They both learnt something new about each other on that day...
Merlin stared out the window thoughtfully and chewed on the quill in his hand. He quickly began scratching away at the paper on the sill as an idea hit him.
“Yes…yes…yes…” He murmured absentmindedly to himself as line after line filled the scroll.
Arthur marched through the door of Gaius’s chambers, muttering furiously about ‘a certain good for nothing servant’ and stormed up the stairs to Merlin’s room where he found his friend staring dreamily out of the window with a quill and paper in his hand.
“I’ve been waiting for ages! Are you ever going to be on time? I don’t know why I don’t just sack you! Maybe that’s too good for you…maybe I should just throw you in the stocks like normal! I’m serious, Merlin, if you don’t get your duties done on time I will throw you in the stocks! Don’t think I wont, cause I will!” Arthur blathered at the top of his voice, pacing up and down the room, waving his arms about erratically, while Merlin didn’t even seem to notice and began scribbling away on the sheet of paper again, “You’re not even listening to me! I’m the prince of Camelot – you can’t ignore me! And don’t think for one moment I’m going to accept any excuses! I’ve had enough of them! First you were on about not being able to find your scarf! I mean, come on! Like you need that thing to work! Hello?” He stomped over to Merlin and waved a hand in front of his face, “Anyone home?” No response, “MERLIN!”
Merlin jumped and finally noticed that Arthur was there. He quickly jumped off the box he was standing on and rolled up the scroll of paper before whipping it behind his back.
“PAPER? WHAT PAPER? I DON’T HAVE ANY PAPER? WHY ON EARTH WOULD YOU THINK I’VE GOT ANY PAPER?” He gabbled at a hundred miles an hour, going a violent shade of scarlet.
“I didn’t say anything about any paper.” Arthur said in confusion while trying to inconspicuously peer behind Merlin at the scroll.
Merlin hurriedly backed away a few steps, looking like a cornered mouse, casting an anxious glance around the room for some form of escape or rescue.
Arthur was getting worryingly curious now and narrowed his eyes suspiciously.
“What is it? Lets see…” The prince said, advancing on the terrified Merlin. A smart swift swipe later and Arthur had the scroll in his hand, easily keeping a suddenly livid Merlin away with an arm as he unfurled it.
He was surprised to find the handwriting was extremely neat, and even what he would call posh, especially so for a servant.
Thoughts go flying around my head,
As the bird sing in the trees,
They know what they’re there for,
But what about me?
The grass ripples in the breeze,
And clouds drift away,
Everything is so peaceful,
But not for me.
A whisper in my ear,
A call for help,
Shall I answer?
Or am I too hurt?
The white city, a home of kings,
A naive boy, without a care,
Is this it?
Is this where I should be?
Climbing up and up and up,
Never coming down.
Don’t try to make me,
Here is where I belong.
“Did…did…you write this?” Arthur asked with amazement as he stared at the words, eyes wide in disbelief.
Merlin blushed further and began twisting his fingers around the hem of his sleeve – something Arthur had learnt he did when nervous or embarrassed.
“Maybe…” He muttered in a quiet voice while staring at the floor.
Arthur gazed at him, utterly gob-smacked. Since when could Merlin write?
“I…err…is that a maybe yes or a maybe no?” The prince managed to say.
Merlin paused a moment before answering.
“I didn’t know you could write like this! Why didn’t you tell me?” Arthur demanded, staring at his servant in an entirely new light.
“Cause you’d just call me a girl or something…” Merlin said flatly and grabbed the sheet of paper before stalking over to the other side of the room.
“I wouldn’t!” Arthur protested, and then, quite adamant to let him know what he thought of it, “I like it.”
“Really?” Merlin turned around, clutching the precious document to his heart, eyes shinning.
“Yeah, and I think I could probably write some music for it. If you wanted me to, that is…”
“You write music?” Merlin exclaimed.
“Well, sort of. I used to play the guitar and wrote a few songs.” Arthur admitted sheepishly.
Merlin suddenly broke into a smile of epic proportions.
As Arthur flung open the doors to his wardrobe and pulled out a battered guitar he blew on it, sending a sheet of dust flying into Merlin’s face, making him sneeze. Smirking with amusement the prince made his way over to the table and sat down before expertly tuning the guitar.
“So,” He said, plucking the strings as Merlin also took a seat and spread the parchment out in front of him, “how do you want to begin?”
“I was thinking perhaps starting off in D and then, after a few arpeggios in the third string, we could move onto A and then maybe a series of cords in E and F for the chorus, clashing with C minor.” Merlin said in a bored manner while expecting the lyrics he’s written.
“Umm...yes…right…” Arthur said, trying to pretend he had an idea of what his friend was on about and readying the guitar on his lap.
Years later, at Arthur’s coronation, that song was played. The king sat on his throne and looked over to where Merlin was sitting, just about to start the song. The hall had fallen silent.
As his friend began singing, Arthur was surprised to find he was rather good. He had thought this was a mistake, but no, Merlin was actually doing pretty well.
He smiled to himself, remembering the day he’d found out Merlin could write lyrics. They’d both learnt something new about each other on that day…