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A sudden shock of laughter

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Fitzjames crossed his arms over his chest, pretending to be more annoyed than he actually was, while Stanley was laughing so loudly the entire ship had to hear it.

“Well, I am glad my misfortune causes you such merriment.” His statement was closer to the truth than many would have suspected. Ever since China he had tried his best to get Stanley to crack a smile. To get him to laugh out loud felt like quite an achievement especially in their current situation.

Stanley’s laughter was undeterred by the put-upon air Fitzjames affected. He knew him better than that anyway. “Only a man like you would be in such a situation.”

“You mean only a man like me would get out of such a situation”, Fitzjames replied primly.

Stanley reached for him and pulled him down on his lap. “That too”, he said with a smile.

Fitzjames pretended to be mollified by his response. “You are lucky I am in a forgiving mood.”

“Is that so?”

“Indeed”, Fitzjames caressed Stanley’s face, carding his fingers through his hair. He had always thought him unbearably handsome, had even made a quip about it the first time they had met when he had nearly been dying of a bullet to the chest.

“And what does your forgiveness entail?” Stanley asked, wrapping his arms tighter around Fitzjames.

“Why, my company of course”, Fitzjames said, tilting Stanley’s face up with the hand that was not tangled up in his hair. Fair, tall men had always been a weakness of his.

“Of course”, Stanley’s tone was dry but Fitzjames could taste the smile in his kiss.