Hello everyone. Looking back at all my chapters, I've noticed that in pretty much every single one of them I've apologized for it being late, and now I've hit a new record. I'm not going to do that this time though. I wrote this story a long time ago, and my attention has shifted from writing to other things. Once thing that has not shifted however if my love for this series. From now on, I will not post a new story unless it is completely typed out and finished, so something like this will never happen again.

All I can do is continue promising that this story will be finished. We're almost there.

Disclaimer If this disclaimer was a person, I'd poison its tea.


Chapter 22

Moving from room to room, Ben took the time to reflect upon the events that were causing him so much trouble. The Dutchman was always a problem, along with constantly having to lie to people who would eventually become his friends. Being on a sinking unsinkable ship however, was definitely high on the list.

Rifling through cabinets and wardrobes, Ben moved with a quickness that bordered panic. Pushing aside a shirt and a pair of trousers, he finally found what he was looking for; a lifejacket. Throwing on a cloak he had found a minute before, the youth hurried out of the abandoned room he had ransacked.

A minute later he handed the lifejacket to a doubtful Seamus. "Couldn't you have mentioned the fact that you couldn't swim before the ship hit an iceberg?"

Seamus looked sheepish from under his coat of bruising's. "Well, being on an unsinkable ship, it really never occurred to me that I needed to bring it up."

The blue eyed boy descended the steps to the point where Ned was waiting for the two of them. The water had risen about two feet since he had checked it minutes before.

"This is going to be cold." Thought Ned gloomily.

"Just don't think about."

"It's hard to not think about it when it's the only thought bouncing around in both our heads."

Ben decided not to comment on his dog's observation, but checked over his shoulder to where Seamus was gingerly putting on the life jacket. "Right, let's do this now before Seamus loses his nerve."

"Let's do this before I lose my nerve."

After hesitating for a brief moment, Ben splashed into the water until he was waist deep and on the mid-floor landing. Teeth already chattering, he could practically feel his body heat being sucked out of him. A splash behind him indicated that Ned had joined him in the freezing water, and now the only one left on dry deck was Seamus. Knowing that the Irish boy would follow them, Ben half swam, half waded on.

The landing ended a far sooner than he expected and the youth stumbled, falling up to his neck before his feet found a step again. A gasp slipped out of his mouth and for a moment there was a lapse in his concentration. His vision shifted for a second before he managed brought it back under his control. "I'm fine." He thought shortly to Ned, who he could feel had just been about to send a worried thought.

Seamus was now up to his middle and swearing softly to himself. Ned was dog paddling over to where Ben was standing; now on tip-toe. Too cold for actual words, Ben took a shuddering breath and pushed off from the step. He kicked furiously, trying to keep his head from going under the water. His muscles felt like they were being bathed in an icy fire. The water was now only two feet from the ceiling and had visibly risen since the last time Ben had checked the water level. Amazingly, the ship's lights were still working; at least they had that still going for them.

Ben cringed at the thought of making this swim in the dark. Behind him, he could hear the labored breathing of Seamus and Ned, as well as the almost muted voices of everyone on the ship. Salt water lapped into Ben's mouth, causing him to stop and choke. The blond boy slipped under the water and the cold forced all of the air out of the Eternal's lungs. "This can't be it!" he thought.

The youth felt something knock into his head and it was as if a spell was broken. Kicking up, Ben broke the surface and coughed up the foul water. Ned was beside him, his brown eyes looking into Ben's blue ones. Seamus meanwhile, was shouting at him.

"If you die on me, I will kill you! You nearly made my heart stop!"

Still spluttering, Ben grabbed onto a nearby light fixture, whose metal was still slightly warm from twenty-four hours' worth of heat. Wiping the water out of his eyes with his free hand, he noticed that all of their heads were only a few inches below the ceiling, and they still had over half the distance to go. At a faster rate of which he had been swimming, Ben lunged of the next light fixture that was a few feet away. Grabbing it, he pulled himself though the water and continued on, Seamus mimicking him and Ned doggedly swimming along.

The cold was sapping his strength, but now they were all moving much more quickly than before. Wishing that he had stopped to look for a life jacket for himself, the Eternal struggled on. Time and space seemed to contort and the distance they had to go didn't seem to grow any closer. The water however grew higher. As he swam, the top of his head now knocked into the ceiling.

Ben began counting the tops of doorways to mark their progress. So intent was his counting that he didn't even notice that he had passed the staircase until Seamus spluttered something uncomprehendable. Both he and Ned had passed it unawares so deep was their concentration. Swimming back, they could see that Seamus's face was white except for the bruising, and that his lips were blue.

Stiff and frozen arms clawed at the stairs as the water rose to collect they few centimeters left of air. Dragging themselves up, all three of them climbed out of the water and flopped down onto the floor. Water ran off them and all Ben wanted to do was lay there forever. Groaning with cold, and in Seamus's case pain, they stood up. They weren't out of the danger yet and if they stopped to rest now, then they were just as doomed as they were before. They still had to ascend to the top deck and find a life boat, if there were any left.

The water had reached their floor and began to pool around their feet. Ben reckoned they had an hour, maybe half that before the ship was completely under water. How much time had passed since he had last been up deck? Casting off his soaked cloak, Ben mounted the other steps that curved around and began to climb, ignoring the fact that he couldn't feel his toes or fingers. Overcoming sheer exhaustion, the group nearly collapsed where they reached the top.

Seamus braced himself against a wall and clutched at his side and gritting his teeth in pain. Almost two thirds of the ships occupants were crowded around on deck, leaving hardly any room around on deck to move about.

"Okay, we need to get out there and find a lifeboat and…Seamus?"

Ned gave a small bark of alarm as Seamus sagged, falling down. Ben reached over to his friend and shook him as Ned licked his face. Seamus blinked confusedly and stared up at Ben and Ned. "What happened? Why am I on the floor?"

"You just suddenly collapsed… come on, lean on me. We have to get moving." Ben wasted no time in pulling Seamus up and leaning Seamus's good side against him. Seamus swung an arm around Ben's neck and together they hobbled out.

"Ben, I think Seamus is a lot more hurt than he let on." Commented Ned as he walked behind them.

"Yeah I'm beginning to realize that. Still nothing we can do about that at the moment."

As they left the shelter of the enclosed ship, the cold hit them once again, only this time it was much, much worse. The breeze, though gentle, seemed to pierce right though his clothing like it was made of nothing. The sea was just as flat and mirror like as it had been when the iceberg had struck the ship. By now the ship was slanting at an angle steep enough for people to begin panicking. Ben had to shove his way through the crowd just to get by. Pushing ever onwards, the youth made his way to where the crowd was thickest.

A ring of men, arms locked, formed a human barrier and blocked anyone's attempt at moving forward. In the middle of the ring, stood a man with a pistol in his hand, which was held high so that everyone in the crowd could see. "Just try and break the line anyone of ya, I dare ya!" He waved the gun wildly for emphasis and some of the people fell back, permitting Ben and Seamus to push forward to the front.

On the side of the ship, was what Ben guessed to be the last lifeboat. Crewmen, already resigned to their fate, were trying to lower the already crammed boat into the waters below. It was now or never.

Ben pushed his frozen body against the chain, trying to break through. "Woman and children only." Said one of the men, sizing Ben and Seamus up and wondering whether or not they counted as children.

"Please, my friend is injured." Panted Ben, now having to hold up Seamus, who had slipped into unconsciousness again. The man seemed to hesitate for a moment, taking in the boy's plea, before deciding to hell with it and letting them pass.

"Only him though!" shouted the man and at once had to redouble his efforts to keep others out. Ned followed as Ben dragged Seamus towards the lifeboat. The man with the gun strolled over and took Seamus from Ben before indicating with the gun that Ben needed to move back. Ned growled once before he and Ben turned and hurried away. Looking over his shoulder as he ducked back under the chain of arms, Ben watched as the man unceremoniously dumped Seamus onto the load of people. Then the lifeboat began to descend.

Ben pushed his way back through the crowd, actually glad that Seamus had been unconscious. There would have been no way he would have gone without Ben if he had been able to make a choice. Besides that though, Ben was glad that Seamus was oblivious to the sounds of people screaming, and of the ship dying. And of the sound of gun fire that came from where Ben had stood just a minute before.

So I'm just curious, how many people still reading this story remembers it first being posted? I started this story in the tenth grade, and tonight I finished my freshman year of college. Scary huh?