Title: Truth or Dare
Pairing/s: overall Arthur/Gwen, deals with sort-of Gwen/Merlin and Gwen/Leon moments
Character/s: Merlin, Arthur, Gwaine, Elyan, Leon, Percival
Summary: Fairly cracky, considering the premise: during a game of Truth or Dare, Merlin lets slip something he's never mentioned before. Canon setting.
Word Count: 1045
Author's Notes: A nod to desertrose9 for Arthur's muttered reply. ;D Also, I'm so sorry for submitting this past the cut-off time; had a minor issue with my kids tonight when I'd planned to write, and hope this is all right.
"Lady Elise's maidservant, last Lammas Day, in the pantry.
The others stared at Gwaine. Leon cleared his throat. "In the pantry?" he tentatively asked, not sure he wanted that confirmed.
Gwaine grinned and picked up a piece of cheese from the plate in the middle of the circle they made, sitting on the floor of the throne room. "In the pantry," he said smugly, popping the cheese into his mouth. Leon looked a little ill.
He was not the only one.
"I'm not yet drunk enough for this," Elyan muttered, though the sloppy way he was refilling his goblet from the pitcher of ale suggested that, perhaps, he was.
Percival shoved his cup over for more ale, as well. "Moving along?" he begged.
"Please," Arthur seconded, wondering if it was even worth having the pantry scoured this far after Lammas Day.
Gwaine, sprawled comfortably on his side, ate another piece of cheese as he looked around the circle for his victim. "Merlin," he finally decided.
Merlin started, his eyes (which were rather glassy by that point in the evening) going wide. "Me?"
"Yup. Truth or Dare?"
Even despite his ale-induced haze, Merlin could only imagine the sorts of dares Gwaine would concoct. "Truth."
Maybe it was the ale making him feel so sanguine, but Gwaine opted to be kind to Merlin. "What was the name of the first girl you kissed?"
Merlin froze like a deer caught in torchlight. "Uhh..."
"No lies," Gwaine reminded him.
"Umm... can I choose Dare instead?"
Percival shook his head so emphatically (and had imbibed so much), he nearly toppled over. "If I could not switch when Arthur asked about my most embarrassing memory, you cannot switch just for this." The others murmured agreement.
When it became clear that he had no choice, Merlin picked up his goblet and mumbled, "Gwen," into the liquid against his lips, so that it sounded like, "Gwbbb."
"It's just a name, Merlin!" Elyan exclaimed.
"Come on, then," Arthur put in without much curiosity, poking around in the tray of food and picking up a berry.
Everyone else was staring at Merlin, waiting for his answer.
He tossed back the rest of his ale, burped, and said, "Gwen."
They kept staring at him. Arthur's eyes went to him, as well, the berry not quite to his mouth.
"Gwen," he repeated slowly. "As in Gweneth? Gwenhwyfar?"
"...Guinevere," Merlin said, rather wishing he was dead right about then.
Arthur's gaze made him think that might soon become a reality.
"I did not realize it was that common a name," Leon said.
"It's not," Elyan replied curtly. "That's one of the reasons our parents chose it."
There was another moment of silence. "I'm sure there's a good explanation," Gwaine dared to say.
The remark was like a spark to Merlin's vocal cords. "It was a long time ago-- well before you took any interest in her, and when she thought you were still a prat" --whoops, shouldn't have said that; try to talk past it-- "Remember the third time I saved your life? Or was it the fourth? The tenth, maybe. Not long after we'd met, anyway. With the poisoned wine, when I was close to death because I drank it so you would not" --was that enough mention of having saved Arthur's life?-- "anyway, I actually did die, at least for a little bit, and when the medicine worked and I woke up, Gwen was so pleased, she kissed me. But, it was brief and just out of relief and it meant nothing more than friendship, honestly." Please, don't kill me.
Arthur eyed him for another moment. If he lunged, Merlin was not sure he could get away, with how his head was spinning. Though, Arthur was a few cups ahead of him, so maybe the chase would be evenly matched.
Elyan, at least, accepted the tale. "That does sound like Gwen."
After another beat, Arthur relaxed. "You're right; it does. Though, she never kissed me when I revived from near-death back then," he muttered under his breath.
With the jovial atmosphere returning, Gwaine gestured to Merlin. "Your turn to pick a victim."
Merlin, pleased to be out of the hot seat, glanced around. "Leon." It had been awhile since Leon had gone. However, he was still a bit too shaken to come up with a good question when Leon chose Truth, so Merlin merely went with, "What about the name of your first kiss?"
Leon froze, his expression much like Merlin's had been.
"No lies, no switching to Dare," Percival reminded him firmly.
Leon's eyes darted from Arthur to Elyan. "Surely, this game does not fall under the knights' code; I don't really have to answer honestly... right?"
"Wrong." Arthur raised an eyebrow. "I'll add it in writing tomorrow, if you'd like."
"No! No... no, never mind." He drew a breath and let it out. "Gwen. Yes, that Gwen."
It was his turn to be stared at. He began to sweat under Arthur's and Elyan's stares.
"What? It was meaningless," he offered as his (weak, very weak) defense. When it was obvious he needed to explain more, he did. "Her mother worked in my house. We knew one another as children, when you were at the forge with your father, Elyan. And, when we were teenagers... almost teenagers... we just decided to give it a try one day. That's all there is to it."
Merlin had only asked about his first kiss, after all, so he did not have to mention the others that followed it that summer.
"Has anyone else kissed my wife without my knowing it?" Arthur said in exasperation, immediately holding a finger up in front of Gwaine's face. "Never mind; I don't want to know."
Gwaine reassured him anyway. "Only her hand."
"If you've got such a problem with it, why do you not share the name of your first kiss, Sire?" Leon asked.
"You did not give me a choice between Truth or Dare."
"The question's already out there, though, so it's hardly fair if you do not answer," said Gwaine.
Arthur was suddenly, intensely glad all over again that Morgana had shoved him on his backside the time he suggested it, when he was twelve and she was fourteen...