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The twigs crackle underfoot as Will pushes his way through the undergrowth. The late-afternoon sun slants down through the leafy canopy above, casting dappled shadows on the forest floor. Will pauses for a moment, adjusts the bag of game on his shoulder and squints at the sky, judging that he still has a couple more hours of daylight to work in. He decides to keep heading away from Ealdor, he has a couple more snares to check and his mother is always grateful for more fresh meat.

As he moves on, he catches a glimpse of red fur at the foot of a large oak tree. It’s a fox, and an unusually bold one. They normally disappear at the first sight of a human, but this one stays still, staring at Will intently. Will gazes back, a shiver of unease crawling down his spine.

“Get on with you,” he shouts, his voice suddenly very loud in the quiet of the forest.

The fox hesitates, its dark brown eyes unblinking; and then it turns with a flick of its tail and slinks away into the bushes on silent paws.


Disappointingly the other snares are empty.

Will’s hot and tired by the time he reaches the last one and he sits down to rest for a while before the trek back to Ealdor. He wipes the sweat from his brow and closes his eyes, leaning back against the trunk of a tree. His mind drifts as he listens to the quiet sounds of the woods. The song of the birds, the lazy buzz of insects and the rustle of the leaves in the breeze are a gentle lullaby. Will only means to rest his eyes for a minute or two; but once they close, sleep settles on him like a warm cloak and he drifts down into oblivion.

He’s awoken by the shrill cry of a fox from somewhere close by. He starts, heart pounding as he’s dragged from the depths of a deep sleep by the sudden sound. He rubs his eyes, taking a moment to realise where he is.

“Curse it,” he mutters. The sky is the rich blue of twilight and it’s already nearly dark down on the forest floor. He must have slept for an hour or more. Will stumbles to his feet, brushing the dirt from his breeches and sets off homewards. He hopes that he’ll be able to find his way in the dark.


The dark figure of a man slips out from behind a tree and blocks Will’s path. It’s too dark for Will to make out the stranger’s features as he speaks, his voice deep and husky.

“It’s late for you to be out alone, boy.”

“I’m not a boy,” Will bristles. “I’m fine, I know these woods.

“There are things in the forest at night that are best avoided.” The man steps closer. Will’s senses are on alert, telling him that maybe this man is one of those things. But then he smiles, teeth glinting in the twilight. “I live close by. I can put you up for the night and offer you a meal. Unless of course your mother will be worrying...”

Will squares his shoulders. “She knows I can take care of myself.”


“You live here?” Will fails to hide his disbelief.

The walls are mostly ivy covered, but even so... Will can’t believe that he didn’t know this ancient-looking building was here. He thought he knew every inch of the forest around his home. He feels a chill of unease.

The man, Gwaine, as Will now knows him, laughs. “It’s a roof over my head -- and yours tonight.” He claps Will on the shoulder and his hand is warm through the thin fabric as it lingers there.

Some furs by the fireplace and a low table are the only home comforts, but it’s warm and dry. Gwaine offers Will cold meat and bread with red wine to wash it down. He refills Will’s cup when it’s empty and Will enjoys the rich, dark taste.

He studies Gwaine in the flickering light from the fire. His face is long and vulpine, his eyes dark, and his mane of hair is deep reddish-brown. Gwaine grins knowingly at Will and his teeth flash, sharp and white, and Will realises he’s staring. He feels a jolt of heat in his belly, and his face flames as he gulps at his wine again.

Will is drifting, distanced from reality as the wine dulls his senses. He lies back on the furs and stares at the ceiling as the room swirls around him. He hears Gwaine’s chuckle, and then a dark shape looms over him and a rough hand touches his cheek.

“Alright there, boy?”

“I’m not a boy,” Will smiles hazily and reaches up to run his fingers through Gwaine’s hair, tangling them in the thick strands as Gwaine’s face gets closer. Their lips meld in a kiss that tastes of wine and wanting and Will arches into Gwaine’s touch.

Gwaine strips them both bare. He crawls over Will’s pliant body, kissing and licking and breathing in every inch of him. When he nuzzles into the hair at Will’s groin and licks at his prick, Will cries out and pushes into the heat of Gwaine’s mouth, desperate for more. His thighs are spread apart by strong hands and oil-slick fingers tease him open. The sharp stretch and sting is nothing compared to the wonder of Gwaine’s mouth on his cock, and Will whimpers when Gwaine pulls off, his lips wet and shining in the firelight.

“You beautiful boy,” he murmurs, moving up Will’s body. Will feels the hot slide of Gwaine’s cock up his thigh until it’s pressing against his hole. “So ready for this.”

He pushes in smoothly with one long thrust, making Will gasp. It’s too much and his fingers dig into Gwaine’s hips. Gwaine lowers his head to kiss Will again, lips soft and gentle as he rocks carefully into him. With each movement the pain is less and the pleasure builds, and soon Will is spilling, hot and wet between them. Gwaine follows with a harsh cry as he empties himself into Will with his last few thrusts.

Will is boneless, sated; already half asleep as Gwaine pulls out and curls around him, holding him close.


Will stirs.

He’s naked but covered by a warm fur. He sits up, taking in the clearing where he lies, the remains of a fire beside him and his clothes in a neat pile. But he’s outdoors, and alone. He frowns, confused, head full of disjointed dream-memories. As he moves to pull on his breeches he feels slickness between his thighs and a pleasant ache of muscles rarely used.

A rustle in the bushes nearby makes Will turn his head, and he just catches the flash of white teeth and a dark red coat as a fox disappears into the undergrowth.