Word Count: 569
Disclaimer: Not even the turtles are mine
Sometimes We Don't Remember
The smell of grasses was all around him, and the sound of birds. He was wet with dew, dusted gold with the pollen of honeysuckle. The sky was kind above him, translucent blue, deep enough to swim in. His feet and legs were bare, and he had never thought he would want to walk barefoot again, but there was moss underfoot. It felt delicious. He curled his toes down into it, and was rewarded with the rising of cool mud.
There was a brook, ahead of him. He had not found it yet, but he knew that it was there. It was shaded soft, under the trees overhanging. There were rocks soft with wear, and brown shadows of leaves on the surface of the water. He could hear the sound of frogs, and he knew there would be turtles resting in the heat. He walked toward the sound of the water. He was soundless in the moss. He could smell the water now, and hear it. It was cool and clean and fresh. He could lie at the water's edge and drink.
From far away he heard a bell. It was faint and sharp, and he didn't want it. He didn't want it, he pushed it away, but it kept on. And now he could hear the sound of water, it was the song of the slide of the Indy's hull. It was morning. He was Archie-awake. He was folded in canvas, sweaty with sleep. His mouth was dry. He drew a deep breath, wood and tar and salt. This was life.
He could hear Horatio on the other side of the canvas partition. Horatio was splashing as he shaved. Archie rolled to his feet. He curled his toes on the deckboard, dry and clean.
“Good morning Horatio.”
“Did you put me to bed last night?” Archie felt a little shy asking, but his memories of the night before were jumbled. And, after all, there could be no shame between them.
“You were dead on your feet.” Horatio's voice was muffled, he was stuggling into his shirt, as he did every morning. His long arms were waving, awkwardly. The shirt was winning.
“How do you feel now?” Horatio seemed to be trying to tidy his hair. He was facing Archie though, and not the looking glass, and he was making it worse.
“Let me.” Archie reached for the comb. Horatio sat down on the sea-chest. He leaned back against Archie's thighs. He sighed as Archie began to work the knots out. Archie's legs were bare. He was wearing only his drawers, indecently worn, and ragged. Horatio turned this to advantage, snaking a long arm around, to caress the back of Archie's bare knee.
“How do you feel now?” Horatio's voice was sweet as honey. He turned his head and gave Archie's thigh a lingering bite.
“I feel-- ooh, all right. Stop that Horatio! I slept well. There, you grabby thing, you are done now.”
Archie turned to dress himself. He and Horatio left together, to begin the day.
Gaining the deck, Archie could see that the sky was blue, and the wind fair. He took a deep breath, reaching for the receding tail of a thought.
“Strangest thing,” Archie said. “I think I dreamed about turtles.”