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An Argument Can Be a Good Thing Too
by HMS Lozzy

Part I

Archie walked over to the taffrail and looked over the decks of the
Indefatigable and into the horizon. He breathed in deeply,
savouring the salty tang in the air. Watching her brow prance
ahead, like a young filly in the field. He slowly breathed out
refreshed. He was a new man, a stronger man. Just 42 hours ago he
had gained his commission, a task, which had been fearful to him
since leaving the confines of his prison in Spain, and in his mind.

His friend lieutenant Horatio Hornblower had been supporting him all
the way toward his examination. Their friendship had help them
survive their most difficult trial they had had to face during their
life in his Britannic Majesties Navy, but he was now standing on the
quarterdeck of the Indefatigable a Lieutenant, he had made it into
the officer ranks. He had his own division of midshipmen and
ratings beneath him, and the thought was humbling to him. He even
felt a little proud of himself for make it this far in his career.

Archie felt he was no longer weak, he was a new, stronger Archie
Kennedy and he relished this thought. "Yes this will do," he
whispered to himself, "I am pleased to be a part of this," he
glanced around the ship, "of his Royal Britannic Majesties Navy."
Continuing to watch the horizon, a feeling at peace came over him,
for the first time in a very long time he felt pleased to be Archie
Kennedy.

Lieutenant Hornblower was also on the quarterdeck, as were all the
other officers. They were just departing from Portsmouth and it was
always a proud moment to be standing on deck of your ship, to see
the sails billow and grow large as they caught the wind and feel the
ship beneath your feet rise up and pull toward the horizon. This
sensation always filled the men with pride. All was right with the
world today and they were heading off into a new adventure. Horatio
felt his excitement keenly.

"Stand Down Men!! Resume your watches!" Called Captain Pellew, who
was standing by the rail on the poop deck.

"Aye, Aye, Sir" All the officers called and began to resume their
normal duties. Some heading down the quarterdeck ladders, and
others heading below to rest before the evening watches began.

Archie remained standing by the taffrail, just enjoying his feeling
of peace and listening to the sounds of a living ship. The wind
moving through the riggin, the footsteps on the calked decks and the
flap of the sail in the breeze,

Horatio quietly walked up behind him. "Archie," He greeted in a
calm voice.

Archie tilted his head back in response, but remained facing
for'rd "Horatio," he greeted back quietly, grinning.

"How does it feel now you have you commission and you are now a full
lieutenant." He moved beside Archie and stood by the rail, he could
see his men busy coiling the rope on the belaying pins.

"Wonderful, Horatio, the relief you cannot imagine"

"Oh I think I can Archie, at least you didn't have to fend off a
fire ship as part of your test." Horatio smiled to himself,
remembering his examination, feeling the heat of the flames licking
his right shoulder once again.

Archie laughed, "No, at least that is something, it was bad enough
facing Black Charlie Hammond, Dreadnaught Foster and to have Lord
Hood bring in a surprise appearance. I should have fallen to the
ground and had a fit."

Horatio, who had been laughing with him suddenly stopped laughing
and quickly glanced over Archie, looking for the tell tale signs.

This annoyed Archie a little and the look Horatio had given him at
the word fit, his dark eyes scanning his blue eyes for the early
signs. But Archie decided not to make his feeling about this know
as he felt to much at peace with himself at present, he continued
the conversation. "But I feel the wind was in my favour and lady
luck smiled upon me."

"Well I never doubted you and neither did the Captain or the other
officers." Gesturing his arm out behind them.

"No Sir they did not," Mr Bowles called from behind them.

Archie turned around at that voice, and beamed "Thank you Mr Bowles,
that means a lot, please thank the other men for me."

"Well Mr Kennedy, we all know you have deserved this and we shall
share a tot of rum later to celebrate your success." Mr Bowles
touched his forehead in salute.

Archie smile and saluted in return, Horatio smiling also. He
certainly knew that Archie had fully earned his commission.

"Now Mr Kennedy I suggest you get below, get some food and some
rest, you have the dog watch after all, then the midnight till
morning watch."

"Aye, Aye Mr Bowles" He touched his hat, "Mr Hornblower are you
coming too."

"Presently Mr Kennedy" he responded and moved aside, "I wish to talk
to with Mr Bowles first."

Archie nodded then went below.

They watched him go, "The new Lieutenant Kennedy, well he's earned
it sir." Mr Bowles mentioned to Hornblower.

`Yes he has, Mr Bowles which watches have I been order to do?"

"We Sir…"

*****

"What the bloody `ell do yay think yer doing!!!" Shouted seaman
Richardson. He had just tripped over a length of rope lying in the
across waist and dropped his bucket of water across the deck. The
sand stone brick that was in it had gone clattering across the deck
and nearly over the side.

"Trying to do my work yer bastard! now get out of my way!!" Seaman
Taffell shouted back from his seated position on a coil of ropes.
He was fixing the bitter end of the rope and had left lengths lying
across the deck, causing Richardson to trip over them.

"Oh no, no man tries to trip me up and claim he's working.!!"
Richardson glared at Taffell. Spit flew from his mouth as he
shouted back at him.

"Well maybe ye should watch where your going, yer blind dog."
Taffell spat back.

"Blind dog!!! WHY YOU!!!!"

Archie strode over to the quarterdeck just in time to see the two
men grab each other's collar. "HEY!!" he shouted down, but the men
ignored him and proceeded to lay punches into each other.

Archie, scrunched his nose, holding his anger, `No body ignores a
lieutenant' he thought quickly and made his way into the waist to
stop this fight before it got deadly.

"YOU MEN STOP THIS NOW!!" he shouted at the two of them, and tried
to move between them.

"ARG!! GO TO HELL!!!" Shouted back Taffell and proceeded to thump
Richardson in the stomach.

Archie made to move forward again, throwing his arm between the
two. When another hand reached past his own and grabbed hold of
Taffell's should. Separating him from Richardson and forcing him
against the quarterdeck ladder.

"HOW DARE YOU SHOUT AT AN OFFICER!!!" Roared Horatio.

Taffell, looking shocked, starred back at Horatio's angry face. The
blood leaving his,'Oh God! What had he just done!'

Archie behind Horatio felt a little angry also, but not at Taffell.
He put his hand on Horatio's sleeve "It's alright Horatio I will
deal with them the're" But Horatio's blood was up and he didn't hear
him. He continued to shout at Taffell

"For you insubordination you will be reported and punished
accordingly," he suddenly turned towards Richardson who was soothing
a sore stomach, his dark eyes boring into his " and you! You! will
face punishment too Sir, for ignoring a superior officer and for
fighting.

"Well he should have not left his ropes all over the deck where a
man can fall on them." The anger on his face was very evident.

"That will be all, Mr Richardson," Ordered Archie, finally getting a
word in, ahead of Horatio.

Horatio sighed, calming down "Now Richardson go pick up your bucket
and brick and Taffell clear up these rope and stow them properly.
And" He pointed his long finger at them, the grey power stain
buried in the skin of his hand showing, " if you are caught fighting
again it will be a worse punishment then what you will already be
receiving. Do you understand?"

The two men, grunted an "Aye, Sir" and went back to there jobs.

The two lieutenants watched them go, Richarsdson picking up his
brick and bucket, Taffell lifting the ropes from the deck. "Seamen,
never satisfied with each other are they?" Horatio shook his head as
he spoke and turned to face Archie. He had expected him to smile
and jest in return, but instead, Archie pierced his lips together
and glared at him, not saying a word. `They where his men and it was
his watch, he was quite capable at ordering and organising his own
men!' This thought ran through his mind as he glared back at a very
stunned looking Horatio. `Where had he come from anyway? It was
the dog watch and Horatio was meant to be in the galley eating his
rations.' It was then that the thought hit him. `Has he not been
below, had he been watching him? Thinking still that he was still
not capable of working alone? He might be thinking wrongly but the
way Horatio had stopped him taking command of his own men.' Anger
and embarrassment gripped Archie's chest. `How could he do this too
me!!' Archie though to himself.

Horatio, suddenly felt something was wrong, felt that awful sinking
feeling in his stomach "Archie?" he spoke quietly still wondering
why Archie was not speaking to him and looking so angry?

Archie, instead of responding to the concern in his voice, turned on
his heal and walked away. He returned to the quarterdeck and
avoided looking at Horatio for the rest of the Dog Watch.

Horatio sighed and turned away in annoyance `what was up now?' he
thought to himself. But he decided it was probably best not to
ask. So he went below to get his rations.

***

Part II

For the rest of his watch Archie fumed as he repeated his angry
thoughts in his mind, `he thinks I'm still weak, he thinks I cannot
cope, oh, well he's got another thing coming, how dare he control my
men!! That's my duty, not his! How dare he!' He had not realised
he'd begun pacing, his feet banging on the deck, not watching where
he was going.

"WOAH! Careful there Mr Kennedy," he'd been so engrossed in his
thoughts that he nearly walked straight into Lieutenant Bracegirdle,
who was coming to relieve him from his watch. "You were that deep
in thought Mr Kennedy, you nearly forced me overboard." He brushed
the crinkles out of his jacket.

Archie took a moment to respond, trying to control his voice, which
was shaking a little with frustration, "er .. um .. I'm sorry Sir I
did not see you."

"Well, mind you do Sir, you need to be more alert. There are
Frenchmen out here Mr Kennedy. It's our job to see them first,
before they see us." He rubbed his chin. "But I shall let you off,
for now. Get below Mr Kennedy you are relieved of your watch sir."

They saluted,

"Aye, Aye Sir" Archie, still fuming marched across to the ladder,
headed below decks and towards the wardroom hoping for some peace.

***

Thankfully the wardroom was empty, it was quiet too. He could hear
the sounds of the other men outside the room, but he was in solitude
and he would enjoy it for however long that would be.

In the centre of the room stood a large wooden table, Midshipman
Toby had been as good as his word and left some victuals for him and
he was grateful for them. He could eat and then rest, before going
back up to the quarterdeck for the midnight watch. As he ate he
felt himself begin to calm down from the anger, which had enveloped
him. But he was still unhappy with what Horatio had done earlier.

About 10 minutes later Archie's solitude was disturbed when Horatio
entered the room. As he entered they both glanced at each other,
nodding in silent greeting, then looked away from each other.

Horatio went and sat at the opposite end of the table to Archie.
The tension in the room was very evident, but nobody said a word as
they were worried how the other man might react.

Horatio decided to pick up one the books from the centre of the
table and read, just as Archie finished his rations. He rose from
the table as Horatio sat, heading off to his hammock, hopefully for
a sleep.

"Archie I'm"

The angry monster flared in Archie's chest again, "Just don't
Horatio, I don't want to hear it" He put his hand out in gesture of
pushing him away and then moved away from the table and pulled open
the thin sail cloth that separated his quarters from the rest of the
wardroom. He knew that all Horatio would say was that `he was only
doing his duty, and how it was their job to discipline the men.'
There may even be an apology for the way he had acted. But Archie
was just not in the mood to hear it.

Horatio was stunned into silence, again. He could not understand
it, what had he done to make Archie so angry? Why had he just
brushed him aside? He had risen to follow him, but sat back down,
stunned. `No damn it, I will hear this out!!' He quickly rose to
his feet and moved over to Archie's quarters and yanked open the
curtain, not caring what half dressed state Archie might be in. "Mr
Kennedy! If you have a problem then just tell me what it is!"

Even Archie was surprise to suddenly find Horatio yanking his
curtain aside and ordering him about. Luckily he had only removed
his jacket and his que, his dirty blond hair falling around his
shoulder. The angry beast, which had begun to settle, reared up
again, this time more fiercely. He turned to face Horatio, both men
glared at each other, breathing hard. "You want to know what is
wrong!!! Sir!!"

Horatio felt his blood rise as his anger and confusion
increased, "Yes Mr Kennedy! And you are going to tell me!" he spoke
clearly, as he would when he ordered his men.

Archie looked at him, then asked in an clear voice "You really want
me to tell you sir!" He also wanted to add what had upset him so
much to put their friendship on the line and why he was refusing to
speak out! But he decided to just ask the simple question.

"Yes Mr Kennedy!! You're going to tell me!"

Archie began to wonder why Horatio was calling him Mr Kennedy, was
he ordering him to tell him? If so he would not give him the
satisfaction of being the superior officer. He would only answer to
his friend, "How would you like me to respond Sir? As a subordinate
officer or as your friend?" Archie had to know.

Horatio was so angry he was not thinking straight or listening
properly. He shouted back "As your superior Mr Kennedy. Now you
shall answer my question!!"

But Archie did not answer him, he just remained quite, he wanted to
speak to his friend, not too Lieutenant Horatio Hornblower. He
looked down, ashamed at the way his friend had addressed him. He
took a moment to think of a suitable answer, but he could not think
of what to say.

Horatio continued to glare at him, his nostrils flaring as he
breathed hard with anger.

Eventually Archie felt he should say something. He looked up into
Horatio's glaring eyes, and quietly answered, "Go away Horatio and
come back when you're off your high horse." snatching the curtain,
he yanked it back across in front of a very stunned and angry
looking Lieutenant Hornblower.

`What had Archie just said to him, `go away and get off you high
horse!' insulting a superior officer, how dare he!' Horatio was
about to grab back the cloth back and order Archie to explain his
insolence. When he thought the better of it. Instead he turned
around and went back up to the main deck, to go and think and maybe
find out a reason for this disagreement they were suffering.

******

Dr Luis Sebastian was enjoying the peaceful evening watching the
stars come out across the night sky as the golden line disappeared
into the horizon. `A peaceful night, a rare thing' he took another
long draw on his cigar, the smoke wisps floating on the wind, and
out to sea.

The surgery was empty, he had not been required all day and he was
enjoying a rare peaceful day. There was no one or anything to worry
about. Standing on the quarterdeck he was thinking on his memories,
his family enjoyed such peaceful nights as this. He remembered his
wife calling their son in before it grew too cold. He could hear
her sweet voice on the wind, remember her smile and for a brief
moment he felt she was there beside him. Wrapping her arms around
his shoulders and hugging him, the scent of limes entering into his
thoughts, `her scent' he sighed, relishing the memory.

His reminiscing was suddenly disturbed though, when he heard the
sound of footsteps climbing the ladder and beginning to pace the
main deck below him. Someone was obviously deep in thought. He
moved over to the end of the quarterdeck to discover Mr Hornblower
looking very stern faced and deep in thought.

Luis watched him for a few moments, pacing back and fourth, his
hands clasped behind his back and looking very sternly at the
ground. He cleared his throat.

Horatio looked up at him, the Doctor's calm face looking down on
his. His tanned skin and dark hair reflecting the light from the
lamp that stood beside him.

"If you keep pacing like that you will wear a hole down to the bilge
Mr Hornblower." Sebastian grinned, Horatio didn't. "What troubles
you this evening Sir?"

Dr Sebastian's words and voice always had a calming effect on him,
but tonight having him cut straight to the source of his upset made
him feel a little humiliated at being seen so angry. He would
normally hide his emotions always reminding himself to be an officer
on duty. But the cause of his emotion Archie's fault, not his.
Horatio looked back down and closed his eyes, trying to calm
himself. He then look back up at Sebastian, "Archie.. me ..Archie
and I have had.. an argument that is all." He stuttered trying to
keep his voice calm. Trying not to let Luis see how angry this had
made him.

"Oh .." But Luis did notice, it must have been something bad for
Horatio to get so worked up, he told himself.

Horatio continued, "I tried to find out why he had refused to talk
to me after the dog watch, but he just told me to go away and get
off my high horse."

"umm" Luis look away for a moment thinking. He began to have a
feeling he knew what the problem was. He knew that Archie, would
only make such a comment about telling Mr Hornblower to go away, if
Horatio was acting like an officer and not his friend at an
unsuitable time, but "did anything happen earlier today that may
have caused a disagreement between the two of you?"

Horatio looked blank, "Not that I can think of sir?" He sighed look
down and shaking his head as he thought back. He thought about the
men that he had reported to Captain Pellew and the disturbance they
had caused, but he did not think anything had gone wrong then. Just
that Archie had stopped talking to him after that incident. He also
mentioned that Archie had been very happy as they left Portsmouth,
so there was certainly nothing then to cause an upset between them.
All this Horatio mentioned all this to Dr Sebastian, who listened
quietly, occasionally drawing on his cigar deep in thought.

When Horatio had finished talking Sebastian felt he knew where the
problem lay, but he just wanted to get the facts straight in his
mind first. "Mr Hornblower," he asked quietly, "When did Mr Kennedy
stop talking to you?"

He thought back, "It was right after I had ordered Richardson and
Taffell to stop fighting sir. But that was all sorted, surely?"

"Those two men? They are in Mr Kennedy's division are they not?"

"Yes well, um." He looked down, rocking on his heels.

Sebastian grinned "Umm I think I know what has happened" He drew on
his cigar again and looked towards the horizon. Horatio watched him
all the while, desperate to hear his answer.

"Well, Doctor?"

He took a moment to answer, he breathed out the smoke whipping
around his face "I think I shall go back to the surgery," he
pretended to yawn, "I have an early morning and I shall need to
rest."

Horatio was very confused by this statement, he had expected
Sebastian to give him a reason for why Archie was so angry, to give
him some advice. Not to tell him that he was tired!

Mean while Sebastian had made his way down the ladder to the main
deck his green coat billowing slightly in the breeze. "Well I will
bid you goodnight Mr Hornblower." He put his hand on his shoulder,
Horatio just looked more confused. Sebastian grinned at this, "Mr
Hornblower come to my surgery just before 4 o'clock this morning. I
shall give you an answer to my question then." He then took a final
draw on his cigar before throwing it into the sea, and left to go
below. Leaving a very confused looking Horatio behind, in a cloud
of cigar smoke.

Part III

Archie came up to the quarterdeck just as the bell struck midnight.
On the way up he had been to see Dr Sebastian, to see if he had some
of the headache powders that Dr Hornblower usually supplied him with.

When Archie had finally made it into his hammock, he did not gain
the rest he needed. Instead he had lain there staring up at the
ceiling, thinking on what he had said and done to Horatio. Was it
the right thing to have done? Should he really have pushed him away
like that without an explanation why? He continued to lie there
contemplated these thoughts, until his head hurt. Not gaining the
much-needed rest he knew he needed.

Luckily Dr Sebastian did have a fresh supply of medicines and was
able to help him. He had questioned him as to the cause of his
headache? But Archie just told him he was tired, that it was
probably his tension releasing after being so worried about his
lieutenants exam. Archie had felt he should not involve Sebastian
with his and Horatio's disagreement. I would only cause more
problems anyway.

Sebastian decided not to question Archie, but had invited him to
join him, after his watch and share some tea. Really Archie knew he
would want to return to his quarters and sleep, but it was only
politeness to accept the invitation. So they had arranged to meet
at the end of the watch.

****

Captain Pellew was already on the quarterdeck half hidden in
darkness. For the moment all Archie could see was the gold braiding
on his uniform, reflecting the light of the moon and his misty
breath. It was cold and he wrapped his woollen cloak tight around
himself to trying to keep warm, as his eyes gradually adjusted to
the darkness.

"Mr Kennedy" Pellew greeted saluting, as Archie moved to stand
beside him.

"Captain Pellew, sir" he greeted, saluting in return. He then
turned to look across the ship and begin his watch.

It was a clear night, the millions of stars were shining bright in
the heavens and the moon reflected brightly on the water's surface.
The only sounds were the water lapping against the sides of the ship
and the straining of the ropes as the wind blew into the sail.
There was no mist on the water, which would make it easer to look
out into the dark, as the Indy sailed quietly through the water.
Archie looked over the dark decks and into the inky blackness,
making sure they were truly alone on the sea. There did not seem to
be any company out there tonight, other then the stars.

"I understand there was a bit of a disturbance earlier this
evening?" Pellew asked cutting straight to the point and disturbing
the silence of his quarterdeck.

Archie had been trying not to dwell on his thoughts, he didn't want
to be distracted again like he was earlier in the dogwatch. "Yes
sir," he answered pertly.

"The men involved, they were men of your division were they not?"

"Yes sir."

"And why did you not report them to me yourself." He slowly turned
to face him, the moon glinting in his powerful eyes, shinning with
authority.

Archie had had a feeling he would be faced with this question. He
felt a little nervous at the answer he would give, but he knew it
was better to tell his captain the truth. "Sir I did not report the
incident, because Mr Hornblower felt it was his duty to do so. He
reported them as I was still on watch at the time, sir."

Pellew turned away, "umm" he mused, then responded in a clear
commanding voice, "Well next time I will expect a report from you,
on your men. Not from Mr Hornblower."

Archie felt shocked at this comment made by his captain. It was not
his fault Horatio had barged in front of him, taking away his
authority and the control of his own men, and then to go off and
report the incident without informing him first. His mouth fell
open slightly, he wanted to shout out a response in his favour, but
he didn't know how to respond. He could rant and rave about what
Horatio had done, but then he would look like a spoilt child and not
the newly commission Lieutenant that he was. "Sir.. I ...er" but
the words would just not come to him.

Hearing the stutter in his voice Pellew just gently said, putting
his hand up. "Just make sure it does not happen again, sir. You are
a commissioned lieutenant now, and you can stand on your own two
feet sir." He looked out into the dark sea.

`Well it's more then Horatio thinks' Archie thought to himself, then
answered "Aye aye, sir." Hoping he sounded normal.

They then stood in silence for a few moments more, listening to the
sounds living of a ship at night.

Finally Pellew disturbed the peace, "Mr Kennedy the watch is yours'
I shall bid you good night sir." They saluted and the Captain
headed off to his cabin.

Archie then stood alone, looking out into the pitch-black horizon,
listening to the lapping water. The breeze was strong and the
Indefatigable was moving steadily through the oil black water.

The thoughts Archie had been dwelling on returned for a moment and
his head hurt again, but the powder that Sebastian had given him had
begun to work. He decided to try and focus his attentions on his
task at present, to take his mind off the pain in his head. So he
took a deep breath and stared into the dark horizon. Where the
lapping waves met the million of glittering stars. Hoped to himself
that they would be the only things he would see tonight.

It would be very difficult if they had to fight a Frenchmen in the
dark.

*****

The end of the watch could not come soon enough for Archie. He was
dog-tired, and he and the men had been kept very busy. Just over
an hour ago a light in the distance he been spotted and they had all
been struggling to ascertain what the light was attached to. It
could have been Frenchmen, a sloop or a fishermen, but they could
not get close enough to find out. A few midshipmen had been order
to keep watch over the light, which seemed to get no nearer or
further away. If only they knew where or whom the light was coming
from? But it was now no longer Archie's responsibility, he was
relieved of his watch and was making his way down to the surgery to
meet Dr Sebastian and share some tea. He was freezing cold and he
needed warming up.

"Ah Mr Kennedy you have finished your watch," Dr Sebastian met him
halfway down the corridor. He was just on his way up to the
quarterdeck.

"Yes I have, sir," Archie answered wearily

Sebastian noticed he looked tired, but hopefully this would not take
too long and they could all get some rest. "Good, good, I er," he
felt his pockets on his green coat, "I have misplaced something
which I think I have left behind in the waist, would you mind
waiting down in the surgery for me, while I go and retrieve it"

"Not at all sir," Archie replied quietly, rubbing his hands
together. They were numb with cold.

"I will be as quick as I can," Sebastian answered as he walked
past. Archie continued on his journey to the surgery, removing his
hat and cloak on the way.

****

Closing the surgery door behind him Archie walked further into the
room, a place he was familiar with for more bad reasons then good.
The hammocks slung across, swayed gently with the motion of the
ship. Each covered with the musty smelling woollen blankets and
stripped pillows.

At least this place was now better then in Hepplewhite's day. He
thought to himself, when a man used to come in here, he most likely
never came out again.

He walked between the hammocks, heading towards Sebastian's cabin
when another man walked out of it.

"Archie?"

Archie froze he was a little surprised to see Horatio come out of Dr
Sebastian's room. As was Horatio, to see Archie walking across the
surgery

"Horatio?" Archie greeted and questioned, feeling a little confused.

"What are you doing here? I was waiting for Dr Sebastian" Horatio
was not sure what was going on.

Archie suddenly put two and two together, looking down he smiled to
himself. Putting his hand on his hip, he then looked back at
Horatio, "I have a feeling he meant for `us' to meet here."

"Ha hum" Horatio looked down also, putting his hand to his
chin, "Well if he did plan this, it has worked." Thinking it was
best they sat down, Horatio moved away from the door, and sat down
on one of the stools at the end of the room. Archie nodded in
agreement, and took up another stool opposite him.

"Well I guess we should talk" Archie sighed, he was feeling weary
and his head had begun to hurt again, but they could not carry on
with this disagreement they were suffering. They had to settle
their differences, but was Horatio willing to listen to him?

"Yes Mr Kennedy I think we should" Horatio spoke in a very off hand
manner. He was feeling a bit annoyed, and did not like the idea of
being used like a pawn in a game of chess by Dr Sebastian. To be
forced into this situation, especially at this time in the morning,
to face a problem which Archie had caused in the first place. `No
that was a foolish thought,' and he regretted it the instant it had
entered his mind. Horatio wished to be friends with Archie again,
not enemies.

For the moment they just stat there in silence. Each man feeling
very awkward, and still a little angry. The close atmosphere and
tension in the room was not helping either. Who would speak first
and what would they say?

Horatio began first, feeling they could not remain silent
forever. "Well do you want to talk?"

Archie bit his lip, "Yes, I would like to talk,"

"Good, because I want to know why you have been so insubordinate
with me?" His anger rose as he spoke, his dark eyes staring into
Archie's calm blue ones.

"You would like to know would you?" Archie stared back, speaking
calmly.

"Yes I would!" Horatio snapped back.

Archie sighed looking away "Well that's one of the reasons,"

Horatio jumped back a little surprised at what he heard, "What did
you say?"

"That is one of the reasons, Horatio. Your friend wants to talk to
you, but only Lieutenant Horatio Hornblower wants to listen."

That was not an answer Horatio had expected, "well I er.."

"I want to speak to my friend Horatio, not to the superior officer"
Archie did a mock salute as he spoke.

Horatio was about to shout back, fed up with the way that Archie was
leading him in circles, but that mock salute had stopped him. He
suddenly felt a little foolish, him Horatio Hornblower, foolish. He
sighed, looking down at the floor. He concentraited on the wooden
deck for a second and the other times he has sat staring at it when
Archie had been ill or injured, waiting for his friend to get
better. Then the thought struck him `Yes,' he thought, ` I should
really be his friend, not his superior.' Horatio then looked back
up and spoke calmly "I'm sorry Archie, you are upset about something
and I have not been acting in the appropriate manner, as your
friend. I apologise for that."

Archie smiled, grateful for this apology, "thank you Horatio" he
answered calmly

The tension in the room lifted a little, "well Archie, you have
something to say and I wish to listen." He sat up and clasped his
hands in font of him. Waiting for what was about to be said.

This time Archie looked down, "Yes, I do have a lot to say, but
first I want you to promise me something. I want you to listen and
let me speak first, and not answer, until I finish speaking."

Horatio looked at him.

Archie looked back, "You promise."

"Yes" he nodded, a brown curl brushing his forehead as he did so, "I
promise sir."

"Thank you," He took a breath, he had a lot to say and he would have
to be careful how he said it. Their friendship meant a lot and he
did not want to lose it. Quietly and with a steady voice he
began. "Horatio I…I want you to stop treating me the way you do."

Horatio stared back at him confused.

"Damn! That didn't make sense," He ran his fingers threw his
hair, ""Not that I don't want your friendship," he continued, "But I
am my own man again, and I can look after myself."

"Of course you can I never said you couldn't.."

"No Horatio let me speak." Horatio went quiet again and waited for
his so-called friend to continue.

"This afternoon during the dog watch you took my command from me."

"I NEVER!"

"Yes you did!" Archie glared at him, "Those `men' were in `my'
division, it was `my' duty and responsibility, to command and
discipline them. I was doing that when you insulted me, by stepping
in front of me and disciplining them yourself."

There was then silence for a moment. Horatio looked away feeling
insulted himself. Yes he had disciplined the men, but he thought he
had been helping Archie, not removing his authority. Plus it was
normal that he would help Archie with his men.

Archie continued; "I watched as you disciplined `my men' and I felt
insulted. How will I ever earn their respect? If I don't get a
chance to control them myself!"

Horatio took a breath, he knew he must not shout, but it was a
battle not to, "Archie I…"

"And it's not just that" Archie interrupted him, suddenly standing
up and suddenly wishing he hadn't as his head began to hurt
more, "Portsmouth!" he shouted back at him.

Horatio remained seated, but watched Archie move about the
room, "What about Portsmouth?" He asked, his voice full of anger.

"As we left port I made to little joke about my fits and the look
you gave me." He raised his hands, "It was as if you expected me to
fall to the deck there and then." He gestured to the deck beneath
them. Then sighed and looked back at Horatio, who was now looked
ready to snap if he had to listen to another insult about him.
Archie ignored this and continued trying to stop himself
shouting. "Now I appreciate your concern Horatio and even I do not
know if my fits have fully left me." He put his hand to his
head. "But I don't want you to feel you have to watch over me all
the time. I am not `weak', Horatio, I am stronger then I have ever
been in my whole life, and that is mostly thanks to you and Dr
Sebastian. But I need to be able to stand on my own two feet and
live my life by my own terms and decisions." He then stopped moving
around the room and stood in front of a very, very angry looking
Hornblower. "Also next time an incident involves my men, I shall
report the incident `myself' to my captain not you!" Archie pointed
at Horatio, putting an emphasis on the word, `you'.

Horatio finally snapped, he suddenly rose up from his seat knocking
it to the floor and kicking it away. "WHAT DO YOU MEAN BY ALL THIS
ARCHIE!!!!" He marched towards him. "WHAT ARE YOU INSINUATING
SIR!!" Archie about to move quickly back, stopped himself and faced
Horatio in all his outrage and sternness. NO! he would not step
back, not now.

As Horatio got closer he was surprised to see that Archie did not
back away from him. Archie stood his ground and did not move.
Horatio was outraged. How dare Archie say all these things to him,
insulting his honour and duty! He shouted at him not caring how loud
he was, "IS THIS ALL THE THANKS I GET, FOR GETTING YOU OUT OF THAT
PRISON!!! FOR MAKING YOU EAT, DRINK AND GET BETTER!!" He wanted to
strike Archie, he felt that insulted by him. "ALL THOSE HOURS OF
WATCHING OVER YOU!!!" They now stood so close now that Horatio leant
over Archie. Horatio's greater height making Archie lean back
slightly. "HOW DARE YOU!!! HOW DARE YOU THROW IT ALL BACK IN MY
FACE!!! I SHOULD HAVE LEFT YOU THERE!! WE WOULD HAVE GOT AWAY MUCH
QUICKER AND LEFT YOU BEHIND!!!" That hurt, that had really hurt
Horatio and he could not believe in his rage he had just said that.
He instantly wished he had not. He didn't mean it, he didn't mean
it!

Archie was stunned, he never believed that Horatio would say such a
thing to him. He looked down, but did not move back " Well maybe
you should have left me behind." He spoke quietly.

Part IV

The silence and atmophere in the surgery could be cut with a knife.
That insulting remark had hurt both the men. Yes Horatio could have
left Archie to die in El Farrol.

"But if you had," Archie looked back at Horatio, keeping his face
even, he would not lose his temper like Horatio had done, "I would
not be here now. I would not be a lieutenant and I would be dead!"
His voice became louder as he spoke.

Archie was expecting Horatio to rant back at him and was even
preparing to face his fists, but instead Horatio slowly backed
away. He looked shocked. `Yes' he thought, `Archie would be dead,'
he felt so ashamed. `How could he have said that Archie, to the man
who's life he had saved. How could he have said that to his best
friend.' But now that friendship would most likely end and they
would just be two officers and not ship mates. Both in different to
each other. Horatio felt he would deserve it too. `How could he
have said that!' "Archie I apologise, " his voice was filled with
regret as he spoke, "I should never of said… we should have left you
behind. Please… will you forgive me?"

Archie still felt numb and insulted by what Horatio had said during
his outburst. But on hearing the change in his voice and watching
Horatio back away like that, he must have been truly sorry and
regretted what he had said. It was not normal for Horatio to back
away, it would normally have been him. Also Horatio would not beg
for his forgiveness without good reason. How could Archie not
forgive him. He took a breath, putting his hand on the back of his
head, scratching it nervously, "I do forgive you Horatio. But…" he
paused, putting his hand down, he still had to finish what he needed
to say. "Shall we sit back down?" He suggested.

"Yes I think we should" Horatio's anger had left him, he now felt
shocked, the blood draining from his face. He stumbling back,
trying to find his stool that he had kicked across the room. Once
he found it, he sat back down, covering his face with his
hands. `How could he have said that!'

Archie watched him as he also retrieved his stool. Seeing the
shocked look on Horatio's face as he sat back down, reminded him of
when they had left Muzillac. Horatio had suffered the loss of that
French girl he was trying to rescue and the failure of the mission
there. Suddenly a remembered promise came into his mind "Just look
after him will you." But how could he look after Horatio, after
what he had shouted at him. Also how could Horatio still be his
friend after he had put him on the spot by telling him what had been
upsetting him. Their friendship was, it seemed, to be coming to an
end. Maybe it would have been better if Horatio had left him behind
to die in El Farrol, that way they would not be here now, arguing
against each other. It was then that a thought came to him, what
should said to maybe amend their differences, "Horatio," He began
slowly.

Horatio looked back up at him, his eyes full of regret.

"If you had left me behind, you would most likely not be here now."

Horatio thought for a second, `what was Archie's meaning?'

"You remember that bridge in Muzillac."

`That Bridge' How could he forget, the memory of Muzillac washing
over him, the misery and pain he suffered during that mission.

"They were planning to blow it up at least and hour before you came
back. But myself and the men, we made them wait before we lit the
fuse. We waited for you to return from that village."

Horatio remembering that event, made him even worse about what was
happening now. Of course had he left Archie to die in El Farrol,
Archie would not have been in Muzillac. He would never have got
across that bridge, leaving Mariette behind. He most certainly
would have been killed and they would not be here now, onboard the
Indefatigable, having an argument. The pain of that thought, added
to the regret he was now feeling.

Archie continued, "We, that is Matthews lit the fuse but then I saw
you. I saw what was happening and I could have left you on the
other side of the bridge. Left you there too to die, to be
arrested, who knows." He sighed, he rubbed his eyes, he feeling
very tired. "But I knew I could not leave you, I had to get you
back across the bridge, risking my life to do so. But I could not
leave you. If you had left me behind in El Farrol," his voice
cracked a little at that name, "Then you most certainly you would
not have survived. It seems like providence or something, but we
most certainly would not be here now."

Horatio remained silent but looked back at Archie. He thought about
what Archie had just said and it seemed to make sense to him. "It
seems we need each other." He finally responded, smiling a little.

"It seems so, I would not have survived without you and you would
not have survived without me." And Archie smiled a little in return.

The tension in the room suddenly seemed to lift, both men felt as if
a weight had been lifted from their shoulders.

"Archie I'm.." Horatio did not know what to say.

Archie put up his hands, "Please let me finish Horatio, before your
outburst, I had not finished all I had to say and I would like to
finish what I have to say. Then you can decide if we should remain
friends or not. I shall leave that decision up to you sir."

Horatio hoped they could remain friend and asked Archie to "Please
continue.." It was the best thing he could do and say now. He
would not be surprised if Archie would never want to speak to him
again. But he would now listen as his friend and hopefully find a
way to rescue their friendship.

Archie hoped also that by the end of what he had to say, that there
may be some way of keeping their friendship alive. Clearly and
calmly he finished what he had to say. "Horatio, I value our
friendship and trust you very much, more then you probably know and
I am extremely grateful for everything you have done for me. But I
want to be, myself. I am now Lieutenant Archie Kennedy and I wish
to be the lieutenant that I and you have helped me to become. I
want to have my own authority and be responsible for my own men and
earn their respect." There he said it.

Finally, after listening it made sense to Horatio. Archie had
finally made it into the officer ranks and he was a strong, healthy
man. He was no longer the weak man starving in Spanish prison or
suffering under the miseries that they had endured on the
Justinnian. He was the man that Horatio had wanted him to become
during those long hard day of helping him to get better. Archie
Kennedy was now showing Horatio the fruits of his labours and that
he had overcome all his fears of the past.

Horatio suddenly realised, of course Archie was angry with him. He
would be angry too if he were in Archie's place. To have been very
ill and in deep despair, and then pulled back from the brink into
near full health again. But then to be prevented from being who you
were, because of constant worry from others around you. He,
himself, would also feel insulted and would want to be free, to be
who he was. No doubt he would probably be doing what Archie was
doing now. Pulling him aside to just try and say that he wanted and
to be given the chance to show that he was the man he was meant to
now be. To prove he was no longer weak, that he could stand on his
own two feet. Horatio sighed, he did not know what to say. He had
become so use to helping and watching over Archie, that he had not
really noticed how much of a changed man Archie had become.

The remaining tension in the room finally lifted, as both men had
fallen silent and looked away from each other. All that could be
heard was the lapping water outside the ship and the creak of the
rocking hammocks.

Archie closed his eyes, he felt exhausted and his head was
pounding. He didn't realise how much energy it had taken for him,
to tell Horatio what had caused him to be so unhappy, and at this
time in the morning too.

"Archie, I'm.." Horatio knew it was finally his turn to talk but
what could he say. "I'm sorry you have felt insulted and I am
pleased that you have finally become a lieutenant. But… I fear for
you."

Archie opened his tired eyes, "Why?" he asked confused.

"I fear that if I don't watch you, that you will fall back into the
black hole you have climbed out of and that if you do, you will
never come out of it again."

Archie sighed in understanding, "I know you worry about me, but you
don't need to. I am not the man I was in the past and I have no
intensions of going back again."

Horatio nodded "Yes I feel now that you wont, but," he paused, "When
Hunter and I found you in that cell" the shock of that memory
washing over him again, "The state you were in…" he shook his head,
the memory was still very painful. Those terrified blue eyes
staring at him, recognising him, Archie's pale and blotchy face
screwing up in fear. Telling him to `GO AWAY!'

Archie remembered that moment too, he was not himself. His
sufferings in prison and time spent in the oubliette, had left him
with no intention of returning to Indy and to life in the navy. But
Horatio had arrived as if by some miracle and helped to pull him
back from his personal darkness and back to life. Even against his
wishes at first, "I had never imagined then that I would become an
officer and I have you to thank for that." He grinned, finally
feeling at ease, even his headache seemed a little better.

"Well I would not dare contemplate leaving until you were
recovered. You are one of us Mr Kennedy. You are an officer on the
Indefatigable. I apologise if I have been…." He struggled to think
of the right words for what he had done, "undermining your
authority. I really should allow you to be the officer you have
become." He grinned, putting his hand out in apology "I am proud
you are here Lieutenant Kennedy."

"And I am proud to be here Lieutenant Hornblower." And he reached
over and shook his hand, "and thank you for listening Horatio it
must have taken a lot of courage to sit here and listen to me
complain about you."

They both smiled at each other, both knowing they were still friends
and would remain so into the future, no matter what happened in
their lives.

"Well Archie I am still angry at you for your complaints about me,
but I think you have earned the right to complain."

"Thank you sir, and I apologise for the way I have acted tonight. I
have been a little, " he rolled his eyes, "childish."

"Well you are the junior lieutenant sir."

"Was that a joke sir?" Archie quipped back at him smiling his
cheerful grin.

"Maybe it was sir," he dodge aside as a striped pillow, thrown by
Archie, flew past hitting the wall behind him.

The both laughed.

The door to the surgery suddenly opened, "I guess by the laugher
your that your differences have been settled?" Dr Sebastian entered
the room. The scent of tobacco smoke following him.

Both men turned to see him enter, both grinning.

Sebastian moved pass Archie, reaching behind Horatio, and picked up
the thrown pillow, "You know Mr Kennedy I do not take kindly to my
things being thrown around the room."

"No sir," he grinned.

Sebastian grinned back, "Well I shall not report you both." He
looked at the two men sat in his surgery, both commissioned officers
and both in the prime of their youth, they would be captains before
they would be 30, he was sure of it. "So I hope you two have become
friends again and all is forgiven."

"I believe so sir" Horatio answered first. "Archie?"

Archie just nodded, then wished he hadn't. His head was still
hurting and he was really tired. He looked down closing his eyes
trying to ignore the throbbing in his head.

Horatio and Dr Sebastian watched him all the while, "Archie are you
all right?" Sebastian asked and moved beside him, placing his
gentle hand on his forehead.

"Yes," he answered without looking back at him, "I'm just exhausted,
having an argument is very tiring. Especially at 4 o'clock in the
morning.".

Horatio watched over them but tried not to look worried, the last
thing he wanted was to cause another argument by worrying as normal.

"Well Archie the best thing I can recommend, is rest and plenty of
it. Mr Hornblower?"

"Sir."

"Please escort Mr Kennedy to his quarters and make sure he stays
there." He turned back to Archie. "I know you want to be your own
man Mr Kennedy, but when help is offered it's always better to
accept it. Even if you are both very stubborn." Archie and Horatio
both blushed, that is something they both defiantly were. "Also I
think we should also forgo the tea till later in the morning. When
we are more awake."

"Aye aye Sir" They both agreed. Slowly Archie raised himself,
Horatio moving beside him. "Well Mr Kennedy I think we should head
to our beds, I have the morning dog watch don't forget."

"Umm" Archie agreed he was so exhausted he could no give a full
answer.

Then together he and Horatio both made there way to their quarters.
Both of them wanted to rest, they had had their argument and now it
was time to make up their friendship and start afresh, with a
friendship that was stronger then it had been the day before.

****

Part V

Later that same morning as the dawn rose, Captain Pellew came out to
walk about his ship, enjoying the quiet peace that came with it.
Lieutenant Bracegirdle was on watch and had reported to him about
the mysterious light in the horizon. But it had disappeared with
the dawn.

Pellew paced around his ship, taking in her details. The movement
of the sails, the rise and fall of the brow, how she heeled when the
wind took hold. The wind was fresh and pulling them towards the
French coast, where they would face their next mission. He'd
received orders from the Admiralty and had made the preparations for
the mission during the part of the morning. He had heard the
commotion in the low decks and had expected it. But for now he just
enjoyed the knowledge that he was the captain of one of the best
ships in the fleet, with a valuable crew. How many captains could
say they were truly proud of all their men on their ships.

Dr Sebastian was also walking about the ship this morning, enjoying
the dawn. The two men saw each other and moved towards each other
to say good morning.

"Captain Pellew sir."

"Luis" They saluted.

"A beautiful morning sir." Sebastian looked at the sky, Pellew
looking also.

"Beautiful indeed. I trust all the men are well and you are not
being kept busy?"

Sebastian smiled, "I am not busy at all sir. The surgery is empty
and is all the better for it."

Pellew grinned, that was something else to be thankful for, a good
ship and a healthy crew. He sighed, feeling pleased and savouring
the warm in the wind from the rising sun "Well Doctor do you think
my two youngest lieutenants have settled their differences. I heard
some raised voices this morning, I trust all has now been settled."

Dr Sebastian smiled to himself, thinking back to the argument that
he had arranged for Horatio and Archie to have in his surgery. "I
think so sir, I hope they did not disturb you."

"Not at all sir." He placed his hands behind his back, and looked
into the horizon.

"After listening to what both men had to say I felt the only way
they could settle their differences was to have a good argument."

"Very true, Doctor, very true." Pellew continued watching the
horizon as he spoke. "I could have talked to them myself, but
sometimes, an argument can be a good thing too."

"Well I felt it was better for them to have one. I know one thing,
their friendship will remain intact and stand the test of time." And
Sebastian smiled at the thought. "They have a strong friendship,
they have survived so much together and it will survive a lot more
to come"

Pellew agreed with him "All is well then, and let us enjoy this
peace between for however long it lasts."

"Aye, aye, Sir" They then turned to watch the horizon, looking
towards where the blue of the sea, meets the blue of the sky.

Epilogue

"HANDS TO QUARTERS!!! HANDS TO QUARTERS!!! ENERMY SHIP TO
LARBORD!!!!!" The cry was rushed around the Indefatigable decks by
several of the midshipman.

Men ran in all directions, some grabbing weapons, others powder and
shot. Some men went running to the guns and prepared them for
battle. Other climbed the rigging to the fighting tops. The
marines in their scarlet uniform stood in formation their pistols
and bayonets in their hands, ready for battle.

While the lieutenants lined up behind their divisions on the main
deck. Captain Pellew stood on the quarterdeck, with Lieutenant
Bracegirdle beside him, shouting orders to the men.

A French Corvette with 84 guns had be spotted on their Portside and
was making ready to attack.

"Men make ready and prepare to attack!!!" Captain Pellew
orders, "Don't shoot below the hull, cripple her and let see if we
can win her! Fire! on my order!"

"AYE, AYE SIR!!" The men shouted back, watching the Corvette getting
closer.

"You ready Mr Hornblower?"

"I believe so Mr Kennedy." Both lieutenants were lined up behind
their divisions, waiting for the order to be given. Adrenalin and
the excitement of preparing for battle coursed through them. It was
their first battle since leaving Portsmouth and they could not wait
to defend their King and Country.

"Do you think we shall win her?"

"That's is up to you Mr Kennedy, do you think you can take her."
Horatio's eyes were full of fire, he was ready to do battle.

"I feel we, shall win the day Mr Hornblower." Archie grinned, "Make
ready men, lets show these Frogs what we British sailors can really
do!"

"Aye!" The men of his division called back, responding to their
lieutenant's call.

"FIRE!!!" The call came up from the quarterdeck.

"FIRE!!!" The lieutenants shouted and the guns of the indefatigable
sent a volley across the corvettes decks. Crippling her from stem
to stern.

The end