"And'… It seems we're alone."
"I can see that, Theodore. Don't get any ideas, please. Not today."
Theodore Groves felt the playful atmosphere fall instantly, before it had much of a chance to begin.
"Don't give me that look!" Andrew Gillette narrowed his eyes, but the small tugs of a smile at the corners of his mouth gave him away.
"Why are you grinning like that? What is it you've got on your mind?" Andrew asked, skeptically, knowing his friend and lover's mischievous traits. "Do I honestly want to be asking that question?"
"Oh, now I'm hurt by that."
"Of course you are."
Theodore's expression changed instantly. His eyes widened slightly. He grabbed hold of Andrew's arm, pulling him back into the shadows.
"Theo…" Andrew protested.
"Shhhh!" Theodore pressed a finger to his lips. He waited a moment, then a sly grin slid across his face.
"Theodore, what has gotten into you?" Andrew asked, again. He started at him.
"So you haven't heard the stories, then?"
"Stories? Theo, what are you talking about?" Andrew's brow rose.
Theodore continued to grin.
"Theo… Theo what's going on?"
Everything was going according to plan.
"So, as it seems you have not had the… dubious pleasure… of hearing the stories of the Dauntless ghost, I will fill you in on the details."
"The Dauntless ghost? Theo, that's complete rubbish." Andrew rolled his brown eyes, "You don't even believe in ghosts! And neither do I."
"Aye, but seeing is believing, isn't it?" Theodore cocked a dark eyebrow.
Andrew sighed, "You pulled me aside to tell me a ghost story? What are we, seven?"
"No… seven year olds don't do this." Theodore kissed him hard on the lips, pushing him back.
Andrew let out a quiet grunt, muffled into Theodore's mouth as his back met the cool, hard wood of the ship. He began to loose himself in the moment, brushing his tongue against his slightly parted lips. He stopped, eyes flying open, nearly wide as saucers. He pushed Theodore back, breathing hard.
"We can't do this here!" Andrew cried, looking around frantically, "What if we're discovered?!"
"Course we can! And no one is going to find us… Except maybe the ghost…"
"Oh, would you come off it about the stupid ghost! It's not real! It's a flawed little tale the officers save for the new midshipmen to scare the boys out of their wits for kicks."
"So you have heard of it, then."
"Not this one in particular, but they're all the same."
"Well, if you're so worried about being discovered, then I suppose we should-" Theodore stopped abruptly. His eyes trailed over Andrew's shoulder.
"What?" Andrew asked, turning around. "Theo, I don't see anything."
Theodore shook his head, "Just a flash of white. Must be trick of the sun."
"White?" Andrew raised an eyebrow. He turned and looked again. He stopped, "You're trying to spook me, aren't you?" He turned back, narrowing his eyes, "I told you, Theo- it won't work. I don't believe in ghosts." He crossed his arms.
"You know you look like you're five when you do that, right?" Theodore snorted.
Andrew continued to glare.
Things were now beginning to diverge from the planned path. Something must be done to rectify this.
"You said you know the other stories…" Theodore began, taking a step forward, "What have you heard, then."
"You want me to tell you ghost stories?"
"Sure. It's not like we've gotten anything better to do. They left us to "guard" the Dauntless. She's anchored, in homeport. She's not going anywhere." Theodore nodded.
Andrew sighed, "Sometimes I wonder how old you really are."
"I'm older than I look."
"I was thinking more of acting." Andrew said off handedly. "The stories are all the same, I don't know why you're suddenly so interested in them. It's always a woman, and nearly always a virgin. Her lover or fiancé or whatnot has always been killed at sea, most likely in some violent fashion. And now she's come back to haunt all the still-living sailors, as they have survived the sea, but her darling did not. There? Are you satisfied?"
"Yes. But you left out the part of how to counter her mischievous and perhaps even deadly actions…" Theodore took a second step closer.
"What are you up to?"
"You don't know."
"That's not what I said."
"But you don't know."
"No, I don't know. But I have a feeling you are about to enlighten me."
"Well, as she died before she and her would-be husband could-"
"I know where this is going and the answer is no."
"You didn't even let me finish!"
"No, because I know exactly what you were going to say. The answer is no, Theodore."
"You don't even know what you're saying "no" too." Theodore pouted.
"Theo… how long have we known each other? How long have we been friends?" Andrew asked, taking a step forward himself, closing the gap.
"Since we were midshipman."
"And how long have we been lovers?" Andrew asked again, voice deathly quiet as he leaned forward, lips nearly brushing Theodore's, causing him to gasp. He grinned.
"Nearly as long…"
"Exactly." Andrew murmured, breath hot against him. "Do you honestly think I wouldn't know you better than that, by now?" He stepped back again, walking towards the bow of the ship.
"I want a cuddle in the cuddy."
"You would, wouldn't you?"
"What, pray tell, is that supposed to mean?"
"It means, my dear Theo…" Andrew grinned, coming up to him and tracing a hand across his shoulder as he passed, "That honesty is always the best policy." The door to the empty Captain's Quarters swung open. He turned his head, looking over his shoulder, "Care to join me?"
Theodore did not need to be asked twice.
Andrew came out of the shadows, catching him from behind as he kicked the door shut with his foot. He nuzzled the back of his neck, hands roaming across his chest.
"What happened to "the answer is 'no'"?" Theodore inhaled sharply as Andrew's hands roamed boldly.
"The answer was no if you were going to go about it that way… I don't like being tricked. And we couldn't while we were out there- someone might see us. But in here, where it's nice, and private, that's another story, isn't it?" Theodore could feel the wicked grin against him.
It wasn't long before their uniforms lain in a crumpled heap at the end of the bed, utterly forgotten.
"There is no story of the Dauntless ghost, is there?"
19. When left to look after the ship, there are several things two people can get up to…
7. "I want a cuddle in the cuddy." (The Cuddy is the place where the captain sleeps.)