I live! Yes, I know, SHOCKING, isn't it? You probably all hate me for being away for so long, but I was really busy with college applications and the beginning of senior year. For anyone that's gone through all that crap, you probably know what I mean. Anyhoo, most of this was actually written back in the summer, but I didn't get to finish it until now. (Thank heavens for Thanksgiving break. YES!)

Enjoy! Hopefully there are still people who read this story, and if you do, I'd greatly appreciate some reviews. XD

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CHAPTER 7: Starry Nights

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Seto awoke slowly, thirsty and dizzy. His wounded arm burned painfully and he felt rather light-headed, but other than that, he was alive.

Taking a deep breath, he peeked open his heavy eyelids and blinked rapidly in the dim light. He seemed to be tucked in his bed, safe in his chambers. Warm sunlight poured into the room from the porthole, bathing the far wall in dazzling red light. His room was neat, warm and simple as always, though he could make out some medical equipment and healing herbs scattered on his dresser. The Dragon, still sailing smoothly, bobbed gently under him as she made her way toward her final destination. Seto could hear waves crashing melodically against the ship's hull, followed by the distant cries of seagulls and the faint whistling of the wind.

There were a few men in the room with him, whispering quietly amongst each other. They were all marines and dressed in their simple white under-attires, their jackets tossed over a chair by Seto's bed. The Commodore recognized this habit instantly. It meant they were on some kind of schedule, some kind of shift. Had he truly been that badly hurt?

A handsome young marine with lovely blue-green eyes -Phillip, Seto remembered- saw his eyes move and rushed over with a joyful cry. "Sir! You're awake!"

The other two marines, a sweet boy named Ethan and a gangly youth named Thomas, were also quick to scurry on over. Ethan flung himself at Seto's bedside as Thomas ran out crying the good news.

Seto gave a small murmur of disproval, licking his chapped lips. "How long have I been sleeping?"

Phillip gave a charming smile. "More than two whole days, sir."

Seto flinched. "And the wounded? The ship?"

"The wounded are healing, but the three battle ship have taken some damage. We need to have them fixed up in England."

Seto's eyes widened as he remembered and he tried to lift his head. "England! When do we-?"

"Tomorrow morning, sir," chirped Ethan, "We're sailing as fast as we can. The winds are not very strong, but the weather is favorable, thank the Lord."

Seto sighed, resting back against his pillow. So... they were still on course. Sophia would get to see her Father, the survivors were just fine, and all was good. The officer let out a tired sigh, feeling drowsiness wash over him.

A sharp pain suddenly accompanied his attempt to shift his left arm. he grunted, actually a but surprised that his arm didn't feel worse.

Phillip read his baffled expression and smiled. "The Prince healed you, sir... We uh... don't know what he did, but he used some Egyptian techniques and closed your wounds... I think."

With some difficulty, Seto pulled back his sleeve to reveal a neat bandage around his upper arm. There was no blood in sight, like there should be with such a wound. He blinked in disbelief. "The Prince did this...?" he whispered. Such a wound would have at least needed stitching!

Ethan nodded. "Yes sir... Whatever he did, he had to rest for a while afterwards, but I'm sure that-"

They were interrupted by the sound of running feet outside as a few people rushed in from the door.

"I still refuse to believe that I missed it! Heavens, such a pity!" That would be Mahado, still sounding very groggy from the medicine he had easier. He must have had enough to knock him out for days on end.

"Oh, hush you..." That would be Yami, whose spiky hair appeared through the doorway when he cautiously stuck his head inside. "Is he truly awake?" The boy's expression was remarkably bright compared to how lousy Seto felt.

Ethan and Phillip rushed to their feet, shrugging on their jackets and bowing at the same time. "Your highness..."

Yami waved them up casually, rushing past them to Seto's bedside with smiling, shimmering eyes. "Commodore! How do you feel?"

Seto made an odd face as he sat up, wincing when he strained the large, black-blue bruise on his back. "My men tell me you healed me, your highness... Is this true?"

Yami gave a sheepish smile as he seated himself in a chair beside Seto's bed. Much to the Prince's embarrassment, the British man was only in his nightshirt -a very flimsy one at that. The boy fiddled with his hands, looking away. "It was nothing, Commodore... I had to repay you for saving my life."

Seto's eyes narrowed. The boy must have done it again, that weird power-up thing he had done earlier with the roses. Unfortunately, the Commodore had absolutely no idea what to do with that conclusion. What Phillip had suggested -magic, as it were- was simply impossible... Impossible!

"Well..." the officer started awkwardly, furrowing his eyebrows, "You didn't need to, and-"

"I wanted to," Yami said quickly, blinking those beautiful eyes of his.

Seto blinked again before giving a hesitant nod. "Then I... thank you, your highness," he said softly.

Yami gave a brilliant, sweet smile.

Mahado rolled his eyes and muttered something in his foreign tongue.

"Ah! Awake, are we, Sleeping Beauty?"

Seto sighed and laid back down, staring at the bland ceiling as Andrew all but skipped in. "I'm afraid so, lieutenant."

Andrew's thin face appeared above him, grinning. "You had me worried there, old sport."

Seto snorted. "'Tis but an arm wound. Nothing life-threatening." The side of his mouth twitched upward. "You can't get rid of me that easily, lieutenant."

"You keeled over in front of me, mate," Andrew said softly, suddenly solemn. "I daresay you inhaled too much smoke..."

Seto sighed. "Perhaps." He vaguely noted that Yami and Mahado had slipped out of the room with Phillip and Ethan, leaving him alone with his lieutenant. Andrew had probably dismissed them without his knowledge. That was just fine with Seto. His head was starting to pound, and he really didn't feel like dealing with any more people.

"Well, I certainly hope you're pleased with yourself," quipped Andrew with a dramatic sigh, sitting down by Seto in Yami's chair. He fixed his hat casually. "You scared the Queen half to death. That little girl you saved has been convincing all those merchants you're some angel sent from above, so naturally, you left me alone to deal with a mass of half-crazed worshippers. I had to get all of them relocated to the Atlantica because I was SIMPLY at the end of my wits. And on top of that, Edward-"

Seto started, turning his head to glare at Andrew. "What about Edward?"

Andrew stiffened before he heaved a long sigh. "Well...He... He hasn't been taking the aftermath of the battle very well..."

Seto knew instantly what that meant. In a flash, he was sitting up and swinging his legs off the bed. "Blast it, Andrew, where are my clothes?"

Andrew stopped him before he even set his feet on the ground. "My God, are you bloody mad? You're wounded! You need rest!"

"I'm perfectly fine," argued Seto, shrugging him off. His headache was now happily pounding away, but he masked his pain well.

"The Prince told us you were not entirely healed, so I cannot simply have you walking around!" Andrew was standing now, attempting to intimidate Seto with his momentary advantage in height.

It didn't work. Seto stood as well, arms crossed as he slipped instantly into his infamous Commodore-of-the-Royal-British-Navy-and-don't-you-forget-it! mode. "Lieutenant Giles," he snapped, instantly killing the informal tone that usually rested between them, "Out of my way. That is an order."

"You're HURT," Andrew tried once more, pleadingly.

"Edward needs me."

Andrew's eyes flashed defiantly one last time before finally he looked away, sighing. "His night shift is in two hours," he murmured faintly, "You may speak with him then. Until then, will you please rest?"

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Edward stared out into the horizon, his eyes dark and cloudy, his face unnaturally pale in the dim starlight. The sunset had been truly beautiful, though now all that was left of it was a tiny sliver of glowing purple in the distance. Now the sky was a dark blue-black expanse of velvet, filled with the first and brightest of the stars. Their light danced across the surface of the waves, challenging the glow of the bright crescent moon. From the north, a chilly, salty wind blew sharply into Edward's face, slapping his flesh until it was tender and raw.

Shivering, the boy tugged uncomfortably at his itchy collar. He was the newest of Seto's crew and had yet to get used to wearing the full uniform of a marine. After all, boys in the Navy trained in only simple slacks and white shirts, with light jackets at most.

Edward heaved a heavy sigh, dropping his hands back down on the cool wood of the helm. It wasn't really his uniform that bugged him. Ever since the battle, there was a dreadfully heavy weight on his chest, suffocating him like a boa would its prey.

He could still see the look in the pirate's eyes when the bullet hit him... He could still feel the trigger under his finger, the blast of the musket, the acrid taste of gunpowder that lingered in the air...

Blinking rapidly, the boy reached one hand up to his face. He was surprised to feel wetness on his fingers.

He was crying.

Edward scoffed at himself and quickly wiped his eyes, sniffling. "Blast it, I am a marine of the Royal British Navy..." he told himself firmly under his breath, "I do not cry."

The tears didn't stop.

"Edward?"

The young man jumped at the sound of his name, spinning around with his heart pounding in his throat.

Surrounded by an eerie halo of starlight, Seto stood like a statue on the top of the stairs leading to the bridge. Tall, unmoving, and dressed in his normal uniform, he was neat and tidy down to the last strand in his wig; the only indication that anything was off was the slight stiffness in one of his arms, a fact that the officer masked well by clasping both hands behind his back.

"Edward?" Seto repeated, slowly and respectfully. His eyes were remarkably gentle under the dark shadow of his hat. "May I have a word?"

"Sir!" Edward stammered, wiping his eyes furiously and standing to attention, giving a hurried salute. "You should be-"

"-resting, I know," finished Seto dryly, shaking his head. "Lietenant Giles made that quite clear."

"Your arm, sir... It's-"

"I'll live," Seto snorted. In a few powerful strides, he was by Edward's side, towering well over the boy. However, the officer avoided the boy's curious gaze, choosing instead of focus his piercing blue eyes on the vast ocean before them. "Beautiful night, is it not?" he remarked calmly, taking a long, casual breath of salty ocean air.

"Y-Yes, sir." Edward shifted uneasily, wanting very badly to leave.

Seto lowered his eyes briefly. "The others... Lieutenant Giles, at least... has informed that you are not feel quite up to par."

Edward gulped around a sudden tightness in his throat. When he spoke, his voice was choked and a note too high. "Its nothing, sir," he quipped quickly, "I was merely... shaken by the battle."

Seto turned to look at him. "That was your first battle, I assume?" he asked neutrally, though his eyes were kind.

Edward could do nothing but nod.

Seto looked back out to sea. He suddenly seemed hesitant. "Have you... ever killed anyone?" he asked quietly.

That struck home. Edward stopped breathing for a brief moment. He could have sworn he could hear his knees knocking together. "I-" he stammered, biting his lip so hard he drew blood, "I don't- I mean..." He hung his head in shame. "No, sir," he answered finally, his voice tiny.

Seto felt pity just looking at the boy. Biting his own lip, he took a shaky breath and hesitantly raised his uninjured hand. It hovered for a bit before finally resting tentatively on Edward's shoulder.

The boy jumped, looking from the hand up to Seto. His eyes were wide. "Sir?"

Seto eyes were remarkably gentle. "It hurts... I know."

Edward gaped briefly at him, then looked away. "It does, sir," he agreed quietly.

Seto retreated his hand awkwardly. "And what hurts you the most about killing, Edward?" he asked gently.

Edward shuddered. "I don't know... Maybe just... just thinking that they were someone's brother... or someone's son, or someone's father..." He looked out at the ocean, his eyes shimmering with tears. "I wish I never saw the look in that pirate's eyes when I pulled that trigger... He was so surprised, so angry, so scared, so desperate. And I..." He sank his face into his hands, his voice choked. "I shot him."

Seto looked away with a heavy heart. "I have killed many people in my lifetime..." he murmured slowly, "Far too many, I suppose... I have long lost count." The officer laid his hands on the helm and fondly caressed the smooth wood as he spoke. "Some were young enough to be my child, if I had one. Some could have been my brothers, my twin. And some were old enough to be my grandfather." His fingers curled so tightly that his knuckles turned white. "And I killed all of them."

Edward looked up at him with wide, teary eyes. "Good God, sir..."

Seto lifted his chin, his eyes dark and cloudy as they peered over the sparkling ocean. "I killed them because I had to, Edward," he said, his voice suddenly strong and clear. He looked at the boy at his side, his expression neither warm nor cold. "What do you think are my reasons, Edward?"

Edward was pale. "Y-You had orders, perhaps, sir?"

Seto nodded. "And?"

Edward hesitated. "You were fighting for England? The Crown?"

Seto flinched. He stayed silent, clearly expecting something else.

Edward frowned.

"You can say it," Seto said quietly, diverting his gaze somewhat.

"Y-You didn't... didn't want to die?" Edward looked away, flushing in shame. He had just spoken against the entire Naval Code. Marines were never to think of themselves, for their lives were nothing compared to 'the good of mankind'. At least... that was what they were taught.

A ghost of a smile flickered across Seto's pale lips. "Correct." He shrugged. "It wasn't that I had anything or anyone to loose, mind you. But, like everyone else in the world, I was scared of death. I didn't want to die and never feel the wind in my hair again." He frowned, more to himself than anything, "But I also killed because I was angry. I was angry that they were trying to end my life before I was ready to go." He lifted his chin toward the moon, his expression oddly serene. "I had dreams, Edward," the Commodore whispered, eyes sparkling, "I had a dream that, after I got away from that godforsaken mansion, I would become Admiral and sail around the world. And I was so very angry that someone might dare take that dream away from me."

Edward was silent, unmoving.

Seto looked back at him and cocked his head. A faint smirk graced his features. "I suppose it was very selfish of me to think that, but are we not all selfish? We are humans, after all." His eyes twinkled. "Yes, even me, despite the rumors."

Edward gave a small, weak laugh.

Seto allowed an indulgent smile this time, the type that would normally made ladies fall at his feet. "And you did forget one more thing, Edward," he said, holding up a finger.

Edward frowned, wracking his mind. "Sir?"

Seto gave him an unnaturally warm pat on the shoulder. "You saved my life, little one," he said softly. His eyes smiled for him. "And not just that, either. You saved the Prince as well, and possibly many others if that pirate you shot was going to go on and kill more people."

Edward worked this through in his mind and flushed modestly. "But sir-"

Seto stopped him with a raised hand. "Tell me, do you have a good memory?"

Edward furrowed his eyebrows at the strange question. He hesitated. "Usually, sir."

Seto nodded. He pulled out his beautiful sword, holding it by the blade so he could see the hilt glitter in the moonlight. He studied the embroidered silver with a cocked head and a proud smile. "Do you remember what we were all told the day we enlisted?"

The younger man frowned. "No, sir..."

Seto raised the sword as if offering it to the moon. His gaze was distant, thoughtful. "The Admiral himself said this to me; 'Every time you draw your sword... you should not remember who you had killed, but who you had allowed to live.'" He gave a long sigh, resting his sword against his thighs. "We are marines, Edward. Warriors for England." The officer shrugged, trailing one hand up and down the length of his blade. "Our sacrifices and pains are not in vain. We kill and we fight so that..." he trailed off quietly, "...so that those little children back home can be safe in their beds."

Edward nodded, the faintest of smiles on his face. "Are you fond of children, sir?"

Seto heaved a sir and quietly sheathing his sword. "Alas, yes." He shrugged, giving Edward an unusually lighthearted grin. "That's perhaps why I never had children. I would have spoil them terribly."

Edward laughed. "I had a little brother," he said, growing quickly solemn. "I loved him terribly, but my mother took him with her when she and my father divorced."

Seto looked at him for a long time, then looked back at the ocean. "I'm sorry to hear that."

Edward forced a smile. "I suppose life would have been very different with him around," he mused quietly, "My father died, and after the authorities failed to locate my mother, I was dropped off at the orphanage. A poor family adopted me, but all they did was work and they never..." His voice became choked, and he looked down at his hands, flexing them as if marveling at his fingers. "...they never even seemed to like me." He looked up at Seto, eyes baleful and sad, "I don't know even know WHY."

Seto's glance was sad and gentle as he set a strong hand on Edward's shoulder. "You're liked here, Edward," he reminded the boy softly, "I would not have picked you for my crew if I thought you were incapable."

Edward beamed brilliantly and gave a wide smile. "I know, sir," he said. "I know."

Seto nodded and straightened, clasping his hands behind his back again. He looked out to sea, a picture of pure majesty in his uniform and wig. "You're dismissed, Edward. Go get some rest."

"Sir?" Edward's eyebrows rose. "But my shift-!"

"I will take it." Seto looked at Edward with a sly smirk. "I've slept for two days. I daresay I don't want to see my bed for quite some time." He nodded as if pleased with his own logic. "I think the ocean air will do me some good."

Edward hesitated, but gave a thankful salute and rushed off. His heels clicked soundly against the deck of the Dragon before he disappeared below.

Seto watched him go with a tad bit of fondness in his eyes. 'That boy...' The Commodore shook his head, chuckling to himself. 'Was it so long ago that I was just like him?"

Another voice -two, actually- broke through his thoughts. Seto rested a hand on the wheel and turned his head around in curiosity. There were five sentries at any time of night; one at the wheel, one in the crow's nest, two on the sides of the ships and one on the stern. As far as he knew, all those positions were currently filled. Who else could be coming?

"Your highness, please, it's MUCH too cold to be- Good Ra, you'll get ill!" That would be Mahado, half whining, half pleading.

"Nonsense, Mahado," scoffed Yami's voice. "I actually think it's rather lovely out here." A pause. "Yes, yes, I'll take your jacket... Heavens, you can go down below. You're shivering already!"

"But..."

"Go, Mahado. There are sentries out here. Oh, don't give me that look, I promise I won't fall overboard."

Grumbled in that strange language of his, Mahado clunked noisily below.

Seto fought a smile as he leaned against the wheel, watching Yami appear from below from one of the doorways. Dressed in velvety black robes and Mahado's scarlet musketeer jacket, the boy looked a bit flushed from the cold night, but the pink on his cheeks brought out the lovely shade of his eyes.

Seto watched, unwillingly entranced, as the Prince glided slowly down the side of ship and moved toward the bow. Preoccupied with something over the railing, the boy had not yet noticed the Commodore and was busy studying something in the water.

Seto suddenly heard him laugh. "Ship fish!"

The officer fought back his own laugh and coughed none-too-discreetly into his hand. "Dolphins, actually," he remarked casually.

Yami spun around and looked up, brushing blond hair out of his eyes. He gave a brilliant smile. "Commodore! You're... er...well!"

Seto shrugged modestly, brushing the remark away, "Those of my profession cannot afford to be off our feet for very long."

Yami rolled his eyes a little, climbing up to the bridge. He allowed Seto to bow and kiss his hand. "I'm assuming Lieutenant Giles-"

"-would have my head for being out here this long," finished Seto, chuckling as he stood.

Yami's eyes twinkled. "He would be planning our deaths with dear Mahado, I'm sure."

Seto laughed again, a melodious sound that twinkled through the night. Yami's heart skipped.

"I wouldn't miss a night like this for the world," the Commodore said finally, quietly.

Yami blinked and turned toward to the sea. "Its so quiet..." the boy murmured in appreciation, his eyes glowing eeriely in the moonlight, "Its never this quiet on land."

"It's like nothing in this world, isn't it?" Seto murmured, eyes distant, "The moon, the stars, the ocean... To them, there is no pain or suffering; their world is like the calm that comes after death."

His words hung like icicles in the air.

Yami glanced at Seto thoughtfully, his eyes shimmering with reflected moonlight. "How poetic," he remarked quietly, with a hint of a smile.

Seto flushed instantly, coughing a bit. "You'll have to excuse me, I-"

Yami gave him a small smirk, his eyes teasing and warm. "Do you like poetry, Commodore?"

Seto blinked and chose his words carefully. "...I do appreciate it, yes."

Now for the kill. "I heard you like Shakespeare's works."

Alarm and embarrassment flashed through Seto's eyes. His mouth worked wordlessly for a minute. "...And may I inquire as to who told you that, your highness?" he asked stiffly. He was already planning the messenger's painful death in his mind.

Yami brushed the question off. "I quite like Shakespeare myself," he remarked cheerfully, "His use of descriptions and emotions is incredible, wouldn't you agree?"

Seto faltered in his effort to look for something respectable to say. "I much prefer his wit, your highness," he admitted quietly.

Yami quirked an eyebrow. "Wit?"

Seto was quiet for a while as he looked out into the ocean. His eyes were as blue and brilliant as the surface of the water. "If it be aught toward the general good," he started quietly, "set honor in one eye and death in the other, and I will look on both indifferently, for let the gods so speed me as I love the name of honor more than I fear death." His words were strong and clear as they echoed in the night air, his rhythm perfect and eerily musical.

A strange silence settled over them both, broken only by the sound of waves crashing against the Dragon's hull.

Yami looked at Seto in wonder and surprise. "Julius Caesar?"

Seto nodded, lips pursed. "Brutus; Act One, Scene Two."

Yami looked a bit sheepish. "You know Shakespeare by heart?"

"I have a photographic memory," Seto remarked simply. There was neither shame nor arrogance in his voice.

"Julius Caesar... A magnificent play, though I only read it once as a child." Yami looked thoughtful, as if struggling to remember. "Had you rather Caesar were living and die all slaves, than that Caesar were dead, to live-"

"-all free men," Seto finished quietly.

Yami gave him a meaningful look. "...all free men," he echoed.

Silence.

Yami looked away. "I would prefer Caesar dead and be a free man," he murmured absently to the night sky, "And you, Commodore?"

Seto was silent for a long time. "...I would rather be Caesar."

Yami laughed. "Sadly, that's all I can remember..." he said finally, shrugging, "I was much better with the romances... Romeo and Juliet, for example."

Seto snorted. "Romeo and Juliet were both fools."

Yami looked up at him, surprised. "I beg to differ!"

"They gave up everything to die for each other," Seto rolled his eyes. "It's ridiculous."

"Only because you have never felt true love."

"Do I need to?"

Their eyes met, their wills clashing violently between then.

"You don't believe in love?" Yami asked softly.

Seto's gaze remained fixed on the ocean. "I believe in honor and duty."

"Is duty all that matter to you?" Yami demanded, his eyes searching Seto's own.

Seto said nothing.

Yami's fingers kneaded furiously the folds of his robes. This was not going as well as he had hoped. Seto had gone from relaxed to cold in an instant, and as it was, the prince was struggling with an urge to slap him. Hard.

For the next few minutes, the two of them stood in uncomfortable silence, tension as thick as cream between them. Yami finally sighed irritably and leaned most unbecomingly against the helm. Uncomfortable at the boy's close proximity, Seto withdrew his hands from the wheel and watched with surprise as Yami's weight caused the wheel to shift and the entire ship jerked under them. The creaking of wood and splashing water filled the air.

Yami jumped and leapt off the helm, looking horrified.

Seto chuckled and steadied the ship with one hand. The Dragon steered faithfully back on course, silent and elegant once more.

Yami's heart pounded loudly in his chest. "I-I apologize, I didn't-"

"No harm done," Seto said shortly. Seeing Yami's curious gaze, he fought a smirk. "Would you like to try?" He motioned to the wheel. Some voice in his head was going on and on about himself being a bloody git, but he ignored it.

Yami's eyes widened, a childish sparkle in them. "You... You would teach me, Commodore?"

"Of course, your highness. You need only ask."

The smile the prince gave was bright enough to put the sun to shame. Seto basked in its glory for a split second, then mentally slapped himself. It was entirely foolish to let an amateur fiddle with his ship. Lord, he would never live it down... but then again, that smile was beyond worth it.

Yami waited nervously for a minute before Seto got the hint. Inclining his head respectfully, the man took a gracious step back from the wheel and allowed the prince to maneuver himself into position.

The boy tentatively planted his hands on the knobs jutting from the wheel, gripping them tightly. "Like this?"

"Yes, that's good..." came Seto's voice, a respectable distance away. "If you want, your highness, you can try turning- No, not like that, you must loop your arms like-"

Before either of them knew it, Seto had walked behind Yami and had taken the boy's wrists. Yami stiffened, feeling the rough fabric and cold buttons of Seto's jacket pressing against his back. The Commodore's warm breath was hot in his ear.

"Relax..." the man murmured softly, feeling Yami's racing heart even through their various layers of clothing. He himself was in a daze, hardly aware of his actions.

Yami nodded numbly. Using his own hands, the Commodore soon placed the prince's hands in a more proper position on the wheel, turning it gently back and forth. The Dragon made tiny little adjustments to their movement, swaying slightly from side to side and creating shimmering ripples as it went.

Yami could sense the ship strumming under his fingers, its power and strength obvious to even to his own inexperienced fingers. "You have a marvelous ship, Commodore..." he breathed, smiling faintly as he slowly relaxed against the tall man. "You should be proud."

"I am," answered Seto quietly, though the ship was far from his mind. He was very close to Yami now, closer than he should have been, closer than polite society would have let him. He could feel the boy's warmth through his jacket and smell the distinct, spicy smell of incense on the prince's skin. The unfamiliar scent made him feel dizzy, overwhelmed...

Yami felt the Commodore's fingers entangled with his own, pulling him away from the wheel and into a tight, possessive embrace. The boy gasped and instantly shivered with delight. Being here, on the this beautiful night, in the arms of the most beautiful man in the world... It felt so right. He looked up over his shoulder at Seto, his heart up in his throat. "Commodore...?"

The man's eyes were cloudy and dark, so unlike their normal crystalline blue. He seemed so lost, so confused... "Forgive me," the man croaked softly before he leaned down and caught Yami's lips in a fiery, burning kiss.

Yami had dreamt -no, craved- this moment for many days, but now that it was finally here, it was far better than anything he had ever wished for. The inner passion that Seto always so meticulously hid behind his cold exterior was now pushing forth like a waterfall, burning Yami's lips and turning his insides to goo. The boy mewled helplessly into the Commodore's talented mouth, their tongues and lips melding together in a graceful, languid dance.

"No," Seto breathed as he finally pulled away, gasping for air, "W-We cannot do this..." His voice was weak and he made no move to release Yami or to step away.

Yami licked his kiss-bruised lips, his scarlet eyes burning with passion and his cheeks flushed with arousal. "Give me one good reason why we cannot," he whispered, his slender fingers still intimately linked with Seto's.

"We...I-" Seto swallowed harshly, finally pulling himself away from their embrace to lean tiredly against the railing. His eyes were closed and his head was lowered as a sudden wave of panic. What if someone had seen them? "We should not have done that," he repeated finally. His voice was clearer now but still hollow and robbed of emotion.

Warm, delicate fingers cupped his cheek, causing the man to open his eyes. He was met with Yami's loving smile. Bathed in starlight, the boy looked so beautiful just then that Seto had to resist the urge to gather him back in his arms and simply kiss him senseless.

"Is love, too, a crime in England these days?" the boy whispered sadly.

Seto said nothing, his skin clammy and cold under the boy's touch.

"Why do you fear me so?" Yami breathed, his tone gentle as if talking to a child, "I am not the king or the Admiral or a pirate."

Seto's breathing quickened. "This is forbidden," he whispered even as his traitorous body leaned into the boy's touch. "We cannot do-"

"Cleopatra defied the entire Roman Empire," Yami stated quietly, silencing Seto with a finger to his lips, "I am not afraid to do the same."

His challenge hung dangerously in the air. Inevitably, Seto's pride surged to meet it.

"Damn it all to hell," the man cursed under his breath as he grabbed the boy and pulled him in for another fierce kiss. Every voice of reason in his mind was screaming at him to stop this madness, but he was already in far too deep.

'How did it come to this?' the officer wondered as they stumbled below deck, still wrapped around each other. How could such a daring little prince simply waltz into his life and unravel every part of him with just a glance or two?

It was a miracle that they hadn't run into anyone on their way back to the Commodore's room, but neither of the two dwelled on the thought as they fell on to the bed in a moaning, writhing heap.

Their hands were everywhere, stroking and caressing and tearing off clothing with less-than-admirable grace. Seto's wig was the first to go, and for the first time in his life, the man didn't complain. Feeling his way blindly in the dark, Seto kissed his way slowly down Yami's lovely neck, nipping and biting at the smooth skin. The boy keened above him, whimpering whimsical words as he sank his trembling fingers in to the man's dark hair.

A small part of Seto's mind still protested, still begged for him to stop, but the man merely shrugged it off. He was drunk off Yami's smell and taste, lost in the forbidden sensation of feeling another's skin against his own. How on earth could this be wrong?

Yami was offering him a gift that he could not refuse, no matter how hard he tried. Just this night, the Commodore told himself, he was going to forget about the blasted Navy. He was going to forget about England, France, and their damned, stuffy wigs. And most of all, he was going to forget that this was very, very wrong.

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1 - I'm not ENTIRELY sure, but this may (or may not be) a quote by Alexander Dumas. It was featured in the movie The Man in the Iron Mask (based on Dumas's book) so either the movie peeps own it or Dumas does. Isn't it such a lovely quote? XD I love these philosophical things.