Well, by my reader’s explosion of patriotic posts, I suppose it’s the 4th of July.
Whoop! *fireworks and stuff*
Anyway, guess what I did for the holiday?
If you guessed “well, Rosey… I think you watched Horatio Hornblower and wrote fanfiction until your hand hurt” then you (while you guess random and crazy things) are correct!
Because, I mean yeah… everyone knows it’s Independence Day and all that. But did you know it’s our dear Captain America’s birthday?
*gasp* It’s true.
Okay, that one isn’t too surprising.
But did you know it’s also Horatio Hornblower’s birthday?
Well it is.
And these two were the victims of my fanfiction that I shall be sharing in celebration
Special thanks go out to Archie Kennedy and Bucky Barnes today for helping with preparations. You guys are great.
Anyway, Horatio first.
Archie Kennedy stood a bit too eagerly by the edge of the deck as the rowboat returned from the American ship. There was the soft thumping of shoes on wood as the men clambered aboard and a trill of whistles as Captain Pellew mounted onto the deck. His hat and cape dripped with the drizzle of rain misting over the ship.
The men gave their salutes to the returning captain and returned to their duties around the ship.
“All went well I hope?” Archie still stood in his place. He wrinkled his nose and wiped a bit of rain off his face.
“Yes, just the usual formalities.” Captain Pellew nodded, “And letting us know that, because of the date, they will be celebrating their country’s independence from ours in a rather loud fashion. Telling us beforehand that the noise won’t be them attacking our ship, only our dignity.”
“Good to know, sir.” Archie gave a stiff nod. His eyes flicked over to Matthews for a second, then back to his captain.
Pellew raised an eyebrow, “Will there be anything else, Mr. Kennedy?”
“No, sir.” Still he stayed where he was.
Captain Pellew gave him a look, then shook his head and moved on to get back to his quarters. The door swung shut.
Archie was by Styles’ side immediately, “Did you get them?”
Styles patted his pocket. “Sure did. Bloody Americans, though. I nearly had to pay your whole month’s pay for ‘em.”
“That’s fine.” Archie partly unbuttoned the top of his coat and stuffed in the small packet Styles had given him. “We’ll use them for something worth celebrating,” a grin split his face.
“It’s important, Mr. Hornblower, sir,” Matthews gave an earnest nod up towards the deck. “It’ll only take a second, I promise.”
Horatio sighed, set down his book and stood, “Tell Mr. Kennedy that I’ll be up momentarily.”
Matthews grinned, gave a quick salute and darted back up the stairs to the upper deck. He jumped over a few ropes in the lantern-lit haze and found his way to Archie and Styles in their carefully chosen corner, facing away from the sails. Ducking down, he cupped his hand to his mouth and gave a hoarse whisper: “He’s coming, lads!”
“Fantastic,” Archie positioned his last bundle of fireworks facing out to sea and bit his lip to hold back a smile. “I’ll distract him for a second. Styles, get the fuse.” He jumped up and out of the corner, then casually walked towards the hatch.
A curly head poked out and Archie gave a wave, trying not to grin too widely. Horatio stepped up onto the deck and gave a little wave back.
“What did you need me for, Archie?” He sounded like he didn’t quite want to know.
“This won’t take more than a few minutes,” Archie assured.
“Matthews said it would take a second.”
“Oh, come on. It’s not that horrible. Follow me.”
The two walked across the deck, Archie setting the pace slow and watching for the glow of the fuse. Horatio looked over at him and raised his eyebrows, “This isn’t for . . . a certain event we weren’t supposed to commemorate, is it?”
“Certain event?” Archie looked innocently confused.
Horatio came to a stop, “You know full well.”
“Excuse me, Mr. Hornblower. I don’t believe I quite get your meaning,” Archie glanced back over to the deck corner and saw a soft orange glow.
“We’re at war, Archie. Birthdays should be the last things we’re worrying about.”
“Are you denying that you intentionally gave me an extra hardtack on my birthday?” Archie started walking again and his friend followed.
“That wasn’t intentional,” Horatio reddened slightly, “And there’s nothing celebratory about that awful cracker.”
Archie came to a stop at the corner and grinned, “Just a small celebration.” He nodded downward, “Fire away, Matthews.”
There was the hiss of a short fuse burning up and Horatio jumped backwards in shock. Two more hisses followed in quick succession, then a shrill squeal as three objects shot out over the water.
“Archie you didn’t . . .”
Three successive bangs sent red, white and blue sparks showering high over the water, lighting up the mist in color and bringing a rush of men to the deck. Fizzes and pops echoed over the water and the sparkles died as they descended.
“It’s pretty handy that the American’s colors work as ours too, don’t you think?” Archie laughed. Horatio just stared at the sky, looking delighted in spite of himself.
Taking the light from Matthews, Archie set off three more and the display repeated itself, shimmering more sparkles over the surface of the ocean.
As the sparks descended, Archie held up a hand as though to conduct an orchestra. A chorus arose from the now full deck, echoing out for what seemed like miles.
“Happy birthday, Mr. Hornblower!”
Archie dropped his hand, smiling over at Horatio. “There. I couldn’t resist.”
Horatio couldn’t help but laugh.
Then another voice came cutting through the cheers, sounding all but pleased. “What in blazes is this bloody noise about?”
The noise died down almost immediately as the men saw Captain Pellew.
Archie leaned over to Horatio, “And my other present? None of this is your fault. Now go back below deck.”
YAY FOR FIREWORKS
On to Steve’s.
Two figures sit on a rickety fire escape in Brooklyn. The pillows and blankets meant for a sleep out are shoved to one side. Who can sleep when the sky is such a bursting canvas of color?
Squeals and pops of firecrackers and fireworks fill the air and eruptions of color cast shadows on the bricks behind them.
The taller figure points out various fireworks and patriotic decorations. “They got that one for you, Steve. I’m sure of it. That’s your exact favorite shade of blue.”
The smaller one sits, swinging his feet off the edge, smiling crookedly and ducking his head. “Buck, I’m sure you’re the only one who gives a hoot it’s my birthday today.”
A red firework pops close by, spreading sparks so close Steve actually worries for a second that their blankets will catch fire.
Bucky shakes his head, “Prove it. As far as I can see, all New York is giving quite a big hoot.” He ruffles Steve’s neatly combed, blonde hair.
A burst of blue fireworks light up from a few buildings away.
“You’re a quite good representative of American values, if I say so myself.” Bucky continues, giving a sage nod in Steve’s direction. “Defender of justice. All for freedom. Always picking fights . . .”
Steve laughed softly. Bucky grinned and stood up, “Stop looking at your shoes and enjoy your show, birthday boy. I’ll be back in a second. Just getting the strawberry shortcake.” He climbed up and through the window.
Steve sat, watching the multicolored pops of color paint the sky, leaning his head against the fire escape pole next to him. He hummed under his breath.
. . .what so proudly we hailed at the twilight’s last gleaming . . .
A voice from inside picked up his tune and Bucky’s leg swung out the window, “Oooooohhhooo say can you see?”
Steve turned back, “Oh, Bucky no . . .”
“By the fiy-ur-work’s light!” Bucky stepped out onto the fire escape, holding two small shortcakes, one with a tiny, flickering candle. “What so proudly we hailed by the candle’s last . . .” he put his chin to his chest and let out a deep, operatic bass, “gleaming?”
“You’re going to wake someone up!” Steve laughed, pulling himself up.
“Whose strawberries and cake, through the perilous night!” Bucky’s voice echoed dramatically through the alley, “O’er the fire escape we watched, were gallantly whipped-cream-ing!”
“Whipped-cream-ing? Bucky . . .”
“Through the rockets’ red glare! The bombs bursting in air! Gave proof through the night, that our cake was still there! O, say does that birthday shortcake still wave? For the Steeeeeeeeve of the FREEEEEEE!” the note ends in a laugh, but he pulls it together again and goes to the last line, “In the hoooome of the brave!”
Steve shook his head and finished laughing, “You’d better hope no one heard that.” Bucky handed him the cake and they both sat down on the edge again.
“They’ll hear it sometime. I’ll sing it every year.”
“How would birthday shortcake even wave?”
Happy 4th everyone! Hope you enjoyed!