Pass The Pen
Chapter Nineteen - A Friend in Need...
by Claartje

"Archie Kennedy is Jack Simpson's <friend>" Simpson
said again, as he pulled Ouimette up more. "You must
not hurt my friend. You make Jack very angry."

"let me -gggggh- go!" Ouimette said, although it was
not the easiest thing to do. Jack had a tight grip on
him.

"No I will not ñyet-. First you must apologise to Mr.
Kennedy."

"For what?" this time the hearer had more to guess
what was said. Jack's grip tightened. "I did not *do*
anything... Aaggggh."

"I told you to apologise. APOLOGISE!" Simpson shouted
angry, because he was not obeyed. He was used to be
obeyed. "Archie, I know there probably isn't any, but
could you perhaps look for a piece of rope? There may
be some laying around." He continued in a much
friendlier tone.

Archie, being adressed in such a tone, from his worst
enemy ñno, his former enemy? Who was holding his
newest threat? everything was to confusing- did not
quite know what to answer. "Allright...Jack. I'll look
around." It was the best thing he could do at the
moment. And in case Ouimette would be tied to the
bars, he would be a lot safer in this cell.

"Do not be fooled by him, my dear Archie" Ouimette
whispered "you know I'll be good to you, if you let
me." The last words were no more audible. Jack let go
of Ouimette, and he sunk to the floor, unconsious.

"Archie, I am sorry I could not prevent that man from
saying those bad words to you..." Jack stammered, as
if feeling guilty for the mental hurt done. "He will
not bother you for a while... Have you found a piece
of rope yet?"
* * * * * * * * * * * *

"My god, Archie, are you allright?" it was the first
thing Horatio said as he approached the cell. Then he
looked at the motionless shape in the corner. "What
have you done to HIM?" he then asked.

"Horatio, I did nothing. It was Jack. He... he saved
me from Ouimette's... whatever he was up to. You...
probably know what he was-"

"Don't say that! Yes, I know. He tried a few times-
better not to speak of it. We are here to take you to
the captain." Horatio said, and told the marine to
unlock the door to the cell.

"Mr. Hornblower, do not make the captain hurt my
friend. He did not do anything wrong. If he asks, tell
him it was all my fault. Everything. See to it he'll
be safe!" Simpson cried out at Horatio.

For the first time in his life Horatio and Simpson's
whish, conscerning Archie, was alike. It was a strange
experience. He did not know how to react to it, so he
simply saluted when they turned away to captain
Pellews quarters.

"Mr. Hornblower, tell the captain that a friend you
have to buy will not be worth the price, no matter the
cost! He'll understand." Simpson shouted, but it
seemed his words were lost- they found no listener in
the uniformed backs that were turned to him and slowly
parted from him.
* * * * * * * * * * * *

"Mr. Kennedy, I assume you have an understanding of
why you are here?" Captain pellew asked.

"I have, sir, yes." Was the answer.

Pellew paced up and down the room, like he had done
when receiving all the information Horatio had been
able to provide him. "You have disobeyed a direct
order. From me. The punisment for that is death, as
you well know."

**Oh, god, don't let it be death- he *promised* it
would be a beating** Horatio thought. Then he thought
about what Simpson had said. How would someone with
such a foul character know such a thing about
friendship? And why was Archie about to pay a price,
no matter what the cost, for being his, Horatio's,
friend?

"...Mr. Kennedy you will be an example for all those
on board..."

Only fragments of the ëconversation' between the
Captain and his friend reached Horato. His own
thoughts on the subject prevented him from hearing
more. **Why in heavens name does he feel he has to
pay, is he willing to pay, for having once decided to
befriend me? There is nothing about me that is worth
such an offer. He can not possibly think there is!
Archie- why?**

"MR. HORNBLOWER!" Pellew's voice filled the small
room.

"Sir?" Oh, how was it possible he had not paid
attention! Horatio thought.

"I gave you an order. You will take Mr. Kennedy back
to his cell. That was all. In the future you do better
pay attention when being spoken to."

"Aye, sir" Horatio replied. ** Should I tell the
captain what Simpson said? Should I be the one to lock
Archie up again? Why him? Why me?**
* * * * * * * * * * * *

On their way back to the cell, Horatio paused. Archie,
walking close behind him, bumped into him. "excuse me"
he said.

"Damn it! Archie, stop excusing! For what? For saving
me? For being my friend? Bumping in to me, because I,
I halted. This was my doing. It all was. I was the one
who fell overboard. You... why are you willing to pay
for it? You deserve better than to have to do that!"

"Will you please calm yourself? Horatio? There are
some choices I made in my life. Sometimes the choices
were not so good. But still- they were MY choices. I
am responsible for MY actions. I have never regretted
being your friend. Nor the decision to row up there to
get you out of there. Even if that was an act of
mutiny. And if I have to pay for that, so be it. Can't
you see? You are more important to me than that."
Archie told Horatio. "You know from what I told you,
and from what he did to you, what Simpson is, or
rather was, able of. He made my life hell. You saved
me from that just by serving on the same ship with me.
Being my friend. For that I am ever grateful, and will
do anything, pay every price to repay that. Everytime
again if need be."

"I will not see you be hurt." Horatio said, not really
knowing what else to say.

"Then look the other way, because there is nothing
that can prevent what will have to happen. A beating
is not so bad as to be hanged, Horatio. I consider
myself lucky."

"You should not have left the ship!"

"I am not like you Horatio. Besides you would have
done the same for me, only your plan would have been
better, so you would not have messed thing up like I
have." Archie said. **It's worth everything I must pay
because Horatio is safe.** Again his thoughts came
back to that one sentence. And there was something
else he had to think of; something that had happened,
something that had made him able to rescue Horatio.
Something that told him this had been the best choice,
the only right choice he could have made. "We should
walk on. I need to return to my cell. Although I have
this feeling I'd rather be sharing it with Simpson."

"No, there is no need for a whish of that kind.
Ouimette has been securely tied, and been moved to
Simpson's cell. You will be safe now."

"But... they can't be together! Simpson almost killed
Ouimette because of me, well, sort of. That's not the
piont. They can't be put together." Archie said
ashtonished. How many mistakes were there yet to be
made?

They walked on, to find Simpson sitting on Ouimette.
"Hullo Archie! He will not do anything to you now!"
Simpson said, pointing at Ouimette. "I will protect
you. He will stay here. Besides, it makes the cell a
lot more comfortable with something soft to sit on.
The wooden floor isn't everything you know. Good to
see you back."

"I told you, I'd be pretty safe in his cell, but I
think I'm more comfortable to have this cell alone.
I'd almost feel sorry for Ouimette...." Archie
remarked when Horatio opened the door to let him in.

"This is no time to make jokes." Horatio attempted to
say, but the odd look on his friend's face made him
laugh. "exactly my point, now get in there... not that
I like to lock you up."

"I understand. Orders."

"Orders. Sometimes I whish I was more like you,
Archie, and this had not taken place."

"You are more than me. Do not doubt yourself so much.
Now please, leave me alone, there is much to think
about, and you have other things you need to do."
* * * * * * * * * * * *

"Archie." It came from the other cell. Archie rose
from his slumber he had fallen into. There. He heard
it again. "Archie." Someone was calling him. Who?

"My dearest... do not think these bars can stop me."

**Oh god. Not again.**

"There is so much I could tell you. So much we could
do-"

"Shut up! Keep that mouth of yours shut!" Archie
hissed. "I refuse to hear another word from YOU!"

"You can not do that... you know you can't."

**At least Horatio is safe, I succeeded in that. He is
safe. I can endure this, I've lived through all the
other times... ** Archie thought. "Guard! P l e a s e
make that man hold his tongue."

* * * * * * * * * * * *

"Mr. Hornblower." The question was asked at the same
time as the knock on his cabin-door. A bit irritated
because he was disturbed in his thoughts his answer
was short.

"Yes?" Horatio opened the door. "Mr. Matthews?"

"Beggin' yer pardon, sir, but the capt'n asks for your
presence on deck. I ëspect us to be sailing away soon,
sir. Oh, and sir, everything will be fine with Mr.
Kennedy, sir, I know the captain."

"Thank you Matthews." A nod with his head and Horatio
walked the narrow stairs to follow the older man to
get above deck.
* * * * * * * * * * * *