by Chris J. Ueberall
Notes: This came up when A.J. and I talked - again - about the 'East wind' thing. It was a funny little scene when we imagined it, but I can't write funny to save my life so it's just a little piece - light, but not humorous. A big thanks to Tehomet for a quick beta.
"Grant me a favour," Lancelot said, controlling his anger. "Don't bury me on our sad little cemetery. Burn me. Burn me and cast my ashes to a strong East wind." He turned and walked from the stable. It wasn't riding out again with his brothers that he minded so much, or even the danger they faced. It was the destruction of his plans that riled him.
Arthur watched Lancelot leave with a heavy heart. Didn't his friend see how much this new development hurt him? Did Lancelot actually believe that he wanted his knights to face mortal danger? Hadn't he listened to Arthur's prayer?
And what was that 'I don't like anything that puts a man on his knees' speech about? He had seen Lancelot on his knees often enough, and been on his knees himself in front of him, and never had he heard him complain. Except maybe that Arthur wasn't going fast enou-- Arthur halted his thoughts. This was not a road he should let his mind wander down. Not when he would spend his night alone. Which he would, because that was the rule. A rule he didn't really care for right now.
But that brought up another question. Where was he to sleep tonight? He'd expected to share Lancelot's quarters, but now that seemed to be a bad idea. The temptation to do more than just lie there and sleep would be strong. Very strong. Especially knowing that it might be their last night together. There would be no time for this kind of closeness once they were on the way. And who knew if they would return?
No matter how much Arthur trusted in his knights and his own skills, this was a suicidal ride. Their only chance to make it out alive was if God was on their side. Otherwise ... He swallowed. Maybe there would be no one left to throw ashes to the East wind.
East wind? Why would Lancelot wish to be thrown into the East wind? Hadn't he spoken out of longing to return home? Now, it was said that all roads led to Rome, but somehow Arthur doubted the same could be said for Sarmatia. He had to speak to his friend and make sure he got it right. He sighed. It wasn't a topic he liked to talk about, but there was no choice. On that thought he strode purposely towards the stable's entrance.
They collided rather strongly, and only the fast grabbing for doorframes and holding on to the other stopped them from tumbling to the ground. Surprised they stood frozen in their quasi-embrace.
Lancelot couldn't help but feel his heart quicken at hearing his nickname. Arthur only ever used it when they ... He stopped himself before that image could fully form. "I meant the West wind, Arthur. Throw my ashes to a wind going East," he said in a rush, hoping his friend wouldn't laugh at his stupidity.
But nothing was further from Arthur's mind as he replied earnestly, "I did wonder." And he had, but right now other things seemed more important. For example, Lancelot's hand on his arm, still holding him, sending warmth through Arthur's body. That beautiful face so close to his that all he wanted was to lean forward and kiss the slightly pouting lips.
"Can I share your bed tonight?" Arthur heard himself ask, deciding that tonight was for breaking rules.
Lancelot grinned mischieviously. "I thought you'd never ask." Not letting go of his lover he turned around and strode towards his room. Eastwards.
© 18 September 2004
You can find A.J.'s ficlet here:
Into the East