An Enduring Love
by Caity


Sitting in the infirmary ward of the British jail, there was only one
person left. A man, destined to become a great hero, sits quietly staring
down at the empty bed. This man is everything that personifies a daring,
brave, young British Naval officer. His heart and soul inspires his men, but
now it is empty. As empty as the bed he looks down upon. Gone from his
heart is laughter, lightheartedness, and most importantly, love.

His overwhelming supply of love has been shattered. By the one person
that was the object of it. This person, who shattered the man's heart, was
recently in the empty bed. That is until he died trying to protect his best
friend from the gallows. Still the navy officer looks upon the bed, eyes
brimming with tears for his departed best friend. Lieutenant Archie Kennedy
was never coming back.

Lt. Horatio Hornblower deseperately is trying to hold his composure
intaked, but it isn't working. Silently, the tears begin to roll down his
face, unchecked. //Archie, oh God, why did you have to do this? I need you
so much more than you know, more than anyone knows. You supported me so
wordlessly and faithfully. I love you, Archie.//

With much effort, the grieving man rose from his seat and snapped to
attention. In a final salute to his fallen comrade, he saluted the bed that
held his friend and said, "To my inspiration, my support, my dear friend, I
will always love and remember you. I won't ever forget you until my dying
day." He dropped his salute, looked wistfully at the empty cot and slowly
walked out of the infirmary, never looking back. Ready to take on the world
from the quarterdeck of the Retribution.

What he didn't know when he left is that he was being observed. Not
by an animal or even another person, but the ghost of a man. Looking
unimaginably gorgeous in a perfect uniform with his blond hair tamed into a
queue and his eyes a resplended sapphire blue, there was Lt. Archie Kennedy.
On his person, there was no sign of his fatal wound, only the conflict of
sadness and longing clouded his face. Sadness for his best friend and
longing to be there with him to ease his pain.

Watching as Horatio left the infirmary, Archie's expression changed to
that of a peaceful demeanor. Silently, he straightened to attention and
returned Horatio's salute. "Lt. Hornblower, thank you for accepting my
greatest gift to you. You are destined for a bright, long career and always
you will remember me for who I was, not as a mutineer and dishonored man. It
had to be this way, Horatio. Mr. Bush will help you from now on, not me.
Always, I will look after you from above, watching your stern. May we not
meet again for a long time. Good bye, Horatio, for now." He dropped his
salute and the vision of Lt. Kennedy faded into the darkness.

Outside, Horatio walks towards the harbor when something stops him.
He turns around, "Good bye, Archie." he says. Suddenly, there was a warm
breeze that seemed to embrace him. As the breeze wrapped around him, he
thought he heard a beloved voice of a man recently departed whispering,

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