Raucous laughter followed the overexcited yelling of the young man's name, and Eric could still hear drips of the wine the arrogant young prince had poured over his head hitting the floor now and then. The poor young man in question darted between the prince and his friend, thoroughly flustered and Eric grit his teeth and took another large swig from his tankard. It was becoming increasing harder to keep his words to himself with the clamouring idiots behind him ruining the usually calm atmosphere of his favourite tavern. Was it so much to ask for a man to sit and drink his ale in peace?
Finally, the royal imbecile and his companion, Ned, Eric believed he had heard, left the poor tapster alone as Mistress Quickly came to inform the prince that Sir John Falstaff had arrived, and Eric groaned to himself. Whilst old Falstaff could be tolerable company in himself, when in the company of Ned and Prince Hal he was just as loud and disorderly as the young men themselves. Eric had little patience for it on any given day, and he had already had more than enough this night.
His suspicions proved true as Falstaff told his tale, only for the Prince to set upon him with accusations of lies and many a cruel name. Eric had no illusions as to the character of the reprehensible knight, a lazy fat coward at the kindest of words, but Hal was a bad influence on all who would surround him, the Huntsman had witnessed enough of his behaviour in gone nights to know this to be true.
He rolled his eyes as they began a parody the king, Falstaff and then Prince Hal in turn, turning their insults upon each other as they did so. The whole tavern was enraptured by the performance, laughing as Hal mocked his father and had he been any other man, Eric would have introduced his face to his fist some time ago. He may not have much reputation as anything other than a drunkard following the passing of his wife, but he was still as loyal to his kind as he had ever been and he was unfortunate to have been graced with such a scoundrel of an heir.
He listened without looking to the congregation, scowling as Falstaff began to plead to remain in Hal's company. In Eric's opinion, not that it mattered to anyone any more, the man would be better to beg to be banished from him for life, this foolish prince who was doubt going to make a poor king.
It was a great relief to Eric and Eric alone when the Sheriff came a-knocking at the tavern door, and the large majority of occupants of the building ran for cover, afraid to be implicated in any of their companions misdoings, despite their outspoken support when out of the earshot of the law. He remained in his seat, nursing his ale as Hal pushed the drunken corpus of John Falstaff under the stairs to conceal him. It was well known that the Huntsman spent the majority of his free time in the tavern as of late, and he had nothing to hide from the law.
He grimaced as Hal hid in plain sight with a lap full of tavern-wench, but he supposed he should be thankful. At least she kept the prince's mouth occupied and he was no longer able to assail Eric's ears with inanity.
He raised his tankard to the Sheriff as he entered the Tavern with his men, and received a slight nod in return. He knew the man, not well but he had no quarrel with him, and vice versa. He listened as Hal talked his friends out of the crime they had committed, defending the oaf under the stairs as strongly as he had mocked him to his face, and Eric had to admit that Hal might play the fool, but he was a loyal fool at that. Were he to speak up, he could cause some serious grief for the arrogant prince and his comrades, but to tell tales was not in his nature.
Nothing was really in his nature any longer, he simply wished to drink in his local watering hole in peace, but Hal's almost constant presence plagued the one pleasure that remained in his life.
The sheriff left, placated though not entirely pleased, and Hal rose, ordering his friends to search downed Falstaff once it was realised the drunken braggart had fallen into a deep sleep, fuelled by his copious intake of alcohol. The task done, and Hal having relieved the man of the little that he owned, having amounted to nothing more than a cheap copper ring and a few receipts of the day, the Prince said his goodbyes and departed the Tavern, everyone emerging from their hiding places and much quieter without Hal and Falstaff to lead them on, Ned retreating to his own company without his friend by his side.
Eric wasn't sure what made him do it, possibly the Prince's recent behaviour had finally pushed him beyond tolerance, or he had simply taken too much ale that night, but he downed what remained in his tankard and left the inn, following Prince Hal as he made his way to the castle through the quiet streets.
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The Huntsman was not entirely sure what he intended to do as he followed the young man, and wasn't sure there would be any opportunity even were he to think of something. He supposed he planned to knock some sense into the boy, it was as good a plan as any and there was many a man who found themselves of a much more pleasing disposition on having had their face rearranged.
His opportunity came as Hal stopped to relieve himself by a wall, allowing Eric ample time to catch up to the man, reaching him just as he was re-lacing his britches, grabbing his extravagant leather coat by the collar and dragging him into a nearby alley. It was awkward, not nearly as easy as the Huntsman had hoped since Hal was lighter than he by some weight, but they were nearly of an equal height, a scant inch between them and Hal was quite easy with his fists, letting them fly as soon as Eric laid hands on him. However, he managed to manoeuvre them into the alley and roughly shoved the Prince against the stone wall, fists pressing tightly against the others chest as he held the jacket, and Hal's hands came up to grip his wrists, for all the good it would do. Eric more than had the advantage over the slighter man now.
“It is a poor sort of man that robs his friend, my Prince” He growled, accent all the thicker for his anger. “Especially one who has absolutely no need to take from anyone. I highly doubt that you are able to plead poverty, your Majesty.”
Hal had the audacity to smirk at him “Your Royal Highness.”
“What?” Eric frowned at him, confused.
“The King, my noble father, is your Majesty. As the Prince of Wales, I am your Royal Highness. It is considered quite the affront to confuse the two.”
The punch to the face he received had blood pouring from the young man's nose, dripping over his lips and down his chin. Erik was pleased to see the shock on his face, and shoved him roughly back once more, head colliding with the wall.
“How dare you?” Hal exclaimed, affronted. “You imbecile, you know well who I am..”
“Oh I know exactly who you are, Prince Hal.” Eric was inflamed, even backed against the wall the young man would not defer, and irritated the Huntsman to no end. “You are a idiot. A loud-mouthed cur who spends his time cavorting with wenches and thieves in taverns, wasting your fathers money on frivolities and generally making a popular fool of yourself.”
From the look on Hal's face, Eric would assume he was the first person to talk to the young prince in such a manner. He was glad. If it brought him down a peg or ten, then it would not have been in vain, although he was pretty certain that his head was going to be forfeit. Hal confirmed as much.
“I could have your head for this you know.” As the prince spoke, blood flew from his lips, speckling the Huntsman’s cheek. “Striking royalty is considered an act of treason, and most would consider it an act of utmost stupidity in conjunction, not to mention your profane words .”
Apparently he could not help himself. Eric decided to see if another fist would resolve the matter, this time to the lad's stomach, and he groaned as the impact travelled through his body, trying to curl in on himself, but held in place by Eric.
“Let them come.” Eric replied. “I have very little left to live for, it would be a mercy if it were anything. At least I did something useful with my remaining days.” He yanked Hal closer to him, pulling him up so he was stood on the tips of his toes.
“Your father is a good man, a good King and you are a disgrace to his name. You cannot even defend yourself as you walk through the streets, how on Earth do you ever expect to lead a nation? You are pitiful and weak, an unworthy son for the great man that your father is.” With that he shoved Hal backwards, watching as he stumbled and slid down the wall, half supporting himself as his arm wrapped around his stomach where Eric had lain the blow on him. Eric turned, fully intend on leaving the prince in the mud and his own blood, having made his point clearly he felt. He stopped however, when he heard Hal speak to him, turned his head towards the boy.
“You. You are the Huntsman, am I correct?” Hal had pushed himself up the wall, stepping towards Eric.
“Aye” Eric replied, warily. Not that it mattered if Hal knew his name or not. The sheriff was bound to know him from Hal's description and he fully expected him to come knocking for him in the morning. He'd made his peace with that rather quickly.
“I have seen you, you know. In the Tavern.” Hal took another step forward.
“You have not seen well enough then my Prince, or you would have realised how your inane banter and raucous behaviour disturbs my much prized solitude, and would have promptly left had you any decency in you at all.” Eric spat, even as the Prince inched closer. The Huntsman held his ground, the young prince hardly intimidating in his current state.
“I think you have simply forgotten what it is to feel pleasure.” Hal retorted. Apparently he had not learnt his lesson, and Eric let out a sound of frustration, hands gripping at the air in an agitated motion.
“You are an impossible case. God help your father, because I do not think there is any man on Earth who will be able to cure you of your impudence.” He huffed.
“I shall learn, when the time comes. Is it not fair that I enjoy myself until then?” Hal asked.
“Your actions now shall forever impact upon your reign when you finally ascend to the throne. A wise prince would know this, but observation has taught me you are far from wise.”
Hal straightened, apparently recovered, though the blood still smeared his face, stepping forward once more, now well into what Eric considered his personal space, although admittedly, his idea of personal space might be larger than the average man. Hal seemed to be contemplating him, a frown on the princes fair features.
“No-one has ever dared speak to me in such a manner, not even old Falstaff, and he has never had any qualms about speaking back to me, should he feel it necessary.” Hal said “Do I truly enrage you so thoroughly Huntsman?”
“You are a man who would act as a child, and entirely undeserving of the title of Prince. You do your father no justice.” Eric replied wearily, he was sick of trading words with the proud young prince and wished to simply return home, to spend what was likely his last night on Earth drinking what remained of his personal stock.
It came as a complete shock when he found Hal's lips pressed to his own, the taste of blood filling his mouth, distinctly coppery but there was a lingering taste of ale underneath and beneath that something he couldn't quite place, something he would later come to realise was purely Hal. The kiss lasted all of four seconds before Eric shoved the young man away roughly, wiping the back of his hand over his mouth and wincing as he realised he'd simply wiped the other man's blood across his face.
“Have you completely lost your senses?” He hissed, bewildered. Hal simply looked to him, eyes flashing in the dark.
“No-one has ever dared to stand up to me before. I find that I like it, and I like you Huntsman.” he stepped closer, bringing his hands up to rest upon the Huntsman's chest, and to his own surprise, Eric let him. “I enjoy pleasure, and you clearly do not sample it enough. I think this could work well for the both of us my friend, and judging from the way you pummelled me this past moment, I would say that you have a lot of tensions that you need to work out. Besides, I am told I very good company.” Hal said salaciously, narrowing his eye's at Eric.
Eric growled, and shoved the prince to the wall once more, holding his wrists above his head. “You are a insufferable wretch.”
“You like it though.” Hal replied smugly.
And god help him, Eric did.
Shifting slightly, Eric slipped a leg between Hal's own long one and pressed against him tightly, chests completely pushed together, and rocked once. The noise that the prince let out was obscene.
“You are wanton my Prince.” Eric murmured into his ear and he could feel Hal's smirk against his neck.
“I can assure you this would have ended a lot more painfully for you come morning if I were not.” Hal pulled one wrist free, Eric's grip having loosened somewhat and pulled Eric's mouth to meet his once more. Eric grimaced as the taste of blood graced his tongue again, and pulled back before Hal could deepen the kiss, wiping most of the blood from Hal's face. He gripped his chin once he was done.
“Does that mean I do not need to expect the sheriff and his guard at my door as soon as the sun rises?” He smirked at Hal, before pressing his mouth to his and rolling his hips, his arousal growing as Hal moaned into his mouth.
“That depends.” Hal muttered against his lips, before pulling back to mouth at Eric's jawline.
“On what?” Bracing himself, Eric gripped the prince's waist and forced him up the wall, and Hal's lithe legs lifted to wrap around his waist, supporting himself. He began to pull at the fastenings at the top of Eric's shirt, running his hands over his chest and shoulders as more skin presented itself to him.
“On whether you make me scream of course.” With that, Hal attacked his neck, sucking hard at the skin and Eric knew there would be a large mark there later.
“Still haven't learnt your lesson, have you, you spoiled brat?” Eric moved a hand to unlace Hal's britches as Hal's began to work on his own, sliding them down just enough so he was exposed, and dropping Hal for a mere moment to remove them, discarding them without looking and pulling Hall back up once again. It was not a comfortable position, but neither of the men were looking to make love.
“Perhaps you simply are not teaching me hard enough.” Hal retorted, before taking Eric's hand and drawing his forefingers into his mouth, forcing Eric to move a hand under him and push him further into the wall to support him, Hal winking at the other as he did so. Eric swore under his breath as Hal laved his fingers, sucking them thoroughly and Eric couldn't help but consider how that wondrous mouth would feel were it on his cock.
Finally, just as Eric was nearly to the point of begging, Hal dropped Eric's hand and the Huntsman was quick to further things, preparing Hal with little ceremony. He slid into the prince roughly, and Hal grunted, although made no further noise and Eric suspected this was not his first foray into this particular act.
“I would not expect a prince to be so well versed in such an act.” He said as he began to thrust, forcing Hal's back to scrape the wall in such a way that it was bound to leave marks on the red leather of the ridiculous jack he wore.
“Truly?” Hal panted, arms around the Huntsman's broad shoulders. “Not even a prince of my calibre?”
Eric grunted, and thrust more forcefully into Hal's tight body.
“Well, when you put it that way...” Eric trailed off as Hal contracted his muscles, smirking as he did so. Eric scowled at him, before gripping him around the waist and dropping to his knees, grateful that the weather had been fair upon this day, and so the ground was solid. He held Hal's hips firmly as he drove up into his body, and Hal gripped his shoulders, meeting his thrusts as he moved.
He could feel his climax approaching and grabbed Hal's damp hair, forcing him down to meet his mouth, biting at his lips far too fiercely for it to be described by a word so gentle as kiss. He held Hal's hips down as he came, shooting warm into the other man's body, slipping a hand between them to work Hal's erection as he did so, though it took some concentration to remember to do so. Hal joined him in completion quickly, and Eric grinned smugly as the prince came with a clear cry.
Hal rested upon his thighs for a moment, head pushed into the gap between his shoulder and neck whilst Eric's hands remained upon his hips, stroking the most minute circles with his thumbs that if Hal felt, he did not comment upon.
Hal finally pulled away from him, standing and retrieving his britches, pulling them on as Eric's also redressed himself. Hal turned to face him, pulling him down for another brutal kiss, biting at Eric's bottom lip as he pulled away.
“You made me scream, so I shall let you live.” He declared, tone smug. Eric rolled his eyes.
“You will learn your lesson one day your Royal Highness” Eric sneered, thought without his previous malice. “I just hope that I am able to witness it.”
“I am sure I will. But it shall not be until I am good and ready to learn.” Hal replied. Eric snorted, and made to leave the alleyway, anger long dissipated. Hal's theory that there was not enough pleasure in his life might have some standing, but Eric would rather die than admit it to the other man.
“You are as arrogant as ever. I shall see you tomorrow, as I am sure you will be back in the tavern to plague me once more.” Eric started to walk away, but he could still hear Hal behind him as the Prince also took his leave.
“And plague you I shall. I shall make a particular point of it.” Hal turned to walk in the direction of the castle, and Eric the opposite, his own home actually being on the very edge of the city.
“Wait Huntsman.” He stopped as he heard the other call to him. “You never told me your name.”
Eric smirked, but did not turn to face the prince again, instead continuing his walk home.
“Goodnight your Royal Highness.” He called as he walked, and laughed as he could hear Hal cursing him in the distance.