Title: Long wait
Pairing(s): Merlin/Arthur, Percival/knights
Summary: Gwaine and Leon aren’t back from a patrol when they should be and Percival is very worried. Merlin and Arthur try to distract him.
Word Count: 631
Author's Notes: Sorry, not beta’d. Lots going on here atm and my trusty beta already did a last-minute-emergency-beta on another story. And atm, I’m even worse with titles than I usually am….meep!
Percival looked out of the window and didn’t really listen to what Arthur said. Two chairs at the round table were empty. Gwaine and Leon were missing. They weren’t exactly missing, but they should have been back from patrol two days ago. Percival sighed and tried to concentrate on what Arthur was telling them.
When the meeting was finally over and the knights left the room, Percival took great care to put his chair back in place. He didn’t feel like going back to his chambers. From there, he didn’t see the courtyard and would miss his friends’ return, if they returned tonight.
Merlin came over and smiled reassuringly. “They are alright, don’t worry.”
“They have to be.” Percival swallowed hard. “They should have been back already, though.”
“I know.” Merlin nodded. “But with the weather like this, changing from sunshine to rain to sleet, everything freezing over at night only to thaw again in the morning…it’s probably difficult to make it back here. I’d rather they stay at some inn somewhere on the way than putting themselves and their horses in danger.”
Percival knew that Merlin was right but it didn’t make him worry less.
“You’re more than welcome to spend the evening with Arthur and me. It’s not good to be alone at winter solstice.”
Blinking, Percival looked at his friend. “You mean…?”
“I mean,” Merlin’s eyes twinkled with mischief, “that we can have a mead or two in front of the fireplace and just talk. Or you can stay the night if you don’t want to be on your own.”
Arthur passed them by, patted Percival’s arm and nodded.
“I don’t think I’m good company tonight.” Percival sighed.
“You can see the courtyard from Arthur’s chambers.” Merlin smiled. “With Gwaine, you never know. He might push through just to spend winter solstice with you.” He winked.
A slight blush showed on the big knight’s cheeks and he smiled carefully. “There is just no predicting of what he will or won’t do.”
“Come, then.” Arthur guided Percival out of the room with a hand on his back.
It took Merlin a while to get the room warm and cosy. The fire in the fireplace burned just bright enough to warm the room but not to roast the men in front of it, there were lots of candles burning and the curtains weren’t drawn, so they could look outside any time they wanted while the rain had turned into very watery snow.
Percival didn’t participate in the banter between the king and his manservant. He didn’t talk much on a good day and this was definitely not one of them. He appreciated not being alone, though, and that they left him the space he needed but pulled him out of his thoughts once in a while.
The candles had burned down and Arthur stretched and yawned. “Let’s get to bed.” He looked at Percival.
“I…maybe I should just…”
“Perce…” Merlin smiled softly. “This is not an invitation for activity. We just don’t want you to be alone tonight. You’re worried and if you go back to your chambers, you will only toss and turn…”
“I might do that here as well.”
Just as Arthur took a deep breath to say something, they heard commotion in the courtyard and hooves on the cobblestones.
Percival was up in no time, checking at the window. “It’s them!” He ran out of the chambers and down the hallway before either Merlin or Arthur could react.
“I should go to greet my knights.” Arthur straightened up.
Merlin grinned when he looked out of the window and saw Percival rushing down the stairs to first kiss Gwaine and then Leon as a stable boy led their horses away. “Don’t bother, Percival has everything under control.”