On Going Home, chapter 14
Word Count 2939
Disclaimer I did not invent them
On Going Home Chapter 14
Archie could feel Horatio stroking his hair. The fingers were soft and careful, warm and predictable. They drifted again and again over the side of his face, pushing the hair back, away from his temple. Archie allowed himself to rise from a sleep of deep and merciful blackness. Horatio, who never sang was making a tuneless humming noise. There was no music or rhythm to it, but it was somehow pleasant. Horatio's belly buzzed against Archie's cheek, he sounded like a big contented bee.
Archie let his eyes open. The light was weak. Just past dawn, it would seem, and he could hear a steady even rain.
“Good Morning, sleepyhead.”
“Did you get any sleep at all?” Archie asked.
“I didn't want to sleep. I said I wanted to sit here. That is what I did.”
Archie sat up, pulled the blankets over both their legs.
“You stayed up, sitting up, all night and watched over me Horatio? “
Horatio's eyes were soft and huge. He looked pale in the diffuse light, and solemn. “That is what I wanted Archie. I wanted to make sure you were safe. I was so afraid last night. You seemed to be having a nightmare and then you just – you went empty. God, Archie I was so scared. What was that, another sort of fit?”
“Not exactly. It happens sometimes, I – when things remind me of things.”
“Things. You mean Simpson.” Horatio's voice was not loud, but the words were brittle.
“Yes.” Archie said it very quietly. He was looking down. “I'm so sorry I frightened you Horatio. It happens to me sometimes, that emptiness thing. I can't always prevent it. I suppose, in that sense it is like a fit.”
Archie did not say that although he could not prevent it, he could cause it. Horatio did not need to know that. Simpson, after all, was someone they would never see again. He had been badly injured, he would probably die, he would most certainly die, and even if he did not die, Horatio and Archie were going to a frigate. They would never see Simpson again.
“Are you angry with me Horatio?” Archie's voice felt small.
“No.” Horatio said. “Of course not. You had a nightmare. You had a-- thing. I love you Archie. But did I do something wrong? Did I do something to make you think of him?” The horror on Horatio's face tore at Archie.
“Come here.” He drew Horatio to him, “You did nothing wrong. Nothing.” He kissed Horatio softly. “I love you, too. I love everything we've done together.”
Archie spoke carefully. “Do you think about the thing we have not done? Do you want to do it?” Archie grimaced inside 'Do it' sounded ridiculous in his sailors mouth. But all the words he knew for it would be a debasement of what he wanted it to be with Horatio.
Horatio blushed. “Yes, I've thought of it.” He said. “I want to do it with you.” He laughed a little bit. “I should be more honest, Archie. I have thought about it a lot.” He gave an awkward wiggle. He was hard. “I think about having you inside me, Archie.” He said. His voice was a bare whisper. Archie met his eyes and felt his breath stop.
“Oh. Oh, Honeybee.” Horatio moved to him, as he had that first day, burrowing under Archie's chin, not embracing Archie, but soaking in the heat of him, as if Archie were as strong and warm as the sun on the side of a castle.
“I love when you call me 'Honeybee.'” Horatio said. His voice was somewhat muffled.
“I like it much better than 'Horatio.' “
“Horatio is a fine name. It's your name.”
“I never liked it.” Horatio said bleakly.
“Well,” said Archie, “There is one problem with the name 'Horatio.' I will grant you.”
“What? What problem?”
Archie smiled. It was a good smile, and it felt good on his face.
“When I hear the name 'Horatio'---” He moved his hand, slowly.
“When someone says 'Horatio...' If I were to meet someone else named 'Horatio'--”
I am liable to be so filled with desire,( just from association,) “
“That I might be forced to fall upon them and---”
“And then I might---”
“And,” concluded Archie, “It could be a real problem if he was old and ugly, or very very moral.”
“If he were an upright clergyman, perhaps.”
“Eighty years old, with no teeth and a glass eye.”
Horatio fell over sideways, naked on the bed. His feet were kicking, and tears ran from his eyes. His laughter had reached the stage where it was mere wheezing.
“And I, upon being presented to him, would bow, but upon discovering his name to be 'Horatio,' I would become deranged with lust that I would be helplessly---”
The giggling slowed to a heaving stop. They were face to face now. The crazy laughter had dispersed the sorrow, but the fear was still there.
“I want this, if you do.” Said Horatio.
“I do. Now, today, while we have time. I want to be inside you. I want it so. But I've never done it that way, never done it at all with someone I wanted. Do you understand?” Archie swallowed hard.
Horatio nodded. “You don't think it will make you go away again?” His voice was small.
“I don't think so. If we're slow and careful. Do you still have the bottle of Nard? It might make things, go more easily when we get to it.”
“I can go get another bottle.” Horatio reached for his trousers. He stopped with them half on, brow wrinkled. “I thought you had never done this.”
“I haven't. But a person hears things...”
Horatio put on his trousers with astonishing speed. Barefoot, bare chested he left the room,
Archie sat back against the wall. He seemed to be solidly in his body. The edges of his actual self were snugly against the limits of his skin. In fact,being in his body felt good. Very good. His prick felt as hard and heavy as a blacksmith's hammer. Archie took a deep breath, and tried to pray.
It was not very long at all before he heard Horatio's feet on the stairs. Horatio opened the door quietly, closed it behind him, and stood. He was black and white, in the rainy light of the window. His hair was wildly disarranged, spilling ink black all around him. His eyes were huge, all pupil, stretched with need. The rest of Horatio was white, bled of color, in the rainy light. He held the small stone bottle in his hand.
“I'm back.” He said inanely.
Archie had time for one indrawn breath, and then Horatio was in his arms, silky and warm.
“Let me know if you start to go away, Archie. If you feel it happening, we can stop, right?”
“Yes. I promise.” . The fear in Horatio's voice was another of Simpson's crimes.
“You, you are so...” And there Archie's words stopped. Horatio was kissing him, with that astounding softness. Kissing as if Archie were made of gold dust and fog. He was stroking Archie's face, and he was so sweet, and the need was its own thing, a thing of heat held between them.
Archie eased Horatio down onto his back. “I want to do this slowly.” he said. “I want to make it perfect for you.”
He stroked his tongue down Horatio's arched neck. Horatio groaned. He was so far gone already. Archie knew his own needs, had struggled with them for so long now, but Horatio had so much want. He was shaking with it, fine trembles that rose and fell with his bucking breath. His eyes were closed, and his mouth was open, and swollen from kisses already, and slowly was looking impossible. He was still wearing the trousers.
Archie eased loose of him, and captured both Horatio's hands. He held them both in one of his own. Horatio let him. “These off.” Archie's own voice sounded growlingly bearlike, even to him. Horatio lifted his hips to help, and the movement made him groan.
“Archie,” he gasped. “Please, I want to touch you.”
“Not yet, me first .”
Horatio's belly was smeared with wet. He had been erect and dripping for so long. Archie let go his hands, waited to see what would happen. Horatio brought both arms up to his chest, and clenched them together, whimpering. He was keeping his word. He kept it, even as Archie's surrounded him with merciless heat and suction. Horatio thrashed his head, black hair tangled on the pillow. He whined through his nose. He begged again, but he kept his word. Horatio's hips were lifting and rolling, heavy seas, when Archie stopped. Archie slid up face to face again. Horatio looked dazed.
“I haven't --”
“I thought – “
“It's your turn.”
Archie was prepared to be soundly flipped onto his back. He had schooled his mind to be ready for a retaliatory attack. He took a deep breath, he was sure he was ready.
Horatio surprised him. His kiss on Archie's tingling mouth, was as soft and searching as ever. His eyes, looking down at Archie, were enormous. There was hesitancy in them, and need, and wonder. Archie could see himself reflected in them, wanting, and so small compared to what burned between them.
“Want you.” Horatio was murmuring, “Want this.”
He brought one long leg up, not to encircle, not to trap, but just to feel. They were rolling together now, as sinuous as garden snakes. Horatio had his hands on Archie's back now, delighting in the play of the muscles ridging Archie's spine. They were kissing so deeply that their eyelashes tangled.
Archie was still over him, lying between Horatio's legs. He could feel Horatio's hand skating down his back, lower, to the sway of it, lower. The hand was gentle, but it was there. Then it was there. It slid over his buttock. It drove the breath and the joy from him, like a kick to the chest. Archie froze. He rolled to his side, clenching his knees up. His teeth were bared.
Horatio was likewise frozen, pale with horror.
“Archie,” he said, “I didn't mean to, it was an accident. Please please don't go away.”
“Quiet now Horatio.” Archie said. His voice was soft and precise. “Quiet now, and don't touch me. I need a moment now.”
Horatio withdrew to the edge of the bed. He was watching Archie warily, but he did not speak or touch.
Archie was still within his body, but not as usual, not in the joyous inhabitation of his skin he had felt all morning. This was odd, different. He had gone into a cold center of himself. From here, he could decide. The fear was there, and he felt it. But he could decide. His senses seemed enhanced in this place. He could feel the wrinkled sheet beneath him. He could hear the steady rain outside the window. He could feel the heat of Horatio's skin, from across the bed. He could smell Horatio, a complicated smell, of sweat and sperm and goodness.
Archie could decide. He teetered a long moment, between leaving and staying. And it was clear. He chose, and he rushed back to the edges of his skin.
“Come here Horatio.” Horatio wiggled to him, across the bed, his eyelashes were wet. Archie ran the soft pad of his thumb across Horatio's lips to open them, kissed Horatio soft and long to open him further.
“I'm here,” Archie said. “I'm not leaving. I want you. I want this, now today. But I want you to do something for me. I don't want to be afraid, any more. I want you to touch me, all over. Touch me back there.”
Horatio nodded slowly. There were so many flavors of courage. “All right.” Archie rolled onto his stomach. He put his head on his folded arms, he looked at Horatio, his eyes were very blue.
“Ready when you are,” he said. “Commence feeling my arse.”
Horatio gave him a damp smile. He did not fault Archie for bravado.
“I love you.” Horatio said.
He kissed Archie's cheek, his ear. He swept the bright heavy hair off Archie's neck, and kissed there. He ran his mouth along Archie's spine: cervical, thoracic.
“Feels good,” Archie said distantly. “Keep going, s'all right.”
Horatio moved his mouth further, following the arch of the spine again.
“You know Archie – you have dimples back here.”
“Really?” Archie contorted himself, trying to look over his shoulder. “How unnecessary.”
“I think I know what they are there for.” Horatio said. He was swollen with need again. His voice and eyes were soft.
“For this.” Horatio gave the dimple nearest him a quick soft lick.
“Oh,” the breath rushed out of Archie again, softly this time.
Horatio caught Archie's gaze, and held it, watching carefully, he moved his hand over the curve of Archie's buttock. Gently, gently, he moved it to the inside of Archie's thigh, and down to the knee.
By the time he got to the knee they were both breathing again.
“You have beautiful backs of knees.”
“Oh yes, absolutely. I want to kiss the back of your knees, Archie.”
“All right.” Archie was out of breath, lying motionless. Horatio flipped himself, head to foot, and applied his soft mouth to the back of Archie's knee.
He was deeply involved in licking there when Archie spoke.
“We shall never see him again. Even when he dies he will intrude on us. I hate it.”
“Archie, we can be happy. We can chase him away, and love each other, and do things together, until he never crosses either of our minds.” Horatio looked so full of hope.
“Come here.” Archie said. They were face to face now, And Archie's hand was on the throb of him, rubbing, they were rubbing, and both rising, approaching together. Archie was bucking in Horatio's hand, and it was better than everything.
“Stop.” said Archie. “Horatio, stop. If we are going to do this now is the time.”
“How do we?”
Archie gave him the nard. “Well, I think, you put some on me – oh. Oh yes. And, I put some on you.”
Archie moved Horatio to lie back, and bent his long legs up. His hand had warmed the nard, he could see just where to put it. Horatio had both eyes shut, his hands fisted in the sheets. His teeth were clamped on his lower lip.
Archie moved his hand very slowly. Horatio was so hot back here, and the skin was so tender. He pushed a finger gently into Horatio. So hot in there, and Archie could imagine how it would feel.
Horatio pushed back against him, whining now, lifting his hips. His mouth had fallen open again. His head was tossing on the pillow now, agonized at being denied.
Archie withdrew his hand slowly. Horatio cried out in denial, and tried to follow it. But Archie was over him, anchoring him, soothing with a kiss.
Archie was amazed at so many things, but certainly one of them was himself. He had known only in part, in pain and fear. And yet, now, he knew just what to do. He pushed forward, gently, but firmly. He felt Horatio open around him. He seemed to be easing forward forever, that first time.
Horatio was watching him, and his eyes were wide and dark, and knowing now, and there was no pain in them that Archie could see. Archie was bucking now, and his voice calling, and Horatio calling too, yes yes, and Horatio's arms were around him tight, He had one clear moment. His choking throat gasped out, “Oh Honeybee.” Horatio was smiling, his eyes bright with tears. Then Archie was dashed on the rocks.
They drifted in the after-place together. It was such a long way to come back from. Archie felt so strangely lonely, like a man facing a long walk in the cold. But Horatio seemed to know, and he kept Archie close, and nuzzled his neck.
Eventually Archie rolled to the side. The rain had stopped. It was only early morning rain after all. And it was still morning, although it seemed to have been years. He could hear the muffled footsteps on the floor below.
Horatio brought him the wash-basin. The water was cold, but it was clean. Hard to believe it was all the same morning.
He dressed quickly. Horatio, was clean now, and brushing his hair, and Archie realized that love in the morning agreed with his Horatio. Horatio was bouncing on his toes, and smiling, and he said
“Archie, lets have coffee.”