|Hornblower and the Loss of Command
Author: robyn redhead PM
Following a disastrous mission in France, Horatio Hornblower is forced to step down as Captain, an honour which is passed on to his loyal Lieutenant, Mr Bush. Tension builds between the two comrades, tension which is further increased when Mr Bush's sister, Alice, makes an appearance on scene. Possible Hornblower/OCRated: Fiction K+ - English - H. Hornblower - Chapters: 9 - Words: 12,512 - Reviews: 5 - Favs: 2 - Follows: 3 - Updated: 08-13-11 - Published: 07-14-11 - id: 7179051
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Commander of HMS Hotspur Horatio Hornblower paced methodically up and down his cabin, while his first lieutenant, William Bush, looked on nervously.
"Sir?" he said, after nearly five whole minutes had passed.
Hornblower looked up, jolted from his thoughts. "Yes, yes, of course. Sorry, William."
"What's the news, Sir?"
Hornblower sighed. He had just received word from France that the Earl and Countess of Banbridge were in France, and that their close friend the Duke of Provence wanted to remove them from France safely, to keep them free of harm from the war.
The Earl and Countess had formed a close friendship with the Duke prior to the war breaking out, and their friendship had remained despite the unpleasantness which was going on around them. It was because of this that the Duke of Provence had requested that Hornblower travel to France with the Hotspur and transport them, along with their daughter, safely back to England.
Hornblower sighed again, and scanned his eyes once again down the piece of parchment that had arrived from France just moments before. His eyes fell upon a name he hadn't noticed before.
Alice Bush, a young girl from England, will also be joining the Earl and Countess of Banbridge, after staying with them on her travels.
"William?" asked Hornblower, suddenly.
"Yes, Sir?" replied Bush.
"You don't happen to have a sister, do you?"
Bush cracked a faint smile, wondering where on earth his commander was going with this conversation.
"Why, yes. Yes I do. I believe she is travelling at present. Her name is Alice."
Hornblower gulped slightly. "Alice?" he enquired. Bush nodded. "In that case," said Hornblower "It appears we are journeying to France, Mr Bush."
As soon as Hornblower had allowed Bush to read the letter, Bush had been insistent that they made for France straight away, his concerns lying expectedly with the welfare of his sister. However, Hornblower was reluctant to make sail right away. Obviously, the instinctive thing to do would be to follow the Duke's orders immediately, but the dangers of travelling into French waters were a big enough worry to Hornblower to make him hesitate slightly.
"But Sir," Bush had insisted "My sister. I don't even know what the devil she was doing in France anyway! I thought she was safe in Germany or Austria or somewhere! And staying with the Earl of Banbridge? It's just absurd!"
Bush was moving agitatedly around the cabin, wringing his hands together.
"Calm yourself, William." Soothed Hornblower. "We will make sail for France as soon as possible. Your sister will be fine, if she is with the Earl and Countess of Banbridge, then I cannot imagine anyone doing anything bad to her."
Bush sighed. "I guess you're right."
Hornblower clapped him on the shoulder and smiled. "Now, let us get up deck and sail this thing!"
Up on deck, a cool breeze was blowing about, and the crew milled about, preparing to make sail from Plymouth. Bush and Hornblower climbed up to the wheel, where they found Mr Prowse, and Hornblower's second lieutenant, Archie Kennedy.
"Make sail for France, Mr Prowse," informed Hornblower, his decision regarding the situation made.
Archie looked at Hornblower in surprise. "You are making for France, Horatio?" he enquired "I'm sure you understand the current situation there."
"Yes, yes," insisted Hornblower "I assure you I know exactly of the situation with France."
"Then why...?" Hornblower couldn't help but smile had his friend's confused face.
He passed Archie the parchment and allowed him to read the letter from the Duke, but carefully made it so that Mr Prowse could not read it also. Hornblower did not much like to chance their plans to go travelling around the whole ship through word of mouth. He could only imagine the uproar there would be if the crew knew they were to sail straight into what they called "frog's territory".
Archie finished reading the letter and looked up at Bush and Hornblower. He focused particularly on Bush.
"I never knew you had a sister," he said, and Bush smiled, drily.
"With the way things are going in France," he said "I doubt I will have a sister much longer," but a look at Hornblower's face made him wave his hand "But I am just over-reacting of course." He finished.
Archie looked from the letter, to Bush, to Hornblower.
"So," he addressed Hornblower "you are going to continue with this," he gestured to the letter "this plan?"
"Yes," said Hornblower, simply. "We have our orders, Archie, and we must go by them. And I'm sure Mr Bush would have something to say if we decided to leave his sister in France-
Bush made to say something,
-not that anything will happen to her in France, I'm sure." Assured Hornblower, with a slight smile.
His smile was wiped, however, when he saw Mr Prowse leaning in slightly to their conversation.
"Mr Prowse!" he barked "I said to set sail immediately! What are we still doing here? On with your work!"
Mr Prowse withdrew away from them, muttering "Aye aye, Sir," as he did so.