Title: A Minor Detour, Part 18
Character/s: Gwaine, Merlin, Percival
Summary: “Hey, pretty boy.” Gwaine gripped the side of Merlin’s head and shook it, rattling him into stillness at last. “If you’re done with the holostar dramatics, we can try something actually useful to rescue your poor romantic lead in peril.”
Word Count: 1,000
Prompt: #263: Favor/Favour
Author's Notes: Part 1|10|15|16|17||All Parts on AO3
When he’d seen Papa Pendragon and his goon squad, Gwaine’s thoughts had flashed through a lot of unpleasant possibilities. First and foremost, he expected someone to try and sell him out.
Aside from his little heart-to-heart with Mount Perce, he hadn’t given any of them a reason to like him, much less risk their necks for him. Looking out for himself and only himself kept him going when he was alone and protected him among the like-minded mercenaries of his scavenger crew, but here was a group of men willing to throw away their entire lives when one of their number needed help.
Knowing that, he supposed it wasn’t so surprising after all that Pendragon Junior turned himself over, instead. Gwaine didn’t much go for the whole self-sacrifice bit—went against his whole philosophy, really—but even he could admit that it was a brassy move on Pendragon’s... on Arthur’s part.
Arthur didn’t struggle when his father’s men grabbed him from what was probably his first and last liplock with Merlin, but Merlin had enough fight in him for both of them. Perce seemed to be having a difficult time holding him back without hurting him or pulling off his creative wardrobe.
Two of the guys from the other shuttle tried talking him down, one of them standing between Merlin and the sight of Arthur’s vanishing back. Like that would make a difference. Merlin wasn’t an ultraviolet vine toad; Gwaine was pretty sure he had a decent understanding of object permanence, even if Gwaine himself wasn’t sure about Arthur’s permanence in Uther’s custody.
He didn’t think Camelot’s angry old dragon would kill off his only son, but the man could be unpredictable and violent, and so far no one had called him to account for anything he’d done.
Not successfully, at least. Most people who’d tried were drifting in frozen pieces among the asteroid fields of Avalon, though there were plenty scattered other places around the galaxy.
That memory, one that Gwaine tried his hardest to push away during his waking hours, was what decided him.
“Merlin. Merlin! Stop it, listen—”
Gwaine shoved in next to the curly haired one, cutting off the reassurances that Merlin clearly wasn’t listening to. Merlin’s sheet had slipped down around his arms, trapping him a little more firmly in Perce’s grip, but that didn’t stop him from trying to throw himself forward to follow his disappeared captain.
“Hey, pretty boy.” Gwaine gripped the side of Merlin’s head and shook it, rattling him into stillness at last. “If you’re done with the holostar dramatics, we can try something actually useful to rescue your poor romantic lead in peril.”
Merlin’s eyes, wet and bluer than ever against his red-cheeked anger, focused in on Gwaine. “I will go through you,” he vowed.
“If this is a ploy, if you try anything to benefit yourself at Arthur’s expense—”
“Understood.” He would’ve rolled his eyes, because that really wasn’t cutting back on the melodrama, except that he believed Merlin would make good on the threat. If he had been planning something that might’ve made him reconsider, but he wasn’t stupid enough in the first place to think it was a good idea to double-cross a couple of pining morons who were willing to go to the Gauntlet for each other.
“Look, you recently liberated Camelot types might be new to this kind of satellite of crime and villainy, but the Wander is as close to a home station as I get. I’ve got some people here who owe me favors, and lucky for you, one of them’s the boss.”
Satisfied that Merlin wasn’t going to run right at the moment, Perce let go of him and even fixed up his sheet wrap so it wasn’t falling down anymore. Merlin ignored him to stare hard at Gwaine.
“You’d call them in for Arthur?”
Gwaine’s instinctively flippant answer died on his tongue and he shrugged, looking away. He couldn’t meet Merlin’s searching gaze without losing his nerve about being honest.
“For him, no. But for all of you, I guess I would. I still think you’re all crazier than a bunch of vacuumheads, but it seems like Perce talked me into joining your group madness. I’m even passingly fond of a couple of you. Not Arthur, but we should get him back anyway.”
A hand on his shoulder surprised him; Perce, of course, beaming at him. Even Merlin was smiling, though it had a much sharper edge to it than his usual carefree grin.
“Let’s go, then.”
Gwaine raised his eyebrows at curly-Leon, who Arthur had left ostensibly in charge, and he nodded with an amused but also resigned look on his face.
He led them through the Wander at a run, because time was ticking down if they were going to have a chance at stopping Pendragon’s departure. Perce, not at all shockingly, was pretty good at forging a path as Gwaine yelled directions to him.
Alator’s “office” took up the central level of the outpost, the most defensible section with extra shielding and escape pods that weren’t meant to be common knowledge down just about every hallway. If all else failed, Gwaine figured he could get at least some of them out in those.
But first they had to be allowed through the heavily guarded doors.
It had been a bit since he last made it to the Wander, but the weapons depot near one of the secure hatches was older than he was, and he’d eat his own hair if it wasn’t still there. Sure enough, the dreadful black and chrome sign greeted him when they rounded the last corner and he pushed to the front of the group, leaning onto the counter to catch his breath for all of two seconds before flashing his most impressive smile at the unimpressed shopkeeper.
“Hey, beautiful. Did you miss me?”
“No. What do you want, Gwaine?”
“Gwen. Princess. Wonder of the stars.” He dropped the smile. “I’m here to collect.”