Pairing: Gwen/Lancelot

Summary: Merlin has kept a secret from Gwen for years.

Setting/Spoilers: Minor AU at the end of Ep 4x09 "Lancelot Du Lac", then a time skip to after 5x13.

AN: Going a bit out of my element here, to create a fic present for a special lady who has been very encouraging to me, and many others. Whether it's writing, or graphics, or just life advice in general. Heatherlly is an amazing writer herself, and has created and maintained a wonderful Merlin centered forum that has given me resources to help build my skill as an author. her OTP is Gwen/Lancelot, I thought I would push myself to find a way to make it happen, just for her.

Proofed by the amazing Puffin Nance. (who also came up with a MUCH better title than what I originally had hehe)

Enjoy and please review!

Lancelot sat on the lakeshore, unsure what to say. The last thing he truly remembered was smiling at Merlin apologetically, before giving himself to the Cailleach. The warm breeze ruffled his hair. He glanced down at his dark clothing with disdain.

Merlin had explained to him what had happened over the course of the previous few days. He recounted how Lancelot had suddenly appeared at the festivities for Arthur and Gwen's engagement, and it had taken some time before Merlin could find a way to prove that the knight wasn't really who he said he was.

Guinevere had made her choice long ago. Lancelot was sickened that his body had been used in such a dishonorable way. "Thank you for freeing me from Morgana."

Merlin's lips lifted in a half-smile and he nodded his head. "I only wish I could have broken through the enchantment sooner. You realize, if you come back to Camelot, you will be put to death, right?"

Lancelot shook his head. "Yes, although I wish I could remember it. I can't believe I tried to kill you, and I convinced Gwen to kiss me."

"I'm sure Agravaine set it up."

"Then, why aren't we doing something about him?" Lancelot demanded.

"I've tried to talk with Arthur about it. Agravaine is his uncle and I'm just a servant."

"We both're more than that."

Merlin shrugged. It didn't matter what he was in the shadows. He knew one day soon, he might have to prove it, if Agravaine continued to play these games. "What will you do now?"

The former knight shrugged. "I want to try and find at least apologize, and perhaps, explain. You said she has been banished."

"Please don't...Her love for Arthur is true, as is his for her. They have a great destiny ahead of them, despite this setback."

Dark eyes evaluated his companion. The look on Merlin's face spoke volumes. It was as if Lancelot could read the ancient prophecies Merlin sometimes spoke of, in the faint lines of worry surrounding the warlock's eyes. It was not unlike how a gypsy seer could read the palm of someone's hand. "I should probably get as far away from here as I can then, so I'm not tempted. Perhaps, I'll travel to France."

"I know you care for her. If there was any other way, Lancelot…" Merlin's voice choked out. He had almost lost two of his closest his friends due to the villainy of Morgana.

"...But there isn't. I understand." Lancelot held out his arm, as he stood. He slung the pack with the provisions Merlin had given him, over his shoulder.

The warlock wiped away the tears and took the outstretched hand.

With heavy hearts, the two men parted ways.


Seven Years Later:

The queen and her warlock walked down a garden path. Merlin had convinced her that she needed a break from Camelot, and visiting some of their Frankish neighbors for a holiday seemed just the ticket.

It was amazingly warm for so late in the year. Gwen relished in the warm sunshine, thankful to be away from the cold winter rains back in Camelot.

"I can't thank you enough for the support you have given me these past few years, Merlin." She squeezed his arm.

He could sense that, even with the change in scenery, she was still melancholy. His voice was barely a whisper. "You still miss him, I know. I do, too."

"Mmm, yes." Gwen agreed, "Although, not nearly as much anymore. I loved Arthur, with all my heart. I truly did…"

"But?" He pried.

"I don't know..."

"You're just lonely. I get it. I'm not much company some days."

"It's not just that Merlin. I've had many offers.. from men simply willing to warm my suitors vying for a place in the kingdom. I want someone I have a connection to."

"...And why haven't you chosen to at least court any of the potentials?" He asked. While Merlin held a strong position in the new kingdom, under Guinevere's rule, much of his time was spent away. He not only worked to ensure peace with the druidic and magical people, but also as an emissary to many of the foreign kingdoms.

It was because of his travels that finally, the queen was convinced to take a much needed break, if only for a way to reconnect with the man she considered her best friend.

"There have only been three men, aside from my family, who I have ever cared about. You…whom I consider too close to be anything but a brother...and Arthur, of course..."

"Who's the third?"

"Let's not go there, shall we?" Even after all the years, and finally having been told that the events were not her fault, Gwen still had a hard time speaking of her temporary banishment.

"Mmm, I see." Merlin chuckled softly, not at all fooled by the way she sidestepped his question. "I have a confession to make."

Gwen's finely sculpted eyebrow rose slightly.

"I brought you here to introduce you to someone."

"Oh, Merlin." The queen groaned.

"Well, and to tell you a secret." He pulled her down next to him on a garden bench.

"More secrets? you ever run out of them?"

He ignored her jab. "Do you remember before you and Arthur were married, when Lancelot had returned?"

"Not a moment I usually care to remember...but, yes." She wondered, as she often did nowadays, if Merlin had read her mind.

"I've explained how Morgana was the one who summoned Lancelot from the dead, and the bracelet he gave you might have...enhanced...your feelings."

She nodded and wondered where he was going with his ramblings. "I was banished, and Lancelot died again…in the dungeon."

"Well…yes and no. I managed to remove Morgana's control over him, just before I was preparing to lay him to rest. But here's the thing: Shades aren't fully dead, nor are they completely alive. He just seemed like he was dead, because that was what Morgana wanted. You can't order someone to kill themselves like that. The mind will find a way to protect itself, even if it is being controlled."

"He wasn't dead, or wasn't alive? You have me completely confused, Merlin." Under her breath, she mumbled, "...which is nothing out of the ordinary."

"No…Well, he was completely dead...before she brought him back. But, when I freed him, he wasn't dead any longer."

"Merlin, what are you trying to tell me?" For countless years, she had watched and listened as he wound his way around the truth. She disliked his twisted words, which were more like riddles that flowed from his tongue. It was what made him such a shrewd negotiator for the kingdom.

"Long story, short...he's here." Merlin finally managed to say bluntly.

She blinked once, and then again. "Here...alive...?"

Merlin offered his queen a goofy grin, and pointed to a place on the path behind her.

Gwen turned around. What she saw made her stare with her mouth gaping in disbelief.

Coming up the path, was a man she never thought she would see again. His dark eyes met hers in a silent question, asking if he could approach.

The queen stood up from the bench. Her knees trembling so hard, she thought she would fall over. Seemingly of their own accord, her feet began to move disbelieving step at a time...slowly at first, then faster with each footfall.

Lancelot's own increased as well, until he was racing towards her, and he swept her into his arms.