Second problem: a hugely misplaced sense of loyalty.
For having been a wandering hired sword for so much of his life, apparently, as Gwaine found out about himself, when he fell for a liege-lord, he fell hard. And their little manservants, too.
They had cornered the beast in a grove: a colossal boar the size of a horse with, like, easily four tusks sprouting out of its face. The aim of the game was to get it to bleed to death, but its hide was thick and only a few strong jabs had drawn any blood. Still, everything was going well.
Until Merlin's nag spooked, sending him to the ground, and Arthur, in a fit of heroism, dropped down off his own horse to help his servant.
The boar spotted the easy targets, though, and charged. Arthur raised his polearm, but it was looking just as sissy and aristocratic as Gwaine feared it would look next to the reality of a wild boar.
Gwaine, forgetting perhaps that he too was holding a sissy spear, also swung down off his horse in what he deemed the nick of time, so that as the beast charged, it speared itself on two polearms instead of one. Arthur glanced to see who had come to his aid, but neither had time nor air for a snarky remark. The other four knights circled around, plunging their spears deep into the pinned beast, but this only angered it further. Merlin had got back on his horse and, if he wasn't joining in, was at least staying out of danger.
Third problem: bravery bordering on stupidity.
Which wasn't strictly true, because the plan currently simmering in Gwaine's foul little mind was, for once, actually fairly premeditated. It didn't mean it wasn't bloody stupid. He noticed, in the few short seconds that dragged on like minutes, two things. One, the boar was steadily sliding—like he said it would! though he could hardly say I told you so to anyone now—up the length of both polearms, wild with rage and not caring a hoot that it was killing itself the further it went, knowing it would take longer to die than it would to reach the ends of the conspicuously crossguard-less poles. The second thing Gwaine noticed was that Arthur had a bit better leverage than Gwaine had, the spear probably wedged on bone somewhere, while Gwaine's own spear wiggled around somewhat, doing probably gross things to its innards. And that sparked off an idea.
A very, very bad idea. Safe, for Arthur, probably, and bad for the pig, and very probably not at all wise for—
"Spread out!" Gwaine grunted. Arthur, not used to taking orders from peasants-turned-knights or whatever he thought of him, ignored him. "We've got to pull the spears apart, get him to bleed more!" Gwaine insisted.
More because he was out of options, and because a tree's worth of crossbow bolts emptied into the thing from point-blank had done nothing to slow it, Arthur nodded, and sidestepped out. Gwaine also sidestepped, widening the "V" they created between the pair of them, hoping against hope that this would work. His own spear could just as soon slide out, couldn't it, leaving Arthur alone wrangling the boar? And that would be bad. So he was taking a gamble on the actual rather than the apparent flimsiness of the polearms.
But, really, when wasn't Gwaine taking a gamble? Ah, that had to be problem number four, then, didn't it? Add it to the list!
Leon had possibly figured out what was going to happen, because he shouted out, "No, wait, not so far!" but too late.
Arthur's polearm snapped in two, the head from the wood, and he stumbled back, freeing the ferocious dying boar from everything but its personal vendetta against Gwaine. Which was precisely what Gwaine had hoped.
Though he hadn't, in all fairness, thought much further than getting Arthur out of harm's way.
The boar rushed him, up the length of the pole. There was a flurry of movement, a chorus of loud cries. Gwaine was pretty sure the thing bit his arm. More spears, driven deep with panic. Gwaine drew a long knife from his belt and shoved it through its eye, right down to its brains. There was a terrible squelching sound of sharp hardness piercing flesh, a few more squeals from the dying animal, and then it dropped, with Gwaine bent over it, holding his knife in.
There was a long stretch of silence, before a shout went up: victory!
Gwaine was frozen in place, heels dug in against the boar, holding onto that knife for dear life or as though if he let it go it would come back to life.
It wasn't until Arthur clapped him on the back that he realized something was wrong.
Very, very, very wrong.
The strange little gasp that was meant to be a loud curse had Arthur doing a double-take, letting him go like he was hot, and everyone going silent.
"Gwaine, are you—? Gwaine!" Arthur demanded, jumping to the horrible conclusion even before Gwaine had. "Percival, Leon!" he shouted urgently, even panicking.
Gwaine made a concerted effort, now, trying to pry himself away from the boar, confused until the adrenaline wore off and the pain kicked in, and he realized:
"Four tusks," he gasped out.
A/N: Here's where the fun begins! Also, yeesh, title? Current title is so lame, but so were all my other ideas ("Gwaine's Bad Day"?). Any suggestions welcome!