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Nameless POB fic - Aubrey/Maturin

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Oct. 13th, 2007 | 10:35 pm

Gennish ficlet, friendship fic, possibly slash if you squint.

A snippet of nothing much, inspired by too much recent travelling in unpleasant weather and dedicated to all the UNOPOBLers, especially those of you who tucked me up in bed late at night. May God set a flower on your head, one and all.

Warnings for sentimentality and public transport.

The chaise jolted down into another rut, shaking Jack awake again. He looked across to see if it had disturbed Stephen, and frowned: Stephen's face was paler than ever and pinched with cold and fatigue; there was a deep crease between his brows. He had pulled his chin down into the meagre protection of his collar, as if to find some warmth in the stained folds of his cravat, and as Jack watched he turned in his sleep and burrowed his shoulder angrily into the wall of the chaise, like some animal disturbed in its winter nest.

Jack's heart tightened at the sight of him, looking so poor and thin and unhappy; Stephen had never thrived in the cold – was a creature of warmer latitudes – and surely the draft from the window was blowing straight across his poor bare head. He stifled his first, natural impulse – to change his seat and offer Stephen the warmth and shelter of his own bulk: Stephen could be such a touchy creature, especially when offered charity or comfort, and Jack took a moment to consider his probable reaction at waking up to find himself nestled against sixteen stone of charitable, comforting and (Jack was compelled by honesty to admit) not entirely fresh post captain.

But what to do, then? – Jack could not for his life leave him like that and ride on in comfort himself, layered in broadcloth and linen and pleasantly warm in the growing night. Stephen's hand had fallen free when he turned, hanging limply down along his thigh, and Jack's heart turned over again at the sight of it, the misshapen fingers and the curious texture of the skin where the missing nails had been. He didn't like to look at it when Stephen was awake, for fear of Stephen being provoked by his pity; now he had the urge to take it between his own and chafe the blood back into the white fingers and perhaps – daring only because Stephen was asleep – place a gentle kiss on the cruelly exposed skin of their tips.

Stephen made a small, unhappy sound in his sleep, and Jack moved before he thought better of it, pulling off his coat (not without some difficulty, in the confines of the chaise) and tucking it tenderly around his friend. The crease between Stephen's eyes deepened, and his face turned up towards the light; Jack placed a hand on his arm, and said in a low voice, "No, brother; 'tis only Jack, and there's miles before us yet."

Stephen, turning his face away and screwing his eyes tighter shut, said something cross in a language that might have been French or his curious Spanish or, for all Jack knew, Greek or Latin, and which Jack suspected translated broadly as 'your soul to the devil, Jack Aubrey'; but he accepted the weight of the coat readily enough, curling down into the residual warmth of Jack's own flesh within the cloth. Jack, left with a vague feeling that he should do something more, contented himself with tucking Stephen's hanging hand into his cloth cocoon. The pads of his fingers brushed that odd unfinished flesh on Stephen's fingers; Stephen flinched and pulled away, burrowing his face down into the cloth.

Jack eased back onto his own seat, feeling the evening chill creep through his shirt sleeves. Outside the window night was coming down, a heavy presence in the west; there was no breeze to stir the last leaves on the trees that lined the road. But the sky was clear, a pure brilliant blue-violet darkening into twilight at the edges, and Jack's heart lifted as he remembered that tomorrow he would surely be at sea at last, away from land and its confusions. Stephen would be happier there, he thought, without the troubles that tormented him on land; already what Jack could see of him looked easier, less hunched and fragile. It would do them both good; and if he was growing steadily colder himself now, why, Nelson had been well enough on another cold night, kept warm by his zeal. Jack, watching Stephen, felt a welling contented warmth of his own, and turned his face back towards the window.

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Comments {3}


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from: ellie_nor
date: Oct. 14th, 2007 08:04 pm (UTC)

This is lovely. I really should read these books some time.

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from: whiskey_johnny
date: Oct. 14th, 2007 10:43 pm (UTC)

The scary(?) thing is that this isn't me being slashy & schmoopy; this is *what these two guys are like* with each other. Srsly. They call each other things like "joy" and "my dear" and talk about how much they love each other. Which is why you SO NEED TO READ these books. :D

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from: esteven
date: Nov. 24th, 2007 07:40 pm (UTC)

It is a lovely fic and you have Jack and Stephen down so well.

*fluffs pillows and duvet*
*tucks you in*

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