Summary: It's 1912 and there's a new ship sailing on the ocean: the R.M.S. Titanic. Lily Evans boards the ship as a first-class passenger, as does her betrothed James Potter and his best friend Sirius Black. Meanwhile, Remus Lupin and Severus Snape languish in third class. When the two groups meet and befriend each other, societal subcultures clash, internal battles are wrought, and numerous pranks are played on unsuspecting and unprepared first-class passengers. But no one is prepared for the iceberg that looms ahead...
Author Note: I've decided that Lily, Sirius, etc. do not have magical powers in this fic, because if the Titanic had wizards on board they wouldn't very well have let it sink, would they? Due to this, Remus does not have lycanthropy, but he is, shall we say, sickly.
Tickets to Freedom
Remus Lupin could hardly believe his luck as he stared at the ticket clutched in his hand. This very ticket would allow him, of all people, to board the luxury ocean liner the Titanic, which would launch its maiden voyage in a few days' time. Granted, Remus would only be in third-class, but that was better than being stuck here in London, working odd jobs whenever he could and scavenging food.
"Right luck, that was," absently murmured Severus Snape, who also held a ticket in one thin hand. Remus tore his eyes from the piece of paper that he held to look up at his friend, and Severus immediately masked his shock and shoved his ticket into the pocket of his ratty, black jacket. Remus grinned goofily at the other boy.
"We're going to America!"
A thin smile twisted its way onto Severus' sallow face, and the two seventeen-year-old boys stood up and made their way toward the bartender. Remus flipped a banknote onto the counter and ordered drinks for himself, Severus, and for all five of the men seated at the table that he and Severus had just vacated. The barman, Sully, knew that both boys were underage, but gave them the tankards anyway. In his lowly opinion, those boys deserved to celebrate. After all, they had just won a card game in which the prize was two tickets to freedom. As the two boys carried the tankards back to the table, Remus looked to Severus. "Tip the man, Sev. I've only got three pounds left." Severus rolled his eyes, dug deep into his pockets, and pulled out a six-pence piece that he tossed to Sully, who swiped the coin off the counter and nodded in thanks.
The tankards were distributed among the five men, and all five raised their tankards in toast. "To Remus and Sev!" "To the Titanic!" "To all those bloody swankers in first-class! May you nick enough money from them to live comfortably in the land of opportunity!" The men laughed and threw back their beer.
Their cabin on the ship was small, with plain white walls, a toilet and a washbasin, and two bunk beds. Severus immediately claimed the bottom bed, so Remus clambered onto the top bunk and lay down to rest. The trip to Southampton had been tiring, and he still had a slight hangover left from their "celebration." Both boys had managed to pack all of their earthly possessions into two tatty suitcases, which Severus tucked under his bottom bunk before lying down to sleep.
Both slept peacefully in spite of the groaning and creaking of the massive ship and the distant cheers of the crowds above as the ship left the dock (years of street life had ensured that they could sleep anywhere, no matter how noisy or crowded), and when Remus awoke a couple of hours later he saw that the other bunk bed had been occupied by a family of five, with the three children (two boys and a girl, all of whom looked under ten years old) sitting on the bottom bunk and the two parents sharing the top one. Remus hopped down off his bed, and the mother, who was apparently not asleep after all, sat up and smiled down at him. He held up his hand and introduced himself, then pointed to Severus and told the woman his name as well. The woman clasped his hand and started talking in rapid Italian, gesturing wildly with her free hand to her husband and children.
"La non di incontrare il signore. Sono Catherine e questo è il mio Pietro di marito. Il mio più giovane ragazzo è Federigo, la ragazza è nominato il Marina, ed il ragazzo diil più vecchio, lí è alla sinistra, è chiamato Francesco."
She stopped talking, released Remus' hand, and beamed at him. Remus blinked.
"Right. Nice to, eh, meet you, then... Ma'am."
He turned back to his own bed, and heard Severus, who was facing the wall, mutter "Wanker." Remus glanced at the family, then leaned towards the other boys and hissed at him, "Oh, sod off, Severus. Just because you can't stand children--"
"You're damn right I can't," Severus rolled over and eyed the three Italian children suspiciously. "Bloody little terrors, they are."
Remus rolled his eyes, grabbed his shabby brown jacket, and slipped it over his frail frame while turning to leave the cabin so he could go and explore the ship.
"Miss Lily, be a dear and carry this for me?" Mrs. Rush didn't wait for an answer before thrusting the bulky hatbox into the arms of Lily Evans, who forced her voice into politeness as she said, "Of course, Mrs. Rush."
Lily was one of those girls who just seemed to have everything: looks, talent, money, a handsome fiancé, and now a ticket for the Titanic. Unfortunately, Lily would have to stay near Mrs. Rush for the entire journey, as she was Cornelia Rush's "traveling companion." Not only that, but the only reason Lily had been allowed to be a companion was because the Potters had announced their intention to board the Titanic and move to America (they had offered to buy Lily a ticket, but Lily's parents had declined the offer because they felt that it would be like accepting charity), and James Potter (arrogant toerag) was Lily's fiancé– it was a marriage of convenience, of course, so it really didn't matter to Lily's parents that their daughter hated the guy. To make matter even worse (and this was enough to make Lily want to kill herself), Sirius Black, who was James Potter's best friend and who was also and idiotic git, would also be coming along for the ride...Maybe once I get to New York I can ditch them. I hear that women in America are allowed lots of independence...
Lily followed closely behind Mrs. Rush, holding tightly to the hatbox as they meandered through the thick crowd and onto the gangway that led them to B-Deck.
The cabin, to Lily's relief and delight, was quite comfortable, with soft carpets and large, cushy beds laden with pillows.
"Er, Mrs. Rush? Where would you like me to put–?" Lily raised the hatbox, but Mrs. Rush was not paying the least attention to her as she bustled around trying to find her best shawl. Josephine, the maid, wordlessly took the hatbox and left Lily standing there, feeling exceedingly stupid and unsure of what to do next. What does one do on such a ship anyway?
"Come, Miss Lily, let us go up to the Boat Deck."
"Great," muttered Lily drily as she smoothed her green satin dress and followed the older woman out of the room.
The Boat Deck was suffocatingly crowded, and Lily managed to lose Mrs. Rush and to fight her way towards the white metal railing. She peered over the edge and her breath caught in her throat; the people on the docks looked positively tiny. An earsplitting sound suddenly pierced the air, making Lily jump– the steam whistles were blowing, the ship was about to depart. Lily actually shuddered with excitement as the steam whistles screamed and the ship shuddered to life, and the crowds, both on the docks and on the ship decks, cheered loudly. People were screaming and waving handkerchiefs and throwing flowers of all sorts down to the mass of well-wishers standing on the docks. Lily raised her hand and waved it madly around. She knew no one in the crowd, but it felt so exhilarating to wave goodbye to all those cheering, crying, smiling people below. They waved back at her, their faces alight, as the ship dragged itself slowly away from land.
Some of the cheers morphed into screams as a sharp, cracking sound reverberated through the air. Lily stared down to see a small ship floating away from the docks and heading straight towards the Titanic.
Oh, bugger, we're going to crash! She waved her hands at the smaller ship. "No! Turn around! Don't hit us!" She groaned. The Titanic couldn't crash, it simply couldn't! How would she get to New York and run away from James Potter if it did? A tugboat appeared in the water and helped steer the smaller ship away from the large ocean liner, and Lily sighed with relief.
"Miss Lily, there you are! You gave me quite a fright! Come away from that railing, are you mad? You'll fall in the water!" A sinking feeling filled Lily's stomach; Mrs. Rush had found her.
This was going to be a long voyage.
James Potter could not care less about the crowds, or about the fact that he was on the grandest ocean liner ever, or that someone had stepped on his shoe and scuffed the perfect black polish. No, James Potter cared, at the moment, cared about only one thing: finding Lily Evans.Lovely Lily Evans, his fiancée, his Lilyflower, his love, his– "What the hell?!?"
"Sorry, mate," Sirius Black smirked at his friend. "But you had that disturbing, Lily-induced look in your eyes. I had to get you out of it somehow!"
James glared. "Next time, could you not punch me in the bloody stomach? Bleeding Christ, that hurt."
Mrs.Potter's voice floated through the air. "James, darling, don't swear. It's so very unbecoming for a gentleman to swear."
"Yes, mother," James muttered in a bored tone, while Sirius sniggered.
By this time, the crowds were thinning, and James rose to his toes and started scanning the boat deck for Lily's vivid red hair, but was distracted by Sirius elbowing him in the ribs. "Let's go find the kitchens, I'm hungry."
"Don't be a dolt, dinner's in a couple of hours."
Sirius raised an eyebrow in a So what? kind of way, and James glanced back toward the crowd. Upon not seeing Lily. He shrugged, ran a hand through his messy black hair, and turned back to Sirius.
"Yeah, let's go. There's nothing to do here, and I have to go to the loo anyway."
The two boys ducked back inside and began the search for the kitchens, ready to make mischief.