word count: 2.5K
warnings/content: uni!AU, pining
Gwaine is not one to visit the library but he soon changes his mind when he meets a certain worker at the campus library. Now he can’t stop going.
Summary : Gwaine begins courting Merlin. At first, they keep it a bit hush-hush, a shared secret. Eventually, though, their not-so-subtle interactions (smirking, grinning, and lewd gesturing) gets them caught by Arthur, who thinks Gwaine isn’t good enough for Merlin given his loose history with women. Arthur tries to talk Gwaine down from pursuing Merlin, but their sincerity ends up surprising everyone and Gwaine shows that sometimes he’s not all talk.
You know what I like about Merlin? He never expects any praise. All these things he does just for the good of doing them.
So this is a little something I wrote, hope you all like it.
Rating: Something between T and M (?)
Character(s): Merlin, Gwaine, (mentioned: Arthur)
Word Count: 2,579
This is my first shot at writing angst, so I hope it’s not too bad.
Be kind and leave me a review in my ask box or if you reblog? Please?
Summary: Merlin fled Camelot with the help of Gwaine after Arthur found out about his magic.
The bed they were sharing was rather small compared to the kind of bed Gwaine had usually slept in when they were still in Camelot. Oh, how he missed his bed and how he missed the food from Camelot’s kitchens. The food the cook prepared for Arthur really was the best so Gwaine had sometimes been very lucky to have the king’s manservant as his best friend.
Well, more like ex-manservant now, thanks to Arthur being a royal ass.
He turned on his other side, now facing Merlin’s back, trying to get comfortable and maybe find a soft spot on the much too hard mattress.
The room they had gotten in this town really wasn’t much, it didn’t even have two beds. But still they gladly took it when they were offered to stay since it was at least better than sleeping outside in the forest on the cold, hard floor for another night.
Gwaine didn’t even know anymore how many nights ago he had decided to help Merlin with fleeing from Camelot and he wasn’t sure either which kingdom they were currently in. They had gone west for quite some time but at some point the knight - was he still a knight? - had lost orientation and he hadn’t gotten it back yet.
And he couldn’t really count on his friend’s orientation skills given his current situation.
But Gwaine didn’t blame him, never would. No matter what Merlin had been mumbling in his few hours of sleep over the past few nights, he would never ever believe that all of this was Merlin’s fault.
He carefully reached out his right hand towards his friend’s back, trying to make sure not to startle him. Even though the bed was small, Gwaine had left some space between them. Merlin hadn’t been too fond of direct body contact the last few days – which was totally understandable, Gwaine thought. The man was trying his best to get Merlin back into his normal state of mind, but as he had feared, to no avail.
As the tips of his fingers touched the skin of Merlin’s back, he could feel the warlock shivering not just slightly. However it was not very cold inside the room since it was the middle of spring and it had stopped snowing months ago.
Worry written clearly on his face, Gwaine slowly started stroking his friend’s back, drawing circles and other weird patterns on the scarred, pale skin.
To say that the last few days had been hard on Merlin might just be the understatement of the year, so maybe, even though he hadn’t been his usual affectionate self lately, maybe this sort of comfort might just be what he needed right now, even if it was not coming from the right person. Even if it was not coming from Arthur.
He could feel Merlin’s body tremble under the palm of his hand, which urged him to shift closer to the warlock, protect him from everything and everyone. Protect him from Arthur.
When everything was still okay, when everything was still right, the other knights had often joked about Gwaine behaving like some kind of big brother around the younger man, saying he had some sort of complex. Even then Gwaine had known that it was true and had never seen any reason to change anything about that. Merlin truly was like a brother to him, he was family.
And it was breaking Gwaine’s heart to hear his brother sobbing quietly, his body still turned away from him.
On the outside, he was making soothing noises to try to calm the other man down. He wasn’t really sure how to handle the situation, as he had never had to deal with Merlin like this before. But he would figure it out and he would help Merlin get better, and if it was the last thing he did, then so be it!
On the inside, however, much darker, much less hopeful thoughts were running through Gwaine’s mind. And curses. Lots of curses.
If Gwaine had been a sorcerer, the King of Camelot would probably be dead by now. The things Gwaine would do to Arthur, the things he was currently thinking about! Gwaine was scared. Not of Arthur. Not of Merlin, no, never of him! He was scared of himself, scared of what he would apparently be capable of, scared of the lengths he would go to, to protect his little brother. He was seriously playing with the thought of returning to Camelot, maybe kicking the princess… or was he a queen now? No that spot was reserved for Guinevere…
As much as he wanted to do that, and as entertaining as these thoughts appeared to him, right now he had more important things to worry about. Like Merlin, who was now trembling, shivering and sobbing and was doing anything but calming down. The older man felt lost, not quite knowing what to do with the warlock except for keeping him even closer, showing him that he was right here, not leaving Merlin’s side.
They stayed like this for a little while, Merlin’s back pressed to Gwaine’s hands and arms, their legs entwined. However Merlin didn’t appear to be getting any better and it was becoming harder and harder for Gwaine to keep this position, not being able to see the other man’s face, just feeling him tremble and hearing him cry softly.
He wanted to give Merlin his privacy, he really wanted to, but after the last few days, he couldn’t do anymore what he wanted to. He had to do what he needed.
And what he needed the most was for Merlin to get better, to be more like his old self, to stop crying dammit because Gwaine was really starting to feel cold and lost here, not knowing how to handle the situation at all. His usual jokes or witty remarks just wouldn’t cut it right now, wouldn’t do the other man any good, would probably just crush him even more.
Frustrated, the former knight of Camelot grabbed Merlin by his shoulders and turned him around, so that they were facing each other.
“Look at me.”
He kept his eyes tightly shut.
Still no answer from the warlock except for some low pitiful moans.
“Please, Merlin… Look at me.”
Gwaine’s voice sounded more and more wrecked with each passing second.
He was exhausted and about to give up again even though his conscious was protesting, when Merlin finally opened his eyes and locked them with Gwaine’s.
His cheeks were streaked with tears and his eyes were red and puffy from crying so much. However there was something else about them too, something Gwaine had never noticed before but couldn’t quite place at the moment. Frustration? Hurt? Fear? Maybe some sort of mixture of all of these things…
Plans of how to get rid of these new emotions showing in Merlin’s eyes were already forming in Gwaine’s head as he wrapped one of his arms around the smaller man, stroking his left cheek with the other hand and wiping some of the tears away with his thumb.
He held Merlin even closer as new tears started welling up in his eyes.
The words were quiet and Gwaine could barely hear them over the sound of Merlin’s sobs and moans.
“I’m so, so sorry…”
This was slowly but surely breaking Gwaine’s heart.
“I’m just… I don’t”
But he couldn’t do anything, didn’t know what to say, how to make any of this better.
He was lost.
“You didn’t have to…!”
“I’m sorry Gwaine!”
Merlin was screaming by now, apologizing over and over again, until Gwaine finally managed to get him to quiet down by pressing his face into his chest and slowly stroking his fingers through the other man’s hair.
“Merlin, shhhhh, Merlin… there is nothing for you to apologize for.”
It seemed as though the warlock was about protest, but Gwaine cut him off before he could say anything.
“Merlin, I helped you and came with you of my own free will. And I do not regret helping you, I never will, no matter what might lay ahead of us. Also, Merlin, I am not angry at you, could never truly be angry at you anyways. Nor scared for that matter.”
His breathing was slowly becoming normal again and there were less and less sobs coming from Merlin.
“Really Merlin, you have nothing to be sorry for. It’s Arthur who should be apologizing.”
Then there was silence. A deafening silence.
All right, maybe Gwaine should’ve just kept his mouth shut. Maybe he should just stop talking altogether.
And after that short moment of silence, it was as if all hell broke loose around Gwaine.
Merlin, his friend, his best friend, his brother was screaming even louder than before, trying to get out of the strong hold Gwaine had around him, pressing against his chest with both of his hands but failing to get away from the former knight. All of the candles in the room suddenly lit up, reminding Gwaine and probably Merlin too exactly why they were currently in this mess. The warlock stopped fighting Gwaine’s, his friend’s, embrace and just let all off his feelings go. He was crying much harder than before, even if Gwaine hadn’t believed that to be possible earlier and the shivers running through his body were getting more and more worrisome by each passing minute.
Again Gwaine found himself cursing his former King. Plans were forming in his head. Plans that involved Arthur. And a sword. And blood. Lots of blood. Or maybe a pyre? Oh wouldn’t that just be ironic…
He started running his fingers through the warlock’s hair again, trying to soothe him in any possible way. The flames in the room were slowly dying which Gwaine took as a good sign. For now.
He could never forgive Arthur Pendragon for what he did to his best friend, for destroying, basically ending his life like this. He had always thought that Merlin and Arthur were inseparable, had joked together with the other knights about the two of them being practically married. He had thought that they would trust each other with their lives, they had proven that on multiple occasions. Or so Gwaine and apparently Merlin too had thought.
How could they have been so wrong about Arthur?
Sure, Gwaine could understand that Arthur might feel a bit betrayed, but casting Merlin out? Throwing him away as if he was nothing, as if he’d never done anything for Arthur, as if he wasn’t valuable? That was inexcusable.
“…I’m sorry, Gwaine, I-“
“No my friend, we already talked about this, there is nothing you have to apologize for.”
Both of their voices were barely above a whisper now, but still they could hear each other clearly.
“No, I mean y-yes, but … Gwaine, I mean… I’m sorry that I hadn’t told you about… you know, I-I mean… I was just so… s-scared… of what would happen… of what you’d say… and I couldn’t lose… I-I just c-couldn’t lose y-you, Gwaine please!”
Merlin was nearly hysterical by the end of that sentence and Gwaine tried his best to keep his face neutral. After all Merlin might think his anger was directed at him while in reality Gwaine had just mentally signed Arthur’s death sentence.
His right hand wandered lower now, slowly stroking Merlin’s side and then resting on his hip.
“Merlin, shh, it’s alright, I can understand it. Your life was on the line and you were scared, it’s only natural that you were trying to hide it… y-your magic from everyone.”
“But Gwaine, you’re my friend, I should’ve-“
“I told you it is fine. I’m not angry Merlin. You are probably angrier with yourself right now than I could ever be with you.”
The steady flow of tears down the warlock’s cheeks had slowly stopped, however he did not seem to be entirely convinced by his best friend’s words.
“Merlin, listen to me.”
There was no verbal answer from him, but he kept gazing into Gwaine’s eyes. That was not enough for the former knight, given Merlin’s current mental state.
“Merlin, are you listening to me?”
“Yeah…” It was weak, but at least it was an answer.
“Merlin, I am not scared of you. And I am most definitely not angry with you right now. I am not like Arthur, no- Merlin let me finish! I am not like that royal prat, I am not going to cast you away because of who you are, no, because of who you were born as! It is not our blood that decides who we are Merlin; it’s our decisions and our actions. And all this time, you have done nothing to harm me or Arthur or Camelot or any other innocent soul…”
This was the moment that Merlin stopped listening, the moment that he decided that he had heard enough. How could he not believe his best friend after having heard something like this?
The shivers running up his spine stopped and he felt some kind of pleasant warmth slowly spreading through his body, starting in his heart and coming to an end in his toes and fingertips. The fear inside his mind was slowly replaced by hope as he heard the low buzz of his friend’s voice, not making out words anymore, just taking comfort in its warmth.
The past few days had been hell for Merlin.
They had to get away from Camelot as fast as possible, barely even leaving time for Merlin to say goodbye to Gaius after Gwaine had broken him out of his cell. They stole two of Arthur’s horses and made their way out of the castle and the lower towns as quietly as they could, making sure that none of the guards noticed their presence. After Gwaine had taken out the guards at the gateway they fled the kingdom, the former knight trying to make sure that nobody followed them, while Merlin was busy trying not to fall off his horse.
They didn’t have much time for talking, for understanding and Merlin had often felt much too tired and exhausted to try either of the two. Gwaine didn’t push him, never did.
All this time Merlin hadn’t been entirely sure, why Gwaine was helping him, had been worried that maybe Gwaine was scared of him now or didn’t want anything to do with him anymore once they were safe. But now?
Now he could see in his best friend’s eyes that he wouldn’t leave him cold and alone.
Gwaine’s eyes promised warmth, trust, protection and everything else Merlin has ever wanted, ever craved, but never truly had. They promised love.
No, Merlin wasn’t crying anymore, his breathing had evened out again and he was feeling – dare he say it? – he was feeling good, burying his face in the other man’s chest again, concentrating on his heartbeat and on that alone.
Gwaine had stopped talking some time ago and noticed the change in his friend’s behavior. He sighed softly, being a little proud of himself, and loosened his grip around Merlin slightly but not letting him go completely.
There was surely a lot more these two needed to discuss but right now both of them were just tired, exhausted and emotionally drained.
But at least they were alive, safe and almost well.
stealingrescuing Merlin from his chores.