Title: A Midsummer Plunge
Fandom: Sleepy Hollow
Disclaimer: Don't belong to me. Belong to Mr. Burton and Mandalay/Paramount. Am not making money from this. Okay? Author's note: This will be written and posted chapter by chapter.
The moon was shining that midsummer's night. It shone over rich and poor, over the living and the dead, over town and country. It even shone over a small village called Sleepy Hollow. It shone in through the windows of the houses in that village, casting strange shadows on the floors and the walls. A couple of people woke up when it shone brightly into their faces. But they fell asleep again, knocked out by the heat of the night.
Ichabod Crane lay in his bed in his room at the Van Tassel mansion. He twisted and turned, trying to get some sleep. The windows were open to let in the supposedly cool night air. He had only a thin sheet to cover his naked body, but still it was too hot to sleep. And the moon shone in so awfully brightly, like it was trying to outshine the sun. It wouldn't have been so bad, Ichabod thought, if it hadn't been shining right down on his bed, and his pillow.
Ichabod rose from his bed with a sigh. Apparently he was not going to get any sleep that night. He walked barefoot over the creaky floor to the window. There was a slight breeze, so slight it hardly made it into the room. He drew in a lungful of the lukewarm air, and exhaled. It felt so good standing there, letting the night breezes try to cool down his hot body. He looked up at the moon. The moon appeared to be looking down on him, with a smile. Then he looked down on the ground, and found that there was a pathway, going from the garden and into the Western Woods. The moon shone down on it, lighting it up for anyone who wanted to take a walk that night.
The path meandered over the trimmed grass lawns of the garden, and across the green fields and into the Woods. There was something that drew Ichabod to it, something that lured him with a tune that promised a cure for his hot body. Ichabod recalled that he had heard about a small lake in the Woods, a lake with good water, a cool lake to take a midnight dip in. Maybe that path lead there. Quickly he dressed, and took his boots in one hand.
Sneaking down the stairs wasn't easy. Some of the steps were creaky, but Ichabod knew which ones, and deftly avoided them. Then he walked out through the kitchen door, and closed it silently behind him. The path seemed to begin at the doorstep of the kitchen door. The moon was still shining down on it, positively telling him to get going. Ichabod didn't have to be told twice.
The path was old. Many had walked on it down to the Woods and back. Ichabod found himself at the edge of the Woods sooner than he thought possible. There he stopped. He knew what was among those trees. The events of half a year ago were still fresh in his mind, but he had no quarrel with the dominant spirit of the Western Woods, the Hessian Horseman. In fact, Ichabod thought, he had helped the Hessian to get his head back. Hopefully the Hessian would remember this, and let him walk in peace.
Steeling himself, Ichabod ventured into the Woods.
The Tree of The Dead was basking in the moonlight. Its twisted trunk seemed even more twisted than usual in the hard white light. Suddenly the tree burst open. Through the opening and out in the world of the living sprang the huge black steed known as Daredevil. On his back was his ghost rider, known as the Hessian.
The Hessian was a tall, pale man, with wild black hair. His eyes were an intense, lightning blue. His glare could frighten big, strong men; but to make himself even more frightening, he had his teeth filed into sharp points. He had been killed, over twenty years ago, by soldiers who had acted like a pack, attacking him together. Now he was a ghost, or whatever he was. He wasn't alive, he was sure of that.
It was a warm night, thought the Hessian. Too warm. At this time of the day it ought to be a bit fresher, but it wasn't. He pulled at the collar of his shirt, and regretted putting on his cloak and his leather cuirass. It was too hot for those clothes. Even though he was technically dead, he could still get sweaty, and right now the sweat was trickling down his back, making his clothes even more uncomfortable.
He felt like cooling off somewhere, someplace nice and cold. Like that little lake he'd seen a couple of times on his excursions. It was a small lake, with reeds and water lilies. There was also a couple of rocks in the water, if one wanted to sit and watch the moon.
Yes, thought the Hessian, perfect.
The Hessian threw a gaze at the Tree and greeted it with a wave of his hand. The tree shook a little, even though there was no wind to rustle its branches. The Tree had a spirit of its own, and was as aware of its surroundings as any tree that was functioning as a door-way between the worlds could be.
Then the Hessian rode away, from the clearing and into the Woods.
The Hessian rode down the old Indian trail. The moon lit up the path almost as if it wanted to guide him to the lake. He wondered what the moon was grinning about. Maybe it had someone waiting for it on the other side of the night. The moon was a lucky sod then. He wished he had someone waiting for him somewhere. But he knew that there was no one waiting for him anywhere.
The thought made him feel a bit sad. He wished that someone would give him a chance to show that there were more to him than just his ferocious looks. And when he wished for someone, he was in fact thinking of just one special person... a young man with dark, innocent eyes, and, unfortunately, a habit of fainting every time he met the Hessian.
And the fact that the love of his life, or existence, feared him so much, was enough to make the Hessian feel a little bit depressed.
Oh well, he thought to himself, pull yourself together. It's no use brooding over things that can't be. It's just a waste of time and effort.
Soon he saw the lake glitter in the moon-light. Only a few yards left, and then he and Daredevil would take a plunge. He was looking forward to it.
Ichabod was happily swimming around in the lake. It was not a proper swim, more like a dog-crawl, but no-one was around to criticize it, and so he swam on, delighting in the cold water. He had thought it would be very cold, perhaps icy, but it had been just cold, enough to cool down a hot body. His clothes were hidden under a bush, and since he did not have any special clothes for swimming, he was naked.
Suddenly the were the sound of hooves hitting the ground in a steady trot. Ichabod turned his head to hear where the sound came from. It came from inside the forest. Who could it be? One of the village lads out on a midnight ride? Or could it be...?
Not giving himself the time to think it over, he hid himself behind a rock that was sticking out of the water. If the Hessian himself were out on a ride, then Ichabod certainly did not want to be in his way. The hooves came closer and closer. Ichabod pressed himself closer to the rock and peeked out from behind it.
The young man tried to make as little movement as possible in the water. He didn't want to draw the attention of whomever, whatever, it was that was coming to the lake from the woods. The sounds of hooves in a lazy trot, and the neighing of the unseen horse, came closer and closer to the little lake.
After a while Ichabod saw the huge black steed emerge from the Woods. And in the saddle was the Hessian. Ichabod knew that face so well, that pale face with the eerie sky-blue eyes. He had thought about it so many times during the past six months, so it was a bit disconcerting for him to see it in the flesh again.
As Ichabod watched, the Hessian got off and unsaddled his horse. The saddle was put on the ground. The Hessian examined it, shaking his head at a few small tears in the leather that he would have to get repaired. But who would mend a saddle for a ghost horse?
Daredevil just pranced around, happy to be relieved of the saddle for a while. But the reins were still in his mouth. He walked down to the water, stopping just at the edge. Then he turned his head and neighed. It sounded as if he were telling his master to hurry up.
The Hessian undressed, taking of one piece of clothing at the time, examining each piece for holes, and other things he'd have to do something about. First off was the cloak, and Ichabod thought that the Hessian looked thinner without it, less bulky, but no less powerful. Then the leather cuirass, which had fastenings at the sides. It was laid down on the ground with somewhat more reverence than the cloak.
Next off was the coat, and Ichabod wondered why the Hessian had put on so many layers of clothing when it was such a hot night. Then the shirt, a worn thing that needed some darning here and a couple of patches there. The Hessian had a nice chest, Ichabod thought, and a firm belly, with an interesting line of hair going from somewhere inside the breeches and up to the navel. Then it was time for the boots, and they put up quite a struggle. But a few German curses later, they were off the Hessian's feet. The stockings came off quickly. They needed darning.
Then it was just the breeches left. Ichabod didn't know why he was holding his breath as the Hessian unbuttoned and pulled down his breeches.
Now the Hessian was standing naked in the moonlight. Ichabod heart was beating at the sight. The pale skin of the Hessian seemed to reflect the moon-light, making him into something supernatural. Had he had wings, he could have passed for an angel with that androgynous face of his. Ichabod could have stayed behind the rock forever, letting his eyes run over those legs, those buttocks, that chest, and that back.
Then the moment was over, and the Hessian walked down to the water. He and Daredevil waded out into the water. The horse happily continued further out, while the Hessian stayed where the water was waist-deep.
The Hessian splashed water over himself, enjoying the feel of cool, clean water over his skin. He hadn't done this in a long time. It felt so good to be rid of the dirt. He took water in his cupped hands and poured it over his head. The water ran down his back, making him shudder a little bit.
Ichabod strained his eyes to get a better look at the bathing Hessian. He was standing with his back to Ichabod, so Ichabod could stare as much as he liked. The water running down the Hessian's back sparkled in the moon-light, as did the water he was standing in, blurring the border between the body and the water, so that he couldn't see where one ended and the other began. It was a beautiful sight.
Suddenly the Hessian dived under the water, and surfaced a couple of seconds later, and a few paces further away. The he dived again. Ichabod counted the seconds he was under the surface, hoping that he would come up soon. He asked himself whether or not a dead man could drown.
The Hessian swam like a giant pike along the bottom of the lake. Here and there he stirred up some mud, startled a few small fishes that had gone to sleep, and explored a whole new, to him, environment. This, thought the Hessian, was probably the only good thing about being sort-of-dead. He could stay underwater for as long as he liked.
Looking up, the Hessian saw the stems of the water lilies wind their way up to the surface, and closer to the shore, he could see the reeds. And then, above it all, he could se the moon, a bit distorted. The moon looked at itself in the mirror of the lake, the Hessian thought, and he was behind that mirror, looking at the moon.
Slowly the Hessian swam in huge circles towards the surface. He looked around to see if there were any underwater rocks he ought to avoid. There wasn't any such rocks, but there was a huge cliff that had its tip above water. And close to it, on a natural underwater shelf, were a pair of legs. And the legs seemed to be attached to a body, a male body. Judging by the way the legs shifted around on the tiny shelf, the body was alive. His curiosity was teased and he swam closer.
Ichabod wondered where the Hessian was. Maybe he had drowned. Don't be silly, Ichabod told himself, dead men can't drown, they're dead already. But where was he?
Then Ichabod felt something touch his foot. He shook it, thinking it was a fish, but then the *fingers* touched the other foot. His mind raced. If it was fingers, then that was not a fish, but a human, and if it was a human, the only other human around was...
The Hessian shot up out of the water. He was smiling, showing his teeth. Ichabod stared at him, torn between relief and acute fear. Then he began to feel the first signs of a faint.
The Hessian saw this and quickly spoke to the young man, hoping to prevent a faint. "Keine angst" was the last thing Ichabod heard before he sunk into the merciful darkness.
Author's note: "Keine angst" translates as "don't be afraid".
The Hessian didn't know whether to laugh or to cry, when Ichabod fainted in his arms. There he was standing in the water, on a narrow rock shelf, with a very beautiful, very unconscious, young man in his arms. Well, he couldn't stand there forever, or until Ichabod woke up. He quickly decided that they would both be more comfortable on land. He put two two fingers in his mouth and whistled for Daredevil.
Daredevil swam over to them. He snorted a bit at the sight of Ichabod, but let the Hessian lift up the young man onto his back. Then he made his way to land, the Hessian swimming beside him, holding Ichabod in place. As soon as Daredevil had gotten up on the dry land, the Hessian got Ichabod down from the horse's back, and laid him down on the grass, a few paces away from the water.
Daredevil neighed softly, before leaving them alone. He'd observed a patch of grass and tasty herbs on the other side of the lake. The hessian smiled. Trust a ghost horse to have an almost human sense of discretion.
The moon shone down on the dead man and the living man, smiling its smile. The night didn't show any sign of cooling down. Maybe there wouldn't even be any morning dew when the sun rose. The Hessian sat beside the young man, waiting for him to wake up.
It was unfortunate, the Hessian thought, that Ichabod would be so frightened by him. But this time it was his own fault. If he hadn't approached Ichabod the way he had, maybe he would have been less frightening to the young man. Well, he was going to try one more time. And this time he would be slow, not giving Ichabod any reason to be afraid. He made his decision, and lied down on the grass beside Ichabod. Then he closed his eyes and pretended to sleep.
Slowly Ichabod woke up. He recalled, as his mind rose from the darkness, that he'd been in the lake, with water to his waist. He was not in the water anymore, so that meant he was on land. And judging by the tickle to his belly, he was lying on grass. He wondered who it was that had put him there? His question was answered when he opened his eyes.
Beside him ly the Hessian, apparently sleeping. Ichabod stared at him, expecting to faint again. But the fear never rose, and instead he took his time looking at the Hessian. He'd never had the chance to take such a close look at him before. Slowly Ichabod moved to get a better view of him, and sat up on the grass. No running away this time, he thought. This time he'd stay around. The Hessian lay on his back, with one arm under his head and the other on his stomach. Ichabod let his eyes follow the legs down to the feet, and then up to the chest and the face. He took a long look at the Hessian's crotch, and then caught himself doing that. He felt a bit embarrassed about doing something like that. Since the Hessian didn't move, Ichabod got a bit bolder after a while, and moved closer. The other man sensed this and almost smiled to himself. Hesitantly Ichabod reached out with one hand to touch the Hessian's skin. The hand landed on the nearest shoulder, and stayed there. The Hessian pretended to move in his sleep, and turned so that Ichabod's hand touched his face. Ichabod found that two of his fingers now were on the Hessian's lips. He found the lips soft, and warm to the touch. Gently he continued his exploration of the other man's face, before moving his hands down to the chest. The Hessian wondered if Ichabod was going to go further down with his hand, and was gratified when he did that.
It was wonderful but frustrating to have those light hands touch his skin, and the Hessian found it harder and harder to lie still, as Ichabod begun caress his stomach and hips. Slowly the Hessian lifted a hand. Ichabod didn't notice the movement until he felt that strong hand on his neck. He tensed, and turned to face the Hessian. Then the other man pulled him down. Ichabod found himself lying on top of the Hessian, held in place by strong arms. He squirmed around, but found that his captor was stronger than him. Then he relaxed, and was rewarded with a loosening of the grip. He shifted a bit to a more comfortable position. Then he met the Hessian's amused gaze.
Ichabod gathered his wits, trying to do the best of the situation. His body was busy telling him that he had wanted this for a while. His mind asked him what exactly it was that he had wanted.
"So you've caught me. Now what?" he said, trying to sound calm and self-confident. In reply the Hessian smiled, and pulled him in for a kiss.
Oh dear, thought Ichabod.
The Hessian had once thought that there were things that were impossible. Such as being dead, and still walk around as if one was alive, or being able to kiss the mouth of the most beautiful man in the world, without being pushed away. Now he was dead and still living, and he was kissing Ichabod Crane, and the kiss was returned in full. Would wonders ever cease? Ichabod felt the Hessians tongue slip in between his lips, and opened his mouth to let in the unusual guest. Their tongues met, and before Ichabod understood why, he had already begun to caress the other man's tongue with his own. Their kiss tasted of fire and earth, Ichabod thought, a bit dazed by the blood rush to different part of his body.
Ichabod lifted his face away from the intimate contact, breaking the kiss, much to the Hessian's dismay. Then he raised his head, breathing heavily. Under him the Hessian began to run his hands over the younger man's shoulders and down and behind to caress his buttocks. Straddling his lover's belly, Ichabod looked around. The world was different, but he could not say what it was that had changed. Perhaps it was the way the moon shone down on the grass, painting it with silver rays. He looked down on the Hessian, and found that the hessian's skin was like silvery mother-of-pearl in the moon-light. He found it very beautiful. I'm kissing a work of art, he thought.
The moon was right behind Ichabod, and to the Hessian it seemed as if the young man had a halo around his body. The sight caused the Hessian to blink. I'm kissing an angel, he thought, and tightened his hold on Ichabod, suddenly afraid that the young man might grow wings and fly away. Ichabod felt as if the air in his lungs was being squeezed out, and yelped. The sound brought the older man back to his senses, and he quickly loosened his hold on the younger man. Ichabod returned to their kiss, barely noting that his cock had gotten harder and harder. The Hessian noticed though, and began to buck upwards, still holding him in place.
Their cocks were pressed between their bodies, brought in constant touch by the Hessians movements. Intrigued by the sensation, Ichabod began to move his body, rubbing his cock against the Hessian's belly. It felt good, and it felt even better when he increased his pace. to match the Hessian's rhythm. The hessian slipped down his hand between their bodies, and took Ichabod's cock in his hand, and began to stroke it. Ichabod began, after the initial surprise, to move inside the Hessian's hand. The stunned, happily surprised, look on the younger man's face made the Hessian forget about his own need. Instead he concentrated on making Ichabod feel as good as possible.
Together they created a rhythm that brought Ichabod to completion. The look on Ichabod's face when he came was one of bliss. After the orgasm he lay with his head on his lover's chest, breathing as if he had run a marathon. He wished that it could have lasted longer, that it didn't have to be over. He wished that the night would last longer, so that he wouldn't have to leave the arms of this strange man. it felt a little like home, or at least a place where one felt good, and safe.
The Hessian, unaware of what Ichabod was thinking, merely wondered if this ever would happen again. Then he took care of his own need, and quickly massaged himself into coming, spilling some of his seed on Ichabod's thigh. Ichabod felt the hot fluids on the skin, and made a mental note to take care of that for the Hessian if they met again. He hoped they would. The Hessian rose first from their embrace. He dressed, but decided to skip the harness and the cloak. Then he helped Ichabod find his clothes, before saddling Daredevil. Ichabod was standing at the edge of the wood, watching as the Hessian got up in the saddle. He wished they had kissed each other good-bye, but he had not had the courage to ask for it. The Hessian looked at Ichabod, with contemplative eyes, then lifted his hand and waved good-bye. Ichabod waved back, before they went their separate ways. The Hessian rode back to the tree, and Ichabod walked to the van Tassel manor. He actually managed to sneak back up the stairs and into his room without anyone noticing.
Slowly the sky changed color, from dark blue to a lighter blue, with pink strokes above the horizon. The moon faded as the sunlight grew in strength. There had been no dew, and the new day promised to be as hot as the day before.
Katrina sat at the breakfast table in the dining room at the van Tassel manor. She was alone at the table, but not in the room. Two maids were standing at attention by the door, ready to carry out her orders. She was sipping on a cup of mint tea, and nibbling at a hot buttered bun, fresh from the oven. She knew it was going to be a very hot day, but eating something hot might make the weather seem less oven-like. At least that was her theory, and now she was testing it. The clock on the mantle struck ten, and she began to feel a bit worried. Ichabod was always up, and eating breakfast, at half past eight. She sent up one of the maids to check on her friend. The girl soon came down and told Katrina that Ichabod would be coming down shortly. Ichabod did come down twenty minutes later. Katrina observed him carefully as he sat down at the table. He asked for a cup of tea and a glass of cold water. That was all he usually had for breakfast, so that didn't worry Katrina. What did alert her was the look on Ichabod's face. She had known about Ichabod's preferences for a while, even if he hadn't figured them out for himself. And while it had been a disappointment for her, she had managed to turn the romance into a warm friendship.
Ichabod simply looked as if he had met the love of his life, and been greatly surprised at whom it had turned out to be. Perhaps he had had a dream about this person. Katrina hoped that it hadn't been any of the farm lads in the village, because that could be messy. And even if Ichabod might want to keep his love-life a secret, she knew that she'd find out sooner or later. Just see if she didn't.