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The Heart of the Ocean

Chapter Text

The iron curtains were closing one after the other, bringing an icy calm to the neighborhood of the Corner. Seen this way, it was hard to believe that a few hours earlier, life was in full swing with songs, laughter and shouts of joy. Between the carnival and the terraces full thanks to a particularly generous sun in this month of April, the neighborhood was full of an atmosphere like no other, colorful and lively as a firework of emotions.
But the storm had arrived, bringing with it the cold and darkness that reminded us that spring was just beginning to set in, which made families fleeing for shelter, and shopkeepers who had to close shop for protect themselves from the powerful wind that could bring debris in its wake.
The weather had announced it, but no one had expected it to be so violent. Almost sinister, like a murmur announcing a catastrophe of great magnitude. Thus, it had begun to rain with abundance, and the first thunderclaps were heard, adding another layer to the nervousness of those who did not like this kind of climate. The colors had faded, replaced by the grayness and the darkness that seemed to engulf everything in its tempestuous bowels.

However, there was a building in this area that didn’t seem to be disturbed by the change of weather. A place, it was said, out of time and space, so much did its atmosphere contrast with how it was in the outside world. Although it looked old, this building, similar to English pubs, was the pride of the Corner, higher than the other buildings, and much more luxurious than the interior could show.
The main hall, huge, was decorated with particular attention to detail. On the ceiling hung a huge crystal chandelier, whose purple shards whirled on the walls, floor and ceiling, diffusing a soft and peaceful light. The tables were arranged so that everyone could enjoy a good time, without being disturbed by the conversations of others, who, although lively and cheerful, did not seem to fill the space as it would be appropriate to other bars. The ebony counter was fringed with gilding that sparkled under the small lamps on the display, and with the light from the beautiful pastel-colored rosette between two shelves laden with bottles of exquisite liquors.
Not far from the counter stood a swing door that gave access to the kitchens whose dishes came and went to the rhythm of the orders of customers who always left satisfied and happy with this moment spent in this mystical place where resonated music combining jazz and lounge, soft rhythms that added the perfect touch for a pleasant moment.
Of course, the decoration and the quality of the services would be nothing without a team worthy of the name. Elegant and friendly waitresses, always smiling and doing their best to offer the best here ... And a bartender whose aura was so sweet and peaceful that the very idea of being in a bad mood in these Places was worthy of a joke. This same bartender who liked to tell a few anecdotes of his life, as if he had lived much longer than his appearance showed.
He was a tall man with a fair complexion and rather impassive features. Muscular without excess, he exuded a noble and respectful presence, amplified by his impeccable suit, his arms covered with tattoos and the few piercings that decorated his ears and his face. His black hair with blue tips was tied on his neck in a small low tail, allowing him to have his face cleared. While his bartender-rocker look made him different from the rest, he stood out even more by wearing thick sunglasses all the time, hiding his eyes from others using the pretense of an eye injury that made people uneasy when they saw the extent of the damage. Thanks to that, nobody was trying to unravel the mystery surrounding Hati Lowell, the owner and barman of this bar called Jester.

If the bar was closed to customers, the occupants of the premises continued to activate. Employees had an appartment directly above the main hall, as luxurious and comfortable as the rest of the infrastructure, and all met to talk about everything and nothing, ignoring the thunder that made the windows of the building vibrate while tasting a few sweets to celebrate the end of the week, and for the pleasure of spending time together.
They were all sitting so comfortably that nothing could dislodge them, as they listened to the stories told by the fake twins Gogonea, working in the country's most famous hospital, with Alan Rickman, the director of the said hospital who was sitting near them. Between laughs and dirty jokes, they seemed in a small bubble, safe from the storm, fascinating a trio of young people in their twenties. There was Yael, Alan’s son and Shen, his boyfriend curled up against him like a cat would, his hand on his and his head in the crook of his neck. And there was Nora ... Alan's daughter, whose hair red as amaryllis was tied into a lazy bun and her eyes were focused on a photo album she had been watching for a few long minutes now.

"Earth calls Nora, HELLOOOOO!" The twin brother called, waving his hand to try to catch her attention.

It was only when a thunderclap more powerful than the others made her startle that she showed a little vivacity, dropping the album on the floor as she rubbed her arms with a nervous gesture.

"I hate storms ..." The young woman named Nora mumbled. "I hope we won’t have one when we’ll go on a trip."
"You'll navigate with Elias, Nora." Alan said softly. "There is little chance that something will happen. His ship is solid and foolproof. It won’t sink so easily. "
"Years ago, a man had also proclaimed that his ship would not sink." The bartender's husky, quiet voice rose.
"Who are you talking about, Hati?" Yael asked.

The small family turned their gaze to Hati, whose eyes were fixed on the photo album he had picked up after Nora's scare. He had lifted his sunglasses now on his hair, a few locks falling in shambles around his face while it was possible to see the gray irises with purplish reflections browse a plasticized article to preserve the passing time.

"Someone called Joseph Bruce Ismay." Hati simply answered.
"Ismay? Like the president of the White Star Line, those who built the Titanic? "Nora inquired, raising her head to look at the bartender.
"Yes. He boasted to whoever wanted to hear that this ship would be the most luxurious and the most solid in the world, that it would never sink. He only fulfilled half of his promise."Hati said, turning to look at his friends.
"He was a fucking pretentious moron ... Between him and the Commander, I don’t know which one is the most to blame for all this fucking mess." Dimitri Gogonea mumbled.
"One was too ambitious, the other wanted to retire full of glory." Hati sighed.
"You were there ..." Nora said in a breath. "You were there ... The day she sank."

A small silence settled in the room, barely cut by the crackling of the logs in the fire and the fury of the storm. No one was surprised to hear Nora talk about this eventuality as if it was really possible that Hati and the twins were indeed part of that part of the story that still today raised many questions and obsessed a lot of people.
After all... neither Hati nor Dimitri and Hailey were really human. Three immortal beings whose existence was rocked by many crises and adventures they liked to tell during those evenings by the fire.
With a simple nod, Hati answered the question raised by young Rickman, lighting in the emerald eyes of the redhead a spark of curiosity that was also found in the eyes of Yael. Alan, meanwhile, raised an eyebrow and settled a little more comfortably, surprised to learn the news about this part of the history of his colleagues.

Dimitri moved a little closer to his sister whom he took in his arms, playing in the long locks of black hair that ran down his back. Eyes closed, he took a long breath, and let Hati find the right words to tell what was one of the greatest maritime disasters in peacetime.

So Hati began his story on the docks of a small port city in the South of England, April 10, 1912 ... When the crowd could discover this liner of dreams that was the Titanic.

Chapter Text

Southampton, England

In this little port city, an almost hysterical frenzy mingled with the powerful purring of what was now the attraction far from the moment. Press, passers-by, workmen, children, all pressed to see nearly everything that was possible, while boarding was going on at a good pace.
Everything perfect, irreproachable, impeccable. No matter how, the mention of his name has been synonymous with majesty, luxury, speed, strength... For this Thursday, April 10, 1912, the new star of the White Star Line was preparing to live his maiden voyage, in transporting about 2500 passengers of English coast in America's future of the future is a new way, after a mid-day.

Proud of its four back chimneys and already imposing columns of smoke, the RMS Titanic has swelled with pride as the passages flocked to it, all to discover the furniture and facilities that made the reputation of this ship which had, until then, passed the navigation tests, but whose results were such that they were much more impressive than those which were spaced the administrative of the White Star Line. Joseph Bruce Ismay, president of the company, could not hold back a smile, he was then observed by the officers. Of course, the first class passengers enjoyed exceptional service, treated and treated as the nobles seemed. But that did not mean that it did not matter the others. During the sanitary inspection of the occupants in third class, the officers showed kindness and patience. Not always obvious, when it came up against the language barrier, many immigrants were preparing to cross the Atlantic to make a fortune in a country where they want more chance.
And yet. Smile, availability, kindness were the watchwords for these good people who easily worked with each other.
It was not just the promise of a trip that everyone was talking about ... for days, months, years to come.

The dense crowd had to make room for many cars, bringing with them as much luggage as the trunks could hold without cracking under their weight, sign of a particularly rich and prosperous family, who would certainly benefit from everything the ship had better to bring.
From one of them came the graceful figure of a young woman with red hair held in a perfect bun, under a feathered hat so big that it projected a shadow on the porcelain complexion face of this apparition that captivated the looks. In her waisted white dress decorated with purple enhancing her innate elegance, the gray blue eyes of Rose DeWitt Buckater didn’t miss any details of what had been sold to her as a liner of dreams. She turned to a seemingly older man, black hair and coal eyes that adjusted the bowler hat on her head, a smile slicing her charismatic but haughty face.

"I don't see what all the fuss is about. It doesn't look any bigger than the Mauretania."Rose commented, holding her hat to protect her eyes from the sun.
"You can be blase about some things, Rose, but not about Titanic. It's over a hundred feet longer than Mauretania, and far more luxurious. It has squash courts, a Parisian cafe... even Turkish baths."The man was indignant as he turned to a woman who seemed to be the mother of this jaded beauty. "Your daughter is much too hard to impress, Ruth. Mind your step. "He added, showing the small puddle under the car.

The older woman had a chuckle at the expense of the brown hair that helped her get off the vehicle. She took a few steps to stretch her legs, before watching this titan of the seas.

"So it's the ship they say is unsinkable ..." She wondered.
"It is unsinkable. God himself couldn't sink this ship."The man says with a foolproof pride.

The man named Caledon Hockley turned to his valet. A tall fellow whose face was as cold as his build, giving him an air of undertaker's, whose keen eyes did not miss any details.
As he was about to speak, Caledon was interrupted in his thought by the presence of a flight attendant who rushed to him as the last calls of the ship and its crew eager to get off were sounding.

"Sir, you'll have to check your baggage through the main terminal, round that way-- " The officer began.
"I put my faith in you, good sir." Caledon sighed, slipping a five-pound note into his hand and enjoying the surprise on the man’s face. "See my man. " he added, pointing to his valet.
"Yes, sir. My pleasure, sir."The other was excited, glad to have received what was then an astronomical sum for a tip.
"These trunks here, and 12 more in the Daimler. We'll have all this lot up in the rooms."The valet said in a voice so honeyed that his face was cold.

The man from the White Star Line seemed to be freezing on the spot to see the huge pile of suitcases and luggage loading the second car, including wooden crates and a metal safe. He then began to whistle frantically to ask for reinforcements from the bunkers, who came running to take care of all this mess in the suites B-52-54-56.
Pleased to see the minions activate, Caledon looked at his pocket watch and had a slight frown.

"We'd better hurry. This way, ladies."He said, advancing to the first-class porticoes.

Behind them was Trudy, Rose's maid, who was carrying her mistress's last purchases, far too delicate to be worn by the officers. And as Caledon walked between the vehicles and the carts, pressing and shoving the second-class passengers and the steerage, the other first-class occupants avoided the press on the docks using a higher boarding bridge, so as not to be seen, let alone approach those who passed under the eyes of the sanitary officers.
They passed in front of a man dressed elegantly, turning the crank of a camera mounted on a tripod. From his name Daniel Marvin, this man was filming his young wife posing, frozen and embarrassed in front of the Titanic.

"Look up at the ship, darling, that's it. You're amazed! You can't believe how big it is! Like a mountain."Daniel encouraged.

But Mary Marvin did not have enough artistic talent to make the actress, poorly imitating a bad scene seen in a second-rate movie.
What a mocking grin on Caledon's lips that quickly lost him when two boys from the twenties bumped into him as they ran, even more so when the father of these children did the same.

"Steady!! " He growled.
"Sorry squire!" The squeezed father retorted.
"Steerage swine. Apparently missed his annual bath." Caledon groaned as he dusted off his jacket.
"Honestly, Cal, if you weren't forever booking everything at the last instant, we could have gone through the terminal instead of running along the dock like some squalid immigrant family. " Ruth criticized adjusting his gloves on his thin wrists.
"All part of my charm, Ruth. At any rate, it was my darling fiancee's beauty rituals which made us late."Caledon justified himself, looking at Rose from head to foot.
"You told me to change." Rose replied, stressing Caledon's share of responsibility for the delay.
"I couldn't let you wear black on sailing day, sweetpea. It's bad luck." The man said with a theatrical air.
"I felt like black." Rose sighed.
"Here I've pulled every string I could to book us on the grandest ship in history, in her most luxurious suites... and you act as if you're going to your execution." He says.

Walking through a maze of corridors, and with the help of a flight attendant who was happy to guide them to their destination, Caledon, Rose, and Ruth opened the door of their "Millionaire" suite. Empire style, it included two bedrooms, a bath, toilet, a closet and a huge living room. The lacquered wood with soft brown tones was further enhanced by the gilding decorating the panels and lighting, the entire furniture seeming to come from any castle, transferred on board to offer the fiancee a journey of King.
In addition to this space was a twenty-meter-long promenade bridge, bathed in light thanks to its huge bay windows that overlooked the vastness of the ocean.
A groom poured champagne into a glass of orange juice that he gave to Rose, but the young woman was more passionate about the paintings she unpacked than the attraction of a possible drink. Her eyes sparkled with fascination as she watched the works of Monet and Degas.
Leaning on the door frame, Caledon looked at Rose and Trudy at work, unable to restrain himself from rolling his eyes.

"God, not those finger-paintings again." He sighed, his glass of champagne in his hand. "Those mud puddles were certainly a waste of money."
"The difference between Cal’s taste in art and mine is that I have some. They're fascinating. Like in a dream... there's truth without logic. What's his name again... ?"Rose replied without hesitation, arranging the canvases here and there."A certain Picasso." She added, reading the name with a kind of admiration in her voice.
"A certain Picasso. He'll never amount to a thing, trust me. At least they were cheap. "Caledon chuckled.

If Rose wanted to reply something, she frowned and turned to the door when she heard the sound of a Tinkerbell approaching. Caledon had the same surprise and opened the door leading to the corridor to see where the delicate ringing sound came from. Rose also watched, and what they saw was beyond comprehension.
The steps belonged to a tall woman, with white skin like chalk, with a few colors on her cheeks and an eye blue like frost on a lake. Her features were cold, but gave off a nobility reminding Rose of the portraits of some monarchs lost throughout history. The woman had long black jay hair, which fell on the bottom of her hips in an ebony waterfall, adjusted by a beautiful gold and crystal brooch representing Japanese cherry blossoms, from which protruded two small stems themselves decorated by jade beads. She wore a kimono, red and black decorated with gold, but much shorter than traditional Japanese clothes. It went up to her knees, showing her long slender legs covered by thin nylon stockings, and her shoes as traditional as the rest. If Rose was caught by the cold beauty emanating from this apparition, Caledon's gaze didn’t know whether to look at her face or her opulent chest that she almost didn’t cover with the collar of her kimono, as if her chest were much too large to fit in decently closed clothes.

He was then pulled out of his reverie by a snap of his right finger just between the eyes, making him shake his head to look at the one who had been insulted him by such a gesture. The spitting portrait of this strange woman, but a man. A twin in many ways, to the tip of his jet black hair grazing indecency and cold features. The man's eyes were hard and upset, orange sunglasses on his nose and spoke with a heavy Romanian accent.

"My sister. Don't even think about her and stick to your fiance, moron." He groaned, lowering his glasses to look at Caledon with that look of ice that seemed to turn red like blood.
"I beg your pardon?!" Caledon was offended.
"What, I haven’t been clear enough?" The Romanian resumed, dominating the American of his size and his musculature. "Keep your eyes and hands away from my sister, if you don’t want to finish with your arm stuck from your ass to you fucking mouth. Understood?"
"Now, now Vlad." The voice of a third man rose behind the Romanian. "The porters will soon arrive in our suite, better you're here to check that nothing has been forgotten."

This voice belonged to a man as tall as was Romanian, and as pale as him, with the difference that his face was totally stripped of expression. He had, unlike the twins, black hair with blue tips and eyes hidden by sunglasses, which did not detract from his elegance, in his black tuxedo decorated with gold and blue, as well as the cane qu he had in his hand.

"We will spend the trip in the next suite, we should avoid conflicts as much as possible. Isn’t it?" The man said, still calmly.
"That goes without saying. There's at least someone reasonable here." Caledon said, adjusting the collar of his shirt.
You should said you’re relieved he’s here because you’re shitting yourself with fear.” Vlad chuckled as he walked in the corridor. “I pity his fiancee! C’mon Hati!

Hati, the man with the tuxedo, waved his hand to signal that he was coming, before turning to Caledon, adjusting his own gloves and jacket. Rose had gone to her room, trying hard not to laugh to see Caledon’s arrogance being crushed just by few words and natural charisma.

"If I was you ... I would really pay attention to where I put my eyes. He was more than serious about his sister, and I would not always be there to stop him giving free rein to his ... protective side." Hati said, slightly threatening without his voice changing.

Without giving time to his neighbor to answer, the impassive resumed his way to his suite. Bubbling with frustration at the insult from these odious fanatics, Caledon finished his glass of champagne in one go and headed for the room, where Trudy was helping Rose undo the buttons on her sleeves, the two young women talking like friends .

"It smells so brand new. Like they built it all just for us. I mean... just to think that tonight, when I crawl between the sheets, Iill be the first-- "Trudy started, overflowing with joy.
"And when I crawl between the sheets tonight, I'll still be the first. " Caledon said, looking at Rose insistently.
"Excuse me, Miss." Trudy stammered, blushing and leaving the room quickly.

Caledon approached Rose and wrapped his arms around her so that his fiancée's back was glued to his chest, in a purely possessive gesture, very far from the affection that young fiancees might have ... So much so that he didn’t notice that Rose's gaze was losing some of its luster, as if these arms around her represented the links of a chain of which she couldn’t never free herself.