Character/s: Gwaine, Percival
Summary: Sometimes Gwaine gets that look in his eyes, and Percival fears that more than anything (canon era)
Word Count: 804
Prompt: 142 Wanderlust
Author's Notes: Well, here goes my first attempt at a drabble, fingers crossed. Also posted on AO3
It was maybe the one thing in this world that Percival was most scared of; more than bandits, marauding Saxons or magical beasts. It was that look in Gwaine’s eyes. A sort of faraway, distant look he got sometimes. When he got that look Gwaine would get quiet, or sometimes short and snappy, both of which were totally unGwaine-like. And then there was the telltale twitchiness, the drumming of his fingers, the tapping of his foot.
Percival recognised all of these signs now and did the only thing he could, the only line of defence he had when faced with Gwaine’s free spirit, his hatred of being tied down to one place. Percival persuaded Arthur that there hadn’t been a patrol out to the western-most reaches of the kingdom for several months and that he and Gwaine were the perfect knights for the job. To be honest, he was surprised that the King had gone for it. Percival’s reasons for volunteering for long patrols with Gwaine had gradually gotten thinner and thinner, but Arthur didn’t seem to have noticed. Unless, of course, he had and recognised Gwaine’s bouts of restlessness for himself.
Gwaine didn’t really relax until they’d left the castle behind them, a small shape in the distance as they rode at a leisurely pace. Percival could sort of understand it. Camelot weighed heavily on him too at times. He found the unfamiliar formalities and politics difficult to deal with. He hated trying to remember which fork to use, and being sneered at because his reading skills were a work in progress. Most of all he hated how people would smile and say one thing only for Gwaine to explain to him later how they’d really meant something totally different. So he could understand Gwaine’s sigh of relief as Camelot vanished below the horizon.
What he didn't understand was Gwaine's need, his compulsion to wander, to be on the move, to be somewhere unfamiliar where everyone was a stranger. Percival knew it was fun sometimes to see and do new things (when no one was trying to kill them) but what he enjoyed most of all, after their patrols, was having a home to go to, having Gwaine to go to.
“Is it so terrible?” He asked tentatively that night as they lay on their backs, staring at the stars lighting up the sky. Gwaine’s head was pillowed on his shoulder.
“Is what so terrible?” Gwaine raised his head slightly to peer down at Percival. The larger knight continued to study the night sky.
“Staying in one place? In Camelot?”
“Oh.” Gwaine said before falling silent, thinking.
Percival decided to plough on while he still had the nerve for it. “Is it the place?” He asked, “or the people?”
“Neither…both.” Gwaine frowned, sitting up as he tried to explain something he didn’t entirely understand himself. “Its knowing that there’s so much out there.” He gestured vaguely at the darkness with one hand. “So many things I haven’t seen yet, strange places I haven’t been. Adventures I haven’t had.”
“You don’t have to stay because of me.” Percival’s voice was small and miserable all of a sudden as he voiced his deepest fear. “I don’t want you to be unhappy because of me.”
Gwaine snorted impatiently and Percival could just about make out the expression he wore, the one Gwaine reserved especially for when he thought Percival was being particularly dense. He reached for Percival’s hand, raising it to where they could both see it and the ring Percival now wore on his finger.
“I gave you my ring Perce. It’s not a loan, it’s not a temporary thing. I gave it to you forever, because we’re forever – so don’t you go saying stupid things like that, because then I have to say sappy things to you and we both know that brings me out in hives.” He kissed Percival on the nose before settling back down. “Adventures are boring on your own anyway.”
“Maybe we can persuade Arthur to let us have a holiday?” Percival mused, letting his fingers play through Gwaine’s hair.”
“Maybe we can at that. We can say it’s for your education? Widening your horizons, something like that.”
“I’d like that. Maybe we could see the sea?”
Gwaine twitched in surprise. “You’ve never seen the sea?”
“No.” Percival blushed, still embarrassed on occasion by the limits of his village upbringing.
“Well, that’s decided then.” Gwaine grinned into the darkness, already planning. “A trip to the coast. I’m sure I heard a rumour in the Rising Sun last week about… Ah, about a sea monster that’s scaring the fishermen down there.”
Percival wrapped an arm tightly around Gwaine, feeling a weight lift from him despite the weight of the other knight’s head against his shoulder. Gwaine wasn’t going anywhere. Gwaine was his.