Title: Kingston Days.
Author: Rach74
Email: rachie114@yahoo.co.uk
Rating: NC-17
Pairing: WB/AK
Authors Notes: This is set directly post Retribution and Archie isn't dead.
While stuck in Kingston recovering from their wounds, William Bush and
Archie form a strong friendship that turns into more.
This is from a plot bunny I had a while ago, but it took some time to find
what I wanted to do with it, and when it would work best.
Thanks to: Pamdram and warinbabylon for the help, encouragement and beta and
to a friend who usually doesn't read slash for the polish! Thanks girls. All
mistakes are my own.

Disclaimer: Not mine and I have no money!


 



Kingston Days

 

by Rach74

 

The pain in his head matched the one in his stomach and the sun blinded him;
he could see the market down below, but knew there was no chance of reaching
it without the undignified outcome of passing out.

Breathless and with sweat pouring off him he stood there totally unsure of
what to do and cursed his own stupidity.

"Sir? Are you quite well?"

There was a gentle touch on his arm and he found himself staring into the
soft brown eyes and gentle smile of a young native. He was around sixteen or
maybe less, but stood taller than Bush and was well-built.

Bush nearly snapped at him for his concern; he was embarrassed but as he
swallowed hard he decided he had to admit defeat or face the ignominy of
collapsing.

"I. "

He didn't need to say anymore which was good as he wasn't sure he was
capable; the young man helped him to sit on the wall shook off Bush's thanks
and scurried away.

The walk back to his and Archie's lodgings seemed too much to cope with and
he wondered what on earth had possessed him to go out in this heat.

He knew why he had, boredom and sheer frustration had left him restless and
his itching wound had been driving him insane.

He'd literally stomped out on Archie to avoid an argument that would have
been entirely pointless and completely his fault.

The young man who had helped him returned with some water.

"Drink! Drink!"  He grinned showing perfect teeth.

Bush hadn't tasted anything so wonderful in his life; the cool liquid
dribbled down his throat and tasted like manna from heaven and he smiled at
his saviour. He still felt dizzy but it was easing and here in the shade the
sun was far less taxing.

"Thank you."

The man laughed and waved goodbye returning to whatever business he'd been
about.

William sat for a few more minutes and then made his weary way back to his
lodgings, wondering if he could avoid admitting what had happened.


Archie was fortunately asleep when he entered and William lay down on his
own bed thankful that he wouldn't have to face his friend.

His relief was short lived as Archie shifted and looked at him, "You look
terrible."

"I feel terrible," was his short answer.

Archie sat and glared at William.

"What happened?"

Bush briefly considered lying but was too weary to be bothered with
avoidance.

"I nearly passed out in the street."

He sat up daring Archie to say anything. He saw the very slight smirk on
Archie's face quickly smothered and he felt his face burn and anger rise
again.

"Well, at least you're back safe, now."

That was all he said and it took the wind out of Bush's sails. Then Archie
lay back down, the subject obviously closed. Bush was both relieved and
surprised at the lack of condemnation. Despite the time they'd spent
together the other man could still disconcert him.

He also lay back down and was soon asleep. It was evening when he awoke and
Archie was reading but looked up from his book at William's movement.

"Better?"

"Yes, thank you,"

The rest had restored his temper, and while still embarrassed, managed a
small smile when Archie said softly: "Not surprising you nearly passed out;
you insisted on going out at the hottest time of the day."

There was no answer to that and William suggested they for some dinner,
before their landlady gave up on them.

****
It was not until a couple of days later that he felt the urge to escape the
room to nearby streets again. He was sure he would be able to succeed in
making it to town today.

"William, stop pacing; you're making me dizzy."

Bush realised that it must be equally as difficult for Archie. He had not
been able to sail with Hornblower on the Retribution and he knew both of his
friends had been deeply disappointed, and Archie was still less mobile than
Bush.


Lying back on his bed, he stared at the buzzing flies for a while and tried
not to scratch his wound, which was still itching.

He sighed and attempted to sleep, dozing off and on before even that ability
deserted him and he was back to staring at the ceiling.

It was late afternoon now and he was sure the time was right to attempt the
walk.
He could find the book Archie wanted and some things for his sisters, as
well as writing paper and a new quill. His family were always complaining he
never wrote to them enough at least now he had ample time to do so and it
would keep him busy.

"William, I can hear your teeth grinding from here."

"Mr Kennedy."

The teasing note in the voice aggravated his mood more than it should have
and he sat up to glare at his roommate.

Archie sat up more slowly and faced his friend; all teasing was gone from
his face and tone.

"I know this is frustrating, but it could have been so much worse."


It was a timely reminder; for all his grumbling he knew they were lucky. It
had very nearly been so much worse. If it hadn't been for Dr Clive's sudden
and rather inexplicable support, the consequences could have been terrible,
but the thought didn't really help his restlessness.

"I know that, but this is just."

"Worse than eating turnips?"

Archie's irrepressible humour brought a not quite smile to Bush's face but
he said nothing, and walked to the window.

The heat seemed far less oppressive than it had been the last time he had
ventured out. He could see people on the street going about their business
and decided to try again.


" I will not be long, Archie.anything you would like other than a book?"

Archie sighed and rolled his eyes before grinning and shaking his head. He
lay back down on the bed, obviously resigned to the fact he was not going to
prevent William's excursion.

"William, you know what happened.if you pass out."

There was little heat in his words however, only a hint of genuine concern.

"Goodbye, Mr Kennedy."

He would not be dissuaded even if Archie had tried to do so, but he knew his
friend could hear the teasing note in his tone. To ensure the point was
taken he quirked an eyebrow at him before departing for town.

***

It was much cooler at this time in the afternoon, less stifling and the heat
didn't hit him like a wall of fire. A slight breeze freshened the air
reminding him of being at sea.

It felt good.


He walked to the market, more mindful this time of his weakness, as he took
it slowly and enjoyed being out in the fresh air without rushing himself. He
knew part of his caution was he was that he would be damned before he gave
Archie the satisfaction of being right. He knew he had deserved the teasing
and Archie could have said far worse.

It was as hard for Archie as he obviously missed Horatio's company and was
struggling with his own healing. In the weeks they'd spent convalescing they
had become close and he enjoyed the younger man's spirit and conversation,
but he knew for Archie he was no replacement for Hornblower although it was
obvious he liked being with him.

The Renown would be ready soon and with the speed with which Bush was
healing it was likely that he would be allowed to sail with her as a
lieutenant. He was less sure about Archie, although he was improving a lot
quicker than Dr Clive had predicted or even Bush had expected there was no
certainty he would be fit for duty. William realised he would miss him if he
had to stay behind.

Shaking off the mild gloom, he started to enjoy the sights and sounds of
Kingston.
The lovely smell of spices tinged the air and there were so many brightly
dressed people that it felt like he was watching a flock of birds. The mix
of languages he heard only added to the effect.


The market was a mass of colour and scent, a sprawling island of stalls and
people.
Bush was drawn to the fruit stall; there were a lot of fruits he had never
seen before. In his time in the Navy his eyes had been opened to things he
had never thought to experience; the Indies continued his education.

The owner a large lady with dark skin, tightly curled greying hair and
gleaming white teeth smiled at him.

"Come, we sell every fruit!"

Unable to resist he chose a large basket despite the price. It had a good
selection of the delicious looking fruit and he walked away pleased with his
purchase.
He chose one of the fruits he did not recognise to taste, deciding to keep
the rest until he could share with Archie. The sweetness amazed him and he
leant against the wall under the shade of a tree, to enjoy it properly,
before continuing his perusal of the stalls.

There were so many goods in the market; leather, beautifully dyed material,
soft silk, and even freshly baked bread. The sights and smells cheered him
immensely. There were several other naval officers, and a couple of marines
as well as some army. He nodded politely to them, but did not engage in
conversation; he was too caught up in the activities around him.

He found an impressive looking stall with a large array of books; some in
languages he didn't recognise but the majority were in English. He found the
book Archie had wanted, as well as a couple more that sounded like Archie
might enjoy them.

A book of Lyrical Ballads by Coleridge and Wordsworth looked like something
Archie would love, he seemed to be fascinated by poetry in all its forms,
and knew so much of by heart, often slipping it into conversation, and
making it seem totally natural. Also something by John Donne which was
incomprehensible to Bush but he bought it anyway.

The poetry obsession had mildly irritated Bush at first but lately he had
been struck by the passion that the talk of poetry had brought out in Archie
and had enjoyed listening to him talk about it. He wondered when he had
suddenly become so aware of Kennedy.


He often listened to Archie's movements and breathing on nights when he
could not sleep and found that he enjoyed making him laugh.

Bush wasn't sure why he felt like this, but the slow recovery process had
somehow made a bond between them that he had never experienced before. It
had started back on the fort and simply grew stronger.

Archie had been determined that he would speak up for Horatio in the early
days of their imprisonment, despite the fact he could barely walk and even
small movement caused him horrific pain.

On several occasions Bush had been convinced Kennedy would die, and had been
amazed by his will to survive, and his fierce loyalty to Horatio despite his
own injuries.

Bush had tried to dissuade him, when he had decided to take the blame for
pushing Sawyer into the hold. He had been met with a wall of resistance and
a stubbornness that had driven him to yell, bringing a marine into their
cell.

He had never been so grateful to another person as he was to Clive when he
finally found a backbone.

Archie was a man of contradictions and Bush was sure he would probably never
understand him.

He bought some bread to eat, as he grew hungry. It crumbled in his hands and
was still warm. It was so different and far tastier than both the hard tack
he ate at sea and the formless mass of something they'd had to suffer in the
infirmary.

He was looking forward to returning here with Archie, once the other man was
more mobile. Hopefully that time would be soon. He'd love it here.

Bush bought some ribbons for his sister, and then remembered he needed some
paper and quills.

Finally, he started to feel weary and decided it would probably be best if
he headed back. He had spent far too much money but could not bring himself
to feel guilty.
As a final purchase he bought some brandy that was cheap but of surprisingly
good quality.

Making his way back to their berth he was aware that he was far more than
weary; he was exhausted and his head was pounding again, but he was not
close to feeling as ill as he had been last time. He felt happier than he
had for weeks.

He leant a little heavily on the wall and rested for a few moments and was
shocked, nearly dropping his fruit when a voice yelled his name.

"William!"

He stared up into angry blue eyes and was surprised to see Kennedy glaring
at him.

"What in heaven's name are you doing up, Archie?"

"Looking for you; it's been hours.I thought you'd passed out; or got lost. "

Archie's voice and body were stiff with both anger and worry. William looked
down; upset at himself for worrying Archie. The satisfied feeling from the
afternoon faded; the man really shouldn't be out of bed. He looked up as he
apologised.

"I'm sorry, Archie; I didn't keep track of time."

William's gaze was met with an intentness that was a little discomforting,
and then Archie smiled.

"Well, if it means you won't be grinding your teeth tonight and keeping me
awake with your grumbling. I suppose it's worth it, but damn it William you
had me worried. Nearly passing out once is understandable but twice would
just be carelessness."

He grinned at Bush's expression and then slung a friendly arm round his
shoulder, relieved him of some of his goods, whilst berating him for being
out in the sun for too long.

Once they were back, Archie was ensconced in his bed at Bush's urging.
The insistence had resulted in much rolling of eyes and muttering of 'mother
hens' 'as bad as Horatio' and 'wasn't me who wandered off for hours' but
once it was done, Bush showed off his purchases.

Archie's reaction to the fruit was much the same as his own, and Bush smiled
at the look of pure pleasure that crossed the other man's face. He felt his
heart rate quicken as he realised he was staring at his friend's lips and
could barely take his eyes off him. He looked down hurriedly feeling his
face warm and wondered what had possessed him lately; this was becoming
embarrassing.

Bush wondered when he started to feel such a connection to Archie, when they
'd served together he'd felt he had far more in common with Hornblower,
finding Archie too frivolous and outspoken. Despite that initial dislike, he
now felt strong friendship and something else that he did not wish to
examine too closely. It raised questions he did not want to answer.

Archie hadn't warmed to him on the Renown either that much was clear. He had
taken some pleasure in trying to tease Bush, but his expressive face had
given him away. William knew now though his feelings of friendship were
returned and it touched him. He just wished he could control these emotions,
as he had no desire to embarrass Archie.

He could feel Archie watching him and he made a production of looking for
something else in his collection of purchases, hoping his friend had just
thought he was weary and so lacked concentration.

He looked up and found Archie was watching him again, a small but happy
smile on his face, mixed in with something he couldn't quite identify.

"Oh, I bought you these too."

He handed Archie the books he'd bought, breaking the sudden strange charge
between them. The books were pounced on with enthusiasm and for a few
minutes Archie read them spellbound. He was caught between both books and he
was smiling. He looked at William with so much pleasure and gratitude that
it was embarrassing as well as making Bush feel as if he was the greatest
person in the world.

Archie suddenly laughed and eased the tension with a typical comment.

"Keep me busy when you go off on your jaunts."

Bush glared at him, but ignored the comment showing him the material he had
bought for his family.


"For Charlotte and Elizabeth?"

Bush shook his head. "For Katherine and Elizabeth. Charlotte would turn her
nose up at such fine material. The ribbon is for her, she hates that she has
to keep her hair long."

Archie grinned, "Of course, she wants to follow her brother to sea?"

Bush smiled and nodded, touched that Archie had paid attention to him. He
had spoken of his family to the other man when he was so ill, more because
he could think of nothing else to speak of that would not cause him more
upset. It had been difficult as he was no great talker, far more content to
listen and watch, but it had been worth it.
Archie had obviously found the stories enjoyable and they had brightened his
mood. It had been important with the horrible tension of not knowing what
was going to happen and the uncertainty of Horatio's fate.

Once the trial was over, although it was clear Archie was going to survive,
Hornblower had been reluctant to leave and had even tried to persuade Pellew
to allow him to stay. The Admiral had refused, so William's tales had kept
Archie from being too bored, as he had lost the pleasure of Hornblower's
visits.

"William?"

"My apologies, Archie. I bought some playing cards too, thought it would
pass the time. "

There was a comfortable quiet between them as Archie admired the pretty
designs on the cards; they were very different to the plain ones they had in
England. William folded the material neatly and placed it in his chest
before turning back to Archie.


"We should go into the market together."

Archie looked up from the cards and nodded, "I feel much better and if I am
to go with Renown."

He trailed off and Bush realised he must be worried about his fitness too,
he would have to return to England soon, but it would be much better if he
could return as a serving officer rather than on the next ship as a
passenger.

William felt the need to reassure and said, "You are improving a lot quicker
than Clive said you would." He knew it was also an attempt to reassure
himself.

Archie smiled at him, shrugged and then obviously dismissing the subject
said, "Want me to beat you at cards?"

Bush raised his eyebrow, " A challenge, Mr Kennedy? Loser buys dinner."

"Done."

Neither of them was particularly proficient at cards and Archie laughed.

"It is good that Horatio is not here, he would soundly thrash us both."

"And probably give us a lecture on how it is simple mathematics."

Archie laughed again and nodded, reshuffling the deck of cards, and dealing
them again

Bush took refuge in the easy relationship they had established, deliberately
ignoring the other feelings that he didn't want to explore. although it was
more difficult than it should have been. He looked up from the cards he had
been studying; Archie had abandoned his cards and was studying him. The
intensity in his gaze was disconcerting.

 

As Bush had predicted Archie loved the market, and bought more books than  William thought any one person should be able to read. He also bought a new compass for Horatio, and William found he was suddenly envious of the hold
Horatio had on Archie's affections and wondered where it had come from. He
was well aware of the affection and love that was between the two men and it
had never bothered him even slightly until now. He shook the feeling away,
irritated with himself.




Bush felt like he was looking after a particularly boisterous child and knew
it was because Archie hadn't been out properly in several weeks. He was so
full of energy that Bush worried that he would over exert himself. It was
Archie's first real day of being up and about.



However he needed not have worried too much as Archie seemed aware of his
own limits and after a couple of hours he was ready to return to their
lodgings. He looked a little pale but was obviously as exhilarated and
content as Bush had been on his first trip.



"I must write Horatio, and tell him, I doubt he had time for a proper look
round, with everything. What was that fruit called? The one that the lady
insisted on us trying?"



Archie's blue eyes and blonde hair had caused them to receive a lot of
attention and William had been amused that most of it had been female, but
Archie had seemed oblivious and caught up in the stalls.



"Which lady and which fruit?" he asked dryly.





"The yellow long one with the pips," Archie said glaring at him and Bush
tried not to smirk, unsuccessfully.



"Papaya."



"That's right."





When they got back, Archie immediately laid down on his bed. Bush eyed him a
little concerned but Kennedy simply glared at him and shut his eyes.



He decided not to rile his friend especially given the tact he had been
shown; so after he was certain Archie was peacefully asleep he settled down
to read.



Bush had lit the lamps and was nearly halfway through his book when Archie
stretched and yawned.



Glancing over at him in the flickering light, Bush could see he looked
bright and alert with no hint of exhaustion or fever; he was indeed on the
mend and Bush knew with a certainty that Archie would be ready to sail as
Lieutenant on the Renown. A knot of tension he hadn't been fully aware of
eased at the thought. The idea of never seeing Archie again, losing contact
with him had not sat easily. They had been through so much together and to
lose that would have been difficult.



He also hoped to serve with Hornblower again and realised he had a genuine
affection for him, but the idea of not seeing him again did not feel him
with the same fear he felt in regard to losing contact with Archie.



Archie hopped off the bed and started to rustle in his packages and Bush
watched wondering what he was looking for.



"The compass is in your jacket pocket; you were worried about scratching it
if you packed it with the other things."



"I wasn't looking for that," Archie went back to searching and then emerged
with a triumphant, " -found it."



He turned round to face Bush with a package wrapped in newspaper, and with a
grin handed it to him.



"For you."



"Archie."



William was surprised and wanted to refuse but he couldn't because of the
look of anticipation and pleasure on Archie's face and he carefully
unwrapped it.



He swallowed hard when he saw what it was, "Voyage Round the World."



It was a combined account and atlas of a trip in the mid 60's. He had looked
at it longingly when they had been browsing the stores.

Seafaring tales had always fascinated him and even his twelve years in the
navy hadn't lessened his enjoyment of them.



He had reluctantly decided he simply could not spare the money, as he still
had to send some to his family. He hadn't thought Archie had taken note, he
had appeared too busy charming the man into giving him a discount on the
books, as he was buying several. He had of course succeeded.



He had no idea when Archie had bought this and he felt his cheeks warm; it
had been very expensive even if there had been a negotiation.



"Thank you, Archie,"



He wanted to say more, touched at the thoughtful gift but Archie simply
grinned at him and announced that he wanted a drink.



***



The Inn was crowded and smoky, packed with sailors, soldiers and women, all
pushed tightly together; the scent of sweat, ale and spices made the air
heavy and the atmosphere almost like St Elmo's fire, crackling and heady.



Kennedy and Bush found themselves crammed tightly together, nearly sitting
on each other. It reminded Bush of his days as a midshipman and he felt
strangely comfortable and yet something was different.



"Wonderful place isn't it, William?" Archie had to yell for his voice to be
heard.



Bush grinned at his friend's enthusiasm, "It is certainly interesting."



"Oh, don't be so uptight, William! It's great. Look at that."



He nudged Bush in the direction of a table and William saw an officer with
one of the serving girls on his knee, they were laughing and kissing.



"Another man who knows his duty," laughed Archie.



William shook his head and wondered why he felt a sudden surge of jealousy
at the thought of Archie with one of the girls.



"It is so good to be able to enjoy this again. I really thought."



Archie trailed off and William squeezed his arm, sympathising with the
feeling and the relief.



The noise was increasing as the Inn filled even more; they had obviously
found one of the most popular haunts for the army and navy officers.



Archie leant over to whisper something in his ear, as the noise in the inn
forced intimacy and the warm breath on his ear made him shiver.



Bush clamped down on the feeling: damn what was he doing feeling like this?



Desperate to drown the intensity of feeling he was experiencing he drank
more and Archie matched him.



Kennedy kept touching him and the casual pats were driving him insane. He
risked looking at his friend's face and was caught by the flushed look and
the brightness of his eyes.



A woman came near them obviously making a line for Kennedy, and Bush glared
at her managing something approximating a growl, he hoped Archie hadn't
noticed as the wench veered off to find another target.



He knew he had been unfair and should have asked Archie if he was interested
but decided it was something he would manage to live with.



Archie's hand lingered longer than was necessary to gain his attention, with
an added squeeze and suddenly he suspected that these casual touched weren't
as casual as he thought but that could be merely be his own desires.



Archie breathed another question in his ear, sending a deep shiver down his
spine and Bush forgot to breathe, before cursing a man who jolted his arm
spilling the ale on his jacket.



" Be careful, man," he snapped but he was paid no mind and he shrugged
returning to his drink.



He was caught by the look on Archie's face and cursed his need for him. He
knew he would have to leave before he did something stupid,



"I think I have had enough for one night."



Archie nodded and finished his ale quickly and they departed, the night air
refreshing after the stifling heat and scent of the Inn.





They clung desperately to each other on the walk home, managing only a
couple of steps at a time before slipping and William fought the waves of
feeling that seemed to have taken hold, distracted he missed his footing.



Archie fell to his knees, as Bush lost his grip on him. Archie didn't
attempt to stand just laid down on his back to stare at the stars. Bush
tried to drag him to his feet, but he tripped himself ending up sprawled
over Archie, face down.



He giggled, causing his friend to look at him, obviously surprised, which
only made him laugh more and soon they were giggling together, not exactly
sure what was so funny, only that something was.



Archie's laughter threatened to become a little hysterical and he gripped
Bush's shoulders hard to try and regain control and William gasped, his nose
taking in the scent of Archie.



Aware that this was really not a good position to be in, he rolled off
Kennedy.

Aroused and suddenly hot, he tried to tell himself that he was drunk and had
not been with anyone for too long but he knew he was lying, there were many
women he could have had that night and even now he knew of places he could
go. He just wanted Archie. His warning growl at the woman was proof enough.



Damn it all!



He turned his attention to the stars desperately hoping for a distraction,
wondering what Archie found so fascinating about them. They were essential
for night navigation but he didn't think it'd help them much at the moment.



"Aren't they beautiful?"



Archie's soft murmur caught his attention and he found he was caught by the
look of wonder on his face, caught in the light of the moon. Tearing his
gaze away from his friend Bush studied the stars.



He supposed they could be considered beautiful especially when it meant the
difference between getting lost and finding your way home. Too uncomfortable
and unsettled by the lust he was experiencing he moved away from Kennedy.



"Come on Archie, we need to get back."



Bush struggled to his feet, wishing the ground wouldn't move so much and
gave Archie a hand up, they stood unsteadily for a few moments before
winding their way home.





It was no easy task getting undressed and Bush nearly decided that it would
be worth just falling into bed and forgetting about it, but he knew the heat
would be intolerable.



As he struggled with his jacket he was suddenly conscious that Archie was
watching him intently, and with a disconcerting expression on his face that
William finally recognised what exactly it was. He'd seen if often over the
last few days and now everything came together. He managed a rather weak,"
Archie?"



"Let me help with that."



The younger man walked towards him and William considered backing away but
then realised that he did want this, had wanted this for a while now.



There was little point in denying either of them this, all the arguments and
barriers were suddenly irrelevant, and he took the single step needed to
breach them.



"Yes,"



He saw Archie almost as if for the first time, the way his hair hung just
slightly over his forehead, the long sensitive fingers, the deep blue eyes,
darker than normal, the finely muscled torso and his breath hitched. He
couldn't deny this any longer and he saw with a mixture of awe and pleasure
that neither could Archie.



It was an undignified tumble as they unclothed each other, un-caring of the
strewn garments, and they fell a little heavily to the floor. William landed
on the bottom with Archie covering him in hard kisses.



Forcing himself into some sanity he pulled away and said hoarsely," We are
drunk. We will regret this come morning." He swallowed and touched Archie's
still tender wound softly, " I have no wish to harm you, none at all. "



With a smile that lit a fire within, Archie kissed his scar softly before
claiming his mouth, finally when they had to breathe the younger man pulled
away," We will not regret this, I promise. We will be careful, I have no
desire to hurt you either, but this is right. It feels right. Doesn't it?"



William could only nod silently and Archie too stopped talking and bit him
gently on the shoulder, groaning, he pulled Archie close, kissing him, and
was rewarded by a passionate response.



God, this was madness but he let it take him and damn the consequences.



They were both too close to last long and William's hoarse cry was followed
by Archie's louder one and they lay there panting, unable to move at all for
several minutes.



Archie finally rolled onto his back off William but did not move away and
with a grin he said, "Next time we take it slower."





William rolled onto Archie and stared into his eyes and passion spent he was
left with a tenderness that was obviously reflected in his eyes. Archie
smiled softly and pulled him into an embrace.



They kissed, gently this time, before lying side by side on the floor; Bush
put his arm out and yanked down his sheet. He placed it over them both, as
they had no inclination to move.



William woke with a heavy head and an aching body and a desperate need to
relieve himself. Archie's head rested on his chest and his arm flung over
him.

He was reluctant to disturb him but nature called and he eased himself out
from under Archie, laying his head as gently as possible onto the floor.



He pulled on his shirt and trousers not bothering with anything else and
stumbled to the privy. It was still early and dawn had not yet broken.



Archie was awake when he returned and quickly relieved him of his clothes.

William sighed at the mix of emotions he felt, even sober, passion and
tenderness in one maelstrom of feeling.



"William.you are so."



Archie didn't finish and just slid down his body and took Bush's erection
into his mouth and William gasped, his hands clutching his lover's head and
bucking up, then trying not to push too hard so as to choke Archie, but the
skilful tongue and gently tugging with his teeth left little room to think
and soon he was thrusting upward and came with a strangled cry of, "Archie."





"Hmm you like that, " said Kennedy with satisfaction and a degree of
smugness.



Bush rolled quickly so he was above Archie taking him by surprise and he
grinned down at him.



He kissed and nibbled every square inch of his friend. Refusing to touch the
one part he knew Archie craved and ignored all the determined hints to touch
him there, but never missing an opportunity to rub against it as he explored
Archie's skin.



"Damn it, William, please, I can't."



Finally taking pity of him he took Archie in his mouth and caressed his
balls and Archie came, breathing hard and the smug expression had been
replaced with one of sated happiness.



William wasn't exactly sure where this left them, the passion had taken him
by surprise, but he wasn't worried that it would ruin their friendship, but
he wasn't certain of the wisdom of this. What on earth would Hornblower say?



"William?"



Archie's concerned voice broke into his thoughts and he looked at him,
caught by the worry in his expression and a strange fierce tenderness came
over him and he knew he would not give this up.



"It is all right Archie, don't worry, I was just thinking."



"You do not, " Archie paused as if almost too scared to ask, "Regret this?"



"No, it is just surprising."



"That I fell in love with you, or you with me?"



William grinned and smoothed Archie's hair from his face gently before
kissing him again.



"Both, neither. It seemed to happen so fast"



"Rubbish, William, it's been weeks, months if you count Renown."



"You didn't even like me!"



"But I was not blind and neither were you!"



William thought about it and realised he was right, the sparks had been
there before but he had been too conscious of how different they were to
think about it, but having spent time together.



"You make it sound inevitable."



"Well not inevitable, but likely."



William grumbled a little at Archie's easy acceptance of this, but was not
surprised by it.



He pulled him tighter and relishing the feel of him drifted into sleep.

 





 

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