NOTE: One, I do not have any rights to Herman Melville's work, "Billy Budd, Sailor." Two, this story began as a serious smut fic, but as I got closer to writing legitimate smut, I couldn't bear to continue, as I fully intended to give a copy to my English teacher. That being said, the "crossover" aspect of this story is extremely NOT serious. So should you choose to read this horrible excuse of writing, be warned: it doesn't make sense because I felt awkward and this was the spawn of a terrible idea.
The sea was far from kind, even to an experienced sailor, but John Claggart, Master-at-Arms of the Bellipotent, loved the challenge. Through any struggle, through any weather, Claggart was willing to brave the icy waters of the Arctic and the pirates lurking in the Mediterranean. To feel the sea spray on his neck, to taste the salty water as it leapt from the waves below, were what drove Claggart to the ocean. And ever since he first set foot on the Bellipotent, it never once crossed his mind to abandon the ship.
In the summer months, the sun was brutal, and its heat threatened to fry Claggart's skin. He wiped a hand across his brow, carrying away the beads of sweat that hung there. The ship was docked in a modest port alongside pitiful merchant ships. The crew on the Bellipotent was running slim, and the men that remained were sweat-soaked and panting, even when at rest.
Claggart leaned against the railing. Wisps of stringy hair fell before his eyes, but he didn't bother to brush them away. The sun in all its magnificent, burning glory bore down upon Claggart's back through his jacket, and any unnecessary movement would only add to the possibility of overheating. This summer will be an exceptionally hot one, Claggart mused, turning his gaze to the merchant ships as the gentle waves bullied them.
Not fifty feet from the Bellipotent stood a small cluster of men, among them a captain, a lieutenant, and a youthful, fair-haired man. Claggart found himself unable to tear his eyes away from the strapping young man.
Luscious blond hair rode the breeze in waves, and his chiseled features caught the light just enough to cast sharp shadows over his cheeks to further their prominence. The way he held himself—proud and bold, with his chest out and legs spread—sent a wave of raw desire through Claggart, one he couldn't ignore.
Though the man wore a billowing white tunic, the front remained open enough for Claggart to ogle the golden skin of his shapely pectorals, enough to glimpse the hardened perfection of his abdominals. A thin trail of hair disappeared behind the worn fabric, much to Claggart's disappointment.
At his shoulders, the sleeves had been ripped off to provide room for the Adonis' toned biceps. The fabric of his trousers was stretched tightly to fit around the man's muscular thighs. If he so much as flexes, they'll tear apart, Claggart realized. He tightened his hold on the railing.
Against his neck, a red ascot pressed, the tails fluttering against his cheek. It wound around his throat like a noose, and when the man laughed, his Adam's apple slid against the material. A fine ascot, Claggart thought, but it'd be finer in my hand as you begged for mercy.
Then the man lifted his face to the Bellipotent for the briefest of moments, a carefree smile gracing his finely shaped lips. Eyes of blue met Claggart's before falling to the sea, and in that second, Claggart's breath caught in his throat, and his knuckles became white against the iron rods. Almost subconsciously, he knew what he had to do.
I have got to get me some of that, hot damn.
Claggart's hands freed themselves from the railing as he stumbled back a step. To his right stood a stocky man with his hands behind his head.
"Squeak," said Claggart, "I told you not to sneak up on me."
The other man shrugged. "It's my nature, sir."
"What do you want?"
"We'll be departing within the hour."
With a sigh, Claggart glanced back over his shoulder to the dock below only to find the handsome young man had vanished. Squeak leaned into Claggart, shielding his eyes from the sun.
"And who are you looking for?"
But Claggart didn't answer. He licked his lips, shoved his hands into his pockets, and gave a solemn nod to Squeak before returning to his cabin to prepare for their departure.
A few hours later, Claggart was summoned to the captain's quarters. There, Captain Starry Vere, a brave and wizened man, waited patiently, a book in hand.
"You called for me, Captain?"
"Have you ever read 'One Thousand and One Nights,' John?"
Claggart paused. "Sorry?"
"It's a magnificent book. I highly recommend it." He snapped the book shut, tucked it under his arm. "Naturally, that isn't why I called you here."
"I should hope not."
"We've roughly forty new recruits from the harbors. They all seem relatively able sailors, but there is one in particular... Well, he must've been graced by the gift of God." Claggart said nothing. "A strong man, he is. Built for the seas. Dumb as a brick, but physically perfect. We'll need to utilize him as much as we can.
"As for the other, sailors..."
"What does that man look like?" Claggart asked, his hands tightening into fists.
Vere blinked. "Ah, he looks every bit a perfect sailor. Aside from the hair and the ascot, that is."
Vere licked his lips, sent his eyes heavenward. "Will—no, Billy. Billy Budd, he said."
Claggart couldn't help but grin. "Now, what was it about the other impressed men?"
"Right, well. We should keep an eye on them. Heaven forbid we..." Claggart inadvertently lost focus. He had retreated into his mind, where the thoughts were consumed by a certain man by the name of Billy Budd.
In the days that followed, Claggart found himself going out of his way to see Billy. Often, it was no more than a fleeting glimpse, but it was enough to satisfy Claggart for the time being. Then, he mustered the courage to greet the man. It was nothing special; they exchanged pleasantries, and as Claggart discovered, Billy was far kinder than he'd believed. After every encounter, Claggart left feeling lighter, and the other sailors on the ship noticed his ever-present smile—until they pointed it out, of course.
The Master-at-Arms was not to be a laughing stock, and no matter how infatuated, he wouldn't allow his reputation to be damaged.
Lashings were dealt and scoldings were delivered. Though Claggart's aura was obviously different, lighter almost, his harsh punishments and strong presence never faltered. He was kind to Billy, cold to those who opposed him. Not once did he show weakness.
In the dining hall one day, Claggart patrolled. The soup wasn't to his liking, and he'd already had his fill of provisions from lunch. Rather than retire to his cabin, he opted instead to linger in the hall.
After all, Billy was enjoying his supper.
As Claggart roamed the hall and passed Billy, the young man spilled his soup.
Unable to stop himself, Claggart remarked, "Handsomely done, my lad."
Billy lifted his eyes to Claggart, and as they stared at one another, Billy's face softened into an expression of recognition. His lips parted.
"Sir?" Billy whispered. At the edge of the puddle, his arm rested.
Claggart swallowed, roughly seized Billy's forearm, and forced him to his feet. "Don't sit in soup, lad. Get cleaned up. Come along."
Maintaining a stoic face, Claggart dragged Billy from the hall, leaving the fallen soup in their wake. Murmurs arose behind them, but they were promptly silenced by Claggart's fearsome glare.
"Sir?" Billy said breathlessly.
"You need a new tunic."
Into his cabin, Claggart led Billy, closing the door behind them. He clucked his tongue. "You'll have to thoroughly wash it or it'll stain." He made to poke at the spill, but Billy caught his hand.
"Sir," said Billy with earnest eyes. His grip was firm. "Sir, I... I know it may not be the right time to ask, but it's been bothering me."
Stiffening his shoulders, Claggart only said, "What, lad? What's on your mind?"
"Well," Billy said, his eyes falling to the floor, "there are some who say... Some of the crew say you're down on me." Claggart's pulse raced, and Billy sheepishly smiled, his cheeks becoming a soft pink. He suddenly lifted his eyes to meet Claggart's. "What do they mean? And... And is it true, sir?"
With a dense sigh slipping through his parted lips, Claggart sank onto his cot, fingers curling against the wool mattress that always smelled of mothballs and seawater. "I'd rather you tell me what you think it means. But you should change out of that tunic first. I'll provide a new one."
"Not necessary," said Billy as he pulled his shirt over his head. Glistening with a thin layer of sweat was his sculpted chest and abdomen. Because the temptation to reach out was nearly overpowering, Claggart was forced to tear his gaze away after a few, fleeting moments. "I'm fine as I am."
"Indeed you are," Claggart mumbled, pinching the bridge of his nose.
"Nothing." After rolling his shoulders back and plucking at an unwelcome crease in his trousers, Claggart focused back on Billy. "Do you have an answer then?"
But Billy, with his eyes half-glazed and his attention devoted to the cabin surrounding him, was confused once more. "I... What question was I answering again?"
Then Claggart was on his feet and standing before Billy in an instant, close enough for their breath to mingle in the stuffy air. Eyes wide, Billy paused completely, still and silent. Hands fell upon his bared shoulders, and Claggart bowed his head. Their foreheads touched, then remained together.
"You really are hopeless, aren't you?"
His cheeks aflame, Billy tilted up his face. "I'm not hopeless." Across Claggart's lips, Billy's breath fluttered.
Lowering his eyelids, Claggart murmured, "Helpless, then."
Their noses brushed. "Sir... I..." Claggart exhaled, the air rattling in his lungs. "Sir, do you hate me? Is that it?"
Though usually composed, Claggart couldn't help but laugh. Instead of answering, he took the younger man's face in his hands and stroked his cheeks. Billy froze but didn't object.
Then Claggart's lips were on Billy's, tender but decisive, and Billy only stared at the Master-at-Arms' tightly shut eyes, his cavernous cheekbones. All thoughts were flushed from his mind save for the flushed cheeks of the man before him and the firm hold on his hands on Billy's face.
"Do you have your answer?"
For a moment, Billy couldn't breathe. His cheeks flushed and pupils contracted, he began to tremble in Claggart's hold, and a sense of regret settled heavily in the Master-at-Arms' lungs. As his heart began to race, Claggart loosened his hold on the young, blushing sailor and opened his mouth to speak.
But Billy, sensing the older man's indecision, seized his only opportunity. His hands found the curling hairs at the nape of Claggart's neck, and with his new leverage, Billy closed the distance between them.
"Sir?"Billy murmured, his fingers snagging the fabric. "Sir, do I have permission to...?"
His self control depleted, Claggart guided his calloused hands across Billy's stomach, up his back to his shoulders blades. Once more, Claggart pressed their lips together, this time taking Billy's lower lip between his teeth, his eyes hooded, lips curled. The older man traced Billy's skin, teasing the rough surface of his chest and abdomen. Billy's grasp on Claggart's tunic nearly faltered.
"Do as you like," Claggart said once he released his hold, "Billy, my boy."
No sooner had Claggart spoke than his shirt had been torn away, baring his chest. Though past his prime, Claggart possessed no evidence of his increasing age. Unable to resist, Billy's hands roamed over the ridges, his touch soft, decisive and maddening. Though his hands were cold, his fingers stoked raging fires wherever they caressed. And when Billy's mouth found Claggart's neck, the Master-at-Arms was forced to cowe into the wall, his knees threatening to buckle.
Against the tender skin, Billy whispered, "Are you alright, sir? Should I stop?"
Claggart gripped the man's shoulders, and in a motion too swift to track, he'd pinned Billy beneath him on the lone cot. His labored breathing fell upon Billy's body, mingling with the shallow breaths that escaped the younger sailor's parted lips.
"Whatever you do," said Claggart in a hostile tone, "don't stop."
Billy smiled, reached up to hold Claggart's face in his hands. "Yes, sir." As his hands began to trail down Claggart's chest, the older man stopped him.
"But for now," he said, smugness radiating from his stare, "I'd like a turn."
Unable to protest, Billy succumbed to the man's insistent demand, and Claggart's lips soon found the hollow of Billy's throat. Tender kisses lined Billy's flesh, fluttering across his collarbone and down his chest.
They continued to make out, and things got pretty steamy really quickly. Then Claggart tore away from Billy to exclaim, "My dumplings!" He had left his frozen, store-brand dumplings in the steamer for far too long, and they were surely beginning to grow mushy.
Billy sat alone on the bed, frazzled, his beautiful, Fabio-esque hair in shambles. His cheeks were a flattering carnation pink, but at that point, Claggart was too distraught to notice.
There came a knock at the door. Billy, unaware that his belt had slipped slightly askew, rose to answer the door. When he tried to advance, his trousers fell to the floor, and he tripped over the wrinkled leg. In doing so, he reached for any source of leverage, his hand falling upon the doorknob.
The door fell open to reveal a wizened man with a beard of white, his crinkled eyes settled plainly behind half-moon glasses.
"William?" the old man said with a kind smile. "William Budd?"
"Just Billy is fine," said the sailor, peering up at the strangely-dressed man. He couldn't help but wonder why a man would wear such a heavy dress at this time of the year. A sundress was one thing, but a floor-length gown clearly made of wool was absurd. Billy made a mental note to critique the man's fashion should the opportunity arise.
The old man smiled broader, then lent a hand to Billy to help him stand. "My name is Albus Dumbledore. I know I am a few years late, but I believe your brain hasn't matured enough to escape the intelligence range of my other students," Dumbledore said.
"What?" said Billy, having been lost around "Albus," as he thought it was such an amusing name.
"Precisely my point, my boy. I'd like to invite you to my school," said Dumbledore.
"But we're at war," said Billy.
"None of that will matter if you come with me."
At this point, Claggart had managed to salvage his precious dumplings, scrambled to his feet. He thought it odd, scrambling eggs as he rose, but he paid it no mind. At the moment, he was preoccupied with the image of his precious Billy's hand ensnared by another man.
His right hand resting on his voluptuous hip, Claggart gave a sassy head loll. "And who do you think you are, tryna take my man away from me?"
"Who are you?" Dumbledore asked, peering over his glasses.
Pursing his lips beneath his beard, Dumbledore scanned a list he magically retrieved from his robes. "Ah, yes, Claggart comma J. Must be you. It seems you're invited to Hogwarts, as well."
Squealing with delight, Claggart flung his dumplings and eggs into the air to grasp Billy's hands in his. "Isn't this wonderful, Billy? We can go on a magical journey together!"
Billy, aside to Dumbledore, said, "Isn't he a bit old to be going to a prep school?"
Dumbledore shrugged. "I don't make the rules." He paused. "I mean, I suppose I do, but that doesn't mean I have to obey them all."
Waving his hand, Dumbledore said, "Pish posh. Let us depart. From here on, you are both students of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry."
He extended his hand to Claggart who took it greedily. With Billy in tow, the three of them raced to the upper deck where a strange vehicle lie in wait. Atop the bike sat a towering man with a scraggly beard. He did not speak, only narrowed his bovine eyes and nodded.
"Away we go," cried Dumbledore, magically levitating the two men into the sidecar.
"It's a bit cramped," said Claggart.
"Just how you like it," said Dumbledore with a wink. To the Cherubim of a man, he said, "Depart at once, Hagrid! A mutiny is brewing, and I don't want to be blamed for one of those... again."
Hagrid started the engine, and the bike took to the sky with the grace of a dozen black swans, a trail of stardust following in their wake.
Billy clung to Claggart, his eyes tightly shut.
On the deck, Squeak threw his hat to the ground, revealing a bald, wrinkled face that glared at the disappearing wizards. It curled its lips in a grimace, laughed, stared at the starry sky.