Title: An Art in Comprehension
Fandom: Merlin, BBC
Genre/Rating: Romance, Fluff/K
Word Count: 338
Summary: Merlin wakes up and understands.
Notes: I don't even know. Just—Gwen is adorable and she totally deserves to get what she wants once in a while.
It takes longer than is strictly reasonable for Merlin to notice. In fact, it takes much longer and rests in a time frame that's closer to ridiculous and frankly embarrassing. So, when he does notice, he sits up, very suddenly, and says, "Oh, Gwen."
And he feels so guilty and nervous and excited all at once he doesn't exactly stop to think things through; he just gets up and runs.
He doesn't even know what he's doing when he finds her, so he skids to a stop and just—stares.
Concern etches across Gwen's face as she looks up at him. "Merlin?" she asks, and it makes itself at home in her voice. Life has been so hard for Gwen and the worry lines on her forehead are more pronounced than they were just months ago, and Merlin wishes then that there was something he could do.
"Gwen," he says, because it's all he can think of, and then he kisses her, clumsily and without finesse but with so much love, as much as he can push into the working of his jaw and the press of his lips and he just hopes its enough, hopes she can feel it.
"Merlin," she says again as he pulls away. "Oh!"
Merlin shrugs a little helplessly.
Gwen opens her mouth again, her lips a little pink and wet, and her eyes wide and earnest; a torrent of words spills out. "I thought—I mean, I always just assumed that you and Arthur—n—not you and Arthur, or that I thought that you were with Arthur, but I always thought you were—were too busy. With Arthur."
"Gwen," Merlin says, and she stops, flushing and biting her lip, and looks away. He tries to speak, tries to explain or say something, anything, but the words won't come, so instead he thinks: I'm sorry. I'm sorry I never noticed. I'm sorry you had to wait so long. I'm so, so sorry.
He touches her face, just two fingers against her round cheek, and she sighs, a soft, breathy sigh from somewhere deep within her.
This time the kiss is slow, gentle. Gwen's eyes flutter closed and her lips part against his. Merlin feels something in it that says you're forgiven and I love you and he smiles because he understands.