Someone to Watch Over Me
a sweet historical (m/m)
“Hey, buddy. You can’t sleep here.”
Jack looked up from where his head rested against his duffle, sighing as he saw it was a uniformed station guard. Damn. He sat up straight, pulling his uniform jacket down.
“I just need to wait out a two day layover, Mister. I really don’t have the money to go to a hotel.” Goodness knew he knew it wasn’t quite legal to sleep in the train station, but he was flat busted and on his way to a home that wasn’t really his anymore, and he just wanted to get some rest.
He could see the sympathy in the man’s eyes for a soldier down on his luck, could see that the guy wanted to let Jack stay on the hard oak bench and sleep the day and night away, but he could also see the dedication to duty. He had seen a look very like that on every face around him for the past thirteen months. Determination.
“Sorry, buddy. But you need to move on.”
Nodding, Jack got up stiffly and grabbed his pack, shouldering it. He started to move out just as the incoming 9:30 emptied onto the platform, and he sighed again as he got caught in the shuffle of busy travelers. It never failed. When a man had nowhere to go, he got stuck with a bunch of folks who had to be somewhere right now.
He got jostled and bumped, then a rough voice sounded. “Sorry, Sergeant. Close quart…” The words trailed off, stopped.
He’d once told himself he would remember that too-young face, those icy blue eyes, for the rest of his life. He was right. Speechless, Jack saluted the man who had seen him off so well when he thought he was going off to die in the war.
The returning salute was automatic, immediate. The face looked the same, mostly, only a bare scar on one high cheekbone, eyes older now.
Jack drank in all of the changes. Such a short time he had known this man, had not really known him, even if he did remember the man’s scent, and the way he felt when they danced. And yet Jack remembered it all. Finally, he managed to clear his throat and speak.
“Not a problem, Lieutenant.”
“Are you… Are you in a hurry, Sergeant?”
Startled, pleased at the sound of the voice he’d only heard whispering sweet nothings, Jack shook his head. “No, sir. No hurry at all.”
“Would you like a cup of joe? My treat. There’s a little coffee shop on the corner outside.” Those lips twisted. “Or there was when I left.”
“I’d love one.” Oh, would he. Not just for the company, either. ‘Course it didn’t matter if the LT paid or not. He’d sit with the man anyway. He couldn’t just walk away again, could he?
He got a smile and suddenly that age fell away, those blue eyes enough to steal his breath. “Me, too.”
How easy it was to see that smile as it was, untried, shy and sweet. He wondered, just for a moment, what those hands would feel like now. Would they be rough from holding a weapon? They walked easily side by side, the crowd of war widow crows and gray, old men having passed them as they stood in their own little world. Jack hitched up his duffel. “So this is your hometown, huh?”
“It is. My place is six blocks from here. My sister said she aired it out, lit the furnace. Where are you heading?”
“I was heading back to Ohio.” Not that he had anything there to go back to, with his mother passed on and his pop not speaking to him after he enlisted. Nothing waiting for him but a dead end factory job after he stripped off the brown shoes for good.
“Is that where your family is?” The cafe was simple, old, clean, warm. The Lieutenant led them to the back of the diner, to a booth by the window.
The chrome sides of the table held in cracking linoleum, and the seats were covered with gingham to cover the ripped vinyl. Jack liked it.
“My father. ‘Fraid he’ll not be glad to see me.”
“My father is gone. There’s just me and my sister and her family now. Janey and her husband run the grocery.” One long hand was held out to him. “I’m Harry, by the way. Harry Copenhaver.”
He shook that hand, nothing the difference in texture from the last time it had touched him. The skin was scarred now, rough and chapped. A man’s hand, not a green boy’s.
“I’m Jack Larabie. And my pop’s the only one I’ve got left.”
“Nice to meet you again, Jack.” Those cheeks flushed a sweet, deep red.
“Same here.” Oh, it was good to see those rosy cheeks light up. Real good. The coffee came, smelling earthy deep, not at all like Army coffee.
“Would you like a piece of pie? I’m starving, after all day on that rattle-trap bus. They have apple.”
His stomach growled loud as a lion in a cage, and he figured there was no reason to lie. “That’d be ace. I’m afraid I don’t have any way to pay you back ’til my pay catches up with me, though.”
“That’s fine, Jack.” He got a quick smile. “That means I can have another cup with you, when you pay me back.”
“I’d like that, too.” He still held the Lieutenant’s hand, he realized that when the second round of coffee came, and the matronly woman pouring it looked askance at them. Slowly, he withdrew it, not feeling like he’d done a thing wrong in the world.
“Apple is fine.”
“Two pieces of apple.” Those eyes just stayed looking at him, moving over him. “I never… I thought some nights I’d dreamed you up.”
He nodded, curling his hand into a fist to keep hold of the warmth. “I thought about you a lot. When it got lonely. When it got bad.”
Those eyes dropped, blond head nodding. “It was. Bad. But it’s over and you’re here.”
“I am. Does this place of yours have a phonograph? I sure would like to dance with you again.” There. Bold as brass, wasn’t he, but he’d asked. Wasn’t any harm in asking, and all Harry could do was say no. Harry. He had a name to put to his dreams, if nothing else.
“It does.” Oh, another of those smiles, wide and warm, eyes lit right up. “I have Glen Miller.”
“I like old Glen. Easy to move to.” The thought of holding Harry in his arms again was better even than the smell of the warmed pie set in front of him. He tucked in hearty anyway, the taste of tart apples and cinnamon enough to make a man believe in God again.
They finished the pie in silence, both of them hungry, both stealing long, quiet looks.
Finally those blue eyes glanced up at him, warm and shining. “It’s better than I remember.”
Jack nodded, smiled. “It is. We know what it is to do without it.”
“Yes. Come home with me?” The words sort of tumbled out, young and eager and rough. “I haven’t been home in so long.”
His cheeks flushed and his mouth stretched wide. Heck yes. “I’m honored you’d ask, Harry. Yes, I will.”
“Oh, excellent. We can walk from here. It’s not far.” A bill was pulled from an old leather wallet, set upon the table.
They finished up their coffee and he followed Harry out the door and down the street, admiring the greenery and red ribbon that adorned the shops and houses all along. He’d almost forgot it was that time of year. It just seemed unreal to be back stateside and mostly in one piece.
“It’s strange, isn’t it? It’s like life didn’t stop here. No bombs. No soldiers.” They stopped in front of a small grocery, the building dark inside. “This is it. Upstairs.”
“Looks right nice.” It did, too. Looked like a real place. They trudged up the stairs, his hip twinging madly as he watched Harry’s straight back in front of him.
The door was unlocked, Harry hesitating a bit. “Here we are. Home.”
Jack’s heart sank. “You don’t have to have me in, Harry. I understand.” The man hadn’t been home in who knew when.
“What? No. I just… I thought about this so many times.” Harry pushed the door open, pulled him inside. The place was clean, simple, an old sofa, a bookshelf, a dinette set. Simple.
He looked around, took off his hat and set it by the door. It was homey. He liked it. He would have liked just about anything that wasn’t the station, he’d guess. But this was a little piece of the man standing next to him. A little clue to what he was like.
Harry looked around, fingers trailing over the shelf of books, and then he got a smile, wide and wondering. “Would… I don’t know what’s in the kitchen, but there should be something to drink.”
The innocence of that expression… he would have thought it lost forever. Jack couldn’t be more pleased that it wasn’t. He nodded. “Something wet would be nice. It’s a fine home you have. Real fine.”
“Thank you. Make yourself at home. The phonograph is there.” The class A jacket was shrugged off, hung upon a coat rack.
He hung his own coat up, moving over to sort through the records, finding a Glen Miller platter and putting it on. Just as he got it playing and turned back, Harry came back with a glass of something tall.
“Oh, hey. Thanks.”
“Oh, that’s one of my favorites.” Harry handed him the glass, humming along. Somewhere in the kitchen a few buttons had come undone at Harry’s collar.
The tanned throat and the top of the clean white undershirt held Jack’s attention for far too long, he was sure, but it looked inviting, open somehow.
Harry put his glass aside, stepped close. “When the bombs fell, I closed my eyes and remembered you.”
His hand trembled, and Jack almost dropped his glass, managing instead to set it aside and move closer to Harry himself. “When the nights were cold I would see us dancing.”
One long hand slid into his, Harry’s cheek resting against his own in a slow easy movement as they came together.
The song changed to I’ll Be Home for Christmas, and he put his hand on the small of Harry’s back, holding him close as they began to sway in time. The exhalation on his cheek was feather soft, the sound of the sigh happy.
Goodness, it was so different from the last time, this dance. There was no need for silence, no worry about ruining it with a misplaced word. There was no reason to hide in a dark room, either, and it felt good to press close and lead Harry about in a slow circle.
They danced through one song, then another, Harry humming along, moving against him, with him, around and around that old sofa.
They finally lost the rhythm and ended up leaning against the threadbare chintz of the sofa, Jack pressing in to set his mouth against the soft, pink lips he remembered so well. The kiss was met more eagerly this time, the feeling of dread gone as a warm, soft tongue slid against his own.
It had been so good then, something to remember, to keep him warm on the cold nights in the field. Now it was better, because he was free to touch as he tasted. Jack set his hands to Harry’s hips, pulling him closer still.
A deep, low sound pressed into his lips as they kissed. Harry’s eyes were wide open and watching him, the gaze almost physical as the lean body pressed into his own. A man could fall in love with those blue eyes without even knowing the man behind them. Sometimes Jack thought he had. He just got lost in them, lost in their kisses.
Harry’s hand cupped his hip, thumb rubbing in slow circles. “Tell me you don’t have to leave.”
“I don’t. I got nowhere to be.” That was true enough, but even if he did he wasn’t going to leave now, not with that touch making his prick throb, the muscles in his belly hard as stone. He rubbed, letting Harry know how badly he wanted to stay.
“Oh. Good. Stay?” Harry pushed back, hand sliding to pull them together.
“Yes.” He leaned, lips searching for another kiss. He wanted to taste, wanted to feel everything. His fingers stroked the small of Harry’s back through the cloth that kept him from skin.
They began rocking, sliding together, both so hard, hip to hip, mouth to mouth.
“Harry.” They danced a whole different dance now, and Jack let his sounds out, let his fresh-faced Lieutenant hear how much he wanted him.
“I… I have a bed, Jack…”
“Can I see it, Harry?” He smiled as both of them blushed a little. It felt so forward to say it, but damn it, it was right and they were ready. He took Harry’s hand in his. “Show me.”
“Yes.” They moved through the place, into a small room, the double bed covered in a quilt, a picture of a lighthouse and the ocean above the headboard.
It was perfect. Homey. Jack smiled, reaching for the buckle of Harry’s belt. “I like your bed, Harry. Now, may I see you, please? I’ve dreamed…”
“Yes. It has to be right. You found me twice, out of the whole wide world.” Harry took another kiss, started working his shirt buttons.
He chuckled. Lord knew that was true enough. Both times just passing through, and they’d found each other. He pulled the shirt out of Harry’s pants, then the undershirt, finding skin and petting lightly, the little trail of hair on Harry’s belly catching his fingers.
Harry’s fingers trailed over his chest, sliding over his nipples and down his belly. “I can smell you.”
“Of course you can. I want you very badly, Harry.” There was no shame in admitting it. He wanted this man more than he’d ever wanted anyone. His prick strained against his uniform trousers and he pressed Harry’s hand down against it. “See?”
Harry’s eyes rolled, cheeks dark. “No, but I want to. I haven’t been able to look ever, not really.” That hand stroked his shaft, fingers searching out his buttons, slipping them loose, one by one.
“Oh.” He moaned, his hips pushing, his fingers stilling for a moment. Then he pushed that undershirt all the way up beneath Harry’s armpits, bending to nuzzle under one arm, fingers finding the flat nipples. They were tiny, Harry’s chest mostly smooth. Harry’s fingers wrapped around his shaft, the sound that filled the air joyous.
“Yeah. Yeah.” His eyes just rolled, and he bit into Harry’s skin, tongue easing the tiny sting. He pushed into that hand hard, feeling his prick just leaking.
“Jack.” His name sounded like a hymn, that hand the finest thing he’d ever felt.
“Let’s try that bed out, Harry. See if it’s as good as you remember.”
Harry nodded, stepped back, fingers slow to release him. It was a shame to lose that touch, but worth it as Harry started to strip down, letting him have a look at the long, lean lines.
He just stared for a long time, his chest rising and falling as he panted. Trim waist. flat belly, lean hips… the man was exactly as he’d pictured, only there and warm and in the flesh. Jack finally remembered to strip off himself, struggling out of wool and cotton.
Those muscled thighs were furred with gold hairs that caught the street light that poured into the break in the curtains. Then Harry bent to pull down the quilt, offering him the curve of a hip, the swell of a muscled rear. Jack didn’t even think, he just reached out to touch, that smooth skin warm and alive under his hand. His fingers trailed down, teasing the heavy balls that he could just see as Harry bent. Harry moaned, arched under his touch like a huge cat.
“Oh.” The man enticed him like no one else. He touched so gently, getting a feel for what Harry liked.
Harry climbed onto the bed, moving slowly so he could follow. He did follow, slipping easily into bed beside Harry, reaching out to touch again, unable to keep his hands off. Harry’s hands slid against his skin, so soft, so warm, drawing them closer together. When their bellies met, Harry’s eyes went wide. “Oh.”
“Mmm.” He hummed happily, bracing on one hand so he could touch with the other. “Oh, you feel good.”
“Yes.” Harry’s mouth found his throat, his Adam’s apple, tongue sliding and slipping.
Goodness. Sensation zinged through him, making his fingers and toes tingle. Among other things. He cupped his palm about the back of Harry’s neck, tilting their faces so they could kiss, their mouths melding perfectly.
The motion brought their lower bodies together, shafts bumping, then beginning to slide together. He could feel the heat of Harry, the wetness, and it made him gasp. So much more than his dreams, so much better. He pressed down, letting Harry have his weight, feel his need.
One long leg wrapped around him, holding him close, rocking them together faster and faster. They weren’t going to last long this way, but Jack had promised to stay, so what did it matter? He grunted, getting a better position and rubbing hard, his hands and mouth fastening on Harry’s skin.
Harry’s hand cupped his ass, tugging him close, pulling them together, fingers digging in. “Yes. Jack.”
Panting, Jack rubbed and rubbed, getting the friction, getting the heat they needed. He could feel the explosion rising along his spine. “Now?”
“Now. Now. Please.” Harry nodded, bucked up into him, throat working.
“Yeah.” That was it, that was his cue. His order. Jack came hard, his prick jerking, his whole body shaking.
Harry’s heat joined his, wet and hot between them, both of them shaking.
“Oh. Harry.” He leaned his forehead against Harry’s, sharing air. “Thank you.”
“Thank you. So good. Feels so very good.”
“Yes.” He smiled, his lips pulling at Harry’s skin. “Thank you for letting me stay.”
Harry nodded, held him. “Sleep and we’ll make breakfast in the morning.”
“We will? We will.” He grinned. Breakfast. Wow. A real bacon and eggs breakfast. He snuggled close. For now it was enough to know he had a place to sleep.
And someone to watch over him.