Title: A December Night
By: St. Minority
Disclaimer: I don't own these characters, I make no profit, etc.
Warnings: angst, fluff, m/m
Summary: He was forgetting her.
It was snowing outside, and the beauty and pureness of it was equally matched by the sight of his two lovers lying next to him. Both were asleep, with Ichabod curled up next to Fred and his head resting on the man's chest. Frederick had his arm loosely holding the younger man to him, and it was one of those rare occasions where the inspector appeared genuinely tranquil. As Sweeney knew, Fred was prone to more than unhappy dreams – as was Ichabod – that made him uneasy even in sleep just as he was, but it was evident that this was one of those nights where troubling thoughts were unable to reach his subconscious.
Sweeney glanced from the two men's peaceful faces to the photo of his wife and daughter that was perched atop a small table nearby. Every time he ended up in bed with either Fred or Ichabod or both, there was always a stab of guilt that pierced through him. It was wrong; how could he love anyone other than her? How could he feel so strongly for the two lawmen and share such intimacy with them when they were not his beloved Lucy? Things had not been going according to plan, and falling for Ichabod and Fred was certainly not planned before hand….And Lucy was gone. She was supposed to be the one he came back to, but instead, it was the two men lying in his bed that had given him the affection he had been longing to have.
He was forgetting her.
He realized it shortly after Mrs. Lovett had asked the simple question of, "What did your Lucy look like?" Not only was he losing her face in his mind, but her voice, her laugh, and her gentleness as well. It was so terrible to forget, and he was such a terrible man for letting it fade from his memory.
Beside him, he heard a soft sigh followed by slight rustling of the sheets, but he did not look to determine if one of them had woken. He much preferred his solitude at the moment, though a calm voice broke him from it.
"How long have you been up?" Fred questioned tenderly.
"Not sure. Couldn't sleep."
"Is something troubling you?"
Sweeney stared absently out the window and was silent for several minutes. Finally, he said almost inaudibly, "I'm losing her, Frederick."
The inspector did not have to ask who the barber was referring to. "Is that what you're afraid of?"
There was no answer.
"You'll never lose her completely. She'll always be with you. You'll always know who she is and how much she means to you. She won't leave you."
"Is that what you tell yourself about Mary Kelly?"
Fred's expression morphed into one of deep sorrow, yet he knew the question was not meant for him to become upset. It was said with utter sincerity. "Yes. It is."
Sweeney nodded and hesitantly turned his head to meet his lover's gaze. "Do you ever feel….guilty about involving yourself with Ichabod and myself?"
"There was a time when I did."
"No, not now. Mary Kelly is gone. I've moved on, but I haven't let myself forget her and I never will. It should be that way for you."
There was a pause before Sweeney leaned down to kiss the other man fervently. When he pulled away, his dark eyes bore into Frederick's, making the inspector shiver from their intensity.
"Don't leave me," Sweeney breathed. It was not a request; it was a plea.
Never having seen such vulnerability from the barber made Fred's heart beat faster and his affections for Sweeney grow. Witnessing the older man's display of defenselessness was something Fred knew would most likely never happen again. Raising his hand to brush a strand of wild black hair back from Sweeney's countenance, he replied quietly, "I won't leave you."
They shared another chaste kiss before Sweeney laid down and snuggled against Ichabod's naked body. Even though the words were not spoken, both of them knew they were loved by the other.
When Frederick awoke in the morning, he smiled to find the barber sitting at the foot of the bed, already dressed, and lovingly caressing the glass that protected the photo of Lucy Barker.
No, he would not forget.