Title: Out Of Reach
Summary: Gwaine hadn't touched a glass of alcohol since he met Arthur.
A/N: Glass hearts are worth de-anoning for. Thank you so much, giselleslash. :D
Written for this prompt on KMM28.
“ . . . naturally, and I also know he has his reputation to consider, even more so with the Hudsons present tonight, but their daughter is the most annoying creature I have ever met—she’s even more annoying than you, Gwaine—and I don’t know if the future he wants for me is . . . Gwaine? Gwaine! Are you listening to me?”
Gwaine tore his gaze away from Arthur’s shapely bottom. “Hmm? What was that?”
“I said, how can I be expected to do what my father says if he—” Arthur stopped himself mid-sentence and narrowed his eyes at Gwaine suspiciously. “What were you just looking at?”
Arthur rolled his eyes. “Of course you were.”
“You know me, darlin’.”
“Gwaine.” Arthur sounded pained, and Gwaine hated that. Hated hearing the conflict in Arthur’s voice. Conflict that shouldn’t be there. Had no business whatsoever in the sounds coming out of Arthur’s body.
“What were you going to say?” he said, changing the subject.
Arthur was still frowning. “I’m not sure if I should follow my father’s orders this time.”
“Then don’t.” Gwaine leaned back in his seat and stretched his arms above his head.
“It’s not that simple.”
“Oh, but it is that simple, Arthur. It just took you some time to realise it.”
“I’m not realising anything. And anyway.” Arthur straightened his tie and threw Gwaine a pointed look. “You follow my father’s orders every day. He’s the one who hired you.”
“I’m not doing this for him,” Gwaine said, sitting up straight in his chair and meeting Arthur’s gaze evenly, needing the man to understand. “You know that, don’t you?”
Arthur bit his lip. “Gwaine.”
“No.” Gwaine got to his feet and walked over to where Arthur was standing, for once forgetting to swagger a little. “No, Arthur. I’m here for you. Not for him. Never for him.”
Arthur looked away. “You can’t talk about him like that.”
“I think you’ll find I can.” Gwaine reached out then, lightly grabbed Arthur’s chin and tilted his head just so, wanting Arthur’s eyes on him. “I’m here because I want to be. Because I can’t imagine being anywhere else.”
Arthur laughed a little, cheeks flushed. “Now you’re just spouting nonsense.”
“You keep saying my name like that, darlin’, and I’ll . . .”
Gwaine leaned forward, his breath ghosting over Arthur’s face. He could feel the other man’s shiver, knew he was holding his breath. “Do something like this?” he said, and though it was meant to sound suggestive, it came out as a hoarse whisper, an expression of pure need.
Arthur’s eyes were wide and very blue.
Before he could do something stupid like stop himself, Gwaine leaned in, crossing the small space between them, making their noses bump in a way that might have been painful had Gwaine not done so as gently as possible, and kissed the man.
Kissing Arthur was not quite what he’d imagined, but everything it should be. Arthur’s lips were hesitant beneath his own, as repressed as every other inch of him, but they were quickly catching on with the program. By the time Gwaine slipped a hand into Arthur’s hair, the other one resting lightly on his waist, Arthur’s hands were clutching the front of Gwaine’s shirt, fingers digging into his chest.
Leaning back a little, close enough to brush his lips against Arthur’s again and again and again, Gwaine allowed himself a moment to treasure the closeness of Arthur, the fact that he hadn’t pushed him away, though he very soon would. Couldn’t not.
And indeed, “Gwaine.”
“Gwaine, we can’t. I can’t.”
“I know,” Gwaine said quietly. He pressed his lips to Arthur’s a second time. They already tasted of regret and shame.
“My father . . . It’s . . .”
“You don’t have to tell me.” Gwaine took a small step backward, his hands still resting lightly on Arthur, unable to let him go just yet.
Arthur refused to meet his gaze. “You must hate me.”
“No, Arthur. No. Never.”
“Think I’m a coward.”
Gwaine shook his head. “I think you’re a fool. An honourable fool.”
Arthur let out a shaky laugh.
Unable to remain still for long, Gwaine threaded his fingers through Arthur’s hair, fascinated by the golden strands that felt as soft and touchable as they looked. Arthur let him. Remained motionless.
“Will you leave?”
“No.” Gwaine withdrew his fingers from Arthur’s hair, took another step backward. The hand on Arthur’s waist fell away, dropped back to Gwaine’s sides. “No, I won’t leave your side, Arthur.”
Arthur’s fingers readjusted his Pendragon red tie. “You won’t?”
There was such vulnerability in his voice, such careful hope that Gwaine could do nothing but smile at Arthur and give him a reassuring nod. Too many people had left this man already. Too many still would. But Gwaine was damned if he was going to be one of them. “I’m not going anywhere. Your father’s wine’s too enjoyable. The company is, too.”
“My father’s company?” Arthur’s brow furrowed. He knew all too well what Gwaine thought of Pendragon Industries.
“Not his company. The company.” A short silence. “Your company.”
Ah, there it was. The royal blush.
“I know you think I should stop saying things like that. But I’m not going to.” Before his charge could say anything, Gwaine added, “I won’t go. Not until your father fires me. Perhaps not even after that.”
“You would rather be here every day, knowing that . . .” Arthur trailed off, fingers reaching for his tie again, or rather, reaching for something to do.
“Knowing that one day, you’ll be selfish enough to return my advances.” Gwaine shot Arthur an easy smile. “Knowing that my staying here will keep you safe until then.”
Arthur ducked his head. “This isn’t about selflessness. You think too much of me.”
Gwaine shrugged. “Probably.” He glanced at his watch, let out a small chuckle. “We should go. We’re late.”
Arthur would need another moment to compose himself, so Gwaine kept his attention on his watch until he was reasonably sure Arthur had rearranged his face into his usual mask of careful indifference.
“Looking forward to the drinks, Gwaine?”
At the sound of Arthur’s voice, Gwaine allowed himself to look up. “Always, sir. You know me.”
There wouldn’t be any drinking tonight. No proper drinking anyway. Gwaine was on a job, a job to keep Arthur Pendragon safe from harm, and he needed whatever concentration he could muster to do so. He wasn’t the only man Uther Pendragon had hired; he wasn’t the only man guarding Arthur. But he was the only man Gwaine trusted with the job.
Gwaine hadn’t touched a glass of alcohol since he met his charge.
“Well then.” Arthur readjusted his tie one last time—one time too many, messing up all the previous work he’d done. “Let’s go.”
Gwaine couldn’t help it. He fixed Arthur’s tie for him, stepped back and let his gaze travel up and down Arthur’s body. “Yeah, let’s.”
They walked out of the room side by side, fingers almost touching.
Almost, but not quite.