Gwaine was many things. But – contrary to popular belief – an idiot wasn't one of them.
It had therefore only taken a short time after waking up feeling fuzzy and disoriented to notice that Merlin was avoiding him. Or rather more accurately, conspicuously being absent whilst not actually giving the appearance of avoidance. He was something of a slippery bastard.
Now, as aforementioned, Gwaine was not stupid, so he knew this was something to do with the portion of his life which was currently proving very difficult to remember. He had been told that Lamia had placed all the Knights under an enchantment, but the details were eluding him. He could remember finding the girl, and brief flashes after that, but he knew nothing of the castle they'd apparently been found in.
From this, he had managed to deduct that he'd been acting like quite a bit of a prat, as had everyone else – apart from Merlin and Gwen. (He'd also won a fight with Leon, which he couldn't help but feel a little proud of).
As Merlin was currently conspicuous in his absence, he decided that Gwen would be the next best person to ask. When he inquired she looked at him like he was an idiot (which he was not, he reaffirmed to himself) and said, disbelieving, "You mean you don't remember?"
"It's all a bit vague."
Gwen picked up her bundle of washing. "I think you'd best ask Merlin," she said before sweeping off, leaving Gwaine feeling as though he had summarily dismissed.
When he asked Leon about it, Leon had shuddered. "Best not thought about, mate. Something weird going on."
Gwaine already knew something weird had been going on. He was trying to ascertain what exactly it was.
When he talked to Percival, he had looked at the floor and mumbled something about how he didn't know what Gwaine had done.
So Percival could remember at least something, but Gwaine didn't push him. Percival was a valued friend and Gwaine had learnt that he would find the right words when needed and not before.
So, finally out of options – and having researched Merlin's schedule – he burst into Merlin's room without warning.
Merlin leapt off the bed, stowing the book he'd been reading away so fast that Gwaine wasn't sure if he'd imagined it.
"Sire," he greeted, using the exact tone he used when Arthur was being a prat and he felt uncomfortable.
"What was that?" Gwaine winced as soon as the words were out of his mouth. Well that's just brilliant Gwaine, start off by accusing him of something.
"Healing book." Merlin replied quickly – which was a lie but wasn't the point so Gwaine ignored it. "What was it you wanted?"
"You've been avoiding me," Gwaine said – still accusing, he thought to himself and resisted the urge to slap himself.
"No I-" Gwaine levelled a gaze at him and Merlin dropped his eyes to the floor. "Sorry."
Merlin's head shot up. "Why?" Gwaine nodded. "I would have thought that was obvious."
"Is it something to do with the whole enchant-y thing?"
Merlin smiled a little at that. "Sort of, yes."
"Well, look I'm sorry for whatever I or anyone else may have done to you if I could remember it I'm sure I would be even sorrier."
Merlin's eyebrows rose. "You don't remember," he said slowly. Then he laughed. "Oh, well that explains it."
"None of you seemed bothered by it so I thought it might not exactly have been part of the enchantment so I felt a bit awkward and-"
"What might not have been part of the enchantment?"
Merlin's eyes deadened and he looked away. "Nothing. It doesn't matter." He gave his fake smile which happened all too often for Gwaine's liking. "Now I'd best be going. I've got to-" He started walking towards the door.
"No you don't." Gwaine said. "You're avoiding me again." He placed a hand on Merlin's chest to stop him leaving and then he froze, because it was tiny, it was miniscule, but it happened.
His eyes flicked from Gwaine's hand to his face with uncertain fear and Gwaine removed his hand. Merlin let out a breath Gwaine hadn't even realised he'd been holding.
"What did you-" But the rest of Gwaine's sentence was lost as he had a curious sensation of déjà vu and was suddenly plunged into a memory that he was sure wasn't his own as that expression appeared on Merlin's face and he physically drew back from him. Gwaine watched the rest of the scene play out, until he swung fire in front of Merlin's face, when he was plunged back into reality.
"Oh." He said and sat on the bed as Merlin watched him warily. "I see."
"Remembered something?" Merlin said, determinedly not looking at him.
"Er, yeah. Mate I-" He sighed. "I'm sorry."
As it turned out, Gwaine probably was an idiot.
"You were enchanted."
"Yeah, but still, I should have-" Gwaine ran a hand through his hair (something he doesn't do much if not for dramatic effect). "I'm really sorry."
And Merlin finally – finally – really looked at him. He regarded him for a moment before his face broke out into a smile – a real one this time – and said, "Thank you." Then, after a pause. "I forgive you."
Gwaine smiled at Merlin. "You know you're the best person I know, Merlin."
Merlin frowned at him. "Hang on a second- are you drunk?"
"What? No!" Gwaine sighed and got up. "I just- You're my best friend."
Merlin smiled, gratified and looked down. "Thank you Gwaine," he said, holding out his hand for Gwaine to shake.
Gwaine gave it a sceptical look and pulled him in for a hug.
"I can't breathe."
Gwaine may have been an idiot but he was an idiot with one of the best friends a man could have.
"Shh, Merlin. We're having a moment."
"Are we going to the tavern after this?"
"That we are, Merlin. That we are."