A/N: I just finished watching the season finale, and it made me really sad, for a number of reasons. But what Isolde said to Gwen really stuck with me. And then, as the camera had Gwen watching Arthur, only for the next scene to have Merlin running up to Arthur, smiling in that way of his that he has, the one that makes anyone and everyone want to respond with a smile of their own, I just felt like Isolde's words didn't pertain to Gwen. They were meant for Merlin.

Disclaimer: I don't own Merlin. But gosh do I fangirl over these boys and use them shamelessly.

The Fool's Paradise Is Quickly Destroyed

"Never give up hope. Love is stronger than anything"

Isolde says these words to Gwen as she stands within the pale glow of the camp fire, watching Arthur.

She's tempted, so tempted, to believe her. The temptation is almost enough to give her the courage to walk over to her King and try to reason with him, one more time.

In that very moment though, just as she is gathering her courage, Merlin runs up to Arthur's side, right where he belongs, that giddy smile on his face that always seems to demand the same response from Arthur.

Gwen watches them; her heart in her throat.

She watches the way that Arthur turns, his blue eyes meeting those of Merlin's.

She watches the way Arthur smiles, his stance relaxing from that of a man with the weight of the world on his shoulders, to that of one who is suddenly at peace.

She watches as they stand close to each other; closer than a servant and a master should; closer, even, than friends should.

She watches, and she knows.

She knows that Isolde's words are true.

She also knows though, that Arthur's love is not for her.

It's for Merlin.

A/N: I know, it's short. I posted it on Tumblr though, and figured, why not post it here? I hope you enjoyed it.