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Stardust - Moby-Dick, Queequeg


Masking

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(If you clicked on this because you saw the title and had a surge of morbid curiosity - I know, I know, bear with me! :D)

So, Moby-Dick. Ishmael and Queequeg are pretty much the Ur-Slash couple to the point that a lot of historians consider them canon (look up "Whence Came You, Queequeg?" and read it if you're interested. The author actually uses the word 'romance' and this is a university press!). I've shipped them ever since I read the book for a literature class in college, and actually made a post about it in the class forum! (Got an A in the class. :D) If you're not familiar with the book, Ishmael is a schoolteacher/merchant sailor whose depression makes him decide to ship out on a whaler for the sake of something new. Queequeg is a harpooner, heavily implied to be Maori, and...well...

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Upon waking next morning about daylight, I found Queequeg's arm thrown over me in the most loving and affectionate manner. You had almost thought I had been his wife. (Chapter 4, "The Counterpane")

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If there yet lurked any ice of indifference towards me in the Pagan's breast, this pleasant, genial smoke we had, soon thawed it out, and left us cronies. He seemed to take to me quite as naturally and unbiddenly as I to him; and when our smoke was over, he pressed his forehead against mine, clasped me round the waist, and said that henceforth we were married; meaning, in his country's phrase, that we were bosom friends; he would gladly die for me, if need should be. In a countryman, this sudden flame of friendship would have seemed far too premature, a thing to be much distrusted; but in this simple savage those old rules would not apply. (Chapter 10, "A Bosom Friend." Sorry about the racism. This is about as bad as it gets, though.) 

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How it is I know not; but there is no place like a bed for confidential disclosures between friends. Man and wife, they say, there open the very bottom of their souls to each other; and some old couples often lie and chat over old times till nearly morning. Thus, then, in our hearts' honeymoon, lay I and Queequeg- a cosy, loving pair. (same chapter)

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Be it said, that though I had felt such a strong repugnance to his smoking in the bed the night before, yet see how elastic our stiff prejudices grow when once love comes to bend them. For now I liked nothing better than to have Queequeg smoking by me, even in bed, because he seemed to be full of such serene household joy then. I no more felt unduly concerned for the landlord's policy of insurance. (Chapter 11, "Nightgown")

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The next, a loud splash announced that my brave Queequeg had dived to the rescue. (Chapter 78, "Cistern and Buckets")

So, in good time my Queequeg gained strength... (Chapter 110, "Queequeg In His Coffin")

 

...yeah. Also, there is a CANONICAL HURT/COMFORT FEVER SCENE in Chapter 110. If you check out the "queeshmael" tag on Tumblr, there are gifsets of the scene from the 2011 miniseries. *faint*

So keep reading if you want, even if you haven't read Moby-Dick; all you really need to know is that they're both aboard the ship they've chosen, The Pequod, and that things tended to get pretty boring between whales, allowing for - well, this. Also, citations in a fetish fic? I AM SUCH A NERD. Now to try writing like Melville...this should be fun.

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On board the Pequod, time moved slowly when whales were scarce. As it stood, since I had little skill in the mechanics of harpooning or hooking a whale, even such a time when we had one in our sights seemed more an agony of waiting for me than any time of true action; I concerned myself primarily with Queequeg's safety, followed by exultant rejoicing when he came back safely, itself followed by the necessary tasks of stripping and flensing. But apart from those heady waves on the ocean that was our lives, my days settled into a lull of sorts.

So it was that I had the watch one night, and having sewn shut my portion of the day's ripped sails for the time being, I leaned back upon the mainmast and looked out upon the stars. The moon shone among them, its full benevolent face as much a balm to my soul as the passing breeze was to my sweat-dewed skin. There were yet repairs to do, but by my calculation I had some hours before my watch ended, my hands having flown over the work in a demonstration of the dexterity I had once again learned. The deck was quiet, the deck that I stood upon dark and glistening in the light. I could have stood there the rest of my life, save for the disruption I saw in the corner of my vision that made me turn.

This disruption was not unwelcome, for despite not having the same watch that night as I, Queequeg had come up on deck from the harpooners' cabin. I would have greeted him save for the pensive expression on his face. While he was often serious in mien, he freely showed his smile and even laughed in my presence nearly as often as I would have liked, as I did in his. Yet this was a different situation entirely; his brow knit, his mouth was firmly set, and I would have said that perhaps he was about to weep if I did not know him as well as I did.

I crept closer.

The moon and stars illuminated his heavy, sharp features as he tilted his head up towards the sky. His eyes had closed in the moments since I decided to explore this mystery, and the eye-lashes I envied lay heavy on his cheeks. His nose appeared perhaps the tensest part of him, and as I watched, his nostrils quivered, then neatly flared out once, then again. A deep, seemingly helpless breath, and the upper half of his body lunged forward with a powerful, nearly-silent shudder that he suppressed into the clutch of his fist.

I felt my cheeks color, and heat suffused my entire face. I flatter myself that I am marginally better at transcribing a man's voluntary sounds than those he makes involuntarily, but I have little enough acumen in either realm. I had still observed such an act in many men; this was not so in my observations of Queequeg, but my ears keenly absorbed all the sound that he made in this situation. My interest piqued, I leaned closer in time to hear him stifle again into his fist, again nearly silent, but slightly less so. " -NNgkff!" He stood up straight, breathing hard, and pressed the palm of his hand flat against the tip of his nose, so much so that I thought he might injure it.

I would not allow this abuse of his person, no matter whom it came from. "Are you all right?" I asked. The fire in my face had spread down my neck to the skin of my chest, and I dearly hoped he would not notice.

Queequeg nearly jumped in place. Had he not possessed the instincts of a long-time harpooneer, I have no doubt that he would have done so. "I..." he began, and with a low growl of frustration, rubbed at his nose again. His breath hitched, and my eyes were riveted to the small movement of his chest. "I - HMMfff! -" he stifled this into his wrist - "yes, all right. No."

His command of English was more than adequate for the ship, but it had slipped with the seemingly abominable irritation in his nose. After some time, he was able to get out that Tashtego, more than passing fond of spice, had passed 'round some pepper when the harpooneers gathered for some private pork and biscuit. Queequeg was aware of the cost, and so had leaned forward to carefully apply his portion. A sizable draught of it entered his nostrils, and since then, he had fought the urge to sneeze until he felt completely himself again. To that end, he had come up here, save for the changing of his ultimate goal to that of stifling the sneezes out.

His accent aided in making his pronunciation of the most sensitive word (to my ears) nearly musical, aided by another hitch of his breath halfway through his last utterance of it. Had we had tomatoes aboard, they would scarcely have been redder than I at that moment, I judged.

"You'll hurt yourself if you keep at that," said I instead of indulging in this sensation of embarrassment. I would not turn away from my Queequeg when he needed my help.

"No," he said. "You are watching."

Was this modesty? Insofar as we agreed that we were wed, in our fashion, this seemed strange to me, and silly. "I don't care if you must sneeze," I said, and barely escaped my voice cracking over the last word much as his had. "I'll go, if you want me to," I told him, "but you do not need to stifle yourself on my account. I won't mock you, you have to know that."

"I will be l-loud," he warned me, his voice deepening with this terrible, ticklish, irresistible urge. I could nearly feel it in my own nose, so great was his need.

I simply shrugged my shoulders. "I don't mind."

Queequeg nearly smiled at the permission, or perhaps that was the involuntary twitching of his mouth as well as his nose. His shoulders and chest rose and fell; his soft breaths built up until they were as deep and regular as a bellows. One hand came up, but far from covering his tormented nose as I feared, it hovered in front of his face as though in a signal to stop. Not that I would, if I even could.

"Hah - hah - !" he stuttered out, and his broad chest jumped with it. "Heh - IIHUUHSHHH!"

He had promised noise, but the reality was so much more than the promise. I nearly leapt back, but kept myself from it by force of will. Queequeg was, after all, clearly not finished. "HAHHHshhh!" The next desperate sneeze made his head snap forward, and it was followed by a broken breath that brought his nose - visibly irritated, I saw, at the edges of his nostrils - upward once more. "Hh...hh'huhHH - UHHFSCHH! Hh-huh-USCHHuhh!" He ended this last release with a deep, throaty noise that might have been a sigh. I, likewise, might have been riveted to the spot.

He hitched a short while longer, but subsided, although the irritation was still plain to see in the lines of his features. "God bless you," I offered. As his stifling was similar to that I had seen in Nantucket, I thought perhaps he might enjoy an American blessing as well. "You were well-peppered! Do you think you've finished?"

"M-maybe," he stuttered, and before his hand could come up again, he threw back his head and let out the strongest sneeze yet, straight into the air. "HUH-UAAHSCHHUHH!" It was not like a cough, as were some other sneezes I had observed in my life, but rather completely sneeze-like in all its properties. I could, and can, describe it in no better a way. His mouth and nose let forth a fine mist that quickly dissipated, and upon straightening himself, he lightly pressed the back of one hand to his nose. "Now I finish," he said, and his expression when he turned to me was unmistakably a smile.

"God bless," I said fervently, and remembering myself, searched in my clothes for a handkerchief. The one I found was stained with salt and sweat, but it was clean, and he took it gratefully. I turned away to preserve his modesty, if it was there, but I could not stop up my ears and I was glad of it.

He gave a last dry sniff that signaled without words that I ought to turn back around, and pocketed my handkerchief when I was once again eye-to-eye with him. I did not mind; we shared everything, and keeping it seemed hardly an adequate payment for the sight he had given me. "You like this," he said simply.

I affected some indignation despite the truth of it. "You can't possibly know that."

"I do," he countered, and gestured me closer. I obeyed, and from that point could see faint marks of irritated tears below his eyes and on his cheeks. "Come here."

The command drew me to him, an anchor to the bottom of the ocean, and I pressed my lips to his. He tasted salty, perhaps from sea spray and perhaps from tears, but I found it novel and not altogether unpleasant. Our kiss lasted a time, and when we broke away, I couldn't resist rubbing away the remaining tears with my fingers. "Bless you," I repeated once more, smiling to echo his. His nose had never been more endearing, although I had paid it ample attention before with kisses. "I suppose pepper doesn't agree with you."

"Maybe not pepper," he said, and pointed overhead. "Stardust."

I didn't pretend to know most of his legends, but this one seemed right enough. "It could be," I said. "Providential."

Queequeg shrugged one powerful shoulder. "I will find more," he said, and flashed his bright teeth in a grin when I blushed once again.

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Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhh I love Queequeg! Accents are also a weakness of mine so I really enjoyed how he talked. You showed the difference of upbringing and culture between Moby and Queequeg soooo well!! The style of writing was definitely literary and fantastic!  I loved the simile about the anchor! 

This was just TOO sweet and TOO cute! Especially when Queequeg didn’t want to sneeze in front of Moby. 

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1) I love this

2) 

58 minutes ago, Masking said:

"M-maybe," he stuttered, and before his hand could come up again, he threw back his head and let out the strongest sneeze yet, straight into the air. "HUH-UAAHSCHHUHH!" It was not like a cough, as were some other sneezes I had observed in my life, but rather completely sneeze-like in all its properties. I could, and can, describe it in no better a way. His mouth and nose let forth a fine mist that quickly dissipated, and upon straightening himself, he lightly pressed the back of one hand to his nose. "Now I finish," he said, and his expression when he turned to me was unmistakably a smile.

This passage is everything. It is like... hot in a fetish way but also Very Melville? (Or at least Very 19th Century Novelist, I guess I haven't read enough Melville to really know his style). Anyway this is awesome!

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Moby Dick??!!! Heck YES! I had to keep from making a little squeal of joy when I saw a title with "Moby Dick" pop up, and then I had to run over to read it immediately. This was wonderful. Please, do not hesitate to post any more Moby Dick fics on here should you write them. I'll be a happy reader :)

Also, a caretaking scene in the 2011 miniseries, you say? Where might I find that?

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So, I've never read it...perhaps moving schools so often caused me to miss it but I was not really interested anyway. Decided to give this a try--thank you for the citations, they were helpful to me. And I think you captured the writing style from said citations very well. I very much liked the story. The gifs showed them younger than I expected but hey, I was not sad to look at them lol Particularly liked when Queequeg noticed he liked it. Cute! I'm glad to have read it

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OMG. This is brilliant! 

On 4/30/2018 at 7:36 PM, Masking said:

Also, citations in a fetish fic? I AM SUCH A NERD.

As a huge nerd myself, I highly approve! LOL

The writing is fantastic. Very Melville!

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