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Horatio Hornblower
The Adventure Continues:

to provide a source of comfort to somebody who is distressed or disappointed.


"You think I made things worse by speaking up, don’t you?" Archie questioned quietly; he was already was sure of the answer but he took Horatio's silence as confirmation. "I thought..." The Beta hung his head. If anything, if he couldn't make the Captain see sense, then maybe he might have been able to transfer the ire onto himself and away from the tortured boy. But it was like the man had read that very intention in Archie's burning blue eyes and deliberately did the opposite.

"Your intentions were good, Archie." Horatio reassured him, squeezing his shoulder in comfort.

"No good deed goes unpunished," Archie muttered mournfully, stepping away from the comforting gesture he felt he didn't deserve. Not when Wellard was suffering right now, perhaps worse for his insolent interference.

"Sometimes silence is the best option."

"Silence sure feels like standing by and doing nothing to me." Archie retorted scornfully.

"We cannot fight Mr Wellard's battles for him, Archie." Horatio told him firmly; reasonably with a mind of an officer in Her Majesty's Navy. "He is a man, a sailor. How is he to learn if we step in every moment of confrontation or disagreement?"

"Learn?" Archie spun to him, incredulous. He'd never been as well as the Alpha at compartmentalizing. "You call this a lesson?" his threw his arm out. "What lesson was there in either of these beatings? Should he have allowed to sail to tear irreparably? Should he have disobeyed an officer's order to run the sandglasses?"

"Of course not," Horatio allowed some of his frustration to break through. "But we've all seen our fair share of the rattan, Archie. Unfortunately this is a part of ship life."

"The Captain--" Archie managed to hiss through gritted teeth instead of shout, "Is abusing his Authority. And Doctor Clive, he-- he's actively allowing it." He paced shortly. "You know the punishment differs with officers. It's prohibited to give an officer of rank a beating. Midshipmen aren't answerable to that declaration."

"What more can I do?" Horatio questioned. "I'm already under discipline. Would you be satisfied if I was in irons for open defiance?"

"Of course not!"

"Then what?" he questioned evenly.

He stopped. "If you give him your name..." Archie suggested slowly, biting the inside of his cheek. He didn't say it lightly. Most of the crew would make gross assumptions when it was merely a mark of protection; it would cause a yin and yang response like it did for himself—but it kept the Beta more times safe than in danger.

"Captain Sawyer is already on the boy because he thinks Mr Wellard is conspiring with me on mutiny—and you want me to mark him as mine?" Horatio asked him, shocked for several different reasons.

"Not as a paramour," Archie corrected him in a low growl with narrowed eyes, "I said mark him with your name, not your mouth!"

Horatio looked shamed at the accusation and his own outburst, and instantly stepped into the furious Beta's path when he made to storm away. "You know I don't think of him in that way." Horatio grasp his shoulders, giving him a slight jostle in reaffirmation on the subject. "He's just a boy, he's under my command. You are my Mate, Archie." He stepped closer, their chests flushed, transmuting his regard through close physical position. "Our hearts beat together—one, forever." He nuzzled the Beta's Marked cheek.

Archie gave a steely-jawed nod, melting against the Alpha. He knew Horatio was not that kind of Alpha, but even a Beta as confident of self as he was, even he got infected with petty jealousy.

"If I could do it myself, I would. But you know I can't. It has to be an Alpha. Unless we can convince Matthews, or even Mr Bush…" Archie was very doubtful of the latter. He was sure that Bush was a good man, but he appeared too straight and more concerned with keeping himself under Sawyer's good eye. The Beta was sure that in time that would change, like it did for the rest of them. But he was afraid that it would be too late for Wellard. "You or Matthews," he corrected.

"I will speak with Matthews, then we will visit Wellard in the sickbay to discuss the matter." Horatio finally conceded, lips brushing against his cheek. "If he is agreeable..."

"Thank you," Archie whispered, wrapping his arms around the Alpha's slighter frame. He pressed a kiss to the side of his neck, "That's all I ask."


Horatio Hornblower
The Adventure Continues!