by Little Zee
Can jealousy turn the most efficient servant to evil?
|"Two whole days in the tavern!" Arthur's voice shot out like blunt daggers across the room as he sat at his dark wooden desk in his chambers, his fingers drummed on the arm of the wooden chair. The sunlight that strolled through the high glass window made his pale skin glow and his facial features more defined.
"I'm not quite sure it was that long" Merlin staggered wishing that Gaius would stop using the tavern every time Merlin had disappeared to save Arthur from certain doom.
"give me one good reason why I shouldn't sack you right now?!"
"because you would have no one the polish your armour, or tidy up your mess"
"ah, well, that's where you're wrong. George!"
A slim man wearing similar, but slightly better fitting cloths to Merlin appeared in the room and stood next to Arthur.
"Merlin, meet George. George is, perhaps, the most efficient servant in all the five kingdoms. He'll be spending the rest of the week teaching you."
"if you wish to remain in my service."
"we will start in the armoury. Lesson one is my favourite. Polishing" George said priding himself for being the most efficient servant in the five kingdoms, and prided himself even more that the king wanted him to teach Merlin to do the job properly. Although he would much prefer it if the king just gave him the job. Meanwhile Arthur was trying very hard not to laugh at what he was about to put Merlin through.
"yes, that's my favourite, too" Merlin replied trying to mask his voice that was as shallow as one of Arthur's dining plates. As he slowly followed George out the room `like I haven't saved Arthur's neck a million times` Merlin thought "tell me something," Merlin turned to Arthur "if he's so good, why don't you just give him the job?"
`he's on to me` Arthur thought, dropping the act he turned to Merlin "he's seriously boring. I've never met anyone so dull. The man makes jokes about brass. Anyway, off you go. It'll be fun!"
Merlin gave Arthur a fake smile as he walked away `I should of just killed him` Merlin thought.
George laid out the King's armour in the armoury and waited for Merlin to appear, he arranged the cloths and brushes in the order that he uses them. He did wonder how Merlin had got to the king's side so fast, and how he's stayed there? Considering that he often hears Arthur say Merlin is the worse servant in all five kingdoms. `if only I could do something to be king Arthur's servant instead of Merlin, he has confirmed that I am better.` at this point Merlin enters the armoury "so Arthur says you're to teach me." Merlin smiled at George and tried to be polit. `maybe I should teach him the wrong way! Then king Arthur would surly fire him, then the king would need a replacement, and I would get top billing` George realized he had been rolling around in his thoughts for too long and Merlin was staring at him with a concerned look. "first you need to remove any dust and dirt with this soft brush and cloth being careful not to scratch the armour." `what am I doing?` George thought to himself `telling Merlin the right way to do chores will only make king Arthur keep him` George wrestled with his thoughts whilst showing Merlin how to polish and clean the armour, repair the chainmail and sharpen the swords.
"so how long have you been in Camelot?" Merlin asked trying to drowned out the only sound which was the squeaking of the armour which George seemed to be polishing to death.
"I was born here" George replied not looking up from his work
"you like it here then?"
George nodded. He's awkwardness at the situation showing slightly, he never was good at social situations.
"what do you do in your spare time?"
"I read, sometimes go for walks" `unlike you who spends most you time in the tavern!` George thought `seriously how have you not been sacked by now? The king knows I'm better! And I've lived in Camelot all my life, and worked in the castle longer.` George sighed as his jealousy crept over his body once more, causing a battle between his jealousy and comparison. `how can I get Merlin fired?` "next we do the stables" snapping himself out of his rambling thoughts. `I shouldn't be thinking like this` George told himself `stay in the good books.`
Merlin sighed knowing it was going to feel like a very long week especially as George didn't seem to be a fan of conversation, he doesn't seem to be a fan of socializing in general. `Only Arthur could use this as punishment, the things I do for him. Well if he wants a perfect servant…` a plan started forming in Merlin's head `yes a perfect servant` Merlin smiled to himself `this is going to drive Arthur up the wall` he thought.
After the stables were mucked out, the horses groomed and feed they went to get Arthur's lunch. "Really all of that?" Merlin eyed the pile of food George was preparing to take up to the king. "yes" George replied "we can't have the king going hungry, now that won't do."
"but, he'll get fat! I can't keep putting holes in his belt"
George's eyes grew just as wide as his mouth and he was sure his heart had stopped beating in shock. "you can't say that" George gasped `I've definitely got to get rid of him, he has no respect for the king, but how?` "the king needs plenty of energy therefor plenty of food" George explained whilst the back of his brain was concocting a plan to get Merlin fired. "now the fastest way to the king's chambers is up the east servant staircase"
`I already know that` Merlin thought whilst helping carry the mass of food that George was insisting on giving Arthur.
Once the food was laid out in easy reach from the kings main eating plate George quietly told Merlin that he should stand near the wall, away from the table with the brass jug that contains at this point water, for if the king's goblet needed filling up.
`the perfect servant` Merlin reminded himself of his plan to annoy Arthur. Stepping back close to the wall Merlin tried to mirror the way George was standing. Straight back, knees slightly bent so to move quickly when ordered, left hand on the side of the jug near the base and right hand on the handle for controlled pouring. Mouth tight shut, and eyes casted down. `perfect` Merlin thought.
Arthur who was already tucking in to the array of meats and cheeses and fruit had noticed the way Merlin was standing `oh, god please don't turn in to George, I don't think I could stand it` he sighed. Although he would never admit it he does like the fact that Merlin doesn't bring him so much food, and cares about his weight `although he does keep teasing me about putting more holes in my belt if I eat too much.` glancing Merlin's way he could see the manservant battling with a smile that was tugging at the corner of his lips, `what's rolling around his mind?` Arthur wounded "missing your friends at the tavern Merlin?` he jabbed
`that's it!` George thought `the tavern! He's always at the tavern!` George's cogs in his mind were spinning faster and faster. `if I can get him drunk enough that he doesn't turn up for work, surely he'll get the sack, but that means I have to socialize…but if I get the job of being manservant to the king then it will be worth it! Ok George you're taking Merlin to the tavern` George was pleased with himself. `I'm a genius`
`Come on George!` the servant said to himself hovering outside the thick wooded door of the court physician's chambers, where Merlin resided. `you want this, you want this job` he's already come to the door and walked away three times this week because his anxiety wouldn't let him follow through. `suck it up George, your plan will work, you have to get him to the tavern` George forced his arm up and knocked on the door
"come in" Gaius replied
`dam it` George didn't want him there, not Gaius. He felt his heart race a thousand times a minute as he entered. The smells of the chambers teased his nostrils, and the sight that came to his eyes as he glanced round the room that had many books and potion bottles and other knickknacks made his head spin, to George the room was chaotic with mess with no order at all.
"how can I help you George?" Gaius looked up from one of his books he was studying
"er… I came to see Merlin" he stuttered
"I thought that he had finished working with you?"
"he had, I just wanted to ask him something. Is he here?" he replied, eyeing the closed door of Merlin's bedroom
"I'm afraid not"
"where is he?"
"he's in the lower town making deliveries and collecting supplies, is it urgent?"
"no, I'll see him later"
"I'll let him know you've stopped by"
"thank you" leaving the physician's chamber he closed the door and walked down the corridor, `great` he thought to himself `even more time to work up the nerves.` As he entered the courtyard he realized that if Merlin was in the lower town there was a possibility that Arthur would need assistance, and who better to give him assistance than himself. Trying to remember where Arthur would be at this time, glancing upwards he located where the sun was in the sky. `almost noon` he calculated then headed to the kitchen to prepare Arthur's lunch.
"he asked what?" Gaius thought he heard Merlin wrong
"I know, I couldn't believe my ears when George suggested it, a socially awkward man wanting to go to the tavern with someone he hardly talks to" Merlin stopped crushing the rosemary he was preparing for Gaius to make another batch of medication.
"what made him think that you would go to the tavern?"
"he probably overheard you saying to Arthur that I was there. You should really stop using that excuse you know."
"what else am I meant to say?"
"I don't know, I'm running errands for you, I've gone to help my mother, I'm fighting bandits"
"what, why can't I be fighting some evil force and Arthur know about it?"
"because to achieve your and Arthur's destiny your head needs to remain on your shoulders"
"Uther is dead"
"and Arthur is still scared of magic. We need to be careful"
The silence hug in the air of the chambers not knowing where it could escape to.
"sorry" Merlin sighed knowing Gaius was right "but please stop using the tavern as an excuse"
"ok I will"
"so will you go with George?"
"I don't know, I find it a bit strange"
"maybe he's trying to come out of his shell"
The two men stood in the street looking at The Rising Sun Tavern sign flapping in the wind of the chilled night, the noise inside of brass tankers and shouts made both men wonder if this was a good idea.
`surely, he doesn't really want to go in` Merlin though glancing at George who looked like he was trying to stop himself from shaking "come on then" Merlin decided to take the lead. They entered and pushed their way towards the bar, suddenly Merlin felt someone grab his wrist "hey!" Merlin turned, then he saw the brown scruffy hair and beard of "Gwaine!"
"Merlin, good to see you, who's your friend?"
"this is George, George this is my good friend Gwaine"
"he's a knight"
"yes he is" Merlin slapped Gwaine on the shoulder and proudly shook him
"but you're a servant!"
"what's you're point? We're all friends here." Gwaine chimed in, he then turned towards the bar "hey, Percival two more tankards of mead, Merlin and a friend are joining us" Merlin sat down and immediately struck up a conversation with Gwaine, whereas George hesitated before pulling up a seat, he could feel the beads of sweat forming on his forehead, but he forced himself to keep going, he wanted to be the king's manservant.
George opened his eyes, his vision was blurry causing him to blink several times to straiten his sight up. `how did I get here?` glancing around he saw he was in his own one roomed house `last thing I remember is being at the tavern with Merlin, there was two knights also, they said they were friends of Merlin's` his head was pounding and his tummy felt like a swamp. `how much did I have?...wait…if I'm hungover Merlin must be too.` pulling himself off the bed he hung on to the wall as the room span, taking a deep breath he steadied himself and managed to get dressed `well I'm definitely not going to be drinking again` George sighed and made his way to the castle, attempting not to seem as bad as he felt.
As George approached king Arthur's chambers he could hear muffled voices float through the thick wooden doors, stopping outside the door he took a deep breath, he just needed to get through today, he didn't want to go to the physician for pain relief medicine as that would be unprofessional to had gotten drunk and now be hungover on the job, plus if word got out no one would give him a job, no he just need to push through like a good servant would. Straitening his clothes, he knocked on the door "enter" Arthur's voice called, opening the door he saw Arthur at his desk
"George, what are you doing here?"
"I came to see if I could be of any assistance, sire"
"no, I'm fine thank you"
"are you sure? I can make your bed for you, or do your laundry, sire"
"no Merlin will do it, its his job as my servant"
George felt like he'd been punched in the stomach with Arthur's words, as he turned to leave the chambers, he saw Merlin making the bed. `maybe it wasn't a good idea to pursue this` George sighed closing the door behind him feeling crushed. In the chamber Arthur waited until he was sure that George had gone before he let the question that tumbled around his mouth go passed his lips "Merlin, is it true what Percival and Gwaine told me about last night?"
"yep" Merlin replied with an uncontrollable grin spreading across his face "two tankers in and George was sleeping like a baby"
Arthur let a laugh out imagining the scene
"I don't know why he asked me to go with him, he just sat there the whole night, we couldn't get a peep out of him."
Arthur's laugh grow lounder as Merlin told him how the night went, even thought he had heard the gist of it from Percival and Gwaine, he enjoyed the rambles form his friend, `I'm glade your back Merlin` Arthur though looking at the raven haired boy before turning back to his papers to be prepared for a meeting.