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The Day Begins

Title The Day Begins

Author Eglantine_br

Rating G

Word Count 550

The Day Begins

“I got it backwards,” Horatio said. “Again, dammit.” He blinked and swallowed, in the pale light.

“What, backwards?” Archie said.

“I prefer the coffee before the sun comes. It makes the light less-- abrasive.” Horatio said.

“If you prefer to shiver in the dark with a cup of coffee, you can take my watches as well as your own.”

Archie wrinkled his nose. “Anytime. I'm sure the old man would have no objections.”

The glance that Horatio gave him was sidelong, sour, but the affection was there, mixed with amusement. Morning Archie was especially lovable, he thought. The annoyance was worth it, to see him glowing, glossy, chipper as a songbird.

“Besides Horatio,” Archie continued, oblivious to the scrutiny, “It is Sunday. There is nothing ahead for us but darning our stockings.”

“You said you'd do mine,” Horatio reminded.

“So I did. Your darns are lumpy.”

“Are not.”

“Yes, they are too. Remember, last Wednesday, I got yours by accident and I was miserable all day.”

“Well, if you didn't always--”

Horatio began thus, but Archie never got to find out what it was that he 'always,' because something happened.

Something painful, and pointed and furiously hissing. The something happened to the center of his back, and clung there with grapples, hissing and climbing, painfully, as he yelped.

Archie reached up, with the hand of long suffering experience, got him by the scruff and pulled him over and down.

“Damn me, Cleveland,” He said in a carrying voice, “I have been awake an hour at most and have been blameless as a babe. Must I really suffer under the cat?”

Despite Archie's outrage, and his punctured skin, his hands were steady. Horatio noticed he was was scratching under Jeoffrey Mitten's chin.

“Control your animal,” Archie concluded.

“Sorry Arch.” Cleveland was breathless. His hands were bleeding. “I really am sorry. He got away from me, see. I was trying to feed him a nice draught. I had it specially from the surgeon. He has been listless lately, you know-- pining.”

Taking the cat in his arms, Cleveland looked down, worriedly. Jeoffrey Mittens looked up with flattened ears.

“Pining!” Archie said.

“I really am sorry--” Cleveland was contrite. “Shall I have a look at your back? Did he rip you very badly?”

Archie sighed. He rolled his shoulders. He shook his head.

“No, I'm fine. Go do what you have to do, just don't take too long. Horatio will drink all the coffee.”

“Aye.” Cleveland slung the cat over his shoulder, and departed. He was careless and graceful down the ladder, even burdened as he was by the (decidedly not listless, but quite beloved,) cat.

“Come Archie.” Horatio said, quietly. “Let me swab your back.”

“Hmm. I think you had better.” Archie said. “I am bleeding through my last clean shirt.”

Horatio shut the door, and waited. He had the little tub of salve ready. This was the one reserved for injuries. There was another, in his sea-chest, which they both associated with pleasanter things.

Archie shirtless, rested his palms on the writing desk. He pulled his hair out of the way, over his shoulder. Horatio could see the play of sturdy muscle in the shoulders and arms. He could see the skin of Archie's back, shining like milk, and the silver of the old scars which Archie had not wanted Cleveland to look at. Thus the past intruded. Horatio shivered. He pressed a kiss to the skin of the near shoulder,.

“Damn cat.” Archie said, lightly.

“Hmm-- he really got you.” Horatio was working the salve gently over the cuts. The bleeding had stopped.

Archie hissed through his teeth.

“Listless! Listless my arse,.” He said.

“Did he get you on the arse?”


“Are you sure?”

“Well--” Archie gave a half smile, “Maybe you could check for me later.”


( 5 comments — Leave a comment )
Oct. 7th, 2012 04:12 pm (UTC)
Ha, loved this! Having been on the receiving end of a pair of very sharp claws I do feel very sympathetic towards Archie. Ouch! Luckily Horatio is there to take care of him. I also love the bantering between them (I have a very soft spot for H/A banter). Lovely little fic!
Sep. 27th, 2016 09:37 am (UTC)
Sometimes I feel frustrated that the movies regularly showed Horatio shirtless (not that this is a bad thing), but Archie never showed much more than throat and a triangle of chest until he was swathed in bandages and dying waiting to be operated on and miraculously rescued by Dr Maturin. This is most unfair. But it does make very good sense that he would have been reluctant to let anyone but Horatio see his skin, especially Cleveland, who would have known where/what/who the scars were from. I'm glad Horatio knew what was going on, and made sure Archie got his scratches treated anyway.

Also, I love the sock-darning banter. It reminds me of the scene near the beginning of PO'B's Post Captain where Jack Aubrey and his all-seaman staff have moved into a country neighborhood and the neighboring ladies are giggling together and wondering how all those males will possibly manage, without the help of females, to darn their socks and wash out bloodstains (from Stephen's equine dissections). And then later in the same book we see Jack doing his mending. It was priceless. Too bad the ladies weren't there to admire his stitchery.

Edited at 2016-09-27 09:48 am (UTC)
Sep. 27th, 2016 01:04 pm (UTC)
Archie is very good at mending and darning/knitting. It is, after all, knots.

And it is quite true that sailors are good at that sort of thing. My husband does most of the mending here.
Sep. 29th, 2016 09:41 am (UTC)
My dad taught me to darn socks. Mom was capable with a sewing machine, but darning was Dad's speciality. He was in the army for a couple of years, reluctantly, but I'm not sure if he learned there or came up with the method earlier on his own.

Can Archie knit hats and socks?

Edited at 2016-09-29 09:42 am (UTC)
Dec. 9th, 2016 01:17 pm (UTC)
Perhaps Dr Maturin could also prescribe a comfortable slime draught for Jeoffrey Mittens.
( 5 comments — Leave a comment )