Xander came awake with a start when someone touched his arm. He'd fallen asleep at the small table in Tristan's room; his head pillowed on his arms. He didn't know exactly how long he'd been asleep but the candle he'd lit when Jols, the man who acted as Arthur and Lancelot's squire, had shown him to the room was nearly gone. Tristan was standing over him, eyes crinkled in amusement. He'd apparently managed to sleep through the Knight's return and removal of his armor. All he wore now was a loose shirt and pants.
"Up. Bed." He prodded Xander to his feet and in the direction of the bed. The only bed in the room. Xander froze in his tracks only to stumble forward when Tristan pushed him.
"Look, uh, Tristan, sir, whatever I'm supposed to call you, I get that Arthur said I was yours but I thought, assumed, which, yeah, was probably stupid of me, but, I mean, I kinda got the impression that he's not big on slavery so I thought, you know, that saying I was yours was just to keep the Roman guys from asking too many questions about me not that he meant I was actually yours as in do whatever you want with me and no one will say anything because I'm your property." Xander cringed at the babbling he seemed helpless to stop. "Please don't make me your butt buddy."
Tristan blinked at him before huffing and pushing him onto the bed. "You talk too much. Sleep. Tomorrow is going to be a long day."
Xander found himself up against the wall with Tristan on his side facing away from him. Within a couple minutes the Knight's breathing evened out as he began emitting soft snores. Xander stared at the other man slowly relaxing as it became clear that his virtue was indeed safe. Eventually he fell asleep as well.
The next morning he woke sprawled across the bed to Tristan poking him with an unfinished arrow from his seat at the table. He glared at him with one bleary eye; the other still pressed into the bedding.
Xander briefly considered flipping him the bird but realized he didn't know how it would be taken in this time period. Instead he groaned dragging himself from the bed and dropped into the other chair. There was a small platter of bread, cheese, and what Xander thought might be chicken on the table. He helped himself to some when Tristan nudged it towards him.
"What happens now?" Xander asked when the silence stretched longer than he was comfortable with.
"Was it your father's?"
"What?" He asked, thrown by the question.
"The axe." Tristan gestured to the double-bladed battleaxe Xander had propped in the corner the night before.
"No," Xander looked at it, remembering the day Giles had handed it to him while saying, 'do try not to cut off any of your limbs'. He dropped his gaze to his food. "I just wish he was."
Tristan nodded not asking anything else. Then, just when Xander thought he'd have to ask his original question again, Tristan said, "Training."
"Uh, what kind of training?" He asked, the word slave coming to mind with all sorts of images he really didn't want to think about. Tristan's smile was anything but reassuring.
"Axe. Sword. Bow. Riding. When you're not with me you'll be learning from Jols."
"Oh. Okay. Great. That doesn't sound like being a slave at all."
"Not slave. Squire."
"Huh." Not what Xander expected but he wasn't going to question it either. Just because he didn't expect to remain in the past for long didn't mean he couldn't try to learn all he could about fighting.
This was going to be great.
He was going to die.
He'd watched Giles training Buffy. What Tristan, Gawain and Dagonet were putting him through? So not training. It was torture, pure and simple. There wasn't a part of him that didn't hurt. His hair hurt. He'd barely managed not to spill the stew all over himself at dinner his arms were shaking so badly from fatigue. The Knights were clearly laughing at him though one sharp glance from Arthur seemed to keep the teasing to a minimum. Eventually Tristan herded Xander back to their room.
"Strip and lie on your stomach," he commanded while rummaging through the large chest in the corner. Too tired to protest Xander stripped down to his boxers and climbed onto the bed. He was just starting to drift off when Tristan prodded his hip. "What's this?"
"What's what?" Xander shifted enough to let him look at the older man. Tristan plucked at his boxers. "Uh, those are my boxer shorts. Underwear? Uhm, clothes you wear under your regular clothes to protect your, uh, private parts."
Tristan just shook his head and proceeded to strip down to his pants. He then climbed onto the bed so that he was straddling Xander's upper thighs.
"Whoa!" Xander reared up in alarm. "Naughty touching! Definitely naughty touching."
"Lie still," Tristan growled pushing Xander back down as he reached for the small clay pot he'd left open on the night table. Scooping out a handful of liniment, he began to spread it across Xander's back, working it into the sore muscles with long, smooth strokes. Xander soon felt like a melted puddle of goo under the firm calloused hands. He barely even protested when Tristan rolled him onto his back to do his front.
By the time Tristan finished Xander was more asleep than awake and simply curled up next to the Knight when he lay down beside him.
That became the pattern of Xander's days. Eating and training with Tristan, Gawain, Dagonet or Jols, evening meal, another massage from Tristan, then sleep. Xander soon grew so used to sharing the bed with Tristan that when patrol kept the older man away overnight Xander found he had problems sleeping. He would constantly roll over expecting the long, lean body of the Knight to be there only he wasn't. Thankfully those patrols only seemed to occur every couple of weeks.
As the days and weeks passed Xander found himself growing stronger, faster, his endurance increasing. What baby fat he'd still carried gave way to muscle. There was little in the way of mirrors in the fort but the couple of times Xander caught sight of himself in a reflective surface he barely recognized himself. He wasn't a soft slacker who was barely getting by anymore. He looked more like a Sarmatian Knight with each day that passed. Even his clothes and armor had been salvaged from one of the Knights killed in battle.
The first time Xander joined the Knights on patrol, despite nothing happening, he was so wired afterwards he couldn't settle down. Tristan took him to the tavern and got him roaring drunk. He then helped Xander stumble back to their room, stopping twice so Xander could puke, and poured him into bed.
Sometime during the night Xander woke from a great dream to realize he'd been humping Tristan's hip. He instantly froze, desperately hoping that Tristan was still asleep and he could move away with the man none the wiser. Before he could, Tristan rolled over bringing their hips flush against each other.
"You stopped," Tristan growled, breath ghosting over Xander's face.
"Er, I thought I was dreaming. I didn't want to offend you when I realized I wasn't," he stammered out.
"Does it feel like I'm offended?" Tristan demanded, rolling his hips in a way that sent Xander's eyes rolling into the back of his head in pleasure.
"No," he croaked. "Definitely don't feel offended."
"Good." Tristan pulled Xander even closer covering his mouth in a kiss as he continued rolling his hips. Xander clutched at Tristan, matching his rhythm as best he could. All too soon he felt that tingling that said he was close and then he was coming, his shout of release muffled by Tristan. Moments later Tristan followed him over the edge.
As they lay there panting Xander couldn't decide which he should be freaking over - the fact that he'd just had sex with a guy, with Tristan, or the fact that they hadn't even taken off their pants; just dry-humped each other. Oblivious or, more likely, not caring about Xander's inner turmoil, Tristan rolled out of bed to grab a couple of cloths. One of which he tossed to Xander. Then, proving yet again he had no issues with modesty, Tristan opened his pants pushing them down around his thighs so he could clean himself up. Xander did the same only under cover of the blanket.
He started to say something when Tristan got back into bed but the Knight immediately fell asleep. Xander stared at him for a minute before huffing and rolling towards the wall; deliberately taking the blanket with him.
The next morning he woke to Tristan spooned against his back, hand shoved down the front of his pants and stroking him. He quickly came with a groan lying still as Tristan rutted to completion against him. This time when Tristan got up Xander didn't remain silent.
"Tristan," he said sitting up, not bothering to hide his partial nudity. He waited until the other man gave him a quizzical look. "What is this?" Xander gestured between them.
Tristan shrugged. "It's sex. Does it mean more to your people?"
"Yes. No. Sometimes." Xander shrugged helplessly. "I... Am I just convenient?"
Tristan regarded him thoughtfully then climbed back onto the bed so he was straddling Xander's legs putting them face to face. "I don't fuck whores and I don't fuck Romans. I don't take multiple lovers and I don't let just anyone share my bed. If I ever make it back to Sarmatia I'll take a wife but I don't expect to live that long. Is this sufficient?"
Xander nodded realizing what Tristan was saying. He wasn't offering love but he was offering faithfulness. It was enough for him.
"Good." Tristan kissed him roughly before getting up again. "Go get food. Brighid likes you better."
Xander laughed but did as he was told, doing up his pants while pulling on a shirt. The Briton woman who ran the fort kitchens with an iron fist looked to be a hundred and treated all of them like unruly children. Even Arthur to his consternation. She'd had a marked fondness for Xander after he'd rescued one of her actual grandchildren from being run over by a Roman squad on horseback.
Thus began yet another chapter in Xander's life. Despite the fact that he still missed his friends Xander was happy. If given the chance to return to his own time right then he couldn't honestly say he would. There was too much here he wasn't willing to leave behind.