A Knight's Sacrifice

Chapter One

They hadn't used enough oil. That was the only thought running through Jarrett's head as Audric slammed into him again. Of all the things he could be thinking about, he could only focus on the rough drag of Audric's cock as his king withdrew and drove himself home yet again. He'd be sore. He'd be so damned sore, he wasn't certain he'd be able to ride in the guard in the morning. Still, that fact, or the fact that his ass was already aching, didn't detract from his own arousal or his deep sense of satisfaction that he'd finally been called to the king's bed.

For the last ten years of his life, he'd watched the king, wanted him. Ten years, from the time he was but a boy taken as Malin's squire, he'd coveted his king, though Audric's affections belonged to the scarlet-haired Malin alone.

But Malin was gone. Slain in a battle that had nearly taken Jarrett's life as well. In one battle, Jarrett had lost his mentor, his confidant, and his dearest friend with the stroke of a single sword. He still mourned the loss of Malin, a knight that held no equal within the king's ranks, and it was the love he'd felt for his brother-in-arms that created the kernel of guilt in him now. On his hands and knees, Audric's sweaty, heavy weight moving into him at an angle that made his spine tingle, was where Malin should have been.

The sting of guilt, though, could not remove his desire to be where he was. When Holden, the eldest knight inside the king's circle, had come to him and said Audric sought company for the night... Jarrett hadn't even thought about denying the veiled request. He'd nodded, clasped Holden's shoulder, and made his way to the king's rooms in the upper level of the castle. Once he'd presented himself, and consented—Audric had been full of tension as he'd demanded to know if Jarrett consented—Audric had ordered him to strip and come to him. Audric had ordered him not to call him 'my lord' or 'Your Highness' within the walls of these rooms, and as soon as Audric's name had passed Jarrett's lips, Audric was upon him.

Audric did not engage in foreplay. Only rough kisses, a command to go to his hands and knees on the bed, and then the oiled thickness of Audric's cock entered him almost savagely. Jarrett gripped the counterpane beneath his hands tightly, setting his teeth as the friction built to a nearly uncomfortable heat. Audric's hands clutched at his hips, holding him in place, and then the rhythm changed for a brief moment. A small respite was offered as Audric began to circle his hips, drive himself deeper, and all Jarrett could see was the waterfall of his own red hair before his eyes.

"Have you missed me?" Audric asked, his voice husky and a little breathless. "Have you longed for this... just as I have?"

Jarrett gasped. "Yes! Yes... I have longed for this, Audric. I have wanted you... for so very long," he moaned, Audric changing the pace once more, sliding in and out slowly. There was no mistaking the claiming the king was doing at that very moment, and Jarrett reveled in it.

The intense thrusting began again, and Jarrett cried out each time Audric's hips snapped forward, rocking his body as they moved together. Audric's lips pressed to the fall of his hair over his back, and Jarrett distantly wished Audric would brush his hair aside and kiss his flesh. The pleasure of their coupling, though, robbed Jarrett of any logical thought, and he sank deeper into roughness of Audric's cock moving inside him.

"So beautiful," Audric panted against his hair. "So strong... so giving."

Jarrett met Audric thrust for thrust, Audric's breathy, rasping words barely making it through the haze of lust surrounding Jarrett's mind. As Audric's movements increased in strength, as the pounding become more frantic, Jarrett balanced on one hand while the other reached between his legs. He was under no impression that Audric should see to his release, and a low, needy groan left his throat as he wrapped his fingers around his own cock. He pumped himself rapidly, shuddering as Audric took him with abandon. Jarrett wanted to be on his back, able to see Audric's face as they fucked so carelessly, but he didn't dare ask. This was what his king wanted, and Jarrett would not ask for more. This was enough. He now knew the feel of Audric inside him, the length and girth, the bruising force of fingers on his hips. It was unlike any other encounter he'd had in his short life, and never would he forget this night.

Suddenly, Audric changed their positions. Strong arms wrapped around Jarrett's stomach and chest, lifted him up from the mattress. Jarrett moaned loudly as his thighs were spread wide across Audric's, as Audric's cock sank deeper into him. Upright, held in Audric's arms, the pace was no less swift, but it was so much deeper. Jarrett felt utterly possessed, sweaty and exposed as Audric's lips caressed his ear through the veil of his hair.

"God, yes," Audric panted. Then there were kisses littered over Jarrett's shoulders, almost loving, almost tender as the arms hugged him tighter. Jarrett's back bowed as much as it could when Audric's hand dropped from his stomach to wrap around his cock. As Audric stroked him, feeding the blaze of their lusts and making Jarrett cry out and writhe, the king spoke desperately into the knight's ear. "A year... I have been without a year. I have you now, Malin, and I will not let you go. Never again... never again will I let you go!"

Reality slammed down on Jarrett then. Yes, he and Malin had looked uncannily alike. Malin had often teased him that his father must have visited Jarrett's mother one night, but it was nothing but taunting. They looked similar, but that was all. No relation beyond mentorship, friendship, but perhaps, in the low light of the king's shadowed bed, it didn't matter. Grief and darkness made it easy to mistake him for a lover who had been dead for a year. Much to Jarrett's shame, he felt tears prick at his eyes. He had thought this might be an opportunity for both Audric and him, a chance for something to come from the loss of Malin, but in truth, he was just Malin's replacement. He closed his eyes and relaxed in Audric's arms, becoming utterly pliant, riding out the bucking and pushing of Audric's hips. A cold pit of sadness settled in his gut as Audric's cock continued to take him, and he whispered raggedly, "I love you."

It was a simple truth he'd held close to his heart since he was thirteen, and he used the moment when Audric was most vulnerable, lost to an illusion, to make his confession.

"I love you, too," was whispered hotly against Jarrett's ear.

Jarrett felt Audric swell slightly inside him, and the hand upon him began to pump furiously. Regardless of his inner conflict, Jarrett's body was desperate for its release. He arched against Audric as his climax rushed through him with bittersweet intensity. As Audric's seed filled him, his ears rang with Audric's cry of Malin's name. In the immediate aftermath of their coupling, Jarrett hung limp in Audric's arms as Audric rubbed his seed into his abdomen. It took all Jarrett had not to hang his head and weep bitterly as Audric whispered in his ear, Malin's name over and over mingled with words of love.

Audric tilted Jarrett's face upwards, and their lips met in a soft, lingering kiss. It was like a knife to Jarrett's gut. Audric brushed his fingers along Jarrett's lashes, and murmured against Jarrett's lips, "Don't cry, lover. Stay. Stay with me until I sleep. Stay until the sun rises. Please, stay."

Their bodies detached from one another, and Audric urged him to lay down on the mattress. Audric's body pressed to his back, his king's arms wrapped tightly around his body, and Jarrett swallowed, nodded. "I will stay as long as you like," he breathed, his heart aching with the truth of what had just happened.

"Mmm," Audric purred. "Good." There were more kisses, soft and reverent, pressed to Jarrett's shoulders and throat as Audric settled against him. The kisses slowly ceased, and then Audric's gentle snore made its way to Jarrett's ear.

Into the late watches of the night, Jarrett laid there in Audric's arms, staring blankly at the shadows the dying fire cast upon the walls. Audric was pleased; the evidence of his king's pleasure was smeared upon his thighs. He could be happy with that. He could do this, night after night, for the rest of his life if that was what Audric wanted from him. He could do this.

He would do this.

Malin had loved Audric right up until the moment he died... and Audric still loved Malin. Still needed Malin. There was no room in Audric's heart or bed for Jarrett; Malin, even in death, continued to fill those spaces. And if Jarrett had to stand in for the fallen warrior in order to lay with the one he desired, then he would obey the will of his king.

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