Title To be Seen
Word Count 1493
Disclaimer: Not mine
To be Seen
Horatio looked up from the page.
“My father has gotten a dog.” He said.
“Oh, that's nice.” Archie's voice was flat, emotionless. His eyes seemed focused on the surface of the window.
“Here he writes about you...” Horatio continued:
'I am filled with great joy and relief, Horatio, at Mr Kennedy's safe return. Once one has been a father, all young men seem like sons. I hope Mr Kennedy will not scorn an old doctor's fatherly fondness. I remember his visit often, and think of him with great affection.
I believe that you boys will not be in Spain forever. I hope, upon your eventual return to England, that Mr Kennedy will have opportunity to come again to Kent. I hope he is sure of his welcome here at any time. Mary of course says the same. She continues to remember you both in her prayers, and is, I believe, plotting future meals of heroically strengthening proportions.'
'What is it, Archie?”
Horatio, reading, had almost missed the small sound, caught back as it was, in Archie's throat. He had not been meant to hear it.
The bent head was still inclined away; he could see the swoop of cheek, and the dip of brow and eye, drained of color, by the window light. There was something in the angle of Archie's spine that showed the close held pain. He was very still, as if he were dangerously overfull of something casutic.
Horatio crossed the room quietly. He turned Archie towards him, Archie came into his embrace easily enough, but with his head lowered and his face averted. Horatio held him close, not so much kissing as bending his own open mouth to the crown of Archie's head.
Archie said nothing, but his arms tightened suddenly, and his shoulders shuddered under Horatio's softly traveling hand.
Horatio let his hand down to the sway of Archie's back. It was strange to feel the midshipman's jacket and waistcoat again, strange, but pleasant. More pleasant still was the return of muscle and strength, and the compact heat of the sturdy body in his embrace.
“ It's all right, nothing to be sorry for.”
“You got your good letter, and I-- sometimes I --”
Archie let out a shuddering breath, and butted his head up under Horatio's chin like a confiding kid goat. Horatio's hand had found skin now. He let his caress speak, unsure as he was where words would go.
“Its, Pellew, and Bracey, and your father too. It-- it hurts somehow, they look at me, and they speak to me, and they
see me. They are kind, and kindness makes it worse. There must be wickedness in me, I know that now, because the kindness hurts.”
The admission made little sense to Horatio, but he could feel the cost in Archie. His body froze as he spoke, braced again, against some inner pain.
“Do you mind when I see you? “
Archie's head came up, his eyes wide, deep blue now, and so close.
“No,” he said, “I don't mind when it's you.”
“I'd like to see you now, Archie. I'd like to make you feel good. Can I do that?”
Archie's voice was soft, mostly breath. He was pushing into the kisses now, letting Horatio lap his mouth open and revel in the heat of it. Horatio could feel the stiffness, where they rubbed together, but Archie was strangely docile. He moved slowly, caressing Horatio's face and shoulders, but acquiescing to be undressed, rather than rushing to help. Horatio had all it his way, unbuttoning, untying, untucking.
The small room was warm now, if a little dim. The sun had passed over the ridgepole to the side with no windows. Far below, in the dusty courtyard, Horatio could hear the men playing at dice, and insect races. Some part of his mind cataloged the sound, and judged them bored, but not dangerously restive. Better now, sadly, with Hunter gone. But Archie was reclining on the little bed, and nothing else was important.
Archie had him by the hand, and he was naked now, and Archie drew him forward. Archie drew him to the bed, but Horatio sank to his knees beside it. Horatio brought his hand to the center of Archie's chest, to where the skin was damp. Archie tilted into the caress. His breath was shaking. Horatio could feel the good strong heart of him. He could feel a thrill under his hand, like the action of waves on the hull of the Indy.
“What do you see?” Archie asked it quietly.
“You, you, you. Good you.” He stopped to swallow the tears in his throat. “I love you so, I think my heart is splitting.”
Even with the truth between them, it was hard to speak so real. This truth was a raw and pliant thing Love was, for them both, more easy to do than say. But faced with this strangely trusting Archie, tonight, Horatio meant to do both.
Archie said nothing, but gulped a little too. He reached out, he touched the corner of Horatio's mouth lightly, and stroked the arch of the nearer eyebrow. The air in the room was electric. Horatio could feel the hair on his neck rise.
“I see you too.” Archie said at last. “Oh, God, Horatio.”
Archie's palm was against his mouth now, Horatio gave the wrist a kiss of promise, but he had something further south in mind.
Archie's thigh was sturdy and tough under his hand as he lifted it. He bent the leg nearest him up, foot flat on the bed. Archie gave a restive huff, There was a sweet dampness in the declivity behind his knee. The skin between the cords was soft. Horatio lowered his face to the front of the knee. His searching tongue found the line of a scar, old and forgotten, this one, the remnant of a boyhood gone. The other, more substantial scars shone silver, all up Archie's flanks and sides. Horatio knew the taste of each one.
He nuzzled the knee-cap. Archie's knees astonished him. They seemed to Horatio perfect and elegant, like the right answer to a math too celestial for numbers. He let his hand slide down the calf to the skin of the top of the foot. Archie gave the foot a wiggle. He seemed to like the thigh-going hand better.
“Horatio.” His voice was gone gruff with want. . Archie lowered the leg, still bent slightly out. He tipped his pelvis up, and the action made him groan. “H'ratio, please.”
There was a smear of wet on the near side of Archie's belly. They were both dripping now. Horatio was pressed hard against the cool wood of the bed, just to be touching something.
Horatio lowered his mouth to the gleaming drops. They were caught in the small hairs He did not touch the cock with his tongue. Archie was straining to to push it against Horatio's cheek. It slid there, shockingly hot, and he could feel too, Archie's hair against his face. It was thicker than Horatio's own, crisp and delightful. He drew his fingers through it. And now at last he nuzzled his face against the tight strained skin, drawing his lips up to the exposed tip there.
Far above he could hear Archie's shuddering gasps
He brought his hand around to encircle the girth of this, the most hidden part of Archie. He found again the little rumpled place, beneath the cleft of the crest. He played this thumb over it, gently. Archie's eyes found his, and they were dark with agonized pleasure. The sound of him was driving Horatio higher too.
“Come here, “ Archie said. “Can't wait any more.”
Horatio rolled, willing into Archie's arms, and they clenched around him, strong, with all the good trapped between them. In the shock of the heat, Horatio wondered, why had he never known that a man could see with his skin? Surely that is what he was doing now, with all of Archie down along him. To see was to know, and he had never seen so clearly.
“Good, good.” Horatio rasped. They were moving and sliding now, side by side. There was strain to it, but they were scudding ahead together, no more holding back.
Horatio felt Archie take fire first, and shudder as he broke. Horatio felt it wash over him, then, with an intensity like fainting. When he remembered who he was, Archie was stroking his face. Horatio's hair had gotten everywhere, stuck in his mouth, and tangled with Archie's own.
“You are a noisy thing.” Archie said.
“Well it was---”
“Oh, yes.” And Archie smiled.