Title: Knives to think about
Word Count 542
Disclaimer Not mine, just for fun
Knives to Think About
“Will he be all right?” Hunter's voice was small, but gruff.
“I do not know. When they put me in there, I nearly went mad, and I could not use my legs for a month.”
Archie snugged the bandage tight around Hunter's leg. With any luck it would heal well. It had taken 20 horrid minutes to get the ball out of Hunter's leg. By the end of it Hunter, Archie, and Styles were all covered with blood and soaked with sweat. Styles had served as restraints, Archie had done the digging, trying to see through the blood and meat, and Hunter had hung on, commendably, and tried not to scream.
They had agreed, (Hunter somewhat faintly,) that it could have been a lot worse. No big vessels had been pieced. Archie saw them, as he probed. He stayed away from them too. The bone had been chipped, at worst. Hunter might well keep his leg, and walk well again too.
It did not make the day any easier. Archie found his mind skittering to stupid details, the way it did when he was trying to avoid something.
God, so much to avoid here. He did not want to think of the way Horatio's voice had sounded when he said 'The fault is mine.' His voice had actually broken a little. He had seen the damage on Archie's back. He had seen the result of Archie's time in the pit.
Archie did not want to think of the vulnerable back of Horatio, walking away, walking on his own. The Dons had known of course. They all looked at Hunter. Then they marched Horatio away.
Archie did not want to think of the way Matthews had stood beside him, (they had formed up somewhat jumbled,) and how the old man's hand had come down then, to touch his arm. Not to hold Archie back, nothing like that, but simply to remind him, at such a time that another man stood beside him. At sea, of course, the people were never to touch one. To lay hands upon an officer, even in comfort, was unthinkable. But this was different. This was support in pain, like strong Styles had given Hunter.
So, Archie found himself dwelling on stupid things. His knife for instance. It had been a really good knife. It had been hanging around his neck, under his clothes, as always, when he...when he went to France. He had lost it that first day. Along with his shoes. Archie's father had given him that knife. Now, surely some Frenchman had it. The borrowed knife, that Archie had had to use on Hunter, had not been as good. It had been both dirty and dull. Yes. Better to think about that. Better to think about all the knives in the world.
They had marched Horatio away, they had forced everyone else back into the cells, locked them in. They had locked Hunter and Archie in together, along with the blame and the shame. No need to speak of it now. Archie didn't trust himself to speak. Hunter was weeping quietly. Well. Let him. Sometimes despair was called for. Archie had knives to think about.