Right. Just like that. Though I want to point out, in my defense? Who the fuck could have seen the maenads coming? No one, that's who.
On that uplifting note, anyone have time for a beta on a Merlin fic? Fifteen-esque pages though I suspect it needs a bit more to fill it out. I have this feeling work is going to hurt me today if my desk is any indication. And it is in fact a very good indication.
It will be something like this? Kind of?
Turning back to the trail, Arthur's startled by the sight of the stag only feet away; despite how close it came, Arthur hadn't heard it approach. Frowning, Arthur holds himself still, watching the brown eyes dart among the trees. After a moment, Arthur slowly reaches for an arrow for his crossbow as the air falls still in expectation.
The stag's head turns abruptly, eyes meeting Arthur's, and something bright and intelligent looks back. The restless movements of its legs cease, so still it could be a well-carved statue of green-stained sunlight and pale wood but for those vivid eyes that flicker amber and brown by turn.
Arthur's fingers numb, dropping the arrow back into the quiver.
"Wise choice, child of men," a voice murmurs close to his ear, and yet not; startled Arthur watches as a man--little more than a boy himself--emerges from behind (within?) an ivy-thick tree, heavy green limbs drooping over his head like a canopy. Lowering his arm, Arthur watches one long fingered hand reach for the stag, palm resting briefly on its head before he turns to look at Arthur with gold-sheened eyes.
Arthur licks his lips as the man flickers his fingers at the stag with a small, secret smile curving a mouth cherry-dark. The stag hesitates, and there's a moment Arthur thinks it seems reluctant. The man roll his eyes, pushing at the muzzle playfully, despite the huge horns arching over them both; an animal with so little fear of man would be a danger to the common folk that hunt from these woods. "Never you mind, little one. I mean him no harm."
The stag's head swings toward him, almost as if in apology, before spinning on its heels, it sprints farther into the forest, vanishing into the undergrowth between one tree and the next in impossible silence. The man's gaze follows the stag until it's gone, then he turns to Arthur searchingly.
"You would have taken its life for a trophy, yet it worried to leave you alone with me," the man says, so softly that even the lightest wind should have stolen his voice away. Hand clenched on the crossbow, Arthur watches him cross the spread of browning grass that grows young and green with his every step, brush pulling from his path as it bursts into flower like the first day of spring. The fine-featured face is as pretty as a girl's, wide mouth the red of wild cherries, thick black lashes dark against snow-pale skin. The tunic and trousers are as fine as any lord's, but when Arthur looks down, the narrow feet are smooth and bare.
The man comes to a stop close enough to touch; he's taller than Arthur had thought. Tipping his head back slightly, Arthur finds he's not quite able to look away from the amused golden eyes. "Tell me your name, child," the man murmurs in a voice as rich as wine pouring over Arthur's skin, reaching one slim hand to brush his thumb slowly up Arthur's jaw, leaving a trail of liquid heat behind.
"Arthur Pendragon," Arthur answers breathlessly; the crossbow falls from numb fingers. The man's mouth curves in a mocking smile as he leans forward, and Arthur closes his eyes at the brush of lips against his, reaching for the man helplessly, thick dark hair curling between his fingers like silk, tasting thick wine and wild berries on the man's lips, feeling suddenly drunk from the feel of his mouth.
Abruptly, he feels the rough scrape of bark against his back, the man as close as his own skin, thigh pressed to his cock; Arthur's harder than he can ever remember being in his life. The man licks into his mouth, one hand pushing up beneath Arthur's tunic to scratch sharp nails against the small of his back and pushing down into his trousers. Arthur arches into the touch; he wants this, whatever this man wishes to do with him, to him.
Gasping a breath on a sudden wind that tastes of wildflowers and clear running streams, fresh grass and spring breezes, Arthur tilts his head back for the mouth that explores his throat, pushing the collar of his shirt aside and settling low on his shoulder. Surprisingly sharp teeth cut into his skin; Arthur jerks at the sharp pain, breath locked in his throat, cock rubbing almost painfully into the man's thigh, curling his fingers over the impossibly smooth, hot skin at the back of his neck to hold him in place.
Abruptly, the man jerks back; Arthur watches, shocked by his own lust as the man licks away his blood from the corner of his mouth. One hand cups his face; the golden eyes are filled with surprise. "You are not what you seem, are you?"