Title Hog Lane
Kyd and Marlowe
Rating R for language and fighting
Word Count 561
The man had been waiting for him.
There was no reason. There was no warning. He had not seen the blow coming. He was pushed onto his back foot, fumbling for his sword, he was seconds behind already. His feet slid in the mud. The man was taller than him, had the reach on him, oh. Kit's breath driven from him. It rasped in his throat as he drew it back. The man had a face Kit had seen before, a long broken nose splayed across his angry face. Who art thou, and why? There was no why. Didn't matter. Hands, feet. Kit came forward quick and under his reach. The man stepped back. Steel against his then, and the blood of Kit's hand sticky on the pommel.
Over and beyond the pulse sound, and the rasp of breath, Kit heard voices. He could not, could not spare the time to look. If this was death, he could not help it. But it was not Kit's death, not today. Today it was Tom Watson, walking with another man, the two of them had been laughing, jostling , taking up the width of Hog lane.
It was Tom Watson, running, sword drawn. He shouldered Kit's attacker hard back, followed it with his own blade
“Bradley. It's me you want-- Fight me, me-- you limp fuck!”
Bradley stepped back, lowered his blade. Kit let him.
“Art thou come now?” The man, gave a short bark of a laugh.
Kit was forgotten at once, as Bradley turned on Watson. And Kit could have had him there with the pommel, with the blade. But Watson needed no help. Watson was driving him, as Kit had not, to the edge of the ditch. Kit turned away from the sound of it, and rested his head against the damply dripping wall. The man who had been with Watson came up. He walked slow and easy, as one does with a panicked horse. He held his hands up empty, took a long look at Kit's face, and was touching him, feeling, checking for blood, for hidden hurts. Kit was fine, fine. A tiny sting on his palm, that was all. He was unhurt. No reason, then for his gorge to rise, no reason to shiver in the cold sunlight.
“Just my hand--” Kit held it out. “All's well with me.”
Kit shut his eyes again.
“What is your name?” He kept his eyes shut.
“Thomas Kyd. I am a poet.”
The man had a good voice, Kit decided. And a clever face. His hands had been calming, not intrusive.
“Christofer Marlowe,” Kit offered. “I am a poet too.” He wanted to laugh, or possibly vomit.
Watson and Bradley had passed out of sight. One set of heavy footsteps came back.
Tom Watson, moved heavily, his hair was dark with wet. There was a gappy cut just above his eyebrow, nothing worse. But it masked his face with streaming blood, he looked like a monster.
Watson pushed the blood out of his face, his expression was blank.
“You saw--” he said. “You saw him go at me. He's, in the ditch. Bradley. He's dead. I think I killed him.”