Title: The News is Broken
Character/s: Arthur, Merlin, Gwen, Gwaine
Summary: Arthur tells Gwen, who confronts Merlin and Gwaine can’t help himself
Word Count: 996
Prompt: #19 Eavesdropping
Author's Notes: The next instalment in the Seen and Hidden ‘verse. I get the feeling there may only be a little more before this bunny is ready to hop off away from my head and into the sunset… but not just yet. Enjoy!
The King dismissed his manservant for the rest of the night.
Merlin didn’t complain. It was only natural Arthur would want some time alone to comprehend all that had transpired between them. He had said he understood and Merlin believed him, but he knew it would take time for the truth to really sink in. It would take time for it not to feel like a waking dream and for the shock to wear off. He would give Arthur the time and space he needed.
He even asked Gwen to take Arthur his breakfast the following morning. He wasn’t sure if Arthur would be ready to see him again or not, so he chose not to risk it.
Later that morning, Gwen found Merlin in the stables, tending to one of the horses.
“Why didn’t you tell me?” was all she could say when she saw him.
“He told you?” Merlin fought the urge to jump on to the horse and ride off to avoid having to face his friend.
“It took some work, but he eventually relinquished,” Gwen admitted. “But why couldn’t you tell me?”
“I didn’t want to put anyone in danger,” Merlin replied. It was the truth but it didn’t make the hurt any less.
“Lancelot knew,” she protested.
“He wasn’t supposed to know. He found out by accident.”
Their conversation continued with Merlin trying to explain Lancelot’s knowledge of his magic and why he had not told her sooner.
Gwaine was bored. He was sick of besting everyone in their training duels with the swords and every other weapon. Percival had proved difficult at first, but once you found his weakness, he wasn’t so hard.
He noticed Gwen going down to the stables and it had gave him an idea.
“Hey Leon, you want a race?”
“Race? What kind?”
“Horse riding. I bet I can beat you around the lower town, including the farms.”
It was a challenge, but one he thought he wouldn’t have too much trouble with. Leon didn’t like the idea and he knew better than to entertain Gwaine and his wild ideas.
“What about you Elyan?” Gwaine said turning to the next Knight in line. Elyan laughed and shook his head. “No thanks.”
Gwaine didn’t bother with Percival. He knew he avoid horses when he could. They didn’t like him much, especially when he tried to climb up on to them.
So Gwaine was left with his boredom. He contemplated going to see Arthur, but knew better than to disturb the King with such trivial matters when magic was on the Council agenda.
Finally, he decides to go down to stable anyway. He would see what Gwen was up to. Maybe she’d go for a ride with him, if he was lucky.
As Gwaine drew closer to the stable Gwen had enter, he began to hear the whisper of voices and they got louder with the closing distance.
“--protect everyone as much as I could.” It was Merlin’s voice yet the words didn’t seem to fit.
“I know you would have,” came a female voice in between sobs. It had to be Gwen and she was crying. Why? Gwaine was just about to move towards to the entrance when Merlin spoke again.
“I tried to help Morgana, even though I was warned not to, but having spent years in Uther’s care… she had already made up her mind. Sometimes, I think I may have made the same choice if I had been in her position.”
Gwaine got the feeling that this probably wasn’t a conversation he should be eavesdropping on but he couldn’t bring himself to walk away. He considered Merlin his best friend. They could talk about anything together and had done so on many occasions. Although, the tone in Merlin’s voice was not one he thought he had hear before. It was more solemn than he had ever heard it before.
“Her magic had the potential to rival my own—”
Rival my own. Had he heard that correctly? Gwaine push his ear closer to the gap in the stable wall.
“—blinded by her anger and feelings of betrayal. I couldn’t have changed that.”
Gwaine couldn’t make what Gwen said next. Her voice was muffled.
“You still have me. I’ll be here to protect Arthur and you and the rest of Camelot. I will help people to see that magic can be used for good as well as evil and that good will always come out on top. I think my magic has proven that, don’t you?”
Whatever Gwen’s reply was, Gwaine didn’t hear it. He was at the stable entrance and rushing inside to find her in Merlin’s arms.
Gwen hears the rustling of the straw under foot as the knight rush into the stable. She looks up at Merlin, who is looking towards the entrance, and realising what their hug might look like to someone else, she quickly pushes away. She puts a small, but large distance between her and her King’s manservant and faces their company.
Gwaine is standing in front of them with a rather shocked and confused look on his face.
“Umm…” was all the Knight could manage to say.
“Hi Gwaine,” Merlin said in an attempt to break the awkward moment. “What brings you down to the stables?”
“I… umm…” Gwaine stammers, trying to get over his shock. “I was coming down to… ask Gwen if she would go for a ride with me. I saw her come down here not long ago.”
“Oh, well that sounds like a nice idea.” Gwen glanced at the horses. “Shall we?”
“Wait,” the Knight said, remembering why he had rushed in here in the first place. “What were you two…?” He pointed his finger at each of them in turn. Gwen and Merlin just looked at each other and then back to Gwaine. “I heard what you said.” He directed the statement to Merlin.
“Maybe we should all go for ride.”