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Surf n Turf
by Kelly G

A Horatio Hornblower/Magnificent Seven Crossover

Part Two

"Horatio," she said in a manner which, although quiet, expected
immediate compliance, "we need to see to Archie's arm."

"I am fine, Cat," Archie said through gritted teeth, biting his lip
with the effort of trying to force himself upright. The lady cocked
an eyebrow--with only one arm to work with, Archie kept slipping on
the slick ground. She peered down at him with a peculiar sort of
smile.

"Sure ye' are," she teased in the thickest brogue she could
muster, "and I am
Bonnie Prince Charlie."*

In a moment, Nathan was kneeling in front of the pair. Archie looked
at him warily; ready to protect Cat even with an injured arm.

"It's all right, I'm a healer. May I look at your arm?" Archie looked
at the black man for a moment, trying to decide if he could be
trusted, then nodded his assent. Nathan moved to examine the injured
limb, but realized that he would need more light to accomplish
anything.

"JD, can you get a fire started?"

"You're sitting on it Nate," the kid pointed out. At this point,
Nathan was pleased at the darkness-it hid the sheepish look on his
face.

"Help me move him," he said to JD, who hesitated. He was still
uncertain about these strangers. Cat's trepidation over Archie's
condition caused her to misinterpret Nate's order; she nodded and
moved to assist the healer, even though she usually hated being told
what to do. The two men blinked in surprise-they didn't know Cat.

"I can move by myself," Archie argued, again trying to stand and
failing.

"Archie, shut up," she said, the discourteous words tempered by her
warm smile. Cat held out her hand, and together she and Nathan moved
Archie. Sitting him on one of the logs made a more comfortable and
somewhat drier place for Nathan to work. He glanced at JD, who had
gone to work on the fire as soon as the spot was clear. As the rain
had all but stopped, a roaring fire blazed fairly soon.

Now that Nathan had some light, he could see that Archie was quite
young, only a few years older then JD.

Horatio strode over, breaking away from Larabee's scrutiny. He stood
next to Cat, curious about the skills of this man who called himself
a healer. Although he had been on a mission in North Africa, this
was the first time Horatio had actually <met> a man of color. On
that expedition, the black men had carried the supplies for the
English navy, loading the heavy bags in the hot sun. He had heard
that some people considered black men below white men; but then,
there were nobles that believed that peasants were so far below them
that they called them animals. His mind went back to his first
meeting with
Captain Pellew. He had heard about Horatio-and had an unflattering
picture of the young midshipman. Still, the captain had said that he
judged a man not by what was said about him, but by what he had seen
the man <do>. This situation appeared a perfect time to apply this
same wisdom. He cleared his throat.

"Is it broken?"

"Might be. Josiah, could you get my kit?"

"Sure, Nate," the preacher answered, heading toward the healer's
horse.

The rest of the men took a closer look at the three intruders, now
visible in the firelight. Both of the men wore blue coats over white
trousers, shirts, and vests. They had matching black cravats, and
wore white stockings with buckled shoes. The lady was far more
interesting, even though her clothes did not appear as odd as the
men's did. She wore a simple dress of fine material, light blue with
a plaid skirt. Something, they couldn't tell what it was, didn't
look quite right with the top part of the dress. It was flatter and
stiffer than the dresses they were used to seeing ladies wear-not
that any of them minded. She had an ornate gold and jeweled cross,
not overly large, around her neck. This was a woman of high
standing; any of them could see that.

Even as he was being examined, Horatio observed the seven figures
around him. Their clothing was all fairly similar, but not exactly
the same. He exchanged a quick glance with Cat. To both of them,
this seemed a very strange gathering of men.

Horatio scanned the men sitting around the fire, seeking the one in
black. Finding him, Horatio took up the conversation that Cat had
interrupted.

"You now know who we are, and I would be honored if you would tell me
to whom I should give thanks for seeing to my shipmate? Also, if you
please, where are we?" Chris tipped his hat back, taking a closer
look at the young man while deciphering his question. The boy might
be young, but he knew what he was doing.

"Name's Chris Larabee. Vin Tanner," he said, gesturing to a long-
haired man next to him wearing animal skins. "Buck Wilmington." He
indicated the man who had inquired about Horatio's origins. He had
blue eyes and wore a moustache.

"Howdy. JD Dunne" said the man next to Wilmington. He had blue eyes,
black
hair, and a wide grin.

"Ezra Standish." An emerald-eyed man sat on the other side of
Tanner, a little bit away from the others. He wore a coat as bright
a red as that of the marines stationed with Indefatigable and tipped
his hat to Hornblower, who nodded in return. Horatio thought he must
be an aristocrat, or at least of good family, due to his clothing and
manner.

"That's Josiah Sanchez," indicated Larabee of a large man wearing a
simple wooden cross. Sanchez stood watching over the healer and his
charge, reminding Horatio so much of Dr. Sebastian on the Indy that
he smiled and nodded.

"And you've already met Nate-Nathan Jackson, at least your friend
there has." The dark-skinned healer paused a moment, nodding to Cat
and Horatio before returning to his work.

"It is good to meet you gentlemen," Horatio said politely, wishing
that Cat would take over. Though she hated the often hypocritical
behavior of her aristocratic peers, Cat did have an easy grace about
her in society. He compared it to Captain Pellew's composure when
dealing with his men. Horatio was sure that, no matter what rank he
achieved, he would still feel inadequate in social situations.

Although preoccupied with Archie's care, Cat noticed Horatio's
predicament and attempted to draw the unwanted attention away from
him.

"Will he be all right, Mr. Jackson?" she asked, her voice laced with
concern.

Nathan nodded, his brow crinkled in concentration. "Yes, but his arm
is broken and will have to be set." He looked at Archie with serious
brown eyes. "It's going to hurt a lot." Archie gave a slight smile--
if the man only knew of his own painful past, he would understand
that the mere setting of a broken bone paled in comparison. But, as
usual, he hid the pain with wit.

"As long as you do not cut it off, I will be fine," Archie assured
with a small smile.

Nathan looked into the young man's eyes and saw only light humor. He
wished, not for the first time, that he had the gift for reading
people the way that Vin and Ezra did. Archie Kennedy was hiding
something in his sapphire eyes, but damn if Nathan knew what it was.

"So, Mr. Larabee, where exactly are we?" Cat asked, hoping to
distract Archie from the pain in his arm.

Chris saw the intelligence in the chocolaty eyes. This young woman
was no shallow, pampered doll, but a dignified aristocrat whose gaze
showed clearly that she was completely capable of taking care of
herself.

"Well, Ma'am, you and your friends are in the Arizona territory."
Three pairs of eyes just stared at him--they had never heard the name
Arizona in their lives.

"Excuse me, sir," Horatio said politely, "but where is Arizona?"

Suddenly, Cat knew why all the accents sounded American. At first she
had thought, had hoped, that they were still in England, but the
strange name proved her first instinct correct.

"We are in America." It was a statement not a question. Chris just
nodded. Cat and Archie exchanged glances, knowing in their hearts
that what Larabee said was true, though their heads still protested
that it was impossible.

Horatio's head swam. He was a man of logic, and logic told him that
being in
England one minute and America the next was simply not possible. His
intellect could not accept it-there had to be a reasonable
explanation.

While Horatio struggled with Cat's simple statement, Archie asked a
question that had been lingering on his lips since he had gotten a
good look at the seven strangers. Although his mind protested against
it, he had to ask the seemingly ridiculous question.

"What year is it?"

Six of the men looked at him and his clothes, knowing why he had
asked, no matter how unwilling they were to believe it. JD just
looked at him like he was crazy.

"What do ya mean, what year is it? It's 1867, of course."

Horatio could barely remain upright, while Cat and Archie just closed
their eyes, not believing what they were hearing. 1867. The number
fell heavily upon their ears, like a
heavy stone, crushing any hope they had that they could go home.

"No, no, this is not possible," Horatio muttered to himself, running
his hand through his hair as he passed back and forth in front of the
fire. Archie watched his friend wrestle with his common sense and the
facts. Horatio was a man lived by logic, who did not believe
something until he could see it, touch it. This situation defied all
he knew, and Horatio was completely lost. He needed an explanation
that would suit his mind, if not his heart.

The seven men saw the disbelief, confusion, and slight fear on the
three young faces.

Ezra composed himself enough to ask the obvious question. "From when
and where did the three of you originate?"

With a quick glance at her companions, Cat turned her steady gaze
back to the man in the red coat.

"It was 1797 and we were in Portsmouth, Mr. Standish."

Seven pairs of eyes locked on her, the men's minds trying to process
her words. The six older men gazed silently-why would the lady lie?
JD, however, could not stop from speaking his disbelief.

"You can't be serious," he said, a catch in his voice, hoping she was
joking. Perhaps this nice-looking woman was not quite riding straight
in the saddle? But she and her companions had fallen from the sky,
for Lord's sake! How was he to explain that?

Cat did not appear offended by the comment. "I am afraid I am Mr.
Dunne," she replied.

"How did this happen?" Horatio asked, taking a seat beside Catherine.

"I don't have any idea, but we can think about that later," Nathan
interrupted. "First, we need to set this arm. Josiah, will you get a
splint ready?"

"Sure, Nathan," the ex-preacher answered, kneeling to search through
Nate's bag for the correct supplies.

"Horatio?" Hornblower looked up, surprised to hear his given name.
Almost immediately, he composed himself and straightened
unconsciously.

"Yes, sir?" Nathan was taken aback. He could not remember being
called 'sir'-ever.

"Will you please hold his other shoulder? he asked after a moment.

Horatio nodded, glad to have something to do. "Yes, sir," he
answered moving to Archie's left side. He took hold of Archie's
shoulder. "Are you ready?"

Archie nodded, flashing a grin.

"Go at it, Mr. Jackson."

Nathan nodded, and with one quick motion he pulled the bones apart
and then allowed them to slide back together correctly. The only
sign that Archie felt anything was a quick wince that disappeared
almost immediately. His features returned to their accustomed grin.

"You are very good at that, Mr. Jackson," Archie said, smiling.

Nathan could not help but return the young man's smile. "I've had a
lot of practice," he answered, motioning for Josiah to assist with
the splint.

Archie detected that there was something painful behind the simple
statement, had seen a familiar flash in the dark eyes. Archie
recognized the sad past underlying the statement-he'd said similar
things often enough. Most people would miss the trace of hurt,
allowing him to give the simple answers that people wanted to hear.
Yes, Archie recognized
the symptoms, even if he could not pinpoint the cause.

"Now I'm going to place the arm in a sling," Jackson was saying, "to
keep it from pulling apart again. If you keep it in the sling, it
should heal in a week or so. It was not a bad break."

"I am glad to hear that," Horatio said from beside him, watching
Nathan's movements carefully.

"You are not the only one, Horatio," Archie said wryly.

After Nathan finished tying the sling, he sat back to look at his
handiwork. It was then that he noticed Horatio eyeing the bandages
carefully. Not to criticize the work, but out of interest.

"Do you have medical training?" Nathan asked, a hint of jealousy in
his voice. Horatio glanced at him quickly, a bit taken off guard. He
grinned sheepishly.

"No, not formally at least. My father is a physician and I have
learned a few things from watching him work." Horatio smiled and
moved to sit next to Cat again. She now sat next to Archie with her
right hand gently on his left in a silent form of comfort. Seeing
that Archie was in good hands, Horatio nodded to Nathan and turned to
face Larabee.

 

*Bonnie Prince Charlie (1720-1788), Edward Stuart, an English prince