Title: Part of Him
Rating G (for joy)
Word count 250 ( a double and a half)
Disclaimer not mine
Part of Him
His hands were clenched.
The broad blue and gold kept them decently hidden. He was rocking slightly, heel and toe. His mouth was pulled just a little tight. Perhaps five people alive on the earth could interpret that. Two stood beside him here, today.
Sometimes he fancied that the wood around him was an extension of himself. He felt her creaks, her leaks, her pain. He knew when the cloth of her filled, even in the darkest sleep. He, alone lay beneath the tell-tale compass, but he didn't need it. He knew her direction, knew the sing of her lines. After all, did he not share her name?
So these men returning, were hers. And, so, part of him. Getting them back was a practical improvement. A whole division returned to him, including experienced seamen, and a good petty-officer. Not to be sneered at.
But he felt them. It was not the practical that made his breath came tight. For a moment he felt the phantom of the childhood affliction that had left him gasping in the night.
They came handy up the side. Kennedy and Hornblower last of all.
He spoke generally. The men were smiling too. Death would come, to all, and sadness and anger. Today there was joy. No harm and no shame, in the sharing of it.
He dismissed the men. Kennedy and Hornblower waited. Young and careful. He turned his smile to them.
“Welcome back, gentlemen. Meet me in my cabin, in one hour.”