As Strangely Deliver'd by Pyrates
Disclaimer: I don't own any of the characters in Axis Powers Hetalia, or the picture at the bottom of the page.
Summary: He glances from the corner of his eye; that hand is sure and steady, and if he isn't very very careful he'll find a bullet buried into his skull before he can even blink. This is the kind of danger he thrives on.
He's not in it for the money.
Money, which drives man to tip over the edge of humanity and succumb to greed, has never been his objective – he was born into wealth, more than he knows what to do with, and he even finds himself resenting the fact at times. No, it has never been the prospect of monetary gain… it's the tension that thrums through his veins, the thrill of a job well done, a high so addictive that he just can't help going back for more.
This doesn't change even as he feels the cool kiss of a gun barrel pressed to the side of his head; only causes him to muse that it was very fortunate that his brother had stopped looking up to him as a role model when the boy had hit his teens. There had been a time when young Ludwig had idolised him, declaring that he would follow whatever profession he chose in the way that only a younger sibling can. While Ludwig's line of work is nowhere near as exciting as his own trade, he can't help but feel grateful that Ludwig has opted to be sensible where he himself has not.
Not that he's regretting his choice, god no. Even as the metal slides from his ear to tap his temple solidly, he can't picture himself in a more tame occupation. There had been a few trades that had caught his fleeting interest, a few things that he could have mastered had he only taken the time to pursue them; he'd be sitting safe behind a desk perusing documents or something similarly dull. He suppresses a shudder at the thought; his captor may mistake it for fear.
He glances from the corner of his eye; that hand is sure and steady, and if he isn't very verycareful he'll find a bullet buried into his skull before he can even blink.
This is the kind of danger he thrives on.
"And just who do you think you're trying to steal from, thief?"
He's never really been one for poetry, but he can't help but think that the husky voice somewhat resembles the ornate sword - just beyond his grasp - he'd been hoping to make off with; cold and sharp as the steel blade with a hint of eloquence and decorum.
"Why don't you enlighten me?" Despite the obvious threat to his life, he keeps his tone light – as though speaking to an acquaintance – as his mind races. His source hadn't revealed the identity of his mark, only the treasures in the man's possession and the certainty that he'd be away for hours in negotiations with merchants.
Well, that clearly hadn't happened.
"Captain Kirkland of the Gloriana," he says, sounding mildly amused by the response. "And who do I have the pleasure of dispatching today?"
He can't help the way his breath stutters slightly at the name; Kirkland and his band of pirates had made a name for themselves in the few years that they had been active. The crew had become known for smoothly pulling off seemingly impossible – and suicidal – heists with minimal fatalities. The sheer skill and marksmanship that made this possible kept anyone from implying they were gutless; those who had had the misfortune of encountering them could attest to that.
He still isn't intimidated though.
"It seems as though you aren't as well informed as I was led to believe; what a disappointment." While he can't boast the same sort of fame that Kirkland clearly can, he is fairly well known in the area. Either way, it's mostly a bluff – a tactic to stall, to think of some way to get himself out of this mess with as much of himself in tact as possible.
Perhaps he could annoy the pirate enough to cause him to lose focus?
He chances a look at the man, and although one of his thick brows have risen and his eyes have narrowed his features remain calm and in control. "Perhaps," the pirate says wryly, "you just aren't considered as much of a threat as you seem to believe."
He can't help but bristle at that remark – he has his pride, after all – when Kirkland apparently loses his patience. "Enough of this nonsense." Kirkland's hand clamps down on his shoulder and moves around to face him; the gun slides away from his temple to aim at a more… delicate region much further south.
"Th' name's Gilbert." He hates having to reveal his name, despite the fact that he had earlier said that it was well known. The threat to his crotch has startled the answer out of him though, and he claws himself back into control, continuing to quip "Considerin' your line of work I'd have thought what I was doing was rather obvious."
Gilbert peers at the man, affecting a roguish grin as he assesses him. Now that he has a clear view, he notes that despite having the title of Captain, Kirkland is younger than he'd expected – younger than the gruff tone and steady hands indicate.
Still, he can't afford to let his guard down; with youth comes speed, and usually a sharpness that gives way to age and accumulated arrogance.
Kirkland merely returns his gaze, piercing eyes considering his appearance and stance; he shifts his weight slightly, the gun wavers a fraction of an inch and Gilbert knows to seize an opportunity when he sees one.
Rocking back on his heels far enough to be almost completely out of the gun's direct range Gilbert twists out of Kirkland's hold with trouble, losing his balance and toppling over in his bid for freedom. He belatedly remembers the sword and dives for it; the pirate seems to share his epiphany and they scrabble for the weapon on the floor. The gun bumps him uncomfortably in the ribs for a moment before he can shove it away with a growl. In his haste to rid himself of the risk of being shot he kicks the sword away from them both; Gilbert curses colourfully but manages to wrench the gun out of that iron grip. His own fingers are too lax though, and the gun is also flung away by the momentum he used to wrestle it away in the first place. It smacks the wall and drops to the floor with a dull thud.
He hasn't the luxury of time to revel in the knowledge that he's disarmed his opponent; has to roll away as Kirkland lunges at him with a knife he must have had on his person. He's not fast enough. The blade catches his cuff, tearing the fabric up to his elbow and nicking his flesh.
He springs to his feet, swift as he can manage, and has to duck under the hand wielding the blade as it attempts to slash him again. Gilbert uses his position to his advantage, ramming his shoulder into Kirkland's chest and knocking some of the wind out of him. Not enough though, apparently, as the captain's knife catches the fabric of his shirt again, ripping a large gash through the back as he moves away.
They watch each other warily for a moment, neither moving. He needs to get rid of that knife; he has no chance of escaping while the pirate still wields it. Gilbert swoops in suddenly without warning and can't quite avoid Kirkland brandishing that blasted knife at him as he attempts to knock him off his feet. Gilbert's other sleeve is now sliced clean through as well for his trouble and though his opponent remains standing he flounders, trying to regain his balance. He throws a well-aimed punch at the man's cheek, feeling his knuckles crack from the force, and manages to pry the knife out of his hand.
Kirkland's free hand retaliates, going right for his solar plexus. Gilbert chokes on air he needs to inhale, and damn it his eyes are beginning to water. It doesn't matter though; a second later he's blacking out from a blow to the head.
x X x
As Gilbert regains consciousness, he becomes aware of two things.
First, his stomach aches something terrible and his breathing is laboured. The other is the acute pain in his left arm, and it takes him a moment to recall the scrape he'd acquired there.
He tries to lift it, to test its reach, but it feels weighed down. He can feel the blood trickling down his skin and into the fabric of his shirt and attempts to wipe it away with the other hand.
Only his right hand refuses to move as well.
Gilbert forces his eyes open. He does not like what he sees.
His shirt is in tatters, his arms are bound to his torso and there's a smug pirate captain grinning down at him.
He wants to spit at him; to wipe the condescension he sees from those eyes with a few choice words. He settles for growling through the gag silencing him instead.
Captain Kirkland considers him for a moment, noting the rebellious crease of the albino's brow and the way his gaze is still completely alert.
"As loath as I am to admit it, the Frog was right; you're a tenacious little bugger and would probably be a good addition to the crew, getting past some of my best men as you did to get here…" Gilbert's head snaps up, looking at the man incredulously. "Of course, I never did get to see these so called sword skills of yours so he may yet be proven wrong."
The captain sniffs and some part of Gilbert wonders how such a ruffian can manage to sound like nobility. It's quickly silenced by the rest of him, which wants to know what the fuck is going on. The sword from before is kicked to his feet.
"It's a fake; it was always a fake. If you can get out of that bind before sundown tomorrow and ask your informant he'll confirm it for you and give you our whereabouts." He smirks; it's unlike anything Gilbert's seen before, but somehow he can sense that same reckless abandon that has him raiding other people's treasures for his own gain in the first place lurking at the corner of those lips. "I'll await your arrival, whether you join me or come for revenge."
He sweeps out of the room as though he's royalty, leaving Gilbert in a forced, but still awed silence.
It's a challenge that he'd be insane to miss out on, and Gilbert knows to seize an opportunity when he sees one.
But first, he thinks, Francis the informant has some questions to answer.
A/N:I've been working on this one for about... a month I think? I got the idea for it right before exams started (unfortunately) and decided to start writing it so that when I came back to it I'd actually remember the idea instead of forgetting it as I would usually. I've kind of got to the point where I'm not picking up mistakes and stuff so I'll come back to it in a week or so to correct any mistakes; in the mean time if you spot any, feel free to point them out to me~
It's been beta'd by revolutionjack and whitewings9; when Wings first saw it she asked for ripped clothes and rope ^^' And this is what spawned XD
Any time I write anything with England as the captain of a ship, I always think it to be called the Gloriana after Queen Elizabeth I.
As for the title of the fic itself... as usual I really struggled with it =3= My backup title was 'Badassery' XD The new title is actually from the complete original title of Robinson Crusoe; 'The Life and Strange Surprizing Adventures of Robinson Crusoe, of York, Mariner: Who lived Eight and Twenty Years, all alone in an un‐inhabited Island on the Coast of America, near the Mouth of the Great River of Oroonoque; Having been cast on Shore by Shipwreck, wherein all the Men perished but himself. With An Account how he was at last as strangely deliver'd by Pyrates.'
Ah, present tense, why do you resent me so? . (Or rather, self, why keep writing in the present tense when you hate it so much?)
If you'd like to see the picture that inspired this fic, I've put it on the post for the fic on my Lj account (linked on my profile as my homepage).
Thanks for reading, and I hope you enjoyed it!