Title: On Going Home, Chapter 8
Word Count 1473
Disclaimer: I did not invent them
On Going Home, Chapter 8
“You swam here as a boy?” Archie asked.
“Yes.” Horatio lifted aside the the hanging branches. “We came here often. My father taught me to swim here, when I was very little. I was so small that he just held me by one ankle."
Archie stood for a moment, hesitating. It looked like a scene from a pastoral painting. White rocks, whiskered with moss, sloped to a quiet pond, Archie could hear the splashing of of frogs. The water was still, the bottom visible. It was lined with fallen leaves.
“The water is the color of tea.” Archie ventured.
“ There is something special about it – wait until you see. “ Horatio smiled. He was stripping off his clothing with cheerful Midshipmanly speed. He had no notion, of himself as enticing, Archie realized, even after the kissing and pleasuring in the field, even after the intimacy of the previous night. Horatio might be coaxed later, right now he was thinking of going swimming.
Of course, he was enticing. He was lean and pale, graceful as an elk, as he came to the water's edge. Archie removed his own clothing absently, watching Horatio's back and buttocks, shining under the strange tea-pond water.
Archie stepped to the water's edge. He could swim. He had splashed in the ocean as a child. His clearest memory of days swimming was of being ordered out of the water too soon, and of clenching his small jaw in shivering denial. His lips had not turned blue.
This felt – different. This water had a softness too it that he had never felt before. It seemed to be touching him only lightly. It was so strangely gentle, nothing like the sea. Archie looked down, past his pale body, and realized he could clearly see his feet, white and distorted, standing on the brown leaves. As he stepped forward and set his feet down, clouds arose around them, and floated away again. As his calves submerged he noticed another thing. Each hair on his body was crowded with tiny air bubbles, each no bigger than the eye of a fly.
“Horatio, I'm covered with bubbles!”
Horatio stood in the water, up to his neck, smiling. “I know. It's always like that here. I think it has something to do with the leaves in the water.” He gestured Archie closer. “Look at me,” Horatio said. “I must have tens of thousands of them.”
Looking down he could see Horatio's white skin, with each dark hair silvered with the crowding bubbles. He laughed delightedly. Curious, Archie drew a finger down Horatio's breastbone. The bubbles, set free, shot to the surface of the water, immediately new bubbles took their place on Horatio.
“You look as if you've been dipped in silver.” Archie said.
The pond's surface, warmed by the sun slid over Archie exquisitely. It felt, he realized like being touched by Horatio himself. It encircled him so gently that he wanted to gasp with wonder, grateful for simply having skin.
He realized that the pond even looked like Horatio, all brown, and white and quiet. Horatio had brought Archie to his own past, to his own quiet interior, a place of astonishment and secret magic.
“Oh, there is another thing, come, Archie.” Horatio said. He struck out, swimming economically for the center of the pond. Archie followed. As he moved through and over the water surface the bubbles clung and popped. He imagined them trailing behind him like a comet. Archie smiled so wide that his mouth filled with tea-pond water and he choked.
In the middle of the pond was a stone. It was not visible until you were almost on top of it, and then it was impossible to miss. It glowed whitely like an iceberg. Horatio scrambled out onto it, smiling with triumph at this last revelation. Sitting on the rock, he was mostly out of the water. He pulled his knees up, and wrapped his long arms around them. “Come on up, Archie.” He said. “Get warm in the sun. Your lips are turning blue.”
The stone was white and soft. It had cracks running vertically, softly furred with green moss. Archie pulled himself up, wondering how rocks could be soft.
Horatio leaned against him, trustingly. Archie could feel Horatio's wet hair dripping over his arms. Horatio's lips were trembling with cold, but only for a moment. The rock was big enough to lie back on. The water lapped around them, warmer than blood.
Horatio fit against him, cold as a frog. It felt so good, beyond good. They warmed together, trapping the water between them. Archie wanted to move with him, aching to make it happen, wanted to make it last. Horatio kissed him, kissed his eyes, his brow, his watery ears. He felt Horatio's hand on his prick, touching but only lightly, not enough not enough. He took his hand away, after a moment, and Archie heard himself make a little helpless mourning sound.
Horatio had withdrawn both hands, and was twining them together, the way he did on the ship when something puzzled him. Oh no.
“Archie I want to ask you something.”
“All right.” Oh no, no.
But Horatio was smiling at him. Weakly, hopefully smiling.
“Archie you are so beautiful. Your skin, you – oh. And in the field. I never --” He kissed Archie long and searching and soft.
He pulled back again to look at Archie, his eyes deep and brown as the pond in the sun, and the heat, and he moved his gaze, to look down, to where Archie ached, and Archie grieved for his touch and found himself pushing forward, as if the look were enough. Horatio gulped.
“Archie can I kiss you – here? “ He touched. “I've been thinking of it. I wanted to ask, I did not want you to think me perverse. Am I? You are so beautifully made Archie. Please, may I?”
Archie looked at Horatio, dumbfounded. This innocence had survived 17 years before Justinian. This sweetness had survived Justinian. This being had stood in the same room with Simpson. Archie remembered to breathe. Horatio was actually waiting for his answer.
“You. You don't know. You can't see. Please, Horatio, I want anything you want to do.”
Horatio gave a smile, close mouthed, vulpine, entirely new under the sky. He lowered his mouth to Archie's port side collarbone and began his decent from there.
Archie sighed. He knew there was no stopping Horatio once his course was set. All Archie had to do was endure. Archie's legs were rigid, spread like a set of dividers. He could feel the sunlight, warm and red against his eyelids. Horatio passed the lower margin of his ribs and rendered a passing salute to his helpless arched belly. He entered the equatorial zone.
Horatio began to lick, lightly, exploring delicate as a cat. Not enough, God, not enough. The red soared against his lids, he could hear his voice whining, he clamped his fingers into working mouth. He was not going to force Horatio's head. Never, never do that to anyone.
Horatio's mouth was encircling him now. He bit his fingers hard, begged around them. “Horatio, please, Please.”
Horatio, mouth full, growled in assent, and it was lively now, and Archie soared up, bowed and gasping. He hit the top of the arc, and helplessly shattered.
Red and black, against his lids, and it was over. Horatio released him, slid away.
“Oh dear God.” Archie flailed a hand.
“Was it all right Archie? Did I do it right?”
Horatio had slid down into the water, ducked a moment, rinsing his hands, mouth, hair.
Archie's first coherent thought was that if he did the same, he would sit on the ponds bottom, and never breathe again. Still, he needed – he slid down the rock face. The water was cool now. It felt good.
“Horatio that was so, so – you can do that anytime.”
Horatio was floating on his back, he looked perfectly delighted. He looked down his long nose. “I am so glad you found it enjoyable Archie.” Then Horatio stood up, all dignity deserting him. “Thank you for letting me, umm, do that. Can we do it often? Can we do it again soon?”
“Soon...yes. But what about you Horatio?”
Horatio looked at Archie with sudden awe. “Archie, it happened for me too. While we were. It was so good., seeing you.
“Oh Horatio... “ Archie kissed him, feeling so happy, and down underneath a sneaking relief that offering that act would not be required of him. Not today. Even with Horatio, even with this perfect love, he wasn't ready to face it yet.
“So,” Horatio looked at him, lifted an eyebrow. “Mary packed us a basket. Are you hungry Archie?”