Nicotine

10. august 2011 at 12:17 | by SFK
Fanfiction about Archie and our favourite Inspector (: Takes place during In The Best Families ...
Warnings: Not really
Disclaimer: I don´t own anything


"I didn't want to see you today."
A wry grin touched cigar-numbed lips.
"Then you shouldn't have opened the door."
Archie smiled, exhaling smoke from a cigarette he hadn't known he'd lit. The Inspector's expression tensed its way to seriousness.
"Wolfe would have a fit if he knew you were doing that."
"Yeah," Archie stated, reaching across his desk for the ashtray. "That's why I do it. I like to think of the expression he'll have on his face when he comes home to find that all of his books reek of Lucky Strikes."
Cramer shifted uncomfortably in the yellow chair, oddly aware of the gray smoke drifting in wispy tendrils towards him. Meanwhile, the cigar in his hand made small crunching noises as he rolled it firmly between finger and thumb.
"He's not coming back, Archie."
Archie's brow furrowed on the other side of the desk, and his hands trembled briefly, his next words meant to distract.
"Why don't you ever light one of those things, Inspector?" Archie asked, casually, glancing pointedly at the cigar now held loosely in the older man's hand. There was nothing like pain in his voice; in his expression, perhaps, but not his voice.
The response he received was level and grave.
"I don't like hiding behind the smoke."
Archie made a small humming noise and tapped ash off the end of his cigarette. He waited, and the Inspector's gruff voice came quickly, as he had sensed it would.
"Archie. Listen to me. He's not coming back."
A dead calm pressed down on the room as the echo of Cramer's voice faded.
Archie ran a hand through mussed hair, and took a drag on his cigarette with the other.
"So you keep telling me. You know, sometimes, Inspector, I have the notion that you only come back here every week to twist the knife a little deeper."
Cramer's expression darkened as he glared into the eyes of his young friend; eyes obscured by smoke and reddened with lack of sleep, or emotion, or both.
"Dammit, Archie," Cramer said, rising, "I'm only telling you what you know is true."
Archie glanced up warily, watching, mute, as the cigarette was taken out of his hand and ground out upon the cool smoothness of his jade ashtray. Smoke wafted up briefly then dispersed, leaving Archie with a clear view of the Inspector's face before him.
"He's coming back. You don't know that."
Cramer waited until the younger man's eyes glistened before moving around the side of the desk to drop his cigar into the trash can. The dull sound it made as it hit bottom seemed to trigger something in Archie. He stood abruptly, unafraid of what his expression would give away to the scrutinizing eyes before him. Defiance radiated from the young man, but Cramer was used to defiance by now. He expected it in this house, and he had always dealt with it head on.
"Do you hear what I'm saying, Archie? I'm telling you that you have to move past this. You have your own office now, Archie, your own agents. Good men, who expect more of you than this! Do I really need to remind you?" The Inspector gulped back his anger and continued, "You honestly don't know how many people are pulling for you, do you, Archie? You know, sometime you need to open your eyes and see what's staring you in the face, to go outside and see exactly what's passing you by and sometimes..." He stopped.
"...Sometimes?"
The Inspector took in a deep, shuddering breath and stepped closer, watching the emotions play out on Archie's face. He continued, gently.
"Sometimes you need to accept comfort when it's offered to you."
Cramer hesitated, then moved forward the few extra inches it took to meet Archie's slightly parted lips, holding tight to the younger man's arms as he did so. Cramer's lips tingled with the intensity of it, and he shivered when, moments later, Archie moved his hands up to clutch desperately at warm fabric of his suit jacket.
It was the Inspector who stepped back first, eyes still closed, as Archie lay his head on a broad shoulder.
Cramer ran his hands along Archie's back, willing the trembling away. A gust of breath from a muffled sob caressed the side of his neck, and his eyelids parted at the sensation.
He couldn't help but focus on Wolfe's collection of books and artwork lining the walls. He couldn't help staring, just as he couldn't help the tightness in the back of his throat, thinking of the man's absence. And he couldn't help licking his suddenly dry lips...
Cramer held the younger man to him more tightly as the bittersweet flavors of tobacco and Archie became distinct, and in that same instant, prayed that Wolfe forgive him his addictions.
 

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