Gwaine stepped out of the tavern and, when the door closed behind him, was left standing alone in the drizzling rain. When he started to walk back towards the castle he was humming happily. A long day was coming to an end: Guinevere was crowned; the people were overjoyed, and peace prevailed. Gwaine wasn't going to think about who was going to try to conquer Camelot next, or whether or not Morgana had survived. He was very pleased that once again he could enjoy a moment of peace, and a couple of drinks, in good company.
He turned into an alley; a shortcut to the next street. As he approached the turn to the next street, Gwaine heard voices and stopped to listen. Curiously, he sneaked closer to the corner and peered around. Two cloaked figures argued in the middle of the street.
"You have to take it," the shorter one insisted.
"I can't!" the taller one replied indignantly. "If someone notices it-"
"Then hide it. After all, it's yours. When I heard that your father was dead…"
"I never asked for anything. I hardly knew him. And this… I'm glad that you would offer this to me, but-"
"There is no one else. It belongs to you. Keep it. Maybe someday you will need it." The smaller man took the taller man's hand and pressed something into his palm. "Please accept it. You are the rightful heir to his family. I understand that you want to keep your heritage secret but maybe someday you can finally say who you really are and then…" He shrugged.
"Someday," the taller man murmured. Eventually, he sighed. "Do I have any choice?"
"No," the smaller man laughed and the tension between the two eased.
"Thank you," the taller man said simply.
"Call me when you need anything. We are here for you. It was nice to meet you at last. Now, I have to go. Give Gaius my greetings." The smaller man patted the taller man's arm.
The smaller man turned and left.
Gwaine waited. The taller man stood still for a long while, staring at whatever the shorter man had given him. Then he clenched his fist and turned. When he walked past Gwaine his hood fell back, revealing his face. Gwaine withdrew.
The taller man had been Merlin.
Gwaine leaned against the wall and thought. Merlin had once said that he hadn't known his father. Apparently, Merlin had his own secrets. Gwaine could understand that; he still hadn't told anyone about his family. Except Merlin, so he couldn't understand why Merlin didn't trust him in return. He was sure that Lancelot had known something. Lancelot, who had always protected Merlin.
Someday you can finally say who you really are.
Secrets, indeed. Gwaine grinned. It wasn't his business to interfere, but…
"Hand over everything what you have!"
A robbery. In the middle of the Camelot. Just his luck, Merlin thought.
"All right, just, wait a little moment," he protested.
Three men. Two of them behind of him.
"You look rich," one of them commented.
Damn his new clothes, but he had been too busy to change them.
"Living in the castle, eh?"
"Look, I don't have much with me…" Merlin explained.
"That ring will do." One of the men pointed to Merlin's hand.
Merlin glanced down. His father's family seal. Great. Why he hadn't he put it in his pocket?
"Hey folks, why are you up so late?" a new voice asked and Merlin grimaced. Of all people it had to be Gwaine.
"Merlin, is that you? Celebrating your new position? Oh, knives, so no celebrating?"
"You, drunk, go away," One of the robbers growled.
"Me, drunk? You have not yet seen me drunk. Right Lord Merlin?" Gwaine grinned.
"Right Sir Gwaine. I though you had some duties to take care of tomorrow morning." Merlin turned to see his friend.
The robbers glanced at each other.
Oh yeah, you are messing with the wrong people, Gwaine thought.
"A knight? You don't look like one?" one of them mocked.
"Yeah? And does he look like the adviser to the King?" Gwaine snapped.
"No?" Merlin answered when they all turned to look him.
"But you are now," continued Gwaine. "Congratulations. Or have I said that before? Never mind. But we should really go now, Merlin. Sleep is calling."
"No." One of the robbers raised his dagger and put it on Merlin's throat, but the other two were retreating fast.
"Your friends are leaving you alone, you realise?" Gwaine asked, his tone serious.
Merlin blinked when he felt how hard the steel was pressed against his skin.
"Leave, knight," the robber scowled.
"Maybe you should go, Gwaine?" Merlin suggested, despite knowing it was pointless idea.
"No. I don't want to leave you here. If I do so, the princess is going to murder me." Gwaine eyed the robber, all humour gone from his eyes.
"If he heard about this at all, Gwaine," Merlin reminded him.
"Shut up you two. Now, the ring, give it to me," the robber almost screamed.
Merlin felt the knife digging into his neck.
"You really want half of the castle as your enemies?" Gwaine asked, his voice cold as ice. He could see the tiny trail of blood dripping down Merlin's neck.
"Gwaine…" Merlin warned when he saw the knight stepping forward.
The robber was in a panic now. He could see how angry the knight was. He pushed Merlin toward Gwaine, distracting the knight long enough to slip away.
Merlin stumbled and fell.
"Merlin!" Gwaine yelled. "Merlin, are you alright?" He helped his friend to his feet.
Merlin stared at him strangely and then looked down. Gwaine followed his gaze.
Blood, lots of blood.
The robber's dagger had slipped as Merlin fell over, and left a gaping wound is his side. Merlin swayed and dropped to his knees.
"Merlin, I've got you, I've got you."
"Hide- hide the ring… Gaius…" Merlin whispered. His eyes closed and he went lim
"Merlin? Merlin! Wake up! Oh no you don't. Don't do this to me! not now!" Gwaine lifted Merlin in his arms then started to walk quickly towards the castle.
English isn't my language.
Chapters 1-2, 18-22 are betaed already by Hatstand. More is coming, you have to wait.