Title: Take Note of My Heart
Character/s: Gwaine, Leon
Summary: On two different afternoons in the apple orchard, Gwaine has two very different but very important questions.
Warnings: Time jump, sappy boys
Word Count: 997
Prompt: #208: Picture Prompt (Do you like me?)
Author's Notes: Follows The Way to a Boy's Heart (Is Through His Love of Pie).
Gwaine trailed behind Leon as they walked through the rows of trees, hands stuffed in his jacket pockets, thoughts a mess in his head.
The weather had cooled in the time since their last visit to the orchard. They both were wearing jackets and trousers, Leon also sporting a red knit scarf hanging off his neck. He was carrying the basket his mother gave them when they left the house; it was full of apples, red and crisp and ripe, the best they could pick from the trees without a ladder. Leon’s mother always let them have first pick of the apples as soon as they came into season. From their harvest Leon’s mother would make tarts and turnovers and Gwaine’s mum would make his favorite: apple pie.
The thought seemed to warm the inside of Gwaine’s chest but he couldn’t know for sure if the cause was the promise of pie to come or the self-satisfied noise Leon made as he dropped the basket of apples beneath the last tree in the row.
“I told you I could carry it on my own,” Leon said with a smile.
He looked so proud and pleased with himself that Gwaine barely noticed how the warmth in his chest seemed to grow with Leon’s smile, agitating the feeling that his mum described as butterflies in his stomach. In Gwaine’s opinion it was more like a bunch of cats batting at his heart, making it beat faster and louder than he could ever remember. He shrugged as he walked up to the tree, his hand closing around the piece of paper in his pocket.
“But you did it so slowly,” Gwaine teased.
Leon rolled his eyes. “But I did it.”
“I bet you can’t carry it back to the house on your own.”
“No,” Leon said, shaking his head. “I’m not falling for that. It’s too far. If you want any of these apples, you have to help me carry them back to the house.”
Gwaine sighed. “I guess that’s fair.”
“It’s very fair,” Leon said, kicking some branches out of the way before taking a seat next to the basket.
Gwaine sat down next to him, dropping the paper from his pocket in among the apples when Leon wasn’t looking.
He didn’t know if writing the note was a good idea. He didn’t know what had compelled him to do it other than hearing from Merlin (via Elyan) that it had worked for Lance when he gave one to Gwen. He didn’t even know why he needed to know so badly but he did; he needed to know if Leon also felt the warmth and the cats and the new confusion centered around a person he knew so well.
He needed to know if Leon had a crush on him too.
Gwaine mumbled his agreement when Leon suggested they have a snack, watching intently as Leon sifted through the basket looking for ones to eat right away. He handed an apple to Gwaine then paused, his brow creasing beneath his hair as he pulled the crumpled ball of paper from the basket. He glanced at Gwaine before carefully starting to open and smooth out the paper in his hands.
It was the first time all afternoon that everything in Gwaine’s body went quiet and still.
Gwaine felt like he was twelve again, watching intently as Leon unfolded the note he’d dropped into the basket of apples. They’d come a long way from his first note, written hastily on a piece of paper torn from his notebook, ‘Do you like me?’ printed above two boxes offering a yes and no option. That note had been the start of something different, something new, a subtle shift in their relationship and the new note Leon held in his hands could also be the start of something new.
It had worked once; it could work again.
He waited, staring at Leon’s face as Leon read the note, unable to read Leon’s reaction as he usually could. Leon looked up at him after a moment that felt like hours, his surprise obvious when he saw the ring and pen Gwaine held up in either hand.
“I remembered to bring something to write with,” Gwaine said, fixing the tricky situation he’d put Leon in almost twenty years ago.
Leon laughed, the sound warming Gwaine’s heart, giving him hope as Leon took the pen from him and pressed the note up against the side of the basket. He carefully marked one of the boxes before returning both the note and the pen to Gwaine.
He’d checked yes.
The box labeled yes under the question ‘Will you marry me?’
Gwaine breathed a sigh of relief, brandishing the note with a grin. “This is a written agreement,” he said, tapping the paper with his finger. “This is binding.”
“I should hope so.” Leon’s smile stoked the warmth in Gwaine’s heart, encouraging Gwaine to grab the ends of Leon’s red scarf and pull him close. “I wouldn’t want you to take back your offer.”
“Never,” Gwaine said, shaking his head. “You’re stuck with me.”
“I suppose that’s my burden to bear.”
“When am I a burden?”
"When are you not?"
Leon leaned forward to kiss Gwaine, forgoing the rest of the discussion and, in Gwaine’s opinion, forfeiting the debatable point. He let the thought fall away as he pushed towards Leon, wrapping his arms around Leon’s neck, getting lost in an indulgent moment beneath the trees as they had many times before. He made sure the ring found its place on Leon’s hand between kisses; it fit perfectly just as they’d always fit into each other’s lives.
Eventually they separated, brushing leaves and twigs from their hair and clothes, and picked up the basket of apples to carry back to the house, ready to embark on something different, something new, a subtle shift in their relationship and they would meet it just as they always had.