psalm_onethirtyone: (Cascade Pond)
[personal profile] psalm_onethirtyone
[ profile] eremon_lass, I have written you silly Kay/Bedi! Happy belated birthday! :)

Kay is getting old, and his wiry-haired beard, like the pelt of a deerhound, is becoming streaked with grey. His sword arm is weaker than ever, and when Bedivere drags him out to practise in the yard they go gingerly, beating at each other with flat-edged swords.

Afterwards they always ease themselves down by the pump at the edge of the yard, pulling off their sweat-stained practise armour piece by piece, splashing water over their weathered faces. Bedivere thumps Kay's shoulder with the stump of his arm, and Kay swats at him irritably.

But that's not often. As usual, Kay spends most of the day working himself to death in the kitchens, bellowing at errant, terrified pages and throwing around schedules, while Bedivere, like a sane man, tries to enjoy his old age by drinking and flirting with women who have no interest in him.

Some nights, when the banked fires finally die down to a glow, Bedivere manages to convince him to come back to his room for chess and ale, and they sit around in the dim light drinking and arguing over moves. And some nights, after they're thoroughly loosened up, they take turns getting out of their worn woollen clothes and mapping each other's bruises and scars, the lines and wrinkles that cross them both like manuscripts that have been folded for a long time.

If he were honest, Bedivere would admit that he likes this best; the body of his best friend laid out in front of him, more familiar than any pretty barmaid's, traced back and forth with the memories of every battle they fought together and every quest they took in Arthur's name. He knows Kay, as well as he knows himself.

When his wife was killed, years ago, he'd prepared himself to forgo love. Desire, that's another matter -- there's many a woman who'd be willing to tumble, and he's never been one to deny himself a bodily urge. But the way he and Kay sleep together, grumbling, cursing heatlessly at one another as their stiff joints make themselves known, is good in ways he'd half forgotten. Kay's big rough hands feeling him out, the way he always lies beneath because he can't support himself on only own arm, Kay's noisy, surprised oaths when he finally comes, the comfort that keeps the vision of his wife's cloud of red hair at bay -- it's good, it's all good.

Sometimes he even wins at chess first.

Kay's asleep now -- the goddamn man is working himself to death, Bedivere is patently convinced of it -- and he rests his single hand on his waist, stroking his skin with his thumb.

The uncomplicated meeting of friend and lover is good. Better than he'd hoped for, twenty years ago, in the aftershocks of her death. Better than what could have been.

They're slowing down together, and that's good too. Bedivere is glad that this life won't cheat either of them the way he was cheated before; will leave neither of them like a masterless dog, sleeping outside the door of an empty room.

Kay stretches and mutters, and Bedivere nestles down against him shamelessly. To-morrow, if they're not too sore, he'll try and get Kay to the practise yard again. The more time they have together, they better off they'll be, and, besides (no reason not to be honest), he likes watching the cold pump water dripping, glistening in the tangled grey hairs of Kay's beard.
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January 2012

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