Title: Safe in the Night
Word Count 1276
Disclaimer As ususal
Safe in the Night
“I don't want to think anymore tonight.”
It sounded like idiocy. He had never said such a thing. Never thought it. Thinking was what Horatio did. It was what he was. Since tiny childhood, his body had been support and transport for his thoughts. His body had been an impediment, it was leaky, it had soft spots, it got hungry, tired. It needed constant tending, but it allowed the thoughts to be. That was what Horatio was.
But since Archie, it was all different.
Horatio had come to Justinian, three years ago. He had crawled up the side of the ship, much less elegantly than a rat does. Horatio had stood, on his first deck. He had been humble, exhilarated, afire, and afraid. The first thing he had seen was Archie. Archie, soaked in freezing rain, an astonishment. He had covered Horatio's awkwardness with cheering chatter. Because Archie must have known. He must somehow have known that Horatio's mouth had gone dry, and Horatio's heart was cantering in directionless joy; that his head was buzzing, and his knees were shivering, and he'd had no idea at all that such things could be.
Archie had covered Horatio's awkwardness then, and ever since. Archie did it out of his own innate goodness, Horatio knew. And Archie had taught him about love. Archie taught with ease and joy. Because he was a good teacher. Because love was what Archie was.
And learning had been so sweet. Horatio had learned with hands, and mouth, and skin, and bounding heart, and clenching breath. It had been a thing beyond thought. It was justifiable by thought, because Archie was a quantifiable good. But thought was not the source of this love. It had come, that first day, sudden and unsought, like God's own lightning.
Now, it was Spain, three years on, and deep in the night. “I don't want to think.” Horatio said, and Archie didn't laugh at him. Archie wrapped the blanket warm around Horatio, and drew him close to ease the shivers. The smell that Archie made in sleep was all in Horatio's nose, and the skin of Archie's neck was under his cheek. He was more than halfway sitting on Archie's lap, and that was foolish, but there was no one to see, and folly comes with love, after all.
“I can help you with that.” Archie's voice was gruff and low, and it did things to the hot center of Horatio.
So Horatio had flumphed the blanket around Archie's shoulders too. Archie's hands were on Horatio's lowest ribs, holding him steady, and wrapping around to warm his flanks. The whole warm bare front of Archie was there, as they angled face to face, kissing.
Archie was whole and safe tonight. There were no new injuries. It had all been a dream. Horatio felt, again, the dreams intrusion. He pushed it away. No thoughts. Horatio nuzzled his mouth along the side of Archie's jaw. He moved down, with a nip, and smiled at Archie's gasp, Archie was dragging a thumb up Horatio's spine, firm and slow, and it felt so good. Horatio flexed forward from the shiver of it, and gasped himself.
“Are you warm enough?” Archie asked.
“I only ask because these--” Archie stroked a finger across, “Are standing up.”
Horatio felt his whole body flex again, flex more, curl forward, toward the touch of that negligent stoke, helpless as a poor worm in a mud puddle.
“Are you playing with me, Archie?” He whispered.
“Only just a little. Do you mind?”
Archie ran his tongue softly over the little nub and Horatio gave a helpless whine.
“Please yes, or please no?”
“Ah, well. All right then.”
Archie leaned forward to the landscape of Horatio's chest, and he slowly licked again. Better this time, even better, and Horatio's hips arched forward as he groaned. But, it was a game he could play as well, and he took hold of Archie's wrist.
“Your arm.” He said. Archie nodded breathless.
So much of love is learning again. Horatio learned, slowly again. He found again, the change in texture from the pads of Archie's fingers, to the callous of his palm. Horatio could feel, with his tongue the long line that extended to the heel of Archie's hand, and the slight taste of sweat where his wrist began. Horatio could feel the pulse in the wrist, the thin skin there, tight against his teeth. Archie's breath had gone harsh, and he was gripping Horatio with his free hand, bruisingly. The muscles of Archie's forearm bunched and twisted, as he arched his arm in offering. Horatio grazed with lips and teeth up to the tender bend of elbow.
“Here?” he asked, though he knew the answer already. “Like this?” he asked again. He waited for Archie's small sound of assent, and brought his mouth down in a sucking bite.
By the time Horatio was able to breathe again, they were lying down. Archie's free arm had come over him, gently, but very decidedly, in a headlock.
“Please, Horatio.” His voice was broken with need, “Haven't done that in so so long.”
Horatio nodded. He knew Archie could feel it, could feel the most minute movement now on his crazed skin. He allowed his mouth to move up the inside of Archie's bicep. Dawn was bleeding light through the curtain now, he could see the white Archie's inner arm, and the dark shine of his eyes and open mouth. Horatio mouthed his way up slowly. He was picturing the vulnerable artery there, as he had seen it in his fathers books. Safe tonight,Safe beneath the kisses of his grateful seeking mouth. And Archie's good strong heart, which began it all, safe too.
Safe, his mazed mind said, and then that thought was driven out completely. Archie had regained the upper hand, only it was a lower hand, a wonderfully lower hand, a clever and perfectly knowing hand.
He got his own hand down, to stroke Archie in return, He could feel the solid heat, and the silken skin of Archie's prick. It bucked in his hand, and Archie made a small pained whimper as he pushed.
He brought his mouth to Archie's and then he was speaking into the kiss, because he could not be still.
“Love you.” Horatio whispered. “Oh, Archie so much.”
“Oh, please, please-- H'ratio, now.”
Archie was going first. Horatio watched him tilt rigid, his mouth open, his eyes shut. Archie was lovely in the dim dawn light. His pleasure shuddered through them both, and the soft splash of his completion felt so good to Horatio.
Horatio was rising to the sweetness of it now, moving against Archie's hand. Archie's good hand, all around him-- there where it was best, and the lines of Archie's hand, and the skin, and the hand and the heat, and --Archie's kiss was warm on his neck as he went over, and the love was filling him, spilling from him, and he was not thinking at all.
They stretched, face to face, the sheets were cool, and soft. Archie reached out, and touched his face, running a thumb across Horatio's cheek.
“Think you can sleep a little now?”
“Oh yes.” Daylight had come to the small chill room, pallid but undeniable, morning.
“I'll be right here.”
“Hmmm.” He snuggled close, and the sleep swept over him, a great black wave, but it was all right. Archie's hand was stroking his hair.