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The Genealogy of Buggery
What woke him was Midshipman Longley's hand on his thigh.
He lay there in the not-too-clean inn bed that they shared, automatically controlling his breathing, and tried to ascertain, from the scant available evidence, whether the lad was asleep or awake.
Hammock sleepers generally lay on their backs, even when they found themselves in a bed. But Longley was curled on his side, dark hair tickling Hornblower's neck, knees bumping the side of Hornblower's calf, one hand lying about halfway up Hornblower's thigh. One large, callused, very warm hand.
Hornblower kept his eyes shut, trying to gather as much information as he could before he made an irrevocable decision by moving.
On the one hand, Longley might be deeply asleep, careless with his hands because he imagined he was back on a straw mattress in Surrey with his brothers. On the other hand, he certainly wouldn't be the first midshipman to accost his captain in the anonymous darkness of a port-city inn. That gambit had undoubtedly been older than Homer twenty years ago when Hornblower had tried it himself.
At the memory, Hornblower found his cock at attention, his whole body readying for a long-neglected pleasure. If it turned out that Longley was asleep, certain parts of Hornblower were going to be gravely disappointed.
But he didn't think Longley was asleep. He could hardly have said how, unless a certain muscle tension was transmitting itself from one body to another, but he was somehow convinced that Longley was awake and that the touch was intentional. And the next moment proved him right, as Longley's thumb swept over his thigh: slow and cautious, but unmistakably a caress.
Now came the difficult part: to signal his own willingness to participate, while at the same time doing nothing that would later allow his conscience to accuse him of inveigling a subordinate, a youth hardly out of adolescence, into breaking the laws of God and man. He hadn't been in this situation for many years, and he'd never been in it with the additional complication of being captain. And he could never forgive himself if he misused his authority.
He wondered how Pellew had managed the moral quandary, though he supposed he himself had rather taken matters into his own hands, as it were, leaving the captain with only the necessity of making him stop or letting him continue.
Now he began to understand the smile that had appeared on his captain's face before he'd kissed it clumsily away.
He himself smiled without opening his eyes.
The hand which had been smoothing his thigh left him suddenly, only to return cupping his cock under his nightshirt. He opened his eyes and saw the flash of white teeth in the dark.
"When y'woke and didn't shake me off," said a breathless voice in his ear, "I figured a wink's as good as a nod."
The hand on him was certainly confident. As well it should be; this was a drill most young midshipmen performed daily.
"You wish to risk --"
"Yes, sir. If you do, sir."
Longley's movement didn't falter. Hornblower's consent was hardly more than a technicality, but withholding it would leave far too much of the responsibility in Longley's hands.
"Yes," Hornblower said, "I do."
He caught Longley round the shoulders and brought him nearer, until the lad had to release him and draw his hand from between them. Longley had the sort of silky straight hair that could never be confined long; it escaped from his queue and clung to Hornblower's face as Hornblower drew him still closer and kissed his mouth.
The lad obviously had no direct knowledge of kissing, but he followed Hornblower's lead eagerly, replying to Hornblower's tongue with an audible grunt of surprise and then a full-body shudder of pleasure. After a moment he put out his own tongue shyly to taste Hornblower, and Hornblower encouraged this wordlessly, opening his mouth, drawing the squirming body closer. Longley's quickness of mind helped him here as on deck, and soon he was participating with confidence.
They were pressed together breast to breast now, and Hornblower insinuated a thigh between Longley's legs, allowing him to rub against his hip. Longley pulled free of Hornblower's mouth for a moment, gasping out some garbled blasphemy, and with all the haste of youth spent his seed against Hornblower's body.
When Hornblower opened his eyes, Longley was looking up at him with lip a-tremble and face aflame as though he wished himself in furthest Hades for shame. Hornblower squelched an impulse to ruffle his hair. Instead he caught him by the nape for a long kiss.
"There," he said when he released him, panting and already stirring again. "That's well begun, eh, lad?"
He wished for a moment that he could ask Longley to have him. But it was out of the question, of course. It seemed that was one of the pleasures of youth that one must put aside when one reached the prime of life, unless one was fortunate enough to have a friend, a man of one's own station who would take either side of the equation as whim demanded. He hadn't been so fortunate for many years.
"Sir?" Longley's voice was filled with concern. And, really, wasn't it just his way to be brooding over the one pleasure denied him and neglecting the veritable feast laid out before him? He smiled an apology into the blue eyes.
"What's your Christian name, Longley?"
Billy to his mother and brothers, unless Hornblower was much mistaken, and Will to any black-handed cobbler's maid he might try to impress with his maturity; but why else did boys go to sea, if not to command the name they chose? "William," he repeated solemnly, and Longley's eyes widened a bit at the sound of it. "And in circumstances such as these, you may call me Horatio." He wouldn't, of course; it might take five years of intermittent dalliances before he could bring himself to address his captain by his Christian name. But at least this would assure that he would take a little care not to say "sir."
"Now, then, William. Perhaps we might -- divest ourselves --" He sat up for a moment and dispensed with his nightshirt, and after a moment of breathless tension Longley did the same.
Hornblower saw his own body as it were doubled: through his own eyes that marked the slight softness about his middle and knew the location of every silver hair amongst the brown, and through Longley's that saw only the power of a man's body in the full strength of maturity. Hornblower let him look his fill.
Longley was lean and coltish, and tall as he was, his hands and feet seemed to suggest that he would be taller still before the year was out. He was browned the color of old bronze nearly all over, only the milky skin at hip and buttock giving away his natural complexion; Hornblower, who no longer worked with a midshipman's unconsciousness of dignity, reached that level of brownness only on hands and face.
Nakedness, or Hornblower's gaze, had finished what their earlier kiss had begun, and Longley was as ready as if he'd had no release. Hornblower smiled, and he smiled back, sheepishly, and reached to draw him down. "Sh," Hornblower said. "Let me show you."
He laid a finger on one nipple, flat as a coin in the brown chest, and smiled again as the Longley's breath fluttered and it peaked insistently under his fingertip. He bent to taste it, and got a full-body curl and an "Oh!" of great wonder. And when he raised his mouth, a big hand came down on the back of his head for a moment before Longley remembered himself and withdrew it hastily.
"It's all right, William," he said, drawing the hand back to his head. "You can't hurt me."
He licked him breathless, going from one nipple to the other until the lean chest heaved and quivered beneath his tongue, before moving up again to kiss the panting mouth.
"Oh --" Longley sighed, and Hornblower heard him stop himself from adding "sir," find himself unequal to substituting any name, and settle instead on another "Oh!"
"Like that?" He remembered very well the shock of finding such pleasure from so unexpected a quarter. Longley was responsive; he could probably be induced to spend himself again through this alone, and Hornblower hoped to have the opportunity of finding out another time, but his strategy tonight was different. "I've more to show you."
"Yes," Longley breathed. "Please."
Hornblower sighed at the sweetness of the offer. Reaching between Longley's legs, he gave a brief passing stroke to his cock before reaching further.
Longley's gasp was equal parts nervousness and surprised pleasure. "Sh," Hornblower whispered again. "I won't hurt you." He groped on the side table and brought his hand back dripping with oil from the lamp; thus lubricated, his finger slipped in effortlessly, and Longley stiffened and gasped beneath him as he slowly grew accustomed to the sensation.
When two fingers could go in and out with ease, Hornblower urged Longley over onto his side and curled behind him. Longley's eyes were shut tight, but he was breathing easily, and when Hornblower touched him again, he pushed back against it with a gasp and a whispered "Please!"
"Yes, William, yes, but slowly."
He entered the barest fraction, nearly losing control at the sudden hot slick pressure. Catching Longley's hand in his own, he pressed both hands against Longley's chest and leaned, applying the slightest of steadying pressures. "That's it," he whispered, lips to Longley's ear. "That's it, like that, yes, don't be afraid, it will be good, I promise you --" and before his mental count reached eighty the body beneath him opened all at once and let him in, a long slow slide that made them both groan.
"I had -- ohh," Longley said as Hornblower moved within him, just a fraction. "Oh. They said -- I thought it would hurt."
"It isn't something that should be attempted by men who lack patience." Hornblower released Longley's hand, which went immediately back to seize him by the hip. With his own free hand he cradled Longley's cock, which was reviving nicely as his body adjusted. "You'll feel it tomorrow, of course, but if we take care, it shouldn't interfere with your duties."
His own duties had suffered somewhat after that first night, but mostly due to an unfortunate tendency to harden every time he heard his captain's voice. He'd thought at the time that he'd been successful at hiding this; now he realized how much care Pellew must have been exercising to spare his dignity.
As Longley was now pushing back impatiently, Hornblower judged the time right for more forceful movement. Longley hissed, a sound that could have meant either pleasure or pain, but his body undulated and his cock slickened suddenly in Hornblower's hand, so Hornblower judged it to be the former and adjusted his strategy accordingly, using his cock like a finger to rub gentle circles over the spot inside Longley's body, while his hand worked Longley's cock.
Longley's hips began sawing forward and back, and a soft whine came into his breathing. The sound blew Hornblower up like a breath of wind, and he licked and bit at the back of Longley's neck and shoulder. "Oh," Longley whispered, "oh --" and he spent himself into Hornblower's hand.
Hornblower waited, using all his considerable self-command, until Longley subsided, panting. Then he rolled into a longer, deeper stroke, pressing him forward face-down on the pillows and stroking himself to his own release deep in Longley's hot body.
Longley reached back over his shoulder and arched back, and Hornblower took the hint and kissed him for a long time.
"God," Longley whispered at last. "That was -- I never thought -- dear God."
Hornblower chuckled. "Yes, it was."
When they'd cleaned themselves and the bed, Hornblower fetched the bottle from his bag and cut away the wax seal, looking up into Longley's surprised eyes with amusement. "What, all that and you still don't think you merit Madeira?" It would be wasted on a young palate, of course. But he'd wager Longley would develop a taste for it within the year. He had.
Longley held his glass, waiting till Hornblower should drink first, politely. Not putting himself forward. Good.
"The King," Hornblower proposed. Longley nodded and drank.
They drank the Navy and the "Sutherland" and defeat to the French. Longley's eyes were drooping now, and it would be a kindness to let him sleep. Hornblower poured out and raised his glass for one final toast.
"Admiral Sir Edward Pellew," he said. "God bless him."
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September 8, 2003