I lost my fear of falling
I will be with you
I will be with you.
It’s Not a Fashion Statement, It’s a Fucking Deathwish. My Chemical Romance.
Gawain’s hair tickles Lancelot’s cheeks and hesitantly, tentatively, Lancelot raises one hand to brush a tendril of curling dark hair away from his eyes, tucking it sweetly behind Gawain’s ear. Gawain’s eyes widen at the motion, his jaw slack, and a flush creeping prettily across his skin, and Lancelot feels as if he’s the one who has been cracked open. And maybe he is — Gawain’s a whirlwind, always restless, a cyclone on a warpath, and he makes Lancelot feel as if there’s actually something more in his chest than just a beating organ and some arteries, as if Lancelot is worth something, as if Lancelot can be something, as if Lancelot himself is enough just as he is. Even if that’s not true.
(It can’t possibly be true.)
The grass is impossibly cool underneath Lancelot, still slick with the morning dew, and a chill hangs in the air. The sun is barely peeking through the clouds, but it hints at a promise of summer, of golden light careening and cascading down from the canopy of tree leaves, of ice cream cones and saltwater and Gawain’s uncontrollable laughter from when Lancelot drank soda too fast and it came out his nose.
The grass is impossibly cool and he shudders at the sensation, but Gawain is impossibly warm, all soft skin and calloused hands, a lazy smile and the brightest, most honest eyes that Lancelot has ever seen — and Gawain languidly presses himself against Lancelot’s chest. He’s a living, breathing flame, the sun and Lancelot is hopelessly drawn to him, spinning and careening wildly out of control, forever a satellite in Gawain’s orbit and recklessly drawn into his gravitas.
“Good thing you have me,” Gawain mutters into Lancelot’s collarbone, burrowing his face into Lancelot’s shirt. It’s soft and smells a little bit like the three bean chili Lancelot had for dinner last night, but that only endears him more to Gawain.
Lancelot hums in response and this time his fingers do not shake as they card through Gawain’s hair. “My own personal boiler.”
Gawain makes an indignant noise, pinching the soft of Lancelot’s upper arm, smirking at Lancelot’s exaggerated squeal in response. “Boiler? How about something sexier like,” Gawain flounders for a moment. “Like a lava lamp.”
“I mean lava lamps are cool to look at but—”
“Of course they’re cool, but, they’re also, like, really warm. To the touch.”
“Yeah.” Gawain nods, even though that movement causes his chin to dig into Lancelot’s skin, just a little. “Gaheris once tried to pick one up that was plugged in and burned his hand a bit. And then we put all our lava lamps together and tried to see if we could make french toast on them.”
“No.” A pause. “I’ll buy you so many lava lamps and you can put them in your room and you’ll never feel cold again, Lance.”
Lancelot laughs, “Just pay my heating bill, Gawain.”
“Where’s the romance in that?” Gawain demands but he grins, peeling his face up and over, leaning over to press his lips against Lancelot’s.
Lancelot’s hands tighten painfully in Gawain’s hair.
Lancelot and Gawain had met because Gawain’s older cousin, Arthur, a PhD student at the university, had been too self-conscious to go up and sing PONPONPON by himself when drunk at the Student Union during karaoke night and Lancelot, being smashed out of his face, had done a very impressive rendition of Caramelldansen before slumping down on a chair and basically heckling Gawain for the entirety of his duet.
(Well, the heckling wasn’t really heckling, it was more Lancelot loudly complimenting Gawain in French. Later, Gawain had sauntered over to where Lancelot had sat and declared that he would appreciate no more French words to be spoken in his vicinity because the language caused him to get migraines, and then they had made out in the booth of Eegee’s as Arthur demolished all of their frost beverages to which Gawain bought another one because he had a killer sweet tooth, but they had started making out again, which led to Arthur eating it once more.)
Afterwards, Lancelot and Gawain had realized that they had economics together, and the hellscape that was that lecture became immeasurably more enjoyable as the two of them huddled in the back row holding hands and ignoring whatever the professor said to kick the back of Meleagant’s chair together.
And that was that.
Except it wasn’t that because with Gawain came Gawain’s brothers. And holy fuck, did Gawain have a lot of brothers.
“This issssss,” Gawain takes a deep breath, “Agravaine, Gaheris, Gareth, and Mordred.”
Lancelot blinks. “Uh,” He says. “Why do two of you not have names that start with the letter G?”
Agravaine and Mordred, at least, Lancelot thinks it’s Agravaine and Mordred (they all look alike, it’s just a tad alarming), give him such a look of hatred that Lancelot knows that if either of them could vaporize him on the spot with their eyes, that he would be a pile of ash at the feet of the Orkney brothers.
“Gawain.” Agravaine — or is it Mordred? — says prissily. “Who is this?”
Gawain blinks. “Mordred, this is my boyfriend!” He clutches Lancelot's arms and beams at his siblings, ignoring or just not registering the look of alarm flickering on all of their faces. “This is Lancelot du Lac! I told you guys about him.”
Lancelot wants to die. If God truly was merciful, Agravaine and Mordred would have laser eyes and he would be the most lovely pile of ash in the world by now.
Gaheris squints. “Bro, do you even lift?”
Lancelot makes an offended noise. “I lift —”
“I’ve never seen you at the gym,” Gaheris says. He pauses. “You should text me, next time you go. I’ll spot you.”
“Gaheris!” Mordred stomps his foot. “Gaheris, you can’t consort with the enemy!”
“Gawain’s fucking him!” Gaheris said, “I’m not!”
“I mean. He’s hot,” Gareth pipes up and his brothers all gape at him. “What? It’s true! Gawain's taste is impeccable as always.”
“Are you hitting on Antsolot?” Agravaine says, indignant.
“That’s not my name at all,” Lancelot says but his voice is drowned out as the brothers squabble among themselves.
Gawain sighs happily, hand intertwining with Lancelot’s. “Oh, this is going so well.”
Lancelot blinks and gapes at Gawain. “This is good?”
Gawain flashes his teeth. “If it wasn’t, Mordred would have gotten out his knives already.”
Lancelot’s mom is the most gorgeous woman on Earth and that’s saying a lot considering that Arthur is dating Guinevere and Gawain has met Guinevere. She’s also the most terrifying woman on Earth.
Viviane du Lac is tall and willowy, her face is gently lined, and her eyes are kind and adoring as she gazes upon her son. She folds Lancelot to her, hands coming up to clutch at the back of his neck, stroking his hair. There is a tightness to her mouth, a strength that is belied by the curve of her arms, and despite the warmth shining in her eyes, Gawain can see the fierce intelligence that flickers in those azure depths.
“So you’re Gawain.” Viviane says, coming to stand before him. She towers above him and Gawain has to crane his neck up to see her. But then again, given the fact that Gawain is a manlet (“You’re a short king,” Lancelot insists however because he’s a sweetheart), he finds himself on tiptoe more often than not.
“Gwalchmei,” Gawain blurts out suddenly. The du Lacs stare at him and Gawain blushes. “It’s Gwalchmei Orkney. Ma’am.”
Viviane raises an eyebrow at him. Gawain sweats.
Viviane’s mouth stretches into a smirk and Gawain’s breath hitches because she looks so much like Lancelot that his heart feels like as if it’s in a vice, as if his spirit might just leave his body, because that’s the smile that Gawain loves so much, the smile that Gawain chases, the smile that Gawain lives to see — the smile that very rarely crosses Lancelot face, and Gawain would do anything, anything, to see it once, twice, thrice more.
“Gwalchmei,” Viviane says, amusement tinges her voice. “Lancelot speaks very highly of you. It’s really quite embarrassing.”
“Maman!” Lancelot hisses, pink curling across his face and down his neck.
Gawain’s hands are engulfed in Viviane’s, her skin is cool and surprisingly rough with calluses. “You can call me Viv,” she winks. “Lancelot has never brought anyone back home to me, so this is my first time with the shovel in my hands.”
“Oh, you look like you can hit my head really hard and dig a really deep hole to put my body in,” Gawain agrees. “Someone needs to make sure Lancelot’s little bird heart is alright.”
“Bird heart?” Lancelot splutters.
“Lancelot, darling, we’re having a conversation,” Viviane says. “It’s rude to butt in.”
Gawain grins at her and her responding smile is genuine. “Lancelot can’t help himself. He’s shy whenever people talk about him, even though if may be good. Especially if it’s good. Then he does his rendition of being a turtle hiding inside its shell.”
Viviane laughs, low and musical, like water through a sieve. “Come on in Gwalchmei, I hope you’re hungry.”
“Gwalchmei?” Lancelot whispers into Gawain’s ear, one hand coming to snake around Gawain’s waist as they walk into Viviane’s house.
“Shut up,” Gawain mutters and he smashes his hand against Lancelot’s face, yelping as Lancelot licks his palm.
“So…” Gaheris drawls as he adjusts the weights on the bar. “You’re a simp for my brother?”
“No,” Lancelot says. “We simp for each other.”
Gaheris pauses. “Simp4simp.”
Lancelot’s sobs reverb through the bathroom. The shower is running and the tiles are slick from the overflow of the water. Lancelot is slumped against the wall, folded upon himself with his arms twisted around his torso, and his shoulders shake uncontrollably. His breaths are ragged and harsh, expelled from his throat and through his teeth, and his cries are akin to that of a wounded animal. Gawain is knelt a few feet away from him, hands twitching every so often when Lancelot’s breath catches.
(But Gawain knows better. Gawain knows better than to touch Lancelot when he gets like this — Lancelot will say when, Lancelot will tell him, and Gawain will be there to help Lancelot piece himself back together.)
Lancelot’s voice croaks, but he doesn’t lift his head up from where it lies against his chest. “Should go. You should go.”
Gawain pauses. “Do you want me to?”
Lancelot shudders. “No. But you should.”
Lancelot raises his head, his eyes are glassy and unfocused, skin wan, eyes bloodshot, and there are dehydrated lines that bracket his lips. “Hold me then.”
Gawain shuffles closer slowly, the spray from the shower head cascading down his back as he gathers Lancelot up in his arms and softly, he brushes Lancelot’s hair out of his eyes and pretends he can't feel Lancelot's warm tears collecting in the crook of his neck.
“You’re still seeing him?” Arthur asks.
Guinevere hits Arthur’s chest with the back of her hand. “Arthur,” she hisses. “He’s right there.”
Lancelot awkwardly waves.
“I thought you wouldn’t like him. He ate all the frost beverages from Eegee’s, the flavor was your favorite.” Arthur says.
“Arthur,” Gawain says slowly. “You ate all the frost beverages.”
Guinevere sighs loudly and turns to Lancelot. “Ignore him, Arthur doesn’t know anything.” She pauses and then grins mischievously. “I guess we’ll be future-in-laws knowing how both Arthur and Gawain are. I’m Guinevere.” She extends her hand and Lancelot takes it.
“Lancelot du Lac.”
Lancelot’s fingers are entangled in Gawain’s hair and Gawain’s hands cup Lancelot’s face, his thumb brushing against the jut of Lancelot’s cheekbone. Their breaths mingle as they press their foreheads together.
“Lancelot du Lac,” Gawain says and his eyes are dazzling, they threaten to swallow Lancelot whole and Lancelot will willingly walk into those depths now, he knows this intimately. If this is falling, Lancelot doesn’t mind — falling is easy and Lancelot will easily fold if this is what it’ll take.
(If this is what love is, Lancelot muses.)
(But Lancelot is fairly certain now.)
It hurts to look Gawain, but the good kind of hurt, and Lancelot’s eyes sting. Gawain’s smile softens and his voice is reverent. “Lancelot.”