Oh, The Places You'll Go

Takin' Care of Business

Notes: I finally watched A Knight's Tale (and, by the way internets, you're all fired for not making me see it earlier) and then had a you-no you discussion with mrs_laugh_track over who should write Chaucer/Wat porn called 'Takin' Care of Business' and I'm pretty sure we agreed it wasn't going to be me. But then I did. Oops. And then she told me it worked, so really? It's all mrs_laugh_track's fault.

The boat from Calais is crowded with horses and people – everyone, it seems, has a job to do, from the small boy constantly shoveling horseshit from the deck, to the red-cheeked, sweat-stained cook in the tiny galley, to the squires mending torn leggings or polishing tarnished armour. Only the nobles get to dally, a game of dice here, a tankard of port there, and a my-horse-is-bigger-than-your-horse bitch slap everywhere else. It's busy and it hums and, if Wat were given to deep thought – which, truth be told, he really is not – he would think that from a distance the ship must look like a busy ant hill, so much movement and all of it purposeful.

The problem with movement, he considers, is that things move on the inside, too. And that's why he finds himself hidden behind the castle at the stern of the ship, in the lee of the wind – because he is no fool, no matter what the others might think – attempting to piss over the side. It's quiet here, the only place on the small craft that it's possible for him – green-shirted and flame-haired – to be invisible. There aren't a lot of things Wat isn't able to do in public, but pissing is one of them. (He was eleven, there was a girl called Mary and an incident with a curious bee, he doesn't like to think about it.)

He's pulled a barrel over to stand on, so he can clear the railing, but it's not exactly sturdy and keeping his balance and one hand on his prick is more difficult than he'd like. The boat rocks and he wavers, trying to aim steady and flailing out with one arm for something, anything, to support him. He connects with soft leather and hard bone.

"Pissing into the wind again, Wat?" says an only-too-familiar voice, and Wat feels the strange tension that builds in his gut every time he hears it. He shifts from foot to foot, restless and irritated, leaving go of the shoulder he is grasping.

"Railing against mankind's inadequacies?" Chaucer's face comes into view and he looks up at Wat, then down at his occupied hand, then up once more. "Or just your own?"

His tone is light and teasing and Wat's sorry that he's got his punching hand around his prick because it really would do much better connected with Chaucer's smirking mouth. And then the boat rocks again, or it must do, because Wat is losing his balance and it definitely has nothing to do with the fact that he just thought about his prick and Chaucer's mouth in the same breath.

The barrel shifts beneath his feet and Wat lurches, can see grey-green water and nothing else. He has enough time to think that going overboard, manhood waving in the chilly evening air, is probably not the dignified death he would have chosen (though old, drunk and singing bawdy songs might not exactly come attached with much dignity either) before there is an iron grip around his forearm and he is tugged back with such force that he tumbles from the barrel and collides with Chaucer's chest.

"Whoa there," says Chaucer, and the tone is still lightly mocking but Wat sees a shadow in his eyes before the slow smirk is back and it confuses him. Which makes him angry.

"Piss off," he says, shoving at Chaucer who stands firm as he always does. "I gotta take a leak. Go and ... I dunno, write something." He clambers back onto the barrel and retakes aim. It's not like he's got anything to hide, he's seen all Chaucer has to offer – more than once – and Chaucer's already taken a good gander, but he twists away a little all the same.

Chaucer does not take the hint, the manky bastard, and leans back against the railing, arms spread along its length. His coat has blown open in the breeze and he tips his head back. The air is heavy with sea mist and droplets bead on Chaucer's eyelashes. He sticks out his tongue as if he's somehow drinking the heavens. Wat watches him from the corner of his eye, counts to ten before Chaucer moves. (Well, more than ten but Wat loses count after seven the first time. Eight was always his worst number.) Chaucer swallows and Wat realizes he wants nothing more than to punch him in the throat. Really, really hard.

"Could get hit," says Wat, looking down at the long ink-stained fingers that curl close to his feet. "Could be a big wave and I'll piss all over your writing hand. Won't like that."

"True enough. Though were that to happen, you would almost undoubtedly be flung by the same wave into the briny deep and drown, whereas I would merely wash in the same water that killed you before embarking on a stanza to your alarming ineptitude and woeful aim." Chaucer raises his eyebrows but doesn't turn his head.

Wat blinks and looks down at Chaucer. Always with the big words. Always with the making Wat feel stupid and small and like foxes are eating his guts from the inside out. He's not thick, he's just differently...different and who is this guy, anyway?

Before he's even aware of what he's doing, Wat's leapt off the barrel and is pressed along the length of Chaucer's chest, pinning him to the railing, one hand gripping Chaucer's shirt and the other pulled back, ready, and Wat isn't worrying about his aim any more. He doesn't even stop to consider his strange state of half-undress. He opens his mouth to speak, to tell Chaucer that there will be pain – lots of pain – but before he can, Chaucer's face changes – his mouth slackens and his eyes harden and he says, "Fong me. Go on, fong me."

And it's the most shocking thing Wat has ever heard and it's a dare and an order and a threat and a promise and more things besides that he can't even begin to understand so he does the only thing he knows how to do. He hits. And he hasn't got distance and the angle is awkward so the blow is glancing and too soft but the bones still crack and Chaucer waggles his jaw and winces a little before he speaks again.

"You can do better than that, Wat. Fong me. Make me...make me bleed. You know you want to."

Wat doesn't know what he wants, so he hits again and it should feel good, feel right, like all the other times, like his anger is righteous and given by God, only it's not right and Wat can't explain why and he shakes his head to try to clear it, only wherever he looks, Chaucer is there.

And now Chaucer brings a hand up and it's cool on the back of Wat's neck and his smile is merciless as he says in a voice smooth as silk and warm as melted butter, "Wat Falhurst of Crewe, fong me now."

And there's only one thing left to do.

Wat kisses him.

Tightens his grip in Chaucer's shirt, pulls him close and kisses him hard, all lips and teeth and it's still fighting, it's still fists and blood and push-pulling, it's still power and burn but at the same time it's everything that fighting is not and it's righteous. Wat finally understands, with Chaucer's lips pressed against his, with Chaucer's fingers finding Wat hard and ready and curling around him, pulling and twisting and writing the truth into him, as he begs for completion, for more, for everything, that it is no blasphemy to pray to the beloved. No, neither is such passion a fiction, because Wat can smell the salt air and feel the rough linen of Chaucer's shirt in his hand, can hear the muttered encouragements and his own harsh breathing, taste the sharpness of desire on Chaucer's skin and see the stars reflected in his eyes. Nothing in Wat's dreams, nothing in his life, has ever been this real.

He comes hard and fierce with his face buried against Chaucer's shoulder, biting soft leather between his teeth. It will leave a mark. Wat wonders if the others will ask and if Chaucer will tell.

"I..." says Chaucer, breath warm in Wat's hair, but nothing comes next and it's the first time Wat's known him wordless and he did that. Wat did that. Took Chaucer's words out of him and left him stumbling and panting and if Wat hadn't just come he would do it again, now, because, fuck the French pope, he's shut Chaucer up. And the totally perverse thing is now he wants to make him talk again.

Wat drops to his knees and he doesn't really know what he's doing, but he gets Chaucer's trousers loosened and his prick out and in his mouth before he even considers where it might have been of late. It tastes neither bad, nor good, just a little musty and a little salty and Wat is more interested in the way it feels in his mouth. The way he can push the foreskin back with his lips and tease the head with the tip of his tongue. That gets him a strangled sound, like the words are trying to get out but are stopped up, a cork in Chaucer's throat. He'll need to try harder.

Wat reaches into Chaucer's trousers and takes one ball, rolling it between fingers and thumb, the way he does to himself, those rare occasions he gets to be alone. He squeezes a little and the cork pops out. Chaucer is talking now, words spilling from him non-stop, low and urgent. A story about dragons and knights and princesses. About battles fought and lost, fought and lost, fought and won and when Chaucer stops, mid-sentence, thighs trembling and comes, warm and bitter on Wat's tongue, Wat swallows him down, words and all.

As they straighten themselves up, Wat finds he's thinking about the story. He asks.

"It was an allegory," says Chaucer. "Maybe I'll tell it again sometime."

Wat twists his mouth in thought. "Huh, you said you was allegorical, back when we met you. Roland knew what you meant, I wasn't listening. No wonder he always smiled when we fought."

Chaucer looks confused and then his brows clear. "Wat, you..." He trails off and rubs a hand through Wat's hair ("What?" he asks when Wat indicates the state of his hand, "it's not like it's going to make your hair stick up more than normal."), pulling him in for a kiss. When they break apart, Chaucer grins and says, "You know, I know another allegory that says-" He leans in and whispers in Wat's ear. Wat's eyes widen and he can feel a blush spreading across his face.

"That...that sounds...yeah. That's a good allegory, they make more like that?"

"Oh, yes," says Chaucer and the smirk is firmly back on his face. It's a strange feeling to want to use lips to wipe it out rather than fists. Wat thinks he can get used to it, though. "I can, ah, tell, you another one now, if you like."

Wat feels a twinge and suddenly remembers what he was doing before his life got turned on its head. Again. "I should, you know, first," he says, indicating his prick followed by an arcing motion over the railing.

"Off you go then," says Chaucer, cheerfully. "Better out than in. As the mummer said to the cardinal."

"I can't," says Wat, desperate, as his bladder points out just exactly how pissed off it is at being forgotten. "There was a bee. You can't look. It's a thing." He hops from foot to foot.

Chaucer laughs and his teeth glint in the light of the rising moon. There are no foxes in Wat's guts in response, though, and he laughs, too. "Turn round, you git," he says. "Leave me piss in peace."

"Whatever you say, princess," says Chaucer and turns his back.

Wat clambers back onto the barrel and it seems easier to find his balance this time. "Oh, so I'm the princess in your next book, am I? My old mum would be so proud."

"Indeed you are. For maiden fair, there's none so blessed, one prize to stand o'er all the rest-"

Chaucer's voice drops like honey into Wat's ears and Wat doesn't really care what the words say, because the meaning is clear to him, for once. He breathes deep and relaxes and in seconds Chaucer's story is accompanied by the faint drum of water on water.

Wat finishes just as Chaucer's voice fades. "You can look next time, if you want," he says and turns towards him.

Chaucer already is.

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