DISCLAIMER: This is an original story that I have written. I have used the first names and similar physical descriptions of Sara Sidle and Catherine Willows from CSI but I do not own them, and these characters are not them. The songs featured in this story are not by me. They are written by other talented people, and are all listed by title and/or artist. At least three are Australian.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: This story is part of the "Where the hell am I?" series. They are stories that are independent of each other, but are all linked with a common theme. Dedicated to my G-Man, who has been a pillar of support throughout the years. Also a shout-out to Anna, because I wrote several scenes on the train on my way to visit her. And as an extra disclaimer, I had worked on and planned out this story long before I read the fantastic WH13 fic of Racethewind10's 'A Pirate's Life for Me'. Apart from keeping me glued to the computer screen for hours, the fic solidified in my mind how fantabulous pirate fics can be, so thanks Racethewind10! Also, I have finished reading 'The Quiet Game' by Greg Iles since writing that scene way back when, and for the record it was awesome! Thanks goes to the talented Debbie for being beta for me. It was also beta-read by the following awesome people: Ella, Mum, Sam, Tegan and Greg. Thanks for coming sailing with me!
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
SERIES: Part of the "Where the hell am I?" series.
FEEDBACK: To kc_sg27[at]yahoo.com.au
The Seven Seas
The water splashed on her face, and its icy fingers spread over her hair and neck. After the initial shock subsided the first tactile sensation that registered was the hard surface beneath her. What the hell happened? Daring to open an eye she had to shield her face against the glaring sun. Both eyes opened wide and she gaped around her in awe.
"Shiver me timbers and call me the Queen of England!" she exclaimed nervously. Standing around her was an assortment of rough looking men dressed in baggy pants and open shirts, for those of them wearing shirts at least. "Did I wake up on the set of Pirates of Penzance?"
The men exchanged confused glances. "Ok, bad example. I must be dreaming," she nodded to herself. "Yep, definitely dreaming. For one they didn't allow women on ships and certainly not one so attractive." She blinked and gazed around again. "And that eye patch? PULeeease! Who are you kidding? I'll pinch myself and wake up in my nice warm cozy bed."
A tall black man folded his arm disbelievingly. "Not buying it huh? Ok, so the pinch didn't work. But I know for a fact that my alarm will go off any second. Aaany second now I have to be dreaming... don't I?"
"She thinks she's dreamin' lads?" Eye-patch chortled. "Maybe we should show her a nightmare."
"Zatch!" the tall black man raised his tenor voice.
Patch, as she immediately thought of him, clenched his jaw and lowered his eyes before forcing out the words, "My apologies Cap'n. Meant nothin' by it."
"Take her to the hold. And make sure she's given food and water," Mr. Tenor instructed. "And if any man harms her in any way it'll be the plank for ye!"
The shocking absurdity of her predicament was shattered when big dirty hands wrapped around her arms, hoisting her up easily and dragging her towards the large hatch. "No!" she screamed. "You can't do this! Let me go!"
The cell she was thrust into was cold, dark and dank, and had an overwhelming smell of urine. She couldn't believe what was happening. Pirates? The plank? These people are insane! She turned to the door as a burly man put two bowls on the floor. After he left with a huff she approached the bowls cautiously and knelt down to inspect them. Water was in one, but the other appeared to be a creamy muck. Upon smelling the goo her head shot back in disgust.
What she didn't realise at first was that she wasn't alone, "Are ya goin' ta eat tha?"
She stumbled away from the boney arm that was protruding through the bars of the next cell, and inelegantly fell on her arse. She gulped. "Um, no?"
"Help a starvin' man out then, and pass it ova."
"Sure, um, sir?" She scrambled to her feet and picked up the bowl.
"Sir? Ha!" A creepy laugh came from dry lips. "No one's eva called me sir before, and it don't suit me eitha. Sam's me name."
She handed the bowl to Sam. "I'm Sara."
The muck was gone in seconds, and Sara was sure the bowl would disappear if Sam licked it any more. "Wow, you must have been hungry."
Sam nodded, "Haven' fed me in days."
"Well I'm glad you enjoyed that gooey fat."
"Lard is good for the heart!" he patted his rag covered chest. "You'll be starvin' soon enough. The Cap'n's a mean one. Ruthless as they come! Cut a man's heart out once."
"Oh, goody." Sara chirped with sarcasm. She suddenly sat down as the shock of the ordeal wore off. "Oh boy " She gripped her stomach as if that could banish the waves of nausea that had taken hold.
With one arm pretending to be a bad pillow and one arm wrapped around the vomit-filled lard bowl, Sara groaned as the ship continued to rise and fall with the waves. She was unsure how long she'd been in there, a day or two maybe. She had tried to sleep as much as possible because it was the only time she forgot about the nausea. But now she was restless. Restless and nauseous was a very bad combination. Sam hadn't been a good distraction either; he smelt and he seemed a bit crazy.
Sara opened an eye when she heard a hatch open, and the other when she heard footsteps. She slowly sat up.
"The Cap'n wants to see yer." A man built like The Rock unlocked the cell and lifted her clean off the boards with one hand, allowing her to dangle before he put her back down. "Tha way," he barked.
Sara nodded mutely, afraid that she'd vomit again if she opened her mouth. She was 'guided' back up to the deck. The sun glared down at her and she was reminded of summer days at the beach. Pity there isn't sand between my toes The Rock knocked on a door under what she assumed was the bridge. A deep voice gave permission to enter.
Mr Tenor was standing at the end of the small corridor. He nodded to The Rock who left silently. Sara was afraid. Mr Tenor looked to be a good foot and a half taller than her, and his muscular physique could push apart trees as if they were stalks of grass. After he looked her up and down without a trace of emotion in his eyes he walked out. Sara was left standing there with a pale expression of shock. What the hell is going on?
Sara wrapped her arms around her stomach as the nausea reared its ugly head again.
"Sea sickness," purred a Siren's voice from behind the desk. Sara hadn't even seen her sitting there. The woman got up and retrieved a small flask from a bureau. She sauntered over and held it out to Sara. "Sip this."
Sara shook her head and then clenched her eyes shut in an attempt not to vomit. Maybe if she just imagined this beautiful strawberry blonde woman naked that would help her forget the nausea?
"It will help," the woman insisted.
Sara squinted at the flask skeptically. She cautiously reached out and took it. After pulling out the stopper she raised it to her lips, and an approving nod encouraged her to take the sip. "Yuck!" She almost spat it out. "What the fuck is that?"
"Tonic to help settle your stomach."
Sara was about to exclaim her disbelief at such a tonic when a miraculous thing happened: she noticed that her stomach didn't feel so bad. In fact, it was beginning to feel normal again! "I um Thanks."
The Siren smiled, "You're welcome." She took the flask back from Sara while she sized her up. "What is your name, child?"
"Where are you from?"
"I can't say I've heard of that port. Is it to the north?"
Sara gaped. Port? "Ah, no, I don't think so Unless we're in Antarctica, which I doubt."
"What ship were you on?"
"Yes, ship. Don't play the fool with me, child. I have no patience for games." There was a clear difference between the woman being a Siren or a Captain. As the Captain, she ordered, "Tell me what ship you were on and who attacked it."
Sara gulped and lowered her eyes to the floorboards. "I honestly don't remember being on a ship, or it being attacked. The last thing I remember is going to bed, at my home, and then suddenly I woke up on your deck. Do you mind telling me where I am and who you are? Because frankly, this all seems a bit insane."
When the Captain didn't say anything for a moment Sara looked up at her. The deep blue of her eyes was stunning, and harshly intelligent. Sara was captivated. It may have been the openly confused look on her face that finally prompted the Captain to speak, "It seems you suffer from amnesia as well as sea sickness."
Sara raised her eyebrow.
"What work can you do?" The Captain was looking slightly up into Sara's brown eyes, but she was by no means intimidated. She was in charge in every sense of the word, and her whole body and demeanor declared it to the world.
"Um Well, I work for a recruitment agency "
"Recruiting for who?"
"Different businesses." Sara shrugged. "Businesses contact the agency, and we interview prospective employees, and then refer them to the businesses. To be honest, if I was filtering the personnel for your ship Patch would be the first to go."
A look of distaste briefly crossed the Captain's face, and Sara was afraid she had insulted this sparkling diamond of a Captain. "You shall work in the galley then." With that she called out, "Tarquin!"
Within seconds the door opened and Mr. Tenor strolled down the small corridor. "Captain?"
"Take the girl to the galley. She shall help Carver until I know what to do with her."
"To do with me? I want to go home. It's as simple as that." Sara butted in.
"Aye, Captain." He bowed his head and ignored the girl completely. "Where shall she sleep?"
The Captain looked thoughtful a moment, weighing up the options. "The supply closet in my quarters. As well as helping in the galley she shall clean the decks and this room and then retire to the closet."
"Don't I get a say in the matter?" Sara huffed.
"If you wish to stay alive you shall do as I say. The men don't see a woman as often as they'd like "
Sara gulped again. She was terrified, but it still seemed absurdly like a dream. How can any of this crazy stuff be real? She jumped when Mr. Tenor gently clasped her arm. "Come with me," he boomed. And Sara had no choice but to follow.
She'd spent the last few days learning the ropes, so to speak. She didn't know what perverted power had brought her here, but she was very thankful that it was in her favourite khaki shorts and black Warehouse 13 shirt. Turns out the ruthless captain that Sam had warned her about was the woman of Sara's dreams; strong, independent, commanding, and drop dead gorgeous. She could see where the description of ruthless could be applied, but apart from having a short temper she hadn't seen a nasty side to Captain Rivero.
Strangely enough she had really liked the cook, Carver. The older man had a wealth of experience and tales to share with Sara as they made the 'meals' for the crew. The term 'meals' was used loosely, because nearly everything contained a large amount of lard. If the scrubbing of the decks hadn't been so grueling Sara knew she would lose her slight but athletic build with the sudden change in her diet.
After the third day she collapsed onto the stretcher in the closet, exhausted. Sara sighed and closed her eyes. She wanted to go home. It wasn't long till she fell asleep. A few hours later the ship lurching woke her up. She didn't think she'd ever get used to life at sea. It was then she noticed a quiver in her stomach. That quiver turned into a swelling throb. Sara felt around in the darkness for the bucket she used for cleaning. She grabbed it just in time for her stomach to revolt and heave her last 'meal' into said bucket.
She was reduced to dry retching when the closet door opened. If she didn't feel so bad she would have been concerned she'd woke the Captain up. She was, however, extremely surprised when the Captain sat gently on the stretcher beside her, placing a hand on her hunched lower back and started rubbing in soft, slow circles. Sara was so shocked that she almost dropped the bucket.
"Sip this," Captain Rivero ordered. "It wears off after a few days."
Sara reached out with a shaking hand. She took the flask and lifted it to her lips. The Captain's hand enclosed hers to hold it steady enough to take the sip. "Arrgh!" Sara shuddered. "God, that's disgusting!"
The Captain took the flask and sealed it. "Yes, but it is worth it."
They sat in silence while Sara's stomach eased. When she felt better she looked towards the Captain, and hoarsely whispered, "Thank you."
"You're welcome." The Captain patted Sara's knee, "Give me the bucket, and go back to sleep."
"But I need to clean it," Sara protested.
"I'll take care of it. Just get some rest." The Captain took the bucket from Sara's hands and left.
Two days later Sara stood in front of the Captain's desk. "I want to go ashore."
They were headed towards a small dock, in the middle of nowhere as far as Sara could tell. She still hadn't got her sea legs, nor any idea where the hell the ship was in relation to the countries she had learnt about in school. Until land was sighted at first light this morning she would have claimed they were about to sail off the end of the world.
"I'm not your slave. You can't stop me." Sara huffed. "I don't belong here! I want to go home!"
The Captain stood suddenly and Sara regretted yelling at the fierce woman. Captain Rivero took a calming breath, unaccustomed to explaining herself, "I can understand your desire to leave the ship, but this is the last port you'd want to do that. I don't even like stopping here."
Sara opened her mouth to speak but she was cut off by an angry tone. "Don't argue, child! If you want to stay alive long enough to return home then you'll do as I say."
Sara clenched her jaw and glared at the floor instead of the Captain. Her balled hands were shaking in anger. What makes her all so high and mighty? A string of curses flashed through her mind and didn't abate when the Captain moved around the desk to stand beside her.
"Take this key and lock yourself in the closet. Do not open the door for anyone but Tarquin or myself." When Sara didn't open her hand to take the key Captain Rivero put it on the desk. She marched to the door but turned back around before opening it. "It is necessary to keep you safe. Do it now."
That night Sara lay in the darkness of her closet. She had sulked there ever since her argument with Captain Rivero. She didn't even come out for the stupid lard dinner when Tarquin had come to 'let her out'. She knew the Captain was right, but that didn't lighten her bad mood. She kept her eyes shut and pretended to be asleep when she heard a soft knock on the door later that night. A few moments passed before it opened, flooding the small room with soft light. She knew it was the Captain but was too tired and angry to acknowledge the beauty. She felt her hand being lifted and a small flask put under it.
A long silent moment stretched before the Captain spoke, "Take a sip every 3 days to prevent seasickness."
The door closed and Sara was left in darkness once more. She held the flask tightly as tears streamed down her face.
"If you waste anymore wa'er you'll die of thirs'," Patch snarled.
Sara ignored him and kept scrubbing.
"Maybe you could raid the Cap'n's personal stash."
Ignoring bullies is easier said than done, mum, Sara thought. Wax on, wax off.
"Or maybe you could put tha' drool to better use than wastin' it on tha' wench."
Sara's knuckles went white with the strength of her grip on the brush.
"You're jus' a slave," he hissed. "Cross her an' you'll be back in the cell with ol' Sam. Wouldn' hurt a seagull, that Sam. Pu' him down there for no good reason, she did."
"Zatch!" Mr. Tenor barely raised his voice. "Back to work."
"You'll rot there too " Patch's parting taunt echoed in Sara's mind, just like Sam.
Later that day
"Does the Cap'n know yur doin' this?" Sam's words allowed rotting drool to escape his lips and he greedily snatched the bowl from Sara's hands.
Sara waited until Sam had practically inhaled all of the lard and took back the bowl. "No. And it's going to stay that way."
"You arr a kind soul indeed. I will rememba this."
"Hey!" Sara exclaimed angrily as her bucket went flying, spilling water everywhere.
Patch's apologetic face was pathetic, "So sorry little lady. Accidents can hap'n on a ship like this."
"Bullshit!" Sara spat. She stood up to face him, tired of his bullying. "If you don't back the fuck off you'll be the one having an accident."
All the men on deck froze. Even Patch stared in shock before his anger was able to take hold. He raised his arm to hit her and swung heavily. Prepared for this move Sara ducked the blow by a whisker. She didn't think he'd go again so she stood straight again to give him some more well deserved verbal abuse. Unfortunately she was wrong. A split second before a connection was made between his calloused fist and Sara's tanned face Patch was yanked back and down onto the deck, the Captain's sword already at his throat.
Captain Rivero glared at him, daring him to move the inch needed to justify slitting his throat. When he didn't she raised her eyes and looked at every crew member visible. "No one is to harm the girl, or abuse her in any way." She declared. Her eyes returned to Patch's one, "And you," she snarled, "will stop harassing her or I will take your head off."
Patch blinked in acknowledgement but didn't dare move until the Captain had removed her blade. He stood, brushed himself off in a show of defiance, and then went back to work in silence. He would enjoy his revenge when the time came, for now he planned to keep alive.
13 and a half days had passed since the Captain told Sara her place on the ship. She had learned many things since that day in the Captain's office. Firstly, it was Captain Catherine Rivero, and the ship, Orion's Mantle, was a pirate ship of high repute. She didn't kill unnecessarily, but she also didn't show mercy to her enemies. This scared the hell out of Sara. Seriously? A pirate ship? How much more ridiculous could it get? Not only was she trapped on a pirate ship around England somewhere, she'd also woken up in the 1600s! About a week in they raided a merchant vessel. The Captain had given Sara the key to the closet again and gave her the same orders. It happened again, two days in a row, before the ship went back into hiding. The screams and clanging of metal on metal struck Sara to her core, and seeing the Captain's bloodstained shirt afterwards was a reminder that she couldn't deny the barbaric acts she had thought were in the past.
Unfortunately it got worse. Zatch, or Patch as Sara always called him now, seemed to be a thorn in her side. He was always leering at her, and making a mess on the deck when she was cleaning it. She didn't clean all of it every day, but had designated sections to rotate through, so by the time she had finished, she needed to start again. She was starting to build up a tan that she had mocked her old school peers for having. The few times she had wiped sweat from her brow in the heat a few of the guys, usually Patch, made a crude comment about her removing her clothing to cool down. Luckily Mr. Tenor was usually stalking about keeping the crew on their toes. Good thing he was actually a fair man, albeit quite intimidating.
Her days consisted of scrubbing the deck in the early morning, then helping Carver with the 'meals' around midday, and finally cleaning the Captain's quarters of an afternoon. She tried not to spend a lot of time out on the deck. She found it was much safer to stay away from the majority of the crew. She only felt safe around Carver, Mr. Tenor, the Captain and the old navigator, who she called Tom-Tom. Luckily his name was Thomas, so she could get away with calling him that. She laughed when he had asked her why she called him this. How do you explain a GPS to a pirate? With the secrets of the future twinkling in her eyes she simply said that she liked giving people nick names, and that his was one based out of kindly affection.
As for the Captain, well, there was a crush if ever she had one! In the brief time she'd been here she'd seen the fierce and commanding Captain take charge and order her men about, but also a tender side of Captain Rivero when they were alone. This combination was endearing and frightening; frightening because Sara couldn't convince herself that the Captain was heartless, and therefore shouldn't like her more than superficially. It certainly was a quandary.
"How do you always manage to get so much blood on you?" Sara queried as she tied a bandage around the cut on the Captain's shoulder. After the third raid yesterday she had insisted on checking the Captain for wounds after each one, and strangely enough the Captain had let her. It must have been the tears
"It's not usually mine," Captain Rivero growled angrily.
Sara tried her best, and failed miserably, to avoid stealing glances at the Captain's exposed torso. She knew her face was red, but whether from blushing or arousal she couldn't say. Finishing with a knot, Sara then went about cleaning the blood from the rest of the visible skin. Normally, Captain Rivero would have done it by now but she was still brooding.
Sara was gentle as she used the wet cloth to gradually remove the blood first, continuing from the injured left arm down to the fingertips, then back up to the shoulder, always careful not to cause any further pain. Something about Sara's sensual cleansing must have broken though the Captain's anger. She now sat very alert and watched with curious eyes. It was a good thing Sara didn't realise she was being watched, otherwise, she may have gone redder.
When she was done, and sadly so, Sara retrieved a clean linen shirt and helped the silent Siren into it. "There you go. All better now." Sara finally noticed the darkened eyes and flushed cheeks. "Did I do something wrong? Did I hurt you?"
Captain Rivero shook her head. "No. Your actions were great, fine, they were fine. Thank you." The Captain stood and walked to her desk, needing space. "Report to Tarquin. Others may need tending."
"I can't " Sara hesitated. "It's just, well, the sight of blood makes me feel sick."
"But you just bandaged my wound."
"Yes, but that's you. I tried to ignore the nausea to help you." Plus your breasts were very distracting. "I won't be able to concentrate with the others."
Captain Rivero studied her for a long moment. "Very well. I suppose a personal physician is something to boast about."
Sara smiled, "You mean 'personal slave'?"
"Exactly," the Captain grinned, grateful for the lighter mood.
Another few days of plundering had Sara cooped up in her cell; to be honest, she was gradually starting to lose that conception of the tiny room that she was making her own. Some days it was hard not to resent being torn from her own home and time, but others she enjoyed the sea breeze and watching the Captain command the crew of misfits. She still hated the lard, and certain individuals, but she had also made some friends. She often had breakfast with Carver; his son Barney, an easygoing boy who usually kept watch from the crow's nest; Edward, a young guy who had run away from the royal guard and that she now dubbed Warden; and a Spanish man proficient in any kind of weapon with a blade who she named Salmonius as his own was too hard to say.
It was almost a month since her arrival and Sara was missing all the creature comforts she had taken for granted. Every night, when she sat on her bed, she remembered her favourite TV shows to pass the time, and she would curse inventers for not making showers sooner. One small concession was that she had access to the Captain's personal tub. It was barely more than a large bucket, but every late afternoon while the Captain and crew were still busy on deck she would scrub the sweat and grime from her skin as best she could. She would use this time to remember her times tables, or her favourite books, places to go, movies, all the while attempting to block the memories of those deliciously long hot candle lit showers she used to indulge in.
"Put this on."
Sara scrunched up her face, "What is it?"
"I don't think so."
"Do you want to go ashore or not?"
Sara took the bundle from the Captain and held it out in front of her. "How the hell do I wear this thing?"
Captain Rivero took the dress back. "Remove your clothes."
"What?" Sara squeaked.
"Undress. I will help you into this then we will go ashore."
Sara gaped at the Captain.
"Do I need to repeat the order?" The captain growled.
Sara shook her head and pulled off her t-shirt, not one to disobey a beautiful woman telling her to undress.
The wonder of it all! Sara had never seen anything like the port of Marseilles. There were people of different nationalities, different fashions and different languages. The closest thing she'd ever experienced to this was Hong Kong International Airport last year when she'd travelled for work. And the smells? If she wasn't wearing a dress she would have run around and tried everything that wasn't lard.
The Captain kept a close eye on Sara, and pulled her along whenever she lingered or began to stray. They made their way through the dock and market place, the Captain stopping here and there to purchase provisions for the ship. To Sara's dismay she was given a dark look from the Siren the few times she dared to make culinary suggestions. She sulked a little at this. It's not my fault they don't have supermarkets or fridges. Evetnually, Captain Rivero dragged Sara into a broker shop.
"We really need to get some watermelon. You'd love it!" This got Sara a slightly crankier look. "Fine. No decent food. I get it. So, what are we in here for?"
"Ooo! My old watch used to have one of those!" Sara smiled sheepishly. "Sorry Shutting up now."
The Captain raised an eyebrow in question to the possibility of such a miracle. Sara grinned to show her dedication instead of verbally responding to the skeptical look. Sara shadowed Captain Rivero as they made their way along the shelves. There were many things that caught Sara's attention, but the most eye-opening was the way the Siren paused to run a finger over a silver locket. That's not a compass After a moment of hesitation the Captain continued straight to the clerk and asked for a sturdy yet small compass. Little negotiation was made as he cautiously eyed her weaponry. Satisfied with the item and price, Captain Rivero led the silent Sara back to the ship.
Taking the rare window of opportunity of Patch and his posse being below deck, Sara leant against the rails at the bow and watched the water slipping by in the fading light. Not that she would admit it to anyone, but without the seasickness and certain arseholes the ship was actually quite peaceful. The gentle rise and fall of the ship had become familiar, and she enjoyed the smell of the ocean's cool breeze. Seeing the dolphins follow the ship out of Marseilles' port was both joyful and sad. Her mother loved dolphins. The house was covered in them.
Sara sighed deeply and turned to face the aft. The sun was setting behind the bridge with only the tip of the burning ball of gas visible. Captain Rivero stood tall and proud at the wheel, as was usual of the afternoon. What was unusual today was the fact that Sara had the chance to view the Siren in this state. The last rays of the sun made the Captain's strawberry blonde hair glow, and the sight took Sara's breath away. Woooow She couldn't make out the Captain's eyes, but she was sure they were alive with excitement. Captain Rivero loved her ship, loved being on the ocean, and loved being in charge. As Sara continued to watch the beauty she realised more than how peaceful the ship was, she realised that her crush had evolved into something a little more
"I can't imagine what it was like to grow up on a ship," Sara said conversationally to Barney at breakfast.
He shrugged, "Haven' known any other life."
"You would have loved playing on the swings."
"What are they?" Carver asked.
"Well, it's a seat suspended by two ropes, or chains, and you use the momentum of going back and forth, combined with the strength and movement of your body to, well, swing!" Sara smiled at the memory. "It's like flying, or the closest thing I've experienced. My hands on the chains, my body pushing forward, the wind in my hair and I fly towards the sky, reaching for the clouds "
"Sounds like fun!" Barney grinned; he certainly did like being up high with wind in his hair.
"My favourite were at North Beach in Wollongong. Unfortunately, they're not there anymore." Sara smiled sadly. "My uncle taught me to swing on those and I could go on forever, just swinging and gazing out at the ocean."
"Sounds like you wanted to be on the sea back then."
Sara looked at Carver with a strange look on her face. She'd never considered that possibility. "You think so?"
Father and son shrugged. Barney passed her his bread and took the rest of her oatmeal as was their usual arrangement. Sara broke the bread into pieces and chewed stale morsels slowly as she thought about Carver's words. Was it really meant to be? Is this my fate? An image of the Siren at the wheel flashed through her mind. Maybe
Sara tidied the stuff on Captain Rivero's desk. It was always such a mess by the afternoon. She had no idea what the Captain did to make it so messy! She started humming softly to herself, a habit she'd actually picked up from the Siren, and as she realised this she laughed. Figures, she thought. But, although she had no clue what the Captain was humming, she always found it adorable. Not that she'd ever tell Captain Rivero that. Sara always tried to hum, or sing at times, her favourite songs in an attempt not to forget them. She'd been here 62 days now, not that she was counting. Her head started bobbing to the music in her mind as she finished the desk and grabbed the broom to sweep.
"I watched Icarus the night before his calling. He gathered up his wings, to fly towards the sun." Sara was so engrossed in Michael Paynter's 'Icarus' that she didn't hear someone enter. "I had a dream the walls around me started falling, they couldn't hold me in, they couldn't keep me doooown. I've heard rumours of a Siren that can break my ship in two, but I've never known a woman that could move me like you doooo."
Her audience smiled as Sara spun in circles as she made her way to the other side of the room.
"I've seen fire, I've seen rain, I've seen hope, I've seen pain. Seen a red coloured sky, seen the waters run dry. I was there when the wind blew the deserts away. When the oceans rose up I saw you in the west. Are you waaaaaiiiitiiing for me?"
The observer covered their mouth to stifle a giggle while Sara continued to dance around the room as she sung her song.
"You could offer me the riches of a ruler, but all that shining gold wouldn't dim your eyes. I could read upon the writings of a teacher, but the wisdom in his words would come as no surprise. 'Cos every time you speak you seem to know me through and through, and I've never known a woman that could move me like you doooo."
"I've seen fire, I've seen rain, I've seen hope, I've seen pain. Seen a red coloured sky, seen the waters run dry. I was there when the wind blew the deserts away. When the oceans rose up I saw you in the west." Spinning to a stop, Sara held the end of the broom in front of her, using it as a microphone. "Are you waaaaaiiiiitiiiiiing? Are you waiting for me? Are you waaaaaaiiiiitiiiiiiiiiing? Are you waiting for me? Ooooh!"
She swept the tiny amount of dirt towards the door, humming again to herself. She nearly had a heart attack when she looked up to see the grinning Captain standing in the corridor.
"Don't stop on my account." Captain Rivero purred.
"Dude, we need some lamb, or beef, or something! I swear my iron levels are at rock bottom."
Carver laughed heartily. "To do that we'd need to find a livestock ship to raid, and it usually isn't something the crew look for."
Sara frowned, "But you could be a Master Chef! How does this crew function on lard, oats and potato?"
"They just do," Carver shrugged. "I thought you like potato?"
"I do, but as a wise man once said: A little variety helps." Sara sighed, "I miss chocolate. And I'll kill you if you repeat this, but I miss some vegetables as well."
"No!" Carver gasped mockingly.
"I know, crazy right?"
Carver laughed, "Crazier than waking up on a pirate ship?"
Sara joined in the laughter, "No, definitely not that crazy. You make a fine point, my friend."
They continued to work in the warmth of their companionship. Carver had become sort of an adopted uncle to Sara. When she wasn't scrubbing the decks, cleaning the Captain's quarters, or in her 'room', she was always with him. She'd even discovered the ship's secret poker group and frequently aided Carver in wiping the others off the table, and in return he gave her half of his winnings. She'd managed to stash a healthy sum away thanks to her friend.
"The day before I left I had satay chicken for lunch. It was very flavoursome." Sara licked her lips at the memory. "Then I was lazy and had hot chips with mum. We had a good night, as usual "
"Your sadness will ease in time."
Sara looked at him with tears in her eyes. He was the only one she wasn't guarded around. "It doesn't feel like it."
"I know from experience," he tapped his nose. "I lost Barney's mother in childbirth."
"So am I," he sighed. "But life goes on, and so will you. You've already made a life here."
"Ha!" Sara scoffed, "Yeah right! I was forced here against my will, kept here against my will, and now there just isn't any point in trying to get back to Australia." Sara's face went red as she stammered, "I'm sorry, Carver. I didn't mean it like that. You know you mean a lot to me, and our friendship does make me happy."
"And the Captain "
" can stay out of the equation."
Carver raised an eyebrow in skepticism but didn't push the issue.
Most days Sara would take food and water down to Sam. She had heard the Captain reinforce her order to The Rock that he was only is fed once a week, but she couldn't bear to know the man was being starved.
She jumped when she heard a door slam on the deck above.
"Yor a brave gurl, Sara." Sam muttered as he licked the bowl. "Tha last person to defy the Cap'n an live has been in a cell for many moons."
Sara looked at him and he nodded. "A slight disagreement."
"Doesn't look slight to me," Sara frowned. She hadn't seen Captain Rivero be unfairly cruel to anyone but Sam.
"You jus' watcha self. It'll be ya head if she finds out."
"Let's hope she doesn't find out then." Sara reached for the bowls. "Finished?"
"Ok, so now you need to make a canasta. Put those two 5s and that joker down." Sara pointed to the four 5s already in front of Carver.
"So once I have seven I win?" He asked excitedly.
"No, you win when you go out and then have the highest score, which is usually the person that goes out."
"Right, cos that's not confusing." Barney elbowed Sara.
Sara laughed, "It's not confusing guys. It's simple: you need a canasta to go out, then you go out and you win."
"And now what do I do with the other cards in my hand?" Carver looked at them helplessly.
Sara sighed, "And this is why we're playing an open hand "
Two figures met alone in the darkness. It wasn't the first time they had met like this. One sat and one crouched closely to converse in hushed tones.
"Has she said anythin'?"
The sitting figure shook his head. "Won' say a bad word."
"Hmmm " The crouching figure rubbed his chin thoughtfully.
"Are you still going' through with it?"
" 'Course I am, Pop!" The croucher snarled. "I'm waitin' for the righ' time. She's too guarded."
"I wan' tha gurl unharmed."
"She's loyal to the wench. She'll get what's comin'."
"No!" The tone of command, almost forgotten from that mouth, made its presence known. "She will remain unharmed. She has a kind soul, and if you wan' my help you'll do as I say."
Anger flashed through the eyes in return but nothing further was said. The crouching figure stood and left with an air of malice in his wake.
"Have you eaten today?"
Sara looked at the seated Captain. She had been looking at some maps and Sara took advantage of the candlelight to write the lyrics to her favourite songs. "Yeah, I had some while in the galley."
Captain Rivero studied her, "You've lost weight since joining the crew."
"Joining the crew?" Tone dripping with sarcasm, Sara raised her eyebrows at the Captain.
"You know what I mean."
The eyebrows lowered slightly. "Maybe it's all the work you make me do."
"I thought it was because you barely eat."
Sara stared in defiance to the piercing look. "You may get to order me around, for my own safety, but I alone decide what goes into my body." Sara stood, returned the quill to its holder and rolled up her papers. "Goodnight."
The Captain stormed back onto the ship with a murderous look in her eye, her usual cool exterior nowhere in sight. Sara wondered what had happened in the supposed 'safe' port to provoke this colossal change in demeanor. She watched in shocked concern as the beauty strode across the deck, snapping at anyone doing the slightest thing wrong. The younger crew members shook in their duties. Even Patch thought twice of making a snarky comment. In the end his stupidity won out.
He elbowed the man beside him and muttered, "Seems like no one in port would even give her a lay."
Captain Rivero stopped suddenly, one hand poised on the rail on her way to the bridge. A lightning fast flash of fear went through Patch's eye as she whipped around to view him. One step, two steps, another three in quick succession and she was on him. Before anyone could register what had happened Patch was on the deck with a bleeding mouth after receiving vicious backhand from the deadly wonder. Normally Sara didn't condone violence, but this exception inspired a smirk.
"Speak that way again and I will throw you in the cells myself." Captain Rivero spat at him. "No one disrespects me on my ship."
No one uttered a word more than necessary for the rest of the day on deck as the Captain kept a watchful eye from the wheel.
"Carver, have you seen Sara?" The Captain asked as she popped her head into the galley. She held onto the door jamb tightly as the ship swayed to and fro.
"Sorry, Cap'n, haven't seen her since the storm started." Carver didn't even look up from the spuds he was chopping.
"Hmm." Captain Rivero headed towards her quarters. "The girl had better have not gone overboard. Heavens preserve me if she has."
The hallway was dark, as no natural light seeped through the windows during a storm. It had been raging for near a day now, and the Captain had just given the helm to Thomas so she could get some much needed sleep. The closet door was closed. She decided it was no use knocking softly. The thunder and crash of the waves were too loud for anything other than a pounding to be heard.
In true stalwart form, the Captain pounded on the door. "Sara?" She yelled.
Captain Rivero opened the door. Suddenly a body flung itself at her and clung on tightly. The girl was shaking so violently that it was hard to keep a hold of her. Keeping a firm grasp around Sara's waist, she led them towards her bed and sat them down. Sara still didn't let go. Landlubbers, she mused, can't take them anywhere. She just continued to hold the girl, rubbing her back and conveying words of reassurance.
Sara's mind was foggy. She could remember the crash of thunder, and the horrid movement of the ship, but now all she felt was warm. She snuggled in closer to the source. She hadn't felt this good since Oh my god! Sara sat up suddenly and looked down at the Captain. "Fuck!"
Captain Rivero laughed and opened her eyes lazily, "Don't worry. I didn't take advantage of you."
Sara went red. She looked around for the easiest way out of the bed. Spotting it and making a move, she couldn't help but mutter, "There's nothing to take advantage of."
"What was that you said?" Sara watched in stunned silence as the Captain stretched out on the bed, her white shirt riding up.
When Captain Rivero looked at her again Sara panicked. "Uh, nothing."
The Captain smirked knowingly. Sara hadn't exactly been subtle in her observations or her choice of songs recently. And the Captain always managed to walk in just at the right time
"This is the only way, Tarquin!" The Captain's raised voice woke Sara up. She had been dozing in her 'room' because she didn't feel well today. Carver was nice and supportive, and covered for her absence.
In a lower voice, but still in his deep tones, Mr. Tenor replied, "He cannot be trusted. I believe doing so will be your undoing."
Sara had heard Mr. Tenor disagree with the Captain before. He was the only one to get away with it, and he was always wise to do it behind closed doors. Admittedly, she argued with the Captain on occasion, but that didn't count in Sara's mind.
"We need his help. Without it the pivotal part of the plan would be ruined, and then all our efforts thus far would be for naught."
"What of the girl?" The slightest inflection of fondness in his tone didn't allay Sara's worry.
"She is to be left out of it."
"And when the time comes?"
Sara held her breath as the Captain took a moment to answer, "I shall work something out."
Silence pressed in. What on Earth are they talking about? What plan?
"At present we can do nothing until we've found the ship." Captain Rivero continued. "Keep your wits about you. Once the arrangements have been made there'll be no turning back."
Sara sat against the wall opposite Sam's cell as he slurped up the lard. She looked away to quell the nausea. She couldn't believe he enjoyed eating that stuff. She happily gave it away every meal she could, at least once a day to Sam. She picked at a loose thread on her shorts. They were getting a little ratty with all the manual labour she'd been doing the last few months.
"Have you worked for other Captains before?" She asked conversationally.
Sam looked up with curious eyes, "Aye. I was a Cap'n ma-self bak in tha day. Had a bit more mea' on me then."
Sara smirked, "Hey, I'm doing what I can. You're the one that keeps telling me how dangerous it is."
"Aye, child. T'is."
"I don't think Captain Rivero would kill me."
"You 'ave no idea what tha' dem'n is cap'ble of!" Sam hissed with malice.
Sara frowned as she lowered her eyes to her hands. Could he be right? No, he couldn't be She wouldn't hurt me. She couldn't.
"Carver? Can I ask you a question?"
"You just did, darlin'," he chuckled.
She gave him a weak glare, "I'm being serious."
"I know, it's unusual and very disconcerting."
"Yeah, well, I don't like it either, but there's something I need to know."
"And that would be?"
Sara fidgeted nervously then looked at him, "Is the Captain as ruthless as they say? Would she really kill anyone that defied her?"
Carver looked at her in disbelief. "This is you being serious?"
Sara looked down, embarrassed.
"Look, the Captain may be many things, but she is a fair woman. If you act with honour then you'll be fine. Why are you asking about this?"
Sara shrugged, "No reason "
"You have nothing to fear from the Captain, I assure you."
Sara nodded and went back to preparing the food. Her hands worked automatically as her mind went off in a thousand directions. She never had any pretenses into her sexual preferences. It was clear from a young age that she was a lesbian. She had never hidden it, but she had never advertised it either. It was just a part of who she was, not a label. Sara remembered working for a company a few years back and there had only been one other female at the office; a slight woman with blonde hair, easy on the eyes and a simple demeanor. Over the time Sara developed a small crush. It was nothing serious, but enough to make her ask the million dollar question now Do I only like Captain Rivero because she's the only woman onboard?
"Havin' a Barbie by the river with no one else around. Tropical honeymoon, knocking a Four X down. She was standing in the water, eating a pumpkin scone, when rorf, ooohh, splash she was gone." Sara's sound effects masked the door being gently shut. "And they were doing the crocodile roll, the woman and the reptile, doing the crocodile roll, in the middle of the river."
While Sara hummed the bridging tune she shimmied across the floor with the broom. "Down came her husband, with a gun and a carving knife, to slaughter every crocodile for taking his darlin' wife." She stood still and struck a hunched masculine pose. "You, you, you ca-can't go around-round eating Q-Queenslanders I, I, yo, you overgrown go, go-goannas I, I, I'll turn you all into shoes! Arrooo! Slash... It was in the news. And they were "
" doing the crocodile roll?"
Sara gulped in an attempt to quiet her pounding heart. I hate it when she does that!
"Please continue. I am most amused." The Captain's purring had its usual effect, making Sara weak at the knees.
"I'm sure you are," Sara muttered. "Do you always need to sneak up on me?" She whined.
"Yes." Captain Rivero smiled innocently, but her eyes sparkled mischievously. "It seems to be the only time I see you at ease."
"Yeah, well, a modern girl isn't used to plundering pirates and sailing the seven seas."
"How far in the future are you from again?" The Captain asked as she walked to her desk and leant on it.
"Four hundred odd years And I'm from the other side of the planet too."
"Ah yes, from Astralya."
Sara laughed so hard she nearly dropped the broom. "It's Australia. You pronounce it: os-tray-lee-arr."
"Australia, with man eating crocodiles Sounds like a wonderful place."
"Wow! Was that sarcasm?" Sara smirked at the Captain. "Yes, we have crocodiles, and those scary-arse emus, but not where I'm from," Sara explained. "I'm a Newcastle girl, through and through. We have the best beaches, the best lake, the best ice cream, and the best, well, me!"
Captain Rivero laughed, "Like I said, sounds wonderful."
"Oh, now you're just mocking me."
The day started like any other: Sara scrubbed the decks in the coolness of the morning breeze, avoiding the members of the crew she didn't like. She then went onto helping Carver in the galley prepare the meals. What set this day apart, however, was that the Captain requested lunch in her quarters, and that Sara bring it to her.
"I'm a little curious when I became your personal slave." Sara said without spite as she set the bowl on the desk where the Captain was working. "Next you'll have me washing your clothes!"
Captain Rivero grinned playfully, "Well, there's a good suggestion! They don't get washed nearly enough. But you'd have to take them off first."
After checking her jaw for drool, Sara's eyes twinkled with amusement, "Be careful or Carver's special ingredient might be slipped into your next meal."
"You wouldn't!" The Captain gasped.
"Try me," the melodic words were accompanied by a casual shrug.
"Maybe I will," Captain Rivero raised an eyebrow suggestively.
And this was as far as the outright flirting got. Sara's reddened cheeks had no chance to make a witty comeback before Mr. Tenor knocked, barely, and strode in. "Tarquin, what is the matter?" The Captain demanded, none too happy that the conversation was interrupted.
"Another ship has been spotted, and she appears to be approaching."
"Is it the one we've been looking for?"
Mr. Tenor nodded eagerly. Sara was surprised to see him so emotional, if you could call it that.
"Send the signal for negotiation."
You know the pirate stereotype of the peg leg, badass temper and talking parrot? Well, take away the parrot and that was exactly what Jeremiah Thatcher was like. He hobbled across the plank in front of the Captain and went directly into her quarters to discuss business. What that business was, no one knew. The Captain had been very secretive in regards to her invitation to Captain Thatcher, her second as it were. They had met like this almost half a year ago.
Sara had been banished to the galley, and Carver had been told not to let the girl out of his sight. She did her usual work there, helping the older man prepare the meals. Today, however, a special one was to be taken into the two Captains. Normally Carver would do this personally, but his special orders overrode that. He sent his son, Barney, who had been raised in that very galley.
After five hours of steely glares between the ships, the Captains finally emerged. Without a word Captain Thatcher limped back to his ship. He gave a nod, and so did Captain Rivero, and suddenly both crews were a flurry of activity, exchanging ropes, pulling back the plank, and un-tethering the ships. Once they were separated Orion's Mantle and Devil's Cradle went on their merry way. The Captain locked eyes briefly with Tarquin and marched back into her quarters.
A few hours later Carver escorted Sara to the Captain's quarters. Although Captain Rivero hadn't come to get Sara, or sent Tarquin to do so, Carver was certain that it would be ok; the ships had parted, it was well into the night, and it wasn't safe for the girl to sleep in the galley. He knocked solidly on the door, startling Sara into a more alert state. When the Captain called to enter he opened the door and pushed Sara through it. Now it was his turn to sleep.
"Captain?" Sara called meekly as she made her way further in. The Captain was seated at her desk, pale candlelight showing an age and weariness that Sara had never seen before. "Is everything ok?"
Captain Rivero pinned her to the spot with a look of daggers. No one questioned her! But this wasn't just anyone; this was the innocent girl that had been stranded on her ship for two months. Her eyes softened at once, and she gestured for Sara to approach. "No."
"Can I help?" Sara came to stand on the other side of the desk.
The Captain sighed deeply, "I wish you could."
Sara tentatively approached the Captain and laid a hand on her shoulder. Although Captain Rivero flinched slightly she didn't pull away. Taking this as a good sign Sara trailed that hand over the Captain's shoulders and wrapped both arms around her. After a few moments she felt hands come up and hold her arms in place, and Sara was happy to never let go.
Captain Rivero could hear Sara's voice before she opened the door. It was muffled by the barrier but she could make out a few bits and pieces. "
nothing turns out the way I planned
sky turns grey and there's no end
lonely night." The Captain couldn't work out what she was singing, but it concerned her because Sara usually sang happy songs. She quietly opened the door and slipped in.
"I turn to you, like a flower leaning toward the sun. I turn to you, 'Cos you're the only one, who can turn me around when I'm upside down. I turn to you."
Captain Rivero watched as Sara did her usual sweeping dance, and the butterflies in her stomach matched the girl's movements.
"When my insides are wracked with anxiety, you have the touch that will quiet me. You lift my spirit, you melt the ice. When I need inspiration, when I need advice." Sara swayed her hips from side to side. "I turn to you, like a flower leaning toward the sun."
The Captain was pulled into the well of her mind as the voices of insecurities rose louder than the melodic voice she'd grown fond of. She was so torn. This one girl, woman, had turned her world upside down, put months of work into jeopardy, but still she couldn't bring herself to feel anything ill towards her.
"Where would I be? What would I do? If you'd never helped me through. I hope someday if you've lost your way, you could turn to me like I turn to you."
I wish I could
Captain Rivero thought sadly. But she knew the consequences; she knew what would happen the moment she showed weakness. She knew that she needed to be strong, for both their sakes, for the sake of her ship, and her crew. I have to be strong.
"I turn to you, when fear tells me to turn around. I turn to you " Sara's words were left unheard as Captain Rivero left her quarters and returned to the wheel. She needed to feel in control, even if it was of the ship instead of her emotions. Anything to quiet the warring voices in her treacherous mind.
"Have you ever used a sword?" Unfortunately Sara's mind was in the gutter after the dream she had last night featuring the Siren in front of her, who held a sword in each hand.
"Does summer camp count?"
"Oh, well, no I haven't."
"Come here," Captain Rivero ordered. Sara stared at her for a moment, torn between laughing at the sexual context she took it in and blindly following the command.
Sara stepped forward like a new recruit: eager to please but also terrified. She took the sword the Captain passed her and nearly dropped it. "Friggin' hell! This thing weighs a tonne!" She cursed, and then saw the silver lining. She really did have a dirty mind today "You're probably strong enough to lift me."
Captain Rivero smirked, "Is that a challenge?"
"It can be a challenge if you'd like, but I've learnt to never underestimate you."
"I have many skills," the Captain purred.
Sara's expression glazed over as she imagined her favourite TV character say those exact words. "I " Gulp. "I, um, I'm sure you do." Thankfully, Sara had a tight grasp on the hilt of the sword to lean on as she could feel her knees go weak while being lost in the moment.
Captain Rivero clicked her fingers in front of Sara's eyes. She snapped back to reality and the Captain stared at her quizzically. Gaining her composure, Sara stood upright; the weight of her leaning on the sword had caused it to embed the large blade into the deck. In a moment of amazement Sara stood back, flung her arms wide and exclaimed, "Tada!"
Captain Rivero looked sternly at Sara, but that look turned to a wry smile as she pulled the sword from the deck and handed it back to her. "Are we ready to continue?" she asked.
"Aye Captain!" replied Sara.
Like the rain sweeping across the plains, the Captain's face changed. "First rule: always watch your opponent, but always expect someone to stab you in the back. Never lose your balance, and always exploit their weaknesses. And one thing you must never ever forget: they will kill you if you give them the chance."
"Way to kill the mood " Sara muttered as she tried to lift the sword.
"So, how is this supposed to work?" Sara asked as she placed the Captain's lunch in front of her and sat on the other side to eat her own.
"How does what work?"
"Well, we've spent the last few months doing the same ol' thing, and now you go and shake it up."
Captain Rivero didn't look up, "The change is necessary."
"Don't get me wrong, I'm not complaining about spending um having the chance for decent conversation, I'm just a little curious why."
The Captain raised her eyes and locked them to Sara's to emphasise her words, "There are things in motion on this ship, and it is important that you remain safe."
Sara laughed, "Wow that sounds so diabolical. What am I a key player or something?"
Captain Rivero sat back in her chair and folded her arms, "More of an unexpected surprise."
"A good one I hope," Sara winked.
The Captain's lips curled to the side in her own version of a smile, "Sometimes."
"So, this brings me back to my original question: how is this supposed to work? I bring you lunch, and then what? We have a chat, become bosom buddies, BFFs, or if my imagination was in charge LLBFFs?" Sara blinked hard to banish the thoughts.
"I do not know what elel bee efefs are, but whatever conversations we have, and wherever they lead must remain a secret."
"Ashamed to be seen with the land-lubber?"
The Captain shook her head, "It's not that. It's the danger it would bring to both of us."
"You know, you keep hinting at this 'big danger' and this 'big plan' or whatever is happening behind the scenes. When are you going to tell me what's going on?"
Captain Rivero looked hard at Sara for a moment and then down at her uneaten lunch, "If I can help it, never..."
"You like the Captain, don't you?"
"Ah, yeah, she's the one that keeps me safe." Sara turned away from Carver to hide her blush. "I know you and Mr. Tenor do too, but she's the one in charge, you know?"
"I know, but I also know you like her more than that."
"Aye, more; as in you want to bed her."
"What? You do. You can't fool an old romantic like me."
Sara couldn't hide her blush this time. "Is it that obvious?"
"To me, yes. To the rest of the crew, who knows?"
"Intriguing " Sara muttered to herself.
Captain Rivero gave her a blank look, "Sorry, did you say something?"
Sara put on her best disarming smile, "No, just talking to myself. You know me!" She joked.
The Captain nodded distractedly and glanced once more at a silver locket before moving on.
They were here to buy a sword, but not just any sword. This sharp and shiny blade was to be Sara's, a thought that terrified her to no end. Sure, sparring with the Captain was fun, but for Sara it was more about the 'quality' time. Three days into her lessons and she could still barely lift Captain Rivero's swords. So here they were, searching for a deadly weapon light enough for Sara's lanky form.
"What about a katana or Samurai sword? They're smallish." Sara put one fist on top of the other and waved them in front of her, "Whosh, ka-ching, ching...... What?"
Captain Rivero's eyebrow didn't lower as Sara's hands dropped to her sides. "Do you always need to be so vocal?"
Sara stared at her, a thousand X-rated images and sounds flashing through her mind. "Vocal?" She squeaked.
The Captain looked at her with concern. "Are you alright? You're acting stranger than normal."
Think quick! Sara squinted, "Are you calling me strange?"
"Yes." A hint of a smile
"Have you ever considered that you're the one that's strange?" Sara raised an eyebrow and turned her head slightly for effect.
Slowly, a grin appeared on Sara's face, "Well you are." She winked, "But it's ok, you're in good company."
Captain Rivero smiled and chuckled, "You are strange."
"You, but you love me anyway." Before Sara could register her own words she continued along the shelves to the weapons, leaving a stunned Siren in her wake.
"It's tiny!" Carver held the two foot blade up to the light. "How are you meant to kill anyone with this?"
"I'm not. I already told you that I don't like violence. Unfortunately the Captain won't listen and still insists on teaching me how to fight, hence buying me that," Sara pointed. "Ooo, speaking of which," she blushed, "I found something I want to buy her."
"Yep. She keeps looking at silver lockets but never buys one. I figure it means something significant to her or she just really likes them. Either way I want to get one for her."
"With my poker winnings."
He nodded. "When? You go ashore with her."
"I know." Sara frowned. "Maybe we can finally convince her to let you buy more ingredients with my help?"
Carver laughed. "Not bloody likely!"
"You never know. She might come around."
"Maybe when the ocean freezes over."
Sara pouted and then grinned mischievously. "You underestimate my powers of persuasion, friend: to quote the great Xena," and the Siren herself, "I have many skills."
" I had already been awake for eighteen hours, so by the time I went over Swansea bridge "
"Swansea?" The Captain queried.
"Oh, wrong Swansea. We have one too." Sara explained. "Anyway, by the time I hit the bridge I was driving on autopilot and the sound jolted me awake, and good thing too because "
"You hit the bridge?"
"Then why not say 'crossed the bridge', and why did it make a sound?"
Sara frowned disapprovingly. She always got in trouble for interrupting the Captain. "It's 21st century colloquial language, just accept and move on. And the bridge makes an 'aaaaaawwww' when you drive over it."
"Friggin' hell! You're worse than a child!"
This earned her a glare.
"Well, I wasn't driving a horse and buggy so it's hard to explain. Can I just finish my story please?"
Captain Rivero waved her hand.
"So, thanks to the bridge I was more alert, which was the only reason that I noticed the massive pelican lying on the road, dead of course. God only knows how! Anyway, I managed to swerve and avoid hitting it, but all I could think about was Coleridge's 'Rhyme of the Ancient Mariner'."
Sara stared at her dubiously, "Seriously?"
"It's an epic ballad by Samuel Coleridge about a boat whose crew accidentally killed an albatross."
Captain Rivero cringed, "That's bad luck."
"I know. They soon found that out."
"But you didn't kill this bird."
"I still didn't want to splatter its brains all over the road."
"I see "
Sara raised her eyebrow.
"Did someone remove the bird?"
"Eventually," Sara shrugged. "Dunno when. It was a while before I went down that way again."
Ever since the day the two ships met Captain Rivero had changed her routine. Instead of doing whatever it was she did at her desk in the morning while Sara scrubbed the deck, she did it in the afternoon instead. But this change in the Captain's routine over the last three weeks affected Sara more than that. The Captain would get up before light and man the wheel, a mark or two past midday she would return to her quarters and work at her desk. Sara would bring her lunch, and this was the best bit for Sara, because, during this time, they would sit and talk. It was always just menial stuff and yet it still meant to world to Sara; to find out anything more about the woman that had stolen her heart.
After lunch Sara would clean and tidy the quarters. Then came the fighting lessons; first sword work, and then hand-to-hand. Sara had done a little martial arts when she was a kid so the second segment of the lessons was a bit easier. The problem was Sara now had to wash in front of the Captain if she wanted to keep clean, and she couldn't sing anymore unless she got up early and tidied before scrubbing the deck. This wasn't a viable option as Sara hated mornings. After washing she would sit on the other side of the Captain's desk and write on scrolls everything she remembered about her live before she woke up on the ship. She had started with just song lyrics a while back, but now she wrote anything that came to mind. She never wanted to forget.
As if on cue she remembered the days of lying outside in her hammock reading her favourite books. She would read anything from the classics to the modern. Her hand continued to move across the paper as she remembered the last time she read she had been lying on her bed reading 'The Quiet Game' by Greg Iles. A thriller of epic proportions; she couldn't put it down. With Sarah McLachlan playing in the background she relaxed on the rainy Sunday afternoon. It always caused a twang of regret knowing that she'd never get to find out what happened to Penn Cage and his family. At least she remembered, and had written down, those lyrics.
Leave me be, I don't want to argue, I just get confused and I come all undone. If I agree, well, it's just to appease you, 'cause I don't remember what we're fighting for. Sara didn't realise she'd been humming. You see love- a tight, thorny thread that you spin in a circle of gold. "To have me, to hold me, a token for all to see, captured to be yours alone."
She tapped the quill on the scroll as she continued in her head, completely lost in the moment. Sara gave a little gasp when the Captain spoke.
"Please, continue," Captain Rivero almost whispered.
"That song, I'd like to hear it. I'm curious whose token you are."
Sara shook her head. "Sorry, no can do. I don't sing in front of people."
The Captain smirked, "Unless you don't know they're there."
Sara gave her a mock glare.
"You have a beautiful voice. There is no reason to be ashamed."
Sara blushed and shook her head to dispel the warmth in her face. "I just don't like singing in front of people, that's all."
Why? Sara shrugged. Why is she being so persistent? "Some songs are personal. They mean something. So I only sing alone because the meaning is to me and no one should be able to judge me on something they know nothing about."
"Why would anyone judge you? I certainly couldn't pass a bad judgement on you." Now it was the Captain's turn to blush a little.
Sara noticed this but decided not to pursue the matter. It'd been a long day, another one that Patch had scarred with his nasty remarks. She didn't want to think about that, and she didn't want to talk about her singing, so she turned the tables. "Why don't you sing? That song you hum all the time must be something special. It's always the same tune." Sara attempted to hum the correct sounds but stopped when she saw a kaleidoscope of emotions flash across the Captain's face, too fast to catalogue. "I'm sorry, I didn't mean "
Captain Rivero held her hand up to silence Sara. She took a deep breath to reign in control of herself. "It was the song my mother used to sing to me, before she died."
"I'm sorry," Sara whispered, but the Captain didn't hear her.
"She'd sing it every night when she tucked me in, and she'd hum it whenever she was working around the house, or cooking, and it became so imprinted in me that I would always hum it with her when I wasn't running amuck." Captain Rivero's eyes were moist and unmoving, staring into a past Sara had been so eager to learn. "She was killed when I was 10 years of age. A soldier had business in our town, royal business. She never stood a chance when he decided to have her." There were tears now. "If she hadn't fought him she might have lived. But what kind of a life would that have been? I'd seen raped women before, and they were nothing of their life before."
"Your mother sounds like a brave woman."
Captain Rivero looked at Sara, and it felt like she was looking into her soul. "She was."
Trying not to squirm under the gaze, Sara gave the Captain a small smile, "So are you."
"Yes," the Captain nodded. "I learnt a valuable lesson that day." She cleared her throat and shot Sara an attempted seductive grin, a successful one, "Now, back to the subject at hand."
Sara groaned and let her head fall into a waiting hand. She's like a dog with a bone!
"That Barramundi was to die for!" Sara exclaimed. "The succulent flesh cooked in deliciously spicy Thai marinade. Mmm! You would love it, I know you would."
"Is there a point to reliving this meal of yours?"
Sara gave her an incredulous look. "Are you kidding? The amount of lard on this ship is killing off my taste buds."
Captain Rivero raised an eyebrow as she continued to eat her lunch.
"If I was just allowed to go shopping with Carver, to make a few suggestions, you would be amazed with what he could do!" Sara smiled. "It would raise morale, aaand you wouldn't have to put up with me telling you how refreshing a side of salad would be."
The Captain lowered her fork, "You're telling me you'd stop talking about food and just eat it if I let you go ashore with Carver?"
"Yep!" Sara nodded.
Captain Rivero's eyes narrowed as she contemplated the possibility. "I suppose if it was a safe port and Carver is quite a strong man and I swore to kill him if he lost you "
"Gee, thanks," Sara muttered.
" perhaps we could do with some new potatoes "
"Yeah, some are starting to go rotten."
" and if it would mean I get to eat in peace "
Sara grinned and winked, "Maybe."
"Really?!?" Sara bounced.
The Captain nodded.
"Thanks! If the table wasn't so big I'd come around and hug you!" Sara looked at her plate to hide the blush.
"Don't get too excited, there will be conditions."
Sara looked up, her face still flushed. "Like what?"
"She might as well have cuffed us!"
"What?" Carver frowned.
"Ah shackled, chained, tied a leash around my neck, yada yada." Sara waved a hand around. "What does she take me for? A child?"
"In this world you are."
Sara glared at the man, "Not funny."
"Well, as you keep pointing out, 'this is a barbaric and tumultuous time in history'."
Sara squinted at him. "I can't believe you're supporting her in this. You're supposed to be on my side."
"Hey, I'm on the side of living, preferably with nicer food. If this is what the Captain demands to let me do that, then so be it." He shrugged apologetically.
"Fine," Sara sulked, "but if I end up annoying her every time we have to check in it's not my fault." She let out an exasperated breath. "Geez, all this just to buy her a stupid present!"
"And better food," Carver reminded her.
"Sara, tell me about your life."
Sara looked up, shocked that the Captain asked a question and initiated a conversation. "What about it?"
"What was it like where you grew up? Did you like your upbringing?"
Sara frowned. What the hell did that mean? "Well, like I told you when I came here, I'm from Australia. It's a big country, south of China."
The Captain raised an eyebrow and waved her fork as a way of encouragement to continue.
"My father died when I was four, and my mum raised me. She's a librarian." Sara smiled as she remembered the large collection of books her mother had built up over the years, and how she spent the vast amount of time reading. She shrugged as she continued, "I had a good childhood. My mother and I are very close, were very close " Sara sighed heavily.
Captain Rivero looked at her bowl to hide her anger and regret at making Sara sad. "What about your country?"
Sara looked up again, "It's actually part of the Commonwealth, a separate entity but at the same time completely tied to good ol' Mother England."
"Mhmm," Sara nodded. "Captain Cook sailed there in the late 1700s."
"I still find it hard to believe that you are from the future."
Sara shrugged again. "Believe whatever you want. I'm just saying it how it is."
"So, how's it going?" Sara asked nonchalantly, but the Captain recognised the undertone of concern.
Without looking up from the map she was studying, she answered, "Not well."
Sara gradually inched closer until finally she was standing behind Captain Rivero. It was a map of the islands around Greece and Italy. She didn't know why it was so important, but the Captain had been pouring over it for days, mostly alone but sometimes with Mr. Tenor. From this vantage point she could see right down Focus Sara!
Despite the smile that graced her lips, the Captain growled, "See anything you like?"
"No!" Sara jumped back in surprise. "I mean, yes. Um, I don't know."
The Siren chuckled as she turned to face the other woman. "Are you familiar with the area?"
Sara shook her head and then remembered the million years of school she'd endured. "Well, a little I suppose."
"If you were to pick a port to visit, where would it be?" The Siren swept her hand over the map on the desk. "Anywhere at all."
"Um," Sara took a cautious step forward and peered at the map. "Anywhere?"
The Captain nodded.
"Hmmm " Sara's eyes darted over the map. She'd always wanted to go to Athens, but then Sicily was always so appealing. She was surprised by the vast numbers of islands that dotted the map. Rhodes maybe? Sara was so intent on scanning the map that she didn't notice a pair of Siren eyes watching her muscles flex as she used her arms to lean over the map, or when those eyes flicked up to watch her lick her lips only to bite the lower one. No, she didn't even notice the crystal blue eyes darken as her thoughts were focused on remembering a set of Xena books she'd once read.
Grinning with self-satisfaction, Sara stood upright and looked at the Siren. "What?"
Captain Rivero quickly looked back to the map and took a quick calming breath. "Have you chosen a port?"
Sara frowned slightly at the Captain but answered anyway. "Yes."
"Well?" Captain Rivero looked back up at her. "Where would you like to go?"
Anywhere with you. Sara had to remember something Oh yeah! "Crete."
The Captain seemed to be searching her eyes for the answers to the universe because it was several moments before she looked at the map again. Sara was proud of herself; she didn't visibly squirm or look away under the intense gaze. It was quite an achievement as it was that exact look that made her feel so exposed, vulnerable and extremely turned on at the same time.
"You would love it, Carver!" Sara exclaimed.
The Captain stood in the passageway, not wanting to interrupt the conversation.
"Just imagine " Captain Rivero closed her eyes and visualized Sara's description " deliciously hot water cascading down your back the heat loosening the tense muscles in your shoulders soft music allowing your mind to relax " The Captain steadied herself with a hand on the bulkhead. " all the while the room is only lit by beautifully scented candles and the best thing?"
"What?" Carver croaked the same moment Captain Rivero whispered.
"When the person you love is in the shower with you sensually massaging your shoulders "
She had to stop this. Sara had described this 'shower' before, but now all Captain Rivero could see was Sara's bare back and her own hands working to release the tension there. With a concerted effort in mental willpower the Captain turned and went back to her quarters, her reason for going to the galley completely forgotten.
"If you died today would you have any regrets?"
Well, that was left field Sara raised her eyebrow, "Why? Are you planning to kill me?"
"Don't be ridiculous." The Captain looked back to her bowl of lard, suddenly looking forward to when Sara and Carver bought better food.
"Well, I've always tried to live without regrets." Sara gave a sad laugh, "'Life's too short to have regrets', as my mum would always say. But things are different, and I do now "
Captain Rivero looked up and saw Sara's far off expression, "Like what?"
"Well, I regret not being able to say goodbye to my mum to my friends and maybe even the rest of my crazy family." Sara shrugged. "There were things I wanted to achieve in life. Sure, I went to university, had a good job, was successful at it, but I didn't get that 'life' with the big house with the white picket fence and the 2.5 kids running around. But that doesn't matter now anyway "
"You don't regret coming here?"
"No." Sara's immediate response surprised even herself. "Well no," she frowned. "If I hadn't of come here then I wouldn't have known y what it's like to live on a pirate ship," she finished lamely. "But now that I have then I guess it's just part of my life. And like I said, I try not to have regrets. So, no I don't regret coming here," she inclined her head, "but as a consequence I regret not saying goodbye."
The Captain continued to study her for a moment then tried to smile reassuringly, "Good thing I don't plan on killing you today."
Sara snorted, "Yes, that's definitely a good thing."
Sara cleared her throat. When the Captain didn't look up from her freshly served lunch she did it again. Slowly, Captain Rivero raised her eyes and locked them to Sara's. Her first instinct was to look away from the Siren's intense gaze but she was captivated, and it was happening more and more of late. These little lunch dates were bad for her self control.
Sara swallowed when the original thought floated back through her mind. "I heard Patch telling Fruit Loops that you're going soft."
Sara thought for a moment. "Zatch was telling Jack." She shrugged. "I remember nick names better."
The intense look flickered slightly, "What's mine?"
Sara blushed and finally managed to avert her eyes. She mumbled something.
"Speak up." A command.
"Siren." She took a deep breath and raised her eyes to meet the Captain's, "Your nick name is: The Siren."
Captain Rivero's lips moved to the side, a motion Sara had deciphered as a form of stern smile. The Captain leant back in her chair and studied Sara. "There's only one thing on this ship that can make me 'soft'."
Sara's breath caught in her throat as the Captain's eyes unabashedly roamed over what she could see of her body. They finally came back to her eyes with a serious look.
"I have always walked a thin plank between ruthlessness and compassion. There is a great divide between the two, but I have always managed to wield both with ferocity. Zatch is implying that I do not have the willpower to do what is necessary, but he is wrong. I can tell you this with absolute certainty: the day I lose the balance " The Captain's eyes darkened with resolve, " will be the day I die."
"Potato? Check." Sara looked at the parchment in her hands. "Oats? Check. Disgusting lard?" Sigh, "Check Jerky? Check. Reported to the Captain to confirm we have all the essentials? Check."
"Done everything the Captain asked? Check." Carver joked before Sara could.
"Right, now we have time to get my shopping list done."
Sara frowned, "I thought you said the broker was on the west side of town?"
"I did," Carver nodded, "but we need to get it first in case we run out of time from negotiating in the market, or get called back to the ship."
"Ah Wise man, you are." Sara used her best Yoda imitation. Her smile turned into a look of concern. "Do you think she'll like it?"
Carver shrugged, "I guess you'll find out."
"Hey, hey hey!" Sara channeled Pete from Warehouse 13 as she slid into the room, a plate in each hand. "Feast your eyes on this!" She put a plate in from of the Siren. "Tadaa!"
Captain Rivero looked at it with a blank expression. "What is it?"
"Potato bake!" Sara exclaimed.
The Captain raised an eyebrow, "I let you buy extra provision for this? We already had potatoes!"
"Now, don't be like that," Sara chided, "You're going to love it."
The Captain huffed.
"And just to give you notice: I won't be scrubbing the decks tomorrow."
"Why not?" Captain Rivero demanded.
"Because, Carver and I are cooking you up a feast! Then you'll really appreciate letting us go shopping."
"I doubt that " The Captain muttered as she cautiously put some potato bake into her mouth. She suddenly looked at Sara in shock.
"Told you it was good."
Another day, another lesson: Sara was actually getting quite proficient with a sword. She measured her improvement by the increasing looks of approval from the Captain. That and when they talked over lunch Catherine had told her as much. Sara could have squealed with delight when the Captain had said she could call her by her first name when they were alone. She had seen the signs; lingering glances, nonessential touches, unbidden humming. She knew, she knew the Captain liked her, and each lesson was making it harder to ignore the feeling burning inside her. As she improved the fighting got more fierce, passionate, and they always ended up face to face in a stand-off. Today was no exception.
During the hand-to-hand combat Sara had finally gotten the upper hand. After quite a while of sparring she finally got her opening. With a quick left jab that was blocked, and a round right kick that allowed her momentum, she swept the legs out from under Catherine and pinned her to the floor. Sara grinned down at her captive with smug satisfaction.
"Well done, Sara!" The Siren still managed to purr between pants.
Sara continued to grin, and hold her position straddling the Captain's hips. "Thanks."
"Care to let me up?"
Sara shook her head. "Nope."
The Siren laughed, "Oh? And why not?"
"I like you just where you are." Sara waggled her eyebrows suggestively.
Something passed over the Captain's face. "Get up."
Too stunned to argue, Sara did as she was told. Captain Rivero stood and walked to her desk to take a drink of water from her flask. Sara was confused, but she couldn't fight anymore. She couldn't deny the truth.
"I thought "
"Don't." The Captain spun around. "Do not say it."
"I don't understand."
"How is being attracted to each other and not acting on it simple?"
"You have no idea what is happening on this ship!" The Captain snapped.
"Of course I don't! You don't tell me a god damned thing!" Sara yelled. "Do this, do that, don't tell anyone, stay off the deck when you can, lock the door behind me, don't leave the ship, don't speak to such and such. I knew I was crazy when I woke up in this hell hole, but you're a fucking nutcase compared to me!"
The Captain's face went red with rage and it took all her strength to fight her natural instinct: punish the insolent. She turned around and slammed her palm on her desk. Sara jumped back with the resounding impact. Trembling with the fight for control, Captain Rivero marched behind her desk to put some distance, and something solid, between them.
Captain Rivero held up her hand to prevent the whispered plea from continuing. She took a deep breath in an attempt to calm herself. "There are things in motion that I cannot stop. Your mere presence on the ship puts your life at risk, but if certain people were to find out the extent of my feelings for you then everything will be lost."
Sara took a hesitant step towards the desk and asked quietly, "And what is the extent of your feelings for me?"
A moment of hesitation then the Captain shook her head. "Nothing. They are nothing. And you would be wise not to bring it up again."
The force of the glare felt like a blow to the stomach, knocking the air from Sara's lungs. She stumbled backwards and nearly fell over as she turned and fled to her 'room', gasping for air between body wracking sobs.
Sara was fuming. How could I be so stupid? She demanded of herself. Of course she wouldn't feel anything for me! I'm just a stupid land-lubber that washed up on her ship. Sara paced back and forth in the closet; two steps one way and two steps back. Barbarians! The lot of them! Sara stopped, feeling bad for condemning Carver and Barney after they had become family to her. Fine, the rest of them then! She continued to pace and fuel the anger to prevent allowing any more tears to fall.
Carver kept stealing glances at his rarely mute companion, "What's wrong with you? I haven't seen you this sad since you first came onto the ship. Have a fight with the Captain or something?"
Sara didn't look up from the food she was preparing for the crew.
Carver fixed her with a look of concerned surprise, "You did, didn't you? You had a fight with the Captain. What the hell happened?" He frowned, "What did she do?"
"Nothing," Sara looked up with tears streaming down her face. "She said her feelings for me were nothing. How could that be?" She wiped away the tears in anger, "Did I read the signs wrong? Did I imagine it all?"
"No, I saw it too," Carver admitted. "But you have to understand, she's the Captain of the ship. Captains don't usually get involved with the crew. But you don't see yourself as one of the crew. Even after all these months?
"I guess I'm just a nuisance "
"Here's your lunch, Captain." Carver laid the plate in front of her and turned to leave.
He had been hoping to just sneak in and out. He didn't want to risk talking to the woman and saying the wrong thing. "Why do you ask?"
"Because, I'm the Captain."
"She's not feeling well, so I've got her doing a few bits and pieces in the galley," he used his prepared answer and hoped it would be enough. When she didn't question his reply he turned again and made his way to the door. He was almost there when he heard her.
"Is it because she's angry at me?"
Carver clenched his jaw. Do not make smart retorts to the Captain unless you have a death wish. Ok, maybe a little one "Well, you always were perceptive."
The Captain paused, "You and Sara are close. Has she confided in you?"
"None of my business, Captain," Carver turned to look at her, "but if it were, I'd be very angry with you."
Sara took a deep breath before pushing the door open. She walked as calmly as she could to the desk, gently placed the plate in front of the Captain, and then turned to leave.
"Where are you going? You usually have lunch here."
Sara answered as she kept walking towards the door, "I'm having lunch with Carver and Barney."
"Fine, but come straight back for your lessons," Captain Rivero ordered.
"Nope, already had it." Sara's hand reached for the handle.
Sara cringed and froze. She took a calming breath before turning back, "I've already had my lesson with Salmonius this morning. He's a very fine swordsman," she added pointedly.
The Captain glared.
Feeling the thrill of defiance, Sara went on, "You're not the only one with skills, you know. I decided to further my education."
Rivero stared at her incredulously. "Do you have any regards for the fact that I'm the Captain?"
"No," Sara gave her a blank look, a thousand thoughts and emotions running through her head that she did her best to keep from her features. "I don't see why I need the lessons anyway?"
"Because these are dangerous times!"
"What, you mean this 'time' in general, or you mean at this 'time' on the ship with the threat of the 'big danger' you keep throwing around the place?" Sara scoffed, "As if Patch really poses a threat to you if he mutinies."
"What do you know of this?"
Now it was Sara's turn to glare, "I'm smarter than you think. It's not hard to work out something's going on. Anyway, I'll take my lessons from Salmonius from now on. He knows how to fight with all kinds of weapons. It's always best to learn different techniques." Sara hesitated at the door handle again, torn between confusion, hurt, and causing it. "If you're the big and mighty Captain why are you so concerned about Patch?"
After Sara slammed the door Captain Rivero could only whisper her answer into the cold and uncaring silence, "Because, he wouldn't hesitate to kill you "
Sara couldn't keep up. She was now having two lessons with Salmonius every day, one before lunch and one after, each with a different weapon. Before lunch it was traditional swordplay, like she had been doing with the Captain, but after lunch it was whatever weapon took Sal's fancy. It was a week before she was able to block one of his moves properly, and another week before she made a semblance of a decent attack.
"Very good, Sara. Keep your guard up," he encouraged.
She panted, "I'm trying!"
With a flourish that made the move look effortless, Sal knocked the sword from Sara's hand, and in a moment of pure accidental meeting, the edge of his sword nicked her left arm, drawing blood.
"Ouch!" She cursed as she fell on her arse and held the wounded forearm tightly.
"Sara! I am sorry!" Sal knelt down beside her to inspect the small gash. After a moment of examination he helped her up and into a chair. "I shall bandage it for you."
Sara nodded, looking in any direction but to the blood that was threatening to seep through her fingers. God damn that hurts! No wonder the Captain hates getting cut. At the mental mention of Captain Rivero Sara's stomach lurched, as it did whenever she thought of the Siren. Fine, lesser of two evils focus on the pain.
"Here," Salmonius said gently as he removed her hand from the wound and cleaned it with water before bandaging it tightly to stop the bleeding. "I truly am sorry, Sara."
"It's ok, Sal," she forced a smile. "It was an accident."
"We shall skip our second lesson today. You will need to rest."
"I'm fine, really. I just wish there was a little Paracetamol lying around the ship " One for the arm and one for the heart.
Sara winced as she put the Captain's plate down. She knew she should have used her other arm Captain Rivero grabbed her wrist.
"Ow!" Sara cried.
"What happened?" The Captain demanded as Sara tried to pull her arm away. "Answer me!"
"An accident, that's all. Now let go!" Sara tugged her arm more forcefully and pulled it free. "Fuck!"
The Captain moved with the speed of a cat and had grabbed Sara and pushed her into the seat before Sara had registered what happened. She opened her mouth to argue but closed it in defeat. I can't be bothered arguing today She sat there in silence as Captain Rivero very gently removed the cloth tied around her left arm. She watched the Siren tenderly examine the now clotted wound, a lump in her throat at the concern in crystal blue eyes.
"What happened?" The Captain asked again in a softer tone.
"I wasn't paying enough attention and twisted the wrong way It was my fault. Please don't blame Sal," Sara said quietly.
"I don't want you having lessons with him anymore," Captain Rivero admitted quietly.
Sara frowned, and then the anger sunk in. "Oh no you don't!" She stood up; the sudden movement making the Captain take a few steps back. "You don't get to say that. You don't ask me in that tone!"
"Sara " The Captain started but didn't get a chance to finish because Sara had already stormed out. She sighed heavily and collapsed into her chair.
"Sara, calm down."
"No! This is bullshit!" Sara spun around and faced Sal. "She's acting like a child!"
Salmonius took a step towards Sara but stopped when he saw the fire in her eyes. Instead, he said, "She's the Captain. If she wants me to inventory the hold then she has every right to do so."
"Bullshit!" Sara fumed. She paced back and forth in an attempt to dispel the adrenaline pumping through her veins. "My ex was never this petty!" Sara stopped. Did I just compare Captain Rivero to my ex?
Sal saw the pause, "Edward can give you lessons. He is competent."
Sara looked up, confused. She was still a little shaken by her mental faux pas. "Warden is good, but you're better, and we both know it."
"The only other person skilled enough to teach you is the Captain."
This earned him a glare that made him pale. "Where's Warden?"
Sara sighed internally. She really loved Warden, but he didn't elicit the same thrill, or challenge, as fighting Ca Salmonius. She frowned to herself as she blocked Warden's overhead swing and spun around out of his reach. It wasn't that he didn't know how to fight, she just Sara sighed internally, I miss the Captain.
In the two and a half weeks since their last lesson Sara had only taken in her lunch a handful of times, always trying to get Carver or Barney to take it in for her. She had refused to speak to the Captain ever since she had intervened in Sal's lessons, knowing full well she'd lose her temper if faced with the infuriating woman. Why does she have to be so stubborn?
The lessons with Salmonius had been good. Sure, he wasn't distracting like the Siren was, but he was a very good fighter and she had learnt a lot from him during their brief course.
Sara knocked Warden's blade out of her way and then stopped, "Can we do some muscle building instead? I'm over fighting."
"Sure," he panted. He happily put his sword aside and proceeded to show Sara through his workout routine.
"Again?" Sara almost yelled. "This is getting ridiculous!"
Warden shrugged, "Seems the Captain isn't happy with the current arrangements."
Sara huffed, "She isn't the only one that isn't happy."
Warden shrugged again and looked to Carver for help.
"Sara, maybe you should " Carver's words died under the glare. He took a breath and tried again, "Now listen here, you are both acting like harpies, and it needs to stop. You're going to go in there with her lunch and then you are going to have your lesson with the Captain."
Sara and Warden gaped at him. Carver never lost his temper
"Understood?" He demanded.
They both nodded mutely. Carver frowned at Warden, not sure why he nodded too. He liked the simple man, but he often wondered if all the lanterns were lit in his head.
"Are you going to start talking to me again?"
Sara swung around and lashed out with her sword. She lunged forward and slashed again and again, using her anger to fuel her movements.
"Not soon, I guess." Captain Rivero panted as she dodged and blocked the blade. She could see the hurt in Sara's eyes, and she had never felt so guilty in her life. But she wasn't going to put up with the sulking girl. This was her ship, and she needed to keep everyone safe, and if that meant denying her true feelings, then so be it. But she did miss their friendship
Sara nearly lost her footing when the Captain pushed her back. She had gotten into the rhythm of attack and suddenly having to defend only increased the anger.
feelings of aggression are the absence of the love drug in your veins, in your veins. Love come quickly, because I feel my self-esteem is caving in
" Sara's words were lost in a hiccup. The build-up of dust in the Captain's quarters was not a good mix with singing and crying.
Once again, because this little trick would never get old, Captain Rivero slipped in and stood in the shadow by the door.
"Love I beg you, lift me up into that privileged point of view, the world of two. Love don't leave me, because I console myself that Hallmark cards are true, I really do." Sara gave up cleaning and leant the broom against the desk, then placed her hands on the desk to support her shaking body. "I'm gunning down romance! It never did a thing for me, but heartache and misery, ain't nothing but a tragedy."
Sara spun around to see the Captain approaching her. She tried to back away but cursed internally when she felt the desk hamper her escape. "I thought you were at the helm."
"Then why are you here?"
"Because I was hoping to hear you sing."
Sara glared at her. "You're so manipulative!"
Captain Rivero was taken aback, "I did not mean "
" to spy? To sneak up on me?" Sara spat out the accusatory questions. "To take advantage?"
Now the Captain truly looked ashamed, and her head bent as she whispered, "I am sorry."
Now it was Sara's turn to be shocked, and even more at her next words than the Captain's submission. "I'm sorry too."
Captain Rivero looked up and into Sara's eyes, "I never meant to hurt you."
Sara said nothing but didn't look away either.
"I am unaccustomed to having someone like you around."
"Someone like me?"
"Compliments won't fix everything."
"I know." Captain Rivero bowed her head again.
Sara closed the distance between them and placed her hand on the Captain's arm. Captain Rivero looked up and truly did look sorry. Sara sighed, "Look, if you promise to stop being an arse, I'll promise to stop ignoring you."
The Siren tilted her head with a wry smile, "Will you sing happier songs?"
Sara moved her hand away and playfully hit the Siren with it. "Don't push it."
"Noooo!" Sara screamed.
The Captain was up and had opened the door to Sara's room before she heard the next cry. "Sara, what's wrong?"
The desperate plea ripped Sara into consciousness and she grabbed for the Captain. Tumbling onto the stretcher, mostly onto Sara, the Captain could do nothing but wrap her arms around the sobbing woman. They stayed like this for some time, and eventually Sara's tears lessened and her breathing become regular. Thinking she was asleep Captain Rivero moved to untangle herself from Sara's clutches.
The grip tightened, "Please don't go, Catherine."
The Captain tried to relax her body. "I'll stay, but I need to get comfortable."
They shifted together, intuitively moving to their sides in a way that let Sara snuggle into the Siren's shoulder. In response to leftover sniffles the Captain wrapped her arms protectively around Sara and rubbed her back.
"Go back to sleep," she whispered.
Sara shook her head, "I can't."
Sara nuzzled deeper into the shoulder.
"Sara, what's wrong? What has you so upset?"
After another sniffle, Sara answered, "You."
Captain Rivero sighed, "I thought we'd sorted this."
"Not that," Sara said. "I had a nightmare."
"Oh About me?"
"You died there was a fight, and you were winning, and I thought everything would be ok, but then a dark figure came out of nowhere and and " Sara sobbed again, her body shaking with the effort to regain control.
"Shhh, it's ok now. It was just a dream," the Siren cooed. "I'm right here."
Sara held on tightly as more tears fell.
Out of pure instinct, the Captain acted without thinking she placed a gentle kiss on Sara's temple.
Both women froze.
"I'm sorry " The Captain stammered.
"Don't be. It was nice," Sara felt a genuine smile grace her lips for the first time in weeks. "You can do it anytime you want."
Captain Rivero sighed sadly, "I wish I could."
Sara raised her head, "Why? Actually, scrap that question, I know what you're going to say 'It's too dangerous.'"
Surprisingly, the Captain didn't verbally answer, but instead rested her forehead against Sara's. Neither moved, both wanting to prolong the contact. "I deeply care about you, Sara, more than I have cared for anyone else, but that is also why I cannot pursue those feelings for you. It may hurt, but at least you're alive to feel it."
Sara didn't want to spoil the moment by arguing, she just held on tighter and wished the morning would never come.
She had never thought of herself as forward, but she had never been one to hide her feelings either. This whole pretending not to be madly in love with a woman that actually reciprocated her feelings was absolute agony, and completely insane. Sure, she could understand the reason that a relationship would cause problems, but she was sure as hell having trouble accepting it. Life was full of problems, full of uncertainties, and only the memories remain in the end. Sara wanted them to be happy memories.
She fiddled with the food on her plate, lost in her mental wanderings.
"That food isn't going to eat itself."
Sara looked up with a lost expression, "What?"
"Are you ok?" Captain Rivero frowned with concern. "You've been acting strangely these last few days."
"Speak to me Sara, tell me what's wrong."
"It doesn't matter," Sara shook her head and then stood up. "I need to finish helping Carver in the galley."
The Captain watched, flabbergasted that Sara had just blown her off. Sara didn't care. She needed time to think. She needed space, and that was hard to get on a pirate ship in the 1600s. It's time to get my feelings in order, and then make Catherine do the same. I can't keep living in limbo.
Two days later, after a good measure of self-reflection and soul searching, Sara sat opposite the Captain at her desk and openly watched her as she ate. As she suspected it didn't take long before Captain Rivero looked up with a puzzled expression.
Sara smiled and looked at her plate. Chicken, she berated herself. Ok, deep breath and try again. "Can we talk?"
"We're talking now." Captain Rivero sat back in her chair and studied Sara.
Sara smirked, "You know, I think my amazing ability for sarcasm has worn off on you."
The Siren laughed, "You don't think I had the ability before you came here?"
"Nope," Sara shook her head. "You were serious and grumpy when I came here. Now you use sarcasm and make jokes."
The Captain laughed again.
"I guess I make you happy," Sara said self-consciously.
Captain Rivero stopped laughing and gaped.
Way to go Sara, you broke her "I mean well Well, I meant exactly what I said."
The Captain kept staring at her, unsure how to respond.
"And I still don't agree that we shouldn't act on our feelings." Sara held her hand up before the Captain could argue, "Yes, I know it's dangerous, but so was becoming friends in the first place. Seriously, do you think the crew believes we only have lunch in here? No! We're in here for hours! They know I've been having fighting lessons. That cat is well and truly out of the bag on that one. So big friggin' deal if what happens behind that closed door changes. How are they meant to find out?"
"My position on this matter hasn't faltered," Captain Rivero nearly choked on her words.
Sara stared at her with an 'are you serious?' look. Her jaw set as she mentally went with plan B. "Fine." She pushed her chair back and stood. "Fine." She turned to leave but paused and turned back with a pointing finger. "But if you really cared about me as you claim, then you should care about my feelings as well."
Sara turned and marched towards the door. She was in the corridor that led to the door when she felt a hand clasp her arm and spin her around. Within seconds she felt the Siren's hand cup her face and soft lips press against her own. This first kiss quickly evolved into more as Sara's arms found their way around the Siren's back and pulled her closer. With their bodies pressed together the kiss deepened.
Suddenly, Sara found herself pressed against the bulkhead by the lithe body. Oh, and what a body! Her hands roamed of their own accord, eager to feel more of the woman she'd dreamt of. Just as Sara thought she would combust with the onslaught she felt the Captain pull away.
"I'm sorry," the Captain breathed, and she was out the door before Sara knew what had happened.
Sara sat at the desk staring at the parchment. She'd remembered another song she wanted to write down. Her lunch sat there untouched. She closed her eyes and remembered the all-knowing folk voice of Ani DiFranco. Humming softly to herself, she wrote the words as they came to her.
The Captain's lunch was barely eaten as well. She constantly felt sick, and it wasn't seasickness, it was her own actions, her own cowardice. She quietly sighed for what seemed like the millionth time since she had run out after kissing Sara three days ago. Sara had barely been talking to her, but not out of anger like last time, this was much worse. Sara was sad, and Captain Rivero could see it as clear as day.
"What are you writing?" The Captain asked, and tried not to look like she heard her voice crack.
Sara gave a hollow laugh, "No."
"I know there's no point asking you to sing it," Captain Rivero tried to joke, "But would you be able to read it?"
Sara looked up at her, and it was the first time since the kiss that neither looked away immediately. Sara nodded slightly, and then cleared her throat.
"She says, 'Forget what you have to do, pretend there is nothing outside this room'. Like an idea she came to me, but she came too late, or maybe too soon. I said, 'Please try not to love me. Close your eyes, I'm turning on the light. You know I have no vacancy, and it's awfully cold outside tonight'."
Captain Rivero nodded slowly, mainly to herself, and looked back down at her food. I can't eat this She pushed it away and sat back in her chair with her eyes closed. She tried to focus on her breathing but that didn't ease the unease she felt. She swallowed and opened her eyes again. "To what lengths would you go to get home?"
Sara looked surprised, "I don't know " She shrugged, "I don't know where home is anymore."
The Captain nodded absently. She knew the feeling, although her confusion was in the order of priorities in her life rather than her home. She focused when she heard Sara speak again.
"When I woke up on the ship it was very hard for me. To me it was impossible! I mean, pirates? Seriously?" She laughed. "I thought I was insane. Or you were Maybe both of us?"
"Perhaps," Captain Rivero let a wry smile show.
"Well, I guess the point I was going to make was that I was scared, and confused, and freaked out, and lots of other emotions along those lines. Anyway, I managed to get past all that."
The Captain sat forward, "How?"
"Yep." Sara sat up straight. "You see, I couldn't give up, I couldn't give in. The sun rose each morning and so did I. Courage isn't about facing the strongest opponent in battle, or leading an army into war, it's about facing any challenge in life with determination and dignity. Courage is not the absence of fear or despair, but the strength to act in spite of them."
"You have learnt much wisdom, Sara."
Sara shook her head, "I just don't see the point of living in fear and having regrets. When all is said and done, when my time is up, I want to look back and say 'Well that was fun, I'm glad I did that'."
"Maybe," Sara shrugged. She looked down and bit her lip nervously. When she looked up again her eyes were curious, but non-judgemental. "What are you so afraid of? Why do you let it control you?"
Captain Rivero's eyes glazed over and she stared into a past that seemed so distant, "Sometimes I wonder "
The Captain was so caught up in her own thoughts that she didn't notice Sara get up after several minutes; she didn't notice her return after several more; she didn't notice Sara place something in front of her; and she didn't notice Sara pick up both plates and take them with her when she left. She had no idea how long she had been sitting there staring into oblivion, but it must have been some time because the sun was now setting behind the ship. She blinked rapidly in an attempt to clear her vision and banish her demons.
She looked down to finally notice her meal missing, and its place a small delicately carved box. She gently ran her fingers over its surface. It was beautiful. Doing her best not to let her hands shake too much, she cautiously twisted the latch and lifted the lid. She gasped when she saw the contents of the box. She carefully clasped the locket and lifted it higher to hold it with a visibly shaking hand. Turning it over and over she inspected every tiny intricate detail her misty vision could discern. She had to blink hard to remove the tears from her eyes to read the inscription on the back.
The Siren, Whose Song Tamed the Seas
Captain Rivero wrapped both hands around the locket and pulled it to her, hugging it fiercely as she openly wept.
"What do you think they're up to?"
Carver shrugged at Sara.
"She's been acting weird over the past few weeks." Sara paused, "More than just what's been happening between us.
Now Sara shrugged, "I don't know withdrawn. Certainly not the take-charge woman I first met." And fell for "It's like she knows something is going down."
"Does it have something to do with the thing you were telling me about?"
"Dunno but if Pete were around he'd be vibing, and it'd be the bad kind of vibes."
"Pete, from Warehouse 13." Sara looked like the answer was obvious. "Nevermind. Future stuff. But yes, I think it does have to do with the whole Patch thing."
"It hasn't just been the past few months."
"What do you mean?"
"She's been weird, as you put it, since before you came on board. It probably started " Carver frowned, deep in thought " about the time Sam tried to mutiny. A few good men, and some bad, lost their lives."
"Sam said they had a disagreement, but Captain Rivero said he'd tried to kill her."
Carver nodded. "It was before Zatch came aboard. Sam got a few of the crew to side with him against the Captain. He lost, of course, and was the only one left to live. She keeps him in the cells as a reminder not to cross her. Although I thought it was a bit dangerous considering he vowed his revenge."
"So when did Patch infest the ship?"
"Not long after "
"If she knew he was trouble why did she let him aboard?"
"He wasn't at first. It started a few months before you came. He'd already been on the ship for a year."
"He wasn't always an arsehole?" Sara found that hard to believe.
"No," Carver admitted. "In fact he didn't start being like he is until after a serious fight with Tarquin."
"What'd they fight about?"
"No one knows."
"So, Sam's been down there all that time?" Sara gasped.
"Mhmm," Carver nodded. "Deserves it too; I would have sooner seen him walk the plank."
I'd love to walk her plank Sara shook her head, "Why does everything in this time period need to be so violent?"
"From what you've told me your time is just as violent. Only the methods have change."
Sara tilted her head in acknowledgement, "True "
Carver shrugged, "Whatever they're up to, Captain Rivero and Tarquin will be doing it for the right reasons. As you like to say, they're the good guys."
"I guess I just hate all this secrecy. If they just told us what was going on maybe we could help, maybe I could understand why she is so afraid."
"The Captain? Afraid?" Carver laughed. "The only time I've seen fear in her eyes was when she thought you wouldn't speak to her again. Zatch doesn't scare her, but he is a problem."
Sara sighed, "How long do you think the meeting will go for?"
"As long as they need it."
"Oh thanks, that helps a bunch."
Carver smirked and finished the last of his lunch. He got up from the table and started cleaning the galley and preparing it for the next meal.
It was well into the late afternoon by the time Tarquin left the Captain's quarters. Sara had been down playing Canasta with Carver, Barney, Sal and Warden when he had come down to tell her she could go back. And she didn't waste any time; as soon as she'd finished, and won, the hand with the boys, she left and headed up to the deck. She didn't bother knocking when she entered the Captain's quarters, her room was in there too and she had every right to return to it.
Sara just cleared the hallway when she heard a soft splash to her left. She turned to see the Captain in the tub. She gulped and turned away, "Sorry."
"It's ok, Sara. I was just finishing up."
Sara heard the Captain stand, water dripping off her back into the tub, and then step onto the floor. In her mind's eye she could envision the toned body wrap a gown around itself. Sara jumped when she felt a hand on her shoulder and she whipped around to see that her vision had been right. Damn that gown!
"Why don't you wash while I work at my desk?" The Siren suggested softly, but Sara could see the weariness in the sapphire eyes so she bit her tongue and nodded.
Sara ignored her usual reservations about washing with someone else in the room. After all, she'd happily be doing other naked things with the Siren. She tried to mentally relax by singing in her head. Tonight, it was Gravity by Sara Bareilles. A fitting song, she thought to herself. After she felt clean again she got out, toweled off, and then pulled on the nightgown Carver had given her a few months back. When Sara approached the desk she saw the map of the Greek Isles was open again. She walked behind the Captain and leant over her to get a better look. In her focused search she didn't see Captain Rivero tense at her close proximity, nor did she see closed eyes open with crystal clarity.
Sara leant forward and put her hand on the map, "I can't find Crete. Why isn't this map labeled?"
She was shocked when she felt the Captain's hand cover her own, and looked at the woman in surprise. The intense smolder in Captain Rivero's eyes blanked out any words that may have been about to leave her. Sara's left hand was held in place as Catherine swiveled her chair around to face her. Her eyes almost fluttered shut when she felt the soft caress of Catherine's hand all the way up her arm. When it reached her face she felt both of Catherine's hands cup her face and then they pulled her forward until their lips met in soft ecstasy. Minutes passed before they broke for air. Sometime during their kiss Sara's hands had grasped the arms of the chair in an effort to help keep her upright, and it was a good thing too because her legs felt weak.
"Catherine, I don't understand," Sara whispered between panted breaths.
The Siren shook her head slightly, "I can't fight it anymore."
"Shhh," Catherine leant forward and stopped Sara's words with her lips.
The contact wasn't lost as Catherine stood and pulled Sara's body to her own. Sara's arms instinctively wrapped around the Siren's waist, and they kept a loose hold as she felt Catherine guide her backwards. She was glad when her legs bumped into the bed, as she could have been led off the ship and she would have been none the wiser. Her whole world was filled by the beauty in her arms. She had dreamt and thought about this for so long that it was hard to believe that fantasy was becoming reality.
Sara was gently pushed onto the bed and Catherine's body covered her own in seconds. Their legs entwined as their tongues dueled, and it wasn't long until they were left panting again.
Sara held Catherine tightly in place, "Are you sure about this?"
Catherine laughed with genuine amusement, "Sara, you're the one that has been pushing us in this direction, and now that we're here you're asking if I'm sure?"
Sara nodded meekly.
Catherine's smile morphed into one of tenderness. "Yes, I'm sure." A twinkle flashed through the blue eyes and then Sara felt Catherine's leg press between her own. "Now stop talking so I can have my way with you."
Sara happily followed the order by recapturing the Siren's lips. I will never get enough of this woman! And she wanted to feel more. Doing her best to enjoy her current state of bliss and to concentrate on her actions, Sara's hands managed to find their way in between their bodies and tug the tie to the robe loose. She then pulled it apart and ran her hands along Catherine's sides. She was confused when she felt something solid on her chest. She broke the kiss and looked down. It was the locket.
Sara looked at Catherine in surprise, "You're wearing it?"
Catherine nodded. "As long as it is my choice, I will never take it off. Thank you."
Sara beamed, pleased that her effort had made the Siren happy. Her fingers traced the chain of the locket up to Catherine's shoulders and then up under the robe. She pushed the robe down and after Catherine had slipped her arms out of it she tossed it somewhere on the floor. Although she'd seen the Captain practically naked before, those times held nothing on her current view; Sara was speechless.
She swallowed and recovered her mental faculties in time to see the smirk on Catherine's face. She grinned in return, and with a sudden effort flipped them over so she was on top. It's my turn to be in charge now. Sara kissed Catherine deeply and then pulled away slightly to kiss along her jawbone in slow feather light caresses. She felt fingers dig into her back when she gently sucked on an un-pierced earlobe. She then made her way down Catherine's neck in deliberate movements, and then lower still. The body beneath her arched up to meet her lips as they traversed across a modest cleavage, heading towards the highest peaks. Sara twirled the tip of her tongue around Catherine's erect nipple before taking it into her mouth, while her hand cupped her other breast to allow her thumb to rub ghostly circles over the other nipple.
When Sara's mouth and hand swapped breasts she noticed that Catherine had somehow managed to pull her nightgown up. She felt it hitch higher and was both amazed and amused that the woman could concentrate enough to send such complex signals to her hands. She chuckled when she felt Catherine give up on being sneaky and just pull it up over her head. At last their naked bodies stretched against each other and Sara reveled in the instant boost to her arousal. She slipped her right leg between Catherine's and pressed it against her. She heard a sharp intake of breath before she captured her lips again, and she nearly broke the kiss with her own gasp when she felt Catherine's leg mirror hers.
They continued to grind against each other, hands wandering to experience all they could, until Sara decided to take charge again. Enough foreplay, she told herself, and ordered her body to focus enough to obey her. She shifted her weight to her left and continued to kiss Catherine as her hand traveled down the Siren's body. It paused to tease a taut nipple before it continued on its mission. Sara knew Catherine was wet, she could feel the natural lubrication against the skin of her thigh. She pulled her leg back so her fingers could slip between slick folds.
This time Catherine did gasp, as Sara's fingers rubbed her clit in steady circles. Sara raised her head to watch the expressions play out across the Siren's face. Plus, she needed to concentrate through her own arousal. With a seamless transition, her thumb replaced her fingers in their ministrations, freeing up her fingers to delve deeper. The Siren locked eyes with her, and Sara had the funny feeling that they were searching for something. One finger, and then another, slipped into Catherine, and she felt the muscles constrict in response. She began the motion that she hadn't used in years, but that still came naturally to her; her fingers slid in and out in a slowly increasing rhythm while her thumb continued to stimulate Catherine's swollen clit. It must have been some time for the Siren too, because it wasn't long until her breathing and motions became erratic, until finally, Sara felt her fingers gripped and a shudder course through the body beneath her.
Seconds turned into minutes before Catherine's eyes fluttered open. She looked at Sara, and Sara could hardly recognise the woman behind the blue spheres. She noticed a tear escape and roll down Catherine's cheek, and then another, and then she covered her face with her hands and hid against Sara's shoulder. Sara removed her fingers and quickly wiped them on the sheet as panic took hold. She held Catherine tightly as her body shook. She caressed the strawberry blonde mane as soothingly as she could, as she had no idea what could spook this brave woman to tears.
"Catherine, what's wrong?" Sara was nearly in tears herself. "How can I help?"
She felt Catherine shake her head and press her body closer, so Sara just held on tighter. She would do anything to make her Siren happy.
Eventually Catherine's body relaxed a little, and after some comforting kisses to her crown she relaxed even more. Catherine pulled her hands away from her face and took several deep breaths. She wrapped her arms around Sara's waist. "I'm sorry."
"It's ok." Sara placed another kiss on her head. "What happened?"
Catherine shrugged. "I " She cleared her throat. "I, um, I was overwhelmed." She admitted quietly. "I just I've never felt I saw "
Sara had never seen Catherine so flustered before. "Take your time." She gave her a squeeze. "I'm not going anywhere."
After a few slow breaths Catherine tried again, "I have never felt anything like that before." She paused. "It was passionate, and tender, and loving, at the same time. I didn't know it could be like that." She nuzzled into Sara's neck, "And in your eyes, and your actions, I saw it. I saw the past and the future. I saw you in all of it. I saw happiness, I saw Heaven, and through it all I saw love." Catherine pulled back and looked into Sara's eyes, which now held their own tears. "I love you, Sara."
A few tears escaped but Sara didn't notice them. "I love you too, Catherine."
They both leant in at the same time, bringing their lips together. They kissed slowly, tenderly, trying to convey all of their emotions in the simple actions.
Catherine pulled back again. "I promise to show you the same love you have shown me, in every way I can, for the rest of my life."
Sara smiled and kissed her again. She couldn't remember ever being this happy, and she knew that as long as they were together she always would be. Sara gasped and then giggled when she was suddenly pushed onto her back. She nearly melted at the predatory grin on Catherine's face, and the determined and commanding look sent a new wave of arousal through Sara's body. Authority is so damn sexy on this woman! And with this woman on her, and in her, she soon glimpsed the gates as she was brought into the folds of pure ecstasy.
With their bodies left depleted and exhausted, they snuggled up together, being as close as they could and savouring the emotional and physical warmth between them. Sara made an effort to stay awake as long as she could. She wanted to remember everything; every touch, every smell, every sound, and every word. She no longer cared if she made it back to her time. 'Home' was with Captain Catherine Rivero, the woman who had stolen her heart.
Sara woke to a hand softly caressing her cheek. She opened her eyes to find Catherine looking at her.
She grinned, "So I didn't dream last night?"
Catherine chuckled, "No, it was real. And so is this..."
The Siren kissed her and Sara felt her whole body react instantly. She was just about to give in to her body's wishes when she felt Catherine pull back.
"The ship is going to be in port today, and I need to leave the ship."
"Where are we going?" Sara asked casually as her hands found some soft flesh to fondle.
"I," Catherine took Sara's hands and held them in her own, "am going to Venice."
Sara frowned, "I? As in not together ?"
"That's correct," Catherine nodded. She kissed each of Sara's palms and then her lips. "I want you to stay here, get some more sleep, and then continue your routine."
"How long will you be? Will you be back by dinner?"
Catherine closed her eyes, "I don't know. But I'll be back as soon as I can, I promise."
Catherine quickly pressed her lips to Sara's and then got out of bed. She pulled on her ghastly 17th century undergarments, and then her breeches over the top. She then pulled on her shirt and tucked everything in so neatly it would shame even the most disciplined naval officer. After fixing her sword to her belt she knelt on the bed over Sara.
"Go back to sleep, you're going to need it."
Sara grinned. If last night was any indication she certainly would! "Ok."
Catherine caressed Sara's cheek again and leant down to kiss her. The kiss was deeper and more passionate than Sara had anticipated, but she certainly didn't want to complain. When Catherine pulled back she could see the 'Captain' returning.
"I love you," Sara said.
"And I love you, Sara." Captain Rivero stood and straightened her clothing. With a parting wave to Sara she turned and left.
The biggest grin broke out on Sara's face. Oh my God! She squealed. She rolled over and nuzzled into the pillow Catherine had been using and inhaled her scent. She was too happy to go back to sleep. She lay there and thought about all the places she'd like to travel to with Catherine. Egypt! Sara swooned at the thought of watching the sun setting behind the pyramids while wrapped up in Catherine's arms. She continued to lie there and visualise all the possibilities. Who would have imagined this when I woke up on the deck?
Later that morning Sara used all her mental effort not to hum. She scrubbed the decks with renewed vigour every time she thought about her evening plans. Barney was off ashore getting a few special ingredients for her. With Carver's help she was going to cook up a romantic dinner for two. Not that she needed to seduce the Siren, she just wanted to make her feel special. She caught herself humming again and stopped just in time to hear shouting from the wharf.
"Tarquin! Tarquin!" Barney screamed, while running along the dock towards the ship. "Taaarrrquiin!"
"What is it?" Tarquin's tenor voice betrayed his concern.
"The Captain " Barney half panted, half cried. "She "
"What about the Captain?"
Time slowed to a standstill. Sara could feel and hear her heart pounding beneath her rip cage. Her skin burned all over, the morning breeze doing nothing to relieve the sudden sensation. With glazed yet crystal clear vision Sara watched in slow motion as Barney turned his head and briefly glanced at her before looking into Mr. Tenor's eyes. She watched his mouth as it formed words that were more insane than waking up on a pirate ship.
"The Captain's dead."
Everyone stared at Barney like he'd grown a second head, everyone except Patch. He slowly turned away as a smile grew on his face. Sara would have hit him if she'd seen it but she lost all sense of reality. The world spun and her stomach lurched. There goes breakfast some part of her brain commented dryly. Down on her hands and knees, she shook her head in disbelief.
"No " She whispered, over and over.
"Sara," Mr. Tenor placed a hand on her shoulder. She was sitting in front of the Captain's desk. Carver had taken her there after she had stopped vomiting.
"It's not true," she shook her head. "She can't be gone."
"I am sorry, Sara, she is." Mr. Tenor kept his hand on her shoulder. "She asked me to take care of you if anything were to happen. I have laid claim to Orion's Mantle and as the Captain I can do that, but I must warn you: there are elements on this ship that are against us. We must not let them provoke us."
Sara finally looked at him, "You mean Patch?"
He nodded, "Amongst others. I need you to be strong. He will surely gloat, but I need you to refrain from reacting. He would sooner defy me than Captain Rivero."
"Are you saying I'm in danger?" Sara paled.
"Aye. We all are."
"Victree is close at 'and son!" A raspy voice said with glee. "Tis unfortuna'e tha' we didn kill 'er ourselves, bu' you shouldn was'e this opportuni'y."
"I'll be making the arrangements as soon as possible."
"I still want the girl."
"Par'aps bu' no' strai't away. I 'ave plans for 'er "
Numb, that was all Sara felt. Nothing penetrated the lonely abyss that had surrounded her soul. Mr. Tenor keeping watch no longer calmed and reassured her. Carver's company no longer brought her joy. Barney's antics no longer brought her amusement. Numb, all Sara felt was numb.
It was three full days before Sara left the captain's quarters. Carver, Barney, Salmonius and Warden had all been in to check on her, and to try to coax her out. None had been successful. On this third day Tarquin had had enough. He knew the danger they were in, and he knew the consequences if the girl didn't pull herself together.
She looked up from the scrolls that were scattered on the his desk.
"I need you to put those away and continue with your duties," he stated plainly.
"I don't feel well," her voice was flat.
"I understand that," he admitted, "I miss her too. But we cannot allow our emotions to rule us. We must continue."
"To do what?" She cried. "The same old thing, over and over? What does that accomplish?"
He took a deep breath to calm himself. If it were any other member of the crew he would have struck them for insubordination. But he couldn't strike the girl. The Captain would hu He took another breath. "Listen to me, Sara," a note of anger accompanied his words, "you will pack those away, and you will go about your duties as usual, and you will do so immediately."
Sara gulped before her hands began to fumble with the scrolls.
"I expect to see you on deck shortly." His tone softened, "Captain Rivero didn't keep you safe and train you for no reason. She wanted you to survive."
I must not push him overboard. I must not push him overboard. I must not
Sara's mental chant was interrupted by a force knocking her forward. She turned her head to see Patch grinning as he fixed the ropes. That smug son of a She glanced up to see Mr. Tenor at the wheel. He was watching with a passive face. Although Sara wasn't an expert at reading blank expressions, she knew he wanted her to ignore Patch and continue working.
I must not push him overboard. I must not do all the nasty and violent things I want to do to him She took a deep breath. I must not push him overboard.
For crying out loud! Sara cursed. This was the third time her bucket had been knocked over today, and each time by a different person; always by members of Patch's posse, of course. Her eyes welled with unshed tears of frustration and pain. Don't cry Sara, don't cry.
She had just filled her bucket again and was making her way to where she had last been when she found herself flying through the air, her bucket spilling its contents everywhere as it landed before her. She got to her knees and looked around behind her. Patch was standing there with an expression of smug satisfaction.
"Bit' clumsee withou' tha wench to wa'ch yor bak?" He laughed. "No' so tuff now, are ye? Don't worry, you'll join 'er in deth soon enuff."
Unfortunately, Mr. Tenor couldn't see what was happening from his position at the wheel, although Sara wasn't confident he'd do much anyway. She scrambled to her feet and ran into the captain's quarters, locking herself in her room. She hated that thug, she hated this ship, and she wanted to go home.
Several hours later Tarquin entered the room to find Sara examining the maps on the desk. He approached her slowly to avoid alarming her.
"She was going to take me to Crete," Sara looked up at him with red rimmed eyes. "I guess it doesn't matter now " She squared her shoulders. "I'd like to leave the ship, for good. I'm going to try and find one of my ancestors and bunker down with them. I'd prefer to live out my life on land."
He sat down in the other chair, "I cannot allow that just yet." When Sara started to protest he held up his hand. "When we return to England I shall let you off there. Captain Rivero would kill me if anything were to happen to you."
"She can't," Sara looked back down at the map, "She's dead."
"Aye," he stood again. "But everything will be ok if we remain strong."
"Without Catherine it'll never be ok "
He said nothing further as he turned and strode to the door. He hesitated before pulling it open, and turned to look at Sara once more. His usual passive features were pushed away with a look of guilt. He was sorry the girl had to endure this, but there was no other way.
Sara sat in the galley having breakfast with Barney. Carver was in the process of cleaning up from his morning preparations. They were soon joined by TomTom and Warden. Although Sara didn't participate in the conversation she was comforted by the companionship. She could tell that they were affected by the Captain's death but they seemed to be dealing with it well. She guessed that pirates, and anyone from the 1600's for that matter, faced loss on a more frequent basis. Modern medicine can't come soon enough.
Sara had finished eating by the time Salmonius entered. "Well, we officially have a destination," he announced as he sat down. Carver brought over a plate for Sal and himself and they both dug in.
"I thought we already did?" Barney asked.
TomTom shook his head. "We had a general heading that Tarquin continued to follow after Captain Rivero's passing."
The men all nodded sadly.
"Greek Isles," Sal said around food. "Tarquin did not explain further when he asked me to man the wheel at night."
"So, where are we going now?" Warden asked after he finished his breakfast.
"Why Crete?" Barney made a face. He was full of questions this morning, although Sara was happy he asked.
TomTom smiled fondly, "'Tis a beautiful place, with plenty of trade opportunity. Who are we to question the Captain?"
Sara cringed. She still didn't see Mr. Tenor as the Captain. She wasn't sure she could. His choice of destination, however, certainly made her curious. Is it just because I mentioned it yesterday? Were we headed there all along?
Sara looked around the impressive cliff faces that surrounded the ship on three sides with awe. They're so high! She continued to look at the earthly sculpture around her as she scrubbed the deck. They had arrived in this little bay around dusk the previous day and had set anchor, and Sara was she grateful to see land.
The ship hadn't moved all day, and wasn't going to until further notice. Sara was confused, as usual. If we're going to Crete, why don't we just go there?
That evening Sara got up the courage to ask, "Why are we waiting?"
Mr. Tenor looked up from the map and simply said, "It is not time."
Sara frowned at him. She had always thought most of the ship's crew were nutcases or thugs, but not Mr. Tenor; although now she wondered He's acting very strange, even for him. Sara rolled her eyes in a way that said 'crackpot' and continued to read her scroll. She was working through the pros and cons of possible professions she could enter during this time period. Seamstress was winning, but she had also learnt a lot from Carver during her time on Orion's Mantle.
Sara swept the floor in a trance; her mind long ago divided the room up into sections and worked her way through them. It had been weeks since the Siren's death and Sara was still living in a bubble of denial. Maybe I'll go to Egypt after I leave the ship I've always wanted to see the pyramids and The Nile. She sighed. It wouldn't be the same without Sara sighed again.
"I don't know where to find you. I don't know how to reach you." Although she couldn't match Lara Fabian's skilled vocals she did convey a depth of emotion. "I hear your voice in the wind. I feel you under my skin. Within my heart and my soul, I wait for you, Adagio." Catherine
"All of these nights without you, all of my dreams surround you. I see and I touch your face. I fall into your embrace " The words died in the silent room. Sara looked at the door and squinted to see into the shadow. She continued on and searched the room but still didn't find what she wanted.
" She's not going to magically appear. She's gone
Sara scrubbed the deck in her usual grid. She had been doing it for so long now the action was automatic. This allowed her mind to be occupied by more important thoughts. Right now they continued on the logistics of moving to and setting up in England. She had decided to set up her own shop. With the money she had won in poker she planned to buy exotic antiques and fabric in Crete, and anywhere they stopped on their way back to London. She would then sell the antiques for a hefty profit, she had already confirmed with Carver the potential and validity of that plan. And finally, with a modest amount of funds, she would purchase or lease a shop and would turn it into a thriving clothing business. Thank God I paid attention during my degree! Sara gloated; these folks won't know what hit 'em! Being an expert personnel recruiter, she had no doubt that she'd find the right people to hire to help her gain financial independence 400 odd years before she was supposed to even exist.
Sara had just begun to map out her employment structure when she heard a cry overhead. She looked up and had to shield her eyes against the glare. A lone seagull circled the ship. She watched as it descended and swooped across the deck and onto the bridge. She was amazed to find that it perched on Mr. Tenor's outstretched trunk of an arm, and even more so to see him remove something from its leg. So that's how they communicated back in the day! She watched, transfixed, as he put another note in place of the first and launched the seagull back into the clear blue sky. What the hell was that all about? But no one verbalized her question to the big man if they had thought it as strange as she did. The unspoken rule lived on: you aren't supposed to question the Captain.
Perhaps describe the ship entering the Cretian harbour????
"Where do you think you're going?" Mr. Tenor's voice stopped Sara halfway between the cabin door and the gangway.
"Ashore," she turned and answered. "Carver is coming with me."
"I cannot allow you off the ship."
"But!" Sara protested.
"We shall return here in several days, and then you can do as you please."
Sara looked at him disbelievingly. "Seriously?" She glared "Why can't I do as I please now?"
"I have business here." He stood taller, "Now stop arguing and return to your cabin!"
After a moment of shock passed she glared at him again, "Fine! But when we come back I'm going ashore, even if I have to jump ship!" She stormed back to her room muttering about chauvinistic men and their power trips. By the time she'd calmed down and returned to the deck she noticed several of the crew walking along the dock towards town, one of them being Patch. The anger returned quickly so she went in search of Salmonius to work off some energy.
Perhaps describe the dark alleyway????
"So, let me get this straight: you want me and a group of my best men to sneak aboard your ship, wait until night, and then, at your signal, try to lock as many of the crew up as possible, before forcibly capturing the rest?" The large man folded his arms.
"And then you want us to kill anyone who opposes you?"
'That is going to cost you."
"I have coin."
"You'd better have a lot." The large burly man leant closer, summing up his possible employer. "Very well, you shall have your men. What is the ship called?"
They huddled behind barrels and crates throughout the hold, the crate they had boarded now lying empty. The leader had arranged with the mutineer to have the crate put into the hold as soon as it arrived on the dock during the mid afternoon rush. No one had bothered to check its contents. The figure furthest from the door controlled their breathing to a point where it wasn't even audible. It was their job to lock the galley and the starboard crew cabin. Others were assigned different sections. They had spent well over an hour studying the map and the most effective way to cripple the crew. Their plan was perfect.
By midnight the ship was well out of port. Tarquin stood watch at the wheel with Salmonius. They had left Crete before dusk and a strong wind had allowed them to make good headway. Salmonius was concerned by the big man's presence. Normally Tarquin would be in the Captain's quarters by now. He glanced at him sideways.
"Is everything alright, Captain?"
"Aye," Tarquin looked at him with a gleam in his eye. "Everything is going according to plan."
Sara dreamt of home, although not quite the home she remembered. The streets were winding rivers that flowed between the buildings that were so familiar, and not, and ships sailed them smoothly like cars across roads. She was having a BBQ in her back yard with Catherine, Carver, Barney Sal and Warden. They were laughing and conversing and having a good time. Mr. Tenor was expected any minute, with a ship carrying her family. The steaks were nearly done when there was a commotion out front. They ran around the house and saw two ships collide, the crew from each swinging across decks and fighting fiercely. Her companions ran off to join the fight but Sara couldn't move. Someone was holding her back with big strong arms. The sound of the fighting terrified her because she should help.
"Sara!" A voiced hissed.
Sara sat up straight, her heart pounding in her chest. She was back in her room on the ship. It was but a dream, she sighed. She laid back down until she heard the hiss again.
"Sara! Wake up!"
Sara got up and put her ear to the door, "Who is it?"
"Sam?" Sara opened the door, and indeed the skeletal figure was there. "What's going on?"
"There be strangers on tha ship. We need to leave. You be in danger 'ere."
"What are you talking about?"
"Come," he beckoned her. "Come quickly! We don' 'ave much time."
Sara hesitated. "Hang on a sec. I need to get dressed." In less than a minute she was dressed with her sword, compass, and water canteen on her belt. She silently followed Sam to the door.
The first thing she noticed was Mr. Tenor on his knees, hands bound behind him. His face was as passive as usual. Patch stood next to him with a cutlass held tightly in his hand. He looked like the cat that ate the canary. Sara looked in shock to the rest of the crew and saw them all tied up around the deck."
"Surprise!" Patch laughed maliciously.
Sara looked at Sam in shock, but what she saw horrified her even more. A twisted evil grin occupied his features. He grabbed her arm and pulled her with him and he walked further onto the deck. She stumbled forward and watched dumbstruck as Patch addressed the crew.
"You 'av two choices," he paused for effect. "Join us or die!"
Everyone remained silent. Sara searched the mass of stoic, shocked and angry faces for her friends. Salmonius was on one side and Carver the other. Barney and Warden sat on either side of Carver. She glared at the few faces she recognised that weren't tied up. Fruitloops was standing near his master, but there was also Aztec, Dukat and Noob. With them stood ten masked men, all with deadly weapons and an intent to use them.
"No one?" Patch asked unnecessarily. He grabbed Mr. Tenor's shirt and held the cutlass to his throat. "Tarquin 'ere knew who I was and why I was 'ere! And he did nothin'! Why don't you tell them, ex-captain, and maybe you can convince them to accept the inevitable."
Mr. Tenor's shoulders stiffened. Patch hit him hard with the handle of his weapon but the big man didn't even flinch. "Do it!" Patch yelled.
"He's Sam's son," he spat on Patch's feet. "The rotten bastard duped his son into making the same mistake."
"Ha!" Sam laughed, "I won! I 'ave the ship! It's mine now, and there ain't no one to stop me."
Mr. Tenor looked Sam square in the eyes and smirked, "Are you so sure about that?"
Sam backhanded Mr. Tenor in anger, but his frail body did nothing to the black giant. "The whore is dead! Yer are all captive! I 'ave won."
"My pop is Captain now, and I'm firs' mate, and yer shall bow before us or walk tha plank!" Patch swept his cutlass out around in an arc. "This be yer las' chance!"
Sara watched in horror as the masked men spread out around the deck, ready to strike at any moment. What would Catherine do? She realised that both Sam and Patch had their backs to her. She took a small step forward, and then another. Just a little closer Sara was almost behind Mr. Tenor. Her hand gripped the handle of her sword.
"Zatch!" Fruitloops cried and pointed at her.
Patch whirled around with glee in his eyes. "And you!" He snarled. "Yer mine!"
Suddenly, the deck was alive with motion! Several of the crew jumped up and began fighting Patch's men. Sara caught a glimpse of Barney running around freeing others before she realised that Patch was only focused on her. Shit! She drew her weapon but it was knocked away when one of the masked figures jumped in front of her.
"She belongs to no one!"
Sara gasped, "Catherine?"
Patch hesitated, "Rivero?"
The mask was removed to reveal soft curls that shone like fire in the early morning light. "Surprise!" She laughed menacingly at Patch. "Did you really think I would let you have my ship?"
"Bu' yur dead!"
"Wrong again, scum." She took a deliberate step towards him. "Time to die!"
Anger took over him and he charged at her. "Ahhhhhh!"
Sara backed away from the pair as they fought tooth and nail. She'd never been on deck during any of the raiding so this was the first serious fight she had seen. All around the deck the crew were fighting with the masked men and Patch's thugs. The good guys had superior numbers and quickly turned the tide. Salmonius deftly fought with one hand behind his back, mocking the masked man with sadistic satisfaction. Warden and Barney fought too, both taunting one of Patch's thugs with their teamwork. She would have laughed if the situation wasn't so serious. A movement caught Sara's eye and she watched without the least bit of remorse as Mr. Tenor lifted Sam of the deck with one massive uppercut. His body flew for a moment before landing against the port railing. Carver had just defeated an opponent and turned his scowl towards the bag of bones. Carver grabbed him by the rags and threw him overboard.
Sara didn't have time to listen for the splash because her attention was drawn back to Captain Rivero and the thorn in their sides. In a move that was dirtier than mud, Patch whipped the end of a rope at the Captain's face and then lunged, sending her tumbling backwards and her sword flying across the deck. His sword came down like the lightning of Zeus, and just as a God would never suspect a challenge, so too did Patch never suspect a sword to come between his blade and his target, least of all that it would be held by Sara. He stared at her in shock, and she glared back with determination.
"Get away from her!" Sara growled. She did her best to hide her fear. This wasn't play anymore; this was life or death. She slashed at him and barely nicked him.
He recovered and laughed. The stunned Sara didn't see the kick coming, and she was hurtled backwards onto the deck. Patch paid her no more attention as he raised his sword and focused on his target of the last two years.
"Time to die, Captain," he gloated.
He swung his sword down in a motion that would have cut the Captain's head off if he hadn't been jerked backwards. Sara looked from the warm blood that flowed over her hands to the wound that it seeped from. Sara's sword was lodged under Patch's ribcage, and the crew behind him stared at the bloody tip protruding from his back.
He sank to his knees, and Sara broke one of Captain Rivero's main rules: never let go of your sword. Catherine! Sara looked down at the woman who was staring back at her with a strange look on her face; a look that could have been described in some circles as awe with a mix of pride. Sara dropped to own knees and grabbed Catherine's black clothes in spots to check for wounds, when she found none she pulled the Captain to her feet.
"Sara " Whatever Captain Rivero was going to say next was lost as her head whipped to the side at Sara's slap. She turned her head back and looked at the previously non-violent Sara in shock.
Sara's internal mental functions were on a feedback loop. Alive, dead. Alive, dead. Alive, dead, alive. Sara's heart soared as she realised the apparition wasn't a ghost. She's alive! Sara grabbed Catherine and kissed her like they only had seconds before the world was going to end. Lost in the world of kissing the Siren, reality eventually penetrated her mind and she pulled back to stare at Catherine with a flushed face.
Catherine let a melodic laugh escape her grinning lips, "So much for keeping this a secret."
Sara shook her head and smiled. She hit Catherine and kissed her again. They were both faintly aware of the cheers and whistles in the background, but neither cared.
Several hours later, after the dead had been thrown overboard and the deck scrubbed clean of all the blood, Sara sat down in the Captain's quarters with Catherine and Mr. Tenor. All the crew had rejoiced at the return of Captain Rivero and all pitched in to get the deck ready to sail back to Crete. There was little tail wind today so it was taking longer. Sara didn't mind. She had answers to get, and she was sure as hell going to get them.
She folded her arms, "Explain. Now."
Mr. Tenor and Catherine exchanged looks, but the Captain sat back and prepared to let the secret out at last.
"A few months before you arrived on the ship, Tarquin overhead Zatch telling some sailors in a tavern that his father had challenged me and lived. When Tarquin confronted him he boasted that my days were numbered. Tarquin informed me of the encounter and we discussed at length possible solutions."
"Why didn't you just kill him?"
Tarquin glared at nothing in particular.
"That was his first suggestion, but I had always lived by a code and it was important that I stuck to it. I sent word to a fellow Captain that I knew had squashed many a mutiny on his ship."
The Captain nodded, "Yes, and he had a few suggestions of his own." She glanced at Tarquin. "After that we had earnest discussions on how to best handle the situation that would expose all the threats. I knew Zatch wasn't the only one, and killing him would have left the others."
"Why didn't you tell me?" Sara had been burning to ask. It was the only answer that mattered.
Catherine looked away in shame. She sighed sadly. "I needed everyone to believe I was dead. I needed everyone's reaction to be genuine for Zatch and the others to believe it. I needed him to believe he'd won."
Sara glared at her angrily and Catherine knew why. "I didn't plan on you coming aboard, and I didn't plan on having feelings for you. I tried to prepare you for what I knew was going to happen."
"The fighting lessons."
"Yes." She nodded. "After the second meeting with Captain Thatcher the plan was set in stone. He would pick me up in Venice after my 'death' and would take me to a port where I knew Orion's Mantle would be."
Sara nodded to herself as the pieces took place, "Crete."
"Thatcher got me employment with a contact of his on Crete, and I made sure it was the only man to go to when Zatch came looking for help."
"Which you knew he would."
"He was a coward," Mr. Tenor said with venom. Sara had never seen the man display much emotion but his hatred for Patch was obvious now.
"He did exactly as we thought he would, which allowed me to expose all of his and Sam's allies and rightfully kill them."
"So, now the ship is safe?"
Tarquin stood, and after the Captain nodded at him he put a hand on Sara's shoulder. "Apart from the general plundering, it is as safe as it can be."
Sara gaped at his retreating back. Did he just make a joke? Sara frowned and turned back to Captain Rivero. They stared for a moment before Catherine stood and took the seat, which Mr. Tenor had just vacated, next to Sara.
"You were very brave," the pride was plain in her tone.
Sara shrugged. "I couldn't afford to be afraid. He was going to kill you." Sara felt a lump in her throat and tears threatened to fall.
"But he didn't." Catherine grasped her hands. "You killed him before he could."
Sara's eyes glazed over. She'd killed a man. I've killed a man. I have taken someone's life. She felt a hand on her cheek and she looked at Catherine who was now knelt in front of her. To save her.
"Can you ever forgive me?"
"You were doing what you thought was right, even if part of it was wrong." Sara looked serious. "Keeping secrets isn't always the answer."
The Siren kissed her palm seductively, "Is that a yes?"
Sara chuckled, "It's a maybe. You'll have to make it up to me first."
"Gladly," the Siren purred. Catherine pulled Sara to her feet and led her to the bed as she kissed her deeply. "I love you Sara, more than anything in this world. I would do anything to make you happy."
"Just be you," Sara smiled, "but without the secrets."
"I think I can manage that."
They proceeded to show each other how much they loved each other, to show the true depth of their devotion, which was deeper than the seven seas.
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