Title: Family Man (Part 2)
Character/s: Gwaine, Leon, Original Characters
Summary: Gwaine is still in a world he doesn't recognize and he can't find a way out.
Warnings: Modern AU
Word Count: 1,148
Prompt: #239: Hunger
Author's Notes: A continuation of last week. Originally based on the movie The Family Man but now I'm just making things up.
Gwaine sat quietly at the dining table – a dining table that was not his in a house he didn’t recognize – watching Leon and a small girl dig into their breakfasts.
They accepted his silence without question. Gwaine had never been a morning person; it was entirely possible that they didn’t expect him to say much. Leon would know that. He and Leon had lived together for five years and they’d shagged for three of those five years. Gwaine was still fairly certain that was true.
Or was it?
He looked around at the fully furnished home, personal touches, pictures, and memorabilia all screaming ‘family of three’ and ‘lived in’ and ’domestic.’ Even if he was dreaming or hung over or hallucinating, Gwaine doubted that his mind could fabricate such a realistic illusion. He could see the table set in front of him, he could feel the warmth of the coffee between his hands, he could taste it as he chugged the whole cup in an effort to calm his rising panic.
Was this real?
What happened to the life he remembered? The large, stylish flat he had in the heart of London? His career shooting pictures for publications all around the world?
Where had it gone?
… Was he dead?
Gwaine realized that the loud noise he heard was him shouting. He looked between Leon and Lexi, both father and daughter looking at him like he was as crazy as he felt.
“I’m sorry,” he mumbled, looking down at his coffee. “I didn’t mean to shout.”
Lexi’s face hardened into the smallest frown Gwaine had ever seen. “You have to use your inside voice in the house, Daddy.”
Gwaine was stunned into renewed silence by the tiny telling off until Leon laughed. It was loud and warm, a sound Gwaine knew could be rare with Leon but he seemed more relaxed around Lexi than Gwaine remembered.
“Well done, Lexi,” Leon said as he gathered their dishes. Lexi smiled as he kissed her hair before taking everything into the kitchen. “That’s how you keep your dad in line.”
Gwaine had to smile at the smug way Lexi took in Leon’s praise. He didn’t have a lot of experience with kids; he didn’t know they could have so much personality at such a young age.
“Daddy?” With Leon out of the room, Gwaine came to the conclusion that she was talking to him. “Are you going to pick me up from school today?”
“I’m going to pick you up today,” Leon said, coming to Gwaine’s rescue. “Now go get dressed.”
Lexi jumped down from her chair and hurried off to her room with more eagerness than Gwaine had ever felt towards school. She was still young though; school was bound to become less appealing over time.
Gwaine lifted his coffee to finish it, almost dropping the whole cup when Leon’s hand slid across his shoulders.
“They have a half day at school today but I figured you’d want to go out since it’s your day off and your car’s fixed.”
Gwaine looked up at him cluelessly. “My car?”
Leon nodded, his fingers moving up to scratch at Gwaine’s nape. “Percy called yesterday to say it was done.”
Gwaine perked up at a name he knew. He stood abruptly from the table, bumping into the Leon with the coffee cup still clenched in his hand. Percy sounded promising. A car sounded promising. Maybe Percy could finally explain what was going on and if that failed, Gwaine would find someone who could.
“Yes,” he said a little loudly, brandishing his cup. “I’ll go see Percy and pick up my car.”
“Do you want a ride?”
Gwaine had to agree.
The sun was beginning to set.
Gwaine sat in the car that was apparently his – a little four door sedan with fading paint and a ‘Proud Parent of a Camelot Knight’ bumper sticker – staring at the iron bridge. The way the light cut through the angled supports of the bridge called to Gwaine to take a picture but that instinct was being drowned out by his now full blown panic.
No one knew who he was.
Everyone he’d spoken to that day knew Gwaine Green, husband to Leon, father to Lexi, lifelong Camelot resident, and head photographer at the Magic Images portrait studio. (The same business where Gwaine, Merlin, and Will had colored all the flash bulbs yellow so all the year twelve portraits looked sickly that year.) No one thought it was unusual that he was back in Camelot, no one had heard of his success as a photographer.
Because it didn’t exist.
Gwaine had Google’d himself.
He had no career; no portfolio, no cover credits, no international acclaim.
He was seriously reconsidering the idea that he was dead.
Gwaine stared at the iron bridge, the only driveable access out of the city, and the police tape stretched over the full width of it.
“Staring isn’t going to fix it.”
Gwaine jumped out of his skin, accidentally laying on the car horn in the process. He clutched at his chest and turned to look at the figure standing outside his window.
“What the fuck?!” he shouted. “Where the hell did you come from?”
The man – Gwaine was fairly sure but the light was fading fast – glared at him as if Gwaine was being rude. He shook his head and adjusted the sit of his jumpsuit.
“I was just saying that you staring at it isn’t going to fix it.”
Gwaine had to ask. “What’s wrong with it?”
“Not sure, can’t tell from the outside. It needs to be looked at.”
Gwaine resisted rolling his eyes. “When is it going to be fixed?”
“You don’t need to know.”
“Actually I do!” Gwaine shouted. He looked at the bridge, his only semblance of a plan. “Something is fucking wrong with the world and no one else realizes it! I have to get back to London! I don’t belong here!”
“Are you sure?”
He turned back to the man to say he was absolutely fucking sure but the man was gone.
“Fuck.” Fear, frustration, and overwhelming panic flooded Gwaine’s senses. “Would someone just tell me what the fuck is going on?!?” he shouted at the empty road.
His phone chimed in the passenger seat. The display glowed brightly in the growing darkness: a picture of Lexi in a hooded dinosaur jumper, teeth, eyes, horns and all. He tapped through to a text message from Leon.
‘Will you be home for dinner?’
Gwaine realized at that moment that he hadn’t eaten anything all day. He was starving, a very real feeling in a very unreal world. He sent back the briefest reply and started the car, making a U turn to head back into the city.
Despite whatever was happening to him, he still had to eat.