windroars: (hitsugaya; cool cat)
Wind ([personal profile] windroars) wrote2012-01-23 03:50 pm

Fanfiction || The Narcissus 03

Title: The Narcissus
Fandom: Bleach
Main Characters: Hitsugaya Toushirou, Matsumoto Rangiku
Rating: R
Genre: General/Alternate Universe/Adventure/Suspense/Romance
Warnings: Historical inaccuracy, violence, some language, sexual abuse, and undetailed sexual scenes (both consensual and non-consensual)
Timeline: The Narcissus takes place in a fictional corner of the world around the late 1600s and early 1700s, when the golden age of piracy is beginning to wane. It centers around three particular countries that are entangled in rocky alliances with each other after a war that left a bad taste in a lot of people's mouths.
Summary: Rangiku Matsumoto is thrust into unwilling captaincy when former captain Gin Ichimaru is captured by the royal navy. In a moment of drunken desperation, she drags her crew down with her to kidnap a prince and force a trade. But who is this boy by the prince's side, and why can't she tell what he's thinking?


~*~

Chapter Three

Gin’s Flowers

~*~


Hitsugaya erupted from the frigid depths, eyes wide in hypothermic shock as he thrashed about the ocean’s surface like a mad man. Wood and various other buoyant debris from the explosion that had crippled his galleon were floating everywhere, but it still took an incredible amount of effort for him to find and cling to one. Once he finally had, however, a very different obstacle took up its position as his top priority. His eyes darted left and right, frantically searching for his companion, perhaps the only person in the world who would actually let Hitsugaya drag him off to drown. And as such, he wasn’t too keen on letting him do so. A floundering pair of arms working their absolute hardest to keep afloat signaled the end of that particular search as Hitsugaya hastily kicked the large piece of driftwood toward the prince and pulled Yamada’s upper body on top of it.

“Are you alright?” he asked, only to receive an indignant glare from the sopping prince as his reply. He sighed. “If you’re alright enough to hate me, than you’re alright enough to swim.”

“Where?!” Yamada spluttered incredulously, still not quite over the fact that he had just seen his entire life flash before his eyes.

“There, of course,” Hitsugaya replied, pointing toward the looming pirate ship. “Where else? We’re no where near close enough to the coast to swim back to land.”

“B-b-but-!” he couldn’t even think of the right words to describe the horror of what Hitsugaya had just suggested. Hadn’t they just finished running away from the pirates?

“Listen, they’re boarding our ship, which means there won’t be as many people on their own ship,” the young man continued, doing his best to steer their make-shift life boat toward the large galleon. “We have no where else to go; this is our only option, the only choice that has even the slightest chance at survival. So why don’t you stop complaining and start kicking already? Unless you’d prefer to drown?”

A new expression wiped out the prince’s earlier, shocked and disbelieving one. In all honesty, he’d rather drown slowly and panicking than have to face the people who were currently in the process of murdering every single man aboard their ship. But he knew Hitsugaya too well to say so. In fact, the very thought made him feel ashamed. Shame was nothing new to him, but that didn’t mean he enjoyed feeling that way. To think that he was so cowardly… Hitsugaya really was right when he said that. That was why he had agreed to stay by his side. Because Hitsugaya wasn’t a coward. He steeled his lips into a thin frown and, ignoring the freezing cold temperature of the water, began kicking his legs as vigilantly as he could muster.

They made it to the ship rather quickly, seeing as it wasn’t in motion, and Hitsugaya began searching for any sort of handhold. No such luck. The pirate galleon, despite being visibly worn, was in surprisingly good shape. Someone on that stupid ship was certainly talented, not that this was any time to be complimenting his enemies. Just as he was about to try the other side of the ship, where it would be much easier for them to get caught up in the ensuing battles, Yamada pointed off to their right. “What’s that?” he asked, squinting into the distance.

How the prince could see anything in this darkness Hitsugaya would never know, but he nodded nonetheless, and they headed in that direction. A glint of metal caught Hitsugaya’s eye, and it wasn’t hard for him to realize what Yamada had found. One of the grappling hooks was lodged into the side of the ship, its rope left uncut in light of the mayhem. He grinned as he turned to his companion. “I’ll climb first. Follow directly behind me,” he instructed. Yamada nodded. He hadn’t wanted to go first anyway.

With that settled, the two began their climb, no small task considering they were scaling a galleon. The young servant tried to keep his mind occupied on what they could do when they came aboard. They would have to find a life boat if there was one. And if there wasn’t one, well, he supposed bloated corpses would float just as well. His rather morbid line of thought was cut off, however, when they had neared the top and his curiosity got the better of him.

The rope they were scaling passed right over the ship’s given name. It was probably painted in a dark red or blue color, but he couldn’t tell in the lack of light. He could make out the letters though, and so he pulled his head back away from the wood in order to get a better view. What he found was not good. He halted, staring in awe at the name before him. Of all the people, of all the times, of all the damned coincidences that could have presented themselves to him right now, it had to be this one.

“Hitsugaya? Are you okay?” Yamada ventured his concern when Hitsugaya had stopped. But just as soon as he had spoken, the stubborn, persistent man immediately began climbing once again.

“I’m fine. We’re almost there, so keep quiet. I think I hear voices toward the bow.”

Yamada nodded even though Hitsugaya wasn’t looking at him. He waited until his companion had gone over the railing completely before he too began to pull himself up onto the deck. Hitsugaya was looking around, obviously searching for something that would help. Yamada followed right behind.

“Dammit,” Hitsugaya cursed under his breath. “Dammit. Dammit. Dammit.”

He knew he shouldn’t have gotten his hopes up; this was a pirate vessel after all. It wasn’t military issued, so nothing would be in the same place. If there were any life boats on this ship, they weren’t anywhere he could see in this darkness.

“He’s got quite the mouth on him, hasn’t he?”

Hitsugaya whirled around at the unexpected voice, his body moving instinctively in front of Yamada’s. This side of the deck had been so eerily quiet, he had been sure that no one could have been there. Unless...

“Dammit.”

They had been waiting for them.

“Yeah. He is pretty mouthy.”

“I would be too, if I had just been caught trespassing on someone else’s property.”

Three people stood before him, and all appeared to be armed. The one in the center was the only woman, so she must have been the one who had spoken first. Her face was concealed behind a hood of sorts attached to the tattered, cape-like cloak she wore. She looked as if she could hold her own, though her physical strength was probably lacking. A scimitar was situated comfortably at her waste. The second one to speak had been the man directly to her left. He appeared much more like the hand-to-hand type of opponent, having the muscle that the woman lacked though definitely not the brains. Obnoxious, red hair was tied up into a messy ponytail, and tribal tattoos adorned much of his body, visible through the white of his shirt. Slipped neatly into his belt was a large, twisted, East Indian kris the likes of which could only have come from Java itself. He also looked to have several guns hidden about himself. The third man, however, was the one who made Hitsugaya the most wary. He, like the woman, was obviously not the type who would purposely go around getting into fights, but unlike her, he had an aura about him that screamed he was the deadliest for his mind. A green and white striped bucket hat shaded playful, dark eyes that bored so deeply into his own he had to wonder if the man could read his mind. His weapon was a conspicuous English rapier.

“Well, I guess you were right, Kisuke,” the woman smirked dryly. “We didn’t have to do anything at all. They came right to us.”

“Great minds think alike,” he matched her smirk. “Which makes it all the easier for greater minds to find out what they’re thinking.”

“H-Hitsugaya...” the frightened prince drew closer to the young man in front of him. Hitsugaya could have kicked him as he saw the woman’s brow rise.

“Hitsugaya, huh?” she asked. Their casual tones were really starting to grate on his nerves. “So that’s the name of the famed ‘pretty boy’ who follows the prince around everywhere? It fits. What’s your little friend’s name?”

Pretty boy...? The stressing servant forced himself to take a deep breath. Sure, he had lost the chance to use an alias, but if these people didn’t even know the name of the Sixth Prince of Hueco Mundo, perhaps it wouldn’t matter. He recognized the name of this ship; he knew what these people were after. If he was right and was able to keep the situation under control, they should be able to make it out of here with their lives intact. “His name is Hanatarou Yamada. But the likes of you may refer to him as Prince Hanatarou Yamada,” he replied, voice strained to stay calm. He felt Yamada grab hold of his wrist.

The one with the tattoos guffawed. “That scrawny little guy? Seriously?” He turned to face the woman, his glance questioning. “Rangiku, this is who we went to all of that trouble for?”

“Yup,” the woman replied without looking at him. She continued to stare at Hitsugaya for a moment longer before hopping down from the rise she had been standing on. “And now that they’ve introduced themselves, it would be rude of us not to do the same, right?” The rough one grunted something inaudible, but the other man seemed to find it incredibly amusing. The woman ignored them, taking another step closer to Hitsugaya and the prince before she continued, bowing mockingly. “I am Captain Rangiku Matsumoto, and these two are Renji Abarai and Kisuke Urahara. We will be your captors this evening.”

“We don’t intend to be captured by anyone, let alone a pathetic batch of worthless, scum-sucking pirates,” Hitsugaya seethed, the grip around his wrist nearly cutting off his circulation.

“Pathetic, worthless, and scum-sucking?” Kisuke Urahara cocked his head. “You really don’t like us very much, do you?”

“Well, you have just doomed every man aboard my ship,” he countered without missing a beat.

“As if you could call them men! Those monsters don’t even deserve to be called animals!” an angry Renji suddenly burst, brandishing his fist.

“Kisuke…” the woman who had proclaimed herself captain muttered dangerously, and the blond replied by bashing his fist into the rowdy man’s cranium and knocking him clear down to the floor. The following silence was deafening until, finally, Rangiku Matsumoto broke it in order to continue the introductions. “Well then. Now that that’s been taken care of, it is my duty as your jailer to welcome you prisoners to our humble abode. So without further ado,” she smirked as she lowered into a bow yet again, and Hitsugaya forced himself to stare apathetically on, “Welcome aboard the Narcissus.

Yamada almost fainted. Unfortunately, he didn’t. “B-But isn’t that... Gin Ichimaru’s ship?”

“Hear that, Kisuke? We’re famous,” Matsumoto teased, straightening herself back to her full height in order to look down on her new captives.

“Infamous, more like,” Urahara replied coolly. “Ol’ Gin always was a bit of an attention grabber. His fatal flaw, I’m afraid, but it certainly made for an interesting night life.”

Matsumoto snorted at this, and Hitsugaya decided it was high time to interrupt them again. He couldn’t stand much more of this. His hand was numb from Yamada’s grip, and that wasn’t helping the fact that they were both soaking wet on a night like this. He could feel Yamada shivering into his back, and while he had always been able to withstand the cold, he wasn’t keen on the idea of getting sick from exposure. Not on some pirate ship. “The Narcissus?” he scoffed. “You christened your ship after a flower? Oh yes, I am truly frightened now. And what do you mean you are the captain?” he added, turning his gaze to bore directly into the woman’s masked eyes. “Clearly Ichimaru couldn’t have been of his right mind if he chose you as his successor. Or perhaps that was why he was so easily captured.”

The woman’s sword was at his throat so fast that it took a moment for him to realize she had moved at all. For several, apprehensive seconds nothing happened. She glared, deadly, pale eyes just visible beneath her hood, and he mirrored her hatred with his own teal green. Finally, she pushed him back into Yamada and sheathed her sword. “You don’t know what you’re talking about.”

“And you’re going to try to trade the prince for Ichimaru? I may not know His Highness well, but I do know that he’s not one to share.”

“Take them to a cell. Make sure it’s uncomfortable.”

“Aye, aye, little missy!” Kisuke Urahara chimed, firmly grabbing hold of the captives and dragging them down below deck as he began to hum. Hitsugaya bit his lip and prepared himself for the long ride home.

And by the way things were shaping up, it would be a very, very long ride.

~*~


Rangiku Matsumoto waited until Kisuke and the prisoners were out of sight before turning on Renji. He was just now getting back to his feet, cradling his head indignantly. Before he could regain himself completely, however, she had already grabbed at his shirt, pulling him forward to meet her face to face. “How dare you say something like that?!” she rasped. “If we start thinking like that, then we’re no better than they are!”

“But it’s true, and you know it,” the redhead snarled in return. “They’re the ones that started that wretched war; they’re the ones that started every, bloody war! They’re the ones who want to steal everything they can get their greedy hands on. They’re the ones who did this to you and Gin! They all deserve to rot in hell.”

“You idiot!” she cried out as she slammed him against the wood. “You of all people should know better than that! Now that the drafts are in full effect, plenty of those Loyals were just some kids trying to live long enough to see their parents again! And whether they believe in what they’re fighting for or not, they’re still human beings! What about Gin?! What if they kill Gin before we can make the exchange?! What would we do then? It’s the same thing!” She dropped the hem of his shirt, letting him droop slightly against the wooden beam. With one last huff, she stormed off to call back the other men before the Loyals’ ship sank completely, leaving him with one final stinger to top off the already gaping wound. “Have you already forgotten about Rukia?”

He watched her leave, sliding down the beam until he was sitting on the deck. “Heh...” he trailed off, cupping his head in his palm. “At least Kuchiki didn’t hear that. He’d have skinned me alive.” A heavy sigh, a grinding of his teeth, and he was up on his feet again.

“Well, I had better help her out. There’s no way Zaraki and his men are gonna listen to her with a ship full of Loyals’ to play with.”

And so he followed, refusing to acknowledge the single, salty tear that had smeared into his palm. Now was not the time.