|In Full Bloom
Author: Kei the Average PM
Captain Haddock has a very special surprise for Tintin, one that's been long overdue.Rated: Fiction K - English - Romance/Friendship - Captain Haddock & Tintin - Words: 1,960 - Reviews: 4 - Favs: 7 - Follows: 1 - Published: 08-11-12 - Status: Complete - id: 8419593
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Captain Haddock gave the door in front of him a few hesitant knocks. He waited impatiently, shifting his weight on his heels. There was nothing he wanted to do more at the moment than to run, but with the preparations already made, there was no turning back. He had to tell him, and it had to be today. He'd been pussy-footing around this for far too long.
The door opened slowly, and Tintin was now standing at the opening, facing Haddock. "Morning, Captain," he greeted casually, smiling lightly. "Can I help you with something?"
The captain, almost sinking back into his old habits, was about to make some poor excuse, but stopped himself before doing so. You can do this! he kept reminding himself.
"Actually, would you like to come with me into the garden?" His expression showed its efforts to not betray how nervous he truly was, and barely prevailed. "There's something I'd like to show you, lad. Something I think you'll like. T-that is, if you're free."
"Of course," Tintin nodded. "Just let me grab my sweater, and I'll be right with you." He nodded again and retreated back into his room to get his trademark blue sweater. During that time, poor Haddock was still juggling the notion of getting out while he still could. But his better judgment persisted, and he stayed put. The redhead returned his expression eager. "Let's go then!"
While they made their way to the back yard, Haddock tried to avoid eye contact as much as possible, keeping himself several paces in front of the boy. He feared his apprehension would give himself away. He'd like this wouldn't he? Of course he would! He had to, absolutely had to!
Haddock was able to get his thoughts in order right before they reached the garden. He stopped, turning to face Tintin.
"Would'je mind closing your eyes until we get there? It's kind of a surprise."
The reporter seemed confused at first, but nodded understandingly and played along.
"A-and no peeking!" Haddock warned.
"Don't worry, I won't!" the younger man giggled.
The captain took Tintin by the hand and led him deep, deep into the back of the garden. He silently prayed that the hand he held Tintin's with wasn't all sweaty and gross.
"Are we there yet?"
"Almost, just…" Haddock took a few more steps back. "Okay…" he said, almost hesitantly. "You can open them now."
As soon as Tintin's eyes opened, they widened at the sight before him. Surrounding him and the captain was an abundant ring of daisies, all of which colored an all-too-familiar shade of blue. The redhead slowly approached a spot of them, quickly turning to the captain as a silent "Can I…?" to which the older man nodded.
Tintin plucked one of the daisies from the ground, putting it up to his nose and inhaling its sweet scent. The blue flower twirled between his fingers.
"Captain, these are beautiful," he finally said. "I don't think I've ever seen a daisy this color. Did the professor make these?"
"Yeah," the captain confirmed. "I, um, I asked him to. After I saw how much Castariolli liked those white flowers he made for her, I thought 'Well, if he can make white roses, he'd be able to make blue daisies, right?' S-since I know your favorite color is blue, and…and you told me that one time that you liked daisies, so…"
"These…are all…for me?" Tintin's eyes widened again, this time with confusion. The captain nodded. Guiding the young man by the hand again, he took him to a blanket that had been laid with a picnic basket square in the middle of the flower ring. They both sat down on their knees.
"Thank you very much, Captain. They're lovely, but…"
"What's the occasion? My birthday isn't for another seven months, and I haven't really done anything lately that would deserve something like this."
"'Haven't done anything to deserve it?' Thundering typhoons, don't sell yourself short, m'boy! After all, you've done so much for me in the past few years…sobering me up, straightening me out…I wouldn't have any of this if it weren't for you!"
Tintin became bashful at this praise, smiling shyly. "Captain, I…" he started.
"In fact," Haddock interrupted, sounding almost dejected. "Sometimes I feel like I don't deserve you."
The boy became concerned at his friend's sudden drop in mood. He so badly wanted to say something that would ease Haddock's feelings, to tell the captain how utterly wrong he was about "not deserving him," whatever that meant, but nothing came out. He merely leaned towards the older man and put a comforting hand on his shoulder.
"Tintin," the captain finally said, almost too quietly. "How do you feel about me, exactly?" He suddenly became anxious, gripping the boy's shoulders. "Please, be completely honest! I absolutely must know!"
Tintin blinked a few times to let that question sink in. "How do I…feel about you?" He became thoughtful for a moment. "W-well, I…I think quite well of you, Captain, I mean…you were one of my first real friends, and I feel that I can trust you completely. You do have a habit of flying off the handle sometimes," a shy chuckle came after this comment, "but…I know that your heart's in the right place in everything that you do.
"You've been nothing but kind and thoughtful to me since the day we met. And the fact that you were willing to sacrifice your life for me, that one time in Tibet…I've never forgotten about that. Nobody's ever really done anything for me like that before. You're the best friend I've ever had."
Haddock let go of Tintin's shoulders, letting his hands drop to his sides. "I-I see."
"Captain, is something wrong? You're not usually like this, are you alright?"
The captain slowly stood up, turning his back to the reporter. "I'm sorry," he apologized solemnly. "And you're right; I'm not usually like this. You just make me feel this way…N-not that it's directly your fault! It's just that…well, I mean…Blistering barnacles, what am I so embarrassed about?!" This wasn't going according to plan at all. His words were stuck inside his throat, his stomach was doing back flips, and he felt like he was going to be sick. Thousands of thundering typhoons, he told himself that he wasn't going to be so nervous!
Don't you dare flee, Archibald Haddock! Haddocks don't flee!
"Tintin, there's something I need to tell you. Something very important." He faced Tintin again and sat next to him on his knees. "I've been wanting to tell you for a while, but I was afraid to…I didn't want to ruin what we have right now, as friends. But…I can't deny it anymore, and I can't ignore it. I've tried. You deserve to know the absolute truth.
"When you brought me out of that drunken, pity-party life I was living, I was more than grateful for it. At first, I thought the feelings I had towards you were just that of gratitude. You made me want to change, to start anew and become a better person. But over time, something else sparked within me that I couldn't explain. I wanted to follow you on your adventures despite the risks, I wanted to protect you. I wanted to be with you no matter what happened to me. Again, I thought it was only my gratitude towards you, but I knew it wasn't, and I couldn't put my finger on it.
"But then, poor Chang got in that plane crash, and you went after him in Tibet. A part of me was calling you blistering ridiculous for thinking he could have possibly still be alive, and moreover for going after him; but the other part wouldn't let me abandon you for a second. And I kept on asking myself why—why I would follow you through these circumstances, why I kept coming back after I told you I wouldn't, why I was so willing to give up my own life to save you.
"But I soon after realized it. The realization hit me like a truck: the reason that I did all of those things is because…because I'm in love with you, Tintin. You're the best thing that's ever happened to me."
There. He did it. He was shaking and sweaty and felt like crying—and lord knows how red his face was—after finally saying it, but he said it.
Tintin looked at him, eyes wide, frozen in place, and completely at a loss for words.
Haddock's acquired courage seemed to drop with each second Tintin stayed silent. He gulped, wondering how he could make this right. "I'm sorry," he apologized again. "I know, I'm older than you, and a guy, and I'm probably an awkward burden for you enough as is, just being your friend. I wouldn't be surprised if you hated me right now, even. But that's how I truly feel, and I needed to say it."
Tintin, whose eyes had been darting every other which way, looked meekly back up at the Captain. He looked as if he were about to cry too.
"You…do you really mean all of that?"
"Every last word," Haddock nodded affirmatively.
The redhead sat there, silent again, hugging himself. "…I don't know what to…what to say…"
"Say anything you'd like," the captain replied softly. "It's entirely your decision to make."
More silence as the boy thought of a reasonable response.
"I'm afraid I wouldn't be a very good lover. I'm not very romantic, and I'm completely inexperienced. I haven't even kissed someone before."
"You don't have to be!" Haddock reassured him. "We don't have to be super mushy or lovey-dovey—in fact, that would feel unnatural to me—we can keep things how they are now, for the most part. A-and, we don't have to worry about the experience part right now…" Haddock became bashful at this last comment. "Let's just take it slow for now. I wouldn't dare make you do anything you weren't ready for. Just be yourself, that's all I ask of you."
"And you don't mind me running off on adventures?"
"Not so long as I get to be your running mate, as always. That is, if you'll have me."
Tintin's eyes quivered as tears threatened to pour out. The captain's affection, his understanding, his loyalty…. He had never met anyone before him who cared for him that much and it swelled his heart to the point of bursting.
"Captain, I…-The truth is…" the redhead stammered. "…those things I told you earlier were true, but…I haven't been telling you the full truth, either.
"I realized it about the same time that you did. As I told you, I never forgot what you did for me in Tibet, and…it made me think. I've never really had someone in my life like you before who cared for me like you do, someone who would offer to risk their own life for me. It means the world to me. I love you, Captain Haddock, from the very bottom of my heart. A-and you're not a burden to me at all!" he added the last part quickly.
Haddock's anxious features softened. He smiled. "You don't know how happy I am to hear that, mon petit." Though he was glad to now know that Tintin reciprocated his feelings, he felt it was only right to ask all the same.
"Tintin," he shyly reached for the boy's hand. "Will you do me the honor of being my lover?"
Tintin locked his fingers with the Captain, wearing an honest and confident smile. "Absolutely."
And there, in their secret garden, the two lovebirds sealed their deal with a chaste kiss.
It would be their first of many to come.