Shrouded in Midnight

James wasn't sure what had woken him up, but it might have been the lack of warmth next to him. He had felt it even before opening his eyes and clearing his sleepy mind that Andrew wasn't lying next to him anymore, although the memories of the evening before, a time of love and passion and whispered oaths of love came to him easily, filling his heart with a warm feeling.

But now Andrew was nowhere to be seen and it was very early in the mourning, not even light outside yet, so of course James wondered where his lover had gone with no little amount of worry.

All of a sudden quite awake, James got out of bed quickly and lighted an oil lamp that sat on the bedside table.

His eyes roamed the room for Andrew's clothes and then found them still neatly hung over the back of a chair that stood at the sturdy oak desk. Well, that was almost all of his lover's clothes, as upon looking more closely and holding the dim lamp higher he could see that Andrew's breeches were missing.

James frowned slightly and threw on a shirt and some breeches himself, at the moment not bothering with shoes. In any case he hoped to find Andrew somewhere in the vicinity.

The commodore searched the house for some time and as he came to the kitchen where the back door was unlocked it became clear where Andrew had gone. The door led to the garden of the house and beyond the garden lay a small path that led through a crop of trees to the beach.

Without thinking of going back to get his shoes, James stepped out of the house and followed the path he was sure his lover had taken. The small strip of private beach was one of Andrew's favourite places in the world.

The sight that greeted James as he came to the beach took his breath away. Andrew lay there on the sand, bare-chested, his red hair splayed out about his head and he was gazing at the night-sky, a peaceful expression gracing his features.

Glad that Andrew was alright and back in his reach, James moved forward, shuffling through the sand with bare feet. Andrew sat up as he heard his lover approach him and greeted him with a warm smile.

"Andrew, thank goodness. I was worried about you." James scolded lightly, his voice conveying more concern than annoyance. "What are you doing out here?" he asked, sitting down next to Andrew.

The younger man smiled bashfully. "I couldn't sleep." He said, staring out at the sea. James sighed. "You could have woken me." He said, laying an arm around Andrew's shoulder and pulling him close to place a feathery kiss on the top of his head.

"No, I couldn't. You looked so peaceful, so beautiful, James. I didn't want to disturb that picture nor one of the few chances you have to really rest."

James smiled. Andrew was really too good to be true. So much even, that sometimes, as in situations like the one that had just occurred, James wondered if Andrew might be nothing more than a figment, or a dream his mind had conjured to end his loneliness.

But as he slowly leant in to capture Andrew's lips with his, to kiss him long and deep, he understood that it was real. Andrew was real.

James slowly and gently pushed Andrew from his sitting position into lying stretched out on the sand once more and Andrew pulled his lover down with him.

They kissed again and actions became more passionate, but eventually they fell asleep in each other's arms, still lying on the beach, lovers shrouded in midnight colours until dawn crept over the horizon.