Title: So Brave
Word Count 400
He opened his eyes, and regretted it instantly.
The light slid in a dizzy arc, yellow and viscous. Somehow he had come to be-- to be here. Wherever here was. A ship, obviously. And a hammock, a blanket, none of them his own. He knew his own, these smelled wrong. He shut his eyes again. Even the dark swung around him. He gripped the edges of the hammock, but it helped very little. He swallowed desperately, feeling the rasp in his sore throat as he fought the urge to vomit.
With stillness he prevailed, and after a time without name he slept again.
“Here now, drink this.” A cup's edge, cool against his lip. It tilted and the water was bliss. He drank clumsily, slopping it in his eagerness.
“All right now, all right.” It was an older man's voice. He heard the sound of a chair pulled up, of the man settling into it. The sweat was slick in William's armpits. He pressed his eyes more tightly shut.
“What is your name, son?” The voice was dark as oak.
“ Lieutenant W-William Bush. Of Renown-- I am. I was.”
“Hmm.” The voice said. And William could feel himself being considered, being seen. His own closed eyes were not enough. He brought his hands up to cover his face, and his hands hurt, and now he could feel the bandages wrapping them.
The man in the chair took hold of William's hands and drew them down again to the blanket.
“All is well, rest now a while.” The dark oak voice was very sure.
“Where am I?”
“You are on the Indefatigable.”
“I-- I asked that before?” the tail of memory, disappearing.
“I can't remember.” William's voice was hushed with shame.
The man's hand touched his brow, cool and strong.
“You've had a knock on the head. Sleep. When you wake you will feel better, remember more clearly.”
He should have felt foolish, lying so, while a good days work went on all around him. He should have, somehow-- Thinking this he slept.
He dreamed of a tin bath, and a frock warming by the fire. He dreamed of his mother's voice, and song, and a toy boat that floated so brave, so brave, and never sank at all.