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Men and power tend to make Lancelot laugh.

He tries, really, to understand the draw, the thing that makes men (Romans mostly, yes, but some others as well) desire nothing but law and control. Not a woman, not a strong drink, not a sharp sword at your side, not good food, not warmth and shelter. Control. Power. Men bowing and scraping at your every word.

He watches the Romans that have lead them (the ones in the beginning) and despite the humor it brings him, he begins to see it. He sees it in the eyes of the servants, in the bodies of the stable boys, in the shaking hands of the serving women in the tavern. He hears the false strength it brings their commanders, the surety their red cloaks provide, the stiffness in their spines their tall boots force upon their normally small and tender frames.

Power is their god, their only god, and he finds that it makes anything he eats or drinks taste like ash in his mouth. Like ash and dirt and he finds he has to flush his dry tongue with water multiple times a day. The swords he carries are heavy and he wakes each day with darkness and thickness weighing everything down.

Arthur doesn't change his thoughts or his opinions. But Arthur isn't - he is one of them, but the red cloak is of his own making, the boots are old and broken in, and the stiffness in Arthur's spine has probably been there since the day he arrived from his mother's womb. Arthur is - he refuses to use the word different because it's too much of a cliche, too much that doesn't work, that doesn't fit the other man (Artos, to him) and after several years of bucking and fighting his own experience, Lancelot gives in.

He hates himself for it, and hates that one man can show him there's something that means more to Romans than power does to the ones he's used to.

He sits awake in Arthur's bed as the other man sleeps, solidly for once, the lines between his eyes smoothed, the strength in his body relaxed, the boots and cloak put away for the night, just items of clothing, not props of position that Lancelot hates more than anything.

What gods matter to their captors? To the man that's not that, the man he can't hate and has slowly begun to ... not revere, not respect, not trust. Something else that he won't name.

He's not sure now, and that lack of definition disturbs him enough to keep him from rest until the garrison begins to bustle at dawn. Arthur's sleep clouded eyes land on him, full of the something that's not power and that's not Rome and Lancelot's mouth twists hard, the sun breaking too prettily over the edge of the huge Wall that lines their fortress, soft and lovely and something he notices in detail for the first time in a long time.

Shutting his eyes against the power of that soft light doesn't seem to help, and neither does the feel of the strong hand on his thigh.