Tangible Schizophrenia


The Rising Epilogue: Cycle of History

Author: Guede Mazaka
Rating: PG-13
Pairing: Arthur/Guinevere, Arthur/Lancelot
Feedback: Good lines, bad ones, etc.
Disclaimer: These versions aren't mine.
Notes: Mostly making up the magic parts out of various bits of Celtic legends and out of the phoenix myths of Russia/Middle East, whose cultures both probably had extended contact with the Sarmatians.
Summary: Vows made for the future.


"They looked more terrified to me. And I could list the many, many ways why fear is a terrible foundation for a monarchy, but I have a feeling that you stopped listening a few minutes ago." Arthur leaned back against the wall and pulled Guinevere away from his chest, where she'd been lazily licking the sweat from him. Smiling, she darted in and kissed him before he could say anything else.

On the other side, Lancelot tiredly raised his head from Arthur's thigh, saw pink tongue flash between the mouths above him and snorted. He nudged at Arthur's stomach, then hummed little pleased sounds when a hand tangled through his hair. "Of course they're terrified. Britain's one gigantic forest, and none of the Britons have this...fire-magic. But they'll get used to it, and then that's when we'll have to worry."

"You seem very sure of yourself. Suppose that means you've made a full recovery." Nipping down Guinevere's neck as a distraction, Arthur carefully moved her aside and checked Lancelot's face for any signs of the man's earlier franticness. After his sudden return, the other man had determinedly clung to Arthur's side, stiffening whenever any Briton besides Guinevere came near.

"And you?" Lancelot's gaze intensified sharply before dropping as he buried his face in the curve of Arthur's waist. He rubbed his cheek against the top of the bone, stubble leaving reddish rasps on Arthur's still pale skin, then nuzzled his way up to level his eyes with Arthur.

It took a moment for Arthur to formulate a reply that he thought wouldn't be too badly misunderstood. The problem with explaining such changes was that no one could ever really know what was meant until after they'd also shared the experience. And Lancelot never would, because while he would burn with Arthur once this lifetime ended, he would do so with the full expectation of resurrection. Whereas Arthur had expected to die that first time.

"I'm better than I was," he finally said. His thumb drifted out of Lancelot's hair to fit in the small hollow where skull joined backbone. He rubbed it up and down the ridges of Lancelot's spine, watching how a slight change in pressure would make the other man's eyelashes flutter or make him arch a little. "Dying like that...clears your head."

"There are less drastic ways of doing that." Guinevere bit at Arthur's shoulder to get him to face her. She rested her hands on his chest, above his heart, and peered deep into his eyes, almost as if checking him for concussion. "Are you going to give up everything again?"

It was a pertinent question. It was also a blatant attempt to steal Arthur's attention back, and of course Lancelot saw it only in that light. Arthur quickly slid his palm over the other man's mouth and pinned Lancelot's head down, muffling the protests so he could be heard. "No. You have no idea how much doing that hurt. It's something that can be done only once in every man's life, I think...and since my sacrifice was rejected, I don't see the point in pursuing a lost cause."

"Lost cause indeed." She rolled her eyes in mockery, but at the same time she was blinking back moistness. When she saw that Arthur had noticed all of it, she blushed and ducked down to poke at Lancelot. "I see you haven't give up on this one, though."

With a sullen glare, Lancelot wrenched his mouth free of Arthur's hand and jabbed her back. "Careful, lady. Unlike me, you've only got this lifetime to work with."

"I think not." Guinevere eyed their inquiring surprise with more than a touch of smugness. "Arthur and I are equal, you lackbrain. Perhaps not in identical ways...but rest assured, I will not be left behind. Wherever you go, whenever you go, I will be there in some form or another."

For a tense moment, Arthur thought there was going to be murder right in his bed. And it would have been murder despite the revival that would follow, because if matters came to blows he wouldn't be able to tolerate any of it.

Then Lancelot slouched back and laughed, humor genuine. So was the consideration in his eyes, but that was understandable. "I salute you, queen. And I admit that you do deserve to be in the hunt, whether or no you deserve to catch the prey."

That brought Arthur up short. He raised an eyebrow. "Prey."

Lancelot countered with that irritating innocent look of his. Naturally, there was only one response possible.


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