"Hey Merls, I'm home!" Gwaine stomped in the front door at one in the morning only to have his younger cousin run up to him and hush him quickly.
"What is it?" He asked
"Some people, like our younger cousin, need to sleep! And besides, I have a test at the end of the week, I need to study! Just because you go around wasting the days away and coming home past midnight doesn't mean it needs to rub off on your family," Merlin sighed, flipping his text book closed with a yawn.
"Calm down Merls, I'll quiet down. You should go to sleep, you look like you need it." Gwaine said, holding out his hands at first then wrapping his cousin in a hug. "You okay?"
"Ugh, go take a shower, you smell like beer." Merlin replied pushing Gwaine away. "And yes, I'm fine, just a bit tired. I'm off to bed since I doubt I'll get any good study time in now."
"I know it's hard Merls, but you'll get through it," Gwaine assured his cousin, gently rubbing the boy's shoulders.
"You have no idea, you never went to Uni!" Merlin shot back pulling away. "Instead you went off to get your job at Bobby's Bar or whatever it's called."
"Please calm down Merls..." Gwaine stepped back, hands up once more. "I didn't do what you are doing but I know it's hard."
"I'm sorry," Merlin sighed, stepping away. "I think I just studied too long. I'm off to bed, okay? Shower and then you too. Don't wake Cuilén."
"I'll do my best." Gwaine promised. "He is a light sleeper you know."
"Whatever, just do your best," Merlin sighed before stamping off to his room, heading down the hall to the right and into the second door. He grabbed his textbook from the table on the way.
Gwaine headed off to his room, down the hall to the right as well, reminiscing on the past few years. It was several years ago now that Gwaine's younger cousin Cuilén had become an orphan and moved in with him. This year he was a freshmen in high school, close to how Merlin was a sophomore in college.
Merlin was not an orphan, but his mother lived far off in the country while Gwaine's flat was rather close to his university in Manchester. He planned to become a physician of some sort and sometimes downed on Gwaine's choice to work in the pub on the other side of town. Still, Gwaine was fine with his choice and had been for the past four years.
Gwaine was about to walk into the bathroom, down the hall to the left, when a soft voice called his name.
"Gwaine? Is that you?" The voice came from the bedroom opposite the bathroom, the door cracked slightly open.
"Hey buddy," Gwaine pushed open the door softly, his voice a whisper. "You should be sleeping."
"What were you and Merlin talking about? It was loud, did he yell at you?" Cuilén sat up and scooted over on his bed, parties g the covers to get his cousin to come sit down.
"Hey don't worry about it, okay?" Gwaine came over to sit at the edge of Cuilén's bed. Cuilén was a gentle boy, easily upset by arguments and drama, so Gwaine simply offered him a smile.
"Merlin was just tired from studying. You know how much he cares about those final big tests in Gaius' class. Says they're boring, hard, and horrible, remember?" He asked.
"Oh, yeah." Cuilén yawned and rubbed at his eyes. "What time is it?"
"Just a little past one, it's time you got some sleep, don't you think?" Gwaine gently pulled some more covers up for Cuilén. "It's chilly tonight, these'll help you sleep, okay? You okay buddy?"
Cuilén laid down once more and reached out to grasp Gwaine's hand as it pulled the blankets up. "I'm okay, I guess." He said. "I was worried you and Merlin were fighting."
"Nah, it's okay, we weren't," Gwaine promised. "You have a good day today?"
"Yesterday you mean? 'Cause you get home... Tomorrow? I dunno, my day was good, why do you get home so late? You never are here for dinner and you sleep through breakfast," Cuilén wondered and he held onto Gwaine's hand and played with his fingers, pulling them further apart and then pushing them together.
"I have a late job, remember? I have to serve people stuff at a… Sort of restaurant, okay? it has late hours. I'm sometimes awake for breakfast, right?" Gwaine asked, smiling at Cuilén's antics. "Anyway, I'm glad you had a good day. Classes okay? Those boys didn't bother you again? Cause if they did-"
"No, school was okay," Cuilén gripped Gwaine's hand tighter, not wanting his cousin to be upset. "I don't like math though..."
"Yeah, I always hated math too. PE, now that was the class for me! Well, I'd better be getting off for my shower, okay? And it's time you slept or Merlin'll have my head in the morning. Besides, you've got school tomorrow." Gwaine gently tried to pull his fingers loose.
"No, I don't actually." Cuilén said, not letting go of Gwaine, but readjusting his grip to get a better hold. "Meeting for the teachers."
"Oh, well you should sleep anyway, buddy! Unless… You want to hear more of that book your English class is meant to read?" Gwaine glanced to the book that was sitting on the ledge of Cuilén's window.
"Would you read to me? Please?" Cuilén sat up excitedly. "I can stay awake until you take your shower. You only take a minute or two."
"We'll see if you're still awake," Gwaine nodded. He stood and exited the room, soon returning with a towel running through his long, shaggy hair. "You still awake bud?"
"Yeah," Cuilén's sleepy voice said from his position on the bed. "Read to me?"
"Okay buddy," Gwaine grabbed the book: Tom Sawyer, of the ledge and began to read the next chapter. Before long, his own voice became sleeping and he soon slumped against the wall on the other side of the bed.
"Gwaine?" Cuilén asked, looking over at his snoring cousin. "You asleep?"
When he received no answer he smiled and gently pulled his blanket up and snuggled against his cousin. He laid his head down on Gwaine's stomach and slowly fell asleep.