Author: Guede Mazaka
It hurt to sit up, but Gawain did anyway and reached for the absence weighing the space beside him. He had already registered the lack of warmth emanating from there, but it took his hand hitting the sheets instead of slightly curving flesh in order to truly spark the irritation. “Damn it, Tristan.”
Exasperation got him into the hallway, where it promptly disappeared in a flash of pain between his ribs. He clutched at his side and slumped into waiting hands, which tried to push him back into the room. Gawain, however, wasn’t having any of that, and he shoved back so Tristan stumbled into the dim grey slants of moonlight that slipped through the shutters.
“You’re not going to heal any faster if you pull the stitches out.” White-silver edged Tristan’s profile, then fragmented into a dozen slashes as his hair slid over his nose. The broken lines seemed to parallel his cheek scars, but he took a step forward and the moonlight shards cut back to outline the tension in his shoulders instead.
“It’s not going to help if you stand out here all night, either. Come back to bed.” By now, Gawain knew better than to try the direct approach when Tristan was in this sort of mood. So first he started to turn back to the doorway, but he quickly reversed directions and grabbed Tristan’s arm. As carefully as he could.
Even so, his side still snapped pain into him and he ended up having to snatch for more of Tristan. It wasn’t entirely a bad thing, given what Gawain was ultimately trying to accomplish, but it also didn’t help his current argument. Now annoyed with himself as well, he gritted his teeth and took advantage of Tristan steadying him to secure his grip on the other man. “Tristan, I’m sleepy and in pain and I want to go to sleep.”
“So why would you get out of bed?” At least Tristan had gotten enough of an idea for him to start moving towards said piece of furniture.
“Because you were lurking in the hallway like an idiot. As bad as the Woads have gotten lately, I don’t think any of them would try coming in here.” Gawain waited till Tristan was in the middle of removing his support from Gawain—thereby forcing Gawain to fall back on the bed—before he hooked his foot around the other man’s ankle and jerked. Given the way Tristan could effortlessly glide through the roughest ground, Gawain was rather dubious about the chances of that trick working, but he wasn’t going to let the matter drop without trying.
Surprisingly enough, it did throw off Tristan’s balance. For a moment, they tangled together in equal shock, staring at each other. Then Tristan blinked and somehow twisted so Gawain landed on top of him, somewhat cushioned against the fall. Nevertheless, the ribs wrenched harsh curses out of Gawain, and made him knock his elbows against Tristan’s chest.
Despite his less than comfortable position, Tristan still managed to look insufferably knowing.
“No, I shouldn’t have gotten up if I was trying not to hurt. But I’m trying to feel better, and it disturbs me when you start imitating Arthur.” Gawain resisted the urge to ruffle Tristan’s hair over the man’s irritating expression and gingerly rolled off to the side. He made certain to hook his arm around Tristan’s as he did, thus ensuring that he wouldn’t have to repeat the past few moments.
“Arthur sits in his room. Lancelot’s the one that wanders around the hallways at night.” Tristan’s lips quirked, though his touch was aggravatingly gentle as he petted Gawain’s cheek.
It might pull a couple stitches, but between a half-healed slash across the ribs and a growing sore in Gawain’s sanity, the choice was clear. One deep breath, and then he was pushing himself hand-over-hand down Tristan, letting his fingers stroke a little before he shoved down the next inch.
For once, the night was warm and almost uncomfortably muggy, so he had less clothes with which he had to deal before he could run his palms over Tristan’s skin. The other man had been weathered by wind and marred by war, so Gawain’s fingers found not silkiness but rough unevenness like the mismatch of newer leather sewn onto the old. He much preferred it because he could feel the memories passing through their skins to tingle down his nerves and soak him with steadily building heat.
Tristan let out a long, low sigh before he reached for Gawain, most likely to take all the effort of this on himself. Well, Gawain wasn’t in the mood for that; he abruptly dug his nails into Tristan’s legs, watched the other man stiffen to stillness, and then bit into Tristan’s outstretched fingertip.
“The surgeons won’t be happy to see either of us again,” Tristan hissed, freezing. His finger, however, had a mind of its own and edged itself deeper into Gawain’s mouth.
One roll, two rolls of the tongue around the knuckles. A quick dart under the nail to taste the dirt that had accumulated there; once it was on Tristan, it was his and so its origin ceased to be one of its qualities. Then Gawain let the finger slide out at the same time his hands started drifting between Tristan’s legs. He wasn’t particularly careful, and it showed in the way Tristan’s teeth came down into his bottom lip and the way Tristan slowly began to push back. “It’s ridiculous how often I’ve had to drag you there. And then I have to stay awake so I don’t knock into you and pull something.”
“And you don’t want me to do the same thing…” When Gawain’s hands suddenly wrapped around Tristan’s cock, Tristan stopped trying to pull Gawain up and instead slumped back to clutch at the sheets. His head started to loll back, but at the last moment, he made a visible effort to bring it down and look Gawain in the eyes. “You’re injured.”
“I noticed that.” Gawain nudged aside Tristan’s knee with his own and started to scoot down so he could lick at the jerking muscles of the other man’s stomach. Halfway down, his side twinged and he had to slap a hand against it and press hard. Then he had to bat away Tristan’s hand as it attempted to pull him up.
Frustration got Gawain to the point where he could nuzzle Tristan’s belly as it heaved and curved inwards under him. He couldn’t see much more than slight graduations of shadows, but he could feel the skin grow hot and tender as his beard rasped over it. When Tristan finally collapsed all the way down, Gawain grinned into a kiss he dropped on the other man’s hip. Added a little extra flick to the movement of his fingers, felt the pulse in the stiff flesh stutter against his thumb and then bent to swallow Tristan’s prick.
He winced and had to grab at his ribs again, but worked through it. Tasted the salt of the sweat, nearly thought he could taste the blood just beneath the skin as well, ghosting metallic sweetness over his tongue. Gawain let himself simply enjoy that for a moment while he braced his forearms on Tristan’s legs and Tristan finished his gasp.
Then he stopped being considerate, and did his best to make the other man scream.
Even with the thick walls of the barracks, sound still traveled fairly far. Tristan bit his moans into his wrist, but in the quiet of the night the rattling, fierce cries he made weren’t muffled nearly enough. In the end, Gawain relented a little and settled for Tristan going limp as a child’s rag doll beneath him. He lazily caught the few bitter drops that had leaked out of his mouth, and was busy chasing the last one when Tristan suddenly surged back to life.
And then Gawain was on his back, twisted slightly to the side so the sharp edge of pain strained through his ribs, but it was in counterpoint to the rasp of calluses over his skin, the wet heat of the mouth tucked into his throat, the pressure that squeezed down from his chest to his prick and then, hard enough to put stars against the sky of the ceiling, into Tristan’s hand. Uncaring of how it would affect his stitches, he bucked and mashed his groan into the point of Tristan’s shoulder.
Hands helped him collapse in a way that wouldn’t cause too much ache, then started to withdraw. When Gawain tugged them back, Tristan propped himself up and arched an eyebrow in inquiry.
“You worrying makes me worry. Lie down and go to sleep.” Gawain threw his arm across the other man and pressed down till Tristan reluctantly put his head on the pillow. “When I want coddling, I’ll ask.”
“And if I happen to be of the same opinion?” Tone alone didn’t give any indication as to which opinion Tristan was referring, but his eyes did flick from Gawain’s side to the newest scar on his arm. Then he returned his gaze to Gawain and waited with a patience that wasn’t going to tire soon.
With a sigh, Gawain gave up. “Then you’re free to do the same to me. That’s fair enough.”
“Is it?” Tristan asked, amused once more. But he settled himself next to Gawain and, to all intents and purposes, went to sleep.
A small victory, even if the other man was actually pretending. At least he was trying, and that was enough for Gawain, who made sure to pull the blankets up over them both before seeking rest himself.