Total Eclipse, HoMin, 1/2
Genre: Pirate AU
Summary: Kidnapped in the night by a band of pirates, Changmin finds himself a prisoner of the feared Captain Jung Yunho.
A/N: Literally the most clichéd romance trope I’ve ever written. But oh so fun.
Changmin is asleep when the pirates come. They steal into the palace like shadows, in a manner most unlike pirates. Pirate raids along the coast have become an increasing problem in recent years, and their battle style traditionally involves more yelling and banging around. These pirates, however, infiltrate the castle like trained assassins. The guards fall before their stealth and skill, caught unawares by their sudden appearance. Black sails are difficult to see in the night.
Changmin jerks awake to the feeling of cold metal pressed against his throat. His bed is surrounded, dark shadows looming around the four poster. Moonlight glints off drawn blades.
“Come with us quietly if you wish to live,” a man says close to his ear. Changmin’s eyes dart around the room. His sword is out of reach and he’s hopelessly outnumbered. The hallway outside is silent, most of the Marble Palace’s inhabitants still sleeping soundly. He swallows and sits upright, heart thumping painfully fast in his chest, night clothes drenched with sweat.
“Alright. But let me get dressed first,” he says. The blade withdraws and a cloak is flung in his face.
“No. Wear this. And if you make so much as a sound we will kill you.”
Changmin draws the cloak around himself and gets to his feet, trying to control his trembling. Rough hands grab him and he stifles a surprised sound as his hands are yanked behind his back and tied with rough hemp. He struggles then, trying to kick out at his attackers and twist out of their grasp, but it’s perfunctory at best - there are too many of them and all of them are far stronger than him. A gag is shoved into his mouth and tied behind his head before he’s dragged from the room. A body lies just beyond his doorway, blood seeping across the tiles, and Changmin’s eyes widen as he recognises his chamberlain. His knees weaken and he almost slides to the floor, but the man holding him shoves him forward and forces him to keep walking.
The palace is quiet - too quiet - and Changmin groans as they pass the dead bodies of guards on their way through the marble hallways. They reach the entrance hall and Changmin spies the huge vases that flank the castle’s front door. He strains against his captors, and as they pass through he sticks his leg out and kicks hard against a vase. It wobbles on its plinth and comes crashing down, the sound of it shattering through the silence like a gunshot. The man holding him swears and jerks him back.
“Son of a - ”
Shouts break out from outside, the sound having alerted the guards on the castle walls. Changmin has a brief moment of triumph before somebody hits the back of his head, hard, and his world goes black.
- - -
He comes to on a scrubbed wooden floor. The smell of salt and sea fills his nose, and Changmin whimpers as he stirs. His head is on fire from being knocked out. His hands are still tied behind his back, wrists rubbed raw from the rope, though thankfully the gag is gone. Changmin grits his teeth and rises up on his knees, eyes darting around the cabin. He’s in what appears to be a stateroom, a small but cluttered space occupied by a bed, a dresser and a desk. The floor rolls beneath his knees with the motion of the sea. Changmin groans and lets his head fall forward, eyes squeezed shut around the headache throbbing through his temples. Bloody pirates.
The door opens to admit a rough-faced man. Changmin briefly recognises him as one of his kidnappers before he turns away.
“He’s awake Captain,” he says to someone just beyond. Changmin stiffens and lifts his head up high, forcing the pain into the back of his mind as a second man steps into the room. The Captain is tall and broad, and seems to exude authority from the soles of his knee-length boots to the tip of his hat. A sword glints at his belt, partially hidden under his longcoat. Changmin looks up and up into a cold and handsome face and feels fear rise like bile in his throat.
“How good of you to join us,” the Captain crouches before him and smiles and it’s sharp and brilliant like shards of glass. Changmin swallows and squares his shoulder.
“Do you have any idea who I am?” he demands, voice coming out in a rasp. It lessens some of the authority he wants to convey, but his expression remains proud and defiant. The Captain laughs softly.
“I am well aware of who you are, Prince Changmin. The question is whether you know who I am.”
“You’re a pirate. That’s all I need or care to know,” Changmin says coldly. The Captain gets to his feet and strides towards the sideboard. He retrieves a bottle of water and pours some into a glass before bringing it to Changmin.
“Drink,” he says, pressing the glass against Changmin’s lips. Parched, Changmin gulps down the water eagerly, careless of the amount that spills down the corner of his mouth and onto his shirt. It helps clear his head a little. “Better?” the Captain looks amused. Close up he is incredibly attractive, his eyebrows a dark slash across his face, his nose small and neat and his lower lip full and pouty. Changmin shudders and sways away from him.
“No,” he says flatly. “Release me at once and return me to my home.”
“I’m afraid I can’t do that. It’s nothing personal - we just have a bone to pick with your father.”
Changmin gives a bitter laugh and shakes his head. If the pirates thought to use him as leverage against the King then they were in for a nasty surprise - but before he can dissuade the Captain of his delusions the door opens again to admit another man.
“Yunho, we have company,” he says. Changmin goes cold as the Captain gets to his feet.
“You’re Jung Yunho?” he whispers, eyes wide.
The Captain - Yunho - looks back at him and gives him a chilling smile. “Welcome on board my ship, your majesty.”
- - -
Pirates had been a plague on their kingdom since as long as Changmin can remember. Being an island nation tends to do that to you; luckily, the pirate factions were notoriously chaotic and prone to in-fighting, which made it easy for the royal navy to pick them off. More recently the King of the Copper Isles - Changmin’s father - had enacted a treaty with the neighbouring country of Ileria whereby most of their navy was loaned to the Copper Isles to help eradicate their pirate problem once and for all.
The pirates had hit back by putting their differences aside and joining together, under the command of a man whose name had become synonymous with death - Captain Jung Yunho, the cold terror of the West Seas. His crew killed in silence and stealth and left nothing but dead bodies behind; rumour said that amongst them were assassins from the Far East, who had trained the others in their ways. They could infiltrate the tallest towers, break through the safest locks - and now, in their most triumphant feat yet, they had kidnapped the Crown Prince right out of his bed.
Changmin stares down at the wooden floorboards of the cabin and tries not to panic. He knows the stories, the unexplained killings, the ships missing in the night; he knows he is merely a pawn caught up in a game far larger than himself, and the knowledge of his own weakness terrifies him. The door opens and he snaps his head up, all the defiance from earlier drained out of him as the Captain looms over him.
“Please don’t kill me,” Changmin whispers. Yunho laughs, but the sound holds no warmth in it and Changmin flinches.
“Don’t worry, little prince. You hold no value to me dead - if I wanted to kill you I’d have done it by now.”
“What do you want with me then? I’m of no value to you anyway - my father will give you nothing for my return. He despises me.”
Yunho’s expression softens. “All children think that, but it is never truly the case.”
Changmin stares up at him, anger and fear bubbling up inside him. He’s hungry and cold and scared, and that makes for one incredibly frayed temper. He tugs at the rope binding him with a snarl.
“Untie me,” he says.
“No,” Yunho shakes his head. Changmin stumbles to his feet and sways, a sudden bout of vertigo gripping him. He wonders vaguely how long it’s been since his last meal as he stumbles to the door, but he can’t turn the heavy knob with his hands still tied. Yunho watches him with dispassionate eyes and after a few pathetic attempts Changmin gives up and thumps his head against the wood, swallowing down tears of frustration. He won’t give Yunho the satisfaction of seeing him cry.
After a few minutes he feels a presence behind him. Slender fingers take hold of his wrists and slowly undo the knots. Changmin sucks in a breath and stiffens when Yunho presses up against him, warm breath hitting the back of his neck as the captain unties him and lets his hands fall free. Changmin rubs his wrists and turns to face him.
“You may remain untied if you promise to stay put,” Yunho says. Changmin sends him a defiant look.
“I’m not staying in here with you,” he spits. “Show me to my own quarters.”
“There are none. But by all means, feel free to explore the ship. I’m sure my men would greatly enjoy a pretty morsel like yourself.”
Changmin goes still. There is no humour in Yunho’s eyes as he says it, and Changmin becomes chillingly aware of what is likely to become of him soon. He tries to edge away, but the Captain has him trapped against the door.
“And will I not suffer the same fate if I stay in here?” Changmin whispers. Yunho smiles, slow and deadly.
“Perhaps.” He reaches a finger up and traces it down Changmin’s cheek. Changmin makes a terrified sound and twists away. He’s raising his hands to push Yunho away when a side door opens to admit the man from earlier. He has broad, handsome features and is built along the same lines as the Captain. He stops in the doorway and Yunho turns to face him.
“What?” Yunho snaps.
“I don’t mean to intrude, but we need you on deck.”
Yunho sighs and beckons him in.
“This is my first mate, Siwon,” he says to Changmin before turning to the other man. “See to it that his highness is fed and left alone. Set guards at the doors.”
“Yes Captain,” Siwon moves aside to let Yunho through before casting Changmin a sideways glance. He looks like he wants to say something, then merely shakes his head and leaves.
Changmin waits until their footsteps fade away before he slides to the floor, wraps his arms around his knees and weeps.
- - -
Life on board a pirate ship is even less glamorous than Changmin could have imagined. The constant motion of the sea makes him ill, and Yunho only lets him out of his quarters so he can throw up over the railing. Fresh air helps clear his head, and Changmin spends long hours staring out at the horizon, searching desperately for some sign of land. But there is only rolling blue ocean as far as the eye can see, and with no way of knowing which direction they’re going in or how long it’s been since he was kidnapped he can’t know how far he is from home. Being trapped in the Captain’s quarters makes him claustrophobic and a little crazy with boredom, and he takes to rifling through Yunho’s personal affects. There are few of them besides clothing and other necessities, though Changmin does find a stack of letters and some books in a box under the bed. He reads the books but leaves the letters unopened, though he’s not sure why - it’s not like he owes anything to the man who kidnapped him.
The crew rarely venture near him and most days his only visitor is Siwon. When Changmin asks him why nobody will even speak to him Siwon tells him it’s because Yunho has forbidden it, though clearly the first mate is exempt from the rule. Changmin resigns himself to lonely nights and even lonelier days. Contrary to his initial implication, Yunho never touches him. In fact after their first meeting Changmin rarely sees the Captain. Sometimes Yunho takes a meal with him, but Changmin is a surly and unforthcoming prisoner and their conversations remain stilted with hostility. He doesn’t know where Yunho sleeps at night, but it’s definitely not his own bed, where Changmin tries to make himself comfortable amongst the sheets and musk of another man.
One night they make berth at a bustling port, and Yunho and most of his crew go ashore to relax and resupply. Changmin chafes against being left behind - it would be the ideal opportunity for him to escape, but Yunho foresees his intentions and leaves him shackled to the bedpost. At least he has Siwon for company, but it’s small comfort.
“Please let me go ashore,” Changmin begs, tugging against the metal cuffs Yunho had unceremoniously snapped around his wrists while he slept. He had woken instantly and spat curses at the other man, kicking out at him. Yunho had given him a hard look before he left and Changmin had fallen back against the bed with a sob of frustration.
“You know that’s not possible,” Siwon says without looking up from the desk. Papers are scattered across it as he looks over the ship’s inventory.
“At least let me out of these cuffs. I’ll help you,” Changmin coaxes. Siwon casts him a disbelieving look and Changmin makes his eyes wide and pleading, which draws a chuckle out of the other man.
“Cute. Very cute,” he says, shaking his head. “No wonder he’s obsessed with you.”
“What?” Changmin stops tugging on his shackles long enough to give him a confused look.
Siwon suddenly looks like he wishes he hadn’t said anything. “Nothing. Forget I said that.”
Changmin sighs and settles back against the pillows. He stares up at the ceiling for a while, lost in thought. Escape plans form and deform in his mind, all of them underlaid by the nagging feeling that this is all an incredible waste of their time, because nobody is even going to care that he’s gone. If only he could convince the Captain of his own worthlessness so he would let him go. . .
Yunho’s image forms in the eye of Changmin’s mind, cold and stoic and so deadly handsome it would surely be fatal to get too close. He sighs again and rolls over to look at Siwon.
“Hey Siwon? How long have you known the Captain?” he asks. Siwon glances up from his papers and gives him a thoughtful look.
“Yunho? I’ve known him forever. We grew up together,” he says.
“What’s he like?” Changmin muses. Siwon gives him a strange look.
“You have met the man, right? That’s what he’s like.”
“No I mean, what’s he really like? The whole Captain thing, it’s a facade. It’s the mask he has to put on to face the world and his crew. I can tell because - ” Changmin cuts himself off, suddenly self conscious about what he was going to say. I can tell because I’m a prince, and I’ve lived behind a mask my whole life.
Siwon’s expression softens. He rolls a quill between his fingers and gazes down at his papers contemplatively.
“He’s loyal,” he says at last. “He’s the most loyal person I know. And he’s determined - once he gets an idea in his head there’s nothing and nobody that can change his mind.”
“Most people would just call that stubbornness,” Changmin quips. Siwon gives him a small smile.
“Well, okay, maybe he’s just stubborn. But he’s honourable and good, so that stubbornness is rarely faulty. He’s my best friend,” Siwon says simply.
Changmin stares up at the ceiling and tries to reconcile the image of Yunho he has with the man Siwon knows. Yunho is cold and brusque with him, and he has yet to see any of the good qualities Siwon claims he possesses. Changmin sighs and closes his eyes.
“I wish he’d just let me go. I’m not worth the trouble,” he mumbles.
“The Captain doesn’t think so, and his opinion is the one that matters,” Siwon replies.
- - -
The crew returns later the next day, by which time Changmin is more than ready to set sail again. Siwon had unchained him to let him use the toilet and roam the decks a little, all under strict supervision, and being even more restricted than before is driving Changmin insane. Since escape seems to be out of the question for now, he at least wants the freedom to roam the cabin again.
Yunho brings a whore on board with him from the port, a vivacious redhead named Heechul. Changmin can hear them in the next room later that night, after they’ve cast off and most of the crew is asleep. He can hear the whore’s loud moans punctuated by Yunho’s softer, deeper grunts. Changmin grits his teeth and puts a pillow over his head to try and block out the noise, a strange anger burning in his chest. The next morning when Yunho comes into his room to get a change of clothes Changmin glares at him from the bed. Yunho ignores him, but the whore soon comes in after him, half-dressed and looking thoroughly fucked, and his eyes light up as they land on Changmin.
“Ah, so this is the pretty prisoner I’ve heard so much about. How do you do, your grace,” he effects a little bow. Changmin sits up and pulls the covers up to chest.
“It’s your majesty, not your grace. Your grace is for those of lower rank,” he snaps. Rather than appear offended, Heechul laughs and bounds over to take a seat beside him.
“What would a lowly whore like me know of such things,” he says airily. He cups his chin in one hand and leans closer as Changmin edges away. “So tell me, does Yunho enjoy fucking you on your back more or on your stomach?”
“What?” Changmin yelps. Yunho rolls his eyes and pulls his shirt off.
“Heechul, don’t tease him,” he says. He turns slightly towards them and gives Changmin a slow once-over. “Besides, he’s far too skinny for my tastes. He’s more elbows and knees than anything to hold on to.”
Changmin burns with humiliation. He would say something cutting in return, but he’s distracted by the expanse of tanned skin suddenly bared to him, the muscles of Yunho’s back shifting as he tugs on a new shirt. Heechul and Yunho speak more like old friends than brief acquaintances and Changmin listens to their conversation with curiosity.
“Yunho why didn’t you mention how adorable he is?” Heechul pouts, reaching over to pinch Changmin’s cheeks. Changmin slaps his hands away and looks up in time to catch the amused look Yunho is giving him before his expression shutters and he turns away.
“Leave him be, Heechul. He’s not your new plaything,” Yunho says.
But contrary to his words it seems that Changmin is Heechul’s new plaything, as the whore ends up spending most of his time with him. Heechul’s presence lightens the atmosphere on board, not only because he puts Yunho in a good mood but because he’s equally as friendly with the rest of the crew. The only person his charm doesn’t work on is Changmin, who regards him with a mixture of disgust and resignation. It’s not that Changmin has anything against whores per se - his propensity for befriending the lower folk is one of the many things that makes his relationship with his father so strained - but there’s something about Heechul and his relationship with Yunho that makes his blood boil. At least he has someone other than Siwon to talk to now, though the conversations frequently leave something to be desired.
“I’d forgotten how good he is,” Heechul moans, rolling around on the bed Changmin has come to think of as his own, since it doesn’t seem like Yunho is in the mood to reclaim it anytime soon.
“Who?” Changmin murmurs without looking up from his book. He’d discovered more books stashed around Yunho’s room, as though they were treasures the Captain had to hide.
“Yunho! He fucks me so good, you have no idea,” Heechul sighs. Changmin stiffens.
“I’d like to keep it that way,” he says, but his eyes have stopped moving over the page. Heechul grins and props his chin up on Changmin’s shoulder.
“He’s big, you know. And talented, especially with that tongue of his. When he licks me out - ohhh it’s the most amazing feeling in the world,” Heechul gives a happy little shiver. Heat pools in Changmin’s stomach and he snaps the book shut.
“Yeah I really don’t want to hear about that,” he grits out. Heechul smiles and slides an arm around his waist, curling closer against him.
“Are you sure? You look like you do,” he breathes. His fingers slip under Changmin’s shirt and caress over his sides. “I bet you’d like that. I bet you dream about his big thick cock splitting you open, ramming into you over and over - ”
Heat washes across Changmin’s face. His lips part, head tilted back slightly as Heechul whispers sin into his ear. His hands clench in the sheets, mind swarming with half-formed images of sun-kissed skin and soft lips and he’s seconds away from begging the whore to do something he’ll regret when the door opens to admit Yunho. Changmin’s eyes widen, guilt slamming through him, and he yanks himself out of Heechul’s grip like he’s been burned. Yunho raises an eyebrow as Heechul laughs.
“Look now, you’ve ruined the moment. And I almost had him where I want him,” Heechul says. Yunho shakes his head and pours himself a drink.
“Heechul, I don’t think I need to remind you that I have standing orders for the prince to remain untouched,” he says, a low note of warning in his voice. Heechul tosses his bright hair and looks unabashed.
“Those orders are for your crew, of which I am not,” he says.
“You will obey me while you are a guest on board my ship,” Yunho growls. Heechul laughs and rises to swipe the drink from Yunho’s hand.
“And what if I don’t? Going to punish me, Captain? Or better yet - going to punish your pretty little prince? Please let me watch.”
Changmin makes a small sound and Yunho glances at him. There’s something hard and blazing in his eyes that leaves Changmin momentarily breathless before he looks away.
“Don’t be ridiculous Heechul,” he says. He pours himself a new drink, then after a moment of hesitation takes out a third glass and pours one more.
“Here,” he says, holding it out for Changmin to take. Surprised, Changmin takes the drink and sits up on the edge of the bed.
For once conversation spools out easy and relaxed between them, no doubt thanks to Heechul’s presence. After a while Siwon joins them, and Changmin learns that he and Yunho have been friends with Heechul for many years now. They reminisce about old adventures together and for the first time Changmin sees Yunho laugh without abandon, and the sight makes him catch his breath. Being the recipient of that smile is like having the light of a small sun turned towards him, and Changmin melts under its rays. The drink makes him warm and acquiescing, cheeks dusted with a faint blush and eyes bright. He watches, and sees the Captain striped away to leave only the man Yunho, and what he sees makes his stomach constrict and his heart hammer in his chest.
Siwon leaves towards midnight, and then Heechul falls asleep with his head in Changmin’s lap. Yunho picks him up and carries him to his bed before returning and closing the door behind him. Silence falls between them, but it is neither cold nor uncomfortable. The candles burn lower and in their light Changmin imagines a thousand promises into Yunho’s eyes, each more fantastical than the rest. Changmin looks away and picks at a thread in the blanket.
“He’s nice, Heechul,” Changmin muses at length. “Annoying and uncouth, but nice.”
Yunho smiles. “He’s a handful but his heart’s in the right place.”
“Do you love him?” Changmin blurts out before he can stop himself. He grimaces immediately afterwards for asking such a stupid question but Yunho merely chuckles and shakes his head.
“No. Men like me can’t fall in love. It’s dangerous.”
Their eyes meet and Changmin blinks at him for a few seconds before quickly looking away.
“And you?” Yunho enquires at length. “Any lovers to speak of back home?”
Changmin’s expression shutters. “I am betrothed,” he says dully. “To the Crown Princess of Ileria. A strategic match to unite our kingdoms.”
“I asked if you were in love with anyone, not if you were betrothed. There is a vast difference between the two,” Yunho says. A small smile flickers across Changmin’s lips.
“I was, once,” he says. He doesn’t know why he’s telling Yunho this. Perhaps it’s the alcohol talking, or perhaps it has something to do with the curious, non-judgemental weight of Yunho’s gaze. “He was a stableboy who worked at the palace. He had. . .the sweetest smile I’d ever seen. He made me laugh. We were so madly in love with each other that we forgot the rest of the world still existed.” Changmin pauses, lost in memories of a different time, a different person. A different him.
“What happened to him?” Yunho asks. Changmin stares into the liquid depths of his glass and feels his fingers tighten around it.
“We got caught and my father had him killed,” he says flatly. He hears Yunho exhale and glances up at him.
“I’m sorry,” Yunho says. Candlelight softens his outline and seems to make him glow. Changmin lifts one shoulder in a shrug.
“It was a long time ago,” he says. His throat constricts briefly but he swallows it down. He’s shed enough tears over this particular memory.
Yunho raises his glass into the space between them. “To your stableboy,” he says.
Changmin clinks glasses with him, and that night when he sleeps he dreams of forsaken love.
- - -
They make berth at a different port a month later and Heechul bids them farewell. Changmin is not sorry to see him go - he’s learned to tolerate Heechul to the point where he might even call him a friend, albeit grudgingly, but he’s found he has zero tolerance for the casual way with which he and Yunho sleep together. Heechul manages to hug him goodbye before Changmin can push him off and skips back with a laugh.
“Just do me one favour,” he says before he goes.
“What?” Changmin sighs. Heechul gathers his hands in his and gives him an imploring look.
“Don’t break his heart,” he says. Changmin yanks his hands away and glares at him.
“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” he snaps. But he does know. He knows it from the way Yunho looks at him, from their increasingly long nights spent in each other’s company, talking and drinking and playing cards. He knows it from the desire that coils through him whenever he’s near the other man, that dangerous lust that he dare not act upon. He begs Yunho to let him go ashore this time, with promises he won’t try to run away. Yunho agrees grudgingly, but with the stipulation that Changmin must stay by his side at all times.
It is on this promise that Changmin sets foot on land for the first time in three months. He resists the urge to sink to his knees and kiss the solid ground. Yunho weaves his way through the bustling marketplace of the portside city and Changmin hurries to keep up with him. People jostle him and he glares at them, a rebuke on the tip of his tongue before he remembers that he is not a prince here, merely a lowly prisoner dressed in Yunho’s old, slightly too large clothes. He curls a hand in the back of the Captain’s coat and Yunho glances at him but says nothing.
Siwon joins them moments later, looking silent and watchful.
“There are imperial guards here,” he says. Changmin’s heart jolts with hope. Yunho swears.
“What are they doing this far south?” he hisses. They turn to glance at Changmin, who strives to look as innocent as possible.
“Looking for him, no doubt,” Siwon mutters. Yunho grabs him and pushes him towards Siwon.
“Get him back to the ship right now,” he says.
“No! Please, let me stay a little longer - ” Changmin struggles against Siwon’s grip. He knows they’re both dead men if they’re caught with the kidnapped prince, but he wants so badly to stay on land - just the thought of getting back on the ship makes him ill. Siwon clamps a hand over his mouth.
“Shh,” he hisses. They duck into an alleyway just as three imperial guards march past. Changmin makes a sound and strains against Siwon’s hold on him until Yunho clamps a hand on his arm. He meets the Captain’s eyes and slowly feels the fight drain out of him. Siwon draws his hand off his mouth as Yunho’s fingers linger on Changmin’s cheek.
“Go back to the ship,” he says softly. Changmin sighs.
“Okay,” he whispers.
But it’s easier said than done. They’ve taken only a few steps towards the wharf when shouts sound from behind them. Yunho and Siwon exchange a glance before simultaneously drawing their swords.
“Halt!” someone calls from behind them.
“Run,” Yunho says. Siwon grabs Changmin and they run, pushing aside passersby as they head for the water. Guards pour into the street in front of them, their swords drawn and pointing right at them.
“It’s the prince. Grab him!” one of them yells. Changmin yelps as someone pulls him out of Siwon’s grip. Siwon turns and cuts down the man, and Changmin is pushed aside as the guards swarm around the pirate. Other members of their crew appear out of the shadows of side streets and surround the guards, the clash of iron ringing loudly in the air as they fight. People scatter out of the way and Changmin backs up against a wall, frozen with indecision. He glances behind them and sees Yunho and more of his crew surrounded by imperial guards. The pirates are skilled and fast but outnumbered, and Changmin flinches as someone opens a cut in Yunho’s arm. His eyes dart around and he spots a dead guard lying a few feet away from him, a sword still clutched in his hand.
This is it. This is the opportunity he’s been waiting for, the ideal moment for him to escape while the pirates are all distracted. His mind yells at him to go but Changmin hesitates, hands clenching and unclenching at his sides. He glances back at Yunho again and sees that he has a sword in each hand now as he faces off against four adversaries.
“Oh, fuck me,” Changmin groans. He grabs the fallen guard’s sword and runs towards the Captain, cutting down one of the men sneaking up behind him. Yunho whirls to face him and there’s a moment where their swords clash, and Changmin sees a flicker of uncertainty cross Yunho’s face. Then they’re standing back to back and Changmin lets his years of childhood training take over as he ducks and parries. He’s never been a strong fighter, always having preferred to stick his nose in a book instead, but his father had ordered him to take swordfighting lessons until he was too old to be forced anymore. He doesn’t stop to think about the fact that he’s fighting the very people who are trying to rescue him and just focuses on cutting open an escape path for them. The guards fall back one by one and as soon as there’s an opening Yunho grabs his hand and they run.
They round a corner and Changmin sees the ship come into view. He starts to run faster but then Yunho cries out and stumbles and Changmin is pulled back with him. He turns to see one of the guards sinking a dagger into Yunho’s side before Siwon pulls the man off and slits his throat. Yunho starts to fall and they both grab him and run. They’re the last to stumble onto the ship before they cast off and he and Siwon help Yunho into his cabin.
“Quick - get me clean water and bandages,” Changmin says. He peels Yunho’s clothes aside and hisses at the blood dripping everywhere. The blade is still lodged in his side, just above his hip. It’s not in too deep to risk removing and Changmin takes hold of the handle.
“Hold still. This will hurt,” he warns. Yunho grits his teeth, then cries out and thrashes as Changmin pulls the blade free.
“That wouldn’t have hurt so much if you’d just stayed still,” Changmin grits out, trying to hold him down and put pressure on the wound. Yunho glares at him.
“I wouldn’t have gotten hurt if you’d stayed on the ship,” he growls.
“I wouldn’t have wanted out so badly if you hadn’t locked me up!” Changmin shoots back.
Yunho pauses. “Well I wouldn’t have kidnapped you if your father wasn’t so hell-bent on killing us all.”
“That is so far from being my fault it’s almost painful to explain,” Changmin growls.
“Will you two stop arguing for just five seconds?” Siwon comes back into the room with bandages, water and some foul-smelling medicine that he pours onto Yunho’s wound after they’ve cleaned it. Yunho clenches his teeth but stays admirably still as they bandage him up. He’s lost a lot of blood and his face is pale and pinched with pain. Changmin retrieves some rum from the sideboard and helps him sit up so he can drink it. Siwon hovers nearby, worry creasing his forehead.
“The men want to know what’s happening,” he says quietly. He’s speaking to Yunho, but Yunho seems close to passing out and doesn’t reply. Changmin looks up at him.
“Tell them he’s fine,” he says.
“But - ” Siwon starts.
“Just do as I say,” Changmin snaps. Siwon blinks and steps back.
“Yes your highness,” he says. Changmin watches him close the door behind him before allowing his shoulders to slump. Yunho stirs in his grasp and chuckles weakly.
“Very authoritative,” he says. Changmin helps him lie back down and sighs.
“Oh shut up,” he says, but there’s no heat in it. He starts to rise but Yunho grasps his wrist and stops him. His eyes are clouded with exhaustion and pain but his jaw is set as he gazes up at Changmin.
“Why did you stay?” he asks. “You had the perfect opportunity to escape.”
Changmin swallows and looks away. His wrist burns in Yunho’s hand. He wants to pull away but he feels rooted to the spot.
“I promised to stay by your side. That was your condition for letting me go on land. I don’t break my promises,” he says. Yunho lets out a breath and closes his eyes.
“Thank you,” he whispers. His hand drops from Changmin’s arm and his breathing evens out. Thinking he’s asleep, Changmin gets to his feet and makes to leave before Yunho’s voice gives him pause.
“Changmin,” he says softly. “Don’t go.”
Changmin sinks down beside the bed and takes one of Yunho’s hands in both of his. He presses the Captain’s slender fingers against his cheek and tries not to think too much about how perfect his name sounds on Yunho’s lips.