Author: ILoveYouRobot PM
Vignettes, more or less, of Robert and Bates' relationship during the war and a little after.Rated: Fiction T - English - Friendship/Drama - Robert C. & J. Bates - Chapters: 7 - Words: 3,433 - Reviews: 2 - Favs: 2 - Follows: 1 - Published: 11-07-11 - Status: Complete - id: 7531011
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Sprawled out before him was Downton. The sound of the gravel under his feet was audible as Robert walked past the reverberant green lawn up to the door. He reached for the handle and then nothing. He tried again but it was the same. "What-?" he murmured.
"Sir?" someone was saying. He turned but no one was there. It was only Downton, pure and bathed in sunlight.
Robert jumped. With much chagrin, he realized he was not at home. He was still in Africa, still miles and miles away from Downton.
"Sir, are you alright? You were talking in your sleep."Bates was sitting at his side in the dark.
"I'm fine." Robert replied quietly.
Robert smiled. Bates was impossibly calm and quiet, a nice reminder of home. Robert had often thought over the months that they had spent together that it was unfortunate that he might never had met John if not for this war.
"And you, Bates? How are you fairing?"
John chuckled. "I think I am doing well, sir."
"Don't you miss England?"
"I don't really know, sir." He sat down next to Robert and fell back on the tent.
"Downton is beautiful this time of year." Robert sighed, unable to keep the note of sentimentality out of his voice.
Robert turned his eyes to Bates. Surveying him, he muttered quietly, "You should see it someday, Bates."
"You talk about it so frequently, sir, I've seen it plenty of times in my mind."
Laughing, Robert nodded. "I do love Downton. When I'm away everything reminds me of it. It's consoling to think that it's out there, waiting..."
Bates said nothing in reply. They sat quietly for a few moments, no noise except for the the wind in the trees. At length, Bates stood.
"I think, sir, I'll turn in for the night...unless you need me?"
Robert smiled up at him.
"No,Bates. Go in and rest. I'll be in shortly."
"Fine,sir. Goodnight." Bates strode off and Robert heard the tent flap open and close as he went inside.
Robert sighed and looked back up at the the sky. Far, far away Downton, his mother and father...As he walked into the tent he couldn't help but think that the only thing that felt remotely familiar here was Bates. Bates rolled over, now facing Robert.
"Sir? Are you alright? You seem..forgive me, but you seem troubled."
"It's nothing, Bates. Only-" He paused and with a sigh he grasped the back of John's head and pressed his lips to his. Realizing the gravity of the situation he had created, Robert pulled away, blushing profusely and not daring to meet John's eyes.
Neither of them spoke for moment. Robert stared down at the ground and tried to compose himself.
"S-sir?" Bates asked quietly.
"I...I'm sorry, Bates...incredibly sorry. This is inexcusable. I've put you in a horrible position."
Robert sighed. He moved to leave the tent but Bates grabbed his wrist and he heard him murmur hoarsely, "Not so horrible, sir."
Bewildered, he slowly raised his head and uneasily allowed himself to look at Bates.
"Your apology was unnecessary, sir. Pray don't...don't be uneasy...I..."
Unable to explain himself, Bates sighed. Holding Robert's gaze, John stood gracefully and gripped the other man's shoulder. That was enough for both of them. Robert smiled and reached for John's hand. They both inched closer towards one another until their lips met yet again, more sure of themselves this time. Gradually, John shifted down to Robert's neck as he grasped his neck yet again. With a small sigh, Robert drew John back up to his lips. This was the most comfortable he had felt since leaving home, the most contented. Being so close to John, the feel of his warm mouth pressed against his was reassuring that their was a calm, quiet world outside of the one they currently inhabited. With this in mind, he wrapped his arms around Bates and pulled him closer.