Oh, The Places You'll Go

Think I Need a Devil to Help Me Get Things Right


Notes: kanzenhanzai gave me the prompt 'kissing "lessons"'. I gave her this.



"I don't understand," says Wat, his cheek stinging from the slap it has just received from Berta, the fishmonger's daughter, now fast swallowed up by shadows.

"It's probably the garlic sausage," says Geoff, passing behind him. "Some women are particular about such things. I know, I know! They should see past the bad breath to the shining soul within, and yet- Perhaps you could form a cursory acquaintance with hygiene?"

"Sod off, herald," says Wat, but he breathes into his cupped hand and sniffs even so. He winces. Yeah, so maybe Geoff has a point. This time.

~~~~~


"I don't understand," says Wat, clutching his other cheek and frowning.

"Not very amiable, your Amable," says Geoff, from his seat by the fire. "Better luck next time, eh, Wat?"

"I didn't even have no sausage this time. I don't get it." What is wrong with everyone? Can't they see prime squire when they see it?

"I could hazard a guess," says Geoff, "if you promise not to hit me."

"Go on, then." He can always find another excuse to hit Geoff later, it's not like he's going to be out anything.

"Perhaps a little more finesse and a little less lunging? You're wooing, my fine friend, not catching an escaped horse."

"Like to see you do better," says Wat, and Geoff says nothing. He says it loudly.

"Sod off, herald," says Wat again, and stomps off to his bed.

~~~~~


"I don't understand," says Wat for the third time in three nights. This time his cheeks flame for a different reason. "She laughed at me. Laughed."

"Hmm," says Geoff, coming to stand next to him, arms folded, as they watch Hildegard vanish into the crowd, still cackling. "We've solved the garlic breath and the approach. It would seem there's only one thing left that's lacking."

"What?" says Wat, even as he curses himself for curiosity.

"Your technique," says Geoff.

"My techn- Wait a bit." Wat furrows his brow and thinks. Contrary to what most people seem to think, it doesn't hurt at all. Something odd is happening here. Of course! He twists to face Geoff. "Every time, you're here. What's that all about? How do you know when I'm...when I want to...when I...oh shut up!"

Geoff smirks and Wat seethes. "I would posit coincidence, but perhaps, instead, I am as a moth drawn to the flames of your inevitable destruction. You're a walking 'how not to' manual, all by your own sweet self."

Rage, never far from the surface, boils up in Wat, threatening to spill over. "Oh, yeah?" he spits. "And I suppose you reckon you could do better?"

Geoff cocks his head to one side, lips twitching. Wat'll pull them off one day, he will. Rip the fuckers right off the herald's head and then where will he be with his pretty speechifying? Nowhere, that's where.

"Yes," says Geoff, bright and pleasant. "I could, in fact and in deed, do better."

"Prove it," says Wat and the way Geoff's lips stretch into a grin as he accepts the challenge is no comfort at all. Wat reminds himself that dogs show their teeth when they're afeard as well as when they want to take a piece of you. It doesn't help.

"So," says Wat, jutting his chin up. "Bring it on then."

Geoff shakes his head and turns on his heel. "All in good time, Master Fowlehurst," he says, walking away. "All in good time."

Will won't be angry if Wat kills Geoff just a little bit, will he?

~~~~~


Wat considers blurting out that he doesn't understand, but he does. He understands only too well. Geoff is taking the bloody piss again.

"Oh no," says Geoff, "You challenged, I accepted, and now I'm making good."

"I didn't mean prove it on me!" blusters Wat, trying to shift out from under the tight press of Geoff's body. Geoff's arms are firmly planted either side of Wat's head, trapping him against the rough planking. The bugger's stronger than Wat had credited him and he can't get out, not and leave his strangely delicate skin unencumbered by bastard splinters.

He makes a couple of half-hearted flapping motions with what's available of his arms, but he can't work up a good swing. Geoff ignores him, and Wat wonders if he can free up a leg enough to knee the wanker in the bollocks. Turns out no. No, he can't.

"What then?" he says, with his best sneer.

Geoff sucks in his lips, one at a time, and whilst Geoff's face might be hovering at the edge of Wat's focus, he can't help but be drawn to them, all pink and glistening and, and, and right there.

"Your problem, I think," says Geoff in a languid drawl, and Wat snatches his cross-eyed gaze away from those mobile lips, "is that you kiss like you fight, no forethought, no delicacy. You simply head straight for the target and be damned to what may get in your way."

"I do no-" Wat starts, but Geoff says,

"Hush, now," soft and low, and, God help him, Wat does, swallowing hard. He dursen't think about what that means.

"I've seen you on the attack, Wat Fowlehurst. You're all tongue and spittle and, quite frankly, that is something no maiden should ever have to suffer. Lord, imagine were you to be every young girl's first introduction to the delights of men. The world's population would soon grow sparse."

"Hey!" Wat objects, but Geoff leans in closer still, his cheek brushing Wat's as he whispers in his ear.

"Lesson one. The lips are the gates to our words and our words the flowers of our soul. They are sacred, Wat, and you should treat them as such."

"Blasphemer," Wat wants to say, but he can't because Geoff shifts again, tilts his head a little to one side and presses his mouth to Wat's, gently and softly as snowfall kissing his upper lip. Wat tries to think of all the ways in which this is wrong and bad and bad and wrong and also wrong and bad, but he can't. He can't. Everything in him is still and waiting and centred on the touch of Geoff's lips to his.

He parts his lips, can't help it, and Geoff moves to Wat's lower lip, kissing the corners and then the middle, sucking it lightly into his mouth. Fingers fall with soft taps against Wat's neck and jaw line and he hadn't even noticed Geoff had moved. Geoff's grip is firm, yet light, and it feels like he's asking questions, not making demands. Wat's always been a get now, ask later kind of bloke. Maybe that's what's been wrong all this time.

What's right is the way Geoff returns to Wat's upper lip, nipping it with careful bites. Wat moves then, finally, stone woken from slumber like in the stories Geoff tells round the fire even when he thinks no one is listening. He clutches at Geoff's tunic, twisting it in his hand, pushing back against Geoff's mouth, which is now kissing, kissing, kissing, fingers gripping Wat tighter.

Wat's limbs are not the only things stirring from slumber and he opens his mouth wider against Geoff's, wanting the sweet taste of him, wanting to take him in, but as he tries to push himself off the wall, to press closer still, Geoff lets go and Wat is left mouthing at air.

When he can focus again, Geoff is leaning on a pillar just beyond the reach of Wat's lamping hand, chest rising and falling as if he's run a race. He must be a minion of Satan. Wat's thought it before, but it must be true. Otherwise, why would he stop?

"Here endeth the lesson," says Geoff, examining his nails. "I am confident the next woman to receive your charms will be happily surprised. You learn swiftly."

His tunic is all crumpled from where Wat's had hold of it. He doesn't seem to notice.

"Here endeth the- Here- I- You can't just- And then-!" Wat takes two steps towards Geoff and stops. Oh, he is going to Hell. He is going to Hell just for thinking what he's thinking. The moment he opens his mouth his fate is sealed. What makes him so sure this is worth it? Perhaps Geoff has finally succeeded in driving him mad.

Wat takes a deep breath, juts out his chin and says, "What about lesson two?"

Geoff's head jerks up and he stares at Wat, eyes dark and unreadable. Wat thinks that maybe he knows how Geoff felt now, stripped naked in front of the Summoner and the Pardoner both, seeing Will walk in all hot and fierce and noble. He presses a hand to his belly, quieting it.

"I bet there's lots you could teach me," he says after a long, silent moment. "Man about town like you. I never did get any book-learning, but I pick up stuff I can do with my hands just like that." He snaps finger against thumb. There's another long pause and, quite frankly, Wat's getting nervous. The way he sees it, there are three options. He can brazen it out, cut and run and never show his face again or, and this is, for once, his least preferred option, punch the smug git until he promises never to breathe a word of what's just happened.

Even as Wat's brain is gearing up for full panic mode, Geoff's face clears, and he says, with a smile that only touches the corners of his eyes, "I haven't numbered all the lessons."

"Eh?" says Wat.

"The lessons," explains Geoff patiently, "I can't tell you how many there are, they are far too numerous."

Wat frowns, and then smiles. "Ohhh," he says. "So what you're saying is-"

"Yes," says Geoff, and the smile tugs at his lips, now. "And then there is private study and practise. You see how hard Will has trained to become an expert in his field."

"Yeah," nods Wat, taking another step towards Geoff. "Hard worker, that Will. Learnt that from me, he did."

"I thought so," nods Geoff, closing the gap between them. "You are a shining example to us all, Wat."

"Stop talking and teach."

"Lesson two?"

"Lesson two."

"Well," says Geoff, taking Wat's hand and twining it in his. "It goes like this..."



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