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Fabulous Las Vegas by kingpin1055
Fabulous Las Vegas
On October 8th, the Ninth Circuit Court struck down Nevada's ban on same-sex marriages, along with others on the books in states covered by the Circuit Court.  Because of this news, and the fact the decision has helped bring marriage equality to 31 states, I created this piece featuring Las Vegas's famous sign to celebrate and mark the occasion.
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I don't think I can adequately describe how much I love this series.  The animation (backgrounds and characters) is beautiful, the jokes and in-jokes great, the comedy has had me laughing out loud and I'm enjoying all the little nuances and depth that the cast continue to reveal. :)

Without a doubt, one of the best shows to come out of Disney in years, and really evokes what I liked best about The X-Files and Supernatural, rather than the over-arcing alien conspiracy, I preferred the one-off* "monster of the week" stories.

* Adrian Toomes still effectively counts as a "one-off".
  • Mood: Cheerful
  • Listening to: BABA
  • Reading: Journal #3
  • Watching: Gravity Falls
  • Playing: NORT
  • Eating: Nachos
  • Drinking: Pitt
Chapter Eleven
A lonely darkness



Chaos swarmed all around Hiccup as the twisted, broken remains of the Titanic dropped away into the darkness below, the ship welcomed and embraced by the vast expanse of the cold and cruel Atlantic.  He could barely see, his vision filled with bubbles and his orientation spun by the maelstrom of suction.  He'd lost grip and sight of Jack.
With no other option he kicked for the surface.

The cold air hit his face like needles as he scrambled, surrounded by fifteen-hundred other desperate souls treading water amongst a handful of scattered items of debris.  Had he been able to concentrate on the sound of the voices, Hiccup would've been left haunted by their anguished cries, instead he pushed at the water, trying to catch any sight of his companion.

“Jack!  Jack!”  he called out in vain, his voice lost amongst those of the stranded.  “Jaaaack!”  Overland was nowhere to be seen.  Freezing salt water surged into his mouth as he was pushed under, something heavy holding him down beneath the surface.  “No!”  he spluttered as he fought back, only to be pushed under again.  “Jack!”  he wriggled and bucked, trying to dislodge the passenger trying to use him as a raft.

“Hiccup?!”  a familiar voice called out, and the artist swam into view.  “Get off him!  Get off him!”  the weight on the Scotsman's back relented after a Jack delivered a quick series of blows to the man's face.  The passenger shrank back into the water as Jack checked Hiccup over to make sure he was okay.  “Swim Hiccup!  I need you to swim!”  the American grabbed the strap of his companion's life jacket and dragged them through the floating crowd of desperate people, the differences of class removed in their universal pursuit of survival.  “Keep swimming!”  Jack urged.

“It's so cold!”  the younger man gasped as he followed.

“Swim, Hiccup!”  Jack barked.  The struggling passengers were beginning to thin out as the American brought his lover to a large section of ornately carved wood panelling, a fragment from one of the Titanic's spacious First Class rooms.   “Come on!  Here... keep swimming!”  Jack reached out and grabbed the edge of the panel to steady himself.  “Get on it!”

Hiccup reached out and grasped the edge of the debris with both hands, his chilled skin barely registering the texture of the wood.  He clambered up, reaching for the far edge to pull the rest of his body out of the water.

“Come on, Hiccup!”

The Scotsman grunted as he pulled, the effort was rewarded as he dragged his legs out of the ocean.  Beside him, the American reached out to pull himself up, only for the piece of debris to creak loudly and buck upwards, threatening to throw them both off.

Jack reluctantly released the panel and it settled back into the water.  Safely steadied, Hiccup shifted and repositioned himself so that the American could climb up next to him.

“Try again!”  the Scotsman urged.  Jack shook his head.

“It'll take your weight, but it can't take both of us.”

“You'll freeze!”  Hiccup protested.

“I'll... I'll be fine, I'm a survivor.”  he smiled shakily.

“Then I'll take my chances with you in the water.”  Hiccup began to move back towards the edge.

“Don't you dare!”  Jack's voice was forceful, freezing the auburn-headed lad to the spot.  “I'll be fine, I can wait a little while in the water.”
Despite his assurances, he could see from Hiccup's expression that the Scotsman was riddled with guilt.

A short distance away a whistle began to shrill in the darkness, followed by a strained voice of an officer.

“Return the boats!”  he pleaded, before blasting his whistle again.

“The boats are coming back for us, Hiccup.”  the artist stated, his breath turning into ghost-white wisps of vapour.  “Hold on just a little bit longer.”  he was shivering now.  “They rowed away from the suction, but... now they'll be coming back.”

“For God's sake!”

“Please!  Help us!”

“Come back!”

The voices cried out in hope to the twenty lifeboats that surrounded the site of the sinking, desperately awaiting their return.  One by one, the floating survivors grew more quiet as they waited, their rescue painfully near, yet too far away.

***

The shouts and cries had become whimpers and disillusioned sobbing.  Even the officer with the whistle had grown silent.

“It's getting quiet.”  Hiccup murmured as Jack kept his vigilant watch.

“It's just gonna take a...  a couple of minutes to get...  the boats organised.”  he stammered.  Ice had formed in both their hair, and on patches of Hiccup's overcoat.  “I don't know about you, but...  I intend to... wru- write a strongly worded letter to the White Star Line about all this.”  he smirked, issuing an exhausted chuckle.

The Scotsman gripped the American's hand, trying to fight off the shivers that rocked his body.  He was colder than he could ever remember being.

“I... I love you, Jack.”  he whispered.

Jack frowned and looked him dead in the eye.  “Don't you do that... Don't you say your goodbyes.”  he shook his head.  “Not yet, do you understand me?”

“I'm so cold...”

“Listen, Hamish...”  he paused.  “You're gonna get out of here.  You're going to go on... and hugh- you're gonna have lots of children, you're gonna watch them grow, you're gonna die an old, old man... safe and warm in his bed.  Not here.  Not this night.  Not like this... you understand me?”

“Lots of... huh- lots of children?”  Hiccup smiled unevenly as he shivered.  “I uh... I thought we established tha... that...”

“You'll find a way.”  Jack smiled as he fondly rubbed Hiccup's cold hand.  “You'll find a way.”

The American pulled himself closer.  “Winning that ticket, Hic, was the best thing that happened to me.  It brought me to you.”  his face broke out into the widest smile he could muster.  “And I'm thankful for that.  I'm thankful...”  he pulled his right hand up and placed it atop his left, which still held the hand of the man he loved.  “You must... You must... You must do me this honour.  You must promise me, that you'll survive.  That... you won't give up... no matter what happens... no matter how... hopeless...  Promise me, now, Hiccup.”  the auburn-headed lad's heart ached at the sight of Jack.  The American's outgoing confidence was stripped back, revealing a scared young man fighting with the uncertainty of his future.  “And never let go of that promise.”

“I promise.”  Hiccup nodded.

“Never let go...”

“I won't let go.  I'll never let go.”  Jack kissed  Hiccup's hand as he shook, the cold water taking its toll.

***

An ocean of silent stars looked down as they drifted.  There were no cries now, no calls for help.  The only voice in Hiccup's ears was his own, whispering a joyful melody he'd once sung in what now felt like a lifetime ago.

“...'Come Josephine in my flying... machine... and it's up she goes... up she goes.  Come Josephine in... my flying'...”

Something stirred his dulled senses and he turned his head, unsure if what had happened was real or just his imagination.  In the distance to his right a ghostly light drifted across the water.

“Can anyone here me?”  the voice was faint and distorted, but it was real.  The voice and light belonged to a man in a lifeboat which was drifting slowly across the sea of bodies.

Hiccup squeezed Jack's hand.  “Jack?”  the American didn't answer, causing the Scotsman to rub his other hand against Jack's freezing wrist.  There was still no response from the man in the water, prompting Hiccup to turn over and face him.  “Jack?  Jack!”  his speech was barely louder than a whisper, constrained by the cold muscles in his throat and voice box.  His worry growing, he glanced over to the lifeboat, it was slipping away into the distance.
“Jack!”  he was shaking the artist's arm now, trying desperately to wake him.  “There's a boat!  Jack!”  a tear began to roll down the young man's cheek as the terrible realisation sank in.  “Jack... there's a boat, Jack...”

His voice whimpered as he caressed Jack Overland's lifeless hand, a wave of emotions overwhelming him.  The boat momentarily forgotten, he rested his head against Jack's frozen hand.

Jack's voice echoed in Hiccup's thoughts, reminding him of the promise he'd made.  The Scotsman's eyes flashed open and focussed on the departing boat.

“Come back... Come back!”  he groggily raised his head.  “Come back!  Come back!”  it was no use, his voice was too quiet for the men in the lifeboat to hear.

“Hello!  Can anyone hear me?”  the voice called out loud and strong, a beacon of salvation.

The metal handcuff on the American's wrist thunked loudly against the panel as the Scotsman pulled his right hand free from the vice-like grip of his lover's.  Unsettled by the motion, Jack slid further into the water.  

“I'll never let go, I promise.”  Hiccup placed a sad kiss on Jack's right hand, before reluctantly letting it go.

His face serene, Jack Overland slipped beneath the surface of the Atlantic Ocean, dissolving into the black void which stretched on forever.

Hiccup fought back his raging emotions as he slid off of the panel, his body barely registering the wetness of the water or the cold of it as he abandoned his raft made of debris.  He tried to swim, but his limbs were sluggish and stiff, moving awkwardly in their numbed state.  He struggled to maintain a strained paddle as he approached the lifeless body of Chief Officer Wilde, still clung to the deck chair.
Hiccup's goal in sight, he gasped as the distance narrowed and reached out eagerly for the silver whistle in the dead man's mouth.

Perched on the deck chair, he pulled at the whistle and placed it to his lips.  His first exhale delivered a quiet spluttered tweet.  He carefully inhaled before he blew again, which echoed around him with a loud THWEEEEEEEEEEEEET.

“Come about!”  the voice from the boat shouted.  Hiccup continued to blow into the whistle as the light and boat grew in size.  His rescue had arrived.

***

Hiccup took a pause in his account to steady the surge of feelings that had resurfaced.  Across from him, tears dampened Lizzy's eyes as she sat, riveted to the spot.

“Fifteen-hundred people went into the sea when Titanic sank from under us.  There were twenty boats floating nearby, and only one came back... one.  Six were saved from the water... myself included.  Six, out of fifteen-hundred.  Afterward... the seven-hundred people in the boats had nothing to do by wait.  Wait to die... Wait to live... Wait for an absolution, that would never come.”

The memories of his rescue had always been the hardest for Hiccup to recall, even after he'd boarded the R.M.S. Carpathia.  Exhausted, traumatised and numbed by the sinking... and by Jack's death, he couldn't recall much of anything that'd happened to him during the first few hours aboard the rescue ship.

The first memory that he could recall clearly was of him sat at Carpathia's bow, amongst the other survivors ...

***

April 15th, 1912

Hiccup kept the blanket close, enjoying the limited warmth it provided... a considerable improvement over what he'd experienced a handful of hours earlier.  He sat there in silence as other people milled around him, sadly acknowledging the one fact he wished he could forget.

Members of the ship's crew and medical personnel tended to the stricken passengers, doing their best to assist the many who were still deeply lost in their various degrees of shock.  Beside the superstructure, a pile of discarded life jackets had grown, a constant reminder of their ordeal and loss.

“Oh Sir, I don't think you'll find any of your people down here... it's all steerage.”  the voice of an officer caught Hiccup's attention, and he turned to where it came from.  Descending a short set of stairs and glancing around was the unmistakeable sight of Stoick.  The elder Haddock's face was pale, with bags under his eyes.  His normally tidy hair was dishevelled, his tie and collar were missing, and there was a large tear in the left sleeve of his dinner jacket.  The normally proud-looking man appeared deflated and defeated.

His father looked lost and broken, and the younger Scotsman wondered if that's how the elder Haddock had looked when Valerie, Hiccup's mother, had passed away.  The young man opened his mouth to speak, but no words passed his lips.

Stoick patrolled the deck, searching everyone to see if they were his son.  As the large man approached, the younger Scotsman turned away, his mind conflicted over whether to reveal he was there.

“Hamish?”  his father's voice was strained, and he looked up.  “Hamish!”  A note of colour returned to Stoick's face as he gave his son a bear hug, relieved that he was alive.  “I thought I'd lost you.”

“Can we go somewhere less public?”  Hiccup quietly asked.

“Of course.”  Stoick nodded as he led his son away.

***

Stoick had been one of the lucky passengers to have been granted a cabin, and having unlocked the door of his new quarters he beckoned for Hiccup to enter.  The room was a lot more modest in terms of opulence than their rooms on Titanic had been, but it was warm, safe and had a bed.

“They were able to let me have one of their unoccupied staterooms.”  He explained as he helped ease his son into a chair.  “Now that I know you're safe, I can have a word with them so you have somewhere to stay.”

“I don't need one father, there are other people out there who need it more than me.”

“Nonsense.”  the elder Scotsman rebuked.  “I won't hear any more of it.”  a wave of tiredness washed over Hiccup, causing him to flag where he sat.  The motion caused the younger man's blanket to shift, revealing his left hand which was wrapped in bandages.

“What happened to your hand?”  Stoick asked, his voice heavy with concern.

The younger Scotsman raised the appendage and looked at it, almost having forgotten about the injury.  “Oh.”  he noted distractedly.  “It's a little swollen and bruised, but it isn't anything serious.”

His father looked concerned.  “How did it happen?  Were you injured getting into one of the boats?”

Hiccup shook his head.  “I never made it to one of the boats, we-”  he paused at his involuntary slip.  “We were on the ship until the end.”

“'We'?”  Stoick echoed.  “You and Pitchiner?”

The younger haddock shook his head again, this time remaining silent.

“Overland.”  realisation dawned on Stoick's face.  “Is he on board?  I didn't see him up on deck with you.”

Hiccup quickly blinked his eyes, doing his best to subdue the tears he didn't want his father to see.

“He didn't last the night.”

The elder Haddock glanced downward briefly.  “I'm... I'm sorry to hear, Hamish.”

Hiccup bristled as he stood from his chair, anger flashing in his eyes.  Despite the torrent of feelings that reeled inside of him he forced himself to speak calmly.

“There are a few things you should know about Jack.”  the younger man began.  “After the ship went down, he made sure that I was okay.  He managed to find some debris that we could stay afloat on... but it couldn't take the weight of both of us.  He insisted that he remain in the water so that I could survive, and he perished from the cold.”  Hiccup paused.  “He saved my life... that was the kind of man Jack Overland was... that was what the man I-” his voice caught for a moment.  “...The man I loved.”
The younger man regained some of his composure.  “That was the kind of man you conspired with Pitchiner to falsely accuse.”

Stoick was unable to look his son in the eye any more, the feelings of guilt taking their toll on him.

“I'd had plenty of time whilst sat in the boat to think about what I'd done.”  he spoke in a quiet voice that was so unlike him.  “I know that it won't fix what happened... or what I did... but I'm sorry, son.”

“I believe you.”  Hiccup nodded.  He then let out a frustrated sigh and perched himself against the cabin table.  “I just don't know if I can forgive you.”

“I... I understand.”  Stoick replied glumly.  “What do you want to do, Hamish?”

The question caught the younger Scotsman off guard.  His father had always been certain about what was best for Hiccup, and now that the elder Haddock had finally asked him what his son wanted, he was at a momentary loss for what to do.

“I'll continue the journey to New York.”  Hiccup mused after some consideration.  The statement made his father look at him with a degree of hope.  “But from there, I think we'll be taking separate paths.  I want to forge my own course, like you did when you were younger.”

Stoick nodded in understanding.

“You can tell the board whatever you feel would be appropriate under the circumstances.”  The younger Haddock continued.  “As for somebody to take over the company from you, I'd go with Hofferson.”

“You did get on well with his daughter when you were younger.”  the elder Haddock recalled.  He then looked up at his son.  “This is what you want?”

“Yes.”  Hiccup nodded calmly.  “This is what I want.”

***

Hiccup hadn't realised he'd held his breath until he'd walked out on deck, and taken in a lungful of North Atlantic air.  By the end of their conversation he had felt sorry for his father, but the young Scotsman knew that he couldn't follow the path his father had planned any more, not after all that he'd been through and experienced with Jack in their short time together.

The younger Haddock had resolved to stay with the other Third Class passengers until they arrived in New York.  As he looked out to the horizon he slid his hands into the pockets of Pitchiner's overcoat, taking care with his injured left hand.
That was the last time I ever saw him.  I learned soon after we arrived in New York that he'd booked passage back to England where he eventually returned to work at the company.  Despite his best efforts, the public's confidence had been shattered... nobody wanted to buy the steel which had helped carry the Titanic to the ocean floor.  The last I'd heard, he'd retired for health reasons to a quieter, simpler life...  As for Pitchiner... his body was never recovered.



Chapter Twelve
New York

April 18th, 1912



Cold, fresh night air greeted the Carpathia in New York harbour as rain descended from the clouds above.  In the distance, Manhattan Island glittered, a beckoning beacon to the tired, huddled masses of the Titanic's passengers and crew.  Hiccup stood near one of the port bulwarks, ignoring the precipitation as he and his fellow passengers looked upward at the towering figure of Liberty Enlightening the World.  The torch the statue held aloft burned warmly, welcoming them to the New World.

A young officer appeared at Hiccup's side, carrying a clipboard and umbrella.

“Can I take your name please?”

The young Scotsman glanced to the officer and remained silent for a moment.

“Overland...”  Hiccup responded, turning back toward the statue.  “Hamish Overland.”

“Thank you.”  The officer noted the name down with a nod, before moving on to the next nearest passenger on the deck.

***

“Even as we disembarked in New York, the temptation to return to England would come to me, every now and then... but in the end I felt that if I was to going to reach my potential, it would be better for me to stay here.”  Hiccup explained as he began to wrap up his account.  The windows of the apartment were now dark, night had descended.

Lizzy let the account settle in before she finally spoke.  “Did you ever meet anyone after... after Jack?”

“There were a few... but I don't think I was able to love them quite as much as I had loved him.”  the tears were welling up again, and Hiccup's lower lip was trembling.  “I don't even have a photograph of him... I can only see him in my memory.”

Lizzy leant forward, giving her grandfather a warm, comforting hug as they both wept.


Epilogue


Lizzy had helped her grandfather to bed soon after he'd finished telling his story.  With him in bed she'd set to work tidying up and was now stood in the short hall to the front door, her hand poised on the light switch.  With a deft movement, the living room and kitchen were darkened, with the only light creeping through the gaps in the curtains.  As she gathered up her bag and coat to leave, she stood at the doorway to Hiccup's room, checking in on him before she left for home.  Sat in a basket by her grandfather's bed, the German Shepherd perked up and looked at her with soulful green eyes.

“Go back to sleep, Toothless.”  she whispered.  The dog tilted his head for a moment, before resting it back on his paws.  She quietly crept into the room and placed a kiss on her grandfather's head, before stepping back and smiling fondly.  “Good night, Papa.”

Without a sound she exited the room, closing the door behind her.

Hiccup lay still and silently in his bed, his mind withdrawing from his apartment... and from New York.

He was somewhere unfamiliar, but peaceful... and he felt the sensation of flying.
Out of the darkness emerged a shape, a knife's edge... which flowed and expanded, growing into a much larger object.
It was covered in rusticles, devoid of paintwork and decking, and had most of its railings stripped away.  What superstructure remained was mangled and collapsed in places, and the funnels were long gone.  The bridge had been completely lost, and the foremast had smashed against the crumpled bulwark.
Despite the considerable damage and the subsequent years of decay, the deteriorated hull of the R.M.S. Titanic was still recognisable, there were still traces of beauty in the grand ghost ship.

He was still flying, drawn towards the wreck.  Hiccup homed in on the A-Deck enclosed Promenade, passing empty doorways and shattered windows.  Above him, the ceiling was festooned with encrusted pipes, dangling cables and more stalactite-like rusticles.

As Hiccup drifted along the deck, he bore witness to a metamorphosis that began to occur.  A brilliant warm light began to glow from the darkened windows and doorways, flooding out onto the promenade.  The light appeared to transform the ship, restoring it to it's former grandeur.

The promenade was as he remembered it from 1912, and he turned as he felt the strong urge to enter the Grand Staircase.

The door was opened for him as he entered, a smiling steward on either side.  Within the landing was a crowd of faces, many of them familiar.

To his left were the members of the ship's orchestra, who held their instruments proudly as they bid him welcome.  Beyond them was Tommy, his face beaming in warm welcome.  Behind the Irishman, Benjamin Guggenheim nodded politely, whilst Father Thomas Byles behind him offered a kind smile.

To Hiccup's right, John Jacob Astor happily bowed in recognition, whilst Cora waved as she was held by her smiling father.  Beyond them were Fabrizio and Helga, her hands wrapped around his arm as the couple beamed at the new arrival.

As Hiccup approached the staircase, two more faces came into view; First Officer Murdoch and Thomas Andrews.  The shipbuilder gave Hiccup a warm smile and a nod as the younger man passed.

Above him, the upper landing of the staircase was just as crowded, filled with friendly and welcoming faces.  Stood on the mezzanine by the clock with his back to Hiccup was an unmistakeable figure, and in response he felt his cheeks flush and his mouth smile.

Jack Overland looked over his shoulder, casually turning as Hiccup reached his level.  The American held his left hand out, which the young Scotsman took.  They both stood there, taking in the moment, reunited after so many long years apart.
Above and below, the crowd watched as the two young men hovered, before they finally shared a passionate kiss.

The sound of applause reverberated all around them from the crowd.  Despite the barriers of class, despite the trials of adversity... despite the separation of the years and of life and death, Jack Overland and Hamish “Hiccup” Haddock were back together, and they would never let each other go.


The End
TITANIC HiJack - Chapters 11 and 12
<Previous

The Titanic has now been lost, leaving Jack, Hiccup and 1,500 other souls struggling against the cold in the North Atlantic ocean wh rescue so agonizingly near...


The story of Jack and Hiccup has now come to an end, but this is not the last we've seen of this version of Hiccup Haddock.

Story Notes
- Special thanks to :iconjustbstrong: for letting me use some of the concepts of her own Titanic Hijack AU
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I just wanted to drop a quick note apologising for the slow progress on the next Titanic-themed art piece featuring Jack and Hiccup.  The process is taking a lot longer than I expected, but I believe it'll be worth it.  In the meantime I hope those who are interested are enjoying the prose story that the images originally inspired, and that to take note that the penultimate update went up a little while ago... only two chapters left. :)
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(Contains: violence/gore and strong language)
Chapter Nine
A business arrangement



Jack and Hiccup's path through the passages and corridors of the Titanic was blind, navigated only by the fact that sooner or later they would find a staircase, and that moving further towards the stern kept them away from the ingress of the ocean.  The plan had been succeeding until the two men had turned a corner, only to find a locked door barring their way.

“Shit!”  the American shook the handle in futile frustration.

“We can try another door, one of the others we passed might be a way out.”  the Scotsman reasoned.

“There's no guarantee any of those doors will get us out of here.”  The artist put his ear against the woodwork.  “I can hear people on the other side.”
He took a few steps back and rammed his shoulder into the door, shaking it in the frame.  “Stand back.”  Jack instructed as he stepped further back and rammed the door again.  “Aggggghhhhh!”  he bellowed as he crashed into the door for the third and final time, sending splintered woodwork flying as it flung open.  Grabbing Hiccup's hand, the American stumbled out into the longest passage on the ship, Scotland Road, amidst a crowd of surprised steerage passengers.

“Here!  What do you think you're doing?”  a steward barked as the two young men tried to get their bearings.  “You'll have to pay for that you know!  That's White Star Line Property!”

“Shut up!”  both Hiccup and Jack shouted in unison, startling the crewman.  As they walked the gathering of steerage passengers grew until it had became a swell at the base of one of the main stairways, the exit barred by several members of the crew and a locked gate.

“For God's sake man there are women a children down here!  Let us out so we can have a chance!”  a familiar Irish voice cried out in desperation above the chorus of angry voices.  From the throng, Tommy appeared, his eyes locking onto Jack as he descended the stairs.  “Jack!”

“Tommy!  Can we get out?”

“It's hopeless that way!”

“Jack!” the American, Irishman and Scotsman all pivoted to see Fabrizio emerge from the crowd around them.

“Fabrizio!”  the artist leapt forward, giving his friend a relieved hug.

“The boats are all gone!”  the Italian protested.

“This whole place is flooding, we've got to get out of here!”

“There's niente this way.”  Fabrizio indicated the passage behind him.

“Alright.”  Jack nodded.  “Let's go this way, alright?  Come on!”  he charged ahead, leading the group away past the stairwell.

***

The fellowship of differing nationalities raced from one hallway to the next, finding more locked gates and overwhelmed passengers, lost in their own panic or by the language barrier.  The artist paused at a doorway with an unlocked gate, before he led the group toward a new set of stairs.

“This way!”  

“Go back to the main stairwell and everything will be sorted out!”  a steward's voice echoed from above as Jack and the others raced up to a crowd gathered around a gate to D-Deck.  “It will all get sorted out back there... go back to the main stairwell!”

Overland, the first on the landing approached the gate and addressed one of the two stewards.  “Open the gate.”

“Go back down the main stair-”

“Open the gate right now!”  Jack interrupted, pointing at the lead steward.

“Go back down the main stairwell like I told you!”  the American turned away in angry frustration, his eyes meeting with Hiccups' briefly before he spun back, his face a mask of fury.

“God damn it son of a bitch!”  he bellowed as he fiercely shook the gate, scaring the two crewmen.

“Stop that!”  the steward instructed shakily as the angered artist darted away, looking for anything he could use to get through.  His gaze settled on a large wooden bench that was bolted to the floor, and he quickly stepped over to it.  As soon as he was beside the fixture he began to pull at it, hoping to rip it free.

“Fabri!  Tommy!  Give me a hand here!”

“Move aside... Move aside!”  Hiccup shouted, clearing a path to the gate as the American, Irishman and Italian tore the bench from the deck with a lack crack.  “Move aside!  Move aside!”

“Put that down!”  the steward urged desperately as the crowd cleared and the men primed the improvised battering ram at the gate.  “Put that down!”

“One! Two!”

“Stop that!”  the steward protested as his shipmate ran, abandoning his post.

“Three!”  Jack shouted, initiating their charge.  With two further passengers lending their strength, they slammed the bench into the gate, shaking it fiercely.  “Again!”  they pulled back and charged.  

This time, the gate broke open under the brunt of the attack, sending the steward stumbling backwards as the trapped passengers began to climb through.  “Let's go!  Let's go, Hiccup!”

“You can't go up there!  You go there-”  the crewman's speech was interrupted as Tommy's left fist connected with his jaw, sending him to the deck.

***

The released steerage passengers spilled out onto the Boat Deck from the Second Class entrance, the aft-most housing on the deck.  Jack and Hiccup, at the front of the group, looked out at the davits for lifeboats No. 10, 12, 14 and 16, which all stood empty.

“The boats are gone!”  Hiccup cried disheartened as Jack rushed past.  He clambered up to the aft railing of the deck and peered forward towards the Titanic's bow.  Behind them Colonel Gracie materialised from the crowd, in the process of escorting two women when he caught the young Scotsman's attention.  “Colonel!  Are there any boats on that side?”

“No master Haddock, but there are a couple of boats all the way forward.”  he pointed towards the bow.  “This way, I'll lead you.”

Hiccup grabbed Jack's hand and pulled him forward with him, leaving the Colonel behind them in their race towards the bow.  As the group passed the raised roof of the First Class Lounge, Tommy noticed the musicians of the ship's orchestra who were still playing.

“Music to drown by, now I know I'm in First Class!”  he observed dryly.

Beside the Officers' Quarters they could see lifeboat No. 2 was still in the process of being loaded, however they could also see that the boat was surrounded by passengers and in danger of being swamped.  Without hesitation, Jack and Hiccup entered the crowd and pushed forward towards the front, only pausing when Officer Lightoller unloaded his weapon into the night sky.

“Women and children only!”  he barked with authority.  “Get back sir!  Come through, madame!  This way!  Step back sir!  Let the women through!”

Jack spun to Tommy “Go check the other side!”  he urged the Irishman.  “Go!”  Tommy nodded, and with Fabrizio, they disappeared towards the starboard side of the deck.

“Give her to me.”  Lightoller calmly instructed a man who was holding his daughter.

“Daddy!”  the girl, only a few years younger than Hiccup, protested as the Officer seated her in the boat with her mother and sister.

“It'll be fine darling!”  her father dressed only in his pyjamas, dressing gown and a hat insisted.  “Don't you worry!”

“Daddy, get in the boat!”  the man's other daughter pleaded.

“It's good bye for a little while, only for a little while... there'll be another boat for the daddies,this boat's for the mummies and the children.  You hold Mummy's hand and be a good little girl.”

The young Scotsman turned away from the scene to face his lover, unable to bear any more.

“I'm not going without you.”  he insisted.

“No, you have to go.”  the American was equally insistent.  “Now.”

“No, Jack.”  there was a determined edge in Hiccup's voice.

“Get on the boat, Hiccup.”

“Yes, get on the boat, Hamish.”  a voice rose from over Jack's shoulder as Pitchiner and Lovejoy appeared.  The younger of the two Englishmen glanced disapprovingly at Jack before turning his attention to his employer's son.  “My God, you're absolutely soaking!”  he pulled Hiccup's dripping suit jacket off and flung it into Jack's hands.  “Put this on.”  Pitchiner instructed curtly, shrugging off his long grey overcoat and helping Hiccup into it.  “Your father would never forgive me if I let you perish from the cold.”  he offered an unconvincing smile.

“Go on, I'll get the next one.”  the artist insisted.

“No, not without you.”  the younger man tried to keep his voice low amongst the other passengers.

“It'll be alright... listen, I'll be fine, I'm a survivor alright...  Don't worry about me.  Now go on... get on!”

“I have an arrangement with an officer on the other side of the ship.  Your father is already off, and we can leave safely as well...”  Pitchiner paused, casting a sideways glance at Jack.  “Both of us.”

“See?  Got my own boat to catch.”  the American assured his companion.

“Hurry, they're almost full.”  the Englishman nodded towards the lifeboat.  Hiccup studied both of their faces, uncertain and not fully convinced, but without a further word he turned towards the boat, Pitchiner leading him toward the edge of the deck.

“Only women and children!”  Lightoller instructed sternly upon seeing the young Scotsman.

“He's fifteen, only a boy!”  Pitchiner lied.  “Please.”

The Officer scrutinised Hiccup as Jack watched, worried that the crewman might not be convinced.  Although his face seemed sceptical, he nodded.

“Very well, but no more.”

“Thank you.”  the Englishman smiled.

“Step aboard, lad!”  Chief Officer Wilde instructed, lifting Hiccup up and over the bulwark into the lifeboat.  The Scotsman looked back at Jack and reached out, briefly grasping the America's outstretched arm before they were pulled apart by the officer. “Clear the rope, please!”  he raised both arms and in a loud, clear voice, ordered:  “And lower away!”

The boat suddenly dropped as the davit mechanisms sprang to life, causing several of the passengers sitting around Hiccup to cry in surprise.  Jack and Pitchiner remained at the bulwark and watched as the subject of their attention was lowered toward the water.

***

“You're a good liar.”  the Englishman muttered to the American as they watched Hiccup's boat depart.

“Almost as good as you.”  Overland returned, not looking at the man to his right.  “There's no... uh... there's no arrangement, is there?”

“Oh, there is.”  Pitchiner replied smugly.  “Not that you'll benefit much from it.”  the artist turned to glower at him, bristling at the tone in the rich man's voice.  “I always win, Jack.  One way or another.”  he chuckled, accompanied with a cold, thin smirk.

Unwilling to endure the sight, Jack returned his gaze to Hiccup.  The boat was almost level with the A-Deck promenade.

***

Jack nodded sadly and silently down at the Scotsman as the gulf between them grew.  The younger man's desire to stay and the instinct to survive clashed inside of him, and in an effort to take his mind off he trained his eyes on the other passengers in the boat.  The effort was futile, and he returned his gaze to Jack, just in time to see a fountain of sparks shoot up into the sky behind him.  The sparks gave way to an explosion of light, which in turn metamorphosed into a cascade of flares which drifted down, framing the American's head and face against the darkness.

The young Scotsman suddenly acted on instinct, surprising even himself and the other passengers as he scrambled towards the side of the lifeboat.

***

On the Boat Deck, Pitchiner and Jack watched in disbelief as the younger Haddock forced his way back towards the ship.

“Hiccup!”  The artist bellowed, just as the Scotsman launched himself out of the boat and onto the curved bulwark on A-Deck.  “What are you doing?!”

“Stop him!  Stop him!”  the Englishman protested loudly as Hiccup scrambled over the wooden rail and onto the deck.  Jack pushed away from the side of the ship and ran for the entrance to the Grand Staircase.

***

The young Scotsman barged his way roughly through the gathered passengers and crew as he sprinted for the staircase.  Dashing through the nearest open door, he dodged more passengers as ran towards the stairs.  Jack had already reached the landing and threw his arms around the younger man.

“Hiccup!”  the American embraced his lover in a fierce hug.  “You're so stupid!”  he quickly kissed him, not caring if the other passengers saw.  “Why'd you do that, huh?  Why?”

“You jump, I jump... right?”  the auburn-headed lad asked, fighting back tears.

“Right.”  Jack reluctantly admitted with a strained smile, before he hugged his companion again.

“I'm sorry, I couldn't go...”  Hiccup's muffled voice responded, his head buried in Jack's shoulder.

“It's alright, we'll think of something.”  their words trailed off into silence as they savoured each other's embrace.

Above them, raised voices of alarm drew their attention up to the top of the staircase.  In a dash of movement, Pitchiner swung out towards them, a flash of silver in his hand.

“Come on!”  Jack sprang to action as he pulled Hiccup and himself away.  A split-second later, one of the carved newel post finials broke in two as the report of a pistol cracked throughout the room.  As the young lovers raced down the steps to B-Deck, their pursuer reached the landing, slipping and falling to the floor on the wooden debris.

A second bullet whizzed past and embedded itself into the floor of B-Deck, quickening their pace as they ran down to C-Deck.

Pitchiner, his face twisted in fury, continued his pursuit.  Shoving passengers out of his way and growling angrily, the well maintained exterior of a Englishman in high society had been replaced by a snarling animal with murder in it's eyes.

A third crack rang out, sending up a spray of water as the American and Scotsman darted out onto the partially-submerged landing of D-Deck.

The Reception Room was flooded several feet deep at the staircase, the wicker furniture around it scattered untidily like driftwood.  Above them, several of the ceiling lights had become shorted out from the intrusion of the water.

Jack launched himself into the cold liquid, the sting an acceptable discomfort to evade their pursuer.  “C'mon Hiccup!”  he shouted as he led the terrified lad towards the Dining Saloon.  A forth shot rang out from behind them, sending up a geyser perilously close.  On the staircase, Pitchiner skidded as he fired a fifth shot, missing the young men once again.

“Aggggghhh!”  the Englishman's anguished howl echoed as they closed in on the swinging doors, followed by a seventh shot that struck one of the floating chairs.  The eight and final shot crashed through one of the windows looking into the dining space, sending shards of glass flying as the fleeing American and Scotsman traded ankle-deep water for sodden carpet.

Putting as much ground as they could between them and the madman following them, Hiccup and Jack had crossed the Dining Saloon at a break-neck pace, aiming for the set of doors at the far end of the room.  The artist eagerly grasped the handle and pulled... only for the doors to shake in their frame.  He grabbed at the locked exit, pulling furiously at the handles and wood in the hope of forcing them open.

Emitting a loud hiss, he let go of the doors and grabbed Hiccup's hand once more, leading the two of them to the port side of the saloon to try the other exit.


Chapter Ten
A sinking feeling



Pitchiner cautiously strode into the Dining Saloon, the silver gun in his hand reloaded and ready to fire.  He rushed forward out of the water that was encroaching on the dining space, ducking to his right as a wooden trolley slid along the deck and into the tide.  Spotting the exit ahead of him, he ran forwards to check the way out, only to find it barred.

The ship continued to creak unhappily around him, the stress on the structure mounting.  He slowly strode towards the main dining area, pausing as a bright spark exploded with a spakzzz, darkening the room as all of the ceiling lights failed.  His attention shifted to another trolley that began to roll towards the sinking bow, laden with breakfast china which tinkled as it moved.  The heavy object plunged into the water and came to a rest against one of the dining tables.

The delicate sound of moving porcelain and glassware had begun to grow as the scene of chaos in the once formal room continued to build.   The heavy chairs were toppling over backwards as the tables themselves became submerged.  The Englishman looked back towards the open entrance to the saloon as it sunk further beneath the surface.  If he didn't hurry, his way back would soon be blocked.

He spun around suddenly as a third trolley slid straight into him, causing the plates to rattle loudly as it bounced against his leg.  He strained to hear any sound other than the cacophony that surrounded him.

Unbeknown to Pitchiner, Hiccup and Jack were positioned only a few feet away from him, crouched behind one of the larger tables.  From their hiding place they watched as the Englishman patrolled with the pistol.
The American turned to his lover and pressed a finger to his lips, silently instructing the Scotsman to stay in hiding.  As quiet as a mouse, the artist stealthily shifted over to the next table aft, keeping still as soon as their pursuer turned back in their direction.

“I know you're here!”  Pitchiner called out, his voice malevolent but confident.  “No use prolonging this.  It's only a matter of time.”  he strode over to the port side and surveyed the surroundings.  Half of the room was now completely under water, exit via the Grand Staircase was no longer possible.

Knelt behind the table, the water was now level with Hiccup's chest, making him desperately want to move so he could get to higher ground.
An involuntary shiver ran through the young man's body, causing him to jerk forward and bang the chair beside him into the table.

Pitchiner froze and faced toward the source of the sound.

“There you are.”  he greeted as he approached.  “Where's the other degenerate?”  he spat.

“Why do you care?”  Hiccup asked, exasperated.

“I've invested a lot into Haddock Steel, and I had a lot of plans for you once your father retired from the company.  Plans I didn't want to see go to ruin because you'd rather fuck a sodomite from steerage.”  he levelled the gun at the younger man.  “Boys like you... you have no appreciation for hard work.  You've had everything handed to you, and you still insist on throwing it all away.”
Pitchiner scowled at the younger Haddock.  “You could've had it incredibly easy.  I was more than happy to step into the role of your advisor once your father handed the reigns over to you, I would've helped you steer Haddock Steel towards greater profits and ventures...  But you just had to throw it away for that American.”  Pitchiner scoffed derisively.

Hiccup remained still, but his face clearly displayed his surprise at the Englishman's admission and the contempt in the man's voice.

“You do realise that with the money you already have... and what you stood to gain once you'd inherited... you could've easily gone into a marriage of convenience with any society girl you happened to meet in New York, and then paid for all the male whores you could've wanted!  You would've had more than enough to buy their silence.”

“It would've been a lie.”  

“Being honest is a liability in business.”  he waved the gun dismissively.  “I can see you've made your position in this very clear.  Thank you.”

“'Thank you'?”  the Scotsman echoed.

“For making me a better businessman, and for making this easier.  With your... 'friend' in the picture, I never stood a chance to guide you.  But if I shoot you-”  he returned the gun to Hiccup.  “-I can make up whatever story I like.”

The Scotsman felt the urge to recoil in horror, but willed himself to stay still.  Behind Pitchiner, a further trolley, one laden with silverware silently slid into the water.

“You tragically perish with the ship, and I can assist your grieving father in his period of mourning.  If I'm lucky, he or the board might even appoint me as acting head of the company due to all my years of loyal service.  None of them need to know that you went to your watery grave with a bullet in your gut, or your head.”  Pitchiner glanced at the weapon for a moment.  “Lovejoy was quite accommodating with lending me his weapon.  I'm not very good with it at long distance, but I don't think I'll miss from here.”

A blur of motion suddenly launched itself from behind the trolley at the man with the weapon, pushing Pitchiner across the space towards one of the alcove walls.  The Englishman's head and upper body slammed through one of glass panels, raining broken shards down with a loud krash!  A ninth shot buried itself in the saloon ceiling as Jack pulled Pitchiner away from the wall and onto the top of a small dining table.
A tenth shot fired wildly as the two men rolled over the table, scattering cutlery and plates before they spilled onto the layer of water beneath them.

“Jack!”  Hiccup cried as the two men struggled, the gun momentarily discarded.  They eventually rose from the water, sodden and with blood streaming down the Englishman's face from a hairline cut.  With a quick motion, Pitchiner threw the American back into the water.

“You little shit.”  he approached, looking down his nose like he was inspecting an inferior creature.  The Englishman swung his left fist out to hit Jack, but the artist ducked.

As if perfectly rehearsed, Hiccup's left fist slammed into their adversary's face, stunning him.  As the Englishman reeled from the injury, the Scotsman grabbed him and pirouetted Pitchiner, slamming him head first into one of the wooden pillars.

“Aggghhh!”  the American took over from his companion, pulling their pursuer away and throwing him against the next pillar along, before slugging him in the gut.  Pitchiner doubled over and slumped to the floor, groaning loudly from the pain.

The murderous man left to tend to his wounds, Jack joined Hiccup's side, staring wondrously at his lover for a moment, before he turned his attention to the doors behind them.  The American stared them down, and threw his weight at the exit, sending fragments of polished wood flying as they broke open.  Their way unrestricted, they ran into the galley, clearing the doorway an instant before another bullet was unleashed, shattering the woodwork of the wall behind them.

Beyond a large, heavy wooden shelving unit filled with crockery were two sets of stairs, one which led upwards and the other leading to the deck below.  Jack made a line for the stairs leading to the deck above, but Hiccup tugged on his arm to lead them the other way, ducking down the lower stairwell in the hope of throwing Pitchiner off their trail.

The sound of hurried footsteps approached, and paused, before going up.  The American exhaled in relief, only to notice that the Scotsman's attention had been drawn by a completely different sound.

The sound of a child crying.

***

The wails of anguish led the young men down into a hallway on E-Deck.  The passage was a foot deep in water and with more streaming through parts of the ceiling and around the edge of a set of bolted doors.   Stood only a few feet from the bulging doors was a young boy, no more than four years old.

“Daddahhhh!”  He wailed, tears streaming down his face.

“We can't leave him.”  Hiccup's resolve was unflinching.  Jack trained his eyes back at the stairs to the galley, where a steady torrent was building.

“Okay, come on!”  the artist nodded and they ran along the corridor.  The American scooped up the child and threw a worried glance at the doors, they groaned and creaked under the weight.  The three of them doubled-back, retracing their steps to the Galley stairs, where there was now a storm surge rushing down.
“Go back!”  They retreated towards the only exist, an unlocked sliding gate leading into a side passage.

They awkwardly skidded to a stop when a solidly-built man in a cap appeared, rushing toward them and launching into a torrent of angry Russian-sounding words as soon as he saw Jack carrying the boy.  The man wrestled the child from the artist's arms and pushed him roughly against the wall, before wading back towards the overburdened doorway.

“It's the wrong way!  Come back!”  Jack pleaded as they chased after the child and his father.

“No!  Not that way!”

Their warnings fell on deaf ears as the angry father reached down to scoop up a floating suitcase.  The instant that he stood up, the blockage finally burst, knocking the man and his son to the floor, the tidal wave drowning out their screams.

“Run!”  Jack screamed as he pushed Hiccup towards the open gate, running as fast as they could.
Flashes of electricity exploded behind them as the wave broke against the wall of the passage and mixed with the lights.  The cascade quickly caught up with them, knocking them off their feet and carrying them at a rapid rate down the passage until they crashed against a locked gate.
They struggled against the surge to free themselves, pushing against the gate, the floor and even using the wall panelling to reach a set of stairs to D-Deck.  Beside them, chunks of ripped woodwork floated past as they dragged themselves to safety.  Overland was the first to reach the stairwell, and grabbing a handrail, helped pull the Scotsman in after him.  The younger of the two men took the lead, charging up the steps to a further gate, only to find to their dismay that it was also locked.

“Oh God!”  Hiccup gasped as the American shook it fruitlessly.  They whirled back around, the flight of steps was almost completely flooded.

“Help!”  Jack shouted, hoping somebody would hear.  They both glanced down in panic as the cold liquid enveloped their feet.

“Help!”  Hiccup joined in.  As if by some divine miracle, a steward appeared from the passage to their left and made a line for another set of steps in front of them.  Hearing their voices he stopped, and looked back at their desperate faces.

“Wait Sir!  Sir!  Open the gate, please! Please!”  Jack pleaded.

“Help us please!”  Hiccup begged as he stretched a hand through the gate.  The steward pulled himself up one step further.

“Bloody hell!”  he turned back and dropped down into the rising water, fishing a set of keys from his trouser pocket.

“Come on!  Come on!”  Jack encouraged, the water was now up to their knees.

“Come on!”  Hiccup begged as the crewman continued to try the different keys on the ring.

“Go! Go!”

“Jesus!”  the steward mumbled, flicking through the set quickly.

“Hurry!”  the water was now up to Hiccup's waist.

“Come on!”  Jack shouted.

Sparks suddenly shot through the air from the ceiling as the lights in the passage died.  Startled and with his vision impaired, the steward fumbled and the keys slipped from his hand.

“I'm sorry, I dropped the keys!”

“Wait!”  they both yelled as the crewman offered an apologetic look before swimming away.

“Don't leave!”  Hiccup begged.

With no other choice, Jack took a deep breath and dove beneath the water's surface.  The flicking lights and sparks made it difficult to see where the keys had landed, and time was quickly running out.  He stretched a hand through the bottom of the gate and began to feel the floor in front of it, desperately hoping to find what he sought.

Something long and metal brushed past his fingers, and he stretched further forward.  Finding more metal, his hand closed around the object and he pulled the set of keys through the gate.  His adrenaline rushing from the success, he pushed himself back above the liquid.

“I got them!”  Jack held his prize aloft.  The waves were now up to their chests.  “Which one is it, Hiccup?”

“Alright!  The sharp one!  Try the sharp one!”  the Scotsman indicated the specific key on the ring.  “Hurry, Jack!”

Jack lunged forward, feeding his arm through the gate to try locate the lock.  He soon found it but the key hole was proving more elusive, much to his dismay.

“Go in!”  he gritted his teeth as he tried to guide in the key.

“Hurry, Jack.”  Hiccup urged, the water almost up to their necks.

Finally, the key slotted into the lock, but was reluctant to turn.

“It's stuck!”  the American reported despondently.  “It's stuck!”

A large bubble broke the surface as it reached the level of their chins, shaking Hiccup's composure as time ran out.  “Hurry Jack!  Hurry!”

“Go in!”  the artist bellowed at the key.  As if in answer to their desperation, it finally turned with a metallic clak.  “I've got it!  I've got it!  Go!  Go!”  he slid the gate open and pushed Hiccup through.  The younger man surged ahead, grabbing the pipes to help carry him towards the stairs.

“Jack?!”  he called back, the American's sudden absence chilling him to the core.  “Jack!”

Waterlogged and resembling a drowned rat, Jack Overland surfaced and perched himself for a moment of rest against the pipes.  Hiccup stretched his arm out to his companion in order to pull him the last few feet to freedom.  “Come on!”
Jack's hand in his, Hiccup lead the way up the staircase, leaving D-Deck behind them.

***

The groans of the colossal ship we becoming more pronounced as more of the Titanic slipped into the Atlantic Ocean.  The race to the Boat Deck was becoming more difficult as the incline to the decks became progressively steeper.  It was with a tremendous sigh of relief when Jack and Hiccup emerged on the Second Class Grand Staircase, near the rear of the ship.  Taking the stairway to the top, they raced aft into the First Class Smoking Room, dodging a trolley laden with whisky, cognac and brandy as it sped towards the bow.
They ascended the slope towards the rotating door leading to the Palm Court and Verandah Café, from there they could get out onto the A-Deck Promenade.

A lone figure was stood at the Smoking Room fireplace, staring up at the portrait hung above it.  It took only a moment for the Scotsman to recognise Thomas Andrews.

“Wait!  Wait!”  the auburn-headed lad shouted, pulling Jack to a stop.  “Mr. Andrews?”

The shipbuilder turned mechanically, a shadow of his former self.  He appeared unsure that what he was seeing was real.

“Oh, Hamish.”  the words were heavy with disappointment, but Hiccup was uncertain if Andrews was disappointed to see the young man was still on board, or from his own feelings that he'd let them all down.

“Won't you even make a try for it?”  the Scotsman pleaded softly.

Andrews' body language seemed to answer the younger man's question.  “I'm sorry that I didn't build you a stronger ship, Hamish.”

“It's going fast.”  Jack interjected, grasping Hiccup's right hand.  “We have to move.”

“Wait.”  Andrews took a step towards them, handing his life jacket to Hiccup.  “Good luck to you both.”  he offered as warm as mile as he could muster.

“And to you.”  Hiccup smiled in return, accepting the life jacket.  After a moment's hesitation, he then gave the shipbuilder a tight hug, before they both pushed through the revolving door.
Behind them, Thomas Andrews returned to the fireplace and withdrew into his silent reflection.

***

Terrible cries of panic rose from the forward section of the Boat Deck as Titanic's bridge and Officers' Quarters were submerged, almost drowning out the final piece to be performed by of the ship's orchestra, Nearer My God, to Thee.
The flooding at the bow caused a human tidal wave to surge aft as the stricken passengers ran for higher ground.  At the bulwark beside one of the cargo cranes on the starboard side, Jack and Hiccup looked towards what little of the bow remained above water.

“We have to stay on the ship as long as possible!  If we jump now they might not come back with the boats before the cold kills us... if the suction doesn't already do that!”  Jack explained and Hiccup nodded.  They pushed away from the side of the ship and ran to the railing at the aft of A-Deck.
“This way!”  the artist led the Scotsman to the spot overlooking one of the cargo hatches.  With a vault over the rail, Jack held out his hand to help Hiccup down.  “Jump!”

The younger man jumped, landing on the soft surface of the hatch cover.  The American followed him down a moment later, and the two of them clambered down onto B-Deck.  They sprinted across to the next railing where they used one of the cargo cranes to climb down into the Well Deck.

“I've got you, jump!”  with Jack's guidance, Hiccup dropped to the deck, hitting it hard and biting back a yelp from the pain.  A helpful hand reached down and pulled the young man up.

“I've got you, lad.”  a friendly looking man in a baker's overalls helped Hiccup to his feet as Jack jumped down behind them.

“Jack?”  the auburn-headed man turned, looking for his companion.

“Come on!”  the American urged as he appeared from the crowd, gently pushing Hiccup to the stairs leading up to the Poop Deck.

A chorus of screams nearly deafened the two of them as the deck lights briefly faded, followed by what sounded like a muffled explosion from somewhere below.  The crowd regained its momentum once the lights were reignited, and the two young men finally reached the stairs... only to find their progress hampered by a single male passenger.

“'Ye, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death'...” he recited ominously, moving at a snail's pace.  “'I will fear no'...”

“You wanna walk a little faster through that valley, there?”  Jack hissed into the man's ear, the American's anger overflowing.  With a forceful shove he barged the man forward, unblocking the way for Hiccup, himself and the other passengers.

The incline of the ship was becoming hazardous now as they joined the dozens of passengers who were already clustered on the Poop Deck, with hundreds more crowded behind them.  Below, the ship's gigantic propellers rose from the water as the Titanic's final fate unfolded.

A nearby priest led a sermon as the young lovers paused by the side of the ship, trying to ascertain how much time they had left whilst more and more passengers threw themselves overboard into the cold darkness below.  Time was nearly up.

“This way!”  Jack lead them to the furthest point they could reach, the aft rail beside the stern flagpole... the place where they'd first met.  “Come on!”  the American gently urged as he grasped the rail, Hiccup joining him an instant later.

Glancing over his right shoulder, Hiccup spotted Helga.  Her eyes were wet with tears and filled with fear as she held onto the barrier for dear life.  At the Docking Bridge, the priest gripped onto one of the large capstans as it became more and more difficult for him to stand.   His ad-hock flock struggled to remain calm and listen to the scripture he was quoting.  The Scotsman tightened his hold on the American, and in turn Jack pulled the younger man as close as possible, planting a quick kiss on Hiccup's cheek, desperately hoping it would reassure his lover.

The passengers around them were losing their footing left, right and centre as the deck's slope reached critical.  The ship's lights had been flickering and fading with an increasing regularity, before returning to full brightness in brief respite.
Titanic, the largest and grandest ship in the world was going through it's death throes, threatening to take all of them with it.

The sound of items falling and breaking throughout the ship dully reverberated from within, ranging from crockery and small furnishings to some of the larger parts of machinery.  The weight of raised stern was tearing the liner apart from the inside, and it growled and howled like an injured animal.

With a final flash, the lights of Titanic died.

The night echoed with the cry of stressed metal, drowning out everything else as the ship reached it's fracture point.
Sounds of snapping and cracking began to issue from somewhere between the third and forth funnels, quickly growing in intensity as the railing began to vibrate.

Below decks, something large exploded and crashed towards the bow as Titanic screamed.  With a screech of tearing iron and steel, the deck dropped from beneath them.  The fall was brief, ending just as quick as the propellers and rudder crashed back into the Atlantic Ocean.
R.M.S. Titanic had broken in half down to her keel.

Their stays snapped and their casings shattered, the ship's third and forth funnels thundered as they slammed against the shattered deck and the water's surface, before dropping into the yawning black beneath.

The greedy water surged into the broken ship, swamping the destroyed interiors of the Engine Room.  The swell gobbled at the wreckage, and began to pull the rest of her down.

With the influx, the stern began to rise again, pulled upright once more by the weight of the ship's bow.  Jack, Hiccup and anyone who could hold on braced themselves as the stern whined as it swung upwards.  The time to act was now.

“We have to move!”  the American shouted over the chaos as he clambered over the railing with the help of the flag pole.  Safely ensconced on the upward-side, he repositioned himself to face the Scotsman.  “Give me your hand I'll pull you over!”

Hiccup hesitantly reached one arm out to Jack, who took it tightly.  Unseen by the younger man, the ship's deck housings vanished beneath the froth of the angry sea.

“I've got you!”  Jack affirmed as Hiccup pulled himself over the rail.  “I won't let go!”
The stern was now almost pointing straight out of the water, the propellers nearly facing the stars.
“Come on, I've got you!”

An unsettling silence descended as the remaining section of the ship settled in its new unnatural position, broken only by the startled cries of the passengers hanging from the various fixtures scattered across the deck.  “Hold on!”  Jack urged as they waited, unsure of what would follow.

Having realised that Helga's grip was slipping, Hiccup shot out an arm to try grab her... but it was too late.  With a panicked cry she slipped from the rail, disappearing amongst the pile of tangled bodies dumped against the forward... now lowest rail of the upended Poop Deck.  Horrified, the Scotsman turned away to look to his right, where he spotted the friendly-looking baker.  The man looked as scared as he did.

The peace was short lived, with a ominous vibration the stern started to sink into the Atlantic.  Below them, explosions of water shattered windows and blasted open doorways as air pockets within the ruined interior escaped, dislodging more passengers as they broke forth.  The last of the superstructure was lost beneath the surface as the waves advanced quickly on the remaining survivors.

“This is it!”  Jack exclaimed, the urgency in his voice calling Hiccup's attention.

“Oh God!”  Hiccup blurted out.

“Hold on!”  the American placed a reassuring hand on the Scotsman's lower back as they watched the vortex approach.  “The ship is going to suck us down... take a deep breath when I say!”

As the froth reached the Docking Bridge, a violent eruption of air and water burst through the cargo hatches beneath them.

“Kick for the surface and keep kicking!  Do not let go of my hand!”  Hiccup nodded, his eyes not leaving the vision of hell before him.  “We're going to make it, Hiccup... Trust me.”

“I trust you!”  he shouted back, tightly squeezing his companion's hand.

“Ready?”  the artist shouted, the water lapping at the deck inches from them.  “Ready!!  Now!”

They both inhaled deeply as the railing and flagpole were consumed, vanishing forever.
TITANIC HiJack - Chapters 9 and 10
<Previous - Next>

As the Titanic continues to slip further beneath the waves, Hiccup and Jack are not only pitted against the maze of passageways and locked barriers below decks, but they must also fight against the hundreds of passengers still on board.  With fewer and fewer lifeboats remaining, the chances for escape grow ever slimmer.

Story Notes
- Special thanks to :iconjustbstrong: for letting me use some of the concepts of her own Titanic Hijack AU
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I don't think I can adequately describe how much I love this series.  The animation (backgrounds and characters) is beautiful, the jokes and in-jokes great, the comedy has had me laughing out loud and I'm enjoying all the little nuances and depth that the cast continue to reveal. :)

Without a doubt, one of the best shows to come out of Disney in years, and really evokes what I liked best about The X-Files and Supernatural, rather than the over-arcing alien conspiracy, I preferred the one-off* "monster of the week" stories.

* Adrian Toomes still effectively counts as a "one-off".
  • Mood: Cheerful
  • Listening to: BABA
  • Reading: Journal #3
  • Watching: Gravity Falls
  • Playing: NORT
  • Eating: Nachos
  • Drinking: Pitt

deviantID

kingpin1055
Ben King
Artist | Hobbyist | Digital Art
United Kingdom
Current Residence: A house...no, really
Favourite genre of music: A wide variety
Favourite photographer: None I'm aware of, they're generally all good.
Favourite style of art: No explicet style
Operating System: Windows/Windows XP
MP3 player of choice: Either Windows Media or my Creative Labs MP3 player
Shell of choice: Conch... I'm a fan of "The Lord of the Flies".
Wallpaper of choice: Is flock out? Oh well...
Skin of choice: Fleshy
Favourite cartoon character: I have a lot of favourites, Homer Simpson, Peter Venkman, Garfield the cat...
Personal Quote: "We have the tools, we have the talent"
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