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Fanfic / Harboured & Encompassed

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Harboured and Encompassed is a Modern AU fanfic based in the TV Horatio Hornblower universe set in a library. It's a novel length Queer Romance (the first part has 27 chapters). It was started in 2016 and completed in 2017. Its author is known as bbcphile.

Insanely hot but socially awkward Horatio Hornblower is a PhD student specialising in the naval history of Napoleonic wars. He gets a prestigious internship at the library of the National Maritime Museum. On his first day, he meets one of the library patrons, Archibald Kennedy, an easy-going, insanely hot aspiring actor who has just been cast as a naval officer in a period piece set in the era of Napoleonic wars. (It's all very recursive and very meta, especially once Archie starts reading real person fics about himself that are based on the in-verse period movie.)


Harboured and Encompassed can be found here. All works belonging to the series, including sequels and prequels, can be read here.

The work provides examples of the following tropes:

  • Alternate Universe Fic: Familiar Contextual Reassignment: Modern AU Library fic. The characters who are young naval officers in canon are re-imagined as students of naval history and one of them is an aspiring actor who has just been cast as an officer of the British Royal Navy in a period piece.
  • Adaptational Wimp: Horatio is scared of heights in the original series, but in this Modern AU, just being on a stepladder is enough to give him jitters. When he ends up 90 meters above ground in a stuck cable car, he comes close to fainting and falling to his death. This is probably justified, considering the fact that he's a desk worker, not a swashbuckler.
  • Artificial Limbs: Modern-day Seadog Peg Leg variant. Will was a sailor and lost a leg in action at sea. He has a prosthetic leg.
  • Comforting Comforter: It's summer, but when Archie is recovering from a seizure, Horatio brings a blanket to cover Archie anyways.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: Archie who suffers from epilepsy and has frequent PTSD attacks. He was being raped by Jack Simpson, his classmate from RADA (Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts).
  • Dismissing a Compliment: Horatio regularly dismisses Archie's honest compliments, so Archie starts incorporating them into jokes.
  • Distress Ball: Horatio. Archie and Horatio know that Jack is stalking Archie and that he's dangerous, yet Horatio insists on going to Archie's flat to get him some things so that he can crash at his place, most importantly his epilepsy medicine. Just so that Jack can come, attack Horatio and nearly kill him.
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  • Distressed Dude: Archie often falls victim to his epilepsy and PTSD. Horatio helps him when he collapses in the library and later, their romance has strong elements of Rescue Romance.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Hannah to the (dramatic) rescue! In the hallway, she clonks Jack on his head with a fire extinguisher and saves Horatio just in time.
  • Everyone Is Gay: Every romance and relationship in this fanfic is queer. Archie and Horatio (and later plus Will) are gay. Styles and Matthews are gay, Hannah and Will's sister Victoria are lesbians or possibly bi and they hit it off, too. Even Jack Simpson is a gay rapist. The only heterosexual couple is Archie's parents.
  • Face Your Fears: Horatio deliberately attempts to do this by riding in a cable car, only to end up in a far worse situation than expected. Thankfully, he has Archie and Will to help him through it.
  • Gender Flip: Male to female. Midshipman (No First Name) Clayton (friends with midshipmen Archie and Horatio in canon) becomes Hannah Clayton who is Archie's friendly neighbour.
  • Hurt/Comfort Fic: Hurt and comfort: by the bucketloads! Archie's epilepsy, PTSD, panic attacks, eating disorder and sleeplessness, then Horatio's fear of heights and a subsequent panic attack, Jack's attack of Horatio... lots of opportunities for the other to worry over his love, to comfort him and make it all better.
  • Idiot Ball: The very clever, very competent Horatio firmly grabs it when he goes to Archie's flat even though Archie warns him that it's dangerous and that it's likely that violent Jack will be there and will attack him. And there were several possibilities to avoid this: they could have called kindly Hannah to bring them the pills or they could have gone to Archie's doctor for prescription or even to the hospital, which would have been probably the smartest thing as Archie was in a very poor state both physically and mentally anyway. Or Horatio should have asked someone to go with him — he definitely should not have gone there alone. It's hand-waved by them being sleep-deprived and not thinking clearly.
  • I Call Her "Vera": Horatio calls his car The Indy, which is short for The Indefatigable. (In canon, HMS Indefatigable is a ship where Archie and Horatio serve together.)
  • I Want My Beloved to Be Happy: Will has had feelings for Horatio for quite some time, but it’s Archie who wins Horatio’s heart. It hurts, but Will doesn’t resent Horatio for choosing someone else, believing that the more people who love Horatio, the better.
  • Lighter and Softer: Almost a guarantee, considering it's a modern AU without war or sodomy laws to hinder the romance. Far from pure fluff however, this fic handles themes of rape, stalking and assault.
  • Meet The Inlaws: Horatio and Archie meet each other's parents while recovering in the hospital. Horatio meets Archie's siblings as well.
  • Nerds Are Innocent: Horatio is uninterested in romance until Archie comes along. He's also oblivious to sexual innuendos and unable to recognize flirting. When Archie has a panic attack in the middle of a make out session, it doesn’t even occur to Horatio that this reaction might be due to past abuse.
  • Nice Guy: Will, Horatio's roommate. He likes Archie straight away and loves Horatio even if he isn't loved back... He's always helpful and considerate.
  • Polyamory: In the sequel, Archie and Horatio get another boyfriend: Will, and they are in a happy committed relationship.
  • Pretty Boy: Horatio, Archie, Will. All of them are young men and explicitly described as gorgeous.
    • Archie thinks that Horatio is simply gorgeous. It's the cheekbones and generally his hotness. His sister compliments Archie on scoring a 'ridiculously cute boyfriend'. (Picture Ioan Gruffudd in his early to mid twenties.)
    • When they meet, Horatio keeps thinking about Archie's attractiveness and thinks that he's remarkably photogenic. He loves his radiant smile, his reddish-blond hair and his very, very blue eyes. He's fairly short but with good physique. (Picture baby-faced Jamie Bamber in his early to mid twenties.)
    • Will is slightly older than boys, but he's also a very attractive young man who is more on the pretty side. (Picture young Paul McGann in his mid to late twenties.)
  • Queer Romance: Archie and Horatio's gay love story is the focus of the story. They later have a same-sex polyamorous relationship with Will.
  • Single-Target Sexuality: Horatio falls in love with Archie almost immediately, but before that, he didn't even realize he was gay. He ponders whether he's Archie-sexual. Later in the sequel, he's in a committed relationship with Archie and Will (who was his roommate), so presumably he grows out of it or he levels up to Double-Target Sexuality.
  • Serenade Your Lover: Archie sings for Horatio in a bar, complete with dancing on a table and kissing Horatio in front of everyone. Subtlety is not his forte.
  • Shirtless Scene: Horatio forgets to finish dressing because he's focused on cooking breakfast. Archie doesn't mind.
  • Streaking: Will tells the story of how Horatio run naked in the students' dormitory by accident.
  • Through His Stomach:
    • Archie brings Horatio breakfast (and most importantly, coffee) the day after meeting him.
    • Horatio cooks for Archie.
  • Trying Not to Cry: Horatio tries and fails to keep himself from breaking down after Archie tells him about Simpson's abuse and has a seizure shortly after.
  • Vomit Discretion Shot:
    • Archie runs off to throw up after having a panic attack.
    • Horatio gets motion sick in the cable car. Fortunately for him (and the cleaning staff), Will anticipated this and brought sick bags.


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