Eh. I wanted to wait until I got a better title thought up, but it's not coming. If anybody gets the literary joke, I love you unconditionally.
Title: The Sea Cook (or, Hetalia’s Treasure Island) [1/?]
Characters (so far): America, Canada, Seychelles, Spain.
Warnings: Some violence, a bit of blood, and sailors cursing the way they do.
Summary: AU. When a dying sailor leaves them the fabled map to Captain Roma’s Treasure Island, orphaned brothers Alfred and Matthew will have to stick together to survive an adventure full of pirates, new friendships, danger and betrayal.
Disclaimer: I don’t own Hetalia, obviously, nor do I own any of the nine million version of Treasure Island out there.
Chapter One: In Which the Legend is Retold
Once, long ago, there was a man who ruled over the all the seas – pirate Captain Imperious Roma. His name was known throughout Europe and the Caribbean isles, whispered reverently in the backs of pubs and fearfully in the dark corners of merchant ships. It was said that, in the ten years he ruled the seas, he and his crew of blood-thirsty seadogs sacked and sank over a hundred ships of all nationalities, leaving less than a dozen total survivors to tell the tale.
Slowly but steadily, Roma amassed a vast fortune of plundered goods and stolen treasures – the wealth of an entire empire, all at his disposal. But Roma was a cautious man, and well aware of his own power. He knew that he was growing old and that, someday soon, someone was likely to overtake him. But he swore that no one would get their hands on his treasure that easily.
So, one dark day deep in the heart of the Caribbean, he found an uncharted island to claim as his own. He went ashore with fifteen men – new hires all – and journeyed deep into the jungle with the lion’s share of his massive treasure trove. He returned at sunset a full day later, alone and without his riches.
The remaining spoils he divided amongst his remaining crew. To each loyal man he awarded a small fortune, enough to start their lives anew twice over, but it was mere chicken feed compared to the trove that he had hidden away. Then, Captain Roma disbanded his crew and sailed away to live the rest of his days in the manner he preferred – wild, solitary and free.
He never had the chance to go back for his treasure.
But that’s not the end of the story, oh now. Some men say that old Roma made a map detailing the exact location of his buried treasure. Were any man lucky enough to possesses this map, they could lay claim to the island and all of its riches. The loot of a pirate’s empire, ripe and ready for the taking! It is the stuff of men’s dreams.
To this day, however, no one knows what has become of the map…
“Now isn’t that just the tale to rattle your bones?” the Spaniard concluded, taking a long draft of his rum. “And it’s all the gospel truth, swear on my soul.”
“I’m so sure,” said the innkeeper with a roll of her chocolate-brown eyes. Her name was Seychelles, and she had heard this story at least a dozen times in the two months the easy-going Spaniard had spent under her roof. “I think you need to lay off the rum a bit, Antonio.”
The gentlemen he’d been ‘entertaining’ with his tale – regulars all – chuckled at that. Antonio Carriedo may have been an odd sort, an easy-going lay about and a bit of a drunk, but he was also handsome, charismatic and tipped very, very well. Given the regular drop in income that the old Admiral Benbow Inn had seen since the local port dried up, Seychelles appreciated the Spaniard’s constant patronage more than she let on.
“Ah, but who has the map?” Antonio chortled, pulling the demure innkeeper into his lap playfully. “That’s where the mystery lies, dear girl! Somewhere in this vast world, some lucky sap is sitting on the riches of an empire. The only question is, who? Some slimy seadog who’d sooner double-cross his own mother than split the spoils with another soul? Or perhaps an upright fellow, just waiting for his lucky change and his day in the sun? Hell, perhaps it’s right here, in the hands of your lovely boys! What’ya say, lads?”
All eyes suddenly fell on the two strapping young teens who had been bustling in and out of the kitchen all night. They were twins, identical at first glance but less so each time you looked, with golden-blonde hair and pale skin worn tan and red by the sun. Clearly, they were not actually related to Seychelles – who was dark all over, from her skin to her eyes to her long black hair – but they were the closest thing to family the young lady claimed. They were orphans, and she their governess. Still, they were a family. Of sorts.
The elder boy, whose name was Alfred, grinned broadly as he hoisted a heavy tray of used dishes into his arms. “Trust me, Antonio, if we had that map, we wouldn’t be here bussing your tables. Ain’t that right, Mattie?”
“Suppose so,” the younger brother, Matthew, said with a shrug. He was more subdued than his twin, violet eyes disappearing behind his long hair as he wiped the cleared tables down.
“We’d be out searching for that treasure,” Alfred continued, his blue eyes sparkling like the summer sky. “Sailing the seven seas, exploring uncharted lands, coming face-to-face with all the things that nobody’s even dreamt of yet. And when we finally found that loot, we’d bring it straight back here, so Miss Seychelles could get this old place fixed up good as new and live like a queen.”
“Aren’t you the sweetest things?” Seychelles chuckled, knowing it was all in good fun. She squirmed out of Antonio’s grip and straightened her apron with a put-upon little sigh. “As much as I hate to break up your little story session, I’m afraid it’s closing time. The rest of you best get on home before your wives start getting out the guns again.”
Alfred disappeared into the kitchen with the dishes as she shooed the guest who weren’t staying the night out the door. Antonio chuckled to himself, leaning back in the old armchair with a content expression that only grew when Matthew refilled his mug.
“You’re a good pair of kids, you are,” he said, patting Mattie on the shoulder. “Los bueno ninos. Very good boys.”
Alfred reappeared then, rolling up his sleeves to start the final scrub down of the dining room. Matthew hurried to assist, grabbing the second scrub brush and getting down on his hands and knees alongside him. “Did you really mean what you said back there?”
“About bringing stuff back for Seychelles?”
Matthew shook his head. “No, about sailing the world.”
“Sure I did,” Alfred insisted, dunking his brush back into the suds bucket again. “You want to go too, don’t you? You know, have an adventure? Be a hero?”
“Well, yeah, but,” Matthew scowled. “I like it here.”
“I like it here, too,” Alfred laughed, putting his whole weight into a particularly tough patch of mess. “That’s why we’ll always come back, right? Every great crew’s got to have an HQ, after all. Why not make it here?”
Placated, Matthew let go of his concern and started animatedly chatting with his brother about all the ‘awesome’ (Alfred’s word) adventures they were going to have together someday. Most were cobbled-together retellings and exaggerations of the hundreds of stories they’d heard from travelers over the years, but some were of their own invention, brilliant New Worlds born only of the twins’ collective imagination.
Seychelles smiled at her ‘little brothers’ and their antics and slipped into the kitchen to do the dishes. Antonio had drifted off as his rum settled and his dinner digested, taking a quiet and happy siesta in front of the fireplace. Far below, where a winding dirt road forked one way to lead to the nearby village and the other two the abandoned port, the dark, steady waves of the sea thumped against a gravel beach with unending rhythm. It was a calm, quiet night, and the Admiral Benbow was at peace.
At least, it was until something strong and heavy slammed against the front door.
The force of the blow was hard enough that the great oak door leapt violently on its hinges. Like cannon fire, it echoed through the entire inn, startling Antonio from his nap. Alfred and Matthew jumped a foot. “What the hell is that?”
BANG! The noise came again, and was quickly followed by another, louder one. BANG!
“I…I think somebody’s knocking,” said Matthew, sounding bewildered.
Alfred climbed to his feet. “Well then, I’ll answer it!”
Antonio’s voice was harsh and raspy from the rum, but commanding enough that Alfred stopped dead after only three steps. The Spaniard was on his feet, having leapt from the chair, and glaring at the door as though he expected it to attack.
“Don’t,” he repeated, coarser than they had ever heard from him before. “Stay back, both of you. Don’t go near that door.”
Alfred nodded dumbly, but only stepped back when Matthew pulled him by the arm. The banging came again, this time accompanied by a horrible scraping noise, like a rabid wolf clawing at a tree. Seychelles appeared from the kitchen, but Antonio warned her back as well, hovering between them and the door with a tense, defensive air. The door rattled, screeched and shook a few more times, then, finally, it fell silent.
This peace lasted for only a split second. With one last almighty CRASH, the door burst open with so much force that the wood around the knob splintered and broke. It slammed against the wall, knocking two framed paintings and an unlit candlestick to the ground. The glass chattered on impact. Seychelles screamed. And standing on their doorstep was…
A demure little white-haired girl.