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The Promise

Title The Promise

Author Eglantine_br

Word Count 530

The Promise

He was leaning over the chart table, the dividers in his hand. He walked them across, getting the same answer as before. He stopped to make a few trigonometrical checks, but his calculations were correct. He had known that they would be. He nodded in satisfaction.

He announced his findings with care. It was only as he did so that he realized that his feet were on fire and he had written his workings on the side of a large melon.

Dreaming, he was dreaming. Of course. You could not write on a melon, the ink would-- He pushed to the surface of sleep. His quarters, in the modest light of dawn in November. He was not on fire, but Archie's feet were resting on his.



Archie was curled against him, hot. It was Archie who was hot.

“Archie, wake up!”

“Don't shout at me H'ratio, my head hurts.”

“You have a fever. Sit up, let me look.”

Archie sat up readily enough, but there was a mulish set to his mouth that Horatio knew very well.

Archie held his arm close against his chest.

“It's all right, it is not--”

“Then let me see.” He reached out to feel Archie's brow. “

“Christ, Archie why didn't you--”

“I wasn't sure. And then I just wanted to sleep.”

“I'm going for the surgeon.”

Archie scrabbled his feet to stand, stood swaying.

“Don't, please. Just – don't. See, look, I'm sweating, the fever is breaking already. You can mend me, remember, you cured me in Spain.”

“I had no choice in Spain. We got lucky--”

Archie was pushing against him, bringing his burning body close. He nestled winningly, but he had his face averted as he spoke.

“I can't. Horatio, please-- I, it's-- I can't bear to be touched by anyone but you.”

Archie's voice was small, and it hurt to hear it so. Horatio sighed.

“Come over where I can get a better look.”

The light was miserly, everything drained of color. Archie's eyes were red, and his face paler than usual. Horatio unrolled the bandage, and put it aside. It needed to be changed anyway. He pressed firmly all up the arm, watching Archie's face. Archie looked down and away, his breath was rapid. The wound was on the outside, above the elbow. It was slightly swollen, and bruised all around, but Horatio could see no trouble beyond that really. He brought his face close, breathing deeply, it smelled of Archie, that was all.

Horatio put his tongue out, he could taste the wounded flesh, and the rough scab that had formed in the night.

He moved as gently as he could, feeling with his lips and tongue, searching out a core of heat. There was no
center of infection that he could feel. The whole area was warm, but healing did that too. Still--

“I will give you until noon,” Horatio said slowly. “If you are still ill then, we report it.”


“You promise?”

“I do.”


( 14 comments — Leave a comment )
Oct. 7th, 2012 11:09 am (UTC)
Awwww... It's sad when one of them is hurt, but so sweet when the other takes care of him. The dream at the beginning and then H'ratio examining the wound with his tongue... I wish I could draw :)

Topic change: Word informed me that it is 'trigonometrically' checks... Is it right? *is confused*
Oct. 7th, 2012 01:18 pm (UTC)
You are probably right about the trig word. I don't think I have ever written it before. I just launched at it, did not look it up.

I was a little worried that scab licking would seem gross. But my dog and cat want to do it to me when I am hurt. And we do it ourselves when we get a cut, and Horatio seemed to want to do it.
Oct. 7th, 2012 06:11 pm (UTC)
No offence meant either way. I always mix up adjectives with adverbs, I was just puzzled :)

And licking wounds, well... what other way to clean them if not licking? There is something very tender and caring about it, I mean, Archie must trust Horatio a great deal, or else he would have prevented it. I liked it :) Animal instinct.

Sep. 27th, 2016 11:52 pm (UTC)
I love the trust between Archie and Horatio. It's just heartbreaking that Archie is still so wounded by his past that he can't trust anybody else. I'm glad he at least let Matthews hold him when he was cold. Matthews is a good sea daddy.
Sep. 28th, 2016 02:43 am (UTC)
Matthews is a darling. He has been looking out for the younger men all along.
Oct. 1st, 2016 01:32 am (UTC)
I love that bit in Mutiny/Retribution where he is watching over Horatio while he sleeps. He did what he could.
Oct. 7th, 2012 04:14 pm (UTC)
Spell Check and Grammar Check are not infallible. I've been told via that function that "Your Majesty" should be "You're Majesty." There are several other area where it seems to always get it wrong. Plus that, using a word as a different part of speech from what it normally is used as can confuse it all to pieces. "Run" which is normally a verb, if used as a noun can also mess it up. A recent example, on something I was working on yesterday, I'd written "10:00 am." Grammar check said it should be "10:00 are."
Oct. 7th, 2012 05:53 pm (UTC)
You can get in real trouble if you are sleepy or distracted and you let it suggest the word it thinks you really should have meant!
Sep. 27th, 2016 11:55 pm (UTC)
My iPad screen is broken so half the letters I type don't register, and spell check very helpfully goes and makes all the half words into something else. Then I have to go back and change them, pounding hard on the appropriate letters. I've had to change two words in this paragraph already. And my spell check doesn't appreciate words like "rhotic."
Oct. 7th, 2012 09:58 pm (UTC)
I wonder what Freud would make of those melons...

Oct. 8th, 2012 12:05 am (UTC)
In my backstory for H, he lost his mother after about a week, and had to be fed mostly by Dr H using some sort of bottle contraption. It is no wonder he has boob dreams.
Sep. 27th, 2016 11:59 pm (UTC)
And here I thought it was Archie's head.

If my kids had boob dreams, they would be more like apples. Actually they would probably just be the real boobs. They were all breastfed for at least over a year. We still all shower together (eldest is nine, I'm not sure when we're supposed to stop - if we were Swedish or Finnish I guess we would just all keep taking saunas together into adulthood and nobody would care), and they are all very fond of my boobs. I think that's probably healthy. I'm not sure.

Edited at 2016-09-28 12:01 am (UTC)
Sep. 28th, 2016 02:45 am (UTC)
Sounds totally healthy to me. I grew up spending summers on a nude beach. I was quite accustomed to the bodies of naked strangers. Kids started wearing bathing suits at 6 or 8, for fashion. We took them off when they got sandy and wet...
Oct. 1st, 2016 01:49 am (UTC)
There is something so beautiful and free about naked kids - they look like dryads and water sprites. How lovely it must have been to swim free in the water! I have only ever done that in very private river locations - lots of people got naked by the water when I lived in Northern California, but I wasn't one of them. I do think it is healthy for boys and girls to grow up seeing a body as just a body, and not something to get too excited about. I guess they will let us know if they ever want more privacy.
( 14 comments — Leave a comment )