On Going Home, Chapter 13
Word Count 1508
Disclaimer I did not invent them
On Going Home Chapter 13
Night found them again in the little blue room.. They both undressed. Two sets of midshipman's uniforms jumbled together on the floor. Horatio shut the door with his shy crooked smile When he went to douse the lamp, Archie caught his wrist. “Did you not say you wanted to 'look at me closely' tonight Mr Hornblower?” He said. “You will want light for that I believe.”
“I recall what I said Mr Kennedy.” Horatio returned. “I said that I knew you were good straight through, and I did not need to look at you more to know it.” His voice went warm and soft however. His eyes seemed to touch Archie's skin like heated brown velvet. They seemed to stir Archie to heights of love and wickedness.
“Well then, Horatio --” Archie swallowed hard, “Leave the light and I will examine you.”
“Oh, no, I don't --”
“Oh, but yes. Come here, you have no reason to be shy with me.”
Archie sat on the bed, and drew Horatio to sit beside him.
“Look at you.” Archie said. He reached to touch Horatio's forehead, pushing the dark curls away, to see the clear soft skin. Archie gave a quiet rueful chuckle. Five minutes alone, and Archie could feel his his voice dropping with arousal, his body responding. Horatio was as bad. Archie could hear his breath rasping, and could clearly see that Horatio ached to be touched.
“Lie back, Horatio, here.” He took Horatio's head into his lap. “I mean to enjoy this. We will not have this freedom by next week.”
Horatio made grimace, like a child swallowing something bitter. Neither wanted to think of that.
Archie let his fingers stroke the ridge of Horatio's cheeks, his ears, his chin. Horatio's soft curls were entwined now with the coarser curls of Archie's crotch, all burning together. Horatio sighed under his touch.
Horatio's head tipped up, as Archie found the angle of his jaw. “Oh Archie, that feels so good.” His voice was soft and dreamy. Archie felt dreamy himself. He moved Horatio's arm up, and to the side a little, to feel the soft cloud of hair, underneath. Horatio giggled, nervously, but Archie did not mean to tickle. He just wanted to explore. The topside of Horatio's arm was strong and lean. Muscled, like Archie's own, hard under his lips. The underside was much more soft.
He set the arm back down. Horatio's chest was rising and falling rapidly, waiting for the hand of the patient voyager. His skin was so white. Archie traced below the lowest margin of rib, Horatio's soft belly sloped away. He skimmed over the drum tightness north of the naval. Horatio gave a small whine, and pushed his hips up, but Archie would have none of it. Not yet.
Horatio's hip was lean under his palm. He raised his knee, without speaking to let Archie's hand touch his leg. Archie realized, as his hand moved down, that he had never thought long on the knee. He had taken knees for granted; both his own knees, and the knees of the rest of the world. Certainly, Archie had never thought of the knee as brimming with erotic potential. But, with Horatio, even the humble knee was a marvel. Archie raised the leg, to give the kneecap a kiss of apology. He sent his fingers down the back of Horatio's thigh, and further.
Thoughtless, oh no.
Now he had reached the line where thigh met undeniable buttock. He was aft of Horatio's balls. He was off the chart.
Here be monsters.
He had not meant to go here. Touching Horatio this way was so delicious. And Archie could tell from his astonished gasp that Horatio was amenable. But touching Horatio there made Archie shiver with stupid fear. Horatio did not know.
“Archie?” Horatio's voice was soft. Archie took a deep breath. He could not help the shudder in it.
Sooner or later Horatio would want that. That, after all, was where the whole thing was headed. It was so stupid that Archie was afraid to touch Horatio's backside. Afraid to touch, though he wanted to touch, because someday Horatio would want to touch him there.
He had never seen Archie scream and shake. He had never seen Archie retching with fear and that rage that sprayed in all directions, like grapeshot. Horatio did not know about Archie being able to send his soul to hover on the ceiling. He did not not know that each time it happened Archie was afraid he would never come down again.
So, Archie brought his hand to the front. He leaned down for a kiss. He let it lead to the giving and taking with hands and mouths. Soon it was over. They were limp and damp and sticky together. Horatio was sweet and sleepy in his arms. Horatio was good. Archie proclaimed him so, and Horatio put out the light.
Horatio held him close. Horatio kissed him, and loved him to sleep. Face to face. He didn't know that Archie was a coward.
The dream, was there waiting, behind his eyes, for the moment that he relaxed into true sleep. It was the old one, the hated one. It was the dream of the crush on his wrists and the copper in his torn mouth. It was the dream of forcing and tearing. It was the dream that made him dirty. It corrupted him with rage.
He came awake, already far away up. The lamp was lit. He could see, Horatio, speaking to the blank blue eyes of the Archie-body. The Archie-body sat on the bed.. It had awakened Horatio by screaming. Now it was empty. The real Archie, could not hear what Horatio was saying, but he could see Horatio. Maybe Horatio would strike Archie-body on the face now, to force him back. Maybe he would take advantage of the emptiness, like a looter in an abandoned house. The real Archie, the spark up by the ceiling, waited to see. He felt nothing of course, but he was curious. He watched.
Horatio held the empty Archie to his chest. It leaned there, compliant. He stoked the hair of it. He was saying something over and over. Horatio's eyes were wide, but his hands were steady and gentle. They didn't seem to want to hit. He rocked the Archie-body. He rubbed its unresponsive back. He kissed its head.
Slowly, carried on some wind, sounds began to reach the real Archie. He was curious to know what Horatio was saying.
“It's all right, Archie,” Horatio was saying. . “Its all right now. I love you so much. Its all right now. You can wake up. Its all right.”
Horatio's voice was small and far away, but from the ceiling Archie could hear that it was pitched low and steady. He had seen someone once calm a horse that way. The horses eyes had been rolled so the white showed, and it had been screaming through the foam around the bit. The voice, like Horatio's voice had soothed it. Its ears had come forward first, and then it had stood, with its head dropped. The horse had been covered with sweat. Someone had led it away, to wipe it down so that it did not get sick.
That had been a very long time ago, when the Archie-body was small, and safe, and he stayed in it all the time. Archie had been a child then. All of him. That is why he had been safe. No one had hurt him then. He had not yet gone to sea, to be hurt.
Horatio knew Archie was not a child. He knew just a very little about hurt. He knew so little that what he did know might as well be a lie. But that was best. Best he not know more.
Still, he was holding the empty body as one would hold a child. He was rocking it, and soothing it. Maybe it was safe to come down.
He came home to himself with a shiver and a thump. Horatio's arms were around him warm, embracing, but not too tight. The smell of Horatio was good, and the sound of his heart, and Archie moved a little and said, “I'm back.”
Horatio did not ask 'back from where?' He did not stop the soothing rubbing. He just said “Thank God for that.”
“I have some things to explain.” Archie said. “But, can I sleep a bit first?”
“ Yes.Sleep now.” Horatio said. “I think I'll stay awake for a while.” He settled Archie face up in his lap, he tucked the blankets around him. He leaned back against the wall. He stroked Archie gently on the face and hair. Archie could feel his eyes shutting. “I'll be right here, all night.” Horatio said.