|A Bene Placito
Author: Guede Mazaka
The beasts of Sarmatia were as ferocious and unafraid as everything else that land produced—a state of events that produced many a bawdy, insulting joke at the expense of the Sarmatians. There was a reason I had been avoiding the officers’ mess by the time Lancelot arrived…but I try not to think about that now. I remember, of course, because it would be a crime to let all be forgotten, but I have a different life here and I wish to keep the two parts of my life distinct. Not separate because I am not two men but one, no matter how much I’ve changed.
Lancelot is stretched out beside me on the wolf-pelt, looking perfectly at home. For a moment, I think he might be sleeping, but then the fire shifts and light reflects off a sliver of eye beneath smoky lashes. He is still as a corpse, but I don’t think anyone could mistake him for dead. Not until the last particle of life is raked from his begrudging grasp.
* * *
If I were to guess at what Arthur is thinking right now, staring at me and the wolf, it would probably be a full set of comparisons, musings on life and death and free and not. Maybe he’ll even bring in that I am sprawling not on just any fur, but one of Sarmatia, and start wondering about where my true place is. He does that—debate everything for me, as if it was a new duty assigned to him.
“So many years of military training.” I roll over and slide up against him, teasing my hands between his legs. When his mouth comes down, I turn my head so it diverts to my neck. “Someday, you’re going to remember how to be something besides responsible.”
“And you’re going to be here to gloat at me?” He’s not asking seriously, but I take his head in my hands and kiss him till he knows. Arthur needs so many damn reminders—
--and he can give them as well, I recall. While his hands press mine to the fur beneath us, while his mouth takes mine and while he gathers me to him and doesn’t let go.