Tell Her Goodbye

Summary: Percival finds a letter Gwaine left behind.

Disclaimer: don't own Merlin yada yada...

AN: Not related to my main series arc. Just a bit of a short sad story following 5.13 One-shot for now, may turn into three chapters while I try to wrap my muse around a writer's block for my main story arc. Thank you IcarusLSU for giving this a read through!

Warning: a bit of a tear jerker.

Reviews, comments, and critiques are greatly appreciated!


(*~*~*~*)

Percival sat in Gwaine's chambers looking around the room with empty eyes. Bedding, tapestries, shields hanging on the walls- most of which had belonged to the castle and were already set up in the room before Gwaine became a knight. The large blond man felt an ache inside him. He was alone among the men who received their knighthood in the ancient castle that still lived. All of the knights had become his brothers, but he, along with the other three, held a special bond.

When Lancelot walked through the veil it was Merlin who had taken care of the arrangements for the man's belongings. The queen personally saw to her brother Elyan's items. Gwaine had no one special other than the knights and Merlin. The servant had become withdrawn since the death of Arthur. Percival was certain if Gwaine were here, the roguish man would be able to pull Merlin out of it, but as he wasn't it was a matter that would have to resolve itself.

The knight sighed and wiped his nose on the back of his arm, sniffing loudly. He picked up an empty trunk and began to search the drawers and armoire of Gwaine's room for personal items to load into it. He briefly wondered what he would do with them once they were in his possession, but pushed the thought aside for another time.

A few barely hidden weapons, some clothing, a few flasks of one alcohol or another stashed in various places. Armor, cloak, some gambling dice, there was nothing really surprising amongst any of it. Gwaine was a simple man and much of his life was on the road with patrols. Most of the items could be given back to the armory in Camelot, or in the case of the drinks and dice – they could be shared amongst the knights in a farewell toast and game.

On top of the dresser was a plain wooden box just over a foot long and slightly more than half a foot wide. The depth was such that Percival could easily wrap his hand around it. The lid was dove-tailed on the top to allow it to slide out easily, but kept it secure from opening if it was carried. The sound of the sanded joint sliding against the tracks seemed to echo throughout the room.

Percival chuckled as he spied the contents. A variety of colored handkerchiefs and other tokens from women who his friend had wooed over the years lay inside, folded together neatly. He shook the box lightly to see if there was anything else; when nothing appeared he smiled sadly, wondering about all the heartbroken women his friend had left behind. As he went to put the lid back on something caught it and snagged. He took it back off and turned the plank of wood over in his hand, a letter was stuck to the inside.

Setting the box back down on the dresser he carefully removed the letter. For a moment he just stared at the folded parchment, feeling like an intruder into his friend's life. Sighing heavily he moved to the bed and sat on the edge, staring at the note. Finally he got up the courage he needed and broke the thin wax seal.

Whoever reads this- it means I must have fallen. Hopefully it was either in battle heroically or drunk under some voluptuous harlot.

Percival laughed out loud. It was so very typical of Gwaine to say something like that, although many of the women his friend usually tried to encourage to his bed would not be described as harlots.

Either way, I hope I was happy when I went.

The large knight closed his eyes and bit back the memory of his friend's last moments. Broken and professing that he failed the king after being subjected to hours of torture.

Well, I guess it doesn't matter how I went, just that I did. If it's not Merlin reading this, whoever is – find him, tell him I know, and I wish he would have had enough trust in himself to tell me.

The next part was obviously written directly to the servant.

I kept always hoping you'd come around and share it with me, I guessed a long time ago what the bridge keeper was talking about and I tried to get you to tell me. You were my friend, my only one there for such a long time. Open yourself up a bit friend, it's been killing you these past years and I never knew how to get you out of that shell. But if Merlin isn't reading this, would you pass on the message to him? He'll know what I'm talking about. And tell him I met someone under Ismere I think he'd like.

Oh and tell Elyan to lighten up, will ya? If he doesn't slow down a bit he's gonna run headlong to his death and not even realize it.

Percival felt tears welling up in his eyes as he realized this missive was written months before. Probably as a way to process his thoughts after their capture under the frozen fortress. The knight wondered about who Gwaine had met in the mountain.

Tell Arthur, I don't think he's quite the princess anymore that he used to be. It took Merlin's faith in him to show me that. Oh and tell that scrawny friend of mine he should really quit hiding, I think once the initial storm blows over, they'll be fine. He's just gotta take the patience he's practiced and apply it a bit differently.

The man reading shook his head, some of Gwaine's words were making no sense at all, but he kept reading.

As for the big guy, Percival, let him know how much I appreciated him. He was my brother in everything but blood and a nobler man I never met.

He swallowed hard against the rising emotions. He nearly stopped there, unwilling to read any further. He cleared his throat and stared out the window for a time before continuing on through the rest of the letter.

Leon, I can still beat him one on one easily and any day of the week. When we took back the city, I learned a lot from him. Things I never thought of when it came to being a knight. Through him I began to appreciate my father and his sacrifice.

Speaking of family, I need you to do something for me. Provided this ever gets found and read. Find my sister Elaine, tell her, well, just tell her she's still an old toad, and I wish we could have found some common ground. I do miss her. There are so many things I should have told her. I don't think she even knew what became of me. If you know me, maybe you can fill in some of the blanks for her, if not, could you at least try to find her? She might still be hanging around some tavern in Caerleon trying to build up her tolerance so she can drink me under the table someday. And well, just tell her goodbye...