Harlequin's Slash Fic

To the pure, all things are pure

Title: To the pure, all things are pure
Author: Harlequin
Universe: Merlin (modern day au)
Characters featured: Elyan/Percival
Category, Word count: Short story; 2770 words
Rating: PG13
Summary: Elyan has to seriously consider what he wants for Christmas this year.

 

 

To the pure, all things are pure

Elyan poured a little more polish onto the soft old microfibre cloth, and gently began polishing the tank of his Indian 101 Scout. He always left the tank until last, for no particular reason other than long habit. When he’d first been given the old wreck of a motorcycle by his father Tom, the tank had been about the only original component that still possessed its integrity. All the rest, Elyan had piece-by-piece tried to fix or replace over the years … It was a hopeless task, of course, trying to restore a 1928 motorcycle of US origin, when you were living in London in the twenty-first century and you rarely had enough money to do more than buy a meal.

After Tom had died, and Elyan had come home to take over his father’s mechanics business, Elyan had always had more work than he knew how to deal with. The problem was that the workshop was based in such a rundown area that most of his clients paid by barter or favours – rarely by cash, and of course rarer still with genuine parts for an old Indian Scout. Elyan was tempted, on occasion, to supplement his income with the sort of deals and merchandise he had traded in during his few years’ absence from London … but he had returned home with the thought that it was time to put that life behind him, and he felt he owed it to Tom’s memory to keep the business legit. It could seem an infernal endless struggle at times, mind.

He gave a last loving swipe of the cloth to the Indian logo on the tank, and then stood back to admire the beauty of the machine. He’d opened up the workshop’s main doors, so the cool wintery daylight glinted off the old Scout. She was long and low and powerful. The paintwork was red, of course, and the rest of her was black and silver. “You look absolutely wicked,” Elyan murmured to her, “and I always heard you handle like a dream.”

An amused huff of breath indicated he had company – Elyan spun to find Percival standing just inside the open doors, his posture tall and true, and his mouth betraying a fond smile. Elyan’s heart quit pounding with alarm … and began racing for another reason entirely.

“I heard,” Percival offered, “the 101 Scout was the best motorcycle that Indian ever made.”

Elyan grinned at him. “Yeah? Where d’you hear that from?”

Percival pondered for a moment, and then tipped his head towards Elyan in that endearing way. “Actually, I think I heard that from you.”

He actually guffawed with laughter. If anyone could be relied upon to brighten Elyan’s day, it was Percival. “Yeah, I think maybe you might have.”

“Did you find some new parts for her?” Percival continued, coming over to stand by him, and contemplating the machine with almost as much interest as Elyan himself did. “Have you been doing some work?”

“Nah, I was just giving her a clean. It’s a fool’s dream, Perce, to want her running again.”

“Didn’t you say you only need a carburettor now?”

“Well, yeah, to get her running, I reckon. But she’d still be a long way from street-legal. I don’t know why I bother any more, really. God, Dad gave me her years ago, I was just a boy. I was amazed he even kept her while I was gone. He should have sold her as junk.”

Percival had folded his arms and turned to look at him – to look down at him from Perce’s lofty height, though Percival was too kind a man to ever look down in judgement at Elyan. “We all need a dream, Elyan. Don’t give up on her.”

Elyan grinned at the man. It was a surprisingly mild winter, and Percival was only wearing a light jacket over a snug t-shirt. With his arms crossed, the curves of his biceps were visible, and there were delicious hints of other muscle definition in his arms and his torso.

“What about you?” Elyan asked. “Still bench-pressing 150 pounds? How many reps are you up to?”

Percival turned away again, grimacing in frustration. “Twenty reps now.”

“Really? That’s fantastic!”

“Yes, but … I know I can lift more. If I had more to lift! I tried hanging a couple of bricks off each end of the bar as well, but it wasn’t stable enough.”

Elyan reached to grasp a strong shoulder to underscore his concern. “No, you mustn’t take risks like that, Percival. You have to be careful, you have to take care of yourself.”

“I know.” Percival looked down at him again, fondness softening that handsome face.

They looked at each other for long moments – not staring, but perhaps more like simply watching – until Elyan finally let his hand fall away again. It was unusual to meet someone’s gaze like that, for so long, without hostile or hungry intent. But Percival wasn’t like anyone else Elyan had ever known. He was so … innocent. Nothing to hide, and entirely lacking in guile. And he always seemed to assume that everyone else he met was at heart much the same.

Elyan walked away and occupied himself by tidying away the polish and the cloths. Over his shoulder he asked, “Was there a reason you came by today, Perce?”

“Oh yes.” Percival was stepping closer to Elyan again as he spoke, unaware that sometimes Elyan needed a tad more personal space than most. Not that Percival himself ever got Elyan’s hackles up. “I wanted to make sure you’re coming to Gwen and Lance’s for Christmas dinner.”

“Of course I am,” Elyan replied. “Miss my sister’s Christmas dinner? I value life and limb too much to dare.”

“Good,” said Percival with a grin. “I wanted to ask if you’d be my ‘plus one’.”

Elyan stared at him for a moment, feeling blank. Then he said, “No, that’s not necessary, Perce. I already have an invitation.”

“Can I be your ‘plus one’, then?”

“No, I –” Elyan frowned, trying to find his way through the confusion. “No, I mean, you do have an invitation already, don’t you?” As a particular friend of Lance’s, Percival had surely been included.

That’s how Elyan had met the man, after all. Gwen had gone out with Arthur for a while, and met Lance through him. When it became clear how things should be, Arthur had ended up with Merlin instead. They all lived in the more salubrious parts of the city, along with Leon. Gwaine didn’t seem to belong anywhere, but briefly settled wherever the winds blew him. Meanwhile, Lance had introduced Elyan to Percival, who Elyan discovered lived only three streets away, here in the poorer parts of town. Not that the struggles here had roughened Percival’s edges any. Elyan had thought Lance unworldly, until he met Percival.

“Yes, I have an invitation,” Percival said now. His grin had only been increasing while Elyan had tried to figure this out. “Will you be my ‘plus one’?”

“Wait a minute …” Something important had finally occurred to Elyan. “Wait a minute. You’re not trying to scam them for two dinners for each of us, are you? Or are you? I wouldn’t say no!”

Percival burst out laughing. “No,” he said, before explaining very simply, “I was asking if you would be my date, Elyan.”

Elyan was grinning, too, now – a wild warm grin that seemed not entirely unrelated to Percival’s warm regard. “I finally figured that out,” Elyan said. “Sorry I’m so slow! I’d love to, of course.”

“Thank you, Elyan. I shall come here and meet you at eleven on Christmas Day, and we can travel into the city together.”

“Looking forward to it.” And Elyan lifted a hand in acknowledgement as Percival turned and walked away, disappearing into the cool winter light.

Could this possibly mean … ? Elyan’s heart was racing at a hundred miles per hour. No, it couldn’t mean – he knew very well this couldn’t mean to Percival what it mean to Elyan. But oh … any kind of sweetness or spice added to their friendship, no matter how mild, would be a blessing indeed. Elyan intended to enjoy it for what it was, and leave whatever he couldn’t have to dreams.

Elyan was brought crashing back down to earth again a moment later when one of the local gang leaders walked in, along with his sidekick. “Waited ’til the lunk was gone. Man, how do you put up with him?”

“Don’t call him that,” Elyan protested, but sullenly. He knew it was a lost cause, wanting to explain Percival to anyone around here, but he couldn’t quit trying. “He’s just different to the rest of us. Not stupid, not slow. Just different.”

“Yeah, right …” The guy shifted restlessly on his feet. “Got what you wanted, anyway, out in the van. You ready to deal?”

Elyan sighed. “Yeah, I’m ready.”

Christmas Day finally arrived, and Elyan woke with a grin on his face, like he hadn’t done since he and Gwen were children. He stretched out on his mattress, and gazed out into the world – not seeing the shabbiness of what had used to be one of the workshop’s storerooms, but thinking only that he had a date with Percival that day. Let your heart be light, indeed! He lay there snuggly bundled up for a while, simply enjoying the feeling of having something wonderful to look forward to.

Eventually, however, Elyan got up and put the kettle on for coffee. He wasn’t in a rush, as all he had to do that morning was wash and dress, and wallow in anticipation. So he just took his own sweet time, and thought about Percival, which meant a morning full of only happy thoughts.

At eleven, the man himself appeared, with a sweet smile on his handsome face and a gift-wrapped box tucked under one strong arm. “Merry Christmas, Elyan!” he called from just outside.

The day was fine and not very cold, so Elyan had thrown open the main doors again. He went to meet Percival out in the cool sunlight, jogging because he was too happy to just walk. “Merry Christmas, Percival!” He smiled up at the man, and enjoyed being looked at with no judgement, no disapproval, and nothing held in check.

After a long moment, Percival shifted the box under his arm. “I brought you a present.” He seemed very eager to play Santa Claus.

“Ah! It’s not for Gwen and Lance?”

“No, it’s for you.”

Elyan was grinning so hard. “Come inside, then. Can I open it now?”

“Yes.”

They gravitated to the workbench near where Elyan used to work on the Indian. Percival frowned a little at the odd-shaped mounds on the workshop floor that were covered by a red blanket, but then he put the present down on the bench, and stepped back with another smile for Elyan.

“Open it!” Percival said, as if he were even keener than Elyan to see what was inside.

With his old frugal care, Elyan took the wrapping paper apart without tearing it, folded it and put it aside. The box had obviously been borrowed from a grocer’s discards, but Elyan deliberately did not make a quip about Percival gifting him a carton of Green Giant sweetcorn. Instead he reached for a knife to cut the sticky tape that held the top of the box closed, put the knife back down, and then slowly drew apart the flaps, lifted out the scrunched up newspaper packaging, to find … to find, with a feeling of perfect inevitability, a carburettor for an Indian 101 Scout.

A tear welled in each of Elyan’s eyes, as hadn’t been the case for years now. He didn’t dare to even glance at Percival. Elyan simply reached in and reverentially lifted out the carburettor, turning it back and forth in his hands. Admiring it. Aching with a flood of emotion. For all he could tell through his blurred vision and his trembling fingers, it was the perfect model, the DLX-51 for the 45-inch engine of the 1928 motorcycle … “Oh, Percival,” Elyan said thickly.

“Is it right? Did I find you the right one?” Percival seemed happy in the knowledge that he had indeed found the correct carburettor, but no doubt he was a little confused by Elyan’s excessive reactions to it.

“Oh, Percival, it’s perfect. It’s the most beautiful present anyone’s ever given me.”

Percival seemed rather abashed by that, as if he didn’t have the right to be rated so highly.

“It is,” Elyan insisted. Right then, he couldn’t even remember any other present at all, not even those childhood presents discovered under the Christmas tree that were so magical they made you believe in Santa Claus and Christmas wishes all over again.

Elyan didn’t want to let the carburettor go, but after a last caress, he carefully rested it on the scrunched up newspaper on the bench, and indicated the mounds on the floor. “I couldn’t wrap them as nicely as you wrapped mine, but that’s your present, underneath the blanket.”

Percival was considering Elyan, but after a moment or two he tore his gaze away, and stepped closer. He bent to grasp a corner of the red blanket, and then carefully drew it to him, gathering the blanket into folds as he went. Revealed were … two small pyramids of round weights, most of them on the heavy side. Percival stared down at them for long moments, before gasping in a long shuddering breath. “Elyan!” he cried.

“Are they right?” Elyan found himself babbling. “Are they the right kind of thing?”

“They’re perfect. Oh, Elyan.” Percival turned towards him, and stared at him quite distraught. “Elyan, I sold my bench and gear so that I could buy you the carburettor.”

Elyan let out a sound that must have seemed like hysterical laughter. He took a step or two towards Percival, uncertain as if he didn’t know any more what was up and what was down. Certain, though, about where he needed to be.

Percival looked about him again. “Elyan,” he said. “Where’s the Scout?”

“You know. You know what’s happened.”

Percival let the blanket drop back down to the weights, and turned to Elyan. His face was wrenched with grief. “You sold her, to buy me the weights.”

“I did a deal,” Elyan agreed. “Best deal I ever made.”

“Oh, no,” Percival cried – and then he stepped forward, and enfolded Elyan in an embrace, a hug that encompassed all of him, crushing Elyan up close against the huge beautiful heart of Percival. Elyan managed to push his hands up, and then his arms were winding around those strong shoulders and he was hanging on, and Percival was wrapping him up nearer still – lifting a little so that Elyan’s feet left the ground, and he was soaring with an overwhelming joy that was mingled with the most wonderfully sharp sorrow.

And then Percival’s face, pressed so close to his, shifted a little, his stubble scratching – but could he possibly be – yes, shifting again, and Percival’s lips found the corner of Elyan’s, and Elyan turned his head so that their mouths met in a wild kiss, all the sweeter for Percival’s unpractised eagerness.

“Oh, Elyan,” Percival finally said, lifting his head so they could look at each other, but not letting Elyan go, still effortlessly holding him up off the ground. “I don’t want you to be my date,” he declared.

“No?” Elyan asked without any fear.

“I want you to be my boyfriend.”

“That would be nice,” Elyan couldn’t help agreeing. “That would be very nice. But, Percival, I’m not half good enough for you. Not even a hundredth good enough.”

“The only thing I wished for this Christmas this year is that you would say yes.”

Elyan groaned. He felt he’d be doing Percival such wrong if he agreed, and yet – “The fact you even asked is worth more to me than all the gold, frankincense and myrrh in the world.”

Percival’s smile grew devastatingly happy, and his eyes lit up. “Then say you’ll be my boyfriend, Elyan, and I’ll be yours with all my heart.”

“You amaze me,” Elyan mumbled, pressing kisses to Percival’s stubbled cheeks as if he’d lost all reason. Though it was clearly true – “That’s the most precious gift ever.”

“Elyan,” Percival said with a rumbling laugh that reverberated through Elyan as well, and made his name sound like a song, like a carol.

Yes, Percival,” said Elyan. “Yes.” And they kissed.

 

 

 

Notes: With apologies and all due respect to O. Henry and his story The Gift of the Magi.

Posted in: Merlin, Slash fic

Subscribe to these comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *