Summary: Arthur is back to Camelot and he need some advice
Word Count: 933
Prompt: 115. Metanoia
Author's Notes: Not beta'ed (I'll post the beta'ed version later) Part of my "My special one" series.
As soon as Arthur regained his rooms he called a servant and asked for a bath and a light supper. His conversation with his father had been tiring. He had listened to Uther’s reproaches dutifully. And when he had felt anger rise in his chest, he had remembered Merlin, waiting for him in Ealdor. If he wanted to find a way to be reunited with Merlin, he ought to stay in his father’s good graces.
Now, though, Arthur needed to relax and he knew the best way to do it. As the servants brought the tub and started to fill it, he asked one of them to tell the steward he wanted to spend the night with Gwaine.
When the tub was full, Arthur dismissed all the servants and took off his clothes. When he entered the hot bath, a deep sigh escaped his lips.
That’s when he heard the knock on the door.
Gwaine came in and shut the door behind him.
“Come here.” Arthur gestured to the little stool next to the tub. Gwaine sat on it. He knew what was expected from him. He took the cloth left by the servant and wet it before washing Arthur back with firm strokes.
“So, you’re back.” Gwaine said casually as he put water on Arthur’s head.
“Yeah… I found him and… I had to stay with him if I wanted him to trust me again.”
“Did you manage that?”
Arthur nodded then let Gwaine wash his hair.
They continued their ritual in silence. Gwaine washing Arthur and setting his nightclothes on the bed as Arthur lounged in the tepid water. Gwaine drying Arthur and helping him dress before going in the bath himself for a quick wash and joining Arthur in bed. There, Gwaine leaned against the headboard as Arthur nestled against him, his head on his torso. It was the position Arthur took when he wanted to talk and if Gwaine had had any doubts about their activities of the night, they were dismissed.
“So? Merlin and you? Is it serious now?”
“I… I don’t know yet. I… We’ve grown closer when I was in Ealdor but I didn’t confessed my feelings… I think he knows, though but it’s still too soon.”
“So you haven’t found a solution?”
Arthur shook his head. Gwaine was the only one to know about Arthur’s feelings for Merlin and about his want to be with the boy. There was still one thing Gwaine didn’t know and Arthur though it was perhaps time to talk about it.
“Gwaine… What would have you done if you hadn’t been a… slave?” the word was still hard to use for Arthur but he had to say it.
Gwaine looked surprised by the question but he kept stroking Arthur’s hair and answered.
“I probably would have worked in my uncle’s farm… Spent too much time in the tavern… Knocked up a girl or two… And married the most persevering one.”
“Do you regret becoming a…”
“A slave sold to entertain some beautiful Prince?” Gwaine interrupted. “No, I don’t… I met you, Arthur and you’re a great man whatever some people may say… And… I found my happiness here.”
Gwaine last sentence was said with a dreamy look on his face and Arthur wondered if there was a hidden meaning behind his words. It wasn’t his place to ask, though.
“I want to change things, Gwaine… I… I want this to stop!”
“The slaves… It’s not fair! I… I saw the young boys in Ealdor, playing in the meadows, helping their parents, running through the village, playing tricks to the elders… They’re free. Every child in Camelot should be free. Nobody should be trained to please a nobleman that will use them as a sex toy. Nobody should be sold. No parents should have to sell their children to be able to survive!”
Arthur felt tears prickles his eyes as he finished his tirade. He had though a lot about all this in the past weeks but he had never voiced his thought like this.
“Wow… He really changed you.” Gwaine said, looking at Arthur.
“Merlin… He’s changed you, deeply. You know, when you came back with him, I was a little jealous. He wasn’t even trained and you seemed to like him so much… Now, though, I’m glad you’ve brought him here.”
“I’m glad, too.”
Arthur smiled for the first time then and Gwaine put a kiss on his forehead.
“You’ll find a way, Arthur, I’m sure of it.”
“I really hope so… I just don’t know where to start…”
“Why don’t you try the beginning…”
“Still the smart one, I see!” Arthur joked.
“No! I’m serious! If you want to change things, you have to learn why there are like this, learn the history behind the tradition.”
“Wow… There really is a brain under the shiny hair!”
Arthur’s mocking owned him a slap on the head.
“Hey! You can’t hurt the Prince!”
“You’re not a Prince in bed! That’s what you’ve said!”
Not knowing what to say, Arthur resolved to use less chivalrous measures… And Gwaine was so ticklish!
They ended sprawled on the bed, laughing, breathless.
“Thanks Gwaine.” Arthur murmured as the slave took him in his arms and put the covers around them.
“It’s my pleasure!”
Arthur smiled. Gwaine’s advice seemed like a good one… Start from the beginning. Learn the history. As he closed his eyes, Arthur decided he would go to the library first thing in the morning. He hadn’t any time to loose. He already missed Merlin so much.