Title: That Dark Shore
Word Count 581
Disclaimer Not mine
That Dark Shore
Mostly it was fine. The Indy kept him busy. By the time night came he was ready to turn in. Those nights, his hammock held him like a cupped hand. It smelled of sleep, and he swung in the canvas shadows until his eyes closed. Horatio lay nearby,wrapped neatly in his own canvas and even when they could do no more, they could take hands.
Nights here in Kent were better, were heaven. Tonight was the third night. He had rested back, Horatio had been over him, warm and silky and strong, and Archie had held those hips, and felt the strong sinews under the soft skin. Archie had rocked him down over, over and over, with little words and sounds that built the ache, the joy, until they could take no more. He knew himself loved, Horatio whispered it between kisses as they fell apart spent. Horatio had rolled to face the ceiling, and they had been laughing, sweating, sticky. They had been so far form thoughts of prisons.
So there was no reason to dream. Oh, he knew there was no shame in dreams-- they were phantasies of the mind, they were jumbles of the past. No shame. But he hated this, hated it now with all the force of all the hate he had left. Horatio was curled, like a cat, facing him, breathing light and sweet in Archie's face. Horatio could not feel it. He slept like a child in his childhood bed. He did not wake at night slick with the sweat of fear and shame. Horatio did not know. Archie did not want him to know.
Strange, Cleveland was the one who seemed closest to getting it. He had stumbled over Archie, once sleeping on deck. Cleveland had made some jest, he had not pressed Archie too closely. But some shrewdness had shown in his glance. Not a stupid man, Cleveland.
Tonight the dream had come with darkness of worms, stifling and close. It had been a dream of the living grave. Archie asleep, had felt his mouth dry, his heart race. He had felt the footsteps, pursuing close. He had clawed with his hands, seeking earth like a helpless animal. He had fought in the end, weak as he was, useless as he was. He had not been able to stop it. He had sobbed as they took him, covering his face with his filthy hands.
Not real. Just a a dream. Real was this bed, this room. Real was Horatio. What real was, was better than Archie had ever thought of deserving. During the hours of light he was safe for the most part. He was made fast to the living world. Only at night he dragged his anchor, and he broke on the dark shore.
Well, fuck it. There was nothing for it. He dared not sleep again now.
He took a deep breath, and snaked his nightshirt from where it was pinned under Horatio's leg. “Hmm-love-Archie.” Horatio slurred. He did not wake. Greatly daring, light as moths wing, Archie kissed Horatio's cheek. “Oh. Ham and cheese.” Horatio said, quite clearly. But he did not wake.
Archie's book had fallen under the bed. He crouched to retrieve it. He took the candle, and padded out of the room.
Cloud lay in the hall. She lifted her head at his approach. He stooped to pet her, and glided down the stairs.