Tangible Schizophrenia



Author: Guede Mazaka
Rating: NC-17. Bondage. Kinkage.
Pairing: Tristan/Gawain
Feedback: Would be appreciated.
Disclaimer: These aren't my versions.
Notes: In response to a good many of these comments.
Summary: Occasionally, Tristan's calm breaks down.


Tristan is…drunk. His head thinks that it was a bad idea and thus keeps trying to tip him over the side of the Round Table, but his legs disagree and continue to wobble him in the opposite direction, where the other knights are still going strong.

He dislikes drinking. It dulls his mind and his senses-though admittedly, right now his sight might be blurry but his sense of smell and touch seem to have only sharpened. He finds the acrid pungency of his gloves endlessly fascinating in how its scent both lacerates and soothes his nose, and when his cheek rubs against the leather, the twin scars on his cheekbone catch and rasp and start to burn.

"You're drunk." Hands on his back, Gawain's voice overlaying the press-heat of palms settling on shoulder-blades. He's trying to pull Tristan somewhere, and that is when Tristan suddenly notices that he's collapsed across the table.

"I know." The wood beneath him is cool and smooth, so he tugs away from Gawain and climbs all the way onto it. Lies down and dumps heat into the icy swirling grain, feeling all the fire drain out of him. He starts to shiver, even though his clothes are thick and warmth-trapping. The well-worn leather slides over him like it still possesses life, and for a moment, he thinks of wise men and transformations and half-animals. "What are you doing here?"

Gawain is stubborn-always was, always will be-and so he keeps trying to grapple with Tristan, his fingers slipping away only to tangle in another crease-meeting of skin and clothing, sanding those flickers of flesh with his calluses. It tingles. "Well, I thought I'd keep you from drowning in your own vomit."

Tristan grows tired of the game tonight, and so he throws himself forward, slings his arms about Gawain's surprise and lets his mouth work itself into a mirthless curve that's too compressed to qualify as a smile. "I'm not Galahad or Bors or Lancelot."

"No, usually you know better." Gawain's palms fit beneath the leather, curved to Tristan's waist, as if some master craftsman had made them as a piece, then split them separate. When Tristan bites Gawain's jaw, the hands clench tight enough to make Tristan's muscles flex. "What's wrong with you?"

"Wrong?" Gawain's blood tastes like Tristan's own, and that shocks a little. But then his tongue wanders downward, tucks itself into the space between collar and neck, and searches out the pulse. It's slick throbbing against his lips and it isn't in rhythm with his own.

Hissing air from Gawain's gritted teeth blows through Tristan's hair, chilling one side of his face. To avoid it, he burrows deeper into Gawain's throat, nuzzling and nipping and seeking the source of all that heat. He's lost his own, and now he needs to replace it before he freezes as solid as the ice that forever sheathes the mountaintops.

His fingers sneak over the fastenings of Gawain's clothing, undoing them with the same stealth that he uses to cut sleeping throats. On his waist, thumbs curl and dig in, forcing tiny round spots of pain into him. "Does this have anything to do with who we're burying tomorrow?" Gawain asks.

"I won't stop this." It's the last bit of caring honesty that Tristan can find within himself. "If you want it to end, you'd better do it yourself."

Gawain's hands move to take Tristan's wrists and he pushes Tristan away, just far enough for them to stare at the flecks in each other's eyes. There is gold and brown and black in Gawain's, and they would be alike to the eyes of Tristan's hawk if they weren't blurred soft.

Tristan thinks that Gawain will leave him to the empty room with its full table of ghosts, and then he thinks he might know fear.

But Gawain, solemn and silent, takes out a strap of leather and binds Tristan's wrists together. And he lets go, leaving Tristan in a mockery of Arthur's praying, and leans forward to suck one gloved finger into his mouth. The leather is too thick, Tristan knows, but nevertheless he feels every slight change in lick and twine. When Gawain moves on to a knuckle, Tristan senses the chill where Gawain's mouth used to be.

But sharp as that loss is, it's still too gentle. Tristan bends down and sinks his teeth into Gawain's other cheek so the marks match.

Likewise, teeth clamp down on his finger. Gawain worries it like a dog with a bone until Tristan gasps and slumps forward, head drooping onto Gawain's shoulder, and then his mouth goes on to latch to the vulnerable spot behind Tristan's ear. By the time he finishes, that patch feels raw and pained and alive.

"You taste like the wine," Gawain mutters. His hands are deft and quick as they skin Tristan out of his clothes, and they leave crackling streaks wherever they go.

Tristan arches into the burning, trying to flay himself clean of the dirt and blood that seems forever ground into his skin. "You taste better than this."

A whistling intake of breath is the only warning he receives. And then he's over on his stomach, jarring from elbows to shoulders, and his wrists are straining at their bounds, and Gawain is growling into his shoulder. Something about not speaking enough, and speaking too much, and it all becomes a haze of rough leather chafing and twisting against unyielding hands and shoving and being shoved back, down, into wood so old it sears against the pooling heat between Tristan's legs. He scrabbles for a hold, finds the edge of the table, and hangs on while Gawain bunches his jerkin up under his arms, while palms rasp his nerves to stinging awareness. Fingers dance roughly over the bumps of his spine, searching out scars and teasing the old wounded flesh back into fresh pain.

"You want it like this." Gawain still sounds like he can't believe it, even when Tristan is sprawling without any shame or guilt before him.

"Do you need me to bite you again?" Tristan replies, twisting his head around. He finds himself trapped in their first actual kiss, and it's dark and sucking and he can't have enough of it. He does bite Gawain again, and now he knows that he was mistaken before about all blood tasting the same.

Hands seize his hips, push him down and hold him there while Gawain's lips reshape the curves of Tristan's mouth, jaw, throat. Under every half-angry caress, Tristan's flesh swells and strains his skin, growing tender to all the nips, nails, curses that are no longer in a single language. He can feel the bruise spreading from the center of his chest to encompass his whole body, numbing him by inches.

When the first fingers find their way inside, a dry scorch ignites within him and races down his bones. It tears away the unfeeling lassitude, throws Tristan back into a sudden shocking intensity of breath on his neck, leather cutting into his skin, sweat rolling into his mouth to smart his bitten tongue. He moans, but this time he can actually feel the sound clawing itself up his throat and out his cut lips, and it hurts. It-hurts.

"Drunk," Gawain says, voice jagged like tree bark. He sounds more unsteady than Tristan feels. "Drunk and there's nothing but left-over wine. You're going to reek of it tomorrow."

Splashing down on Tristan, pooling in the small of his back and slipping over his hips. Gawain works as much of it in as he can, but it's not quite enough for comfort and Tristan knows he'll be more than smelling this tomorrow. He doesn't mind the thought, and he lets Gawain know by shoving himself back and allowing his knees to fall off the edge of the table.

He ends up almost slamming himself in the stomach that way, but it's all worth it when Gawain takes the hint and pushes in, resulting tight burn pulling back the muscles in Tristan's back so he bends up and catches a glimpse of the ceiling. Then it's down again as Gawain lies on top of him, loosened clothing flapping around where it's not scratching Tristan's skin to ribbons.

"Lancelot's place. He'll kill us if he ever finds out." Laughing, Gawain is, and for the first time in the whole night, that sound doesn't grate on Tristan.

"He'd be one to talk." Tristan rediscovers humor in the fast grinding harshness, in the streaks of pain that sliver his nerves, in the sheer solidness of Gawain above. He grips the table, fixes his teeth in his gloves, and finally gives himself up to the joy of it.

It takes a little longer for Gawain to find it as well, but eventually he does. And later, when they're both curled on the table and licking at the sticky drying wine, Gawain asks again: "Why?"

"I needed it." Tristan closes his eyes and tucks himself beneath Gawain's chin. "I needed it and you gave it. That's all you have to know."

"But I'd like to know more." And the note of irritation in Gawain's mild voice is enough to remind Tristan how to smile.

Though he doesn't answer. Some things aren't meant to be voiced. Gawain will learn that soon enough, but the lesson is such that Tristan is in no hurry to teach it. For now, what they have will more than do.