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Knight-Errant

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The great helm comes off first, as soon as they are in the tent, and away from the cheering masses. Then the dented cuirass, his hands slipping over the hollow at the heart. The hauberk he skims off slowly, recalls sliding this on but an hour ago, smoothing the mail down from shoulders to chest to hips.

Sir Jeffrey curses when he lifts his arms as gauntlets and vambraces are tugged free and Jensen shushes him quietly.

Greaves and chausses are added to the pile of metal and leather on the ground, until there is simply Jeff, dressed in doublet, pale and swaying on his feet.

"Please," Jensen catches his arm, pulls gently until they are beside the bed in the corner. "Sire, sit, rest."

"That an order, Jensen?"

Jensen ignores him, instead pulling the doublet up until Jeff is bare-chested, the vivid dusk of bruise growing sullen and dark on his chest. Jensen's breath stutters a little at the sight, fingers tracing the edge.

"It's all right."

Jensen shakes his head, bites back foolish words. He snatches up a poultice to smooth across the worst of the injury, the smell pungent and sharp.

Jeff hisses at the first cool touch and Jensen frowns, trying to keep his movements light and gentle. "I said three events would be too many," he murmurs quietly.

"So you did. But the prize from the joust would have kept us in mead and roasted hog and comfits for a month."

"Instead the prize money from the Sword and the Melee will have to go to the smith. I need to get more herbs from the apothecary too. Mead and hog-meat will have to wait." Jensen curves his hands up over the broad strength of Jeff's shoulders. "Where else are you hurt?"

"Nowhere."

Jensen raises an eyebrow; "If you do not wish for a rub-down I'll go see to the horse – I'm sure she will appreciate it at least."

"Do not be like that, Jensen." Jeff carefully reaches up to catch Jensen's wrist, thumb stroking against the beat of his pulse. "If you want to give me a rub-down I am all in favour, " he graced Jensen with a grin, "But I cannot predict that I'll feel rested or refreshed for it."

"After three events today and a lance to the chest a nice relaxing rub-down is about all you're going to be able to manage, Sire," Jensen leant down, kissing Jeff lightly on the mouth to soften his words. "But if you're good and rest I promise to wake you tomorrow in far, far more pleasing manner."

"Oh?"

"Yes, now for the Lord in Heaven's sake, please just lie back and sleep."

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

Jeff wakes several times in the night.

His chest feels bruised down to the bone, muscle pulling taut with each breath. His knee aches dull and leaden where he'd smashed it years ago – weight of horse and barding on stony ground. His blood is still singing, head fuzzy and blurred with dreams of battle and blood.

And each time he wakes it is to the distinct lack of Jensen, tall and warm, strong and smooth-skinned curled into his side. Instead he can see Jensen sitting, hunched tight over the table, fixing the brigandine by the thin light of the lamp, fingers neat and nimble as they thread needles and work the leather deep with oils.

The night wears on, greenfinch and song thrush chatter sharp and noisy, and the dawn light skims narrow beneath the canvas.

There's warm breath against his stomach and faint touches tracing his hips, the line of an old scar that snakes its way up his flanks and across his ribs. "Hmm?" Jeff pushes back the blankets, blinking blearily down to where he can see the messy top of Jensen's head hovering above his navel. "You down there for any particular reason?"

He's answered with a quick smile, and more careful touches that curve along old scar tissue and slant over muscles still bunched tight and tense. Lips press reverently to the starburst of scarring that lies on his right thigh.

Jensen has always seemed fascinated by his scars. Even before they first tumbled down into sheets and cushions, hands struggling with buckles and ties to get at skin, Jensen had stared as he helped Jeff shrug into doublet and hauberk. That had been years ago, when Jensen was newly a Squire, all quick darting movements and cornered smile.

Jensen's own scars are smaller, harder to find, thin silvery threads that Jeff has learnt not to linger over.

"Promised I would wake you in a pleasing manner," Jensen murmurs, lips brushing wetly against the heel of his hipbone, "Were you good and rested."

"That you did." Jeff's hand skims over the crown of Jensen's head and then down to lie heavy against his nape. "And this is pleasing, all kinds of pleasing." He doesn't even have to nudge him to shift over that last couple inches until damp warm breath is blowing soft and welcome over his cock.

It had taken time to realise Jensen liked this, enjoyed this, wasn't just ducking his head down and folding himself low because he thought it warranted. That the smile Jensen presses against his belly isn't pasted on, false and determined.

One long, slow wet lick and Jeff is sighing and easing his legs further apart. His thumb strokes the cords in Jensen's neck lightly, enjoying the prickle of Jensen's nails where his hips are held flat to the bed.

Day will start soon, farriers and smiths to see, the horse to feed and muck out, food to be got and their tent to be packed away. They don't have long for this, but Jeff feels lazy, muscles jumping and sore, Jensen's mouth nothing but indolent heat, slow and thorough where he swallows him down.

He threads his fingers through Jensen's hair, not so much encouraging as gentling, a sluggish thank you as Jensen bobs lower, and hands grip his hips tighter.

The air in the tent is growing thick and hot as the sun rises, and Jeff can feel the slick glide of sweat on his back, and belly and where Jensen lies snug between his legs.

When one of Jensen's hands leaves his hip to slide up and lie splayed and firm over the bruise at his heart, Jeff closes his eyes and just lets go.

 

 

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