Tangible Schizophrenia



Author: Guede Mazaka
Rating: PG
Pairing: Tristan/Galahad
Disclaimer: These versions of the characters are from the 2004 movie.
Summary: Galahad the reluctant doctor.


“I can’t believe I have to do this,” Galahad mutters. His hands are ungentle, awkward. The fingers cradle Tristan’s uninjured ankle as if it were glass and then pull the bandages from around the calf with no more care than as if Galahad were wrapping spare thongs about his own legs to keep on too-large boots.

The wound’s moist, and made wetter by the stinking stuff the surgeons had slathered over the stitches. It sticks to the coarse fabric scraps and gives only when the damaged skin has been stretched to breaking under the stress; Tristan wraps his hand around the edge of the cot frame and grits his teeth.

He’d rather not look—not out of disgust at the wound, but out of disgust at what those Romans have done to it. Their surgery is fine, but their medicine can be devastating. Nevertheless, Tristan sees no point in shying away merely for that, and so he gazes upon the inflamed flesh, the ragged edges. He lets out a slight sigh of relief when he sees that it still oozes clear and not green or yellow.

“Fucking pain, and…ah, damn it. Where did they get this damned cloth?” Galahad irritably snaps it onto the ground, then climbs further onto the cot. Its rope bed creaks and rocks as he prods roughly at the edges of the cut, scraping out the bits of lint that have stuck around the stitches. “Swear on my horse, they’d like us to die in here of gangrene more than out there killing Woads.”

He’s right to do so, as even the tiniest particle of fluff might shelter a fever that would kill a man within days, and for that Tristan restrains himself. But he does lift his hand and grip Galahad’s shoulder in warning.

“Oh, sorry. Thought you couldn’t feel a damned thing. Not like you ever look like you do,” Galahad grumbles. After he’s done cleaning the wound, he pulls out a flask and lets a few thick, smelly drops fall from it onto the long cut. His nose wrinkles as he gingerly spreads the salve—their own recipe—around. “You should be doing this yourself. I’ve got my horses to exercise, and now I’ll be late for evening meal and they’ll short my rations—”

“So why are you here?” Tristan asks.

The other man pauses. Then he shrugs, his fingers moving more slowly. “Because you’d just mess it up trying to go out too soon. And then I’d have to sit with you and that’d be an even bigger waste of my time, wouldn’t it?”

Occasionally Galahad shows signs of having a good eye. The itch to get out and free of this small, stuffy room, the unease at being somewhere Tristan’s instincts consider a trap—they already eat at him. But it’s better with company. “I suppose it’d depend on your priorities.”

Galahad glances up, then snorts. His fingers stray from hurt to healthy skin, and then move back. “My priorities should be in the stables, but I might as well get your arm while I’m at it. Give it here.”