A/N: So in the midst of my Rose Chateau story, I had to stop and write this little drabble for Gwaine because the season finale got me filled with Merlin juices and I had to get them out. So enjoy and let me know what you think!
There were days when the sun shone bright in Camelot, when Merlin would stand before the king and present him the problems of the people, his personal opinions on how to handle them, and usually to jest with the king about how they handled the situation last time. There were days when Merlin walked into the room and all the lamps seemed to glow brighter, the rain always missed the party but never missed the fields and the king's cup never went empty. There were days when Merlin would stand in the midst of a great field of people at a party and delight them with tiny magical feats – his favorite being to produce roses in the palm of his hand.
Yes, those were some days. But every day, Merlin would whisper in the king's ear and smile with delight. Every day, he'd dedicate hours of his life to forecasting the king's future, reading runes, prophecies, and delving into magic crystals that almost made him sick with their powers. Every day, Merlin poured his heart out to the king, and every day the king seemed blind to it.
But this is not the story of Merlin or of the king. This is the story of Gwaine, the mirthful knight who fell in love at first sight, just like a green barmaid who'd given the compliment to the unknowing magician. This was the story of Gwaine, the most chivalrous and swarthy of all the noble knights of Camelot. This is the story of unrequited love. For you see, Gwaine was in love. He drank and he drank and he went home with others, but never was his heart more at peace than in the halls of the castle, watching his love.
There were days when Gwaine trained with the knights. There were days when he toyed with the maidens, with the men and the magical folk. There were days when he danced like an idiot or drank like a sailor, and there were days when he was sober, as dry as the far deserts of the perilous lands. But every day, Gwaine was in unbearable, torturous, horrible pain. Every day, he entered the halls of the castle or walked the streets of the city and saw with clear eyes the once-was-servant-now-court-sorcerer. Every day he saw Merlin, and every day he left a broken hearted man.
Gwaine loved Merlin like the earth loves the sun, like lungs love the air. He needed Merlin to feel whole in himself, to feel as though he was a part of this kingdom and not just its dog. Merlin was the meaning of his universe. And yet Merlin only had eyes for Arthur. And in turn, Arthur only had eyes for Guinevere, and on most days it seemed Guinevere only had eyes for Lancelot…. Then there were those special days when Merlin seemed to have eyes for Gwaine, when they would sit up in Merlin's room and search through ancient tomes for new spells Merlin could try out. Days when the king would rant and rave about the flood that had temporarily poured down his palace steps or the fire that exploded out of three bedroom windows; days when Gwaine and Merlin would laugh about what happened even as the king continued to scold them for their idiocy.
Yes there were backwards days like that. And Gwaine lived each day for those days, hoping they happened to be the days he was sober so he could remember them with enhanced clarity. And Lancelot would sit beside him at parties, while Merlin entertained the king, and pat him on the shoulder. Together they would look at the long table, where the two old servants now sat as equals, as a court sorcerer and a queen, at the front of the hall beside the king. Then Lancelot would lean in close and whisper into Gwaine's ear, some rubbish about how love is a many splendid thing, but to ache for a love that was destined for failure, to dream after someone who's eyes were so clear for another was unhealthy and bad for the soul. He would remind Gwaine that they were eternal friends, and only a friend would remind him that Merlin thought of him only as a friend.
Then Gwaine would smirk and toast his glass to Lancelot while reminding him that Gwen was the lovely queen and loved Arthur dearly. He would remind Lancelot that his affections for the queen were as doomed as his love for Merlin. And together they would clink goblets and down them till they ran dry before grabbing for more. Together they would mourn their losses… because where Gwen's eyes often strayed from her husband to Lancelot, so the king's eyes strayed from his queen to his sorcerer and cut off any hope Gwaine had of Merlin's eyes every drifting over to him.