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Fic: A Day in Port

Author: clonesgirl
Fandom: The Sinking of the Laconia
Rating: NC-17 for sex
Pairing: hartenstein/mortimer
Timeline: 1943 A/U
Total word count: 6,970
Warnings: Historic and fictional characters
Spoilers: None
Disclaimer: Characters borrowed from BBC strictly for playing with, not profit. No offence intended. This is purely a work of fiction.
Summary: A seafood lunch gives Mortimer lecherous ideas
Beta: None. If you find goofs please let me know.
A/N: This is a direct sequel to "Deadly Cargo" and "A Perilous Passage". If you haven't yet read them then this may not make a lot of sense.



It was the usual, Thomas Mortimer, First Officer U-156 decided, as he sat beside his commanding officer, Werner Hartenstein, facing the senior officers of the International Admiralty. Not far away sat Titanic's commanding officer, Thomas Andrews.

"Now let me see," Admiral Strong began. "Ah, yes, U-156. How go the repairs, Captain Hartenstein?"

"Repairs are already complete, sir."

"And your radio?"

"Has been replaced. A smaller auxiliary set has also been installed."

"Very good, very good."

The British admiral looked at some more papers in front of him.

"These two incidents on your last mission were most serious, Captain Hartenstein," he began. "Most serious. Aside from the tragic loss of life, there was also great danger to Titanic."

"I believed - correctly as it turned out - that there was little danger from the first incident although I will grant that the explosion was substantial and..."

"Substantial? Substantial? Is that how you would classify the simultaneous explosion of one hundred and twenty torpedoes?" the American admiral exclaimed. "If that's what you call substantial then I'd hate to think what you'd call monumental!"

"Not to mention the damage that may have been done to sea life in the area," the British admiral continued. "Our scientists will have to study it. This wretched war in the Third is doing more damage to this realm that I ever thought possible." He paused and sighed before turning to Captain Andrews.

"Captain Andrews, are you satisfied with the way the incident of the Danish square rigger was handled?"

"Oh, quite. The explosion was indeed spectacular but there was no real danger to Titanic. In fact some of the passengers seemed to think it was a show put on just for them and applauded. Others said it was like riding a surfboard. They very much enjoyed it."

Admiral Strong again shook his head. "Civilians," he muttered. "I'm afraid we had no choice in the matter but to order the destruction of the old ship. The whole situation was fraught with danger. Can you imagine a newly arrived U-boat fresh from the war in the Third finding the old vessel and requesting a fresh supply of torpedoes? We had no choice in the matter; no telling what damage might have been done. A shame about the old square rigger but it had to be destroyed as soon as humanly possible. Of course the scientists aren't happy but there you have it. As for her commanding officer, he sounds like quite a character." He shuffled some papers. "What was his name?"

"Captain Quint," Hartenstein supplied. "He had been making a good living profiting by the war. I believe when he understood that that particular avenue of income had been cut off to him he chose to turn the gun on himself."

"So you believe that that's why he chose to end his life?"

"Indeed. I have stated as much in my report."

"Hm, so you did. Unfortunate. He might have been rehabilitated. What is most fortunate is that you found the hidden cargo. I hate to think what could have happened if she'd been towed into port - any port."

"It was Mr Mortimer who found her real cargo," Hartenstein felt obliged to point out.

"So it was," Strong acknowledged. "But now to this other matter. I refer to the incident with U-217."

"You have my report."

"Indeed." The admiral shuffled more papers. "You blame yourself for this."

"I do, sir. If I had insisted that their first officer accompany the captain when they boarded my vessel I believe that the whole tragedy could have been avoided."

"And you, Mr Mortimer? Do you also believe this to be true?"

Mortimer appeared troubled. "It's difficult to say, sir. I'm inclined to believe that, even if the first officer had come aboard with the captain, the outcome would possibly have been the same."

"Why do you say that?" Strong queried.

"Well, sir, bearing in mind that Captain Wechler stated his first was most fanatically loyal to the Third Reich, therefore, prior to boarding our vessel, he might have instructed the chief engineer to torpedo Titanic in his absence by any means possible."

"Hmm." Strong turned to Hartenstein. "Do you agree, Captain, that the scenario your first just described was possible?"

Hartenstein appeared somewhat reluctant to agree. "It... is possible."

"And I also agree, Captain."

There were various murmurs of agreement around the table.

"Sacre bleu, we cannot know every outcome in advance," the French admiral declared.

"Well of course we can't," the Irish admiral agreed. "Not even the little people can know that, canny though they are."

The Australian admiral turned to Hartenstein. "Strewth, mate, you can't know all these things in advance. I mean, fair dinkum, you did your best. That's all we can ask after all."

"And with all due respect I would remind you all that their vessel took the brunt of the explosion," Captain Andrews began. "Captain Hartenstein protected Titanic to the best of his ability and, but for a bit of cracked glass and some scratches to the paintwork, which even now is being repaired I might add, Titanic is in good shape."

"And her bow?" Admiral Strong queried. "I believe there was some damage from her collision with U-217."

"White Star will have the report tomorrow, however, I believe you will find that it's nothing of consequence."

"‘Nothing of consequence.' Nothing of consequence? She was involved in a goddamn collision with a goddamn U-boat whose crew subsequently tried to blow her up. And you call that ‘nothing of consequence'? She's a goddamn, fucking great target, Andrews, and you know it!" the American admiral declared.

"Don't start that again, Bill," Strong warned.

"You know damn well - we all know - that she should be taken out of service. She can be moored somewhere safe and sound and be a floating hotel for the duration."

Captain Andrews was about to protest but Hartenstein beat him to it.

"With all due respect, Admiral, even moored she is not safe. You'll recall the previous sabotage attempt on her also by a crew from the Third."

"Quite so," Andrews agreed, somewhat mollified. "And it was Captain Hartenstein and his crew who came to the rescue. She is as safe at sea as she is anywhere."

"She's a damn big target and you know it, Andrews! She couldn't be a bigger target if she tried."

The Australian admiral spoke now. "Stone the bloody crows, she's no more a target than any of the other larger ships."

"And White Star long ago decided that she could participate in rescue missions," Andrews concurred. "It was only the Admiralty that prevented her doing so until last year."

"And I, for one, voted against it!" the American admiral stated vehemently.

"At that stage we needed as many ships as we could find and you know it," Admiral Strong reminded him.

"But we don't now!" the American admiral protested. "Thanks to the damn war in the Third and the number of ships sunk by U-boats we're overrun with them."

"Bill, you know as well as I do that the vast majority of ships that come here are cargo vessels that once sailed in convoys and are therefore useless. In fact all they're good for is being disposed of. There's so many being sunk in the Third that we can't keep up with the number to be broken up and there's now a huge backlog. The number of liners is far fewer so we need all the ones we've got. Besides, Titanic's facilities are superb and I believe she's a great healer of troubled souls."

"She is indeed, sir," Andrews agreed with great dignity.

"Well of course she is!" the Irish admiral piped up. "There's many a little person on her. They all love her."

Hartenstein and Mortimer tried valiantly to keep a straight face.

"And that reminds me," the Irish admiral continued turning to Andrews. "A word in your ear later, Captain."

"Certainly, Admiral," Andrews answered.

Several other matters were dealt with before the meeting concluded whereupon Andrews invited Hartenstein and Mortimer for a well-earned meal. However, before they could adjourn to one of the excellent restaurants in the Admiralty complex, the Irish admiral cornered Andrews and engaged him in an animated conversation while the two U-boat officers waited.

As they stood there three female officers walked past, smiles and nods of acknowledgement were exchanged with more than one interested glance in their direction.

"They were eyeing you," Mortimer accused.

"Why should they eye me?" Hartenstein inquired somewhat too innocently.

"You were smiling at them."

"So were you."

"It's your hat. You tilted it at them."

"So did you, but that was just polite. Anyway they were eyeing both of us."

Andrews was finally free of the Irish admiral and, with an apology, led both men to a wonderful fish restaurant called The Blue Gantry which boasted wonderful harbour views. The two U-boat officers could not help but notice as they sat out on the terrace that Andrews took the chair with the best view of his ship below.

All three men could see that Titanic was a hive of activity with painters touching up her damaged hull and workmen replacing her broken portholes. Streams of people passed each other on her busy gangways - passengers disembarking and ship's personnel coming and going while dockyard workers brought an endless amount of supplies for her next trip. Andrews watched it all while they awaited their meal.

After a while he turned to his companions. "Forgive me, gentlemen, but after all these years I still like to be around when she's being loaded. And that reminds me..." He signalled a waiter and asked for a telephone, which was promptly brought to the table.

After being put through to Titanic he asked for the chief engineer, requesting him to check the pressure valves on the number two boiler. It was apparent to his companions that there was some disagreement about this.

"Yes, I know. Yes, I know. Yes, I realize that your crew are very efficient and know their jobs, but... Yes, I realize that but just check them, all right? It won't hurt to check especially after it's been serviced by the dockyard engineers."

He hung up. "My but engineers get tetchy when they think you're trying to tell them how to do their job - god forbid!"

"But you really think there might be a problem with it?" Hartenstein queried, as their meal arrived in the form of a superb seafood platter accompanied by salad and crusty bread rolls.

"Liam seems to think so."

"The Irish admiral?" Mortimer queried as they helped themselves to the feast before them.

"Says the little people think so." Andrews forked a prawn and some salad into his mouth.

Hartenstein stared at him, his fork paused halfway to his mouth. "And you give credence to this... this... hearsay?"

"I see you boys still don't understand the workings of this realm yet. If a certain Irish admiral tells me the little people say there's a problem with my ship I'd be a fool to ignore it. I did once and there was damn near an explosion because a valve that should have been left fully open was partly shut. Lesson learnt." He winked at them before taking a sip of his wine. "Just wait. In ten minutes I'll get a call to say that I was right."

Mortimer, munching on a piece of crab meat, smiled. Hartenstein merely shook his head, his mouth nonetheless turned up at the corners.

Andrews prediction proved correct. Less than ten minutes had passed before the same waiter returned with the telephone.

"Andrews here. Yes? Ah. Well I'm very pleased to hear it. Very good." He found his companions gazing at him expectantly. He smiled. "A certain Irish admiral is never wrong."

"There really... was a problem?" Hartenstein inquired, his disbelief obvious in his tone.

"Of course. Ignore warnings like that at your peril, gentlemen. Besides, I'm now one up on my chief engineer!" He grinned.

"But... But this business about ‘little people'. Surely this cannot be right," Hartenstein muttered. "Can it?" he inquired somewhat uncertainly.

"More things in heaven and earth, remember?" Andrews replied with a wink, "especially in this realm. It's not like the old one. Mind you the old one would be a lot more like this one if only people would be kinder and listen to their inner voice."

"Too much war there," Mortimer replied glumly, his cheerful mood having suddenly evaporated. "Too much destruction. Too much death."

"Forgive me if I brought back memories for you," Andrews said with much sincerity, gazing into his eyes.

"Sorry. I..." For a moment Mortimer seemed lost in thought as Hartenstein placed a comforting hand on his shoulder.

"It will end," Andrews replied, grasping Mortimer's arm and squeezing it. "It will come to an end, my friends. Trust me, it will. Meantime, in this realm, we do our bit to rescue the lost."

Mortimer nodded. "I know that. I do know that. It's just sometimes..."

"Quite all right," Andrews assured. "We will all survive, and it will not last forever." His gaze took in both men. "I know this."

His eye was suddenly caught by a commotion on the docks below as all three men and several other restaurant customers turned to gaze down in the direction of Titanic. It was apparent that there had been some kind of mishap with the loading and a large crate which had been wheeled up a gangway was now stuck halfway up with several people now trying to push it up and several more including officers and men shouting to take it back down and trying to push it down.

"Oh, for god's sake!" Andrews muttered, jumping to his feet.

Hartenstein quickly grasped his arm. "No, my friend. Let your officers sort it out and let us enjoy our lunch. This is quite a feast."

"Indeed it is," Mortimer added, picking up a lobster and breaking it open. "We're accustomed to simpler fare."

Andrews sighed and reluctantly sat down again as the shouting continued below. "Ah, there's the first. He'll sort it out."

In an effort to distract him, Mortimer offered the large piece of lobster to Andrews, who took some of it, and to his commanding officer.

"It is a long, long time since I have tasted lobster," Hartenstein observed.

The voices from below were as clear as though they were next door.

"Hopkins, what's going on down there?" the first officer shouted to the third officer.

"The crate should have been on the crane, sir, and now it's stuck."

"I can see that. So order the men to take it back down this minute. It's blocking the gangway."

"It won't go, sir. It's stuck."

"Well then you'd better bring it up then, hadn't you."

"It won't go up either, sir. It's stuck on the railing."

"Right. Tell the men to lift it. That might unstick it."

More shouted orders. The men heaved on the heavy crate and finally managed to lift it.

"Watch out!" the third officer shouted as one man seemed to lose his footing and the crate suddenly dipped to one side, the men losing all control of it as the whole thing toppled off the gangway over the railing to fall down between the ship's hull and the dock with a large splash.

The two U-boat officers could not contain their merriment and laughed aloud. Andrews shook his head in despair but, on turning to his companions, also broke into laughter. As he looked around at the general hubbub it appeared half the restaurant was laughing at the unfortunate spectacle below as the hapless men who had lost the crate were ordered by the first officer to secure it with grappling hooks until a crane could lift it out of the water.

Andrews sighed. "What more could go wrong," he muttered, shaking his head.

They returned to devouring their meal when there was a yell from below, followed immediately by a splash, followed by more laughter from restaurant customers.

"For god's sake now what?" a frustrated Andrews complained.

Mortimer had seen it. "One of the men leaned over too far with a hook and he fell in."

Andrews shook his head mournfully. "I really must go before my ship becomes any more of a laughing stock."

Once again it was Mortimer who distracted him.

"Not yet, Captain," he decided. "We should drink a toast." He lifted his glass as the other two waited expectantly.

"To good companions, and to seeing the funny side of life."

Andrews grinned. "Touché!" he said, as all three drained their glasses.

"Now eat your meal, my friend," Hartenstein urged. "See?" He indicated the docks below where the fallen man had now been fished out of the water and the hook of a large crane was now dangling over where the crate had fallen in. "All is in order."

Andrews smiled and nodded as they resumed eating once more. "And what are your plans, if I may be so bold?"

"The usual," Hartenstein replied in the midst of prying a muscle out of its shell.

"Ah, the good Dr Benson. She does mean well you know."

"So why do I always feel like I've endured a force ten gale every time we have to see her," Mortimer muttered while finding more lobster.

Andrews laughed. "Just take it all with a large grain of salt," he advised.

"Easy for you to say," Hartenstein grouched. "Each time we see her I feel like I've been turned inside out."

"She does have that effect on people - or so I've heard," he hastened to add.

"I gather you've never had to see her," Mortimer queried.

"She wasn't here some thirty years ago when I arrived. I saw a wonderful man who helped me to realize that I was not responsible for the fate of my vessel no matter that I was positive I was. I required much convincing... and therefore much healing, before I could accept... the unfathomable. Then... Then they fished her up, first her bow and then her stern, and then all her broken bits and pieces. I was her principal designer and they needed my help to put Humpty Dumpty back together again. In the end, more than anything else, that was what healed me. Well that and taking all the passengers I had thought lost forever on her maiden voyage in this realm. I will always remember that day." A large tear overflowed and dripped down his cheek. "She finally made it into New York, three years late and a realm away, but she made it, all shiny and new once more. The greeting she got was... unbelievable."

Hartenstein took out his handkerchief to gently wipe the man's cheek as a second tear plopped down the other cheek which was also patted dry, only to have his hand gripped in silent gratitude.

"Forgive me, my friends. Even to this day I get overly sentimental when I remember." He found his shoulder being squeezed by Mortimer, his companions gazing fondly at him.

"Shh. You're our friend," Mortimer murmured.

"And there is nothing to forgive," Hartenstein added. "You will always be our friend. That must have been a great day for you."

Andrews nodded silently. "And she's so much stronger now. Only now, in this realm, could you truthfully say that she's virtually unsinkable."

Both U-boat officers smiled indulgently. "We know," they said.

Andrews gave a self-deprecating chuckle. "You two know me too well."

"And your ship," Hartenstein added, picking up an oyster and deliberately letting it slide into his mouth, knowing that Mortimer was watching him.

Andrews also noticed the gesture but kept a straight face. These two never failed to amuse him. Impeccably behaved in public, they nevertheless gave themselves away in so many small ways even just by walking too close together. Lovers always did that, he reflected. Their intimacy was obvious to anyone who knew them. When attending the tribunal he had often witnessed one cover the other's hand underneath the table in a gesture of support. Oh, they were unfailingly polite to women and danced with them too whenever they were aboard Titanic, however, at the end of the night it was each other that they turned to for the last dance, inevitably a slow one, in which they would hold each other closely. The expressions of dismay on the faces of their erstwhile dance partners was almost comical. And why should it not be? he thought. After all, they were both handsome men and a lot of women found the idea of U-boat men who had not been fully healed very desirable, even if just for one night.

Briefly, he wondered if this war in the Third would permanently alter society. What if, after the war was over, those who manned the U-boats wished to stay as their unreconstructed selves? Ah, but what then? He realized then and there that whatever their decision he would support them. He loved them dearly as friends and required no more than their fond regard. For him, that was enough.


Lunch was finished amicably after which Andrews took his leave while the other two finished their wine. They were going to stay in their Admiralty quarters as there was no time for them to go to Spain since they were due back out in only two days. They had one hour to spare before their appointment with their counsellor, Doctor Benson. However, on the way to their quarters they rounded a bend in the corridor and were waylaid by a group of U-boat commanders, all of whom knew Hartenstein and who were going to a football match. They insisted that he join them and, after two more women smiled at Mortimer, now standing alone, he insisted that his first officer come along.

"Captain Hartenstein will see you all later. We have an appointment, Captain, remember?" Mortimer insisted, grabbing a startled Hartenstein by the arm and dragging him into a lift so fast that the others did not have time to protest.

"What are you doing?" Hartenstein demanded. "Our appointment isn't for an hour yet."

"You're coming with me."

"But we're only going to our quarters," Hartenstein protested.

"Exactly."

Once in their quarters Mortimer removed both their hats and hung them up, followed by his jacket. He then began to remove his tie.

"You're overdressed, Captain," he remarked, his tie landing on a convenient chair as he unbuttoned his shirt.

Hartenstein smiled. "What's got into you, Mortimer?"

Mortimer removed his shirt and unbuckled his belt. "You shouldn't eat oysters like that, Captain, and you know what they say about them."

Hartenstein's grin was positively lecherous, his eyes now roaming over his lover from head to toe and back again as he began to throw off his clothes. Somehow, between kisses that set their blood in fire, they made it into the bedroom and fell onto the bed.

For a moment they paused, Mortimer stroking his lover's bearded face, watching as the other's eyes opened to take in the look of sheer love on his face.

"Your love is a miracle to me," Hartenstein murmured as their mouths met again, tongues exploring in a ritual that never grew old, hands wandering everywhere as they gave to one another in ways that they long knew would only pleasure and arouse.

"God, what you do to me!" Mortimer exclaimed as warm lips travelled down him, pausing to suck hard on his nipples. He groaned as they left to lick over his belly and swallow his heavy prick, taking it deeply and rolling it around.

For a moment Hartenstein paused. "You love that, don't you, my Britischer," he teased. Mortimer merely moaned in frustration. "You love to be fucked by a German officer, don't you?" He stroked the heavy cock, pushing back the foreskin to expose the moisture there, rubbing his finger over it before bringing it to his mouth to taste.

"Tease!" Mortimer accused, suddenly grabbing his lover and flipping him over. "And now, my sadistic German, the shoe is on the other foot." He grinned before grasping a handy nipple and fastening his mouth on it, sucking avidly before doing the same to its twin.

"Mmm, ohhh, sheisse!" Hartenstein froze.

"What's the matter?"

"If we do it now we'll have to hold back. There isn't enough time and we'll be watching the clock. Let us do it tonight!"

The refusal produced a long groan of frustration in his lover as they turned to lie on their backs, both breathing hard.

Hartenstein turned to gaze at his lover. "If we do it tonight we can take our time and I promise I'll fuck you through the deck."

Mortimer sighed. "Tempting."

Hartenstein knew he had won. He leaned close to whisper, "And we can fuck all night, hmm?"

Mortimer grinned. "Hmm. You tempt me, my captain, but right now we're going to have to take a cold shower. We can't very well see Dr Benson in this state. We wouldn't want to startle her."

"It would take more than a couple of horny sailors to startle that woman."

Mortimer chuckled as they rose and headed for the bathroom.

*

"And how did you feel when Captain Quint took his own life?" Dr Cora Benson inquired.

First Officer Thomas Mortimer and his commanding officer Captain Werner Hartenstein were sitting comfortably in their counsellor's suite of rooms in one of the Admiralty buildings - or at least they would have been comfortable but for the fact that Dr Benson had a way of making them feel extremely uncomfortable by getting them to reveal things about themselves that they would rather not discuss, even with one another. In the case of the death of Captain Quint, they had simply tried their best to forget it, hence they had not discussed it at all.

"Shock," Mortimer finally answered. "I... I hadn't expected him to do that, to take his life."

"And you, Captain Hartenstein?" she queried.

"The same. It had not occurred to me that he might commit such an act."

"When he picked up the gun, did you expect him to shoot one of you?" Both men nodded. "And what would you have done?"

"I believed he was going to kill the captain," Mortimer answered after a pause.

"And you, Captain Hartenstein?"

"The same; that he was going to shoot one or both of us."

"And what was your first instinct?"

"To shoot him," both men answered simultaneously.

"Let us be absolutely clear about this: Each one of you would have shot Captain Quint in order to protect the other?"

"Of course," both men answered together.

"Gentlemen, you say that like it was the most natural thing in the world, but can you not see the danger there?"

"The only danger as far as I was concerned was that Quint was going to shoot my commanding officer and I had to protect him," Mortimer answered.

"So, given the opportunity, you would have immediately shot him if he had not shot himself?"

Mortimer nodded. "Yes," he answered simply. "Yes, I would, and I would have done it without hesitation. There was no other choice."

"There is always the choice not to shoot," she responded gently.

"If Captain Quint had aimed the gun at one of us we would not have had that luxury," Hartenstein pointed out. "We would have had to shoot him."

"Even if it meant taking a life?"

"Yes," both answered.

"It's a case of kill or be killed," Mortimer elaborated. "It's a stark choice but one that has to be made and made instantly," he added. "You can't afford to hesitate."

"And you would not hesitate to kill to protect your captain, would you?" she queried.

"No. No, I would not." He took a deep breath. "I will always protect him and I would be derelict in my duty both to my commanding officer and the Admiralty if I failed."

"There was also the danger to Titanic and all aboard her," Hartenstein added.

"And you both feel this way." It was not a question and both men remained silent.

She smiled and made a note.

"Dr Benson, I believe you have never been confronted with such a choice," Hartenstein began. "We have."

"Many times now," Mortimer added.

"It is not something we relish - far from it," Hartenstein continued, "but, as you and others have pointed out, this was the purpose of our not being fully healed so that we could undertake rescue missions."

"And rescue missions are far from safe," Mortimer added.

"It is my duty to protect Titanic and I take it most seriously," Hartenstein stated. "I would be negligent in my duty if I did not."

"Indeed, gentlemen." She closed her file. "It seems that the waters of this realm are troubled indeed and becoming increasingly so. However, I would like you both to consider other methods of achieving your goals and protecting your charge by, if possible, using non-violent means."

She dismissed them with a smile. Admiral Strong had advised her to go easy on them saying to hell with their karma for now; they were doing good work protecting the realm, as were all the other U-boat personnel and, for now, this was all that mattered.

*

Much later, Mortimer having attended a lecture and Hartenstein meetings with other U-boat commanders, the two men met in their suite at Admiralty Headquarters. The lights were dimmed and the radio was playing a swing number as Mortimer fetched them both a drink.

Hartenstein had noticed him adding ingredients and stirring. He also added an olive to each glass. As Mortimer handed it to him he inquired what it might be.

"A martini of course," was the blithe reply.

"Ah. They are not well known in Germany. I didn't know you could make them."

"I bought a book."

"I admire your eagerness to learn. And what shall we drink to?"

"An uninterrupted night," Mortimer decided.

Hartenstein grinned as they raised their glasses.

"Mm, sehr gutt. And do you intend to take up where we left off this afternoon?" Hartenstein inquired, his tone a shade too casual.

"Of course! But first..."

They sipped more of their drinks, Hartenstein eating his olive.

"First?"

"Let's dance. We never dance when we're alone."

As the radio announcer explained that they were going to play a brand new recording Mortimer waited to see if his captain would comply. Surprisingly, as ‘You'll Never Know'* began to play, he did. Mortimer placed their drinks on a nearby table.

The song, a melancholy lilt sung in perfect pitch, was lovely, Mortimer thought, as they danced slowly to it, his captain leading. Cheek to cheek, their bodies pressed together, they were totally in harmony both with the mellow rhythm and with each other.

Hartenstein rubbed his bearded cheek lightly against his lover's, relishing their closeness. Such leisurely activity was out of the question when on duty and they treasured it now. The warmth, the scent of his lover, so familiar and so loved, made his head swim. Or was it the song? Or was it the martini? He didn't know, but he felt as though he were under a spell as his lover rested his chin on his shoulder, smooth cheek rubbing intimately against his ear, the long, slender warmth of his body so close to his own.

When the song ended they leaned back to gaze into each other's eyes, blue meeting hazel.

"You went away," Mortimer whispered, echoing the lyrics of the song. "We were separated."

"But we had our dreams," his lover replied. "Thanks be to god we had our dreams."

"Never lose you," Mortimer whispered. "I don't care about your damn karma, or how long we spend in this realm. I don't even care how long the bloody war lasts. All I care about is that we're together."

"And that's all that matters," Hartenstein murmured, hugging his lover and kissing his cheek as they sat down.

"Together," Mortimer whispered, inhaling the scent of eau de cologne, noting vaguely that it seemed to be making him lightheaded. Or maybe it was the martini.

He reached once more for their drinks and they entwined their arms as they drank.

"Mm, good." Hartenstein held out his glass for a refill as Mortimer complied, turning off the radio as he returned to his lover.

Reclining comfortably together, they listened quietly to the sounds of the busy harbour. In the distance they heard the sound of a ship's horn followed by the horns of two U-boats, their sounds subtly different.

They ended up falling asleep like that, only waking later to discover a cold mist filling the room. A sea fog had come up in the night and invaded their suite as they quickly rose to close the terrace doors, deciding since it was now after midnight that they may as well go to bed. However, once in the bedroom Hartenstein left the lights off, turning to his lover, a small smile on his face.

"Allow me to undress you, my prisoner of war."

Mortimer's turned-up smile was all the permission he needed as bit by bit he removed every single garment, even making his lover sit on the bed as he knelt before him to remove shoes and socks.

"Lie down," he said. "Lie down and let me look at you."

He turned down the bed and undressed himself as Mortimer lay there. They had now drawn the drapes and the room was illuminated by a million twinkling lights from the harbour as one man stood looking at the other's pale body.

Hartenstein knelt on the bed beside the one he loved so much, his arousal growing.

"You tempt me, my Britischer. You always tempt me."

Sliding down, he lay beside his heart's desire to rest his head on his chest and listen to his heartbeat, gently rubbing a bearded cheek there before kissing the warm flesh. Slowly, he moved higher, lips trailing up the enticing curve of the neck, gliding over to one side to bury his nose there and drink in his lover's warmth before allowing his mouth to trail over a curved ear and nibble on the lobe.

"How good you are," he murmured, "and how good you taste. Do all British prisoners taste as good as you?"

Mortimer's lips curved up at the corners. "Evil German," he taunted.

"Ah, but you love the touch of a German commander, don't you, my Britischer?" He deliberately allowed his eyes to roam downward taking in his lover's arousal.

"Never! You will never have me!" Mortimer taunted.

"Your lips say no, but your body says yes, does it not. What is it the Americans say? You speak with forked tongue. And what is it that makes you desire a German commander, hmm?"

"Nothing. I don't. I never will."

"You lie." He grasped a distinctly hard cock, wrapping long fingers around it, feeling it jump at his touch. "This tells me you lie. This..." he lifted it a little, "...this tells the truth, my Britischer. This speaks of your desire for one who is your enemy. Why is it, I wonder, that you should desire an enemy officer, hmm? Will you tell me?" He leaned in, allowing their lips to meet for the first time. "Tell me you don't want this." This time he thoroughly kissed the other man, allowing his tongue to roam where it pleased. "Why do you not resist, hm? I am German. I am your enemy. Why is it you desire the enemy? Or is it just me you want, hmm?"

"I don't want you. I never want you. I don't desire the enemy and I never will."

Hartenstein merely grinned like a wolf, his hand now stroking the hard cock that belied the other's words of rejection.

"You know what I think?" he teased. "I think you want to be fucked by the enemy; the same enemy that sinks British ships. Ah!" he exclaimed as the cock in his hand leapt. "Ah, how your body betrays you. How it reveals your true feelings, your real desires. How perverse you are," he taunted. "You say one thing but you do another." He grinned. "Very well. I will give you what you want." He trailed kisses down the smooth body over the bumps of the ribs and down the flat belly to finally lick at the anxious tip of desire to be rewarded with a drop of salty sweetness.

"Mm-hmm," he teased. "How you taste, but I think I will go mad if I don't fuck you, but first..." He slid lower, tonguing the swollen testicles. "How sweet and rounded," he murmured before allowing his tongue to wander lower still until it lightly touched the opening, causing the other to gasp and hold his breath. "How sensitive you are, my Britischer... but I shall be merciful. You would like that, no?" With those words, he finally allowed his tongue to lick at the opening, the gasped release of breath more than reward enough. "Tell me."

"More," Mortimer groaned. "God, more!"

"A prisoner of war is in no position to demand anything, but I am feeling indulgent so I shall grant your wish."

As the hot tongue plunged into him Thomas Mortimer found himself gritting his teeth in ecstasy and trying desperately to hold on to the shreds of his control lest he be consumed. He managed to beg his lover to wait... wait...

They both stopped, both endeavouring to calm themselves somewhat. As Hartenstein was about to open a drawer to reach for a bottle of oil he suddenly found himself flipped onto his back emitting an involuntary grunt of surprise.

"What...?"

Mortimer grabbed the oil and slathered himself generously.

"And now, my German commander, you're going to know what it's like to feel a great British prick up your tight little arse. Oh, yesss," he hissed, parting the other's legs and shoving a pillow under him. "What? Nothing to say?" He reached down to toy with the other's hardness, stroking it and allowing his fingers to slide lower to feel the heaviness of the balls. "Ah, but a true German commander would never allow himself to be fucked by a prisoner, would he." He rubbed at the tight opening, deliberately teasing. "Well, Captain Hartenstein, are you going to let yourself be fucked by a prisoner of war, hmm?"

"Nein. Never. I am German."

"You don't want it?" This time it was his turn to stroke the other's hardness with one finger, feeling it jerk at his words, before sliding a finger deeply into heat and a most welcoming tightness.

"I didn't realize Germans were such big liars, but now I know - they really love to be fucked by the enemy. Who'd have thought." His finger circled and explored. "My, my, such a revelation. What on earth would your superiors say if they could see you now? Bad enough you're a queer; worse still you're allowing a British prisoner of war to have his way with you - and you're enjoying it."

"Nein! I will never allow that."

"Oh, no? Beg me!" Mortimer demanded. "I dare you. Go on and beg me! Show me how you don't want me."

Hartenstein was panting now. "Nein!" he gasped. "Nein. Nie werde ich will dich."

Mortimer merely laughed, grasping the dripping wet cock and exposing the head. "This says otherwise."

Without further ado he buried his own hardness deeply into the other's heat, feeling himself gripped repeatedly, his lover's need more than a match for his own.

"You thought you would have it all your own way?" he taunted. "Typical arrogant German. You're not a superior race you know. Far from it. But we British, we always win in the end, as you're about to see. Think of Napoleon, think of the Spanish armada. Allow me to demonstrate how a British officer goes about proving that Britannia rules the waves and Germany never will."

Changing position, they now lay on their sides, his lover pushing back to meet him.

"Tell me," Mortimer hissed. "Tell me how you love to be fucked by a British officer."

"Gott!"

"Is that gott, yes, or gott, no?"

Both were breathing heavily now.

"Nein!"

"Nein? You mean ja."

"Nein. Hate it."

"Liar. See? A German officer really can surrender," Mortimer gasped, teasing some more. "It's not the end of the world you know." He stroked over the hard nubs of nipples, endeavouring to keep control as pleasure ripped through him. "It's wonderful you know... surrendering... Show me." He grasped the other's now-desperate need. "Show me your surrender, my handsome German. Show me how much you love your British officer, how you love to be fucked by him."

With a soft cry of sheer, unadulterated rapture Hartenstein came hard in his lover's hand.

"Yesss," Mortimer hissed, the vibrations of the other's bliss setting off his own long-delayed release. "Yes, my love. Ohhhh, god," he cried as it burst from him in strong pulses as awareness slid away. There was only the sound of his own heartbeat thudding in his ears; that and the man in his arms sobbing his name as though his life depended on it.

After a while he was aware of his lover turning and taking him in his arms as their bodies cooled. They managed to rouse themselves enough to clean up and straighten the bed before they fell deeply asleep, bodies curled up together in their favourite position.

In the morning there were a hundred things to do before departure with the evening tide; orders to be studied; inventories and supplies to be checked against requisitions; a course to be plotted and the crew to be assembled. However, all that was for the morning. For now, the two men slept peacefully, united in their shared dreams.

* * *

* 'You'll Never Know' may be found here.