Merlin hurried excitedly through his chores, polishing Arthur's boots and armor with quick, efficient strokes. Normally Arthur's commands of 'Fix my shirt Merlin, sine my shoes, muck out the stables, clean my chambers, bring me food, don't just sit there, Merlin would have gotten to him. He would have done his usual role of jokingly complaining while Arthur half-mockingly bantered back with him. It would have gone on for a while, then Merlin would have left Arthur to go and do them, grumbling along the way, as Arthur grinned…as usual. But not today!
Today Merlin worked twice as quickly, humming as he did so. He didn't even use his magic- Arthur came back to his chambers at about midday, and Merlin planned to be done with his chores by then. He definitely didn't want Arthur to walk in on him doing magic, today of all days. He had just received a letter from his twin, Lerin, who had left Ealdor about the same time Merlin had. Lerin had been wandering the whole time Merlin had been in Camelot, and from his letter had managed to find adventure everywhere—prominently in taverns and far-off lands.
Idly, Merlin wondered if Lerin and Gwaine would get along. He shuddered, thinking of all the havoc the two of them could wreak. While Gwaine might love taverns in order to get drunk, Lerin frequented them just as often for an entirely different reason. Lerin could not get drunk. If Merlin had received huge magical gifts, Lerin had received the ability to stay sober no matter what, go without sleep, and a myriad of other things which had made life in Ealdor…interesting, to say the least. The reason Lerin went to taverns was to pretend to get drunk, then act on it…once again, interesting results.
Lerin had told Merlin in his letter that he was near Camelot, so he thought he'd stay there for a while. Merlin was thrilled- he hadn't seen his twin since they both left home. While Merlin had taken the turn in the road for Camelot, Lerin's path had veered off sharply in the other direction. The twins had said their goodbyes-("Are you sure you don't want to come to Camelot with me? Warm bed? Real food?" "And stay cooped up all day? And sleep in beds?")- and the two had parted. They had always looked alike, but at Lerin's insistence they had looked identical then, to the point where Hunith had confused each with the other!
Lost in thought, Merlin didn't notice Arthur enter the room…and stare at him incredulously. "Are you humming, Merlin? And…are you actually doing your chores?"
Merlin jumped. Looking up at Arthur from where he was sitting, Merlin grinned. "Why yes I am," he replied cheerfully.
Arthur walked over to Merlin and knocked on his head. "Have you gone insane? Have the few thoughts in your head run out on you? Why are you humming?"
Grimacing-Arthur had knocked gently, but 'gentle' by Arthur's standards was strong by Merlin's- Merlin replied, "I have every right to hum! After all, aren't you always telling me to be happier about serving you? It's such an honor, after all."
Arthur's eyes narrowed dangerously. "Somehow, Merlin, I get the feeling you're messing with me..."
Merlin widened his eyes in pretended innocence. "Who, me? Never…you prat."
"Idiot," muttered Arthur. Merlin reflected that Arthur really needed better comebacks. Not that he would help. Of course.
Giving Arthur's boot one last wipe, Merlin stood up and began to leave the room. "Where d'you think you're going?!" shouted Arthur to his manservant's retreating back.
"Finished my chores-be back to serve you dinner-" came the echoing reply as Merlin raced away down the corridor.
"But its not even midday! And…What...I…ah…MERLIN!" Arthur stood perplexed in his room. What was up with Merlin today?
Hours later, Merlin raced to the gates of Camelot. He had been just about to leave and meet Lerin when Gaius had found him…His shoulders still ached from cleaning out the leech tank. Again. Now, he was late. As he ran along, Merlin hoped his twin hadn't minded much. Just before rounding the corner, Merlin felt two strong arms reach out and pull him behind a large stack of crates. Instantly, he whirled around to face…himself?
"Lerin!" he cried, flinging his arms around his brother. His embrace was returned with enthusiasm. The two boys began to walk towards the castle, animatedly catching up on what had happened over the last while. Merlin listened with awe at Lerin's tales of high adventure and sorcery. At times he sighed, wishing he had been there with his twin.
Lerin laughed at stories of Arthur and life in Camelot, and as he did so a funny sort of gleam came into his eyes. Merlin laughed it off, but the last time he had seen that same look he had woken up in the middle of the forest dressed in nothing but flowers, right where all the village girls walked by every day to gather edibles…Fortunately he had escaped in time, but it had been closer than he wanted to think about! Merlin resolved to be on his guard for a while.
The two twins still, miraculously , looked identical. They had the same eyes, ears, even hair! The one difference was a cut on Lerin's neck that was bandaged up—a particularly nasty goblin, according to Lerin.
Walking through the corridors towards Gaius' rooms, Merlin let down his guard…and Lerin pounced. The last thing he remembered was a sweet-smelling herb being thrust in his face, and Lerin carrying him somewhere…
Lerin surveyed his handiwork with glee. Merlin lay sleeping peacefully, hidden by a pile of hay. Someone's haycart, he thought vaguely. Quickly, he leaned down and whispered, "You fell asleep after dinner…you completely forgot Arthur's food…"
As the hypnotic effect of the herb took place, Merlin muttered in his sleep. Lerin grinned. Merlin wouldn't remember anything in the morning, nothing but meeting up with Lerin and having an exceptionally good dinner…then falling asleep. Whistling, Lerin headed back to the castle. He was ready. He'd even switched clothes with his twin—everything was going well.
Not that he'd ever hurt his brother of course—Merlin was far too precious to him for that. He was the one person who understood everything about Lerin, and Lerin would die before letting anyone harm his brother or his brother's friends. There was just something priceless about seeing Merlin's shocked face after a prank—Lerin's favorite pastime! And this Prince Arthur character seemed like just as fun. If he guessed correctly, Merlin hadn't told anyone about Lerin's visit, and Lerin could barely suppress his glee at the thought of how many people he could confuse!
Ten minutes later, Arthur looked up to see Merlin walk in with his dinner, and for once it was lavish and obviously delicately prepared. Merlin never did that. Maybe, thought Arthur smugly, Merlin was finally acting normal.
As Arthur ate, Lerin planned. The prince hadn't even noticed he wasn't Merlin…perfect.
Alright guys, this is my first fanfic so if you could review it'd be fantastic! Tell me if its any good? Please?