Author: LadyWallace PM
Alternate ending to "The Wrong War/Frogs and Lobsters". Horatio is wounded in the retreat and finds someone he was not expecting sitting by his bedside. NOT SLASHRated: Fiction K+ - English - Family/Hurt/Comfort - Words: 1,817 - Reviews: 4 - Favs: 6 - Published: 01-27-12 - Status: Complete - id: 7780662
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
A/N: Well, I'm excited about this because it's my first official Horatio Hornblower story, but yet, I am not sure it's exactly what I wanted it to be... well, there's room for improvement always in writing, and starting to write for a new fandom is kind of hard even though I know and love all these characters dearly ;)
So anyway, I have a serious addiction to father/son fluff and so of course I flip for all those moments when Captain Pellew is all fatherly to Horatio which is like, pretty much in the end of every movie, giving everyone a great little fluff moment :P I know this story is probably out of character, but I really wanted to do this, so I hope, espicially Captain Pellew doesn't seem to OOC to everyone o_0
So yes, this is an alternate ending to "The Wrong War/Frogs and Lobsters" and I don't usually to alternate endings, but this one came to mind because I especially loved the end to this movie and I got this idea into my head and had to write it... This is what came of that. I wasn't sure about Horatio's age, and I just added a tiny bit of backstory for Pellew, but besides that I tried to keep it as close to the original story as possible. Anyway, I'll stop rambling, and you can read it. =) And again, people, this is not slash. It's just good old father/son fluff.
"Horatio, she's dead, Horatio, there's nothing you can do."
Horatio hardly noticed Archie tugging on him to get to his feet. He could only think of the woman he held in his arms. The woman he had loved. He didn't want to listen to Archie, but he knew he was right. She was dead now. There was nothing he could do.
"We have to go, Horatio!" Archie told him with more urgency now. "They're going to blow the bridge!"
Horatio looked up and saw the French soldiers coming after them. They were peppering them with bullets and finally, Horatio saw the urgency in the situation and he allowed Archie to haul him to his feet as they ran. Horatio suddenly felt a hot pain flare in his side and his leg almost gave out under him. He stumbled, but Archie had an arm around his shoulders and kept him running.
"Come on!" he cried and Horatio didn't stop though he could feel the hot blood flowing from him and soaking his shirt and pants.
The bridge blew and they got over to the other side, just barely making it in time. Horatio fell heavily to his knees, a hand pressed over the bleeding wound. He gasped from pain and grief, tears still running down his face and mixing with the dirt there. Archie and the others were at his side trying to see to his wound, but he didn't care. He sunk to the ground, his eyes closed as he felt someone tearing his shirt away to see the wound, someone else pressing a cloth to it. He didn't care if he lived right then, and so he let the darkness that surrounded him take him, leaving him in merciful oblivion.
Horatio woke slowly and tried to take stock of his surroundings before he opened his eyes. He truthfully did not want to wake up. It was not only the pain of the wound in his side; in fact, that hurt was paltry to what he felt in his heart. He had lost men before, but never to such a foolish cause as someone else's war, a war they were never supposed to have been involved in anyway. Good men had died, along with a woman—the first woman he had ever really loved. And it had all ended in a shameful retreat which gained them nothing but wounds, dead, and broken hearts. And it was all for nothing.
But he had to get up and face life again. He had a duty to his comrades, to his captain, to his king, and he was not going to shirk it because he had lost the woman he loved. So with a deep sigh, he opened his eyes…
And found that he was not alone in the room. Captain Sir Edward Pellew was sitting by his bedside in a chair, looking slightly uncomfortable with the situation, but unable to do anything about it now. Horatio hurried to sit up but Pellew quickly reached out to press him back onto the bed.
"Stay down, Hornblower," he said firmly, but not unkindly. "The surgeon already patched you up once, he won't be happy to do it again."
Horatio forced himself to relax against the bed again and shifted awkwardly, wondering what protocol said about the captain watching over you when you were wounded and how to act should that scenario arise.
"How long have I been asleep, sir?" he asked instead, noticing his throat was rather dry.
"Four days now," Pellew said. "We're back in Gibraltar. On shore. Would you like something to drink?"
He got up before Horatio could say anything and came back to the bed with a glass of water in his hand. He helped Horatio prop himself up and drink it. It felt awkward to have your captain play nursemaid to you, but Horatio was not about to ask why it was Pellew sitting by his side and not one of his shipmates. Though if he knew those loyal buggers, they weren't too far away.
An awkward silence ensued before Pellew took a deep breath and said, "Mr. Kennedy and Major Edrington gave me the report. And I want you to know that your actions were not unsatisfactory."
For some reason, this only made Horatio feel worse. He looked across the room out the window and saw the sea. "Sir, there was nothing much more to be done. I did what I had to. I was no hero."
"You saved the lives of men, Mr. Hornblower," Pellew told him softly. "And you should not be ashamed of it."
"Sir," Horatio said suddenly, turning back to look at his captain. "What were we doing there?"
Pellew took the boy in. How old was he? Nineteen? Too damn young to have seen so much, to have been through...that. Horatio was pale from the fever he had suffered but there was a different brightness in his eyes now that Pellew saw for what it really was even though the boy was noble enough to try and hide it. He closed his eyes and sighed deeply.
"We were doing our duty, Horatio," he said, not knowing why he used the boy's name this time. "And England expects that every man should do his duty. But that does not make the faults of other men right, or just, but we must do as we are told, no matter the cost. And you will find again and again that duty is sometimes the highest cost you could imagine. But our duty is to our king; to England, and we must do that duty to our last breath whether we feel it is right or not."
Horatio nodded and turned his face down but not before Pellew saw the tears falling from his eyes. The young man quickly reached up to dash them away, blushing brightly.
"Sorry sir," he murmured.
Pellew didn't know what possessed him, but he suddenly got out of the chair and found himself sitting on the side of the bed. He reached out to the surprised Horatio and put a hand on the back of his neck; drawing the boy's head against his shoulder in a fatherly gesture he hadn't even known he was capable of.
"It's all right, Horatio," he told the boy who seemed even more embarrassed now and he sought to ease that tension from him. "Every officer sheds tears on occasion. There is nothing to be ashamed of. It is better to let them fall now so that you can face your men later." He looked out the window, remembering the first hard defeat he had experienced as a young officer. He might have even been younger than Hornblower at the time, he wasn't sure. He just remembered the tears he had shed for fallen comrades that night in his bunk when no one else could hear him.
Horatio wasn't sure why, but being able to press his face into the rough shoulder of Pellew's coat made him feel better. Even if he were crying on his captain's shoulder in a way he never would have done with his father, let alone a superior officer. But he didn't move, and he sagged against the older man, thankful for the support, closing his eyes as Pellew rubbed the back of his neck slightly to release the tension. For some reason that small gesture made Horatio relax. His father never would have done that for him. He had been a distant man and quite uncaring. Horatio had seen that, though Captain Pellew was a hard leader, and would take no nonsense from anyone, he cared deeply for all his men and from the start, he had seemed to adopt Horatio and take him under his wing. Horatio would never know what the captain saw in him; perhaps because he was young, and seemed somewhat solitary, but he knew that he would always remember this time whenever he had doubts about his duty. For some reason, that small gesture of parental care that Pellew bestowed on him made everything feel right again and Horatio smiled slightly as he allowed himself to drift off to sleep, still resting against the captain's shoulder.
Pellew felt the boy's limp frame rest more heavily against him and he knew he had fallen asleep again. He gently laid him back down and covered him with a blanket, watching him for a few seconds before he turned to leave the room.
He didn't really know what he saw in the boy, perhaps it was most likely the fact that he saw himself at that age; but he knew that Horatio was not an officer they could afford to loose. The boy was as dear to him as his own, and whatever had made him feel that way, he knew that this was one young man that would go far.
"Best of luck to your service, Mr. Hornblower," he said softly as he closed the door behind him.
Well, I hope this was all right. As this is my first story in the fandom do please review and tell me what you think. Constructive criticism is good! =)
Cheers, Lady Wallace