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The best things come from nowhere

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They aren’t what you’d call conventional.

Well, Gwen reflects, nothing about Merlin could really be described as conventional, not his ridiculous ears or his seemingly endless optimism, and especially not his irreverent disregard for Arthur’s status as king. It’s sort of charming though, and clearly infectious; in Merlin’s world rules don’t seem to matter, and to know him is to inevitably be drawn in by his bizarre way of thinking.

Gwen’s never really been unconventional before, but she finds that it suits her. If someone had asked her as a child how she thought her life would turn out she certainly wouldn’t have considered this. Involved with another servant is one thing, involved with a servant and the king is another thing altogether.

But Arthur and Merlin… They come as a matched set. Gwen counts herself lucky that she’s managed to carve out a space for herself between them at all.

The three of them don’t share everything, of course. Where Arthur and Gwen enjoy kissing, Merlin never goes further than a dry brush of lips upon her forehead; where Gwen likes to help Merlin with his chores, Arthur goes about his day without offering to lend a hand, confused as to why she would willingly launder their clothes given that her new status means she doesn’t have to. And likewise, Gwen doesn’t tend to accompany Merlin and Arthur on their occasional two-person ‘hunting trips’, recognising that they sometimes need a space just for themselves, one that comes without all the trappings of being a king and a servant.

But the times Gwen likes best are when the three of them are together. Nothing brings her greater peace than listening to her boys bicker back and forth. Every so often she’ll pick a side with one of them, and then it’s a struggle to smother her giggles as the other begins to whine and pout. Some nights, if he’s really tired, Merlin might flop down beside Arthur and Gwen in their oversized bed rather than heading back to Giaus’ chambers, falling asleep almost as soon as his head hits the pillow. She treasures those nights, when she’s cuddled safely between her two favourite people in the world. She knows Arthur treasures them too, despite his complaints that Merlin is too bony and hogs all the blankets.

No, they aren’t what you’d call conventional, Gwen thinks, but she’d rather be unconventional than be without this.