Title: A Minor Detour, Part 25
Rating: PG / R overall
Character/s: Gwaine, Percival
Summary:Gwaine had a goal. Really, Gwaine had three goals—maybe four, depending on how precisely he broke it down—but at that particular moment, he had a solitary goal and he was pursuing it with a single-minded dedication that he’d only ever committed himself to once before in his life.
Warnings: Reference to child abuse
Word Count: 937
Prompt: #347: Goals
Author’s Notes: Previous parts on AO3
Gwaine had a goal.
Really, Gwaine had three goals—maybe four, depending on how precisely he broke it down—but at that particular moment, he had a solitary goal and he was pursuing it with a single-minded dedication that he’d only ever committed himself to once before in his life. Back then, every tick of every day-cycle had been focused on getting himself out of his dad’s estate, off of his homeworld. He’d set himself that mission the day he had more years behind him than electrostatic charge burns on his back and decided he didn’t want to wait around for the number to even out, and he’d accomplished it within a week.
More than twice as old and with much more than twice the life experience gained in that time, he wasn’t planning to spend a whole week on his new purpose. Which was a good thing, because he definitely didn’t have a week; an hour, maybe, but even that was pushing his luck. Or, more accurately and importantly, pushing Merlin and Pendragon’s luck. They seemed to have more than their fair share of it, to be sure, but it had to run out sometime and Gwaine didn’t want that to coincide with his first real chance to prove himself to his new crew.
Fortunately, Gwaine made his own luck. He’d tapped out his favor from Gwen, as evidenced by her disappearing act, but he had people all over the Wander who owed him more than she did and he was ready to collect.
He was ready to collect with Perce’s assistance, because some of the people he needed to visit probably thought they’d been freed from their obligations when he got on Morgana’s bad side and weren’t going to be happy to be wrong. Gwaine didn’t have any of his own weapons, thanks to the Wander’s laws, and he didn’t have any of Gwen’s weapons, thanks to her adherence to the Wander’s laws, but he could at least show up with some muscle. Percival wasn’t the type to break open heads on anyone’s say-so, much less Gwaine’s, but he sure looked like a man who could. And he probably wasn’t going to let anyone else break Gwaine’s head open, which was the part that mattered most.
So Gwaine and Perce had a goal. A shared goal. A shared goal that was about more than making money together and then going their separate ways. It was nice, in a way he didn’t really have time to reflect on as he led them at a steady jog through one of the most maze-like sections of the Wander. He could maybe see why people bought into the whole smeg about being part of a community. He wasn’t jumping whole-heartedly on board yet, but it wasn’t a bad go for his first shot at it.
“What’s the plan?” Perce asked. With his long legs, he barely had to hurry at all to keep up with Gwaine.
Trying not to reveal how out of breath he was in comparison, Gwaine waved carelessly and ignored the muttered protest when his hand hit something that felt face-like. “You know, this isn’t really a plan sort of situation. We’re running around until we find someone who’s going to be useful, then making them be useful, then doing it again until we’ve accomplished our goal.”
“You were right, that really is nothing like a plan. You think it will work?”
“I know it might be hard to believe with your background, bud, but I have actually achieved great success in my life and this kind of lack of foresight is exactly the way to do it.”
Gwaine startled to a stop when Percival’s hand lowered onto his shoulder, even though there was no force behind it to hold him in place. It was just a friendly touch, a warm palm giving unexpected but not unwanted reassurance.
“Of course I believe you.” Perce’s voice was soft, too, offering privacy despite the people bustling by on their own business all around and the close metal walls that bounced every sound into the furthest reaches where anyone could hear it. “I never doubted that you’re good at what you do, Gwaine. I haven’t seen you at work much, but it’s definitely been enough to know that. I just don’t think it makes you happy the way you think it should.”
He didn’t have a good answer for that, or a good word for the feeling in his chest that was tight but warm at the same time. He also didn’t have the luxury of dealing with it before they dealt with everything else going on, so he put on a crooked smile and said, “Tell you what, how about we sort out keeping your friends alive and maybe even getting them out of here, then if we’re still doing okay on the other side of that you can explain what any of that meant just now.”
Perce scoffed and rolled his eyes, but even that was gentle; aside from that, he let Gwaine get away with the misdirection. “Okay, sure. Back to the not-plan. After you.”
With a nod, Gwaine took off again, almost at a run. To make up for lost time, not to get away from the uncomfortably comfortable moment. Besides, he knew that no matter how fast he went, Percival’s steady steps would be right behind him, ready to back him up no matter what happened.
What happened, fairly soon after that, was Cornelius Sigan and a whole lot of arguing cut short by Perce making a single thoughtful noise at an appropriate moment in the discussion.