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Seas Of Erin > Cecilia > With friends like these...
Posted by: Alex Hartley May 10 2008, 03:16 AM
((open thread, hoooooooo!))
Alex Hartley was not in a good mood. Sleepy bags lined his eyes and his hair was tousled messily, as though he’d just rolled out of bed. He hunkered down by the railing, scrubbing at his shirt with a tiny chunk of gray soap. Wearing only his trousers, he was a great deal more impressive than his brother—he had a blacksmith’s arms and back, well muscled and dusted with freckles.
Posted by: Alannis Brey May 10 2008, 03:23 AM
"We friends today?" Alannis asked, coming up to lean against the railing next to Alex. She looked shaky and pale and her braid was uncharacteristically messy, as if she'd had trouble brushing and plaiting it that morning.
Posted by: Alex Hartley May 10 2008, 03:30 AM
"I guess that depends on how many people you ran your big mouth at in the last twenty-four hours," Alex snapped, looking less than pleased to see her. He gave one of the numerous, splattery red stains on his shirt a vicious stab with the soap.
Posted by: Alannis Brey May 10 2008, 03:39 AM
"Just one, and it was your brother." Alannis bit down on her lower lip. "Which may have been a mistake." She looked at his shirt worriedly, "Did he tell you I told him you told me and get mad?" She squeaked.
Posted by: Alex Hartley May 10 2008, 03:49 AM
"Might?" Alex asked, looking harried. "For crying out loud - are you really that simple, or is this some kind of cunning act? Did you even begin to think about what you--" in his haste, the soap slipped from his hand and he growled, tossing his wet shirt to the deck and rubbing at one temple, trying to calm himself. "Yes, Alannis. He's mad."
Posted by: Alannis Brey May 10 2008, 03:58 AM
"I never would have said anything if I'd thought he'd be angry." Alannis said quietly, looking on the verge of tears. Biting down hard on her lower lip and trying to will her emotions away, she picked up his shirt and the bar of soap. "I might be able to get this out. It won't work the way you were doing it. And if I can't, I'll make you a new shirt."
Posted by: Alex Hartley May 10 2008, 04:04 AM
Alex frowned and waved away the offer. He glanced at her face and then looked away, disliking the stab of guilt her expression sent spiking through his gut.
"I don't want another shirt. I want Giles to not think I'm a simpleton child who can't hold his tongue. Thanks to you, my brother thinks I'm foolish. He can't even read or speak properly or sign his own name, and he thinks I'm the dumb one! He told me to keep it a secret in the first place, why would you ever...!"
Posted by: Alannis Brey May 10 2008, 04:11 AM
"Because it was him. I just wanted him to know I was on his side if things got rough. I wanted to be helpful. I never would have wanted you to get hurt. I don't want anyone I like to get hurt." She said, scrubbing at the shirt so she didn't have to look at him being angry at her. "I'm just so sorry. And I know saying that doesn't help, but it's true!"
Posted by: Alex Hartley May 10 2008, 04:19 AM
"I told you we neither need nor want your help," Alex snapped, again. "Over and over again, and yet you’re still ignoring me! You’re a total stranger, and just a kid.... why would we ever want you stuck in the middle of this? Do you even—you’re not a laundress, for God's sake, quit washing my things," he grabbed at the shirt, trying to pull it from her hands.
Posted by: Alannis Brey May 10 2008, 04:30 AM
She released his shirt, backing away from him quickly enough that she had to grab the railing to keep from toppling backwards. "I'm sorry." She said quietly. "I never know the right things to do, so I make so many mistakes."
Posted by: Alex Hartley May 10 2008, 04:46 AM
Alex pursed his lips, trying to stir up another sharp reply, but found himself unable to. "Just stay out of my business, alright? And don't go telling anyone else. I don't care if the demon-bitch herself marches onto this boat, I don't want to hear about it from you."
Then, sighing, he spread the shirt out. It took far too much effort to stay angry for extended periods of time. "Everyone makes mistakes. So long as you learn from them, they're not without value. And .... please excuse my language? I'm more mad at myself than at you. Myself, and Giles." He did not look back up at her.
Posted by: Alannis Brey May 10 2008, 04:55 AM
"Don't be mad at yourself, you've got no reason to be. I was the one who pushed you to tell personal things, and I was the one who went and told your brother something I shouldn't have." Alannis said guiltily. "So if you're going to be angry at someone, be angry at me, not yourself."
"I can kick Giles really hard next time I see him if that would make you feel better." She was already planning on it. The thought that he'd told her not to go around kicking people and then he'd hurt his brother because of her made her feel like a hard kicking was just what he deserved.
Posted by: Alex Hartley May 10 2008, 05:01 AM
"Oh, because violence always solves problems," Alex rolled his eyes. "Thanks, but no thanks. That’ll just push things from bad to worse, and I’m sure I’d get blamed for it anyway, since I dragged you into all this." He gave the bloodstained shirt an unenthusiastic nudge with his toe. "He’s driving me crazy, Alannis. He acts like he’s my brother-father-mother-everything all wrapped up in one person. It’s so aggravating."
Posted by: Alannis Brey May 10 2008, 05:12 AM
"Fine, I won't kick him." Alannis said, pursing her lips. "But I'll be very angry with him. He acted nice to me, and then he went and hurt you after what I told him. He deserves to be talked sternly to, at least."
She was silent for a moment, then added quietly, "I think my mother tried to be like that, since I didn't have a father she thought she had to be like he would to me too. Maybe he's trying to be your mother and your father as well as your brother." She worried her lower lip, the ideals behind her mother's actions were something she didn't like to think about.
Posted by: Alex Hartley May 10 2008, 05:16 AM
"He didn’t hurt me," Alex said, shaking his head. "He just shouted a bit. If he was going to try and be anything to me, he shouldn’t have left Clara and me behind when we were kids. It’s like he thinks he can make up for ten years of neglect all at once."
His face flushed. "If you go and tell him that, I’ll kill you."
Posted by: Alannis Brey May 10 2008, 05:19 AM
"Then where'd the blood come from?" Alannis asked, furrowing her brow. "If you're lying about him hurting you you're doing a horrible job."
"And you won't kill anyone, you don't like violence, remember?" There was a hint of a smile with her words.
Posted by: Alex Hartley May 10 2008, 05:24 AM
Alex tried to swallow back a laugh, but failed. He shook his head, smiling slightly. "He dragged me out fishing this morning... it was so. Bloody. Boring. I think it was mostly to get a word in without anyone onboard overhearing us, but we ended up just arguing the whole time. Then he taught me how to clean the fish," the boy said distastefully, sniffing at his hands--despite the soap, the fishy smell would simply not disappear. "Disgusting."
Posted by: Alannis Brey May 10 2008, 05:32 AM
"I was so worried about you!" Alannis said, reddening at the admission. "I think fishing sounds exciting. He said he'd take me too some time. I'll make sure to wear a shirt I don't care about." She added, looking down at his shirt. "I don't mind trying to clean it, if you'd let me."
Posted by: Alex Hartley May 10 2008, 05:41 AM
The young man hesitated a moment, torn between letting her and the desire to take the rest of his anger out on the hapless article of clothing. "I don't think Giles is actually capable of hurting anyone," he muttered, begrudgingly passing back the shirt. It was obviously old, and the hem on the sleeves had been entirely let out. "He's more apt to fall on his own knife, all things considered. It's really not. You do lots of sitting, and staring at the water, and sitting more, and then he catches a three course meal and makes you throw all yours back for being too small."
Posted by: Alannis Brey May 10 2008, 05:50 AM
Alannis took the shirt, scrutinizing it for a moment before starting to scrub vigorously at one of the stains. "I think I'll give it a try before I decide if I like it or not." She decided.
She stopped scrubbing for a moment, thinking, before deciding that she was allowed to tell this story. "He's hurt someone before, only it wasn't really him, I don't understand it that well, but I think he had something inside him that was making him do it. Do you know about that?" She asked.
Posted by: Alex Hartley May 10 2008, 05:55 AM
Alex's eyes slipped from watching her hands to watching her face "What? What do you mean, something inside him? Who did he hurt?"
Posted by: Alannis Brey May 10 2008, 06:04 AM
"I guess he was possessed. It wasn't really him doing it. He hurt..." Alannis found herself turning red as she thought of Key, and his lips, and his hands... She pulled herself back to the present. "A shipmate, his name's Key."
Posted by: Alex Hartley May 10 2008, 06:11 AM
Alex's brows inched upwards at her reaction, but he was too polite to pry. "Key? I think someone warned me about him," he said, thoughtfully. "Posessed? Why? How? By whom?"
Surely not Darai, she didn't seem the sort of creature to posess, she wasn't that subtle. Though now that he thought about it, he felt as though Aeron had mentioned something similar...
Posted by: Alannis Brey May 10 2008, 06:16 AM
Alannis noticed his reaction and went redder, embarrassed that he'd noticed. She turned away, propping her elbows up against the railing and her head in her hands, trying to cover her burning cheeks. "I think everyone gets warned about him, but he's nice, in a way." She said, trying to sound normal, at least, "And I don't know what happened. I think asking anyone else on the ship would be better than asking me, I barely know anything about this possession stuff, much less how it works or who does it."
Posted by: Alex Hartley May 10 2008, 06:23 AM
"I’ll ask someone, don’t you mind," Alex told her. He was fairly certain that he’d heard a bit about this from Elaine, before the scrawny, blond-haired fellow had interrupted them in the Inn. "So—hey, wait! This Key guy, he’s the one with the funny ears! You’re sweet on him?! Is there anyone on this boat who has a normal love life?"
Posted by: Alannis Brey May 10 2008, 06:27 AM
"His ears are nice!" She squeaked defensively, "And since I'm not allowed to have a love life on this ship I certainly don't have one at all, normal or otherwise!"
Posted by: Alex Hartley May 10 2008, 06:29 AM
"Oh my god, you people are so weird," Alex moaned, burying his face in his hands for a moment. "People bursting into song and turning into one another and getting posessed and changing genders and sprouting ears and God, I hope it's not contagious!"
Posted by: Alannis Brey May 10 2008, 06:33 AM
"I'm not weird!" Alannis said, voice more or less returning to normal as the focus went off of her love life. "I don't know about any of those things, except for the ears, and I haven't got any of those!"
Posted by: Alex Hartley May 10 2008, 06:58 AM
"So, you're a bit more normal than the rest," Alex admitted grudgingly, "And I thank god for that. At least you like the appropriate gender," he muttered, casting his eyes skyward as though only divine aid would ease him through the coming weeks.
Posted by: Alannis Brey May 10 2008, 07:04 AM
Alannis made a little squeaking noise, glad her hands were still clapped over her cheeks, because she was sure she had just gotten redder. She wondered briefly how deeply it was possibly to blush. "Yes, that's good." She agreed weakly.
Posted by: Alex Hartley May 10 2008, 07:09 AM
Alex chuckled and shook his head. "I won't tell anyone you like Key, don't worry," he told her, cheerfully. "And I keep my promises! How are those stains coming?"
Posted by: Alannis Brey May 10 2008, 07:16 AM
"Oh, you're probably the only one on the ship who doesn't know he and I were caught kissing, I don't know how you managed to miss it." Alannis said, sighing. "The Captain was very, um, vocal about it being against the rules"
In her eagerness to hide her embarrassment she had dropped his shirt and the soap, and now she picked them back up and returned to scrubbing the stain she'd been working on before, now embarrassed for a new reason. "You do have other shirts, right?" She asked with a frown.
Posted by: Alex Hartley May 10 2008, 07:22 AM
Alex laughed at that. "Was she? She's so tiny. I can't imagine her loudest voice is very loud at all."
Then his brow furrowed slightly. "Ah.... no? I sort of.... well, we left quickly. I didn't bring much of anything with me." Just the clothes on his back and a lot of demonic baggage...
Posted by: Alannis Brey May 10 2008, 07:29 AM
"It wasn't funny, she's scary!" Alannis shivered.
"I can make you a new one from several of mine when I've got the free time. I've got more than enough, and I can take apart a couple of the first shirts I made, I've got two in the same cloth, and make one for you out of that. Until then you'll have to deal with blood and fishy stink, I don't think this is coming out. And no telling me you'll not let me make you a shirt, I'll consider it my own punishment for opening my mouth when I shouldn't have, and maybe next time I'll think twice." She smiled at him.
Posted by: Alex Hartley May 10 2008, 07:42 AM
Alex sighed, and waved her off. "Alright, I'll let you--though don't think this squares us, I'm still mad. I'm certainly not putting that back on, though it's filthy. I'll see if Giles will let me borrow one of his--he got me stuck in this mess anyway. How fast can you sew?"
He stood, dusting his hands off on his trousers.
Posted by: Alannis Brey May 10 2008, 07:50 AM
"Pretty fast, especially if I just have to take seams apart and stitch things back together." She gave his upper body an appraising look, "I'm not going to take your measurements, so it might be a little big... but I think I can make something for you within a day or two if Mister Willington keeps ignoring me." She decided.
Posted by: Alex Hartley May 10 2008, 09:25 AM
Alex looked suitably impressed by this declaration. "Why is Mister Willington ignoring you? And--" he caught himself, and gave her a sheepish look. "Actually, who is Mister Willington?"
Posted by: Alannis Brey May 10 2008, 06:51 PM
"He's the main tailor, I'm just his assistant." Alannis replied. "I haven't talked to him since yesterday morning, he got really mad at me for things like, uh, yelling at his Captain and getting Key almost kicked off the ship." She muttered the last part, clearly embarrassed by her outburst the previous morning.
Posted by: Alex Hartley May 10 2008, 10:07 PM
"I can see why that would upset him," Alex admitted, taken slightly aback. Truth be told, he wasn't certain how to deal with women like the women on this ship--back home the girls were much less likely to speak their mind or go about hitting people they disagreed with. Granted, it was a nice change in some ways, but things were so much simpler when everyone was polite...
"I think I'm going to get some breakfast, and maybe try to find a bath," he told Alannis, as nicely as he could. "I can't stand the idea of smelling like fish for the rest of this journey."
Posted by: Alannis Brey May 10 2008, 11:16 PM
"Good luck." Alannis said sincerely. "I hope you do take a good bath, I don't want to spend a journey with a friend who smells like fish." She smiled at him.
As she watched him go her mind was already working on how to piece together two shirts without them looking like they'd been patched together in a hurry.
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