Title: The Way to a Boy's Heart (Is Through His Love of Pie)
Character/s: Gwaine, Leon
Summary: Gwaine doesn't understand everyone's fascination over crushes. Leon explains what having a crush on someone is like using a subject Gwaine knows very well: apple pie.
Word Count: 924
Prompt: #207: Crushes
Author's Notes: Takes place after Send-Off but reading Send-Off isn't required. All you need to know is Leon used to go to the same school as Gwaine (which is how he knows everyone) but he now goes to a different school.
"Lance has a crush on Gwen."
Leon laughed, the warm sound easily carrying through the trees as Gwaine propped himself up on his side to look at him. Leon had thrown an arm over his face but that did nothing to stop the continuous flow of laughter spilling out of him. Gwaine reached over to pull Leon's arm away from his face, peering down at his friend as Leon tried to catch his breath.
"What's so funny?"
"That's your news?" Leon asked, sounding more amused than surprised as he looked up at Gwaine. "That's not news. Lance has had a crush on Gwen since before he knew what to call it."
Gwaine flopped back down on his back again. "I still don't get what's so funny."
"You made such a big deal about it," Leon said. Just by the sound of his voice, Gwaine could tell that Leon had turned his head towards him. "You said there was big news at school today, so big that you wouldn't tell me what it was until we walked down here, and it's just that Lance has a crush on Gwen?" Gwaine glanced at Leon, who had turned his head to look at him. He was smiling but it was kind, not teasing. "That's like the news reporting that the leaves are falling in autumn. It doesn't really need to be said."
Gwaine huffed a bit, trying to hide his disappointment at his big news falling so flat. "Tell that to everyone else at school."
"It's all they could talk about!" Gwaine threw his arms out, letting them fall heavily with the weight of his very long day. "Lance told Elyan before class started and Elyan told me and Merlin during break. By lunch everyone knew and no one wanted to talk about anything else for the rest of the day!"
Leon nodded, Gwaine assumed since Leon made the humming noise he made when he nodded. "That happens at my school too. Everybody likes gossip as long as it isn't about them."
Gwaine stared up at the trees above them as he thought about what Leon said. Leon was right as usual, as he was about many things but that didn't mean Gwaine understood everyone's fascination with such a simple piece of information any better. He sighed, reaching up in vain for the apples on the branches above.
"I still don't get why it's such a big deal. Why do we care who has a crush on who?"
"Because everybody wants to know if the person they have a crush on fancies them too."
"But why?" Gwaine questioned, dragging the words out. "What's so great about thinking one person is better than everyone else?"
"It's not thinking they're better. It's..." Leon went quiet and Gwaine watched the wind rustle the leaves as he waited for Leon to find his thought. "It's like they're your favorite," Leon said after a moment. "Everybody else is still good but you prefer them. They make you happy."
Gwaine pushed up on his side again. "They make you happy?"
Leon shook his head, his brow pinching as he disagreed with himself. "That's a bad example." He paused to think again then turned towards Gwaine. "You know how you like apple pie?"
"I love apple pie," Gwaine corrected.
"Right," Leon said, rolling his eyes. "You love apple pie. So you think it's better than every other dessert?"
"So much better that you won't ever eat other desserts?"
Gwaine frowned and shook his head. "No, not like that."
"Exactly," Leon said, sounding like he'd reached the conclusion a few steps ahead of Gwaine. "Not like that because other desserts are still good. You still eat cookies and cake and ice cream but you prefer apple pie. It's your favorite." Leon smiled but then his eyes fell from Gwaine's and he settled back on his back. "Having a crush on someone is like finding a person who makes you feel the way you do about apple pie."
Gwaine watched Leon for a few seconds, waiting for more, but Leon stayed quiet, his eyes fixed to some point overhead. Gwaine laid down again, searching the branches for whatever it was Leon saw that he didn't. A light brush of fingers against his arm brought Gwaine's attention back to the ground and he turned his head to see Leon looking over at him.
"Does that make sense?" Leon asked.
Gwaine studied Leon's face, his expression soft and familiar but somehow different, as he thought about what Leon said. He thought about apple pie and how he preferred it because it was his favorite. He wouldn't say no to other sweets but he would always choose apple pie if it was an option. He thought about how apple pie made him happy.
He thought about what Leon had said about Lance having a crush on Gwen since before he knew what to call it.
Leon was right as usual, as he was about many things.
"No," Gwaine lied. Leon looked sad for a fleeting moment which made Gwaine say the first thing that came to mind. "But it made me hungry."
Leon smiled, barely, but he did smile, easing the sudden heaviness in Gwaine's chest. "Everything makes you hungry."
"Not everything," Gwaine argued.
"Name one thing."
Leon laughed, the warm sound easily finding a home in Gwaine's chest, chasing away any lingering heaviness with a gentle, loving heat that seemed to warm Gwaine from the inside out.
Like the perfect piece of apple pie.