Title: A Minor Detour, Part 23
Rating: PG-13/R overall
Character/s: Gwaine, Leon, Percival, Gwen
Summary: “It’s a work in progress,” Gwaine admitted. “I’m decently fond of Perce here, and Emrys has kind of grown on me. Like some kind of, I don’t know, questionably poisonous and stupidly optimistic alien fungus.”
Word Count: 1,200
Prompt: #281: wlm-1200
Author's Notes: Part 1|10|15|20|21|22||All Parts on AO3
His luck of late being what it was, Gwaine didn’t expect to be let out of the chamber until Morgana had reached a decision about his fate. Or not ever, at least while he was still breathing, if that was how she decided. Which, again, would be just his luck. He’d been lucky long and often enough in his life that it was bound to turn at some point. And as good as he’d thought his fortune was when it happened, it seemed like coming across the stranded Camelot shuttle was that turning point for him.
Then again, maybe it was just Merlin who was his bad luck charm, because as soon as the only mostly hapless navigator and Morgana had left for dinner - and Gwaine still wasn’t sure that wasn’t a euphemism for something terrible - someone showed up to kick Gwaine back out into the corridor where the rest of the group was waiting impatiently.
“Where’s Merlin?” demanded one of the guys from the other shuttle who Gwaine hadn’t bothered to meet yet. At the same time, another of the same group demanded, “Where’s Arthur?”
“Don’t know, don’t care,” he answered them respectively, more out of habit than actual apathy.
It wasn’t a popular response, judging by the way he got shoved up against a wall by pretty-and-in-charge. Leon, that one he knew. The others crowded around, variations of anger in their faces and words. Perce just aimed a disappoint frown at him, and a man that size just should not have been able to make himself look so small. Even Gwen looked like she’d expected more from him, when she should’ve known better than any of the rest of them.
Of course, for once in his life he really hadn’t done anything to deserve that disappointment. Run his mouth a little, sure, but he’d done what he said he would. Merlin was as safe as anyone could be when on the run from Camelot and throwing themselves at the mercy of the merciless Wayfarers’ Wander. Arthur’s fate was a little less certain that that even, but that was in Morgana’s hands now.
“Easy, easy,” he urged the outraged crowd. “Your boy’s fine. For now, at least, but whatever happens to him after this is outta my control. I left him with the commander and she said she’d help with your captain situation. That’s all I can do.”
Leon’s grip loosened, but didn’t relax entirely. “Then why did you say you don’t know or care? How are we supposed to trust this over that, trust you?”
“I talk a lot of smeg. It’s part of the reason I don’t play well with others.” Gwaine flashed a grin that felt more like a snarl, even though he wasn’t angry. “But I’m doing it, and you’re trusting me, because every last one of us is out of other options.”
When he pushed back against Leon’s hold, Leon let him go. “I’m trying,” he said as sincerely as he could without making himself feel sick with it. “I’ve thrown in with you lot and I’m going to make good on that, but I’ll get things wrong sometimes. It may not surprise you to hear that I’ve never actually had a crew I cared about before. I’m not always going to remember to treat you like the guys I’m used to dealing with.”
That much honesty didn’t sit well with Gwaine; you didn’t bare your soul to scavengers unless you wanted them to use it to rip your bowels halfway out your arse then strangle you with them. But since even the young, sweet-looking kid in the back didn’t seem too far off from doing just that himself, and since Gwaine was stupid or soft enough to actually mean it, he didn’t have anything to lose by it except his pride.
And wasn’t that just the story of his life lately.
At least it paid off. The angry press of bodies stopped being quite so angry and pressing, and he could breathe again. The Wander’s circulation system was bigger and more robust than his (former) ship or the shuttle he’d been on, so the air he pulled into his lungs didn’t even burn stale the way he was used to.
Though Leon didn’t look murderous anymore, he also didn’t look entirely convinced. “Since when do you care about us?”
“It’s a work in progress,” Gwaine admitted. “I’m decently fond of Perce here, and Emrys has kind of grown on me. Like some kind of, I don’t know, questionably poisonous and stupidly optimistic alien fungus.”
The Camelot cadre liked that comparison a lot more than Gwaine had expected. Laughter broke out all around and the last of the remaining tension melted away as everyone grinned and nodded and nudged each other.
“Merlin has that effect on people,” one of the pretty boys from the other shuttle said. They were all pretty boys, really; did Camelot grow them that way? “People either love him or hate him, but there’s not much ambivalence.”
“Yeah, I kinda got that idea already. And that the Pendragon opinion is split.”
Everyone’s mood fell at the reminder, but it was something they needed to address, so Gwaine pushed on.
“I don’t know how well Papa and Pendragon Junior are handled yet. Morgana just promised to stop him long enough for Merlin to do whatever he needed to get Arthur back from him, and as far as I know he didn’t have any kind of plan for that. She didn’t seem too concerned about logistics; I’m sure she has something up her pretty purple sleeves already.”
Leon took a step back and looked around the group. When Gwaine followed his lead, he noticed for the first time that Gwen had slipped away at some point. He didn’t blame her, this was even less her fight than it was his and she already got her payment, but it might’ve been nice to have her on their side. She was sharp as an ionic spike, plus she had an entire storeroom full of blasters and other fun things.
But she hadn’t stayed, so he let it go and paid attention when Leon repeated, “Right. Arthur and Merlin got themselves into a mess again and we need to save them again. I need a team to try and scout out the admiral’s shuttle. If it’s still here, find it and keep eyes on until we know where everyone is. Someone here if and when Merlin comes back. One to check our shuttles and make sure no one’s set up on them, and to be ready to take off fast if we need to.
“The rest—” Leon grimaced, coming up against the limits of their manpower. “The rest I want to split up and poke around, keep your heads down as much as you can in these uniforms. See if you can overhear anything, maybe ask a few questions if it seems safe. We’re looking for where our captain and Merlin are. Someone has to have seen them.”
“You want me on that last job,” Gwaine told him. “I know the place, I know the people. I can get what you need. Trust me.”