Title: Lost and Found
Word Count 1115
Disclaimer None of this belongs to me.
Note: This is a funny one. Some ofit was inspired by the amazing drawing that Anteros posted. Her
daughter had drawn a ship, complete with sharks, and flags and stern
windows that any Captain would covet.
It got me thinking about the long
ago drawings of long ago children. Horatio must have made some, I
thought. So, I gave him some. If anyone knows of a repository of
Georgian children's drawings I would love to see it!
There are two songs in this chapter.
The first is by the Mountain Goats. I love them. It is called 'Up the
The second song is
more...traditional. I invented neither.
Lost and Found
He had slept for hours. He had breathed
in the smell of his childhood, he had relaxed against Archie's
warmth, and he had rested utterly. Surfacing now, he knew again a
world with no bells, no orders. The clock on the landing made gentle
suggestions, that was all.
He could hear it now, striking nine.
Keeping his eyes closed, Horatio smiled. Downstairs, he knew, his
father would be sitting, drinking coffee, and writing case notes.
There might be bacon. But, oh, he was languorous, there was no
hurry. His body was delightfully sore. They had woken deep in the
night and made love, with almost no words. This was the room, the
very bed where they had done it first. The memory of that was sweet.
They had both thought of it, he knew. The knowledge had been in
Archie's eyes too, and in the kisses that had been so gentle against
He took a deep experimental breath.
There-- there was still a catch in his chest, a moment of deep pain
in the pleura. But it was better, it was. He no longer had that
drowning feeling. He was breathing no more often than Archie. Well,
he amended, a little more often still. But he was healing.
There had been little time, to talk to
Father about the illness. Horatio had been pleased to let the joy
carry the evening where it would. There had been a pained pleasure on
Archie's face, as they embraced him, fed him. Of course they loved
him. They would love him anyway, because Horatio did, and they loved
Horatio. But Archie made a very diffident hero. It had hurt, like the
pain in the chest, to see him shy.
Horatio let his eyes drift open, vision
blurred beyond the black fringe of his eyelashes. He could see
Archie's bent thigh, inches away. Archie was sitting up, reading.
“What have you there?” Horatio
propped up on an elbow.
“Hmm, not really sure.” Archie
seemed to be fighting a grin. He was holding a small ragged notebook.
Horatio scrambled up to sitting-- the little book was very familiar.
“I found it wedged down behind the
bed. I looks as if it has been there for years. Oh my--- Horatio you
are a man of many talents.”
They looked together. The drawings were
old, people with spidery legs, and potato shaped bodies. They were
labeled in a child's blotted scrawl.
“I really like the walrus, Horatio.
Were you reading of the Arctic?
“It is not a walrus. Look here-- it
“It says 'Fatter.' I think you needed
instruction in spelling.”
Archie dropped a kiss on Horatio's
shoulder and turned the page.
The next page was crowded. Archie could
see what was surely a horse, a smiling sun above it, and something
that looked like-- well, a potato. This one had no legs.
“What is this one?”
“Ha'hm. I remember making that one.”
Horatio said. His voice was soft. “Its my mother. Well, it's her
as I imagined her to be.”
Archie's face went soft. Archie
gathered him close. It felt good.
“Mary believes that mother is
watching me from above.” Horatio said. “She really, absolutely
believes it. But I can't. I don't know what happens when we die,
but--” He trailed off, letting his words end against the skin of
“I talk to her, but it is really just
talking to myself. I wish I could believe.” The words sounded lame
to Horatio, but Archie never mocked him when it mattered.
They looked at the page together. “Its
a very good horse.”
Horatio blushed. “I think it was
meant to be a wolf”
Horatio let his eyes shut again. He
didn't feel like looking at the pictures anymore. He rested his head
against Archie. It always felt so safe, like home. He could feel
Archie watching him, watching closely. That was all right too.
After a moment he realized that Archie
was singing, softly, a comforting wordless hum.
“What is that?”
“ Nothing really. I was just reminded
it. It is a song that Clayton sang. He used to sing as well as play,
until Simpson made him stop. It's a song about wolves.”
“Actually it is about mothers too.”
“Sing it for me.” And Archie did.
“There's going to come a day
you'll feel better
you'll rise up easy on that day
from branch to branch
lighter than the air
just when that day
who can say
who can say
Our mothers have been
ever since we founded Rome
but there's gonna be a party
when the wolf comes home.”
“I like that.” Horatio said
“Me too. Simpson hated that song. I
think he knew that Clayton sang it to comfort me.”
And, watching, Horatio could see Archie
shake off the memory of that time, long ago now. Archie ghosted his
hand over the circle scar under Horatio's arm. Captain Pellew had
shot Simpson, in the end.
It rid the days of him, if not the
nights. Archie, at least, still dreamed of him sometimes.
“You never sing, Horatio,” Archie
“No, I can't sing.”
Archie's face wrinkled. “Everyone can
“That is what people who can sing
say.” Horatio's tone was resigned.
“Well,” Said Archie “I'll sing
for you, Horatio, any time.”
And he sang—loudly:
“Do your balls hang low,
Do they wobble to and fro,
Can you tie them in a knot,
Can you tie them in a bow?
landed in a naked giggling heap on the floor. They landed hard enough
that they heard Mary squawk from the kitchen below.
then, being out of bed, they dressed and went down to find breakfast