Chapter 4

Alfred hadn't meant to sneak into Matthew's room - really, he hadn't! The others(mainly Lars and Gilbert, the latter of which Alfred was sure hated him) had gotten bored and started exchanging ghost stories; apparently, they were all getting a kick out of watching Matthew busying around the ship, constantly flustered and endearingly angry. So when Matthew finally finished, the blond threw down his mop and said "I'm going to sleep, okay?" before promptly retreating to his cabin. Alfred would like to punch his crew mates for staring at Matthew's behind, but:

1) He would probably be shoved over the rail of the ship.

2) Matthew would see how ungentlemanly he was and then go fall in love with Arthur or something.

Arthur and Matthew.


Oh god.

Anyways, Alfred and ghost stories did not bode well. As a young child, he was mercilessly teased by tormentors. In his fourth year of school, other kids started popping out of doors, windows, and desks, screaming "Boo!"

Of course, Alfred would proceed to freeze. His lower lip would tremble and his eyes would water and then he'd cry.

But look who has it better now, he thought smugly as he went below deck. His crew mates were only on their third story, but they were progressively getting drunk with rum. I'm going on adventures everyday, fighting things worse than those silly ghost stories, while you're stuck on boring land, doing boring chores!

Plus, he had a wicked blade. Ah, the perks of being a pirate.

"Matt?" He opened the door a crack, wincing at the way the wood creaked. When there was no response, he dared open it further. "You still awake?"

There was a lantern hanging conveniently beside the door. Alfred unhooked it from its place and ventured into Matthew's room, making sure to be careful. He didn't want Matthew waking up, seeing him, then accusing him of being a weirdo/creep/stalker. No, he actually wanted Matthew to think the opposite...

Carefully, he lifted the lantern over the bed. His object of affections was laying there among strewn sheets, seeming to glow underneath the warmth of the lantern.

From what he could see, Matthew had changed; he wasn't wearing the uniform anymore. Where had he gotten the clothes?

Alfred shook his head to himself. The lantern swayed slightly, a drop of oil sliding over the edge and landing on Matthew's cheek.

His eyes shot open at the sudden pain. Alfred yelped, nearly dropping the lamp in the process. He gingerly set it down on the side table and hurried to clean off Matthew's cheek. "Oh god, Mattie- I'm so sorry!" He pulled his sleeve over his fingers and rubbed at the other boy's face.

"Alfred..." Indigo orbs stared up at him, looking more unamused than in pain. "What on earth are you doing?"

"Making it stop hurting!" Alfred exclaimed. He withdrew his arm though, feeling sheepish.

"No, I meant, what are you doing in here?"

"I wanted to visit you."

"Why aren't you with the others?"

"...They're telling ghost stories." Alfred pouted, sitting on the cot beside Matthew's legs. "And I don't like ghost stories." He tried to stop rambling, but the words kept tumbling out, "They scare me. I used to get nightmares, but Mom would let me sleep in her bed. Then they'd go away."

In the poor light, he couldn't tell whether Matthew was smiling. "Really, now?" There was a soft edge of his voice. Alfred felt his heart flutter. "Are you implying that you want to sleep with me?"

Alfred felt his cheeks burn at the double entendre. "Maybe... Yeah."

Matthew snorted. "I figured." There was rustling as he snuggled back into his blanket. "Night, Alfred."

"Wait!" Alfred said, feeling confused. "Can I sleep here, then?"

"Um, no." Matthew's answer was short and clipped. "You kidnapped me, forced me into indecent clothing, and now you're trying to sleep with me. No. Go away."

"I don't want to sleep with you like that!" Alfred complained. "I just want to lie here with you so I can protect you from the ghosts!"

Matthew mulled over this for a moment. "You can go protect Feliciano," he said decisively, turning on his other side.

"But-!" Alfred frowned at the other boy's back. "I'm not leaving, Mattie." He laid down on the cot, pressing himself against Matthew's back to create more space. "Sweet dreams now."

"Stop that, your crotch is digging into my back. Merde..." Matthew kept muttering more things like "Why me?" while Alfred simply stayed put, arms locking tightly around him.

Once he realized that there was no getting rid of the pirate, he sighed and stopped struggling. They laid like that, intertwined sort of awkwardly. Matthew could feel Alfred's hot breath against the skin of his neck everytime he exhaled.

Something creaked from above - no doubt their drunken crew mates - and Alfred's arms twitched. There was a crash and Alfred full-out squealed in terror, molding himself tighter into Matthew's smaller form.

"Can't...breathe..." Matthew wheezed.

"Sorry, Mattie," Alfred mumbled, relinquishing his hold slightly. Just slightly.

Matthew sighed for what seemed to be the umpteenth time. He adjusted himself onto his back, taking Alfred's arm and dragging it across his waist. Then he laid the other blond's head on his chest and stroked his hair comfortingly. "No ghosts," he said, figuring that this was the least he could do for the man who saved his life.

"Promise?" Alfred squeaked, sounding very much like a little boy.

Chuckling, Matthew nodded. "I promise."

. . .

When Matthew woke up, there was a huge gaping hole on the wall adjacent to his bed. Literally. He also noticed how the ship was tilted heavily towards the right - and that's when it hit him like a cannonball: They were sinking.

He attempted to jump up, but the weight around his waist(in other words: Alfred) anchored him back down to the bed. When Matthew shrieked, "Wake up Alfred oh my god we're sinking oh my god!" Alfred slurred back, "Five more minutes."

Finally, after yelling, "Arthur's cooking breakfast!" he managed to startle him awake. By then, Matthew had slid out of the bed and was trying to reach the stairs. There was a cannonball lodged into the floorboards of the cabin; it reminded Matthew of how close he'd come to being smashed. Then he shook that morbid thought off, determined to make it out alive.

He almost slipped, had Alfred not appeared behind him and steadied him. "We have to get the others!" the pirate urged, suddenly the one who was more awake. "Come on!" His eyes were filled with determination.

Matthew was struck with awe as he stumbled along.

When they reached the upper deck, everything was a mess. The ship was now nearing a forty-five degree angle, and if they didn't get off soon, they would drown.

And as if the sinking problem wasn't enough, there was an enemy ship anchored right beside them. Evidently, its crew had swung over onto the HMS Vulture. Around them, chaos reigned. Matthew spotted Arthur slamming the hilt of his blade into an eye-patched man's other eye.

Looks like that one would be blind...

The others weren't faring as good. Drinking had left them with a rather nasty headache and they struggled to keep balance.

"The rowboats!" Alfred shouted over the yelling and cursing. "They're our only chance of surviving." Because they definitely weren't going to win this fight...

Alfred gripped Matthew's hand tighter and started heading for the rowboats. Matthew accidentally bumped a man forward and into the blade of Lars's sword. The Dutchman shot him a tired, yet grateful smile as he withdrew the blade, crimson gleaming on its side. He sheathed the blade and joined them, realizing the plan.

"Arthur! Francis!" Alfred waved them over. "We have to get off the ship, now!"

Gilbert was cackling madly as he stabbed uncouthly at his opponent. He looked like he was still drunk. "Take th't, ya' arschloch!" He finally landed a slice on the pirate's neck and he watched with great interest as the other sank to their knees. He was grabbed by Ludwig, who was half-carrying Feliciano with his other arm. Lovino and Antonio followed suit.

Alfred shoved the others onto the rowboat none-too-gently before cutting the ropes. There was a loud splash and some yells as the rowboat crashed down. Alfred was struck across the chest almost immediately afterwards. He was sent vaulting over the side, landing into the frigid water ungracefully. Two pairs of hands found his shoulders and he was pulled onto the boat.

"Thanks...owe you one..." he gasped in between breaths. Ludwig slapped his back a few times.

The Italian brothers had the oars and were distancing the rowboat from the ship. They all watched in contempt as the HMS Vulture finally began its descent underwater.

The enemy ship had apparently raised anchor and was starting to sail away as well. They seemed to have no interest in chasing them, and Alfred was questioning the point of the seemingly-useless raid when he realized...

"Where's Matthew?"

A/N: I'm sorry for the late chapter. Please don't throw tomatoes at me. =3=;;