Title: Blades of Avalon
Character/s: Gwaine, Leon
Summary: At the first competition of the season, Gwaine discovers that Leon is injured.
Word Count: 1066
Prompt: #402 - "Whatever you're going to ask, the answer is no!"
Author's Notes: I'm sorry for being late! Here is a figure skating AU because I couldn't focus on anything else.
Gwaine let out a warm breath in the cold air of the arena.
The start of a new season was always brimming with anticipation. A new season meant new competitors, second chances, and new opportunities to entertain crowds from the ice. There was a tangible buzz in the air - the collective hope of every competitive skater in the world that this would be their season. The energy crackled through the country, through the city, into the arena and came to die at a single, solitary point in the stands.
A solitary point wearing a Team Great Britain jacket.
Gwaine waved at Morgana as she skated by in the rink before making his way up into the stands.
The arena was more or less empty; public practices this early in the season only attracted family, coaches, and the most dedicated of fans. There was no one seated in the empty north section except for Leon which made it very easy for Gwaine to saunter over to him, taking the steps up two at a time.
The ambient temperature seemed to drop as Gwaine moved into the row where Leon sat and he saw the black, medical-grade boot on Leon's right foot.
The rumors were true.
Gwaine fixed a smile to his face and sat down next to Leon.
"Hey Leon," he said as if nothing was wrong.
"Go away, Gwaine."
The dismissal rolled off Gwaine like water off a duck.
"If you really wanted to be alone," he said, trying to catch Leon's eye, "you should try to be less predictable. Everyone knows that when Celeste is on the ice, you'll be right there cheering her on."
Leon looked only at the ice, not even glancing in Gwaine's direction.
The first group of women's singles competitors was warming up. Leon's sister was among them, skating long, easy laps around the rink while Morgana looped back and forth in the middle practicing her new jump. This was Celeste's first year in the senior division. She and Leon had waited a long time for this; they had always dreamed of taking singles gold at Nationals in a family sweep.
Gwaine glanced at Leon and ventured out again.
"Hey Leon, I was wondering if-"
"Whatever you're going to ask, the answer is no."
"You haven't even-"
"No," Leon said as cold as the ice in front of them. "No, I don't want to grab a bite with you. No, I don't want to watch whatever video you have on your phone. No, I will not skate pairs with you."
Gwaine grinned, leaning in closer. "It would be just like Blades of Glory!"
Leon turned to him then, frustration and anger etched in his face.
It was enough to make Gwaine pull back.
"No," Leon said firmly. "Now please, go away."
Gwaine slipped his hands into his jacket pockets as Leon turned back to the ice, tension settling between them like a wall.
A vast, impenetrable wall.
Leon was only two years older than him but it had often felt like they were worlds apart. It was hard to believe that they started their skating careers in the same little skate club back in Ealdor. A good year for Gwaine was whenever he qualified for Nationals but Leon regularly competed and reached the podium in both the European and World championships.
He could only imagine how devastated Leon was to be injured now at the start of the season.
"Does it hurt?" he asked, knocking on the wall.
Leon clenched his jaw, keeping his eyes on the ice, and shook his head.
"How long do you have to have that thing on for?"
Leon visibly flinched. He turned his head away, his shoulders rising like defenses.
"That long, huh?" Gwaine sat back as he did the math in his head. "You probably have to withdraw from Skate America and since that's a Grand Prix event, you won't qualify for the Grand Prix Final. And depending on how long you have to be in rehab, you might have to sit out of Nationals too."
Leon continued to stare at the bench beside him. He was unnaturally still.
"You'll still qualify for Europeans based on your scores from last season but will you be skating by then?"
Leon didn't move; it seemed like he wasn't breathing. He reminded Gwaine of Lance, stunned into shock by the blow he and Gwen received two years ago when Lance broke his leg - the same blow that struck Gwaine in the chest with a sudden rush of realization.
"Are you out for the season?" he asked gently.
Gwaine waited a long moment for Leon to turn towards him. Leon's anger was gone, the wall crumbling under barely restrained despair.
"Leave me alone," Leon said, almost pleading. "Please."
Gwaine nodded and stood.
He hadn't imagined that the situation was that bad when he heard the rumors, or even when he sat down. Leon was starting to reach an age where there was talk of him retiring from the sport. Gwaine knew there was one thing he had yet to achieve, one thing that drove Leon on year after year.
Losing a whole season to injury would only make it that much harder for him to beat Arthur.
Gwaine looked back. Leon had dropped his head into his hands, his fingers curling in against his face.
It was a sight that concerned more than just Gwaine.
"Hey Leon," he said, taking a few steps back down the row.
Leon looked up. He seemed to have lost all resolve.
"Look at it this way," Gwaine said, forcing himself to flash Leon a smile. "If you can't stage a comeback next season, you can always beat Arthur to retirement. No one would see it coming."
Leon considered Gwaine's suggestion. "They don't give medals for retirement," he pointed out.
"I'll make you one, just like old times."
Leon stared at him, unmoved, for what felt like ages.
"Can you even spell 'retirement'?"
Leon laughed as Gwaine lunged at him with no regard for Leon's injured foot. Leon moved with surprising agility, slipping out of Gwaine's reach as he used the stairway railings to propel himself down to the lower levels. Gwaine gave chase past the rink, relief making him feel light with hope.
This wouldn't be a regular season - but at least it was off to a better start.