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Courtly Gestures

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“To be honest, I didn’t expect you’d join me this evening.”

“Is that why you brought two wine glasses?”

Lambert chuckled and refilled his glass, as well as Jeralt’s when the knight captain set it down. “I’m allowed to be hopeful, aren’t I?”

“Yeah, I guess so,” Jeralt said before downing half his drink in one gulp. “So… things still crazy in Faerghus? I heard about some spies or something in the palace. Gotta say, I was surprised to hear you were coming to visit Garreg Mach while the situation is so tense.”

“They were assassins,” the king corrected, taking another sip of the bittersweet wine. “Rodrigue insisted I go somewhere safe while he ferrets out the snakes, and visiting my son provided the perfect excuse to leave the capital.”

The knight captain merely nodded and took another drink.

“Regardless of the reason, I’m always glad to spend time with Dimitri,” Lambert smiled. “Speaking of children, I noticed your daughter is part of the Blue Lions. I didn’t know you two were from the Kingdom.”

Jeralt shrugged. “We’re not. Not from the Alliance or the Empire, either, so she got her pick when she, erm, ‘enrolled’.”

Lambert could hear the sarcasm dripping from that last word, but he chose not to push for an explanation. Whatever problems Jeralt had with the monastery leadership would be ignored for the moment. Tonight was the time for relaxation. “Well, I, for one, am honored that Byleth chose to join the other youths from my humble Kingdom. Dimitri was practically beside himself with joy to be in a class with all his closest friends.”

“His Highness is practically spoiled for friends, isn’t he?” the knight captain snickered. “Better than the alternative, though.”

“Indeed.” The king raised his wine glass. “To our children’s continued friendship.”

Jeralt tapped his glass to Lambert’s with a grin. “I’ll drink to that.”



The two men stayed up for quite a while, chatting about whatever felt right or interesting. The bottle of wine ran dry some time before the knight captain gazed over at the rising moon and sighed.

“Well, it’s getting late, Your Ma-- Lambert,” Jeralt said, stumbling over his automatic use of the king’s title. “We should get to bed before Seteth scolds us for setting a bad example. Let me help you back to your room.”

If it were anyone else, Lambert would’ve been indignant at the implication that he needed help finding his own room. But the way the knight captain said it, with a smile and a wine-induced blush, sent the king’s heart hammered within his chest. “Oh? I’m to receive an escort tonight? My, what have I done to earn such a dashing knight’s attention?” he joked.

Jeralt must’ve been just the right level of buzzed to lean into the joke, as he stood up and offered his arm to the blonde-haired man like a nobleman would to a lady. “Your Majesty,” he said, straining to keep his voice even while laughter threatened to bubble up from his deep within his broad chest.

Lambert had to bite his tongue to keep his own laughter down as he got up and hooked his arms around the knight captain’s offered arm. “Sir Jeralt,” the king nodded.

The two broke into soft giggles as they walked arm-in-arm through the monastery halls, unable to keep their mirth contained. They must’ve made an unusual sight to anyone still wandering the grounds so late. Lambert was an inch or so taller than Jeralt, and yet he clung to the knight captain’s arm like a besotted noblewoman. He supposed that he might as well have been, the wine in his veins shaking loose his worries and reservations. So many conflicts and concerns ate up his time as King of Faerghus, even when he was supposedly taking a break, that it felt so good to simply let Jeralt lead him back to the room Rhea allowed him to use during his visit.

It was over far too quickly, though. The knight captain stopped in front of the sturdy, oaken door and lay his calloused hand over Lambert’s. “Think you got it from here?”

“If I must…” The king disentangled himself from Jeralt’s arm, loathe though he was to let go of that human contact. The heat that had been building in his stomach since he downed that first glass of wine asserted itself fully, and Lambert knew that he wouldn’t be going to sleep anytime soon. One way or another, he’d have to find relief before his mind would allow him peace.

“Well then,” the knight captain said, patting his friend on the back, “I’ll leave you be. Good night, and… and pleasant dreams.”

Despite his chipper words, Lambert felt the other man’s hand linger on his shoulder before fully pulling away. He knew Jeralt wouldn’t ask anything of him, but that touch felt entirely too lonely. Lambert knew that feeling well; he hadn’t been intimate with anyone for years, and he longed to have that kind of connection again.

A connection with Jeralt, the Blade Breaker, his friend.

Maybe more.

“Jeralt,” the king sighed, turning around so he could properly look him in the eye, “this dance has gone on far too long. As much as I enjoy it, I believe it is time for a change in tune.”

The knight captain looked confused for the briefest of moments before his eyes widened. He looked away but couldn’t hide the darkening flush on his cheeks. “Your Majesty…”

Lambert ,” the king insisted.

“Lambert,” Jeralt relented after a pause. “Your wife’s still out there somewhere. I hardly think this ,” He gestured between himself and the blonde man in front of him, “would be appropriate.”

The king crossed his arms, the last of his drunken smile falling from his lips. He hadn’t thought about Lady Patricia in months, and even then, it was only in regards to Dimitri’s emotional wellbeing, not as his lawful wife. Lambert shook his head. “It’s been four years since I last saw Patricia. If she yet draws breath, then she has done nothing to return to my side, nor even contact me. Regardless, alive or dead, I have already mourned and grieved for the love I lost that day. I believe I am more than ready to move forward again.”

Jeralt reluctantly nodded but made no motion to move closer. The knight captain’s stubborn nature infuriated Lambert to no end, and yet he’d have it no other way. He lowered his arms, removing any potential barriers between them as he waited for Jeralt to speak.

“You know people are gonna talk, right?” the former mercenary sighed, finally meeting the king’s unwavering gaze.

“What makes you so sure they haven’t already?”

Jeralt snorted, the sound devolving into a small chuckle. “Spoken like a man who’s heard it. Heh…” The knight captain chuckled and looked down at his feet, worrying at an invisible scuff in the floor. “Fuck me, I’m such a fool…” He mumbled the words to himself, but in the stillness of the monastery hallway, he may as well have shouted.

Lambert couldn’t help himself. He grinned and raised an eyebrow suggestively, knowing that the other man was still watching him from the corner of his eye. “That is what I’m aiming to do. If you’re amiable to it, of course.”

“Don’t tempt me.”

“Your warning comes a bit too late, my friend. Though I could probably tempt you further, if that is what you meant.”

“Now that’s something I’d pay to see.”

Affection flickered in Lambert’s blue eyes as he took the first step, pulling Jeralt into an embrace and then into a kiss. The taste of wine lingered on the knight captain’s lips, and it was intoxicating in more ways than one. Goddess, I needed this… and it feels like Jeralt did, too, the king thought as Jeralt’s hand worked its way into Lambert’s golden locks. The king let out a contented sigh and parted his lips, inviting the knight captain to explore his mouth, an invitation which the other man accepted enthusiastically.

As Jeralt plundered his mouth, Lambert trailed his hands along the knight captain’s back and sides, familiarizing himself with the hard, tempered muscle he felt beneath the tunic and furs. He hadn’t been with another man since the early days of his reign, when he and Rodrigue would fool around, but even then, the Fraldarius heir wasn’t anywhere near as rugged as Jeralt. This would be a new experience for the king. One that he couldn’t wait any longer to begin.

Settling his grip around Jeralt’s hips, Lambert lifted the knight captain off the ground one-handed, fumbling for the door handle with his free hand. He intended to continue the kiss, but apparently Jeralt wasn’t quite ready for the change in elevation.

“Indech’s flaming knickers!” the knight captain yelped, clutching Lambert’s shoulders like his life depended on it. “How do I keep forgetting just how monstrously strong you are?”

The king laughed jovially as he strode into his room, kicking the door closed behind them unceremoniously. “Apologies, my friend. I may be a bit… overeager.”

“Really? I hadn’t noticed,” Jeralt snarked back. “You’re gonna let me take my boots off, at least, right?”

“Among other things.” Lambert’s eyes flashed with unconcealed desire right before he tossed the knight captain onto the freshly made bed. He silently apologized to whomever was saddled with cleaning the sheets the following day as he made short work of his shoes.

Jeralt barely had enough time to wriggle out of his own footwear before the king was on him again, leaning into another deep kiss and undoing the knight captain’s belt. Lambert felt the other man doing the same to him, an action that made the king’s pulse beat loudly in his ear. He cursed Jeralt’s insistence on wearing multiple layers; he wanted to feel the knight captain’s bare skin under his fingers, to caress a body that hadn’t known another’s touch in Goddess knew how long. The king let his hand dip between Jeralt’s legs, moaning when he felt a growing hardness.

The knight captain tensed, then there was a sudden rush of movement, and Lambert found himself on his back, the other man pinning him to the sheets. “What’s that look for?” Jeralt smirked at the king’s shocked expression, sneaking a hand under his shirt and sliding it up along his chest. “Did you really expect me to just lay there like some virginal maiden?”

“... Yes?” Lambert said, unsure of the answer himself. Every other lover he’d taken allowed him to lead. He once thought it inevitable, given his station, so the king hadn’t even considered that the knight captain would act differently. “Let me be clear: I don’t dislike this. The change was merely… surprising.”

“Good to hear.”

Jeralt wasted no more time on words. Dipping his head to suck at the king’s neck, the knight captain lightly scraped his teeth along the exposed skin. Lambert moaned long and low, his mind drawn to how Jeralt’s beard tickled his neck and the calloused thumb slowly rolling his nipple. The king pulled on the knight captain’s tunic, trying to find an opening in the layered garments so he could return the attention.

“What’s the rush?” Jeralt chuckled. “I’m not going anywhere.”

Lambert huffed. “I am well aware, but it does not change the fact that you are noticeably more dressed than I am at present. It’s quite the annoyance, as I’d very much like to touch you directly.”

Jeralt sighed and reluctantly pulled away. A distant, almost bitter expression settled on his features as he began shedding his clothing. “Guess there’s not much point in hiding it, huh?”

Before Lambert could ask what he meant, the knight captain pulled his undershirt over his head, baring his entire chest for the king to see. He inhaled sharply at the sight, the question dying in his throat. Jeralt looked away as Lambert sat up and ran his eyes over the other man’s bare torso.

Jeralt’s body bore more scars than untouched skin. Long, jagged lines left by blades; barely noticeable nicks where arrowheads had once been lodged; the unique, discolored burns and scorch marks caused by magical attacks… it was like a map of the hardships he’d endured was drawn into his skin. And in the center of it all ran an angry, red gash, starting at his left shoulder and ending just above his right hip. Without thinking, Lambert reached out and trailed his fingers along the old wounds.

“Yeah, I know,” Jeralt sighed with a self-deprecating snort. “Not the prettiest thing to look at, huh?”

“You… have so many…” the king breathed. “How…?”

The knight captain shrugged. “I’m a mercenary,” he said, as if that explained everything. “I actually lucked out a bit. Some of these would’ve been on my face if I’d been slower.”

Lambert absentmindedly nodded at the poor excuse for a joke, hand still wandering along the white and red lines that marred Jeralt’s body. His thoughts were solely focused on the story those scars told, suddenly very aware of the difference between their social stations. The king once thought his own scars rather impressive, but they were mere scratches compared to the mess adorning Jeralt’s skin. He wondered just how many wounds the knight captain had received because his armor wasn’t quite strong enough, or he didn’t have someone watching his back, or lacked the coin for magical healing.

“You know, I can keep my shirt on,” Jeralt ventured once the silence dragged on longer than expected. “Wouldn’t be the first time.”

Lambert blinked, blue eyes catching sheepish, brown ones for the briefest of moments. “No,” the king stated calmly, the command in his tone subtle yet undeniably there. “The shirt will remain off.”

A shiver visibly ran through the knight captain’s spine as Lambert crouched forward and pressed his lips to the beginning of the longest scar. Jeralt’s skin was warm and tasted slightly of salt, likely from his earlier training sessions. The king felt the knight captain’s breath hitch as he moved down, following the smooth, scar tissue along his chest. He yearned to lavish affection on each one of those old wounds, thanking them for failing to be fatal. Lambert hadn’t felt so humbled by another since he first held Dimitri in his arms. Jeralt was a true warrior -- a true knight -- and he allowed Lambert to see how vulnerable he truly was. The king let his hands wander, caressing the scars he couldn’t easily reach with his lips.

Jeralt wouldn’t allow himself to be a passive participant, though. He gently grasped Lambert’s golden hair again, lightly scratching his scalp and guiding his path as the king went lower. The knight captain’s other hand found its way under Lambert’s shirt, fingers running along the king’s own, faint scars. Lambert let out a sigh as Jeralt followed one particularly old scar down to the small of his back and was rewarded with a soft moan from the knight captain.

As he drew near the other man’s hips, Lambert noticed the tenting of Jeralt’s trousers. The king knew he was in a similar situation, if the tightness in his own pants was any indication, but it still sent a thrill up his back to know he had such an effect on the knight captain. Reluctantly, he pulled back to look him in the eye.

“May I?” Lambert said, raising an eyebrow and hooking his thumbs into the waistband of the knight captain’s trousers.

Jeralt answered by leaning back on his elbows and raising his hips off the sheets. The king spared no time analyzing that response. He pulled both pants and smallclothes down in one smooth motion, revealing well-toned legs and the weeping erection between them.

Lambert idly grasped Jeralt’s manhood, but his eyes were drawn to the scars adorning the knight captain’s legs. There was little difference between his chest and legs, although the king noted that the inside of his thighs were relatively unscathed, if a bit tough and unyielding to the touch. Images whirled in Lambert’s mind of kneeling before the knight captain, those muscled thighs holding his head in place while he took Jeralt’s entire length in his mouth. Lambert swallowed thickly at the idea, but his own cock was aching, and he needed to feel another body pressed against his. Another time, he thought as he leaned forward to press another kiss to the knight captain’s lips.

“I know not who told you that your body is sore sight,” the king whispered as he pulled back, “but they must’ve been a fool not to see the dauntless warrior I do.”

Jeralt’s blush darkened even more, and Lambert gasped as he saw genuine tenderness in the knight captain’s eyes. It was a look the king had only ever seen while the other man talked about his daughter or deceased wife. Lambert hadn’t thought he would ever earn that look, no matter how much affection there was between them. He froze as he realized that he might not have to settle for a relationship of mere comfort.

“Jeralt,” the king breathed.

“Lambert,” the knight captain echoed back, flipping them over -- slowly, this time -- so he was hovering over the blonde-haired man.

“Jeralt, do you…?”

“Take your shirt off.”

Lambert silently obeyed, unable to take his sky blue eyes from Jeralt’s earthy brown ones and drowning in the adoration and gentleness there.

“And your pants.”

Lambert shed the last of his clothing, finally laying bare beneath the man he adored most. He wrapped his arms around Jeralt’s chest as the knight captain settled between his legs, slotting their hips together and kissing the king deeply. Lambert couldn’t stop his head from spinning, caught between desire and dancing around the word he was afraid to say, lest it vanish altogether. He was terrified and overjoyed in equal measures, but when Jeralt grasped their hard lengths together and gave a few languid strokes, all fled his mind save the desire for more of that wonderful friction.

“Told you I wouldn’t lay on my back,” Jeralt chuckled, pressing his mouth to Lambert’s collarbone and dragging his teeth against the tender skin. “Should I keep going, my dear wolf?”

“Yes!” Lambert almost couldn’t recognize his own voice as it cracked with desperation. “Dear Goddess, yes!”

The knight captain let out a thunderous laugh and planted more smiling kisses on the king’s shoulders and neck. “As His Majesty commands.”

Jeralt began to thrust and stroke at the same time, letting his thumb trail over the heads of their weeping erections. Lambert did his best to keep his hips still, but he couldn’t help how his hips jerked up, chasing Jeralt’s rough hand as if that would make him go faster. And Jeralt seemed determined to drag this out as long as possible, refusing to increase his pace even as he sighed and moaned against Lambert’s chest.

The king, however, was not so quiet. As the pleasure built in his loins, Lambert threw his head back and let his moans fill the modest room. He lost himself to the sensations, the desire for more chasing all thoughts of who might overhear them from his mind.

“Ah! Jeralt!” Lambert gasped as he felt his release rapidly approaching. “I’m close! So close…”

“Me too,” the knight captain breathed.

Their pace increased, and within moments, Lambert felt a wave of intense pleasure roll over him as he spent himself. The king arched his back as he came, digging his hands into Jeralt’s back and crying out in pleasure. He was vaguely aware of Jeralt moaning deeply against his shoulder as the knight captain’s rhythm faltered and he came as well.

The moment was over much too fast. Jeralt rolled off the king as they caught their breath and basked in the afterglow. Lambert didn’t remember the last time he’d felt so relaxed, turning to gaze at the knight captain and resting the back of his hand against the man’s cheek.

Too bad the moment had to be interrupted by the sudden clattering of armor plating outside the door.

The sound itself only lasted a second, but that was enough for Jeralt to leap from the bed and grab a fire poker, yelling, “Who’s there?”

Lambert registered several sets of footsteps racing down the hall, away from the door, just before the knight captain flung it open, brandishing the wrought iron rod before him like a makeshift sword. A few moments passed, in which Jeralt snapped his head back and forth before stooping down to pick something up off the floor.

“See anyone?” the king asked, getting up and cleaning himself off with a spare towel.

Jeralt just shook his head and closed the door. “Nope,” he sighed heavily. “Must’ve got around the corner before I could catch ‘em, but they left this behind.” He tossed an armored glove to the king and went to put his unusual choice of weapon back by the smoldering fireplace.

Lambert turned the bit of armor over in his hands. It was made of black leather and had black-forged, iron plates fastened over the wrist and back of the hand. Not a standard piece of armor to be sure, and he couldn’t help but feel that it was familiar.

Then he remembered. “This,” the king groaned, pinching his nose, “belongs to Dimitri.”

“Ah,” Jeralt said.

There was no need to explain. It didn’t take much pondering to realize that this meant that Dimitri had almost certainly been in the vicinity within the last few minutes.

And Lambert had not been quiet. His face turned an even deeper shade of crimson than it had been when Jeralt first flipped him on his back.

“Hey, don’t worry about it,” Jeralt said with a sympathetic grin. “It could’ve been a lot worse. He could’ve actually walked in on us… like Byleth did once.” His cheeks turned a bit red at the memory but he quickly shook it off. The knight captain strode over to Lambert and plucked the armored glove from his hand, tossing it on the side table. “You can deal with this in the morning. It won’t be any more or less awkward, trust me.”

The king sighed and nodded slowly. A part of him knew that it was only a matter of time before he embarrassed his son to such a degree, but he really hadn’t thought it would happen right then. Lambert allowed Jeralt to maneuver him into bed, joining him under the sheets when the king tugged gently on his arm. They easily cuddled together, wrapping their arms around each other as if it wasn't their first time.

“So,” Lambert sighed, nuzzling into the crook of Jeralt’s neck, “I’m your ‘dear wolf’, am I?”

“I could call you something else if you want.” The former mercenary lazily traced circles across the king’s shoulder. “But I thought it made sense for the Wolf King.”

“It does.” Lambert felt his eyelids growing heavy, his exhaustion from the previous weeks mixing with the sense of security he had in Jeralt’s arms. “But what shall I call you? You’ve no easy nickname to twist into an endearment.”

“Call me whatever you want.”

“Very well… my noble elk.”

Whatever Jeralt’s specific reaction, Lambert only remembered fond laughter, as the king soon after drifted into pleasant slumber in the arms of his beloved.