Author: Guede Mazaka
It stopped as soon as Arthur stirred. He contemplated rolling over and pretending to still be asleep, but Lancelot’s snort ended that line of thought.
“Go on, laugh. I know you were listening,” the other man muttered. He threw himself down on the mattress just as Arthur began to sit up, knees and elbows knocking unapologetically up against Arthur’s side.
Still gangly, the future form of the man stretching restlessly beneath the skin of the youth, but already scars and weariness were paring away the childish softness. Arthur let his fingers feather along the latest red jag of puckered flesh, had his hand batted away for his troubles, and calmly returned to testing the wound for any hard swollenness, which might presage infection. The injury was healed, but just barely, and even now…
“I was listening, but what makes you think I’d laugh?” Arthur asked. When Lancelot didn’t immediately respond, Arthur let his hand drift lower till Lancelot bucked and flopped over.
“Tickles. If you’re going to be up now, then put those somewhere else.” Lancelot hopefully rubbed his cheek against Arthur’s knee. He received no response, negative or positive, and disgustedly blew out his breath. “What?”
Arthur chose his words carefully, trying to avoid touching on Lancelot’s pride. It usually was a futile effort, but he always made the attempt anyway. “That was beautiful. You’ve got a better voice than I thought.”
“I thought you got your fill of me howling when we…” A wicked grin slid across Lancelot’s face. It fell off as quickly as it’d come. “Leave it, Arthur. That sort of thing’s best left in Sarmatia, or if it has to come here, to the women. I had a spell of midnight idiocy.”
“But they’re about a band of heroes that can crush all enemies, and save each other from all dangers, and clasp hands in friendship without reservations.” Lancelot swung his arm around Arthur’s waist and tried to pull him down, turning into a soft nuzzling thing. He tended to resort to the sheer physical to avoid unpleasantries. “They’re dreams in the air, sung by fools.”
Arthur laid down again, but held onto Lancelot so the other man could neither turn away nor insist on progressing in his distraction. “My mother sang those, once. I can’t remember much…”
For a moment, Lancelot looked at him with over-bright eyes. Then he sighed, body settling beside Arthur. “Should get Galahad to sing you them all, then. He’s the one with the girlish voice. Besides, I’ve forgotten a lot of them.”
“You might remember as you go,” Arthur said.
“I might,” Lancelot reluctantly said. He tucked his head down into the mattress. “But not now. I’m tired, and if you won’t entertain me…”
Sighing, Arthur pulled up the blankets and let the subject slip away. He’d bring it up in the morning, but in the dawn light it would look different to both of them, and anyway there’d be no time. He’d just have to hope he could catch it on some other night, and be cleverer the next time.