Somewhere amidst the adventures and misfortunes, Gwaine realized he was in love with Percival. It wasn’t an all of a sudden “Aha!” moment, it was more of a gradual realization. Every time Percival smiled his love grew deeper. And every time Percival laughed, Gwaine lost the ability to breathe.
It was when Percival threw his arm over Gwaine during dinner on a hunt, that Gwaine knew he was gone on him. The heavy weight on Gwaine’s shoulders made him feel safe and Percival scent made him want to cuddle further into his side.
But Gwaine couldn’t do that. Percival still sees Gwaine as just a colleague and friend. He would most certainly be uncomfortable if Gwaine embraced his middle. No, Gwaine would have to be content with just this friendly affection for now. Percival laughs at a joke one of the other knights made and Gwaine can feel the vibrations through his body.
He closes his eyes and takes a deep breath. This can be enough.
A nudge to Gwaine’s shoulder makes him open his eyes. Percival’s concerned face appears in front of him, a question in his eyes. Gwaine plasters a grin on his face and begins spouting some nonsense about Percival’s smelly pits. When Percival removes his arm Gwaine feels the loss keenly, but he keeps up the act.
Gwaine isn’t used to this feeling. “Pining,” Merlin called it. Gwaine doesn’t like it. He’s never had to be cautious with anyone he’s wanted before. He’s never had a problem winning someone over. Percival’s just... different. Gwaine wants more than sex with Percival, he wants a relationship.
Gwaine can’t give Percival flowers or sing his praises like he would with a woman he wants to coerce into bed. But he can’t just make a move on Percival with no warning. That would be taking Percival’s choices away. Gwaine has to prove his worth first. But how?
Watching Merlin stare wistfully after Arthur, Gwaine gets an idea. He smiles. There’s no way this could fail.
“No way, Gwaine !” Merlin yells, stomping through the hallway.
“Come on Merls , do it for me?” Gwaine pleads, chasing after Merlin. “I can get Princess to admit his feelings for you and you two besotted fools can live ‘happily ever after.’ I just need this one thing!”
Merlin shakes his head vigorously, “Arthur doesn’t have any feelings for me,” he says.
Gwaine scoffs, “You don’t really believe that. Please, Merls . You know how I feel about Percival.”
“ How do you feel about Percival?” Elyan interrupts. Gwaine blinks and finally looks at his surroundings. Merlin, that sneaky rat, led him right into the armory and he now holds every knight’s attention. Glancing at Percival’s perplexed expression, Gwaine gulps.
“This isn’t over,” Gwaine hisses to an amused Merlin before spinning on his heel and running out of the room.
So , maybe there were a lot of ways that plan could fail. But if you asked Gwaine he would adamantly defend it. It is not “juvenile” to want a friend to find out if your crush likes you back, thank you very much.
The whole fiasco has not put Gwaine off wooing Percival, however. He just has to get more creative. Percival has been groaning about needing new boots for a week now, so Gwaine’s going to buy him a pair.
The only problem is, Gwaine doesn’t know Percival’s size. Which means, it’s time for some sleuthing – something Gwaine is fantastic at.
Gwaine is mature enough to admit that stealing Percival’s boots was not the best idea he’s ever had, but come on, he panicked. The boots were right there and if those brisk footfalls were anything to go by, Leon would have come in and ask ed questions.
Gwaine doesn’t have any answers. Love just makes you do strange things sometimes. So, here he is, stuffed into a closet with Percival’s boots clutched in his arms, listening to Leon sharpen his sword and make lists out loud.
Oh, what Gwaine would give to be in his comfortable bed right now.
“... welcome the visiting princess...” Leon mumbles.
Wait, what? A princess is coming to Camelot? Could that be why Merlin refuses to believe Arthur is head over heels in love with him? Is Arthur going to be betrothed? Gwaine should really pay more attention during council meetings. Leaning his ear against the cupboard door, Gwaine strains to hear more.
The door gives way and Gwaine falls flat on his face in front of a startled Leon. Looking up sheepishly, Gwaine chuckles. “You never saw me,” Gwaine says. He gets up from the floor and brushes dust from his pants. “I was never here.” Gwaine grabs the boots and books it out of there, leaving a bewildered Leon behind him.
Staring at the new pair of boots on his bed, Gwaine feels satisfied Percival will like them. They’re sturdy, stylish, and they’ve been shined so much Gwaine can see his face in them. He’s admiring his hair when the door swings open.
Gwaine pushes the boots off of the bed and turns around to face the intruder. “Merlin? Are you ill?” Gwaine asks. Merlin’s face has lost all color and he looks lost.
“She’s beautiful,” Merlin murmurs.
“The princess. She’s beautiful! How am I supposed to compete with that?” Merlin runs his hand through his hair, mussing it up and making him look unhinged. He begins pacing the length of Gwaine’s room. “With the way she flirted with Percival I can guess-”
“She flirted with Percival?”
Merlin stops in his tracks. “Um... no?”
“Merlin...” Gwaine warns, “Tell me the truth.”
“Yes. She flirted with Percival. But it wasn’t like he flirted back! And he didn’t seem to enjoy it either... and now I’m realizing I should have saved him from her. Poor shy, kind Percival. You know he could avoid a lot of situations if he learned how to say no-”
“Merlin, you’re talking to an empty room!” Gwaine yells from the hallway.
Gwaine can’t lie, the princess is quite the specimen, but Percival’s distressed grimace is all it takes for him to stomp over there and position himself between the two. Percival murmurs a quiet, “Thank you.”
The princess becomes indignant, “Excuse you! I was having a nice chat with this gentlemanly knight and you, a peasant by the looks of you, dare to interrupt us? Absolutely unacceptable! I will be speaking to the prince about you.”
“What’s going on here?” Arthur demands, striding in confidently with Merlin trailing behind him.
The princess sends a look to Gwaine that says “You're in trouble now.” Gwaine smirks, throwing her off.
Hesitantly, but still with self-importance the princess says, “This commoner has been bold enough to defy me and my wishes. I suggest some time in the stocks.”
Arthur chuckles, “Commoner? No, I’m sorry. This is Sir Gwaine . One of my most trusted knights.”
Wide eyes turn on Gwaine . “Hi,” he purrs. Behind Gwaine , Percival clears his throat. “By all means,” Gwaine says, stepping aside.
“My lady, there were two people in this conversation. Gwaine came to rescue the one who didn’t want to be in it.” Percival glances at Gwaine and murmurs, “My hero.” His voice regains its volume, “So, I suggest you follow Merlin, he’ll escort you out. If that’s all right with you Arthur.”
Arthur nods and gestures to Merlin, who is grinning from ear to ear. The princess huffs and raises her head, storming out after Merlin. “Thanks,” Percival mumbles.
“No problem, Perce,” Gwaine smirks. “Your hero, huh?”
Percival looks down, “You’re never going to let me forget that are you?”
Gwaine raises his hand and tips Percival’s head up. “Nope.” Percival’s eyes flick to Gwaine’s lips. “What are you going to do about it?”
Percival smiles slightly and shakes his head slightly. He leans in and all of Gwaine’s dreams come true. Gwaine gets lost in the kiss, moaning his approval. Someone clears their throat and Gwaine pulls away regretfully.
Arthur, looking anywhere but at the pair, says, “I’m glad for you two, but could you take it somewhere other than the hallway?”
Percival blushes and Gwaine grabs his arm, laughing. “Come on! I’ve waited a long time for this!” He pulls Percival’s arm, dragging him to Gwaine’s room. “I got you something.”
Gwaine jumps on his bed and reaches over, grabbing the boots from where they fell. “I hope you like them,” he says, handing the boots to Percival.
Percival carefully takes the boots, “You bought these for me?” He looks at Gwaine in wonder.
“Yeah, I wanted to show you, well, I wanted to show you...” Gwaine trails off, unsure, but a hopeful look from Percival bolsters his confidence, “I wanted to show you that I- I love you.”
“You what?” Percival breathes.
“I’m... in love with you, Percy.” Gwaine pauses. “But I don’t expect anything from you, it ’s too early in the relationship – uh, I mean, if you want it to be a relationship -”
“I love you, too.”
“You- you do?”
“Oh,” Gwaine says, “So that means...”
Percival rolls his eyes and sits next to Gwaine . “It means, we can do this for a long time.” Percival kisses Gwaine softly.
“Oh, I plan on it.” Gwaine pulls Percival back in, deepening the kiss.
What happens after Gwaine and Percival's show in the hallway. A conclusion to Merlin and Arthur's story
This continuation was asked for by lesbinova. Sorry it took me so long!
Back in the hallway:
“So... that happened,” Merlin says, breaking the ice. Arthur turns to look at him, disbelief in his eyes.
“That’s all you have to say? You’re not going to prattle on about it like you usually would?”
Merlin sighs. He knows what happens next. Either he admits that he knew Gwaine was courting Percival and he sent the princess his way on purpose. Or he lies and risks Arthur not believing him. Both options result in an angry king.
“Merlin,” Arthur presses.
“Fine! Yes, I knew Gwaine was in love with Percival! And, yes! I sent the princess after Percival so he would get uncomfortable and Gwaine could swoop in and be a hero! And you can be mad at me all you want, but at least I got those two idiots to stop pining for each other! You can’t tell me that you were actually considering marrying that girl! I saved you from a lifetime of misery, so if anything, you should be thanking me-”
Merlin freezes. “Sorry.”
Arthur smiles and Merlin becomes very suspicious. He looks behind him, hoping there’s another reason the man in front of him seems to be happy. There’s no one else in the hallway but the two of them, so Merlin concludes that Arthur is delirious.
“Merlin, I was never considering marrying her. And you would know that if you actually listened to me once. She came here because she thought she could win over my heart and become the next queen of Camelot. The only reason I allowed it was because I didn’t want a war with her kingdom and...” Arthur huffs, looking away from Merlin.
“And my heart’s already been given to someone else,” Arthur grits out begrudgingly.
If it were any other moment, Merlin might’ve laughed at the notion of Arthur saying something so floral and heartfelt, but as it is not, Merlin feels like he’s going to lose his lunch. He nods his head somberly. “Gwen,” he mumbles.
Arthur’s eyes snap up and Merlin sees an emotion he can’t place. It looked like hope, but it couldn’t be.
“You’re an idiot.” Arthur says.
“Thank you, sire,” Merlin rolls his eyes, “Mind telling me what is was that I did this time?”
Arthur stalks toward Merlin and Merlin has to resist the urge to step back. He’s slammed into the wall and lips are on his before he can even react. Arthur’s lips hungrily ravish Merlin’s before he pulls back and starts kissing a trail down Merlin’s throat.
Merlin moans and the sound reverberates through the hallway, reminding him where they are and what they’re doing. He pushes Arthur off and glares. “Arthur, what do you think you’re doing?” He croaks.
“I’m not in love with Gwen, Merlin. She and Lancelot are better suited for each other anyway,” Arthur says, and Merlin thinks it’s not fair that his voice comes out even. “Merlin, my heart belongs to you.”
“This isn’t funny, Arthur.”
“Who’s laughing?” Arthur steps forward. “Let me show you I mean it,” Arthur pleads softly.
Merlin looks deep into Arthur’s eyes, searching for any sign Arthur might be messing with him, but all he finds is sincerity. Merlin nods hesitantly.
Arthur’s face lights up and Merlin can’t help but return his smile. “On one condition,” Merlin says.
“You give me a day off,” Merlin smirks.
Arthur barks a startled laugh. “I’ll think about it,” he says, which Merlin knows actually means “no,” but he’s sure he can find a way to convince Arthur they both need a day off. With the way Arthur is looking at him right now, it won’t take too much convincing. But then again, Arthur is a stubborn ass, it might take all night. Good thing Merlin doesn’t mind.