Gawain (steadfast_one) wrote in mabinogi,

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Once Arthur had left them, Gawain decided that breakfast would be an excellent idea. He had not had anything to eat for longer than he could remember, and he didn't mind betting that neither had Galahad. The bath-house could wait; for now he planned to go to the tavern and see if Vanora could give them some food.
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Faint smells of burning sausage drifted to Vanora as she sat in the dusky light of the tavern, but she cooed the toddler that had approached her with a scraped knee and tears in his eyes, and ignored the telling scent. If she caught that damned maid ruining the food again, the girl would be out on her ass without a penny to call her own. So she preferred to not catch her.

She kissed the boy, pinched his cheek, and instructed him to return the favor to whatever bully had pushed him. The toddler, his face marked by her eyes and Bors' healthy nose, nodded and flew out the backdoor.

Bors. She smiled softly and wondered if he'd met with Arthur yet, and when he would tell her the men were off once more. The warning usually came moments before they road out. That was not to say, however, that his warning was the first she always heard...

She hummed softly and picked up the sewing she'd abandoned for her child, only to look up several seconds later as men's voices drifted to her through the yellow morning light.
Gawain paused just inside the door of the tavern, letting his eyes become accustomed to the dimness. He spied Vanora, head bent over her sewing so that the sunlight from the small window dappled her hair with gold, and smiled. He'd always been fond of Vanora; she was a welcome voice of calm in this place of war and conflict.

"Good morning, Vanora," he called. "Any chance of breakfast for two hungry knights?"
"Depends" she said, grinning as the men made thier way inside, "have you suddenly developed a taste for burnt sausage?"

The boys -- men, she must always call them men -- looked tousled, and the splint on the Galahad's arm did not go unnotice. Better a wound there than elsewhere she reminded herself, if only to quiet the rising worry in her breast.

A second glance revealed something that should have startled her, but merely made her blink. Was that Gawain's tunic that Galahad wore? She remembered mending a shirt of his only several weeks past that bore resemblace...but, then again, shirts were shirts, and all the knights' clothes were much mended and threadbare. Still, the thought stuck with her.

"What can I get you, Sir Knights?"
Gawain grinned back. "At this moment, anything would be welcome. I can't remember when we last ate."

He thought he noticed Vanora looking quizzically at Galahad, but dismissed it. Just his imagination; it was too dark in here to be seeing anything clearly. Drawing up a chair, he sat down at Vanora's table.
"Catherine!" She shouted back to the kitchen, and waited until a terribly young face appeared at the door, white faced and apparently of the conviction that if she ignored the smoke billowing behind her, it simply was not there.

"There you are, love" Vanora smiled, slightly strained "Bring up whatever food we've got back there for our knights, eh? Anything not tasting of coal?"

The girl bobbed her head and disapeared back into the kitchen. Vanora turned back to the men now sitting with her.

"Tell me lads, how do the great Samartains stand these days?"
Gawain sighed. "Not so good. Lancelot is badly injured and reliving his ordeal every time he closes his eyes; Arthur is worried and guilty; Tristan is...actually, I don't know about Tristan, I haven't seen him since before we left. And Galahad went and got his arm broken when the Woads attacked." He shot a glance at Galahad, a small smile crossing his face for a moment.

"I suppose Bors is fighting fit, as usual?" he queried. "And you, my dear, you're not quite your usual sunny self. Trouble with your kitchen staff?"
She smiled, touched - as always - at Gawain's quiet concern

"You could say as much. And Bors? Show me a day when he's not fighting fit, and I'll show you his funeral"

But her thoughts returned quickly to Tristan, who, as Gawain admited, had not been out to see the returning knights.

By hapstance or planning? she wondered, forever frustrated with the most silent of Arthur's knights. He'd come to the tavern, sulked at her table, had words with Arthur, and then...what, indeed had happened then?

And then there was Lancelot. No. It hurt to much to think of him as he now was. Better to remember the laugh and smile that haunted the tavern not a week past, and hope he'd soon be himself again.

"And you, love" she said, turning to Galahad, "Should be wise to take better care of yourself"
Galahad huffed a little. "I take good care of myself considering the suicide missions Arthur so loves to send us on."

He tugs at his tunic and scratches at his bandage, looking generally quite affronted at the world.
Still so much a boy she thought, though knew much too well than to give voice to it. A soldier, true as can be, but still the remenants of adolesence clung to him, shining through the dirt and blood with the refreshing discontent of childhood.

"Indeed" she say seriously, because a woman does not truly need a band on her finger to be a widow, and she worries for their missions more with each passing day.

"What will become of you men next?" she asked, grinning slightly because Galahad had the disarming talent to look adorable, esspecially when he atempted to brood.

"I don't know," replied Galahad. "He probably won't let me go anywhere until my arm has healed." He still looked discontent, as though he could not bear the thought of being confined in one space.

"You'll be stuck with me for a while yet, Vanora," he said lightly.

"Oh my" she grinned, picking up her sewing from the table as the kitchen girl finally brought the food, "What worse company could I possibly have but you, dear knight?"

The food, despite the smoke that still drifted from the hearth, was not as burnt as she'd expected. Edible? Certainly. Better than the fare the men caught on the road? Definatly

"I expect, however, that Lancelot shall be staying on, if he's as bad as I've heard. A right party we'll have"
Arthur approached the tavern, conscious of Lancelot's nervousness as the man trailed slowly behind him. He was almost dragging his feet.

"Come on, friend, I promised I would look after you, didn't I?" he whispered to the other man.

Smiling, he slid into a table unnoccupied at the edge of the seating area, and waved at Vanora, who was talking to Galahad and Gawain. He nodded at the two knights, and raised his eyebrows at the sight of Galahad's arm in it's sling.
Lancelot slipped into the seat next to Arthur, back to the wall, nervous as a kitten out on its own for the first time. He had to consciously keep himself from jumping at every slight noise - the banging of a plate, the screech of a chair - and tried to relax.

He gave Arthur a hesitant smile, before his walls came up - behind which he could hide all his insecurities.

How long can you keep them in place?

Long enough.
"Relax," he said under his breath to Lancelot, one hand dropping under the table, squeezing the knights fingers briefly, then back up to the table top.

He looked around the place, which wasn't as crowded as normal...but it was slightly early, after all.

He grabbed the ales a passing barmaid flung at them, and handed one to Lancelot.

"Drink it slowly, or you will be drunk rather fast," he instructed, then shook his head, shutting his eyes, a self effacing smile on his face. "...and I have truly become your mother."
"I hope not," Lancelot joked, covering up his anxiousness. "Then what we're doing wouldn't exactly be legal."

He smiled a little, looking down into his mug as he sipped at the liquid tentatively, aware that his stomach was likely to protest without warning. And if that happened, his control would break.

And he'd be damned if he let anyone see what a wreck he was inside. Only Arthur's warm, soothing presence at his side kept him from breaking. He figitted with the cup, distracting his hand from seeking out Arthur's - which is what it seemed to want to do.

The wound in his side was throbbing constantly now - the walk from Arthur's room hadn't helped it much - and Lancelot was seriously hoping that Arthur wasn't planning on staying here for too long. Either that, or he'd have to excuse himself to go back and clean it up before Arthur saw it - somehow, Lancelot didn't think that being told about would do any good for Arthur's guilt complex.

For the moment, however, he focused on drinking, keeping his hands on the table - and Arthur by his side.
The harried barmaid slapped plates of stew down in front of them, and rushed off.

"Smells better than venison cooked by the roadside in the rain," Arthur said doubtfully, then tucked in.

He was famished, he realized, and quickly finished eating, then turned to the figdety man by his side.

"Try...please?" he said softly, noticing Lancelot was merely playing with his food. "You will not heal properly," he added, and his eyes darkened at the unwelcome thought of his friend getting more ill, or worse, flu or infection.

His head tilted back slightly, and he got sucked into thought - easy for him. Dagonet must be found, and he had last minute checks to go through - but that could be done in the early hours of the morning. Not much left but saddling up the horses and briefing Gawain and Dag.

He blinked rapidly, coming back to himself.
Lancelot sighed. He wasn't planning on eating - he really wasn't, but then again, he'd been hoping Arthur wouldn't notice; it wasn't likely but then again, it had just been hope.

He picked at the stew hopelessly, fighting not to retch, trying to keep it down.

The pain in his side flared up again and, without any conscious thought, one of his hands dropped to clutch at it - before he noticed, and brought it back up again.

He glanced hesitantly sideways to make sure Arthur hadn't noticed.
Arthur was watching Lancelot pretending to eat, sighing to himself, when he saw the other man wince slightly and drop his hand to his side.

He stood, and leaned over to the knight.

"Come on - let's get you out of here. I can see you fighting pain a mile off."
Lancelot shot Arthur a glance that was torn between gratefulness and annoyance.

"Why is it that you noticed every little thing I don't want you to notice...and never notice things I do," he half joked, standing up cautiously.
"I have no idea what you're talking about," Arthur shot back, trying to save a little face. "I notice - I do!" he insisted when Lancelot rolled his eyes at him.

"Come on, foolish man, let's go."

He waved at Vanora again, pointing to Lancelot and motioning that they were leaving. She smiled and nodded back.

They exited, Arthur taking Lancelot's arm to help him.
Lancelot rolled his eyes and was tempted to shake Arthur's arm off - his pride wasn't happy with the idea - but his mind told his pride to fuck off because his body wasn't going to do this on his own and so, reluctantly, Lancelot let the other man lead him.

After a few steps, he was rather happy that his mind did have some common sense when his side flared up again; if Arthur hadn't been supporting his, his pride would have had a near-fatal injury.