Title: The Game
Pairing/s: Merlin/Arthur/Lance/Gwaine, Morgana/Elaine(OC)
Character/s: All the above plus Galahad(OC)
Summary: It's just grass, mud, and a rugby ball
Warnings: Menage a quatre
Word Count: 941
Author's Notes: Yeah, I wanted more fluff, specifically boys being cute parents fluff...
Galahad threw the rugby ball to his father, more than a little wide, and Lance dived to catch it. It had been a while since he’d last praciced, though, and he fell through the air, landing in grass-stains and a dandelion clock. On the patio, drinking from beer bottles, Arthur and Gwaine winced in unison, then burst into laughter when Lance sneezed at the tickling seeds, blowing the whole head out in one.
Brimming with laughter, Galahad seized his chance and ran past Lance’s head, picking up the discarded ball on his way and heading for the still under construction flower bed behind him. Lance picked himself up, crawling on his hands and knees after Galahad, but two year-olds move surprisingly quickly and he stepped over the edge of the grass with an air of glee, pressing the ball into the dirt.
“Daddy! I win! I win!”
“Yes, you do,” Lance told him, standing up and picking Galahad up, swinging him up over his head. Galahad shrieked with laughter, and Lance kept him at arms length, assessing the damage to his clothes.
“Your mother is going to kill me when I hand you back, you’re all dirty.”
Galahad just grinned, so Lance sighed and pulled him in for a hug, a Galahad-shaped muddy imprint attaching itself to his t-shirt.
“Come on, now, let’s give you to your Uncle Arthur to look after while I get you clean clothes.”
“Clean?” Galahad looked up at Lance and pouted. Lance just smiled.
“Yes, clean, you muddy thing.”
“Are you alright?” Merlin asked, getting up from his seat, “I couldn’t see over these two being mean and laughing.”
“I’m fine, Merlin, I’ve had worse falls. Galahad’s had worse falls.”
Lance deposited Galahad in Arthur’s lap and a kiss on the corner of Merlin’s mouth.
“I didn’t mind them laughing, the sneezing was pretty funny. And I’m fine. Promise.”
Arthur had Galahad sitting on his lap and was telling him stories of rugby games in his school days, or maybe at uni, or the team he played in at work. Galahad couldn’t quite understand what was going on yet, but the words jumped out at him, try and catch and line-out. He was mesmerised by the way Arthur’s hands, and then Gwaine’s as Arthur recruited him too, moved to map out the play of the game. Merlin, sitting back down again, fussed over Galahad’s muddy face, trying to keep him clean and safe.
Lance turned back in the doorway and smiled. As his steps retreated into the house, there was just Arthur’s voice:
“One day, Galahad, you’ll be as good as that. No, better.”
It’s the final game in the under-eighteens school championship and the rugby pitch is lined with proud parents and girlfriends and, in a few cases, boyfriends. There are precious few minutes left of the game, and both sides have scored only once, with a conversion on one side and a penalty on the other giving them tied scores. There’s a line-out, and both sides are aware that the outcome of it will make or break the game for them. The captain of the home team throws the ball along the lines and Galahad jumps, carried high by one of the team. He snatches the ball from the air and throws it to Gareth, his best friend, who runs with it. The ball goes from Gareth to the captain and then a few others before Gareth has it again, sprinting towards the goal line with Galahad just behind him.
In the crowd, Arthur and Gwaine and Lance are shouting, and they’ve even carried Merlin into the enthusiasm too, because he’s cheering away. Elaine is silent, holding Morgana’s arm and watching closely, because she knows just how badly Galahad wants this.
And then a defender appears out of nowhere, and Gareth has to think fast. He passes quickly and Galahad catches, weaving between players and sprinting faster than he ever has before. The defenders follow him, but he’s faster, and he dives for the goal line, spraying mud up all over his kit and his face and his forearms.
He stands up again, grinning, but there’s still time left running and it’s time enough for the other side to get a try, if the right pressure was put on them. There’s only one way to end it for certain, and that would be to convert the try. The captain nods at Galahad, and his grin widens. He follows as the referee walks the ball back onto the pitch, and Galahad tells him to stop when the angle looks right. He gets into position and closes his eyes for a minute. There, it’s just the smell of the grass and the mud and the memory of the feel of the ball, the love of the game. He opens his eyes and holds onto that image, looks straight between the goal-posts where he wants the ball to go, runs, and kicks.
The ball sails straight between the posts, and they’ve won. The other team can’t claw it back now, there’s not enough time. They play the rest of the game like an act, going through the motions, because there’s no time for either of them to score. When the referee blows the whistle to end the game Galahad rides out on his team’s shoulders, and his family, Elaine and Lance and Arthur and Morgana and Merlin and Gwaine all cheer him on. Because they’ve watched him all this way, and he’s turning out to be just what they wanted for him, loved and kind and talented and beautiful and, most of all, happy.