Character/s: Gwaine, Leon
Summary: The act of being walked to his front door at the end of a date would always be a little strange to Leon. Although tonight it was mostly because the man standing with him at his front door was not his date.
Warnings: Modern AU
Word Count: 946
Prompt: #209: Stranded
Author's Notes: n/a
The act of being walked to his front door at the end of a date would always be a little strange to Leon.
Possibly because he started dating in a time when very few people still walked their dates to the front door. Possibly because he was a man who dated men and they were even less likely to participate in the ritual.
Although tonight it was mostly because the man standing with him at his front door was not his date.
He kept his hands in his pockets as he watched Gwaine look around at the trimmed hedges lining his walk. Leon's garden was small compared to Arthur's or even Gwen's and Lance's but he still tried to keep it in good shape. It didn't thrive as much as his neighbor's did; a light breeze easily carried the scent of blooming flowers from two houses down. Gwaine noticed it too, judging by the slight tilt of his head as he took a breath.
Leon cleared his throat. "Thanks again," he said when Gwaine looked up at him, "for coming to get me."
Gwaine shrugged, an easy grin warming his face. "I couldn't just leave you stranded out there. Is the guy going to get you your wallet back?"
"Yes," Leon nodded. He checked his mobile to confirm. "Declan found it on the passenger seat of his car. He said his assistant will bring it over tomorrow."
Gwaine groaned, rolling not just his eyes but his whole head for emphasis. "His assistant?" he asked, leaning on the word as if it offended him. "What exactly does this guy do again that he needs an assistant in order to run out on your date?"
"He's head of surgery at Central Memorial Hospital."
Gwaine rolled his eyes again but his gaze didn't come back to meet Leon's. "Right. What did he leave for? The royal baby need stitches?"
"There was a power failure on the hospital's grid and not all the generators came up."
"So Doctor Declan to the rescue."
Gwaine shook his head, failing or choosing not to return another lob of banter. An uncharacteristic silence worked its way into the flower-scented air, every unspoken breath more noticeable because they were demarcated by smell. Leon was considering the keys in his pocket when Gwaine spoke to Leon's front door.
"You know if you didn't aim so high, you wouldn't get stranded at remote three star restaurants. Your date would leave you at some local pub and you could just walk home."
"It's not me."
Gwaine glanced at him.
"Declan, George, that small airline CEO," Leon said, counting past dates off on his hand. "I didn't pick out those guys and decide to date them. My grandmother did. I went on the dates to make her happy."
"Your gran chose everyone in that posh parade?" Gwaine asked, a smile beginning to tug at the corner of his mouth.
Leon shrugged, relaxing into the gesture. "She has very specific tastes."
"Posh," Gwaine said. He used his 'posh voice' which was anything but posh although it always made Leon laugh.
"And blond," Leon added. "Why are they always blond?"
Gwaine flipped his hair back and then made a big show of shrugging his shoulders. The second bout of laughter had already escaped Leon before he could stop himself. He could hear both his laughter and Gwaine's melding together as they bounced off the neighboring houses and echoed on the quiet street. Gwaine noticed it too, judging by the way his grin grew with every bounce.
"Although I don't appreciate the suggestion that even on a regular date the guy would walk out on me."
Leon had meant it as a joke but Gwaine sobered instantly, his demeanor changing so quickly Leon could almost felt the whiplash.
"I wouldn't do that to you."
"I, I know."
The air seemed to clear as they looked at each other, making space for the next word or phrase that would act as a bridge over the precarious gap between them. Leon couldn't smell the flowers any more. He could only see Gwaine and he could only feel the desperate push for him to be brave.
He heard himself speak. "It's getting late."
Gwaine looked disappointed in him for the briefest moment but his smile was back in the blink of an eye.
"Yeah, it is," he nodded, taking a step away from Leon's front door. "Good night, Leon."
Leon forced the words out. "Good night, Gwaine."
He watched Gwaine leave through the garden, opening and closing the gate to get to his car parked out on the street. Leon dropped his head as he reached for his keys.
Leon's head snapped up embarrassingly quick. "Yes?"
Gwaine draped his arms over the gate, leaning forward on it. "Do you want to test it?"
"That I wouldn't leave you in the middle of a... date."
Leon tried not to let his smile get away from him but Gwaine's hopeful grin ruined any and all chance of that working.
"How would we test it?" he asked.
"Have dinner with me tomorrow?"
"At the pub?"
"The pub sounds great," Leon said before Gwaine could second-guess himself.
Gwaine straightened up, beaming as he pushed off the gate. "I'll pick you up at seven?"
Leon nodded. "That sounds great."
"Yeah, it does," Gwaine agreed, holding his car door open. He met Leon's gaze and smile once more, subtle and sweet like the scent of flowers that curled back to them on the breeze. "See you tomorrow, Leon."
Leon took a breath and smiled, giving into the rush of anticipation.
"See you tomorrow, Gwaine."