Title Neither would I
Word Count 1561
Disclaimer Not my boys
Neither Would I
Horatio bobbed on the surface of sleep, luxuriating. He was aware, as he breached and submerged, of many things.
He felt very pleased about something. He could not quite remember what it was, but that was because he was asleep. He would remember when he woke. And if he still had no idea why he was so happy, Archie would know.
He could feel the cool sheet below him, and the flat soft bed. It was dark and lovely behind his own shut eyes .Beside Horatio, like a banked fire, was side of Archie's hip He could feel Archie breathing, and the slow sound of the turning pages of his book. More than that, Horatio realized, he could feel an a Archie-sized bundle in the corner of his own self-awareness. He had not known that his self-awareness had a sense of direction. But he realized now, that it swung like a compass point, toward Archie. This realization made sense. Of course it did. He congratulated himself on discovering something so important.
Archie was trying to let him sleep. Horatio could go on sleeping if he wished. But he knew, as he knew he was still asleep, that Archie wished he would wake up.
Horatio's eyes opened and his day began. Happy. The sleep-world shattered behind him. He was awake. He had not moved, or spoken, but Archie's hand came down, gentle to touch his hair.
“Good morning, Mr Sleepyhead.”
“Hmmm.” Horatio had a good stretch.
Horatio remembered now: The Indy! Captain Pellew, Mr Bracegirdle. He felt light inside, like his innards were dancing. It felt like Christmas, like a birthday. It felt like someone loved him, and was loved in return, and that someone had a gift for him, hidden just out of sight, beyond the horizon.“
Our last day, Archie. The Indy comes tomorrow.”
But here was Archie. A gift, a love, of another sort. He was sitting next to Horatio, in his old night-shirt. He still had the book, propped on his knees. Horatio slung an arm around Archie's hips, dislodging the book. He gave Archie's hip a friendly gnaw.
“Ow!” Archie put the book aside.
“You bit me!”
“Did not!” Horatio could not stop smiling.
“Did too!” Archie lunged and flipped him, pinning Horatio helpless, to the now dislodged sheet. He burrowed his hands, strong and warm, to find ribs and abdomen. He used his chin to hold Horatio still. Archie was merciless. Horatio arched in paroxysms of laughter, gasping and silent.
Archie was giggling himself, Horatio could feel the heave of it, all down his own front. And he felt the laughter trail off and stop. Archie lifted his head. His smile had changed, his eyes were soft. He slid slowly, up along Horatio, to rest on him, chest to chest.
“Our last day here,” Archie said. His voices was hushed and slow. “You know, Horatio, I thought I would be a prisoner forever.” Archie put his head down, turned to the side. Horatio could not see his eyes now.
“Failed five times, H'ratio. Got further from home each time. Further from myself, from who I had thought I was. Further from you.” Archie shuddered.
“And then you found me,” Archie said. “You saved me.”
“Hunter found you, actually.” Horatio said. “ he didn't see you, and sort of sat on you by accident. Do you remember?”
Archie's head shake was brief.
“Not surprised, really,” Horatio said “You were boiling with fever, pretty much round the bend.”
Horatio set his hand to slow caressing. The skin of Archie's back was warm and muscular, healthy. He was thinner than he had been, but most of the traces of his captivity and illness were gone from his body. Only his feet showed the damage. They had been tattered when Horatio found him. They would look a little funny now, always. But Archie had other scars. They were on his back, and lower, and further in. They were from his time on Justinian. They were old, and faded white. When Archie was very relaxed now, he did not twitch or guard them. They were part of a landscape to Horatio, like the freckles on Archie's nose. They were known now and loved. Horatio was aware, too, of the scar on Archie's brow, under the hair that always flopped into his eyes. That scar was Horatio's fault.
“You know,” Horatio said, “You don't speak much, of the time---the time we spent apart. I know you think of it, you dream of it, Archie. You can talk to me about it --- if you want.”
Archie sighed. “I know. I know I can. Someday I will. But today is our last day of peace and quiet. By evening watch tomorrow we'll be back to work.”
“Hmmm.” Horatio wiggled. He let his mouth find Archie's ear, his teeth and tongue tracing the helix. He nuzzled the margin of hairline, to feel Archie shiver.
“You bit me.” Archie said in a faint voice. “Oh.”
“Want me to stop?” Horatio grazed, as he said it.
“No.” Archie's voice had tensed and dropped to a growl.
Horatio growled in return, letting his voice buzz against Archie's neck where the skin was tightly delicious.
“We could spend the day this way.” Horatio offered.
“Hmmm, the whole day? You think?”
Archie's hands were steady on Horatio's head now, holding him, kissing him. Archie's own tongue was warmly wicked, and he did some biting of his own. Archie's bare legs tangled with his own, beneath the rucked up nightshirts, and he was pressing and pushing deliciously. But they had space and time, and neither of them wanted half-measures today. They fought back to stillness, pressing, pressing. The morning air around them, was soft. It ached with promise. Archie looked down, mouth soft, eyes solemn.
Archie scrambled backward, and stripped off his night-shirt. He came forward again, the air was full of the heat of him. Horatio raised his own arms, and let Archie lift the cloth away..
Now they could lie bare, side by side, like the two curved halves of an egg shell. The heat and love was precious, it was heavily real, in that cupped emptiness between their chests and bellies. They were far enough apart to reach through it, wondering, to touch and look their fill.
Archie's hand was gentle on Horatio's neck and throat, the pad of his thumb stroking the hollow over the wings of bone. Horatio sighed. The fingers trailed along the flare of collar bone, Archie's hands were clever and kind. They moved over the pale skin, and the structure underneath. They were knowing him, loving him.
Horatio found himself caressing the underside of Archie's arm, charting his way up, all along the pale blue veins, to the hair and muscle underneath. Archie was ticklish under the arms, but neither of them were laughing now.
Horatio waited until Archie's eyes sought his, and together they watched Horatio's gentle Southgoing hand. He trailed it over the softly furred land of chest and the stuttered rise and fall of belly. Archie watched the hand intently. He was trembling. His brows were creased, and his mouth slightly open.
“Touch me?,” Archie said.
Horatio could barely speak. He was aching himself, and he knew he was pushing himself forward again and again, thrusting into the empty air as he stoked Archie. And Archie was watching that now, and still not touching there, but Archie was whining, ah, ah, and his eyes were avid.
“Stop.” Archie took Horatio's wrist, stilled the hand. And Archie's own hips bucked forward, needing, even as he did so.
“Will you do something for me Horatio?”
No need to ask what, it didn't matter what.
Archie rolled onto his back. He handed Horatio the foot salve. The little bottle was almost empty now.
“Will you... be over me? I want to watch you when I'm insi-- oh God – inside you. I want to see you take pleasure of me.”
Archie's face was hesitant, his voice hoarse with need, but somehow strangely shy. They were ready now, beyond ready.
Horatio went over him, and sinking down on him, and moving with him. Archie had him by both hips, rocking them both. Horatio felt his mouth open, silent, but stretching.. There was a scream building, in him. It was the rocking, it was the pushing, it always was, and he was going to cry out. He brought his hand to his mouth, to bite, but Archie reached to take it, so he gave the hand to Archie, and it all broke over them, and Archie did the biting instead.
“I almost like this part best of all.” Archie was stoking his back and shoulders. The world was slow and sparkly. They still had most of their day.
“Do you?” Archie sounded entertained. Too much trouble to turn his head and see why.
“Do you really, Horatio?” He was laughing. “Would you want this part without the other?”
“Well,” said Archie, as if it settled everything, “neither would I.”