windroars: (hitsugaya; cool cat)
Wind ([personal profile] windroars) wrote2012-01-24 10:51 pm

Fanfiction || The Narcissus 06

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 Six

Same Difference

~*~


Hanatarou Yamada looked frantically about the deck. Rain, wind, and debris flew everywhere, only making it harder to see where he was going and virtually impossible to find who he was looking for. Well, he tried to reassure himself, as long as Hitsugaya didn’t run off and do something really, really stupid, they’d all be just fine, right? They’d get through this storm, make it to Hueco Mundo, trade places with Ichimaru, and live happily ever after, right? Hitsugaya would never put himself in mortal danger when they were so close to their goals, right? Right?

A loud scream, agonizing even through the muffled jarble of noise all across the deck, immediately brought him back to the reality. Whatever Hitsugaya was doing, he wasn’t doing it here. He couldn’t do anything for him if he didn’t even know where he was. But someone else was in trouble whom Yamada could help. The young prince whirled around and rushed off in the direction he had heard the sound.

He didn’t have to go far. At the other end of the fallen fore-mast, a large group had gathered and was in the middle of trying to lift the large, wooden spar. Yamada squeezed his way in. In the center of the huddle, one of the pirates was on the ground; his arm was trapped beneath the spar. Hanatarou saw no blood, but the arm was obviously crushed, and the man’s position left him extremely vulnerable to the rain and to other people. He was surprised at the progress they’d made with the fallen fore-mast, but he could see it was a lost cause. With the storm going on, they could hardly lift it more than a centimeter or so, and every time it moved, the man howled in pain.

For a moment, he was stunned, staring blankly at the man’s arm, but the next scream of agony brought him back to his senses. He clenched his jaw as he realized what he’d have to do and got right to work. “I need clean water, alcohol, a blade, and bandages! Now! It’s impossible to move that spar in this storm; we have to amputate if we want him to have any chance to live!”

A man from the crowd, blonde hair hiding one of his eyes and half of his serious frown, nodded once and immediately began to run off, but another stopped him. “Kira, you idiot! Can’t you see who that is?” he scowled at Yamada through the rain, scrutinizing the royal robes he wore, still easily recognizable despite their worn condition. “That Hueco Mundo scum doesn’t deserve to give orders to anyone on this ship! He deserves to be hanged!”

Hanatarou puffed out his cheeks in indignation. These stupid robes weren’t worth the effort. And he was too tired and too wet to deal with more of this far-too-familiar scorn. “If we don’t hurry, this man will die! But what does it matter to me? I’m just Hueco Mundo scum.” Perhaps he’d just been with Hitsugaya for too long, but when the other man flinched and the first yanked his hand away before taking off once more, he felt a little better.

“You obviously care quite a bit.” The voice crept up unexpectedly behind him as two hands settled gently on his shoulders. He whirled around to meet the smiling face of a woman, black hair braided strangely around her neck and down her front. “Little Prince.” Yamada flushed. “Well? You heard the young man,” the woman continued, now addressing the surrounding group of pirates. “Kira’s gone for water and alcohol. We still need a knife and bandages.” And, as if by magic, the group disbursed.

He looked back up at the mysterious woman. “Er... Thank you.”

But instead of replying with a “you’re welcome” like he’d expected, she bowed. His blush only brightened. “Retsu Unohana, at your service, Little Prince. You may want to feed the patient the herbs you’re hiding in your inner pocket. I doubt he’ll want to be awake for this.”

Hanatarou’s eyes widened, and he quickly began shuffling through his robes for the herbs. He had completely forgotten they were there. When he felt them, the slightest bump protruding from the volumes of fabric, he smiled.

These pirates were amazing.

~*~


Toushirou Hitsugaya could do nothing but stare up past his aching arm at the person who was currently holding it, the very last person he would have expected to save his life. Captain Rangiku Matsumoto. A pirate. He now owed his life to a pirate. No, his mind hastily supplied. Pirates operated outside of rules and morals, which meant that they didn’t apply to them. He owed her nothing. Still, that was hard to believe while he was still hanging over the edge of the ship.

Finally, she seemed to snap out of her own daze and began to pull him up. But just when he was able to reach the top of the rail, one of the many waves crashing against the ship decided to sweep up from right behind him. The galleon shook, the force of the impact toppling both of them back onto the deck.

For a moment, Hitsugaya didn’t know what had happened or even where he was. He couldn’t see a thing. But when he heard the distinct sound of a racing heartbeat coming from somewhere near his right ear, reality hit like a ton of bricks.

He yanked his head backward, escaping the mounds of flesh with a desperate gasp for air. His eyes were wide as they stared into the half-clothed, luscious valley that had nearly suffocated him, but when he saw her equally surprised expression just barely peeking out from beneath her sopping hood, he instantly altered his own. A single brow raised as a wry smirk upturned the edges of his lips. He was well aware that cockiness was the worst emotion he could possibly display at a time like this, but experience had taught him that the worst reaction one could have was often times the best reaction to choose.

“You know,” he began calmly, “if that was what you were after all this time, you didn’t have to kidnap us. You could have just asked.”

“Hardly,” the woman pouted as she hastily got to her feet. This wasn’t an easy task with the storm still raging like it was. “Boys like you can only dream of being the men I go to bed with.”

Hitsugaya followed suit, steadying himself with the slippery rail. “And how many of those steerage ‘men’ were actually able to pay for your services?”

“How did you get out of your cell?!” she shouted, apparently not in the mood for any more insults. He grimaced and pointed toward the fallen fore-mast. She scanned the area through the rain until she came to the newly formed hole in the deck before quickly turning back to him. “Then where is the Prince?”

“It isn’t my duty to drag him with me wherever I go.”

“Of course it is!” she admonished in exasperation. “You’re his protector, aren’t you? No mere servant would be as commanding and arrogant as you!”

“Well I’ve heard that women are supposed to be motherly and kind, but that wasn’t true either, was it?”

“If he dies before this storm ends, I will hold you responsible,” she seethed, icy eyes glaring down at him.

Hitsugaya matched the glare with equal intensity. “If he dies before this storm ends, people much more intimidating than a few pathetic pirates will hold you responsible.”

“Threatening me with your superiors? That’s noble.”

“I am not noble,” he countered without hesitation. “And he won’t die.”

The busty captain paused, brows furrowing as she digested this information. Biting her lip, she looked up at the mizzen topgallant, the sail now safe from the rushing winds, and then slowly lowered her gaze back to him. “You did that.” It wasn’t a question. Hitsugaya didn’t answer.

“So, what else can you do?”

~*~


“What a beautiful morning. It’s hard to believe a night as ugly as that could become something so pleasant.”

“Right. Whatever.”

Ikkaku Madarame and Yumichika Ayasegawa were leaning against the rail of the ship, soaking in the morning’s sun. The waves had mellowed shortly before the sun began to rise, and the storm had ceased entirely several hours ago. But despite the fact that the weather had finally calmed, the deck of the Narcissus remained as hectic as ever.

“Kenpachi!” snarled one Captain Rangiku Matsumoto as she stalked around the mountain that was Zaraki and a small, pink-haired child who clung blissfully to his shoulders. “You were supposed to be in the crow’s nest last night, keeping a look out! Now, tell me, what were you doing down below deck while Yachiru was running around drunk on your shift!?”

The little girl, still gripping Kenpachi Zaraki’s shirt as if her life depended on it, decided to answer for him. “Kenny said he was bored so I said we should do something fun but he said he had watch the water and I said that was why he was bored and that he should drink some of that stuff that always makes him happier but he said he couldn’t do it while I was there so I said I’d drink some too and he said fine but only a little and so he let me have a little and I was so happy and I felt all warm and fuzzy in my insides so I told him I’d watch the water for him and he said okay but only for a minute and so I did!”

“You left Yachiru on watch all alone?!” Matsumoto bellowed.

Zaraki grunted, unfazed by the woman captain as he dug his finger in his ear. “I didn’t leave her up there long, and I don’t see what all the fuss is about. We made it through, didn’t we? Doesn’t matter now.”

“Doesn’t matter? Doesn’t matter?! Because of you, we weren’t prepared! We lost the fore-mast; there’s a gaping hole in the deck; and there are so many people in the sick bay that Unohana doesn’t know what to do with them all!”

“Oh, brave warrior Zaraki! Our hearts are with you, even though our physical bodies would prefer to keep their distance!” Yumichika sighed, complete with showy hand motions.

Ikkaku snorted. “She’s really angry this time. Almost as bad as that first night. Almost as loud too.”

“Is she ever not angry?”

“Well, not so much anymore. But she could have taken Yachiru on a run for her money back before those bastards bur-!” Yumichika began before it sunk in exactly who had asked the question. He whirled around, eyes wide. “Oy!”

“What are you doing here?!” Ikkaku growled.

Hitsugaya smirked at their reactions. “It’s nice to see you again too. I’m glad you made it through the storm,” he replied, obviously not anything of the sort. “Actually, I’m looking for someone. A couple of centimeters taller than me. Black hair. Royal robes.”

“Twitchy’s down with the doctor lady!” squealed a high pitched voice just before the little girl who had been clinging to Zaraki pounced atop of Ikkaku’s head and promptly bit down.

“Gah! Yachiru! Geddoff!”

“Is that where he is?” Matsumoto cut in as Zaraki plucked Yachiru off of Ikkaku. She turned to Hitsugaya, none-too-pleased. “Kisuke is charting a course for a safe port in southern Hueco Mundo. This ship takes priority over everything else. Until we dock, I will allow you and the Prince free reign as long as you stay below deck. If I catch either of you up here, I will have no qualms placing you in a much less comfortable prison than your last. Understood?”

“Of course,” he grunted in reply, heading toward the stairway without even bothering to look back. “That is, if you pirates can keep this wreck afloat without me.”

Zaraki laughed outright. “If that’s this Prince I keep hearing so much about, it’s no wonder Hueco Mundo’s so fierce!”

“He’s not the Prince,” Matsumoto sighed, and Zaraki looked down at her in mild surprise. “But somehow I doubt that changes anything.”

“And you’re just gonna let ‘em walk around all they want?” Ikkaku challenged.

Captain Rangiku Matsumoto frowned, refusing to make eye contact. “Yes,” she replied, her voice strained, “I am. The fact is we owe him. And if the Prince is helping Unohana somehow...” At this, she made eye contact once again, smiling such a disturbingly sweet smile that even Zaraki wasn’t about to talk back. “Well, there’s no way in hell I’d be the one to tell her.”

~*~


Hitsugaya trudged through the second level of the galleon, having absolutely no idea where he was going. He could only hope that following the large crowd that seemed to be running back and forth through the walkways would lead him to the elusive sick bay. He supposed he could have just asked one of them for directions, but he didn’t want to deal with the strange looks that would inevitably follow. He’d seen enough of those stares in his lifetime, and he preferred to avoid them when he could. Finally, he came to a doorway that was at least three times the width of the others, opening into the bustling infirmary. It was easy enough to tell that it was the right place, what with it being full to the brim of injured men and women. The stench of blood was rampant, but the reek of various herbs and serums mixed with the sweat of the hardworking healers was equally repugnant. In all honesty, it was hard to tell which smell was worse.

Trying his best to ignore it, he searched the area for Yamada, occasionally having to step out of the way of bustling healers intent on running him over. One too many rushing attendees later, just as he was finally ready to give up, a loud crash reverberated through the wooden hull, and he knew his search was over.

“Be careful with those! You could have gouged your eyes out!”

“R-r-right. I-I’m sorry.”

“Don’t be sorry; be careful! It would be awful if you were hurt because I asked you to carry those scalpels!”

“W-well, if I do get hurt, at least I’m in the right place! Eheh!”

Hanatarou Yamada smiled nervously up at an extremely tall, silver-haired woman. His face was flushed pink, but Hitsugaya refused to acknowledge that just yet. The woman was dressed in the same make-shift uniform as all of the other healers in the infirmary save one: Yamada himself. Hitsugaya snorted at the sight but still waited until the woman left before cutting the haphazard prince off.

“Ah! Hitsugaya!” he exulted, nearly tripping over himself again. He was positively beaming. “You’re okay!”

“Of course, I am,” he brushed Yamada’s excitement to the side. “But that’s more than I can say about you. What are you doing here?”

“I’m helping them,” Yamada replied, hesitating a moment before adding, “like you were.”

“I wasn’t helping them. I was making sure we weren’t killed for their mistakes. There’s a difference. Now, come on. This place is making me nauseous.” Hanatarou’s expression grew pained, and for just a second, Hitsugaya debated whether he should have held his tongue. But no. He’d said nothing but the truth, and he wasn’t going to take that back. Instead he glared all the more, only speaking up again when it was clear Yamada wasn’t going to move. “These idiots aren’t like us. They don’t deserve your help, nor do they need it. Let’s go.”

“You’re wrong.”

It was so quiet Hitsugaya almost didn’t hear it. But he did hear it, and it did not make him happy. “What?”

“You’re wrong, Hitsugaya,” Yamada repeated, meeting him face to face with a determined frown. “They’re people too. I can’t just ignore it when they’re injured, enemy or not. I don’t think they’re really even our enemy at all. I think…” For a while, it seemed like he wasn’t going to continue. He was obviously working hard just to keep from shriveling beneath his servant’s murderous stare. But finally, after a large gulp, he was able to finish, almost as softly as he had begun.

“I think they want the same thing as us.”

Hitsugaya’s eyes flashed in anger, and before his mind was able to catch up with his body, he had already slapped the Prince upside the head. The scalpels crashed to the ground yet again, but this time no one picked them up. No sooner had the deed been done, than Hitsugaya felt someone squeeze his shoulder tightly. It felt like it would pop right out of its socket.

“I will not tolerate abuse toward anyone under my watch, no matter who they might be. I will have to ask you to leave immediately,” commanded the owner of the hand that was squeezing his shoulder blade.

He yanked himself free of her grasp, turning back to Yamada with hatred in his eyes. “What they want is our skulls to decorate their figurehead. What do you think this damn war is about?”

“The war is over,” Yamada countered, too afraid not to say anything. “We won; they lost. It ended fifty years ago!”

“Try telling them that,” Hitsugaya snarled.

He turned around and stormed out, marching as far away from that wretched place as his feet could carry him. This wasn’t right. This wasn’t how it was supposed to happen. It was supposed to be simple. They were supposed to let these pirates take them right back home before turning them in to the authorities and getting right back to business as usual. There weren’t supposed to be any pit stops; there weren’t supposed to be problems. It was supposed to be simple.

He slammed his fist into the hull. “Damn it all!”

“H-Hitsugaya?”

Hitsugaya didn’t look up. He didn’t have to. “Does it hurt?”

There was a pause, as if Yamada didn’t realize what he was talking about at first. “Not really. You’ve hit harder before,” he hesitantly chuckled. When Hitsugaya didn’t reply, however, he continued, all hesitancy gone from his voice. “You know that whatever it is you decide to do, I’ll follow you without hesitation, right?”

Finally, Hitsugaya removed his hand from the wood, turning around to let his backside slide down the hull. “Moron,” he huffed. “You’re the Prince, remember?”

Yamada sat down beside him, bunching up the colorful robes as he rested his chin on his knees. “Yeah, I know,” he nodded. “I won’t tell them the truth, but I won’t pretend for them either.”

Silence. Then, a voice so quiet Hanatarou almost didn’t hear.

“Thank you.”

He smiled. “Don’t mention it.”