A Midnight Parley
It was a fairly warm, clear night when the tall, strappingly built knight quietly reached his destination. He was dog-tired, yet felt restless and unable to sleep. With a gentle sigh, he looked upwards and stared at the sky, absently noting the few constellations he recognized as he revelled in the rare peace and tranquility.
"Hail, brother ..." the rich, husky baritone of his voice spoke softly. Intimately. Lovingly. A rueful grin curved the ruggedly attractive man's sensuous lips as he sat down and made himself comfortable. "Had hoped to see you before now. Kept meaning to, but Arthur and those godsdamned Romans kept getting in the way, then ... I feel bad though, for letting them come between us ... I've missed you ... Missed talking to you so much."
The powerful Sarmatian paused to gather his thoughts and to compose himself. There was so much he wanted - needed - to say. Things he longed to confide. Feelings he yearned to share ... with someone who knew him so well. Inside and out.
"You always were a damn good listener. Felt as if I could talk to you about anything and everything ..." he gave a gentle snort of amusement. "And y'know I was never much of a talker ... or one to show his feelings. But you ? From the day we met, I instinctively knew I could trust you ... that you could be relied on and that you'd never willingly, or knowingly, betray or hurt me. Did y'know that ? And ... and that was very precious to me. Something I always treasured. No wonder you're so important to me ... that you're my best friend. My brethren. But you're no fool. You always knew I saw you as far more than that ... That I'd fallen for you. And I fell hard." He slowly shook his head and laughed softly. "You even did all you could to deter me, didn't you ? You devious sod ... Anything to make me back off. Nothing did though. Never thought I could be such a stubborn, wilful bastard, but I've always known a good thing when I saw it and I saw you. I wanted you ... Set my heart on you. Whether you realized it or not, I was yours, no matter what ... You were my world. My all. My everything ..."
Despite the warm night air, his body trembled and he drew his woollen cloak close, wrapping it tightly around himself. Pensively, he drew his lower lip between his teeth and worried it gently before releasing it. He hadn't lied when he'd said he'd missed talking to him. He'd meant every single word that he'd said. Still did. And he did want to talk. Desperately. But it was hard to find the right words, never mind say them.
"Remember I said earlier that I missed this ? Just talking to you and having you listen to me ? I wasn't lying, y'know ? Meant every single damn word ... My life's been such a godsdamned fucking mess lately ... I've been a fucking mess ... " Incredulous, he slowly shook his head as a sudden recollection struck him. "D'ya remember all those years ago, the time you warned me never to trust Arthur's second-in-command ? That ... how the hell did you put it ? Oh, aye ... that "that evil little git is only out for himself and doesn't give a shit about who he hurts so long as he gets what he wants." Well, looks like you were right about him all along. Thanks to that Iazyges bastard, I lost my lover ... someone I believed genuinely loved me. I can't believe that I was such a fool. That I got things so bloody wrong ... that godsdamn Tristan had betrayed me for months and had been lying with that shit Lancelot ... That they'd been fucking each other behind my back." He inhaled raggedly and rubbed his nape with a trembling hand. "At least you never betrayed me or my trust ... never cuckolded me. You were always honest and never misled or hurt me. And I love you for it. Always will ..."
He moved slightly and stretched his long legs, feeling strong sinews flex and ease before crossing them at the ankles. Leaning back and propping himself up on his elbows he looked upwards. The sky was pure black, reminding him of the glossy sheen of his precious destrier's hide and littered with tiny glistening stars. And to his right, was a cluster of stars that he'd always fancied was formed in the shape of an archer. The irony of it drew a fleeting smile to his face. That he'd constantly been betrayed and humiliated by one archer only to imagine another in celestial form ...
"You always told me I could come and talk to you about anything. Anytime. And now there's something I need to tell you ... but I'm struggling to find the right words as I fear what I'll say could hurt you ... That I'm betraying you. But if I don't, the guilt will tear me apart ... For what it's worth, I never planned on this happening ... Never expected it. Prayed it never would. Not after Tristan ... After you. But it did." He suddenly rolled onto his side and idly plucked at a blade of grass. "I still remember the last thing you told me before you le- ... You said that I mustn't give up. That I should be strong and you needed me to do that. That in time I'd be able to move on ... and that love would strike when I least expected it. At first, I didn't believe you. Didn't want to believe what you said 'cause I thought it was just your way to make me feel better ... But goddess help me, you were right. It did strike and I've moved on."
Pulling the cloak even closer around his bare, toned torso, he grinned contentedly. "I'm a free man now. Bors 'n' I got our papers a couple of weeks ago and I don't have to answer to anyone … not any more … Just as well really, considering who the one I love is … For if our brethren knew, it would only lead to a world of grief, yet I care not. I don't give a damn … In a way, he reminds me of us. My stubborn, cunning Fox just wouldn't take "no" for an answer or accept rejection. In the end, he wore me down, broke through my defences. Like I did with you. Remember ?" he chuckled softly. "But most of all, he reminds me of you. You share the same build. Move the same way. With silent, effortless grace. But physically, that's where the resemblance ends. You're the dark to his light; the night to his day. Both of you share the same traits. Intelligence. Humour. Compassion and kindness. Yet while you're always calm, serious and patient, my Fox can be, at times, impish, rash and enigmatic. Some say he's always up to no good, that he's forever planning some mischief and that he can't be trusted. But when it counts, he can be relied on to defend and fight alongside his brethren as his courage and skill know no bounds ..."
Stretching his tall, sinewy frame with feline grace, his smile widened, lighting up his usually severe countenance. It made him look younger ... more care-free. "Like I said, others damn him as untrustworthy and say that he's sly ... They accuse him of being a cold, humourless bastard. Yet they do not know him, not as I do ... And goddess help me, his playful, mischievous streak amuses me and gives me hope when I'm at my lowest. I enjoy his company and I'm happy with him ... I feel content in his presence and he's always able to draw me from the darkness within me. Whether he realizes it or not, the irritating little sod's been my saviour - my guiding light - over the past few months. Made, nay, makes me inexplicably happy ... Fuck ! Thanks to him, this is the happiest I've been for a long time and I can't help but love him for it ... as I think you would, if you ever met him. I believe you'd like and approve of him, regardless of his background. Of who or what he is ... Even though there'd be times he'd probably do things that'd make you want to lamp him one upside the head. I know I do, all too often ... and despite it all, I think the world of him."
Suddenly sensing another's presence, the Sarmatian's gaze drifted idly back towards the forest's edge, only to fall upon a familiar, tall, athletic figure casually leaning against an old, gnarled oak. Dropping the blade of grass Dagonet swiftly, yet gracefully leapt to his feet. A wide joyful smile lit up his scarred face, reaching his pale, silver eyes. They shone with warmth and love. Burned with desire and need.
"It seems that I've been missed ... My Fox has finally tracked me down," he murmured huskily as he watched the lithe, russet haired mage silently stalk up the path towards him. The newcomer's unfastened, rust coloured tunic flapped in the warm breeze, revealing a broad chest and toned abdomen covered by smooth skin which glistened palely beneath the moonlight. Swallowing hard, the enthralled scarred, cropped haired warrior could only watch him. Could see only him. Was thoroughly captivated and enslaved by the sight which leisurely ambled in his direction.
Sighing gently, he turned and rested his right hand upon a beautifully crafted bastard sword at the head of the grave and caressed its hilt and pommel lovingly. "There isn't a day that goes by that I don't think of you ... That I miss you terribly. Being the daft, soft bugger that I am, reckon I always will. You were my father, brother, mentor and best friend. The one I could always turn to for guidance, reassurance and love. You were also my first, in every way that mattered ... The first to love me; to ever take me and show me what love felt like; the first that I ever fell in love with; the first to leave me and break my heart, even though neither of us got a say about that and the first I truly grieved for ... and no one, nothing, can ever change that. And no matter what, I will always love you and keep you close in my heart. No one will ever replace you, Tor ... I won't let them. But as you said, I have to move on. I can't dwell in the past, I have a future ... and I have moved on and my future and my happiness, hopefully lies with this young rogue ..." He paused, then looked up and saw that the "young rogue" was standing at a respectful distance, his sleepy, warm blue-green eyes full of compassion and love.
" 'Tis getting late, my beloved "brother" and," the scarred knight ventured a glance at the handsome warlock who was waiting patiently and gently teased him, "I'm sure I will be lectured for not getting enough rest by someone close at hand - even though he's the one usually responsible for depriving me of it ..." The younger man responded with an eye roll and a sigh, making the elder chuckle softly. "I will not leave things so long next time, I swear to you. Sleep well, Tor ... Be at peace ..."
Smiling sadly, he moved away from the graveside and walked towards the lithe Celt who smiled affectionately at him. The youngling raised his hand and lightly traced the knuckles down the vicious scar which marred his lover's face.
"Alright, Wolf ?" he asked softly, surreptitiously slipping a sinewy arm under the dark brown, woollen cloak to embrace his Roxolani Healer. Long slim, dexterous fingers began to lightly trace patterns across Dagonet's bare back, skimming perilously close to the waistband of his snug-fitting leathers, causing the older warrior's body to clench and tremble with need. "Did you get everything done ?"
Dagonet nodded slowly, then lowered his head to rest his forehead gently against the one that belonged to the man who'd persistently pursued and defiantly refused to be rejected by him. The man he'd come to love with all of his being, "Aye, Luc ... just needed to talk with my "brother" and have him help me see things more clearly ..."
"And did it work ?"
Lucan felt Dagonet's lips curve into a smile and the sensation of warm, even breaths against his cheek. Dagonet withdrew slightly, his pale gaze steadily meeting curious blue-green. He reached up to rest his free hand against the mage's neck; his calloused thumb caressing Lucan's neatly trimmed, reddish-brown beard. Dagonet revelled in the sensation. Enjoyed being able to be so close to the one who'd stealthily, yet diligently captivated him and stolen his heart.
"Aye, love, it did- "
"But you're alright ? For a moment there, I wasn't too sure- " The concern in Lucan's husky voice couldn't be ignored, nor could the anxiety that furrowed his brow as he studied Dagonet's face carefully for any sign of pain or distress.
Dagonet smiled and brushed a stray, reddish curl away from Lucan's face, before tenderly grazing his lover's right temple with his lips. "You worry too much, sol (1) ... I'm fine, thanks to you. So, long as I have you, Luc, I always will be ..."
And with that final remark, which brought a warm, loving smile to Lucan's face, Dagonet slung a muscular arm across the slighter man's shoulders drawing him close and leisurely guided them down the path from the hillside cemetery back to the forest ...
(1) "sol" - sunshine