Title: Scars Are Not the End of Healing
Character/s: Gwaine, Leon
Summary: Gwaine has a theory as to why Leon has been avoiding meals and nights at the tavern. He is unexpectedly right.
Warnings: Vague mention of battle injury
Word Count: 940
Prompt: #227: Beautiful
Author's Notes: n/a
Gwaine had a theory.
It seemed unlikely, even to himself, given the specific person his theory surrounded. But as the days wore on and his absence only became more noticeable, Gwaine couldn't help but think that there was more truth to his idea than he originally gave himself credit for.
Which was how he came to be following Leon's squire through the castle corridors as the boy carried a tray of food to Leon's room.
The squire let himself in unannounced, closing the door behind him without even a glance into the hall. Gwaine followed after a moment, knocking loudly on the door to announce his uninvited presence.
The room was empty apart from Leon and his squire, the boy caught off guard as Gwaine strode into the room, nearly spilling the wine he was pouring. Under the tray of food he'd brought, the table Leon sat at was covered with maps, letters, and other manners of work that Gwaine guessed wasn't actually pressing enough to require him to take his meal in his room. He kicked out a chair on the opposite side of the table, dropping into it as Leon seemed to find his voice.
"Gwaine, what are you-"
"Having a private meal in your room?" Gwaine asked, swinging his leg over the arm of the chair. "What happened to all that talk about unity and equality and the relationship with the man beside you?"
Leon frowned, as Gwaine expected him to. "Those are all important to the morale of a fighting force-"
"And yet you're here," Gwaine said, sweeping his arm out to encompass the room, "in the privacy of your room instead of down in the hall with us."
"I'm busy," Leon said, gesturing to the papers strewn over the table.
"And last night?"
"I've been busy."
"And the night before that?"
"Gwaine, this may come as a surprise to you but I do not answer to you. I don't have to justify my actions to you in any way."
Gwaine shrugged, sagging lower in the chair as he did. He glanced at Leon's squire, the boy standing quietly off to the side, wine pitcher still clutched in his hands. He looked to Leon again, still frowning, his food untouched, looking every bit like himself - but with the new addition of a long scar running across his face.
"I suppose you don't," Gwaine said, pushing himself up right. "I just came to see that you weren't avoiding everyone because of that."
Leon's expression fell as Gwaine drew a line across his own face, indicating Leon's scar. He dropped his head, looking down at the papers under his hand in no real meaningful way. Gwaine glanced at Leon's squire again, dismissing the boy with a cant of his head. The boy didn't have to be told twice. He put the wine pitcher down on the table near Gwaine and quickly and quietly left the room.
"I never expected you, of all people, to be so affected by something like vanity," Gwaine said when the door was closed.
"It's not, I'm not..." Leon sighed, folding his hands together as he tried to collect his thoughts. He still refused to look at Gwaine. "I am aware that a person is more than their appearance but... I'd become accustomed to my appearance. My mother praised it when I was boy and some women of the court found it favorable and now... it's different."
"It's just a scar, Leon. You have others."
"Not here," Leon said, pointing at his face. He looked at Gwaine as he did before remembering what they were discussing and dropping his head again. "It's not the same."
Leon didn't volunteer any other thoughts. He kept his head down, his food untouched, his whole demeanor weighed down in a way Gwaine hadn't expected. Gwaine tolerated the silence for a long moment before pushing himself up out of the chair and walking over to where Leon sat. He touched a hand to Leon's chin, turning Leon's face up towards his without much resistance. The cut had been long and deep and the scar running across Leon's face was prominent even though the cut had healed. Gwaine touched the raised skin on Leon's cheek briefly with his thumb.
"What did your mother used to say?" he asked.
"She would say that I had a prince's face and a soldier's heart," Leon answered, quiet and a bit sheepish.
Gwaine laughed, smiling as he held Leon's gaze. "She was right. You could give Arthur some good competition." Leon tensed, ready to argue, but he stilled when Gwaine pressed a light kiss to where the scar started on his forehead. "Even now."
Leon stared at him, his mouth slightly parted, as Gwaine firmed his hand under Leon's chin and leaned down to kiss him again. He had no other response to the deep look of gratitude in Leon's eyes.
"I will leave you to your meal," Gwaine said, still close enough to Leon that their breaths mingled. He smiled and was reassured when Leon smiled slowly in return.
"Thank you, Gwaine."
"No need to thank me," Gwaine said with a wink. "I look forward to seeing you at dinner tomorrow night."
Leon's expression hardened into something familiar. "You will see me at training in the morning."
Gwaine shrugged as he approached the door. "Whichever comes first."
"You will be at training tomorrow morning or I will come and drag you out of bed myself."
Gwaine grinned in the face of Leon's threat, hanging off the open door as he laughed before showing himself out.
"I'm glad to see you're feeling better, Leon."