Rating: NC-17 to be safe
Disclaimers: Horatio Hornblower belongs to the Forester estate. I’m not sure who Archie belongs to. Sadly, not me.
Challenge Prompt: ‘Tie Me Up, Tie Me Down’ / Queues
Author’s Note: Many thanks to my lovely beta, k_julia. Any mistakes are all mine because I didn’t have the time to give this to her for a second look. And, oops, missed the bit about keeping fics around 1000 words. This is actually short for me. ;)
“Ouch!” Archie tensed up and leaned forward, just out of Horatio’s reach. “Horatio, if you insist on doing this, please try to be more careful.”
Horatio could have been hurt by Archie’s admonishment, but he chose to be thankful instead. Unlike the other times, Archie made no attempt to get up and return to his own bed. “I’m sorry, Archie, but I am almost finished.”
Archie let out an audible sigh. “I do not understand why you insist on doing this. My hair is fine, Horatio.” As Archie spoke, Horatio ran his fingers once more through Archie’s locks, trying to free the thick mass from every tangle and knot he could find.
“You are an officer of His Majesty’s navy, Archie, you must look presentable.”
“Horatio, I do not think there is a need to remind you there is a war on and that we are prisoners of that war. And I doubt very much that the king concerns himself with thoughts of my hair or the hair of any his men.”
Horatio slumped back against the stone wall; the cold of it penetrating even the thick wool of his jacket and making him shiver. He did not understand why Archie insisted on being so difficult. All he wished to do was comfort Archie. To help remind him he was still the man he was before this place had nearly broken him and robbed him of his spirit. And what did Horatio get for his efforts? Archie being as difficult and ungrateful as a child.
For a minute Horatio just sat there against the wall and stared at the back of Archie’s head. The late afternoon sun shone through the bars of their cell window and caught the edges of Archie’s hair, making the errant strands shine in the light. That was all it took for Horatio to be drawn back to those locks, and to Archie, once again. The truth was that grooming Archie’s hair had become a sort of ritual for Horatio, and something he quite looked forward to doing. Perhaps if he shared that with Archie he would stop with his fussing.
Horatio sat up straight. Only a few inches separated the two men as Archie sat between Horatio’s legs, hunched over reading the copy of Don Quixote the don had lent Horatio. Archie paid no attention to him. When Horatio placed his hands on Archie’s shoulders, he still received no reaction. “Archie?”
“Yes, Horatio?” The irritation was evident in Archie’s voice.
“Your hair. Seeing to it, well, it…it pleases me. I find it quite relaxing.”
The shift in Archie’s posture was subtle, but Horatio had spent enough time with Archie, especially in such close quarters these past few months, to sense Archie’s mood changes. When Archie turned his head a little, Horatio could see a raised eyebrow and that the corner of his mouth hinted at a smile. But Archie still would not face him. No doubt, Horatio felt, to torture him further.
“It relaxes you? And just how does playing with my hair accomplish that, Horatio?”
Horatio paused for a moment before answering. The service and so much time alone had taught him to bury his emotions. To reveal what he was thinking and feeling, even to his dear friend, continued to be a struggle for Horatio and seemed as foreign to him as being on Spanish soil. It also did not help that, as much as he trusted Archie, he knew he would not hesitate to use even the tiniest confession against him for his own amusement.
Unfortunately for Horatio, one of his greatest joys, especially in this bleak place, was seeing Archie Kennedy smile and damn if he didn’t allow that to override his reason now. “Well, there is the sense of accomplishment that comes from creating order out of such chaos.”
Horatio often failed at his attempts at humor, but the small laugh from Archie showed he had succeeded this time.
He picked up the ribbon that lay next to him on the bed and secured Archie’s hair in a tight queue, trailing his fingers through the soft locks until he reached the end. He rested his hand on Archie’s back. “And your hair, it is very pleasing to the touch,” he continued. “Everything is so hard and coarse here, but your hair is so soft.” Horatio caressed the edge of Archie’s ear as he tucked the hair behind it. “It’s just like the rest of you.”
Horatio completed his work by smoothing down any stray strands. When his hand came to rest at Archie’s neck, he slid it across his shoulder, pushing aside the fabric of his shirt. Archie tilted his head to the side and Horatio took his action as an invitation. He placed a kiss on Archie’s exposed skin, enjoying the feel of the supple flesh and strong muscle underneath his lips.
Archie forced Horatio to break the contact as he turned around to face him. He tossed the book on the bed and brought his leg up, casually placing it over Horatio’s. Archie smiled at him in a manner that did not put Horatio at ease. “So you think me soft, Horatio?”
Had Archie said the same words to him a few months earlier Horatio would have expected there to be anger and bitterness behind them, and Horatio would have allowed the guilt to rise up in him for so thoughtlessly hurting his friend. Fortunately, the grin Archie wore reassured Horatio that he was only to suffer the young man’s merciless teasing.
Though he was likely doomed to failure, Horatio decided to try and not let Archie get the better of him. He looked Archie straight in the eye and declared, “Parts of you, yes, and those parts I have found quite comforting.”
Archie smiled at Horatio’s words and got that devilish glint in his eye that told Horatio he would have a hard time extricating himself from the situation. “Which parts, Horatio?”
“No, you started this, Horatio, and now my curiosity must be satisfied. Which of my parts have you found comfort in?”
Horatio could feel the heat rise up under his collar and he was certain he was turning a deep shade of crimson. Archie’s barely suppressed laughter helped to confirm that. Horatio knew this was silly. He knew he should end this right now. However, merely contemplating Archie’s body had the troubling effect on Horatio of abandoning his better judgment.
Tentatively, Horatio leaned forward. He swallowed hard and stated, “Well, I suppose there is…” He ceased speaking as he placed his lips upon Archie’s and gave him a tender kiss. He then pulled back to finish his thought, “your lips.”
“Mmmmm.” Archie’s eyes fluttered open and Horatio watched enraptured as Archie’s tongue darted out just enough to skim his lips and moisten them. It was such a small gesture, but one Horatio was incapable of resisting. He started to move in for another, longer kiss when Archie’s words stopped him. “What else?”
Horatio let out an exasperated sigh. Just how long did Archie plan to continue this game? But Archie was in a very pleasant mood and he did not wish to be the cause of it ending.
Horatio reached underneath Archie’s shirt, sliding his hand along the warm, soft skin and feeling Archie’s heartbeat quicken under his touch. Pushing the fabric away, he bent down to place small kisses across Archie’s collarbone and chest. When he dragged his tongue across the nipple, Archie responded with a low, throaty moan and Horatio couldn’t help but be pleased that he could draw such a reaction from him.
But the sound also brought Horatio to his senses and he pulled away from Archie. In response, Archie’s face scrunched up much like a child just deprived of his favorite toy.
Horatio liked to think that it was Archie’s time alone, in prison, away from the military and society that had affected his common sense. Then Horatio’s thoughts would turn to the young man who charged so recklessly into battle or talked about their former captain with impunity and the truth was that this was Archie Kennedy. Horatio would need to explain.
Horatio brought his hand to the collar of Archie’s shirt, slid the cloth between his fingers, and drew the edges together. He looked to the door and lowered his voice. “Archie, this is unwise. We have reached the limits of what can be done now. Perhaps later…”
Archie looked perplexed. He lowered his eyes to look at Horatio’s hand, then to study their current positions. A realization seemed to occur to him. His expression quickly changed, the creases in his forehead melted away and the corners of his mouth once again turned up. He whispered, “Oh, I see now, Horatio. Yes, this will not do.” Archie slid his leg off of Horatio’s and rose to his feet.
Horatio watched, astounded, as Archie stood in front of him and proceeded to pull the hem of his shirt from his trousers, bunch the fabric in his hands, and lift the garment up over his head. He tossed it on the bed beside Horatio and brought his hand to Horatio’s face, sliding a finger along the cheekbone until he reached his chin, then tilting Horatio’s head up.
“There now, Horatio, you have no more impediments to your progress. I am correct in assuming where you were going?”
Horatio swallowed hard, stunned by both Archie’s shamelessness and his own sudden desire. Each had grown more comfortable with the new-found intimacy between them – Archie learning to trust another’s touch again and Horatio simply learning not to retreat from the feelings he had developed for his friend – but there were certain conventions that Horatio just could not ignore.
“Archie, it is the middle of the afternoon. I was trying to point out that the guards…”
“The guards, Horatio, as is their habit after their afternoon meal, are fast asleep.” Archie slid his thumb along Horatio’s lips and Horatio couldn’t help but part them in response. Horatio watched the rise and fall of Archie’s chest and could hear his breath grow more labored. When Archie spoke again his voice was low and rough. “We can do whatever we want now, Horatio.”
Archie was correct, about the guards; they were quite predictable in their routine. Still, the thought of being so intimate, in the harsh light of day, was discomforting to Horatio. His better judgment told him to refuse Archie. But looking at Archie standing so exposed to him, so open in his intent, was new and seemed to him another indication that Archie was freeing himself from the specter of Simpson. If Horatio rejected him, he did not know what harm he might cause his friend.
Horatio didn’t speak, just placed his hands on Archie’s hips to steady both of them. He leaned forward to kiss Archie’s stomach and repeated the gesture as he slid his hand along the waist of Archie’s trousers to the placket of buttons, fumbling a bit out of nervousness as he undid them.
Taking Archie in such a manner, pleasuring him with his mouth, was something Horatio had not done many times. The act didn’t disgust him as Archie had feared it might, but it was still an odd feeling to have a man’s prick in his mouth. But the reaction he could receive from Archie, inexperienced as he was, always made him look past his uncertainty.
The buttons undone, Horatio slid his hands back up to the waist, tugging the trousers and small clothes down past Archie’s hips and thighs as far as he could manage. Archie was already hard from anticipation. When Horatio looked up at him, Archie’s eyes were glazed and unfocused, conveying to Horatio his need.
Horatio tightened his grip on Archie’s thigh and placed a kiss upon one of his favorite spots – the smooth strip of skin where thigh met torso - then licked a trail along it until he reached Archie’s hip. As he pulled back, Archie reached for Horatio’s head and threaded his fingers through his curls, directing him towards his prick. Horatio took hold of Archie’s length and began stroking, slowly and gently, until the head was exposed to him.
Archie moaned in response to Horatio’s actions. Horatio was about to caution him to be quiet, but when he looked up he saw Archie biting his lip and his eyes pleading with him to continue. It was then that Horatio wrapped his lips around the head, circling it with his tongue, caressing the opening and tasting the first drop of fluid.
Archie now had both hands tangled in Horatio’s hair and he urged Horatio to take more of him. Horatio obliged, taking as much of him in as he comfortably could. Sensing Archie’s need, Horatio began stroking more vigorously at the base while running his lips and tongue rapidly along the rest of his prick. Archie’s thrusting became faster and more erratic until Archie suddenly stopped and Horatio felt warm liquid coat his tongue and throat. He remained still for as long as he could before having to pull back to cough and spit the fluid onto the floor. He still hadn’t grown accustomed to this part of the act, but Archie remained understanding.
When Horatio looked back up at his friend, he found Archie flushed and panting, a thin sheen of sweat covering his skin, and his head tilted back as he tried to even out his breathing. After a moment he looked down at Horatio with a very satisfied smile on his face, and Horatio couldn’t help but respond in kind.
He nuzzled Archie’s stomach, planted one more kiss there and said, “Archie, I think it is best you dress now.”
Obliging him, Archie picked up his shirt and quickly went about making himself presentable again. When he was through, he stretched out his arms to be judged by Horatio, who nodded his approval. Then Archie sat back on the bed next to Horatio. Once more, Horatio could not help but brush his hand over Archie’s hair.
The gesture caused Archie to shake his head and laugh. Archie reached out and placed his hand upon Horatio’s cheek. Horatio thought he intended to pull him close and kiss him, but he moved his hand upward, running his fingers through Horatio’s unruly curls and patting them in place. Then that damn mischievous smile returned.
“Horatio,” Archie pushed an errant curl behind Horatio’s ear, “it would seem I made a mess of your hair. Perhaps later we should work on your queue?”
Horatio could only smile. “I think I would like that very much.”