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Novella: Smoke on Water Part 1 of 4

A sequel to The Lone Freighter

Author: clonesgirl
Fandom: The Sinking of the Laconia
Rating: NC-17 for sex, violence and death of OCs
Pairing: hartenstein/mortimer
Timeline: 1943 A/U
Word count this section: 2,185
Warnings: Historic and fictional characters, some violence
Spoilers: None
Disclaimer: Characters borrowed from BBC strictly for playing with, not profit. No offence intended. This is purely a work of fiction.
Summary: The annual transatlantic race is back on only conditions have changed and there will be danger along the way.
Beta: None. If you find goofs please let me know.
A/N: This is a sequel to "The Lone Freighter". If you haven't yet read that fic then you really need to go back and read it first as this won't make a lot of sense otherwise.

"Captain! Captain, it's on!"

Mortimer entered their shared quarters on U-156 where Captain Hartenstein was drinking tea and sorting through some new charts. However, at the excited tone in his first officer's voice he looked up.

Mortimer threw down a newspaper open at page three to display an announcement in bold print; the annual translantic race, which had been cancelled the year before due to the war in the Third Realm, was returning and, mindful of the dangers, the public were invited to book passage on any of the fifteen vessels taking part. Apparently, after much discussion the Admiralty had decided to hold it this year in spite of various voices to the contrary saying it was much too dangerous.

Mortimer pointed to one paragraph. "Read that. That's us!" He sat down and poured himself a cup of tea.

Hartenstein read aloud. "'In order to guarantee their safe passage all participating liners will be accompanied by a fleet of U-boats.'"

"We're going to New York!"

"It appears so though I've heard nothing."

Just then a crewman entered bearing a large blue envelope with orders from the Admiralty, which the captain duly perused.

"Well?" Mortimer inquired impatiently.

Hartenstein smiled. "It appears you were right."

"Told you."

"We leave in ten days. Hm, they will be meeting with all U-boat commanders in the morning to discuss security arrangements."

Mortimer appropriated the newspaper. "It says this year's race will be run on a points system. 'Since it's probable that ships will be delayed by having to perform rescue work, it has been decided that they will earn an extra point for every survivor they pick up as well as fifty points for the first to enter New York. The ship with the most points will be declared the winner and awarded the Translantic trophy.' It's in the bag!" he declared.

"I wouldn't be so sure," Hartenstein cautioned. "Titanic will have stiff competition. There will be eleven other ships."

"So? We've rescued so many now we could do it with our eyes closed. How many German, British and American commanders have you managed to convince that they're no longer at war in the Third? We're getting faster and faster."

Hartenstein smiled at his first officer. "Having a British first helps, especially with the Germans."

Mortimer returned the smile. "So does escorting the most famous ship in the world."

Hartenstein chuckled. "That too."

"And Titanic's no slouch. She was built for speed."

Werner Hartenstein could not help but smile at his first officer's enthusiasm. It was infectious and never failed to cheer him up. "There is more," he said.

"What more?"

"I am in charge of the U-boat fleet."

"Wow! You get to boss around all those U-boat commanders." He pursed his lips. "You're going to enjoy this, aren't you."

Hartenstein merely smiled like the cat that got the cream.

Just then the telephone rang and he picked it up while Mortimer finished his tea and listened to his end of the conversation, quickly gathering that they were invited to lunch on Titanic.

The meal was a quiet affair in the Cafe Parisien where they nibbled on caviar and fresh pastries.

"Normally," Captain Andrews began, "all the ships are fully booked for the race but this year..."

"This year you will have to leave cabin space for survivors."

"Quite. I think leaving space for an extra one hundred and fifty should be more than sufficient. After all, we won't be the only ship taking part."

"More than sufficient," Hartenstein agreed.

"And of course I intend to win it. If the race had been held last year it would have been the thirtieth anniversary of the old girl's rather fateful night where she entered this realm. However, since it was cancelled, and we were at sea for the anniversary last year it's been decided by White Star that this will be a belated big thirtieth. That means everybody in period costume."

"There will be several other fast ships," Hartenstein cautioned. "Lusitania is very fast indeed."

"So she is, and so is Britannic - well, after all, she is Titanic's sister ship - but my chief engineer knows a trick or two to get some extra speed out of the old girl. In any case we'll all be going flat out to win it. I trust all the U-boats will keep up with their charges."

"My friend, I can only speak for myself, and we certainly will."

Andrews grinned. "I would expect no less. I'm only sorry you won't be aboard to enjoy the fun and games."

Even as he spoke all three men heard the strains of music now drifting from the ship's grand ballroom as the band struck up a lively tune.

"Band practice," Andrews mused. "They tell me they have a new catalogue to learn."

Mortimer realized that he had never stopped to ask, but now he wondered. Gazing at Andrews he inquired if they were the same, or at least some of the same band members who were with the ship on her maiden voyage in 1912.

Andrews smiled gently at his guests. "The same. All of them."

"They... have not wished to move on?" Hartenstein inquired.

"Oh, they could," Andrews replied carelessly, "and I believe they would have but they chose to stay when the Admiralty finally allowed the old girl to take part in rescue missions. It's their music you see. Once upon a time it helped to calm those who were truly in peril on the sea. Now it's part of the healing of those who have suffered the same fate to come here."

"I understand," Hartenstein murmured as Mortimer, too, nodded.

"You'd be surprised if you saw it," Andrews continued. "British dancing with Germans and Germans dancing with Americans, Canadians and Australians and of course the Italians and the French dancing with everyone. They're wonderful boys and they play long into the night. Don't know what I'd do without them. Wish you could be there to see it."

"Ah, my friend, but we would not be doing our job," Hartenstein responded.

All three men finished their meal in silence listening to the band rehearsing. Afterwards they went to see them, Andrews introducing the two U-boat officers to each member of the band before he was called away. However, the band invited them to stay and listen for as long as they liked.

The two men stood tapping their feet to the rhythm before Mortimer grabbed his commanding officer and whirled him around.

"Mortimer!" Hartenstein chastised.

"We need to practice too. It's so long since we danced we'll be getting rusty, so shut up and dance with me," was all the reply the captain got, though he was allowed to take the lead. They ended up dancing cheek to cheek in the large, otherwise empty ballroom, their feet treading lightly on the polished wood of the floor, the overhead chandeliers now largely dimmed as the light was concentrated where the band was playing.

For Mortimer, the sheer closeness of his lover as they moved and swayed, the man's warmth and solidity beneath his hands, the scent of his cologne, the feel of his bearded cheek against his own was sheer delight. He leaned back to gaze into the hazel eyes he loved only to find them closed in ecstasy. He waited until they opened and met his in a statement of intimacy as close as any they had ever shared.

Hartenstein lifted the hand which had been resting on Mortimer's shoulder and briefly stroked his cheek. For him to be able to dance with his loved one was pure pleasure; something that he had not yet grown accustomed to, and something to be treasured.

When Andrews returned to see if his friends were still listening to the band he was surprised to find them dancing. Smiling to himself, he watched as they turned around and Mortimer, on catching his eye, winked. As he continued to watch, their positions changed, now holding one other closely, their eyes closed, enraptured by the music and each other's presence. Their love was plain for all to see and it did his heart good to witness it. Finally he was able to catch Mortimer's eye and beckon to him, and it was Mortimer who led his captain over. He, in turn, led both men to an empty stateroom and quietly closed the door behind them.

Hartenstein's lips turned up at the corners. "What do you want with me?"

Mortimer, too, smiled. "Shh. A German spy on a British ship is a dangerous thing. What are you doing here?"

"That is for you to find out."

"Very well then. Will you submit to a search, or will I have to tie you up?"

"I will submit if it will prove to you that I have nothing to hide."

"Good. Undress."

In silence and with his companion's avid gaze on him, Hartenstein removed his clothes until he was down to socks and underwear.

"All of them," Mortimer demanded. "German spies cannot be trusted and that's quite a bulge you have there. Needs investigation."

His companion complied, revealing the source of the considerable bulge.

"Well, well," Mortimer mused, openly staring at the object in question. "I had no idea German spies were quite so interesting. Perhaps you do have something to hide after all. Lie down."

Again, Hartenstein complied, watching as Mortimer came closer to sit beside him; watching as the other's hungry gaze drank in his nude body and the desire openly displayed there.

"Do you wish to collaborate with a German spy?" he inquired, his voice soft and husky, one hand holding his erection, long fingers gently stroking it.

"That could be dangerous," was the reply, Mortimer's avid eyes betraying his desire.

"You're not afraid of a little danger, are you? Or is it you're afraid of collaborating with a German?"

Mortimer leaned closer. "As a loyal British officer I should be..."

"But you're not... are you?"

"I will admit, Captain Hartenstein, you... tempt me."

"Do you like what you see?" Hartenstein deliberately ran a long finger from base to tip of his lengthy erection before pulling back the flesh of the head to reveal the glistening wet tip. "Do you wish to touch it?" he inquired softly. "You may you know. It won't bite," he teased.

Still fully dressed, Mortimer, who could not take his eyes off it, leaned down and licked the length of the bulging cock, finishing at the tip, satisfied to hear the other's quick intake of breath. He rested his head on the firmness of a flat belly before taking as much of the glorious object into his mouth as he could, his tongue playing with the tip, tasting it, enjoying it, loving every inch of it as he simultaneously fondled the swollen testicles, cupping them and rolling them gently in his fingers.

Of a sudden, he was lifted off and thrown to the other side of the bed. Hands which had been stroking his hair now pressed down on him.

"It is dangerous to tease a German officer. Now, my Britischer, you will pay the price."

Busy hands undressed him and he was shortly on his back, warm lips and long tongue devouring his eager mouth while exploring hands touched him everywhere and a curious finger found his entrance, rubbing over it, teasing it deliciously. His nipples were sucked ravenously and, as he turned around, his own lips once more found the wonderful, eager erection. This time he was not pulled away. This time he was allowed to complete the loving task as a wet finger penetrated him and he clenched it hard as he came, groaning his pleasure as the fire ripped through him, seeming to last and last...

When his German lover came he eagerly drank the bitter libation before turning to collapse beside his companion, both men catching their breath.

Finally, the German commander turned to the British officer.

"You love to collaborate with a German officer," he accused gently.

"No more than you love to collaborate with a British officer," was the reply.

"What shall we do about this?" Hartenstein mused.

Mortimer grinned. "To hell with the war. We'll collaborate for all we're worth," he decided.

His German companion chuckled.

It had long been a habit for them to relive variations on their old life where they had fallen in love in spite of being on opposite sides of a war; a war where one had sunk the other yet rescued him; a war where their shared dream life had united them; a world where acceptance for their kind of relationship did not yet exist yet they had been free to love each other each night as they had longed for in real life. Now that they had found a world where all that they had longed for existed and their relationship was not even considered unusual, they were inclined to mock their old existence and have fun with it. For them it was a form of release; a way of saying to hell with war and all the pretensions that went with it.