Title: Games People Play
Character/s: Merlin, Gwaine, Arthur
Summary: Gwaine’s life changed when he met Merlin.
Camelot_drabble Prompt: pt 450: Gamer
Author's Notes: I know zero about gaming. Sorry.
Disclaimer: Merlin characters are the property of Shine and BBC. No profit is being made, and no copyright infringement is intended.
Gambler extraordinaire was Gwaine. Most of his life, he would bet on anything: dice, the tortoise race at Londinum, Mercian arm wrestling, caber tossing, how far he could vomit after drinking too much ale. How many women he could shag in an hour.
It was all a game to him. The thrill of winning, the agony of losing and having to run for his life because he rarely had the funds to pay his debts. It didn’t matter. It was the action that counted, the excitement, the way his heart raced as he put down his bets. A game of life and death.
Sometimes, he thought about giving it all up. But for what? He had no friends, no family, no place to lay his head. Nothing to put his faith in, nothing but the drudgery of every day’s sameness, nothing but fighting against the despair of a life wasted.
Until he met Merlin.
Merlin’s eagerness, his joy in new adventures, in a belief of a better tomorrow, was infectious. And once the princess, cabbagehead though he was, knighted Gwaine, it was a new game.
Every day, he wondered about just how long he could keep from ruining it all. Every day was a contest in his head. Every day was resisting the pull of the road or betting on trivialities or screwing the pretty barmaid just because he could.
For a little while, he even thought about persuading Merlin to come away with him or showing Merlin the pleasures of the flesh or dragging him to the tavern for a night of debauchery and dice. He could see the sadness in Merlin’s eyes, and he wanted to gamble on turning whatever was bothering Merlin into love.
But he knew it was a game he would lose. He could see how much Merlin loved Arthur. Gwaine would always be second best. In a way, it hurt. For the first time in his life, the thrill of the hunt wasn’t enough. For the first time, Gwaine wanted to be a better man and help his friends and be worthy of Merlin’s faith.
And so Gwaine stayed and gambled on a better future.