A bright summer day. Too hot for his liking, but it doesn't matter. He doesn't have a choice. He needs the practice.
The long sword feels familiar in his grip, but this body still feels alien to him. It doesn't work the way he expects it to. And this, of all things, should still be accessible to him. He starts with the basics and works his way up. The sword spins in his hand, and already uncalloused palms complain. He should bind his hands. Next time. He works the pell until his arms feel like they'd like to fall off.
He stops to take a drink of water, to catch his breath. It's pathetic. He feels old. He strips off his shirt, and tosses it aside, stretching out his shoulders, swinging the long sword from side to side. The sun feels good on his skin. A benediction, perhaps, for second chances. Again. Foot work now, constantly stepping to the left, then to the right. He's gotten soft, and worse, slow. He would never survive the first encounters on the field in a body that moved like this. Again. He attacks and parries, shifts, moving his feet, his hips, his shoulders. Sweat pours down his back. His muscles throb and still he works, striking the wooden figure with precision and strength. Or some semblance thereof. He's not satisfied. Again.
Other men might stop to rest, but he presses on, until he's so shaky he can barely lift the sword. Eventually, he has to admit defeat, or at least, physical limitations, and he tosses the sword down in the grass, and falls beside it in a heap, breathing hard. Dappled shade covers him, and through his eyelids, he can sense the shift of light and dark.
Footsteps on the grass break his reverie.
'Are you done punishing yourself yet?'
'No.' He has to pant between sentences. 'Still need, another round.'
A dry laugh. 'You will not regain your skill all in one day.'
'Says, who?' He grins up at the shadows, eyes still closed.
'Says common sense, that's who.'
'To hell with.' He wipes the sweat out of his eyes. 'Common sense. I want, to swing a sword. I'll swing, a sword.'
'At least drink something?'
'What, are you my nursemaid now?' He shades his eyes from the sun and looks up at the figure addressing him. He's thrown a shirt over his shoulders, but underneath, he's still gritty from working the forge. 'What do you care, if I pound that piece of wood, into splinters?'
'Well, for one, I would have to make you another.'
That gets a laugh. He reaches out a hand, and touches the booted foot.
'Come here to me.'
There is a pause, and then a smile, oh so subtle. Just the barest lifting of the corner of his mouth. 'All right. But only for a few minutes.'
Vlad pats the grass next to him. 'It's good. Comfy. You'll like it.'
'I won't.' He settles next to him anyway, seated, his arms resting on his knees.
'Oh right. I do not lie on the grass like some common shepherd.' The impression is stilted, and gruff. He laughs, still getting his breath back.
'I do not.' There's the hint of a grin in his voice. 'At least, I didn't. Until you insisted.' He falls back to his elbows, the warm breeze stirring the leaves overhead.
'It's not bad, is it?'
There's a long silence before he settles back all the way. 'No, it is not bad.'
Vlad reaches out a hand, long fingers brushing against Javert's. He doesn't move away from the touch. Another moment passes, and he touches back, just lightly, stroking over the back of Vlad's hand. Vlad's eyes close and he smiles, broad and relaxed.
'I have to get back to work. I have orders to fulfill.'
'I know,' he says, but he doesn't care. 'You're allowed to take breaks, you know?'
'What if I don't want to, hmm?'
'Then you don't get to tell me to take breaks, either.'
A moment's silence as he considers that. 'Fair enough.' His thumb slips beneath, finding the soft inner skin of Vlad's wrist. He's immediately rewarded with a shivering sigh. He turns his head, just enough to spy the older man's profile. His regal nose, and chin. The line of his beard, and the way his hair spills across the grass. 'You should take breaks, though. I don't want your heart to explode.'
Vlad turns his head to look at his companion, finding those grey eyes and for a moment, forgetting to breathe. Too late, he thinks. But he keeps the sentiment to himself. It's well enough that they're holding hands here, where anyone could see them. He licks his lips, and a smirk bubbles to the surface. In a moment's folly, he rises, not with his old speed, but still fairly quickly.
Before Javert can respond, Vlad is straddling his hips, and has captured one hand, pinning it above his shoulder. Javert's free hand falls to his hip, and for a moment, it feels as if he's considering throwing him off. The thought dissolves as Vlad's hair falls down around them, shutting out the world, leaving just the two of them, nose to nose.
Vlad looks like he's going to speak for a moment, but decides better of it, smiling instead and leaning down to press his lips against his lover's, the barest brush of skin against skin. Javert finds himself lifting up, trying to get more, and a groan of frustration escapes him. His body is already responding.
'This is why I never wrestle with you, you know.' His eyes fall closed as the older man begins a delicate exploration of the side of his throat. 'You cheat.'
Vlad grinds his hips against his prisoner's, eliciting a sharp sound of pleasure from both their lips.
'I thought you, liked it, when I cheated.'
Javert's breath is rough and low, the sweet basso of his voice rumbling in Vlad's chest, muttering something gruff in French. 'You always cheat.'
Vlad purrs against his ear, letting the tip of his tongue dart out and taste the sweat along his ear lobe. His hips press again, rocking gently now,
The body beneath him surges, and he doesn't realize they're in motion until he's on his back and he's the one pinned. Javert takes his mouth in a fierce, possessive kiss, and Vlad moans through it, surrendering utterly to the heavy weight nestling between his thighs.
'I thought you said, not outside?' Vlad's voice is pitched higher, almost a sigh, the swift intensity of his desire taking away his breath.
Another kiss steals the words from his lips, and he doesn't care anymore. He feels his wrists released, and he wraps his arms around Javert's neck, holding him close, heart beat to heart beat, heat against heat. The wonder of it all, he feels that same desire, so intense it might burn him up from the inside, mirrored back to him. It's impossible, and so he concentrates on each little detail. The brush of his beard against his sensitive lips. The way their hips move in a singular rhythm. The way their bodies fit, just so. It's a perfect moment.
He struggles to hold onto for as long as he can, murmuring sweet truths, his fingertips digging into strong shoulders. His heart races, his heart.
He wakes choking on a breath he doesn't need. His skin is cold, and the dark earth surrounds him. He shoves the cruel after images away, his head pulling to one side, as if he could physically pull away from the dream. A dry, rasping groan of anguish fills the room, an animal in pain. He barely registers that it's him making the noise.