Title: Waiting on the World to Change
Fandom: Ghost Ship
Series: 'Til We See the Shore
Word Count: 4350
Disclaimer: What do you think?
Summary: Munder is tired of the secrets but loves Dodge too much to ever say goodbye.
Munder sometimes wondered if loving Dodge would be worth it in the end.
Was it worth the secrets and the hiding, the knowledge that even their friends would probably turn against them if they knew? Was it worth the lies and the jealousy of watching his lover flirt with women just to keep the rumors down?
These doubts were always at their worst near the end of a long trip at sea when everyone was running on fumes and all he wanted to do was curl into the warmth of Dodge's arms. After months of nothing but quickly stolen kisses when the others were asleep, Munder got tired of looking at what he couldn't have and it was almost worse than leaving someone back on shore. So he grew short and snappish and while the welder would never let it interfere with his work, the rest of the crew learned to give him a wide berth during the last few weeks of any job.
All except Dodge, who searched him out where he sat on the bow railing and settled next to him, bumping his arm companionably on the way.
“I'm sorry,” the blond said softly, leaning harder against Munder's shoulder when he just grunted in response. “I wish... You know I'd make things different if I could. I wish we could tell everyone but we both know how that would go.”
The honesty in Dodge's voice made the welder turn to look at him, and he couldn't stay angry beneath the other man's apologetic gaze So Munder just sighed, wrapping an arm around his lover's shoulders in return. “I know. I know it's not your fault. It just pisses me off sometimes that it matters like it does. And damn it all, I want to fucking touch you instead of trading lovesick glances across the room like we're thirteen year old girls.”
While this bluster only covered a deeper wound, it was worth the effort to make the blond chuckle against his side and some of Munder's depression eased as he listened to him laugh. When Dodge's snickers finally eased, he straightened up and shot the taller man a grin.
“Well, it won't be much longer until we're back. If you can wait a few more days, we'll lock our door and not leave the apartment for a week. Promise.”
“Hey, don't worry about me, I'll get it over it like always.” And he would because whenever Dodge smiled at him, Munder knew that he could do nothing else but love him even if it cost them everything someday down the road. Not that he would tell his lover that.
So he sent a quick glance around the deck and spying no one else, leaned in to kiss the blond lightly before standing up again. “Come on, we should get down to the mess before Greer decides to cook and lights the boat on fire.” Munder grinned at his lover, foul mood seemingly cleared up for now, and held out a hand to pull him to his feet.
“Right because you're such a fine gourmet yourself,” Dodge retorted, lifting himself up and heading toward the hatch to go below.
“Hey, at least I can boil water,” the other man countered, waiting for his turn to descend. “Greer's lucky he's engaged now or he'd still be surviving off canned soup every time that we hit port.” His smile slipped off his face as he watched his lover's blond head disappear down the ladder for there was no need to keep up his cheerful act when the other couldn't see.
Greer was currently a sore point for the welder because the other man loved to wax poetic about his fiancée and while Munder was happy for him, sometimes he just wanted to tell him to shut up.
So she's pretty and smart and willing to wait for you through months at sea. Big whoop, you've only known her for a year. I've been with Dodge for nearly three and you don't see me bothering everyone else about how awesome he is. Because I fucking can't.
Nearly three years of hiding their relationship, if he could even call it that. If one of them was a woman they'd practically be married already but instead they were just each other's dirty little secrets. Two years of being 'roommates' so they didn't lose their jobs or worse and while Munder could not resent Dodge for it, he could resent the world.
The truly sad thing was that it was better now, far better than it had been in the beginning. In the early days, when neither of them had steady work the pair had been lucky to be on shore together a few times a month and Munder sometimes wondered how they'd managed to last this long.
But they had and while neither of them had ever officially said it, the welder knew that they were both in this for life. Sometimes when they were laying on their shitty little bed, Dodge would spin dreams of the future, dreams where they had finally saved enough to buy a boat of their own. Dreams where they had a crew that didn't mind their preferences or at least one that could keep its mouth shut and its opinions to itself. But that future was far off, if not actually unreachable, so until then he would treasure the good times and endure the rest.
“You coming?” the blond called and Munder shook his mind free of such thoughts. He wasn't usually one for philosophizing, preferring to deal with the world as it came rather than trying to change it. Better get my head together to do my actual job. Next thing you know I'll be wishing for a fortune to just fall into our laps so we don't have to work at all.
So he murmured his assent and joined Dodge below decks to rescue their dinner from Greer and Epps' bungling hands.
Thankfully Munder had little more time for brooding before they drew near Anchorage a few days later. On a small tug like the Arctic Warrior there was always work to be done when they had a wreck on the line and at the end of a long salvage trip like this one, the boat was often held together by little more than spit and jury-rigging. This meant that everyone pitched in no matter their specialty and downtime was quickly reduced to passing out on a bunk when their watch was done.
Which is how the welder found himself helping Santos in the engine room, handing the mechanic tools and pretending that the other's man technical jargon wasn't all gibberish to him. From the cursing, Munder was pretty sure that their engine problem was more serious than Murphy was pretending but honestly as long as the boat got them and their prize home, he didn't really care.
Actually, he was rather hoping that this issue meant some extra time in Anchorage while the Arctic Warrior was repaired. A few more days to laze around with Dodge before heading out again would be fantastic and just what he needed to lift his gloom.
And then of course their damn prize started sinking. Three months it had taken them to get her off the bottom, three months of endless days and backbreaking work, and she caught a leak less than fifty miles from the port.
None of them wanted to see their salvaged wreck go down since operations like Murphy's never had much breathing room and that ship might be their only chance of getting paid. However it was filling fast and better to cut her loose than let her drag their tug beneath the waves; this business was plenty dangerous and one had to learn to let go when the reward wasn't worth your life.
Of course Epps never seemed to get that lesson and what could Munder and Dodge do but follow her when she dove into the water to try and save their prize?
But thankfully lady luck was with them this time and it was an easy enough fix to weld a metal panel over the tear in the ship's hull. While it wasn't pretty, it would get them home and indeed, the salvagers limped back into Anchorage with both boats still afloat.
The first day back in port was always chaotic as the crew ran around the dock to secure their salvage and unload three months of gear from the tug. There were fees to pay and forms to sign and it was many long hours before Munder kicked open the door of his apartment and staggered inside. The crew had this night free to get themselves resettled before meeting back tomorrow to receive their pay and celebrate the sale of their latest prize.
Dodge was downstairs arguing with the manager like always because the man liked to cut off their utilities whenever they were gone over a month. Knowing this would take some time, the welder tossed their bags in a corner and sank onto their ratty old couch with a sigh, taking a moment to rest.
But eventually he dragged himself up and began unpacking; there would be time to relax once everything was done. Their dirty clothes went into a pile to be dealt with later, only the necessities to be cleaned tonight. It's a good thing this place is already filthy or that right there would destroy our deposit. Munder thought with a wry grin, recoiling at the smell now wafting from the corner.
Then he wandered into the kitchen to scrounge something for dinner, looking through their fine collection of cans and packaged goods. While he couldn't actually make anything until Dodge sorted out their landlord, Munder got everything ready, wiping the dust off their dishes and pulling out their pans. By the time he finished his preparations, the door began to open and he could hear his lover cursing as the damn thing stuck again.
“We all sorted then?” he called over as Dodge finally stumbled inside, swearing all the while.
“Yup, and I sweet-talked him into knocking our back rent down as well, since we so rarely ask for maintenance,” the blond replied cheerfully, walking over to the welder and leaning up to kiss him lightly. When he went to draw back, Munder deepened the kiss, pulling Dodge to him with the easy familiarity of years of practice and smiling against his lips.
“God, I've missed you,” his lover murmured into the welder's skin as he settled between Munder's legs to grind against him lazily. They were a perfect fit, the shorter man slotting against him like a puzzle piece while they made out against the counter-top. But eventually they drew apart and Dodge shoved the taller man toward the bathroom playfully.
“Go take a shower, you smell to high heaven,” the blond said with a grin. “I'll whip up something to eat while you do.”
“Right, like you smell so fresh and rosy yourself,” Munder retorted, grabbing a towel along the way. “But I suppose I can spare your precious sensibilities.” His lover's laughter followed him into the bathroom, warming him far more than their crappy pipes. While the water wasn't exactly cold, it certainly wasn't hot either and Munder was shivering by the time he was done.
“One of these days that damn water heater is going to die completely and I'm going to freeze my bollocks off,” he bitched as he walked back into the kitchen, drying off his hair. “And then where would you be?”
“Don't be like that, darling,” Dodge told him in reply, laughing as he wrapped an arm around his shoulders. “You know I'd never let you freeze.”
“Get off you idiot. You're filthy and I'm not going back in there.” The welder pushed his lover away, groaning in annoyance at the smudges of dirt on his hands. “It's your turn to shower anyway and I refuse to let you on the couch like this. What did you do, roll on the ground?”
“Hey now. I was busy making you this fabulous meal and this is the thanks I get? But fine, I'll go, though you better not have used up all of the hot water this time... And don't forget to stir the soup,” the blond said, planting a smacking kiss on Munder's cheek before disappearing into the bathroom himself. But the welder just shook his head at his lover's antics, throwing a semi clean shirt over his head before going over to check the pots on the stove.
I don't know how he does it, the welder thought, breathing the steam deep into his lungs. Dodge was like a wizard in the kitchen, able to combine tired old ingredients to make something amazing and there was a reason he was usually in charge of meals on the Arctic Warrior as well. Though I suppose he's got a lot of practice, considering this is all we can afford.
This wasn't entirely true since between them they could have managed better, but what little extra cash they had went into their savings so that they could get out of this shit-hole someday soon. Although at the rate the two of them were going it was going to take years, if they made it there at all. But Munder tried to have faith and until then, he would stir the soup and wear three layers to keep the draft out of his bones.
Dodge finished his shower quickly and the two sat down to eat, curling up with their bowls on the couch since they'd never bothered to buy a dining table. It's not like they ever had company and the welder rather preferred to sit pressed side to side with one foot tossed across his lover's lap than to attempt any kind of proper manners.
They ate in comfortable silence, neither man given to unnecessary words when it was only the two of them alone, a fact that their crew would be very surprised to find out. However, despite the more gregarious nature of their public personae, sometimes it was nice to let the quiet speak for itself.
When they finished their dinner, their minds turned quickly to other things and so after a brief pause to clean the dishes, the couple tumbled into their bedroom, kissing frantically against the wall. Munder groaned and pulled his lover hard against him as Dodge licked a trail down his neck, nipping lightly at the underside of his jaw. Their first time back was always hard and fast to make up for the months of deprivation and this night was no different, the blond grinding against Munder's leg as he shoved a calloused hand down his pants. The welder growled into the other man's mouth at the feel of fingers wrapped around his cock and he pulled Dodge up to return the favor.
He jerked him quick and rough, the way his lover liked it, stroking him from base to tip and rubbing a thumb over the his slit just to feel him shudder. By this point they both knew each other's preferences and it wasn't long before Munder was coming over Dodge's hand, slamming his head back with a gasp as his mind went white.
The blond was still hard so the welder dropped to his knees, freeing Dodge's dick from his pants completely while the other man braced himself against the wall. Then Munder took him in his mouth, savoring the weight against his tongue as he moved his lips ever so slowly down the shaft. His lover groaned at the feel of him, tangling one hand in his hair and holding on to let the other work at his own pace. Pushing would have served no purpose anyway, for Dodge had learned in the early days that Munder simply would not be rushed.
The welder loved sucking cock, he loved the taste of it and how his lips stretched wide around the other's length. He loved the ache in his jaw and the bruise in his throat from swallowing his lover down, but most of all he loved watching the blond fall apart beneath his mouth. It didn't take long before Dodge started begging, high desperate whines as his fingers clenched in Munder's hair and his skin shook beneath the other's stroking hands.
“Please, you bastard,” he gasped, throwing his head back against the wall and moaning in disappointment when his lover responded by pulling off entirely and looking up at him with a wicked smirk. “You're such a fuck, you assh- aah.”
He cried out when Munder tongued his slit before swallowing him completely and all it took was a quiet hum around his cock before Dodge came into the welder's mouth. His knees gave out and the couple slumped together for a moment, waiting to catch their breaths until they could manage to stand up.
But then Dodge was shoving himself upright and pulling his lover with him, turning around to push the other man back onto the bed. It was a tiny thing, barely big enough for the both of them, but as the blond settled firmly on top of him, Munder really didn't care.
He leaned forward to catch the other's lips while they finished undressing, shirts and pants tossed away to get at skin. They rarely wore less than three layers when at sea so the sight of the blond's bare flesh was enough to make his mouth water with desire and his fingers twitch with the need to touch. Dodge obviously felt the same, licking a trail down his lover's chest as he fumbled in the bedside table for supplies, pausing to bite lightly on a nipple and make the other arch against his mouth.
Munder groaned, already half hard again beneath his lover's skillful ministrations and he spread his legs easily when a slick fingers slid down the cleft of his ass. “C'mon already,” he whined as the blond just kept teasing, tracing along his entrance without ever pressing inside and he hooked one ankle around Dodge's back to draw him closer. His lover glanced up at him with a sinful grin and laughed at the frustration on his face.
“Patience is a virtue you know and it serves you right for being such a tease yourself,” the blond said, completely unrepentant despite the other's growls. “Besides, it's been too long since I've had the chance to make you moan without an audience and I don't want to waste it.”
But he took pity on the welder nonetheless, silencing his complaints with the insistent press of one long finger and Munder groaned low in his throat as the digit sank inside him. It had been too long, far too long, and the slight burn when Dodge added another was eclipsed by heat. His legs fell open wider and he pushed back into the other's hand, trying to ease the aching emptiness within, an ache that demanded to be filled. The blond answered his thrusts, shoving his two fingers deep inside and then crooking them gently to make Munder cry out when electricity shot across his skin.
Dodge pressed against that spot again, leaning up to swallow his lover's cries and the welder wrapped an arm around his neck to pull him closer. His nails scraped across the other's back, the slight pain making him shudder even as Dodge added another finger and spread them wide.
He bit at the blond's lips and moaned, caught between the friction of his lover's stomach against his cock and the hot flesh pressing firmly against his inner walls. When the blond finally pulled his fingers out completely, Munder was unable to stop the whimper of loss escaping from his mouth and he sighed with relief when he felt Dodge's thick cock press against his entrance.
Although there was pain along with pleasure when his lover began to breach him in a long, slow slide, it was well worth that sharpness to feel so complete again. No one had ever filled him as perfectly as Dodge, the blond's length a burning heat within him that seared away the emptiness and left only pleasure in its wake. Munder wrapped his legs around his lover's waist to pull him in deeper and his cock twitched at the feeling of being split in two.
“Move damn you,” he groaned after a long moment. But Dodge just stared down at him intently as though trying to memorize his face and he blushed beneath that gaze. The welder always felt awkward when his lover looked at him like that, as though he were beautiful with his hair tangled and skin streaked with sweat. However, Munder's embarrassment couldn't last when the blond finally started moving, pulling out slowly and then driving back in a hard thrust that made him gasp.
“Faster,” he groaned, clutching at the other's shoulders and pulling him into another filthy kiss as Dodge began slamming into him in earnest, making the bed knock against the wall. He wanted to ache in the morning, wanted to feel the echoes of his lover for days to make up for all those weeks without and the blond obliged him happily.
Soon there was no sound in the room but the slap of skin on skin and harsh panting for neither had the breath to spare for words. Munder was lost to pleasure beneath his lover's knowing hands as every stroke of Dodge's cock pressed hard against his prostate and sparked white light behind his eyes.
Their pleasure built higher and higher and it wasn't long before the welder was close, nails digging into the other's back. When the blond wrapped rough fingers around his throbbing dick, stroking him quickly in time with his thrusts, Munder came with a gasp, head back in a silent scream as he arched against his lover's chest.
Dodge followed him over the edge with a few more ragged strokes, growling the welder's name into his shoulder before slumping on top of him. Once he had recovered his senses, Munder wrapped an arm loosely around the blond's shoulders and smiled fondly down at the top of his head. He stroked his hand lightly along his lover's back, enjoying this chance to touch him as he liked before nudging the other in the side.
“Get off you lug, you're heavy.” Munder chuckled as his lover grumbled and raised his head to glare. “I don't know how you stay so flabby after months at sea.”
“Hey!” Dodge retorted, leaning up to kiss him playfully. “It's all muscle here. I'm not a skinny little fuck like you.” His smile was bright and the welder could hear the affection behind his words, even as the blond propped his chin up on his hands.
Munder just snorted, reaching down to pull the other into another kiss. “You love this skinny ass of mine and don't you forget it.”
“That I do,” his lover replied, deepening the kiss and the welder moaned to feel the other's cock swell within him once more. Soon they were moving together again, lost in sex and pleasure too often denied by secrecy and it was a long time before the pair collapsed in sleep.
The welder woke slowly the next morning, warm and content with Dodge curled tight against his back and an arm thrown over his side. Neither of them had anywhere to be until that evening so Munder woke his lover up with kisses and a warm grin against his lips.
It was many hours before either of them left their apartment, first to deal with their massive pile of laundry and then again that evening to meet with the others of their crew. Once the business of payment was dealt with, the group ended up at a bar as always, celebrating their good fortune and one more successful job.
Munder toasted along with the rest, well-satisfied with the knowledge that this prize was one more step along the road to fulfilling their dreams. This payment was all the sweeter due to the near miss that they had had and the welder resolved to thank Epps for her recklessness when he had the chance.
But before the opportunity arrived, their toasts were interrupted by an offer the likes of which Munder had never heard. A Canadian weather pilot, one Jack Ferriman, claimed to have seen a ship adrift in the Bering Sea, an enormous ship that gave no answer to his calls.
Any ship adrift in international waters would belong to the crew that brought it in and salvage of that size could be worth a fortune. While Munder was reluctant to return to their life of secrets and celibacy so soon, especially when he and Dodge should have had days to spend in each other's arms, he was also reluctant to let such opportunity pass them by.
So when Murphy offered his crew equal shares of whatever prize they found, the welder knew his choice was set. Two sixths of the salvage, a third of a fortune promised to whichever hands were brave enough to claim it, and such money was worth the sacrifice.
Maybe wishes do come true after all, Munder thought, visions of their own ship and a proper house running through his head. One more job and if everything goes our way all of us will be set for life, or damn close to it. And we're the best, so as long as the ship's free for salvage, what could possibly go wrong?
He shared a grin with Dodge across the table, seeing these same thoughts in his lover's eyes and then he lifted his beer in a toast to their future together and the brighter place that it would be.
Part II: What Hope Is There in Living When the Dead Knock at Your Door