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Where the Future Leads

Title: Where the Future Leads
Fandom: Ghost Ship
Series: 'Til We See the Shore
Pairings: Munder/Dodge
Ratings: NSFW; sex and a titch of angst
Word Count: 3567
Disclaimer: What do you think?
Summary: Sometimes life must lead through darkness before you can reach you dreams.


They were married in December, the year that the Graza went down.

It wasn't a particularly fancy or romantic wedding, just two people, their witness, and a Justice of the Peace, but neither of them would have known what to do with cake or flowers anyway. Even the proposal had been almost an afterthought and Dodge still blamed it on heatstroke whenever someone asked.

After Epps had destroyed the haunted ship, the three survivors had drifted on their makeshift raft for days, alternating between freezing cold and dehydration until none of them were thinking straight. So on the fourth morning, Munder had been dozing against his lover's chest when the blond had muttered softly, “If we survive this, you're going to marry me.”

“Hmm?” the welder had murmured in reply, lifting his head with an effort. It took him a moment to realize what Dodge had asked him, but there was only one answer that he could give. “All right then,” he agreed, closing his eyes again until the sound of the waves was broken by Epps' laughing fit.

“You have got to be two of the least romantic bastards that I've ever seen,” she had gasped out between her guffaws. “I've had drunken propositions that were better proposals than that.”

“Does this mean you're not coming to the wedding?” Dodge had asked her with a crooked smirk, to which their friend replied with a snorted, “Are you fucking kidding me? I wouldn't miss this madness for the world.”

Her easy acceptance of their relationship had surprised Munder, so he asked Epps about it later, once they had finally been rescued and were stuck in the hospital, being tested for every disease known to man. The welder wanted to be sure that she really meant it, but for all his horrible expectations, the other salvager had simply shrugged.

“I'm not going to pretend that I understand it, but this thing seems to make you happy and it's not really any of my business anyway. While I might not have taken the revelation so well if you'd told me before all this crap went down, if that crazy bastard Ferriman couldn't drag you to Hell for being together, that's good enough for me. Besides, no one else is going to believe me when I say shit like that so I've got to stand by the two of you.”

Not exactly a ringing endorsement, but it would do and it felt good to have an ally at his back. He certainly needed one in the days after they finally returned to Anchorage because the three survivors were not welcomed back with open arms.

As a rule, salvagers were superstitious folks and a crew was always treated warily when one of their members died in case the ill luck tried to spread. So having lost three, their ship, and their captain would have made the trio pariahs even without the rumors of treachery upon the sea.

The welder didn't know who started the whispers but they spread like wildfire and they could not be squashed. All he and the others could do was try to endure the stares and insinuations as people Munder had known for years accused them of murder behind their backs. Though on his better days, he couldn't really blame them because he knew exactly how their tale must sound.

The three survivors had been lucid enough to avoid mentioning ghosts to their rescuers, but there was still nothing normal about their account. If anything, the parts they had to leave out only made them seem more suspicious, since there was no good explanation for spontaneously sinking ships and a box of stolen treasure.

Indeed the gold caused a whole tangle of other problems since it brought the scrutiny of the IRS down on them along as well as inciting jealousy and greed. Dodge sometimes grumbled that he should have let the damn stuff sink with the Graza, and he would have if he'd known how much trouble it would be.

However, even though the government put them through a bureaucratic nightmare before allowing the trio to claim their find, Munder was glad for it in the end. What little savings the pair had managed to stash away were quickly wiped out and they needed the money desperately. There were bills to pay and funerals to arrange and no one would hire any of them right now.

Truthfully, even if someone had been willing to give him a chance, the welder didn't think that he could handle another job just yet. Not when he still dreamed of the explosion that had claimed Santos' life and the cold weight of water in his lungs. Not whene Dodge would wake shouting his lover's name in the middle of the night and Munder could see the ghosts that Epps carried in the shadows beneath her eyes.

It took weeks before the welder even felt like he could breathe.

---

But one morning, Dodge and Munder looked up and realized that they had finally settled all of their obligations, so there was nothing left to hold them in Anchorage if they chose to leave. The pair was free to do anything they wanted and there were more zeroes in their bank account than the welder had ever seen.

They bought their rings and plane tickets that same day.

Epps bitched mightily about having to fly all the way to Massachusetts so that they could tie the knot, but with every mile put between them and Alaska, the tension in her body eased. Really, it was a relief to all three of them to be away from Anchorage, where people knew only enough to make the wrong assumptions and hate them for these lies.

Traveling First Class certainly doesn't hurt either, Munder thought, signaling the flight attendant to bring him another beer. This was the first time he'd been on a plane and not felt like he was being smothered by the press of people on all sides. There was only Dodge sprawled out at his side and Epps across the aisle, and the welder was pretty sure that he could get used to this. Though knowing our luck, we'll manage to lose it all somehow, so I better enjoy it while I can.

All three of them had purchased one-way tickets out to Boston, planning to follow their whims wherever they led, and the welder didn't know if he would ever see Anchorage again. Not like it was ever really home anyway. My home is Dodge and always has been; him and the trackless sea.

While none of the survivors had been back on the water since the Graza, Munder was determined to sail the oceans once again. Giving in to cowardice would be letting Ferriman win and he refused to let that psychotic douchebag ruin one of the few joys in his life. The others felt the same, too much stubbornness in all their hearts to surrender now, and maybe here in New England, the trio could find their fresh start.

Assuming Epps even wants to stay friends with our crazy asses after this. But the welder had done the trip the other way before, hitch-hiking from Vermont to Alaska after his parents had disowned him, and there was nothing like a new horizon to make the future seem bright.

A few minutes later the plane began to descend, and soon there was no more time for serious contemplation as the three salvagers navigated their way through the airport and out into the crisp Boston air. The whole city was covered in a light dusting of fresh snow, shining in the sun like crystal, and it was almost a shame when they reached their destination. Almost a shame because while Boston was beautiful, it was also fucking cold, the kind of chill that sinks into the bones.

I'd forgotten how bad winter gets out here, Munder thought, ignoring the irony of someone from Alaska complaining about the snow. Once they had checked into their hotel, the welder waved off the bellhop and carried their bags up to their suite himself.

He dumped their gear on the floor while Dodge took off his soaked coat and tossed it haphazardly across the room. The welder did the same, blowing on his chilled fingers as he gawked at their surroundings. This place is bigger than our old apartment, he thought incredulously, but as nice as it was, Munder wanted to explore.

Their wedding wasn't until noon tomorrow – December was apparently an unpopular month so they'd had their pick of times – and there was no reason not to make use of the hours they had to spare. So the two of them bundled up and grabbed some coffee before heading out to see the sights.

They wandered around the city, acting like stupid tourists just because they could, and there was something freeing about being only one of many in the crowd. In fact it was exhilarating and when Dodge turned to him with a glowing smile, this time Munder didn't hesitate. Instead he wrapped one arm around his lover, pulled him close and kissed him there for all the world to see. The crowd parted around them with nary a whisper and when the welder drew back, his heart warmed at the pleased surprise on the blond's face.

“What was that for?” his lover asked curiously, but Munder simply shrugged.

“No reason at all. Now come on, I want to get back to our hotel before the sun goes down.” He threw his arm over the blond's shoulders as they set off again, their small height difference allowing Dodge to fit comfortably against his side. They had never walked together like this before, always too worried about someone finding out, and now Munder regretted his cowardice.

Was it really worth the years of hiding, of feeling as though I would suffocate beneath the lies just to keep some bigoted dickwads from discovering the truth? It's not like those bastard stood by us when we needed them anyway. But I suppose some scars cut too deep and neither of us wanted to risk the life that we had made. I know I probably would have kept on like that forever if Ferriman hadn't come along, but there's nothing like an evil murdering ghost to put things into perspective.

Dodge nudged his lover from his thoughts when they arrived back at their hotel and the pair met up with Epps for a late evening meal before heading off to sleep.

---

Despite the simplicity of their plans, the welder found himself strangely nervous the next morning as the hour of their wedding drew near. Munder was hardly afraid that the blond would back out on him now after putting up with him for all these years, but his heart was pounding nonetheless.

So he shaved properly for once and cajoled Dodge into his suit – they might not care much for appearances normally, but this was his wedding goddammit – and Epps had pulled a dress from who knows where. Really the three of them cleaned up rather nicely and the welder was somewhat proud of the admiring stares they drew as they walked out of the hotel. It didn't take long before a cab stopped at the curb, and soon he and his lover were standing in front of the Justice of the Peace, ready to sign their names and speak their marriage vows.

“I, Evan Munder, take Charles Dodge as my lawfully wedded husband, to have and to hold from this day forward, for better or for worse, for richer or for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, till death do us part.”

Simple words, worn smooth by the weight of time and history, but they still held power and Munder meant every word. Though he intended to make that parting a long time coming if he had any say in how their lives turned out. Dodge said his piece in return, this same sincerity shining in his eyes as he held out the welder's ring. The plain gold band slid onto his finger easily, a strangely heavy but welcome weight, and Munder leaned down to kiss his new husband soundly. And kissed him, until the Justice of the Peace cleared his throat awkwardly and they drew apart with a reluctant sigh.

“Damn besotted idiots,” Epps grumbled, but she hugged each of them tightly while blinking suspiciously wet eyes. “I owe you guys a celebratory drink, but I know neither of you are going to be any use until you screw each other's brains out for a while. So I'll see you in a couple days and we can show these staid New Englanders how real salvagers throw down.”

She wasn't exactly wrong so the newlyweds bid her a fond farewell and headed back, barely inside their room before they were kissing again like men possessed.

This was a dance they'd done a thousand times, lips slick and demanding, tongues teasing with the ease of long familiarity while their hands roamed. Munder soon had the blond's shirt hanging open, fingers pressed against smooth skin as he traced the spots that made his lover groan.

The slight dip of his navel and the firm line of his hip; a bite to his shoulder and one flushed nipple growing hard beneath the welder's mouth. He would never get tired of hearing Dodge moan and writhe with abandon, but today was special. So instead of teasing him as usual, Munder grabbed the other man by his tie and drew him to the bed, shedding his clothes with every step.

“Come on husband mine, let's get this marriage consummated,” the welder whispered against the blond's lips and he was only too happy to oblige. Dodge spread Munder out on the bed like an offering and worshiped him with mouth and tongue, pressing open kisses to the inside of his thigh.

Then the blond licked higher, following the map of his husband's pleasure as though written on his skin. One whisper of breath against his cock, already hard and aching, before leaving a trail of kisses from groin to throat. Dodge lathed his tongue into the hollow of the welder's neck, sucking a mark beneath his jaw as he finally slipped two slick fingers deep inside. The blond worked his husband open fast and filthy, pressing hard against Munder's prostate until he was cursing wildly and writhing back against the other's hand.

Four fingers had him whining helplessly, the burning stretch only making the welder ache for more and he was about ready to shove Dodge over and take care of things himself when his husband made his move. In the blink of an eye, Munder's legs were lifted over the blond's shoulders and the other man's cock nudged insistently against his twitching hole.

He pressed forward slowly, inch by grudging inch, and the hint of pain was worth the relief of finally being filled. Munder craved it desperately, the stretch and the connection, moaning in satisfaction when his new husband eventually bottomed out. Though this satisfaction was short-lived because Dodge only leaned down to kiss him briefly before pulling nearly all the way back out and he wanted to cry at the loss.

“Give it to me you bastard,” the welder growled in frustration and with a smirk, the blond did just that. Dodge drove forward sharply, each stroke shoving Munder's legs hard against his chest as he moaned encouragement.

Then his husband shifted his angle slightly and all he could do was keen, clawing at the sheets as Dodge's cock rammed into his prostate again. His nerves sang with pleasure on every heated thrust and the welder urged the blond on harder with the press of his heels against his back. They were both dripping now, skin slick with sweat beneath his grasping hands.

“Fuck... Dodge... Fuck, I love you,” Munder babbled before being struck mute when the other wrapped one warm hand around his dick. Just a few short strokes timed with his husband's thrusts and the dual assault had him coming, head thrown back in a silent scream. Ecstasy washed over him, whiting out his vision while lightning danced across his spine until the welder slumped bonelessly upon the bed. Dodge drove into him twice more, pressing in as deep as he could go before joining his husband in release.

He was a comforting weight against the welder's chest and Munder had to grin fondly down at him. But he was also rather heavy so after resting for a moment, the welder nudged him up. Dodge pulled out carefully, cleaning them up a bit before he flopped down next to his husband with a sigh.

“Well-consummated indeed,” he muttered proudly and Munder had to laugh at that. The welder threw one leg over the other's hip, wrapping himself around the blond and tucking his head into Dodge's neck. It didn't take long for him to fall into a light doze, from which he was woken an hour later by room service, champagne, and the chance to do it all again.

---

It took them three days to leave their room and the welder truly didn't envy the maid who drew the short straw on that job. However, he was too well-fucked to worry over much about it, wandering down for breakfast with a contented smile on his lips.

Epps was there in the restaurant already and waved the couple over when they caught her eye; she was even kind enough not to laugh too hard at Munder's wince when he sat down.

“I see you guys have been making good use of your suite,” their friend said with a crooked smirk, before poking at the welder's cheeks. “And Dodge must have some damn fine technique to make you grin like that. But if you can bear to spend a few hours out of bed, there's something I want to show you both.”

She wouldn't give them any more details, claiming that it was a surprise, and they were too curious to refuse her request. So after they finished eating, the trio had the front desk call them a cab and Epps gave the driver an address that Munder didn't recognize. However, it soon became clear that they were headed toward the ocean and indeed, the cab pulled up in front of a private wharf.

Plain, but serviceable, the welder noted with appreciation as they followed Epps onto the docks.
“What do you think?” the other salvager asked, waving her hand toward one of the boats, and when Munder tracked the motion, his breath caught.

Epps was pointing at a tug, one a little bigger than the Arctic Warrior and different enough in shape not to call up too many painful memories. She was worn but sturdy, with clean lines and the look of a boat well-loved. At the sight, the welder was struck by a sudden longing to be on the sea again and Dodge made a faint yearning noise beside him.

“That's a damn fine boat,” the blond said for both of them when he finally found his voice. “You thinking of buying her?”

“I was considering it; the owner is retiring to Colorado so he's selling her off cheap. I've been asking around and there's a salvaging community up the coast a bit, large enough that I should be able to fill my crew without too much of a struggle.” Epps paused before adding carelessly, “Though that might go easier if I had a hand or two on board when I arrived. The best damn spot welder I know and his feckless husband would be a decent start, if they wanted a share of the operation. As an added incentive, the Traveler here has doors on all her cabins, doors that lock.”

This was far more than Munder had expected, an offer of nearly all they'd ever dreamed. While it would take hard work to regain their reputations, it would be worth the money to feel metal beneath his hands again and the ocean beneath his feet. When he met Dodge's eyes, his husband was clearly feeling that same call and it didn't take long for them to make their choice.

“How could the two of us refuse a bargain like that?” the welder asked, allowing a smile to spread across his face. “I think you've got yourself a deal.”

The three of them shook hands on it and then their new captain went to find the tugboat's owner, leaving Dodge and Munder on the dock to admire their new home. “Do you think we can convince Epps to rename her the Far Horizon?” the blond asked, wrapping one arm around his husband's waist. “I'd like to think that she'll lead us true.”

“I'm the best welder Epps has ever seen, remember? I'm sure we can sway her to our point of view,” Munder replied with a grin. Though privately he thought that it would be all right either way, because we've reached our own far shore already and it's sweeter than I ever dreamed.


Finis