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Advent 5

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Advent posts

nodbear and I will be posting throughout Advent again this year. Because we're starting later than normal (Advent Sunday having been last weekend) we're doing a sort of Advent calendar theme, with a surprise person or picture behind each door. Starts here tomorrow.

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Rugby players have great names

Twelvetrees, Trayfoot, Wigglesworth, Faloon, etc; they could all come straight out of Tolkein. This name may top the lot. Saw him and thought of you, semyaza.

Linking to an old fic

Simply because I came across it again and was rather impressed with it! Not least by how silly it is.

T is for Turnips

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James Lind

Just been sent a link to this fascinating article. I never cease to be amazed at how much I don't know about things I thought I knew.

The strange disappearances of James Lind.
Archie and Horatio of course. I have no idea if or where I posted this originally.

The Channel

The Channel, 1799

“Your birthday seems to come round with startling frequency.”

Horatio tries to smile but weariness defeats him. They beat to quarters at three bells in the forenoon watch; the engagement ended in the second dog watch and he is dog tired.

Archie—how can he still be so sprightly?—rubs Horatio’s shoulder. “At least Bracegirdle gets to take the prize in and you can get some rest.”

“I think a few hours in my cot would be the best present I could hope for.” Horatio’s eyes are already closed as he whispers, “As we can’t spend a few hours in yours.” He feels something pressed into his hand and forces his eyes apart to see a little packet.

“Open it.” Archie’s lips are by his ear.

Horatio pulls the tissue away to reveal a silver shoe buckle, small but perfectly formed, as Archie is small but perfectly formed.

“You’ll get the matching one once we make port.” Those lips are touching his brow now. “Once we’ve seen action there,” they murmur, and Archie draws away.


France 1918

“Your birthday seems to come round with startling frequency.”

Horatio tries to smile but weariness defeats him. Their platoons have been out for thirty six hours, fighting a desperate rearguard action in defence of land they took in 1915—will this senseless war never resolve itself? “I’m only glad to have survived to see another one.” Horatio corrects himself and this time he can force a smile out. “I’m glad we’ve both survived.”

“Please God we’ll make another. And please God we’ll celebrate it in Blighty.” Archie puts a hand under his pillow, fetching out a brown paper parcel. “Happy birthday.”

“Thank you.” Their hands touch—briefly, lovingly—as the gift is exchanged. “Oh, thank you.” It’s two pairs of socks; warm, dry, silken woollen socks, smelling of home and comfort—and Archie’s mother’s scent as the Countess herself has knit them. “I’ll wear them when I wake.”

Archie smiles, raising his mug of tea to toast the day. “Next year in England.”

Horatio raises his mug in return but doesn’t repeat the words. He’s seen too many men tempt fate.

Hampshire, 2010

“Your birthday seems to come round with startling frequency.”

Horatio tries to smile but weariness defeats him. The power went down at the refinery forty eight hours ago and he’s worked almost every one of them, nursing his precious computer systems through the crisis. Not a processor he doesn’t know and love, but not as much as he loves Archie.

“Are you like the Queen and have two a year?” Archie has fed him, bathed him and put him to bed with the cricket on the radio to lull him to sleep. “Will I leave your presents until tomorrow?”

“I have more than one?” Horatio’s voice is thick with the need for sleep. “Maybe just the one now.”

Archie has it ready to hand, a small box which he has to help his lover to open, so tired is he.

“It’s beautiful.” It is. An original Napoleonic war sextant, to grace Horatio’s desk here at home. “I’ve always wanted one.”

“I know.” Archie reaches for the bedside light and switches it off, the heavy curtains leaving the room unnaturally dark for an afternoon. “Sleep now.”

Horatio turns, finding his favoured position. “The other in the morning?”

“The other whenever you’re ready.” Archie kisses him full on the lips and Horatio goes to sleep smiling, well aware of what his other present will be.

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