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"All these things that I've done"

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The camp was silent, as it had been the past couple days since the last crew member in his charge passed on. 

 

It was ironic though wasn't it? When they first set sail, George Chambers was listed as a ship's boy aboard Erebus

 

With everything that happened since he should have easily been treated as an AB. It wasn't like the lad was a boy anymore at the age of twenty-one. 

 

Twenty-one.

 

George Chambers was far too young. 

 

Then again, so was Thomas Evans and David Young. 

 

The wind whistled through the endless sea of gray and white… and a modest sea of red outside the tent. Edward had become so used to the noise and its cause, courtesy of his wind burned cheeks and chapped lips, that he didn't hear it anymore. Barely felt it. 

 

He did hear the soft chinks of the chains that Le Vesconte had mauled into his face when he was driven mad with illness. 

 

The assault had taken him by surprise, and Henry Le Vesconte was a larger man than he, he'd blacked out easily and was awoken by young Chambers. 

 

After the initial shock and panic, he'd taken his pistol and put the poor man, (who had been completely remorseless and switching between shouting threats and cackling maniacally) out of his misery. 

 

His wounds had started to slow in healing and he didn't dare pull the chains out for fear of hurting himself further. 

 

Edward didn't know what scared him more, the ominous pitch of the wind that had haunted them, was still haunting him, or the thought of the afterlife. 

 

He'd made so many mistakes on this expedition. Some of them had once seemed unfathomable until reality proved him wrong, so very, very wrong and the intense feeling of self-loathing washed over him like a fierce sea of despair and failure. 

 

From the moment Erebus hit that growler, he'd made mistakes. 

 

At first they were minor things he could forgive himself for, but then they weren't. 

 

He'd had a feeling that Mr Hickey was not who he claimed to be, of course he didn't have proof so he'd never brought it to Captain Crozier's attention. 

 

Maybe he should have. 

 

Instead he tried to keep an eye on the man, at first it was easy, but then men started showing and or disappearing in the night, and he had been too busy. He should have made more time. 

 

Then there was the matter of the Captain's habit of drink. He should have said something to him about it, protested against it, refused to go to Erebus to check Captain Fitzjames' stores, intervened by pouring the cursed liquid onto the ice. 

 

He kept the severity of Crozier's drinking from Captain Fitzjames when he knew he should have said something. 

 

Then of course when he was acting Captain of Terror.  

 

How he regretted his faults there, he honestly should have tried to get Captain Fitzjames to see reason about using so much supplies, but perhaps it wouldn't have mattered if they'd had more provisions or not. 

 

He should have subdued Sergeant Tozer the moment he discovered the man dared to dismiss the Captain's orders regarding handing out additional arms. Let Captain Fitzjames know. Tried to regain order over the panic the men were displaying.

 

Instead he let his own fear take control of him. 

 

He should have put a bullet in the back of Mr Hickey's head the moment it was discovered that he was the cause of Lieutenant Irving's hellish murder. 

 

Should have, like he'd wanted to. 

 

He should have tried harder to get the men to follow him, to rescue the Captain. He knew the man had been expecting him to return. 

 

Captain Crozier had been their only chance. 

 

Their only chance and he let it be squandered. 

 

Jopson… 

 

Edward pictured the young lieutenant's smiling face, the hollows of the dimples in his cheeks. The warmth in his eyes. 

 

So sweet and fiercely devoted to their captain.

 

In the back of his mind, it wasn't hard for his mind to wander. Imagining the look of disappointment, outrage, and a deep piercing look of hurt shining through glimmering pale hazel pools. 

 

The poor man would have been absolutely broken to know that their Captain had been abandoned, left to the mercy of that devil. 

 

Edward felt a shiver run through him before he went still again, his eyes stung from the cold air and yet he could no longer feel the cold brush of frost against the top of his cheeks from the light dusting frozen on his eyelashes. 

 

He was dying, he knew he was. 

 

There was no hope for him anymore. There was no way he was getting out of here, no way of escaping this forbidden place. 

 

All he could do was wait in silence knowing all the while that his mistakes would be taken with him to his grave.