Summary:In the central London police station where he had been working for seven years, Percival was known as the “Old ladies favourite” or the “Puppies saviour”.
Warnings:mention of past violence
Word Count: 971
Author's Notes: Dear eurydice72, like last year Merlin Holidays, it looks like our love for Percival has brought us together! ;-) I hope you'll like that little piece!
Thanks to the mods for organising the exchange once again!
Disclaimer:Merlin is owned by the BBC and Shine. No copyright infringement is intended and no profit is being made. Don't send us to the dungeons
In the central London police station where he had been working for seven years, Percival was known as the “Old ladies favourite” or the “Puppies saviour”.
He had earned these nicknames in his early days when he had, more than once, helped the weakest to his best.
Percival loved these nicknames as he knew his partners also knew he was brave and zealous.
Though, at first, Percival had been weary amongst his partners, afraid that they would discover why he had decided to enter the police in the first place. Of course, they did learn his story but nobody even made a comment about this and, in the end, it only earned Percival more respect.
When he was only twelve, Percival came back home after school hoping to enjoy a quiet evening with his mother and his little sister. He had found their bodies in the living room. There had been blood everywhere.
A few weeks later, Percival had learned it had been a burglary that had turned wrong. During these awful days, Percival had received support from the policemen and he had always been grateful for that.
Growing up, he had decided that he wanted to help the other himself and went to the police school.
That’s how Percival found himself patrolling the streets on Christmas Eve. As a single man with no familly, he had volunteered to work on that night.
The streets were nearly empty as everyone was at home to spend the evening with their beloved (loved?)ones. Percival was working with Elyan and they were meant to patrol around the district, looking for anything amiss but they both knew it was probably going to be a calm night.
As they were inspecting the vicinity of the tube station, Percival noticed the figure in the small alley. He came closer and recognised him.
The man, sitting on the floor, looked up at Percival.
“Merlin, what are you doing here tonight? You were supposed to spend some days at the shelter!”
“Didn’t feel like spending Christmas with strangers.”
Percival sighed, Merlin was a stubborn guy.
“Perce? Is everything alright?” Elyan asked from the other end of the alley.
“Yeah, I’m dealing with this and I’ll catch you, ok?”
Elyan nodded, used to Percival’s ways of doing things and went back to his patrol.
“Merlin…” Percival said again, kneeling next to the young man. “You should go back to the shelter… They can help you.”
“No they can’t! I don’t need warm coffee and talking with old ladies!”
Merlin had never wanted to go… And Percival could understand him in some way. Merlin as homeless for three years. He had lost everything when his mother died after a long illness. She was his only familly. From what Percival had gathered from his conversations with the young man, she had had debts and he hadn’t been able to find a job as he wasn’t finished with his studies.
Merlin had asked his friends for help but nobody had done anything so he had grown weary of people wanting to help him.
Since their first encounter, Merlin had become a personal challenge for Percival who wanted to help the man. Though, everything he had tried had been useless so far.
The only thing that had changed in the last two years were Percival feelings. He couldn’t explain why but he had grown attached to Merlin, more than he should have. These feelings were haunting him, everytime he saw Merlin he felt guilty. How could he desire a man that needed help? How could he think about his smile or the feeling of his skin when Merlin couldn’t even eat every day?
Percival hesitated. Seeing Merlin alone in this dark alley on Christmas Eve was too much too bear. He didn’t care if what he was going to do was unprofessional. He had to do it.
“I… I’m finishing my patrol in half an hour. Come home with me tonight. I have a friend’s room and… I’m not working tomorrow so… If you want, of course, you can stay tomorrow too… We could eat take out and… Watch films? Or whatever.”
Merlin didn’t answer immediatly and Percival was afraid he had lost the man trust and reduced all his efforts to nothing by being selfish.
“I’m not a lost puppy, you know.” Merlin answered finally, his voice blank.
Percival smiled internally. If Merlin had knew about his nickname…
“I know… I’m not trying to save you. I know you don’t want any help, you’ve told me often enough. I’m offering you a Christmas present. A night and a day and then you do whatever you want.”
“And what if I find you couch so comfortable I’m not leaving?” Once again, Merlin’s voice didn’t let any emotion through. “Though, I don’t molt…”
“I prefer the armchair so no problem with me.”
Merlin smiled. Not a bright smile, not a really happy one neither but it still felt like a victory for Percival.
“I’ll wait for you here.”
Percival smiled too and stood up.
“I’ll go back to the police station grab my things and I’ll be back in less than an hour.”
Of course, as Percival jogged to catch up with Elyan, he knew that Merlin could have said yes but leave before he’d come back. Though, something inside was telling Merlin would be there, waiting for him.
Percival had no idea of what would happen on the next day but he had 24 hours to try to understand Merlin better and, perhaps, to finally found a way to help him. Christmas miracles happened sometimes, afterall.
A year later, Percival didn’t volunteered to work on Christmas Eve and his coworkers were happy to replace him, offering him some free days to spend at home, with his lover.