Disclaimer: Nothing you recognise belongs to me.
Written for LANCELOTTRISTANBABY's challenge. Pure silliness - enjoy.
"That's the third one this week," Galahad said incredulously. "He's going to run out of women at this rate." Watching as Lancelot wandered out of the hay barn, stretching languorously, Gawain nodded in agreement.
"I wouldn't mind so much, but he's just so…."
"Smug." Galahad finished grumpily.
Lancelot kissed the pretty blonde girl who had followed him and patted her on the bottom as she scurried off, re-lacing her bodice as she did so. Walking over to his fellow knights, he smirked and raised an eyebrow.
"Alone again, you two? I'm starting to get worried - there isn't something you'd like to tell me is there?"
"Some of us are particular about whom we bed," Gawainreplied haughtily. "Not everyone has the morals of an alley-cat. Do you even remember that girl's name?"
"Of course I do. It was Ari…" He frowned. "Ariandne? Ariana? Nice girl, anyway."
"You're going to get yourself into real trouble one of these days." Galahad shook his head wearily. "It'd be a shame if you survived goodness knows how many battles, only to get killed by someone's jealous husband."
Lancelot laughed. "Oh come now, there's no need to get defensive. If you like I'll have a word with a couple of the bar maids - see if I can't persuade them to keep you company."
"I can get my own women," Galahad said sulkily, "I don't need your help."
"Of course you can," replied Lancelot, patting him on the shoulder in rather patronising fashion. "I'm sure that when you finally get around to bedding a woman you'll be fine."
Galahad choked on his beer. "What do you… I'm not a…"
"Ignore him Gal," Gawain glared at Lancelot. "He's just trying to wind you up - just because he can't control himself doesn't mean the rest of us can't."
"What can I say?" Lancelot gave a self-satisfied smile. "Some men are just more… Virile than others. I'm sure that when you two are a bit older you'll understand." Yawning, he turned away. "I'm off to bed - it's always the quiet ones that wear you out."
Gawain and Galahad watched him walk away, almost spitting with rage.
"That's it. That's the final straw. Someone has to do something about him before I ram my axe up his arse," Gawain spat.
"Yeah," Galahad narrowed his eyes contemplatively. "We need a plan."
Vanora, who had watched the conversation with amusement, wandered over to the pair and placed a fresh pitcher of ale on the table. "Trouble with Lancelot?" she asked.
"Trouble with his inflated opinion of himself," Gawain muttered. "Someone needs to take him down a peg or two."
Vanora nodded and bit her lip thoughtfully. "I think you're right. He's already been the cause of two of my serving girls leaving, and good help is hard to find. Leave it to me - I think I have an idea." Whispering her plans to the two knights, she grinned as they burst out laughing.
"Oh this is going to be good." Shaking his head ruefully, Galahad wiped his eyes. "Lancelot isn't going to know what's hit him."
As with most other days, that evening found the knights gathered in the tavern; their precious free time spent drinking, gambling and occasionally fighting. Vanora nodded and smiled at Galahad and Gawain as they entered the bar, gesturing to a table in the corner where Dagonet, Lancelot, Tristan and Bors were drinking and playing a half-hearted game of dice. Accepting the mugs which Bors had rather messily filled for them, the two knights settled down to enjoy the evening.
They had discussed the finer points of Samartian steel making, mocked the Roman officer who had fallen off in the courtyard that morning, and reminisced over last weeks battle, before the ale ran out.
"Van!" Leaning back in his chair, Bors bellowed for his lover. "We need some more ale over here darlin'"
"Just coming." The red-head put down the tray she was carrying and whispered something to the dark-haired girl who was helping her serve. The younger woman laughed at her words and looked over at the knights appraisingly. Picking up a full pitcher, she walked over to their table, swinging her hips a little as she did so.
"Good evening Sirs, I hope you are having a pleasant time." Smiling flirtatiously, she placed the pitcher on the table and looked at Lancelot from under lowered lashes. "Was there anything else I can do for you?"
"I imagine there's a great deal that you can do," said Lancelot, running his eyes over her appraisingly. "Why don't you sit down and keep us company?"
"I'm afraid that I cannot," said the girl with mock-sorrow, "I am working at the moment." Picking up the empty pitcher, she smiled and batted her eyelashes at Galahad. "I finish work in a couple of hours however, if it is not too much of an imposition, could I ask one of you to escort me home? I fear it is not safe to walk alone after dark."
"Of course." Galahad smiled at the young woman, "you are right to be cautious - I will be happy to accompany you."
"It is not wise for women to walk around without an escort." Lancelot narrowed his eyes at Galahad. "I am more than willing to make sure that you get home safely."
"Thank you sirs, you are both most kind." Curtseying, the girl hurried back to Vanora.
"I think she likes me." Galahad grinned smugly at Lancelot who's face had grown pink with irritation.
"Like you? She practically invited me to her bedroom!"
"She was looking at me when she said it," retorted the younger knight.
"Why would she be interested in a young pup like you?" Lancelot was a little drunk, and getting to his feet, he glared at Galahad. "Just because you've never seen a naked woman, let alone touched one, you think…"
"What did you say?" Galahad sprang to his feet, only to be pulled down just as swiftly by Dagonet.
"For goodness sake you two, we've got enough enemies without fighting each other. Settle this in a civil manner."
"Fine," said Galahad sulkily, "what do you suggest?"
"How about a drinking contest?" Gawain proposed. "You two are always bragging about how well you hold your drink - let's see you prove it. Last one standing gets the girl."
Lancelot looked at Galahad who nodded. "Agreed."
"Right, then it's settled. I'll go and get some more ale." Getting up, Gawain walked over to the serving girl who had caused the argument. "Is it ready?" He asked quietly.
"Yes," she replied, pulling two full pitchers out from under the bar. "The one with the chipped handle is watered down ale, the other ale and more than a little whisky. He's going to have a monster hangover tomorrow."
"Somehow I think that'll be the least of his worries." Slipping her a coin, Gawain picked up the pitchers and carried them over to the table.
"One for you," he placed the vessel with the chipped handle in front of Galahad. "And one for you," he said, giving the other to Lancelot. "Let the games begin."
"May the best man win." Raising his mug, Lancelot took a gulp of ale and grimaced. "Tastes a bit strange this."
"It's a fresh barrel," Gawain said smoothly, "Vanora's using a new supplier - she thought you might like to try it first."
"Fair enough." Lancelot shrugged and finished the mug, immediately pouring himself another.
The next few hours proved to be highly amusing. As the only member of the group who knew that Galahad's ale was barely stronger than water, Gawain had to struggle not to laugh at his friend's acting ability. Galahad's eyes were crossed, his speech slurred. Anyone passing would assume that he was dead drunk. Lancelot did not look much better; waving his mug around and sloshing ale down his front, he toasted each of the knights with increasingly nonsensical words, grinning blearily. Deciding to join in with the toasts, Galahad staggered to his feet, raised his mug, and dropped like a stone to the floor.
"I think you've won," said Bors, nudging Galahad with his boot. "He's out cold."
"Told you!" Lancelot got to his feet, steadying himself by grabbing a handful of a rather disgruntled Tristan's hair. "Pup can't hold hish drink."
"Sir? Is your friend alright?" The serving girl looked at Galahad's prone body with concern. "My shift has finished, I was hoping to go home."
"I'll take you home." Stumbling around the table, he flung an arm over the girl's shoulder, almost knocking her over in the process. "I'll protect you, I gotta sword. A big sword. Less go home."
"Think you sir," trying not to fall over, the girl half carried him out the tavern, winking at Gawain as she did so.
"Has he gone?" Galahad opened one eye and looked up at Gawain. "This floor is bloody uncomfortable."
"The coast is clear." Reaching down, he helped the younger knight to his feet, laughing at the surprise on the other knights' faces. "It's alright, we can explain," he reassured them, and proceeded to do just that.
The laughter had barely died away when the serving girl scurried back in to the tavern.
"Worked like a charm," she said breathlessly. "He was asleep as soon as he hit the bed - I thought for a moment he wasn't even going to make it that far."
"Well done." Galahad grinned and gave her a coin. "Is Meg ready?"
"On her way as we speak," the girl said with a smile. "I think she's rather looking forward to it."
Gawain laughed and looked around at the other knights. "So are we lady, so are we."
Lancelot opened one eye cautiously and swiftly shut it again when the light seemed to spear directly into his brain. His head felt as though a thousand hammers were attempting to pound their way through his skull, and his stomach churned queasily. Vowing never to drink again - or at least not until later that night, he attempted to remember what had happened the previous evening. Dimly he remembered something about a drinking contest, but everything seemed hazy and out of focus. Giving up, he concentrated on sitting up without being sick. The blanket slid down his chest, and he shivered as the cold air met his bare skin. Strange. Moving a little, he realised that he was totally naked under the blanket. Usually when he was that drunk he didn't even bother taking his boots off. Groaning, he buried his head in his hands and felt yesterdays dinner threatening to make a repeat appearance.
"Are you alright dearie?"
Lancelot jumped. There was someone else in the bed. Thinking hard, he tried to remember if he had brought a woman back with him and drew a complete blank. He would just have to brazen it out and get rid of her as soon he could.
"I'm sorry, I.." Lancelot was suddenly rendered speechless.
The woman beside him was smiling seductively, totally naked and eighty years old if she was a day. Brushing her long white hair from her heavily wrinkled face, she watched him with wickedly sparkling eyes.
"Ready for more, lover?" She asked.
Frozen in shock, Lancelot dimly noted that she was missing most of her teeth, and that upon the end of her nose was what looked like a bristly wart. She was ancient and she was naked, and oh God's he hadn't had he? Please no. Whimpering, he slid away from her, clutching the blanket around himself.
"Going so soon? You weren't so shy last night my lecherous knight." Reaching out to touch his face with a gnarled hand, Lancelot shrieked and fell backwards off the bed. Backing up in terror, he hit the wall, holding the blanket in front of him as though it were a shield.
"I… I…" He seemed to have totally lost the power of speech.
"Don't I even get a kiss goodbye?" The woman looked at him with mock hurt, "Just one kiss?"
The blanket was sliding down her bare skin, and Lancelot hurriedly closed his eyes. Realising that it was worse not to know what was coming, he opened them and leapt deer-like towards the door. After a panicky couple of seconds in which he shook the handle frantically, he shoved it open and slammed it behind him. Preparing to race down the hallway, he found himself suddenly brought up short. The edge of the blanket was caught in the door. Lancelot yanked and twisted it to no avail. Hearing a seductive, Lancelot, you're blanket's stuck, give me a kiss and you can have it back, coming from the bedroom, he yelped and dropped the offending material. Turning tail, he fled down the corridor naked as the day he was born, scattering shocked servants and dumbstruck soldiers in his wake. Skidding into the courtyard he was met with a round of applause. Galahad and Gawain were actually crying with laughter, Bors hanging on to Dagonet's shoulder as he could barely stand up. Even the normally impassive Tristan was grinning. Vanora strode up to Lancelot and thrust her shawl towards him.
"Cover yourself up Lancelot. You've got nothing worth showing anyway."
Wrapping the material around his waist, Lancelot felt his cheeks blaze with embarrassment and willed the ground to open up and swallow him whole.
"I told you that you'd run out of women one of these days Lance. I didn't think you'd resort to old ladies though." Wiping the tears from his eyes, Gawain grinned at his friend.
"Don't knock it Gawain." Bors snorted with laughter. "I've heard that mature women are pretty good in bed. That true Lancelot?"
Muttering something incoherent, Lancelot backed away and hurried back to his chambers, trying to ignore the sniggering barmaids who watched him leave with great amusement.
His encounter with Meg, the grandmother of the serving girl, did not entirely put Lancelot off his love for female company, but from that day on he was certainly more discreet: and anytime he seemed to be bragging a little too much, it only took a muttered "granny lover" to silence him.