Title: That Looks on Tempests and is Never Shaken
Word Count 753
Disclaimer Perhaps by now I belong to them
I have taken some liberties with the weather here. I assumed, growing up in Massachusetts, that everyone had nor'easters. Wiki says it is not so. In brief, they are 3 day gales. (One day to grow, one to blow, one to go.) They are the kind that knock trees over, the rain that comes with them is cold and sideways.
I apologize, for inflicting them on the crew of the Indy.
That looks on Tempests and is Never Shaken
“Its just unnatural.” Horatio said. “
Its July, midsummer. How can it be so cold? ”
“Still blowing out there?” Archie did not really need to ask. Horatio's face was wind pinked, and his hands, when Archie took them were wet and chapped.
“Blowing a Nor'east gale.” Horatio muttered.
Archie had no reason for guilt. He had the mid-watch himself tonight, and that was liable to be more cold, wet and windy. (And devoid of company too, he reminded himself.) Still, he had spent the last hours snug in his hammock, reading. Not navigational reading either, he had not attended to his studies today. Something in the rain had made him indolent, and a little sentimental. He had sought out his little book of Shakespeare's sonnets. The words lay in his memory like river rocks, visible, known, worn smooth with repeated handling.
But here was Horatio, dripping a puddle on the deck-boards, clawing his hair from his eyes, honking his nose, blocking the light. This was love. Archie put the book aside.
“Come here, H'ratio. Let me warm you.”
Archie turned, he was sitting in his hammock now, legs dangling. He drew Horatio to face him, pulled him close. Archie found himself grateful, once again for the little wooden chamber they now shared. They had tied the canvas divider back, and the two hammocks, as of old, hung close enough for him to take Horatio's hand. But that was for later. Warm him up first. Archie wormed his hands under Horatio's jacket and vest. Even the shirt, closest to his skin was cold and slack with rain. Archie felt his mouth quirk. Horatio always seemed to get three times as wet as anyone else.
Archie took those freezing hands and drew them under his own shirt, against his own warm belly. His skin gave a heave at the cold intrusion, but his own overlying hand stilled any withdrawal.
“Here now, like this.” He murmured. Horatio came forward, docile. Now Archie could feel Horatio's breath against his own, and the fine trembles shaking , as the shirt pulled free.
“Oh, that's better.” Horatio's voice was soft and clumsy. He pushed against Archie now, skin on skin, he really was shivering.
“Cold as a newt.” Archie said. “In July, you foolish thing.” He slipped the buttons of Horatio's trousers. They stuck, it took both hands to peel them down. “Damn, Horatio, your arse is like ice.”
“I know. The wind was blowing up it the whole time.”
Archie chucked, and spread his hands over the globes of muscle, seeing them in a thousand loving memories. Horatio's poor, pale, freezing stern.
Horatio's hammock could hold them both. Archie dropped his own shirt to the floor. He heaped the blankets over them, and let his own heat bloom where they touched. Horatio burrowed against him, sighing a little now, as Archie stroked the skin of his back and flanks.
“Oh that's good.” Horatio said. “I'm sore there, for some reason.”
“Hmm.” Archie replied. “Try and sleep, Honeybee.”
He set his hands to rubbing gently, over the smooth skin of Horatio's back. It was lovely under his hands, smooth and fine. Horatio was still thin, the ripples of rib-bones were easy to feel on his sides, but the swell of muscle was there too, strong and dense.
Archie sighed a little himself. He treasured these times, when they rolled like sunning seals, in the shallows of desire. It was such luxury to have no goal in mind, to lie together without the drumbeat of need, or the specter of exposure. The lazy slide of skin was its own reward. More, more than he deserved, more than enough. He could feel Horatio gathering way toward sleep, the dark eyebrows drawn down slightly, as if it were some work to go there. Finally Archie felt the convulsive kick, as Horatio dropped into his own unreachable dreams.
Smiling, Archie followed.