“No! I absolutely forbid it _______. Not in your condition,” Arthur said as he stalked about our living room. The fireplace was burning dimly, keeping the chill of night at bay as the few candles around the room gave the place a warm glow.
“Condition? Arthur I’m not dying, I’m pregnant,” I replied exasperatedly. “I’ve been sailing before while I was pregnant.”
“Exactly! You are nearly nine months pregnant and you do not need to be going on a pirate ship. And the few times before you weren’t anywhere near as close to your due date. There are a million different things that could go wrong!” he cried, looking at me with his fiery emerald orbs. I leaned back in my rocking chair and raised an eyebrow.
“Then I don’t want you going,” I said simply. He went to round on me then paused.
“What?” he asked, quirking a large eyebrow at me. I raised both of my mine and looked him dead on.
“You heard me. If there’s so much that can go wrong then I don’t want you going.” He looked at me, his mouth gaping like a fish trying to breath.
“B-but… but love, I have to go. I have no choice and I’m afraid you have no say in the matter. You are not going at that’s final,” he stated firmly, huffing in his confirmation. I swallowed thickly and stood up, forcing back my tears.
“Fine,” I muttered before going back to our bedroom and slamming the door. “Stupid pirate. I’m going on that ship whether he like it or not!
Arthur groaned and flopped down in an armchair and listened as his bedroom door slammed shut. He didn’t want to be leaving with the baby’s due date so close, but it wasn’t up to him. And _______ wanting to go with him! How could she even think something so preposterous?!
“Ugh,” he sighed heavily as he leaned back in the chair and kicked his tall, black boot of. “Women. Why on earth is she so determined to go?” he questioned no one in particular. He laid here for a few minutes before pulling himself up and blowing out all the candles. He trudged to his and _______’s room and opened up the door quietly. He walked in and saw his wife fast asleep.
He stripped down to his underpants and crawled under the covers. He looked at _______ and saw tears tracks down her cheeks. He sighed and tried to keep from changing his mind.
“I’m sorry love,” he murmured, laying down and draping an arm over her swollen middle, “not this time.” He kissed her head and drifted off into a light sleep.
Arthur woke up early the next morning before the sun was even up. He changed into his loose, puffy white shirt and tucked it into his tight leather pants. He pulled on his bright red coat, leaving it opened and unbuckled in the front. He strapped his cutlass to his waist and placed his feathered hat on his head.
He looked back at his sleeping wife and sighed tiredly. He walked towards her and knelt down in front of her. She moved slightly but didn’t wake. Arthur pushed some hair away from her face and kissed her forehead.
“I love you _______. I really am sorry dear. I’ll be home as fast as I can love,” he murmured. He stood up and swept out of the room. He walked out of the house and down towards the docks. The semi-darkness of the early morning was cool and promising. He could smell the sea, pulling him towards it and his ship. He was ready to be out of the open ocean again. He would come home like he always did, he knew it.
I drifted into consciousness as I felt Arthur get up out of bed. I heard him rustle about as he got dressed and then walked to my side of the bed. He ran his fingers along the side of my face and kissed my forehead.
“I love you _______. I really am sorry dear. I’ll be home as fast as I can love.” I bit my tongue to keep from speaking and let him walk out. When I heard the front door close, I leapt up and began scurrying around the bedroom.
I grabbed a pair of loose pants and pulled them on. I slipped an oversized shirt over my head and pulled on a pair of boots. My feet protested but I went ahead and put my coat on and headed outside.
I hurried down to the docks through the silent streets. I saw Arthur’s ship, The Black Rose, bobbing gently in the water and grinned. Only a few people were milling about on deck and I knew not everyone was there yet. Most of the crew knew who I was, but not all of them. I walked up the gangplank as quickly as my pregnant stomach would let me and looked around for Arthur. Nowhere in sight, that was good.
"_______, ma chérie. What are you doing on ze ship?” A heavy French accent behind me made me jump. I turned and smiled innocently at the Frenchman.
“Just because,” I replied sheepishly. Francis crossed his arms over his arms over his chest and I slumped dejectedly. “Because I wanted to come and Arthur wouldn’t let me!” I protested softly. “Where is he, by the way?” Francis rolled his eyes and jerked his head towards the captain’s quarters.
“In ‘is room where ‘e always is before we set sail,” he replied. I grinned and looked at the blonde pleadingly. I tried ignoring all the men looking at mine and Francis’ hushed conversation.
“Can you take me to the galley then? Please Francis. He won’t know you helped, please?!” I begged. Don’t ask why I so desperately wanted to go on this trip, but I did and I was determined to stay on board.
“Chérie, Arzur always finds out about– ”
“And that’s alright,” I interrupted, “I just need until we set sail,” I explained. I heard footsteps coming up from Arthur’s cabin. “Please!!” Francis huffed and grabbed my wrist, pulling me down towards the galley.
“Alright men, time to set sail. Francis!” I could hear Arthur starting to yell orders as he looked for his first mate. “Dammit, where is Bonnefoy?!” I refrained from giggling as my husband stormed around the deck of his ship.
“In ‘ere,” Francis said, ushering me into the large kitchen. “Toris is new. Just tell ‘im who you are and zat I told him to keep you ‘idden until we leave ze docks.” He turned and rushed back upstairs, yelling at Arthur. I hurried into the galley and saw a young man with long brown hair pulled into a ponytail. He looked at me with wide, bluish green eyes.
“Hi there,” I said, looking around for a closet or pantry to hide in. “I’m _______ Kirkland, Arthur’s wife. Listen, if he comes down here can you not tell him I’m here,” I pleaded, opening up a pantry and crawling into an empty space in the bottom. “Please,” I said before pulling the door shut. I pulled my knees as close to my body as I could with my stomach in the way. I sat as still as I could, pushing a few boxes in front of me in case someone opened the door. I listened as heavy boots thumped into the galley.
“Laurinaitis! Everything good down here?” I recognized Arthur’s voice and smirked. I was right under his nose and he didn’t even know.
“Aye captain!” the boy replied. I leaned against the back of the small pantry and sighed. The gentle rocking of the ship was soothing and a strong comfort. I heard boots leaving and then the door was opened. “You can come out Mrs. Kirkland. Captain’s gone and won’t be back down,” Toris said softly. Looking up, I grinned and held out a hand.
“Thank you,” I replied as he helped me stand up, “and please, call me _______.” The young man swallowed and nodded nervously as I walked to the small table in the room and sat down. I rubbed my belly as little feet pounded at the sore skin.
“Alright then, I’m Toris. Um… _______, if I may ask, why are you hiding from your husband on his pirate ship?” he asked. I giggled at how silly it sounded.
“I’m only hiding until we’re out to sea. I wanted to come on the ship for this voyage and Arthur had ‘forbade’ it, but I snuck on anyway.” I shrugged and continued to rub my stomach, trying to get the child to settle down.
“Why did you want to come if you’re so pregnant?” Toris asked. I shrugged again and leaned back in the chair tiredly.
“I just wanted to,” I replied with a smirk. I winced slightly however as the baby kicked particularly hard against the side of my belly. “Settle down would you?” I said to my middle, running a hand down to the abused area. My stomach gurgled in response.
“T-the baby?” Toris asked carefully. I looked over and saw him looking at my oversized abdomen. I nodded and gestured him to come over.
“Mhm, the kid’s been real restless lately. Wanna feel it kick?” I asked. Toris’ eyes widened significantly but he nodded all the same. “Put your hand right… here.” I pointed to where the infant was currently kicking against the inside of my stomach.
“Wow,” Toris mumbled, eyes gazing at the spot in awe. I laughed and rubbed my stomach tenderly. The boat lurched suddenly, making Toris fall back and me almost fall out of my chair.
“Guess we’re underway. Do you mind if I stay here just a bit longer?” I asked as Toris rose off the floor.
“No ma’am. You’re welcome to stay as long as you like. The company’s welcome.” I talked with the boy for a good fifteen to thirty before footsteps were heard. They were lighter than Arthur’s and the blue eyes that appeared definitely gave it away.
“Ma chérie,” Francis crooned as he promenaded into the galley. His blonde hair was now pulled into a low ponytail and his cerulean eyes glittered with excitement. “We’re out to sea and no land is in sight.”
“Thank you so much Francis,” I said, getting up and hugging him as best I could. “Thank you as well as Toris.” With the help of the Frenchman, I managed to get up on deck.
“You know Arzur is going to be furious when ‘e finds out you’re ‘ere,” he muttered as we walked out into the morning sunlight. I rolled my eyes and walked over to the railing of the large ship. The water sparkled and glittered in the early light.
“It’s too late to matter now. Besides, what can he can he do, keel haul me?” I asked sarcastically, laughing as I tried to picture such an image in my current state.
“Bonnefoy, where’s…” I looked up to see Arthur jumping up the steps from the men’s living area beneath the deck. His beautiful emerald orbs had gone wide in shock at the sight of me. “__-____?!”
“Hello dear,” I said, turning and leaning against the rail. “Hope you didn’t miss me too much.” I smiled weakly, all my sudden courage from before vanishing as his look hardened and turned into a menacing glare. I noticed all the men had stopped what they were doing and were looking at us.
“What are you doing on this ship?” he asked, gritting his teeth together in anger. I walked forward, not really caring about the onlookers.
“Sailing of course. I don’t think there’s much more to do on a ship,” I replied smugly, smirking at his loss for words. He took a deep breath before looking up at his crew.
“Get back to work, all of you! Now!” he barked loudly. The crew jumped and turned back to what they’d been doing. “You,” he said, looking at me, “in my cabin. Now,” he practically growled at me.
“I walked past him towards his room. I walked down the stairs and entered his room as his boots walked back across the woods towards me. I looked around his room and smiled at the familiarity. This was the place Arthur’d first told me he loved me and it was the first place we’d been together.
A large, comfortable matter was set snugly in a corner of the room. A beautiful oak desk was set in another corner and was littered with papers and maps of all kinds. He had a large chest pressed against one wall with several windows placed around to let sun and moonlight in.
“What the bloody hell do you think you’re doing?!” Arthur shouted as he slammed his door behind him.
“I told you I wanted to come, so I did,” I replied, turning to him and crossing my arms over my chest. “You can’t go back now, so I have no choice but to stay.” Arthur raised his thick eyebrow at this and chuckled.
“You think I can’t order my crew to turn my ship around and go back home?” He laughed loudly and turned to leave the room. My heart clenched and tears sprung to my eyes at the thought of going back home. I couldn’t go home, I wouldn’t!
“N-no!” I choked. Arthur turned and he looked surprised at my extreme change. Smirking and cocking to scared and tearful. “Please Arthur. D-don’t take me back. P-please.” I crumpled slightly, falling onto Arthur’s large bed. “P-please Artie. Please don’t m-make me go home,” I pleaded softly. I buried my face in my hands, cursing my uncontrollable hormones. I wanted to stand up and yell at him and tell him I was staying and he couldn’t make me leave, instead I was crying on his bed, begging him not make me leave.
“_______ love,” Arthur murmured, rushing to my side and cupping my cheek in his hand, all signs of anger gone. “You could have the baby any day now and the ocean isn’t the safest place for my pregnant wife and soon-to-be-born child. Love, please see reason,” he said, brushing his knuckles along the side of my face. I shook my head and cried loudly.
“I don’t want to go home! I want to be here, with you one the Rose! Please Arthur!” The Brit sighed heavily and pressed his fingers to his eyes.
“Why? What are you so set on being here? We won’t be anywhere near land or a nursemaid or a doctor for that matter,” he explained. I nodded my head in understanding and wiped my eyes.
“I know, and that’s what I want. We were married on this ship and it’s where I want the baby to be born,” I beseeched. Arthur leaned forward to rest his forehead against mine.
“You are a stubborn woman _______ Kirkland,” he said quietly, kissing my nose lightly. I smiled in relief at his tone and wrapped my arms around his neck.
“Thank you Arthur,” I whispered. He chuckled and pulled me to my feet.
“You’re welcome love. You are to do as little as possible, understand?” I nodded and kissed him deeply. “Sometimes I have to wonder why I married you, and then I look into those mesmerizing eyes and remember all the kindness and love that you’ve always, always shown me.” I blushed crimson at the sweet words.
“Aren’t you supposed to me a fiercesome pirate, not a poet?” I inquired teasingly. He smirked and backed up towards the door.
“Can’t I be both love?” I giggled and watched as he left, winking as he shut the door. I laid back, resting my head on one of the plush, fluffy pillows.
I felt my eyes slipping closed of their own accord as I laid there. I hadn’t gotten much sleep the previous night and I was emotionally as well as physically exhausted. I curled up on my side, wrapping my arms around my stomach as I did so. I fell asleep with a small grin on my face.
I spent the next week or so lazing about the ship. I wished so desperately that I could be climbing the lines and feel the breeze in the crow’s nest, but I was unfortunately stuck on the deck. I helped when I could and when Arthur wasn’t looking. The crew was a bit uncomfortable with having me around at first, but I grew on them quickly. They were used to my presence, I’d sailed plenty of times with them all before, but my being pregnant seemed to frighten them for some reason.
I learned about a sort of prisoner they kept down with the men in their living space. He had been tortured and kept by the Spanish until Arthur came along. He had yet to wake up so they simply left him in a hammock, cleaning his wounds and putting food in his mouth. That was where I spent a fair amount of time, trying to help the young man heal and wake up.
Arthur had a hard time between being the Great and Terrifying Captain Arthur Kirkland and my carrying, loving, worry wart of a husband. It was rather entertaining to try and watch him struggle with the two. At night it was easier for him though. He could coddle me all he wanted without his men watching.
One night after much babying from Arthur, we cuddled up together, just enjoying being in each other’s arms. Arthur nuzzled his nose against my cheek and sighed happily.
“You know, I’m really quite glad you’ve come along love. I would’ve hated to have slept alone, knowing you were by yourself,” Arthur mumbled, running his fingers through my slightly tangled hair.
“I’m glad I’m here too,” I replied through a yawn. Arthur chuckled and kissed my cheek.
“Sleep _______. You’re completely worn out love, doing everything I told you not too,” he breathed, kissing my ear. I giggled and cuddled up as close as my belly would allow to his chest. “I love you dear.”
“Love you too Arthur,” I sighed, falling into sleep as he whispered soothing nothings in my ear.
I awoke to jostling and my baby kicking the top of my stomach rather harshly. I moaned softly and rubbed my large midsection, trying to ease the childish abuse to the tender area.
“Shh sweetheart, calm down for mama,” I muttered quietly, trying to get the unborn child to settle so I could sleep for the next few hours that the sky was dark. I reached out for Arthur, but all I felt was the warmth of sheet where he had been laying.
“Lo siento _______. I don’t wish to wake you at such an early hour señora, but I’m afraid you must get up.” My eyes flew open and my heart thumped violently in my chest. No!! I turned slightly so I could see the bright eyed Spaniard grinning at me.
“Toni,” I spat, rubbing the sleep out of my eyes. He laughed and leaned against one of the cabin walls.
“Buenas dias chica! I see you’re doing well,” he said, motioning to my protruding stomach. I growled and managed to get my feet over the edge of the mattress.
“Where’s my husband Antonio?” I asked as he helped me to stand. The Spaniard and I went way back. Too far for my liking. Arthur had saved me from Antonio when I was still a nineteen year old trying to sneak onto pirate ships dressed as a man. The brunette had never forgiven him and swore to get his revenge.
“Don’t worry _______. He’s perfectly alright for now. Come on.” He led me up the steps to the deck and I winced at a sharp pain in my stomach. The morning air was cool and salty against my too warm skin. I blinked at the dark scene, trying to get my eyes to adjust quickly to the lack of light
“_______!” I looked up and saw two men holding Arthur up by the arms, one of them held a sword that glinted evilly in the moonlight to his throat. There was a large welt on his cheek and his lip was bleeding. “_______ love, are you alright?” he asked with wide eyes. I nodded and glared at the Spaniard by my side.
“Bastard!” I looked over and saw a young man with dark brown hair and a curl coming from the left side of his head walking onto Arthur’s ship. “What are-a you doing, idiot?” Romano asked as he took in the scene.
“Lovi!” Antonio’s green eyes lit up at the sight of the Italian.
“E ‘incinta. Non si ha intenzione di farle del male guisto (She's pregnant. You aren't going to hurt her right?),” he asked in his own tongue.
“No Lovino. Ella sólo va a ser utilizada como palanca (She's just going to be used as leverage),” the Spaniard explained. The Italian’s hazel eyes widened.
“E ‘di almeno otto mesi insieme bastardo! Forse nove! Che diavolo ci fa cu una nave pirata in ogni caso?! (She’s at least eight months along bastard! Possibly nine! What the hell is she doing on a pirate ship anyway?!)” he yelled, stalking up to the tanned Captain. I was almost in tears as I watched the two converse in languages I couldn’t decipher.
“Vhy are you freaking out? It’s not like ve’re going to hurt her,” a thick accent behind Lovino made my head whip around. A tall albino with miscievious garnet eyes walked onto the ship.
“Gilbert?!” I turned again and saw Francis gaping at the silverette. His blue eyes still managed to sparkle dangerously in the darkness of the night. “What are you doing wiz ‘im?!” he cried. Gilbert’s eyes widened slightly at the sight of the Frenchman with his hands held tightly behind him. He bit his lip however, and looked down.
“He... Er machte ein Angebot ich nicht ablehnen konnte (He made an offer I couldn’t refuse),” he replied softly, fingering the handle of his cutlass. Francis’ eyes narrowed and he turned his head away in disgust. Gilbert tried to open his mouth to explain, but Antonio cut him off.
“No matter! We’re just going to take her and be off, she and the baby will be just fine until you pay for their return,” Antonio said happily. Arthur gnashed his teeth together and strained against the two men holding him.
“I won’t forget this Antonio,” Arthur growled. The Spaniard smirked and began pulling me towards the ship.
“That’s what I’m counting on mi amigo,” he said, a glint in his forest colored eyes. I looked fearfully towards Arthur. Under any other circumstances I could fight the man single handedly, but now... I went to scream bloody murder for my husband when... the unexpected happened.
“Oh,” I mumbled as something wet started trickling down my legs. “A-Arthur... my... my water just broke!” I cried, my eyes widening as Antonio hastened his pace, trying to get me on his ship before the contractions hit. I immediately snatched my arm aways from Antonio and backhanded him as hard as I could.
The ship exploded into choas as I fell onto the deck. I could hear cutlasses being drawn and flesh hitting flesh. I wished i could be one of the ones fighting, but my large middle kept me from grabbing my own blade and cutting the Spaniard’s crew to smithereens.
“Ahh!!” I cried out as pain hit me, hard and fast. I scrabbled at the wood for a moment before the pain vanished, leaving me gasping for breath. Spots danced in my vision, making it even harder to see.
“C’mon love, we need to get you out of here.” I looked up and saw Arthur trying to pull me to my feet. We dodged swords and crew members and Arthur had to fight off a few men before I was saftely in our room. It was a wonder the man could see everything in the blanket of inky bluish black that covered us.
“A-Arthur!” I screamed as another contraction almost had me on my knees. He held me up and helped me to the bed.
“I’ve got to go help my men _______. I can’t let them fight along,” he told me quickly, look at me with wide, pleading emerald eyes. I gritted my teeth and nodded in understanding.
“Don’t you dare get yourself killed. Now go!” He kissed my forehead and made to run out, but paused. He ran over to his large trucnk and pulled out an old cutlass.
“Just in case,” he murmured, laying it beside me and dashing out. I gripped the hilt and flexed my fingers. I laid propped on the bed, just wasiting for the door to bang open. It did open up and my grip tightened on my weapon, but I’d never been happier to see Francis. He lit a few candles to light the room a bit and ran over to me just as I groaned in pain.
“Chérie , are you alright?” he asked, pressing two fingers against my throat to check my pulse and gripping one of my hands tightly for reassurance.
“Define okay,” I grunted, leaning back heavily against the pillows on the bed. Francis chuckled and wiped my forehead with a clean cloth.
“Trés bein _______, I ‘ope you don’t mind, but I ‘ave to deliver ze baby,” he said, looking at me with laughter in his eyes. I snorted and leaned my head back as he moved the sword that had been by my side.
“What qualifies… you to… deliver a baby… Mr. Doctor?” I asked as I tried to shimmy out of the underpants Arthur had let me borrow to sleep in.
“I did ‘ave to deliver my daughter, remember?” he asked. I let out an exclamatory breath as I recalled that. I winced at all the noise I could hear above on deck. The thumps and scuffles made my heart race with worry.
“How are they doing?” I asked shakily. Francis looked at me and smiled.
“Zey’re ‘olding zeir own,” he replied. “You know Arzur ‘as all ‘is men trained personally. “E did train you, did ‘e not?” I smiled softly and nodded. “Alright chérie, you’re dilated a bit, so per’aps zis won’t take too long. He covered my lower half for the time being which I was thoroughly grateful for.
“I hope so,” I groaned, clenching the sheets as another contraction hit. I hardly noticed the sounds of yelling and shouting above me. Victory was reigning on deck as the pirates jeered at the retreating Spanish crew and dropped their weapons. The cabin door was thrown open and I looked up expectantly.
“Good, aru. You’re okay.” It was Yao. He was scuffed up a bit and his hair was messed up thoroughly, but he seemed unharmed.
“Y-Yao,” I stammered, “where’s Arthur?” Francis grabbed my hand and squeezed it in reassurance.
“He’s on deck right now. He’ll be down as soon as he can, aru,” and with that he rushed out. My eyes widened and I immediately thought the worst.
“Non chérie! I know zat look. Arzur is fine. ‘E could kick Toni’s ass twice over and still only come out of it wiz a broken arm,” he tried to sooth my frazzled nerves, wiping my tears away.
“B-but F-Francis,” I cried, “w-what if-” I half choked on my next scream as the contraction hit me unexpectedly. As I calmed down a bit, I heard footsteps coming down to the room and voices yelling close behind. The door once more burst open and my blonde, raggedy pirate ran it.
“I’ve got to go help my men _______. I can’t let them fight along,” Arthur said, feeling his heart torn between his wife and his men. Arthur could hear the fighting above him and was ready to be in the fray. _______ nodded stiffly and clenched her jaw.
“Don’t you dare get yourself killed,” she muttered, looking the blonde with wide, worried eyes. “Now go!” Arthur leaned forward and kissed her forehead quickly. He made to leave but remembered that she was totally defenseless. He knelt by his old steamer trunk and rummaged about before pulling out his old practice sword. He rushed back to _______ and laid it by her side. “Just in case,” he said and ran out.
He drew his sword and stormed up to the deck. Cutlasses clashed and bodied either dropped dead or were tossed over the edge in the dark of the early morning. Arthur prayed it wasn’t any of his own. He thrust his sword into the first enemy pirate he came across and looked about for his first mate.
“Francis!” he called, searching frantically for the blonde. The man may have been a pain and a lot to put up with, but he was one of his most trustworthy friends.
“Oui captain?” the Frenchman replied, popping up beside Arthur and helping him fight off the two men in front of them.
“Get down to _______ and make sure she’s alright,” he instructed as they beat the two men, managing to get blood on the both of them. The thick liquid looked almost black in the dark. Francis nodded and rushed off to get down to the captain’s quarters.
“How is your wife Arthur?” I hope I didn’t scare her too badly.” Arthur whipped around and was face to face with Antonio.
“Ha! _______ scared of you? In your dreams,” Arthur scoffed. The Spaniard grinned and shrugged his shoulders. He lunged forward and Arthur dodged. They danced around a bit, taunting one another and trying to land a hit before Antonio finally managed to distract Arthur and stab him in the side. The Brit groaned and clutched at the wound.
“I’m not going to make this easy on you,” Antonio said, looking at his blade as if it were the most interesting thing in the world. Arthur jumped forward quickly and slashes out unexpectedly at his enemy. The Spaniard jumped and looked down at the shallow wound across his chest. He frowned threateningly and pulled his arm back to stab Arthur, when his face went blank and he dropped like a rock.
“Mi dispiace Arthur (I'm sorry).” The blonde pirate was surprise as he looked at the dark haired Italian that caught Antonio. “I’ll take-a him back to the ship now,” Romano said, glaring the Spaniard. “Please don’t follow. I’ll-a keep him from coming after you when-a he wakes, just make sure you’re far-a away.” With that Romano tossed the brunette over his shoulder and ran back to his ship. The rest of the crew realized what was happening and hurried after.
Arthur’s crew shouted for joy as they watched the enemy retreating. They yelled and sneered at them as they sailed away. He wanted to tell them to stop, but his breath caught and he dropped to a knee. He remember the stab wound in his side and hissed as it stung painfully. He looked up as a large hand landed on his shoudler and refrained from shivering at the violet eyes looking down at him.
“You should get that fixed up, da?” Ivan asked, raising a light blonde brow. Arthur nodded and forced himself to his feet. The large Russian helped him to a wooden box and sat him down. Arthur removed his shirt and began tearing it into strips for Ivan to wrap the wound in. He tried to keep the grunts of pain to a minimum and spotted Yao running towards them.
“Yao, would you please go check on _______ and tell me how she is?” he asked the disheveled man. The crew member nodded and rushed off. Ivan tied the bandage and looked at Arthur.
“You need to be careful with that. It will take a while to heal,” he said. Arthur nodded and looked back up at the sound of footsteps running towards them. Yao had a small smile on his face.
“She’s alright sir, still-” He was cut off by a muffled, yet strangled, scream from his room. Arthur’s eyes widened and he leapt up, ignoring the pain in his side. He took off towards his room, not listening to the protests of his men behind him. He ran down the steps and threw his door open to reveal a tired, sweaty, flushed _______. She looked up at him and relief flooded her features.
I took in his bloody, disorderly state and I broke out into a happy grin. He rushed over to me and sat down on the edge of the bed beside me. He wrapped his arms around my shoulders and hugged me tight.
“Gracious love, it sounded like you were being run through down here,” he said, pulling back and resting his forehead against mine. I smiled through my tears and ran my fingers along the bandages around his middle.
“It looks like you already have been,” I murmured. He chuckled and kissed my nose.
“Nothing too major. Antonio simply got lucky,” he replied, cupping my cheek and running his thumb across my cheekbone. I smiled and leaned into the familiar touch. “How is she Francis?” I looked at Francis and he shrugged.
“She’s doing just fine. She’s not fully dilated yet, but she’s alright for now. You know I can’t tell you much wizout any equipment!” Francis said, raising an eyebrow at the captain. Arthur rolled his eyes and turned back to me.
“I honestly can’t believe you wanted to have the child on the ship,” he muttered. I shrugged and gasp out a scream as another contraction hit. Arthur didn’t even wince; he simply held my hand and stroked my cheek comfortingly. “See, wouldn’t this have been easier on land?” I glowered up at him and smacked him in the back of the head.
“Don’t make me wish Antonio had run you through,” I mumbled, leaning back against the pile of pillows. He laughed and kissed my sweaty forehead. I laid like that for another four hours, dozing when I could and yelling and screeching like a banshee when the contractions hit. It felt like forever before Francis finally said I could start pushing. He’d ushered everyone out expect Arthur and came back to me.
“Alright ma chérie, push.” I screamed as I felt the baby working its way out. It took another five minutes of pushing and pure agony before a loud, piercing wail broke the air. I gasped and panted in relief, flopping back as Arthur pushed my hair away from my face and placed loving kisses all over my face.
“You did beautifully _______,” he told me gently. I huffed loudly and swallowed.
“I swear, if you ever want any more kids, you can find somebody else,” I said, looking up at him with narrowed eyes. He chuckled and kissed my nose.
“I love you too dearest,” he replied. I managed a small smile before Francis appeared at my side with a small bundle of blankets.
“_______, I’d like to present your baby boy,” he said, smiling and lowering the infant into my arms. The baby squirmed and looked up at me with bright, innocent blue eyes. “I’ll leave you two now. ‘E’s lovely chérie.” Francis then backed out of the room and left Arthur and I alone.
“He’s so beautiful,” I whispered, holding my little boy close to my chest. He gurgled and blinked up at me. I giggled softly, reaching up to stroke his head. Arthur laid down next to me on his side and ran his thumb over the light fuzz on his son’s head.
“He looks like you,” he whispered teasingly in my ear. I smiled and looked up at my husband.
“What’re we gonna name him?” I asked, looking back down at the little boy who was slowly closing his eyes. Arthur looked between the two of us for a moment before smiling.
“How about after your father?” he said, pressing a kiss to my cheek.
“Alfred?” I asked, touched that he would think of my deceased parent. The Brit nodded and pressed as kiss to the baby’s forehead. “Alfred Kirkland. It has a nice ring to it.” Arthur chuckled and held us close to him.
“Looks like I have to care for two instead of one now huh?” he said cheekily. I pursed my lips and kissed him lightly on the lips.
“Mhm,” I hummed lightly, rocking Alfred gently. “I love you,” I cooed, kissing his nose. I looked up to my husband and kissed his nose as well. “I love you too.” He chuckled and kissed the corner of my mouth.
“I love you too dear. I’m glad I was able to see our little boy be brought into this world,” he whispered, letting his breath wash over me. I sighed contentedly and snuggled into his arms. Things just couldn’t get much better.
I rolled over and saw Alfred’s tiny arms flailing above his makeshift crib. His loud screaming was made even louder by the small structure of the room. I could see the sun just peeking up over the ocean horizon, lighting the room just the smallest bit. I moaned softly as I sat up and touched my feet to the wooden floor. I walked over to Alfred and picked the baby up, cradling him close to my chest. He quieted down and sucked on his thumb as he looked up at me, just as innocent as could be.
“Mhm, mama’s gonna get you for this one day,” I said, grabbing his nose gently. He squealed and giggled and I chuckled along with him. “How about we see the sunrise hm? Does that sound good?” He cooed softly and waved his little arms in response and I took that as a yes. I pulled my robe on, I’m pretty sure Arthur stole it, but I’m not sure from who or where, because it was given to me only a few nights after Alfred was born.
We’d been on the ocean about a week since Alfred had been born and I was glad to be able to walk around normally again. I carried Alfred almost everywhere, and he was the most energetic, curious infant I’d ever scene. He had wide, beautiful eyes that I was sure were going to be bright, sky blue. I loved my little boy more than anything in the world.
I padded up the smooth wooden steps quietly, careful not to disturb anybody below that might have been sleeping. The sky was light purple and yellow and orange with the colors of the sunrise. I walked to the bow of the ship and bounced Alfred lightly. I loved waking up early and seeing the sunrise. There was almost nothing more beautiful. I could hear some of the crew stirring and others trudging down to their hammocks for some well-deserved sleep after keeping look out.
“Bonjour chérie. ‘Ow are you zis lovely morning?” I looked and saw Francis standing next to me, looking out at the ocean as well. I smiled and kissed my child’s forehead.
“Not too bad. Alfie decided to wake up at the crack of dawn,” I paused so I could yawn, “so here I am.” He chuckled and held out his hands, asking for Alfred. I handed him over and watched as Francis held upright against his chest so the baby could look over his shoulder. “How’s Gilbert?” The night that Antonio had come aboard, no had been taken except Gilbert, and he had stayed extremely willingly. Francis grunted and a slight frown stole his smile for a moment.
“‘E’s fine. Still won’t tell me why ‘e decided to fight for Toni,” he muttered. I looked back slightly and up at the ropes knotted and tied, allowing you to climb up to the sails and saw the albino rest with his hands resting behind his head and his feet positioned securely to keep him from falling. I cocked an eyebrow but shrugged.
“I’m sure he’ll tell us eventually, but what about the boy that you found. Has he woken up yet?” I asked concernedly. The young man was still unconscious below deck and wasn’t responding to anything. Francis shook his head and sighed.
“Non, I’m worried ‘e won’t wake up at a- ow!” I jumped slightly at the loud exclamation of pain. I looked at Francis and tried not to burst out laughing as I saw Alfred tugging roughly on the golden hoop in his ear. “Ouch! Pour l’amour de Dieu! Descendre de lui! (For heaven’s sake ! Get him off !)” I giggled and grabbed the baby, making him relinquish his hold on the earring.
“Désolé,” I muttered, refraining from laughing again. That was the third time Alfred had done that. I turned and pressed my back up against the railing, closing my eyes and letting my senses drift. I whipped around as one of the wooden doors banged open, echoing in the quiet morning.
The young man that we’d been tending to was stumbling out, tripping over his own feet and collapsing on the deck. I handed Alfred to Francis and rushed down the steps towards the young boy. I knelt next to the blonde and pulled his torso into my lap. He was shivering and mumbling something under his breath as his eyelids fluttered. I brushed his hair away from his face and rested a hand on his cheek.
“Dear? What’s wrong? Can you hear me?” I asked softly, rocking back and forth gently. His eyes flew open and fear was buried deep within the vibrant violet blue eyes. He scrambled to his feet and backed himself against the side of the ship.
“W-who are you? Where am I?!” he demanded. The boy had crazed, terrified look to him and my heart ached for the young man.
“My name’s _______. You’re on a pirate ship but we’re not going to hurt you. I swear it,” I replied calmly, trying to walk forward slowly. “Can you tell me your name?” I asked carefully.
“They… they beat m-me… and… and…” he trailed off, eyes filling with tears and he tried to form words. He slouched down so he was sitting on the wood and covered his hands with his face. I heard a loud thump behind me and turned to see that Gilbert had leapt from the ratlines and landed on his feet.
“Birdie…” the Prussian breathed, looking at the scared man with wide, disbelieving ruby eyes. “You’re… you’re alvight.” The man looked up from and his fingers and looked at Gilbert.
“G-Gil,” he whispered. He jumped up and threw himself into the man’s arms, sobbing almost uncontrollably. “H-he told me you w-were going to d-die if I… if I…” He couldn’t continue and buried his face into Gilbert’s chest.
“Shh Matzew, everyzing’s alvight now. Zey von’t hurt you, I promise. Zey’re friends,” he ran his fingers through Matthew’s hair and whispered soothingly in his ear. I could tell just by looking that they were more than friends. I looked behind and noticed that Francis had followed me down and was holding Alfred in the crook of his arm. I stood up and gently took him back.
“Who is that?” I asked quietly as I watched the couple reunite. Francis quirked an eyebrow and shook his head.
“I ‘ave no idea,” he replied in the same soft tone. I looked up as I saw Arthur climbing down from the crow’s nest.
“What in the world is all the commotion about?” he questioned as he dropped down. I shrugged and walked over to place a kiss on his cheek.
“The boy that was unconscious came running up the steps and seemed to recognize Gilbert,” I told him. “Give him a little bit dear. He seems quite shaken up,” I said as moved Alfred to one arm and wrapped the other around Arthur’s waist. He nodded and pressed a kiss to my temple.
“Take him back below deck Gilbert. We’ll be down later,” Arthur instructed. Gilbert nodded and wrapped his arms around Matthew’s thin frame and led him gently back down to the living quarters. “Do you think perhaps that the young man could have been used against Gilbert to keep him on Antonio’s side?” Arthur inquired, looking over at Francis.
“Oui, I was zinking ze same zing. I never knew Gilbert was in any kind of relationship zough. I just wonder why ‘e told no one,” the Frenchman replied. Alfred interrupted the conversation with a soft whimper and I stuck my finger in his mouth to silence him for the moment.
“I’ll be back later. I have to go feed him,” I murmured, leaning up to kiss Arthur quickly. “I’ll be back soon.” He nodded and I headed back to our room. I really hoped that Matthew would be alright.
After Alfred was fed and the sun was up and shining in the sky, Arthur, Francis and I descended into the men’s living quarters. It smelled atrocious, but it wasn’t anything I wasn’t used to. We spotted Gilbert seated on a barrel next to one of the hammocks. Matthew was fast asleep, curled up on the makeshift bed. Gilbert was running his thumb lightly over his knuckles and the tear tracks down his face were barely noticeable.
“Gilbert,” I said softly, walking forward with Alfred fast asleep in my arms, “he’s okay now. He’s in good hands. What… what happened?” I asked. I’d told Arthur and Francis to let me handle the questions, and I hoped my way would work. Gilbert looked up at me and sighed. I took a seat on the floor in front of him and watched him expectantly.
“Antonio found me und told me zat if I didn’t help him zat he would kill Matzew,” he replied, shuddering slightly. “I didn’t zink he actually had him until he gave me his glasses. I gave in and went wiz him. I didn’t know zey were still torturing him zough. Matzew’s been zrough hell und back.” He wiped his eyes and kissed Matthew’s forehead. “I’m sorry Francis. I… I couldn’t live wizout him,” he mumbled tiredly.
“I should be ze one apologizing mon ami. I should ‘ave tried to figure out ze truz before I judged. Forgive me,” the blonde said, gripping his friend’s shoulder. Gilbert smiled and shook his head.
“It’s alvight. Vight now I’m just glad to have Birdie back,” he replied. I smiled as I watched the two talk and stood back up without making a sound. I nudged Arthur in the side and motioned for him to follow me. He did so and we walked back out into the bright, sunlight.
“What is it love?” Arthur asked as we walked across the deck. I shrugged and moved Alfred around a little.
“Just thought I’d give them a little space,” I replied, smiling up at him. He smirked knowingly and leaned in for a kiss. “I love you Arthur, so much,” I whispered and pressed my lips to his. He sighed against my mouth and tilted his head a little.
“I love you more,” he murmured against my lips. I chuckled and pulled back when Alfred laughed loudly and reached up for me. I grabbed his small hands in mine and kissed his cheek.
“I love you most,” I told the child. Arthur laughed and pulled me into a hug. “Thank you Arthur, for everything,” I told him, resting my head on his chest. He grinned and kissed the top of my head.
“You are most welcome love.”