AAAAAAAAAAAA What do you mean “you hope I’ll like it”, I LOVE THIS! Thank you, THANK YOU, Cat! I’m seeing him as a hired sword, except judging by the degree of “work” he’s paid to do, he sometimes kills his hirer instead (say, if they are asking him to kill someone innocent.) Charles the apothecarist hires him, but to protect rather than kill. This confuses Erik to no apparent end, and Charles confuses him too, so he sticks around longer than he was initially bound for, aaaaand things of a raburabu sort happen ♪(´ε｀ )
this is for the lovely k, a belated holidays gift! It’s… fantasy-ish… Erik. alskjd I HOPE YOU LIKE IT, K. OTL
I kind of let this one get away from me, sorry, but this is what happens when you wonderful people are so inspiring and spread beauty all over the place ♥♥♥♥♥
ninemoons42 writes: in accord
Duck, and weave, and breathe. Not enough room between him and the nearest thug - he can’t swing his sword, and fast as thought Erik switches from one weapon to another, drives his knife into his current assailant’s throat, all the way to the hilt and he yanks it out and on the backswing clubs another man with the butt of the blade - and now he has some room. Erik smiles, wolfishly, and dispatches the man at his feet with a single sword-thrust.
He’s turning, and there are still threatening shadows looming over him and he’s already halfway to moving when there’s a sudden sharp soft cry from somewhere - “Stay down!” - and he freezes in blind obedience.
Something flies past his cheek, so close, that could have been him, but it’s clearly meant for the man who had been about to stab Erik in the back - it strikes home cleanly, right into the meat of the shoulder, and the thug shrieks and goes down.
Erik glances briefly over his shoulder - there is a slight shape behind him, still holding a bow, and he could be friend or foe but he has to attend to more pressing matters first. He strides to the thug, leans over him, and casually presses the tip of his knife to his throat. “Who sent you after me, and how much did they pay you?”
The thug shows some common sense: he looks away and says nothing.
Erik shrugs and starts to press the knife in - and then there’s a hard hand on his wrist and he doesn’t think, just moves, and then he’s crying out in pain, suddenly down on one knee.
Bow in one hand, the twisting grip on his arm in the other, and Erik looks at the other fighter at last.
The first thing that catches his attention is the blue eyes. Like the sky before a storm, like deep waters. Three perfectly parallel scars over the left cheekbone. Lips as red as freshly spilled blood. There are other scars on him, including the one that peeks out of the cloth wound around his throat - and Erik has seen that mark before, but only on corpses, those who’d been hanged for justice or for penance or for remorse.
“Your name,” the man with the bow asks.
“Who wants to know,” Erik says.
“I hired a swordsman, and I am looking for him, and his name is Erik.”
He’s…surprised, to say the least. “I was told to look for a healer.”
“That’s me - oh, I should let you up.” And the hand on his wrist is gone. “I’m Charles. I’m from the next town over. You’ve worried me, you know - you were supposed to be here two days ago.”
“You can see why I’ve been delayed,” Erik says, taking refuge in bitter humor.
“Yes, I suppose there is that. But hello. You ought to come with me, I guess. We’ve food, and if you’re hurt, if you’re wounded, I can help you now - “
Erik watches Charles throw his light cloak back and - yes, now he can believe the claim to be a healer. Tell-tale roll of bandages and leather kit bag that clinks when he moves.
A healer with a bow, and who knows enough to wound with it.
Erik motions over his shoulder to the dead and the dying. “What about seeing to them?”
“I’ll get to them, you first,” Charles says.
“I am unharmed.”
“Which speaks to your skills - I am impressed, of course.”
Erik watches him as he attends to the man he wounded, pressing a bottle of something to his lips and then - the thug’s head lolls back, he’s clearly unconscious, and Charles’s hands move with admirable speed and efficiency as he pulls out the arrow and dresses the wound. When he’s finished, he absently checks the point on the arrow, and sticks it back into the quiver on his hip.
“You’re just going to leave him there?”
Charles smiles, mischievous and full of intent, and Erik almost wants to step away from him in sudden foreboding. “I gave him something to make him forget.”
“I will not accept any wine or water you might offer me, then.”
“I wouldn’t do that to you.” Charles strides past. “Come along. We’re about a day away from the village. Do you wish to discuss the terms of your employment now, or wait until then?”
“Now is good,” Erik says, and why does he feel like he can trust this man, a man full of surprises, and not all of them good ones?
“Are you…amenable to taking direction from me, then?” Charles asks, as though reading his mind.
Erik narrows his eyes. A dangerous question, and a necessary one. But the more he looks at Charles the more he begins to respect him. A protector, in several senses of the word. He moves with certainty, with strength, and Erik is familiar with others who are like him.
He thinks quietly as they ford a small stream, and then he says, at last, “If what you propose suits me.”
Charles throws him a smile, sudden and sunny, and the scars in his face are folded into that smile and seem to improve on it. “I expected no less from you. Very well, here are the terms. Few, but vital. You are here to protect me and mine, to guard those in my care. You have the freedom to employ such strategies and tactics as you are accustomed to using in your line of work.
Erik raises an eyebrow. “Which is?”
Charles stops, and looks him straight in the eyes. “You may not kill.”
Erik stares. He is a man with a sword, who knows how to use that sword, who considers death a constant companion and an eventual destination. He is a sell-sword, and this healer is a fool after all.
He believes in these things, knows them in his hands, in his very bones - and yet he finds himself replying: “As best I can.”
The answer to that is a strange and matchless understanding in those storm-blue eyes. “That is all I ask.”
Ummm, just holy shit. PJ, you may not stop here (PLEASE) ; 3;