Title: To Look and to Listen
Rating: Nothing graphic.
Disclaimer: Not mine, no profit.
Summary: Dagonet and Tristan find themselves sharing longer looks than might be appropriate...
The sight of two grown men, deadly knights at that, riding together, might have been amusing under different circumstances. This day, with the woads so close by, nobody really felt in the mood for witticism. They also realized that it was only Galahad's rapid action with the bow that had saved Tristan's life. It had definitely been too close for comfort.
Gawain watched the two of them with curious eyes. He couldn't tell exactly what it was, but something seemed amiss. Maybe it was the protective way in which Dagonet held his arm around the scout's waist, or maybe it was the angle of Tristan's head as he leaned back into Dagonet. They just seemed too damn... content, Gawain mused to himself.
Meanwhile Dagonet was trying his hardest to keep his desire in check. Being this close to Tristan made his body react instantly. He knew that they had already taken a risk, though, so he restrained himself. Tristan was experiencing much the same. He could feel Dagonet's chest against his back, and his breath against his neck. Resolved to hide it, he allowed himself nothing more than to lean back a little.
"I don't know how much of this I can endure," Dagonet growled into the scout's ear. "I thought it was bad when I was younger and had to excuse myself after having watched the stable hands without their shirts on."
Tristan recognized the tone of merriment in Dag's frustrated voice, and couldn't help but smile at this rare insight into his earlier years.
"Is that so?" Tristan tried to sound matter-of-factly.
"Oh yes. One of the girls from the village tried to ease my pain once. Little did she know."
At that Tristan turned his head with such an incredulous look, that the sparkle in Dagonet's eyes turned into a wide smile.
"Poor girl," Tristan breathed, "she should have sent her brother instead."
By now they were both shaking with laughter and the others began to notice.
"What's so damned funny?" Bors shouted from his horse.
Tristan often displayed a dry sense of humor, but the men had seldom seen him laughing like this. Once or twice after too much drink, perhaps, but never out on mission. The knights looked at each other and shook their heads in disbelief. Bors looked angry more than anything.
"Well, I'm glad someone is finding this day humorous," Lancelot said to Arthur.
"The scout must have hit his head when he fell," Bors muttered.
When darkness settled and it became impossible to distinguish the men against the light of the moon, Tristan could restrain himself no longer. He used Dagonet's arm to balance himself and, agile and limber, he turned fully on the horse to face him. He wrapped his legs around Dag's waist and his arms around his neck. Dagonet responded immediately and found Tristan's mouth with his own. It was astonishingly erotic. The others were in front of them, close enough to hear the sound of the horse's hoofs in the grass. At this moment, Tristan payed them no mind, all he knew was Dagonet.
The man with the braids wrapped himself even tighter against Dagonet and, for an instant, it felt like he would never be able to let go. Dagonet tasted the softness of Tristan's tongue and, with strong arms, he held him close to his chest. Tristan tried to curb his need with slow, deep breaths and, through the dirt and grime that covered them both, he could feel the scent of Dag. It was profoundly familiar and endlessly loved.
Too soon they heard the voice of their commander coming from the shadows.
"We made it."
And right he was. In the distance there was a faint light to be seen, the torches mounted along the wall. Shelter.
Their return was quiet and went chiefly unnoticed. Jols met them in the stables, and after having tended to the horses and weapons, the knights went to have a well needed wash. Their clothes were stiff with dried blood and mud, and their bodies covered in scars. Some new, some old.
Dagonet felt it an immense relief to get clean. Often he wished he could wash all traces of violence and death from his skin, but there were precious few patches on him that didn't show evidence of the life he had lead. Most prominent of all was the scar across his eye. Dagonet knew he looked intimidating to people and it made him even more reserved towards others than he was by nature. He didn't particularly enjoy being the center of attention, but his size and appearance had made him used to being just that.
As he washed he pondered what it would be like to show all of himself to someone. Despite all the years spent in company with his fellow knights, they had never seen him fully unclothed. It was a completely conscious choice on his part. If they bathed, usually in some paralyzingly cold lake, he always kept to himself. Nobody seemed to notice. Bors was the direct opposite. There wasn't a hint of vanity in that man and he usually stripped without a second thought. Dagonet envied him. He wasn't self-conscious exactly, it was just hard to reveal to others what he barely ever saw himself.
Dagonet's body was on the mind of someone else that evening. Tristan had already washed and was sitting with Arthur and Galahad in the tavern. He was slowly chewing an apple.
"I'm sorry about your horse," Galahad looked fleetingly at Tristan before taking another mouthful of ale.
"Could have been worse," Tristan replied. After a brief pause he continued. "You really are quite the marksman with that bow."
The pride in Galahad's eyes at the unexpected praise was evident. He took the words for what they were, an expression of gratitude. It was more than he had expected, and he just raised his head slightly to look at the scout. Tristan, however, had already gone back to eating his apple and appeared to have his mind on something else.
Arthur could easily guess were the scout's mind dwelt. Ever since he got his suspicions acknowledged, the signs seemed more obvious than ever. Both Dagonet and Tristan were as steadfast and duteous as ever, but he could see their constant attention to each other. To his apprehension he could also see the mounting frustration and longing. It wouldn't be long before someone else would notice.
Tristan was unable to concentrate. He was dimly aware that Gawain had sat down at the table and was talking to Galahad and Arthur about something, but were was Dagonet? They had been apart for less than an hour, and already he felt the restlessness in him. Even the apple tasted bland.
"Damn it all to hell," Tristan said to no one in particular, and left the table in search for his man.
When he left he almost knocked Lancelot over, as the adust knight came to sit down.
"Why the haste?" Lancelot asked the others, but they seemed as surprised as he. Had he looked closer, though, he would have seen Arthur and Gawain share a significant glance. Arthur had no doubts about what that look indicated.
Tristan found Dagonet outside their quarters, talking to Bors. Without as much as a look at his burly companion, the scout bent close to Dag and breathed in his ear.
"If I leave now, will you come with me?"
Dagonet leaned his face slightly towards Tristan, then took one look at Bors.
"Forgive me, my friend, but have business to tend to. Don't keep Vanora waiting."
With a pat to Bors shoulder, Dagonet turned to the scout.
"Lead the way."