The trouble with Gwaine’s masterful, brilliant and fool-proof roast chicken plan – the one where Merlin sticks a hook in the chicken when the cook’s not looking, and then Percy and Gwaine drag it up on a rope through the grating in the kitchen ceiling – is that the chicken is larger than any of the holes in the grating. They didn’t think of that.
Forethought is for ponces, as far as Gwaine is concerned. Completely bloody boring in all respects. So: chest la vee, as the French say. Gwaine has always liked chests.
They have to tear the chicken to bits with their fingers to be able to fit it through the grating. Gwaine is just fighting Percy for the breast meat – and losing, because bloody Percy has hands the size of mallets – when the cook storms over to stand directly below them. Gwaine, who unlike Percy does like to apply some strategy with his brute force sometimes, stops fighting at once. But Percy, big lug that he is, gives one final, fateful, mutilating mash to the chicken with his aforementioned gigantic hands. From the carnage where once a chicken was, a long, gleaming dribble of liquid fat descends in an arc, slow and graceful as a ribbon drifting in a soft breeze.
The fat makes a wavy garland across the twist of auburn hair at the back of the cook’s head, like the pearls on a noble lady’s hair ornament.
The cook doesn’t notice that. But she does notice Gwaine snorting for air when he can’t hold his breath anymore, and then them both scrabbling to pull the mangled chicken through the grating so they can scarper. She does notice a large white gobbet of jellied fat falling towards her as they withdraw their hands. The moment before it lands in the very centre of her forehead, she looks Gwaine directly in the eye.
It all works out pretty brilliantly in the end, if Gwaine does say so. By the time they emerge into the disused store yard and wolf down the massacred remains of the chicken, they’re so covered in chicken fat, and so close to actual, literal death from suppressed hysteria, that Gwaine is forced to give Percy’s grinning face a bit of a kiss.
“You’ve got it in your beard,” Percy mumbles, and licks Gwaine’s whiskers.
“So do you,” Gwaine says, and licks him back. They rub their bristled faces together: a competition as to who will lick and who will be licked.
Percy’s a bit excitable sometimes, under all those enormous muscles and that glowering brow. And when he gets excited, he needs a steadying hand from an older, wiser man. This is not the first time that Gwaine has been obliged to have sex with him for his own good.
Once, for instance, they were waiting for Gaius in his chambers, and Gwaine showed Percy Merlin’s room, where Gwaine had slept when he first came to Camelot, and Percy got a funny look on his face and made an insinuating remark, and then Gwaine had to take Percy in hand. Then they had heard Gaius tactfully clearing his voice in the outer chamber.
There was another time when they were on patrol working in pairs, and Percy thought a squirrel was a gang of bandits. Of course he denied afterwards that he had thought it was a whole gang or, he went on to claim, even necessarily anything at all. But Gwaine needed to calm him down either way. Then it turned out that Elyan and Lancelot hadn’t gone in the opposite direction after all.
Or there was the time when they first got their own chambers, and Gwaine was showing his to Percy, who was a bit overwhelmed by the whole thing, the poor lad. And then Arthur came to see where they were. Arthur’s fair complexion went absolutely wine-red. It made him look barely old enough to be out of the schoolroom.
This time, in the store yard, Gwaine has Percy bent over an upturned cart, his pants down around his thick, sleek thighs, his undershirt rucked up to his armpits, exposing a sun-browned back so wide you could lay table settings on it. Gwaine’s happy to take no more than his own sword belt off, but when Percy feels the cold hem of Gwaine’s mail against his bare skin, he says, “Oi!”
So Gwaine labours to take his mail off after all, although his cock feels like it’s going to catch fire, while Percy continues to make irritable noises, and look back at him over his shoulder like he’s a bandit whose skull Percy is about to crush with a single, extremely prejudicial squeeze of his giant hand.
You wouldn’t have thought a big fellow like Percy would like it from behind so much, but that just goes to show.
Percy’s arse is high and round as two whole loaves of bread. Fucking him is like splitting a very firm peach with your thumb. You press and you press, and it doesn’t give, and then you press harder and you think it’s never going to give. Then you press harder again, and you’re about to give up. Then it opens all at once, sweet and neat and wet, yielding along the seam, as if it meant to all along.
Percy swings a great big hand around to Gwaine’s arse to hurry him up, because Percy is very, very bossy.
“You like that, don’t you,” Gwaine says, pushing Percy’s shirt further up his back, and leaving a chicken grease hand print on it.
“You know I do,” Percy says, breath huffing in and out. Gwaine can always tell when Percy is really hurt, in combat or when they spar, because his voice sounds like it does when Gwaine is fucking him.
Some time passes while Gwaine is fucking Percy from behind. He is nudging his balls right up against the plush cushion of Percy’s arse on the in-stroke, holding Percy’s warm hip with one hand and stroking his shoulder – which is actually too colossal to hold on to properly – with the other. Percy keeps saying “Oh,” as if perpetually surprised.
And then there seems to be a voice talking to Gwaine. The voice says, “You ate all the bloody chicken, didn’t you?”
Gwaine could not be less bothered about disembodied voices right now, could not literally be any less bothered.
The voice carries on, “I mean, in addition to searing this trauma on my mind’s eye for all eternity. In addition to that, you ate all the bloody chicken. When it was me who went into the blasted jaws of the lion itself to get it. The jaws of the lion itself!”
Percy tenses all over, which is actually wonderful by Gwaine, because he tenses on the inside as well. But Percy sinks his golden head into the crook of his enormous arm and says, with a certain weary misery, “Sorry, Merlin. Can you give us a minute, yeah?”
“I don’t know!” Merlin says. “Can you give me a chicken?”
When Gwaine looks at him, Merlin is the same wine-red colour Arthur was, that time in Gwaine’s rooms.
“You could lick some off my hand,” Gwaine says, winking and holding it out.
“Of course, he’s had that on my cock,” Percy says.
“No need to tell him that!” Gwaine protests.
“I swear,” Merlin says, “you will pay for this. The both of you.”
“Steady on!” calls Percy.
One morning later that week, Gwaine opens his wardrobe to an explosion of live, hysterical chickens, which shriek till he’s half-deaf, and cover every surface in the room with shit and feathers.
He makes a break for the door and slams it behind him, enclosing the chickens within. Further down the hallway, he finds Percy agitated and gesticulating, also with chicken shit in his hair.
“Come on, my lad,” Gwaine says soothingly. “It’s only a bit of shit.”
“No!” Percy shouts. “Behind you!”
Gwaine dodges the deadly down-swing of the cook’s rolling pin by a hair’s breadth, using the reflexes that only a lifetime of avoiding injury inflicted by outraged people who have just stumbled on you having sex in their beds can bestow. “You!” she roars, and lifts her arm for another go.
“Run!” Gwaine shouts.
They dash for it.
The cook is small, rather stout, and quite old, but she is in a towering rage, and it takes them a good ten minutes to lose her. It’s clear that Percy, who can leap up three steps at a time, probably could have done it faster without Gwaine, but he waits for him faithfully at the top of each staircase nonetheless.
They fetch up finally at the far end of the east wing, which is clearly a country where the nights are warm and the living is good, because a maid carrying a fruit basket just smiles at Gwaine when he filches an apple in passing.
“I can’t believe that woman!” Percy rants.
Gwaine offers him the apple, but Percy refuses, pacing back and forth. He is quite agitated. Gwaine thinks he knows just the thing to settle him down.
“You know what you need?” he says. “A nice warm bath. Let’s see if Merlin’s room’s free.”