Title: When Both Deliberate
When Both Deliberate
The sun had burned the fog away, and now it danced through the window, painting their naked skin with stripes. Kit closed his eyes against it, but he could see the red, like pushing, on the thin dark edged flutter of his lids.
The bodies bliss subsided to tiny shivers, impossible to hold. Only this left, this little doing, this little room.
Tom Walsingham rolled free after a moment, but still he kept Kit's hand. He brought it to his mouth to kiss the palm. And so it lay along the the fine skin, and the bruised skin of Tom's face. Kit touched there, careful, and saw the blue eyes close. And he was so often sad, after, but there was no need for weeping, so Kit pushed that away good and hard.
“I love thee.” Tom said it again, and why because a thing was true, must it be said?
“I know that.” And that was unkind, so Kit spoke more fully. “I love thee too, but this--” he flapped his hand again, knew the gesture looked angry.
“She does not expect to possess all of me. She knows--”
“About me?” He tried to imagine. His smile felt angry now, teeth barely covered. “She knows about me?” His voice tilted up. “So, you say: 'This is Marlowe, my pet poet. I pay him for his words, and for a place to put my prick--' ”
Tom sat up, scrabbled the blanket to cover himself.
“You think so little of me?” Tom said it, but it should have been Christofer's line.
“You think so ill of me, that I would have you so? I never--”
Words had failed Tom first. He reached out to touch in place of them, took the hand again, kissed in it, and folded it shut. And Kit could see the baffled hurt in his eyes.
The sigh came from deep, and Kit shook a little as it left him. He was not weeping, no, certainly not.
“I know you never thought that.” His voice felt small, the words like little stones dropping away down forever.
“I never did.”
“I said I know.”
The silence was a brittle thing, beating like a heart.
“We should dress.” He said, after a moment. “Kyd may be back soon.”
So there was a moment when they sat back to back, fishing on the floor for clothing. The bent skin of them, the backbones and ribs and hearts of them did not touch, as they pulled up and tied points.
“Money for you--” Tom said. . “And this, from uncle.” Two bags full. Kit tucked them away. He would look later. One for words and one for actions. One for the poet, and one for the spy.
Tom drew him close, clasped him hard, kissed him careful, and stepped through the door. “I'll write,” he said.
The door shut behind him, and Kit looked around the room. He poked the fire to a more vigorous heat. He drew the bed into some kind of order. They had not spilled in it, they had been careful. And even if they had Tom Kyd would say nothing. Kit flapped the blanket straight. It was a pretty thing, red wool. Kit knew how to make a bed right tight. The Parker scholarship had mandated the beating of boys who failed in that, as in other things. He felt his mouth quirk. Back in Canterbury, no doubt, his successor, shivering and thin, was learning the same lessons. But now Kit was a man grown. He and Kyd never made the bed.
The money from Mr Secretary he tucked away. The bag was light. Big coins then, he would have to change them somehow. Not today.
He moved to the table, drew his work to him. He was well away into writing when Kyd, (careful to be noisy,) returned.