Title: A Pirate’s Life For Me - Part 2
Pairing/characters: Stephen, Becker
Warnings: Violence, possibly pre-slash if you squint a bit?
Disclaimer: Not mine. ITV and Impossible Pictures own them.
Word count: approx 3554 (6540 in total)
Summary: Stephen and Becker are captured by pirates. Genuine, 18th century pirates.
AN: Birthday fic for cordeliadelayne and bigtitch
The ship lurched violently and there was a loud crack that was audible even over the shouts of the pirates.
Stephen stumbled backwards, and hit the deck in a crouch right in front of two of the pirates. They made the mistake of not paying attention to him, apparently too concerned with the fact that the ship was tipping sideways, so Stephen lashed out with his foot and swept both of them off their feet and made a grab for the nearest pirate’s pistol. The pirate tried to kick him but Stephen scrambled out of the way before the pirate could regain his balance.
Still crouched, Stephen took a second to look round and see what was going on. Many of the pirates had lost their footing and fallen, or were clinging to anything solid enough to hold their weight. Anything not tied down was rolling or sliding across the deck as the ship finally stopped at a crazy angle. Becker was hanging onto a bulkhead in an ungainly sprawl. Although, Stephen noted, the soldier had kept hold of his sword despite being thrown several feet.
It was at this moment that Stephen realised the pirates who were in a position to be paying attention were all pointing and shouting at something to the starboard side of the ship. A huge shape came out of the sea, spraying water everywhere and blocking out the sun for a second, before crashing back down into the water. Stephen scrambled over to Becker and grabbed onto both the soldier and the nearest solid timber as the ship gave in to the inevitability of gravity and Newtonian physics, and began to lurch back the other way.
“What the hell was that?” Becker asked, although his attention was clearly more focussed on their human opponents.
“I think it was a flipper.”
“Right. Of course it was,” Becker deadpanned. “A ten foot flipper. Wonderful.”
The ship crashed back to starboard and tilted again and the two men hung on tight. Everything that had slid across the deck one way now skidded back the opposite way again like some insane bowling alley. An insane bowling alley where people were the skittles.
“Come on,” Stephen decided, hauling Becker to his feet as the ship started to right itself. Although quite where he intended to go was another matter entirely. He spotted one of the small launches and was about to suggest it when Becker indicated the opposite direction back towards the door that led below decks.
“This way,” Becker said.
“Where the hell are you going?” Stephen hissed, staying close but facing out onto the deck so he could watch their backs.
“We need our stuff,” Becker replied, staggering slightly as the ship continued to rock and roll.
“Do you really want to take on Nessie’s evil twin with a flintlock pistol and a duelling sword?”
Fair point, Stephen conceded.
They made it to the door that Becker had been dragged through not more than ten minutes earlier, dodging past a pirate who seemed more interested in getting away from the starboard side of the ship than in stopping them. Becker rammed the door open and they scrambled down the steps into a narrow corridor that led to the rooms below. Behind them, sporadic cracks of pistol fire began to sound amid the shouts and cries of the pirates.
They ran down the corridor, opening every door they came to. Stephen found a storeroom full of barrels and sacks, and then what appeared to be a bunkroom. Becker headed to the far end of the corridor, to the rooms where they had been interrogated. Before he got there, a door at the far end opened and a pirate stepped out into the corridor.
“What’s going on?” the pirate demanded. His eyes widened in shock when he saw them, and he drew his sword.
Becker was on him in seconds, and the pirate barely managed to get his sword up in time to parry Becker’s blow. The sound of metal on metal seemed loud and shrill over the groaning and creaking of the timbers. The pirate recovered quickly and swung his sword. Becker easily dodged and thrust back, but again was parried. Stephen desperately wanted to join the fight and help, but the corridor was too narrow and he couldn’t get close. The pirate swung again and Becker barely leapt back out of the way as the blade sliced through the air where his stomach had been a second earlier.
There was a yell from behind them and Stephen turned to see two more pirates jump down the steps into the corridor. When they saw him they both drew their swords and advanced. Stephen took one last glance back at Becker and then moved to meet their new opponents.
The first pirate ran forwards and slashed at him with his cutlass. Stephen easily blocked the blow with his rapier, but the force of the impact reverberated up his arm. The pirate pulled his arm back for another swing and Stephen stabbed at his chest. There wasn’t enough force behind the blow and he barely got his sword free from the pirate’s clothes in time to block another slashing strike. Behind him someone cried out, but Stephen didn’t dare look round to check on Becker. The pirate hacked at him again, snarling in frustration as Stephen blocked blow after blow.
Stephen suspected the fact that he was left handed was almost certainly giving him the advantage. He was used to fighting right handed opponents; he guessed the pirate was less used to fighting left-handers. But he still hadn’t landed a blow, and as long as he was kept on the defensive that wasn’t going to change.
He waited until the pirate pulled his arm back for another blow and stabbed at him again. This time he knew the strike was good, and when he pulled the sword out in time to dodge the pirate’s blow he was rewarded with the sight of blood blossoming on the pirate’s shirt. The pirate stared at him in shock, his cutlass swinging wide of the mark, and he stepped back right into his companion, who had been hovering impatiently right behind him, unable to get into the fight in the confines of the corridor.
Stephen lunged forwards aiming for the pirate’s chest again. The ship lurched violently, throwing everyone into the walls of the corridor. Stephen whacked his head against the wall and the world was still spinning when a sharp pain bit into his arm. He staggered and dropped to one knee as the pirate wrenched his sword free, and Stephen just about got his rapier in the way to block the next attack. The pirate was still regaining his balance but his face betrayed a triumphant grin as he hacked down again and again, preventing Stephen from getting up, preventing him from doing anything apart from desperately blocking and parrying. He was trapped against the wall, there was nowhere to retreat back to. He could feel blood flowing from his arm. Of all the ways he had thought he might die, killed in a swordfight by pirates was most definitely not among the list.
The pirate raised his cutlass high and gripped it with both hands, apparently intending to make a killing strike. The pirate’s eyes suddenly widened and he twisted at the last second. Becker lunged forwards over Stephen’s prone body and thrust his rapier into the pirate’s chest, his eyes narrowed as he shoved the sword in deep. The cutlass dropped from the pirate’s hands and clattered to the floor as he stared at Becker in shock. Becker wrenched the sword out of the man’s body and punched him hard in the face, and the pirate toppled backwards. The pirate who was standing right behind him readied his sword for a moment, his eyes flicking between Becker and Stephen. Then he turned and ran back to the stairs.
“You okay?” Becker asked, his eyes still locked on the fleeing pirate.
Stephen glanced down to look at his right arm. There was blood flowing from a cut just below his shoulder, but the wound didn’t look as deep or as large as he’d feared.
“I’ll live,” Stephen decided.
He hauled himself to his feet and Becker turned back to the door that the first pirate had come out of.
“Looks like the captain’s rooms. No wonder it was guarded. Bet this is where we’ll find our stuff.”
Becker disappeared into the room, and Stephen followed him, pausing to glance at the first pirate that Becker had been fighting. He was sprawled in the corridor, splashes of blood on his shoulder and stomach. Stephen felt a momentary flash of jealousy that Becker had apparently succeeded where he had failed, followed just as quickly by a rush of selfish gratitude. Becker had saved him from having to actually deliver a killing blow himself, and honestly, even in self-defence, Stephen wasn’t one hundred percent sure he had that ability in him. He shoved those thoughts away and followed Becker into the captain’s cabin.
They didn’t even need to search – their stuff was piled in a heap on the floor. Becker picked up his t-shirt, contemplated for a moment and then ripped a strip off it and quickly bandaged Stephen’s arm.
“That ought to stop the bleeding until we can sort it out properly,” he said, as he ripped another section off and tied it around his own leg. Apparently he hadn’t escaped the fight unscathed either.
“Anyone would think you liked running around shirtless,” Stephen said, noting the shredded remains of Becker’s t-shirt.
“Enjoying the view?” Becker grinned, as he put his boots back on.
Stephen quickly slipped into his own t-shirt, using that as an excuse not to answer. His tranquiliser rifle had been lost when he tumbled through the anomaly, so he watched as Becker checked over his shotgun. There was a look in Becker’s eyes that Stephen had only ever seen a few times, and all of those times they had been fighting for their lives. He suddenly remembered Becker’s words from earlier, “Ten to one? Easy.” and Stephen came to the sudden realisation that Becker was actually enjoying this.
“So, now we’ve got our stuff, what exactly are you planning on doing next?”
“I have absolutely no idea,” Becker admitted, in a worryingly cheerful tone of voice.
Despite their situation, Stephen couldn’t help but be amused by the fact that occasionally even their normally unflappable soldier boy had to resort to making it up on the fly just the same as the rest of them.
There was another bang and the ship rocked again.
“Let’s find out what that creature is first,” Stephen decided. “Right now that’s the biggest threat.”
“It’s also the distraction that’s saving our lives.”
“The pirates can be reasoned with. We’ll all be dead if the creature sinks the ship.”
“Okay. Let’s go.”
They ran back down the corridor and onto deck, Becker leading the way. The first thing that hit Stephen was the smell, and when he looked to starboard he could see the wisps of smoke from the pistols still hanging in the air over the side of the ship. Most of the pirates now seemed to be trying to manoeuvre the ship away, while some were still shooting at the creature. Stephen and Becker ran to get a look over the side, avoiding the pirates as much as possible.
“Bloody hell,” Stephen breathed, momentarily lost for words.
Becker’s quip about a ten foot flipper had been an underestimation. The creature’s head alone was over ten foot long, and all of its four flippers were even longer. The whole creature must have been over seventy feet in length, and every single inch of that was solid, muscled prehistoric marine predator. The creature’s eyes were on the top of its head, above its massive jaws, and it seemed to be staring right at Stephen for a moment. Then it slammed its huge body into the side of the ship and Stephen gripped the rail and pushed away from the edge where it was safer, relatively speaking.
Becker leaned over the edge and aimed his shotgun at the creature and fired. There was a dull click, and Becker swore.
Stephen glanced down at the pirate’s flintlock pistol he had been carrying around. It was nothing more than a pea shooter against a creature this size, as the pirates had already more than proven.
The creature slammed into the ship again and they both staggered and dropped to a crouch to avoid being thrown overboard.
There had to be something they could do, something they could use. Suddenly Stephen had an idea. An insane and ridiculous idea. An idea that Cutter would hate if he ever got to hear about it, but Stephen thought it might just work.
“Becker, the barrels in the storeroom.”
Becker took a second to catch up, and then grinned.
“Stephen, you’re a genius.”
They both jumped up and turned to run back, and stopped dead. The pirate captain was standing there blocking their way, his pistol pointed right at them. In an action that was probably more instinct than conscious thought, Becker snapped his shotgun up and aimed at the pirate captain.
“You did this. You brought this monster upon us,” the pirate captain shouted. His eyes betrayed fury and fear in almost equal measure.
“We’re trying to save your ship. You can either help us, or get the hell out of our way,” Becker snapped back.
“Maybe the monster will be satisfied if I give it you two to feast on.”
“We don’t have time for this,” Stephen said, trying to keep the anger out of his voice.
The ship lurched again but the sound of splintering timber was drowned out by the crack of the pirate captain’s gun. Becker went down. Stephen staggered and fought to regain his balance as the ship righted itself. Water sprayed up the side of the ship and soaked him. Stephen was yelling something, he had no idea what, as he brought the pistol up and fired at the pirate captain. The giant man stumbled backwards and his legs crumpled and he fell onto the deck. Stephen dropped to his knees at Becker’s side, his eyes scanning for blood, but he could see no new injury.
“Nice shot,” Becker commented, pushing himself upright.
“What? I thought... he didn’t shoot you?”
Becker looked down at himself, a puzzled expression crossing his face.
“No. I just got knocked off my feet when the ship moved.”
Stephen smacked the man’s shoulder, more in a gesture of relief than anger.
“Ow,” Becker said. Then he smirked. “I didn’t know you cared so much.”
“Shut up and come on,” Stephen muttered, standing up and dragging Becker up with him.
This time unhindered, they ran back to the storeroom and between them hauled one of the barrels of gunpowder up the steps and onto the deck. From there they could roll it to the edge of the ship and they stopped to peer over the side again. The creature, some kind of massive pliosaur, Stephen suspected, was still attacking the ship, its huge jaws opening and closing as it tried to rip and bite at the timber planks of the hull.
“We need something to ignite it,” Becker said, catching his breath.
“I have no idea how to reload this thing,” Stephen admitted, holding up the flintlock pistol.
Stephen looked around, and reached out for Becker’s handgun.
“Will this still work after it’s been in seawater?”
More wood cracked beneath them.
“Let’s hope we’re lucky,” Stephen said, with a confidence that he wished he felt.
Together they lifted the barrel and held it at the rail, waiting for the creature to move into the best position. As if on cue it surfaced again and they hurled the barrel into its waiting jaws.
For a second Stephen could have sworn the creature had a confused look in its eyes as it snapped its teeth closed on the unfamiliar object. Becker went for his handgun.
Something slammed into their backs and Stephen almost went over the edge of the ship. He grabbed the rail and wobbled precariously for a moment before shoving himself back away from the edge. He turned to see the pirate captain smack Becker over the back of the head with a huge meaty fist, his face contorted in fury, his shoulder soaked in blood. Becker managed to twist round and duck away from a second blow. Becker rammed his fist into the pirate captain’s stomach, but the giant man barely seemed to notice. Becker had tucked his sword into his belt while they carried the barrel and he couldn’t get to it with the pirate captain pinning him back against the edge of the ship. Stephen went for his sword but in truth he had no idea if he could join the fight without risking any one of them falling overboard.
Becker ducked another punch and drew his handgun. Instead of shooting the pirate captain, he spared a glance in Stephen’s direction and tossed him the gun.
“Deal with the creature. I’ve got this covered.”
He paid for his moment of inattention, and his head rocked back as the pirate captain punched him hard in the face. Becker barely managed to retaliate with a badly aimed knee to the groin.
“GO!” Becker yelled when he realised Stephen was still standing there watching.
Stephen forced himself to turn away from the fight and leaned over the edge again. The creature was thrashing its head from side to side, apparently trying to get rid of the taste in its mouth. Stephen knew he couldn’t get a decent shot from here. He looked round, and saw what he had to do.
With a grace and agility that was as innate as his left-handedness, Stephen bounded along the deck and leapt up onto the rigging, pulling himself up higher where he could see all along the hull of the vessel and, more importantly, had a clear view of the creature. It was still thrashing, its huge flippers splashing and pushing it further away from the ship. He needed to take the shot quickly.
Stephen twisted his right hand into the rigging, and took careful aim, forcing himself to remain patient for the perfect shot. The creature’s head fell into his sights, its jaws wide open, the broken remains of the barrel and its contents still visible in its vast mouth.
This time there was no click, this time fifty-fifty fell in their favour. Stephen saw a spark, and then the creature’s head exploded.
The ship rocked violently and Stephen was sprayed with water as the sea erupted and battered the side of the ship. Around he could hear shouting, cheering even, and then a scream cut through the noise. Stephen looked down.
Becker was leaning over the side of the ship, one hand gripping the rail, the other holding onto the pirate captain who was swinging over the water. The pirate captain screamed again, and Stephen could see Becker was straining to hold onto the giant man’s weight. Stephen quickly tried to untwist his hand from the ropes, but he knew he wasn’t going to be fast enough. Abruptly, a giant flipper spasmed out of the water as the creature’s death throes turned the water red. The flipper caught the pirate captain and he was ripped out of Becker’s grasp and plunged into the churning sea below.
Becker didn’t move for a moment, and then he pulled back and slid down to sit on the deck.
Stephen finally managed to free himself and carefully scrambled down the rigging and ran to his friend. Becker’s face was smeared with blood, his nose was still bleeding and his lip was split and already starting to swell.
“Are you okay?” Stephen crouched beside him.
Becker swore quietly, and wiped at the blood.
“He was trying to kill us both,” Stephen felt the need to point out, although somehow he suspected that wasn’t going to be much comfort to either of them when they remembered it later.
If they got the chance to remember it later.
Stephen looked up and saw the rest of the pirates slowly coming down from the rigging and gathering on the deck. They were all staring right at Stephen and Becker. They both stood up, Becker grabbing his shotgun as he did so. That prompted a reaction, and suddenly they were surrounded by pistols and swords pointed right at them.
Becker didn’t even bother to raise his shotgun, he simply stood there, one hand on the gun, the other resting casually on the hilt of the sword at his belt.
“Okay,” Becker sighed. “We just blew up a sea monster. Do you really want to argue with us?”
A few of the pirates glanced at each other, and then first one, then another, and then all of them threw down their weapons.
Stephen leaned close and whispered, “Congratulations, I think you’ve just been promoted, Captain.”
Becker rolled his eyes. “Wonderful,” he muttered. Then an oddly hopeful expression crossed his face. “Does that mean I get a hat?”
Link to part 3