The Unsinkable Merida Brown

Merida crumpled up the telegram and tossed it to the side, she didn’t want to read anything sent by him. Of all the nerve! Did he really think that after that little outburst of his that saying sorry was enough? She passed by a few fellow travelers and put up a smile. Yes, he would probably be there at the port waiting for her when the ship arrived, but she had already decided to continue giving him the cold shoulder. He deserved it after all, he had no right to tell her who she could and couldn’t socialize with, and after the friends he had made! She let out a puff as she entered her quarters on the ship, if he kept it up, she’d threaten divorce. He might be more agreeable to the idea now since their last argument. She thought back on it, it was undoubtedly heated, neither one wanting to give in. She sat on her bed and, sighing, sinking her head into her hands. What had happened to them? Before Hiccup’s success, they were so happy, so content, so willing to compromise. But now, it seemed the money, the fame, it was threatening to tear them apart, and they were going with it. A knock at her door disturbed her thoughts.

“Mrs. Haddock? The captain just wanted to remind you that dinner will be served at seven.”

“Uh, thank you, I’ll be there!” Merida replied.

“Yes ma’am.” stated the steward before his footsteps could be heard echoing as he walked away. Merida sighed as she walked to her closet to pick out a dress. She paused when she opened it, the sea foam green dress, his favorite as well as hers, hung like a memory begging to be saved from being forgotten. She bit her lip and pushed it aside, not wanting to have to think of him tonight. She paused and went back to the dress, maybe by wearing it and not thinking of him, it would mean she had gotten completely over him! A small smile touched her lips as she took the dress off the hanger and quickly changed, she would wear it with pride tonight, it was her dress after all, he had no say on what she could wear. She slipped on the matching shoes and her mint opal set before sitting at the vanity to do something about her rowdy curls. She pulled a brush through it and used as many bobby pins as was needed to keep her hair up in a messy bun. She dabbed a bit of blush on her cheeks and some lipstick on her lips, glanced at herself in the mirror to make sure she was completely ready and, with a sigh, walked out of her cabin.

 

He had paced around for who knows how long, glancing at the clock every now and then. Sighing, he ran a hand through his unkempt, brown hair, she didn’t send him a telegram. A groan escaped his lips as he clenched his fists, he didn’t know what to do to get her to forgive him, much less see what he was trying to say. Years ago, he would have known, but now, she was as mysterious to him as the sea she was traveling on. Heaving a sigh as he unclenched his fists, he went up to his room to change for a dinner party. He would just have to figure it out in the morning.

Merida laughed at the joke, though her heart really wasn’t it, there was too much on her mind. First off, she had been stupid, she hadn’t been able to stop thinking about Hiccup, even though she tried her hardest. When would it stop? She let out a little puff and decided to concentrate more on what was being said at the table, maybe he would finally fade from her thoughts. That’s when she remembered the second thing, nothing being talked about at the table really interested her. She sorely wanted to moan and groan when something stupid was said, but she was a part of high society now, all she could was smile and nod. That didn’t stop her from grumbling about how stupid that topic was in her mind, feeling awkward when they asked her a question she didn’t know the answer to, or biting her tongue to keep from loosing some sarcastic comment. It wasn’t until a steward came for the captain and he rose that she felt like she could breathe, but what the captain said next nearly took it away.

“I’m afraid there’s been an accident, I request that all of you go to your rooms, put on your life vests, and make your way to the lifeboats immediately. This is only a precaution, there in fact be nothing wrong, but just in case . . .” he left it at that, bowed to his guests and walked out. The guests were muttering as they left the table, trying to figure out what was going on. Merida stayed quiet, ignoring everyone as she rushed to her room. Should she change her dress before getting into her life vest? The boat lurched forward, tossing her against the closet doors.

A voice echoed throughout the PA system, “Ladies and gentlemen, there is a hole in the ship. Everyone evacuate to the lifeboats, immediately. I repeat, evacuate to the lifeboats. Forget your belongings, your lives are more important at this point. Over and out.” Merida didn’t quite do as the captain requested, she grabbed a few things after she put on her life vest, the small things she stuffed in her purse and a couple of coats. She put the bear fur coat over her vest and draped the other one over her arm along with her purse before dashing out into the hallway. She ran into a crowd, the stewards trying to keep everyone calm and moving in a rapid yet organized pace. As they made their way to the lifeboats, they passed the stairway where the lower classes were shouting to be let up, the stewards barring them so the first class could get out first. One woman’s voice in particular stood out to Merida.

“Please, at least just save my baby! Just save my baby!”

A steward approached Merida, “Ma’am, please, we need to keep the line moving.”

“What about the lower classes?”

“They will be let out once we’ve gotten all of first class out.”

“What happens if that’s too late?”

“Why are you so worried about it?”

“I was one of them years ago,” Merida stated before approaching the gate.

“Wait, Ma’am!”

“Just these two,” she muttered as she reached down and pulled up the mother, wrapping the other fur coat around her.

“Th-thank you, Ma’am,” stuttered the woman.

“Where’s your husband?”

“H-he’s already in America.”

“Good, I’ll make sure you and your child gets to him safely.” Merida patted her reassuringly as she led her to the lifeboats.

“Women and children first! Women and children first!” came the steady call as Merida and her proteges got into one boat. The lifeboats were lowered and cast off, just as a cracking sound thundered over the dark waters. Everyone glanced back at the ship, it seemed that it was worse than earlier.

“Row, row!” The four rowers rowed with all their might, but one wasn’t doing it right. “Come on, what are you doing?”

Merida glanced at the man, “Have you ever rowed before?” He shook his head. “Move over, I’ll show you how it’s done.”

“I can row too, if someone could take my baby,” stated the mother. A hand shot up from the back row,

“I can!” The mother gave her child to the richly attired woman, whom Merida recognized as one of the guests at the Captain’s dinner table. She came back to the oars, sat across from Merida, and rowed. A gasp erupted from the people in the dinghy, causing Merida to look up and gasp.

“The ship, it’s sinking! Oh God, it’s sinking!”

“Row! Keep rowing! We can’t be caught in the debris!” Merida rowed as hard as she could, the screams of those going down with the ship echoed in their ears.

They had sat there for several minutes, stunned by what just happened, before Merida took charge. “We’re going back to save as many as we can!” Everyone nodded and, under her command, room was made for more passengers. They went through the debris, another dinghy went in a different direction.

“If you can hear us, we’re coming for you! Shout when you see our lantern!” Merida called out periodically. They found three children before a whistle caught their attention.

“Over there!” The mother pointed just a ways ahead, a young woman was blowing the whistle and waving her arms.

“Row! We have to get to her before she freezes!” shouted Merida, giving the oar to the sailor so she could take off her coat. As they got closer, they saw the blonde swim back to some debris where a man lay. Merida bit her lip, either he was already frozen, or he was almost there. As soon as the got close enough, several of the passengers pulled the blonde in.

“No! We can’t leave Jack!” Merida reached out and grabbed Jack’s cold hand, pulling him into the boat with all her might. With some help, she got him into the waiting arms of the blonde, who held him close, tears streaming down her face. The look on the blonde’s face struck a chord in Merida’s heart. She thought of what would happen if their roles had been reversed, and a tear rolled down her cheek.

 

Hiccup reread the telegram, just to be sure, before sinking into his chair, horror written all over his face. How did this happen? Was she lost to him forever?

“Mister Haddock?” Hiccup glanced up, a look of concern spread over Fishlegs’ face.

“Sh-she’s gone, Fishlegs, the ship . . . went . . . down,” whispered Hiccup, fighting to control his emotions.

Fishlegs took the telegram and read it, “But it says here that there are survivors, most of whom were in 1st class. Merida must have made it off.”

“But how can we be sure?”

Fishlegs dropped a suitcase at his feet, “Go and find out. She’s your wife, you still love her, and I’m sure she still loves you.”

 

Merida walked slowly down the ramp, wanting to let her legs get as used to the land as possible. It was so good to be back! But she pushed that thought aside as soon the mother and child she had saved joined her side, she still had a promise to keep. The three stuck together while the woman scanned the faces for her husband. They walked slowly so she could look at each and every one. She paused and gasped, Merida followed her eyes, but couldn’t see what she saw.

“Joey!” she screamed, waving and jumping. A man rushed to her and enveloped his wife and child in a heartwarming hug, tears coming down his cheeks.

“You’re alright, you’re both alright! Oh thank God!” He covered his wife’s face in kisses, holding them both as if he was afraid of nearly losing them again. She stopped him and whispered something in his ear as she gave him the baby. He paused and glanced at Merida while his wife proceeded to take off the coat to return to Merida.

Merida smiled, “No, you keep it, it looks better on you.”

“Are you sure?” Merida nodded as she pulled her own coat tighter around her. “Thank you, and thank you again for saving our lives.”

Joey gave Merida a quick hug, “Thank you for saving my family. How can I ever repay you?”

Merida glanced at them, smiling, “Hold them close, and never let an argument, no matter how tiny it is, tear you apart.” The two nodded, thanked her again, and shared another kiss before walking off. Merida sighed as she glanced around. The others she had saved were making their way home too, no doubt. Her eyes then wandered over the crowd, looking for any familiar face.

“Are you Mrs. Haddock?” asked a voice behind her.

“Yes,” she instantly replied as she turned. She found herself looking into her husband’s sorrowful eyes. The two just looked at each other, no words were needed to express their sorrow, their relief, their joy. He pulled her face towards him, and kissed her ever so gently. She didn’t realize until that moment just how much she missed him, how much she needed him, and went back in for another kiss.

“Shall we go home?” he whispered into her ear. She nodded and, leaning on him, walked with him into the streets, glad to be finally back on land, back in her husband’s arms. What laid ahead, she didn’t know, but she would tackle it with the calm and reserve she held in the dinghy, and swore that she wouldn’t let some silly argument come between them again.

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