Whoa, I am so sorry about the complete lack of updates! Life has been hectic this past year but now that summer has arrived, I hope I can continue with the updates. Thanks to everyone who has kept up!

Disclaimer: I don't own Hetalia.

The rest of the morning was rather uneventful; after Kirkland had made his rounds (with Kiku by his side, of course) he had personally escorted the Asian man back to his quarters with the promise of tea in a few hours before locking him in. Kiku sighed, he was alone again in this room with nothing to occupy his time except for some books written in English. Perhaps there is some paper and ink…Kiku thought to himself sadly. Lucky for him, there was a few sheets of fine ivory paper, a small pot of black ink, but instead of a brush, there was a beautiful swan feather quill pen. He frowned, he hadn't used one of those since he was a small child, the missionaries used them instead of brushes to teach them English. Kiku knew that whatever he drew would not be as good; he would just have to keep reminding himself that the purpose was not perfection, but something to occupy his mind while in this prison. Determinedly, he sat down at the carved desk and picked up the quill, dipping it in the inkpot and gracefully began to draw.

Time passed quickly and after awhile, Kiku had sketched out four drawings: one of the palace in winter, a copy of the royal portrait of Mei Mei and Kim-Anh wearing their family kimonos (black, with a large dragon circling the sun, the crest of the Sun throne), a lovely sketch of a blooming sakura tree, and the last, a drawing of Pochi, the little dog his mother had gifted him. Kiku was well on his way sketching out a drawing of Yao in his official robes when there came a hesitant knock at the door. It was so quiet that Kiku almost didn't hear it. Sighing, he put down the quill and waited for whomever it was to enter. Though, it was different. Normally, whoever it was would just barge in without a word otherwise, but this time, it seemed as though the person on the other side was waiting for permission. Kiku was perplexed, this was very unusual; he gave a hesitant "come in" and waited for the door to open.

The door opened to reveal what appeared to be a sweet-looking young man pushing a small cart laden down with tea things. He gave Kiku a small smile before slowly pushing the cart into the room. Kiku shut the door and followed the man over to the small table, which he was beginning to set.

The boy had wavy blond hair with a slight curl at ends with a long curl that stuck out from the top of his head and came down in front of his face. He bespectacled eyes were a bright violet color and he was only slightly taller than Kiku. He was dressed rather simply: starched white linen shirt, dark blue vest, and dark colored trousers. He didn't seem like the other members of the crew who were loud and crude, he seemed quiet and rather shy. Kiku cleared his voice slightly, catching his attention, and bowed. The boy seemed slightly confused before giving Kiku an awkward bow in return.

"F-f-forgive me," the boy began, speaking in a quiet, accented voice, "I should've introduced myself before barging in. My name is Matthie-I mean Matthew. It is very nice to meet you." Matthew smiled and Kiku couldn't help smiling in return. Matthew was the first kind face he had encountered since he had been on this ship.

"It is alright, Matthew-san. I am Honda Kiku. I am pleased to meet you as well." Matthew continued setting out the tea things while Kiku returned to his sketches, both of them sporting matching small smiles.

After a bit, the small table was set and Matthew was preparing leave when he noticed one of Kiku's sketches.

"Did you draw these?" Matthew asked softly; Kiku nodded in reply.

"They are very good. I like them." Kiku smiled before murmuring a quiet thanks. Matthew gave another bow before excusing himself and locking the door, leaving Kiku alone again.

His solitude was short-lived when he heard the familiar turn of the key and he knew that it was the captain, coming to take tea with him. Kiku quickly gathered up his artwork and hid them in the desk drawer, not wanting Kirkland to see them. Just as he finished shutting the drawer, the door to his quarters opened with a flourish, revealing the captain.

"Good afternoon, love." Kirkland said as entered the room, shutting and locking the door behind him. Kiku sighed and gave a reluctant "good afternoon, captain" in return. Kirkland gave a feral grin before strolling over to where Kiku was standing, wrapping his arms around the smaller man and pulling him close.

"I hope you managed to keep yourself busy during my absence, love." he whispered in Kiku's ear before pressing a soft kiss to his cheek. Kiku grimaced at the contact, before carefully attempting to extract himself from Kirkland's grasp.

"Captain, we do not want the tea things to get cold." Kiku said. Kirkland smiled before giving the Asian another kiss and escorting him over to the dining set.

"Of course, love." he said before pulling out Kiku's chair and pushing him roughly into it. Kiku huffily pushed himself to the table before giving the captain a look of utter loathing. Kirkland shrugged before gracefully depositing himself into his own chair, picking up the teapot and pouring Kiku some tea.

"I've said it before, you are a lively one, Kiku. Just my luck that I like my women feisty." For the umpteenth time since he had been on this ship, Kiku felt his anger rise. He knew that he should ignore all of Kirkland's remarks, but to refer to him as a woman was truly pushing it. He clenched his fist and glared.

"What's wrong, pet? Hear something that you didn't like?" Kirkland sneered, pouring himself a cup. It was taking all of Kiku's willpower not to react to Kirkland's baiting.

"Nothing, Captain." Kiku said tersely.

"Very well then. Scone? The boy made them. He's quite handy in the kitchen." Kiku took one, if only because it was Matthew who prepared them. He had barely met the child but Kiku felt a kindred connection with him.

"So, Kiku, within the next few days we should be coming up on Singapore, where we'll make port and stock up. If you can behave yourself, I might consider letting you leave the ship." Kirkland said conversationally, buttering his scone. Kiku looked up hopefully. Singapore? Suddenly an idea formed in his mind: if he cooperated, he would be able to leave the ship, probably in the care of the two goons. It would be easy to subdue them and escape, and then he could lie low and wait for the next boat back to the kingdom.

"Yes…just don't get any ideas, pet." Kirkland said, reading his mind. Kiku stared defiantly at the other man. He would be damned if Kirkland thought he wasn't going to try and escape.

"I have no clue what the Captain is talking about." He said blankly.

"Then don't worry about it, love. Just make sure to behave yourself."

Once they had finished tea, Kirkland left before giving him instructions for dinner: Dawkins and Sampson would escort him and to make sure he looked presentable. Not even five minutes after Kirkland had exited the room, Matthew was entering the room.

"Ah, konnichiwa Matthew-san. Let me help you clean up." Kiku said, moving to gather up the tea things.

"Oh, you don't have to…" Matthew said, shooing Kiku away from the table.

"I insist, Matthew-san. It is no trouble." Kiku said, grabbing a few dishes and handing them to the other boy. Matthew blushed before taking the offered cups.

"Merci—I mean, thank you."

"I don't know if you can tell, but I am not an Englishman." Matthew said, noting Kiku's puzzled expression.

"My father, his ship was attacked by Captain Kirkland a few years ago. Took everything he had." Matthew said sadly.

"I understand Matthew-san. The very same thing happened to me a few days ago." Kiku said, looking at the drawer where his sketches were.

"I keep hoping that one day, I'll be able to get off this ship and find my father. But every time we dock, the Captain makes me stay in the galley with the cook." Mathew said wishfully. Kiku gasped, suddenly struck with an idea. Matthew glanced at him, a puzzled look on his face.

"Is everything okay?" Kiku waved his hand, indicating everything was fine.

"Matthew-san, I have just had an idea, but I need to work out the details. Will I see you again later today?" Kiku asked.

"I'm certain. I am supposed to bring you your evening clothes…." Matthew said, still confused.

"Excellent. When you arrive, I will tell you then."

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