|Agent Fox Mulder (i_want_2) wrote in multi_fiction,|
@ 2008-05-26 19:12:00
|Entry tags:||hornblower, rated: adult, slash|
Fic: Eros And Psyche 1/1 Horatio Hornblower
Title: Eros and Psyche
Author: Lopaka Tanu
Disclaimer: I do not claim ownership of Horatio Hornblower.
Characters: Horatio, Archie.
Prompt: 68 Scatter, 3 Delirious, 32 Deception, 64 Rough, 77 Organize, 57 Test, 26 Court, 38 Enemy, 18 Numbered, 73 Confront, 31 Business, 58 Survive
Fandom: Horatio Hornblower
Warnings: Language, Violence
Summary: Under the command of a madman, Horatio and Archie take comfort in the familiarity of their relationship.
Author's Note: Spoilers for Mutiny.
"Your breath whispers across my ear, longing I can not ignore. For you have cast a spell upon me and bewitched my heart. Cutting me to the very essence of my soul, I know not respite from my hunger of your flesh." Looking up from the parchment, Archie wrinkled his nose in frustration. It was the tenth time he had been forced to stop his recitation in the past ten minutes. "What is the matter this time, Horatio?"
"Hmmm? I'm sorry, Archie I was distracted. Please, continue on, I promise to..." He trailed off at the scathing look his friend sent him. It was not true, for he had made the same statement each time his attention had wondered. As much as it pained him, he found the entire situation a bore. Besides, there were more pressing matters, lethally so, that bore his attention. "Forgive my terrible rudeness, Archie. It isn't that I do not like this poetry you have written, it's just... I do not like poetry, at all."
Dropping the parchment in to his sea chest beside him, Archie kicked the lid closed in anger. "Why is it now that you feel compelled to tell me? Why not weeks ago, months even, when I first proposed it?"
Sighing, Horatio drew back from Archie. This was nothing new, since coming aboard the Renown most of their time was spent in arguments over one thing or another. To his credit, this time Archie had a real grievance. Horatio reluctantly faced his companion once more. "At the time, I wanted to please you. Since we joined the crew, there has been so little joy in our lives. I had hoped to give you but a bit."
Archie considered making a scathing retort that would no doubt continue this fight well in to the next dawn, then discarded it. Horatio was no doubt ignorant of his true intentions with this poetry, further attempts would sail past him with similar fates. If there was ever one blind to the motives of another, it was his dear Horatio. He knew that if he was ever to gain what he wanted from Horatio, he would have to use far less subtle methods.
That, however, was far more dangerous. Not discounting the fact that it was against the articles of war, there were other factors to consider. The madman in command had spies every where, five eyes to every knot hole. No, if he were to clue Horatio in to his feelings, he would need a more suitable method.
In the mean while, Horatio was drifting further from him and he required a response to bring him back. Still upset about the poetry, Archie walked over to his brooding friend. Placing a hand upon Horatio's arm, he slid it down to clasp their hands. "Do not lie to me again, Horatio. Our friendship means everything to me and any deception hurts greater than a thousand daggers to the heart."
Horatio knew the analogy was physically impossible, but it's less than subtle approach was understood. He squeezed Archie's hand; giving a slight smile that said he was grateful. "And to me as well, Archie."
Archie refused to wince as the hatch to the captain's cabin was slammed. Nerves already frayed from the mounting thunder storm around him, he was already only a hesitant step away from it. The sails had all been lashed down securely, but part of his duty was to make sure none of them came unfurled, thus, he could not look away from the storm. Feeling footsteps along the deck despite the constant shuddering from the waves, he paused to give the man a glance.
He wished he hadn't.
"Good evening, Mr. Kennedy." Watching his fourth Lieutenant in an almost rapturous state, Captain Sawyer enjoyed the fear that played across the young man's face. It was a moment to be savored, the fear he could inspire in these high born sons of whores. They believed it was their divine right to command, and that he was but a queer anomaly to be pitied for his lack of noble blood. But he knew better, he was the superior officer, he was the captain, not them! "Why aren't you watching my ship, Mr. Kennedy?"
Not wanting to deal with the deliberately belligerent man, Archie pretended he wasn't there and continued on with his inspection of the rigging. He was haunted by the sounds of the captain following him. If that old bugger wanted to test his sea legs in this storm, let him. Keeping to the windward side of the vessel, Archie used the railing to keep his balance. Much to his satisfaction, the captain wasn't quick enough to do the same when a wave hit and was washed down deck.
Gain his feet with the assistance of a deck hand, Sawyer shoved the man off him the moment he was steady. "Mr. Kennedy! I know you can hear me, you bastard! You'll swing for shoving me down, I promise you!" As he finished his threat, lightning struck the top mast. The same deck hand pushed him hard to avoid the crashing rigging as it came down. This time, he rolled forward, back in to the wind.
Having caught sight of the rigging as it crushed the crewman, Archie turned away. If the man was foolish, and just plain old damned ignorant enough to save a crazy man, then he didn't deserve notice. Apparently he wasn't the only one who felt that way. While the crew raced to fix the damage, they avoided aiding the man who had been caught under it. Catching the eye of Matthews, Archie nodded towards the man. Best to get him cleaned up before the lunatic got it in his head that the crew was deliberately trying to trip him up.
As it was, Sawyer was being aided to his feet yet again. This time, he was on the same side of the ship as Archie. His ire up, he used the rail to guide him along the quarter deck to reach Archie. "That's twice you've sent me for a tumble, Lieutenant. You will serve notice immediately, stand your ground and face me!"
Seeing Sawyer was hell bent on reaching him here, Archie crossed the deck. If he could avoid the old man until he either gave up or was washed over board, so much the better. The next plot on his course to avoid the crack pot was to move up to the aft deck. Climbing the steps to the aft deck, he rolled with the ship as she was buffeted starboard.
"Stop, you insubordinate wretch! I will not have you suborn my command!" Tossed across the deck once more, Sawyer rolled head over hills in to the arms of Hobbs. Vision swimming, Sawyer shook his head to clear it only to swoon. "Mutiny, black bloody mutiny, that's what it is."
"What's that, sir?" Curiosity peaked, Hobbs scanned the deck for anyone who would dare raise a hand against the captain.
"He's pushing me about!" Head lolling to the side, Sawyer sank further in to Hobbs' arms. "Make him stop pushing me. It's making me very....dizzy." With that, he fell forwards and spewed his guts across the deck.
Making a face of disgust, Hobbs gently walked against the movement of the ship to drag the captain back to his cabin. "Let's get you to bed, sir, obviously you've become ill."
"He's pushing me, I tell you. I will make him stop." Despite his words, Sawyer continued to hang limp in Hobbs' arms even as he was carried passed the threshold of his cabin.
Having caught the entire event out of the corner of his eye, Archie pressed a hand to his face to hide the smile. It was a very serious situation, the sorry state the captain was in. He just couldn't bring himself to care. They were all doomed, why not have a laugh?
Entering the wardroom that lead to each Lieutenant's berth, Archie tugged at the collar of his overcoat. The terrible rain had been coming down for three days straight and he knew it would continue for another week with this ship. The worst of luck and symbols traveled with James Sawyer. One good thing had come of this, however. It had given him time to himself away from the constant mind numbing terror of what the captain might do next, and refocus his efforts to attract one Third Lieutenant Horatio Hornblower.
Archie knew he had what now appeared to be the perfect solution. It was so easy, even a man with Styles' mental capacity could get it. Here was hoping that Horatio wasn't as thick as the seaman or worse when it came to sexual teasing. Upon catching sight of said man with his back to the wardroom door, Archie grinned and decided to put his plan in action.
Scratching at his chest, he slammed the hatch closed. "Damned body lice, won't give me a moment's peace!"
At Archie's words, Horatio stopped his reading and closed his book. He turned to watch his friend come around the table to sit across from him. "Are you certain it is lice, Archie? You know what will be required if you do have pests?"
"I'm not certain, but ever since I saw one of the men tonight scratching at himself, I've felt my skin bothered." Archie could practically kiss himself for his genius. This was going to work, he knew it. "I can't be certain at this point, I would require another's help to make that judgement."
"Ordinarily, I would suggest the ship's doctor, but we both know how well he can be relied upon." Feeling light in his dark humors, Horatio grinned at his friend. "Since we have no competent surgeon, I would volunteer my services. That is, if you have no objections." It was with reddening ears that Horatio realized what he had just offered. The very thought of checking over Archie in further detail made him excited. Clearing his throat, Horatio was about to withdraw the offer.
Before he could utter a word, Archie grinned at him. "Thank you, Horatio, I would appreciate it. I would hate having to bathe with that toxic soap and have the cook boil my clothes." Neither of which would be necessary, but for the sake of landing Horatio, he was willing to pretend. Scratching at his chest, he began to unbutton his overcoat. Taking it off, he slung it on the back of the chair he was sitting in.
Swallowing, Horatio took in the way Archie's soaked shirt clung to his well developed body. The movement of the other man's hand seemed designed to emphasize the very shape. Grunting, he forced himself to meet Archie's gaze. For a moment he could have sworn he saw something intense in that gaze that made him long for it once more. There was only one thing left to say to his friend. "Shall we get on with it then?"
Horatio had told himself he could handle it. The thought of Archie being nude and under his hands once more was exciting to the point of distraction. He wanted to run his fingers over that warm body, trace each crevice, caress the wide flanks of muscle, grip the hips, and hold him in his arms. Every thing about Archie was so beautiful it ached in him at times.
Now that he had Archie willingly removing his clothes in his cabin, Horatio was deathly terrified. What if he couldn't control himself? What if Archie even began to suspect that most terrible of truths, that he craved that body, lusted after those lips, wanted to know how wonderful it felt to lose himself there? It was his darkest sin, the very thing that made him the most horrible of people.
Already, his treasonous body was reacting to the sight of his bunkmate. His gut tensed, heat running up his spine. Breathing deeply, he absently adjusted himself through the front of his breeches. Thighs bunching, he started to sit back and rub his cock. The rough fabric scratched over the head of his erection making him shudder. Realizing he was dangerously close to exposing himself, Horatio made his hands let go.
Unknowing of the struggle going on in Horatio's head, Archie turned his back to Horatio. Biting his lower lip, he put his hands in the band of his breeches. Bending slowly forward, he slid them down his legs and stepped out of them. He stood up again and grabbed the hem of his under shirt. Now was the time. With a peek over his shoulder at Horatio, he was gratified to see the lusty expression of his friend. Confidence restored, he pulled the under shirt off his body in a quick flourish and dropped it beside him.
The impact of the shirt upon the deck seemed to release something in Horatio. With the loss of whatever inhibited him, Horatio found himself reaching out from his place on the bunk to touch Archie. He couldn't stop himself and he didn't care. That white flesh, so warm and inviting, teased him with enough force to move even the heavens themselves. Before he knew it, his hands were upon Archie's body, tracing the curves of his ass.
Horatio had to bite his lip to conceal the pleasured moan. For several minutes, he was content to merely flex his hands over that most beautiful of flesh. As Archie shifted when he ran a finger over the underside of his left cheek, Horatio realized there was more body to explore. His hands quickly slid up Archie's back to cup his ribs and spread out from there.
Rising from his perch on the bunk, Horatio hunched over Archie's body. He slid his hands up the Archie's sides, breathing slowly so he could hear the moans his actions elicited. In the rough sway of the ocean, he was thrown against Archie's body, having to wrap his tightly around the other man's chest to remain standing. It was too much.
Horatio could no longer resist his own baser impulses. Closing his eyes in regret, he slid one hand between him and Archie. It was the quickest he had ever opened the front of his breeches. Freeing himself from the confines of the damned pants, he pressed his erection against Archie's bottom.
Archie tensed when he felt Horatio's cock against his body. It was really happening, his fantasy was about to play out. He was so nervous his heart felt like it was trying to escape his chest. Swallowing, he lowered his head. His arms strained against the wall, supporting him and Horatio.
Pressing his lips to the nape of Archie's neck, Horatio slid his cock up the crack of Archie's ass until he found the tight ring of flesh. "Forgive me, Archie." Without further thought, he thrust his hips forward, pushing his way in to that hellishly hot body. He couldn't stop himself, he wanted to be as far in Archie as possible. When his hips couldn't go any further, he pulled back on instinct and shoved in once more.
Jaw clenched, Archie breathed slowly through gritted teeth. If it weren't for the crossbeam beneath his hands, he would have slid under the force of Horatio's thrusts. As it was, his lower body ached to move, needing to relieve the pressure of being filled so violently. Arching his back raised his ass back in to Horatio's thrusts, the relief was sudden and painful. He involuntarily flexed his muscles around Horatio, making the man pause and gasp.
Horatio released a high pitched whimper as Archie thrust back against him. Pulling back, he shoved down, rubbing the tip of his cock along the insides of Archie's body. It sent a ripple of sensation up his cock in to his body that tensed up around his bellybutton. Shuddering again, he whimpered again. Eyes watering, he let his head drop to Archie's shoulder.
The new path Horatio drove through him made Archie's lower body tense, thighs trying to cradle that sensation closer to him. Heat ran through his groin, despite the pain, he wanted more. To encourage Horatio, he continued to rock his hips back in the same pattern.
Sweat made his body slick and Horatio's hands kept sliding from him. Without conscious thought from their owner, they spread and made circles over his chest, abdomen, and hips. They ran every where but where he needed to be touched. Shifting his weight to his right arm, Archie used his left arm to grab one of Horatio's hands and shoved it between his legs.
Taking the hint, Horatio wrapped a hand around Archie's half hard cock.
The sudden tightness around his cock made Archie freeze and groan. Horatio's calloused palm slid down his cock and he thrust forward to get it back. It was so close, a welling up in his body, he just needed Horatio to continue stroking him a little further.
Feeling the scorching body beneath him shudder and tighten against him further made Horatio's body tense. Pressure built up in his hips and he needed to release it. With a cry of relief, he thrust harder in to Archie. Hands and teeth clenching, he shot his burden deep in his lover. The resulting force shook his body so hard, he cried out and thrust his hips forward again.
As Horatio's fist continued to clench around his cock with each thrust, the heat became unbearable, Archie lost himself in the sensation. Jerking his head back, he cried out his own release, feeling it spurt from his cock in to Horatio's hand. Shuddering violently against the man on his back, he moaned in pain and pleasure. Two more jerks of his cock and Archie's body was spent. Despite the lack of any further spunk, Horatio's hand continued to slowly milk him.
Lazily drowsing in the aftermath of his orgasm, Horatio wiped at his face. Tears had continued to fall down his face through it all. Unable to take the strain on his muscles, Horatio stood up. As he moved back from Archie, his cock pulled out of the other man, making him gasp from the stimulation of his overly sensitive flesh. He took a jerky step back, pulling the drooping Archie with him back to his bunk.
Archie couldn't speak, his body ached in too many places to do more than moan. He didn't resist when Horatio tightened them down to his bunk with the blankets so they wouldn't slide out. The other man settled down behind him, keeping a possessive arm draped over his waist. In the aftermath of their sexual encounter, Archie felt himself completely secure in the safety Horatio provided. "I think I love you, Horatio."
The only answer his friend had was a slight snore.
Realizing his friend's exhaustion had over taken him, Archie thought it might be better this way. They would deal with this encounter first, emotions and romantic notions such as love would be best delayed until afterwards. But he would make sure they addressed it one day. Feeling happy, Archie settled down in closer to Horatio and let sleep overtake him.
From a hole in the wall, a blue eye narrowed in blind hatred and rage.
The banging on his door awoke Horatio from his sleep. Thinking they were under attack, he rose from his bed. In his haste to rise, he bumped in to someone who was already in his cabin. "Who's there?"
"It's me, Horatio, someone is at your door." Having been awakened by the sound of many feet on the deck, Archie grabbed for his clothes. It was hard to find them in the darkness of the cabin since the candle had burned out. So far, he had succeeded in getting on his breeches, undershirt, and found his uniform shirt. The jacket was a lost cause in the dark.
Horatio reached in to his chest and pulled out a candle. After placing it in the sconce, he lit it and blinked to adjust his eyes. Seeing Archie still only half dressed roused his lust.
Archie had glanced over to see Horatio in the light when he froze. "We haven't the time for that, Horatio." Walking to his friend, he grabbed the front of his pants in one hand and cock in the other. He quickly stuffed the hardening length back in Horatio's pants and began buttoning them up. "Later, much later, we will go at this again."
"You aren't mad?" Horatio was stunned. He thought he had hurt his friend, but the happiness he found in Archie's expression made his heart light.
"Of course not, I got everything I set out for." Finishing up Horatio's buttons, Archie started to tuck his own shirt in.
Wrapping his arms around Archie's waist, he brought the other man to him. He silenced the other man's protests by pressing their lips together in a tender kiss. When he pulled back, only enough to breathe, he gazed in to Archie's eyes. "To tide me over until next time."
Archie caressed Horatio's cheek, his fingers massaging through the scruff. "You are most precious to me, my Horatio, I will dream of you fondly while I must admire you from afar." His pupils dilated in desire as Horatio kissed his thumb. "Weep not for while parting is such sweet sorrow, the meeting of our reembraces is greater by far."
"Enough! I know what you two do in there and I won't stand for it on my ship!" The angry voice of the captain came through the door. "Open this door or I shall blow it from its hinges and hang you both! Sodomy on my ship will not be tolerated! Now, open this door this instant!"
Heart freezing, the color drained from Archie's face. He cast a last wanton look to Horatio before reaching out and lifting his jacket from the Horatio's sea chest. As he dawned it, Horatio moved to the door and threw the latch.
Pulling it open, Horatio blinked in the sudden flooding of sunlight in to his room. He raised his chin, leveling the captain with a stern glare. "I assure you, Captain, that what you are insinuating is false. Whoever gave you the idea any such action was going on in my cabin is being slanderous and malicious."
"Oh?" Eyebrows raised in smug humor, Sawyer gestured for Horatio to come out. "Then prove yourself, Mr. Hornblower, if you can."
"Come, Archie. I see that the word of some liar and criminal is worth more to the captain than mine. Let us settle any doubts this instant." Stepping outside his cabin in to the wardroom, Horatio saw that Sawyer was accompanied by Hobbs and half a dozen marine guards. "If my testimony is not enough, then surely that of two officers will suffice."
Sawyer watched Archie exit Horatio's cabin with a grin. "I'm afraid that in such a case, your words aren't enough. We need physical proof. You are both to be physically examined by Dr. Clive. His findings will decide your fate." Turning away from the Lieutenants, Sawyer nodded to the head of the marines. "Take them both to Dr. Clive. If they resist, shoot them."
They had erected sail clothes on the deck to act as a makeshift privacy room. The seamen were supposed to hold the sail up and keep their heads averted while Horatio and Archie undressed and were examined in their turns, but not a one did. In fact, several kept the cloth deliberately low enough for everyone to see.
Putting up with the humiliation, Horatio had gone first. He had accepted the cold hands of the half drunken surgeon as he was made to bend over in the sunlight.
Clive had poked and prodded at the flesh of Horatio's anus for a good five minutes, trying to get his vision steady long enough to see. When he had succeeded, he frowned. "You may redress, I am through. Lieutenant Kennedy, come here and bend over."
Despite himself, Horatio couldn't turn away as his lover had walked proudly in to the center of the exam area. Watching as Archie bent over without so much as a preamble, he felt his skin grow hot. Archie had been in the exact position the night before, which had started this whole thing. Realizing his body was reacting and he hadn't yet covered himself, Horatio quickly set about redressing himself.
One hand over his left eye, Clive peered at Archie's ass with a frown. It helped, but not by much. Then again, it was pretty hard to miss the signs. He hiccuped and the asshole in front of him turned in to four assholes. "Mr. Kennedy, I don't know how you did it, but I suggest you reduce the number of your anuses back to one!"
Laughter broke out across the deck.
"Be silent!" Sawyer glared at Dr. Clive from the quarter deck. "Be quick about your inspection, Doctor."
Waving off Archie's ass, Clive turned away. "I am finished!"
"Very good." Grinning, Sawyer gestured to the marines. "Once Mr. Kennedy is redressed, bring them to my cabin along with Dr. Clive."
Sitting at the captain's table, Sawyer, Hobbs and Dr. Clive appeared to be holding court. Sitting on the broad side, Sawyer was in the center with Hobbs on his right and Clive on his left. He had before him spread the ship's log and a copy of the articles of war. On the corners of the table, standing at attention were the Marine guards.
Across the table from them, also at attention, were Archie and Horatio. Behind them were three more guards, guns at the ready.
Smiling, Sawyer spread his hands over the ship's log. He picked up a stylus and dipped it in ink. "Now, we begin the inquiry brought against Lieutenants Hornblower and Kennedy. The charge: Sodomy, in direct violation of Article Twenty-Nine. The punishment, to be decided by a court martial."
"You may charge all you want, but until we reach Kingston, no legal court martial can be gathered, sir." Glaring at the captain, Archie visibly seethed with rage. At the humiliation of being discovered and forced to submit to an examination, now this sham of a court, it was too much for his pride.
Sawyer snickered and sat back in his chair. "This is merely an inquiry, Lieutenant. Allegations have been eluded, we must investigate to determine if a court martial is warranted. Surely, you can not fault that." The look he sent Archie suggested he had better accept it.
Swallowing his disgust, Archie nodded. "Yes, sir."
"Good. Now that that is settled, we shall continue forward." Sawyer jotted down Archie's statements and the glare he had sent him in the ship's log. When he finished, he inclined his head to Clive. "Dr. Clive, please inform us the evidence you have observed during your examination of both Lieutenants." When Dr. Clive didn't stir, Sawyer elbowed him in the side.
"What?" Being woken from his stupor, Dr. Clive blinked at Sawyer. At the man's scowl, Clive cleared his throat and rose from his chair. "As ship's surgeon, I was asked to check for signs of sodomy. While my examination of Lieutenant Hornblower revealed nothing more than a few marks of indeterminate origin, the examination of Mr. Kennedy told a different story."
"Oh, now, do tell." Busy writing, Sawyer didn't see the glare sent him by Kennedy. He none the less included it, he knew the man far too well.
"While there was some bruising around his anus, there was not enough to say for sure and I can not draw a firm conclusion." Swaying on his feet, Clive clutched the table to remain standing. "My official reporting is that there was a possibility he was recently sodomized."
"A possibility you say." Pulling back from his log book, Sawyer grinned up at the reddening Hornblower. "What would be the cause of such a lack of evidence?"
"Three things really in my vast experience." Clive lowered his head a bit, grimacing through a burp. When he swallowed back the bile, he sucked in a quick breath. "Either his sodomizer was inept at his task, he has such great knowledge he can hide the signs of his actions, or..." he trailed off, to burp again. The wine he had consumed really didn't agree with him. "Or he must have strained well while at the head. Speaking of which, if you gentlemen will excuse me." Rushing through around the table, he dashed for the cabin door and out on to the deck.
Rubbing his hands together to stop the spasming from too long of writing, Sawyer felt positively giddy. "Oh, now that is interesting. We have ourselves a moral conundrum that hinges on the next statements provided us by the Lieutenants." When the cramps had passed, Sawyer picked up his stylus again. "Now, Mr. Hornblower, since you are the most likely to hang if convicted, what have you to say for yourself? Why was Mr. Kennedy in your quarters?"
Horatio continued to stare directly ahead. Jaw tightening, he considered many possibilities and discarded all. He was fast running out of time and would be damned if he did nothing. Sawyer was indeed a madman and this was just another of his games. There was no telling what the response to the answer he gave would be. Finally settling on something, he looked Sawyer directly in the eyes. "Mr. Kennedy asked me a request of a personal nature."
"I'm sure he did." Chuckling to himself, Hobbs pumped his hand twice in a gesture any man would recognize.
"You will remain silent unless called upon!" Angry at having his fun interrupted, Sawyer bared his teeth at Horatio. "Be more specific if you value your skin, Mr. Hornblower!"
It was a valid threat. Horatio knew the man would do whatever he wanted, this was proof of that. Sighing to suppress his anger, Horatio cocked his head a little to the right out of a nervous habit. "Lieutenant Kennedy has been experiencing itching. He believed he may have contracted body lice from casual contact with the crew. At his request, I examined him and found no evidence of infestation."
"Such an inspection would take no more than an hour at most. Why then, was he in your quarters all night practically since the moment he came off duty?" Having written everything Horatio said down, Sawyer was getting angry. Nothing was damning in and of itself and he needed more proof.
"Mr. Kennedy spent the night with me as a friend, nothing more." Horatio felt the lie slip from his tongue with disgusting ease. It was by far more than friendly, it meant the world to him that Archie was with him. Every moment they were together was a gift.
"How very touching, your friendship is an inspiration." Finishing up writing, Sawyer slammed the log shut. Sitting back, he gave a disgusted smile. "An inspiration to gossip and sedition, to be exact. Your closeness has bred an atmosphere of immoral question. Had you been more open with the crew to your relationship, none of this needed happen. As it was, your records and futures will be forever smudged by this incident. Mr. Hornblower, you are free to go."
Horatio couldn't keep from visibly relaxing at this.
And now the part he had been waiting for. "As for Lieutenant Kennedy, to ensure you learn a lesson in all this, I am ordering you to bunk with the crew. I feel it necessary for them to get to know you better, and you they, to prevent any such future mistakes."
Closing his eyes, Kennedy swallowed. His heart was pounding from both relief and anger. "For how long, sir?"
"I will let you know." Putting the stopper in his inkwell, Sawyer grinned. "Dismissed, gentlemen."
Sea chest in hand, Archie marched his way down the gun deck towards his new bunking assignment. At his side, Styles and Matthews held his hammock and extra sea chest. Silence filled the deck in his wake, the men from all sides staring in shock at the disgraced Lieutenant. It wasn't every day that they got to see such an event.
As he passed seaman Randall, Archie knew there would be trouble from the man. Being kicked from his posting, he was tossed in to shark infested waters. This man was one of many who were looking forward to getting a chance at an officer. He also posed an opportunity for Archie.
Stopping, Archie turned and thrust his sea chest in to Randall's arms. "Carry this."
"I don't..." Randall was about to protest but Archie grinned at him. "What?"
"Disobeying an officer is grounds for flogging." Foisting the chest in to the man's arms, Archie drove his words home with a shove. "You will find that just because I bunk with the likes of you does not make me one. You will complete my order or you will be taken out on the main deck and beaten severely. Now, move your ass, Mr. Randall!" Stepping back, Archie pointed down the deck where he wanted his stuff to go. Behind him, he heard Styles snickering and glared over his shoulder at the man.
Scowling at having his enjoyment spoiled, Styles followed after Randall.
Seeing that the other men had stopped their business to watch him, Archie turned his ire on them. "Any man here who brings the captain's wrath upon my head for not doing his duty will receive it in three fold from me!" Much to his satisfaction, every man suddenly had something to do.
Stepping in close to the Lieutenant, Matthews glanced about for prying ears. "Careful, sir, you wouldn't want to make too many enemies. Your life may one day depend upon these scoundrels."
"And my life may depend upon the fact that they fear me more than the captain sooner than that." Leading the way, he finished his commanding strut down the deck.
Horatio shared a look with his best friend and lover across the darkness in the hold. Their hearts racing, he knew it was dangerous for them to be here. With Lieutenant Bush and Lieutenant Buckland on their side, though, it might make the difference. Despite the lack of light, he dared not touch Archie for fear of what the others might construe. Already, Buckland was swayed more towards the Captain's leaning in regards to him and Archie.
"We all know why we are here, to deny it would be pointless." Taking the lead, Horatio felt a strength he hadn't experienced since realizing just what kind of situation he and Archie had been assigned to. Constantly being on watch had worn down any civility he might have had in regard to his duty. Chain of command be damned, the captain had to go. "If we let Sawyer continue, what will he do next, and to who?"
Frowning with reluctant disgust, Bush nodded. "I agree, his actions involving Lieutenant Kennedy are a disgrace. However, that alone is not enough to warrant mutiny."
"There are an entire series of events that build to justifiable mutiny, but only if that damned Clive would agree." Archie's voice rose until he was nearly shouting. Horatio's hand upon his shoulder brought him back down from his rage and in to focus. "We have to do something."
"The sad fact of the matter is, gentlemen, that unless Dr. Clive agrees or something happens to the captain, we will be guilty of mutiny." Speaking for the first time, Buckland raised the point they all had known. He didn't feel very smart or very happy about it, but it needed to be said. With it out in the open, they would say something or this meeting would be over. Either way, he would be free of this conversation.
Silence reined in the hold for a while after that. Before they could continue on with their argument though, Midshipman Wellard came running to warn them.
Rushing down the deck, Archie felt his heart beating. It wasn't from fear, but excitement his pulse sang with. This was really happening, he was going to do it. The ship was rocking in yet another storm, it would be so simple. He was set on this course of action, there was no stopping him now.
This was for the best, he and Horatio would be happier for it.
Creeping around a corner, he saw what he needed. So close, just a few more steps. There were others, he would have to wait for them to pass. It wouldn't do to have witnesses. No, this was only between him and the other.
Lightning struck outside, he could hear the men react to the thunder it caused. It was perfect weather for what he had planned. Only a little longer now. Then, he had his opportunity.
Running from his hiding spot, Archie rushed across the deck. Too late, Sawyer caught sight of him. With a feeling of pure excitement, his hands shot out and hit the man full blown in the chest.
Absorbing the brunt of the impact, Sawyer went flying backwards in to the hold with a cry. Eyes closing as he impacted, his pistols went off.
After a quick check revealed no one in plain sight, Archie ran back to his hiding place. He never saw the wide eyed man coming from the opposite direction with a similar intent.
Horatio was shivering as the cold water gushed over him but was enjoying it none the less. It was the first wash he'd had since coming aboard this god forsaken scow and nothing would stop him from enjoying it.
On the quarterdeck, Archie was feeling the opposite. His clothes were entirely too hot as he watched Horatio shower. It was a glorious sight, though a little disappointing. He knew from personal experience that Horatio's cock was much bigger than it currently was. Cold water wasn't the most sexually stimulating agent. However, it did wonders to Horatio's nipples and tensing muscles in Archie's opinion.
Having been watching Kennedy's reaction, Bush felt a slight smile tug his lips. He knew the rumors had to be true.
"What is this ruckus on my ship?" Everything fell silent at the question. Coming to stand against the quarter deck railing, Sawyer glared malevolently upon the gathered crew. "Think you can push me, then have free rein of my ship while I am laid up? I will show you all just how wrong you are! Captain of the guard!" Snapping his fingers, Sawyer summoned the marine sargent.
As the marines filed in to the crowd, rifles at the ready, Sawyer pointed at Horatio. "Take that man in to custody! Lock him and Mr. Bush in the hold, the charge is conspiracy to commit mutiny!" Turning his ire on the third target, his grin was practically demonic. "As for you, Mr. Kennedy, I have something very special planned. Your brand of mutiny deserves it's own brand of punishment!" He turned to Hobbs. "Ready a jolly boat for quick launch with a week's provisions!"
"No!" Realization of what the captain had planned came to Horatio even as the marines moved through the crowd to reach him. He tried to avoid them, but they out numbered him. "You can't do this!"
"Get him below, now!" Sawyer didn't spare Horatio even a glance. His full attention was upon the target of his rage. "You dared to take my ship from me, for that there is only one punishment. Bring the traitor to the launch!" Hobbling along the deck towards the forward launch, he continued on in grim determination.
"No." It finally dawned just what was happening to him. Archie struggled against the marine guards, fighting wildly to get out of their grip. It took four of them to move him from the quarter deck. "Horatio! Horatio!"
"Archie!" With a desperate twist of his arms, Horatio broke free of his captors, rushing at Sawyer. "You bastard, I won't let you do this!" Just as he was within reach of his target, Horatio was struck from behind. He hit the deck a dead weight.
"Horatio!" Archie shook his head in denial. This couldn't be happening, it wasn't supposed to be this way! They had to be trapped in a night mare. "Horatio, answer me!"
"He won't be speaking to you ever again, princess!" Standing over the unconscious man, Hobbs twirled his club. "Get him off the deck!"
"Very good, Mr. Hobbs!" Sawyer continued on his way, limping up to the railing. He watched as the jolly boat was lowered in to the water with a sober face. When it had been released from the block and tackle, he gestured for the guards to bring Archie. "And now, Mr. Kennedy. Put him in the boat."
Shaking his head, Archie tried to plant his feet in the deck, but the guards were wise to him. Two held his upper body while the other two raised his feet. He was quickly foisted overboard and in to the jolly boat. He landed with a grunt, rolling in to the oar lock. Groaning from the pain, he didn't see them begin to release the moorings.
"Since I refuse to suffer the presence of a man such as yourself, this is your punishment. In the spirit of the Bounty, Mr. Kennedy, I here by order you cast adrift for the crime of mutiny!" Watching as the last of the lines were cut, Sawyer made a cross in the air like a priest blessing his parishioners. "May god have mercy on your soul."
As the distance between the boat and ship grew, Archie sat up. There were no oars, he noted with mounting horror. "Please! Horatio, please! Don't let them do this to me!" A large wave came up between them, taking the Renown out of view. "Please, not again. Horatio." Hanging his head, Archie curled in to a ball between the seats.
Excitement filled the crew the moment Kingston Harbor came in to sight on the horizon, yet Horatio remained untouched by it. Staring out back over the water towards the vast ocean, he numbly watched the horizon rise and fall with each wave. The fact he hadn't broken down in to a sobbing jag was testament only to his inner strength. Though it was over as far as Sawyer was concerned, he may never know the fate of his lover.
Sawyer's death was something people attributed to the escaped Spanish prisoners, and as far as they knew, it was. Tossing them overboard had ensured that remained the case. The body of Sawyer had joined those of the Spanish in the salty deep without so much as a muttered prayer. After the struggle to capture the fort, the three ships, and retaking the Renown, Horatio had no mercy left. Even the women had been consigned to the deep.
He knew that there would be a court martial for this, but he frankly could not be brought to care. The world was without color and his chest hurt. Since it had happened, Horatio had spent hours dreaming of what might have come of it. He would picture himself a captain of a frigate, Archie at his side as they bravely faced down the French. On those nights, he would wake up to find his pillow soaked. Horatio would simply turn it over and go back to sleep.
Out there in the world was his Archie. How quickly had he come to think of Archie as his alone. It wasn't something he thought about in terms of possession, he plainly accepted that Archie belonged to him. He would continue searching for him, even if it took him a lifetime. Last time, it had taken two years for fate to bring them back together. This time, Horatio wouldn't wait.
Archie was alive, waiting for Horatio to come and rescue him. Horatio would be damned if he let his lover down again.