Yuletide Sacrifices

Characters: Audric, Jarrett
Origin: A Knight's Sacrifice (serial WIP)
Advent Day: Day 24 (December 20th)
Rating: NC-17
Word count: 1,640

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Their first winter together, and Jarrett was a ball of nervous energy. Each night, Audric held him, called him Malin, and rode him until he screamed with the agony of pleasure coupling with his king was, but Jarrett never stopped hoping Audric would see him. Maybe tonight, he could force the issue, show Audric that he was only a man, not a memory, and that Malin needed to finally be put to rest. It was easier said than done, though, and Jarrett's stomach roiled with anxiety as he entered Audric's private chambers.

In his hand, he carried a simple gift. A knight's gift. He wasn't given much gold, and Jarrett himself was but a simple man. His father had been nothing but a farmer who'd managed to get his son attached to a great knight as a squire. It had been such a great honor to serve Malin, to learn from him, but as much as he had loved the man who had taken his hand and made him into the knight he was today, he couldn't forever live in Malin's shadow.

Audric turned to him with a smile on his lips. God help him, Audric was stunning. Beautiful. It made his decision to press the issue with his identity even harder. He didn't want to lose Audric. The last year had been so hard, so dark, but maybe the new year could be walked in light and laughter and truth. Maybe... just maybe...

"Malin," Audric purred. "I thought you might have become lost."

Jarrett forced himself to bite back the sinking feeling that threatened to turn his stomach. The smile that came to his lips must have looked forced. Couldn't Audric ever tell that his smiles rarely lit up his eyes these days? He had to hope that Audric couldn't blind himself that much. "Not lost," he finally insisted, shutting the door behind him. There was no escaping. He knew what he had to do.

He was about to open his mouth when Audric rested his hand on Jarrett's shoulder, frowning just a little. "Why the delay, then? Is anything wrong?"

Jarrett hesitated, and his heart pounded in his chest as he tried to form the words. He could tell Audric right now, and Audric would listen. He would have to. All he needed to do was speak the truth. He took a deep breath, and his hand tightened around the gift he had brought with him. He could do this. "No," he blurted out. "Nothing wrong. I just don't know if my gift will please you."

Audric perked right up, and the return of that bright, knowing smile began to melt what he had thought was an iron resolve. He couldn't do this. He couldn't rob Audric—the man he loved—of the only man Audric had ever loved.

"What have you brought?" Audric held out his hands. "I shall see your gift, and then give you mine. At least, part of mine. I have two gifts in mind for you tonight."

Opening his hand, Jarrett revealed the intricately carved miniatures of Audric, Holden, and a horse. "It isn't much," he murmured, "but I made them for you."

Audric's eyes lit up. "You carved these? I didn't know you could carve!"

"I've carved since I was but a lad," Jarrett told him. "My father taught me."

Audric's brow furrowed, and Jarrett could see the wheels turning in that brilliant mind. He swallowed thickly, waiting for Audric to respond, to put the pieces together. "But your father was a nobleman. How odd that he would carve."

"Audric..." Jarrett's tongue kept tying itself into knots.

"Well, it's wonderful that he taught you, anyway," Audric dismissed with a wave. He reached out and accepted the little figurines from Jarrett, admiring them up close for several seconds before drawing Jarrett into a lingering kiss. Jarrett just tried to hide the disappointed slump of his shoulders and lose himself in the kiss while it lasted. Audric seemed determined to hold onto the lie, and it just weighed him down, even as he felt the smile curving Audric's lips as they pressed to his.

The kiss was enough to leave Jarrett half-hard and pliant against Audric. He even whimpered a little when Audric pulled back, but Audric's rich, amused chuckle pulled him from that wonderful haze of pleasure. He flushed, stepping back. "I'm glad you like them."

"I love them." Audric then reached for something in one of the fine chairs that littered the room. When he turned to Jarrett, Jarrett's heart seemed to stop. Audric was holding a scabbard, elegantly tooled and perfectly designed, and offered it to Jarrett. "I've noticed your scabbard is old, scuffed." Audric grinned. "I thought I would replace it."

Jarrett took the scabbard from Audric, and his eyes trailed over every detail. The leather was well-oiled, rich and warm. The tooling was in a detailed scrollwork, and just below the throat of the scabbard was his name.

But not his name.

Malin.

Audric had chosen to have them inlay Malin's name on the scabbard.

Jarrett, with shame, thought he might cry.

"You're speechless," Audric chuckled. "I'm glad you love it. Normally, I would take all the credit, but the craftsmen spent many hours getting all the details just how I wanted them. My other gift is even more personal."

Jarrett sniffled and blinked several times, trying valiantly to keep his cheeks dry. God, his heart couldn't take much more. He took a steadying breath and forced a smile to his lips. "What's the other gift?"

Audric drew him close, taking the scabbard from his hands and setting it aside. He felt so fragile in Audric's arms, even if he was just as strong, just as built as his king. Even with his hopes shattered, there was still the slightest comfort in those arms as they held him close. Audric leaned forward and for an instant, he forgot his heartache, breathing in Audric's scent as Audric nuzzled his ear and throat. "I want you to take me tonight, Malin."

Take Audric? Jarrett's heart began to race. "You're certain?" he asked, voice breathless and deep.

"Yes," Audric whispered, and then he nipped at Jarrett's throat. "Do you not wish to feel me around you?"

When Audric's tongue began to trace his ear, Jarrett was lost. He pulled Audric into a hungry kiss, his hands making short work of Audric's night clothing. He'd stripped down to just his leathers, boots, and shirt, and Audric's hands were just as skilled as his. Fabric fell to the floor just before Jarrett pushed Audric back onto the bed. Their bed. Malin's bed. But, Malin was dead. He was here now with Audric—no matter the name Audric called him—and as he rubbed himself against Audric's eager, hot body, he didn't really care whose name had been on the scabbard. This was his king, his love, and his fucking bed.

Audric was usually so dominant with him, but this time, he could feel the difference in his king. Audric had made up his mind, and with the confidence of a ruler, he seemed to be sticking by his offer without even the slightest hesitation. That fortitude just served to make Jarrett even more determined to make it amazing for them both. Perhaps, someday in the future, Audric would know this was him, not the long-dead Malin. He'd look back and remember the hungry kisses, the gentle press of his fingers inside Audric's body, and the heat of his eyes. Yes, Jarrett had to believe that one day, Audric would remember every instant of this and know that it was a beautiful first.

Jarrett added more oil to his fingers and stretched Audric, loving the soft moans that lilted from Audric's throat. "Look at me," he breathed, desperate for Audric to meet his eyes in case he would see him, truly see him, just this once. When Audric's dark eyes lifted, he held that gaze. "I want to look at you, kiss you while I take you. While we make love."

The heat and love that entered Audric's eyes threatened to bring tears to his own. "Anything you wish," Audric promised, kissing him again with those wonderful, lush lips. If only that were true. If only this Yule brought him everything his heart desired. At the very least, he had this: Audric to himself, the love in those eyes, and his place in Audric's bed.

He smiled as he pulled his fingers from Audric and pressed him down to the softness of the bed. He flicked his hair with a practiced snap of his neck, and when Audric reached up to play with the auburn strands, he couldn't help but purr. "I love you. You know that, right?"

"As much as I love you," Audric moaned. "Take me."

Jarrett couldn't help but laugh softly. "Even when you submit, you command."

"It's a talent," Audric growled and pulled him into more kisses.

Jarrett didn't wait another moment. He slid effortlessly into Audric's body, and it took all he had not to come as soon as he was entirely encased. The heat. The tightness. The trust. They were given to Malin, but Jarrett hoped—prayed—that they would one day be given to him. Perhaps not tonight, but soon. Sometime soon. If God had any mercy, Audric's eyes would clear and the memory would die, replaced by the reality.

By him.

By his love.

And then, maybe, they could begin again. Love together. For now, though, Jarrett accepted the whisper of Malin's name as Audric gripped him, touched him, worked him as they made love on the fine sheets. He loved enough for both himself and the dead knight. Loved with the passion of the hopelessly enamored. Jarrett loved his king, and nothing—not even his own heartbreak—would make him risk losing Audric's love.




All works contained here are copyrighted to S.L. Armstrong. No reproduction or usage is permitted without written, express consent by the author.