Title: The Marriage of True Minds
Rating G-ish (Barf and blood.)
Word Count 564
The Marriage of True Minds
Pellew's great bedroom-- the one with the Captain in it. 1 a.m., Dec 24th
“Everyone tucked in for the night?” Susan's eyes were dark and sleepy.
“Aye,” Ned said.
“The door is locked, and I have put that damn cat out.”
“I am sure he chose you because he likes you.”
“He likes you too, but you did not put your foot into a boot full of cat puke I notice.”
“True. Oh come here. It is good to have you home.”
“Hmm. And to have a house full of lively young things. I know you like that.”
“And to have a bed full of lively old-- Mmmph..”
Some things are better shown than said.
Pellew's townhouse, Dec 24, upstairs bedroom, 1 a.m. Dec 24
(The one with the blue wallpaper,)
“Wake up Saphronia-- Oh Christ, wake up! Oh please, I've killed you, oh no--”
“Wha-- wuz sleepin'... What is it Christopher? What's wrong?” Her voice sharpened, and she sat up.
“You're crying-- Who is hurt?”
“I've killed you. I must have crushed you inside somehow. You're bleeding!”
“Bleeding. Bleeding from the--”
“Stop that. You are going to get lady Pellew's sheets all nasty. I have some rags set by.”
She got up. His voice was a high thin gabble, he was past listening.
“You can be crushed inside and not feel it, dying and not feel it. I've seen it. In battle sometimes a man can--”
“Christopher. Stop. All is well. You have not hurt me. I am going to live to be 100.”
Saphronia was awake now. She took his hands. They were stained with her blood. They were shaking. She kissed his face, and now she could feel the tightening in her back, the silvery ache in her lower belly. She should have known.
“Listen to me now.”
The next ten minutes were enlightening for Cleveland.
“Aye, Unless I am bearing.”
“So, a quarter of the time, women are-- and they just- that is horrible.”
“Well don't think about it then. Oh, it stops when we get old, really old, like fifty.”
“All right.” Now he just sounded dubious.
“I am sure the good Lord is pleased that it meets with your approval, lieutenant.”
Really she shouldn't laugh at him. She knew she shouldn't, but his mouth was curving up now too, in the shivering laugh that comes from disaster averted.
“I have never been kissed and saluted at the same time.”
“The articles say nothing about kissing.”
“True-- oh come here.”
The heat of him felt good, it always felt good. She wrapped herself in the bulk of his arms, the warm solid plane of his chest.
“I never imagined that you didn't know. I would have warned you,” She said.
“Well, I went to sea at 12, 'Fronia. I must just have missed hearing of it.”
“Not something the schoolmaster covered.”
“And blood at sea means something bad, always.”
She kissed his hand, thinking of the blood of men. Of hurt, and fear, and cannon smoke.
He was still awake as she dozed, wrapped around her, keeping watch as she slept.
(Pellew's spare bedroom, the one with the red wallpaper) 1 am. Dec 24th
“I suppose I could recite a poem.” Horatio said. “if I must.”
“Oh, you must. Everyone is doing something,” Archie said.
“Even the new man-- Bush.”
“Have you decided what you are going to sing?” Horatio asked.
“Our boots and clothes is all in pawn--
Go down ye blood red roses, go down”
Archie sang very quietly, but his voice was true.
“Are you sure that is appropriate?” Horatio asked. “It has about blood in it. There will be ladies there.”