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DoS: Summer Edition #8 [Hamlet Request #4] - if there's a place for [us] that love has kept protected [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]
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DoS: Summer Edition #8 [Hamlet Request #4] [Jul. 25th, 2011|02:18 am]
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WARNING: Character death, but with the bells and whistles for which I have an unfortunate knack. The request called for a canon kiss. This piece ran long.

It Will Be Now

As Fortinbras begins to speak, four soldiers crowd close around Horatio, smelling of sweat and horses. He swallows, prepared to let go even as they begin to lift—

Every muscle in Hamlet's body seizes, his fingers locked on Horatio's forearm. Horatio is learned enough to know that death by poison is not always swift. He clutches back, fingers at Hamlet's elbows. Be it reflex or revival, they'll have some time left.

And it will hurt.

"Not yet," Horatio pleads, curling forward until his chin rests on Hamlet's damp head. "Leave us a while. Please, my lord." He doesn't know if Fortinbras is even listening.

The soldiers' rank, unwelcome warmth retreats. Horatio raises his head to find Fortinbras standing over him. The Norwegian prince looks tired and testy in the hall's spare light. He shouts at the cowering courtiers, all cold, weary authority.

"Did you not hear the scholar? Follow my men!"

"For this favor, much thanks," says Horatio, softly. Hamlet's fingers twitch.

Fortinbras drops to his haunches beside them, studying Hamlet with vague unease.

"How came he poisoned?"

"By Laertes, there, son of the slain Polonius. The blade was fouled."

"And the poor wretch himself?"

"By his own weapon, at Prince Hamlet's hand."

Hamlet stiffens at the sound of his name, coughs a trickle of blood.

It's then that Horatio knows his course, and Fortinbras knows it, too.

"Was it conspiracy, then? Whose?"

"The king's, begun with the murdering of his brother."

Fortinbras nods, setting an awkward hand on Horatio's shoulder.

"You seem an honest sort, to have earned the prince's love. What testimony else?"

"Search the royal chambers," says Horatio, curtly. "You'll find his tables."

"Thorough of him, to have writ on it," Fortinbras murmurs. "Had he much to suspect?"

"Very much," Horatio reassures him, dabbing at the trickle of blood as Hamlet twisted in his grasp. There was fight in him, doomed though he was, some awareness—

Hamlet chokes, tries to speak, and it sounds like nothing earthly ought.

Fortinbras lifts his hand as if burned, rising quickly.

"I'll fetch my surgeon. Don't move him."

They're alone with the echo of footfalls and surrounded by the dead.

Hamlet chokes again, his eyes half slitted. It must be torture.

"Not strict enough," Horatio mutters, casting about for the cup. It's still standing next to Hamlet's thigh, within easy reach and at least a third full. He lifts it to Hamlet's lips, and the prince needs no urging. He takes one mouthful and gags. What he's unable to swallow runs down his chin, further soaking his bloodied collar.

"No," he agrees, turning the syllable into a wrecked laugh.

"You never did rest easy," Horatio says, and finally, finally, tears come.

Hamlet shakes his head, his cheeks drained and his smile terrible.

It takes very little effort for Horatio to bow his head again, this time for a kiss. He swallows what he finds on Hamlet's lips—one last, stunned gasp—and then delves deeper, tastes blood tinged with the pearl's bitter taint on Hamlet's tongue.

The prince just stares up at him, labored breath subsiding on a sigh. Already, there's white-hot pain in Horatio's throat and bile rising to meet it. He doesn't have to think twice about drawing Hamlet's hand to his mouth, doesn't have to explain himself.

Not now, and not for this.

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[User Picture]From: irisbleufic
2011-07-30 10:05 pm (UTC)

Thanks again. I'm leaving Hamlet now for points Sherlock ;)
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[User Picture]From: sabrinaphynn
2011-07-25 02:54 am (UTC)
Yep fucking beautiful about covers it.
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[User Picture]From: irisbleufic
2011-07-30 10:06 pm (UTC)

Thank you for reading, my dear.
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[User Picture]From: irisbleufic
2011-07-30 10:06 pm (UTC)
*hugs and tissues*

Thanks again. So sorry these comment responses are late, everyone...
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[User Picture]From: peach_megumi
2011-07-25 11:34 pm (UTC)
...I am more than a little in love with your writing.

This is beautiful and it hurts. Really, how do you do it?
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[User Picture]From: irisbleufic
2011-07-30 10:07 pm (UTC)
I spend too much time awake at night, is the answer to that ;)

Thank you so much *hugs*
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[User Picture]From: boxes_of_shins
2011-07-26 04:15 pm (UTC)
Oh thank you, this is wonderful. I'll just be over in that corner, sobbing. (sobbing in the best possible way, of course)
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[User Picture]From: irisbleufic
2011-07-30 10:07 pm (UTC)
*tissues for you, too!*

Thank you very much, my dear.
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[User Picture]From: mazaher
2011-07-26 05:10 pm (UTC)
C'thia is so hard at times.
I can only try and keep in mind that you also wrote At this chance, and what follows.
I choose to see this as a prequel.
Shakespeare would have loved this-- he would not have been jealous, though, because he knew how to value beauty and truth when he saw them.
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[User Picture]From: sheerpoetry
2011-07-26 08:41 pm (UTC)
A prequel? You genius!
(I managed to fit all the Hamlet pieces together in my head and was wondering where to put this one.)
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[User Picture]From: sheerpoetry
2011-07-26 08:40 pm (UTC)
How much I cried when reading this is really quite embarrassing. But it's absolutely gorgeous. You always manage to give such life to Horatio!
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[User Picture]From: irisbleufic
2011-07-30 10:09 pm (UTC)
I love him, and I'm angry when his character isn't done justice in a production.

Thank you :)
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[User Picture]From: hsavinien
2011-07-29 04:05 am (UTC)
*hugs Horatio and sniffles* Oh...
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[User Picture]From: irisbleufic
2011-07-30 10:09 pm (UTC)
*hugs you*

Thanks <3
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[User Picture]From: morelindo
2011-07-31 10:23 pm (UTC)
Because I'm mean and nitpicky, I have to point out your tense slip-up

"Very much," Horatio reassured him, dabbing at the trickle of blood as Hamlet twisted in his grasp. There was fight in him, doomed though he was, some awareness—

That said, oh, this, this so much. Apart from the pain of Horatio being left to suffer, what gets me most about the play is that, in canon, he doesn't get to tell Hamlet's story, doesn't get to do it justice. Thanks for giving him the opportunity to do so, fulfill Hamlet's last request, before going, which then only seems logical.

Beautiful as ever, which doesn't need saying, but I'll say it anyway. And the Elizabethan dialogue is so spot-on my inner English Literature graduate is flailing all over the place.
Thank you.
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[User Picture]From: irisbleufic
2011-07-31 10:28 pm (UTC)
(Tense slip corrected. I'm just as mean and nitpicky as you are, so that's fine!)

Thank you very much *hugs* I always did feel that Horatio was being told to stay behind and explain things against his will, although he accepts the task and knows it's important.
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[User Picture]From: fog_shadow
2011-08-03 02:08 am (UTC)
I sometimes get squeamish around H/H slash, but this was absolutely beautiful. I love the sympathetic yet business-like Fortinbras, the loose-ends resolved more quickly than Hamlet had forseen, and of course the remainder of the poison.
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[User Picture]From: irisbleufic
2011-09-07 09:11 am (UTC)
I think Fortinbras gets a bad rep sometimes! I don't like it when he's played as shameless and opportunistic; I do think he's got a measure of humanity to him (the clues are there in his dialogue), and it's best to keep that in mind.

Thank you for reading! :)
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[User Picture]From: darklight90
2011-08-03 12:39 pm (UTC)
Oof, the pain just flows through. Captivating nonetheless.
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[User Picture]From: irisbleufic
2011-09-07 09:10 am (UTC)
The trouble with writing Hamlet!fic is that sometimes I'm compelled to stick to the canon ending (which tears me to bits), and sometimes I feel rebellious enough to slip into my AU scenario (which fills me with glee). Thank you so much for reading :)
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[User Picture]From: ciaranbochna
2011-09-07 01:59 am (UTC)
Oh gods...of course he would.
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[User Picture]From: irisbleufic
2011-09-07 09:09 am (UTC)

I've just gotten up. You've been off on a reading spree, I see. I shall come along behind you and pick up the pieces, because that's my job <3

Thank you, my dear.
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