Arthur, free of duties for the morning, was pestering Morgana about his new favourite subject: the utter ineptitude of Merlin.
"I'm sure Merlin is a perfectly adequate servant," Morgana said when Arthur paused in his recitation of Merlin's flaws.
"You wouldn't say that if he were your servant." Arthur looked from Morgana to Gwen and back again. "Actually, that gives me a good idea..."
Morgana felt that it was a perfectly horrible idea, but she also felt that Arthur had ideas so infrequently that those he did have must be encouraged.
"Guinevere!" Arthur bellowed.
"Where are my tunics?"
"In the cupboard, my lord."
"Ah, right, of course," Arthur mumbled, remembering that capable servants didn't keep their masters clothes in That Pile of Stuff on the Chair.
"Morgana," Uther inquired over dinner, "is there something wrong with your maidservant? She looks different."
"That's Merlin, my lord."
"Is it? Was he always a girl?"
The first time Merlin saw Gwen after they'd swapped jobs she was sharpening Arthur's swords. "How's the royal prat treating you?"
"Oh, he's fine. He's nice, he's very- He's fine."
"You must work for a different Arthur than I did."
"What are you doing?" Gwen asked.
Merlin held up the bunch of flowers he was carrying, "Picking flowers for Morgana's chambers." There was a long pause while Gwen sharpened swords and Merlin looked around for promising flora. "Do you think there's something wrong with us that we're both happier this way?"
"Arthur," Uther strode into the armoury, "is there a reason that a girl is dressing you for battle while your manservant picks out dresses for Morgana?"
"That's ridiculous!" declared Arthur. "Merlin has no sense of fashion."
Merlin was trying to sleep on an uncomfortable wooden chair in Morgana's chambers while the seer tossed and turned in her sleep.
"Arthur!" she woke with a cry.
Merlin snapped out of his doze, picked up the parchment and quill that had fallen from his grasp and scurried over to Morgana's bed. "What did you see?"
"It was awful, it killed Arthur."
"What did it look like, exactly?"
"It wasn't real, Merlin."
"Of course not, my lady," Merlin agreed. "But imagine it was, and imagine that a dashing young servant was going to have to stop it before it kills Arthur, it would really help me - I mean him - to know what it looked like."
So Morgana described the monster (which apparently had three heads and breathed fire) while Merlin took notes. It wasn't really fair, he mused, Gwen was Arthur's servant now, surely saving him from fire breathing monsters should be her job.
In the end it was Uther who put a stop to it. He felt that Merlin sleeping in Morgana's chambers was highly inappropriate, even if they did both claim he slept in a chair, and an uncomfortable chair at that. He also felt that preparing the crown prince for battle was no work for a girl, the fact that she was better at it than Merlin was beside the point.
Merlin sat on the ground and waited for the ringing in his ears to stop. "Did you clatter Gwen around the head with a sword in the name of practice?"
"No," replied Arthur, "but I need something to distract me from the fact that I no longer have clean chambers or polished armour."
"How was Merlin?" Gwen asked. "As a servant, I mean."
"He had surprisingly good taste in earrings," Morgana replied. "Although his fixation with my dreams was a cause for some concern. I think he believed them real, poor boy."