Something's caught between the lines. Galahad snatches at quicksilver shivers of precognition that slip like fish into the Lethe; Mordred flicks a blasé grin that falls away when Galahad holds his gaze. Yielding tempts him, but Galahad is done with Mordred's games.

A volcanic anger simmers, perilously close to boiling point, beneath Mordred's fragile façade. Galahad is beginning to notice fault lines, the hairline fractures in his carefully blank face – but Mordred bites out, "There's too much you don't know," and tosses the words like a javelin across the room. He makes a strange, choking sound, and swallows hard.

Galahad pins his voice down to a murmur. "Maybe you should speak some of it, then," he says relentlessly, "or not at all."

The more Mordred cares, the less he exposes. The more it hurts him, the more he withdraws. So convinced no one can find him. Galahad hates it, his caricatured cousin with sunken eyes and a cynical smile.

Mordred's creating his own hell with his delusions and narcissism, he thinks wildly.


Galahad's afraid,

(the realization leaves a bitter trace in Mordred's mouth;

The hell I care)

and his eyes are full of pity, which probably makes sense. They stab like broken glass.

No. Mordred lashes out in snarling anger; "There's too much you don't know."
Words bubble up desperately from somewhere in his chest before falling away, petering out into nothingness.
"Maybe you should speak some of it, then," Galahad says, but Mordred's not listening; his mind is ethereally calm –and suddenly, absurdly, everything's simple. With an odd sense of detachment, in a voice that does not seem quite his own – "Galahad," he murmurs, "I can't. I'm sworn against you."

Galahad reaches out, clasps Mordred's hand to his chest – the serpents of Avalon twined round his wrists, vivid as the day they were dyed, cradled against Galahad's heart – the irony is overmuch, Mordred thinks, and roars with laughter. "You've been clutching a viper to your bosom, dear cousin."

Mocking, cruel, Mordred tells him all.

And then Galahad punches him.


(Reeling, Galahad's chest felt tight, lungs collapsing: Mordred smiled as he tore him apart, laughing, shoulders shaking in mirth.

With a trapped animal's morbid fascination, Galahad could hardly tear his eyes away. All that Mordred did, he did with sinuous, unselfconscious grace that tipped toward arrogance – and Galahad's blood went hot. Arthur had never hurt Mordred - Mordred? Traitor?)