Title: Meat Pies and Promises
Rating R for smut with love
Word Count 1946
Disclaimer The boys are not mine.
Meat Pies and Promises
“Large beef and carrot please.”
“Mutton for me.”
The pies were hot enough to have to be juggled a little hand to hand. They were greasy on his face. They were big as warming pans and just as warming. The pie cart woman smiled at them as she took their coins. Her face was pink and chapped and homely, she looked big enough to be the mother of armies.
“I like to see hungry men eat.” She said. And they smiled back at her, and ate.
“These are so good.” Horatio mumbled.
“Best thing about Portsmouth.”
Archie's tone was definite. He was delicately licking away the very last crumbs from the palm of his hand. His tongue flashed out and down, like a kitten drinking. There was something in the gesture, in the sidelong dart of his eye that made Horatio warm in the other way.
The harbor-side was sparkling, Horatio could feel the sun all over his hair and shoulders. Something was uncoiling in him, something he had not known was drawn taut. They had the whole day, and another night as well. They had time and money, for meat pie and for book-stores, and beer. And then back to the Indy, to be useful, not to sit in Spain, but to give his mind and his body in service to his Captain and his King. He tipped his head back, and bared his teeth to grin up at the sun.
He and Archie zagged as they walked, rolling wide on the missing sea. Again and again Archie's solid shoulder hit Horatio. After the fourth time, Horatio put his elbow out. And it was fun to push and scrap in the daylight, to be boys for a moment, giggling as if pain in the night could never find them.
They turned away from the water and the streets became smaller, and better kept. And quieter. Archie knew where the bookstore was. He led unerringly. Just as well, Horatio would never have found it on his own. But it was there, small and half hidden, down a walkway, and up a stair over a white painted house.
It was quiet and dim, and smelled better than meat pies. They were silent, for almost an hour, opening covers, rustling pages. In the place of words, they thought of nothing else.
The world was still there, of course. Just beyond the door.
“What did you get?” Horatio asked. Archie's book had a French title. “Dangerous Liaisons? What is that abou--- oh, it has...pictures.” he felt his face growing pink.
“They are prints of etchings, actually.” Archie said, as if that made any sort of difference. Horatio reflected that even Archie would not dare to loan that book to Mr Bracegirldle. “I got this one to share.” Archie held out a copy of the collected works of Marlowe. It was more presentable, at least.
“Show me yours.”
Horatio held his book out. It was small, it sat in his palm. It had no pictures, and was unlikely to excite desire in anyone but him. He had been delighted to find it.
“Carl Gauss.” Archie said. “A German mathematical treatise. Oooh, That should be a popular favorite.” He wrinkled his nose. It did not move very far.
They came around a corner, and Horatio stopped in surprise. Before him was a familiar blue coated back, broad and stout, and very, very preoccupied. The girl was small and pretty, with masses of blond curls, disarranged by enthusiastic kissing. She was locked in tight embrace with –
Cleveland turned to face them, drawing the girl close to his side.
He smiled, and Horatio could see that it was a new smile, confident and joyful.
“Ah, Mr. Kennedy, Mr. Hornblower.” He said. “May I present Miss Cathcart?”
She stepped forward, pushing her hair back, lifting her chin.
She looked at them, a little defiantly. She really was quite pleasant looking, Horatio thought, as he bowed. He had his head up in time to see the look she turned on Cleveland, and it was such a mixture of pride and desire that he felt his own belly clench.
“Christopher and I have known each other for years,” She said. “We are to be married.”
The bed was just across the room, but he was not sure they would make it that far. Archie reached out with his free hand and shut the door behind them. The day outside was warming, but the little inn room was cool and dim.
“Back to hammocks tomorrow.” Archie said. “We should take advantage of anything flat.” Horatio noticed, distantly, that Archie's voice was shaking. They were both shaking. So strange, how the want could blow up like a squall this way. So strange how they both trembled with it, and Archie's mouth was so good.
The bed was at the back of Horatio's knees now, he had not realized that they had been moving. He went down all backwards, but Archie was with him, and over him.
“I want everything.” Horatio's voice was gruff, rushed.
“Oh, but slowly.” That is what Archie said, but slowly never worked. They tried but---
“Please Horatio, slowly tonight. Need—need you.” Archie's voice was gruff too. The sound of it was heat and lifting, and Horatio pushed himself forward, eager for the slide of skin.
Archie rolled to touch more easily, and both shirts went over the side. Archie's hand was warm on the skin of his abdomen, just tracing, where the little hairs stood like little wind bent trees. Horatio tipped his hips, helpful. “No, no” Archie whispered. “Slowly.”
Horatio had a blurry glimpse of the ceiling, and then he had to close his eyes. Archie was kissing down the center of him, from the notch at his throat, down, down, soft and merciless, to where the little bent trees... So warm, that mouth. He could only hold on as the heat made him writhe. But the mouth did not follow down, as far as he had hoped. Archie drew all that wicked softness up again.
“Not yet, Horatio.”
Very well then. Two could play. He felt the hardness along Archie's bent thigh. He could hear the soft groan, as he drew his fingers to the buttons. Horatio drew the trousers down and away, and groaned himself just a little. Archie was all his, in the light of day, in the dusty light of the window, hard and shining, and wanting, and gruff and delicious, and they both were....
“Want you in my mouth.” Archie said and his eyes were huge and dark. He was pushing Horatio back flat, against the bed. “Please.” And Horatio drew him close to feel him slide down, all along against him. But Archie started all over again, with Horatio's eyebrows, kissing them, licking them gently, and then his nose, and only then his yearning open mouth. Archie's hands splayed against the sides of Horatio's face, steadying and caressing all at once.
Horatio felt his back sway, the fingers so clever and kind, moved down, into the soft heat under his arms. And then down all along his sides, not ticklish, not now, but a beautiful agony. Archie was sprawled between Horatio's spread legs, Horatio rocked against him because he could not help it now, and he heard Archie laugh just a little.
“Patience,” Archie said again. And it was unfair of Archie to chide him, when Horatio knew that Archie was pressed against the bed, hard, his own glistening prick down against the bed, and oh, unfair. But when he went to protest, Archie dropped that mouth to encircle him, and Horatio could only gasp.
His hips wanted to push up, but Archie was holding him down strong, and all he could do was shiver and groan. He brought his hands down into Archie's hair, and it fell like silk all around them, and he felt the clever mouth smile.
Archie's tongue was there, and stroking the tip of him, and everything tight all around, and he sobbed a little, and Archie released his hips, and he had to push up, and he did, and it was more, and he had to tell, and his voice came from a distance.
“Now, Archie, its now, now, oh happening to me.”
Archie held him tight through the shudders, and slid up beside him to push back his sweaty hair.
“Love you Honeybee.”
“Inside me now?” Horatio whispered.
“Yes, let me just—oh.”
And Archie was over him, and rocking with him, “There now, there.” He murmured. And they were a perfect machine together, with four arms holding, and the flanks of them straining, and the heat all down between.
Horatio took him in, and in, and drew him forward and forward, and watched as Archie's face crumpled and Archie shuddered and sagged.
The little room was dusty, and the bed-cover was red. Horatio reached down and drew it up. He tucked it around Archie carefully. He reached out and drew Archie close. Archie got cold after. It was sweet to push Archie's hair back now, and and the see the flush across his face, and to kiss his nose. Archie burrowed close, snuffling into the skin of Horatio's neck. They drifted for some time, in pleasant stupidity. Horatio was more than half asleep when Archie spoke.
“Did you see how that girl looked at Cleveland?”
Horatio nodded, with a rumble of assent.
“She loves him.”
“Yes. I saw.”
Horatio's voice was slow with thought. He kissed Archie awhile, thoughtfully.
“She loves him.” Horatio confirmed. “I can tell, I can see it on her face.”
He was stroking Archie's back, as he said this, and suddenly all he could feel were the scars beneath his hands. And a vision roared up in his mind, of Archie small and sick with fever, and the ruin of his feet. It was so hard to speak of the future, but he had to dare it now.
“I want this for always, Archie. I nearly went mad without you. I --- please Archie, only you.”
“I did wonder, Horatio,” Archie's voice was very soft, “If while I was gone there had been... someone?”
“No! God, no. Don't you remember? I showed you, with the shirt?”
“So, you spent two years committing solitary indecencies into my shirt?”
“Don't laugh at me, Archie. I was so lonely for you.”
“No, no.” Archie touched the side of Horatio's face.
“I'm not laughing, Horatio. It's the same for me. When they'd locked me in the dark, I forgot nearly everything. I forgot human speech, forgot myself almost completely, but I remembered you. I knew that you loved me. Its the same for me, you know. While I live-- only you.”
He pressed his fingers gently under Horatio's eyes, and kissed the long sniffling nose.
“Settled then.” Said Archie. “Let's have a nap while we can.”
The bed was soft and flat. The little room was dim and quiet. Archie was asleep in less than five minutes.
Horatio was left behind, awake, staring at the ceiling. After some time, he got to a sitting position. Archie did not wake. Horatio reached over for his new book. With a wiggle of anticipation, he began to read. Gauss was all that he had hoped.