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....
Dagonet was glad to have something to occupy himself with. Hard, physical labor was just what he needed to keep his mind off perilous ground.
As he struggled with rock and wood, he suddenly became aware that Tristan was watching him. It made him feel both tense and strangely aroused. After a moment's hesitation he gave the man a smile that was anything but coy, and then took his shirt off. It was blatant provocation, but he couldn't stop himself. His whole being ached for it.
Almost immediately he saw Arthur coming to sit by the scout. They talked for a while, and Dagonet could see that Tristan was upset about something. He quickly calmed down again, though, and their commander left. As soon as he was alone, he stood up and with fervent eyes he gestured for Dagonet to join him.
They stood close, almost chest to chest. Dagonet dripping with sweat and Tristan rigid as a board.
"Come." Dagonet took the scout by the arm and led him to their empty quarters. It was broad daylight and someone could come at any time, bringing fresh water or firewood. They paid it no mind.
Well inside his room, Dagonet lifted Tristan up and pressed his back against the wall. The scout wrapped his legs around Dag's waist and let go of his shoulders only long enough to get his own shirt off.
After a minute, Dagonet pushed back from the wall and carried Tristan to the bed. With a hand on himself and his mouth on Tristan, it was only a matter of seconds for both of them.
Dagonet lay panting against Tristan's neck and allowed himself a brief moment of stillness. He touched his lips to the man's skin and wished the world away.
It was not to be, though. Soon they came to their senses and rose from the bed. Tristan put his shirt back on and looked at Dagonet. His eyes were unreadable.
Before opening the door, Dagonet seized the scout by the hand and they kissed once more, deliciously slow and lingering. With his lips still touching Dagonet's, Tristan whispered, "You looked damned fine out there, I must say," and felt Dag's mouth curl into a smile.
Gawain was walking briskly between the buildings in search of Arthur. When he rounded the corner of their lodgings, he walked straight into Tristan, closely followed by Dagonet. Gawain looked at the two of them, a discomposed scout and a shirtless knight, and whatever suspicions he had harbored became reality.
The three of them stood there in awkward silence, until Gawain cleared his throat and asked, as straightforwardly as he could manage, "Have you seen Arthur?"
When both men shook their heads, he still kept his composure, "Very well, I'll seek him elsewhere." Then, just before he turned around to leave, he said with a hardly noticeable smirk, "Don't work too hard now."
At the last words Tristan gave a low groan and looked forebodingly at Dagonet..
"Prepare yourself. It's coming."
Slowly the bright rays of the sun were replaced by the mild light of the moon, and Dagonet was dog-tired. Lack of sleep combined with emotional strain and arduous work had taken its toll. After washing the sweat and dirt off he almost staggered as he went to join the others for supper.
He was last to come to the table, but he was too tired to notice the knowing looks and just went to sit down next to Tristan. For a while, the only sound heard was that of seven hungry men chewing and swallowing.
Not until he had eaten a meal fit for a workhorse did Dagonet look up from his plate. His eyes first went to Tristan, and even if he didn't allow himself more than the quickest of looks he still felt his chest contract. Averting his eyes he spread his legs enough so his knee touched Tristan's. He felt the scout move his foot so that their entire lower legs adjoined.
Hoping that he looked reasonably collected Dagonet turned to Arthur.
"Any word from Rome?"
Arthur, who didn't look especially collected himself, shook his head.
"No word. With any luck, we will rest another day."
He said it, but wasn't certain he meant it. If they were to ride out tomorrow, maybe some sense of equilibrium would return to the group. Inactivity rarely agreed with his men.
"What are we waiting for?" Lancelot sounded bored more than anything. "We have never needed assistance from anyone before, why begin now? There may be few of us left, but we have killed more woads than the whole Roman army put together!"
Bors gave a boisterous laugh. "You are right about that, no doubt. I eat blue-painted men for breakfast!"
That made all of them laugh. If it was out of amusement or simply relief that Bors seemed to be back to his normal self again, Arthur couldn't tell. At this moment, he was content to hear anything but silence.
With the tension somewhat reduced, they took up conversation almost like they would any other time.
Gawain seemed restless, but kept to Galahad and settled for ambiguous glances which made Tristan very uneasy.
Dagonet tried to concentrate. He could hear Tristan talking to Arthur, but couldn't find the energy to listen properly. He still felt the press of Tristan's leg to his, and it was all he needed.
As he sat there, eyelids growing heavy, he saw a shadow hanging over him. It was Bors.
Instead of his usual slap to the back of the tall man, Bors laid his hand lightly on Dag's shoulder.
"You look like you're about to fall off the chair." His voice was raspy as always.
Dagonet looked up and met his gaze, it was steady but searching.
"You need to get some sleep," Bors sounded determined.
Dagonet paused for an instant, then answered hesitantly. "You're probably right, and I will."
Before he had the chance to say anything else, Bors gestured to Tristan.
"You. I need to have a few words if that's not too much to ask."
Tristan's eyes, almost concealed behind his hair as usual, darted for a split-second to Dagonet. Then he slowly stood and followed Bors away from the table.
Dagonet shared a concerned look with Arthur, but could do nothing but make his way to bed. Too exhausted to stay awake, but too anxious to sleep.
Bors led the scout up on the wall. Finding a spot away from the guards, they leaned against the cold stone.
Although he looked uncomfortable, Bors began talking in an unusually hushed voice.
"You and I have never had any quarrel between us, have we?"
It wasn't clear if he was supposed to answer or not, so Tristan settled for a simple, "No."
"Good, good," Bors nodded his head. "In the interest of keeping it that way I'm going to ask you, one time only, if what Dag told me is the truth."
Tristan was vigilant. He couldn't predict Bors' reaction, but his eyes were unwavering.
Bors' face remained impassive.
"Very well, then," he muttered. "Makes me think twice about the whole 'royal arse-kisser' notion, let me tell you...".
Was the man jesting? Tristan was uncertain, so he remained silent.
Bors continued. "I love Dag better than most, but I didn't see this coming. Vanora seemed curiously calm about it, though."
The scout smiled inwardly, he had been right about her good influence.
"She said at least Dag doesn't run around making babies and refusing to marry their mothers."
Bors looked so sincere that Tristan couldn't refrain from chuckling softly. "I can see her argument."
"Don't tell her that," Bors smiled, somewhat uneasy. He ran a hand over his neck and looked out over the grounds below.
"I don't pretend to understand any of this, but you treat him good, is all I'm saying. Deviant or not, the man has saved my life more times than I can count."
"As you have saved his," Tristan's voice was soft.
"We are all brothers here." Bors turned to Tristan with a cryptic look on his face. "Some more than others."