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 felt his heart beat faster at Dagonet's words. He couldn't decide how to react. On the one hand all his instincts told him to keep this as quiet as possible, on the other he was tempted by the remote possibility that they would, some day, be able to stop hiding.
He recognized that Dagonet telling Bors would be equal to him telling Arthur, so he could hardly ask him not to.
Tristan drew a breath and grabbed Dagonet by the front of his tunic and shoved him to the back of the stall.
"You go to Bors, and you tell him that I have waited too many years and spent too many hours longing after his personal guard to give him up now."
The kiss that followed rendered Dagonet helpless.
When they broke apart Tristan took Dag's head between his hands and made him bend down. He kissed the scar across his eye once, twice, and whispered.
"I'll never give you up, not for anything," and walked away, leaving Dagonet short of breath, but more determined than ever.
Bors stomped away from them with clenched teeth. He knew he was being childish, but it was of little matter now. Whatever Dag and the scout did together, it obviously excluded him. Feeling disconcerted and sorry for himself, he sat down in front of their lodgings.
Not long thereafter he heard Dagonet approaching. He didn't need to see him, he would recognize those heavy, purposeful footsteps anywhere. He didn't even move when the wood creaked and he felt the weight of the tall knight next to him.
Having mustered all his courage, Dagonet wasted no time.
"There are things I need to tell you, and I'm sorry I haven't been able to earlier."
Bors merely gave a grunt in response.
"This is not easy for me, Bors." Dagonet leaned forward and rested his elbows on his knees and stared straight ahead.
Bors spat on the ground. "I'm listening."
The man ventured on. "You have always been a good friend to me. The best of friends, in fact."
"Don't take me for a fool, Dag. Any idiot can see that someone else has taken that place now." His voice was angry.
"No," Dagonet turned his head towards Bors, but got no response. "You don't understand." He took a deep breath. "During all the years you've known me, have I ever had a woman?"
For the first time, Bors looked at Dagonet. "What are you talking about?"
Dagonet forced himself to meet his friend's gaze and repeated the question with steady voice.
"Have I ever shown any interest in women, Bors?"
"No. Despite my best efforts, I might add," he snorted. Bors was clearly not catching on. "What are you telling me? That the scout has some sister or lady friend that he has kept hidden for all these years, and now you want to take her with you back to Sarmatia?"
If Dagonet had somehow imagined that Bors would meet him halfway, he had been sorely mistaken. He let out a frustrated sound and pressed on.
"That is not the case, no. I'm not getting married or having children or anything of the sort."
"What is the bloody problem, then?" Bors started to lose patience. "Why are you and that pest of a scout sneaking of together both day and night? If I didn't know better, I'd be getting evil ideas about you two!"
Dagonet held his breath and met Bors' stare straight on.
The silence that followed felt like it lasted for hours. Dagonet saw the dawn of understanding coming over Bors' face and braced himself for the punch. Still he did not speak.
Right when Dagonet thought he could stand it no longer, Lancelot came out to the yard, yawning and stretching. He seemed to be in an unusually loquacious mood, and looked wryly at the pair sitting in the half-shadow by the door.
"What are you two gossiping about so early?"
It took him a second to realize all was not well between the comrades. Then he remembered, and with a slightly more severe look on his face he squinted at Dagonet.
"Where were you and the scout last night? We thought you had vanished from the face of the earth."
Before Dagonet had a chance to answer, Bors got on his feet and glared at Lancelot.
"Who's gossiping now?" Then he walked sourly away from them.
Lancelot's eyes stuck to Bors' back as he disappeared from view. "What's with him?"
All Dagonet could do was shake his head in disbelief, and when Galahad stepped out of the door a moment later he nodded a greeting and took the opportunity to leave. He considered going after Bors, but decided it probably would be better to leave him be, for now. Instead he turned the other way and went looking for something to eat.
As the morning turned warmer by the minute, Arthur began to feel restless. For the sake of his men he had hoped that they would be allowed to rest for at least another day. Now, when it looked like his prayers would be answered, he began to have second thoughts. The strained relationships between the knights became more and more obvious, and he wished he could refrain from speculating about the origin of these tensions.
He felt tired and frustrated, uncertain as to what he should do. Should he intervene in any way, or would it be better to leave them to sort it out amongst themselves? They were, after all, grown men and not little children. Well, the devil finds work for idle hands, he thought and went to put them to use.
During the day, Arthur did his utmost to keep everybody as occupied as possible. He even went as far as to enlist Dagonet in various repairs that was underway around the fort. He couldn't help but smile as he watched the man go about it with fervor, dwarfing even the largest of the working men and carrying burdens the others were hardly able to get off the ground.
As he stood there he noticed Tristan sitting in the shadow with the hawk on his arm. The man looked mesmerized, and you didn't need the sharpest of minds to see why. Directly opposite him Dagonet had just taken his shirt off in the sharp sunlight.
Arthur made his way over to sit down next to his scout and spoke in a low voice.
"You're not being very discreet, my friend."
The corners of Tristan's mouth twitched a little.
"Believe me, Arthur, I know a good thing when I see it."
Arthur laughed. "I have no doubt you do."
They sat in silence for a moment before Tristan spoke.
"He has told Bors."
Arthur nodded. "I suspected as much. Bors didn't handle it all that well, I gather?"
"I don't know. Perhaps Vanora can help him see reason?"
"Let's hope so," Arthur frowned and stretched his legs in front of him. "I don't believe the others are far behind, either. If Lancelot and Gawain put their heads together, it won't be long. And what Gawain knows, Galahad knows."
Tristan looked crestfallen. "Gods be damned! I never wished for this to happen. To have my life turned inside out for everyone to see."
He jerked his arms in frustration and the hawk flew indignantly away.
"I simply want to be left alone. When did my feelings become such a commodity?"
"I realize it wasn't your intent, but you knew it would come to this eventually, Tristan," Arthur said soberly. "You've made your choice."
The scout straightened his back and turned his eyes to Dagonet again. "It was never a choice, Arthur. Anything other than this would have brought me only misery."
As he said it, he knew the sun had nothing to do with the heat he felt in his chest.