This originally came from a prompt left by mara93 on LJ which was 'Elena and one of the knights share a love at first sight experience, or love to hate.' and somehow I ended up writing pre-slash about Gwaine/Lancelot. For that reason I dedicate this fic also to ella_rose88 , mydoctortennant and shabbytiger via our conversation on LJ.
For a very long time Gwen was the only girl any of the single men in Camelot talked to, and she was out of bounds. After a long day of adventuring with Arthur he got to go off and snuggle with her for the night. Meanwhile the rest of the lads went to the tavern, sat around chatting... and snuggled up with each other for the night, provided they were drunk enough.
Gwaine would happily snuggle up with anything that was good-looking enough. That said he was a little weary when he occasionally woke up in one of the other lads' bed with his shirt off. Usually he'd be so out of it he feared he'd have done anything. Literally done anything.
The funniest occasion was when they all went out on the town and woke up crammed into Merlin's tiny bedroom. Lancelot had been feeling depressed, as always, and Percival had suggested he go out drinking with Gwaine, Elyan and Merlin.
It turned out to be the best night of his life, though he couldn't remember why. Considering he woke up in Merlin's bed with Gwaine's feet in his face, he wasn't sure he wanted to know.
If they weren't introduced to some allegeable women sooner or later, they would surely be having more moments like this together. Knights needed company and they were beginning to like each other a bit more than they were accustomed to. Not that that was a bad thing - but Gwaine was worried about his street credibility.
"I am a famed for my charm with women all over this land, after all," he pointed out to them as they all washed together around the same basin.
Elyan raised an eyebrow, "Famed?"
"Yep," Gwaine nodded, clearly having a joke.
Lancelot frowned, "Flattering yourself, Gwaine?"
"I didn't hear you complaining the other night," Gwaine retorted with a chuckle and winked teasingly at him. Lancelot's cheeks went noticeably red.
Merlin smirked as he watched the knights bickering. "Don't you ever invite Percival on your drink-outs?"
"He doesn't drink and prefers to meditate in the evenings," Lancelot told him. "I tell you it got me through some rough times..."
"I prefer to meditate with a mug of mead in my hand," Gwaine chuckled.
"We know," Merlin and Elyan muttered.
"Maybe if you meditated more you wouldn't be so stressed at not having had a woman in so long," Gwaine suggested to Lancelot with a slap on the shoulder.
"And was the last time you had one?" Lancelot snapped scornfully.
"More recently than you, I imagine," Gwaine replied cheerfully. "Besides, I'm flexible."
And he winked again, inducing a hot flush to burst through Lancelot's veins. It was strange. Why did Gwaine have the ability to do that to him? He was so infuriating!
Elyan watched them out of the corner of his eyes; he didn't know why but he felt a little jealous. Of all the knights in Camelot he got on with Gwaine the best. He admired and looked up to him, much to his little sister's dismay. She was greatly fond of Gwaine too but she dreaded the thought of both of them. Together. They would be a terrible influence on each other. That was why she forced Elyan to take Lancelot drinking with them one night, so he could keep order since Percival didn't drink and Merlin was equally impressionable when under the influence of charismatic Gwaine.
Gwaine always made people, whether they were men or women, an offer they couldn't refuse.
Now Elyan felt as if Lancelot was stealing Gwaine from him. It was a stupid notion; Gwaine was best friends with Merlin but that didn't bother him. It was all down to admiration and likeness. Gwaine was the man all men secretly wished they could be more like, even Lancelot, and Elyan wanted to be the one Gwaine teased and poked fun at.
These days even Arthur got more teasing from Gwaine than he did. Arthur was about the only person who could give as good as he got. Then it would take Gwen or Merlin to really finish of the match.
"You drive me mad," Lancelot mumbled under his breath.
"Maybe you should drink on your own next time?" Elyan sniped quirkily.
"You don't drive me mad," the other knight quickly said, and glanced at Gwaine, who still just smiled. "In any case it's Sunday today – training resumes on Monday, so we'll have to get an early night tonight."
Gwaine chuckled, "There he is! Desperate to be the teacher's pet—"
"Leave it out, Gwaine!" Lancelot groaned as he pulled his shirt back on. "I know you're trying to wind me up and... I'm not going to let you."
They were so caught up in their own little conversation that they didn't see Gwen come in through the door. Merlin and Elyan cast their eyes over to her but neither three of them announced her arrival.
"You make it sound like it's my mission in life."
"It feels like it sometimes."
"You certainly have a high opinion of yourself..."
"Yeah, well, so do you!"
"You just won't admit you like me."
"I like you?"
"Exactly, you like me more than you're willing to admit—"
"I like you more—w-what do you mean by that?"
Gwaine walked closer to him and raised his eyebrows, "You tell me."
Finally Gwen felt she had heard enough and cleared her throat. Gwaine and Lancelot turned to see her, Elyan and Merlin staring at them in bemused amusement. It was just a second later that Lancelot realised how that conversation might have come off to her, and that embarrassed him even more. He could have murdered Gwaine, who didn't give a damn.
"Gwen, how pleasant to see you," Gwaine chuckled, flicking his hair back. "What bring you to us this fine morning?"
"I just came to give you some news," she said slowly, trying not to laugh. The look on Lancelot's face was priceless and made her feel oddly relaxed on talking to him. For a moment she imagined what it would be like if Lancelot and Gwaine really were... and it was very amusing. "But from the sounds of things you might not appreciate it as much as Arthur suggested you would..."
"Appreciate what?" Elyan asked.
Gwen turned to him, "That Princess Elena is coming to visit Camelot to meet you lot. She's heard a lot about the 'Knights of the Round Table'."
"Knights of the Round Table?" Merlin repeated questioningly.
"That's what people are calling us," Gwen replied with a smile. "You, Percival, Gaius, Leon, them—" she pointed around the room, "Arthur and me, the Order of the Round Table."
"And who calls us that?"
"Arthur and I used it once in front of Leon, he told his wife and it... sort of court on," Gwen told them. She took a pause before carrying on, "In any case Arthur told me that you were all suffering from lack of female company—"
"And how did he find out about that?" Lancelot asked tensely.
"Percival told Leon, Leon told me and I told Arthur," Gwen explained.
"Can't keep a secret in this place for anything," Merlin hinted carefully.
"It's not like it is secret," she protested. "I'm surprised that three good-looking men—four good-looking men—" which she quickly added as she glanced at Elyan, forgetting him on the virtue that he was her brother, "Haven't been about to find girls to court. Elena might be able to... distract all of you."
Lancelot almost found this insulting, that Gwen was suggesting they vie for the attention of the woman Arthur rejected for her. At least that meant he and Elena would have something in common; they were both the rejects of a couple who they knew were much bet off and happier without them.
"She very lovely," Gwen added quickly. "You have to behave properly towards her because, you know, she is a princess..."
She looked at Gwaine when she said this.
He choked back a laugh, "Why are you looking at me? I'll be a perfect gentleman, I swear."
"Her father is very liberal though," Gwen added quickly. "He's just as excited about meeting you all as she is."
"Wow," Gwaine remarked. "A liberal ruler, this I have got to see!"
The idea was ridiculous as far as Elyan was concerned.
His sister had set Gwaine, Lancelot and him up to occupy their time by fighting for the attentions of Elena. Part of him didn't want to give in but... it had been so long since he'd be anywhere near a girl that wasn't his sister. He was getting sick of watching every male eye leering at her too, more so than Arthur probably was. In fact it didn't seem to bother Arthur in the slightest. It didn't bother Elyan in the way people would expect; he didn't dislike it because it was objectifying his sister but because he felt left out.
Gwaine and Lancelot were only children so they'd never understand.
Elyan didn't expect to like Elena the moment he saw her though. As the lot of them stood waiting for her to enter, they all had pretty dim hopes. But then she did enter, and everyone overheard an audible gasp from him. It made Merlin smirk.
"You remember Gwen, don't you?" Arthur said politely to her as he re-introduced her to those she knew. "Gaius, Merlin, Leon – you should know."
"Of course I remember you all very well," Elena said shaking Gwen's hand. As she did her bracelet slipped off her wrist, and as she bent down to pick it up she accidently bumped into Gwen. "I'm so sorry. I'm trying to phase out my clumsiness but it's such a hard habit to break..."
At least she's not falling on her face all the time, Arthur thought to himself. "There is a definite improvement," he told her with a polite smile.
Then came the introductions to the three men Gwen was attempting to set her up with. As acting-first-lady in Camelot, though not the wife of Arthur or queen yet (as Uther was still alive and cooped up in his bedroom where Lord Godwyn promised to 'try and cheer him up'), Gwen decided to introduce Elena to the gentlemen herself.
"This is Sir Gwaine," she began at the top, bringing Elena face to face with Gwaine's charming bow of the head and smile. It made Elena chuckle as Gwen added, "He's something of a favourite about the time."
Elena wiggled her eyebrows flirtatiously, "I bet he is."
Gwaine made his winning smile again, "A pleasure to meet you, Princess Elena."
Next up was Lancelot, who politely kissed her hand and smiled. "Sir Lancelot, my lady."
"Interesting name," Elena said with a charmed smile. Like Gwaine he lived up to how she preferred her men to be; tall, dark and handsome. "Where do you originally come from, Lancelot?"
"From this kingdom," Lancelot replied. "I was born in one of the outline villages."
"You've still come a long way, haven't you?" she suggested with a side smile.
Lancelot felt yet another flush rush through his body. It had been a long time since a girl had subtly flirted with him... and Elena was definitely doing that. It was nice although he was still very weary of Gwaine's grins.
Finally there came Elyan. He smiled enthusiastically and bowed his head with the same politeness and charm the previous two had.
"Last but not least is my brother, Elyan," Gwen said with a downward sigh.
"Oh!" Elena said cheerfully, "How nice, are you her elder brother or younger brother?"
Elyan smirked, "I'm her big brother!"
"You wouldn't know it, though," Gwen muttered under her breath.
Elena laughed while Elyan jumped in to defend himself. Why did she have to start picking on him now? "That's only because she's so bossy. Mother Hen, that's what father and I used to call her."
"Dad and I had a couple of names for you too," Gwen quipped with a smile. "But I won't embarrass you in front of the lady."
Elyan forced a smile, "How could Gwen be anything other than my sweet little baby sister?"
"I'm only a year younger than you," Gwen pointed out. "And if anyone is a baby—"
At that moment Arthur stepped quickly to lead Gwen and Elena away, noticing Elyan's distress from afar. He knew all too well what it was like to be caught in the middle of a sibling battle in a situation where you want to make a good impression.
"Gwen, we should take Elena to meet Leon and Percival," he suggested.
Elena turned to Elyan and smiled, "It was nice to meet you Elyan."
Elyan sighed in annoyance, "Yeah, you too..."
"I'm just saying try not to start reminiscing about embarrassing things in the past when there's a girl he's trying to chat up nearby," Arthur remarked with a chuckle later on that evening to Gwen.
The young woman shrugged.
"I didn't think I was saying anything too bad," she defended herself calmly. "I was only... teasing."
"Still, it was clear he liked her..."
"I wanted her to like him too!"
"But Elyan might have been a bit embarrassed," Arthur pointed out. "Believe me, I know what it's like to have a sister who comes in and makes you look stupid all the time for her amusement."
Gwen stared at him in shock, "I would never do that to Elyan. I swear I didn't mean anything by it and—are you comparing the way I am with Elyan to Morgana?"
"No one is as bad as Morgana," Arthur assured her. "Even before she started trying to kill me, no one could match her for sibling cruelty."
Gwen flumped back onto Arthur's bed and sighed, "That's what you meant though. You saw me and thought I was doing to Elyan what Morgana used to do to you."
The prince sighed and lay back on the bed with her, taking her hand. "You couldn't be like her no matter how hard you tried. You don't have an inch of that nastiness in you. That's not what I meant, I swear. I just understood that Elyan wanted to be left to handle himself... only for his sister to jump in and start a battle of wits with him."
Gwen leaned her head against Arthur's shoulder, "I'll try to be wearier next time..."
"That's all I'm saying," Arthur said quietly, smiling into her hair. They lie in silence for a while before he asked his next question. "Did your dad and Elyan really used to call you 'Mother Hen'?"
She sat up, picked up a pillow and whacked Arthur with it before smiling and saying simply: "Yes."
Arthur smirked, "That's sweet."
"I don't really remember my mother very well," Gwen began simply. "I have tiny shots of her but for most of what I can remember from being young was that I had to look after my father and brother. They couldn't look after themselves. I'd try and get them to do more for themselves but it never worked, and then dad would turn to Elyan and say, 'Mother Hen is at it again!'"
They both laughed and Arthur kissed her affectionately on her collarbone.
The next day Elyan came across Elena stroking her little grey horse in the courtyard. He felt understandably embarrassed after the other day and felt she was probably more charmed now by Gwaine and Lancelot than she was by him. He had caught Lancelot carrying something heavy for her earlier that morning and had seen Gwaine giving her the 'Gwaine Special', a small flower and a spin around the courtyard.
He didn't stand against the Dark Horse and the Champion.
Elena noticed Elyan and called him over. He reluctantly walked over.
"I didn't see you again after yesterday," she said.
"Yes, I felt a bit awkward," Elyan said honestly. "Gwen can sometimes say more than she means to. It's her thing; her mouth runs a little too long and she ends up revealing things you don't want her to..."
"I thought it was sweet," Elena assured him with a smile.
Elyan perked up, "You did?"
"I always wished I had a brother or sister," she told him. "It was nice to see the two of you engage in friendly banter. You are clearly very close."
Elyan sighed, "We were when we were younger. Now, well, she had her own life. She has a man and a future with him... soon she'll have a family of her own."
"But you'll always be a part of their family," Elena pointed out, playing with the horse's main. "Her children will be your nieces and nephews."
"Still I sometimes wished I'd spent more time with my sister when we were younger," he admitted sadly. "She spent most of her days looking after dad and me, or trying to keep us out of trouble."
"Gwen told me about that."
"That she tries to keep me out of trouble?"
"She said that you, Gwaine and Merlin would paint the town many shades of red given half the chance," she said teasingly. "And that Lancelot, in all his piety, has fallen victim to the call of Gwaine's charisma to join you."
Elyan remembered how much he resented Lancelot for 'stealing' Gwaine from him. He realised it was just a momentary jealousy now – they were all friends and no one had dibs on the other.
"Odd pair, aren't they?" Elena remarked.
"Gwaine and Lancelot," she responded. "They seem awfully close yet for all Gwaine's forwardness and openness towards Lancelot, he seems to behave so awkwardly around him. They're both very good-looking."
"Yet I notice they don't have any female companions..."
"Yea—" That was when Elyan has a dastardly thought, so sneaky it brought a smirk clean across his face. He just couldn't help himself. He couldn't!
He nodded, "Yeah, I think a lot of people have noticed that. I certainly have, you know, being so close to them."
"Have they taken the Vow of Chivalry, like Percival has?" Elena asked generally.
"Not to my knowledge," Elyan replied, leaning gently over to pat the horse. "Gwaine couldn't live a pure life for any longer than a couple of hours. The call of drink would compel him to forsake his oath. As for Lancelot, well, I've never seen him pine after any lady really... apart from maybe my sister, but he's just a bit infatuated with her (Though he thinks no one knows). She's the only one though... most of his infatuations are for... men."
Elena's eyes widened in interest, "Is that so?"
Elyan nodded, "Yep – I've long suspected that he's a little bit in love with Arthur. He obsessed with him for years and years before they even met. Then there is Gwaine..."
"Lancelot is infatuated with Gwaine?" Elena asked.
Elyan didn't want to lie so he said: "Well, I think so. He hasn't realised yet (That is Lancelot hasn't figured out his feelings yet) but it would explain a lot in my opinion... not least why he hangs around with Gwaine so often when he claims he can't stand him."
"And what about Gwaine?" Elena asked, leaning closer to Elyan. "Does he ride in the other saddle, if you know what I mean?"
The young knight just laughed, "Frankly I don't think Gwaine minds either way. He'll shag anyone who is attractive enough."
Lancelot was furious when Elyan's 'fib' got out, which didn't take very long.
"I can't believe he did that!" the knight snapped to Gwaine, immediately deciding to tell him of their friend's untruth to try and win Elena's attention (and steal it away from them). At least that was the suggestion Gwaine gave for why Elyan did it. "He suggested that there was something between us. You and me. It's such nonsense."
Gwaine sighed, "Well, what can you do?"
"You're not a little embarrassed or annoyed?" Lancelot asked in surprise.
"On the contrary," the other knight remarked with amusement. "I couldn't be prouder of him. It shows that my 'good' influence has rubbed off on him. It was a very clever fib to get the girl."
Lancelot couldn't see why anyone would be proud of a friend who embarrassed them in order to impress a girl. That said he wasn't sure what he was really upset about; being undercut in his bid to attract Elena, being the fall of a lie told by Elyan of all people, or everyone thinking that he and Gwaine were... closer than most comrades in arms were.
"Elyan is nothing like his sister," Lancelot muttered with a tint of bitterness in his voice. "Gwen would never lie to someone to impress them at the expense of her friends. God know where he gets it from."
"Actually Gwen said she wasn't surprised when the rumour – sorry, lie – reached her and Arthur," Gwaine told him.
Lancelot spun around, "What?"
"Yep," Gwaine said perkily. "Gwen said that it explains why you still hang around me despite the fact you consider me shallow, frustrating and tiresome... and Arthur apparently had never laughed so much when she said that."
Lancelot was speechless. He didn't know whether Gwaine was joking with him or deadly serious. He decided to ask him, "Have people really been saying that?"
"But it's just not true..."
Lancelot could feel himself blushing again, "What do you mean? I—well, of course it isn't true!"
Why? Did Gwaine think it was true? Did he feel that it might be true, that he and Lancelot were...? There was no telling with Gwaine as so many things shot through his head at lightning speed every moment. Lancelot started to wonder what he himself believed was true. All he knew was that he was confused about everything now.
Not least when Gwaine came right up to him and tilted his head.
"So... you don't—"
"No!" Lancelot replied frantically.
Gwaine hadn't finished, "—find me shallow, frustrating and tiresome?"
"N—" began Lancelot, and then stopped before he'd even finished sounding the first letter. He realised, once again, that Gwaine had be stringing him along.
Lancelot felt mortified. He didn't know how he felt about that anymore. He just didn't know. What did Gwaine actually want from him? Was he just leading him along for a joke? Was he being serious? Or was he just teasing, completely unaware that Lancelot was reading so far into it?
The idea of Gwaine being unaware of anything was a joke in itself. The reserved knight knew that all too well, and it was confirmed when the trickster smirked. He knew full well he had led Lancelot around in a merry dance and now left him completely confused.
Yet he left no indication as to why he was doing it in the first place.
Regardless of his reasons, he was waiting for Lancelot's answer.
He lowered his head and sighed, "No, of course I don't think that about you. Not really."
"And what about the things that Elyan said? Is there a hint of truth in that?"
Lancelot had the appearance of some who has just finished three non-stop hours of Arthur's training; completely red and damp with sweat.
"I honestly don't know what to think anymore."
There was a short silence where neither of them said anything. It didn't feel awkward but rather... cathartic, as or the first time they weren't rubbing each other up the wrong way or speaking from different realms of thinking. They were on the same level. And, to make things even more assuring, Lancelot saw a little spark in Gwaine's eye that wasn't one of teasing and mischief. It was understanding and unexpectedly serious.
He only ever got that look when talking about the important things to him.
It let Lancelot know that Gwaine wasn't going to make fun of him anymore regardless of what he himself felt. And he kept that very close to his chest still.
He patted Lancelot on the back and led him towards the door. He decided in his head then that they could talk about this more down at the tavern, where they always did these days. Truth was he needed to sort his head out too.
"Things become so much clearer once you've had a couple of drinks down your throat," Gwaine joked.
A/N: Yep, I take a prompt to ship Elena off with one of the knights (In this case Elyan) and end up writing a completely different fic in which sees Gwaine/Lancelot in a pre-slash situation. I always intended this to be about Elyan getting one over Gwaine and Lancelot, two men who you imagine have more experience with wooing than Elyan does, for Elena's affections. Then suddenly the Laine/Glance/Lwaine/GWALA just popped up as I went along.
I have been interested in the potential of Gwaine/Lancelot becoming friends since before Gwaine even appeared. Lancelot's friendship with Gawain was probably about the only thing I liked about him in the legends (because I have always loved Gawain regardless of how you spell his name!) Following discussions with friends, I dedicate this fic to shabbytiger as well as mydoctortennant (BROKEBACK KNIGHTS!) and ella_rose88 .
See, this is what happens when you take me out of the Arthur/Gwen World of Arwen. LOL!