Title: Encouraging Courage
Character/s: Arthur, Gwaine, Leon
Summary: Back at Hogwarts, their friends know about Gwaine's and Leon's new relationship. Arthur has questions.
Warnings: Hogwarts AU
Word Count: 750
Prompt: #282: Word Limit Month: 750
Author's Notes: More Hogwarts AU. Follows a few months after Summer Course in Muggle Studies (Part 3).
“I have a question.”
Gwaine looked up from his work to see that Arthur had sat down across the table from him. He was empty handed, no books, no parchment and quill, suggesting that he wasn’t there to ask about ancient runes.
Which was great; Gwaine hated ancient runes.
“Not the best time, Princess,” he said looking back down at his scrawl of notes. It pained him to think that he'd written those notes and he still didn't understand them.
“But neither of you have told me exactly how this started.”
Gwaine looked to Arthur again, feeling the last of his patience being tested.
“How what started?”
Arthur nodded in Leon’s direction.
Gwaine turned to look at him, smiling despite his annoyance at Arthur and ancient runes. Leon had the same book open in front of him, the same work set out before him, but he lacked any of the pain Gwaine felt for the subject. He actually seemed to enjoy the work. He progressed diligently, making notes in a Muggle notebook Gwaine had given him, isolated from the rest of the library not by a charm but by Muggle headphones, another gift from Gwaine.
He humored Arthur, his mood slightly lifted.
“What are you asking me, Princess?”
“How did…” Arthur trailed off, looking down at the table as he traced a long knot in the wood. “You and Leon, you’ve been friends a long time before... you know. How did you know?”
It’s like Arthur was trying to be more annoying than ancient runes.
“How did I know what?”
“That Leon liked you.”
Gwaine laughed, forgetting his place for a moment. His sudden burst of noise earned him some glares from nearby tables but Leon, surprisingly, didn’t notice. Gwaine shook his head as Arthur waited on an answer, his brow creasing in a way that meant he thought Gwaine was making fun of him.
“I didn’t know that Leon liked me,” Gwaine explained. “I had no idea how he felt. Up until he kissed me, I was sure he didn’t like me at all that way and I had no chance.”
Arthur’s brow creased even further but his expression had changed to confusion.
“If you didn’t know, then why did you invite him to visit during the summer?”
Gwaine shrugged. “Wishful thinking? I don’t know. I just wanted to see him, outside of Hogwarts, away from everyone else.”
“Why does that matter?”
“You know it matters.”
Arthur nodded reluctantly, his gaze falling to the table again before rising slowly but steadily to a point over Gwaine's shoulder.
Gwaine turned to glance at the stacks behind him. He wasn't surprised to see Merlin re-shelving books, a pile of returned books floating along beside him. Arthur's feelings for Merlin were well known by practically everyone except Merlin. How Merlin still didn't know was beyond Gwaine; Arthur's undisclosed affections practically radiated off of him any time he looked in Merlin's direction.
Gwaine hoped he'd been a little more discrete.
"Look, Arthur," he said, drawing Arthur's focus back to him. "I don't really know what to tell you. I don't know what I'm doing. I don't have a lot of experience with this stuff. All I know is that I'm bloody thrilled Leon was brave enough to do something because I honestly don't know if I would've and we wouldn't be here if he hadn't. So," Gwaine shrugged, "be brave."
Arthur rolled his eyes. "Be brave? That's your advice?"
"I'll remind you that you came over here to ask me a question."
"Fair point." Arthur gave a final nod and pushed up from the table, away from the conversation. "Thanks, Gwaine."
He watched Arthur take a strange route out of the library, one that kept him away from the stacks where Merlin was working. He shook his head as he stuffed his notes and work into his book. He leaned over to slide one side of Leon's headphones off his ear.
"I'm done," he said with a smile. "You want to go walk down to the lake?"
Leon took a moment to process what he said. "You're not done," he said, reaching for Gwaine's book.
"I'm done for today." Gwaine pushed Leon's hand away from the book, leaning in more until he could steal a quick kiss. "Come down to the lake with me?"
Leon pretended to resist before a smile warmed his face.
They were outside of the castle before Leon thought to ask.
"Did I see Arthur earlier?"