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A Marriage of True Minds

Title: The Marriage of True Minds

Author Eglantine_br

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.

“Every month?”

“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.

“Hmm. Nice.”

“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.”

“God, no.”

“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.

Archie nodded.

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.”


( 10 comments — Leave a comment )
Dec. 24th, 2013 01:41 am (UTC)
Heh, brilliant. That made me laugh out loud. Cleveland and Horatio have clearly led sheltered lives. Archie, I suspect, knows all about everything - as usual. I can just imagine Archie singing Blood Red Roses, though I can't quite see him as a whaler!

Ned has my sympathies. What do cats always throw up in your shoes? My old cat used to do exactly the same thing.

It's such a treat when you write the boys, you're so far under their skin, it's like hearing their own voices.
Dec. 24th, 2013 03:29 am (UTC)
I am under their skin, or they are under mine. Hard to remember how I thought I was alive before I found them.

Horatio knows about it in a book learning sort of way. Sort of the way he knows about botany or something. He never applies the knowledge to specific humans. He would not be so rude.

Cleveland is going to try as hard as he can to never apply it to anyone but Saphronia.

Archie, as you say, is well informed and a very practical guy. He is, as we have seen, blisteringly rude when he feels it is called for.
Dec. 28th, 2013 11:15 pm (UTC)
Archie's unapologetic rudeness is one of the things I admire about him the most.
Dec. 24th, 2013 11:33 pm (UTC)
I concur about the under the skin too :)
Dec. 24th, 2013 12:27 pm (UTC)
I may be wrong but I believe the blood red roses were the capital cities of Europe.
Dec. 24th, 2013 12:54 pm (UTC)
I just looked it up. Nobody seems very sure. Possibly spouting whales, or the red coats of Marines. They may also represent the way blood looks in water. (Sea battles or whaling.) That is what I was thinking of-- water stained with blood, and the way that they don't mix right away, but sort of swirl together.

I, for some reason, do not think of that as a whaling song. It has the usual number of 'alternate' verses. Sources do agree that it is a halyard shanty. (Archie just likes the way it prickles the back of his neck.)

Dec. 28th, 2013 11:14 pm (UTC)
I think it's The Bonnie Bunch Of Roses that's supposed to refer to either the cities of Europe or the British empire, depending on who you listen too. If you're interested, there's a long and involved discussion about the meaning of Blood Red Roses on Mudcat here. It's entirely contradictory, but none the less fascinating :}
Dec. 29th, 2013 05:41 pm (UTC)
That's the last time I believe what I read on CD covers.
Dec. 24th, 2013 04:16 pm (UTC)
I like to think the cat Pellew put out was the tiger that ended up in the tower menagerie!
Dec. 24th, 2013 11:12 pm (UTC)
or else it was a moggy but exacting revenge for having to share Ned's affections with diverse oriental quadrupeds ...
( 10 comments — Leave a comment )