They wander a while through the fields of the estate, keeping to the trees and the edge of the woodland – the day seems intent to broil them, the heat close and the air feeling thick in the lungs.
It is marginally cooler near the limpid rush of the river. Tintin lays out the blanket under an oak tree and the Captain sets down the picnic basket on one corner, automatically anticipating the flow of chilled beer over his tongue with something approaching an ache.
This would be enough, he thinks, once the bottle is open and he has taken his swig, closed his eyes and sighed and opened them again. Tintin is lying down, hands behind his head, legs crossed, smiling up at the Captain with quiet affection.
This would be enough, the Captain thinks. Happiness needs no more than this.
Tintin’s gaze shifts – when the Captain follows it he sees the vapour trail clear enough. Aeroplanes fly over now and then, and always Tintin looks up at them like that, as if he aches for endless departures as the Captain does for the slick descent of alcohol.
Perhaps someday they will be the cure of each other. Until then they can at least wander on together.