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...
Tristan and Dagonet fetched their horses from the stables and simply rode out the front gate. Even if Arthur wasn't with them, no one dared question his knights when they gave an order.
They headed away from the wall, towards the refuge of the forest. The evening was warm, and the first signs of summer were all around. They didn't speak until Tristan had lead them into the trees, away from spying eyes.
"Forgive my indiscretion," Tristan said with agonized voice when they had dismounted, "But I really can't bear it any longer. Arthur can spare us this one night. I need you more than he does." He let his forehead rest against Dagonet's. "It's driving me mad."
Meanwhile Bors joined the others in the tavern.
"By the gods! Could someone tell me what is going on here?" Bors banged his fist on the table as he sat down.
Being used to his antics, the men merely waited for him to continue.
"That damned scout of yours," Bors glowered at Arthur. "He is acting like a lovesick woman. Whenever you look, he's there. At Dag's heels all the bloody time! Can't get a moment alone with the man."
At the words "lovesick woman", Arthur and Gawain both tensed, while Lancelot and Galahad looked utterly amused.
"Got competition, eh Bors?" Lancelot chuckled. "First I steal Vanora, then Tristan takes Dag from you. What is to come next? I have seen Gawain eyeing that horse of yours..."
Even Gawain sniggered at that, but Bors was in no mood for banter.
"Oh, do shut your mouth, Lancelot. I'm serious. Those two are up to something."
"Alright, then," Lancelot said, looking slightly vexed. "Do you have any suggestions as to what, exactly, they might be up to?"
"No! If I did, I wouldn't have bothered asking you lot, would I?" Bors looked around the table, and it finally dawned on them that he was genuinely troubled.
Silence settled briefly amongst the men. Lately they had all, more or less consciously, been aware of the fact that something had happened between Dagonet and Tristan. Only Arthur and Gawain had given it a second thought, though. The others usually let things pass, as long as it didn't threaten to turn into violence. Now they slowly began to wonder if there was something more important going on.
As on cue, they all turned to their commander. Arthur, torn between loyalties, knew he couldn't give them the answers they wanted. He avoided looking at Gawain.
"What Dagonet and Tristan do with their spare time is none of my concern. You will have to ask them if you want to know."
Having said that, he excused himself and left the table. As he walked away, he understood that would hardly be the end of it. His men were no fools, and this could not be hidden forever. He still heard their voices, and he wondered which way the wind blew.
Dagonet was fairly certain his heart would stop. It felt like he had been on edge, close to breaking point for weeks, and now all that tension came pouring out. What confidence he possessed faded fast, and he was trembling as Tristan removed their clothes with a resolute look on his face.
What if he did something wrong? Circumstances hadn't exactly worked together to make him an experienced man in these matters. There had been instances of quick physical gratification, but nothing had prepared him for this.
Tristan recognized his nervousness.
"Dagonet? What is the matter?" His voice sounded nowhere near as calm as he would wish.
Dagonet steeled himself. "I know violence, Tristan. I know how to handle a sword or a bow, but this I don't know."
The scout ran his hands along the other man's arms.
"I'm not sure what skills you think I possess, but believe me when I say that you probably know more than me."
Their apprehensive looks turned to smiles.
"We'll figure it out together, then," Dagonet's voice was husky as he touched Tristan's hip in a way that was so suggestive, it made the scout's blood rise.
Both men were reluctant to take command, so they didn't haste. Finally Dagonet couldn't wait any longer, and so he turned Tristan over on his side. The rest seemed to follow almost by instinct. He tried to go slow and be as gentle as he could. Stopping when he heard the other man's breathing become shallow, and pushing forward when it evened out.
When it was over, Dagonet let his eyes close and felt Tristan turn around to face him. The scout caressed his face so tenderly that he had to fight back tears. Not since his mother had given him a final goodbye, so many years ago, had someone touched him like that. It was almost unbearable.
Tristan rested his hand on Dagonet's cheek for a second before he let the fingers follow along the scar across his left eye. He recalled, all to vividly, the day it had marked him permanently. Memories of Dag falling to his knees with the blood gushing down his face. The man had recovered from that, just as from everything else, but Tristan knew it still plagued him.
Dagonet opened his eyes hesitatingly and met Tristan's gaze. He couldn't speak and didn't need to.
Despite his trust in Dagonet, Tristan had expected the experience to be somewhat degrading, but on the contrary. There had been no sense of embarrassment or shame. Partially because of the other man's inexperience and careful actions, but also because Dagonet had made it clear that it, just as easily, could have been the other way round.
With that in mind, Tristan took a firm hold on Dag's neck and leaned in for a kiss that seemed to last forever.
As Arthur sat brooding, he heard Lancelot's voice. Looking up, he saw the man standing in the doorway.
"You know something, Arthur. I can tell when you're holding back."
Lancelot sat down beside his commander and continued, "This business with Dag and Tristan is no news to you."
Arthur looked at Lancelot and let out a sigh. There was no one closer to him on God's green earth than this man, yet he could not talk to him of this.
"Lancelot, I can not..."
The man beside him let out a sigh of his own. "I'm not asking you to betray any confidence. I just want you to know that you can talk to me, if you wish."
He did wish it, but it was not to be. Arthur rubbed a hand over his tired eyes. "I know."
The sun was almost over the horizon when Tristan and Dagonet arrived back at the wall. Both of them realized that it would be impossible to hide their absence from the others, but neither man cared. The things said and done this night was worth every hard word they would get.
Tired, but serenely happy, they sauntered across the empty courtyard with their mounts. Tristan could hear people going about the early morning chores, but there was no one in sight.
Just when they were ready to leave the stables, after making certain the horses were well cared for, Bors stepped inside. He halted, took one look at the pair of them and then turned on his heels and left.
Dagonet stood frozen. He was well aware that he had neglected his friendship with Bors of late, but up until now he had thought it salvageable. What if it was not? What if he had gone too far? He felt a chill along his spine and turned to Tristan with wide open eyes.
"Never before have I seen him this angry. With Bors, you should consider yourself lucky if he shouts at you. This silence is much worse."
Tristan suspected he was right. He could see the dread in the man's expression and understood it fully.
"You must go to him, Dag. Make him understand."
Dagonet looked almost defeated. "I don't know if I'm able to. This goes well past anything I have ever told him."
Tristan refused to let Dagonet yield to discouragement. "This may sound naive, but if he cares for you, which he obviously does, he will see that you are the same man you have always been."
Dagonet looked anything but convinced, but seemed to soften somewhat.
"But I'm not the same, Tristan. I'm not the man he thought he knew." He took a step closer and fixed the scout with piercing eyes. "Bors will have to stomach that fact, because that man is never to return."