bachmanroad: (Suspiria)
[personal profile] bachmanroad
Rating: T

Pairings: None

Characters: Denmark, Norway, and human characters

Warnings: Historical, warfare mentioning

Author's Notes: Phew! I got this done! Sorry for the delay.

April 12th, 1912

With dawn brought a new day of clear skies and pleasant spring weather. Leaving the Old World behind, Titanic sailed west for the land of opportunity and for the riches that could be made there as well. Her white upper decks gleamed underneath the warm sunlight, her crisp blow sliced through the undulating Atlantic. Smoke belched from three of her mighty funnels while underneath the sea her bronze propellers churned a steady stream of wake that trailed off into the blue horizon. In all, the Titanic was certainly exceeding expectations for a brand new ship making its first oceangoing voyage.

As they would on land, passengers took advantage of the pleasant weather and went about to crowding the open decks. Each class mingled to their respective boundaries; First Class towards the amidships, Second Class a little farther back towards the stern, and Third Class at either the very bow or stern. While the passengers were busy enjoying their first day out on the open sea, Titanic’s crew had to split their time from catering to the needs of passengers and their shipboard tasks. One crew member in particular – a steward to be precise – received an assignment to deliver a telegraph message to an expectant passenger.

The steward wasted no time snatching the message from his superior’s hand and turned his heels from the Purser’s Office. He quickly climbed the Grand Staircase, leaving C-Deck behind and passing through B-Deck before reaching the A-Deck landing. He did not pause to be swept away by the landing’s elegance and made a brisk walk across the First Class Entrance to the adjoining hallway. From there he pushed through a revolving door and walked pass the door leading into the First Class Reading & Writing Room. The steward paused for a moment to catch his breath and then with a chest swelled in confidence, opened one of the double doors leading into the First Class Lounge.

Inside he found the center of First Class life, accented by the room’s style that made it seem like a royal apartment from Versailles. Carefully and rather diligently, the steward weaved his way through conversations of Anglo-American hegemony, tables and armchairs upholstered in plush velvet green, until he reached the expectant passenger in question. He cleared his throat and then politely tapped on the passenger’s shoulder to catch their attention from the newspaper they were reading.

“Excuse me sir, but telegraph message for you.” the steward informs. He smiles as the other took the message from his hand and thanked him. Quickly as he came into the room, the steward gave a little nod and then left in a similar fashion.

Norway sits his newspaper aside to take a good look at the telegraph message. A smile stretches across his face while he reads; it’s from his younger brother and their neighbors. Both Iceland and Finland wish him a pleasant voyage, Sweden on the other hand informs him of troubling political developments, which makes the blond frown in concern.

“Oh! Taking advantage of the Marconi I see!” Norway flicks his eyes up just time to see an older woman in a flashy blue dress taking the chair across from him. “It’s quite a feat of technology isn’t it? Of course, what isn’t a feat these days!” she happily laughs.

“Oh my dear, I must apologize – I haven’t even introduce myself! I’m Daisy, Daisy Cashmore. It’s a pleasure to meet your acquaintance Mister…?” Daisy trails off with a smile, waiting for Norway to respond within a few seconds.

Taken back by her fast-talking (his mind immediately assumed she was an American), Norway blinks and then clears his throat accordingly. He raises his hand for her to shake. “Norway. The kingdom of Norway.” he introduces with a bit of hesitance.

It takes a moment for Daisy to understand, but when she does, her chest swells with a silent gasp while her eyes widen as if the blond had bestowed her the largest diamond Tiffany’s could offer. She takes his hand and shakes it, albeit trembling with delightful fear. “You must – you are – one of those fine gentlemen.” Daisy finally says in nothing more than a whisper.

Norway nods, feeling a bit embarrassed. Even after all these years, he still gets trembling handshakes and nervous smiles. “Yes, yes I am. But I do like to keep a low profile. You must understand yes?” Norway asks.

Daisy quickly nods in agreement. “Oh yes, yes, yes! I understand! I won’t tell a soul who you really are.” she promises with a chipper smile. A steward walks over to their table and offers them tea. The older woman quickly shoos him away, despite Norway making a reach for a warm cup.

“Does that mean that handsome gentleman some have seen you conversing with on deck is…?” Daisy smiles even more as Norway nods in conformation. “How extravagant! This voyage has certainly brought the best of high society together!” she comments.

“But you won’t find Denmark or I prominent in that high society.” Norway says while opening his newspaper again. For him in particular, those type of people were more or less of the opposite company he likes to enjoy. The high society Daisy spoke with such nonchalance was better suited to someone like France, who knew the elite waltz right down to the last note.

“Denmark, so that’s his name now… well, I’m not surprised really. Being an absolute dear to your sweetheart doesn’t leave you much time to mingle with peers.” the older woman said with a nod.

Norway lower his newspaper and raises an eyebrow, “Sweetheart?” he scoffs.

“Oh yes, they do make a lovely couple. I think the Straus saw them yesterday on the Promenade Deck. Such beautiful girl; Ida was right, she certainly does have a good taste in suitors.” Daisy explains.

Norway blinks a couple of times, feeling a frown itch on his brow but refrains from looking annoyed. Instead he gives a slow nod before turning back to his newspaper. “My dear you’ve gone blanch, is everything all right?” he looks back at Daisy and shakes his head in assurance.

“I see. Well I do apologize, I must wrap up our little chat. The Ryersons and I are going to have a walk along the decks. Good day to you.” Daisy smiles.

The blond waves her goodbye and goes back to the article he had been reading before meeting Ms. Cashmore. He can only read a few more paragraphs before setting it down again, his frown finally coming out. Oh, he knew this sort of thing was bound to happen! Norway shouldn’t be this annoyed but for some reason he unfortunately is. Rising from his seat, he bids a steward goodbye before leaving the lounge.

He walks down the hall, pushing through the revolving door and across the entrance hall then goes up the staircase. Norway turns right and slips through the vestibule that connects the room to not only the Boat Deck outside but also the First Class Gymnasium adjoining it. He steps inside and finds the narrow white-painted, dark paneled room dominated by men and their chivalrous masculinity. The blond moves past men exercising with the latest shipboard equipment, his attention turning to a crowd that has gathered near the center of the room. Norway squeezes his way toward the front to see what’s happening.

Denmark keeps a steady breath as he paces himself on the rowing machine. He works without his jacket, the waistcoat underneath more or less helping to enunciate the strength of the muscles in his arms and chest. There’s little sweat on his brow but there is determination in his eyes, and like everyone else Norway is swept up watching him exercise. It’s only when a hearty laugh from the one of the men aside Denmark does the blond snap out of the trance and remember what he’s here for.

The man who laughed was a short, robust man dressed in white flannels and plimsolls. His most striking feature was the superb mustache that graced his upper lip. As the Dane rose to his feet, he step forward and gave his back a firm pat. “I say, that is quite a remarkable display of rowing I’ve seen in a while.” he compliments.

“Thanks Mr. McCawley!” Denmark chuckles. He takes a moment to shrug back into his jacket. “Ya know when I was younger, I could row across the Øresund ‘n back if I wanted to…” he boats while a charming smile.

“Aye, wish we had a Dane on our rowing team. Certainly would’ve give the boys from Oxford a run for their money.” A man comments before taking a puff of his pipe.

Praise aside, Denmark glances around and quickly spots Norway among the crowd. With a big smile he steps over to greet him. “There 'ya are friend!” he beams.

“So this is your elusive friend, eh?” Norway feels a dozen or so eyes fall on him, along with the murmurs and whispers too. He adjusts his collar a tad and then clears his throat.

“Excuse me,” Norway turns when there’s a hand on his shoulder. A man with chestnut hair and dashing Italian couture tries charming him with a smile. “Albert Smith, President of the New London Yachtsmen Club in Connecticut.” he introduces.

“Your friend over here says you’re one the finest swimmers in Scandinavia.” Albert said.

“He sure is!” Denmark injects bluntly. “Won races all over the place!” he adds chuckling.

Albert shakes his head, laughter quiet from his lips. “Ah, I see. I hope your friend wouldn’t mind I challenge him to a little race then? I’d like to go toe to toe with this Nordic champion.” he proposes.

“Of course! He’s no stranger to a friendly race aren’t cha buddy?” Denmark slaps Norway on the back with another chuckle.

“Always up for a challenge. I love that. So what do you say friend? I can have the swimming bath reserved for us tomorrow.” Albert asks, turning to Norway.

The blond looks at Denmark and then to Albert. Honestly, he’s been completely caught off guard by these sudden arrangements made without his permission. But instead of turning down Albert with a firm voice, Norway finds himself nodding slowly as if in agreement. “Splendid. I’ll see you tomorrow afternoon. I’ll see you too, Mikkel.” Albert turns to Denmark with a smile.

Denmark grins and bids the other farewell as he squeezes past them to watch a race between colleagues on the cycling machines. Norway springs into action then, grabbing Denmark’s arm and gesturing him to the door with a frown on his brow. He leads him out the gymnasium and into the vestibule that separates them from outside chatter.

“A lot of promises you made back there, Mikkel.” Norway said. He cross his arms as Denmark scratches the back of his head and then gives him a shrug. “I must remember to polish all the medals I won once we go home.” he frowns.

“Okay, maybe I was exaggeratin’ a little. 'n I shouldn’t have roped 'ya into a competition. But 'ya are a great swimmer though!” Denmark points out. He watches as the other rolls his eyes and then reaches for the door. The blond was quick to follow Norway back into the entrance hall. “Look ’m sorry if this really upsets 'ya. I can ask Albert to cancel the whole thing if 'ya want.” he suggests.

“I don’t like it when you speak for me. You tend to think what’s best without my consideration.” Norway turns and jabs a finger to Denmark’s chest. He turns back to start walking down the staircase, rounding the corner before going down another flight of steps. “Now I have to be this supposed grand athlete by tomorrow afternoon.” Norway runs a hand through his hair and sighs in annoyance.

Reaching B-Deck, the blond walks over and takes a seat on one of the many blue sofas that are clustered around the entrance hall. Denmark sits down beside him, silent for a moment because he doesn’t know what else to say without agitating his friend again. “Hey, Nor, ’m sorry, honestly!” he apologizes.

Norway looks at Denmark and then shakes his head with another sigh. When he turns back to the Dane, his face has soften considerably. “Well, it’s hard to say mad, especially with the look you’re giving me.” he said.

Denmark blinks and a smile stretches across his face. “Does that mean ’m off the hook then?” he chuckles as the other playfully pushes his shoulder. “More like on thin ice.” Norway replies with a smirk.

Norway pauses for a second and then remembers the telegraph message he’d received earlier. He reaches into his pocket and pulls it out, handing it over to Denmark. The smile quickly fades from Denmark’s face as he combs over it. He turns to the blond in surprise before letting out a weary sigh.

“Things are lookin’ pretty rough are they? 'n it takes a lot to get even Sweden worried.” Denmark said.

“Tensions have been escalating; France and England are looking into ways to deterrent Germany.” Norway points out. He takes the telegraph message from Denmark’s hand and stuffs it back into his pocket. He glances around to see passengers walking about the entrance hall. “I have a bad feeling about this.” he adds after a thought or so.

“Ya don’t think there’ll be war comin’?” the Dane asks.

Norway looks at Denmark. He honestly doesn’t know.

Further Notes

Titanic’s radio communications was leased to the White Star Line by the Marconi Company. With two operators, the service maintained a 24-hour schedule, primarily sending and receiving passenger telegrams, but also handling navigation messages including weather reports and ice warnings. Passenger messages were sent via tubes down to the Purser’s Office on C-Deck, which then distributed the messages to their respective recipients.

The First Class Lounge was one of the most ornate public rooms on board the Titanic, modeled in the Louis XV style after the Palace of Versailles. It occupied a large space mid-ship on A-Deck, offering views onto the Promenade Deck and the ocean beyond. Intricately carved English oak paneling with intermittent motifs of musical instruments were the dominant feature of the room.

The First Class Gymnasium was located on the Boat Deck on the starboard side, adjacent to the second funnel. It contained gym equipment that were commonplace for an ocean liner of the era, such as an electric camel, rowing machines, and so on. The gymnasium was opened for men and women at different times while tickets could be purchased at the Purser’s Office for a session. Thomas W. McCawley was the gym instructor who complemented Denmark’s excellent rowing abilities.

Each deck the Grand Staircase rose through there was a rather decent-sized space labeled 'First Class Entrance’ on deck plans. It was little more than just a foyer for the staircase, with chairs and sofas clustered around the space while doors or archways lead off to First Class accommodations.

Like Henrik and Sissel, both Daisy Cashmore and Albert Smith are fictional characters, not based on real-life passengers. Daisy Cashmore in particular, is from the game Titanic: Adventure out of Time (all rights reserved). Daisy was included because well frankly, she’s an interesting character and I like her personality. (Heh heh)


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October 2015


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