Title: Paint Swatches
Character/s: Gwaine, Lancelot, Arthur, Merlin
Summary: Sort of a character study...
Word Count: 593
Author's Notes: So I went off into another little character study thing, because I'm actually useless right now... -sigh-
Gwaine hates choices. No matter what form they come in. Options of food, turns of the path, or something more important. He shies away from them, letting life blow him in its breeze.
There have been things he’s stood up for, of course. When he left his family and their plans for him and joined the Force. When he chose Merlin and Arthur and Lance. But other than that, he’s ridden on what life’s given him, and that’s been fine, that’s been great. He loves living life that way; its immediacy, its spontaneity.
Lance watches him sometimes and wonders what a life without choices would be like. Less stressful, he thinks, as he battles between taking a career turn that would move him away from the men he loves but advance him far more than he could ever imagine, and staying where he is. He wishes he could just let things happen, no regrets. But that’s not the person he is.
And it’s not that he feels a greater responsibility for these things than Gwaine, because Lance can see the goodness, the rightness within Gwaine. Has watched him stand up for things he believes in. But even then, it wasn’t a choice. Just something Gwaine does. Easy as breathing. Lance wishes he didn’t have to think so much.
It’s worse for Arthur. His decisions have always been scrutinised from a distance. And even now his father’s dead, and with him the source of his self doubt, it still remains. He overthinks. Second guesses himself. It’s an almost physical effort to force himself down to one opinion.
If he could distance other people from the decision, he would be fine. But it’s what others will think, how it will affect them, that keeps Arthur fretting, worrying at the cuff of his shirt.
It’s like when they were choosing paint for the hallway. For some reason none of them quite understood, Elaine had brought them the swatches from the DIY shop. And Arthur had the casting vote on the colour. And he just couldn’t bring himself to decide. Because it was the paint for the hallway, the first impression that a visitor got of their house. Asked which colour he liked better, Arthur could choose easily. But asked to decide on something so important for their home, and he’d dissolve into a mess of playing with his hair and looking to the others for their reactions. It’s not like there was some sort of moral code he could fall back on for something like this; after all magnolia had already been discarded as a choice. He just… couldn’t, when others were involved.
It’s sweet that he doesn’t deem himself worthy to be deciding for another, but at the same time it’s bloody annoying for the others. Especially when the choices is something along the lines of deciding how he’ll take his sex…
Merlin, like Arthur, is used to difficult decisions. But in many ways he handles them better. He will weigh up the pros and the cons, and he will distance himself. Make himself as cold as he can. And then he will choose. And if he later goes back on that choice, well, at least he made a decision in the first place. It’s not as if it’s set in stone forever.
His mind works in the same way as Arthur’s, sometimes. So sometimes he’ll make a decision for Arthur, and it’ll be the one Arthur wanted to choose but was too afraid to. And it will be alright. After all, it always is.