Quick AN: This was inspired heavily by the Evanescence song "Missing"
There is a longer AN at the bottom of this part, just some things I found while doing research.
Disclaimer: I don't own Merlin or any of the characters contained in here. I also don't own any of the lyrics to "Missing" (written by David Hodges, Amy Lee & Ben Moody) some of which appear in Part II. If you'd like to see the original lyrics they are available at any lyric site on the net. I personally prefer Metrolyrics since I've never gotten a virus while visiting them.
Summary: Gwen has finally left Arthur for Lancelot but before she goes, she reveals the ten-year old secret of what she took from him shortly before their marriage.
Pairings: Hmm...this is a bit tricky as it covers a 10 year span in a short time. There's Arthur/Merlin (past), Merlin/Gwaine(present), Arthur/Gwen (recently past) and Lancelot/Gwen (present) & one sided Gwen/Merlin(on-going)
My Dear Arthur,
By now I'm certain you'll have learned of my betrayal of you with your dear friend and my lover, Lancelot. We won't ever return and I beg you to not try and follow. I failed you as a Queen in every possible way but Lancelot is so much less at fault. He will already punish himself more severely than you ever could.
I won't insult you by asking for your forgiveness but I have further confessions of a deeper and more treacherous betrayal I did unto you years ago. I not only broke a heart, I broke the law and did you an injury that you've been barely conscious of. Truly, no awareness of it should have lingered but so great was the bond I tried to sever that a few elusive threads have dragged at the edges of your heart and soul nagging you with a blurred and nebulous confusion that I have always carefully distracted you from.
Much as I love Lancelot and much as I tried to love you, there was someone I fell in love with before either of you came into my life. However hard I tried though, he never felt more for me than a deep friendship. He was beautiful, both inside and out. Possessed of the most gentle, generous, self-sacrificing, loyal and courageous nature I've ever been privileged to know, he loved me like a sister but I never could stop longing for more. He however was in love with another, someone I could never have hoped to compete with even if every angel in heaven were at my back. It was you.
You don't remember him, I made sure of it. I took him away from you with magic. Through shamefully devious means I obtained a potion of oblivion and slipped it into your goblet at the celebration of our engagement. From that moment on Merlin ceased to exist in your mind, no memories, no awareness, no way for his name to penetrate your consciousness at all. At least that's what the sorceress who sold me the potion promised. However, I have seen you struggle over these past 10 years to remember. He is gone but there has lingered in you a sense of loss, a sense of something or someone missing. I've heard you whisper it to yourself. I suspect that it was Merlin's nature and the bond you'd had. He is an extremely powerful sorcerer in his own right. Perhaps if he hadn't already been hurting so badly from our pending union, he might have recognized the enchantment and broken it himself. As it was, the pain of your rejection was so great I doubt he could have seen the Great Dragon itself had it landed five feet in front of him.
You see, my King, you loved him back as passionately as he loved you. You were lovers and shared a bond the likes of which I've never seen. It went beyond mere love, as if your souls were united, as if you were two sides of the same coin. What you will remember is that there was massive pressure on you to marry and produce an heir the moment your father died. I know I wasn't chosen at random, that you felt an affection for me that you thought would be enough to create a successful union. At least successful enough to produce that heir. I knew you didn't love me, that your heart belonged to Merlin. The truth is, mine still did as well. That's why I said yes. I wasn't that interested in becoming Queen, in many ways it terrified me. However, what I wanted was to come between the two of you. I couldn't have him, I didn't want you to have him either. I'm not sure if you remember my only condition upon accepting your proposal. I said I would not tolerate sharing you with anyone. You agreed and broke with Merlin but he was still there, no longer your lover but still at your side.
Neither of you could hide your heartbreak very well. You still looked at him with love, longing and most annoyingly, hunger. I doubted you could possibly stay true to me and I couldn't stand the thought of you having him while I stood by and played the dutiful Queen. I knew even if you did keep your promise, you'd never stop longing for him, ever. You were both terrible at hiding your feelings and I was already feeling some of the pity from others. This, I would not tolerate. So I obliterated him from your mind, purged him from your heart and forced him from your soul. And though those confusing little torn edges remained, I succeeded. You no longer saw him, couldn't hear him and his name meant nothing to you in the mouths of others.
The blackest part of my soul rejoiced. You would never have him again. He would never have you again. My jealous heart held a sick joy in his heartbreak. He'd broken my heart and now I had broken his. Now it was his turn to watch the love of his life moon over another and be helpless to intervene. I knew him so well. Unlike me, he has a pure, loving soul. He'd never force himself on anyone in any way. He'd never use his magic to make you love him again. He just suffered in silence. He endured your indifference and oblivion for a month before he left. His old guardian Gaius had retired, his mother continued to live a country life. He confided in me that he felt he had no more ties left in Camelot save me (poor boy, he never suspected for a moment) Gawaine and Lancelot. He had thought you'd retain him at least in an advisory capacity because prior to your enchantment, that was the plan. Now that you'd cut him off, he felt these small ties were not enough to hold him. I was very sympathetic. I encouraged him to "protect himself and leave".
And so he's been gone for over 10 years now. You and I never did develop that love we'd hoped would come in time. How could it? Merlin still holds both our hearts. I would imagine you are now wondering why as I am going, I choose to leave these as my final words. It's guilt. My soul may be sullied beyond redemption but I still feel guilty for what I did to you both. I feel far less guilt for leaving with Lancelot because I know you don't truly love me. Your pride and perhaps self-esteem might suffer but your heart won't. I can't have the man I love. It seems I am barren and cannot provide you with the heirs you married me to obtain. I know that my life is forfeit were I to stay here as it is a capitol crime to cuckold the King. That's why I beg you not to follow. Let us escape. Declare me legally dead by proclamation. Make it known that if I am seen in Camelot I am to suffer immediate execution thus making my legal death an actuality. Now you can find another Queen who will hopefully be able to bear you the heirs you need.
There is another reason for this confession. In my chambers, you will find two items inside the top drawer of my rosewood writing desk. One is a letter Merlin left on your bed the day he left. Of course I removed it but something compelled me to keep it. The seal remains untouched, I had not the heart to read it, nor to destroy it. The other is a small vial of fluid. This is the cure to break the enchantment of oblivion you have lived under for the last 10 years.
I leave it up to you if you want to remember Merlin for he has moved on. Interestingly enough he's made a family for himself with one of your former knights, Gwaine. I know you remember the day the knight asked to be released from your service so he could finally return to the lands that were his birthright, to retake his father's Kingdom from the Saxons. His real reason for leaving was Merlin, whom he'd long loved from afar. Like so many others, the sorcerer was already yours when they first met. He followed Merlin, unwilling to leave the sorcerer alone with his pain. Eventually with Merlin's help it wasn't difficult for him to retake Lothian and I know he has remained your loyal vassal to this day. Due to the curse I'd placed you under, you remained unaware of and disinterested in who King Gwaine married and who bore his children. Again, that is because it was Merlin. Long the talk of Albion that a King should marry a man, even if that man was the most powerful sorcerer in all the land, but for a man to actually bear 4 children has led most of the people to assume Merlin was really a woman long in disguise as a man.
The Lothian people know the truth and care not because Gwaine and Merlin have brought them nothing but peace and abundant prosperity. The Lothians adore their King's Consort. It seems there is no end to the love Merlin draws to himself. Merlin himself has never returned to Camelot but unknown to you he has remained a powerful and loyal ally and a hard truth to tell you is that were it not for his help, Albion might never have existed as it does now. His talents seem endless and his powers without limit. He has aided and protected you from afar for all these years.
Before you choose whether to continue in oblivion or to break my curse and know Merlin again you should be aware of this. You rejected him for me before I erased him from your mind. No one knows more of your courage than I do but I fear even you might not survive remembering Merlin with the knowledge that you will never have him again. Just look what it drove me to do and he never was mine as he was yours. My eternal shame is that I betrayed my love and my own nature from the spite born of not having him. I couldn't bear to stand by and watch your mutual love so I destroyed it. If nothing else will, this action alone will probably damn me more than any other because I still can't regret it.
I love Lancelot, I truly do. However I also know, I still love Merlin and always will. I give you the choice to continue with this shallow & confused distraction or to break the curse and absorb the eternal pain and joy that will come to you from the same memories. Whatever your choice, I am still leaving with the sincere hope that you find a new Queen and not let the Pendragon name slip from history.
Regretfully Never Yours,
As an American citizen born and bred (even if most of my ancestors came from Ireland & each of the countries that make up the UK.) I am at a distinct disadvantage in writing Celtic or Romano-Celtic British tales. However, since the BBC was kind enough to take the traditional Arthurian legend and throw it out the window when making the show "Merlin". I doubt any mistakes I make can be held against me.
Just in doing a little research (Wikipedia) on Sir Gawain for this tale (I was looking for where his father's lands could be believably situated). I stumbled upon this little tidbit:
"in an English romance entitled The Marriage of Syr Gawayne." " the knight is coupled with a woman who is either a fairy or the relation of a sorcerer. Thus, Gawain is connected in multiple myths to the Celtic concept of Other-world.
It made me think, what if that chronicler got it slightly wrong and he wasn't married to the relation of a sorcerer but the sorcerer himself? Our Merlin? Yes I know, bloody impossible but so was half the crap they attributed to "history" back then. It's no less likely than being married to a fairy. Gotta love mythology and how it gets screwed up and confused the older it gets. That's of course thanks to people like us, who take dramatic license and let our imaginations run wild.
It was easier than I thought to find Gwaine's (Gawain's) father's lands considering in most tales he was the son of King Lot, ruler of Lothian & Orkney and Arthur's sister Anna/Morgause. His father did lose his lands to a Saxon invasion and although it was Arthur and Lot who regained the Kingdom, Gwaine & Merlin are close enough ;-)
 Weston, Jessie L Legend of Sir Gawain: Studies Upon it's original Scope and Significance , New York AMS 1972