bmblbee (bmblbee) wrote in bloodclaim,
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bmblbee
bloodclaim

The Crossing

Title: The Crossing
38/41
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 snippets 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.

Spelling checked by the gracious Silk_Labyrinth




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


3:30 AM
The Carpathia's rockets are sighted by those in the lifeboats.

4:10 AM
Titanic's #2 life boat is picked up.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

No one slept. Every crew member on the Carpathia, from the captain to the
lowliest deckhand were on top alert and had been since the incredulous news that
the great Titanic was in dire peril. Although still some distance away, they rushed
at full speed to the location they were given.

Everyone expected to see the ship possibly taking on water but still afloat. The
thought that she could actually sink was incomprehensible.

Second Officer Morbry rushed to the bridge to give the Carpathia's captain the
most recent updates. He found the man standing with his face toward the open
ocean and the black night sky.

"Sir, we are less than 40 minutes from the site. We are unable to reestablish radio
communication with the Titanic and I believe we are the closest ship to respond.
We have already begun to fire the rockets, Sir, and will continue to do so."

The captain frowned slightly and turned around to face his officer.

"We are the first? I understood the Californian was near."

Morbry raised an eyebrow fractionally in an uncharacteristically opinionated
expression.

"We believed it to be so, Sir, however they claim to be elsewhere. They are also
responding but are still, by their own estimation, several hours away."

The captain nodded and kept his own opinions to himself. Gossiping was both
unprofessional and, in this case, unproductive.

"You say there is no further radio response?"
"No, Sir. Our man is still sending constant call to them but we are getting no answers."

"I see. Please instruct the radio operator to continue until I give the orders otherwise.
Also, I want an extra set of eyes in the crow's nest and I am to be advised the second
the Titanic, or whatever is left of her, is spotted. I also want all hands on deck
watching for ice and advise the engine room to slow to 30 knots. We will do her no
good to fall victim to the same fate as she."

"Aye Captain."

Morbry spun around and rushed off to do as ordered. He darted out into the frigid
night air and said a prayer of thanks to his good wife who had given him that new
set of long johns for Christmas last. He then, after passing along the captain's
instructions, went to the bow. He gripped the ice covered railings, leaning out
and straining each time the sky exploded in the red light of one of the Carpathia's
flares.

He felt the shudder of the ship's boilers as they reduced power and he knew that
meant they must be close yet, still, he could see no sign of the Titanic. A ship that
massive that it should have filled the seascape ahead. He did, however see that the
ocean ahead was full of black, ominous objects littering and floating on the surface.
Objects that he took to be chunks of the ice that they had been warned about.

When the next flair shot up and bathed the sky in a blood red illumination, the
objects became crystal clear. Morbry's stomach lurched. He stepped back from
the railing and he performed the sign of the cross on himself.

"Oh, sweet Jesus. Holy Mother of God."

He then instantly flew into action. At the same time, the alarm bell rang, signaling that
the men in the crow's nest had seen the same thing. Having been previously instructed,
the deckhands rushed around, uncovering their lifeboats and stacking blankets and cots
on the starboard decks. Just before leaving the deck to inform the captain, Mowbry
caught a trace of something faint on the wind. It was the first sound of the wailing voices
calling out for them.

Within minutes the ship's crew was organized. As they were heading bow-first into the
area of tragedy, per the captain's orders, the port side would be used to retrieve the
lifeboats of survivors that were now paddling towards them. The starboard side would
launch lifeboats of their own and go about the unthinkable task of retrieving the bodies
of the dead that now floated aimlessly, bobbing and bumping into the deadly ice and
each other.

It was overwhelming. It was quickly decided that with so many survivors, their first
priority had to be to the living and the rest of the cleanup could go to the Californian
when she arrived. The one obvious fact no one mentioned was that although there
seemed to be hundreds of survivors, the Titanic was known to carry over 2000
passengers and crew. It was mind boggling.

Spike was exhausted. Even his vampire endurance had reached its limit in the freezing
waters and he could do no more. They had safely cleared the point of the suction of
the sinking and he swam until they reached the first lifeboat. He knew a rescue ship
was on its way and their best hope was to be as close to the living as possible.

Clutching tightly to the dead body of his beloved, Spike rolled over in the black water
and he closed his eyes and let his spent body float. Every once in a while he would glance
up when the red illumination split through the darkness and he smiled at its beauty.

The night was quieter now. The majority of the screaming had stopped the second
the ship dropped below the ocean's surface, sealing the fate of those who had remained
aboard. It also left the wives and mothers in the boats, who had been watching the ship,
sobbing quietly as the truth of their changed lives descended down on them.

Few of the others in the water were left alive. Most still clung to deck chairs, boxes
and anything that would float. Their fingers were so frozen that they would have to be
broken in order to force them open and release the objects that had been their last
hope for life.

Finally, just before passing out, Spike heard the renewed shouts of the passengers
in the first life boat and he knew help had arrived. The only question was, had it
arrived in time for him and his boy?

"Careful! Shit, Cam! Here give it to me."

Seaman Ashton took the long whale hook from his partner's hand. He leaned out
over the side of the small dingy and he snagged the life jacket of the first body.
They had been assigned to the detail of the recovery of the dead. His friend,
Cameron, saw it as a punishment. Ashton did not. He considered it an opportunity
to serve God by showing respect to those who had suffered and died.

Carefully he worked till the end of the hook caught the laces of the life jacket and he
strained as the body was slowly dragged towards them. When it was along side,
both men leaned over and tugged, surprised to find two bodies. Unwilling to crack
the fingers of the smaller one, together they were carefully rolled and wrestled into
the boat together before moving on to the next.

When the men were frozen and the life boat was at it maximum capacity, they again
returned to the Carpathia where their cargo would be unloaded and the next two sailors
would go back out. It was a routine that would be repeated for hours to come.

The starboard side of the ship was already a flurry of activity. The Titanic's lifeboats
were brought alongside and unloaded with passengers who were, themselves, near
death from shock, grief and the unbearable elements. The crew's priority now was to
see to their aid and comfort. Blankets were distributed, hot tea was poured by the
gallon and questions about the fate of their loved ones were answered with shrugged
shoulders and words of consolation.

Discreetly, Deckhand George Patrick tugged the captain's sleeve.

"Sir, the first of the deceased has been brought aboard. Sir, it looks like hundreds are
still out there. What are we to do with them?"

The captain gave it a moment's thought before quietly answering.

"We can't put them below deck. We need all the available room for the living. You will
instruct that they are to be laid out in tight rows on the port deck. For each twenty
bodies, I want a heavy canvas tarp to be placed over them. I want them concealed
completely. It would simply not do for one of the survivors to accidentally see the body
of a loved one. When we have all the living collected, we leave for port. The Californian
estimates her arrival time at 8:30 AM. We will radio her and apprise her of the situation
and she will be charged with the collection of the remaining bodies."

The sailor nodded curtly and ran to convey the captain's orders.
They were now just minutes from sunrise.
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