Title: Warming Up
Character/s: Gwaine, Leon
Summary: Gwaine has a lot to learn about bedwarmers.
Word Count: 545
Prompt: #229: Learning
Author's Notes: n/a
Gwaine turned out of the armory, jogging lightly along the corridors until he caught up to Leon on his way back to the courtyard.
"What was Arthur going on about today?" he asked, falling into step beside Leon.
Leon glanced at him, subtly shortening his stride. "You'll have to be more specific."
"At the end, before he finally let us get out of the cold," Gwaine clarified. "Something about the winter and our rooms? We have to share them?"
Leon's steady stride faltered as they stepped out of the covered corridor and into the courtyard, a move he could've easily blamed on the change in floor level if he didn't know the citadel as well as Gwaine knew he did. His steps grew longer as they walked across the snow-covered stones, his face taking on a flush of color, possibly from the cold wind whipping through the courtyard.
"No, he..." Leon cleared his throat. "He was speaking about bedwarmers."
"Bedwarmers?" Gwaine skipped ahead, trying to meet Leon's eye. "Like a warm pot to put between the bedding? What does that have to do with sharing our rooms?"
"No, well, yes, those too," Leon said, still staring forward as they climbed the entryway stairs. "But specifically, he was speaking of the practice of taking another person into one's bed as a bedwarmer."
Gwaine stopped in the middle of the large open doors. "That's an option?"
"It is a practice used during particularly cold winters."
Leon kept walking towards the wing where the knights' quarters were, unaffected by the lack of Gwaine at his side. Gwaine hurried after him, taking long quick strides until he caught up to Leon as they turned a corner.
"Who can take a bedwarmer?" he asked, baffled by this concept.
"As a knight of Camelot, you are allowed a bedwarmer during designated winters."
"Where does this person come from?"
"There are those who offer themselves as bedwarmers by trade. Often they come from the lower town or nearby villages. They're given food and lodging and are compensated for their time."
"It is a service."
"Does everyone take a bedwarmer?"
"It is sometimes advised during particularly cold winters."
Leon's stride failed him again, tripping him up as they approached his rooms. He caught himself easily, looking down at his boots as if the fault were theirs. Gwaine shook his head as Leon avoided his gaze, the flush returning to his cheeks even in the warmth of the sconce-lit hallway.
"I have in the past, during winters when it was advised."
Leon's head rose slowly, his eyes hesitant to meet Gwaine's. "Why?"
Gwaine gave a shrug, watching Leon straighten and relax as Gwaine adopted his best air of nonchalance.
Leon rolled his eyes, unamused by the dead end of Gwaine's questioning. He waved Gwaine off with a small motion, reminding him not to be late to training tomorrow as he opened his door. Gwaine waited until he'd stepped most of the way inside before speaking again.
"Although there's no point in offering my service as a bedwarmer without knowing whether you'll take one."
Gwaine turned away from Leon's rooms, laughing at the total shock that struck Leon's face, once again colored with an invitingly warm flush.