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Gwaine takes the fall

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It seemed that Merlin's usual way of breaking branches to fight off bandits didn’t work this time, as Gwaine had observed over and over again. Gwaine was surprised that no one else had noticed Merlin's magic, especially Arthur who Merlin seemed to be constantly doing magic around. All the bandits that had been attacking them had been knocked unconscious but not from any one's sword. Gwaine sighed in relief there were far too many bandits for the knights to fight anyway. But his anxiety sky rocked when Arthur said, “Who did that!?” Gwaine glanced at Merlin and saw that his face was completely white, and he was frozen in terror. Without knowing what he was doing Gwaine took a step forward.

“Gwaine?” Arthur said, confused. Gwaine nodded. “You’re a sorcerer?!”

“Yeah,” Gwaine said, eyes trained on Arthur, he dared not look away.

“But why? How?”

“I have been to many places not all have the same hatred of magic Princess.”

Seeming to get over his shock Arthur shook his head and said, “I was starting to think that my father was wrong, but I wasn’t sure.”

“So you're not going to execute me then?”

Arthur smiled, “No, Gwaine, you're one of my men. Just don’t do any more magic.”

“I thought you said you thought your father was wrong?” Gwaine couldn’t stop the anger that crept into his voice.

“Gwaine, I’m going to lift the magic ban, but it’s just going to take time. So many of my citizens are fearful of magic because of Uther. It’s going to need to be gradual.”

“Thank you,” Gwaine said, finally looking around at his fellow knights. Lancelot had a hand on Merlin's shoulder, both were smiling but Merlin had tears in his eyes.

Leon said, “I stood by Uther, but he was wrong about many things” Elyan walked up to Gwaine and gave him a hug, which everyone else trickled into until everyone was in the hug. Gwaine smiled a bittersweet smile, happy that everyone accepted his fake magic but also upset that no one knew who the true sorcerer was.

They got back on their horses and continued on.

Merlin rode up next to him and asked, “why did you do that?”

Gwaine smiled and met Merlin's eyes, “to protect the true sorcerer.”

Merlin frowned, “you could have been killed.”

Gwaine laughed and said, “guess I kinda liked the look of those odds.”

“Gwaine!” Merlin said, angry.

Gwaine deflated, “Merlin it’s alright, I’m fine.”

Merlin still looked angry but said, “thank you,” his face softened and he said, “how can I ever repay you?”

“You owe me nothing Merlin, I did it for a friend” Gwaine said and then laughed, “although a bottomless mead would be nice.”

Merlin smiled and said, “alright.”