Rating R (for boys in the hotel room)
Word Count 1415
“Ha'hm. I don't know about this Archie.”
Horatio was still dithering.
“You liked it last time.” Archie restricted himself to no more than a fond smile.
“Here we are, Horatio. No more arguments.”
“We could have the same fun in a less costly place.”
Archie stopped on the doorstep. They had passed several inns more modest than this one, on the way here. He sighed.
“Yes, true. But I want a real hot bath, don't you? With hot water, and real soap. I want to eat myself into a stupor. I want to see if we can get that room with the mirror again. I want to watch you in it when we--'
“Well, it is the truth, Horatio.”
It was the truth, but not the whole truth. But Archie did not say more. He was not going to say that he had clung to the memory of this place, as a drowning man seizes a spar. He had held it against the dark, as a frightened man holds a candle. No need to say these things. He would not soil this day, they had few enough whole days together.
So, yes, it was the truth. And Archie spoke it bold, but he could not help a glance around to see if anyone had heard them. He saw Horatio's soft eyes do the same. The pillory, the yardarm. The Articles, were there in the mind, even when he wanted to put them to the side. That is why they read them out, of course. So they became a part of a man. You could never set them aside really, never forget them really. Archie suspected sometimes that the other men of the Indy knew quite well what he and Horatio were-- and what they were to each other. The old man was no fool. And Archie suspected that Bracegirdle saw a great deal too, with those mild eyes of his.
Horatio was gnawing his lip.
“If you are sure...”
“Horatio, I do not need you to guard my purse for me.”
So, here they were. The Indy was in for resupply and refit. Captain Pellew had left the ship, not long past dawn, for breakfast with the Port Admiral. He had had a sheaf of papers under his arm. His face had been drawn and thoughtful. Archie, coming off watch, weary, had stayed well away from him.
But Archie was weary no more.
The entrance hall of the inn was as he remembered; foolish, overdone, heavy with velvet, black and gold. Archie stepped to the counter and put his money down.
The room at last. He could see the white expanse of the bed, reflected in the ormolu mirror. Maybe it was the same room they had taken so long ago, years ago now. Maybe all the rooms looked the same. He didn't care.
He leaned back against the closed door, reaching behind himself to set the lock. Alone, together. He drew Horatio to him.
It seemed so long since they had been entirely free to touch. It was not so long really, only two weeks now since they had sailed for Muzillac. He did not want to think of that now. He only wanted this, this, this.
Horatio's breath was warm and ragged all up Archie's neck. Horatio had found that place behind the ear, and his mouth was there now, and Archie shivered. He let his eyes close. Here were Horatio's hands, strong, at the angle of the jaw. Archie dropped his head back, exposing his throat for the soft bite.
“Oh.” The sound of his own voice surprised him. It was low, snap of sound, quite unlike his daily speech. His body had reduced itself now to several flares of joyous awareness. Nothing else signified.
He knew, as he knew the deepest things, that Horatio felt the same. Horatio drew back a moment, and his eyes were bright dark. He gave Archie a loopy open-mouthed grin. There was want between them. Both of them were hard now. They were shifting, sliding, letting the small movements increase and heat everything. And the desire was delightful, but they were laughing too. Why were they laughing? Didn't matter why. Joy, joy was enough reason. Horatio was breathing deeply. He was rubbing his nose in, Archie's hair, dragging bits of it out of the queue to growl and wuffle in.
“You great puppy--” Archie said.
“Not a puppy,” Horatio gasped.
“Puppy nose,” Archie gave it an illustrative nip.
“Puppy ears, see?” He scratched behind them.
“And I suspect,--” Archie's hands were madly burrowing now, “I suspect that if I do this, I can get your leg to go.”
“My leg is going to put my boot up your arse if you--”
But it was Archie's booted foot that moved behind a knee, to tangle and topple them both.
Archie rolled to the side, Horatio's hands in his own. The land bed was foolishly, extravagantly pillowed. Horatio's eyes had gone wide . The laughter dried away.
He brought Archie's hands to his mouth. The kisses were so soft that Archie had to hold his breath to feel them.
That dear mouth moved over the tips of fingers, palm, wrist, and the scarred freckled backs of Archie's hands.
“I should have been there with you,” Horatio said.
“Enough of that now.” Archie's voice was raspy, gentle. He had known what Horatio was thinking, but he did not want Horatio to think. He did not want to think himself, either. He eased Horatio's shirt open, lifted the cloth away. Horatio brought his arms up to help, and caught for a moment in his own cuff buttons. He struggled, in the cloth, fierce and silent. Archie heard a button pop from the sleeve and shoot across the room.
“I'll find it in the morning and sew it back on,” Horatio gasped. He sent the shirt over the side. He was disheveled, pink faced, his eyes huge in the dim room. And Archie felt the clench inside that said 'mine.' Like the tears, like the foolish giddy laughter, this part of Horatio was only ever for Archie.
Horatio's hands were on his collar bones tracing along from the arm, Finding the notch in the center, he slid all along Archie, down to give it a kiss. His mouth, not ticklish, but warm and perfect, traced the curve of the lowest rib. And Archie was gasping and wiggling now, and Horatio managing all the lower buttons with his free hand. Boots and trousers over the side, and they were twining bare, at last, at last.
And Horatio was above him now, and hands under Archie's shoulders, and they were slick and sliding. The bare fronts of them, aligned so deliciously. Archie heard from a distance the small sounds coming from his own throat. High and tight, everything tight.
Archie, turned his head to let Horatio bite, to let the soft mouth nuzzle into his hair again, loose now everywhere. Opening his eyes, he caught a glimpse of them in the mirror. They were golden creatures in the diffused light from beyond the curtains. He could see his own hands, and one raised knee, and the long line of Horatio's back. He could see the curve of it, flexing, back and then forward and down.
It was more and better, and he held strong as Horatio bucked to the height of the curve. “It's now, Archie- oh--” He said. And Archie felt the locked tremor, the hot arterial pulse.
Archie was heartbeats behind, not far, not far and coming up fast. Horatio's fingers against his mouth, not to quiet him, but to feel the sounds he could not stop. Horatio's good fingers inside Archie's mouth, and his own mouth was soft inside, sweet inside and he had not known.
It blazed over him then, poured over and through and out of him. He sagged with the leaving.
Reason returned slowly. Archie shuddered with breath. Horatio rolled into the curve of his arm, close and warm. The room was dim, the sun beyond the window frame.
After some time Horatio spoke. His everyday voice fell like fat raindrops into the quiet.
“Are you hungry? I saw a pie-shop down the street.”