MERLIN: Right. What is it with you and nobles?

GWAINE: Oh, nothing. My father was a knight in Caerleon's army. He died in battle, leaving my mother penniless. And when she went to the King for help, he turned her away.

MERLIN: You didn't know him?

GWAINE:Just some stories I've been told.

MERLIN: Yeah, I know how that feels.

Gwaine could still remember that day, well, at least as much as he could remember whilst being drunk. He could remember the pain in Merlin's eyes, the self-loathing. And that was what surprised him. Self-loathing? Why? Well, he was going to find out. And soon.

He walked quickly down the castle corridors, to absorbed in his thought to notice who else was in the corridor until he collided with a mountain of flesh and muscle.

"Oh, hey, Pearce," Gwaine said, pulling back and looking up into the face of his fellow knight.

"Hello, Gwaine," Percival replied, " Anyway, what's up?"

"What do you mean?"

"Well- firstly, you're sober, and secondly, I'm not exactly easy to miss"

Inwardly, Gwaine winced. He didn't like lying to his friend- but...well, Merlin was a greater friend than any of the knights. "Yeah,well..."

"Well what?" Percival asked "What're you hiding this time? Have you kissed the innkeeper's daughter again, even after he threatened you?"

"No!" Gwaine replied hotly

"Hey... have you begun the prank war again? Even after everything Arthur said to us? Oh, come on Gwaine!"

The speech astounded Gwaine, who had never heard his friend say so much before. And suddenly a thought came to him. Percy may be not be a big speaker, but it was almost impossible to keep anything from him if he really wanted to get it out of you.

"It's Merlin," he admitted, " He said some thing to me about his father, but then he suddenly changed the conversation. I want to know what he's hiding. Will you help?"