It was an ordinary day in Camelot.
Arthur had called a meeting, but Arthur was always calling meetings.
Merlin was late to it, but Merlin was always late to things - especially when they were called by Arthur; some would say he did it just to irritate him, but Merlin would deny this vehemently if asked.
Gwaine was slightly drunk, but Gwaine was always slightly drunk - actually, that wasn't true. There were times when Gwaine was a lot drunk. Suffice to say that you would be hard pressed to find a time when Gwaine was not in some way drunk.
And so, it was on this ordinary day, at said meeting, which Merlin was late to and wherein Gwaine was slightly drunk, that Gwaine himself was to make a very important discovery.
(Although he would claim to have known it all along, anyway. And perhaps he had.)
He sat at the round table, which Arthur had had dragged from the castle in which they found it and had it brought to Camelot and placed in the throne room. Some would say that this was a lot of trouble to go through for a table, but Gwaine was not one of them. He liked the round table. He especially liked sleeping on the round table.
Arthur did not like this.
Which was precisely why he had to subtle.
So, Arthur was talking about something or another and Gwaine was trying to sleep… subtly. And, in the midst of all this, there was only one word that could have perked Gwaine up.
(Well, two words. One was ale)
The other: "…magic…"
Gwaine's head shot up at that, and he tried to remember what Arthur had been talking about, something about Camelot's defences, he thought.
It was at that moment that Merlin burst into the throne room. Gwaine grinned. Merlin was his friend and so he was always glad when he arrived, however, whilst it was true that Merlin was useful in many other ways, Merlin could always be relied on for one thing:
He would always be late to wherever Arthur asked him to be.
"Merlin. You're late." Arthur said. Gwaine wondered why Arthur found it necessary to state the obvious, not to mention the inevitable (other examples include: "Gwaine, you're drunk." and "Percival, you're awfully quiet.") Arthur sighed, and asked, more out of formality than anything else. "Where have you been?"
"Ah…" Merlin glanced backwards. Gwaine wondered why Merlin always seemed hopelessly unprepared with an excuse. "Well, you see-"
"Never mind, just sit," Arthur said, sparing Merlin from having to make up what would have been - no doubt - a very bad lie.
Now Gwaine would see the usefulness of Merlin being late. Arthur would have to tell him what had been going on in the meeting, ergo Gwaine would hear it again.
Merlin took his seat at Arthur's right-hand side. If one was feeling particularly thoughtful, one could think about the connotations of that, however, Gwaine rarely found the need to be particularly thoughtful. Merlin and Arthur needed each other, even though they would never admit it, it was as simple as that.
"Well, Merlin. We've been talking about the laws on magic."
Merlin's eyebrows shot up. "Have you?" was all he said.
Arthur gave him an odd look. "Yes. You see," Arthur paused, as though aware that he was about to make a momentous announcement. "I have suspected for some time that a sorcerer may, in fact, be helping Camelot."
It was a shame, really, that Merlin had not been drinking anything at the time that this was said; if he had the contents of his mouth would have flown across the table and most likely hit Gaius in the eye, as it was he merely sputtered with no sound coming out of his mouth until he finally managed to say, "And- and what m-makes you think that?"
This was Gwaine's first clue.
The facts: Merlin generally stutters when he is nervous about something, or lying about something.
Conclusion: As that question could not have been a lie, Merlin is nervous about discussing magic.
"Well," Arthur hesitated. "Look, I never told you about this, but when I had to go and get that flower as an antidote to that poison you were foolish enough to drink-"
"To save your life!"
"Which I then had to risk to save yours!"
Gwaine felt he had to interject; the two could go on bickering for hours. "So basically, you shouldn't try and save each others lives? Good, now that both of you are sure to ignore that… what were you saying, Arthur?"
Arthur looked faintly surprised, and Gwaine thought that he probably hadn't been sleeping as subtly as he had hoped.
"Right, yes. Anyway, the point is there was this light and well- never mind. But that wasn't the only instance."
"But sire, forgive me, but how can you be sure these incidences are the work of sorcery?" Gaius asked, giving Merlin a strange look.
This was Gwaine's second clue.
The facts: Gaius hardly ever questioned Arthur, unless he had very good reason or someone was at risk. He had also shot a warning look at Merlin.
Conclusion: As Gaius could not have any reason beyond his doubts to question whether these incidences were magical - and this would not be good enough reason for him - someone was in danger. Also: this person was probably Merlin.
Gwaine leant forward.
"And why would a sorcerer help Camelot?"
That was from Lancelot; Lancelot sounded nervous.
The facts: Lancelot never sounded nervous.
Conclusion: Lancelot was very nervous.
"Exactly. It makes no sense." Arthur paused.
"Forgive me your highness," Gwaine said and Arthur glared at him.
Damn. He must have picked up on the sarcasm.
"But," Gwaine continued. "What actual evidence do you have apart from the magical…" Gwaine paused and looked round the table. "Light?"
Merlin laughed and Arthur glared at him. Gwaine thought that Arthur glared at people a lot.
"Well," Arthur trailed off before he hit on something. "Do you remember that quest, erm," he glanced around. "That I went on?"
Merlin hid his smile. "Was that the one you did with no help whatsoever?"
Arthur turned to Merlin, "That's the one." he said through gritted teeth.
Merlin looked across the table at Gwaine with a falsely innocent look. "Well, then, how would we remember that?"
"Hang on a second," said Gwaine. "Was that the one with the Wyverns?"
"That man on the bridge?"
"Something about a trident?"
"The Fisher King?"
"Oh," They said together. "That quest."
"Wait," Sir Leon said. "Does that mean the you didn't complete the quest on your own?" he must have noticed the note of reproach in his own voice, and so added hastily, "Sire."
"Not exactly," said Arthur, looking distinctly uncomfortable. "But there were…"
"Extenuating circumstances." put in Merlin.
Arthur shot him a curious look, and then evidently decided to leave it. "Yes. Anyway," he said. "My point was that… well, do you remember that guy on the bridge?"
"The little guy?"
"Yes, Gwaine, the little guy."
"Well, he said that I was courage."
"He said that you were what?"
Merlin's surprise obviously offended Arthur a little. "Courage," he repeated. "But that I would need strength and… magic to complete my quest."
"He said I was str-" Gwaine started as the truth dawned.
This was Gwaine's fourth and final clue.
The facts: If Arthur was courage and he was strength, then the only thing left was magic and the only person left was Merlin.
Conclusion: Merlin had magic.
As he stopped speaking, Gwaine's eyes snapped to Merlin, who was pointedly and deliberately not looking at him.
"What, Gwaine?" asked Arthur.
"Hmm?" said Gwaine, still looking at Merlin. "Oh. Nothing." Merlin looked up at that. "Although," Gwaine said, still looking at Merlin. "There may have been other instances. Remember that fire the broke up our fight?"
Merlin scratched the back of his neck.
"And that immortal army went down a bit too quickly, didn't they?"
"Yes. Well, exactly. The question is who could possibly be doing this?"
"Oh sire," said Gwaine leaning back and stretching, his eyes still on Merlin. "I'm sure I've absolutely no idea."
After the meeting broke up Merlin sped off to do… something or other. The boy always seemed to be in a hurry doing chores for Arthur or Gaius or…
Saving the world.
You know, that could take up quite a bit of your time.
At least, Gwaine assumed so.
Gwaine finally caught up to him in the corridor outside Gaius' chambers.
"So," he said loudly, and Merlin turned, his expression resigned if not altogether surprised. Gwaine hurried a little to catch up with him as he announced, "Magic."
Merlin glanced around, "Do you want to say it any louder? Uther might not have heard that."
Gwaine raised his eyebrows, "Somehow I don't think Uther's really in a fit state to do anything about it."
"Really? I heard that you can still burn people at the stake even if you're mental state's been impaired. In fact," Merlin hissed. "One might say that you're more likely to do it then."
"He seemed to manage well enough before."
Merlin grimaced. "True enough."
"Why didn't you tell me, Merlin?" Gwaine asked softly, suddenly and Merlin looked at him as though he were insane (which was really a debate for another day).
"Did you not hear the thing about burning people at the stake?"
"And I can see why you didn't want everyone finding out, but… me, Merlin? You could have trusted me."
Merlin looked at him. "I do trust you Gwaine, it's just… with magic." he sighed. "Look, I've had it ever since I was born, and ever since I was born I've had to keep it secret…" he shrugged. "When it's drilled into you that a slip of the tongue could result in your death, it can kind of become a hard habit to break."
"Oh," Gwaine thought about it. "I suppose that makes sense… who else knows?"
"In Camelot, just Gaius and…" Merlin looked at Gwaine, as if trying to gauge his reaction. "Lancelot."
"Well, yeah, it was kind of an accident actually. I mean, we were trying to kill this Griffin and so I enchanted his lance so that he could do it and then, well, apparently your lance being engulfed in blue flames is hard to miss," Merlin shrugged a little sheepishly. "Who knew?"
Gwaine's mouth was wide open by this point, and his eyes had lit up. Merlin had seen this look before. This look did not normally bode well.
"Gwaine?" he asked.
"Come on," he said, slinging an arm round Merlin's shoulders and pulling him down the corridor.
"Where are we going?"
"Oh. To the Tavern of course."
"Of course," Merlin muttered. "Any particular reason?"
"Well, if you're going to tell me about every time you've used magic in an awesome way then we're going to need ale."
"Er, that could take a really long time."
"Right, of course," Gwaine stopped and looked thoughtful before amending, "Lots of ale."
AN: I had a lot of fun writing this, so I hope you enjoyed reading it. I'm not sure whether anyone would be interested if I continued this to include other characters finding out, I think I'd quite like to write it but... what do you guys think? Anyway, please tell me what you think of this chapter; I definitely enjoyed Gwaine's POV! :)