I own nothing related to King Athur.
About four years later…
"One, two, five – good."
The two Woad boys straightened up and turned to face her, dropping their defensive poses and letting their wooden swords rest at their sides. Breck had been circling her two students with one hand clutching loosely to the handle of her own wooden weapon before she came to a halt in front of them them.
"Remember, you must observe the finer details in your opponent." She said. Then she moved to stand next to the boy on the right and motioned for one across from her to ready himself. Once he did, she continued. "For example –" Breck started to explain, eyeing him before making a quick lunge. The boy misjudged the direction she was going and earned himself a whack on the shoulder. " – had you watched the movement of my shoulder as opposed to the bend of my knee, you could have saved yourself the bruising." She finished as the boy rubbed his shoulder.
Another pair of her students began to spar as she gave the first two a break and she circled them in a similar fashion, watching them carefully and giving tips or instructions when needed.
Ever since Breck and Tristan had settled permanently at Hadrian's Wall, this had been her job. Arthur had wasted no time in appointing her as the head weapons-trainer to the young boys in town on a permanent basis and seeing as Breck had never been cut out for 'womanly duties', she had jumped at the opportunity. This was her area of expertise and she loved watching the transformation of her students – she could not have asked for a better profession. Tristan would join her in her lessons every now and again to offer his own advice, but normally the men were so preoccupied with their own duties that it was a rare occasion when he did make an appearance; it was probably for the better, seeing as half of the people in town were still a bit wary of the Sarmatian.
An all-too-recognizable screech overhead drew her attention from the spar taking place and Breck turned her eyes up to the sky quickly, smiling when she saw the familiar hawk that Tristan had always kept nearby. He had been gone for two days now on a scouting mission for Arthur and if his bird had returned, then that meant he had as well and relief immediately flooded through her. Breck was never too happy whenever he was gone for long periods of time but it was at least a comfort to know that he now had a small party that accompanied him on trips like these. Regardless of the extra protection, Breck would much rather have him home and safe rather then scouring the lands around them for any impending threats and had been eagerly awaiting his return.
"That is all for this day, lads." Breck said quickly, making the two boys finish their spar. "We will resume in two days time. Remember our lesson and practice at home once you have finished your chores." She instructed before shooting a pointed look at one of the students who had a bit of a temper on him from time to time. "And no fighting outside of the arena, understood?"
"Yes, Lady Breck." They all said, almost in unison, before beginning to filter out.
As soon as her students were gone and the training arena was in order again, Breck headed out towards Vanora and Bors' home to make a quick stop before she would then continue on to the house she shared with Tristan. He would more then likely be going to see Arthur first to update him on any findings, so she decided to await his arrival at home rather then searching him out and interrupting their meeting.
Breck smiled and waved to people she knew as she made her way through the fort. Life had been fairly peaceful at Hadrian's Wall since the Saxons had been dealt with – Arthur was King now and married to Guinevere, the Sarmatians had all chosen to settle at Hadrian's Wall to continue serving under their commander rather then returning home, and the fort was thriving with life as more and more people (including the Woads) came to live on the lands of the great King Arthur. Word of their victorious battle had of course spread to lands near and far, which brought the threat of new enemies that wished to thwart the great army that resided in Briton, but their peaceful existence had yet to be truly compromised.
As for she and Tristan? Once they had recovered completely from the Battle of Badon Hill, they had embarked on their own journey to her old home in Ireland. They had gone to the site of her father's remains, paid homage to his memory, and then travelled south to have a short visit with the aged Father Padraig before eventually returning to Hadrian's Wall. As soon as they were home again, the two of them were promptly married by Merlin with only their closest friends present to witness the ceremony. They had been living in their home at the Wall ever since.
As was usually the case, the nearer she got to Vanora and Bors' home (which was just down the way from her and Tristan's home) the louder she could hear the sounds of scuffling or playing children. She shook her head with an amused smirk and waved at an exhausted looking Bors as she approached. The man was sitting on the ground with children running all about him and panting, seeming as though he may keel over at any moment but also looking relieved to see her at the same time.
"Bloody runts…they should be fortunate I like them." He panted, eyeing the gaggle of children warily. He even flinched a bit when one of his younger boys pretended he was going to punch his father, before scowling as the boy ran away giggling with mad delight. "These children shall be the death o' me someday."
"Then perhaps you should stop having them." She advised before reaching a hand down to help haul the large man to his feet.
The man grumbled at her words once he was standing again and then he wagged his finger at her disapprovingly. "Easy now." Bors said in warning, eyeing the bump of her stomach that was just beginning to hint at the life that grew inside. "Not just yourself you be takin' care of you know. Tristan would be none too pleased…"
Breck smiled and patted his shoulder. "Thank you for your concern, but I suffer enough coddling from Tristan and Arthur, friend." She told him before shrugging. "What my husband is unaware of shall do him no harm."
"He'd ring your neck if he learned of the things you get up to in his absence." Bors retorted.
"I know not what you speak of…" She said innocently, her eyes turning away to search for a familiar, messy mop of dark hair amongst the gang of happily playing children. Some of them waved enthusiastically to her and she returned the gesture, patting the ones that came to hug her on the head affectionately in greeting.
"Aye?" Bors asked with a smirk. "Allow me to refresh your memory – do you recall horseback riding with Galahad? Helping Jols in the stables? Chasing around children nonstop?"
"I never pegged you a snitch." Breck said with a good-natured glare, shoving his shoulder playfully. "I know my limits, Bors. If you have forgotten, this is not my first child."
"Who could forget tha'?" Bors snorted disbelievingly. "That son o' yours is a hellion. How the fort still stands, I do not know."
"He learned from your children." She said with a laugh before finally spotting her young son amongst Bors' offspring. "Kenrick! Come here, little one!"
Kenrick, who was just three, lifted his head as the sound of her voice reached his ears. He had been in the middle of playing some form of stone throwing game with Eleven and Twelve in the field that separated her home from Bors', and tossed the stones carelessly to the side before coming barreling towards her excitedly. As soon as he was close enough he wrapped his arms around her legs excitedly, nearly bowling her over. "Ma!" He said excitedly, squeezing her legs in a tight hug.
"Hello, my darling." She said with a grin, leaning over to kiss the top of his head. "Was your day with Uncle Bors fun?" He nodded his head vigorously and she smiled down at him for another moment before shooting Bors a grateful look. "My thanks for babysitting."
"You are welcome." Bors said, ruffling Kenrick's hair. "You have done so for us plenty o' times. Tis the least I can do."
"We take our leave now, but we should sup together on the morrow." She suggested.
Bors nodded his agreement but then took off to chase after one of his children a moment later, shouting at the top of his lungs as he did so because they had just crashed one of the wheelbarrows into the wall of the house. Breck grimaced at the loud shout and then looked down to Kenrick warily, making him giggle at her dramatic expression. Then she grabbed his much smaller hand in his and began to lead him away.
There was absolutely no doubting that Tristan was Kenrick's father when looking at the child. The young boy had olive toned skin, dark messy hair, and his facial features resembled the Sarmatian so closely that he looked like a replica of Tristan, only miniature. The only attributes he'd obtained from her appeared to be in his personality – Kenrick could be incredibly stubborn when he wanted to and had an all-too-familiar tenacious streak in him. It wasn't uncommon to find him running headfirst into some form of danger without a second thought and he kept her and Tristan fairly busy on a daily basis. Tristan had been wary about sending him into the clutches of Bors' children at first out of fear that it would only fuel his recklessness, but once he saw how much energy they zapped out of one another, he embraced the idea completely. Kenrick would usually be exhausted at the end of the day from his rigorous playing, which left Breck and Tristan the opportunity to take advantage of their time alone once he was asleep.
"We go home?" Kenrick asked as they continued down the road to their quaint home.
"Aye, darling." She said with a nod. "Do you wish to know why?" He nodded vigorously in response, making his hair flop around on his head. "Your father will be home soon." Breck revealed with a small grin.
"Father!" Kenrick said excitedly, bouncing up and down and looking around quickly for any signs of Tristan. It was a well known fact that Kenrick absolutely worshipped the ground that his father walked on. "Where?" He asked eagerly.
"I would presume he speaks with Uncle Arthur. He will be home shortly." She explained to the excited child. "Be a good boy and help your mother prepare the house. Aye?"
Kenrick nodded and released her hand, taking off in a run for the house and leaving her in his wake. Breck laughed at his antics and then took a moment to admire the home she had made with Tristan as she approached. A warm, contented feeling filled her bones at the sight of the house, just as was always the case. She had loved the place ever since he had first shown her, and Breck could remember the first time Tristan had brought her here like it was yesterday…
It had only taken a few days to get Tristan back on his feet again after he had finally regained his consciousness and since he was mobile and healing just fine, they had decided it was time to leave the Woad camp and head back to Hadrian's Wall. The town had been quickly repaired, the inhabitants of the fort had begun to filter back in, and one wouldn't even begin to think that there had ever been a war here in the first place if not for the lingering bloodstains on the former battlefield. The men were eagerly waiting to greet them at the gates and Bors was the first to pull each of them into a monstrous hug, a gesture which even Tristan begrudgingly accepted.
Gawain was the next to pull her into a long hug. "I am delighted you and Tristan have returned. Please say you will join us for supper." He said once he had released her.
"I am sure I can manage." She said with a laugh.
"You will manage." Galahad corrected, scooping her up and giving her a tight hug. "I am so happy you and Tristan have recovered well." He said earnestly, kissing her cheek before pulling back. "Worried sick, I was."
"My thanks, dearest friend." Breck responded, kissing his cheek in return and then shooting him an affectionate look.
"And what of me?" Lancelot asked as he stepped forward, holding his arms out with a wide grin on his face. "Do I not receive a hug as well?"
"I suppose…" She teased before pulling the charming man into a hug. Over his shoulder she could see Tristan and Arthur having a quick, private conversation and watched as the two men shook hands before they came to join their friends again. Gawain immediately stepped forward to give Tristan a brotherly pat on the back while Arthur came and rested a hand on Lancelot's shoulder.
"Friends, allow her to breathe." He chastised with a small smile, pulling the Sarmatian away from Breck gently. "Leave them be for now - the two have business to attend to." He said.
"Business?" Breck asked, looking to Tristan curiously.
He smirked and then extended a hand towards her wordlessly. Breck slipped her hand into his trustingly, shooting a questioning look to the men as they tried to appear nonchalant, and let Tristan pull her away from their friends. At first she thought he was going to take her back to the knight's quarters for some unknown reason but she only frowned in further confusion as he took the road that led them in the direction of Vanora and Bors' home instead.
"Where do we go?" She finally asked him after a few moments of silence had passed between them.
"Be patient, woman." He retorted, quirking an eyebrow at her with an almost conspiratorial look in his eyes.
Eventually they made it past Vanora's home and continued down the road a little bit further. They were nearing the outskirts of town and, as far as she knew, there were not many townsfolk that lived on this road because it opened up to wide and unfamiliar planes of land stretching to the south. Breck was unfamiliar with the few inhabitants that did live in the area, so she had never felt the need to travel further then Vanora and Bors' house. Now that they were walking along the road, she could spy a small house at the very end of the path and she looked to him with searching eyes, trying to judge if this was where he was taking her.
Tristan finally came to a halt about thirty feet from the house and then looked down at her, his fingers still laced with hers as she inspected the area around them.
It was a beautiful location – the lands stretched on and on past the structure and she knew a prime view of the setting sun would be provided to the west of the house. A few rocking chairs were sitting by the front door along with some tools to work the surrounding land. The home was vacant but had a cozy feel to it and she turned questioning eyes up to Tristan, trying to suppress the smile that wanted to work its way onto her lips as she began to suspect this was the place Tristan had picked for them to live in together. "Is this…?" She asked slowly.
"The only request I have ever asked of Arthur." He said slowly, eyeing her for her reaction. "I asked that we have the home once the Saxons were finished. He readily agreed, of course." Breck felt a lump form in her throat and nodded her head, eyeing the house again with a happy smile. "I had Arthur send word to the men asking them to move our effects inside – it is ready to be occupied. Now it only needs a family."
"Confident I would say yes, were you?" She couldn't help but tease despite the sappy feelings that were beginning to swarm her. Though it was true that they had never discussed their future together, it was clear what Tristan's intentions were. He had gotten a house for them to live in and he wanted to start a family with her. The life with him that she had been dreaming of was finally coming true. Could this man be any better to her?
Tristan didn't appear effected by her teasing and faced her wholly, bringing a hand up to rest on her neck with a completely serious look on his face. The expression made her sober up and she watched him intently as she waited to hear what he might have say. "Breck…" He said firmly, holding her gaze steadily. "Be my wife."
She grinned and immediately threw her arms around his neck to kiss him, a move he gladly accepted.
"You answer yes?" He asked, pulling away just far enough to be able to meet her gaze.
"Aye." She said with a nod. "My answer is yes."
Breck loved the house. It was her and Tristan's haven and had been since the day they had moved in.
Kenrick may not have been able to do much cleaning since he was so young, but he was scurrying about the house anyway and putting his toys back in their proper place when Breck finally made it into the house. The sight made her smile and she ruffled his hair as she walked past him to go and begin preparing a hot meal to greet her husband with.
Had anyone told her five years ago that she would someday be in love, married, and be raising a family in the home she shared with her husband, Breck would have laughed in their face for their stupidity. But as it was, her days of chasing Saxons and thriving off her hatred of her enemies were now things of the past and she had embraced her new life as a wife and mother. She was not naïve enough to believe that enemies would never again come for the Wall, but there was no use dwelling on such thoughts. Her biggest concerns now were Tristan, Kenrick, and the baby that grew inside her and making sure all were happy and taken care of.
To her surprise, the sound of approaching hooves reached her ears only some five minutes after beginning supper and she moved to peek out the window, grinning widely when she saw that Tristan was galloping up the road towards their home. He had arrived much sooner then she had thought he would, but she was not about to complain.
"Father?" Kenrick asked, his ears perking up as he too heard the rider's approach.
"Aye." Breck answered with nod.
That was all the young boy needed to hear before he was dashing out of the door to go and greet his father. Breck smiled at the boy's enthusiasm and wiped her hands on a towel before trailing after her son at a leisurely pace, butterflies filling her stomach at the prospect of seeing her husband again. Tristan already had the giggling boy flung over his shoulder by the time she made it out of the door and she shared a warm smile with her husband as he approached. There were few things in the world that were more heartwarming then seeing Tristan and Kenrick interact – considering the fact that Tristan had long believed himself incapable of leading a normal life before meeting her and had been positively terrified at the prospect of being a father until the day that he had actually first held his son in his arms, he really was a magnificent father to Kenrick. He knew exactly when to be the father and when to be the friend and his love of his child was unmistakable.
"You return sooner then I thought." She said as he came to a stop in front of her and set Kenrick back down onto his feet.
He was handsome as ever with his messy hair, olive complexion, and broad, sturdy frame. The tendrils that he had let hang in his face for years had finally been braided back and tied off with a leather strap, letting his handsome features stand out more. There was more grey hair showing within his beard now and more scars adoring his body thanks to the war they'd fought in, but Breck liked it and thought it only made him even more appealing then he already was. The necklace that she had given to him four years ago still hung around his neck and she pressed a hand over the pendant once he was close enough, giving him a loving smile.
"I had no report for Arthur and I wished to see my family. I allowed Darius to handle business in my stead." He answered, referring to the Woad scout he often travelled with. One of his hands came up to rest over hers and the touch sent tingles up her arm.
"I am happy you are home." She said earnestly.
He nodded his agreement before he closed the gap between them and leaned down to give her a long kiss. As always, the warmth of his lips sent excitement through her veins and the scratch of his ever-present beard on her cheeks made her nerves tingle with awareness. His intoxicating scent filled her nose as pulled her close, his hands sliding dangerously low on her back, and Breck would have gladly let herself get caught up in the moment until Kenrick made a noise of disgust at their affectionate display. She snickered against her husband's lips and then pulled away from him gently.
"Later." She promised with a mischievous smirk, sliding her hands down his chest in a teasing manner before pulling away from him completely.
He shot her a heated look that only further fueled the fire already beginning to settle in her body and she was both disappointed and relieved when Kenrick began to tug Tristan into their home, breaking the moment between them as he began begging his father to tell him of his journey. Breck only lingered outside for a few more moments to go and present Lugh with a treat and a kiss to his nose (Azia had passed on a few years previous) before joining her two men in the house.
After a busy night of talking and playing and eating, Kenrick had finally started giving into his exhaustion from the eventful day and eventually had been carried off to his bedroom by Tristan. "He is asleep." Tristan said upon entering the common area again. "At last."
Breck smiled at his words and then paused in her task of cleaning their dishes from dinner, letting out a contented sigh and leaning back into his chest when Tristan wrapped his arms around her from behind. His hands immediately came to rest on her growing belly protectively and she felt the weight of his chin on her shoulder as he relaxed against her. This was what she looked forward to the most – quiet nights in the arms of the man that she was in love with.
"You are well?" He asked, his deep voice rumbling in her ear.
"Very." She answered as the warmth of his body washed over her, making her feel completely at ease. "As is your child."
"Our child." He corrected.
In the next moment he turned his head and began showering her neck with attention, his hands travelling from their spot on her baby-bump until they rested low on her hips. He pulled her back securely against him as he began to hungrily kiss her tender skin and her eyes slid closed, one of her hands moving to tangle in his messy hair as she bean to fall under his spell. After four years, Tristan still was able to turn her into a pile of mush with just one look or touch and she knew that she was never, ever going to grow tired of him or his touch.
Breck turned in his arms and dragged his lips down to hers to kiss him hungrily. He responded eagerly, a sound of approval emitting from low in his throat, and his hands slid down to her rear before he hauled her up into the air. Breck let out a short laugh at his manhandling, which drew a self-satisfied smirk from him, and wrapped her limbs around him for support before pressing a few loving kisses against his lips.
"I love you." She whispered to him, threading her fingers into his hair as he began to carry her to their bedroom.
"And I love you." He responded without hesitation before claiming her lips again.
Yes, her life has turned out quite differently then she had thought it would. Where Breck had once previously been unable to see a life beyond the threat of the long-dead Cerdic, now there was only hope and promise within her future. She had a loving husband that she could not live without, an exuberant child that she absolutely adored, and wonderful friends that always were there to support her no matter what. The peacefulness that she and Tristan and their loved ones basked in might not always remain untainted, but Breck would not bother herself with worries over nameless, future enemies.
No, Breck would only concern herself with the here and now – she would pass her days by teaching her students, enjoying the company of her friends, and spending time with her family, and would dedicate every night making love to Tristan, the husband that she loved with all of her heart.
And she could think of no better way to live the rest of the life that God had finally blessed her with.
Well, my loverly readers, we have reached the end. I want to thank every last one of you that has reviewed, PMed me, favorited, or alerted this story. It was an absolute joy writing the tale of Breck and Tristan and I'm really going to miss it. It's been a long time since I finished a story and I forgot how bittersweet it really is. So thank you so much and I hope this is something you will all read again and again!
P.S. I'm considering writing a little one shot about Breck and Tristan's first time between the sheets. I don't normally do that, but I feel like I owe it in a way. If I do, it might be told from Tristan's perspective, just to get an idea of what's been going on in his head the whole time! I probably won't post it for the world to read, but PM me and let me know if this is something you would be interested in reading and I'll send it to you if I write it!