A/N: So, I continued it. :) I received a lot of encouragment and kind words, for which I am eternally grateful! Thank you to all of my wonderful reviewers! You guys keep me writing when I feel like dying from AP Exam studying! D:
~~Please let me know what elements of this chapter you liked, what you want to see more of, etc...Also, if a particular line "worked" for you, or really "squicked" you, let me know, please! :D~~
++ I'm looking for a beta for this story, as well. So if anyone is interested, please message me! Thanks! ++
**~*~*~**Also, one last thing, the wonderful amazing AnnabellandEdwardForeva made the most gorgeous, sultry trailer for this fic! You MUST go see it! The link is on her profile under "True Character." It's...it's just amazing! Go give her love! ;D **~*~*~**
Now onto the story...
January 1~The Next Morning
Major Forbes' eyes blinked open wearily, and he instantly slammed them shut once again. The horrendous beast of Light was shooting rivulets of pain through his eyes, and she was laughing at him as she did so. She mocked his pain by seemingly getting brighter, and still managing to shine through the folds of his eyes lids. She danced around him, playing dapples across his severely rumpled uniform, and refusing to grant him the repose his aching head so desired.
Realizing it was a battle he was going to make little headway in, and being the brilliant strategist he was, he decided to surrender, and he allowed his eyes to open, slowly though, and with his hands shading his eyes against the celestial onslaught. Cabot groaned as he rolled over onto his back and felt around on the ground beside his cot for his boots. When his questing hand met no success, he furrowed his brow before he realized they were on his feet already...or was it..still? This would not mark the first, or likely the last, time that he passed out from drunkenness, however, as his eyes met the sight of an impressive desk made of a dark-stained wood, it occurred to him that this was not even close to the same level as those previous instances.
He was in Robert's tent. All right. That was incredibly odd. He knew he'd been with Robert last night at the New Year's Eve Party, the one for all the officers and "uppity-ups" of the near-by military establishments. His face twitched even at the memory of all the faux-smiling he'd had to slap on, solely for appearance's sake..well, also for Robert's sake. He'd wanted to please his Colonel.
He smirked to himself. Oh if only Robert knew...He breathed a small laugh at the mental image of how Robert would flush if he only knew an iota of the thoughts in his friend's mind. He would be /most/ accosted, and would attempt to persuade Cabot of all the reasons why their interaction would not be a prudent choice, and the Major knew he would be able to persuade his Colonel through certain means that he knew he possessed, he smiled a little to himself.
That image was actually startlingly clear. He could picture exactly how the exchange would go, and could nearly hear, verbatim, what Robert would say...
Panic set in hard and fast in Cabot's chest. Why couldn't he remember what happened last night? Somehow he'd ended up in Robert's tent, in Robert's bed! Cabot sprung to his booted-feet, all previous feelings of languor vanished, except for a lingering sense of dizziness as his head attempted to readjust to the sudden change in altitude. Oh God...Cabot's palm flew to the side of his face and his eyes screwed shut again, this time in a furious storm of emotions. Please God, do not have let him...He could not even bear the thought.
He attempted to convince himself that, drunk or sober, there was no way he would admit his true feelings to his friend. Surely he had a better sense of self-preservation than that? With another groan, he had a sudden image flash across his eyelids of himself wading into a swamp, bare from the waist up, a wine bottle held above his head as he sang something that he thinks he might've believed was Italian?..in the middle of the night. Then again, maybe he was more a self-endangering drunk than he had previous thought. Because, there was nothing more self-endangering than admitting to your same-gender friend, that is a superior officer to yourself, that you have feelings- hopefully that was all he said?—for them. That would be, essentially, signing his own death warrant. He swallowed heavily.
He began to collect himself. That was only the worst-case scenario. Best case? He had crashed onto Robert's bed and the other man was simply too exasperated with his inebriated friend to move him. That was a much more likely occurrence. It was only his slightly-paranoid side that had forced him to instantly jump to the wrong conclusion. Forbes smiled, he would certainly be fine. He looked at the clock on Robert's desk. Well, not fine because he had missed Roll Call and Robert would have his hide, but, he would be all right for the most part.
Forbes sighed in relief and pulled his uniform jacket down and attempted to smooth the wrinkles out of it with his palms, by running them down his sides as best he could. He winced, realizing it was a lost cause, and merely ran his fingers through his disastrous hair before he pivoted, once again to his equilibrium's discontent, and strode towards the flap of the tent.
He reached forward to move the fabric and it revealed the stature of the very cause of his poor, already-exhausted brain's turmoil.
"Ah..M-Major Forbes," the hesitation was evident in the Colonel's voice, as was the blush that quickly spread across his face, "I'm glad to see that you're up and about. You missed Roll Call..again." As Robert spoke, his voice changed from the bashful tone Forbes would swear he'd heard at first, to his commanding, 'I'm-in-charge-listen-to-me' voice.
Forbes' face transformed into its usual devil-may-care expression and his customary smirk fell into place. "My apologies Colonel, I seem to have missed the morning wake-up call, as I was not in my normal sleeping arrangement."
The blush on Robert's face seemed to deepen, and Cabot hoped that it was merely because of the half-hearted innuendo, not because of whatever had happened—He cut that thought off before it had a chance to run wild again.
"Yes, that happens when you consume more alcohol than is prudent for someone who must be up with the sun," Robert responded easily, never seeming to miss a beat.
Forbes conceded that point with a nod of his head and another upturn of his lips. "Of course my dear Colonel, I shall refrain from drinking ever again, cross my heart!" He traced a small 'X' over the left side of his chest.
Robert, seeming to start a little at the preamble added before his rank, cracked his ramrod straight expression and adopted a smile of his own, shaking his head. "I would not say that Major, as I do not fancy losing one of my best officers to a premature heart attack," he quipped.
Forbes laughed and shook his head, "Ah, I must say that you would, most unfortunately, but more than likely, be correct." The Major extended his hand in a grand mock-bow gesture and smiled, "I bid the adieu, Colonel, parting is such sweet sorrow," he grinned before disappearing out of the tent.
Robert nodded before walking into his tent and collapsing into his desk chair, his hand flying to his forehead. Perhaps...just perhaps the Major hadn't remembered a thing from last night..He felt relief course through him at the possibility. It would be so much easier if he could forget it as well, then they could just pretend it never happened. So..why did he feel a stubborn niggling of regret in the back of his mind at that thought? Robert groaned, this was going to be much more complicated than he thought...