windroars: (hitsugaya; cool cat)
Wind ([personal profile] windroars) wrote2012-01-23 11:38 pm

Fanfiction || The Narcissus 05

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 Five

Storm Fishing

~*~


“The sky is clouding over,” Yoruichi Shihouin pointed out absently, leaning further back against the main mast. “And the waves are growing rougher. We’ll be hit hard tonight.”

“That’s to be expected, is it not?” Kisuke Urahara chimed as he stepped up beside her. “Shuuhei did say ‘intense storms’ after all.”

“I wonder how much the ship will be able to take.”

“The ship can take it, and any parts that can’t have Shuuhei to fix them. The question is not whether the ship can take it. The question is whether we can take it.”

Yoruichi grinned. Kisuke and his rhetorics... “You know, if we lost Shuu to the storm, then the ship wouldn’t make it.”

Kisuke grew a grin to match his companion’s, wryly shaking his head as if he couldn’t believe what he was about to say. “Why, my dear Yoruichi, I do believe you’ve outdone me.”

“Hardly,” she chastised in return. “You know as well as I do that we’d never lose Shuu to a storm. You’re just trying to flatter me. And doing a poor job of it, I might add.”

“Caught again! Woe is me!” he exclaimed, emphasizing the words with overdramatic hand motions. “You are indeed a formidable opponent!”

“And you’re quite the brownnoser,” she smirked.

“This nose is going to rule the world some day.”

His wry grin only grew as he drew closer and he heard Yoruichi mutter wickedly just before he met her lips.

“Sounds fun.”

~*~


Byakuya Kuchiki stepped into one of the larger recreation rooms, dubbed such as they had no real purpose other than holding people when they had nothing else to do. So it was no surprise to him when the room seemed to be holding a great number of people who weren’t doing anything at all. Those with any sort of status aboard the ship would be staying inside as long as possible with such a storm raging outside.

“Yo,” echoed the familiar voice of one Kenpachi Zaraki.

He turned to face the burly man, expression vacant. “Zaraki,” he stated simply, as close to a greeting as he was willing to get in front of the man.

“I hear you’ve seen the prisoners, huh?” Kenpachi smirked. “What’re they like?”

“Why not see for yourself?”

“Rangiku’s still mad that we played with the Loyals so long; she won’t let me see ‘em.”

“When has an order ever stopped you?” Kuchiki retorted evenly.

Zaraki’s smirk only grew. “I don’t want to waste my time with prey that isn’t worth it.”

“Then you shouldn’t waste your time. One would be too fearful and the other too wary to face you. If you were to challenge them in their current situation, they would merely run.” The larger man’s smirk instantly disappeared, but it seemed Kuchiki was in an uncharacteristically talkative mood and when he continued it sauntered right back to its place upon the man’s lips. “If you were to arm them, however, I could not say the same.”

“Were they that incorrigible?” came Soifon’s drawl from behind Zaraki’s bulk. “They seemed civil enough from Yoruichi’s description. Why go out of your way to sic Zaraki on them?”

Kuchiki did not reply, so Renji Abarai decided to do so for him. “That depends on your definition of ‘civil,’” he snorted.

“Do try to remember,” the stern voice of Retsu Unohana drowned out the others, “that they were only recently plucked off of their own ship and thrown into a cell to be used as hostages. I doubt my patience would be infinite either, especially with my captors.”

An uncomfortable silence followed, leaving only the sound of rain pounding on wood as the men and women within the room contemplated her statement. Kenpachi ended it as he stood up, mindful of the increased rocking of the ship, “Hmph. It ain’t our job to think; we just do what we have to.”

“That is the attitude instilled in the Loyal officers,” Kuchiki replied, voice carefully devoid of emotion, “when they are expected to complete a particularly distasteful task.”

“What’re you implying?” the gruff anger with which he spoke made it clear it was less of a question and more of a challenge.

But before anyone could step in and stop them, a deafening crack bounded through the walls, shaking the entire galleon before the room began to tilt dangerously on its side. Everyone scrambled to get a hold on something, watching in awe as neither Zaraki nor Kuchiki moved an inch. Unohana had only just stepped up to scold them about fighting at a time like this when the door crashed open to reveal Shuuhei Hisagi panting in the doorway.

“The fore-mast just cracked! Rangiku wants all of your asses on deck now!

~*~


Hanatarou Yamada crouched up against the wood wall of the cell, staring across the way at Toushirou Hitsugaya who had seated himself against the crisscrossed iron at the opposite end. Water leaked through constantly making it impossible to get warm, and the unabashed waves rocked him into perpetual seasickness. Captain Matsumoto had ordered them placed somewhere uncomfortable, and she had been obeyed.

“Nobody’s come down for a long time. I wonder what’s happening up there...” he finally muttered, pulling his knees up closer to his chin.

“They’ll all be fighting the storm by now. They must be taking the short route, the fools; there is a reason the Loyals avoid it. These brainless pirates will kill us all.”

Hanatarou had been about to reply when a resounding noise that sounded disturbingly like wood shattering atop their heads bellowed through the damp walls just before the fore-mast crashed right through the ceiling. Both prisoners ducked to the ground in a hasty attempt to avoid the flying debris, but they only ended up being tossed about as the ship tilted near to its side with the force of the blow. Rain and wind began to soar through the new opening, drenching the already bruised and battered hostages. As Hanatarou peaked out at the wreckage, he had the sudden sinking sensation that the damp, rocking cell had been a heaven-on-earth compared to this. Were all of the pirates up there in that storm?

“Hitsugaya, we-” he stopped when he realized what his companion was doing. Hitsugaya was already halfway up the splintering spar, climbing toward the opening and out into the raging storm. “Hitsugaya!”

The servant refused to cease his climb, not even bothering to look back to the frustrated prince. “If we do die here, I won’t let it be in a damned cell!”

Hanatarou didn’t bother arguing. Any protests would only meet deaf ears. And so with a huff of his own, he struggled up after him.

~*~


Hitsugaya tore through the frantic masses of people on deck, all trying to complete their tasks without being carried away by the wind. All was chaos, and even those in charge didn’t seem to know what they were doing. Only a select few were being truly productive, and when Hitsugaya came upon them, they were none too picky about where he had come from.

“Oy! You! Can you handle a sail?!” The question was barked at him from the side, and he turned to meet a young woman, most likely of Chinese descent, who was soaked through to her core and yet still managed to appear threatening. He could handle a sail, certainly, but he had never done so in weather like this. He weighed his options, and with a grim frown, he nodded. “Then get your ass to the mizzen-mast! Zaraki can’t handle the whole damn ship himself!”

Hitsugaya had no idea who or where Zaraki was, but he knew where the mizzen-mast was. He forced everyone out of his way, regardless of what they looked to be doing. He could see the sail that needed attention, the mizzen topgallant. It was no wonder the galleon had been so susceptible to the storm’s merciless waves with an open sail at that height. What were these idiots doing?! This should have been taken care of as soon as they had known the storm would come! Why were they so slow to react?!

It didn’t take long before he regretted asking. The sheer amount of activity on deck was more than enough reason to slow down everyone’s progress. Every member of the crew seemed determined to play his part, and somehow that seemed to include getting in his way. That wasn’t even considering the many ropes that would tighten right in front of him and nearly trip him as the pirates they were attached to ran this way and that. While Yamada may have insisted that they were all just trying to help save the ship, Hitsugaya was not quite as forgiving. The thought occurred to him that he had nothing to secure himself to the ship, but he forced that train of thought aside when he finally came upon his destination.

A dark, muscular man, unfazed by the thrashing rain turned away from his work to give him a hasty once over before grunting, “Soifon send you?” Soifon sounded Chinese enough to match the woman so he nodded, assuming this could be none other than Zaraki. “Then haul your ass in that seat, and I’ll take ya up.” The seat in question was more of a shoddily nailed together mass of planks than anything else, and the sight made him considerably less willing to take orders. But his wounded pride combated his anxiety when the man growled, “You getting in or am I going to hafta shove ya in?”

He was not about to suffer the indignity of being tossed around by anyone, even if the man was over two meters tall.

The seat creaked dangerously when he sat down, eyes focused on Zaraki’s smirk as he reached for the right rope and yanked. He shot upward so quickly that he had to grab the side of the seat to keep himself from falling right off, and once he was high enough to get to work, the balancing act became even more difficult. Wind and rain hailed him from all sides, and in a fit of cruel irony he realized he was yet again running around a pirate ship soaking wet in the dead of night. Unfortunately, this was no time to be questioning his lot in life, so he shook the thought from his mind and tried to focus on the sail. This was not easy though, seeing as the particular rope he needed to grab hold of was being thoroughly uncooperative.

Seeing no point in thinking about safety now, he carefully stood and grasped the rope to keep what little balance he could, making a point not to look down as the seat jerked him in the wind. He paid little attention to what was happening below him as he maneuvered the ropes to pull the thrashed sails out of the wind, but when a single call echoed across the deck, passed from man to man, he couldn’t help but catch it.

“Coming about! Coming about!”

His eyes widened in shock, a knot forming in his stomach as he realized what was about to happen. “Shi-!”

The ship veered sharply left.

~*~


Rangiku Matsumoto had taken up her station on the bridge, hands on the helm with Renji Abarai behind her as support against the storm. It was hard to hold the wheel steady with the battering the ship was receiving, but she wasn’t about to admit defeat. She had been the one to push this route as their chosen course, after all. And she still very much believed that it had been the right choice.

She steered her sight up into the sky, shielding her eyes against the elements with one hand. But instead of seeing the bleak, dark grey storm clouds she had been expecting, she was surprised to see a tuft of white.

“Renji!” she shouted over the storm. “Do you see that?”

She watched as the man looked over her head to the top of the mizzen-mast, matching himself to her line of sight. He gasped. “What in hell...?”

“So I’m not imagining it.”

“What is he doing up there?!” Renji snarled.

“I think... he’s freeing the sail.”

Her musings were cut short when she felt the wind change, now driving the rain directly into her face from the front. This was no good; they had to get back out of the wind’s path. “Renji!” she called. “We need to change course!”

“Coming about!” he roared to anyone who could hear as he grabbed the helm to brace her. Acknowledgement hailed from every direction, and with a curt nod, they spun the wheel. The ship took a sharp turn out of the wind’s path, tilting the galleon for the umpteenth before everything settled once more.

“Damn it!” Renji hissed unexpectedly into her ear drum. “He wasn’t tied down!”

Rangiku couldn’t believe her ears, eyes widening as she jerked her head upward. The hostage had one foot still pushing against the seat, the other limp as he clung to the mizzen topgallant’s rope against the merciless winds. She knew what would happen before it did, saw it before it happened. Frantically, she pushed away from Renji, ignoring his frustrated protests.

She bolted, struggling with her blade. She unsheathed it and cut her own rope securing her to her ship.

The ropes around him twisted, whipping about with no regard for the life hanging in the balance. One lashed his stomach, another his wrist.

He fell.

She hit the railing, her upper body thrust forward. She stretched out her hand.

And she caught something.