Morning After

The sun rose slowly through sky and leaked through the tattered curtains over the windows of Lancelot’s room long after Percival had lost his voice from screaming and long before Lancelot was satisfied. When Lancelot’s strength gave out, he slumped down on top of Percival, kissing the nape of his neck and stroking his hair as Percival lay beneath him, drowsy, exhausted and making small hoarse sounds.

“Are you alright?” Lancelot asked against the skin between Percival’s shoulder blades, his mind clearing from the haze of sex and magic.

Percival nodded, his body still.

Lancelot sighed, satisfied. He took hold of Percival’s hips firmly and turned them to lay on their sides as daylight began to stream through the window. He waited until Percival stopped quaking from the accidental stimulation to massage his hips and lower back. The muscles spasmed beneath his touch, and he squeezed Lancelot, but he doubted Percival was conscious any longer as his breath came in slow even breaths.

It was dizzying how scorching hot and tight Percival was even after Lancelot had worked him over all night. If Percival agreed to sleep with him again, he’d have to remember to try on a day when he hadn’t been running around on a training pitch all day to see how long Percival could remain that way.

Lancelot continued to massage him until Percival’s overtaxed body realized that Percival was actually sleeping and relaxed fully. He held Percival close and dozed off knowing that it would take a moment to be soft enough to pull out without starting another quake in Percival.

He expected at least four hours of sleep before he was woken up, but he couldn’t have been asleep for more than an hour or two before a soft chiming noise woke him up.  He kept his body still and turned his head trying to figure out where the sound came from.

“Alarm,” Percival breathed, his voice no louder than a whisper.

Lancelot turned his head towards Percival and placed a hand on his hip along with a kiss to his shoulder.

“Good morning,” Lancelot said into his shoulder, his voice heavy with sleep and warmth, “To be honest, I expected you to be asleep.”

“I’m a light sleeper.”

Lancelot disagreed with that given how Percival had remained asleep while Lancelot was asleep and only woke up at the sound of the alarm. Oddly, it had the same audible quality as some of the alarms his uncles had  in their house. He’d remember why that was important later, but for now he added the question about the alarm to his list of questions about Percival.

“Do you have to get up now?” Lancelot asked, stroking a thumb over his hipbone.

“In an hour or so.”

“Rest for a bit then, it should be easier to pull out now.” Lancelot cautioned, placing a hand on Percival’s hip and then pulling back slowly. “Don’t move.”

Percival sighed with relief once Lancelot had pulled free. Lancelot sat up and rolled gently onto his stomach. He pulled a bottle of oil out of his bag, poured some into his hands and warmed it before massaging Percival’s lower back, hips and thighs. They were far less tense than he expected, but it could have been because Percival stored his tension elsewhere.

“Sorry, if I was a bit much.”

“It was good,” Percival whispered.

“This should help,” Lancelot told him, but Percival’s eyes had already fluttered closed and his breathing had returned to that even sleeping pace. Lancelot worked down both of Percival’s legs and up through his shoulders before lying down beside Percival and tugging the blanket over them both. He lay awake beside Percival, stroking his hair gently and keeping an eye on him.

He didn’t usually sleep much, the curse of being a practically walking magic repository. Given that Percival had at least as much visceral magic as he did, he was surprised that Percival had gone back to sleep so easily, especially if he was actually a light sleeper.

Soon enough, there was yet another sound, but one that Lancelot recognized as an alert from his scrying mirror. He leaned over the edge of the bed to dig through his bag and twist the dial on the back of it to block anyone trying to connect with him. When he turned back, Percival was no longer laying beside him. Instead, he was on his feet and bending over to pull on his underwear.

That was definitely new. He’d never had a lover after a night like that get on their feet so quickly. He chocked it up to the theory that he’d never encountered a person with a magical profile and lineage so similar to his own before and filed the question about Percival’s family away with the rest of them. Percival quaked a bit, but not enough to throw him off balance as he lifted a leg and slid into his pants.

“Are you sure you’re alright to leave?” Lancelot asked, sitting up on his knees as Percival pulled on his shirt and slid his wallet back into his pocket.

“I’ll be fine,” Percival whispered as he slipped on his boots and sat down to lace them up. The glow in his scars was fading, the scent of magic dimming in the air leaving only the scent of sweat, sex, and Lancelot’s magic behind. Lancelot bit back what he wanted to say, but stood and walked around the bed to stop Percival before he got to the door.

Percival’s cheeks were flushed as Lancelot stood before him half hard and completely naked. He looked at Lancelot and waited with something Lancelot has begun to assume was curiosity and a bit of apprehension. Percival was a man who didn’t want to be asked certain questions. While lancelot had only begun to map out what type of questions were okay to ask and which weren’t, he believed in letting people give only the answers they wanted to give when they wanted to give them. Luckily for Percival, the first question on Lancelot’s mind wasn’t about why he didn’t sleep or anything that Lancelot was sure was crossing the line.

“I enjoyed you immensely,” he said with a slow grin. “Did you?”

Percival nodded. Lancelot licked his lips and reached up to pull Percival down to kiss. Percival shuddered and gasped. If Lancelot didn’t have to go to training, he would try his hardest to pull Percival back to bed, but knowing that the man was already unsteady on his feet, he banished the thought.

Patience, Lancelot, he thought, All in due time.

“You’ll need some time,” Lancelot groaned, wishing that wasn’t the case, “Until then, be safe, Percival. I’ll see you around.”

He nodded again, and Lancelot let him leave, not missing the way Percival leaned towards the walls for stability. Before the door had even closed, he set to work on getting dressed, slinging his bag on his back and his sword on his hip before stepping out and hoping to catch Percival and perhaps walk him to work, but the taller man was gone by the time Lancelot reached the streets. He looked both ways, but there was no sight of him.

He hummed, scratching his head and wondering if in the effort to not harm Percival he’d gone too easy. After all, Percival should not have been able to move fast enough to disappear on the empty early morning streets in the time that it took Lancelot to get dressed and outside.

He turned and checked his watch before sprinting down his usual path through the center of Paris to grab breakfast from the same vendor he always grabbed it from, hot and fresh pastries to shove in his mouth as he ran the distance to Versailles.

*

Percival had simply walked to the nearest public transport stop and boarded the craft, pressing his wallet to the reader box and stumbled into a seat. His body was relaxed beyond reason, relaxed enough that he almost dozed off in his seat, but the adrenaline crash kept that from happening. He was going into something like shock he was sure which would explain the shaking and the cold, but the other feeling, the high rushing and wild feeling thrumming through him was something else.

Magic, that unfamiliar voice told him again as he pulled the stop cord and exited the bus. He walked slowly from the stop towards the cafe a few blocks away from the Black Hammer where he usually picked up breakfast when he didn’t feel like eating at home.

“Usual?” The barista asked, batting her eyelashes at him.

“Stronger and hot, please,” he said, shocked at the raspiness of his voice. He glanced at the case of pastries, “Make it a large?”

“Rough night? Are you coming down with something?” She asked, an eyebrow lifted in curiosity. She turned to fill his cup with  freshly brewed black tea, a serving of flavored cream and a large box of mini meat pies in exchange for money. He threw the change in the tip jar.

“Something like that,” he said taking the cup and pastry box, ‘Thank you.”

He turned then before she could figure out something else to say and crossed the cafe. In about five minutes the usual breakfast rush would begin and he usually would have left by then, but once he sat down, he found himself hard pressed to get up any faster than was absolutely necessary to get to the Black Hammer on time, especially now that Dante knew that he was an actual Leonhard.

The heat of the tea warmed him considerably, keeping the shivering at bay as he tried get a grip on himself.

Idiot, you should have stayed.

Couldn’t stay.

Wouldn’t stay.

Shouldn’t stay.

Nowhere safe–

It’s so cold. Cold, too cold, going to freeze to death, have to–

“Are you alright?” She asked across the cafe.

“I’ll be fine,” he said. “Thank you.”

The door opened and the usual cranky, pre-coffee and sweets crowd came pouring in stopping her from asking whatever other questions she had for him. In the madness, Percival ate the the entire box of meat pies, thrown the box into recycling and carried his hot tea out the door. He wasn’t completely steady on his legs yet, but he wasn’t fighting a severe drop in blood sugar as well as physical strain any longer. He arrived at the Black Hammer for once truly grateful for the heat at the back of the forge once his cup was empty. The air that was usually insufferably hot even though Percival was usually cold was pleasantly warm today.

He would have assumed, based on his luck with Dante, that the man would have had a million tedious, physically demanding tasks for him to do, especially since he’d made a fool out of the vindictive man. Instead, it seemed that the universe had pity on him today because Dante was not in the forge nor was his daughter. The blacksmiths didn’t seem to care to bother him with their stupidity or their questions. The regulator that most of the forge hands used since they didn’t know how to use a safety key-equipped regulator had broken again which gave Percival something to do for a few hours.

He still didn’t fully understand how Dante had a forge full of blacksmiths and forge workers that couldn’t repair a regulator. He supposed that was why he managed to keep them all there. None of them were real blacksmiths, and the forge workers barely knew how to sharpen a sword let alone maintain one.

The longer he remained in employment at the Black Hammer the more he wondered how on Ea

Amateurs, Percival thought with a shake of his head.

When he was done, a nobleman walked up to him, called him by name  and held up his sheathed sword. It was a gold plated sword which had seen some manner of battle that its plating needed to be refinished.  Percival assumed that the siblings had mentioned a goldsmith among the people in the Black Hammer.

Were the people of Paris so cheap that they wouldn’t go to a better forge or so unknowledgeable that they thought Dante’s forge was a good one? It couldn’t have just been that the Royal Forge was usually busy, there were other forges and from his time in Paris he knew Dante had the reputation of being everyone’s last resort.

Percival finished it in less than an hour, taking the coins the man gave him, before heading to lunch and finding the hottest, thickest soup he could find and trying not to fall asleep in it. He’s grateful that the rest of the day seemed to be as uneventful as the first half. When  six o’clock arrived, he shut off his regulator and walked out of the forge. To the stop that would take him to Le Chesnay. Rather than the usual walk, he took another transport to the Avenue de Villars and walked to his house, unlocked the gate, then the door and locked them behind him before falling onto the couch and  into the blessed darkness of sleep.

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