VALENTINES ACROSS THE MULTIVERSE 5.
By Dave Turner.
STORY: “That Sinking Feeling.”
Disclaimer: I do not own BtVS, nor do I own ‘A Night to Remember’ a film released two years after I was born, or ‘Titanic’ a film released 41 years after I was born.
Crossover: A Night to Remember (Still the only really good film about the sinking of the Titanic) and that other film ‘Titanic’.
Spelling and Grammar: Written in glorious English, English! Spelling and grammar is English.
Timeline: 1912 Alternate Timeline.
Words: Quite a few.
Warnings: Icebergs and Lesbians.
Summary; Lady Willow Rosenberg and the Honourable Miss Kennedy DeSilver have their trip to the Americas interrupted.
Note: I’ve messed about with the chronology of the events so that it would all fit with my story line. I’ve also stolen a few scenes and bits of dialogue from ‘A Night to Remember’; rather like the writers on ‘Titanic’ did!
“That Sinking Feeling.”
By Dave Turner.
“Every night in my dreams,” Whispered Kennedy, “I see you, I feel you. That is how I know we’ll go on.”
“That’s a really sweet thing to say my dear,” Replied Willow rolling over on the bed to look at her lover, “But you’re not getting out of patrolling tonight!”
“But we’ve got dinner with the Captain at eight-thirty,” Complained Kennedy as she sat up and looked down at Willow. “I’ll have to patrol, come back here, and change. You can’t even be fashionably late…not for the Captain. Even you, Lady Rosenberg!”
Kennedy made a grab for Willow making her squeal, for a minute the two young women struggled with each other kicking the bed clothes onto the floor.
“Now what is the stewardess going to say?” Demanded Willow as Kennedy pinned her to the mattress.
“I don’t care what the servants say!” Exclaimed Kennedy as she tried to kiss Willow’s lips.
Willow struggled to free herself from the grip of her Slayer. Suddenly Kennedy found herself floating in the air two feet above the bed and her lover.
“Not fair!” She complained, “That’s cheating.”
Willow rolled out from under her companion and sat on the edge of the bed, she pulled a silk robe around her shoulders.
“And using Slayer strength isn’t?” She asked reasonably.
“OOOH! That’s different,” Whined Kennedy from her position above the bed, “I can’t help using my strength. You have to think about using magic…talking of magic, when are you going to let me down?”
Willow walked around the bed and opened the door to their bathroom; one of the advantages of travelling first class was a private bathroom.
“I’m going to run a bath,” Explained Willow. “Now if you’re really, really good you can share it with me. Otherwise…” Willow left the threat unsaid.
“I’ll be good!” Exclaimed Kennedy eagerly.
Although the sun never set on the British Empire as a whole, it tended to go down on individual bits of it. That was why the Imperial Nightwatch existed, to defend the Empire against ‘Other-worldly Threats’.
Originally brought into being by ‘Good Queen Bess’ in the late 1580’s, the then Royal Nightwatch was charged with rooting out evil wherever it might be found. Slayers and Witches had always been a fact of life in the lands that would become the Kingdom of England since before the Romans had arrived on those shores. The Nightwatch just made there existence official and offered protection against the overly religious.
At present there were about a dozen ‘Witch and Slayer Teams’ scattered around the Empire, and then there were the ‘Gentleman Helpers’ who dealt with the organisational side of the Nightwatch. They also searched out new Witches and Slayers and provided armed support in situations where the forces of darkness had recruited large numbers of human followers.
One of the Nightwatch’s greatest victories of late had been the suppression of the Thugee Cult in India and the destruction of the cult’s ‘goddess’ Khali* (actually just a demon pretending to be a god). This operation had taken several years, a large number of Witches, Slayers and Gentleman Helpers, plus units of the British and Indian Armies.
Lady Rosenberg’s (all Nightwatch’s Witches were given the title Lady by the monarch when they joined the Nightwatch) and The Honourable Kennedy DeSilver were at this time on their way to the New World. Most countries had their own version of the Nightwatch but somehow the United States had failed to form its own organisation and had no official way of dealing with the Creatures of the Night.
With the influx of immigrants to the Americas, many of whom were from Eastern Europe, came an influx of Vampires and lesser Demons who were intent on finding a home in the ‘Land of the Free’. Free blood and sacrifices that is!
Lady Rosenberg’s job was to help the Americans start their own ‘Nightwatch’ type organisation. Miss DeSilver’s job was to protect Lady Rosenberg and eliminate any vampire or demon that might casually cross their path in the course of their travels.
Once bathed and dressed Lady Rosenberg seated herself on the edge of the bed and composed herself. She was dressed in a businesslike white blouse and dark blue skirt her red hair piled up on top of her head in a severe bun. Miss DeSilver busied herself with the finishing touches of her own outfit; a tweed walking suit. She pushed her hair up into the tweed cap she forced onto her head, then turned around and presented herself to Lady Rosenberg.
“Very nice dear.” Announced Willow.
Sometime soon they were going to have to find a new outfit for Kennedy to use when she was hunting. At the moment, and from a distance, she looked like a sixteen or seventeen year old boy. Up close she looked like what she was; a young woman trying to look like a sixteen or seventeen year old boy!
Lady Rosenberg closed her eyes and took a couple of calming breaths.
(“Can you hear me?”) She asked telepathically.
“Yes.” Replied Kennedy as she absent-mindedly hid a stake up the sleeve of her jacket.
“Kennedy!” Exclaimed Willow crossly.
“Sorry! (“Yes”)” Replied Kennedy realising her mistake.
(“Then shall we go?”) Asked Willow turning to look at her Slayer.
(“Of course”) Replied Kennedy opening the cabin door for Willow, (“After you my lady.”) Kennedy bowed low and waved Willow towards the door.
(“Stop that!”) Demanded Willow casting Kennedy a cross look.
(“Stop what?”) Kennedy Replied innocently, (“I’m just showing due deference to my social betters.”)
(“No you’re not!”) Said the Witch.
(“Am too!”) Replied Miss DeSilver sticking her tongue out at her partner.
The two women bickered good naturedly in silence as they walked down the corridor heading for the for’ad cargo hold.
“Can you feel anything?” Asked Lady Rosenberg aloud.
The two women entered the hold as quietly as a squeaky hatch would allow.
“You’d think on a new ship they’d have everything properly oiled.” She added.
“Standards must be slipping,” Replied Miss DeSilver casting her gaze around the darkened hold, “And yes there is something in here, it’s making my flesh crawl.”
“Right-ho then,” Said Lady Rosenberg, “I’ll stay here then.”
“Yes,” Replied Miss DeSilver with meaningful look, “After that business in Gibraltar, make sure you do.”
Kennedy tip-toed off into the hold flitting from shadow to shadow. The hold was by no means full. True in parts it was piled high with wooden crates lashed down with rope, but there was still plenty of space to move around, and for creatures of the night to hide.
Miss DeSilver slipped around a stack of crates to see an expensive looking automobile lashed to the deck. Needless to say all automobiles were expensive, this one even more so. She was about to move on when something about the car caught her eye, something out of the ordinary. Silently she crept towards the vehicle.
The first thing she noticed was that the auto’s windows were steamed up, that would point to someone being inside the vehicle, a stow-away perhaps? As she got closer Kennedy saw that the whole machine was rocking gently from side to side. She inched her way over to the vehicle and looked cautiously through the window.
(“Oh-my!”) She almost giggled out loud.
(“What have you found?”) Called Lady Rosenberg.
(“Look through my eyes and see for yourself.”) Miss DeSilver instructed.
Kennedy felt Willow’s presence gently enter her mind, for just a moment she could see both the interior of the car and the view from where Willow was presently standing, and then…
(“Well fancy that!”) Exclaimed Willow trying not to giggle too loudly in her lovers mind.
(“Well, no actually”) Replied Kennedy making a face and not taking her eyes off the couple in the back of the automobile, (“It looks terribly cramped, and uncomfortable.”)
(“And heaven knows what it’s doing to the upholstery!”) Added Willow almost making Kennedy laugh out loud.
It was at this point that the vampire choose to strike.
Kennedy was smashed against the side of the automobile with rib cracking force; luckily being a Slayer (and wearing a good corset) it only knocked the wind out of her. Recovering quickly she pushed against the vehicle and sent herself and the vampire crashing against a pile of crates. Using her elbows she dug into the vampire’s ribs, she heard one or two of them crack as she broke free of his hold.
Spinning to face the loathsome creature she produced a stake from her left sleeve. The vampire snarled at her as they circled each other warily. Again the monster pounced, but this time Kennedy was ready for him. As the creature flew through the air towards her Kennedy jumped straight up in the air herself and lashed out with her foot.
Foot and vampire met in midair; the vampire fell to the deck stunned. In an instant Miss DeSilver was on him plunging her stake into the foul creature’s cold heart. As the fiend in human form turned to dust Miss DeSilver looked around herself for any new threats, there were none. However, she did notice that the auto was rocking back and forth even more violently.
(“Well I’ll be…!”) Exclaimed Kennedy as she turned from the car and headed to where Willow waited for her.
(“They’re not still at it, are they?”) Asked Willow having got out of Kennedy’s mind as soon as the fight had begun.
“I should say so.” Said Kennedy as she came into view of Willow, “Some people just keep going no matter what’s happening around them.”
The two women made their way back through the ship towards their cabin in First Class. As they passed near one of the Steerage Saloons Miss DeSilver came to a sudden halt and looked around a puzzled expression on her face. Lady Rosenberg came to a halt and turned to look at her companion.
“What’s wrong?” She asked concerned.
“It’s odd.” Replied Kennedy obviously struggling with some strange feeling.
“What is, my love?” Willow stood next to Kennedy and put a supportive hand on her confused Slayers shoulder.
“It’s like there’s someone…something familiar in there.” She nodded towards the Saloon.
Willow looked down the stairs that led to the Steerage Saloon; she saw the grill that cut off Steerage from the more well to do areas of the ship. She did not know how she felt about that. On the one hand she did not like the idea of people being caged into certain parts of the ship, but then again you could not have people from Steerage wandering around the ship.
“Is it hostile?” Willow eventually asked her noticeably disturbed Slayer.
“No,” Replied Kennedy screwing her face up in concentration, “It’s more a feeling of…” She struggled for the right words, “It’s like I had a sister who’s a Slayer and she’s nearby…and…and there’s a powerful magic user down there. Can’t you feel her?”
Willow concentrated hard for a moment or two.
“Just,” She replied, “She seems to be hiding her powers.”
Lady Rosenberg gave an involuntary shudder, before straightening up and taking hold of Miss DeSilver’s arm and guiding her down the corridor.
“Well,” She said, “There’s nothing to be doing about it now. We’ll look into it tomorrow…now lets not keep the Captain waiting!”
Kennedy smiled and let herself be guided along the companionway.
The two women arrived for Dinner just in time, due in no small way to Lady Rosenberg’s magical powers and Miss DeSilver’s strength and agility. They were seated across the table from each other and introduced to the other guests around the table. There was Captain Smith at the head of the table, a Mr Ismay who owned the company that actually built the ship. Plus half a dozen rich men and there wives who were, quite honestly, quite, quite boring.
“DeSilver?” Asked one of the rich nobs as the first course was served, “That’s an unusual name.”
What he really meant to say was, ‘That’s a foreign name, what are you doing eating with us.”
“My great, great grandfather,” Replied Kennedy hautily, “Was a Portuguese General in Wellington’s army during the Peninsular War. He moved to England after the wars were over.”
“I expect Miss DeSilver is looking for a husband my dear.” Said the ‘Rich-nobs’ wife.
“Oh most definitely not!” Replied Kennedy smiling across the table at Willow.
“And what’s your business in the New World, Lady Rosenberg?” Asked another anonymous rich man’s wife.
“I’ll be visiting the United States government, their equivalent of the Home Office,” She smiled at the woman, then without missing a beat she added, “I’ll be representing the King.”
Dinner dragged on with more inane conversation only interrupted by Ismay trying to balance pencils on their ends to illustrate how smoothly the ship was riding. Then, a little later, a waiter gave the Captain two telegrams. The Captain explained to his guests that they were just ice warnings from other ships and they were not to worry. However Willow did notice a look of concern cross the Captain’s face, just for a moment, then it was gone.
Kennedy swung her purse in time to the small orchestra as they played a waltz, she looked across the by now almost deserted table (many guests had retired after the Captain excused himself at around ten o’clock). Willow smiled at her as she sipped her coffee.
“Do you think the ship would be scandalised,” Asked Kennedy, “If we were to get up and dance?”
“With each other you mean?” Asked Lady Rosenberg putting down her cup, Kennedy nodded; she loved to dance especially with Willow.
“I think they’d make us walk the plank.” Replied Willow with a wry smile, “Or at least clap us in irons!”
Willow and Kennedy looked up to see a plump dark haired woman who spoke with an American accent; she sat down heavily on a chair next to Kennedy.
“Mind if I rest here awhile?” She asked, “My feet are killing me!” She proceeded to kick off her slippers. “Margaret Brown,” She introduced herself, “Rich widow.” She added with an impish smile.
The two English women introduced themselves and chatted with the rather pleasant and down to earth American woman until she got up to retire herself. Before she turned to go back to her room she smiled down at the two young women.
“I couldn’t help but overhear,” She explained, “But if you want to dance. Why don’t you go out on deck no one will see you there!” Smiling she walked off towards her cabin.
“What a nice woman.” Smiled Willow as she watched Mrs Brown’s retreating back.
“And so clever,” Kennedy held out her hand to Willow.
“And such good hearing.” Added Willow pointedly as she took Kennedy’s hand and stood up.
Willow relaxed into Kennedy’s strong arms as they twirled across the darkened deck to the music that floated up from the first class saloon. She felt herself being guided into a dark corner under the boat deck where her partner eagerly sought out her lips. Kennedy’s hand slid up the bodice of her evening gown and caressed her breast as their lips parted and tongues entwined.
A bright light was shone into Willow’s eyes; Kennedy stepped away from her lover and turned to confront whoever it was that had discovered them. She felt Willow’s restraining hand on her arm as the ship’s officer shone his torch down onto the deck.
“Good evening Ladies,” He said politely as he touched the brim of his cap in salute, “It’s nearly freezing tonight,” He explained. “May I suggest that you retire to your cabin…you’d not want catch cold.” He added with a knowing smile before he touched his cap again and walked off on his rounds.
*Khali: This is an educated guess at the correct spelling by a friend of mine, Dr Bronwen Evens, from the Phonetics Department here at UCL.
Mrs Molly Brown: A historical character. She was later known as the ‘Unsinkable Molly Brown’ as she survived both the sinking of the Titanic and the Lusitania in 1915 (or so the story goes).