Rating: NC-17 for m/m sex
Archiving: Please ask first.
DISCLAIMERS: I wish they were mine, but they're not. I claim no rights to them whatsoever
and I'm not making a penny out of this. Okay? (I hate these things....)
SUMMARY: The title says it all.
WARNING: This is an unashamedly romantic wallow which will no doubt make your teeth ache.
Sorry, but I needed some respite from all the angst. Oh, and my apologies to all those who
wanted to see him with Archie. Maybe next time.
FEEDBACK: Pretty please? Even if you hate it... firstname.lastname@example.org
Now go enjoy.
The heat awakened him at some indeterminate time between midnight and dawn, though to say
that he was awakened by it would be to imply that he had slept, and that was not strictly
the case. Rested, perhaps, his mind drifting on a sea of fractured thought, pausing
occasionally to slip into a light doze, but actual sleep had evaded him this night, as it
had every night of the previous week. As it had evaded all of them - except, perhaps, Mr
Bracegirdle, who of course could sleep through anything, such being his nature.
There was a flask of laudanum in his sea chest, a delicate silver phial no thicker than a
man's thumb and he knew that a single drop would be enough to tip him over into the abyss
of slumber. Then again, he knew from past experience that laudanum also brought him
violent nightmares and he was not prepared to shame himself before the crew with any loss
of control, however accidental. No, he must find another way.
Sans coat, he left his cabin and went up on deck, hoping for some air to cool him, but the
sails were as empty now as they had been for the past three days, not the slightest breath
to bring respite from the insufferable climate. Despondent, he leaned against the rail.
The sea, black as the night sky above, was mirrored glass as far as the horizon, the full
reflected there with such clarity that he could mark each shadow on her incandescent face
and could almost believe that he saw a smile there, mocking his restless state.
A slippered footstep rasped the boards and he half-turned his head to see what poor
unfortunate shared his affliction, only to find the breath forestalled in his throat at
the sight. Quickly he resumed his vigil, aware of the sudden trembling which beset his
limbs and caused him to clutch at the rail in the vain hope of concealing it.
"Mr Hornblower," he acknowledged, the sound of his voice, loud as a pebble
falling into a deep pool, intruding on the silence. "I see sleep evades you
"That it does, sir. I thought I might find some relief up here, but alas..."
"Alas indeed," agreed Pellew. "In my experience there is nothing worse than
finding ones ship becalmed, especially when one may encounter the enemy at any
"Is that likely, sir?" The young man turned away, peering into the darkness.
"Surely the French will find themselves in the same predicament."
The captain made to reply, but the words were stillborn on his lips as he fell victim to
one of Hornblower's most guileless smiles and he felt his heart begin to race as he
wondered again how this delightful being had ever come into his service. Inexperienced, of
course and, by the very nature of his upbringing, naive, but such minor irritations paled
enthusiasm and his joy of life, and his intense love of the sea. He was also, Pellew
admitted silently, quite, quite beautiful - not as a woman was beautiful, not soft and
decorous, but rather in the manner of a young hero from the classics, strong and
masculine, his courage proven a dozen times over.
Like Pellew, he had forsaken his coat and his dark hair curling around his neck was black
as ebony against the pristine whiteness of his shirt. That shirt lay fully open to his
waist, the smoothness of the moon-silvered skin beneath inviting the pleasure of touch.
From there, Pellew's descent into hell was as easy as the downward glide of his gaze to
where the gentle swelling of Hornblower's manhood was sharply defined by the cream fabric
his breeches. //Oh if only... if only...// his heart cried out, beating hard against his
ribs. If only he had the courage to turn dream into action. He could take him by force, as
others of his rank were wont to do, using boys for their pleasure and then discarding
them, but that had never been Pellew's way. Any man who shared his bed must do so by his
own free will, Hornblower most of all. If only he *knew*, beyond doubt, that he would not
"Captain? Sir, are you unwell?"
He heard the concern in the young voice and seized upon it, as a drowning man clings to
driftwood. "Ah - Yes, Mr Hornblower, I do find myself somewhat - indisposed."
"Then perhaps you would permit me to escort you to your quarters."
"My quarters?" //No!// cried his conscience, but his treacherous tongue betrayed
him. "Yes, that would be... Yes. Thank you."
He was aware of Hornblower close behind him as they moved through the darkened ship and
although he felt uneasy and shamed by his weakness, he was grateful for that reassuring
presence when his foot struck against a poorly stowed rope and he stumbled to his knees.
The strong arms were there to catch him, setting him on his feet once more and, despite
his good intentions, he clung to them far longer than was either seemly or necessary.
In the darkness below decks, Hornblower's face was unreadable, yet Pellew
was certain that he sensed acceptance in the way the young man made no attempt to
disengage himself until the captain himself drew away.
"My... My thanks again, Hornblower," he stammered, and a velvet voice from the
shadows answered softly "My pleasure, sir."
A single lamp burned in Pellew's cabin, it's meagre light pooling in the centre of the
room. To augment it, he lit a brace of candles and motioned Hornblower to a chair.
"Thank you, sir, but I feel I should return to my own quarters."
"For what reason? We, neither of us, can sleep therefore why should we not keep each
other company?" For a man beset by such dark desires as he felt towards Hornblower,
Pellew thought the argument quite reasonable.
Hornblower stood watching him, his height enhanced by the low ceiling to the degree that
Pellew discovered in himself an unsettling feeling of inadequacy in the young man's
presence along with a premonition of all that Horatio could - and would - become. The
mature Hornblower would be formidable indeed!
"Very well, sir, if you insist," was the eventual response as the empty seat was
Pellew sighed. "I do not insist, my dear Horatio, I merely ask you - as one friend to
another - to permit me the pleasure of your company. Or do you deny that there is
friendship between us?" he challenged.
The lieutenant's answer was immediate and indignant - "No, sir!" - and then he
smiled a slow, generous smile and ducked his head shyly. "No, Captain, I do not deny
it," he said, more gently this time. "I have come to value your friendship as
much as your guidance."
A sweet feeling of light-headedness stole over the captain at those words and while he
would, if questioned, attribute it to the heat, privately he acknowledged his companion as
the sole cause. He had always in his life striven to be worthy of the respect of his crew,
but never had it been as important to him as it was at that moment.
"Will you take a drink with me, Mr. Hornblower?" he asked. "There is a
bottle in the cupboard."
"French brandy, sir?" the dark eyes sparkled with amusement. "I doubt His
Majesty would approve."
"I don't give a fig for His Majesty's approval, at least not tonight, and I am sure
that there is brandy enough to be found at court." The bottle and glasses were
brought and he motioned for Hornblower to pour. "Your health, Horatio," he
saluted, touching the spirit to his lips and allowing a drop or two to glide over his
tongue. //Twice!// he thought, excitement stirring the blood in his veins still further
.//Twice you've called him 'Horatio' and he has raised no objection.//
"And yours, sir," Hornblower responded, raising both his glass and his eyes to
An unnatural silence blossomed between them and threatened to become strained, until
Pellew said, quite conversationally, "Your exploits with the fire ships are the talk
of the Admiralty, you know. Sir Arthur Mayhew was enquiring about you just before we
sailed. I believe he was hoping to lure you away from the *Indefatigable*."
"Then he is to be disappointed, sir - unless you want rid of me?"
It was said lightly, yet Pellew heard the unspoken question, the need for reassurance. Or
- could it be more? He took a mouthful of brandy and swallowed it in one gulp, feeling it
burn it's way to his stomach, reminding him that he must tread most carefully here, for
this was no dream. "On the contrary, I would count it a great loss, both to the ship
and to me -
The glass was set aside and Hornblower closed his eyes, his chest heaving as he struggled
to retain his composure. Pellew marvelled that his simple statement of fact could have
such an effect, but then he had never, not for one moment, harboured even the slightest
belief that Hornblower might feel anything more than loyalty towards him. Hope, yes, but
not belief, until now.
"Captain -" Hornblower opened his eyes and they were bright and filled with
In that moment, Pellew made the decision for them both. Leaning closer, he covered the
trembling hand with his own and quietly corrected him: "Edward... at least for
"Edward..." A frown creased the young brow as he tested the word. "It feels
//Strange, perhaps, but not so alien that you find it unacceptable I think// he mused. His
confidence growing with each passing minute, he said aloud: "I promise you, my dear,
that by morning the name will seem as natural on your lips as your own."
Caught off-guard by his own swirling emotions, Hornblower shook his head. "I don't
understand. I've longed for this, dreamed of belonging to you, but you never gave me any
sign that you might share those feelings. Why now?"
"Because you have changed. Your stay in prison has - matured you, something you
proved by your insistence on returning there to fulfil your debt of honour. If we allow
the feelings that have grown between us to reach their inevitable conclusion, it will be
necessary for us to conceal our relationship from the crew. I believe that you now have
the strength to do
so." Lifting Hornblower's hand from the table, he held it tightly between his own.
"But you should also know that of late my feelings towards you have become - almost
uncontainable and I fear that - if I delay in declaring them I might well - lose you
"Oh God... Sir... *Edward*, I - " Coherent speech failing him when most he
needed it, Hornblower shook his head again and, with a tiny cry of surrender, brought
Pellew's hands to his lips, kissing each finger as it curled around his own and the
captain, himself overcome, lay his head against the dark curls, his lips pressed close to
a hidden ear.
"Do you trust me, Horatio?" he asked, and felt his love nod. "Then will you
stay with me for what's left of the night? I would like, very much, to make love to
Horatio raised his head slightly, turning to whisper "Sir, I have never...",
letting the rest trail away into an embarrassed silence.
"Then you have my word that I shall be gentle. Do you trust me? "he asked again,
and this time Horatio looked deep into his eyes as he vowed "Yes. In this - as in all
"Then come..." Lifting Horatio to his feet, Edward turned down the lamp and led
his tremulous lover to the narrow bunk, setting one of the candles on the chest beside it.
"Believe me, my dear Horatio, I would do nothing to hurt you," he murmured.
"May I kiss you?"
Taking the shy smile and the slight movement towards him as consent, he released the hand
he still held and lifted it to Horatio's flushed cheek, guiding their mouths together.
Their first kiss was no more than a hesitant brushing of lips, but Edward felt his world
tilt and spin, and his heart begin to race. //So close now... So close...// He brought
their mouths together again, and this time he dared to stroke the tip of his tongue across
the closed line of Horatio's lips. When they opened to emit a tiny moan of pleasure he
took his opportunity and slipped his tongue inside, tasting the softness of the inner lip,
feeling the hard barrier of teeth part further to admit him. The taste of Horatio's mouth
was exquisite, the hesitant glide of his tongue a delight of which Edward knew he would
Growing bolder, Horatio lifted his hands, framing Edward's face between them as he began
to deepen the kiss, robbing the captain of both breath and will. It was a kiss that
bored through every part of him, seeking out his soul and turning it to flame, filling his
head and heart and loins with such desire that he found himself no longer master of the
moment but instead slave to his lover.
Breaking the kiss at last, Horatio stepped back, still holding his gaze. The shirt was
lifted over his head in one fluid movement and dropped carelessly on the floor, the
slippers were kicked aside to land where they would. Mesmerised by the unashamed,
yet somehow innocent, display, Edward held his breath, watching as the long fingers moved
to unfasten the breeches and push them down the impossibly long legs. The linen drawers
quickly followed, and suddenly Horatio was standing before him, naked. He stood very
allowing Edward to look at him, displaying himself for his lover's approval, and although
he could no longer conceal the colour rising in his face, he kept his head high, a glimmer
of pride deep in his brown eyes.
Slowly, Edward allowed his gaze to move, charting every detail and storing it away: the
curls, black as a raven's wing in the half light, riding unbound over the ridges of his
shoulders; the smooth sweep of his chest, the firm stomach; the long, clean limbs corded
with strong young muscle; the shadowed forest between his thighs and the sleek, alabaster
column rising from it, so proud and eager for his touch. A thousand words tumbled through
his mind, but none seemed adequate to describe his feelings at that moment, or to do
justice to the charms of the man standing before him, and so he kept silent, wary of
breaking the mood between them with some trite comment.
"Captain - ? " A note of panic in Horatio's voice - perhaps he had gone too far,
presumed too much - and a sudden, compulsive movement of his hands to cover himself.
"Forgive me, Horatio, I did not expect..." He shook his head to clear it and
then glanced up at the lieutenant, and just as suddenly he found the words he had been
seeking. "Oh Horatio... Do you really not know how beautiful you are to me?"
Pellew ignored the protest and stepped closer. "Uncover yourself, please... Let
me look at you." And Horatio obeyed, dropping his hands to his sides, once more
meeting his captain's scrutiny with proudly lifted chin. //And so you should be proud, my
love. Never have I seen a man as well made as you//
Edward dared to touch him then, marking a southern route with the tips of his fingers,
from the pale column of the throat, across the silken curve of his chest, brushing lightly
the tiny buds that swelled to meet his caress. "So young..." he whispered.
"Why could we not have met twenty years ago?"
He felt the vibration as Horatio laughed, not unkindly. "Because then, my dear
Edward," he said boldly "I should have been little more than a babe in arms -
and not fit to fulfil your intentions for me... As I *shall* not be if you insist I remain
here, like this, for much longer."
Without warning, Edward found his questing hand captured, kissed, and brought to rest
against the sleek shaft. "Touch me, Edward, and let us put an end to this
prevarication. There is little enough left of the night and God knows when we shall be
blessed with another such as this."
Edward took him at his word and without further delay, curled his fingers around the staff
of iron and velvet. It was warm in his hand, pulsing with life and as he stroked his hand
along its formidable length he felt it nudge against his palm like a living creature
independent of its owner, leaving a wet kiss against his skin. //Already so close?// he
wondered, and with the thought found himself fighting the urge to throw himself on his
knees before his beloved and take that beautiful object into his mouth, drinking him dry.
Instead he stepped back and pulled off his own shirt, but when he reached for the buttons
on his breeches he found his hands brushed aside.
"Let me..." murmured Horatio, pausing only to lean in and steal a kiss from
Edward's startled lips. By the time he was released, the breeches were unfastened and
Pellew watched in fascination as his companion sank gracefully to his knees, divesting him
of both layers of cloth in one easy movement. Freed from its confinement, his own
burgeoning erection lifted towards Hornblower's face and Pellew drew back sharply, lest he
cause offence. Hornblower shook his head and smiled, rubbing his cheek against the heated
flesh, much as a cat will, purring, rub against its master's hand.
"Horatio, I don't expect you...." Edward began, only to be silenced by the first
swift stroke of a hot tongue against the crown of his cock.
"Do I surprise you?" The teasing note in his voice sent a shiver down Edward's
spine. The boy was a virgin and yet - he knew exactly what he was doing and, more
importantly, what he wanted. "I may be inexperienced, Captain, but I have lived below
deck long enough to know how men do with men. Have I learned well, do you think?" he
asked, but before Pellew could answer, slid his lips fully over the crown and down the
shaft until they brushed the wiry thicket from which it grew.
Breath hissed sharply from between the captain's lips and of it's own volition his hand
wound itself in the dark curls, cradling Hornblower's head with a tenderness of which he
had hitherto believed himself incapable. This was far beyond anything he might have
imagined and he marvelled at the stranger wearing his lieutenant's face, for this could
surly not be the Horatio Hornblower who had always appeared so reserved, so - awkward in
his company. Yet here he was, taking command of the situation as calmly as any veteran of
this ancient game.
His teeth ground together as he tried in desperation to hold back, to resist the urge to
thrust himself deeper into that accommodating throat, but it seemed that he was to be
thwarted at every turn, for no sooner had the thought formed in his mind than Hornblower
shifted, and Pellew found himself held fast by those strong, broad hands bracketing his
hips, the fingers digging deep into the soft flesh of his arse.
" 'Ratio, wait!" he gasped, the first rolling wave of ecstasy building within
him. "Wait!" Dark brown eyes looked up at him and he smoothed the unruly hair
aside to see them more clearly. "If you continue I shall not be able to contain
"That was my intention," was the candid response. "I'm not afraid of this,
Edward, not with you."
"I know, and I swear you shall have all that you want of me but... may we not also be
*comfortable*? Or as comfortable as a captain's berth on one of His Majesty's ships will
allow. Come..." and taking Hornblower's hand he drew him back to the bunk, guiding
him down to the mattress. "Look at you..." he whispered, awed at the sight of
his beloved Horatio, at last where he had for so long wanted him. The young man's cock was
so ripe it
looked fit to burst, the shaft engorged with blood, the head glistening in the light of
the candle's flame. He swirled his fingers across it and brought them to his mouth,
licking away the sticky fluid gathered there, seeing the desire in Horatio's eyes turn in
an instant to burning need.
"Please..." The word was no more than a sigh as Horatio held out his arms in
"One moment more," Edward promised. Moving quickly to the washstand he returned
with a small linen towel and a stone jar, which he set on the chest, beside the
candlestick. Satisfied that all was ready, he climbed into the bunk and, gathering Horatio
into his arms, took his mouth in a long, passionate kiss, leaving his lover in no doubt as
to his desire.
Soon they moved as one, coiled around each other, arms and legs entwined. Words
became redundant as they communicated with touch and taste, fractured murmurings echoing
from mouth to mouth, lost in their kisses. Time ceased within the cabin as Edward reclined
against the goose-feather pillows, encouraging Horatio to explore him in his most secret
places, refusing him nothing. The avid mouth claimed him at once, swallowing him whole,
and this time Edward made no attempt to deter him but instead began to lift his hips
in counter thrust, finding and matching Horatio's rhythm with ease. He would have been
content to spill himself into that welcoming throat, had Horatio so desired, but again the
mouth left him, bidding farewell with a kiss against the tender crown.
"Tell me what you want," he said as Horatio lay back, and the reply left him
speechless with its honesty.
"You... All of you... "
"I have no wish to hurt you, Horatio. There will be other nights - "
"Not like this. I *know* it will hurt, Edward, but it is pain that I would gladly
bear because I know you will do all that you can to make it easy for me. You would never
use me cruelly, not like - " He stopped suddenly, fear flashing deep in his eyes, and
in that instant Pellew understood how his love had come to learn so much about the ways of
men, not by observation but by *example*. <I have lived below deck long enough to know
how men do with men> //Oh my dear Horatio, how blind I have been all these months//
"Forgive me," he said, leaning down to steady the trembling lips with a kiss,
"I did not know. I fear I have been above decks too long. Were they - Did it happen
"Once only, but it is of no importance. He's dead now and forgotten"
Reaching up, he curved his hand against Edward's face. "You will be the first
I have come to willingly, that much I *can* give you."
"Then I shall not refuse you."
Moving closer within the confines of the bunk, he began an slow yet intense worship of the
young body, beginning with his mouth, which he did not quit until it had been thoroughly
ravished and both he and Horatio were gasping like beached fish. Drifting lower, he
touched his tongue to one of the tiny amber buds, hearing the startled gasp break from
Horatio's throat. These were the things he had not learned in the cruel darkness, that men
could be gentle and loving with each other, and find pleasure in the simple act of
touching one another. Things that Pellew would be more than happy to teach him. He raised
his eyes, looking up the length of Horatio's chest to meet a smile bred of joy and
amazement as he shifted his attention to the other pap, swirling his tongue around it
until it grew hard. As if sensing his captain's need for reassurance, Horatio's brought
his hand to rest atop Edward's head, the lightest pressure detaining him a moment more at
his task before urging him downwards.
No stranger to this act, Edward found himself hesitating, unaccountably afraid of failure
this time. Of all the men he had ever pleasured, Horatio was the most important because he
brought nothing more than himself to the encounter, no promise of riches or advancement,
just his body, open and willing, Edward's for the taking. Only when he heard Horatio
whisper "You don't have to..." did all come right again and with a sigh of utter
contentment, he bowed his head and took the lovely thing into his mouth.
The taste and feel of the sleek shaft was exquisite, the salt sea-air scent of him a
comforting familiarity. He drew on him delicately at first, allowing Horatio to become
accustomed to the sensation, swabbing the sensitive head with his tongue until the body
beneath his hands began to writhe and a tremulous voice called his name. Then, sensing the
change in mood, he sat up and reached for the stone jar.
"What's that?" Hornblower asked, curiosity aroused.
Dipping his fingers into the contents, Pellew waved them beneath his lovers nose, the
warmth of his hand releasing the fragrance of camomile and sandalwood and the faintest
trace of lavender. "It's a salve, made for me by an apothecary in London to soothe
the ravages of wind and salt water. However, I have also learnt that it serves well
to - ease the way into a man's body." He waited, allowing Horatio a moment to
assimilate this information, reading the dichotomy of fear and need in his eyes.
At last Horatio nodded. "Show me..."
Mouth sealed to mouth, bodies pressed close, Pellew's oiled fingers parted his lover's
thighs. Gentle probing found the secret place and he felt a shudder pass through the
slender frame as he circled it with his fingertip, Hornblower's gasp of surprise vibrating
through their kiss. But he made no move to stop it and instead spread his legs wider and
Edward, encouraged by his response, took it as a signal to proceed. Dipping his fingers
deeper into the salve until all three sections were coated, he returned to his task,
diverting Horatio's attention by probing his mouth and sucking on his tongue as he slid
the first finger into the tight opening.
The sharply in-drawn breath was this time accompanied by a soft cry - not protest, not
really pain, more a coming to terms with the unfamiliar sensation. Before, that other
time, when the inexperienced Midshipman had been taken against his will, there would have
been no tenderness, no chance to examine the feelings and adjust to them. This was all new
to him, and with Pellew, it seemed, he was a willing student.
The ring of muscle slowly gave way under his ministrations, relaxing its grip on his
finger and he smiled as he felt the first tentative clenching draw him further inside.
Horatio's head was thrown back against his captain's shoulder, mouth open, gulping each
steadying breath as he rode the invasion of his most private place.
"This pleases you?" Pellew smiled, burrowing his finger as far as it would go.
"Yes," Hornblower confirmed.
Pellew dipped his head and placed a moist kiss on the long, pale throat. "The
next may not be so pleasant," he warned.
"I don't care..." The words came out in a rush of desire tempered with
He tried so hard not to hurt him, knowing from his own past experience that it could not
be avoided. This time there was pain in the cry that burst from the young throat and when
he looked down he saw a tear slide from beneath the sable lashes. Instinctively, he pulled
Horatio close and buried his face in the thick, dark curls.
"Forgive me, my sweet -" he pleaded. "If there was another way..."
"But... there isn't... " He forced his eyes open and looked up into Pellew's
tentative gaze. "I trust you, Edward - Oh God! - " his face twisted and he
swallowed hard before continuing: "I want to ... to feel you... inside me... If
I must en-endure this first then.. so be it..."
Overwhelmed, Pellew pressed his lips to the damp forehead. "I don't deserve
you," he whispered. "You are so beautiful... and so trusting... and I do not
deserve this gift... " As the words flowed, sweeter because for the first time in his
life he truly meant them, Pellew slipped a third finger into the slick opening, reaching
towards that tiny place that, he knew, would in an instant change pain into pleasure and
in so doing, open Horatio's body to him fully.
And then he found it! One moment his love was writhing in his arms, trying with all his
might *not* to pull away when everything in him cried for escape from the burning, tearing
agony searing his loins. The next he was clutching at Edward's shoulders, his open mouth
blowing hot, brandied air across the captain's skin, joy and astonishment gurgling in his
throat. His manhood, which had withered with the growing discomfort, blossomed once more,
lifting to press against Pellew's belly, dotting it with wet kisses.
Pellew with drew his hand, satisfied that Horatio was as ready as he would ever be, and
wiped his fingers on the towel before running them into the sweat-dampened hair, turning
Horatio's head until he could look into his eyes and see, beyond doubt, the truth they
"Tell me again that you want me to do this," he insisted.
Horatio laughed softly and touched his lips to the inside of his captain's
wrist. "Are you still so unsure of me, Captain?"
"Not of you... Of *me*. If I do this, and tomorrow see regret in your eyes, I should
never forgive myself."
But Hornblower shook his head. "Dearest Edward... How can I *possibly* regret what I
have wanted for so long?"
"Since you gave me charge of The Caroline. I saw your face when the plague forced me
to leave... I saw how much it hurt you to think that you might never see me again. To know
that you shared my feelings..." He sighed and lifted his hand to Pellew's cheek.
"The hope that I might one day be here, in your arms, gave me the strength to get
through those dreadful weeks of isolation."
Edward sighed. "And now you are here..."
"Yes." He moved then, guiding Pellew above him, parting his legs so that his
lover might kneel between them. "Please don't make me wait any longer..."
How could he resist such an entreaty, and from such a sweet suppliant? Scooping more of
the salve from the jar, he began to stroke his own thick shaft, determined that he would
not cause this beautiful being one moment more of discomfort than was absolutely
necessary. With his free hand he lifted Hornblower's left leg, placing a row of kisses
along the soft flesh of his thigh from knee to groin, darting a look at the rapt
expression growing on the fine features before once more taking Horatio's manhood into his
mouth and driving him almost to the edge of the abyss.
When all the little sounds and movements told him that there was no more that he could do,
he sat back and slid his arms beneath Horatio's legs, lifting them to his own shoulders.
He knew that it would be better, kinder, to take him from behind this first time, but
there were ghosts lingering around them, the shades of men who had used them both, and
Edward found, in those last moments of conscious thought, that he needed as much to see
his love's face as Horatio would need to see his.
There was pain as he eased his flesh into its slippery berth, a flicker of it across eyes
and mouth, but it was as quickly dissipated by the greater pleasure of having what was so
fervently desired, and then Horatio was moving with him, lifting his hips to meet the
downward thrust, catching and matching Edward's rhythm so suddenly and so very perfectly
that the captain almost reached the moment of climax in a few rapid strokes.
"Slowly, my love..." he encouraged, and for a moment the pace dropped a little,
allowing him to regain some measure of control. But it did not last, could not this first
time, their need for each other being so strong. They would each give and take, and it
would be glorious, and there would still be time to savour their coupling the next time -
for he was certain now that Horatio would come to him again, as he would come to Horatio.
Hands twisting in the tangled sheets, Horatio dropped his legs to Pellew's waist,
locking his ankles in the small of his lover's back and pulling him in sharply, taking and
giving... taking and giving... Edward wrapped his hand around the steeply angled phallus
and took up the same rhythm, the residue of grease on his fingers causing a delightful
friction that skimmed
upwards, through his hands and into his arms, making them tingle. Blood sang in his ears
and his vision slipped out of focus as he neared the moment of completion, making it
impossible for him to see his lover's face, to read the adoration there, but he heard it
in the soft, wounded cry that burst from those sensual lips and he felt it in the pulsing
ripples of Horatio's muscles that clutched at him each time he withdrew.
There, on the periphery of awareness, he felt movement near his face and realised that
Horatio was reaching out to him, his hand seeking contact. He met it with his own, lacing
their fingers together as he brought it to his lips, suckling on the bony knuckles. The
action was enough to make Horatio clench around him, pitching him over the precipice and
into oblivion as, with one last surge of his hips, he spilled his seed into the waiting
wave after blissful wave, until he was empty. Vaguely, he heard Hornblower call his name,
a loud sharp cry that must surely have been heard in every darkened corner of the ship,
and then the scalding lava erupted over his hands, splattering his chest and face as his
love shuddered with his own release...
"Edward...?" He distantly heard the familiar voice call his name, but the effort
to move was too great, his limbs too heavy and uncoordinated to move, and so he answered
with a murmur and a soft kiss against the tender bud beneath his lips.
He lay as he had fallen, his body draped across that of his lover, his head resting above
the heart which had once more resumed it's steady beat. Horatio's arms were about
his shoulders, their weight a blessed burden that told him all was well, as did the hand
that carded lightly through his loosened hair. Contentment, utter peace and unimaginable
joy, flowed through him. Never had he experienced anything like this, this incredible
belonging, of being wanted for himself.
"I should go..." the voice continued "before I'm missed."
They were the most miserable words Pellew had ever heard, and yet he knew it must be so.
Scandal such as this would spread like wildfire through the crew and although he had
little care for himself, he would not bring shame on his beloved.
"Wait until the watch changes," he advised, keeping him there as long as
possible. "You will not be noticed in the confusion." Sitting up reluctantly, he
swung his legs over the side of the bed and reached for his dressing gown.
Hornblower remained where he lay, watching him, an odd look playing about his swollen
lips. "I - should wash..." he observed meekly, brushing a hand across his belly
where his own seed had dried to an uncomfortable stiffness.
"Then do so here." Fastening the robe, he turned back to the lover and for the
first time noticed the bleak look. "Horatio? What's wrong?"
"Nothing... " came the lie, the pinkness of embarrassment making his face
glow against the whiteness of the bed linen. "If you will permit me to get up, Sir, I
shall be on my way."
"Permit you -- ? Horatio, look at me," he demanded, for the troubled eyes had
dropped, avoiding his gaze. He saw it then, the longing for something more, the need for
reassurance, the fragile uncertainty that was telling Hornblower this was all there could
ever be, this one night. Pellew knew that he could probably, given time, reason with him,
but time was a luxury neither had, for already the ship was awakening, the sounds of
urgent movement coming from without. If he was to salvage this then he must do
*something*, and do it *now*. Very well... //Needs must// he thought bitterly.
"D'you think I take you for a whore, sir?" he asked, and the shocking words
filled Hornblower's eyes with horror.
"Then why d'you act like one?"
"Sir, I do not..." heprotested, indignant at such an unwarranted suggestion.
"I have never... I --"
"Yet you seem eager enough to quit my bed, now the deed is done. Am I to pay you for
Tears welled in Hornblower's eyes and one slipped free as he shook his head. "I
want no payment, Sir," he whispered. "I came to you because I - I - "
"Say it man," urged Pellew, "Or must I say it for you?"
At last the dark head lifted once again in defiance. *This* was his Horatio, strong,
courageous, determined - wonderful. "I came here, Sir, because I-I care for
"Only care?" teased Pellew, allowing his hand to trail upward from a bony ankle
to a pale thigh.
"N-no..." The breath hissed from Hornblower's lips as sharp nails raked his
flank and he arched back against the pillows.
"Say it and I shall stop..." Pellew coaxed.
Triumphant laughter burst at once from Hornblower's throat. "That, Captain, is no
incentive, for I wish you *never* to stop."
Pellew's hand paused and he frowned in mock severity. "Ah -. I think you have the
better of me, sir."
Horatio's eyes flashed unholy fire. "Not yet, Sir, but I fully intend to... at
our next encounter."
The words spawned such an image in Pellew's mind that he was glad of the thick folds of
the dressing gown to hide his sudden discomfort. "I shall look forward to it,"
he murmured and, leaning towards Horatio, covered the waiting lips with his own.
How long the kiss lasted neither knew, nor were either aware of the softrapping at the
door, or of the opening and closing of it, until Mr Bracegirdle gave a discreet cough.
Pellew felt the shock of discovery through his lover's body, but he himself gave no
outward sign of perturbation. <Stay here> his eyes told Horatio, and the barely
imperceptible movement of Horatio's head marked his assent. Rising from the bed,
Pellew snagged the sheet and dropped it casually over Hornblower's nakedness.
"What is it, Mr Bracegirdle?"
"Begging your pardon, Captain, but the wind is rising."
"The wind?" He glanced towards the ceiling, listening and - yes! - by gad, he
could hear the sound of wind in the rigging. "At last!" he cried. "Now
p'haps we can get under way. Mr Hornblower - " He spun round, to find Hornblower
grinning at him from above the bedding. "Well for God's sake get dressed man! We have
a ship to sail... Mr Bracegirdle-"
The older man was hovering close to the door, his gaze shifting from his captain to the
young and clearly naked man in his bed, taking in the scenes of obvious debauchery
scattered around the room. Pellew crossed the room and stood before him, blocking his
view, his manner and tone at their most commanding.
"Not one word of this, Mr Bracegirdle. D'you hear me, sir? If I hear the slightest
allusion to what passes between myself and Lieutenant Hornblower *in private*, then I
shall know from whom it has come and I shall deal with that person accordingly. Is that
"What's that, man? Speak up!"
"Aye, aye, Captain." Bracegirdle's face flamed, but he stood his ground. He
could do no less, Pellew mused, being himself similarly engaged in other quarters - not
that the poor man was aware that Pellew knew of it.
"Good. Now get about your duties, sir. Mr Hornblower and I shall be there directly.
And send us some hot water!" he added to the retreating back.
Alone, he returned to the bed. Hornblower knelt up, the sheet slipping aside to leave him
gloriously naked once more, and the captain could not resist the urge to take him once
again into his arms. With the wind rising, lord knew when they would get another chance.
"I'm sorry," he breathed against a hidden ear.
"You've done nothing -"
"No... But I wish we had more time." Easing a little from the confines of
Horatio's arms, he stroked the unruly curls aside. "I do love you, you know."
"Oh Edward..." Hornblower protested, only to fall once more into silence at a
shake of his lover's head.
"No, let me speak. We must be very careful if we are to continue this. The crew must
"What of Mr Bracegirdle?"
A smile warmed the stern look away. "Oh, I do not think we shall have any problems
with him. Shall we say he is - of like mind."
"Good lord!" exclaimed Hornblower. "I should never have guessed."
"No... And they must never guess about *us*. If you would..." The words stopped
in his throat. Not a man usually given to self sacrifice, he knew the magnitude of what he
was asking and that, ultimately, the choice must beHoratio's. "If you would prefer to
let this end here, to remember it fondly as - as a pleasant interlude, then I will
understand. I would never ask you to put yourself at risk."
"Nor I you," pledged Hornblower, resting his head in the angle of Pellew's
shoulder. "But we both know that we cannot turn away from this. I love you, Edward,
and I shall go on loving you, whatever fate might befall us."
Pellew absorbed the words in silence. All he had ever wanted... "Come to me when you
can - I dare not send to you too openly or the men will think I favour you too well."
"Of course. I understand... I shall be the epitome of discretion." He began to
climb from the bunk, but at that moment the ship bucked on a mounting sea and he stumbled,
falling against the captain.
Pellew, his arms suddenly full of warm, naked Lieutenant Horatio Hornblower, shook his
head. "Discretion?" he queried, arching a brow at the innocent grin on his
lover's face as he set him on his feet.
"The epitome, Sir," was the sweet response. All trace of embarrassment or
self-consciousness had left him and he seemed content to simply stand there as nature
intended, without a stitch of clothing, his manhood already showing signs of reawakening.
Pellew raked him from head to foot adoringly, wondering how on earth he was ever to find
the strength of will to leave his cabin, particularly when Horatio's hand began to wander
towards that alabaster column. Damn the man, didn't he know what he was doing!
//Of course he does// Pellew's mind replied. //He knows *precisely* what he's doing...//
"Discretion," he repeated, nodding to himself. Catching the look of mischief in
the dazzling eyes he sighed. "Oh for God's sakes, Mr Hornblower, put some clothes
[Sandi's Slash Fiction]