[identity profile] stormymood.livejournal.com posting in [community profile] arashi_exchange
A piece of rainbow for [livejournal.com profile] akhikaru Part 1

Title: Billowing Sails of Black, freedom is Mine
Pairing: Matsumoto Jun/Sakurai Sho
Rating/Warnings:  NC-17. Contains explicit sexual situations, mild violence and blood and plenty of swearing.
Summary: For years, Navy Captain Sakurai Sho has proudly commanded the course of the cargo ship, The Daylight, across the Asian Pacific, so when the stunning captain of a certain pirate ship offers him another life, Sho comes to question the difference between reality and illusion, leaving him confused as to what he really wants.
Notes: Dear akhikaru, I do not know how many of your requests I fulfilled with this one, but I really do hope you like it nevertheless. I really enjoyed writing this Pirate AU – though you did not ask for such a thing specifically – despite it becoming a lot longer than I had first anticipated.

The year is 1670. It is during the Golden Age of Piracy and The Daylight is heading straight towards the setting sun, its captain standing at the upper deck, hands behind him, back straight, head held high. He is scouting the horizon ahead of him, longing to see the shores of his country again.
Soon. They just need to make it through the night. The night where there is no light but their own, and in these crucial hours, light is not something the captain will allow.
Sakurai Sho has been commanding The Daylight for 5 years, working hard for himself to earn this position. It has been hard work, perseverance and the right contacts which have landed him here, on his way from India with a hull filled to the brim with treasures to the capital of Kyoto. His ship brings the finest of silks, colourful carpets and art. And then there are the jewels; the sapphires, the rubies, the ivory and the pearls.
As captain of the fastest cargo ship in Asia, Sakurai Sho is responsible for the safety of this ballast. To his country, his people, his role is essential. Hired by the government, the Sakurai name itself shoulders a strong, spotless reputation, not only because of Sho, as the oldest son and heir, but because of the work his father has done, and his father before him. Intending to uphold that reputation, for 5 years, Sho has been controlling the path of The Daylight, never once being raided by pirates. Not only is Daylight fast, but several times, Sho’s cunning and intelligence has been proven, in the worst pinches or well ahead of time, always slipping between the fingers of even the shrewdest pirate. And Sho aims to maintain his hard-earned record. Today. Tomorrow. For years into the future. His family’s future.  
Only, thanks to his pride, he fails to consider the famous Remarkable. One of the most feared pirate ships stalking the waters of the Asian Pacific. And soon, he will come to stumble, to lose sight of what he thought was important to him when he finds himself head to head with the stoic captain of this particular crew of outlaws.

The year is 1670, and the era of piracy is flourishing.
Thanks to the dying economy of Japan, more and more people are turning their backs on their home country, opting for swiftness on the waters, for stealing, for plundering, for freedom. With the choice of being trapped in a country heading towards its own end, working oneself to the bone for lords and a shogun who continues to make the wrong choices for the people, the pirates have chosen the riskier option. Their chance of escaping the rule of Japan is slimming every day, several having to face prison or the death penalty for their crimes. But, to some, the choice has been easy to make despite of it.
The crew is bustling below him, excited for this particular chase, for the new possibilities they will face, should they succeed in their mission, should their captain once more enable them to succeed.
This is their most ambitious plan to date, the captain recognizes, having planned the raid for months. He has had to. Chasing the fastest, the wisest – and the most dangerous – cargo ship on the Asian Pacific is no joke, and he knows they will most likely not make it through the encounter unharmed. He just hopes they will make it out on top.
Without too many scratches on his precious Remarkable of course.
In the dead of the night, they are hidden, closing in on The Daylight, and Matsumoto Jun’s eyes sparkle in the darkness, adrenaline shooting through his veins as fast as his ship breaks through the waters, foam and wind on the pirate’s face. With this haul, with the riches Sakurai can provide him with, he will be a free man. Forever.


It happens when the sun rises again. Just as that big, bright, golden orb casts the first streaks of light upon the still surface of the water, just when the night turns into day, and Sho yawns after a long night, that is when Sho hears a shout above him, the shout he has so been dreading.
Instantly, Sho’s heartrate quickens, the adrenaline taking off, and he looks upward, towards the crow’s nest and the lookout seated there.
“Port side!”
And then his heart stops. But he has no choice but to turn his head, stride close to a run as he rushes to the railing of the quarterdeck, only to feel a lump in his throat.
The ship is close. Too close. And she is shining so brightly that there is no mistaking who is chasing them.
Remarkable’s hold and her three masts are the purest of white, beautifully maintained, her sails black as night as she thunders through the waters quickly, way too quickly.
“All hands on deck! Hard to starboard!” Sho roars, one of the sailors stumbling towards the wheel to steer it where Sho commands.
But he knows it is too late.
Had the pirates approached from behind, from the stern, The Daylight could have easily out-sailed the other ship. Like this, Sho’s ship will waste time turning around, to flee in the other direction, Remarkable too close for comfort. Like this, they will get crushed from behind by Remarkable’s famous frontal cannons. Without even being able to fire back.
Sho has to make a quick decision. One he has never thought he would have to make. Not like this, not in such a situation. He was unaware, he dropped his guard, he was too prideful, and now he and his crew are paying the price.
“Belay that command, sailor!” He turns around, to stare the young man in the eye, and his voice darkens when he next says: “Full speed ahead.” Sho can hear how ominous he sounds, and the younger man knows too, the fear evident in his eyes. Then, “Where is Ninomiya?!”
He looks around, a humming in his ears, panic around him. He needs Nino to calm it down, needs Nino to keep an eye on the crew. Shortly after his command, the small man comes running up to him, stopping to bend over for breath, “Aye, sir?” His voice is as unconcerned as always while he makes a show to make it seem like he just ran 50 miles.
“Quartermaster, take over. I need to see Aiba-san.”
And he leaves Ninomiya with that stern command, catching the way his second in command and best friend looks at him, notices that Sho is utterly serious. Knows what it means when he mentions their master gunner.
“Understood, captain. At the ready, men! We have a pirate to blow up!”
It is not often that Ninomiya raises his voice, but in a dire situation such as this, he does not mess around, his fun and games completely forgotten. This is a life-threatening situation, and Ninomiya has been in such a situation with Sho before - many times – and yet he is still here. Their partnership is old and strong.
As he heads downwards, towards the gun deck, Sho hopes that partnership will be enough today as well. He hopes it will be enough to keep Ninomiya alive.
Sho shoots down the stairs, below deck, passing by Kato on the way, the boatswain scrambling to get his belt buckled, his guns on his hips,
“Show yourself on the quarterdeck, Shigeaki-san, you are to follow Ninomiya-san’s commands now.” Sho barks at him, making the younger man pause briefly beside him on the stairs,
“Are we under attack Captain?”
The question is stupid, Sho thinks, of course they are under attack, but he refrains from letting his anxiety show, refuses to appear thrown off, “I will make sure to give you more nightshifts, so you won’t be so slow to get out of bed.”
He throws Kato a firm look before turning around to find Aiba.
They are running out of time.
Sho finds Aiba bent over one of the cannons, checking the fuse, and the captain wastes no time,
“Aiba-san, I need you and your men ready at the cannons in 10 minutes, all fully loaded, ready to be reloaded, and I want you to use our heaviest artillery. Additionally, prepare guns for the whole crew. This is an urgent order. We will be under attack shortly, so be aware.”
“Sho-chan!” Aiba yells and jumps up, his eyes shining lively.
Just as Sho is about to reprimand him for the informality on deck – it is unheard of –  he bites his tongue. It would not help in this situation, telling Aiba to ‘Please refer to me as Captain, Master Gunner.’ When the man is in this mood. Sho rarely makes use of Aiba’s weapons, and thus, Aiba will be on fire when finally, such a command is carried out.
“I will have it all ready for you in no more than 7, I promise ya, Captain!” Aiba flings his hand up in a salute, before turning to run as fast as he can over the planks to the opposite side of the gun deck, boots thumping on the wood, all the while throwing around commands of: ‘Yamada the balls if you please, the grey ones!’, ‘Andou, pull out the guns, all of them!’, ‘We are going to blow them up, guys!”. It already smells like gunpowder and smoke down here and Sho just hopes Aiba will not blow himself and all of them up before Remarkable even catches up. If such an incident should happen, Sho wants to at least take the bastards down with him.
“Good,” he mumbles more to himself than anyone else, and then Sho is back up the stairs, taking two at a time.
He trusts Aiba – he met him when he met Nino, the two of them close friends since high school. Even back then, they took no special measures towards Sho despite his family status, despite his family’s wealth. To Nino and Aiba, he was just Sho, clever Sho, who was amusing to make fun of, who was quick to anger, quick to answer with a nasty comment, only to regret and apologize later. Look at where they all ended up.
Sho is secretly thankful that they all stayed together. It makes them strong.
Aiba is as rash as he was back then, seemingly never serious, clumsy, but deep down very devoted to his friends, the faith they put in him. Nino is forever sharp-tongued, even more intelligent and perceptive now, and is one of Sho’s most valuable assets on deck.
And then there is Sho, the inevitable leader-figure. Always fighting to live up to the expectations. All the expectations.
The sun momentarily blinds him when he gets back on deck, but he bullets through, knows where to step and does not stumble, despite black spots flickering over his vision, and thus he makes it to the upper deck, to find his second and third mate exchanging worried glances. He needs the two of them to communicate for him, to bring his orders to Aiba as soon as he wants them to fire, as soon as Remarkable steers where he wants her. Gods, he hopes the Pirate Captain is no genius.
Seeing the fear in the eyes of the two top sailors, Sho puts on his most composed expression. He needs them calm and collected, he needs them to be able to think, to take the measures needed, to use their heads without him having to do it for them. And thus, he puts a hand on each of their shoulders, grasping tightly,
“I need Yasuda below deck, keep an eye on Aiba-san, bring quick updates above deck, bring them to Ninomiya-san,” he commands, eyes locked momentarily on the young man – he is no more than a boy, is he – with hair dyed red, and nods, allowing himself to force out a smile, hoping for a positive effect. Next, he turns to Yasuda’s friend – those two have become so close, “Nakamura, you remain on the main deck, keep an eye on the sails, on the status of our ship once the pirates start shooting at us. I need you to be the link between the two upper decks. Can you be as good as to do that for me?”
After a passing moment of exchanged smiles, albeit strained, Sho leaves the two of them running in opposite directions, certain that he has managed to put some calm in their hearts.
They need to believe that The Daylight can beat the other ship.
But as Sho slowly walks towards the railing, gazing towards those eerie black sails, spotting the skull on the raised pirate flag, he imagines how he can hear their roars, their barbaric screams, he imagines their brutal faces, their equally brutal knives and guns, he imagines the blood they will spill, because unfortunately his knowledge allows him to know that his ship cannot run from this.
The wood is soft and smooth underneath his palm when he caresses the railing, and Sho closes his eyes, inhales the smell of the sea, the smell of oil and salt, hears the seagulls above, the sound of the waves below, of the bellowing sails, and he collects it all, memorises it. And admits that he has been lucky so far. They have all been fortunate. His heart tells him he has been given way too little time on sea, on a ship, in command, where he always dreamt of being – making a name for himself instead of his family providing him with everything he needs – but he wills himself to just be thankful. And angry. Furious at the pirates for taking it all away from him.
They will pay the price with him. There is no way he will go down without a fight.
If Sho is lucky, if Sho’s strategy works, the pirates will be forced to turn Remarkable around, to turn their port to the starboard side of Daylight. Should that happen, the ships will end up side by side. Should that happen, it will come down to who has got the bigger guns, the faster guns.
They will blow each other to pieces.
The pirates were smart to sneak up on Sho and his crew during the darkest hours. Smart and cunning, because such a feat is neither easy nor free of risk. No man can see enough to be able to navigate in the dark of the night.
Sho chews on his bottom lip, wondering how the pirate captain did it. He would have had to anticipate exactly where Sho’s ship was, the exact direction he was moving in and Daylight’s exact speed… Such a thing is close to impossible. And Sho’s hope of the pirates being less than clever, is slimming.
There is just no way they were just lucky. No way.
“Fuck!” his fist comes down on the railing hard, and it stings.
Sho curses himself for his recklessness, everything is his fault. Damn it all. His success allowed him to drop his guard. The biggest mistake he could ever have made. And now he can do nothing but wait, watch the ship closing in, watch the distance becoming smaller and smaller, it will be less than an hour now…
When Ninomiya comes up to him, his eyes are still locked on the pirate ship, beautiful, beautiful and deadly as it is.
“The men are all awaiting orders, Captain.”
Sho notes how calm he sounds, collected, so unlike Nino. And he is both thankful and regretful to bear witness to this version of his quartermaster.
“Let them hold their positions for a while, we are waiting…” Sho answers, his hands clasped hard, firm at his back now.
No matter what happens, Sho promises himself and his crew that he will continue to stand tall. They will not see their captain break, never see him fall apart.
Ninomiya moves his gaze away from his friend – leaving Sho with the thought that there was a spark of worry there – to follow Sho’s gaze towards Remarkable,
“You plan to lure them right into our line of fire, don’t you?”
As perceptive as ever. Ninomiya’s train of thought is never far from Sho’s. Never has been.
“At least they will go down with us.” Sho tells him, and his voice is cold.
His friend hums a reply, before turning his back to the horizon, to fix his eyes on Sho. Stare hard at him,
“Never thought our end would be a pirate ship, Sho-chan,” he says, and had Sho been 10 years younger, he would have gotten angry, felt provoked. But now he knows that Nino does not tell him this to make Sho feel bad, does not let him know in order for Sho to change his mind or feel guilty.
Ninomiya sighs, “I never much liked Yokohama anyway. Guess this view is worth dying for.” At this, he turns around again, to lean his elbows on polished wood, to close his eyes, inhale just as Sho did minutes before.
Sho finds himself smiling softly,
“No, no this view isn’t bad at all.”

They have been waiting with bated breath, waited as the pirate ship got nearer, and nearer, and nearer, nearer still, and Sho is close to losing heart, face falling.
So when Remarkable finally turns around, Sho yells before he can stop himself,
“Yes! Yes, you bitch, that’s it!”
And he instantly turns to almost triumphantly give the order to Nakamura to raise the sails, before eagerly facing Nino, a grin spreading on his face, seeing it mirrored in Nino’s expression, “Let us blow up some pirates, Kazu.”
“With pleasure, Cap’n!”
 Up close, Sho can make out all of the smaller details of the nimble, light pirate ship, now turned around to show Sho and his crew how beautiful she is, the grace with which she turns. Sho has to admit that he has never seen such a pretty ship. Nimble and strong as she looks. But he is not allowed long to admire the woodwork, the figurehead of a mermaid with braided hair, to make out the shapes moving around fast, like ants, on the decks, because as soon as Remarkable has turned three thirds of the way onto its side, Sho hears a yell of “Fire!” and that is as much warning as he gets before a crash splinters the silence, Daylight shaking at the impact of the first attack.
So the pirate captain chose to fire first.
Nino is quicker than Sho, and his answering call comes immediately after, amidst smoke and yells from injured sailors, “Fire! Firefirefire! Blow that bastard ship to bloody pieces!!”
And then it goes off. Goes off in fire and powder, in screams and yells of mercy. There is the sound of splashes when dead men hit the water, when some flee, and Sho bears them no other mind but hating them for their lack of guts. Only half of this crew are people he has been sailing with long, Nino and Aiba the only ones he has stayed with for all of his 5 years on Daylight, and thus he is pleasantly surprised at the ones who stay, the ones who hold their ground even as the planks beneath their feet burst into a thousand splinters, wood cutting into their legs like knives, shattering bone, cutting veins. Before his eyes, his deck turns red with blood, his vision clouding, his ears filled with so much noise that he feels deaf. What keeps his mind clear is his friends, his faith in both of them, his wish to see them escape this hell.
Daylight has been what Sho dreamed of all his life, with her pure white sails, her deep brown timber, the shimmering wood in the sun, the sounds she makes as they cut through the seas, but now the ship is the last place Sho ever wants to be. His whole being is screaming at him to flee, to run from this massacre, to forget it all, to pretend it never happened. Despite of his instincts, with Sho being Sho, it is easy to put these urges far away, to focus on what is right in front of him. This is all his. All his doing. And so, he must see an end to it. He must decide what happens, do his best to influence the outcome.
He yells for Yasuda as the man comes running up from below deck, covered in soot, hair standing in all directions,
“Yasuda! Bring the guns, and make haste. I reckon it won’t be long before we are boarded.” Quickly, Yasuda vanishes below again, right after giving Sho a salute, face professional, and Sho allows himself a brief moment to admire the lad. He has truly grown.
“Stand ready, men. For our emperor! Show no quarter!” he screams the last part, means it with every fibre of his being.
These cursed pirates and their indifference towards the law. They will pay.
When he looks towards the side, to check the distance to Remarkable, his breath hitches at how close she already is. It will be mere minutes before the pirates will be in the air, swinging their ropes, bringing their hooks and stepladders, their swords, boarding with every intention of killing them all here. Sho wants to be ready when that happens, he wants to somehow throw them off balance before they attack, and thus he turns with intent towards the wheel and Shibayama who is holding it, keeping the ship on the right course despite the pandemonium,
“Shibayama,” he calls, taking a step towards the older sailor.
The man’s face is weather-beaten, tanned from the sun and his hair is long, messy. But his eyes are golden amber, lighting up his kind face, the face on which Sho so often finds a smile when he needs it. Son of a foreign mother, Shibayama has not led an easy life, but Sho saw his potential instantly and has been working with him for 3 years. After only one year did Sho decide to make him his first mate. Sho truly appreciates all that Shibayama has done for him, for the atmosphere on the ship.
“Take her hard to port!” Sho orders then, and witnesses the change on Shibayama’s face. How he looks disbelieving first, before realising exactly what Sho is doing.
“Aye, Captain.” He is grinning when he turns the wheel hard, eyes locked on Sho.
And a brief feeling of triumph is allowed to take a hold of Sho’s heart, to just momentarily squeeze it pleasantly. But when he allows himself to move his eyes, to want to witness the crash into the side of the pirate ship – The Daylight is bigger, heavier and could surely cause some serious damage to the small, pretty Remarkable – the force Sho had imagined, the loud noise of cracking timber and exploding cannons, the shock to the deck beneath his feet; the impact Sho had braced himself for, it does not come.
The Daylight does hit the side of Remarkable, but with far less strength than what was intended, only grazing her side, perhaps peeling off some paint.
Suddenly, Sho can hear nothing, see nothing, the world is silent as he forces himself to turn, to look for Shibayama.
And the silence is splintered by his scream, his agonized outburst of sorrow when he sees the man’s body, lying on the ground, still.
There is only a small amount of blood pouring from his forehead. He died instantly.
The main part of Sho’s distress deprives not from the loss of his friend, but from stone cold fear.
The pirates have a sharpshooter.


The first time Jun sees Sakurai Sho he cannot help but smile.
Satoshi’s taste rarely matches Jun’s, so he was quite intrigued when the small man answered “He has a cute nose.”, when Jun asked him whether the captain of Daylight was as handsome as Jun had the feeling he was.
Looking at him now, despite the blood on his brow, the scowl he aims directly at Jun, the pure hatred in his eyes, Jun has to agree with Satoshi – Sakurai Sho does have a cute nose, and it is even cuter scrunched up like that. He has a sharp face. Very sharp. Almost too sharp; evidence of the lack of nutrition on many of the government’s ships. His face has the potential for full cheeks, a big smile, but as it is now, Sakurai is too thin. Thin, but nevertheless incredibly attractive with his deep black, neatly kept hair and full lips.
Jun lets his eyes wander to the man’s upper arms, his chest, wondering how he looks underneath his pretty navy jacket.
But attractive as he may be, he nearly blew Remarkable to pieces, and for that he is quite unpopular in Jun’s book. Only Jun’s curiosity saved Sakurai from joining most of his crew amongst the dark waves. Jun takes a menacing step towards the officer, and gets up real close, so close he can see the dark shade of brown Sakurai’s eyes have, almost black, fury subdued to just below the surface,
“Now, Navy-Captain Sakurai, if you listen well and cooperate I will not blow you pretty face off,” Jun is only as bold as he is because Sakurai’s hands are bound, and Shota stands tall beside him. Though Jun is quite confident he himself would be able to cut Sakurai to pieces fast enough, “Additionally, if you promise to pay for the damage you caused to my baby - it's only appropriate for you to do so - I'll even promise to save the smart mouth on your left."
His offer makes Sakurai take his eyes briefly off of him, to turn his eyes to his comrade, his quarter master. And the look in his eyes confirms Jun’s suspicion that these two are also very close friends. Which is in Jun’s favour of course,
“For what it is worth, I regret having had to kill most of your crew, but it is partly your fault for putting up such a persistent fight.”
The navy captain’s head snaps right back, and his gaze is now burning, voice strained and ice cold when he answers,
“You are going to plunder her now, aren’t you? For everything. And when you are done, you plan on destroying her, burning her.” It was hardly a question, and Jun’s stomach does briefly clench in pain.
He does not like destroying fine ships, and The Daylight is certainly a very beautiful ship, sturdy and strong. But he cannot just leave the ship as it is, for others to find. For others to believe that anyone from the crew of the ship could still be alive.
Sakurai may not realise this now, but Jun is also doing him a favour, making it seem as though the captain has gone down with his ship, as should be.
Jun inclines his head a small notch, before setting his hands on his hips, returning to his professional self, the part of him who is business oriented and cynical. He turns away from Sakurai and his two friends. There are no other survivors from the crew of The Daylight,
“Gentlemen – be so good as to salvage all you can from Daylight now, it won’t be long before the damage causes her to sink, so make haste.” He orders, voice turned down a notch, and he takes care to look some of his men in the eye, “And if I catch any of you stealing for yourself, I will personally cut off your hands. Understood?”
He lets them leave with the usual “Aye Cap’n!” before glancing at his first mate, purposefully avoiding Sakurai’s gaze,
“And Matsuda-san, be so kind as to escort our captives to the cells. I will see to them later.”
With that, he turns around to head towards the quarterdeck, Captain Sakurai’s eyes already haunting him, while he just ignores the rude man – Ninomiya – who does not stop screaming at him as Shota and Ueda drags him to his cell,
“You filthy, filthy pirate-asshole! I will murder you in your sleep! I will put a bullet right between your thick eyebrows, you stoic son of a bitch! The dead will come back to haunt you and your ugly ass ship. You will regret stealing from us, I hope you die-”
There is a loud thumping sound, and Jun grins smugly.
“Close that bloody pie-hole of yours, or I will sew it shut.”


The cells are cold. Cold and wet. The wood is clammy against his palms, more chilling than the planks on which he is sitting. His hands are tied behind him, feet bound together, and he is forced to remain in a sitting position. Here in the darkness, he cannot see anything but the shadows and the silhouettes of the bars, the wooden pillars, one of which his back is resting against. He can hear the sound of the sea outside, the constant yelling on deck, hear their footsteps, their boots scraping on the floor. He can hear them laughing and joking while they split the haul, the treasures belonging to the people of Japan, bought with their money, the money the government stole from them in the shape of high taxes. The pirates are seemingly more well-behaved than Sho had imagined. He did not know pirates had laws. But their captain, Matsumoto, seems to have them all on a rather tight leash, with help from his tall, intimidating first mate. Sho wonders whether the captain acts as pilot too.
His back is hurting and his ass is sore from sitting down for so long. How long? Sho does not know when he fell asleep, chin dropping down against his chest in exhaustion.
Dead tired after all those days at sea, on deck, Sho allows himself to fall asleep again, only briefly awake, albeit hurting, to the lullaby of the water against the hull of Remarkable.
There are feet walking away from him when he wakes up again, and he groans at the soreness of his neck. With difficulty, he raises his head, vision blurry as a long, dark coat waves out of the door, and he cannot see, but hear, how his prison door is closed again, lock back in place. Sho blinks a few times, tries to regain his vision which he still knows he has, despite the constant lack of light.
It must be midday, because as his visitor opens the door to go back up on the deck, Sho’s cell is granted a small streak of light, briefly, and it allows Sho to see what is put down beside his feet.
A small wooden board, a few letters scribbled boldly into the wood.
Sho’s breath hitches. Because the thick black tar of the letters has faded, washed away by water and salt, but he recognises the writing, the word which meant the world to him.
“Daylight” still stands out and shines as clearly – perhaps even more so now – as the day when Sho first set foot on her as captain of his own ship, his own crew, part of something he thought to be great. Those pirates have taken everything from him. Not only his ship, but all of its cargo: Sho’s job, his future, his reputation, perhaps even his family. They have taken it all.
And there is not room for anger in Sho in his solitude. Only sadness to know how it has all vanished. Just like that.
Finally, he allows himself to break down and fall apart. Just for now, in the dark with no one to bear witness to a captain turning weak.

Everything is what he would give to be out in the sun again. He would give the world to the one who would untie him and let him stand up and walk. If his limps will allow him to. He does not care about the food he has been served – he did take it, albeit reluctantly – he just wants to get out, smell the sea, hear the song of the masts, the voices of the wood of the ship as they whisper. He wants to walk his Daylight again. No, that is wrong. Any ship would do. Even a pirate ship.
In the dark, he feels his dignity slipping away as he gets used to the horrid smell of rats and vomit down here, and thus, when the young pirate as usual arrives with a few biscuits and a cup of water for him, Sho speaks for the first time in… A week?
“I-” his voice breaks and he has to clear his throat. Several times. He does remember how to speak, does he not? “I want to see- to see your captain.”
The boy hesitates a few seconds, probably studying Sho’s face in the dark, able to see, where Sho is not.
All Sho can make out is the shape of the boy’s head, his messy hair.
Then he suddenly gets up and runs off, and Sho wants to yell after him, and he leans forward to do so – only, it gets him nowhere, and he just ends up gasping pathetically to the silence.
To Sho’s surprise, First Mate Matsuda arrives a few minutes later, Sho recognises the sound of his boots, can recognise the way he walks. Luckily, Sho cannot see his cold eyes in the dark.
“You ready to plead for your life, officer?”
Sho is no officer, and he feels childish obstinacy rise in him,
“I want to negotiate.” Is all he says, choosing to keep as much of his pride as he has left. He will not let a damn first mate get the best of him.
Matsuda hums in the darkness, apparently neither offended nor impressed by Sho’s answer,
“Ueda, untie him, and take him to the captain. It should be no problem for you to knock him out, should he try to run. He is in no condition to cause anyone harm.”
Sho wants to bash Matsuda’s head in. And vows to save that for another day.
When I can see.
As soon as he tries to get up, his legs give out under him and he crashes ungracefully to the ground with a loud thud.
Ueda chuckles when he loops an arm under Sho’s arms to help him limp out of the cell.
A day where I can stand up by myself too.
Once outside, Sho’s eyes are allowed to take in the streak of light from the cell door, and he hears himself sigh, despite his hurting eyes. Now he knows exactly how criminals feel when he, and the rest of The Navy, catch and lock them up in cells, probably under worse conditions than this; with no food and no visitors. Sho finds himself feeling slightly embarrassed by what he has done to some men – was he not supposed to be the good guy?
Do good guys lock people up for disobeying orders? Do good guys cut off a kid’s hand for stealing a loaf of bread?
When Sho’s knees fail him and he stumbles again, it is not because of the searing sun appearing above his head, not the stench of sweat and rum on deck, neither is it Matsuda’s disapproving stare or the hostility from everyone around him. No, such a thing would not bring Sakurai Sho to his knees.
Ueda guides him across the main deck, towards the quarterdeck and the captain’s quarters.
Remarkable is very much like a Navy ship, albeit lighter, slimmer somehow, and as her black sails bellow above him, there is an eerie darkness to her, something which, to Sho, seems to be a surrounding obligatory to pirate ships. In the back of his mind, he wonders whether this chill down his spine is due to an actual evil from the ship, or just the evil he imagines encasing him. The rational part of him opts for the latter, whereas his first thought and his father’s voice tells him it definitely has got nothing to do with Sho’s opinions and prejudices.
Matsuda shoots him another scornful look when he opens the door to the quarter galleries, his piercing eyes moving from Sho to Ueda,
“I will take it from here, Third Mate, get back to work.”
Somehow, Sho feels reluctant to see Ueda go. Despite his amusement at Sho’s state, he kept a firm hold on Sho’s shoulders, somehow an unexpected support, Sho realises now. And he really does not want to be alone with first mate Matsuda. He gets the sense that if he does not stay on his toes, Matsuda will be the first one to strike him down, and fast – Sho at least wants to go down with a fight. He slowly turns his gaze back to the tall man,
“No funny ideas, right? Or Captain Matsumoto won’t even get to be the last person you see.”
The pirate makes it sound like something like that would please Sho. To see Matsumoto’s face before he dies. Sho begs to differ. If he could name a last wish, it definitely would be to see Matsumoto’s face screwed up in pain, if anything.
That pirate is to blame for everything.
They make their way towards said man’s quarters, through the inside of the ship, where there is not much light. What encases their surroundings in a sleepy, yellow light comes from big gas lamps, on both sides of the slim hallway. They do not have to walk very far, Sho notes, the quarter galleries are a lot smaller than on Sho’s ship. Which means fewer pirates, or less private space.
Matsuda stops outside a brown, wooden door, beautifully maintained and shining.
And once again, Sho marvels at the state Remarkable is in; Matsumoto must be very particular with the condition in which his ship is kept. Secretly, Sho approves.
“Yes?” Matsumoto’s voice is as deep as it was the last time Sho spoke with him, and when Matsuda opens the door to let Sho enter, and he finds the pirate captain seated in his chair, Sho becomes oddly conscious of his own dirty state.
Matsumoto is bent over his maps, a divider held neatly between his long fingers, while he is busy writing in a notebook with his other hand.
So he is also acting navigator. Interesting.
“Ah, Sakurai-san,” he acknowledges when he sees Sho. And Sho is once again caught completely off guard when Matsumoto actually gets up, leaving his measurements behind.
The pirate is wearing a short, black jacket with a shimmering design and a high leather collar, and Sho notes how the inside fabric is specked with a golden pattern, underneath of which there is a long, broad leather strap slung over his shoulder, most likely in which he keeps his guns and his sword. When he steps closer, Sho finds himself swallowing hard, noticing the huge golden specs on his very tight pants and the leather of his waistcoat, noting that one side of Matsumoto’s jacket is long – not sure whether this is for stylish reasons, and would not be able to comprehend such a thing should that be the case.
By just taking in the pirate like this, Sho understands that he is very aware of his looks and his clothes. It is almost difficult to look at his face, all sharp features and neatly styled hair; brown and swung to one side.
It is so odd to Sho – he never imagined a pirate could look like this, act like this; be so neat and proper and well-mannered. And here he finds himself in this gorgeous – there he said it – man’s quarters, smelly and dirty and tired, probably looking horrible. He hates it. He absolutely hates it.
Sho’s face is hot with mixed feelings of embarrassment and annoyance. Someone could at least have given him a new set of clothes before he had to see their captain again. But, he tells himself, they are pirates, maybe Matsumoto does not even care after all.
“I am pleased to see you in my quarters, Sakurai-san,” Matsumoto starts, and moves his gaze to Matsuda, “You can leave us, Shota-san. I am sure Captain Sakurai will not cause any trouble.”
There is a knowing look in those light brown eyes when he smirks at Sho, nodding when his first mate leaves.
The door has barely closed before Matsumoto takes a step back, to lean casually on his big desk. His room speaks of wealth and prosperity. Which makes Sho itchy.
“I will not cause you any trouble, Matsumoto-san, if you let me and my crew go.”
“Your crew?” the smile on Matsumoto’s face disappears, “What is left of it, you mean. Since there is only you, your quartermaster and your spirited gunman.”
Sho feels his temper rising, though the pirate’s tone of voice is unreadable, so Sho is unsure whether what he says is actually meant as mean-spirited.
The pirate is hard to read.
“What is left of my crew,” Sho grinds out, nodding briefly.
He already did come to terms with the position he is in right now. A position which is far from favourable.
“Well, I could let you go, but you see…” Matsumoto trails off, and Sho is perplexed as to why his heart skips a beat when Matsumoto looks up at him from underneath his eyelashes, looking slightly mocking and smug at the same time.
The pirate takes a deep breath for emphasis, “One of your crewmembers is probably reluctant to leave.”

Sho does not mean to sound stupid, but he must admit what Matsumoto just said makes no sense to him. Does one of them want to stay? Maybe Sho is tired, but the worst case scenarios start to race through his head.
And it only makes Matsumoto’s smile widen,
“Your quartermaster – or should I say former quartermaster –  has become quite comfortable on my ship during the week you spent in your cell. As a matter of fact, he only needed two days before he decided that becoming a pirate was a perfectly sensible job for him.”
He cannot come up with any answer for that. Sho feels his mouth open and close a few times, but no words seem to be able to express what he feels. How does he reply to that? What kind of answer could he possibly give to Matsumoto?
There is a violent pain spiking around his heart. He feels betrayed, confused, lost. Three things of which he does not remember having felt before.
Matsumoto’s smile falters, and for a brief moment, he looks almost sympathetic. But that softness to his expression is quickly gone, and maybe Sho only imagined it to make the pain feel less… Painful.
The pirate pushes away from the table to walk around it, stand next to his chair,
“I will allow you to speak to him. And to your gunman too,” Sho raises his eyes, feeling utterly pathetic, his shoulders sinking. What pride does he have to uphold anyway now? To whom?
“Then you can decide for yourself whether you want to join my crew too. That or the plank.”

Follow the link for part 2

Date: 2016-09-16 07:53 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] saphiraxamytha.livejournal.com
Yo~! I really enjoyed myself throughout this whole AU so I’ll be doing the spamming thing on every chapter again just watch me :D

First, I really like the foreshadowing part in the first intro chapter, can’t quite put my finger on it, but something about it sits really well with me.
Also, the way you make us see both sides of that time’s Japan by entering both Sho and Jun’s thoughts, the picture perfect country to be proud of and the slowly dying country with nothing to offer.

I know I’ve said it before, but already from chapter one it can be seen that you did your homework on ships and how to manage them, where the commands lie.. you even managed to make up a chasing scenario and the last minute desperate, but clever attempt of Sho's to avoid falling to Remarkable. Speaking of Remarkable… damn I’d love to see that ship

I love how you give literally 10 lines of introduction each to Nino and Aiba and freaking nail them

Sho’s little talk with the second and third mate really highlights a lot about his character, perception, kindness, people management skills.. He is dependable and calculating and so damn lawful it’s almost annoying

You managed to make me like Shibayama in 10 lines and to take him away in the next 10, how dare you

the “cute nose” part made me smile

It’s intriguing how early Jun does Sho favours. Of course he mostly sunk Sho's ship and kept him alive for Jun's own benefit, but he still thought of it as a favour to Sho as well.

Sho and Matsuda’s almost childish hatred for each other is quite amusing. Honestly I wonder if there’s something extra to Matsuda’s annoyance, he seems colder and angrier towards Sho than everyone else. Then again, Sho has done everything in his power to piss him off right from the beginning too.

ehehe “small" indicators point to Sho being attracted to Remarkable’s captain quite early. and by small I mean many and not at all that small really :D
You described Jun’s outfit and hair so clearly that I had very little trouble connecting it to KnS and I approve so hard

*sigh* Sho chan, please believe in Nino a little more

Nice cliffhanger!


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