Title: A Minor Detour, Part 15
Rating: R overall
Character/s: Gwaine, Percival
Summary: Most of his life had been guided by having nothing to lose and everything to gain, so why should this be any different?
Word Count: 832
Prompt: #253: My Shot
Author's Notes: Part 1 | ... | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 || All Parts on AO3
Arthur Pendragon’s version of gratitude left a lot to be desired. Gwaine found himself with one wrist in an electromag shackle that had been fastened to the side of a chair in the bridge with the big fella keeping an eye alternately on him and on the nav readouts.
“Look. Percival, right?”
He didn’t look up from the console.
“Your captain’s a little heated, and sometimes I get over excited, but you know I’m only trying to help. Right?”
A look—a raised eyebrow, even—but no other reaction. Why did he keep getting the strong, silent types as guards? His charms worked much better when he had someone to play off of. Bullshitting into the void was—okay, still fun, but not nearly as effective.
“Correct me if I’m wrong, which I know I’m not, but it seems to me this whole mess could’ve been avoided if not for your CO and Merlin making the googly eyes at each other without doing anything about it.”
Percival’s skepticism didn’t ease, but he swivelled his chair around to face Gwaine fully. “I’m listening,” he said, which meant pretty much meant Gwaine had already won.
But he kept going, for appearance’s sake. And because he liked the sound of his own voice; he knew his flaws and wasn’t ashamed.
“When I rescued them from their inevitable deaths in the stranded shuttle,”—Percival rolled his eyes but didn’t object to Gwaine’s revisionism—“I overheard some things. It was all deeply private and personal, of course, but the bottom line is that they wouldn’t have wound up adrift if they’d been boning already.”
Percival blinked slowly. “Pretending for a moment that I believe you, or that it would be any of our business if I did, how would that help our current situation?”
“It wouldn’t have happened!” Gwaine tried to throw his hands up in the air for emphasis, but only his left hand made it; the other stuck fast in the shackle he’d managed to forget momentarily.
“But it did. That’s not going to change, and we need to move forward from here. We’re in an uncertain, unsafe position and trying to find a way out of it. Arthur is our captain, and Leon might technically be his second in command, but we all know he relies on Merlin more than anyone else.”
Despite the gentle earnestness of Percival’s voice, Gwaine got the distinct impression he was being scolded. Worse still, as the man leaned forward and met his eyes, he thought maybe he deserved it.
“It’s not just that you’re distracting them,” he went on. “You could’ve hurt Merlin.”
Gwaine muttered, “It was just fluoric toffee,” but he had to look away to do it. They both knew it was a weak defense. To his credit, Percival didn’t push once he’d made his point. He just nodded and turned back to his console.
Gwaine let that sit for a minute, but he wasn’t going to feel too bad about it. Merlin hadn’t been hurt, after all he’d actually seemed pretty chipper about the whole thing. But Merlin was only slightly more likely than Pendragon to let him out of his bondage, which made Percival his best chance. It was time to take a shot.
“So, what do you wanna do with your life now that you’re a fugitive from one of the most powerful fleets in the galaxy? Thought about your plans at all?”
“I’m not going to work for you,” Percival said, back to not looking. “Neither is anyone else. We follow Arthur.”
Gwaine let out a frustrated snort. “I don’t see why.”
With a smile that was both mysterious and indulgent, Percival glanced over and said, “You could try it for yourself and find out.”
“Not a chance, I’m not working for Camelot.”
“Neither are we.”
Gwaine might not’ve been the most empathetic guy around, but he wasn’t a total smeghead, either. Percival’s matter-of-fact statement had a note of melancholy behind it, and Gwaine could remember his own moments of loss and directionlessness well enough that it kept him up some nights. But that had been about his family life going supernova, not the loss of a job.
“Come on,” he cajoled, “you can’t’ve been planning to stay there the rest of your life. You don’t have some deep, secret dream?”
Percival’s soft hum was non-committal. “Do you?”
“Nah. Just more of the same, I guess. I never thought I’d live past twenty, what did I need dreams for?”
“Sounds like you’ve got nothing to lose by sticking with us for a while.”
Looking around the tiny shuttle’s tiny bridge, Gwaine tugged thoughtfully at his shackle. It didn’t give. Most of his life had been guided by having nothing to lose and everything to gain, so why should this be any different?
“All right,” he declared, “you’ve won me over. Give me a position, show me where the ammunition is. I’ll play outlaws with Pendragon, at least until something better comes along.”