Lian Greylight was restless. In truth, this wasn’t unusual, but his room was empty and the ship was quiet, both things that set his mind at unease. After completing his journal entry (something he’d taken up quite recently), he decided for a walk. It wasn’t unusual for him to check on the runnings of the ship – even when he was overburdened with several jobs, he tried to make time to keep track of his crew. A bit to his dismay, everything was running smoothly, and the night was uneventful and quiet. With too many thoughts swirling about in his brain, he wanted a drink, but decided on a replacement – a nice, strong cup of tea. Sam had long since cleaned up from dinner and gone to bed, leaving the galley empty, but Lian was more than capable of boiling water.
After a few minutes, while the tea still brews in the pot, there’s a slight rapping at the door. Who is it? It’s a dark figure. It’s a tall figure. It’s a handsome figure. It’s everyone’s favorite human deckhand, Fart MacArthur! And wouldn’t you know it, this boy looks tired, with his beard a bit unkempt, but a grin is on his face and he has two empty cups in his hands. Lian’s cups? You bet.
He raises the two cups to bring attention to them and says, with his voice full of gravel and a mouth filled with teeth “Hey Lian. I hope you’re brewing enough of that for two.”
Lian’s attention is drawn to the presence of another less quickly than it ought to have been, but still just prior to his friend speaking up. Turning on his heel and tucking a knick-knack he had been fiddling with back into his pocket, he offers a half-smile, not quite reaching its usual lengths. He looks a bit tired, but chuckles nonetheless.
“Fart. You sure have a way of turning up,” he comments, pushing himself up from where he was leaning on a counter.
“I’ve made plenty, if you’re really in the mood for herbal tea.”
Fart places the two cups down nearer to where Lian is standing. He grins and says “My parents always said I had a knack for disappearing.” He pauses a half second for excellent comedic timing. “Or maybe it was a knack for disappointing. Who can say, eh?” Then, vaguely gesturing towards the two cups, he says “I’ll be a good mate and have whatever you’re having. Herbal tea is fine if it will calm down your fidgeting. I can get something stiff when we hit port tomorrow.” Then, he looks into one of the cups, gives a mocking grimace and says “It looks like we might need to wash these out first, though. They appear to still have whatever you had a few days ago still in it. Unlike you. Others may not see it so clearly, but you’ve got your own stuff brewing inside you, and you look like you need your drinking bud more than ever. Even if it is only tea.”
“Yeah well, you’ve sure got plenty to say,” Lian grouses, though it’s neither biting nor does it hold much weight. He shakes his head, holding out his hand.
“Give them here. I ought to start remembering to bring them back,” he avoids the topic, if only for an extra few moments while he rinses the cups.
“I’m trying to be… responsible,” he finally speaks, setting aside one of the clean mugs. “Do hope it doesn’t make me boring. Don’t want to wake up feeling rough tomorrow morning… too much to do.”
Fart picks up the clean mug and looks with one eye into it before placing it back down carefully in a precise spot in front of him. “I suppose that you don’t want to be caught hammered and unawares if you’re talking to dragons and chasing after the Foul Wind.” He picks with great tenacity at something caught in between his lower teeth. Fart doesn’t get it, but still tries to lick it away for a second before saying “You want to talk about any of this shit? I know I sure would…if I ever allowed myself to be in your position, that is.” He ends that sentence with a Shit Eating Grin.
“Yeah, well some of us run from responsibilty just to have it bite us in the arse, Fart,” Lian replies, but he can’t help smirking a little despite himself.
He sets the other cup aside, glancing over to the kettle.
“Honestly, it’s less that I don’t want to talk and more that I don’t know where to start,” he admits, crossing his arms as he feels the urge to start fidgeting again. Fart’s more observant than people give him credit for. Handsome, too. Dangerous combination.
“Hey, I know your deep dark secret already, right?”
Fart scratches his scruff under his chin for maybe a second too long. With a sigh that he carries into his talking, Fart says “Well, sure. You know where I come from and you know my full name. But those aren’t that deep, and I don’t think I’ve told you my /darkest/ secret. Some things are best left there.”
Fart tilts his head a bit and looks at Lian. Going back to whatever is in his teeth, he says, a bit muffled, but a bit louder to make up for it “Don’t try and turn this my way, eh? Just start somewhere, Lian. Either start at the beginning or start at the biggest problem. I’ll get the picture one way or the other, I’m sure.”
Lian huffs a somewhat exaggerated sigh, always just edging on the side of vaguely dramatic. He leans back against the counter on the wave of his exhale.
“Don’t know which one’s the biggest. Think Francis is hiding something from me. I let myself get distracted when I tried to talk to him about it. Don’t know how to get back to it. Don’t think he wants to talk,” he begins, going with this first thing that comes to mind, before glancing back to the kettle again. Damned equipment was slow. He wondered if Sam was happy with it. Maybe there was some way to improve it… ah, but he was letting himself get distracted. Again.
Fart finally picks and pulls out a long strand of something green and looks at it wildly for a second before flinging it to the ground. He composes himself and glances casually to Lian. “That’s an easy one. You find him and talk to him. He’s easy. Tell him you’re concerned. Tell him he’s your first mate, but also your best friend. If he wants this ship to run better, as he is the First Mate, he’ll know he has to tell you, because he knows you can’t have a captain with too many distractions. Maybe you’ll both feel bad for a bit, but it’s better to finish parting that veil, friend.” Fart starts twisting his pinky inside his ear with a quick vigor and a squeak that either emanates from his ear or from his throat. “You’re a captain. Your job is to talk to people and know things. What else you have troubling your mind?” With a wink, and the pinky removed from his ear, he says “I thought you said you had big problems.”
Lian blinks blankly at him, before laughing aloud. “Tell me something, how do you have such simple solutions for everything? And how do you manage to charm anyone like this? It’s because you’re gorgeous,” he scoffs jokingly, not really expecting an answer, especially as the kettle goes off. Taking it off the heat, he breaks a bit of the tea brick into both mugs, pouring water into each.
“Hopefully you don’t feel like answering my rhetorical questions, because I have the sudden and inexplicable urge to hear myself speak,” he jokes in his usual self deprecating manner, sliding a hot mug over to Fart.
“Lucy Fairweather. She’s supposed to be dead, isn’t dead, has got who knows what on her side, and I’m sailing a whole boat of people – two children included – right to her. Because a dragon asked me to?”
Fart grabs the mug and blows some air into it in and attempt to cool it down. He smirks and says “You’re not doing it for the dragon. You know that. You’re doing it because you think it’s the right thing to do, Lian.” He concentrates on the mug and blows a bit harder into the tea. “The reason that you think you’re just doing it for the dragon is the same reason that anyone tries to get my attention when I’m out on the town. You think you want to impress the dragon, just like they think they want to impress me. But really, they just want to feel good themselves. They’d still feel good if they took somebody else out of the bar, just like you’d still know you had to do this if somebody else asked you to go after Lucy Fairweather. It’s just giving you the push.” He’ll blow once more, quickly. “The children are a tough call.”
Fart takes a sip and quickly reacts because it’s still too hot, and starts swearing in different languages under his breath.
He’ll look up, smirk roguishly with his lots of teeth and say “If it helps your thinking any, you could go after Lucy to impress me, instead. After all, I think you’re at your best when you’re flashing your bravery.”
Lian lets out a huff of air like a laugh and grins, a little more careful as he sips his own tea. He’s careful where he puts his hands, not wanting to burn himself, but knowing that the warmth from the cup would keep him present, focused. He considers both the jovial and less parts of his response before making it.
“Imagine you’ve got enough people trying to impress you. Wouldn’t want you to bear the awful burden,” he teases, his posture relaxing at least a little.
“You’re right. It’s the right thing to do, and the children are a tough call. Though neither of them are really my call to make, are they? I may be Captain, but I am neither Cornelius nor Audrey’s guardian. Not really,” he trails that subject off, trying to circle back around to something less troublesome. Unsuccessfully.
“But… Bravery’s about all I’ve got, sometimes. So, thanks. Too bad you’re not my type, MacArthur.”
Fart chuckles and winks with a dishonesty apparent to even the most unobservant. “You know that’s not what I meant, Lian. And we both know it’s good I’m not your type. I just want you to shift how you’re looking at everything. You’re packing it all up into a pile right now. You’re getting put off by a daunting amount of tasks. You need to focus on what you can control, and then let everyone else handle their own shit. You know this crew. We have some new faces, sure, but the old ones are still there. You know we can help protect those kids when shit goes down. Just like that dustup at the Old Wreck, we’ll protect them as if they were crew. None of us want to see them get hurt.”
Fart will swirl the mug around a bit and eye it warily before popping out a pinky finger taking a gulp from the tea. He’ll make that face where someone has clearly tried swallowing too much and it kind of hurts to force it all down, but he does. After he does this, he holds up a finger to give him a moment to recover. He pulls a mildly disgusted face and says “All this tea is doing is giving me a hard time. How is this relaxing for you?”
But then he recovers almost too quickly, as if there was no problem at all, takes a normal drink, and points the finger of the hand holding the cup at Lian. “I’d say the best thing you can do about those kids is trust that anyone that wants to get to them will have to get past that Uncle. The one with the cheekbones? He’s got a sour look to him sometimes. It makes me wonder if he could melt someone with a glare…or at least make someone’s heart skip a beat.” After delivering that last line, he takes a big drink, but anyone can fucking tell even through the mug that he is grinning, and even his eyes are smiling.
Lian almost chokes on the sip of tea he was trying to take, but manages composure at the last minute, spluttering just slightly. He’s a little tempted to give up on tea and head straight to the hard stuff, but he doesn’t. His stubbornness has its positives. Forgoing commenting on the earlier grousing about the tea, his focus is steered directly to yet another issue at hand – one Fart is poking unapologetically at from behind his mug. Besides, he isn’t sure why tea calms him down. Perhaps because something told him it would, or because he and his mum used to sit with a cup of tea and watch the ocean. Maybe it’s just because the herbal stuff hasn’t got any properties in it to make him jittery.He sighs in exasperation.
“You’re not subtle,” he complains, but the corner of his mouth twitches upward despite himself. He thinks for a moment, his worried expression a little bit.. hopeful. Then, he seems to remember something, and his shoulders droop a little bit.
“Francis implied that most of the crew’s gotten an impression, you know. About me and Athven,” he lets it trail off there, to see if Fart would say anything just as much to decide what he himself would say.
Fart places his mug back down carefully and drops his smile gradually. “The crew’s got many eyes and many brains that can see and figure things out. And they have mouths to gossip with, too. It’s been a while since you’ve gotten someone new to care about on the ship. They’re curious. And they’re curious of the company you’re keeping, is all. Some sailors believe that a captain shouldn’t think of personal affairs, but I think it’s best to keep you happy.” Fart will give a large yawn, and his teeth reflect like pearls as he goes for another large drink.
“The only time an impression should matter for you is if it’s the wrong impression. If they’re all mistaken, and I am, and Francis is, then I’ll tell them. Otherwise, I don’t think it matters too much. We’ve had stranger pairings below decks and under the sailcloth before.” He takes another rude big gulp of tea, but with no apparent problem this time. “They just don’t want a bad influence over you, is all.”
Lian’s expression is suddenly conflicted, and he doesn’t meet Fart’s eyes any longer, staring down into his tea. He suddenly feels smaller – no, younger. About seventeen, probably.
“Didn’t mean to concern myself with personal affairs, but I never was any good with keeping things professional,” he admits. He had always been the type to care about his crew and their lives, not remaining as carefully detached as many Captains. In some cases, it was a source of distraction. In others, the way that the crew worked like a family came in handy- they were oft in sync. Not the way many captains chose to command their ship, but Lian was no normal captain. The Moral Pirate , indeed.
“You know what I like about being a captain? A pirate?” He begins, toeing around the issue uncertainly. “Very few potential wives.”
Lian’s smile doesn’t reach its normal spot on his face.
“I don’t think there’s… I spoke to him, actually. Told him that people were getting ideas… because of my protecting Audrielle, because of our rows. He… said he hadn’t meant to overstep boundaries. Said I was his Captain,” he tries his best not to groan, dragging his hand over his face.
“I don’t know what I was thinking, Fart. And I mean that. I have no idea what was going through my head. I think I’m… drawn to him, but… I don’t have the right, do I? He sees me as his captain. That puts me in a position I should be careful not to… misuse.”
Fart sighs and motions to draw Lian’s gaze towards him. “I don’t think any true romantic notion could come from your position as Captain of this ship, but I do think you’ve gone and stepped in it, Lian. I know I’m not the one you’d typically want to ask about courtship, but I’ve kept an eye out during my time. Don’t overcorrect your ship on this. Pay attention to what the wind and waves are doing on the horizon, and not just where the flag blows right now.” Fart holds meaningful eye contact for a few seconds, gauging where Lian is at before breaking it to burp.
Lian sighs and shakes his head, sipping his tea as he thinks about what Fart said. Surprisingly wise. Fart was always an enigma.
“Yeah… worrying about it does little good, doesn’t it?” He admits. “Plenty of other fish to fry, like whatever we’re heading to up in Brickport. I just want to do right by everyone,” finishing his tea, he sets the mug in the wash basin. Leaning back against the counter there, he sighs again, though his expression is lightening up.
“His cheekbones are ridiculously high, aren’t they? Any way — thanks for listening, Fart.”
Fart gets up and finishes his tea as well. “You’ll do right by us, Lian. That’s never the problem. You’ve got all of our trust. If you can keep that, then we’re all dandy. I’d imagine even Athven’s cheekbones appreciate being trusted.” As he places his cup next to Lian’s, he’ll say “And please talk to Francis soon. It will let your mind rest easy.” After clapping a hand on Lian’s shoulder, Fart will start making his way towards the door. “Well, I guess I’m gonna go and make a quick offering to the sea. Thanks for the leaf water, Lian. Maybe you should try drinking that more often. You’re not even fidgeting right now.” Then, with a soft smile and a wave he will duck out of the galley.