by Grassy Mud
The trees were budding with the beginnings of spring, the snow just melting on the ground. In the trees, the birds sang merry tunes, and the squirrels chittered through the boughs.
Marcus trod through the woods, his boots leaving wet prints in the muddied ground. The young man wore a long tunic, fine trousers, and soft leather boots. Rings adorned his fingers, and his pale neck. The beginnings of a beard covered his chin, and his hair hung to his shoulders in golden locks.
Marcus liked the woods. They were quiet, and peaceful. They didn’t ask impertinent questions, or make unreasonable demands. They were one of the few places that he could truly relax.
Up ahead, the trees parted into a clearing. There was a horse there, white as milk, and a stone well.
The horse glanced up at Marcus as he entered, but soon disregarded him. It shuffled around to the other side of the well, and continued to graze.
“Is there a stray knight about?” Marcus asked
The horse, of course, did not reply.
Marcus glanced around, but the woods were quiet as could be. The wind rustled through the trees, and the horse chewed away at its meal, unconcerned.
Marcus made his way into the clearing, and drew a bucket of water from the well. He sat on the stone edge, drinking from the dipper. It tasted clear, and cool. He licked his lips.
It was at this time that a rose caught Marcus’s eye. It was sprouting, oddly enough, from the inside of the well.
It had a strange sort of blossom, with twin spirals of petals pressed together in one flower. It had no thorns, the stem was thick, and the petals were red as blood.
Marcus reached back behind him, steadying himself with one hand on the edge of the well. His fingers closed about it gently, and he gave a soft tug.
“What are you doing?”
Marcus looked up, and found a stranger staring at him, from the other side of the clearing.
“I’m picking a rose,” he explained simply.
The man advanced, and Marcus stood up. He was unarmed, but somehow Marcus was afraid of him.
“I never invited you here,” the man said “You’re trespassing.”
Marcus bristled. “These are my father’s lands,” he spat. “Mine, after his death.”
The man advanced again, and Marcus stepped backwards despite himself. He found the well pressing against his back. Behind him, the horse continued to chew unconcerned.
Marcus scowled. He suddenly felt defiant; staring at the man quite clearly, he reached back to tug at the rose again.
Immediately, the man was upon him.
To Marcus’s great surprise, the man’s lips were pressed against his own, the man’s hands on his shoulders. Marcus’s hand was still about the rose, and his fingers clenched down in surprise. The stranger flinched, and trembled against Marcus’s frame.
Marcus let go of the rose, and shoved the stranger from him. He then nearly fell into the well and spent several minutes flailing to catch his balance. The stranger, for his part, went sprawling on the ground.
“Stay back!” Marcus shouted. “Don’t you dare touch me again.”
The man stared at him from the ground. He held up his hands in symbolic surrender, making no move to get up.
Marcus wiped his lips with his spare sleeve. His heart was beating fast, and his face was red.
“Who are you?” he demanded.
“Tam Lin,” the stranger replied.
“Where do you hail from?”
Tam Lin gestured towards the woods, broadly. It was hardly an answer at all, and Marcus frowned.
Tam Lin stood, cautiously, watching Marcus for any sudden movements or word of displeasure. Marcus gave none, only crossed his arms and scowled.
Oddly enough, there was no imprint in the ground where the man had fallen. He walked over the ground as if he was a shadow, making a wide circle to the white horse. He had no footprints.
“What are you doing in these woods?” Marcus asked, nervously.
“Hiding from my Queen.”
Marcus laughed suddenly, and Tam Lin looked at him in surprise.
“We have that in common then,” Marcus said. “Both of us are harried by unwanted women.”
“I have to go back soon,” Tam Lin said, warily, “or she’ll come to find me.”
“Well there I’m a bit luckier. No lady has a claim on me, not yet at least, so it will only be my father coming to look for me.”
Tam Lin stared at him, carefully, intently.
“Will you keep my secret?” the man asked.
Marcus glanced at him, puzzled “What secret?”
The man gestured towards the well, the rose, and flushed red.
Marcus thought of the heated kiss, and the declaration of an unwanted ‘queen’. He thought about what that might mean, frowned, and nodded.
Immediately, the man relaxed, and gave a deep bow of thanks.
“I am in your debt.”
“Are you,” Marcus said. He thought about this. “Are you often in the woods?” he asked.
Tam Lin nodded.
“Then meet me here, some other day. I often wander, and would not mind some company.”
The strange man agreed.
At twilight, music could often be heard in the woods, faint and far off like a half-remembered dream. Strange winds blew, and faces could be caught half-glimpsed through the boughs of the trees.
Tam Lin rode on his milk-white horse, a pale shadow in the night. He rode in a path with no reason, but plenty of rhyme. He rode until he reached a hollow hill, where the music became an echo in time.
The hill had no window, and no door, but Tam Lin entered anyway, and inside the faerie court greeted him.
The court was a palace, and a garden, and an entire world.
The fair folk danced there until their feet bled, laughing and crying at the same time. They flirted, and kissed, and rutted together with little care for who or when. Fights broke out, and were forgotten as soon as they began. Sometimes, someone died, and everyone laughed. Tam Lin was cautious of that sort.
In the center of it all there was a throne, intricate silver and gold. A Queen sat there, fair as first snow. Her hair was pale as starlight, her eyes were flawless pearls, and her dress was made of twilight, studded with the beginnings of stars. Tam Lin made his way to her, cautiously, his hands shaking. Her eyes found him in the crowd, and her whole face lit up.
“My love!” she said, and swept from her throne.
She gathered him up in kisses, all softness and honey. Tam Lin shuddered at her touch, but she paid him no mind, brushing her fingers over his broad shoulders, and his soft neck.
“So shy, my love?” she asked “I shall remedy that. Let me touch your heart.”
She reached into his chest, and Tam Lin flinched, and closed his eyes. The Queen’s face went blank, and the hall fell silent.
Like a cat pawing for a fish, she batted at his chest. But there was no fish there, no string, and no heart, and slowly the Queen’s face grew distraught.
“My love, what have you done?” she asked.
Her hands went elsewhere—far lower— and once again found nothing; only a smooth expanse between his legs. Quickly, her face turned to thorns and anger. This time, her voice emerged in a hiss.
“What have you done?” she repeated, and the court turned sour.
Like a swarm of locusts, they descended on him. Hands like claws ripped at his midnight clothes, and he closed his eyes, and waited for it to be over. At the end, Tam Lin’s crime was laid bare, shuddering on the floor. His crime was clear.
He had stripped all pleasure from his body, all lust. He could no longer be toyed with, as the court saw fit. He could no longer be the queen’s personal pet.
Her majesty’s face was a mask of rage.
“Am I so ugly?” she asked. “As hideous as all that?”
She turned to the crowd, and bellowed out the pronouncement for all to hear.
“Tam Lin will not have me, so at Hallows Eve the devils shall have him!” she shrieked. “They will feast on his bones, and rip his flesh. Let all know what happens to one who scorns me!”
The fair folk, feral and beautiful, howled in delight. Tam Lin, who was just as fair, simply stared blankly into the night.
“Tam Lin?” Marcus called out. “Are you here?”
He wandered through the woods, aimlessly, calling out the name.
The man appeared, as if from the shadows. He led his milky-white horse behind him, and moved silently as a breeze.
Marcus gave a start, but nodded in a friendly enough fashion. In his hand was a bottle, and he held it out in parley.
Tam Lin’s face showed his surprise, but he took the bottle. In fact, the bottle was open and in the man’s hand before Marcus could blink, and he was drinking deep. He gave four great gulps before the nobleman stopped him.
“Steady!” Marcus said. “We have all day!”
Tam wiped his mouth, and bobbed his head in apology. His hands were shaking as handed the bottle back, but Marcus smiled wryly, and took a more leisurely mouthful.
“What is the occasion?” Tam Lin asked.
Marcus laughed, sour. “Lady Blackwood.”
An eyebrow was raised.
“Lady Blackwood,” Marcus repeated. “She is of noble birth, had impeccable manners, is objectively beautiful, and I still want nothing to do with her. She is like a lump of stone to me, for all I care about her”
He sighed, and slumped down against a tree. Tam Lin settled down beside him.
“I think there’s something wrong with me, quite frankly,” Marcus said.
Tam Lin’s mouth twitched and he disagreed.
“What’s yours like?” Marcus asked. “Your lady-love? Your ‘queen’?”
Tam Lin’s face turned bitter and he looked away. “She is not my love,” he said.
Marcus nodded, understanding.
“Why don’t you leave,” he asked, “if you do not love her?”
Tam laughed and shrugged helplessly. “I cannot.”
They sat there for a while, in melancholy silence.
“You kissed me,” Marcus said. “Why?”
Tam Lin flushed and became suddenly enamored with the sight of his own shoes.
“I am greatly sorry for that. I misunderstood.”
Marcus swirled the bottle, thinking.
“Perhaps I am like you,” he mused.
Tam Lin gave him a questioning look.
“A lover of men,” Marcus clarified. “Perhaps that is why none of the women please me.”
Such conversations were foreign to Tam Lin, who had been so far from mortal flesh. He simply stared at Marcus, puzzled.
Eventually, the nobleman made his way back to the castle, and Tam Lin was somewhat sadder for the loss in company.
The next week, Marcus came back with another bottle, and complaints about a Lady Greenwood. This time, Tam Lin invited him for a stroll through the woods, and both of them soon began to enjoy themselves.
He showed Marcus paths that he had never seen before, and strange tricks. Tam Lin could catch a fox and not have it bite him. He could call a bird, and have it come to him. Every now and then, he would fade away into the shadows when Marcus wasn’t looking. Marcus only had to call though, and the man would be there again, right by his side, as always.
It became clear enough, to both of them, that it was not entirely friendship between them.
Perhaps they were lonely, or perhaps there was a genuine spark.
Whatever the reason, laughter soon turned to touches, and touches turned to kisses. Often, they found themselves by the well where they met, nuzzling and exchanging affection. It seemed traditional somehow, as Tam Lin never returned any affection except by the well.
They both knew it wasn’t something that could last.
They enjoyed their time while they could.
“It would be nice,” Marcus murmured one day, “if I could just have an heir with you.”
Tam Lin didn’t respond, but instead stared at the sky.
The two of them were lying on the ground, among the first leaves of autumn. Tam Lin had grown melancholy, when he saw the first leaves fall. The strange man slowly reached over, and combed the hair out of Marcus’s face.
“Do you really want one?” He asked. “A child?”
Marcus was silent for a long time.
“Yes,” he said, “I suppose I do. But it’s a lost cause, isn’t it? Even if I find a woman I get along with…”
He sighed, and buried his face into Tam Lin’s chest.
“I could never go through with it,” Marcus confided. “My poor wife would have a barren bed.”
Tam Lin was silent.
Then, slowly, he stood up, and brought Marcus to his feet as well.
He walked over to the well, and pulled the rose from its cracks.
Marcus stared at him as he proffered the flower.
“I love you,” he confided.
Marcus swallowed, the gravity of the situation pressing down on him. But he took the rose.
“I love you,” he responded.
“If you truly want a child,” Tam Lin said, “place it by your bed tonight.”
Marcus nodded, though he barely understood.
In the distance, the first crow of night began to call. Tam Lin glanced that way and his face became pained.
He took Marcus’s face in his hands and gave him a deep kiss.
“I treasure these days together,” he said, “and would not give anything for them.”
That night, when the moon rose into the sky, Marcus obeyed the orders Tam Lin had given him.
He found a small glass vase, and put the rose on the window sill, nearest his bedside. The scent of the rose was heavy, and more musky than sweet.
He got into bed, and rolled over to face it, feeling ridiculous. He breathed in the scent in deeply.
In his mind’s eye he saw Tam Lin’s piercing eyes looming over him. He could picture each inch of the man’s skin, each ripple of flesh and muscle under the twilight clothes. He hadn’t been lying when he said he loved the man. He felt it to his core. And more than that, he felt heat rush into his blood, as he imagined things they had done, and some things they had never done.
Marcus’s hand slowly traveled downwards, slipping under his blanket. He grasped himself in his fist, and felt his length.
His hand moved up and down roughly. He spat on it surreptitiously, and then continued. The sensation became infinitely more pleasurable, and soon he was generating his own liquid to smooth the exercise. He sighed, and hummed into the empty room. The musky smell of the rose wrapped around him, and at and impulse he plucked it from its vase, and pressed it to his lips.
The petals were soft, and smooth, and the bud-like spirals were tight and warm.
He licked it, and found it oddly pleasurable.
His pace increased, and he began to suckle and lap at the rose’s smooth petals. Something like sap, sweet and strangely salty, leaked from the blossom. His fingers tightened around the rose’s shaft, and his other hand tightened around his own.
Marcus’s speed increased again, and his back began to arch. He sucked on the rose in earnest, feeling the slick nectar trickle down his throat. The musky scent was intoxicating, and the vision of Tam Lin was so sharp that he could practically hear the man’s breath. He wondered, belatedly, if this rose inspired hallucinations.
He came quickly, and hard, splattering all over his fist. He suddenly felt great globs of sap come loose, and trickle down his throat. He started to cough, but changed his mind and swallowed. One last flare of pleasure went through his system, and then the vision of Tam Lin began to fade.
Marcus slumped, spent, on the bed. He closed his eyes, and curled in on himself.
The scent lulled him to sleep. He soon had only the deepest of dreams.
As the leaves turned gold and red, Marcus began to feel queasy and spent more and more time indoors. This in turn made him perpetually restless, and the servants often gossiped that they say the young nobleman staring out the window for hours on end, looking into the woods.
If anyone asked, Marcus would claim he felt fine. But he was pale, and his father gave him stern looks every time he tried to go outside.
Marcus tried to be patient. He took up reading, and waited for the illness to settle.
It was one such day, hiding away in the library, that Marcus found the old family portraits.
He called for his father, and the servants went running like the place was on fire, frightened that master was about to collapse. When the earl came, though, his son was simply sitting in a chair, examining a tomb of linage. He looked up, somewhat nervous, and pointed to a portrait, on the far end.
“Father,” he asked, “This family is raven-haired, as are the portraits before it. But after, the earls and duchesses of this region are all golden-haired. Why is that?”
Marcus’s father frowned, but answered the question graciously.
“Earl Laird,” he said. “The man died, all too early. They said it was heartbreak. His only son went riding into the woods one day, and never came back.”
“His only son?”
The Earl nodded, solemnly.
“After Liard died, the land passed to our family, many generations ago. Likewise, if you pass, or have no heir, the line will likewise pass to your cousin.”
Marcus paid little heed to this gentle chastisement. He stared at the portrait, and sucked on his knuckle.
“What was the son’s name?” he asked.
The Earl scratched his hair, and shook his head.
“I hardly remember. I think it was… Tom Line? Something akin to that.”
Marcus was pale as a sheet. He was leaning on the table, his knuckles white.
“Marcus,” his father demanded, “what’s wrong?”
Marcus opened his mouth to reply, but couldn’t speak. Instead, he promptly toppled over. The world went black before he even hit the floor.
The whispers were fierce, and unrelenting, like the hissing of snakes. Marcus attempted to ignore them at first, tried to roll over and go back to sleep. It proved impossible, and he got up. His feet were shaky, and he wore nothing but a nightgown shift. The smooth bulge in his belly was now impossible to ignore.
The doctor and his father were discussing matters in the next room, varying between disbelief, shock, and anger. His father seemed to be blaming the doctor, the doctor seemed to be terrified, and both of them were utterly baffled.
They looked up when Marcus came into the room. He tried to stand tall, and not look as tired as he felt.
“What is it, Father?” he asked.
His father stepped forward, looking decidedly green.
“You are with child.”
Marcus stared at him for a moment, and then suddenly he began to laugh. It was a strange sound and seemed to vary greatly in tone. Neither the Earl nor the doctor could tell if it was mirth, madness, or joy. But Marcus was smiling, and it didn’t seem he would stop any time soon.
“Yes,” he said. “Yes I am. I met a faerie in the woods, and he seems to have impregnated me.”
The Earl’s face morphed between disbelief, understanding, shock, rage, and illness.
Later, when he had a clearer eye on the matter, Marcus would marvel that his father did not simply keel over from shock on the spot. As it was, the Earl turned white, then red, then green, and then a pale sort of purple. He made a choking sound, and took deep breaths.
“We’ll find you a wife at once,” he said, strangled. “Someone who can keep the matter quiet.”
He turned to the doctor. “Sir, you will be compensated for your discretion. I trust we can keep this from going beyond these walls.”
He turned, and found Marcus was striding back into his room.
“Marcus. Marcus, where are you going?”
“Well, Father, I think I’m going to get dressed. Then I’m going to find the sire of my child.”
Once again, there are few fathers who would welcome such a pronouncement.
Marcus rode over the green fields as if on the wind itself. He wore a green cloak that billowed out behind him, and he couldn’t keep the light from his face. He held one arm to his belly every now and then, and laughed loudly into the wind. When the trees loomed up around him, he began to shout immediately.
“Tam Lin!” he shouted. “Tam Lin!”
He thundered through the woods, crowing for all to hear, sending great clouds of crows from the trees, until he arrived at the well. He dismounted his horse, and spun about like a giddy child.
“Tam Lin!” he shouted.
Slowly, from the shadows, the dark figure resolved itself. Tam Lin’s icy eyes appeared, tired and haggard. When he saw Marcus, he smiled despite himself, and stumbled forward to meet him.
Marcus clutched him in a great hug, and laughed loudly.
“It worked!” he crowed “It worked! I have your child, you madman. You magical fey madman!”
Tam Lin clutched him close. “I’m glad,” he said “I’m glad.”
“You shall move in with us in the palace!” Marcus said. “You, me, the child: all of us together! A proper family. Your queen can go hang herself!”
Tam Lin looked up at him, his eyes broken.
“Marcus,” he said, “I can’t.”
The grin splintered.
“What do you mean?” Marcus asked. “Of course you can. My father can make whatever arrangements he likes, to minimize the scandal, but I shall have you.”
“Marcus, I cannot leave the forest. And after tonight, you will not see me again.”
Marcus stared at him. His heart began to crack.
“No,” he said. “No, no. No, no, no.”
“It’s the queen, Marcus,” Tam Lin tried to explain. “She keeps me here, and tonight she will…”
He stopped, and shivered, and choked. Then his face resolved itself, and he looked up at Marcus, his eyes full of pain, and of love.
“Every seventh Hallow’s Eve,” he explained, “the Queen pays a tithe to hell. I defied her, wouldn’t love her like she demanded, and this is my price.”
He took Marcus by the arms.
“This is my price, Marcus. And if it meant loving you, having a child with you, then it is one I will gladly pay.”
Marcus stared at him, his eyes pouring tears.
“You are a faerie, then.”
Tam Lin nodded.
“But… you were human, weren’t you?” he asked, pleading. “You were the son of Earl Laird.”
Tam Lin drew back. Then he closed his eyes and nodded.
“I went hunting,” he said faintly. “I went hunting, and fell from my horse. I rested on a hollow hill. When I woke, I was in the Queen’s court. She healed me, taught me magic, and gave me immortality.” He opened his eyes, and they were full of pain. “She hasn’t let me go since.”
Marcus’s hands were trembling, but his gaze was iron. “When is the tithe paid?”
“We ride at the witching hour, across Miles Cross.”
“Then I will be there.”
“No. Tam Lin, you listen to me. You are my love. My one and only, and that should be enough for any magic, even a queen’s.”
He stared at Tam Lin, and wouldn’t break the gaze.
“I will be there,” he repeated.
“She won’t make it easy.”
Tam Lin closed his eyes.
“When we ride by, you must find me, and you must pull me down from my horse. Then you must hold onto me, no matter what happens, until dawn’s light. Do you understand?”
Marcus nodded. Tam Lin kissed him. Despite everything either of them said, it felt like goodbye.
It was cold that night.
Marcus stood at Miles Cross, his legs growing stiff in the dark. He wrapped his cloak around his shoulders, and tried to suppress the chattering of his teeth.
The wind whipped around him, taunting him. Marcus glanced at the moon and tried to judge how close it was to the witching hour.
He had spoken bold words during the day, but in the dark he could think of a thousand things that could go wrong.
What if he did not know his love in the dark? What if he was standing in the wrong crossroads? What if he fell asleep and the faeries passed him by?
He tried not to think of them, and tried to bear the cold.
In the hazy darkness, a sound like distant thunder rumbled through the night.
Marcus, his joints half-frozen, his eyes heavy with sleep, tried to listen.
There was a sound like bells, and laughter, and singing. A sound like hooves, and music, and whooping bellows.
Marcus forced his eyes open just as the first horse came.
A cascade of light burst into the night, nearly blinding him. Hooves bore down, and Marcus shrieked and lunged out of the way. Laughter echoed around him, strange eyes and faces peered down as a stampede of horses rushed through the night.
The riders were masked, each of them identical and featureless.
A black horse thundered by Marcus, nearly crushing him, then a brown. A milky-white horse barreled down on him, its rider masked the same as all the rest. Marcus reached up, and he grabbed Tam Lin.
Immediately, there was a shriek of rage. Marcus and the masked man went tumbling into the night, off the road and into the ditch. Marcus clutched at the masked man’s arm, not letting go for the life of him. He held the man close, and didn’t let go. In the distance, he could hear the shriek of the Queen, like glass on stone: the unbridled fury.
Slowly, the thunder of hooves faded into the night. The light dwindled down into darkness once again, and Marcus breathed heavily, and ragged.
At his chest, the captured faerie trembled. Marcus slowly pulled the mask off the man’s head, and peered into the man’s face.
Tam Lin stared back.
They both collapsed into laughter, into tears. They rolled about in the grass like giddy hounds, clutching at each other all the while.
“I told you!” Marcus said “I told you we could do it!”
Tam Lin opened his mouth to reply, but something happened, and something became very, very wrong.
Tam Lin’s face began to change, to morph. The features shifted, and became unfamiliar. His face split, and churned, and a stranger stared back at him.
Marcus recoiled with a cry, thrusting the stranger from him. But the stranger grasped him tight, and wouldn’t let him go. The eyes were frightened, pleading.
You must hold onto me, no matter what happens, until dawn’s light.
Marcus was still.
The stranger stared at him, mute as the grave, eyes pleading. Their hands clutched in the night.
“I know it is you,” Marcus said. “I trust that it is you.”
He pressed his forehead to Tam Lin’s. He kissed him, despite the strange face.
Above them, looming in the night, stood the Queen of the Faeries, her face a mask of rage, her hand a claw of spite. She gestured, and everything turned about.
Suddenly in Marcus’s arms there was not a man, but an adder. It hissed, and its scaly flesh heaved and curled about, trying to escape. Its fangs flashed, dripping poison and death.
Marcus clutched at it and curled himself around its coils. He wrestled it to the ground, feeling the muscle writhe underneath him. The animal was slick and as easy to grasp as the wind, but Marcus dug deep, and clasped his arms so tight that he couldn’t breathe.
The Queen gestured again, and there was a massive wolf, roaring and snarling in the night. It threw Marcus off, and pinned him to the ground, breath hot and heavy over his body. It snarled and roared, but Marcus clutched at its neck, buried his face in its shoulder, and refused to let go.
Then the wolf shrank, and became a cat, wriggling away in the night. But Marcus clutched tight even with the change and didn’t let the little creature go. The cat writhed, and clawed at his eyes, leaving long bloody scratches upon his face. Marcus held on.
Then heat began to seep through the cat’s fur, like water through a leaky barrel.
The feline swelled, and horns burst from its brow. A spaded tail lashed about Marcus’s legs, and clawed hands pressed at his shoulders. A demon’s visage stared down at him, grinning malevolently.
The demon in his grasp burned brighter, and brighter, until Marcus had to close his eyes against the light. His arms began to sizzle with the heat, and pain raged through his body. But he only pressed closer.
He leaned forward, and he kissed the demonic maw.
Above them, the Queen’s furious eyes stared down at them. Her fury burned bright.
Then, as suddenly as it had begun, it was over.
Tam Lin was in his grasp, whole and unharmed, shivering and naked as the day he was born. Marcus was not burned, or scoured by claws. His knuckles were white from clutching, and he had bitten his tongue at some point in the night.
Both of them glanced up at assembly of faeries circled around them, and at the Queen at their head. She peered down at them, and she sighed a long, deep, tired sigh.
Then, as one, the assembled faeries turned, and disappeared into the night.
The two of them were left shivering, cold in the dark.
“Are you all right?” Tam Lin asked.
Marcus nodded, barely able to speak.
“It was all illusions, wasn’t it?”
Tam Lin nodded and Marcus smiled.
“I knew you would never hurt me,” he said.
Marcus was suddenly aware of how very naked his lover was, and of the fact that they were entwined on the ground, with the raven-haired man straddling him. And despite (or perhaps because of) the still-racing beat of his heart, he found himself pleased by this fact.
It did not take Tam Lin long to notice this.
He snorted and then kissed Marcus. Their bodies quickly entwined on the grass, the heat of their sweat making child’s play of the night’s chill. Tam Lin’s body was hot now, and alive, and soft, and hard, and slippery, and firm.
Marcus grabbed Tam Lin’s naked thighs and pressed them around him. He licked his lips, and then thought better and set about kissing Tam Lin’s neck instead, soft laps and nibbles mixed in-between.
Marcus was still dressed, and this problem was quickly resolved. His clothes were discarded, leaving the smooth moon-like expanse of his belly to press between them.
“You’re beautiful,” Tam Lin told him.
Marcus replied in kind.
Both of them were stiff with lust, and pressed against each other. Their bellies quickly became slick with sweat and arousal, and it felt glorious.
“Have you ever done this before?” Tam Lin asked.
Marcus shook his head, his face flushed, and Tam Lin nodded.
“Then I’ll be the woman,” he said, and brought his hand to his own entrance.
Fascinated, Marcus watched as Tan Lin pressed himself on his own fingers, knuckle-deep, barely even pausing. The man moaned, and pressed deeper still, spreading his fingers wide inside his body.
Marcus grasped his lover’s hips, and felt as the raven-haired man bobbed up and down, trembling and moaning.
After a thousand heartbeats, two thousand, Tam Lin ceased his ministrations and pulled out his hand. He shifted backwards, and adjusted his position. He smiled.
Then Marcus howled and gasped as he was enfolded with mind-numbing pleasure, and immediately came.
As the white faded from his eyes, Marcus felt head rush to his face. He could hear his partner muffling laughter, and mumbled something half-insulting without really meaning it. As with nearly anything in these hours, Tam Lin’s response was to kiss him.
His fey lover patiently rubbed palms across his chest, his thighs. Fingers pressed and teased, and Tam Lin’s tongue lapped at his neck, and his still-lustful member pressed against Marcus’s own.
Marcus felt self-conscious at first, but quickly lost himself in the pleasure. And all too soon, they were back to where they left off, and Tam Lin was pressing down on him.
Marcus gasped, and bit his lip.
“I love you,” he mumbled.
Tam Lin responded in kind.
Their bodies moved together in the moonlight, back and forth as one. Kisses were traded, and vows were spoken. As the pleasure built, both of their backs arched in ecstasy, and their shouts mingled in the night.
When it was over, they lay entwined in the dewy grass, with Marcus’s green cloak spread over them. They slept, arms grasping each other, heads resting on shoulders.
They opened their eyes just as the dawn peered over the horizon.
For the first time in a series of many, many such instances, Marcus woke to find Tam Lin’s smiling face greeting him. And in the dawn light they kissed.
Then the two men slowly stood up and began to walk home.
Tam Lin’s feet left soft imprints in the grass behind him, the dew stirring at the touch of his feet.