bachmanroad: (La Normandie)
[personal profile] bachmanroad
Rating: T

Pairings: None

Characters: Denmark, Norway, and human characters

Warnings: Historical

Author's Notes: Sorry for the delay, I've been really busy these days.





April 10th, 1912

Even the most patient men had their limits and Norway felt as though his was running terribly thin. While the boulevards of Paris were nice and the afternoon spent moseying around this little seaside town’s café district had been equally pleasant, he couldn’t more than ready to embark for New York. But whether it was unfortunate coincidence or outright misfortune, the ocean liner his people’s government had booked for him (and promised that the change in ships would be for the best) a month in advance was nowhere to be found. So for the time being, the blond was forced to wait with scores of other equally impatient passengers at the terminal until Lord knew how long. Norway buries his face into his hands for a moment and then sighs in frustration.

Where in the Devil’s name could this ship be? He knew ocean liners weren’t particularly the fastest vessels afloat (well, maybe Cunard’s greyhounds are the exception) but this was ridiculous. This certainly wasn’t making a good impression for him. Drawing his face from his hands, the blond straightens up and then glances around the terminal, taking note on how diverse the crowds are. There are the wealthy of course, with their close friends and servants, but also the immigrants from places like rural Europe and even the Middle East, all of whom who saw America as their final destination.

With another yawn, Denmark slumps against Norway’s shoulder and starts to snore blatantly in his ear. Norway frowns at this and reaches up to pinch his cheek. Immediately the Dane snaps up blinking rapidly and stifling a snort. He rubs his sore cheek and looks down at his peeved friend. “What’cha do that for?” he pouts.

“For usin’ me as a pillow. Y’know drool isn’t fashionable these days.” Norway reaches up and pinches Denmark on the cheek again. The other winces and he quickly swats his friend’s hand from his reddening cheek. He straightens up then, another yawn rumbling deep from his broad chest.

Norway’s face softens as he watches the other yawn. He doesn’t blame Denmark for falling asleep, it’s just something he does after waiting for so long. Furthermore, he’s not upset at the other tagging along to Cherbourg with him; it would be a rather tedious voyage and Norway could use someone like him to make it a bit livelier. Although he still wonders how the blond managed to clear his schedule for such a crossing. Hopefully he won’t be besieged by too much paperwork when they return to Europe.

Denmark looks around; nothing has really changed since he’d first dozed off. He scratches the back of his head and then taps his fingers against his thigh restlessly. “So, does anyone know what time is it now?” he asks around.

Across from him, a man in his late forties reaches into his coat pocket and pulls out a sliver pocket watch. He squints at the numbers before stuffing back into his coat again, “Almost six ‘o clock now. Feels like we’ve been waiting here forever doesn’t it?” the man replies with a chuckle.

Beside him a young woman nods in agreement and draws out an exasperated breath. She reaches up to fiddle with her hat briefly before crossing her arms. “Honestly, if I knew it was going to take this long, we would’ve certainly had enough time to sit down at a nice restaurant and have dinner.” the woman huffs.

Of course, even if Denmark didn’t accompanied him, Norway wouldn’t be exactly alone. While it was fashionable these days to bring an entourage of servants whenever one travelled lavishly, only a maid and a manservant were enough to accommodate his needs. Mr. Andersen had worked for Kristiania for nearly two decades now and in that time span Norway has come to see him as more of a close friend, rather than just another manservant on-hire. On the contrary, his and Ms. Johannessen’s acquaintance was only a few weeks old, as she was more or less hired on the spot. But she managed to get herself quite accustomed with both the bond’s expectations and the notion of working alongside your country’s national personification.

“Suppose anyone of you might have a guess on what’s been keepin’ our ship absent?” Norway asks.

Denmark shrugs, “Don’t know for sure. Say, isn’t our ship comin’ from Britain? There’s a coal strike they’ve been wrapping up. Maybe the ship is waitin’ like us for its coal to be delivered.” he suggests.

“Could be true but…” Mr. Andersen shakes his head in disagreement. “Unlikely if you ask me. If I know anything from travelling with the British, like the Germans, they hate to be tardy.” the older man said.

“There’s a chance it could have missed the tides to come into port,” Norway brushes a wayward lock of hair from his eyes. “Happens now ‘n then.” he adds.

Ms. Johannessen nods along, “Oh definitely, I can believe that. Reminds me of the time a friend and I were on a ferry crossing the Øresund; I don’t know why, but for some reason the captain miscalculated the incoming tide and ran straight into a sandbar. It was awful. It took them four hours and two tugs to pull the ship off the sandbar.” she explains.

“’n seein’ how big these ships are gettin’, it’s probably goin’ to take more than a few tugs to get them movin’ again.” Denmark chuckles.

While the other laugh along with Denmark, Norway’s busy rolling up his sleeve to check his watch. He frowns when seeing the time and crosses his arm with a huff. Oh this was certainly not making a good impression for him. Eventually though, after waiting for so long, there’s a noticeable shift in movement from the crowds. People look relieved as they walk by, and more are carrying their luggage with them.

“Looks like our ship has finally arrived in port.” Mr. Andersen smirks.

Denmark rises up with a grunt and then offers his hand to Ms. Johannessen, who accepts gladly. The other two rise as well and follow the pair joining scores of people leaving the building. Outside there were two tenders drawn alongside the pier and the crowd disperses as everyone seeks out their respective vessel. As they board their tender, Norway notices the black letters on the bow, spelling out the name Nomadic. It only takes a few minutes before all are on board and with a blast of her whistle, the tender slowly parts from the pier.

The waters were choppy as the Nomadic steams across Cherbourg Harbor. Ms. Johannessen shakes her head and groans softly; the rolling caused by the sea was making her slightly nauseous. Denmark places a hand on her shoulder in an attempt to soothe feeling while he himself was unperturbed from the rolling waters. Likewise, Norway doesn’t feel the slightest bout of sickness from the sea and watches as the pier grows smaller behind them. Mr. Andersen pulls out his pocket watch again to check the time and then looks out to the open waters and evening sky.

“Ah, there it is.” he points smiling.

Everyone looks to where the older man is pointing. Rising from the ocean’s surface was a large, black hull with the prow cutting deep into the water like a knife and the stern sitting graciously in the water. A white, tripled-tiered superstructure stood above the hull and rising even further were four, buff-colored funneled with black tops. Various portholes, deckhouse lights, and windows lit the ship from stem to stern. As the Nomadic drew closer to the massive vessel, the name Titanic could been spelled proudly on its bow.

Denmark whistles in amazement. “Now that’s a leviathan!” he exclaims. Norway tilts his head up to the ocean liner and raises an eyebrow. All right, credit where credit’s due; this certainly was a pleasant surprise after being forced to wait around for so long. But it’s going to take more than just sheer size and scale to win his approval.

Once the two vessels were parallel with each other, passengers and luggage slowly trickled inside. Walking up the gangway Denmark looks up one more time at the ship towering above him before ducking inside the ship’s entrance hall. Two stewards held open a pair of grilled doors, passing through them Denmark was amazed; an elegant room greeted him with its white Jacobean décor and embellished mouldings. Scattered through the room were men and women in their best evening clothes, mingling with their close friends and fellow passengers. Several more could be descending a grand staircase, which a glorious candelabra adorned its central banister.

“Sir?” Ms. Johannessen tugs a little on Denmark’s sleeve and he quickly realizes that he’s going to be an obstacle if he keeps gawking like this. He lets himself be guided away from the splendor that was the ship’s First Class Reception Room, although he does manage to catch a glimpse to where those finely dressed men and women are going; into an even larger room, which he assumes to be the dinning saloon.

Behind the grand staircase were the three elevators and Norway was there to chastise them (re; Denmark) for being late. Apologies were humorously made before attention was turned to the life attendant, whom the Dane notices looks around the same age as Iceland. They ride the elevator two decks up and Denmark waves the boy goodbye once they leave. Another lavish entrance hall greets the group and Denmark is delighted to see that the staircase continues up to this deck as well. They pass several passengers heading in the opposite direction and enter a lengthy corridor lined in tile and white paneling.

Fortunately, it doesn’t take long for them to read the polished numbers on each stateroom door to find their own. Norway lets out a sigh of relief once he steps inside, walking over to the nearest seat available and sitting down in it. Denmark whistles when seeing how richly appointed their room is and steps over to swipe a finger across their marble vanity. Their luggage is brought in moments later by stewards who quickly leave without a word. Ms. Johannessen steps over to help Denmark out of his coat while Mr. Andersen beings unpacking the Norwegian’s belongings.

“There’s no need for that Henrik.” Norway says while raising a hand. “I can do that myself.” he insists. The older man nods and finishes unpacking the last shirt before stepping away from the suitcase.

“Is there anything you need us to do?” Ms. Johannessen asks. She watches as the blond shakes his head. “No, you’re fine. Thank you Sissel.” he replies with a smile.

“How about ‘ya guys take the rest of the night off?” Denmark injects. The two look at him before turning to Norway, who nods in agreement. “All right then, if you need us, we’ll be in the cabin down the hall.” Ms. Johannessen informs.

With that, they both leave Denmark and Norway alone in the stateroom. The Dane walks over and plops down on one of the beds, bouncing a little to feel how the springs register his weight. He looks over to Norway on the couch and chuckles. “Quite a fine lil’ suite isn’t?” he grins.

“Indeed,” Norway rises from the couch with a grunt and steps over to the other bed. He picks up a pillow and squeezes it a little; wow, they didn’t even skimp on the pillows either. “I must say, it definitely makes up for the long wait.” he says.

“Hell, everythin’ about this ship makes up for all the travel delays we’ve been havin’. I’d say talk about travellin’ first class!” Denmark falls back onto the sheets and sighs in content. “It’s funny really; when we first travelled the seas, all ‘ya needed was a good stack of hay ‘n a warm blanket to consider it first class…” the blond reminisces.

“Well that was a long time ago. A lot has changed since then, mind you. With the way technology’s been progressin’ these days.” Norway reminds, crossing his arms.

Denmark nods a little in agreement and then rises to his feet. He pulls out his suitcase and unlocks it. “Well I think it’s time for m’ to catch some grub. Are ‘ya comin’ along?” he asks while loosening his tie.

“In a minute.” Norway waves off. He walks over to the windows and looks outside.

Now that the sun has slipped underneath the horizon, the sky appears darker than before. In the distance a string of multi-colored lights denote where Cherbourg lies and the blond can hardly see the pier along with the passenger terminal. The sea glitters underneath the ship’s lights, a tad calmer than it was earlier that evening.



Further Notes

At end of February 1912, coal miners conducted their first national strike in Britain. Nearly a million miners participated in the strike, which caused considerable disruption to rail and shipping industries. After 37 days, the strike ended on April 6th, 1912. Unfortunately there wasn’t going to be enough time to get newly mined coal to the docks before Titanic’s maiden voyage. To work around this problem, White Star Line would have to take coal from other IMM ships docked in Southampton, putting those ships out of service. Passengers who had already booked voyage on the now out of service ships had to find a new vessel to travel on, most turning to Titanic.

While the majority of Titanic’s passengers where European, several passengers were of Arab origins. At the time, many carried identification from the Ottoman Empire that stated they were from Greater Syria which included the modern day countries of Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Palestine, and Syria. Masabumi Hosono was the only Japanese passenger on board. Joseph Philippe Lemercier Laroche was the only known black passenger aboard the ship.

From 1624 to 1877, Norway’s capital was named Christiania, in honor of Denmark’s King Christian IV. Following a spelling reform, the name was changed to Kristiania and from that until 1925, was the name of the capital, which was changed back to Oslo.

Soon after leaving Southampton, England, the Titanic was involved in a near-collision with another ship called the SS City of New York. While averting the mishap, it delayed the ship’s arrival to Cherbourg, France by least an hour. Hence why Norway and Denmark were waiting around at the start.

Contrary to the 1997 film, Titanic’s First Class hallways were not carpeted nor did have light fixtures on the walls or handrails. Corridors forward and throughout crew, Second, and Third Classes were simply paneled white with standard floor tiles. However, First Class suites amidships on B and C-Decks had elegant paneling and light fixtures on the ceiling. (Digital reconstruction)

Denmark and Norway’s stateroom on Titanic is B-75, one of the many luxurious suites on that deck (the most luxurious were the parlor suites forward), while the maid and manservant’s cabin is B-99. Research shows there wasn’t any confirmed real-life passengers booked in these rooms, so they can occupy them.

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