maximus_tm: *post-coital and blissful, sighs very happily* I love both of you.
stephen_maturin: *cannot help but be cautious* Maximus, you have undergone great trauma, torn away from wherever it was you were with your family and returned to this world in a different era. I cannot help but fear that you are confusing love with gratitude.
maximus_tm: *has gone from shock to abject horror* No...please, you must believe that I love you both!
jack_aubrey: *hugs Maximus happily* I love you. So does Stephen. He just has trouble admitting to such things.
maximus_tm: *all but clinging to Jack*
jack_aubrey: *gives Stephen a "would you please do something before he becomes melancholy!" look*
stephen_maturin: *strokes Maximus' back, but speaks to Jack* I do not believe that we should make him feel beholden to us, joy, in case his circumstances should change.
maximus_tm: I am not beholden to you. I love you.
stephen_maturin: *strokes his face apologetically* Do you not think that your feelings might change, if it became possible to return to your own era? Your old life?
maximus_tm: *frowns and looks away*
stephen_maturin: *unhappily, though this is what he expected* Jack and I were speaking the other day about the place you come from. That community where the wizards and space travelers appear. I must admit that I have been tempted, from time to time, to ask that legate_damar whom Jack knows whether he would take me to his planet so that I might see the creatures there. I think I would not go, at least not unless it could be done and finished in a day, which is surely not possible. But you may well have opportunities you have not considered.
maximus_tm: I have met one of my countrymen, in fact, another general, but he is from several centuries after my time. I want to stay here, with you. If I cannot return to my family -- unless I am dead -- I wish to stay with you.
jack_aubrey: *meanwhile is in a state of horror* Stephen...you would consider going off into space!
stephen_maturin: *as if this is a ridiculous point to be arguing* Jack, you know that I would return to you. Have I not always returned to you, no matter where I have traveled, for study or for...my other work?
jack_aubrey: *just as unhappily, to Maximus* It is not impossible, you know, that you should find your family in that place. Sometimes I wonder if it is madness -- children meeting dead parents, and men who killed one another in battle coming together again.
maximus_tm: *is very quiet, pulling away from Jack and looking down at the blanket, finally speaking softly* I know that it is possible that I could meet them. I could meet Commodus. I could meet anyone at all.
jack_aubrey: *gives Stephen a glare over his shoulder and reaches for Maximus, trying to pull him back, quite distressed* Would you tell us, if you did? You would not...take any rash action?
stephen_maturin: *softly* Jack, that place is without laws. If he sought revenge, there is no force to punish him.
maximus_tm: *sits up, still looking at the blanket* If I met Commodus, I would kill him again.
stephen_maturin: *sits up behind Jack, looking at him and trying to smile* Do you realize how absurd that declaration makes you sound?
jack_aubrey: Stephen, I hardly think mocking the man will...
stephen_maturin: *irritably* Jack, I speak in earnest. How many times will you kill him, Maximus, if he can return again and again?
maximus_tm: *shoots a glare at Stephen* I will kill him as many times as I can!
jack_aubrey: I should do the same.
stephen_maturin: Oh, I see. And will this bring your family back? Will it make them free, or you?
maximus_tm: No, but I do not see how he should be allowed to live while they cannot!
stephen_maturin: Then you will devote your entire existence, not to the cause of freedom or peace or even what happiness you might find, but to eradicating him, even with his power gone and his empire vanished.
jack_aubrey: What would you have him do, Stephen, forgive the man? If you met Napoleon, would you find it so easy to forgive him? Or -- I hardly know which men to blame, in Ireland, but would you not call for their blood?
maximus_tm: *sits and stares at Stephen, shaking with anger and grief and helpless frustration*
stephen_maturin: *rather stunned to have Jack turn on him like this, and bring up one thing he has never discussed with him* I have had opportunities, in Ireland. And there are other places I might have gone in Europe, other trips I might have made to Spain, to America...I have chosen to sail with you.
jack_aubrey: So you have. *swallows* Perhaps the situations cannot be compared; I am sorry.
maximus_tm: *gets up and starts searching for his trousers, suddenly feeling like he desperately needs fresh air*
jack_aubrey: *distressed* Where are you going?
stephen_maturin: *having had his focus torn away from Jack* Maximus? Are you well?
maximus_tm: *turns and looks at them, thinking that perhaps the trousers are under the blankets, but it is as though he has forgotten their language now because he cannot form words and the frustration grows inside him until it bubbles up in his chest and tightens his throat*
jack_aubrey: *reaches up and grasps one of Maximus' hands, pulling down firmly until he has no choice but to sit or to force Jack's hand away*
stephen_maturin: *is standing, at the same time, reaching out for him* No, stay. I will go if you wish, only do not let my words come between you and Jack. Stay, brother.
maximus_tm: *is unable to resist as he is pulled down, but he cannot speak and instead stares at a spot just between them, misery clearly written on his face*
stephen_maturin: *goes back to his knees uncertainly, looking at Maximus, while Jack reaches to embrace him, trapping Maximus between them*
maximus_tm: *leans against Jack, slipping his arms around him and holding on*
jack_aubrey: *holds them both, not looking at either of them*
stephen_maturin: *hesitantly strokes Maximus' back, uncertain whether he is forgiven, and clutches at Jack's arm, knowing that Jack will always forgive him eventually*
maximus_tm: *softly* Don't make me leave.
jack_aubrey: No one in this cabin has ever wanted you to leave, save perhaps yourself. I believe that what Stephen is trying to say -- and this has not been one of your finer expositions, Stephen -- is that he would be most unhappy if you left.
stephen_maturin: That is true. I would be quite wretched if you left.
maximus_tm: *gropes with one hand to try to find some part of Stephen to hold on to, as the other stays around Jack's back*
stephen_maturin: *catches Maximus' fingers and leans his head against his back, glancing at Jack, who is stroking his shoulder around Maximus*
jack_aubrey: Will you promise us, Maximus, that if someone from your old life should appear, you will tell us where we may find you before you go and... *he doesn't want to finish this thought*
maximus_tm: Yes, Jack, I promise. I would not simply... *swallows and closes his eyes and holds him tighter, pulling Stephen's arm around him and holding his hand to his chest*
jack_aubrey: *tries to meet Stephen's eyes* There, you see, Stephen, he would not leave without a farewell as Di-- that is, he would not use you as others might have.
stephen_maturin: *looks directly at Jack* There is not only that. You risked your command to pull me out of Mahon. If he went to fight this Commodus...would you go with him, if he asked?
maximus_tm: I would not ask either of you to join me in a quest such as that. I could not put you in danger!
jack_aubrey: I do not know...perhaps it would not even be possible. Perhaps it is not my fight.
stephen_maturin: Maximus, it is not your fight, either. You killed him once. You avenged your family and protected all of Rome from him. For whatever reason you may have been brought back, it is not that.
maximus_tm: *is silent again, shaking a little and hiding his face against Jack*
jack_aubrey: Enough. *urgently seeking a change of subject* Stephen, you never told me you wished to travel in space.
stephen_maturin: *suspecting that a long, tedious discussion of the rudders of space-ships may be about to commence* I do not wish to travel in space, never in life. I wish it were possible to arrive on some other world, study the creatures there, and be home in an instant when I had finished.
jack_aubrey: But then you would never see Europa as you flew around the curve of Jupiter! I should like to see the moons of Jupiter.
maximus_tm: *chokes a little on a laugh, somehow managing to burrow closer to Jack, uncertain what they're talking about but not caring particularly*
stephen_maturin: *strokes Maximus' hair* Then perhaps you should speak to that woman with the flying ship. Though I do know how you hate to travel with a woman. This one seems very, ah, unconfined by the virtues of our own time.
jack_aubrey: *chuckles delightedly, happy to hear Maximus laughing and that Stephen is taunting him in their usual manner* You would not consider a trip to Europa, Stephen? To see if there are rhinoceroses?
maximus_tm: *confused* But -- but what does Jupiter have to do with traveling amongst the stars?
jack_aubrey: Why, the planet Jupiter. I had forgotten, you will not know of Europa -- Jupiter had no moons in ancient Rome!
stephen_maturin: *patiently* Of course Jupiter had moons. They had not been observed yet because the telescope had not been invented.
maximus_tm: Oh. Of course.
jack_aubrey: If the sky is clear tonight I will show you. A fellow named Galileo turned a telescope on Jupiter and found four moons! Though he did go to prison for saying so.
maximus_tm: What a thing to send a man to prison for... *idly stroking Jack's back, relaxing against him*
stephen_maturin: *sighs* He was not imprisoned for discovering the moons. He was imprisoned for refusing to submit to Church authority. As would I have been, in his era, for dissecting a human body.
jack_aubrey: *frowns at this* Are you saying the Papists would not allow your dissections?
stephen_maturin: *really does not want to get into a discussion of Catholic versus Protestant history* We live in a different age. I am sorry we did not think to show Maximus the telescope before. Should you like to see my microscope? I can show you the creatures that live in our water, though perhaps you will not want to see.
maximus_tm: *smiling a little* I would like to see the telescope, and the microscope. But not right now.
jack_aubrey: *kisses the top of his head* What would you like right now, dear one?
stephen_maturin: *squeezes his fingers*
maximus_tm: I would like very much just to stay like this, if that's all right.
stephen_maturin: *gestures with his head to Jack to suggest that they lie back down*
jack_aubrey: *shifts Maximus in his arms and draws him onto the blankets, letting Stephen follow*
maximus_tm: *lies with his head on Jack's shoulder, sighing softly and relaxing*
stephen_maturin: *strokes his back* Are you angry with me?
maximus_tm: No, Stephen. No... *reaches back and strokes his hip, tugging him a little closer*
stephen_maturin: *moves in close, wrapping his arm tightly around him and Jack*
jack_aubrey: *smiles a little at Stephen over Maximus' head*
maximus_tm: I am sorry I was ever so upset.
jack_aubrey: Oh, tosh. You had every right to be, I daresay. It is only because we worry for you that we push you so.
stephen_maturin: I am afraid that I was being selfish. I must apologize, again.
maximus_tm: No, Stephen, please do not apologize. There is nothing to apologize for.
stephen_maturin: Jack was right. I did not want you to leave.
maximus_tm: *lifts a leg and hooks it over Stephen's* I do not wish to leave.
jack_aubrey: *who has spent all day working on deck, and is growing warm and sleepy, having these few minutes to lie down* Then you must stop asking us not to make you leave. The thought had never entered my mind. Nor Stephen's, I daresay.
stephen_maturin: Never in life, joy.
maximus_tm: *closing his eyes and nodding* I shall stop, then. I do not wish to hurt you, either.
stephen_maturin: *lifts himself up on an elbow to look at the two of them*
maximus_tm: *opens his eyes again* Stephen? Why did you move?
stephen_maturin: *strokes his face* Shh. Rest. You too, Jack.
maximus_tm: I want you to stay.
stephen_maturin: I was not planning to leave. I only wanted to see your faces.
maximus_tm: *turns his head a little and looks up at him* Then kiss me.
stephen_maturin: *smiles at him and leans close, kissing him, then Jack, who makes a little sleepy noise, before returning to Maximus*
maximus_tm: *reaches out awkwardly and touches Stephen's face, returning his kiss, and then kisses Jack and settles down again*
stephen_maturin: *shifts down so that his face is against Maximus' shoulder and lies still*
jack_aubrey: *wakes a little later remembering that he has to go on deck because there was some problem with a splice, remembers that Maximus does not know how to fire a gun and decides that he had better have Captain Howard teach him*
stephen_maturin: *begs Captain Howard NOT to teach Maximus to shoot at birds or other living targets*
maximus_tm: *is smiling at this*
jack_aubrey: *somewhat nervously leaves Maximus with Howard and goes to speak to the lieutenants*
maximus_tm: *is kept quite busy with learning about guns and loading them and shooting them, though not entirely certain he likes them*
stephen_maturin: *grumps a little to himself about the guns and does scientific experiments upon a rat*
jack_aubrey: *finally can't handle being on deck anymore, goes down and has the gun crews practice because cannons always make him feel better*
maximus_tm: *is wondering if there are enough supplies on this ship for him to fashion himself a bow and arrow*
jack_aubrey: *is satisfied that the gun crews, at least, are hitting their targets and gives everyone an extra ration of grog*
stephen_maturin: *puts his rat away as it seems to have become agitated from the noise of the cannons*
jack_aubrey: *watches as his table is set up and Killick brings him his port*
stephen_maturin: *leaves his cabin and heads for Jack's, standing in the doorway for a moment*
jack_aubrey: *smiles at Stephen* How is your rat?
stephen_maturin: Fine, Jack. *comes in and sits at the table*
jack_aubrey: *in a lower, more anxious voice* I am sorry if I was abrupt with you, Stephen. I was worried about Maximus.
stephen_maturin: *nodding* I know you were. So was I.
jack_aubrey: Sometimes I think he needs nothing more than a satisfying task and an understanding smile, and I catch myself thinking of him as if he were a midshipman...or a younger brother. At other times I despair of ever understanding him. What you said, about whether he would go on trying to kill his enemy over and over...well, it ain't Christian but neither is he. And whether he meets that man again or not, I cannot see how he can make any sort of life for himself if he will insist on brooding over the past.
stephen_maturin: No, he cannot have much of a life that way. Are you trying to say that you are unhappy with me for bringing it up?
jack_aubrey: No, that is not what I am saying, though I did wish that you had stopped, earlier, before he became so very low. I am saying...well, there must be some way to break him of the notion, but I don't know what it is. I suppose I could ask the chaplain, if we had one.
stephen_maturin: *gives a little half-smile* It is difficult, Jack. I do not know what else to do for him.
jack_aubrey: *sits back and contemplates Stephen for a moment* This is not all too hard on you, I hope.
stephen_maturin: Oh, no, not at all.
jack_aubrey: You have been spending more time with him than I have these past few days. I know it must be difficult for you even when it is pleasurable.
stephen_maturin: *looks at him for a moment, then nods slowly*
jack_aubrey: What can I do? *reaches for his hand* There must be something I can do, for you, if not for him.
stephen_maturin: *holds on to Jack's hand, but seems not to know what to say*
jack_aubrey: Well, he is coming for dinner, I cannot now rescind the invitation, but perhaps I can find others to distract him in Recife, if that is what you wish. I don't want you to be unhappy, Stephen.
stephen_maturin: Jack, I promised him he could come with me.
jack_aubrey: I am sure I can find things for him to do here on the ship, or in port, if you would rather be alone. Though, Stephen, I do worry as much about you when you are alone as I would worry about him.
stephen_maturin: No, Jack, that will not be necessary. It will still be a few more days until we arrive.
jack_aubrey: Two, perhaps -- the new topsail is up to the task. I am only worried...you seemed so happy, a few days back, and he seemed to have forgotten his troubles. I feel as if there should have been something I could have done.
stephen_maturin: I am not sure if there was anything you could have done.
jack_aubrey: *pours them both more wine and wishes Maximus and Killick would turn up already, even though it's early* I would like to play later.
stephen_maturin: *nods* So would I.
jack_aubrey: *cheered by this, launches into a discussion, or rather a monologue, about the new sail*
stephen_maturin: *sits and watches him, smiling a little just to see him happy*
maximus_tm: *steps quietly through the doorway*
jack_aubrey: *looks up and smiles at Maximus* How was the shooting? I could invite Captain Howard to join us for dinner if you would like.
maximus_tm: It was fine. But I would much prefer just the three of us, for tonight, Jack. *sits at the table, across from Stephen*
jack_aubrey: *smiles at both of them, gets up to go see how Killick is doing*
Killick: *grumbles in Jack's general direction which it will be ready when it's ready*
maximus_tm: *looking across the table at Stephen, who looks back at him*
jack_aubrey: *glances back unhappily to notice that they aren't speaking*
maximus_tm: *gives Stephen a smile, which is returned, and immediately begins to tell him how awkward and strange the gun is, and how terribly unpractical a weapon it seems, seeing as though it is essentially rendered useless after being used once*
jack_aubrey: *is about to argue with this assessment except that he can see Stephen is rather pleased by it, so he keeps his mouth shut, merely returning to sit and listen*
maximus_tm: *concedes, however, that he will still be able to use a sword -- and, of course, that he will always be far more comfortable with it*
Killick: *finally comes in bearing food, and an admonition about running low on coffee*
jack_aubrey: *thanks him and doesn't worry about this since they will be in Recife soon enough, and lets him serve everyone*
maximus_tm: *is sure to thank Killick for the meal before they begin eating*
jack_aubrey: *relieved that all seems well, eats a prodigious amount and recalls terrible puns from his past of which he is particularly proud*
stephen_maturin & maximus_tm: *look at each other across the table occasionally, smiling and pleased that Jack is in such high spirits again*
jack_aubrey: ...so we sailed back in the Fleche, which was swift as an arrow. Do you smoke it? Ha, ha, ha...oh, that's right, you don't speak French. Fleche is French for arrow! *is back to laughing uproariously*
maximus_tm: *is utterly entranced, once more, with Jack and his laughter*
stephen_maturin: *is very pleased that Maximus is so utterly entranced*
jack_aubrey: *can see that Stephen is smiling at Maximus and is extremely pleased by this, while Maximus seems to find his sense of humor wonderful, which also pleases him, though he is trying to think of something he can do to make Maximus impressed with Stephen* While we are waiting for the pudding, my dear, what would you think of playing for us that solo by old Bach?
maximus_tm: *quickly* Please do, Stephen!
stephen_maturin: *looks a little startled by the request, and Maximus' eagerness, but nods* Very well, I will. *gets up and sits with his cello, tuning it and playing the piece with great care and attention*
jack_aubrey: *is quite enthralled and moved and might actually have gotten weepy did he not distract himself checking periodically to see if Maximus is enjoying the piece*
maximus_tm: *is enjoying the piece very much, smiling and watching Stephen's hands thinking that whoever saw fit to torture him should suffer very unpleasant things*
jack_aubrey: *cannot figure out what Maximus is thinking, as something dark seems to keep flickering in his eyes behind the smile as he watches Stephen's hands, but he is actually keeping time the way Jack would, moving his arm, which pleases Jack greatly*
maximus_tm: *glances at Jack, and smiles at him, as Stephen finishes up the piece with a flourish*
jack_aubrey: *stands up and applauds rather boisterously*
maximus_tm: *does as well* Wonderful, Stephen!
stephen_maturin: *smiles as he sets the cello aside, and gives a mocking little bow*
jack_aubrey: *grabs his arms on the way back to the table and embraces him* Thank you.
stephen_maturin: *returns the embrace* You are more than welcome, Jack.
jack_aubrey: *lets Stephen go and turns to sit, waiting to see what Maximus will say*
maximus_tm: *sits as Stephen does* That was beautiful. Thank you.
stephen_maturin: *smiles at him* It was my pleasure.
jack_aubrey: *satisfied, gets up to go call Killick for more food and what coffee there is, clasping Maximus' shoulder as he walks behind him*
maximus_tm: *briefly touches Jack's hand and watches him go by*
jack_aubrey: *returns, smiling* I am not certain what we can play together, Stephen, that will equal that.
stephen_maturin: *looks embarrassed* My dear, you are far too modest.
jack_aubrey: That was very fine playing, and you know it full well. Maximus, you have heard us play many pieces...is there anything you would like to hear?
maximus_tm: There was one... the other night... ah... Mozart, was it?
jack_aubrey: Indeed it was. Are we up to the task, Doctor?
stephen_maturin: *smiles* Certainly, Captain. After pudding.
jack_aubrey: *is about to bellow for Killick again when he appears, grumbling but studying them as if he knew something was amiss and is relieved to see it resolved*
maximus_tm: *looks quite eager for his pudding and digs in happily*
jack_aubrey: *watches the other two with a satisfied air* Stephen, will those nuns you know in Recife provide another iced pudding, do you think?
stephen_maturin: I imagine they might.
maximus_tm: Iced pudding?
jack_aubrey: It is...well, you simply must try it. Not a dessert, an entire meal, with...oh, you will be in for a surprise, and when we bring the fruit aboard it will be a heavier surprise! Do you smoke it? A heavier ship, ha, ha, ha, ha.
maximus_tm: *reaches out and touches Jack's cheek and then returns to eating his pudding, smiling quite contentedly*
jack_aubrey: *is now in very high spirits and checks his drinking, lest he should not be able to play*
stephen_maturin: *feels very, very relieved and enjoys his pudding -- a much smaller serving than either Jack's or Maximus', and he frets a little inwardly that Maximus really must watch how much he is eating*
jack_aubrey: *finishes eating, gets up and stretches, then wanders over to his fiddle and begins to tune it*
stephen_maturin: *has already finished his pudding, and follows Jack across the cabin to take up his cello again, improvising a short melody and smiling at Maximus*
maximus_tm: *has turned his chair, and since he is eating his pudding much more slowly -- he does like to savor his desserts -- he cradles it in his hand so he can watch*
jack_aubrey: *joins in the improvisation, which eventually coalesces into a short Vivaldi piece they both know well*
stephen_maturin: *smiles up at Jack, launching into the Mozart almost as soon as they have finished with the Vivaldi*
maximus_tm: *looks delighted*
jack_aubrey: *joins him smoothly, meeting his eyes and smiling*
stephen_maturin: *smiles more, then watches his playing a bit more carefully, as he does want to impress Maximus*
jack_aubrey: *is swaying quite comfortably, not playing with absolute precision but with feeling*
maximus_tm: *thinks that he might get up to dance, if he had a partner, but instead merely sways a little to the music, in time with Jack*
jack_aubrey: *noticing this, reminds himself to tell Maximus the story of how he and Stephen met and chuckles aloud*
stephen_maturin: *glances up at Jack with raised eyebrows*
jack_aubrey: *merely smiles at him, finishing off the piece*
maximus_tm: *puts his bowl down and gets to his feet, clapping again* Brilliant!
jack_aubrey: There, Stephen, did you see? He beats the measure just as I do, and he is not even trained in music!
stephen_maturin: *looks over at Maximus, and sighs tragically*
jack_aubrey: *puts his violin down and starts telling Maximus about how Stephen elbowed him in the ribs and he very nearly called him out*
maximus_tm: *smiles and listens and even laughs a little, even though Jack has, indeed, told him this story already*
jack_aubrey: I tell you, Stephen, had he been born my father's son instead of his own, he and I would be exactly alike. Do you think so, Maximus?
maximus_tm: It is indeed entirely possible, love.
jack_aubrey: *beams at him* What say you, Stephen, is a man's soul formed from his birth or the world around him? Had I been raised by monkeys, would I think myself a monkey?
stephen_maturin: I believe both play into the development of a man, Jack.
jack_aubrey: *abruptly remembering that Stephen is a bastard and that his question may have been indiscreet* Well, observing you, Maximus, I am no longer sure what to believe. I only like to think that I might have had arms like yours.
maximus_tm: *laughing at this* I have seen arms far more impressive in my time, Jack!
jack_aubrey: *is testing his muscles* Have you indeed? How many times were you defeated in the arena?
maximus_tm: *blushes slightly* I was undefeated. But it was not because of my strength, but rather skill, and my brain.
jack_aubrey: *is quite pleased to hear this, after noting how similar their brains must be* Stephen is a deadly shot with a pistol, you know.
maximus_tm: So I hear. *looks over at Stephen*
stephen_maturin: *does his best to look very modest about it*
jack_aubrey: *claps his hands suddenly* Should you like to see the moons now? I will let you use my best telescope.
maximus_tm: Oh, yes, Jack!
jack_aubrey: *grins at Stephen, gets his telescope and clears off the stern windows, dousing all the lanterns to make the room as dark as possible*
stephen_maturin: *sits back and watches, noting how excited Maximus appears to be by this*
maximus_tm: *gets as close to Jack as humanly possible*
jack_aubrey: *sets up the telescope in a sling to adjust for the movement of the ship, trains it on Jupiter which is bright and low in the sky* There...there! Only two, the others must be behind Jupiter.
maximus_tm: *peers through the telescope* Oh...it's beautiful.
jack_aubrey: *is practically bouncing with excitement, through trying not to jostle the telescope* Do you see them there? Those tiny worlds! Useless for navigation, of course, they are so small, but think of it!
maximus_tm: Quite amazing... *looks up at Jack* I wonder why Jupiter has so many moons and we only have one.
jack_aubrey: I have met an astronomer who believes that the larger planets may have more moons than we can know. Did Saturn have a ring, in ancient Rome? ...yes, I know, Stephen, it has always had a ring, but before Galileo, did men know of it?
maximus_tm: *blinks at him*
jack_aubrey: *sighs* I cannot show you Saturn now, at this latitude. It has a... *makes a ring around one of his fingers with a circle of his thumb and forefinger from the other hand*
maximus_tm: *is still confused*
stephen_maturin: *gently explains Saturn's rings*
jack_aubrey: And you may see them yet. Can you imagine what it must have been like to be Galileo? Told his entire life that our globe stood at the very center of all things, and then looking up to see that Jupiter had his own moons, and Saturn a ring?
maximus_tm: I never really took the time to consider such things, but then, I never had to.
jack_aubrey: Why, Rome must have been the center of all things for you. There was no America on your map. You must feel like Galileo all the time.
maximus_tm: *reaches out and pats Jack's arm*
jack_aubrey: *tries to decide whether this is meant as a friendly gesture or an erotic overture*
maximus_tm: *grins at him and looks out at the planet again*
stephen_maturin: *is sitting back and watching them both*
jack_aubrey: *is now watching Maximus, then turns to look at Stephen, somewhat anxiously*
maximus_tm: *stands again and touches Jack's cheek* Thank you for showing this to me.
jack_aubrey: *covers his hand and looks up at him* But I am delighted. When we are north again, I will show you the Pleiades.
maximus_tm: *nodding, leans towards him and kisses him tenderly* You keep opening my world to new ideas, I cannot thank you enough.
jack_aubrey: *enthusiastically* You may not even know of the great Antarctic sea, nor the extinct bones...but Stephen must tell you of the extinct bones. And the cassowaries! They are like chickens as high as a man's hip. Not that I have truly paid them much mind, Stephen is forever scolding me for the great hurry of the Navy.
maximus_tm: *staring at him in wonder*
jack_aubrey: *looks at Stephen a little guiltily* Well, you shall see Brazil. Shall you find another parrot, Stephen?
stephen_maturin: I would certainly like to. *has been watching this exchange with a smile*
maximus_tm: Those were the birds that talk?
stephen_maturin: Yes, my dear.
maximus_tm: I would like to see one.
jack_aubrey: You may have one aboard if you like. I have heard that Faster Doudle has a parrot which he has tried to teach to say -- well, a word which I will not repeat. But the bird will not speak.
stephen_maturin: *raises his eyebrows at Jack's invitation to Maximus, but doesn't say a word about it*
maximus_tm: Then I shall see if I can find one! Though... well, it will have to be pointed out to me.
jack_aubrey: *sighs* I suppose you will want to have monkeys in the rigging again, Stephen.
stephen_maturin: *smiles* Is that your permission, Jack?
jack_aubrey: When have you ever asked my permission before bringing a sloth or a wombat or an ostrich aboard, pray tell?
stephen_maturin: Oh, well. Then I shall bring the monkeys.
jack_aubrey: So long as you do not choose to dissect one on my table. *realizes that the other two are still standing instead of sitting beside him on the locker in the dark room* Why are you both standing? Come and sit by me. Ah, unless, that is, you would like to retire early.
maximus_tm & stephen_maturin: *quickly move over to sit on either side of Jack, pressed hip-to-hip*
stephen_maturin: Is this better, my dear?
jack_aubrey: No. *gets up and moves around to Stephen's other side, urging him toward Maximus* That is better.
maximus_tm: *turns towards Stephen and licks his ear*
stephen_maturin: *squirms a bit* Oh.
jack_aubrey: *smiles at Maximus' initiative and puts his arms around Stephen, pressing him closer to Maximus* There, now do you see?
stephen_maturin: Oh, I most certainly do, Jack.
maximus_tm: Mmmgood. *sucking on his earlobe*
jack_aubrey: *tilts his head and does the same to Stephen's other ear, finding Maximus' hand across Stephen's chest and squeezing it*
maximus_tm: *laces his fingers with Jack's*
stephen_maturin: *squirming* Oh...please. *removes his neckcloth*
maximus_tm: Mmm... *moves his mouth to lick and suck Stephen's neck*
jack_aubrey: *does the same, working to unbutton Stephen's shirt*
stephen_maturin: *moans softly and seems not quite to know what to do with himself*
maximus_tm: *urges Stephen back against Jack and starts licking down his chest*
jack_aubrey: *works Stephen's shirt off his arms and away, then kisses across the back of his neck*
stephen_maturin: *reaches up to loosen Jack's hair, tangling his fingers in it and moaning again, arching as Maximus licks and sucks his nipple*
jack_aubrey: *works his hands between Stephen and Maximus to open Stephen's breeches*
stephen_maturin: Oh--I must--you must be uncomfortable!
maximus_tm: *hushes him and works lower down his body, licking and nuzzling at his belly*
jack_aubrey: I assure you, love, I am quite comfortable. *loosens his own breeches a bit*
stephen_maturin: You are still wearing your coat!
maximus_tm: Stephen. Shush.
stephen_maturin: *moans a little*
jack_aubrey: *wriggles out of his coat in case the buttons are pressing into Stephen and loosens his collar as well* There is no need to weep, I am certain that Maximus intends to be kind.
maximus_tm: *chuckles softly and works lower, opening Stephen's breeches all the way and tugging them down his hips, nuzzling at his cock*
jack_aubrey: *is watching all this over Stephen's shoulder, shrugging bit by bit out of his own clothing and running his hands over Stephen's chest* Doctor, you really must learn when to let your mates take over the care of the patient.
stephen_maturin: I am not a patient OH! *shudders and reaches down for Maximus' shoulder*
maximus_tm: *hums softly, having taken Stephen's cock into his mouth and is sucking gently*
jack_aubrey: *chuckling and continuing to stroke him* Oh dear, are you impatient then? Ha! Maximus, I'm afraid that you must hurry.
maximus_tm: *takes Stephen in as deep as he can, sucking eagerly*
stephen_maturin: *covers his mouth to muffle a cry*
jack_aubrey: *peels his fingers away and bends over awkwardly to kiss him*
stephen_maturin: *moans up into his mouth, fingers tangled in Jack's hair as his hips move restlessly, urgently, under Maximus' ministrations, until he gives another soft cry and spills into his mouth*
jack_aubrey: *is quite aroused and stiff against his back but also simply pleased to see the two of them so obviously compatible in this at least* He gives extraordinary pleasure that way, does he not?
stephen_maturin: *whimpers, watching as Maximus sits back and licks his lips* Oh. Oh, indeed.
jack_aubrey: *a little, teeny bit jealous as he watches Maximus lick his lips* Come here and kiss me.
maximus_tm: *leans over Stephen and kisses him -- or rather, licks his mouth and tongue*
jack_aubrey: *holds on to him and kisses back, tasting Stephen on his mouth*
maximus_tm: *strokes Jack's cheek, and kisses him again, then moves down to kiss Stephen*
jack_aubrey: Shall we all go to my cabin?
maximus_tm & stephen_maturin: Yes.
jack_aubrey: *rises and gathers their clothes, puts the telescope away, taking the one remaining lantern in the larger cabin with them and imagining Killick's aggravation when he discovers that they have doused the rest* Come.
maximus_tm & stephen_maturin: *get up and follow him, walking just a little awkwardly*
jack_aubrey: *piles the discarded clothes, pulls off his boots and stockings and once again gets the blankets from his cot*
maximus_tm: *strips, and helps Jack with the blankets*
stephen_maturin: *removes the rest of his clothing and settles down before either of them can*
jack_aubrey: *stretches out beside him, holding out a hand to Maximus*
maximus_tm: *takes Jack's hand and joins them on the blankets, settling against Jack's side*
jack_aubrey: Will you have me, Maximus?
maximus_tm: Oh, Jack, yes, I will.
stephen_maturin: *whimpers and rolls onto his side so he can watch*
jack_aubrey: *reaches and holds Stephen's hand as he rolls over, presenting his hips to Maximus* Then take me.
maximus_tm: *finds the oil, slicking his fingers and pressing them against Jack's hole, rubbing over it gently*
stephen_maturin: *raises Jack's hand to his lips, kissing his fingers*
jack_aubrey: *is moaning quietly, brushing his fingers over Stephen's lips and trying gently to penetrate with a fingertip as his hips encourage Maximus to do the same to his bottom*
stephen_maturin: *opens his mouth and sucks tenderly on Jack's finger*
maximus_tm: *pushes a fingertip inside him, leaning towards him to kiss his shoulders* Dear Jack...
jack_aubrey: *groans softly again, rocking toward Maximus and enjoying Stephen's tongue on his finger* Oh...you must be quick, love, I have little control...
stephen_maturin: *reaches for Jack's hands, holding them against his chest so that he may not touch himself*
maximus_tm: *prepares him quickly, then slicks his own cock and rubs it against his entrance*
jack_aubrey: *braces himself against Stephen and pushes back, still moving his finger between Stephen's lips and making quiet noises*
stephen_maturin: *watching Jack's face intently, sucking on his finger again*
maximus_tm: *presses inside, moaning against Jack's shoulder, then holding himself still for a moment before starting to move*
jack_aubrey: *lets out a loud groan, throbbing against Stephen's thigh* Oh...yes...
stephen_maturin: *presses his thigh against Jack and moans around his finger*
maximus_tm: *groans and slips an arm around Jack's chest, fucking him slowly*
jack_aubrey: *is trying to move his hips much faster than Maximus, thrusting against Stephen's thigh and switching fingers for more stimulation*
maximus_tm: *obliges Jack, thrusting faster, unable to hold himself back*
stephen_maturin: *releases one of Jack's hands to stroke his cock*
jack_aubrey: *shudders* Oh Stephen I -- *breaks off with a cry, clenching around Maximus, and then spends himself in Stephen's hand*
stephen_maturin: *sighs softly and releases Jack's fingers, bringing his own hand to his mouth*
maximus_tm: *gasps, feeling Jack tighten around him, and thrusts in deep a few more times before he spills inside him*
jack_aubrey: *is limp against Stephen, suddenly bone-tired, reaching awkwardly back to stroke Maximus' hip and holding on to Stephen with his other hand*
maximus_tm: *presses himself against Jack's back and holds onto him*
stephen_maturin: *moves closer, kissing Jack tenderly*
jack_aubrey: *kisses him back softly, letting Stephen press him closer to Maximus* So very good...
maximus_tm: *stroking Jack's chest and kissing his shoulders, making small noises of contentment*
stephen_maturin: Love. *kisses Jack again, then closes his eyes and rests his head on Jack's arm*
jack_aubrey: *mumbling to Maximus* Can't seem to keep my eyes open.
maximus_tm: Mmm. Go to sleep, love. I'll be here when you wake.
jack_aubrey: *makes a pleased noise, strokes his hip again, tries to stroke Stephen but his hand won't cooperate and he gives up*
stephen_maturin: *is already asleep*
maximus_tm: *gently rubbing Jack's chest*
jack_aubrey: *gives a soft moan of happiness and surrenders to sleep*
maximus_tm: *sighs happily and closes his eyes, drifting off*