dorinda: a tall ship with all sails set (sailing ship)
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While Yuletide was in full swing, I also signed up to contribute to the holiday season Advent Calendar in the [community profile] perfect_duet Jack Aubrey/Stephen Maturin community. I was nervous about it, but I figured I'd be done with my Yuletide story by then and my writing engines would hopefully still be revving.

And luckily, that's how it turned out! So right after finishing my Yuletide Jack/Stephen, I was able to turn to another Jack/Stephen, this time more specifically drawn from the books:

Salt Water Unbounded (2770 words) by Dorinda
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: Aubrey-Maturin Series - Patrick O'Brian
Rating: General Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Relationships: Jack Aubrey/Stephen Maturin
Characters: Jack Aubrey, Stephen Maturin
Additional Tags: Age of Sail, Hurt/Comfort, Swimming, Trust, Aftermath of Torture
Summary:

In the aftermath of the torture at Mahon, with Stephen injured and Jack kept at a distance, how can they both recover?




It's set during the third novel, HMS Surprise, between chapters 4 and 5. After my first full read-through of the books, I was visiting friends, and kept talking to them about how amazing that part of the book was. Stephen is rescued from terrible torture in chapter 4, and then there's a time gap, and in chapter 5 we see that he is much better and now goes swimming with Jack. We get some mentions in hindsight of what the recovery period was like, but we don't get to see it happening.

And I was fascinated, because we are both shown and directly told that Stephen hates to be helped, and yet it was during this very vulnerable time while he was so badly injured that he was willing to let Jack teach him to swim. It felt like an amazing gift of trust on his part--trusting Jack with his wounded body and his pride both, and finally letting Jack help him, which we know Jack longs so much to do. It seems like a potentially healing time for the both of them, after such trauma.

(I highly recommend the book HMS Surprise, one of the prime Hurt-Stephen books in the series. It has the torture and rescue, it has Stephen being shot in a duel and operating on himself as in the movie, it has him in emotional anguish...kind of a Stephen-shaped piƱata. :D )
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