Title: A promise
Character/s: Elyan, Percival, (a lot of) mentions of Gwen and Arthur
Summary: The time when Percival did all the talking. Set after 4x10.
Word Count: ~800
Prompt: #7 - family
Author's Notes: It can be also read as friendship, I suppose, or maybe pre-slash.
Lately Percival had been distant; not in a very noticeable way, the usual teasing between the knights was still there, but it lacked this strange something that they had, the unique Percival-and-Elyan thing.
That was why Elyan was so surprised when, after the incident with the Druid boy, he awoke in his room only to find Percival sitting by his side.
They were quiet long enough for Elyan to process what was going on. He tried not to wince when he suddenly remembered that the last time he saw Percival he got punched in the face. Something must have shown in his expression, though, because Percival only grinned at him knowingly, unapologetic.
Elyan didn’t really mind. He was thankful, actually – because in the end preventing him from harming people was a favor, and they both knew it.
“I was an idiot,” Percival said suddenly, startling him. “I was... wondering, why you didn’t follow your sister, to make sure she was safe.”
Elyan closed his eyes, sudden understanding washing over him like chilling water. He knew what happened to Percival’s family, though he wasn’t sure why Percival chose to explain his behavior to him now.
“I tried not to judge you harshly.” Percival's tone was matter-of-fact, but his face unsure. “But I didn’t understand.”
In retrospect it wasn’t terribly surprising, and maybe Elyan should have seen it coming. Before he managed to say that it was nothing, that he understood, Percival continued.
“Maybe I do now. I saw that you were upset with Arthur, and when it all started I thought surely… I thought you were mad. And I realized that it was better to have you on our side, and that maybe you staying here was also for her. It’s not my thing to know.”
Elyan nodded, desperately trying to think of what to say. His head still felt a little funny, but it was so weird to have Percival talk while he couldn't utter even a word. Gwen didn’t ask him for anything before she left; they were both equally awkward around each other, when he went to see her one last time. He couldn’t excuse her actions even to himself, but he hated the price she had to pay. It was terribly unfair that she had been exiled from the place she loved. She left just like he did all those years ago, but while he run on his own free will, she was chased away. He couldn’t help but think there was something ugly in the fact that he left Gwen and father when they still needed him, and now Gwen had no chance but to go when he was back with all the honors of being a king’s chosen knight.
But he had responsibilities towards Arthur too, and Gwen’s eyes told him what her lips didn’t; stay with him, protect him, be here in my place if I can’t. At the moment it had felt like the only thing he could truly do for her.
And yet just a few hours ago he’d been burning with the need to kill Arthur, and by doing so – to wrong his sister once again, maybe even in the worst possible way.
Lost in his own thoughts, he only noticed that he hid his face when he felt Percival’s large hand on his arm.
Pushing away the feeling of shame to deal with later, he focused again on what Percival was telling him.
“I’m sorry for what happened, my friend.”
Elyan blinked and looked at the knight sitting by his bed. Percival’s eyes were focused on his, his face open and sincere. Elyan didn’t know what Percival was sorry for; the distance of the past few days, the Druid boy, or for Gwen.
Maybe it was all of this; Percival liked to cover many things with as few words as possible.
He swallowed, nodded, unable to turn his gaze away. If there was one thing that made everything just slightly better now, it was the soft affection in Percival’s eyes and suddenly the whole meaning of his words hit Elyan square in the chest: my friend.
We’re all friends here, he’d said earlier, right before knocking Elyan out and preventing him from making another attempt at Arthur’s life. It hurt, the realization that Percival could be unsure as to where exactly he stands with Elyan – even after all the time they spent together. That his words were as much a statement as they were a question.
Elyan had abandoned his family once before, and came back to dead father and his sister a little wiser, her eyes a little more tired. Now, feeling Percival’s warm hand still on his arm, he swore that he wasn’t going to let himself make this mistake again.