A/N: Hi, everyone! This is just a one-shot that I've been thinking about for a while. I always wondered why Arthur didn't put two and two together. Merlin was acting like Merlin, even when old, but I guess Arthur can be such a… donkey (thinking back to Goblin's Gold and laughing hysterically) that he doesn't notice these great moments us fanfiction writers cherish deeply.
Disclaimer: I don't own Merlin, sadly, I don't even have an OC in here, and so I own nothing. *sad tear*
Walking to the other side of the prince, Merlin poured him another goblet of water. Arthur looked up from his breakfast to gaze at his newly made bed – courtesy of Merlin the manservant. His memories flashed back to just a couples days previous.
"Merlin," Arthur said, making the warlock freeze. "Do you remember that sorcerer who I found planting that magical bundle under my pillow?"
Looking around, he stuttered, "Um…"
"No, why would you? You were in the tavern all day!" Arthur scolded.
"What about the sorcerer?" Merlin sighed, giving himself a mental note to get Gaius back for that.
"It's just…" the prince trailed off, holding an apple in mid air. "There was something familiar about him. The way he acted was so… Well, I don't know how else to describe it. He was just familiar."
Merlin began to panic on the inside. "Oh, yeah?" he asked, stepping away slightly. There had to be a way to avoid this altogether. "How so?"
Leaning back in his chair, Arthur pursed his lips ever so. "He had these eyes that I could have sworn I've seen before." Upon hearing these words, Merlin snorted a laugh, trying to contain himself. Maybe this was the banter that would releave him of this conversation with the spoiled, arrogant prat. "What is it?" Arthur retorted.
"Nothing, nothing," Merlin teased, coming closer to where his friend was seated. "I just never knew that you paid so much attention to other people's eyes."
"Merlin," he grumbled.
Yet, Merlin continued. "Tell me, Arthur, when we met in the square, what color were mine?"
Under his blond bangs, the prince scowled. "I'm being serious."
Merlin nodded. "And that's what scares me."
Choosing to ignore his incredibly rude servant's statement, Arthur tried to remember other factors that he thought were recognizable. Then, the prince began to laugh. "You'll never believe this! He said I mistreat my servants! Can you believe that?" The laughter grew louder.
Merlin frowned. "I don't know how he could have gotten that idea. So, all I have to do is clean your chambers, wash your socks, polish your armor, mend your chainmail, muck out the stables, and still be on time with your supper?" But once again, Arthur was too lost in thought to catch Merlin's last rant. He sighed. "Spoiled, arrogant prat," he muttered.
For some strange reason, Arthur did hear that. "Say that again!"
This had to be a setup.
"You want me to call you a prat?"
Arthur shook his head. "Not just that. Say the whole thing."
"Um," he hesitated. "You're a spoiled prat who doesn't thank me enough for the things I do!" It was too tempting not to add the last bit.
He waved his finger in the air. "That's it! That sorcerer said that same thing you just said!"
"Hmm, maybe that's a sign, sire," Merlin tried.
"Shut up, Merlin," Arthur snapped. "He also said I had the face of a toad. You once said something like that once. And the way he spoke, it was always gibberish. Ha! He was like a crabbier version of you, Merlin!"
The warlock tensed up. "M-me? What, now you think I'm the sorcerer?" His eyes were on the ground.
Arthur laughed again. "Right, you a sorcerer," he said. "That would be the day!" Merlin nervously joined in on the 'joke.' The prince got up, a torch lighting in his head. "Then again, I still can't imagine how he ran right past you. The man wasn't that fast. Even you could have caught him, and you're useless in chases."
"Gee, thanks, Arthur," Merlin muttered. "I told you, I was… drunk from being in the tavern."
Arthur shook his head. "Gwaine has been a bad influence on you, Merlin." He looked off into the distance. "I still wonder where he disappeared to."
"Well, he was a sorcerer. He probably used magic, or something." Or turned back into me… Note to self: Learn how to vanish. He thought.
"That's obvious enough, Merlin. I was hoping for one of your rare outbursts of wisdom," he teased. "The sorcerer had this long, white beard. I'm sure that if history remembers my lazy manservant, they wouldn't be thinking of you with a beard."
Merlin picked up Arthur finally empty plate. "Or a pointy hat," the warlock added. "People would be saying weird things like, 'Merlin's beard.'"
Arthur waved it off. "You're right; preposterous!"
A/N: TADA! Hope you liked it! Please tell me what you think! I wasn't totally sure about this one, but the plot bunny wouldn't get out of my head and you know how that is.