DOVER Chapter 34

Fitzwarren stepped out of the carriage, followed by Eddington. Fitzwarren looked up at the sign standing out over the doorway, seeing the coat of arms upon it, knowing it was fictitious and smiled to himself looking at it. He looked the building over a little as Eddington told the driver to wait for them around the corner as the street was too narrow to allow another carriage to go by. The driver nodded and gently signaled the horses with the reins, pulling the carriage forward. Eddington turned and looked up at what Fitzwarren was looking at. They looked at one another and then Eddington half smiled and opened the door for Fitzwarren, stepping out of the way.

"Good afternoon, My Lord." Farrow said, giving a slight bow.

"I believe I know you, do I not?" Fitzwarren said as Farrow straightened.

"I am honored, My Lord, that you should recognize me."

"You served under Captain Powers did you not?"

"That is correct, My Lord. I am Farrow Dunhill, I served as Captain Powers 1st , for a sort time."

"With great distinction, if I recall." Fitzwarren said, putting a hand on his hip.

"I am deeply honored, My Lord, that you would recall that so clearly."

"Tis a pity that you left the service, Mr. Dunhill, your presence would be of great value at this current time."

"I apologize for my shortsightedness, My Lord."

"Quite. Where are you keeping Captain Callum?" Fitzwarren asked.

"He rests upstairs, My Lord, under the watchful of his companions and Dr. Crawford."

"I see. I take it that he was near death's doorstep?"

"It was most difficult for him, My Lord, if I may be so bold. Dr. Crawford has had to knit the Captain several more times."

"What? You don't say." Fitzwarren, looked about the room, then back at Farrow, "Has the Captain taken to barroom brawling?"

"It is funny you should say that, My Lord, there actually was an incident just a few days ago to that fact."

"Really? And what was the outcome of such an incident?"

"I believe I shall let the Captain disclose his activities on that point, My Lord." Farrow bowed his head slightly.

"Quite right." Fitzwarren said flatly. "Well, where is he then?"

"I believe your attaché knows the way, My Lord." Farrow said.

"If you will follow me, sir?" Eddington said in a soft voice, going up the stairs. Fitzwarren followed.

"We should more suitable lodgings for Callum, Eddington." Fitzwarren said in a soft voice as they climbed the stairs.

"It is not the appearance, My Lord, it is rather the company that is of greater value to the Captain." Eddington said as he reached the top of the stairs, Fitzwarren looked at Eddington. "You see, My Lord, Captain Callum is in far safer hands here, than he might be under guard at the Garrison. I would venture to say, My Lord, that there is at least twenty man-jack, waiting around every corner to come to Callum's aide if it be necessary." Eddington said, raising an eyebrow. Fitzwarren stared at him, and then followed Eddington down the hallway to the door. Eddington knocked at the door on the right. It opened only a bit, they only saw an eye and part of a face and then the door opened farther, the boy inside bowing his head and tipping his hand.

"Lt. Eddington, we were not expecting you, sir." Dustin said, and then the door behind them on the other side of the hall flew open and Tomlin jumped into the hall, sword in hand, then seeing who it was, lowered his sword.

"Lt. Eddington!" Tomlin said, and then he looked at Fitzwarren and tipped his hand, "My Lord!" Tomlin bowed his head after he dropped his hand.

"Mr. Tomlin, it is agreeable to see you again, and so diligent in your duty as to protect the Captain."

"Thank you, sir." Tomlin said looking down the hallway.

"I assure you, no one has followed us, Lieutenant." Fitzwarren said as he glanced down the hall and back. He turned and saw Dustin there. "And who have we here? Another of the Captain's bodyguards?"

"May I present, My Lord, Master Dustin Perkins, helmsman of HMS Dover." Dustin bowed, getting out of the way of the door, lowering the pistol he carried behind his back, which was cocked and ready. Fitzwarren went wide eyed seeing it.

"Mr. Perkins, I have heard much of your skill, my lad." Fitzwarren said, "It is said you have the keenest eyes in the fleet. I would relish the fact to give you a chance at the wheel of the Valiant someday."

"Many thanks, My Lord. Please, won't you come in?" Dustin said, as Callum was sitting up in the bed.

"Ah, Callum, I always seem to find you in a bed, why is that I wonder?" Fitzwarren asked as he stepped forward into the room.

"I apologize, My Lord," Callum said tipping his hand, "however, they say timing is everything. Perhaps I cannot keep the correct timing for your visits."

"Yes, quite." Fitzwarren said as he stepped forward, taking Callum's hand. "You seem to be doing much better since the last time we met. Your color has improved greatly, you do not seem to be the pale white of death any longer."

"I cannot take credit for that, My Lord. That would be from the skillful hands of my surgeon, Dr. Crawford."

"Yes, I remember the good Doctor, quite clearly and the last time that we spoke, I seem to recall him chastising me for having you out of bed." Fitzwarren said, giving a frown. "Where is the good Doctor, by the way, I would hate to have him repeat our last conversation." Fitzwarren looked around the room.

"The good Doctor should be here in another hour or so, My Lord." Dustin said from behind Fitzwarren, in a soft voice.

"Well, perhaps we can conclude your report before that time, so I may let you return to your rest and rehabilitation." Fitzwarren rested on the chair that Eddington produced from the little desk for him. "I look so forward to your reports Callum, they are always so colorful, they read like a good novel. What is it that you have to report now?"

"I have taken the effort to write it out for you, My Lord." Callum said, looking at Dustin, who went to the desk and pulled the envelope, handing it to Fitzwarren, bowing slightly. "You may read it for yourself, if you wish."

"That I will, on the trip back to London. However if I may press you for your accounting of the facts, I am willing to listen to them."

"As you wish, My Lord." Callum bowed his head slightly, " After I signaled to have the squadron sail, I had my 1st, Lt. Tomlin, whom I believe you know," Callum said, holding out a hand, Tomlin bowing toward Fitzwarren, and Fitzwarren answered with a nod, "take Dover and swing her around the bay to cover the attack on the fortress. Captain Barrish, as you know, was moving in to assist, and took up position at the stern of Dover. After touching off the powder kegs, and blowing up half of the fortress, I found myself face to face with Captain Smythe." Callum said, and Fitzwarren's mouth opened slightly, "I begged him to surrender, but he obviously had other ideas on that. Needless to say, we had an engagement, and he was killed during it, much to my regret."

"Yes, Lt. Dorland had mentioned that. Why is it a regret to you, Callum? The man was a traitor pure and simple."

"Yes, My Lord, but he also had vital information that I had been in hopes of trying to get from him."

"Information, such as?"

"He obviously knew of Napoleons movements and strengths, which may have been of great value to the Duke, no doubt."

"No doubt." Fitzwarren said, pursing his lips. "I see your point. You did the right thing, Callum, in taking him. He was a danger beyond all."

"That he was, My Lord. But now we face an even greater danger. You remember the name, Maupin?"

"Yes, I do. From the dispatches that you captured, if I recall clearly." Fitzwarren said quietly, narrowing his eyes.

"Maupin, it seems was staying here, in this very inn, and it wasn't until too late that I discovered that. Did you know that Smythe also had a brother?"

"A half-brother, actually." Fitzwarren said. "He is of a German mother, raised on the continent, I believe. Smythe spoke of him from time to time, he was some Captain of the Guard in the Royal House in Germany."

"Is his name, Ezri, by chance, My Lord?"

"I believe it is. Is this whom you had the brawl with?"

"Yes, My Lord. He and Maupin are together, or at least were. We tried to alert General Emery to turn out the garrison to search for them, but he is away apparently. I sent a dispatch to the Admiralty, you did not receive it?"

"It must have passed us while we were on our way here." Eddington said, standing behind Fitzwarren.

"Captain, you seem to always be in the fore ground in all of this intrigue, why is that I wonder?"

"I wonder myself, My Lord." Callum gave a smile.

"So do I." Dustin whispered and rolled his eyes. Fitzwarren turned his eyes to Dustin and smiled.

"It gives you trouble, does it, Master Perkins?" Fitzwarren asked.

"I beg pardon, My Lord, I should not have spoken out of turn." Dustin bowed his head, getting red in the face.

"Nonsense, my lad," Fitzwarren smiled, "you hold a vital position with your Captain, and he knows it as well. The helm is one of the greatest postings aboard ship, at your young age, you should be proud to have it, and to be at your Captain's side. How old are you, Mr. Perkins?"

"I believe, I am sixteen, My Lord."

"Really, for someone so young to have such a posting, and to have his Captain's ear. It is quite an accomplishment, to be certain. You should be proud, Mr. Perkins." Fitzwarren said, and Dustin bowed slightly.

"I am very proud, My Lord."

"Good. Now as to the intrigue of this..."

"The Captain seems to be drawn to it, I believe, My Lord, as Dover is harbored from Portsmouth. There seems to be a general lack of security about the docks and harbor, thereby inviting this intrigue as you call it. It can only breed and fester here, My Lord."

"Well, he certainly has an opinion about it, Callum, what do you think?" Fitzwarren asked, still looking at Dustin.

"Far be it from me to disagree with one of my men, My Lord," Callum looked up at Dustin with guarded eyes, then back to Fitzwarren, "but I agree that the docks and the harbor are lacking security, especially in this dark time we are engaged in, My Lord."

"I agree. I will speak to General Emery about it. I plan to visit him this afternoon regarding Major Simmonds."

"Is the Major alright?" Callum asked.

"He and Captain Emery are quite well, I assure you. Both have you to thank for saving their lives I am told."

"I was only doing what was necessary, My Lord."

"Which brings me to another item on the list, as well as the real reason I am here." Fitzwarren frowned. "Captain Callum, the Admiralty, mostly, Lord Hood, wish to see you promoted, sir." Fitzwarren said and stood, he held out a hand and Eddington produced a small box from his pocket, putting it into the hand of Fitzwaren. "Captain Callum, on behalf of the Admiralty and His Most Royal Majesty, I hereby promote to the rank of Commodore, with all of the rank and privilege entitled thereto." He held out the gold laced button belonging to a new tunic. Callum's eyes went wide and he looked up from the small box. "Well, go on take it, my boy, you earned it." Fitzwarren said holding it out further to him. Callum took it and smiled, holding the box in his hand. "There are new tunics being made for you at Evenington's Tailors in London as we speak." Fitzwarren smiled briefly.

"Congratulations, Commodore." Eddington said.

"And, we have decided to give you something else to command." Fitzwarren said, putting a hand on his hip. "The captured French sixty gunner is being renamed the Southampton, she will be reworked and dry docked to make her more in line with the way we operate our fleet."

"What of the Dover, My Lord?" Callum asked with sad eyes.

"Yes, we know you are quite fond of her, but we feel that she has seen her day. She is to be decommissioned and will be dismantled. Her parts will go into another of the French ships that you were responsible for capturing."

"I..." Callum's eyes welled up.

"Speak up man, what is it?" Fitzwarren backed up.

"I have only ever known the Dover, My Lord. She is like a...mother to me, My Lord."

"Yes, quite. I can see your point. However, I cannot have a Commodore sailing about in a thirty six gunner, leading his own squadron. It just isn't done."

"Well, My Lord, my many thanks, but I cannot accept this promotion if it means the end of the Dover."

"Quintan, think this over very carefully." Eddington said softly, stepping forward. Callum looked up at him.

"I am, Paul." Callum said, looking at Fitzwarren now. "My Lord, has the order been given to the shipwrights to dismantle Dover?"

"No, that has not been given as of yet. It will be done when she is put into dry dock."

"Then I will purchase Dover from the Admiralty and His Majesty."

"Callum, that is entirely possible, but why man?"

"My Lord, think of it as this, would you dismiss a trusted servant that has served faithfully all of their life? Would you cast a close family member aside for someone that was new to your house? Dover has proven time and time again that she is still young and is trustworthy. She out sailed the Tarkington to La Rochelle, engaged six vessels larger than herself and overcame them all. Would you take her life while she is in her prime?" Callum asked with pleading eyes. Fitzwarren sighed and put both his hands on his hips.

"You plead a good case, Callum, You should have been a sea lawyer, sir." Fitzwarren shook his head slowly. "Alright, we will set a new precedent in the fleet. You may retain the Dover, against my better judgment I might add," Fitzwarren said, holding up a finger. He lowered it and stepped forward once. "I press you to accept this promotion, do not hurt yourself or your career by not accepting, sir. It would look bad for you with Lord Hood."

"Well, who am I to argue with the First Sea Lord." Callum smiled softly. "If you would express my thanks to Lord Hood for me, it would be greatly appreciated, My Lord."

"I will do that, yes." Fitzwarren said. "You will be given the squadron harbored here in Portsmouth. And there is another matter that I must relay to you. It is one that is grisly to say the least." Fitzwarren said as he sat down again. "There is a French ship, the Avion, have you heard of it?"

"I have, My Lord, she was the flagship under Admiral Battenou, was she not?"

"Yes, under Louis' reign, she was the pride of the French navy. Apparently she is raiding shipping in the Channel. We have found the crew of the Airington, a supply sloop. Its cargo was intact, but the crew was all dead. They had been all mutilated, all hacked into pieces and left. The officers were not among them. I can only assume they are captured at this point, but I wonder. As soon as Dover is refit, I want you to take your squadron in search of the Avion, find her, stop her."

"Have there been other ships, My Lord?"

"Yes, there have been others. All have been merchants, five in all, their crews in the same condition. Their cargos haven't been touched. Whoever the Captain is, he is looking for something, what, we don't know. I want you to find out and to stop him."

"You do not seem to be pressed for time, My Lord. You are obviously looking for him already."

"We are, but have not found him as of yet. He seems to attack in a pattern, a time table as it were, his next attack should be in a little over a month from now."

"I see." Callum said. "You are of the opinion that my drawing towards intrigue will come into play, I take it?" Callum, raising an eyebrow.

"You are correct in that assumption,...Commodore."

"I will find her, My Lord, fear not, and will stop her." Callum said.

"Very good. Rest while you can, Callum.I shall return to London after I see General Emery."

"Very good, My Lord. Would you care to dine with us this evening? Mr. Dunhill has a very fine cook here at the inn."

"Really, then I accept your gracious invitation, Commodore." Fitzwarren said, bowing his head slightly, and turned to leave. Callum, Tomlin, and Dustin tipped their hands to him as he walked to the door, Eddington right behind him. The door closed and Tomlin looked at Callum, crossing the room with a slight smile.

"Congratulations, sir." Tomlin said, bowing his head slightly.

"It's only a title, Thomas, it only means that I need to check the bilge levels on the other ships in the squadron." Callum said, frowning a little. "I will also speak to His Lordship this evening about Mr. Arvin securing a post at the Admiralty, do not let me forget."

"I won't, sir." Tomlin said. "If you will excuse me, should I let Farrow know that we will have His Lordship for dinner?"

"Yes, that's a good idea. Tell him to have his best wines available, and I will put it on my bill."

"I will, sir." Tomlin smiled, tipping his hand and walking to the door. He left the room quietly, and Dustin sat on the bed. He smiled at Callum.

"Quintan, I'm so happy for you."

"Thank you." Callum said quietly.

"What troubles you?"

"Well, with this promotion, the tunics that we ordered will have to be reworked now." Callum said raising an eyebrow. Dustin chuckled. Callum laughed softly, Dustin laughed louder.

"We will have to visit him anyway, you are overdue for your fitting as it is. And you heard what His Lordship said, that new ones were being made for you." Dustin said as he calmed himself.

"I suppose you're right. We shall see to it tomorrow. I want to have Thomas fitted as well for his new posting. His midshipman jacket will not command as much respect."

"He mentioned that just this morning actually." Dustin grinned.

"I see. We also need to go to the Bank of England, there is an office here. I wish to put this money away in it. It worries me that it is sitting here, under the mattress, under our watchful eyes alone."

"May I ask how much it is?" Dustin asked softly.

"It is more than what all of Birmingham is worth. I have never seen or heard of that much money in all of my life." Callum said softly, "There is over two hundred thousand pounds here."

"What?" Dustin went wide eyed.

"Did you not see it?"

"I did, but I thought it was only slightly more than what your last tally was."

"Hmmm, and what was yours, my love?"

"It was over two hundred pounds. That's more money than I will ever see in my lifetime."

"Yes, but if we stay on this course, and if the war continues, I would say that we can both retire as very wealthy men." Callum raised an eyebrow.

"What are you going to do with all of that money?"

"I had an idea about that, actually." Callum smiled, "You said that you have a love of horses, did you not?"

"I do, you know that."

"Then what if I were to purchase the field that is next to Callum's Cross? Would that give you enough room for your horses?" Callum smiled as he folded his hands together, resting them in his lap on top of the covers.

"Truly, Quintan?" Dustin looked excited.

"Truly. And then perhaps we can have Mr. Bockman add a wing onto the house, so our dear Martha does not have to navigate the stairs any longer, giving her a room downstairs to sleep in, and make her comfortable for the rest of her days. I know she has trouble with the stairs as it is."

"That she does, I have noticed that as well, when we were home last." Dustin said with sad eyes, suddenly missing her very much.

"Then we will see to it. Her happiness is as important to me as yours is, my love. You are both my family, and I want nothing more than to make you both happy. We must also check about a mercantile, and see if there is something else that she might possibly use about the house to make it easier for her." Callum said, reaching out and taking one of Dustin's hands in his.

"A new stove perhaps. She made mention of that several times to me when I helped her in the kitchen."

"Well then, so be it, a new stove. Anything else?"

"Well, there is that list from Mr. Carson to tend to."

"Ah, it slipped my mind, quite right. We shall have to see to that as well. Alright, tomorrow is a shopping day then. And then we will see Mr. Arvin, if the good Doctor will allow it."

"We shall see, you know how guarded he is over you." Dustin frowned, looking down at the bed.

"He is, but not as guarded over me as you are." Callum smiled softly.

"You're right in that, I suppose." Dustin felt his hand being pulled and looked up into Callum's eyes. Callum pulled him into a soft kiss, and then clasped his hand to the back of Dustin's head, pulling him even tighter to him. They pulled away when they heard the door opening.

"Well, I see that you are heeding good advice, and it shows in your color, Captain."

"Thank you, Arthur." Callum smiled. "Our Mr. Perkins here has been quite the watchdog over me."

"You are always so handy to have around, my lad." Crawford said as he came to Dustin's side of the bed and put a hand to his shoulder, "I may have to borrow you for the surgery here to keep an eye on my regular patients."

"I would be happy to help, Doctor."

"I'm sure you would, lad." Crawford said, giving him a gentle pat. "Now, let us have a look at you knitting, Captain."

"Doctor, His Lordship was just here." Dustin said, sounding a little excited.

"Oh? I'm sorry to have missed him."

"He promoted the Captain, Doctor." Dustin said, Crawford looked up into Callum's face, and raised an eyebrow.

"Did he offer you a knighthood as well?"

"Well, I'm certain that will be coming,...posthumously." Callum said in a soft tone.

"So, what was this promotion?" Crawford said as he gently pushed on various stitches on Callum's chest and side.

"He made me a Commodore."

"A Commodore, really? Hmm, so as I see it, you'll be in charge of a few other ships as well?"

"It would seem." Callum said as he grimaced at Crawford's touching.

"Well, Commodore, you seem to mending quite nicely, quite nicely indeed. I would have you stay in bed a few more days, and then you should be able to travel. Is there time to go home to Birmingham before you take command of these other ships?" Crawford asked, sitting up looking at Callum.

"Yes. There is another mission as soon as Dover is out of her refit in dry dock."

"Oh, and what mission is that? Are we sailing up the Seine to take Paris?" Crawford asked in his snide tone.

"On the contrary, Doctor. We will be hunting a madman apparently. Someone, who has a flair for overstating his apparent dislike for the male form."

"What do you mean?" Crawford asked in all seriousness.

"Apparently, he mutilates his captured prisoners, hacking them into small pieces."

"What? Are you serious?"

"According to His Lordship, it has happened to several ships. We have been ordered to find him and stop him."

"I see, a madman on the seas." Crawford said softly. "Several come to mind right away, actually. But I take it this one has another significance to him?"

"He commands a French flagship, and I'm certain that he is mad, yes, but he is also intelligent as he has a pattern about him with a time table. His next striking should be in over a months' time from now."

"Yes, and what did His Lordship mean by that?" Dustin asked as he stood at the foot of the bed.

"It's because there is no moon." Callum said, looking at him. "When there is no moon in the night sky, the Channel is as black as the bottom of a well." Dustin's eyes went wide. Crawford looked at Callum with narrow eyes. "There is only two nights per cycle that there is no moon at all every month. He will strike, out of the darkness, and we will be there to stop him."

"Well, I for one am chilled to the bone now." Crawford shook himself slightly. "He does indeed sound like a true madman. What does he want?"

"That remains to be seen. The cargos of the ships that he attacks are left intact, so I am not certain." Callum said softly. "Yet."

"I see, well, you seem to be getting along much better. Remember what I said, Quintan, stay in bed, do not exert yourself and let it mend further. Heed me, and we will have you on your way to find this madman of yours in short order."

"Thank you, Arthur." Callum said, nodding. Crawford smiled at Callum and pat Dustin on the shoulder as he walked by him, opening the door and leaving. "Well, what now?" Callum asked.

"I'm not sure." Dustin said, and Callum raised his eyebrow and gave him a naughty smile. "Oh, perhaps I am." Dustin grinned back and walked up the side of the bed slowly, climbing onto the covers and Callum. They wrapped arms around each other slowly and fell into a deep passionate kiss.

Callum was trying to tie his necktie with little success. He stood there in the window trying to see his reflection in the glass but was getting frustrated with it. Dustin stepped up behind him, putting his hands on his shoulders, gently turning him.

"Here, let me help you, Quintan." Dustin said softly. Callum turned and smiled. "Now, keep still and don't smile, it will let me get this right."

"I didn't realize you had so many talents." Callum said softly, tilting his head back slightly as Dustin worked the cloth of the tie.

"I suppose that there are many that I possess."

"I think we need to find out how many more." Callum smiled again.

"Hold still." Dustin whispered. He finished the tie and then backed up a step. "There, now you look fine enough."

"Thank you." Callum leaned forward and kissed Dustin softly. "What would I do without you?"

"I wonder that myself." Dustin smiled and turned away. Callum reached out and grabbed him, spinning him back into his arms, holding him tight to him. "Your stitches, we must be careful."

"You lead me to reckless abandon, do you know that?"

"Part of my charm, I suppose." Dustin smiled, tilting his head back, "Another of my talents." Callum leaned in and kissed him deeply, working his hands up and down the slender body. There was a knock at the door, and Dustin stepped back.

"Enter." Callum said. Dustin reached up and adjusted the tie again, patting Callum's shoulder once as Tomlin stood there. "Ah, Thomas."

"His Lordship and Lt. Eddington have arrived, sir."

"Excellent. I'll just button my vest," Callum said as he worked the buttons over, and then looked at Tomlin, "and we can great our dinner guests." Callum looked at Dustin, "Ready?" Dustin nodded, looking nervous, Callum smiled at him and pat his upper arm, "You'll do fine. Lock the door behind us, will you?" Callum asked and they walked into the hallway. Dustin locked the door, and tried it, he placed the key in his pocket. They walked down the stairs and into the center room. Farrow had set up two square tables to make a larger one.

"Good evening, gentlemen." Farrow said. "It's good to have you join us, Captain, rather than taking meals in your room."

"Thank you, Farrow." Callum said, giving him a slight bow. There were a few regular patrons in the center room, all were quiet and sitting in corners or against the wall. Callum turned to Fitzwarren and bowed slightly. "My Lord, thank you for joining us this evening. I believe you know my companions." Callum put out a hand toward Tomlin and Dustin.

"Yes, quite. We are honored to be joining you this evening, Commodore." Fitzwarren said, bowing his head slightly. "Good evening, gentlemen." Tomlin and Dustin bowed their heads to him.

"Please, My Lord." Callum said, showing Fitzwarren to his chair. Callum took the other end of the table, Dustin was to Callum's left, Eddington and Tomlin took the other side of the table. All sat down after Fitzwarren sat down. Farrow brought out tray after tray, and Callum was very impressed by the ham, potatoes, and assorted vegetables that were set before them. They began to eat, and soon were into another bottle of the fine wine that Callum had requested be served. Farrow flitted about waiting on them and the other patrons. Those that would leave tipped their hands at the long table and bowed as they went out of the room.

"So, Callum, I understand that Mr. Arvin is doing rather well after suffering his severe wound." Fitzwarren asked over his wine glass.

"I understand something like that as well, My Lord. I was going to ask if there was something that might be offered to Mr. Arvin at the Admiralty, My Lord. It would be such a shame to lose the vast experience that such a fine officer, as Mr. Arvin, possesses, would you not agree?"

"I do indeed. I would think however that he might do better in a teaching capacity of some type. Obviously, young midshipman and officer candidates might benefit far more than having him linger about in an old building."

"I would not contest that as well, My Lord." Callum said, bowing his head slightly.

"But, obviously, you think he would do better at the Admiralty. That is why you mention it." Fitzwarren said, as he sipped more of his wine. "I was thinking, I might be possibly looking for a replacement attaché very soon, isn't that right, Eddington?"

"My Lord?" Eddington looked shocked as he went wide eyed at Fitzwarren.

"Oh, come, come, Eddington, you have been badgering at me for months to have you transferred to sea. This might be the proper time. What do you say, Commodore Callum? Could you find a position for Lt. Eddington?"

"Indeed, sir. I seem to have a shortage of officers currently for the Dover, sir."

"That is my understanding as well." Fitzwarren said, resting back in his chair. "I think, besides Eddington, you have a shortfall of three officers, do you not?"

"Yes, My Lord, I do." Callum smiled, looking at Tomlin and Eddington with only his eyes, then back to Fitzwarren.

"Well, the three I loaned you at La Rochelle will be assigned to Dover, Collingwood, Dorland, and Morris. What say you to that?"

"With many thanks, My Lord. Competent officers each, and with Lt. Eddington with them, I feel that we can successfully accomplish any mission that the Admiralty puts to us. A toast, gentlemen," Callum said raising his glass, all followed his lead, "To the Dover, her officers and crew, may she always follow the right course."

"The Dover." They all said and they drank from their glasses.

"When will you be seeing Mr. Arvin?" Eddington asked, lowering his glass, looking at Callum.

"In another couple of days. I will put the question to him then, with your permission, My Lord?"

"You have it. When we return to London, I will send you a formal request as well. You should have it to offer to him, so that he does not think it"

"Agreed, My Lord, most kind."

"Well, gentlemen, I hate to break this lovely evening up before it gets really going, but we must be off." Fitzwarren said as he stood. Farrow was at his elbow. Fitzwarren turned and put out a hand. Farrow bowed and took it. "Mr. Dunhill, you set a wonderful table. Your fare was absolutely delicious, sir."

"I thank you, My Lord." Farrow bowed his head, smiling. Fitzwarren took his hand back and walked around the table as all the others were on their feet as well.

"Mr. Perkins, I may try and steal you for that turn of the wheel on the Valiant, sir. I will have to do so when the Commodore is looking the other way however."

"I look forward to it, My Lord." Dustin smiled and bowed his head. Fitzwarren came to Callum and took his hand, gripping it tightly.

"Thank you for a lovely dinner, most excellent. I never would have believed it. This rivals some of the finest houses in London." Fitzwarren said looking over his shoulder at Farrow, who was smiling. "I shall have to boast of it heavily. Callum, you are a fine host, sir, I thank you truly."

"You are always welcome at my table, My Lord." Callum smiled, bowing his head slightly.

"Very gracious of you." Fitzwarren said, he turned and looked at Tomlin. ""Keep watch over him, Mr. Tomlin, and keep him out of trouble."

"A full time job, My Lord." Tomlin said as he stood stiff, giving a half smile. Fitzwarren raised an eyebrow.

"Quite. Come along, Eddington, I shall meet you in the coach."

"Yes, My Lord." Eddington said. He looked at Tomlin and took his hand, gripping it tight, and nodded. He reached across the table and took Dustin's, and Dustin nodded and bowed his head, then Eddington went to the head of the table, taking Callum's hand, giving it a firm grip. "Thank you, Quintan." He said softly.

"You're very welcome, Paul." Callum said, putting his other hand to Eddington's upper arm.

"I will report in a fortnight, if all goes well."

"I will send you word either way, Paul."

"Thank you." Eddington looked at all of them. "Have a good evening, gentlemen, and thank you, Mr. Dunhill, it truly was most excellent." They watched as Eddington walked to the front door. Farrow started to pick things up from the table.

"I thank you, very much, Farrow." Callum said as he sat back down, "A very fine dinner."

"Thank you, Quintan." Farrow smiled and looked at him as he turned and walked away.

"Well, that went well." Tomlin said, as he sat back down.

"Yes." Callum said, as he sipped more wine. "A full time job, is it?" Callum gave him a side glance. Tomlin looked worried.

"I, sorry..."

"Yes, I suppose I can be a full time job, can't I Dustin?"

"Indeed you can, sir." Dustin rolled his eyes and they all laughed.

Callum lay on the bed, his vest unbuttoned and his arms were behind his head as he stared up at the ceiling. His necktie was undone, and hanging on him, as he crossed his feet and relaxed, lost in thought. Dustin was moving about the room, getting undressed, dropping his clothes on the chair at the little desk. Dustin saw Callum was thinking long and hard about something and came over and climbed up on the bed next to him.

"What has you so lost?" Dustin asked as he lay on his side next to Callum.

"I was thinking about the Dover." Callum said barely above a whisper, "I have a thought Fitzwarren will have her decommissioned anyway."

"Why do you think that?" Dustin asked, as he put a hand gently on Callum's chest.

"He's right, she is getting too old. She can hold her own, yes, if she's handled correctly, but there are too many things that are wearing thin on her. I know what the Admiralty is thinking, and they want larger ships to handle our defenses. I see it coming."

"But as you said, she has proved herself time and time again. There is none faster than she is."

"There are, but as I said, she has to be handled correctly. When we were racing to beat the Tarkington, it took every trick I know to stay ahead of her, every square of canvas. I think her day is almost over."

"I have heard of another ship, the Raleigh, she is over forty years old and is still about." Dustin said, as he ran his hand gently over Callum's chest and stomach.

"Yes, but the Raleigh isn't a lead ship, she is more for supply and transport. I think..." Callum stopped in midsentence and went wide eyed and then sat up, slowly.

"You think what,...? Quintan?" Dustin sat up next to him, putting a hand on his arm.

"Of course,...that's what he wants." Callum said softly, then looked at Dustin.

"Who wants?" Dustin asked.

"The madman, the one Fitzwarren wants us to hunt, that's what he wants."

"I don't understand." Dustin asked, looking confused.

"He wants to draw us out, like we did to them at La Rochelle." Callum turned on the bed, looking at Dustin fully. "He wants to draw the fleet out. He only attacks merchants. The Airington is a ship of the Royal Navy, yes, but it is only a sloop. That's what we need, we will draw him out with a sloop, and then surprise him in the dark, with our squadron."

"Are you certain?"

"It fits, of course." Callum smiled and kissed Dustin. "We will go to the Harbor Master's office tomorrow and ask of the sloop we captured on our way to La Rochelle. We will make her sea worthy and get her ready, then once the Dover is done with her refit, we shall organize the squadron and set our trap."

"If you say so, Quintan." Dustin said, looking down to the bed. Callum saw the look on Dustin's face, as it glowed in the soft candlelight of the room.

"Dustin, do you have any idea, actually, of just how beautiful you really are?"

"You have told me many times, but I do not see it." Dustin said softly.

"You are, you so are." Callum kissed him softly. "Now, I want no interruptions on this night. Lock the door while I undress, will you?"

"Are you certain?"

"I made you a promise while we were still at sea, and I intend to hold to it. I am very certain, and I will take you over and over again this night."

"Oh, then this night will be the best in my life." Dustin smiled his little boy smile.

"You will have to tell me if it was in the morning." Callum smiled and Dustin leaped off the bed, getting the key, and going to the door. He locked it. "Leave it in the lock." Callum said softly as he got up and slipped off his vest. He dropped it on the edge of the bed and pulled his necktie off, dropping it as well. Dustin walked up to him, smiling.

"May I be of assistance?" Dustin asked softly. Callum smiled back at him.

"If you would like, yes." Callum said just as soft and lowered his hands from his shirt drawstrings. Dustin reached up and undid them and slowly lifted the shirt up and off of Callum, laying the shirt on the bed. Dustin reached down and undid the flap on the long pants, slowly as Callum watched him do it, Dustin knelt in front of Callum, bringing the long pants down a little as Callum was now exposed and Dustin took him in his mouth, swallowing all of Callum's soft length, Dustin applied firm suction and felt Callum firming up in his mouth as Dustin began to move back and forth on him. Callum moaned softly, closing his eyes and tilting his head back, putting a hand to Dustin's hair. Dustin was sliding his mouth back and forth, as he reached up behind Callum taking his hands, sliding them up the backs of Callum's thighs and putting them on Callum's tight cheeks, gripping the muscle in them. Callum moaned softly as Dustin had to back off the ever growing length in his mouth. Callum could hear the sucking sounds on him, and groaned in a soft growl. He opened his eyes and looked down at the sight of Dustin working him over so well.

"Your mouth is so warm and wet." Callum said above a whisper. Dustin pulled off and looked up, smiling, bringing a hand around and wrapping Callum's hard length, jacking on it as Dustin bite his own bottom lip in a boyish smile, his eyes were sparkling in the candlelight.

"You like it when I do that, don't you?" Dustin asked as he licked at the tip of Callum.

"You make me want to unload. You bring it so well."

"Bring it to me, Quintan." Dustin smiled as he licked the tip again. "I wish to take it all in my mouth." Dustin licked again, smiling wider. Callum was breathing harder, as Dustin's hand slid on him, back and forth.

"I'm going to unload." Callum whispered through his rapid breaths, closing his eyes, both hands going to Dustin's hair. Dustin licked at him over and over again. "Yes, like that." Callum whispered, and then moaned long and soft, as Dustin opened his mouth, resting Callum's broad head on his tongue, Dustin's hand worked him back and forth as Callum let go, sending his seed all over Dustin's waiting tongue. Callum grunted as it worked through him, feeling Dustin grip his tight cheek behind him, a finger rubbing over Callum's opening as he coated Dustin's tongue over and over. Dustin was humming his own pleasure at being covered by it, and rose to his feet as the pulsing ended. Callum looked at him with softened eyes and fell onto Dustin's open mouth. Dustin moaned as Callum was working his tongue over and over inside Dustin's mouth, spreading the seed around and taking it from him. Callum slowly pulled back and Dustin slowly opened his soft eyes. Callum swallowed what he had taken from Dustin, and kissed him softly.

"I will never tire of that." Callum whispered.

"Nor will I." Dustin said as he lay down on the bed, looking up at Callum. "I wish for you to take me. I have so missed you being in me." Dustin said softly as Callum watched him spread his legs out, looking up at him in a seductive gaze. Callum let out a breath and lowered himself a little, reaching down and removing his long pants, dropping them to the floor and then got to his knees, placing himself between Dustin's legs. Callum smiled as Dustin lifted his head watching him, putting his hands behind his head to prop himself up so he could see as Callum fell in between Dustin's legs.

Callum licked at Dustin's smooth orbs that hung below his hardened shaft. Callum took them into his mouth one at a time, pulling on them, making Dustin hiss and moan, using his tongue to circle around what he held in his mouth, sucking on them, then let it go, and took the next in, doing the same as to the first. Dustin watched Callum do this to him, as Callum would look up now and then, and then back down to what he was doing. Callum put his hands on the backs of Dustin's thighs and pushed up, making Dustin rock up a little more, as Callum let his other orb go and then Callum buried his face into Dustin's tight soft cheeks, licking and sucking over Dustin's tight opening, making Dustin let go of his head, dropping it back to the mattress.

"Oh God, Quintan." Dustin moaned softly, and then put a hand to the top of Callum's head. "I have missed that so much." Dustin began to pant and lick at his own lips. "I so want to feel you inside me." Dustin was clenching his fingers into Callum's hair, pulling him gently into him further. Callum used his tongue and entered Dustin making him groan loudly at being entered. "Yes,...yes,...I so, it." Dustin panted and groaned again. Fingers gripped tighter into hair, and Callum shook his face back and forth, keeping his tongue inside the opening. Dustin wanted to scream, taking in a deep breath, and held it for a long moment. "I want you in me." Dustin said through a groan, lifting his head, his eyes were wild looking, "Give it to me, Quintan, give me what I so need." Dustin growled, but begged at the same time. Callum shook his head again in between Dustin's cheeks, going deeper with his tongue. Dustin dropped his head back to the bed and he groaned loudly. "Oh, I must have it." Dustin panted, "I must have it now." Callum smiled as he pulled away, getting up to his feet.

"Go further back on the bed." Callum said as he climbed up on the edge. Dustin wiggled and scooted across the bed. Dustin could see that Callum was hard again, and smiled to himself, giving Callum the fiercest look of lust right at that moment. "You want me to take you?" Callum asked as he worked himself between Dustin's legs. Dustin nodded, putting his arms around Callum's neck. "You want me to give you everything that I have?"

"Yes, I need it so badly." Dustin said, rocking his hips up, bringing his hole to Callum's wet tip.

"I want to enter you, slowly, very slowly, and make you want more and more."

"Please, Quintan,...give it to me." Dustin whispered as he rocked his hips up and down, dragging his hole under Callum's dripping tip. Callum started to move his own hips, dragging his wet tip opposite Dustin's movements, and Dustin closed his eyes as he clenched the muscles in Callum's back with his hands, feeling the movement, loving it, knowing he was about to be taken, waiting for it, wanting it. Callum slowly stopped as he entered Dustin ever so slowly, spreading him open with just the tip of his broad head. Dustin went wide eyed at it, and stopped his rocking as well. Callum smiled out of the corner of his mouth.

"You remember that night in the old stable?" Callum asked softly. Dustin licked his lips, remembering that night. "Our first night?" Callum asked as he entered a little more, Dustin panted and moaned. "I want every night with you to be like that for the rest of our lives." Callum whispered as he pushed his head in further. Dustin licked his lips again and closed his eyes, making them close tight.

"Oh,...yes,...give it to me." Dustin panted and clenched the muscles tighter with his hands.

"You want more of me?" Callum asked as he whispered and nuzzled Dustin's soft neck.

"Yes,...yes,...I have to have more of you." Dustin opened his eyes, giving Callum a pleading look. "Please, do not tease me so." Dustin panted and Callum slid in further, Dustin's bottom lip quivered as he went deeper. "You are so long,...and so thick,..." Dustin dropped his arms to the bed up over his head, turning his hands, gripping the mattress covers, "I have so missed it."

"I have missed it as well, my love." Callum whispered as he slid further in, going all the way, filling Dustin with all of him now. Dustin moaned and rolled his head to one side. Callum lay on Dustin fully, as Dustin brought his legs up and locked his ankles behind Callum's hips, letting Callum lay still inside of Dustin. Callum buried his face into the base of Dustin's neck at his shoulder, kissing him, and chewing on the soft skin gently. Dustin wrapped an arm around Callum's shoulder, holding him in place, feeling Callum inside him, stretching him wide, giving him that feeling of being filled. Callum moved a little more and buried himself fully inside of Dustin, giving him a gentle push, rocking him slightly. Dustin went wide eyed and panted. He kissed Callum's cheek as he ran his hands up and down Callum's tight back.

"You have all of me now, my love. Is that what you wanted?" Callum whispered as he hovered over Dustin's ear. Dustin nodded his head as he slowly adjusted to Callum inside of him. "I could be like this all night." Callum whispered as he tongued Dustin's ear. "You feel so good under me like this."

"Oh, Quintan, I have missed this so much. I wanted it so badly when we were at sea."

"As did I. It's too bad we could never find the right moment."

"We never will aboard the Dover." Dustin said in his own whisper. "She demands too much of us, keeping us separate from each other."

"It does seem so, doesn't it?" Callum whispered, kissing Dustin's neck softly. Callum rocked his hips making Dustin moan softly with the movement. "Now that we're on land, and away from our wooden task master, what is stopping us?"

"Only your wounds." Dustin whispered, kissing Callum's cheek again and then chewing on his earlobe. Dustin dug his fingers into the muscle of Callum's back, holding tight, as Callum rocked them both gently together as one, using his toes as traction in the bed.

"I have so much ground to make up for, do I not?"

"This is a good start." Dustin moaned softly, clenching his eyelids tight. "Now, no more talk. Take me, ravish me, use me like you never have before." Dustin said softly with a growl in his soft voice, going eye to eye with Callum, giving him an intense look like he had never given him before. Callum gave him a soft grin in return and rocked his hips, sliding in and out of Dustin. Dustin groaned and dropped his head back to the bed, licking his lips and panted at the feeling of what Callum was beginning to do to him.

Callum moved slowly, with a careful guided motion, sliding in and out of Dustin, pulling himself out about halfway and ten back in fully. He used his forearms to rest on and lift himself up off Dustin a little, Dustin still clinging to Callum's back as Callum took him now. Muscle moved and became fluid in movement, as a rhythm was established between the two, Dustin kept his eyes closed tight, feeling it in him, sliding in and out, exciting him as Callum struck that special spot in Dustin over and over, dragging it back and forth. Dustin relaxed his grip on Callum's back, sliding his hands up and down over the smooth skin, getting lost in the ecstacy that was building in him. With each motion Dustin was breathing heavier and heavier. He was feeling it building in him as Callum continued to rub his magic spot. Dustin would roll his eyes back in his head from time to time as the feeling was overtaking him and then he started to moan deeply, moving against Callum's motions, causing the feeling to become too much and then Dustin opened his mouth and groaned deeply as he cut loose, his moving stopped as Callum continued to move, Dustin dug his fingers in even more into the muscles of Callum's back, and Dustin tightened his legs wrapping them tighter around Callum's hips.

"Oh yes, you do like that so much, don't you?" Callum whispered in Dustin's ear, feeling the clamping on his member as he tried to slid in and out of Dustin. "There is nothing better, is there?" Callum asked in a whisper as he chewed up and down Dustin's neck.

" have,...drained the life from me." Dustin panted as he was breathing hard.

"It was worth it, wasn't it?"

"Oh God, yes." Dustin panted as he loosened his grip on Callum's back.

"I thought as much." Callum said, as he slowed his motion in and out of Dustin. "But, I must change position, my love, I feel a great strain on my chest with my stitches." Callum whispered as slowly pulled out of Dustin, causing a deep moan from him. "It will be better, if you put pressure on me now." Callum said as he lay back in the bed, resting on the pillows. Dustin spun around on the bed, Callum grinned as he knew Dustin wanted more of him, still not satisfied. Dustin came up over the top of Callum, straddling him, and then kissed him softly.

"Are you pained?" Dustin asked, giving him a look of concern.

"Not at all, my love." Callum whispered. "It was only a discomfort in my chest." Callum smiled up at him. "I take it you wish more of us?" Callum asked as he cradled a cheek of Dustin's face in his hand. Dustin smiled giving him soft eyes.

"You know I am never fully done with you. You did say that you would take me all night."

"So I did," Callum smiled up at him, "and I meant what I said. Now, what are you going to do about it?" Dustin leaned down and kissed Callum letting his body lay on Callum's gently so as not to hurt him. Dustin pulled back and looked into Callum's eyes.

"I am going to mount on you, and ride you." Dustin whispered.

"Like that morning in the straw?"

"Yes, I felt you in me so deeply that morning. I want it like that again."

"Then that is what you may have." Callum turned his smile into a devilish grin. Dustin moved on him, and used a hand to place Callum's tip at his hole, then Dustin slowly moved back a little further letting Callum slide into him, filling him up again. Dustin breathed out through his nose at the feeling, groaning softly, as he took all of Callum into himself, sitting on him fully. Callum let out a groan himself as he felt the pressure on his long length, as Dustin was making it stand straight inside of him. Dustin tilted his head back a little, licking his lips softly and quickly, as he rolled his hips sitting on Callum. Callum watched the young tight muscled that was on him, loving it, and loving him more and more with each passing moment. It seemed to Callum that every muscle in Dustin was alive with the sensation that he felt, and was ready to work that sensation like it was line in the rigging that needed securing. Dustin opened his eyes and looked down at Callum as he continued to wiggle his hips on Callum. Dustin parted his lips, taking in a breath and then let it out as he arched his back, feeling Callum move inside of him.

"I could lose myself forever like this." Dustin whispered tilting his head back.

"Then forever it shall be." Callum said, running his hands up Dustin's thighs. "What more of me do you want?"

"I want you to just lay back and relax." Dustin whispered, as he looked back down at Callum, smiling. "I will take care of everything and not let your wounds be stretched." Dustin said rocking his hips even more. Then Dustin began to move himself more, using his legs, lifting himself slightly then falling back onto Callum gently, being filled over and over. Callum was loving the feeling that Dustin made him feel as well and began to moan softly with the motions on him. Callum reached down and took Dustin's hard length in his own hand and let it slide in and out of his soft grip, as Dustin moved more and more. Callum watched Dustin's body, seeing the muscle in it tensing as well as feeling it. Dustin was beautiful this way beyond what he normally was, his hair was wild and free, hanging about his face, trailing off his shoulders, and falling down his back as Dustin would tilt his head back now and again. "Oh God, Quintan, this is such an incredible feeling in me." Dustin whispered, taking in a breath and licking his lips again.

"I feel it as well." Callum said softly.

"Your hand on me is going to make me go off again." Dustin groaned, feeling it build up in him again.

"Give it to me, Dustin." Callum said as he watched, feeling it build in him as well, the warmth of Dustin's insides about him, the wet that made the motions smooth, the tightness on him. Callum felt it coming on him as well. "I'm close." Callum whispered.

"Together then." Dustin said as he took in another short breath. "I feel it,...yes,...yes." Dustin groaned long and loud as he erupted all over Callum's chest, covering him in the clear fluid, Callum could feel the throbbing and pulsing in his hand, and the clamping on his own hard length was too much for him, and he growled out a deep groan as well, going off inside of Dustin, sending volley after volley into him, making Dustin feel it and the throbbing, filling him up inside. Dustin kept moving on Callum but slowly came to a stop, letting out a deep breath, looking down at Callum. "That was incredible, Quintan." Dustin whispered as a smile crept over his lips, and then he licked them again.

"You are definitely a force to reckon with, my love." Callum smiled, still holding onto Dustin. Dustin blinked hard a couple of times and lowered himself, kissing Callum softly, then chuckled.

"You, sir, are the most beautiful lover. I have never been so happy in all of my life." Dustin smiled as he ran a hand gently down Callum's cheek, pushing the back a little. His own hair hung over his shoulders and over both of their faces.

"I would have to argue that point, my love. You are far more beautiful with your soft lithe body. You are truly a thing of beauty, Dustin. I count myself as most fortunate to have you." Callum whispered looking into those sparkling eyes that caught the soft candlelight. "I so love you, I can't help myself." Callum smiled as he kissed Dustin softly then fell back into the pillows.

"We seem to have made a mess of Dr. Crawford's stitches however." Dustin said as he looked down over Callum's chest. He lifted his head and went face to face with Callum again. "We should take care of this."

"It does burn a little." Callum said softly. "It's like salt on an open cut."

"Here then, I'll take care of it." Dustin said as he moved and pulled off of Callum with a slight moan, leaving them both with that empty feeling. Dustin kissed Callum gently and rolled off the bed. He went to the small table at the wall, beyond the foot of the bed, pouring water from the pitcher into the basin. He wet a cloth and wrung it and then came back to Callum, climbing on the bed next to him. "Let me clean this, before it dries and cakes you."

"You seem to have near drowned me." Callum said softly as he watched Dustin wipe off his chest.

"It's what you do to me." Dustin said, and wiggled his eyebrows. He watched what he was doing as he carefully wiped up the mess. "I think you will require a bath before this is all over with."

"I think you might be right." Callum chuckled, running a hand up and down Dustin's back. "I will ask Farrow about it in the morning." Callum said softly. Dustin looked at him, and went back to cleaning his chest and stomach. "Do my wounds trouble you?"

"Yes." Dustin said right away, and then looked at Callum, narrowing his eyes. "I do not wish to see you hurt further. If what we are doing is causing you discomfort, then we will have to stop."

"No, it is not." Callum said. "I wish to fulfill my promise to you, the one I made when we were at anchor in the harbor."

"And you will, I know it. You are a man of your word. But I will not have you strain yourself further if it gives you discomfort."

"The only discomfort I might feel is in the fact that I can't keep my word to you." Callum smiled as Dustin looked at him.

"There are extenuating circumstances, Quintan." Dustin smiled softly. "I understand it if you cannot continue. I am happy with what has happened so far."

"Then I shall make you happier." Callum said as he pulled Dustin down to him, kissing Dustin fully, making Dustin roll on the bed to settle down next to Callum. They dueled with their tongues and Callum breathed deeply in and out through his nose. Dustin moved an arm putting it around Callum's neck, pulling him in tighter to him, wanting more and more of him, as his passion rose again deep down inside him. Dustin moaned into Callum's mouth. Callum let Dustin take him, take full control of him now as Dustin worked his mouth on Callum's fully, Dsutin turned his body, coming to lie beside Callum, covering Callum's right leg with Dustin's left, his hardening length rubbing up and down against Callum's hip, Callum brought his left arm up and around Dustin's neck and shoulders, pulling Dustin more onto Callum as they became more and more entwined with each other. Dustin pulled back and took in a deep breath.

"I can't get enough of you." Dustin whispered looking into Callum's eyes.

"Your skin, so soft, so warm in my hands, I love you so." Callum whispered. They looked at each other for a long moment, and Dustin brought a slight smile to his lips.

"I think I should make you warmer. You feel chilled to me." Dustin whispered. Callum smiled and put a hand to Dustin cheek.

"What did you have in mind?" Callum asked, as he kissed Dustin softly.

"Let us get into the bed together. I shall warm you with the covers and my body." Dustin said as he moved a little. He pulled away from Callum and rolled off the bed, walking over to the small table, putting the cloth next to the basin. He turned and walked back toward the bed, smiling at Callum, who was getting under the covers of the bed. Callum settled himself and held up the covers as if he was inviting Dustin to join him. Dustin climbed up on the bed and slid in next to Callum, settling next to him on his back. Callum let the covers down as he covered Dustin's body with his own. Dustin spread his legs and let Callum shift in between them. Callum took Dustin in his arms and wrapped them about the thin muscled body wrapping them gently as he lowered himself onto Dustin's waiting mouth. Dustin took him in, and wrapped his own arms around Callum's shoulders, running his hands down Callum's back. Dustin rocked his hips up a little and felt Callum's length touch him at his opening. Dustin slowly moved back and forth again the tip and then Callum entered him again as he shifted further up Dustin. Dustin moaned at being entered, and let Callum slide into him fully, taking all of him.

"Oh God." Dustin closed his eyes and groaned softly. He took in a slight short breath and held it for a moment. He opened his eyes and let out the breath slowly. "Oh yes,...again,...oh, I feel you, filling me." Dustin groaned softly.

"This is where you want me, isn't it?"


"Then this is where I shall stay."

"If only this were our bed, Quintan."

"Hmmm, yes." Callum said as he chewed softly on Dustin's earlobe. "But as they say, any port. As long as we're together." Callum whispered as he moved in and out of Dustin. The covers of the bed barely covered Callum as he moved slowly in and out of Dustin. Dustin moaned as Callum moved in and out of him, breathing deeply, exhaling with moans and groans.

"I so love it." Dustin said as he exhaled, tilting his head back into the pillows under him. "You continue to make me feel so very..." Dustin groaned softly, "loved."

"Only for you." Callum whispered, kissing Dustin's neck.

Callum woke to the morning light streaming through the window above his head. He opened his eyes as it was nearly blinding him. He squinted his eyes, looking up toward it, and then back at the bed. He saw the sleeping form of Dustin next to him, as he was laying on his back. He was so beautiful to Callum, the light showing all of Dustin's soft features, the curve of his cheek, the golden brown of his hair as it was free of its ribbon that kept it in the tail, the soft locks as they draped over Dustin's neck, covering the tanned skin, laying softly on his upper chest. Callum sighed and exhaled softly looking at the sight next to him, feeling the love inside him for this boy who always took his breath from him. Callum reached out and touched him, knowing Dustin would not stir at the touch as they had made love long into the night. Callum knew that Dustin would sleep long and peacefully, and had said many times himself, even through cannon fire. Callum smiled softly to himself. The magic of Dustin, his peace, his beauty made Callum feel as if he was under some spell. He loved him so much, wanted to just be near him like this, in this time of the day, the soft beauty of morning that matched Dustin's. If every moment could be like this, he thought, so filled with the vision of it all, the love it made him feel, unlike anything he had ever known in his life.

Callum turned in the bed, slowly and got out, putting his feet on the floor. He walked over to the small table and put his hands in the basin. He wet his hands and washed his face, then looked over his shoulder at the still sleeping Dustin, and smiled to himself. He found his clothes and dressed quietly and went to the door. He turned the key in the lock and opened the door, going out and then closed the door quietly behind him. He went down the stairs and into the large center room of the tavern. He saw Farrow come round the corner of the long counter. They smiled briefly at one another.

"Good morning." Farrow said, nodding his head toward Callum.

"Good morning." Callum replied as he settled into a chair at one of the tables.

"Did you sleep well?" Farrow asked as he raised an eyebrow walking up to the table.

"I did, thank you." Callum smiled.

"You do look,...rested." Farrow said, smiling out of the corner of his mouth. "I would imagine you would like coffee."

"Yes, thank you, if you please."

"I shall be only a moment." Farrow said and walked away. He returned as Callum was looking about the room.

"Thank you." Callum said as Farrow set a small pot on the table with two cups.

"I trust the young master is not up as yet?"

"No, he had a rather long night." Callum said as he poured for himself. "Please, won't you join me?"

"Thank you." Farrow said as he sat opposite Callum. Farrow reached out and took the pot, pouring for himself. "I couldn't help but overhear the conversation last night at dinner with His Lordship. I congratulate you on your promotion."

"Thank you." Callum said as he sipped coffee. "You said yourself that I might be promoted out of all of this."

"Yes, I did. So, what are you going to do with this new posting?"

"I shall do my duty, of course." Callum said, setting his cup down, "What is it that you mean?"

"Only this, that there has never been a commodore posted here in Portsmouth before. You have an opportunity to change a few things as it were with this new posting."

"Such as?" Callum asked as he sat back, picking up his cup, holding it with both hands.

"Such as the fact that there seems to be a lacking of security at the docks. The evidence of that is who actually made a showing in staying here. If there was a more rigid presence of security, shall we say, then there might be more order here in the town as well."

"You wish to have patrols of Marines in the streets?" Callum asked as he sipped his coffee. "I agree that there is a general lack of security, but you are suggesting something that might be deemed as martial law."

"On the contrary," Farrow said, "what I suggest is more of a general feeling of safety for all involved. Such a tendency might promote a greater feeling of prosperity within the area, drawing more commerce, presenting a safer atmosphere for trade for the general populace."

"I see your point."

"Portsmouth has always been a harbor for ships of the Royal Navy. Most, if not all of the supplies come overland from London. If there was general feeling of safety made and known, merchant ships might begin to harbor here as well. Your posting might secure that."

"I see. What you suggest however would be a full time position and requiring constant watching. I have no such desire to make it a full time venture. I have other duties and interests."

"Yes, I know. And he sleeps upstairs, doesn't he?" Farrow smiled out of the corner of his mouth.

"I will not shirk my duty, Farrow, you know how I feel on that point."

"I do, and I have always felt that you carry your duty to far."

"In what way?" Callum asked as he set his cup down.

"In so much that it can blind you to other things around you. You think that it will be one of order around you at all times as you carry out your duty, everything falling into place as it were. But, Quintan, you need to look beyond it and to see what else is there. Your duty, sir, is only a small piece of it."

"Dustin actually said something like that to me just the other day." Callum said softly.

"For someone as young as he is, if he can see it, do you not think that there may be something to it?" Farrow asked, as he leaned on the table with one arm. "He is very intelligent, and very perceptive, your young lad." Farrow smiled. "Perhaps you should heed his words, and take them to heart, if you will not hear mine."

"You know I have always listened to your counsel, Farrow. I always regarded your opinion in the highest, even if it was in anger and frustration."

"Thank you, Quintan." Farrow said, as he sat back in his chair. "What will you do now?"

"I think I shall wait, and see what comes from the talk that His Lordship had with General Emery yesterday. He did not reveal anything to me, but knowing His Lordship, I can assume it will spark some change in the current status."

"Of that I would agree." Farrow smiled and finished his coffee. "I mean no insult, Quintan, but it looks as if you require a bath."

"I do actually." Callum smiled.

"I have a room off the kitchen in the back. We have a tub there for laundering linens. I could have it filled for you, if you wish?"

"Most kind. I shall gather some fresh clothes."

"I will have the water drawn then." Farrow said and rose from the table. He nodded and walked toward the kitchen. Callum went back upstairs. He entered the room, seeing Dustin still in bed, but waking up. Callum smiled at him.

"What are you doing?" Dustin asked as he slowly sat up in bed.

"I am going to get fresh clothes and have a bath downstairs. Farrow is filling a laundry tub for me as we speak."

"Oh, I see." Dustin smiled and stretched out his arms over his head.

"I did not expect you to be up yet." Callum said as he opened his trunk. He pulled out the new brown long pants and another shirt, along with a pair of stockings. He set the lid down and turned back to Dustin, giving him a smile. "I would hate to smell like an old stable when we go into town later."

"Do you think I smell as well?" Dustin asked with a frown.

"You smell as fresh as the morning, my love. And you radiate its warm and glow." Callum said giving him a warm smile and soft eyes.

"You are trying to charm me, sir." Dustin said, raising an eyebrow. "Would it be possible for me to join you as well?"

"Certainly, as we did at the house that day, do you remember?"

"I do." Dustin smiled. "You washed my backside, as I recall." Dustin smiled as he wrapped his arms around his knees, over the top of the covers.

"Yes, as you did mine." Callum returned the smile. "I'm certain Farrow will not mind if you were to join me. Gather some fresh clothes and come down. The room is behind the kitchen apparently. We can assist each other." Callum wiggled his eyebrows and went to the door.

"I'll be down shortly." Dustin said, tossing back the covers and getting out of bed. Callum saw the beauty of Dustin's body in the morning light streaming in through the window, bathing him in bright light. Callum sighed to himself and opened the door as Dustin went to the trunk as well, opening the lid, pulling out his own clothes. Callum closed the door and walked down the hall to the stairs.

The walk to the shop where Callum's tunics were being made was short. Callum walked with Dustin as he was showing the way, Tomlin was following behind them closely. Callum looked back at Tomlin as they reached the door, Dustin going in first.

"Ah, good morning young sir. I was wondering if you were going to return for those tunics."

"Good morning, sir." Dustin said as he walked up to the older man. "I apologize for our delay, it couldn't be helped. May I present Captain Callum to you, sir." Dustin said half turning and holding out his hand toward Callum.

"Captain, it is indeed a pleasure, sir." The older man said stepping forward, bowing his head slightly.

"Thank you, good sir. I understand that you require me to be fitted."

"I do, sir. I finished these a few days again for you, but need to make sure that the fit is alright."

"I understand." Callum said. "I'm certain it will be as using my old tunic for a pattern, but we have another problem as it were."

"Oh? And what is that?"

"I seem to have been given a promotion and will need the tunics to be reworked as it were. I apologize for any inconvenience that it may bring you." Callum said.

"Think nothing of it, sir, I assure you. I take it that congratulations are in order then?"

"It would appear so." Callum sighed, seeing the new tunics as they were being laid out on the table. He stepped closer to the older man. "I have here a sample of the new buttons required for the tunics." He reached into his pants pocket and pulled out the button holding it out in his fingers.

"My word, that is rather impressive looking." He said as he looked it over and then up at Callum.

"Quite. Is it possible to have more of these secured and then sewn on in place of these?"

"It is entirely possible, sir. What is your new posting, if I may ask?"

"I have been given the rank of Commodore actually. There are other tunics being made by a tailor in London. I wish to have more, and since you were already engaged to have these done and not to waste your labors, is it possible to have them match the others being made?"

"Entirely possible, sir. I shall have these new buttons ordered and some more braid as well. I can have them readied for you in about three days' time, I should think." He smiled, clasping his hands together.

"That will be more than sufficient, my good man. In the meantime, I wish to have you fit my young Lieutenant here for a new tunic as well. His new posting has meant that his midshipman's jacket is no longer adequate." Callum said, bowing his head slightly, and then looking at Tomlin, who was blushing slightly.

"Perhaps I should take his measurement then to make certain of a good fit." He smiled, bowing his head slightly. "If I could have you step over here, sir?" Tomlin stepped forward, looking rather nervous about it.

"It's alright, Thomas. A good fit is important to look your best." Callum smiled, patting Tomlin on the shoulder as he walked by Callum stepping in front of two long mirrors that were at an angle to one another. Callum turned and picked up one of his new tunics and held it out, seeing the work in it, the deep blue of the cloth and the braid in it along with the long white lapels of the flaps. He smiled at it, being joined by Dustin.

"He does an excellent job, doesn't he?" Dustin asked in a soft voice.

"Indeed he does." Callum said, leaning his head close to Dustin's, "It's a pity that he has to do it again."

"Yes, however I think he doesn't seem to mind it very much." Dustin said as he looked and saw the man measuring Tomlin. He wrote down the measurements on a pad and took his time in all of it. He had Tomlin turn about a couple of different times, checking waist and length as well. Callum slipped on one of the new tunics and pulled out his tail over the high collar, letting it dangle. Tomlin saw the look of it on Callum and took in a deep breath. Dustin looked Callum over, brushing at the new tunic from time to time with the flat of his hand.

"A very good look." Dustin said softly. Callum smiled hearing it. The man had Tomlin step away from the mirrors and then wrote down a few more notes on the pad. Tomlin stepped to the end of the table looking down at the tunic that remained. He smiled softly, and then lifted his eyes at Callum and Dustin.

"You like the look of it, Thomas?" Callum asked. Tomlin nodded in reply. "Yours should like very similar to these."

"Indeed they will, sir." The older man said, stepping closer to Tomlin. "Note the braid, it will have less of a twist to it, but the same width on the lapels, and the cut will also match. You will strike quite the gaze, young sir, I assure you of that. As to your new ones, Commodore, I see no problem in the reworking of them at all." He smiled at Callum.

"Excellent." Callum said. "I should think that I will also require a boat cloak as well. Something that is heavy to stand against the fog and frost." Callum smiled.

"And for you as well, young sir?" The older man asked Tomlin, who went to speak up against it.

"Yes, as well as for him." Callum said. "I should think that as the season is rapidly approaching, there should be something heavy for you to stand your watch in."

"I beg your pardon, sir, but I..."

"Nonsense, I will require all of my officers to look their best and to be warm." Callum smiled. "I have no doubt that you will agree with that, Thomas?"

"I do, sir, but,..."

"I shall see to it then." Callum smiled, as he slid out of the tunic, laying it on the table. "So, my good man, what would be your tally for the rework and all the other items as well."

"Well, sir," The older man said, looking at all three of them back and forth, "I think two pounds, six would be sufficient." He smiled.

"Really," Callum said as he reached into his pocket again. He pulled out a few notes and handed them over to the older man. "Here is a bit extra for you, my good man. Make certain that you produce three tunics for my young officer here, and that the cloaks are heavy enough. Simple buttons and strapping for the collars on the one, and matching for the other if you will. And I will relieve of my old tunic, as I will be in need of it very shortly." Callum smiled as the older man took the notes from Callum's outstretched hand.

"It will be done, sir." He bowed his head slightly.

"Very good," Callum said, "we will pick them up in a week, then?"

"More than enough time, sir, thank you."

"Excellent. Thank you for your time, my good man. Come, gentlemen, we have a few more stops to make." Callum said, reaching out a hand to the older man, he drew his hand back and picked up his old tunic and draped it over an arm. "Good day to you, sir."

"And to you." He bowed his head slightly.

"Sir, I cannot afford to have..." Tomlin said as they stood out on the street.

"Nonsense, Thomas, of course you can." Callum said raising an eyebrow. "The tally that was provided to you for the prize money, I'm certain you wish to give it to your mother, but, as my 1st, I require you to look your best as well, of that I did not exaggerate. I simply paid for it. And to that, there is no problem as well. I only ask that you continue to do your duty, sir, as I know you will." Callum smiled that smile of certainty.

"You know that I will, sir."

"Excellent, then we will say nothing more of it." Callum raised his eyebrows and Tomlin fell silent. Callum turned to Dustin. "As you know these streets so well, Master Perkins, perhaps you will be so kind as to show us where that mercantile is."

"It is over by two streets." Dustin said as he pointed.

"Then lead the way, if you will." Callum said, holding out a hand. They all walked along together and finally came to a large building. Callum read the sign over it and they walked in together.

The large floor area was filled with all manner of goods, some on shelves, some on tables, some in barrels and in chests as well, the lids stood open showing their contents. Callum walked through the large area slowly, Dustin walking away in another direction and Tomlin was staying close to Callum, stopping from time to time to look at something that might be interesting. A rather large man with a large belly approached Callum.

"How may I be of service to you?" He said in a gravelly voice.

"How do you do? Yes, I am looking for a stove, a cooking stove, as a replacement for a rather ancient one." Callum said. The man bowed his head toward Callum slightly.

"If you will follow me please, I have a few in the back of the store."

"Excellent." Callum said and walked behind. He was led to the rear of the store and was shown three various models, all seemed very foreign to Callum, not really knowing anything about them at all. "I see. Is this all of them that you have?"

"I should say so, young sir. Were you looking for something in particular?"

"Well, I'm not certain actually." Callum said, putting a finger up to his lips. "It's not as simple a matter as I thought. It seems I am in need of another opinion." Callum said as he looked around, seeing Dustin and then waved at him, calling him over. Dustin walked up and looked at the stoves and his eyes went wide at them. "What is it that she requires?" Callum asked.

"I wish I could say, Quintan. I would hate to guess, actually."

"Then how are we to know?" Callum asked.

"Well, it's a simple matter, I suppose." Dustin said as he stepped up close to the one in the middle. He looked it over and then opened a few of the doors on the front looking in and then closed them. He pursed his lips and moved to the one to the left, doing the same to it, then moved to the last one, doing the same to it as well. Dustin moved back to the center one. "I would think that this one would be the better of the three."

"What makes you say that?" Callum asked as he stepped closer.

"The size of the oven chamber itself seems larger than the others. That was her complaint mostly, that the oven chamber was too small."

"I see." Callum said. "Do you think she could make good use of it?"

"I believe so." Dustin said, as he turned and looked back at Callum. "But, I am only venturing a guess you understand."

"Yes, but it is you that spends the most time with her in the kitchen. Is that oven large enough for a good sized fowl? Such as a goose or a turkey perhaps?"

"I believe it is." Dustin said, shrugging his shoulders.

"Then if it is of better size, I think that the choice is made."

"Well, it is certainly is larger than what she currently has, that much is certain. Twice as large, I would say." Dustin said, looking at it again.

"Then the decision is made." Callum smiled, then looked at the large man. "Can you have it taken to Birmingham?"

"Birmingham?" He asked with wide eyes.

"Yes, Birmingham."

"I can arrange that, yes. It will be costly to be sure, sir."

"That is of a small matter. Can you also have it installed?"

"The men that take it can no doubt put it in for you as well, yes."

"Excellent." Callum said, giving a half smile. "Do you think she requires anything as far as cookware?" Callum asked Dustin.

"I noticed that she has only a small amount of pots. With a stove such as this, I can only imagine that she will have some difficulty with what she has to use."

"Well then, let us look about as far as new for her." Callum said, smiling at Dustin and then looking at the larger man. "Would you be so kind?" Callum asked and the man nodded leading them away.

Tomlin was looking over a small trunk that was tucked away in a corner. He was moving the lid back and forth, testing it as Callum walked up.

"I understand that you have only a small sack to carry your things in Thomas."

"Yes, it was a sack that belonged to my father. It is the only thing that is left of his actually."

"Ah, sentiment." Callum smiled. "I wish that I had something of my fathers. He seems to have taken everything with him when he was lost."

"Oh, I didn't know. I'm very sorry."

"I never knew him." Callum said. "He died when I was very young, barely walking actually."

"I see." Tomlin said softly, looking down at the trunk. "And you have nothing?"

"Not of my fathers, no. I do have an old time piece on a chain, that my mother gave to me. She said it belonged to my father's father. I'm not certain however, but the sentiment is there." Callum smiled.

"Why would she tell you it was, if it wasn't?"

"I suppose it brought some comfort to her to tell me that, but it is rather too new to be of any age. I have it up in the room at the inn. Speaking of which, we must be getting along soon. Farrow had made mention of some type of luncheon prior to us leaving this morning." Callum smiled. Tomlin raised an eyebrow and smiled as well. Callum saw Dustin talking to the large man, and walked over to them. "Have you decided on what is necessary?"

"Indeed." Dustin said. "The only thing that remains is to make the arrangement."

"Ah, I see." Callum smiled, "Stick me with the bill, as it were?" Callum smiled and patted Dustin on the shoulder. "Are we in agreement?" Callum asked.

"Yes, sir. I have the direction to the house that everything is to be delivered, sir." The large man said, looking at Callum. "It can be done in the next couple of days."

"Excellent. The lady of the house will be most surprised I'm certain." Callum smiled and was handed the bill. He looked at it, and then into the face of the large man. "Well, this is rather a surprise. I didn't think I was buying into your establishment as a partner." Callum said, and the larger man was taken aback by it. "Still, I suppose that it's worth it, to make her happy." Callum said and pulled out his purse, opening it. He took out notes and handed them over. The larger man bowed his head, taking the notes. "Come, Dustin, I think we have purchased enough of the town as it is." Callum said, taking the larger man's hand. "I trust there will be no problems, my good man?"

"I can see none as this far, young sir. It was a pleasure to help you today."

"I think the pleasure was ours." Callum said, nodding his head slightly, taking his hand back.

"I wish to purchase this small trunk, if you please, sir." Tomlin said to the larger man.

"Which one is that, young sir?"

"This one, right here." Tomlin said, pointing at the trunk behind him.

"Ah, you have a good eye, young sir. That one is three shillings. It is of good quality, the hinges are cast bronze and the body is hard pine. It will float also with its construction."

"Handy, I must say." Callum said, leaning to Dustin. "If I cast him overboard in high seas, he'll have something to cling to." Callum whispered. Dustin chuckled and then coughed, raising a hand to cover his mouth, as he looked down at the floor. Tomlin raised an eyebrow and pursed his lips.

"Three shillings, you say?"

"Indeed, sir."

"A bargain then." Tomlin pulled out some coins from his pocket and handed them to the man, and then put the small trunk up on his shoulder. He walked toward the door. Callum and Dustin walked behind him.

"Please, sir, may I carry your chest for you, sir?" The dirty faced little boy asked. His cobbler hat was sitting crooked on his little head. His jacket was tattered and his knickers had a hole in the knee.

"No, thank you, I can manage." Tomlin said as he pushed past the little boy. The lad moved quickly and got in front of him, blocking Tomlin's way.

"I'm stronger than I look, sir." His little voice stopping Tomlin again.

"I can manage, thank you." Tomlin said, in a slight huff, trying to step around the boy, who was moving in front of him again.

"Please, sir. Only twopence, and I won't scratch it, sir, I swear."

"I told you, my lad, I can manage, and now if you don't mind..." Tomlin said as Callum and Dustin stepped up close behind him.

"What have you here, Thomas?" Callum asked.

"This little urchin wishes to carry my chest for twopence." Tomlin said, looking at Callum giving him wide eyes.

"Well, perhaps the lad knows how far we have to go with it."

"I can take it all the way to the docks for you, sir." The young voice said, looking up at them.

"I'm certain that I can manage." Tomlin said, looking down at the boy, giving him a scowl. The boy would not move.

"I'll tell you what my lad, do you know the Heritage Arms Inn?"

"I do, sir."

"Take the chest from my friend and take it to the Heritage Arms, there's a shilling in it for you. Place it in his room at the top of the stairs, and there's another half crown." Callum smiled. "Can you do that, my lad?"

"Indeed I can, sir." The boy's face was all lit up through all of the dirt on it.

"There's a good lad." Callum said as Tomlin lowered the chest. "Now, we have another stop to make, but if you stay at the inn until we arrive, I will see that you are paid in full for your trouble."

"I will, sir." He smiled wide.

"Good, give the innkeeper the name, Tomlin, you have that?"

"Yes, sir." He nodded.

"Good lad." Callum said, tapping the boy on the shoulder, then looking at Tomlin. "Well, Thomas, give him your trunk."

"It's a bit heavy, sir." The boy strained as he took it.

"Indeed, my lad." Callum said as he leaned down next to the boy's ear. "Now, keep quiet about it, but there is a treasure within. We don't wish anyone to know, do you understand?" Callum smiled and then winked. The boy's eyes were wide as plates. He nodded slowly at Callum. Callum raised a finger to his own lips. "Secrecy is the key to this. No scratches on the finish, and place it in the room, and the reward might be doubled."

"Yes, sir." The boy was still wide eyed, turning and toddled off down the street with his heavy burden in front of him. The three stood and looked after him, Callum smiling.

"You are incorrigible, Qunitan Callum." Dustin said.

"I gave him a bit of an adventure, that's all. What boy do you know that does not crave a bit of that? Am I right?"

"Reminds me of someone." Dustin said softly.

"Oh? And who would that be?"

"Me, a few years ago, living on the streets as he does, begging for anything just to have something to eat." Dustin said softly as his companions looked at him.

"Well, come, my lads, we have one more stop to make, and I shall be very happy about it when it is done." Callum said as he walked away.

The door to the Heritage Arms opened and the three of them entered the foyer. Dustin closed the door behind them and went toward the center room. Callum and Tomlin followed. Callum stopped and felt something behind him, tugging on him. He turned and looked down and saw the dirty face of the boy below him.

"Well, my lad, I'm sorry I did not see you there. I trust you were successful?

"I was, sir." The boy said with a nervous voice. His eyes kept flashing toward the center room.

"Something wrong?"

"Uh, no, sir. I need to be on my way, sir."

"You have a pressing appointment?"

"I,...just need to be on my, sir." He said showing true fear in his eyes now, looking toward the center room.

"Did the landlord give you a problem?"

"He,...does for me being here, sir."

"Ah well, we shall see about that. Come with me." Callum said, and the little lad followed, hiding behind Callum.

"And did you think that that little street beggar might not ransack your room? Steal you blind?" Farrow asked using a firm tone, looking at Tomlin.

"Well, I really didn't..."

"Of course you didn't...think." Farrow said, seeing Callum step closer and then Farrow saw smaller feet behind him. "What is this?" Farrow asked as he pulled the cloth tight that was in his hands.

"Farrow, my good man, I hope we are time for that luncheon that you had mentioned." Callum said.

"Yes, it is ready." Farrow snarled. "What do you have behind you, Quintan?" Farrow asked putting his hands on his hips. Callum looked over his shoulder, seeing the youngster cowering behind Callum.

"I think we have another guest. He looks to be hungry, Farrow. Can we accommodate him?"

"His kind is not welcome here."

"Now, Farrow, do you not have any compassion? Do you not recall when we were of his age? When we were begging to led and helped as well? I think you have a short sighted memory of those times. This lad is a guest of mine. I shall see to him and make sure that he is fed and paid for his labor and trouble. He will be under my watchful eye, I assure you and your reputation shall not be tarnished in the least."

"Bringing beggars in off the street, what's to come next I wonder? Women filling up the tables and taking those upstairs?" Farrow said as he walked away toward the kitchen, mumbling to himself.

"Now that that is settled, Dustin, would you be so kind as to show our young lad up to have him wash? I would hate to have the table linens soiled from dirty hands."

"Quite, Quintan." Dustin smiled, then looked at the small boy. "If you will follow me, young sir?"

"What is your name, my lad?" Callum asked as he turned and looked behind him.

"Henry, sir,...Henry Darrow."

"A pleasure to meet you, Mr. Darrow. If you will go with Master Perkins, he will take care of you, and then you can return and have something to eat."

"Thank you, sir."

"Not at all, Mr. Darrow." Callum smiled and watched the pair walk away toward the stairs.

"Beg your pardon, sir,..." Tomlin said softly stepping close to Callum.

"Have no fear, Thomas. He will be alright with our company." Callum smiled. "I wonder what the little lad has been through in his short life. It must be filled with hardship, wouldn't you agree?"

"I do, sir. He doesn't seem any older than the powder monkeys on board."

"You're right in that for sure." Callum said. "There is something familiar about him though. I can't quite place it however." Callum said softly, and then moved over to one of the tables. He pulled out a chair and sat down as Farrow emerged with a large tray. He carried it over and set it down on the edge of the table and unloaded it, as Tomlin sat down as well.

"Are you certain about this, Quintan?" Farrow asked.

"The boy shows promise, Farrow. He seems to be bright and very driven. He would not take no for an answer when he approach Thomas in the street." Callum smiled. "I may have use for someone such as him. If not here, then possibly at home."

"What? In Birmingham?"

"Yes." Callum said. "The lady of the house might have better use of him than I would. She might be able to task him with the various chores that are about her in daily life."

"I see." Farrow said, turning the tray and holding it before him. "A diamond in the rough that needs polishing? Quintan, you amaze me sometimes." Farrow said as he walked away.

Callum and Tomlin poured coffee and settled into their chairs as Dustin and the young Darrow came back from the stairs. Dustin held a hand on the back of a chair and the young boy seated himself in it, barely seeing over the top of the table. Dustin came around the table to the other side and sat down. Darrow was wide eyed seeing all the food on the table before him.

"Now, my young master," Callum said, "you may eat to your heart's content, until you can eat no more." Callum smiled and then he watched as the little hands were but a blur, filling the plate before him and then shoving the food into his mouth, barely chewing and then swallowing. The three watched him and then looked at each other as he kept eating and eating. They had barely finished what they themselves had put on their plates as the young lad slowed and finally sat back, as if taking a breather. His eyes seemed to be glassy as he looked very sleepy. Callum watched him closely as the little head kept nodding and bobbing now and then. And then finally he slumped in the chair. Tomlin sat there, smiling to himself and then looked over at Dustin, who only shook his head. Callum got up from the table and went to the chair that held the small little body. He scooped him up and then turned toward the stairs. He walked slowly carrying his light little bundle.

"Might I suggest that you put him in my room, sir?" Tomlin asked with a smile, "He seems to know it, and if he wakes, he won't seem so lost."

"Good thinking, Thomas." Callum said as he turned and looked back at the table. "I shall return shortly." Callum smiled and went back toward the stairs and then was out of sight.

"Do you think he knows what he is doing?" Tomlin asked, picking up his fork.

"I do indeed." Dustin said, as he looked toward the stairs. "He is reminded of someone with that boy, someone that needed to be taken care of, as he does. It is a painful memory and I think he is trying to make a wrong into a right." Dustin said softly, making Tomlin look toward the stairs as well.



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