bmblbee (bmblbee) wrote in bloodclaim,
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The Crossing

Title: The Crossing
2/41
Author: BmblBee
Paring: S/X
Rating: NC17
Disclaimer: The Bee owns none of the characters or products named and
makes no money off anything. Sad state of affairs.
Warnings: Bad language, strong sexual content between M/M.
Second warning: Although I did do a lot of research, this story is not intended to
be an exact historical account so please don't scream and pounce on a detail or
two that may not be entirely accurate.

Credit: The snipits at the tops of the pages are from a web site entitled "Titanic,
A Time Line of Events" Earl Chapman on the Titanic Discussion List originally
published this chronology of events. Chapman modified it slightly in 1997. The
1997 version formed the basis of this timeline.

Summary: AU. It is the spring of 1912 and Xander Harris, who has been living
with relatives in Ireland, is heading home. As a gift of love, he was booked
passage on the maiden voyage of the Titanic with the promise that it will be the
adventure of a lifetime.

Author's note: This story is NOT a retelling of any of the Titanic movies.
It is the tale of one man and one vampire forgotten by history and the destiny they
both find on this doomed crossing.




As always, thanks to Petxnd for the wonderful banners and the valued friendship.

Xander had no idea what to expect. His time spent in Ireland had centered around
the lush green countryside on the outskirts of Queenstown and the few times he went
to the city, he had been with the family and stayed to the more respectable parts of town.

The very thought of the ports where the ships were docked was foreign, frightening and
more than a little bit exciting. His arrival two years ago through the same harbor on low
passage aboard a working troller had arrived at night. When they docked, he had been
whisked away on horseback and observed none of the terrain, told by Paddy that there
was nothing worth seeing.

Now he was to return to the ships for his departure from the adopted land he loved.
The carriage had collected him nearly an hour ago and the sad and heart wrenching
goodbye had been made somewhat easier when Paddy unexpectedly drew him into a
crushing bear hug.

"God's love and protection be with ye, me lad. Find yerself and return back to us."

Xander had been unable to do more than nod, his face brushing against the coarse wool
of Paddy's jacket. It was still early spring and the small country cottage had a fire in
the hearth and a nip in the air. There was no more need of apologies or explanations.
There was only the love of a Father for a Son. Parentage that superceded blood ties.
Xander was loved. It was all he needed.

With one last look between them, Xander did his best to smile before collecting his
carry all and climbing into the waiting carriage for the long trip through the city. His
ticket was safety tucked into his inside breast pocket but he found himself repeatedly
patting his jacket to assure himself that it wasn't lost or waylaid.

In addition, Paddy had given him a few bob to see him through. Last night, with the
admonishment of keeping silent, Emma had done the same. There was no going
back. Xander turned to face the road ahead and he knew in his heart that his life in
Ireland was over.

"Tis an exciting day, Lad"

Xander shook his head to clear it before realizing that the carriage driver was speaking
to him.

"Sir?"

"I said. Tis a landmark day. A young laddie like yourself must be all a quiver with
excitement to be a sailin' on the great Titanic."

Xander leaned forward so the driver would not have to shout to be heard. As he
spoke, he could see his breath in foggy puffs of warm air and he tugged his jacket
closer around his chilled body. Winter had been a colder than normal one and
although it was, by the claim of the calendar, early April, warm days were showing no
signs of being in a hurry to arrive.

"I guess I hadn't though too much about it. Is it a big ship?"

The driver clicked his tongue and snapped the reigns, encouraging the horse to pick
up the pace and the carriage jolted over the rough, pot holes in the road. His head
turned to look at his passenger with surprise before he answered.

"Aie! Tis the pride and magnificence of the White Star Line. Have ye never heard of
the great ship, the Titanic? Tis the biggest thing ever built in Belfast and tis said that
God himself had a hand in her creation. Tis historic it is. The Lady's maiden voyage
and you are lucky enough to be a part of it. Tis something to be tellin' your kiddies
and grandkiddies when ye are old and grey."

This time when Xander's body shivered, it was more in thrill than the damp cold. His
sadness was taking a back seat as his imagination was starting to paint pictures of a
giant ship and lots of people and he suddenly couldn't wait to get here. When he had
arrived just two years earlier, his father had paid a bartered passage and the sailing
had been arduous and taxing. He suffered bouts of sickness and the men aboard
scared him with their crude and cursing ways.

At 17 he had been young, sheltered and inexperienced in life. The trip had been
long, dirty, hungry and lonely. He was terrified of arriving in a foreign country and
convinced that his guardians would be cold and unemotional as were his parents.
The return trip was not an experience he had been eager to repeat.

Now, however, the cabby's words, combined with a young man's sense of adventure,
had his soul soaring and he wanted to take it all in. He wanted to remember every
detail for when he was old as though somewhere in his heart, he knew this would be
the high point of his life. He longed to store it all in his mind and heart. If he had to
make this trip, he wanted to really live it.

Xander's head snapped in all directions as he attempted to see everything. The sights
of the shifting landscape as it changed from the rolling hillsides and fields of green to
the bustling city. The echo of one horse's hooves pounding against the dirt road to
a virtual army of tethered beasts traveling in every direction, snorting and shuddering
against the cold and transporting a seemingly limitless population of people to God
knows where. And loud! Xander hadn't known the world could be so boisterous.

People shouting from windows, overflowing from taverns, laughing and celebrating
life and companionship. Men arguing, some cheerfully, some not. Neither of which
drew concerned looks by others passing them on the streets. Cats screaming and
dogs barking. His ears had never know a volume of this level and confusion. It
was too much and Xander covered his ears with his warm, gloved hands.

As they turned and trotted through the crammed, densely populated alleyways of the
tall tenement buildings, Xander noticed windows slightly opened and pans of food
setting to cool on the sills. That was when his sense of smell came to the forefront.
Meats and fish cooking in pots of heady spices, onions and garlic. Pies made of
sweet, syrupy fruits and the distinct odor of alcohol. Foreign recipes Xander was
certain he had never tasted. This was nothing Emma ever served.

But just when Xander thought he had seen it all, that he could no longer be surprised,
the cabby leaned and called back to him.

"Look, Boy. Look up ahead and smell. Can you smell it? That's the ocean, Boy.
The great mysterious, black ocean. Home of the sirens and the sea serpents."

Xander sat bolt upright and inhaled deeply. It was incredible. He didn't remember
this the last time he sailed and wondered if it was a different ocean. Maybe a
different world, or perhaps he was just a different Xander. He could smell it.
He could smell the ocean and when he licked his lips and tasted the salt in the air,
he knew they were close.

Suddenly, as they turned a bend in the road, it all burst to life in front of him and
before he could stop himself, Xander shot to his feet. The cabby roared with
laughter when the horse lurched and Xander fell back onto the seat in an ungraceful
heap. Still, he was to overwhelmed and delighted to bother being embarrassed.

He again jumped to up and held fast to the back of the cabby's seat as he pointed
off in the direction of the most activity.

"Is that it? OH MY GOD! Is that it? It's so huge! I have never seen anything like
that in my life!"

The cabby nodded as he maneuvered his carriage through the milling crowds of
people and cargo on the bustling port.

"Ain't never been anything like that. She's the Titanic, Boy. Most modern ship
in the world."

When he finally decided he wouldn't be able to get any closer, the cabby pulled up
on the horse and brought it to a stop. Xander would have to walk the rest of the
way himself. He didn't mind. His adrenalin was surging as he hopped down, dragging
his holdall with him. Briefly recalling Paddy's instruction, Xander reached into his
pocket and pulled out a couple coins which he handed to the driver with his polite
appreciation.

"Thank you, Sir."

The cab driver smiled and tucked them away.

"You are very welcome, young man. A word of advice. The world of the Titanic
is a big one and not everyone means you well. Hold tight to your purse and always
watch yer back."

As expected, the driver's words of wisdom blended indistinguishably with the roar of
thousands of other voices as Xander rushed headlong into the mobs of passengers
waiting to climb the gang plank for the adventure of a lifetime.
_____________________________________________
Bee note: Therapy was nominated over at RWSA awards.
The Bee would be much beholdin' if anyone wanted to mosey over there and
plunk down a vote. Thanks.
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