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Arthur did not expect to see a dragon outside of his window.

"What the hell?" he shrieked, and then fell off the bed.

The dragon didn't do anything, didn't try to eat him or blow fire at him. Just stared at Arthur. Might've looked a bit amused.

"Who--What are you? What are you doing here?" demanded Arthur.

The dragon just continued on staring at him. Arthur remembered that dragons couldn't exactly speak.

He picked himself up and faced the dragon with all the bravery he could muster. Well, if he got killed by this dragon, people wouldn't say that he went down without a fight.

"I am King Arthur of Albion," he said, picking up his sword and pointing it at the dragon. He realized then that he was only in his nightgown and this was probably not very threatening. Arthur tried to shrug it off and appear as intimidating as he could to a--well, to a dragon. "I command you to leave my bed chambers!"

The dragon sort of cocked its head to the side, like,  I'm not even in your bedchambers .

"Stop staring at me!" said Arthur. "If you're not going to kill me, then leave!"

The upper eyelid of the dragon went up, but otherwise, it did nothing.

"Leave!" said Arthur, then shrieked and ran out of the room for backup.

*

Neither he nor his men could get the dragon to move.

It was mostly because the dragon  wouldn't  move. It was as tall as the castle, probably three times the castle's weight (Arthur couldn't be too sure, since it seemed to have a rather lanky frame for a dragon), and also had brown scales with red and blue accents. Arthur didn't even know dragons could look like that.

Also, Merlin was missing.

"Elyan!" Arthur said when they were trying to push the dragon out later that morning. The dragon was just sitting in place, not budging--looking amused at their attempts, though. "Have you seen Merlin?"

"No," said Elyan, shaking his head.

Arthur spotted Gaius, a little ways off. Gaius was watching the dragon carefully.

"Have you seen Merlin, Gaius?" said Arthur.

Gaius looked at him sharply, then shook his head as well. "No," he said. "But, uh, Arthur, be soft on the dragon, will you? They're delicate creatures."

Arthur snorted. "Delicate creatures my arse. I tried stabbing it earlier and it didn't even seem to notice." He saw Gaius's eyes go wide. "Don't worry, it has scales as hard as steel. I doubt it even made a dent." He let out an exasperated sigh. "I wish we had Merlin around.  He  could probably figure out what to do."

At this, Gaius and the knights turned to Arthur with incredulous looks on their faces.

The dragon did, too.

"Useless manservant," Arthur muttered under his breath, before walking off and trying to think of a better idea.

*

The next day, the dragon wasn't outside his room anymore. Merlin was inside, though.

"You missed all the fun yesterday," said Arthur as Merlin helped him dress up. "There was a dragon."

"Was there, really?" Merlin looked surprised, Arthur thought.

"Yeah, wouldn't move though," said Arthur. "Almost as annoying as you."

"Oh, really," said Merlin. He looked like he was hiding a smile as he tied Arthur's boots.

"But you're more annoying," said Arthur, kicking him gently in the face.

*A week later, Arthur found a phoenix outside his window.

It had been a relatively week, full of girls to possibly marry (and ending up to not marry them) and sorcerers to want to kill him, although, like always, Arthur had conveniently avoided death for what felt like the fortieth time. Well, when the dragon had been around he hadn't necessarily conveniently avoided it--the dragon just happened to be a lot nicer than all of the human beings who tried to kill him.

Not that Arthur wished the dragon to be here again, of course. Dragons meant warlocks, and warlocks meant danger. Arthur hadn't seen any warlocks around though, so he assumed that the dragon was purely random.

He was hoping that this phoenix was random, too.

"Uh," he said, after picking himself up and unentangling himself from his blankets. "Er. Here birdy birdy?"

The phoenix looked almost offended to be addressed in such a manner.

"Would you mind telling me what you're doing here?" After the dragon, Arthur wasn't as freaked out as he would be.

The phoenix gave him a look, like it was reminding him that, oh, birds couldn't talk.

The phoenix was an odd shade of red--more like black, with a tint of red. There were random blue and brown feathers though and didn't make quite much sense to Arthur--he thought that all phoenixes' feathers would be of a similar shade.

Arthur opened his window then--hesitantly--to see what the phoenix would do. He figured that it was somehow related to the dragon incident the other day, since the phoenix didn't seem to want to harm him, just like the dragon.

The phoenix hopped in, almost gratefully. Arthur couldn't help smiling and petting him a little.

It was then when he realized that something was missing from his usual morning routines.

"Merlin!" he bellowed to his--well, to his thick closed doors. "Where are you?"

He didn't expect (though he did hope) Merlin to come in then, and then sighed. He pet the bird again, and then picked it up and carried it to his dresser.

"My manservant's a prat, you know," he said to the phoenix. "Completely useless. You'll think so too, when you meet him."

The phoenix looked amused.

"If you meet him," added Arthur, and then cursed to himself. When did he think he could read birds? That was more Merlin's thing, or Gwen's thing--something that non-manly men cared about. Plus, Arthur was talking to this bird, which was even more embarrassing.

"Where did you even come from, anyways?" he murmured to the bird, and the bird just chirped from its perch.

*

Arthur spent most of his day training, as usual. He found himself thinking of his phoenix though. Well, not his phoenix, although by some standard it was his. It had been outside of his window, and seemed perfectly happy to greet him.

After defeating (but only nearly) Leon in a close combat battle, it was late in the afternoon and Arthur said, "I'm going to go back." His knights bid him good-bye, and Arthur retreated back to the castle and up to his room.

The first thing he noticed that the phoenix was gone.

The second thing he noticed was that there was a pile of ashes on his dresser.

He went to Gaius immediately, and after Gaius explained to him that phoenix had short lives but continued to reincarnate from their ashes, Arthur asked, "Then where did the bird go?"

"I don't know." Gaius looked uncomfortable.

"Ugh. I will never understand magic," said Arthur, putting his face in his hands. He took it back out. "Oh, by the way, you haven't seen Merlin around recently, have you?"

"Uh, no," said Gaius.

Arthur clenched his fists. "That useless--skiving off again, is he? I'm going to give him triple the amount of chores to punish him this time."

*The week after that, Arthur woke up to loud banging on his door.

"Sire! Sire! There's--um--something at the castle doors!" came Gwaine's voice.

Arthur shot up in bed and grabbed his sword immediately. "What? Are we being attacked?" he said, jumping for the bed and diving for the door.

His sword met face-to-face with Gwaine's nose, who jumped back and knocked into Percival who was right behind him. "Uh, no, Sire," said Percival, helping Gwaine up. "It's a unicorn. But you should probably put some clothes on before going out." He looked Arthur up and down.

Arthur realized that he wasn't even in his nightgown this time, just his Y-fronts. He felt his body go warm.

"Right," he said. "I'll go do that."

It was when he was making his way back to his bedroom door when Percival's words sank in. There was a unicorn. At the castle doors.

And, like the dragon and the phoenix, Arthur had no clue what the hell it was doing here.

He, Gwaine, and Percival ran down the staircase and to the front doors. Elyan and Leon were already barring them. There was a loud thumping from the other side, which Arthur assumed must be the unicorn.

"Hold on, hold on," he said as he approached them. "Is there a possibility that this unicorn won't attack us?"

"Are you kidding?" said Elyan, looking sweaty and out of breath. "Can you--hear how violent this unicorn is?" He hit the door for emphasis, and the door hit back. A lot harder.

"Yes, well." Arthur nodded. He couldn't think of a reason why Elyan would be wrong. But then, the phoenix and the dragon had been perfectly nice to him. Maybe the unicorn just needed to see... him.

"Just let me go outside to look at the unicorn," he suggested to his men, and they protested immediately.

"No! We won't let you!' said Percival.

"Your life could be in danger!" said Leon.

"Thank you," said Arthur, "I appreciate the thought, but--I have a feeling that the unicorn will listen to me."

His men still looked wary.

Arthur cleared his throat.

"This is an order from your king."

"All right," said Percival. "But we'll be behind you in case you need any protection."

"Right, thank you," said Arthur as he moved to the front door. It was still being banged upon, and Elyan didn't stop pushing back until Arthur had gotten a firm stance against the door. His men were still looking at him like, You're completely mad, Arthur knew, but--well, it wasn't like they were going to stand here against the door all day, was it?

He took a deep breath, then opened the door.

The unicorn's horn nearly jabbed him in the chest, but Arthur leaped back enough so it didn't. The unicorn stopped once it was inside the castle though, and looked at Arthur. Stood in place, pawed at the ground.

His men were amazed.

"I guess that really did it," said Gwaine, eyes wide. "We just needed to let him in?"

"Or we needed to let him see the King," said Leon, nodding to Arthur.

Arthur nodded back, although he didn't know if he quite agreed. He didn't think the magical creatures cared if he was the king or not. They just wanted to see him.

The unicorn refused to leave, even after Arthur and his knights attempted to urge it out. They put it in a carriage and then released it in the wild. Five minutes later when they were coming back, Gwaine had stopped to take a piss and saw that the unicorn was back in the carriage. They tried to leave it right outside of the gates and then lock them, but somehow the unicorn managed to sneak in through one of the gate trenches. Then Gwaine suggested that they kill it--

--And Arthur sharply reminded him that,  no , you couldn't kill horses unless you wanted fifty fucking years of bad luck or wanted to go through a dumb, life-changing maze riddle thing that would waste about two weeks of your life.

So they ended up keeping it in the stables, with horses. The unicorn--which was black by the way, and Arthur had  never  seen a black unicorn before--seemed rather affronted at being around all the dung and messy horses and Arthur couldn't really blame him.

"Well, hopefully you'll be gone by tomorrow like the rest of them?" he muttered to the unicorn, and the unicorn whinnied like it agreed.

Arthur paused to take a good look at him. The unicorn was a bit thin and its horn, which Arthur imagined  should have  been silver, was some sort of mix between brown and red and Arthur couldn't explain the tint. The unicorn also had piercing blue eyes which looked awfully familiar for some reason, but Arthur didn't know why.

By mid-afternoon, when he was back in his chambers, Arthur realized that a crucial part of his life was missing.

"MERLIN!" he bellowed, actually expecting a response this time--did Merlin honestly think he could get away with skipping for the third time? But there was no sign of Merlin anywhere. He couldn't hear any rapid footsteps, which usually meant that Merlin  knew  he was going to be in trouble and tried to arrive as soon as he could to appease Arthur's requests.

But no Merlin. At all.

Arthur swore under his breath and made straight way for Gaius's home--perhaps Merlin was still asleep. Taking an afternoon nap, or something. Arthur planned on punching him awake.

"Merlin!" he shouted, rapping on the door rather brutally. "Merlin! Open up, bloody  wake  up or something--"

The door was whipped open then, and Arthur narrowly avoided hitting Gaius in the face.

"Merlin's not here, Sire," said Gaius patiently.

Arthur swore again and turned away exasperatedly. "Do you know where I can find him?" he asked, trying to keep his cool.

"I don't know," said Gaius honestly. "I haven't seen him all day."

The next time he was going to see him, Arthur swore to all the fucking druids that his father had killed that he was going to strangle Merlin with his bare hands.

*

Arthur went back into the stables. The unicorn was still there, obediently kicking at the hay on the ground. The other horses didn't seem to like him, but the unicorn didn't seem to like them, either.

"You know," he said, looking the unicorn deep in the eyes. "I always wondered what was so magical about unicorns."

The unicorn blinked at him understandingly.

"Is it just that you're good luck or something?" said Arthur. "Am I going to have a good day tomorrow? Am I going to get lucky for the rest of my life?"

The unicorn continued staring.

Arthur sighed. He was talking to animals.  Again . Surely he was going mad.

*

It was a week later when Arthur found Merlin in his bath.

Completely unexpected. Also, Merlin looked just as startled as Arthur did. But Arthur shouted and dropped his towel, which made Merlin look even more startled.

"Uh," said Merlin. "This isn't what it looks like."

"What do you mean it's not what it fucking looks like?" said Arthur. "You're in my  bath ."

"Yes, but--" said Merlin.

"And I haven't seen you all fucking morning and when I finally do, it's when you're in my  bath ? Are you trying to pull one over me?" said Arthur.

Merlin sighed and tried again. "I  said , it's not what it looks like."

Arthur picked up his towel and put it on again with as much dignity as he could. "Then can you explain to me what it is?" he said.

Merlin shifted uncomfortably from inside the bath. Arthur noticed then that he couldn't see the rest of Merlin's body, not even his clothes--just the top of his shoulders and his head. Also, Merlin's skin had an odd tint of blue.

"I, um," he said. "I've been changing into magical creatures practically every week for the past month? For no reason at all--" he added hurriedly, "I've no idea why, it's not like I--someone cast a magic spell on me by accident, or something--"

Arthur sighed and rolled his eyes. "Go on, I don't want to hear your pointless babble," he said.

"Right," said Merlin. "Well, the point is. Um. That's why I've been absent every week. 'Cause I keep getting turned into random magical creatures. And I have no idea why," he added hurriedly.

Arthur stared at him for a moment.

"So wait... that means you were the--"

"Unicorn last week," said Merlin. "And the phoenix before that."

"And you were that dragon! Oh my god!" Arthur nearly jumped again. "You almost gave me a heart attack! I should make you do extra chores for that."

"Arthur," said Merlin, giving him a look.

"You're in no position to ' Arthur ' me, you're--you're in my bath, for Christ's sake!" Arthur gesticulated to him frantically. "What are you supposed to be this time?"

"Water nymph, I suppose," said Merlin thoughtfully. The water swished around him like he was waving his arms, even though Arthur could see no arms.

"And you've no right to punish me, since I could've killed you at any moment," said Merlin. "So I think we're perfectly even."

"Oh, so you're threatening your king now," said Arthur, but he was walking towards his bath and looking in it hesitantly.

"You know what I mean," said Merlin.

Arthur tried looking for the rest of Merlin's body. "So are you  in  the water," he said, "or are you the water, or--this is confusing me."

"It's confusing me too. I don't know what I'm doing here," said Merlin honestly. "I was in the water that you drew your bath for and--now I'm here. I don't know how to get out."

"I don't think we can dump you out either, you'll probably find a way to get back in. Like that unicorn," said Arthur, rolling his eyes and taking his towel off. Well, his bare body isn't something Merlin hasn't seen before. 

"Hey, w-what are you doing?" asked Merlin as Arthur climbed into the bath.

"Well I need to get clean somehow, don't I?" Arthur was standing in the bath now, his ass to Merlin's face. He didn't exactly want his dick to be in Merlin's face instead. "I'm just going to--uh, yeah." And then he turned and sat down in the bath.

He was facing Merlin now, and Merlin's face scrunched up a little, like Arthur had just sat upon his ankle or something. "Did I hurt you?" asked Arthur.

"Erm, a little," said Merlin, wincing again.

Arthur grinned. "Good. That's for turning into magical creatures and not doing your duties for every weekend of the past month."

"I  told  you, Arthur," said Merlin. "I don't know how--"

Arthur wiggled his fingers in the water then, and Merlin broke off, starting to laugh. "Ah--Arthur," he said. "You're tickling me I-I can't--"Arthur bent his hand and wiggled his fingers even more, and Merlin just laughed even harder. "A-Arthur," he gasped out, bluish head topped with blue-tinted black hair knocking to the side of the bath.

Arthur continued creeping his fingers up, looking for more places to tickle Merlin. He was almost touching the other side of the bath when his hand brushed against some part of the water that made Merlin gasp and look at him, wide-eyed.

"Arthur, that's my, um," he said, as Arthur tried to figure out the water's pattern. It seemed more heated here, more solid, although not like ice.

"Sire, that's my--shit!" said Merlin, cutting himself off when Arthur tried squeezing there. He broke off into a moan that made Arthur realize then what he was touching.

"Is that your prick?" he asked, and Merlin bit his lip and nodded, moaned with Arthur unintentionally squeezed around there again.

It made no sense, but Arthur found that he couldn't quite bring his fingers all the way around to touch each other--like he really was holding onto something in the water. He didn't even think to turn away, just held on and watched, mesmerized, as Merlin's watery body seemed to be having a fit of sorts.

"Arthur, you should really s-stop," said Merlin, through his barely coherent gasps and moans. Arthur could only just keep holding him, though, changing pressure of his palm and fingers. The water around them shook, like they were Merlin's knees.

"As long as you don't ever mention this again," said Arthur, "I'll stroke you off." He kind of wanted to--seeing Merlin like this was all sorts of intriguing. Not arousing though. Definitely not arousing.

"I can... feel you getting hard." And Merlin made a delicious noise, that sounded like a restrained moan. But then Arthur felt something around his own cock, not quite a hand--a watery hand, more like.

He yelped and nearly slapped it away, nearly let go of Merlin--but didn't. "Merlin, is that you?" he said, gasping through his words and still trying to hold onto him.

Merlin looked like he wanted to glare through his bluish-black eyelashes, but he looked more amused. "Of course it's me," he said. "And now you know what it feels like, touching someone without asking."

"Oh, you expected me to ask?" said Arthur, and tugged on Merlin's somewhat invisible prick harder. This just earned him one in return though, and Arthur splashed face first into the water as a result.

Then water--water?--was lifting him up, in the shape of a hand. "Don't drown," Merlin teased, and pulled at Arthur's cock again and Arthur had to groan against the water and pull at Merlin's cock again.

They continued like this for a few minutes, just stroking each other and waiting for one to get off first; but then Arthur thought, it could probably work a lot better with both of their cocks at the same time. So he said to Merlin, "Let go of me for a moment," and Merlin, somewhat flushed red (it looked odd with his skin), looked up at his face for a moment and said, "What--?" But then Arthur let go of him too and put his hands to the place that he figured was Merlin's back, and brought him into his lap, swishing the water with him, and pressing the warm water against his own cock.

Merlin moaned immediately, and Arthur wrapped his hands around both his prick and the warm spot that must be Merlin's, and started grinding them together fiercely. Merlin moaned again and Arthur threw his head back, unable to handle both this sensation and Merlin looking so erotic as some sort ofcreature, for fuck's sake.Arthur came when he felt something wet on his neck--like little kisses, but from water. His left hand held onto Merlin's shoulder as he gripped onto them both with his right, and Merlin came too, or at least, that's what Arthur figured from the added heat on his hand. He brought his head back down and looked at Merlin when he was done; Merlin seemed embarrassed, but was watching him expectantly.

"That was," said Arthur, and then cleared his throat. "That meant nothing. I'm not a pouf, or--" He cleared his throat again. How much noise had he made while doing that? "It was because you're in my bath, okay?"

"Okay," said Merlin. He was smiling a bit. Arthur didn't think Merlin believed him.

"I'm really," Arthur tried again, "not a pouf. It's just you, and, I've basically talked to you every time you were an animal anyways, so I was bound to do weird things around you--"

"Okay," said Merlin, and then leaned forward like it was instinct. And kissed him.

Arthur sort of felt like he was suffocating, but decided to worry about that when Merlin stopped kissing him.

*

So, a week later, Arthur wasn't too surprised to find a fairy with a striking resemblance to his manservant tapping on his window, waking him up.

It only took him a moment to regain consciousness, and then Arthur was opening the window, saying, "Merlin?"

"Yeah," Merlin sighed. "It happened again."

Arthur took his head in his hands, buried his fingers in his hair. "How many times is this going to happen?" he groaned.

"I feel like this might be the last," said Merlin, fluttering about. "But look, I can fly!"

Arthur took his face out of his hands and rolled his eyes. "Yes, you can indeed fly," he said. "You're a little fairy." Then he snickered, and felt his cheeks heat up.

Merlin turned around to glare at him. "Hey, okay, don't make jokes like that since you haven't brought that up all week--"

"Because," said Arthur, and then feeling his cheeks get even warmer. "That's not the sort of thing we'd talk about in public, is it? And this--" he gestured to Merlin "--is happening again, I can't help thinking of what happened last time."

"Well I'm sure it's not going to happen again after this," said Merlin. "I don't know how I know, but I just no--"

"Isn't the magic number seven though? This is the fifth time, right? So wouldn't there be two more times?"

"Bugger me if I know how magic works," said Merlin innocently, shrugging. 

He looked mostly the same (except with dark wings, and smaller), so Arthur didn't know why he wanted to kiss him. Well, he'd been wanting to kiss Merlin all week. He supposed it was what he got for wanking them both off last week, but--some part of him thought that after Merlin's transformation today, that urge would go away. It didn't, though.

Instead of kissing Merlin, Arthur just said, "Well, I guess you'll be spending the day in my bedchambers since no one can see you like that, or else they might want to burn you to the stake or something." Arthur paused for a moment. "Even though that doesn't make you a warlock," he said to himself. Then: "Don't mess up my room."

"I won't," said Merlin cheerfully.

"And you'll get punished for this, you know," said Arthur as he turned to leave the room.

"By punished, do you mean how like I was punished the other times?" Meaning that Arthur was too worried about where Merlin was (or, in the previous case, too embarrassed to look him in the face so Arthur spent the week having his eyes dance away from Merlin's face while Merlin just watched on, amused) to actually punish him.

Arthur stopped. "This time I mean it," he said, defiantly. "You will pay all the trouble you've caused for me and yourself for the past few weeks."

"I look forward to it," said Merlin, with a smirk.

Arthur just sighed and shook his head; but then Merlin said, "Arthur?" and Arthur said, "What?" He turned to Merlin again, and Merlin pecked him on the nose, his small mouth feeling like the lightest of touches on his skin.

"I liked being a water nymph best," he said with a mischievous grin, before with some inexplicable fairy strength closing the door and leaving Arthur standing there and wondering if he'd just imagined Merlin's kiss.

He hoped not.