Genre: het, romance
Feedback: most welcome. Good or bad.
Summary: sometimes it's not easy to tell who is thief and who is king.
"He who has stolen gold lands in prison, he who has stolen a country is made king."
A splitting, pounding headache. Thousands of tiny needles sticking in his eyeballs. Acid burning in his stomach. The scratches on his cheek hurting. His whole body aching, as if he had just barely survived a fight. By all accounts, he should feel terrible, but oddly enough, Lt. Daniel Groves had never felt better.
The reason for his somewhat ambivalent state was in the process of getting dressed. A good thing to see first thing in the morning, though he would have preferred seeing Anamaria getting undressed.
He'd probably assisted her with that task. Absolutely.
"Ship could be captured or sunk before you wake up," she said. "How did you make lieutenant? Was your father rich?"
"No. I slept with the admiral's wife."
"And your captain with the admiral?"
They both grinned like idiots. Only the day before, he would have been outraged by her comments, but now he knew it was teasing. The more she bickered and jeered, the more she liked him. And she had bickered and jeered a lot in the past. Women were so difficult to understand.
"You wouldn't ask that if you'd ever seen the admiral in question. Ugly geezer."
"And his wife?"
"Looks just like him. But she has a moustache."
Anamaria finished lacing her shirt and rolled the sleeves up.
"You love me?" she asked casually. She might have asked in the same tone if the sky was still blue or the water wet. Groves nibbled on the nail of his right thumb and considered his answer.
"Very much so," he finally said.
"Good. I love you, too."
"I reckoned that much."
"Well, after yesterday I thought…"
"That? That would have meant I like you. But I didn't have a knife under my pillow. That means I love you."
"You're a very, very strange woman."
"You're very strange too. But you're a good man. Good men shouldn't be in the navy."
"But wouldn't the Royal Navy be worse if all the good men left?"
"Good men, bad men – it counts what you're doing. If a man goes and steals bread to feed his children, you hang him. If your king goes and steals a country, you cheer."
"Anamaria, I don't know about those things. I never thought about it. I just want to do something in my life that lasts beyond my death."
"Then plant a tree."
"No, I mean, something carrying my name."
"Father some children."
"No, no, you don't understand. I want people two hundred years from now looking at my report and say: that Lt. Groves, he was a good man. I don't want anybody to come and say something like "nothing but rum, sodomy and the lash in the Royal Navy".
Anamaria returned to him and kissed his cheek.
"Somebody will say that one day no matter what you do, because that's just what people are like. So stick to the trees, says I."
"And what about fathering children?"
"All in its due time. Plant a tree first, sea monkey. "
* * *
Author's notes: As a survivor of the "Instant Sea-Monkey Kit – see them coming alive!" in the 70ies, I feel entitled to have Anamaria call her dearly beloved "sea monkey".
"The only traditions of the Royal Navy are rum, sodomy and the lash."
This quote, often attributed to Sir Winston Churchill, is actually from his assistant, Anthony Montague-Browne. However, Churchill wished he had said those words.
I don't think Groves would have liked him. Have a drink on me, Lt. Groves.
by Molly Joyful