"Theo… you look like death warmed up." James's dark brow was furrowed with concern. "You shouldn't be on duty in this state."
Theodore didn't try and argue. He felt horrible. He apparently looked his misery. He swayed slightly as he stood in front of his friend and commanding officer.
"I'll have Andrew see you home." James told him quietly, laying a hand on his shoulder.
Theodore drew his hand from his pocket quickly and sneezed into a well-used handkerchief. He groaned.
"Sit down, before you fall down, Teddy. I'll fetch Andrew and be right back." James guided him to the chair behind his desk.
"Thank you, James." Theodore sighed, laying his head down on the cool, polished wood. He could hear the footsteps, the clacking of the polished dress sows, quieted by the soft click of the door latching closed.
Andrew looked up at the sound of someone approaching. "Good morning, Sir."
"Hello, Gillette." James nodded, "Would you be so kind as to see Lieutenant Groves home? He's caught something rather nasty, I'm afraid."
Andrew nodded, "Of course, Sir."
"Thank you, Gillette… He's in my office."
Andrew nodded again and started off.
James cast a quick glance around, "Take as long as you need, And'." He smiled softly.
"Of course, James."
Andrew closed the office door behind him. He noted that the curtains had been left drawn from the night, blocking all view out, or in.
Theodore cracked his eyes open, feeling the light fingers as they brushed across his forehead and temple.
Andrew smiled down at him. He leaned down and pressed a soft kiss to his cheek, his concern for his lover showing.
"Come to escort me home?"
"Well you certainly couldn't make it on your own." Andrew teased gently.
Theodore raised his head slowly and stood, pressing his palms into the desk for support.
Andrew took his discarded hat from the desk and placed it back on Theodore's head.
They walked slowly though the fort and down the stone pathways towards Theodore's home. Neither man spoke. They entered the silent house and carefully made their way up the stairs. Theodore leaned heavily against his friend as they approached the bedroom. He let out a low, contented sigh as he crawled onto the bed, lying down on his side, knees slightly bent and arms curling closely around his chest.
Andrew closed the door and latched it. He padded quietly back to the bed and leaned over, slowly working Theodore's shoes off his stocking-covered feet. He set them aside, out of the way.
Theodore breathed slowly and deeply as his lover undressed him, the tender motions unhurried and selfless. He opened his eyes when Andrew's hands came lightly across his forehead. He slowly worked out the pins holding his wig in place and tugged it off.
Andrew drew back the covers behind him, "Here… You'll end up freezing."
Theodore turned over, shifting his weight until he was on the exposed sheets.
Andrew pulled them back over him, tucking him in. He sat down on the bed next to him.
Andrew smiled, "Anything for you, Teddy." He gently stroked his hair.
"You should probably get back to the fort…"
"James told me to take 'as long as we needed.' I'm in no hurry."
Theodore cracked a small smile. That was James.
"Is there anything you want, or need?"
Theodore thought for a moment. He closed his eyes and nestled his head into the pillow. He murmured quietly: "Charlie."
Andrew's heart plummeted to the floor, stopping in an instant. What? His brown eyes filled with pain and hurt. He opened his mouth, but closed it again, unable to think or say anything. Had he heard what he thought he had heard? Teddy would haven't… he wasn't… No… No.
"He's in the back of the wardrobe… behind the shoes."
Andrew stared. He slowly turned his gaze towards the wardrobe, one of the doors slightly ajar. He stood slowly and back stepped towards it. He bit his lip as he pulled it open and leaned down, peering inside. He pushed aside the extra pairs of shoes.
Two brown glass eyes, clouded with age, stared back at him. His brow furrowed. He cautiously reached a hand inward, towards the mysterious object.
"He doesn't bite, I promise."
Andrew withdrew a small, worn brown bear. A jingle came from behind it, in the small round tuft of a tail where a single bell resided. It had a red fabric ribbon tied around its neck, which looked to have once been a vibrant scarlet. The fur was worn and missing in some places. One paw was nearly threadbare.
"He's cute, isn't he?"
Andrew turned back. Theodore's eyes were cracked open, a small, half smile on his tired face.
"My sister Clarice made it for me… 'fore I was born." Theodore murmured sleepily. He pulled the bear close to his chest as Andrew handed it to him. He lightly drew a fingertip over the threadbare paw, stroking absentmindedly.
A slow grin spread across Andrew's pale face. "That's why you didn't give me much trouble for having my ships…"
"I'm a lot of things, but I try not to be a hypocrite. It's only fair, after all."
Andrew laughed quietly. He leaned down and kissed him, stroking his cheek, which was lightly flushed. "I think it's sweet. My Teddy has a teddy."
So teddy bears are so not period, meaning, at least, that naming, but... there really isn't another name you can call it and have it envoke the same feelings, so I went with it anyway. :)