cyus: (Merlin)
[personal profile] cyus
Title: Hay-tussled
Pairing: Uther/Gaius
Rating: PG-13
Length: 1100
Warning: Underage (12 & 13yo kissing)
Summary: This love was forever, king or not, Gaius would always stand by Uther's side.

"My Lord." The pain burned a hole into his gut, just under his heart, it sat like a hot poker and Gaius still bowed his head and went to one bent knee. "My lord," he repeated, and muttered, "I swear" and didn't look up at Uther, only kept his trembling fingers lying against his thigh in his line of sight and waited for it to stop hurting.

"Gaius," Uther said, voice shaking. He pulled at his sleeve, running the ceremonial garb askew and Gaius stilled him, hand on his wrist, nearly pulled back again but Uther closed his fingers around the bones and gave a squeeze, half comforting, half needy.

"My lord," Gaius repeated and glanced up, brushing at the fringe of hair hanging into his eyes.

"Don't." Uther stepped back, leaned against the wall, the glass window behind him open and carrying in the sounds from the court.

"My king," Gaius repeated as he stood. It tingled in his fingertips, magic, and it tingled when Uther stared at him, stared at his fingers and his chest and his eyes and Gaius bit back a laugh, a bit bitter, and bit back the pain, a lot bitter.

"I look ridiculous," Uther said, voice low, eyes dark. He pulled at the crown and pulled it off, turning it between his fingers. "I feel ridiculous."

Gaius swallowed. "You are King," Gaius said, the troops rallying below, barely a fortnight since the old King's death but war mongering didn't pause for a single man's heart stopping.

The sun was coming out over the balustrade, sparking golden off Uther's hair, and Gaius stepped closer and reached out and then pulled his hand back only to have Uther catch it, touch it, press his lips to the fingertips.

"You won't leave, will you?" he asked, breath fanning out and voice thick as he watch the knights. "You wouldn't leave me." And Uther shuddered under the smallest spark of magic along his cheek and down his neck and chest, and went still when Gaius clenched his fingers into a fist.

"I won't leave, my Lord," he said.

***

They'd kissed in the hay, summer rain, twelve and thirteen and the King let Uther do what he wanted and he wanted girls and he wanted to be the best knight his father had seen and he wanted everyone whole.

"Show me," he'd whispered, eyes aspark with hay strewn through his hair where they'd tussled earlier and the flame from the candle safely set aside.

Gaius reached for his hand, and stretched it out, palm-up and Uther's fingers twitched but he held still when Gaius drew his fingertip in a long line from base to tip, dripping all his warmth and everything he had through the touch.

"It's our secret," Uther whispered, and he stole a kiss of Gaius's mouth until Gaius wanted to stop breathing just to have this for the rest of time.

***

"I don't have to handle a sword," Gaius said, vials in one hand and the wooden practice sword in the other, half-heartedly parrying Uther's attacks until he caught him under the chin and Uther recoiled eyes glowering.

"Gaius."

"Not all of us have time for warplay," Gaius said and threw Uther the sword, smiling at him.

"Other play though?" Uther had said, standing too close, and Gaius knew a lady was waiting in Uther's chambers but he didn't have the will to deny Uther anything never had.

"We've surpassed the age to tousle," he said, and didn't miss how Uther shrank, didn't miss either how it hurt in him. "You understand," he said, turning to look over his shoulder and then down at the vials, his head full of the errands and the learnings. "You will be King, my Lord," Gaius said, but as Uther leaned in close he still smelled of hay and Gaius slipped out of his rooms in the early morning hours, sated and sore and with his heart aching and heavy with love.

***

"I need your counsel, Gaius," Uther said, Ygraine's hand in his and anxious, lip bitten and hair graying at the temples now, he looked upon Gaius like the boy who’s gone away from one day to the next and who he was still missing.

"Certainly, my Lord," Gaius replied as the court filtered out, leaving him be with counsel as best as he could give it to love so encompassing, so grand that their bodies couldn't hold it all.

***

"It is death!" Gaius was half-naked, half-mad and Uther looked like the man he'd never known. "You are talking death for no just cause for-" Gaius grabbed for Uther's hand, the gesture of fingers to palm to fingers, the slow drag of warmth, and Uther jerked back, half fell back.

"I won't have it in my court, in my castle, in my kingdom. Evil, as such, I won't have it near me."

His hair was ashed and no hint of hay stood raw in it, made it youthful or gentle. The eyes hard, the lips pursed. Gaius reached for him again, both ridiculous and both in their nightgowns, set the hand to Uther's heart.

"It was an accident, my Lord. Have mercy on the innocent. Have-"

"She's dead." Uther's heart hammered under Gaius's hand, exploded his chest into a hard thrust of energy as everything else went calm and quiet.

He stepped back. One step, another.

"She's dead," he repeated.

Gaius's fingertips fell from his body, something breaking when Uther's eyes shuttered, taking the spark and the light and that gentle touch of love, hay and summer rain and the first innocent kisses, and buried it.

It was impossible not to see it though, when Gaius looked upon him. Behind it, withering, it was impossible not to remember.

***

"Is it done?" Uther asked, standing in front of the throne, strong and tall and cold.

"It is, my Lord," Gaius said. He bowed his head. "It is, my King."

And he turned and thought he tasted him on his lips, felt him in his chest, somewhere where it didn't squeeze quite so tight. He looked over his shoulder, and Uther met his eyes and looked away, but for a moment, for a moment a spark in Gaius's fingertips and something that could be a touch if it was them touching or a kiss if it was them kissing or-

He bowed again. "My lord," he whispered.

Date: 2011-03-21 12:57 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] topgeargirl2.livejournal.com
This was very good. :)

Date: 2011-03-28 09:31 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] cyus.livejournal.com
Thanks very much :)

Date: 2011-03-21 10:55 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] aeron-lanart.livejournal.com
Oh good stuff. Not enough Uther/Gaius fic out there, glad you've written this!

Date: 2011-03-28 09:32 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] cyus.livejournal.com
Thanks :) Yeah, I gotta say I find their relationship interesting given what kind of sdynamics they find themselves in now and the sort of history that is hinted at.

Date: 2011-03-22 08:37 pm (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
I love their relationship in this, the development over the years, and Gaius' unwavering loyalty in spite of everything. The repetition of "my Lord" is also so good; I love repetition, it feels like you're pushing the reader from one utterance to another. Guh.

Date: 2011-03-28 09:33 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] cyus.livejournal.com
LOL I admit it's probably one of my gimmicks, to play with the effect of repetitions. UM! But glad you liked the story.

Date: 2011-03-25 12:05 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] archaeologist-d.livejournal.com
This was great. I loved their relationship and how it changed over the years. I wonder how much Merlin and Arthur's would change if Arthur had gone through the same things.

Date: 2011-03-28 09:33 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] cyus.livejournal.com
Thanks very much. The parallel between Uther/Gaius and Arthur/Merlin was especially striking, I thought in ... 3x09, I think it was, where we get an idea of Gaius' past in the kingdom under Uther's reign. Glad you liked the fic.

Date: 2011-03-30 08:36 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] nu-breed.livejournal.com
Here on [livejournal.com profile] marguerite_26's rec and oh wow. The parallels here with Arthur/Merlin are STAGGERING. So gorgeously written that my heart is just aching for both of them. I'm so glad I decided to read this.
Edited Date: 2011-03-30 08:43 pm (UTC)

Date: 2011-03-31 09:18 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] cyus.livejournal.com
Thanks very much. The parallels are what made 3x09 one of my favorite episodes of last season (along with Merlin's fascination of hearing people talk about magic). It makes you wonder why Gaius is still around and that there has to be a reason... so - yeah, glad you gave it a try, and thanks for the comment and the rec, appreciate it.

Date: 2011-03-30 11:16 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] marguerite-26.livejournal.com
I've always found the very weird and complex relationship of these two to be very interesting. I was thrilled to see you explore it more, and this backstory is wonderfully spun. Great fic.

Date: 2011-03-31 09:19 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] cyus.livejournal.com
Same here. With everything that Uther does, with all the losses Gaius seems to have suffered, it makes you wonder why he is still there. Glad to hear this worked for you and thanks for the rec.

Date: 2011-03-31 10:09 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] marguerite-26.livejournal.com
With everything that Uther does, with all the losses Gaius seems to have suffered, it makes you wonder why he is still there.

Yes, yes it does.

If you are at all interested... I wrote about these two once upon a time. I don't usually self-rec but HEY! not many Uther/Gaius fics out there. LOL. Grad total of 200 words.
http://marguerite-26.livejournal.com/397299.html?thread=5639411#t5639411

Date: 2011-03-31 03:19 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] tracy7307.livejournal.com
I've read a couple of your fics besides this and must say how much I love your sparse style. You pack a lot in few words, and I appreciate how much trust you put in readers to fill in the narrative.

Thank you for exploring this relationship. I've pondered their dynamic before and it was great to see it fleshed out.

Every "my Lord" felt like a brick in the wall to me, a heartbreakingly crafted one.

Thanks for posting this piece.

Date: 2011-03-31 09:24 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] cyus.livejournal.com
Thanks very much for your comment. I'm glad this type of style works for you, and a few others I guess, because I'll probably always be the one to argue in conversation that the reader isn't stupid and gets things without having them spelled out.

Their dynamic is definitely an intriguing one. There are quite a few moments over the seasons that make you wonder why Gaius is staying, why he is so loyal when Uther is cruel and unjust so often, why he defends him and bows to him -- so yeah, hence this fic, I guess, even if it's only a tentative, somewhat superficial exploration.

Thanks for the comment, appreciate it.

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