Title: Worst Kept Secrets
Rating: T (for now)
Author: EachPeachPearPlum (please, call me Peach)
Warnings: Bad language (a variety, but not the one that my brain automatically replies "you can't say that" to whenever I hear it) and scenes of a sexual nature in later chapters, sentences that make Word very, very grumpy throughout.
Message from me: First thing I've posted in years, of questionable worth. I pride myself not so much on my story-telling ability, but I am fairly confident there are no major spelling/grammatical errors, so if you find anything please point it out to me. Thanks, Peach.

Worst Kept Secrets - Prologue

He knows, as soon as he meets them, how it is going to end. Which is, not well. Not well at all, and not for any of them.

Not the fight, that goes just fine. Well, okay, not really the bit where he gets stabbed and passes out and wakes up in a stranger's bed without his shirt. Not that that has never happened before, of course, but usually when it does his trousers are missing too, and the stranger tends to be occupying the bed as well. But other than that, the fight goes just fine. As does the tournament, and the whole saving Prince Arthur's life thing. Banishment isn't quite the end result he'd hoped for, though he's been thrown out of plenty of places before, and none of them have been quite so polite about it. No one has ever said goodbye to him, either, when it happened.

And then he meets them again (well, Merlin, anyway), and there's the quest and the midget on the bridge and the not-quite-dragons (because Gwaine knows his mythical beasts, as all noble boys growing up in a county that forbids magic do, and he knows that wyverns look way more like worms that those things do). He saves Arthur's life again (well, Merlin does, he thinks, sort of), and it's all okay as they ride off back to Camelot and he...rides off somewhere else.

At this point, he figures the foreboding feeling at their first meeting was just his imagination. Because, yeah, situations get a bit sticky in the middle, but the three of them come out of it all with nothing but a few cuts and bruises, and he gets a drink on the house at the next tavern he hits in exchange for his story.

Then, of course, third time's the charm, as the saying goes, and the shit really hits the fan. Through no fault of their own, he might add. But Arthur's dying and Merlin's shit-scared and won't leave his side and there's an immortal army and Arthur's witch of a half-sister on the throne and living in caves and he really thinks this is what the feeling was for, because there is no way the three of them are going to get through this mess intact (nine of them, when they get Elyan and Gaius from Camelot, and then Leon and Gwen, and Percival and Lancelot show up – but the feeling of doom doesn't extend to the other six, for reasons he really doesn't understand). And Gwaine is confused as hell, because he wishes he'd never jumped in on that bar fight except he doesn't, not really, because now he has friends. Or a friend, at least, but it's still more than he's ever expected. But they get out of that one just fine, when there looks to be no bloody hope at all; he's Sir Gwaine now, of course, which isn't really something he ever wanted, but at least none of them are dead.

It's only when they're all back in Camelot and settling in, fixing things up, that he finally realises what the problem is.