Title: Bears and Sheets
Word Count 424
Disclaimer still not mine
Bears and Sheets
The coffee was a comforting burn in his throat and all the way down. Horatio put the cup aside. He could see the coach outside. The horses were affixed to it. Time to go. Tonight he would sleep in his childhood bed, and Archie would rest beside him. Horatio felt his mouth curve into a smile.
And there was Archie, across the table, nose deep in his own coffee cup. The sky outside was pewter gray, but what light there was found Archie as always, and shone in his hair.
“Time to go, I think.”
“So it is.” Archie put his own cup down.
Inside the coach the light was golden, diffuse. It mellowed white to gold, and brown to something new and lovely.. It smelled of leather, and dust, and horses. Beyond all that, beyond the sound of clopping and creaking, Horatio could smell green things, crops, the smell of land.
“What are you smiling at?” Archie asked.
“It reminds me of playing under sheets as a boy.”
Archie lifted an eyebrow.
“You mean---” He made a gesture.
“No!” Apparently Horatio could still blush. He hastened to explain.
“I mean, when I was very small, on wash-day, Mary would hang the sheets out on the box tree to dry, and I would, h'hm, get under them. It was like my own little world under there. I would play that I was an explorer, or that it was my house. Sometimes I brought Mr Friend--
“He's not a doll.”
“Anyway,” Horatio finished more quietly, “Sometimes she would put let me put a sheet over the table so it hung right to the floor. Not often, because she said I got them dirty, but sometimes. That was the best. I used to play that I was a bear.”
“Mary and your father will be mad with joy to see you.”
“And to see you, Archie.” Horatio's brows drew together. “Everyone thought you had been lost at sea.”
“I had not really thought of that.” Archie said. His voice was soft.
Horatio snuggled Archie close. He rested his chin on the sunny top of Archie's head and sighed. He felt Archie give a deep ragged sigh of his own. Neither of them mentioned Archie's own family. But Horatio found himself wondering how it was that the words that one did not say could seem so loud.