Title: I Like a Boy in Uniform
Starring: Elyan and bros (almost gen)
Notes: Takes place during 4x13, no spoilers for season 5. Written for the "dressup" square on my kink_bingo card! Thanks to flammablehat for looking it over for me. Title from the Pipettes song, which I know from this adorable season 1 Merlin vid. Yay I finished another fic before the end of the year!
Summary: Elyan and the other knights get ready for Arthur and Gwen's wedding.
Links: Read it at the AO3
Gwaine and Leon are already in the armoury getting ready when Elyan joins them. Gwaine's got his shirt off and Leon is like Elyan, in a tunic and trousers but without any of the armour just yet. They both smile broadly as they clap him on the shoulder.
"Today's the day you become one of them," Gwaine teases. "Who knows, Leon, from now on he'll be royalty, perhaps he won't deign to share a meal or a bedroll with the likes of us."
"I'll share with you if I don't want you grabbing everything for yourself first," Elyan answers with a laugh. "Is it the full regalia then?"
"Chainmail and the capes with Arthur's crest, yes," Leon answers.
"We must be at our prettiest!" says Gwaine, and Elyan only smiles, because he understands now that that's all Gwaine, and nothing to do with him. "Taking weapons to your sister's wedding, I see," Gwaine adds, eying Elyan's knife set on the table. "Haven't quite made up your mind about this Arthur fellow?"
"Got to be ready to defend both of them at all times," says Elyan. "You never know what will happen in this place."
Gwaine nods as he runs a finger along the flat of the blade "You made this one yourself, didn't you? And the sword as well?"
"Yeah, back when I was running my own forge." Elyan remembers setting aside time and extra bits of steel for himself, after he'd finished his paid work for the day. "Nobody there was buying weapons, but I reckoned I should keep my skills up."
It had been a decent life, brief as it was and suddenly as it had ended. Nobody in the little village knew about his childhood, his family or their tragedies. The farmers looked at him with respect, relieved that someone would sell them their tools at a fair price; the farmers' sons and daughters looked at him with lust, and Elyan took more of them to bed than was perhaps strictly wise. He was never quite himself there, but he was never alone unless he chose to be. He was working out the kind of man he wanted to be, something he'd never have had a chance to do in Camelot.
"Who would have thought," he murmurs now, "a blacksmith's son grown up to be a knight."
"And a blacksmith's daughter the queen," says Gwaine.
"I never thought I'd live to see the day," says Leon, shaking his head. "But I am so happy, Elyan, so proud of you both."
Of all the people he had to meet again in this new life, Leon was the one who'd made Elyan the most nervous. More than Gwen, who was more or less required to put up with him because that was what big sisters did. More than Arthur or even Uther – as fearsome as the old king was, he'd never have recognised Elyan from before he left.
Leon, though, Leon knew his parents and knew his old name. Leon had chased Elyan and Gwen from the playing field, saying it was no place for little girls, though mostly he meant it was no place for commoners. And Leon could have been the one to say no, the Round Table was no place for the likes of Elyan, but he never did. Elyan wasn't the only one who'd done some growing up in those few years.
"I'm sorry your father can't be here to see it for himself. He'd have been proud too."
"Thank you, Leon."
Elyan pictures his father, the broad smile on his face the first day Gwen went to work in the castle, saying, My girls can grow up to be anything they choose, even though they all knew that wasn't true. A blacksmith's daughter couldn't grow up to be a blacksmith, let alone a knight or a queen.
Except, as it turned out, perhaps they could. Arthur made that possible, he thinks. And then, no, it was Elyan and Gwen. They were the ones who chose.
Pulling the chainmail shirt over his head, he wonders whether Gwen dressed herself this morning. Perhaps, like Elyan, she slept lightly last night, full of nervous anticipation, and woke up early, even before most of the servants. She might have got up to see the sunrise outside her window, and put on her undergarments in the privacy of her own room, while Elyan was binding his chest in his. After that a few girls would have come in to help her with the complicated business of corset lacings and a brocade stole. She's always been so capable, but ladies' fashions take a good deal more work than the plain dresses she wore when they lived at home.
Elyan's certainly capable of getting the knight's uniform on by himself – today it's not the heavy armour they'd use for battle – but he likes being here with the others, nudging Leon when he wants an extra tug at a buckle, nodding to Gwaine to indicate, yes, they will be at their best for Gwen's special day.
"You're late," says Elyan as Percival rushes in, but he's quietly grateful for the extra excuse to help, to lay his hands on this man's body. And he doesn't think it's just his imagination, the way Percival aims his smile back at Elyan, the way his eyes linger on him more than the others when he thanks them. Elyan's not a blacksmith anymore, but perhaps he understands the work better now than he did then. He'll let this fire grow slowly, happy to feel its warmth safe and steady as his own heart in his chest.
The cloaks all match, the freshly washed brilliant red that displays how proud they are to be Arthur's knights. Each of them wears a different brooch to set the cloak in place at the neck, and on this occasion no one is likely to take note of Percival's bare arms under the cape, except of course for Elyan.
All eyes will be on Gwen anyway. But as Elyan looks between them it feels good to know that he fits. With Arthur as king, what matters is what each of them is willing to do for Camelot now, not where they started from.