This was just an idea I had this morning. It's basically crack, something I've never tried at all before, so all comments are appreciated. Hopefully you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed torturing poor Elyan. Er, I mean, writing it.
Elyan turned away from the window, frowning just a little. He cleared his throat. "Gwen?" he called, trying his best to sound normal.
His sister, halfway out of the house with a whole bundle of fabrics in her arms, backed up with a curious expression. "Yes, Elyan?"
"Has Arthur always been more open to magic than his father?"
Gwen frowned, too. "I suppose a little. Why do you ask?"
His voice remained oddly calm. "Well, because he doesn't seem all that concerned that Merlin just used magic to saddle his horse."
"Don't be ridiculous," Gwen said. "Merlin doesn't have magic."
"You mean... you didn't know before?" Gwen blinked, unfazed. "Look, I'm sorry, but he really did just-"
Gwen shifted the fabric to one arm and used her free hand to rub Elyan's elbow soothingly, shutting him up mid-sentence. "No, he didn't," she more ordered than stated. "Merlin doesn't have magic. And if he does, Arthur most certainly doesn't know about it."
"But he was looking right at-"
"Just trust me," said Gwen wearily, and turned away to continue whatever she had been doing.
Elyan gaped after her.
Naturally, it was Gwaine's idea to go out for a few drinks. His version of "a few" differed slightly from everyone else's, though, and they were there a lot longer than Elyan intended to stay.
"Eurgh," Merlin groaned, holding his stomach and laying his cheek against their table. He mumbled something incoherent.
"What was that?" asked Elyan.
"I think it was, 'I hate you,'" Gwaine announced cheerfully, toasting another pint in the servant's direction.
Percival, Lancelot, and Leon were at the counter buying more drinks. That left Gwaine, Merlin, and Elyan to finish off what was left. Elyan drained his goblet, refusing to think about the regrets he'd have in the morning.
Merlin mumbled something else nonsensical into the table, but this time his eyes flashed a strange color and all the mead in his goblet vanished. He groaned and passed out.
Elyan stared between Merlin and Gwaine. "Did you see that?" he asked, knowing full well that Gwaine's eyes were planted right in Merlin's direction.
"See what?" Gwaine eyed him doubtfully.
Elyan was going to start protesting loudly, but the others returned with the extra ale, and he didn't want to say anything in front of them.
Gwaine glanced his way. "You look-"
"Frustrated?" Elyan growled.
"...I was going to say, 'Like you need another drink.' But it's the same thing, I suppose." Too busy glowering to object, Elyan watched Gwaine fill his goblet again.
"You really didn't see-?"
"Nope," said Gwaine.
Elyan dropped his head loudly onto the table.
They were fighting... something. Elyan didn't ask what. It had teeth, and claws, and some kind of steadfast refusal to die.
"We won't need a large party," Arthur had said. "Just two should bring it down."
Two plus Merlin, who came along by default. Except apparently he was more necessary than given credit for, because a bright flash of light preceded the monster's sudden decision to keel over.
"Good job, Elyan," Arthur panted, clambering to his feet. "That was some expert swordsmanship. I will let my father know of your bravery."
"Wait," said Elyan, "what?"
Arthur clapped him on the back. "You brought it down! You ought to be rewarded."
Elyan spluttered, "But I didn't - it was - is everyone in Camelot blind?"
He gestured wildly at Merlin, who appeared from behind the creature with a satisfied smile on his face. The smile fell when he saw Elyan pointing at him. "What are you on about?" he asked curiously.
"Yes, what are you talking about?" demanded Arthur.
"I - he -"
"Was useless, as always," said Arthur. Merlin nodded his approval.
Elyan refused to speak to either of them the whole way home.
"Lancelot," said Elyan, "can I talk to you?"
Training was probably not the best time for this conversation, but Elyan sincerely doubted it was going to make a difference.
"Sure," said Lancelot. "What is it?"
Elyan chose his words carefully. "It's Merlin... He's a bit, well, off. If you know what I mean."
Lancelot knitted his brows together. "Is something wrong with him? He's not ill, is he?"
"Ah, no that's not what I - I don't mean he's acting a bit off now. I just mean, off in general." He paused. "You've never noticed anything... weird?"
Lancelot studied him carefully. "What are you saying?"
Deciding to throw caution to the wind, Elyan said, "I'm pretty sure Merlin has magic."
There was a hesitation, and then Lancelot laughed. "Of course Merlin doesn't have magic. Where would you get that idea."
"Well," said Elyan, "mostly from seeing him use it about three times in the last week. And don't tell me I'm crazy. I know I saw something."
"Yes, you probably did see something," Lancelot agreed. "But no, Merlin doesn't have magic." He must have noticed that Elyan was about ready to burst from vexation, because he added, "You'll understand eventually."
"I'm sure I will," said Elyan wryly.
When Merlin arrived ten minutes later and tripped Arthur up with magic to make him lose, Elyan didn't even say anything.
Elyan didn't particularly want to confront Leon about this matter, since he didn't know how Leon would react. Maybe he would hear the word "magic" and assume arrest was the best course.
On the other hand, Leon was also the one most likely to be the slightest bit helpful, so he decided to risk it.
"Sir Leon," he said one day in the corridor.
Leon stopped. "Sir Elyan," he said, looking a bit surprised. He waited, but Elyan didn't say anything. "Yes?" he prompted.
"Oh," said Elyan. "Ah..." He struggled to find a good way to put it. There was none. "Do you think it's at all possible that Merlin might have magic, maybe?"
"Yes," said Leon. Elyan almost choked on nothing. "Anything's possible," the knight continued. "In theory, of course."
"Oh, of course," said Elyan, deflating a little. "So, personally, do you think-"
"No. Absolutely not." Leon smiled politely and continued going past Elyan.
Lancelot was wrong. He was never going to understand how the bloody hell no one seemed to notice anything. Ready to scream at something, Elyan rounded the corner and almost collided with a none-too-happy King Uther.
"Sir... Elyan," the king said distastefully. Elyan pretended not to be offended. "Did I hear you say that my son's manservant is a sorcerer?"
Elyan gulped. "I-I was just discussing theories, sire," he said hoarsely. He cleared his throat. "Not popular theories, I mean - just probability of certain things, you know. Something along the lines of, 'What are the chances that someone could have been serving in the royal household for four years and keep magic secret?' Stuff like that."
Uther glared down at him, an eyebrow raised. "And?" he demanded. "Do you think there is a chance that this... Merlin has magic?"
"No, my lord," replied Elyan quickly. "Of course not."
There was an extremely long moment in which Uther stared and Elyan didn't think he was going to let it go. Then the king shook his head and swept by.
Elyan waited until Uther was out of sight before breathing a long sigh of relief. Then a slow smile crept onto his face, and he felt much lighter while walking now.
"No, sir," he said to himself. "There's no way Merlin has magic."
He finally got it.
So, what do you think? Should I try something like this ever again, or stick to drama/adventure/tragedy/angst-type-things?