TITLE: Redeemed
AUTHOR: Dissolved Girl (ba479@chebucto.ns.ca)
FANDOM: Horatio Hornblower (Retribution)
SUMMARY: Hobbs finally gains redemption. Perhaps he is not such a one-dimensional man after all...

I have redeemed myself today. For all the trouble I've caused, and the wrongs I've done, I have atoned for it all. For today I stood in court and saved a man's life--I stood before my peers, friends and enemies alike, and saved Horatio Hornblower's life.

I could have damned him to the gallows today, but I did not. Maybe it was simply to save myself--I'm sure at least Styles would have killed me for it. Maybe it was because the men expected me to condemn Hornblower. Maybe it was because I couldn't help remembering how Wellard looked as he was dying; still innocent and naieve, ready to believe I would keep his secret... how I wish I were still like that.

Maybe I did it because I was tired of traveling this road. I never wanted to be hated, but I had believed all along that what I was doing was right. So for once, I decided to do my best to be a good man. Horatio earned my respect, and I couldn't find it in myself to keep on hating him. So I stood up in court and kept young Wellard's secret.

No one would ever know. No one ever will, if I have anything to say about it.

I can't help but think of how much bloodshed could have been stopped if my Captain... no, I won't dwell on what-ifs. Horatio's trial is over, my Captain is dead, and the events have all passed. It is done, and time for me to move on.

I will not join Horatio's crew, even though he extended the offer to me. I could not do it, not after everything I did to him. The last time I looked him in the eyes was just before I said my piece in court. After that, I was able to avoid his gaze, seated with the rest of the crew, thank God.

And now it is time for me to find somewhere to go, somewhere to sort this all out. Perhaps I will return home for a time. My sisters have several times asked me to visit when I was on shore leave. Now, I think I shall.

I've been changed much over these past weeks. And I think I've learned that it does not take the defeat of frigates to make a hero. If anyone has shown what it means to be a true hero, it was Mister Kennedy. He took the blame for... pushing Captain Sawyer.

He has died a hero, and no one will ever know, save the crew of the Renown.

The world truly is an unfair place.