Title: Dreaming of Arthur
Characters/pairings: Merlin, Arthur, Gwen, and Gaius
Summary: Merlin worries that someone will learn his secret and, unfortunately, someone has.
Prompt 203: 3X3 Goblin’s Gold
Merlin felt guilty. Had he not learnt anything since arriving in Camelot? Didn’t he know that his curiosity more oft than not got him in trouble? Had he left the strange container alone, none of what had followed would have happened: Gaius wouldn’t have nearly been killed, the king wouldn’t have lost his hair, Arthur wouldn’t have grown donkey ears and the ability to bray, Gwen wouldn’t have had flatulence in front of Arthur, and Merlin wouldn’t have had to hear Gwen telling him that she still had feelings for Arthur.
Frustrated, Merlin closed his eyes, hoping for a few minutes’ respite before Gaius called him for supper, but instead of the thoughts he’d been having receding, they seemed to magnify and assault his senses with a vengeance.
He’d known for a long while how Gwen and Arthur felt about each other, so why had Gwen’s confession made him so maudlin? Because he had stupid, inadvisable feelings for the prat. That’s why. He hadn’t asked for them and loathed them, but have them he did, and no matter how much he tried to get rid of them, they refused to budge.
If he wasn’t careful, his secret was going to become a problem, at least if the King found out. Merlin suspected that Gwen might already know something; at least her comment of a few hours previous made him think she knew more than she was letting on.
She'd mentioned something about how happy Merlin looked earlier in the day when she’d passed him and Arthur walking to the training grounds and that it had made her happy because Merlin had looked so sad the previous few times she had seen them together. She'd also said that he and Arthur looked adorable together and that she didn’t know what Arthur would do if he ever lost his Merlin. She’d said it dismissively and had laughed it off, as if it were a joke, but there was something about the look in her eyes and the tone of her voice as she’d said it that had Merlin curious. He’d been careful. There was no way anyone knew anything. And perhaps they didn’t. But what if they did?
Merlin sucked in a deep breath and held it for several seconds before letting it go. He needed to stop letting his mind take him to these places. He was being ridiculous. Yes, of course Gwen had picked up on his sadness from a few days earlier, but she had no reason to think it was anything other than a manservant being disappointed in his master for not believing him when he was told that a goblin had taken over the body of the Court Physician.
“Merlin?” called out a voice Merlin didn’t wish to hear.
“Come in; I just wrote my mum a letter,” he lied, not knowing what else to say. He couldn’t very well tell Gwen he’d been lamenting the fact that he was falling for his master who was in love with his father’s ward’s serving maid. He had to stifle a laugh. It was all so very laughable. The only thing more ridiculous than him being in love with Arthur was Arthur being in love with Gwen.
“I can’t stay long,” Gwen said, looking rather uncomfortable as she took a seat on the edge of the bed when Merlin motioned for her to do so.
Merlin tried to look carefree. He doubted his success when Gwen rolled her eyes and shook her head. Merlin was curious. He raised an eyebrow in question.
“I owe you an apology, Merlin,” she said, looking miserable.
Merlin didn’t understand. “What for?” he asked, unsure if he wanted to know.
“I saw your face when I mentioned I still had feelings for Arthur,” was her matter-of-fact reply, a sad smile on her face as Merlin’s face seemed to lose what little colour it had. “I’ve known for over a year that I wasn’t the only one with feelings for Arthur. I knew as soon as I said what I said that I shouldn’t have, and I feel horrible, but I guess we’re in the same quandary, are we not? Neither of us will end up with Arthur. I’m sure his father will marry him off to some gorgeous princess who will give him an heir.”
And had Gwen meant to cheer him? Merlin shook his head. He wanted to deny it; he wished to tell her she was wrong about him and his feelings. But she was spot on, wasn’t she? And she was one of his closest friends. He wouldn’t lie to her. “How did you know?”
“Since Arthur saved your life with that flower. You changed after that, and you weren’t the only one. Merlin, I think Arthur has—”
“Don’t say it, Gwen. Just don’t,” Merlin groused out, not knowing for sure what Gwen had been about to say, but he couldn’t hear what he wanted to hear because what would that accomplish? At least Gwen had Arthur in her life as more than a servant boy. Arthur had kissed Gwen. Merlin would never have that pleasure and he didn’t want her telling him something that wouldn’t make a difference. It was best that he didn’t know. His life was that of a servant and that was all he should care about from now on. “Please go. I’m not upset with you, but I just need to be alone, yeah?”
“Yeah,” she said before she left and shut the door rather harder than necessary. Merlin sighed. He’d upset her.
“Merlin! Your food will get cold if you don’t come eat.”
Merlin opened his eyes and sat up as he tried to regain his bearings. When reality hit him he nearly let out a laugh. He’d been dreaming. Gwen hadn’t told him she knew about his feelings for Arthur. Merlin looked over at Gaius and grinned. “Must’ve fallen asleep.”
”Yes, well, don’t forget that Arthur needs you tonight.”