Title: Heartfelt Promise
Character/s: Lancelot, Gwaine, Gwen, Arthur
Summary: He couldn't stay here. But he had no choice.
Word Count: 1000
Prompt: Sir Lancelot
Author's Notes: None really.
Lancelot sighed as he watched his friends chatting amiably together. Gwaine was trying to persuade Leon he would have far more fun accompanying them to the tavern than sorting out the guard rota, but his pleas were falling on deaf ears. Lancelot could understand both points of view. Leon took his duty seriously, a feeling Lancelot could relate to. But he also didn’t relax enough and Lancelot could understand why Gwaine wanted him to come with them. They hadn’t been here for that long and although they were working with Leon and Arthur daily now, they still hadn’t got to know the two of them. Not the way they had got to know each other.
Lancelot smiled sadly and began to turn away.
“Where do you think you’re going?” Gwaine demanded loudly, having somehow seen the movement despite Lancelot believing he had been looking the other way. He forced his face to stay neutral.
“I’ve got some things to take care of. I’ll join you later.”
Unlike with Leon, Lancelot had accompanied the group that Gwaine just shrugged and let it go. Lancelot liked the man, but he was a bit too forward sometimes and he couldn’t believe the way he spoke to the prince on occasion. But he knew he had a good heart; Merlin wouldn’t be such good friends with someone who didn’t. Thinking of Merlin made him hurry into the castle. He knew his friend wouldn’t understand, and he had no intention of being caught out.
For Lancelot was leaving.
He had come to do as he promised. He had helped Arthur and their friends regain Camelot from Morgana. He had protected those he cared about and fought hard to right some of the wrongs in the world. But that was done now and despite his knighthood and his new set of duties, Lancelot couldn’t help but feel as if he didn’t belong here. It wasn’t as if he felt out of place, he was hardly the only newcomer and Gwaine’s outgoing attitude was landing him in more trouble than Lancelot could ever hope to achieve on his own. But there was someone making him feel as if he was just nothing more than a spare part and Lancelot hated that feeling.
Moving into the castle, he hurried along the corridors, marvelling at how well he knew his way around already. Merlin had taken it upon himself to give them all tours when they had arrived back in Camelot and the memory still brought a smile to Lancelot’s face. There were somethings he would miss more than he could say, and it was those things that gave him pause for thought about what he was doing.
But then he heard them. The two voices that he wanted to avoid. His heart told him to run, to get as far away as possible so he didn’t have to witness something that would only cause him pain. His feet, however, were already moving him towards the source. Before he knew what he was doing, he was looking into a room and seeing Arthur tenderly cup Guinevere’s face, a smile on his own.
That was why Lancelot had to go.
It was getting harder and harder to see Gwen looking back at him, the warmth of friendship in her eyes. Lancelot knew he had always been a dreamer and nothing would ever happen between them. He had been young when they met, full of foolish hopes and dreams, despite what those dreams had cost him. Although he hadn’t believed it at the time, Gwen had been just a girl then as well. Her expression had spoken of excitement and the wonder of something new. But she was a woman now. He could see it in the depth of her gaze when she looked at Arthur, the sure movements she now made, certain of her place and determined to make a difference if she could.
She had made up her mind though. Lancelot’s place was no longer by her side. He shouldn’t have left her all those years ago… Slipping away again, he only made it to the next corridor before he heard them leaving their hidden room. He tried to straighten up and appear in control, but as Gwen rounded the corner, his heart flipped.
“Lancelot.” A warm smile was on her face and it hurt so badly. She simply didn’t know how deeply in love Lancelot still was. Gwen saw him only as a friend and her gestures suggested at nothing more as she touched him on the arm.
“Gwen,” he murmured, trying to remain calm. She laughed at his formality.
“Oh Lancelot,” she hooked her arm through his as they walked down the corridor and he trembled at her touch. “It’s good being back, isn’t it?”
Lancelot didn’t know what to say, but Gwen didn’t notice.
“I’m glad you’re here, you know. You’re the only one to beat Arthur in a fight. Well, apart from Gwaine but I don’t trust him the way I do you. If anything should happen to Arthur…”
“It won’t,” he interrupted. “I promise. I’ll keep him safe, you have my word.”
As Gwen turned to beam up at him, Lancelot felt the locks slide into place. He was trapped here now. For he knew he did still have the power to make Gwen happy, even if it was just by keeping the man she loved safe. And now the words had crossed his lips, Lancelot knew there was no taking them back. He was a man of his word, after all.
“Thank you,” Gwen murmured, the utmost sincerity in her voice. She leant up on tiptoes and kissed his cheek before slipping away. She turned a few paces down the corridor. “I knew I could count on you.”
“Always,” Lancelot replied automatically before watching her leave. Sighing, knowing there was nothing he could do about it, Lancelot went to find Merlin instead. At least he could brood with him and Merlin would understand.