Title: Fathers and Forgiving
Word Count 817
Disclaimer Not mine
Fathers and Forgiving
He had been dreaming of toasted cheese.
He had felt Archie leave the bed, and had not chosen to wake,
floating below the surface of sleep, weightless as a fish. He had
felt the kiss, known it and slept on.
Now Horatio woke to the sound of a step
the stairs. It was Archie, ascending, and now climbing in beside
“Hmm, you smell good.” Horatio had
his nose on Archie now, rubbing and wuffling.
The room was chilly, dawn pale in the
windows. He was mazed with drowsiness, but he felt that Archie had
been gone for hours. Horatio gave him a vigorous nuzzle, there at the
neck of the nightshirt, the skin was so --
Archie gave a gurgling laugh,
“You smell of brandy.” Horatio
“ that is no reason to knock me
down,” Archie complained. “Arg.. it's like embracing a
bull-calf.” This complaint seemed unconvincing to Horatio. Archie
had reclined with a grin, and drawn Horatio down against his chest.
“So what happened to you?” Horatio
asked. “Were you waylaid by strong drink on the way to the privvy?”
“No.” Archie sighed. Horatio's hand
was under the nightshirt now, pushing it up, to bunch under his arms,
Horatio's hands now, sliding over belly and flank.
“No-- I was talking to your father.”
The sliding hand stopped a moment, then
went on. Horatio certainly didn't pause in his soft kissing. But he
was awake now, and listening carefully.
“My father.” the repetition was
flat, inviting Archie to say more.
“Yes. I, well, I had a nightmare.”
Archie's voice was soft, hesitant with something Horatio didn't like.
“I couldn't sleep. So I got up, and
went downstairs to read. He was there, writing up his notes. He bore
me company, talked to me for a while.”
“Mmmhmm...” He had his face on the
curved margin of Archie's lowest ribs now, everything there was
perfect and sweet, sheeted with healthy muscle again, where once the
bones had stood stark. Horatio remembered too, this place of Archie
soiled with bruises, exposed, even to Horatio, with shame. His kisses
were careful, remembering.
“My father was drinking brandy in the
middle of the night?” This seemed unlikely.
“Ooh, that...tickles. No. Your father
was drinking coffee. The brandy was for me. He said I should drink it
up, and it would help me sleep.”
“And yet you are here, awake.”
“True.” Archie grinned back. “Your
father could not have predicted your antics.” Archie wiggled,
clutching Horatio close.
“Your father is easy to talk to,
Horatio. He-- I told him more than I had planned.”
“ He asked about my dreams. He said
that they were to be expected. '
“Mr Bracegirdle said the same.”
Yes. But somehow, I found-- I don't
know, it is different here than on the Indy. He asked about my
father. He said that he thinks my father misses me.”
Archie's tone was wondering His voice
was hesitant and low.
“I'm sure he does”
Horatio skimmed his hand along Archie's
belly, lower, feeling the gentle rise of breath, the delicious crisp
fur, Archie's standing prick against the back of his hand.
“Oh.” Archie rocked his hips up,
trying for more contact, more slide.
The light was coming through the
curtains now, the day had come. Here there was no hurry. There were
no bells, no orders, there was just the decadent softness of the
bedding, and the heat where they tangled warmly. And they were both
wanting again. So good to feel the hunger, and know it would be fed.
“I am sure that your father misses
you. Your whole family must --”
“I had not thought of it. I left home
at 14, Horatio. My father cast me from home. I thought he wanted me
gone. He has other sons, my brothers you know.”
Horatio was listening, thinking, even
as he stroked Archie's parted thighs. For this need, this goodness,
Archie had been sent from his home. Innocent and open, at 14, Archie
had been sent to Justinian, to Simpson.
This was the pain that had led to all
others. This was the core. Better to lower his face to kiss, to not
let his expression to be seen.
“Your father said that he thinks of
you every day.”
“I'm sure that is true.”
“Your father said—oh.” Archie
“That, oh that. Do it like that,
Horatio. Oh, please.”
And Horatio did. His soft clever mouth
moved them both beyond speech, finally, to aching synchrony in the
squared sunlight of the bed. That which had scarred closed was open
now. There would be time, later to speak more of fathers and