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Arthur sometimes thinks Lancelot looks like he's flying while in the midst of battle.

Any number of skirmishes they've participated in, any patrols gone wrong, any practice. Especially when the snow is falling and the white coats his hair and black leathers and all Arthur can see is quick, blurred movement, the two swords the other man uses gliding through the painfully cold air, biting through the snow and ice with tight ease. It's no wonder the foot soldiers in the garrison are afraid of him.

Arthur was afraid of him, too, in the beginning. He's not sure if he should ever tell Lancelot that, as it would prove excellent fodder for his lieutenant to rip him and his shame into multiple pieces, which Lancelot is very skilled at already. Arthur's beliefs, his morals, his righteous martyr like indignity, anything Arthur holds in high esteem Lancelot can shred like the thinnest paper. And yet Arthur stays, and admires him, has other feelings that swirl and dance when he thinks about Lancelot, and horribly, more than anything else, puts his safety above everyone's, which he's definitely not telling the other man. He can barely admit it to himself. His knights are all important. He shouldn't hold one's safety and well being over the others. But in his worst times, in that tiny dark place he keeps tucked in the furthest recesses of his being, he admits it readily and allows the guilt to eat him from the inside out. It turns his skin grey and his eyes flat. And Lancelot notices it, sometimes saying nothing, sometimes merely arching an eyebrow, sometimes leaving him to his own devices because the other man can't stand you in these moods.

Arthur has been desperately trying to adjust to that feeling, to admit to it, if only to himself and away from the hidden dark place, for he's tired, so tired of everything being a struggle. Everything is hard, always has been, and the few moments of sanity he gets with Lancelot -

It's still not right. And he realizes it won't be until he tells Lancelot the whole truth.

Stripping the heavy crested helmet away from his sweating head, his knees hit the blood soaked, muddy, disgusting burning ground as he takes in the visage from the dark place that's appeared in this life, in front of him, bright and hot and he realizes he can't tell Lancelot the truth. He waited too long and now here is the place and the thought he's been trying to reconcile himself with for so long, in the flesh and blood and what he thinks is a sob or a laugh (he's not sure) tears out of his throat. Guinevere, her face dotted with gore and Lancelot's lifeblood, looks at him as he suddenly weeps copiously, uncontrolled and effortless, really, and he can feel that she wants to comfort him.

He lifts Lancelot's head, and the other man is loose and boneless and he's never seen Lancelot so -

whatever thing inside the other man that had made him fly is gone, and Arthur wonders if it had been because of the two of them, together. Lancelot's burning fire and Arthur's esteem and belief had together given Lancelot flight.

He won't ever be able to ask, and as he shouts to his God his rage and grief, he realizes the words are meaningless even if they are the only things left with wings.