Rating: T, potentially the whole way through.
Warnings: None, yet.
Disclaimer: Yeah, in the less than a week since I last disclaimed, I have magically come into possession of Merlin. What can I say, the world loves me.
Notes: This, the sequel to Worst Kept Secrets, will probably be updating very slowly, because it is still incomplete. Expect the first proper chapter Thursday, maybe Friday, depending on how co-operative they decide to be. And, as you will see when you read this, Merlin has now decided that he has opinions he wishes to convey. It both irritates me hugely and makes telling certain aspects somewhat easier. Either way, he won't shut up, so there's a joint narrative from chapter one onwards. As always, correct, critique or compliment, please. Peach.
Hunger - Prologue
Merlin didn't expect, when he first came to Camelot, to fall in love – not either of the times it happened. He didn't expect to save the life of the king's son and be rewarded with indentured servitude. He didn't expect the selfish, arrogant, gorgeous prat to have anything substantial to his character, didn't anticipate becoming his friend, risking exposure and execution to keep him alive, didn't think the idiot would ever embed himself so thoroughly in Merlin's thoughts and dreams and heart.
He wasn't prepared for acceptance, either, when people inevitably found him out. He had spent too long listening to his mother, Gaius, Kilgarrah, impress upon him the importance of secrecy to ever believe he could let people know what he is. That people would like or trust him enough not to care that he is, by official declaration, evil, could never have crossed his mind.
But they do. Lance, Sir Leon, Arthur, Gwaine.
Of all the utterly unpredictable things that have happened since he left his home, Gwaine is one of the most unlikely.
Will would have liked Gwaine, he knows, more than he could ever have liked Arthur. He doesn't think he'll ever understand why his only friend as a child died to save the crown prince of a different land, but it certainly wasn't because he liked him. Will respected Arthur, maybe, at the end, but no man gives his life because he respects someone. Love, friendship, honour, vows; Merlin knows these to be reasons to die for someone, but respect? Perhaps Will just knew Merlin would never have forgiven him if he could have done something and hadn't.
Gwaine, though, would have got on with Will like a house on fire. Merlin can almost see the pair of them, drinking and carousing, getting into trouble and dragging him down with them (although, of course, they have both done more than their fair share of rescuing him from troubles of entirely his own making).
At least, they'd have gotten on until Will realised he was sleeping with Gwaine, at which point things would have turned very sour, very quickly. It wouldn't have been jealousy, because Will had never wanted Merlin like that, and Merlin had never wanted Will either. Will's need to protect Merlin had only ever been born of the affection of friends so close they were practically brothers, but it was strong enough that he could never have really approved of Gwaine as anything more than Merlin's friend. And maybe Merlin would have considered listening to him, because Will had never led him wrong before.
Merlin still misses him, sees his face each time someone new learns of his magic and he has to take responsibility for him or her staying alive.
Hunith would like Gwaine, too. Maybe not at first, but he would charm her as he charms almost everyone. She might even be happy to let him steal away her only son, because while she had been able to see from the beginning how Merlin feels for Arthur, she would also be able to see that Gwaine does more than anyone else in keeping Merlin sane, more than Merlin has any right to expect.
It is a pity they will probably never meet.
He loves living in Camelot, loves all the amazing, unexpected, terrible things that have happened here, loves his friends and loves his prince, but sometimes he wishes he'd never left home.