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The Captain's Guest Bed

Title:The Captain's Guest Bed

Author Eglantine_br

Rating R (Barely)

Word Count 1030

The Captains Guest Bed

He could not help the chuckle. It buzzed against the warm expanse of Archie's chest. Archie chuckled too at the feel of it and brought a warm hand down onto Horatio's neck.

“What do you find so amusing H'ratio?” Archie's voice was a rough buzz. Horatio propped himself up onto an elbow.

“All day today, when the camel was puking and moaning, all I could think of was the three wise men.

I was picturing them stumbling along, with monkeys and tigers, and Matthews and Styles, and you know, myrrh and gold and all.”

“And nard.”

“Archie!” Horatio put his hands over his mouth. His eyes were dancing.

“Spikenard, Horatio. Is it not the same thing? I believe we can find the proper biblical reference.”

Horatio reached over to the bed table. The little jar was heavy, of translucent green stone. The salve inside was cool, and just the smell of it made him ache now. Archie's hand covered his, and Archie's eyes were wide and soft.

“Never thought we would be lying in the skipper's guest bed.”

The room was small and tidy, the white walls shadowed in the ebbing light. The air was serene, it smelled of plants. There was a vase of yellow flowers in the corner. The sheets cool and sweet, perfect costly linen. His own bare feet stretched in comfort. Captain Pellew was a tall man, taller than Horatio. Horatio could only assume that the beds in his house had been made with this in mind.

“So strange to be here,” Horatio said. “If I shut my eyes I still think I will open them on the Indy.”

“Hmm.” Archie gave a luxurious stretch. “I wonder if the camel feels the same way.”

The Pellew's stable had already housed a pony and a large white billy goat. Goat and pony had watched with interest as the camel was settled into the last empty box stall. It had been accomplished easily enough. The captain's lady, Horatio thought, had her own ease with command. The camel had seemed content with fresh straw bedding, and with hay to eat. After a bit he had folded its head back against his own side, and gone to sleep.

“You still smell a little of that goat,” Archie said. “he rubbed against you—here.” He placed a soft kiss on Horatio's naked hipbone.

“Goat smell gets everywhere.” Horatio said faintly. “And he was a friendly thing too. I liked him better than the camel.”

Horatio had a fondness for goats. They were intelligent as cats, but more kindly. He had spent a good few minutes scratching this one between the horns. It had leaned against him, eyes closed in delight. Archie was doing much the same to him now, with an altogether different result. There would be time for that too. But better to wait a little while. The house was crowded. So this was a casual caress, it was given more in promise than anything.

“I am to go with the captain on Monday,” Horatio said it idly. He was looking up at the ceiling.


“Yes, he is to London, to meet with admiral Hood. I am to travel with him and buy new uniforms.”


And this had somehow been the wrong thing to say. Archie rolled away, and looked up the ceiling too.

“London.” Archie said. His mouth had gone flat.

“Yes.” Horatio could feel his happiness falter. “I had rather go with you-- I had always thought that my first visit to London would be with you. But I do need the uniforms.”

“So you do-- make sure to get new drawers too. Those are quite useless.”

And somehow Horatio did not want to say, as he would usually have done, 'If they are so useless take them off of me.'

He watched Archie's face instead. Archie's smile was wry.

“I am sure our captain will delight in your company, Horatio.”

And Horatio had a sudden memory, of Archie stiff and proud and hurt, speaking of old Captain Keene. 'He does not see me.' Archie had said. The memory unspooled like tangled string, he could not follow the meaning of it easily, but he knew it was important.

“ I don't mean to vex you, Archie. You know that I would rather be with you.”

Archie gave a sigh. He stretched his arms above his head. and rolled belly down. He rested his head on his folded arms. This close to Horatio he was a little blurry. But that was fine. Horatio liked this blur, gold and blue and pale.

“Needs of the Navy.” Archie said.

“We are here now.” Horatio offered.

“So we are.” Archie said.

He reached a hand out to touch Horatio's face, and Horatio watched as Archie pushed the dark mood aside. It was like watching a white curtain pulled over a night window. There were the emptiness, pain and anger, forced away back. They were there, of course. But Archie would have no truck with them tonight. Forcing him to speak of it more would do no good. Therefore, Horatio need not feel obliged to do so.

It was like seeing a squall line in the distance, safely bearing away. He was furtively relieved.

Then the thought slid away entirely. Archie was done waiting. He began to kiss and stroke with intent. Done talking, done thinking. Horatio felt his hips lift, faster and faster until he could not keep up, and all was trembling apogee. In the flare behind his eyelids, it was the tiger Horatio thought of. He saw again the soft striped skin of it, and the heavy power and heat. He thought of the soft looking paws, the deadly teeth.

Then it was over. He shivered, and Archie pulled him close. He reached down, but Archie shook his head. “Get me next time, Horatio.” Archie pulled the blankets up, and placed a perfect kiss on Horatio's nose. Horatio slept.


( 8 comments — Leave a comment )
Feb. 21st, 2012 07:23 pm (UTC)
I wonder what I'm missing, with the tension between them. Because there's something... much as they love each other, there's something worrisome there.
Feb. 21st, 2012 08:25 pm (UTC)
Yes. Archie has a real problem with older men who want to help Horatio along. Archie feels jealous/angry. It is not a sexual jealousy. It is deeper and earlier than that. It has to do with Archie's father. There is some real ugliness there that I have not written yet because I don't quite see it clearly yet.

And of course, Archie is quite adept at using sex to get other things done. In this case he wanted to change the subject.
Horatio, in his innocence, feels this but does not really understand it either.

To be fair, I am not sure how conscious it is with Archie. And all of this is jumbled in with the real love, and with Horatio's awareness of Archie's pain, and with Archie's desire to protect Horatio.
Feb. 21st, 2012 08:46 pm (UTC)
I noticed the changing the subject.

My Archie hasn't got quite the same issues - for one thing, he was raised by an uncle, not a father - but there are still some there, because of being the poor relation, and being left to make his way in His Majesty's Navy, instead of some other path. (Such a bitter remark, about if you could have afforded a commission as well as a new uniform, you could have joined the army.)

Any fretting over Pellew's concern for Horatio pretty much vanished after Pellew went to so much trouble to save Archie's life, though, in my world. That left him no doubt he was valued... it would have been so much easier to let him die.

I hope your two will sort it out.
Feb. 22nd, 2012 11:45 am (UTC)
I love all the different versions of Archieness - how we all take that one character and, while he remains true to himself, his background and baggage vary.

Grand stuff, Eg. :)
Feb. 22nd, 2012 07:06 pm (UTC)
We are marching to Muzillac. They don't know it yet of course. But it is going to get difficult for them quite soon.
Feb. 22nd, 2012 07:08 pm (UTC)
I love it too-- and just think what meeting Archie has led to-- all the writing, all the friendships. A wonderful thing.
Feb. 23rd, 2012 08:50 am (UTC)
How else, when the screenwriters gave us such a vivid and appealing character in front of us, but only such fragmentary and teasing hints to his background? We all speculate on how he became what we see, and it would be a wonder if the answers were all the same.

No wonder that we all fell in love with him, though.
Sep. 26th, 2016 05:43 am (UTC)
I've already forgotten how that story went. I shall have to read it all again. *Feels like a child halfway through unwrapping a mountain of gifts, who has just been reminded that there's another mountain beyond this one!*
( 8 comments — Leave a comment )