A.N This popped into my mind after I have been rewatching the 3rd series of Merlin after getting back into the new series. I completely love Gwaine and I couldn't help myself from writing this one. Hope you enjoy it.

Merlin sighed as he lay down on the uncomfortable stone floor and stretched out a little shifting some more until he got as comfortable as he was going to get. He heard a slight sigh beside him before he jumped slightly when a warm presence settled closer to him, shoulder to shoulder and chased out some of the chill of the forest. He wasn't even aware of the fact that he had been shivering until a strong arm wrapped around his shoulder and he found himself tugged against an equally firm chest.

He considered pulling away from him, but it felt right and he had missed the other man so much, so much more than he had ever experienced. Without his conscious thought he curled into Gwaine's chest, resting his head on top of it listening to the faint thump thump thump of Gwaine's heart.

"You and sir Prissy seem very close," Gwaine said, his voice surprisingly tight in a way Merlin only ever heard when he was talking about nobles.

"Sir Prissy? Sir Leon? Erm no we're not that close really," Merlin frowned.

"No, Lancelot. What sort of name is Lancelot anyway? Stupid name," Gwaine grumbled to himself.

"Lance? What do you have against Lance?" Merlin laughed a little, lifting his head in time to see Gwaine grimace.

"You have a nickname for him as well?" he scowled, his arm tightening around Merlin's shoulders a little.

"Well not a nickname really, just a shortening of a bit of a long name. What's wrong with you? Don't you like Lance?" Merlin frowned. Gwaine was a warm, friendly guy who had even over looked his dislike for nobles for Arthur. He wasn't sure exactly what this was about, he wasn't even aware of the fact that Lance and Gwaine had really interacted.

"No I don't," Gwaine scowled a little really shocking Merlin, he had never seen the other man scowl. "So you're close to each other?"

"I guess yeah, I mean we've not seen each other for a while but yeah we're good friends," Merlin nodded feeling well and truly confused.

"Wonderful, must be great. Sir Prissy seems like an amazing friend to have," Gwaine loosened his grip and started trying to pull away. Frowning Merlin wrapped his arms tightly around Gwaine's chest and held on.

"What are you talking about? Gwaine? What's wrong?" Merlin asked.

"Nothing, absolutely nothing. I'm sure Lance would be more than happy to keep you warm," Gwaine started trying to push Merlin away put stopped at the hurt look in Merlin's eyes. However Merlin was already sitting up and starting to move away. Gritting his teeth Gwaine reached out and snagged Merlin's wrist stopping him from moving away. "Merlin wait, I'm sorry,"

"I don't know what I did wrong, or Lance, I don't understand," Merlin frowned turning back around slowly to meet Gwaine's eyes, the confusion and hurt in those deep blue stabbing Gwaine in the chest.

"You've done nothing wrong, I'm just being stupid Merlin. Wishing for something I know I'll never have, like always, its fine, just ignore me," Gwaine rambled a little.

"You…you want Lance?" Merlin frowned, a well of hurt deepening in his chest and heart as he looked away from Gwaine.

"Lance…oh Merlin," Gwaine laughed a little making Merlin turn and actually glare at Gwaine, though to the older man looked a little more like a kitten glare.

"I'm glad I amuse you so much!" Merlin huffed making to tug away from the grip on his wrist only to find himself tugged forwards, firm lips pressed to his as Gwaine's other hand cupped the back of his neck.

Merlin had to admit he was quite shocked by this, he hadn't expected this to be honest, and the feelings that he had been having for Gwaine were confusing given how quickly the other man comes and goes from his life at a time. All he knew was the other man stirred feelings in his chest that he had never felt before, but he knew that when they were apart he missed the man fiercely, the letters that they exchanged helping but not easing the ache in his chest. When they met again, when they were together the ache disappeared and he felt happier than he ever had and more powerful than ever. He felt like hitting himself, he had thought of Gwaine as his second best friend, now he realised he was in love with him.

Gwaine went to pull away when he realised Merlin wasn't kissing him back, spurring Merlin to stop thinking and into action. He gripped the lapels of Gwaine's jacket and almost pounced on Gwaine kissing him back fiercely. Gwaine made a startled noise into his mouth as his arms wrapped around Merlin's waist. He seemed to suddenly understand that Merlin was kissing him back because his arms tightened before one hand slipped back up to grip the back of his head.

They kissed slowly and then fiercely, hands gripping and then stroking, at some point Gwaine had laid back taking Merlin with him who was now laid on top of Gwaine, held close in his arms and tightly to his chest, their legs tangled together.

When they finally parted Merlin couldn't stop the bright smile that crossed his face, Gwaine grinning back at him. Merlin's eyes drifted closed as Gwaine stroked his finger down his pale cheek, his thumb brushing over Merlin's sharp cheekbone before he lifted himself slightly to feather light kisses over Merlin's face before once more sealing their lips together.

"Lance and me are really just friends," Merlin said quietly once they had parted, his head resting on Gwaine's chest again.

"I was jealous. You're very close, and you knew him first. I live for the days that I see you again Merlin, for the days where we are together, for every letter," Gwaine admitted quietly, his hand stroking Merlin's back.

"It's the same for me, I hate when we have to leave each other, but when I get to see you again, be near you all the pain disappears and I never want to have to leave your side again. Lance…Lance is a good friend, but he is just that. He…he knows a secret that only Gaius and my mother know," Merlin said softly, barely believing that he was going to do this.

"Secret?" Gwaine perked up interested straight away.

"Come with me?" Merlin asked lifting himself up. Gwaine merely nodded and accepted the hand Merlin held out to help him to his feet. Keeping hold of the knight's hand Merlin led him down the cold corridor to the balcony that overlooked the area the castle was built on. He turned to face Gwaine but kept his head down now holding Gwaine's hand with both of his.

"Merlin? You can trust me with anything," Gwaine said softly, concern clear in his voice.

"Do you trust me?" Merlin asked quietly raising his eyes. He honestly had no idea how Gwaine would feel about his magic, he had no idea where Gwaine stood with magic.

"Of course," Gwaine grinned answering right away.

"No, Gwaine, seriously think, do you trust me?" Merlin shook his head.

"Merlin, I love you, and I trust you with my life. What is this about?" Gwaine asked concerned, reaching up to cup Merlin's face. Taking a deep breath Merlin held his hand flat between them and with one last glance at Gwaine's face before looking back down and casting a spell to make a small ball of light hover a few inches above his hand. Gwaine let out a loud gasp and stepped back making Merlin look up at his face frightened.

"You're a…you're a sorcerer?" Gwaine choked staring at the light with an unreadable expression.

"I was born this way, I don't have a choice in it. I swear I have never used magic for ill, maybe a prank or two on Arthur but I…" Merlin's panicked defence was stopped by Gwaine's lips meeting his again, the knight drawing him tightly to his chest.

"Merlin, anyone who would think that you would use magic for evil would be idiots and clearly not know you very well. I may be a bit slow at times and impulsive at others, but I would like to think that I know the man I love," Gwaine smiled softly. "But you are in Camelot! You are manservant to the King's son! If he found out…" The fear was present in Gwaine's face and voice as his grip tightened on Merlin's arms.

"Its my destiny," Merlin said quietly, wrapping his arms around Gwaine's waist and pressing his forehead to his chest.

"Destiny?" Gwaine frowned wrapping his own arms back around Merlin.

"My destiny is at Arthur's side. He is going to be the greatest King ever to live, he and his deeds passed down through the ages. He will unite the lands of Albion and bring a peace and prosperity that the world has not known before, and…he will bring magic back," Merlin said softly, the hope in his voice almost tangible.

"And you?" Gwaine sighed.

"My job is to stay at his side and make sure he lives to do those things. I've saved his ungrateful royal arse more times than I can count now," Merlin chuckled.

"I hate the idea you are in so much danger and have been for so long," Gwaine pressed his face to Merlin's hair.

"And we are facing more tomorrow. Gwaine….I will be going with Lance to find the cup, he's going to come up with a reason that we need to split from the rest of you. I need to find the cup and empty it of the blood inside, we have a chance of actually winning then," Merlin lifted his head to meet Gwaine's eyes and his frown.

"I will go with you and Sir Prissy can take my place," Gwaine scowled as Merlin was already shaking his head.

"I need you to stay with Arthur, stay at his side and make sure he lives through this. Arthur's safety is my destiny, and I trust no one else to stay at his side when I cannot," Merlin smiled cupping Gwaine's face.

"If Sir Prissy doesn't bring you back in one piece Merlin I swear, your friend or not…" Gwaine left the threat unfinished. Merlin just smiled and lifted himself to his toes to kiss Gwaine again.

Merlin couldn't stop himself, when Gwaine and the others walked, limped and shuffled into Gaius's rooms he ran straight to Gwaine who had already pushed passed Leon and was hurrying towards him. There was silence in the room for all of ten seconds before playful catcalling, whooping and whistling erupted from the others as they grabbed each other and practically smashed their lips together, all their worry and fear for each other finally abating at seeing each other again. Parting they grinned at each other before looking at the room of theirs friends who were all grinning.

"Finally, if I had to watch the pair of you making moon eyes at each other one more time I was going to lock you up in a cupboard somewhere!" Arthur huffed walking fully into the room and placing Elyan, whose arm seemed to be bleeding heavily, onto a bench.

"We were not making moon eyes at each other," Merlin snorted.

"Yes, you were. When we met up in Jarr's place I was terrified you were going to throw each other down right there and then when you saw each other," Arthur snorted.

"Clotpole," Merlin frowned playfully.


"Hey, my idiot!" Gwaine piped up laughing when Merlin whacked his arm.

"I have to admit my friend, you two are clearly quite besotted with each other, I could see it as soon as I saw the two of you together," Lance chuckled from where Gaius finished patching his shoulder up and was moving to Elyan.

"Very besotted, I love Merlin," Gwaine said firmly tugging the slighter man against him as he scowled a little at Lance who just smiled.

"That is good, because I am fairly sure if you hurt him myself and Arthur will be fighting with Gaius to be the first in line to make you regret it, Sir Leon and Gwen not far behind, and then half the castle behind them," Lance said pleasantly.

"I might like him after all," Gwaine said cheerfully making Merlin roll his eyes as he stepped away to help Gaius.

"You did not like me?" Lance frowned slightly.

"He thought that you and I had a thing," Merlin grinned.

"Merlin and I are just very good friends," Lance laughed amused.

"Make sure it stays that way," Gwaine nodded.

"I'm happy for you my boy," Gaius smiled squeezing Merlin's shoulder as they gathered what they would need for Elyan's shoulder.

"Thank you," Merlin sighed happily.

"Do you feel the same for him?" The old man asked softly.

"I love him as well," Merlin nodded.

"Good, because I have the feeling him trying to court you to make you fall in love with him would be insufferable," Arthur joined in, his clap to Merlin's shoulder saying everything he didn't, the look in his eyes telling the wizard that Lance and Gaius would be fighting him to be first in line.

"It might have been slightly amusing to watch," Merlin grinned goofily, his own eyes telling Arthur he knew.

"Just remember lad, I am a master of potions and herbs and plants. I can poison you before you without you even guessing and make it slow and drawn out," Gaius said without looking up from Elyan, the knights all grinning as Gwaine went a little pale. "That being said, welcome to the family,"

"Thank you, I think," Gwaine muttered a little before perching on the table near to Merlin and watching with interest as Merlin skilfully helped Gaius patch up Elyan's arms, the two of them quickly getting the blood flow under a manageable level before stitching it up.

"Are you hurt?" Merlin asked concerned as soon as Gaius was finished with him, turning into Gwaine and tugging his sleeve up where he could see some blood staining his sleeve.

"Its just a scratch," Gwaine smiled.

"I'll clean it," Merlin said already gathering what he needed.

"Hey, I'm the prince! I should get seen to first!" Arthur protested.

"I'll get round to you your royal pratiness," Merlin smirked at Gwaine as he started cleaning the wound.

"I should have you put in the stocks for that Merlin," Arthur huffed.

"Erm fairly sure they were destroyed actually sire," Leon piped up.

"Ah Sir Leon, my hero," Merlin grinned as Arthur pouted a little.

"I thought I was your hero?" Gwaine grinned.

"Actually right now that would be Lance, considering he protected me a few times," Merlin shrugged.

"Sir Prissy, wonderful," Gwaine rolled his eyes.

"Sir…hey!" Lance glowered slightly at Gwaine who grinned back unrepentantly.

"Its meant with more love than when I thought you had stolen the man I love," Gwaine offered, kissing Merlin's cheek and making the pale skin flush.

"Ignore him Lance, he still calls Arthur Princess," Merlin offered as he finished bandaging Gwaine's arm and made his way over to help Arthur out of his armour and started checking his wounds.

"Princess?" Lance fought a smile.

"We have an understanding relationship," Gwaine nodded.

"Yes, if you call me princess now I can make you run around the training grounds till you drop," Arthur smirked at him.

"Ah you're not putting forward much of an argument to have me stick around this time," Gwaine chuckled. Merlin was glad that he had his back to his…Gwaine so that he couldn't see his face fall, it hadn't occurred to him that Gwaine wouldn't be sticking around this time either. He had assumed now that he had been knighted and fought for Camelot, now that they were together, he had assumed that Gwaine would be sticking around this time.

Arthur did see the fall in Merlin's face before normally bright blue eyes shuttered slightly. But before he could say anything to Gwaine the door to Gaius's chambers opened and Gaius and Merlin were hurrying around collecting the potions, mixtures and as many bandages as they could find to go and help those wounded around the castle, Arthur having to leave with Leon to take charge, the others following instructions as they set out to try and bring some form of order to the castle.

Merlin was bone tired when he walked into his bedroom, his back was aching from where he had hit the wall and his feet were aching. He wanted nothing more than to crawl into his bed, but when he closed his door and turned around he was met with the sleepy eyes of Gwaine half sitting up in his bed.

"I wasn't sure when you would be back but I wanted to wait," Gwaine said slightly hesitantly after a moment when Merlin just blinked at him.

"Its fine," Merlin smiled slightly before turning to take his shirt off and finally be able to change into a fresher one after a week and a half of the same two shirts.

"Merlin what happened?" Gwaine hissed standing quickly and making his way over to Merlin to run his fingers over the bare flesh of Merlin's back that was marred with a huge dark bruise.

"Hmm? Oh, I got thrown into a wall, its alright Gaius put some lotion on it," Merlin shrugged before tugging his shirt on. Gwaine pulled him into a hug as soon as he was done, resting his head on Merlin's shoulder as he breathed in the scent of the man he loved. Despite the fear that had been gripping his chest since earlier Merlin couldn't stop himself from sagging into Gwaine's larger body and soaking up his presence and warmth.

"Come on, you need to sleep," Gwaine guided his heavy body to the bed and they somehow manage to curl together onto the small piece of furniture so they are both on it and covered with the thin blanket, though Merlin is lying mostly on top of Gwaine.

But he can't sleep, now that he's here, with Gwaine, and his mind isn't being kept busy with the need to keep going and help with Gaius, his mind is spinning and it won't stop, the empty feeling in his chest growing by the second and he is feeling a little bit sick at the idea that Gwaine might be leaving again, that he doesn't plan to stay.

"What is it? I can hear your mind whirring away," Gwaine says after nearly an hour of both of them lying silently but clearly awake.

"Are you staying?" Merlin asked softly, his hand gripping Gwaine's shirt tightly, refusing to look up scared he would see the answer he didn't want there.

"Do you want me to?" Gwaine asked just as quietly settling his hand over Merlin's.

"Do you even need to ask that?" Merlin sighed still not looking up.

"Yes, if I am going to stay somewhere and set down roots for the first time in a very long time, I need to hear you say you want me here Merlin," Gwaine tightened his hand slightly over Merlin's, and the wizard can hear the faster beat of his heart underneath his ear.

"I want you to stay, but I want you to stay because you want to," Merlin said so quietly he wasn't sure that Gwaine had even heard him, but then his chin was being lifted and a soft kiss was being pressed to his lips, a promise.

"I don't want to be anywhere you're not, not anymore, you're home. I've never stuck so close to one place as I have for the last year Merlin, I've just been circling Camelot's boarders. Arthur might be your destiny, but I am fairly sure you're mine," Gwaine smiled that killer smile that always left Merlin's knees weak and his heart soaring.

"Its not fair when you smile like that, my mind goes blank and I can't think of anything sweet or romantic to say back to you," Merlin pouted making Gwaine laugh and kiss him again.

"I'm telling you though, you will be coming to sleep in my chambers when the Princess sets them up, I'm fairly sure I should be getting a big bed, I'm terrified of falling out of this one," Gwaine grumbled shuffling a little.

"Who says I want to sleep with you?" Merlin snickered snuggling back down.

"Then you'll find me kidnapping you every night to take you away to my chambers and have my wicked way with you," Gwaine said so seriously Merlin started laughing.

"I guess I had better show up then, huh," He managed to say through his laughter.

Pressing his head back down on top of Gwaine's chest he let out a happy breath and tightened his arms around the knight's body suddenly feeling whole again. Somehow in a short space of time really Gwaine had become a part of him, had become part of his heart. Arthur was his best friend, his king and his destiny and he would lay down his life for him over and over. But Gwaine was his heart and his love and personally he thought his reward for all the things that he had done to protect Arthur, for he could think of nothing else to name the happiness and joy he felt lying in his knight's arms knowing he was loved, and knowing that Gwaine was willing, wanted, to put down roots to stay with him.

"I'll have to introduce you to my dragon at some point," Merlin murmured nearly asleep.

"I really, really hope that was an analogy Merlin…Merlin? Merlin?" Gwaine blinked wide eyed down at the wizard fast asleep on his chest. He hadn't meant that literally…..right?