Title: The Problem with Touch
Rating: R for violence
Pairing/s: Gwaine/Percival, Arthur/Merlin (off-screen)
Character/s: Percival, Gwaine
Summary: Percival didn’t like to be touched.
Word Count: 423
Camelot_drabble Prompt: Bingo 2021: Percival
Warnings: past memories of rape, typical Merlin violence
Author's Notes: unbetaed,
Disclaimer: Merlin characters are the property of Shine and BBC. No profit is being made, and no copyright infringement is intended.
Percival didn’t like to be touched.
Children were fine. They weren’t dangerous, their little faces full of wonder and cute smiles and a little bit of avarice, too, where sweets were involved. Wiggling around like puppies, giggling, with a thousand questions about the world on their lips. Joy and possibilities were kids and Percival could relax among them.
Adults, on the other hand, were dire warnings not to show his gentle side. They could take and rend and gut without remorse. Burn villages with children still inside and snicker as the kids screamed, turning into cooked meat. Fuck men and women and laugh when they died, bleeding out even as the soldiers took their pleasure.
No, Percival didn’t like to be touched.
Gwaine loved to be touched, loved to touch, too. Always with a smile and a mug of ale to ease himself into dire straits and out again. More of a grown-up kid than anything else, and sometimes he made Percival smile, too.
Percival didn’t understand it, though. After all, Gwaine had seen the same world as Percival, full of death and destruction and pain. At least Lancelot backed off when Percival explained things, but Gwaine seemed to rip past those barriers, right into Percy’s heart.
He recognized the danger. Giving into feelings, friendship and maybe something more, would only bring grief in the end. He had found that out as a teenager, watching his mother beg for Percival’s life even as the soldier rammed himself into her. And when he tossed her body aside, Percival’s vision grew red and hot. He didn’t remember much after that. Other than his mother was dead and the soldier in gory bits.
Percival did like being with a group, though, one formed in camaraderie and purpose. Fighting against Cenred’s army was satisfying.
Cenred had done nothing to stop his soldiers, the ones that destroyed Percival’s life, even seemed to revel in the carnage when Cenred finally came to see what his army had wrought. They didn’t help Percival bury the dead nor did they look at him with anything like pity, but instead there was avarice in their gaze, sizing him up for sale. Luckily, Percival knew where to hide until they finally gave up and left, villagers’ bodies still mouldering in the sunlight.
Arthur seemed a different kind of king, but more importantly, Cenred was dead because of him. The night they vanquished Cenred’s army was a wonder, filled with celebration and laughter and drink.
And that’s when Percy let down his guard.