A/N: And, the winner of my poll, with an overwhelming majority of 50%, is …
All Our Secrets
Whilst researching this fic, I was also working on a one-shot for a Valentine Challenge and decided to pick the less common Merlin/Gwen pairing. In the end I decided to tie the two ideas together with 'Stepping Out' being what happened 'off stage' between 1x04 and 1x05, and this fic starting just after 1x05. So, you'll notice a couple of references to the Gwenlin relationship as fact near the start of this fic and might like to nip back to my PP at some point to check it out.
All Our Secrets
The Untold Merlin & Morgana Story
Chapter 1: There's Something About Merlin
(Set after 1x05 & 'Stepping Out')
"Lancelot?" Morgana asked as she noticed her maid servant staring forlornly out of the window.
"Oh," she replied, as if surprised by her own inattention. "Yes."
"Come, Gwen, we've a busy day ahead."
"Yes, my lady."
She hoped that diverting her maid's attention would help but, not only did Gwen continue to remain distracted but Morgana did too; still dwelling on the handsome young commoner who had briefly become a knight and, in the end, despite her best intentions, she found she couldn't help bring up the subject again.
"I hope you don't mind me asking, Gwen, but I was under the impression that you were stepping out with Merlin?"
"Oh no! I mean, yes … perhaps... just the once but..." The girl frowned, apparently confused herself. "There's something about Merlin that attracted me to him and I thought... I mean, I really thought that what I felt for him was love but then... I met Lancelot." She smiled shyly at the thought. "Now I've experienced those feelings, I realise that I misunderstood my emotions before."
"Oh, in what way?"
Morgana was genuinely curious as she had to admit that there were very few men that had ever managed to seriously gain her attention. She would admire a certain knight for being handsome or skilled with the sword and she was close to Arthur and cared about his well being and yet she had never thought of the emotions she felt as being particularly powerful or connected to love in any way. Perhaps talking to Gwen about her experiences might help her to understand her own feelings about the various young men she knew.
"Merlin is..." Gwen paused for a moment before grinning slightly. "He's adorable, actually," she decided. "And it makes me smile just thinking about him. A true friend – someone I really care about, but I know now that it isn't love. Not the romantic sort of love, anyway."
"Like a brother?" Morgana suggested.
"Perhaps, a little." She pulled a face. "Although, to be honest, Elyan was never as easy to love as Merlin is."
"I remember you saying, although, you mention him so rarely."
"He left some years ago and, although I send him letters letting him know what's happening, I admit that I have no idea if they're reaching him or not." She sighed regretfully.
"Well, I've not had much chance to interact with Merlin, I admit," Morgana continued. "Although, there's no reason to, I suppose, but, he does seem to be a unique person and he must be special to be able to put up with Arthur."
"There's more to it than that," Gwen said thoughtfully. "Those two have the potential to get on very well, I think."
"Seeing how Arthur often scolds me for being so close to you, it might make a nice change for him to understand that it's not only the nobility that deserve our attention."
"Well, I think he showed that already in the way he responded to Lancelot," Gwen continued. "Arthur, I mean. He was willing for forgive him and even defended him in front of the king."
"That's true." Morgana agreed. "And it surprised me, I admit. I'm quite certain he wouldn't have done such a thing a few years ago."
Her mind was still on her conversation with Gwen when she walked past Merlin in one of the main corridors later that day. Despite there being plenty of room, the young man moved slightly towards the wall in order to let her pass, and turned as she walked past, nodding his head in a subtle bow. Morgana remembered Arthur's recent complaints about his manservant's lack of manners and was briefly confused.
"Good afternoon, Merlin," she said. The boy jumped and his head flew up in surprise and Morgana noticed his eyes widen, his cheeks redden and his tongue instantly flicked out to lick his lips. Morgana fought the urge to smile. It was a common reaction in the young men she interacted with and she never tired of seeing it.
"M-my lady? Can I be of assistance?"
Now there was a tempting offer. She silently scolded herself for the thought.
"No, there's nothing I need. I was just wondering how you were settling in here in Camelot. It's been a couple of months now, hasn't it?"
"Yes, my lady. Thank you. I'm … most content here."
"And Arthur? I do hope he's not making you suffer too much?"
Merlin smiled slightly. "He is trying very hard to make me suffer on a regular basis, my lady, but I'm afraid that I tend to give as good as I get."
"That is good to hear."
The boy stared at her, surprised and Morgana found his gaze especially troubling. That was probably what Arthur meant. Servants rarely looked their superiors in the eye and here was Merlin practically staring into her soul; it was very unnerving. What was it Gwen had said?
There's something about Merlin that attracted me to him.
Her maidservant had sounded confused when she said it and, for herself, Morgana had never thought of him as attractive. Arthur was boyishly handsome, Valiant had charmed her with his roguish good looks. Lancelot was the sort of man that had girls' eyes follow him and their jaws drop to the floor. Merlin however did not seem to fall into any of those categories. He was rather too thin for his height; all long limbs and big ears and awkwardness and yet…
She dropped her gaze hurriedly, realising she was staring. "Arthur could do with having that ego of his dropped down a peg or two," she replied hastily.
"I'm sure it's not my place to comment," Merlin explained with the smallest smile playing around his lips, "and I admit that I really don't mean to be cheeky but, there's something about him that baits me … I'm not sure what it is."
"I wouldn't worry about it, Merlin. I've spent around ten years of my life listening to Arthur complain about various servants and I can assure you that you are the first one to have made an impression on him."
"I don't understand."
"Neither do I, not entirely but, despite all his complaints about you, I have never once heard him suggest that you be replaced. Trust me, that's all he ever did about the previous ones. With them he would rarely say what they had done wrong, just that he wanted them gone. Now he does nothing but complain about what you do, but seems quite upset when Uther suggests he gets someone else."
Merlin laughed brightly at her comment and Morgana felt it again. Now she understood what it was that had attracted Gwen to this young man. She couldn't begin to actually describe it to anyone, but she could now see why her maid had believed herself to be in love. The boy was … entrancing.
"I understand I was mistaken in believing you and Gwen to be sweethearts?" she said then.
His cheeks turned red again; made more obvious by his prominent bone structure. She made a mental note to talk to Arthur and Gaius about ensuring the boy was getting enough to eat. "Ah, we are very good friends, lady Morgana and we perhaps … well I think there was some misunderstanding about the exact nature of that friendship."
"Gwen certainly seemed very taken with you."
Merlin shook his head. "I promise you that I didn't do anything to hurt Gwen. I never would."
"I know that, Merlin and I don't mean to make you feel uncomfortable. Gwen told me herself that you two have now come to an understanding."
He smiled more brightly then. "I'm pleased that we are still very good friends, but Gwen is attracted to the heroic type I think, and that's not me."
"And yet, she was attracted to you - she still is in many ways. Perhaps you're more of a hero than you like to think?"
"Me?" he asked, eyes wide in surprise.
"You are a very special person, Merlin."
"Ah?" The servant's eyes widened again, shocked at her comment and she struggled to keep her countenance, realising just how inappropriate that had sounded.
"I only meant that... Gwen may be generally easy going but she is a good judge of character. She sees the true worth of someone, long before anyone else. Long before the person themselves at times."
"Oh, yes. Of course." He relaxed a little. "Then of course, when Lancelot arrived, Gwen realised the difference."
"Between friendship and love."
"Yes. She is very upset at the moment."
"I think he felt the same way too." He sighed. "It's a shame they had to be parted."
"Yes," she agreed. "What about you, Merlin? What is it that you're looking for in a woman?"
"Me?" he asked, his voice uncharacteristically high.
"When you first arrived here, Gwen was quite concerned that you'd get quickly snapped up by someone else," she said with a sly smile. "She says that half of Camelot's staff are after you."
"Either Gwen was joking with you or you're teasing me," he responded seriously.
"Well for what it's worth, that's what I thought too," she replied. Until today. Until this moment when I just can't bring myself to end this conversation.
"So, you are teasing me?"
"Perhaps a little." Merlin was looking at her like 'that' again. It made her stomach clench and her heart pound and she really wasn't sure that she understood why.
"What about you, lady Morgana? What is your type?" he asked slyly.
"I have no idea," she replied promptly but she was still holding her gaze, a faint smile on her lips and his expression seemed amused, his head tipped to one side, contemplating her. They were flirting – there was no other word to describe it - and it was strangely exciting. What was her type though?
Tall, dark, pale skin, piercing blue eyes?
"Yes, it certainly is a conundrum," Merlin replied seriously. "I mean, what man could consider himself worthy of you? What man would dare try? The sun cannot capture the moon, no matter how hard he tries and a mortal man can never win the heart of a goddess, no matter how often he bows at her feet."
His voice was strong and musical. His words confident and full of passion. Morgana's throat was now dry, her heart pounding, as she just starred at Merlin – this bumbling servant who had just spouted far more eloquent poetry than any well educated nobleman she had every met.
He quickly seemed to come to his senses and his cheeks coloured anew as he realised what it was he was saying and who he was saying it to. Yes, it had been obvious how he felt about her from his initial reaction to her proximity but, that in itself wasn't especially unusual. She knew that men were attracted to her and regularly used such facts to her advantage, but this?
"Ah, I'm really sorry, my lady. That was … inappropriate."
"No man need apologise for complimenting a woman," she replied briskly, trying to hide just how much she was affected by his words. "I have enjoyed our conversation, Merlin and hope to continue it at some later date."
"Y-yes, my lady," Merlin replied, quickly latching onto her words and, perhaps, her discomfort. He bowed very deeply and scurried off, whilst Morgana leant her back against the wall and took a number of deep breaths, trying to work out exactly how a conversation about her maid servant had turned into this.
Next Time: Episode 2 - Personal Space?: It's the episode that required Katie and Colin to re-shoot a scene because they were making Morgana and Merlin 'too flirty' in the original! (If that was toned down, what on earth was the original take like?) Set during and after 1x08.
A/N: Some notes on my plan for this fic.
1) I'm cheating and posting this as T to start with - just to get everyone's attention seeing that FF prevents M fics from showing automatically. However, never fear Mergana fans, this will most certainly end up M rated.
2) It will be very episodic and will often time jump a number of episodes depending on what happened in the actual show.
3) As many of you know, I'm a huge fan of the canon story line and, unless I'm going totally AU, I prefer to write in and around the gaps rather than changing the overall outcome. Sorry – I know some of you are often asking me to give my fics a happier ending, but I like the show too much to feel comfortable changing its direction.
4) What you will get here is a more romantic/sexy version of what you saw on screen. Starting with adorable crush and very hot chemistry in S1 and S2, through to death glares and sexual tension in S3 & 4. Oh and then there are those time jumps that some people find so frustrating. Personally I'm really looking forward to what I might be able to squeeze into those.
5) I've got a large number of these mini Mergana scenes planned already but do let me know what you think happened 'behind the scenes' at various points during the show and it might just prompt me to add a couple more. Also, do keep an eye on my PP for up to date information about my writing progress on this and BOTD.