merlin decided to take the easy route out. Yes, the truth was the best bet. But what if Gaius thought he was an idiot, well more of an idiot than normal? And what if Arthur found out? Gaius raised his eyebrow in his signature manner, half amused and half exasperated by Merlin's expression of confusion and worry.
"Spit it out my boy!"
"I wasn't using magic, I threw it! Um, well, the thing is that I, um. Well I guess. It's His Royal Pratness!"
"Merlin, what have I told you about calling Arthur that, he is the crown prince after all," Gaius half-heartedly admonished the boy, he knew full well that Arthur was a prat at times, but would never have voiced his opinion. For one thing Uther would burn him at the stake, and for another it was rather fun winding Merlin up about Arthur.
"Fine, I will tell…But he is a prat!"
Gaius gave a small, non-committal nod, "Did he make you muck out the stables on your own for the third day in a row?"
There was a rather dejected, "No" in response and Gaius wondered what on earth was wrong.
"Well my boy, are you going to tell me what is wrong or are you going to keep an old man waiting?" There was another long pause.
"Did Arthur announce another hunting trip?"
"If only." Something was seriously wrong; Merlin despised hunting and would spend hours complaining about it to Gaius every time. He argued that there was no fun in capturing animals and frightening them, it was not a sport. If Merlin was saying that hunting would be preferable to the current situation Gaius knew that something terrible must have happened.
"Just tell me my boy; something is clearly wrong if you are telling me that you would rather be knee deep in horse dung or out hunting in the cold and wet than facing this situation."
Merlin frowned, now was as good a time as any to admit his predicament. He would have to do it at one point. 'Come on Merlin, you have tamed a dragon, fought off sorcerer's, saved the future prince's life on countless occasions, survived Gwaine's drunk singing and escaped bandits. This is the last thing you should get upset about!' Merlin began to give himself a pep-talk and finally bucked up the courage to talk to Gaius. He was practically his father and would never make fun of him.
"Gaius, the thing is that Arthur has asked me to write his speech for tomorrow evening, and it is already close to midnight." Gaius' eyebrow raised even further, all of this fuss for a speech. Merlin had sounded uncharacteristically desperate and was practically pleading for help.
"Well, what's the problem. You have plenty of time, or don't you have any ideas?" Gaius couldn't help but feel relieved, despite Merlin's angst; at least it wasn't some evil warlock or a dragon on the rampage. He let out a deep sigh, lowered his eyebrow and sank into the chair on the opposite side of his desk, noticing that his potion vials were now empty. "And what happened to my potions?"
Merlin gulped and quickly apologised, "I will sort them out for you tomorrow."
"Fine, but first you need to write this speech." Gaius stood up and turned to leave but turned around when Merlin began to speak.
"That is the problem Gaius. I can't. The thing is, well, the thing is that I can't read or write." Merlin's voice broke mid sentence and his face flushed tomato red. His eyes had begun to water in humiliation and he wiped them furiously. He, Merlin, Emrys, saviour of Albion, protector of Arthur would not cry.
Gaius racked his brains in an attempt to remember a situation when Merlin had written anything, and failed to come up with one. Maybe he couldn't read, but that did not explain one thing, "What do you mean you cannot read? You pour over your spell book all the time and that is not even written in English."
Merlin let out a sigh, "I am not quite sure how that works, the words seem to speak to me, and there is some sort of magic in that book. The words just kind of materialise in my mind and well, I just understand them. My mother could never afford to send me to school, and she never had time to teach me. She would read to me when I was little but never got round to teaching me as well."
His tone quickly turned more defensive, "It wasn't her fault though. She was busy, always working so that we could keep the house and put food on the table, and even when she worked full time we often went hungry. There was no way that she could have paid for my education. And now I have to write a speech in under a day and I don't even know where to start. Arthur will think I am stupid." Merlin's voice became more and more desperate and his voice cracked again, his tears threatening to spill rapidly. Gaius hurried around the desk and wrapped his arms gently around the boy, ruffling his mess of dark hair when Merlin buried his face in Gaius' robes. It shocked him to see Merlin in this way, he had become accustomed to Merlin's goofy grins and apologetic shrugs accompanied by a lopsided grin.
"Come on my boy, don't be upset. We will sort this out. You have certainly faced worse. You should be more worried about re-doing my potions." Merlin smiled slightly into Gaius' robes despite himself and pulled away, wiping away the lone tear which had forced itself halfway down his angular cheekbones. Gaius nodded and pulled out an old spell book from under a floorboard, this one was nowhere near as good as the one he had bequeathed to Merlin but if he remembered correctly…
"Ah Ha! Found it." Merlin looked up puzzled and glanced over at the spell Gaius was panting to. He read the description with ease; clearly all magic books had the ability to speak to warlocks, and grinned widely. This spell would allow him to enchant a quill so that he could control it with his mind. It would do the writing, he would do the thinking. Brilliant, life could sometimes be fair. It was about time Merlin had a break. He decided that he would see to the speech after a good nights sleep, that way he wouldn't make any mistakes and besides, now that he didn't have to write it the process would not take long. He gave Gaius a swift nod and headed into his room, closing the door behind him and letting out a sigh of relief as he pulled off his tunic and trousers. He sank into bed with a satisfied groan and pulled the threadbare blanket around himself, swiftly sinking into a world of dreams.
Hope you liked it! Please review :) Pretty please! (Although preferably no flames, just con-crit).