The first time he sees him, he’s swimming in the ocean among long, carefully cut pieces of wood: wreckage. The boy is shivering when they pull him up, shaggy brown hair dripping saltwater into his soaked clothes. There’s no telling how long ago the wreckage happened. He asks whether he regrets the tragic end of his ship; Let it fucking sink, says the rescue with poison in his tone, and spits out into the ocean. He stands in shock as the rest of the crew takes the boy to the captain, sure that the waters just turned a bit more acidic.
The boy turns out to be a navigator, and it’s just cosmic poetry, because just three days ago their navigator drank too much rum and fell off the ship, and now he’s sleeping with the fish and breathing water for air.
God rest his soul.
Something about the new boy makes him wish he has better balance and alcohol tolerance than Old Albe (which is probably the case anyway given that he doesn’t have a wooden leg, and isn’t a lifelong alcoholic – unlike Old Albe).
He’s there when he looks up to the crow’s nest – and really, that name has never suited worse. It should be aptly renamed for the occasion; wolf’s mouth. After all, the clever amber of his eyes is much too similar to the canine intelligence from the packs of the north.
He thinks of the pointed teeth and faded silver scars on the navigator, and wonders if he’d get eaten were he to wait out in the night. He wonders if he’d like it.
A life of piracy is not an easy life. Just three days after the navigator is rescued, the waters begin to shake.
Long organic columns rise from the seas; ink incarnate; devil made solid. Only upon seeing such large forces of nature is one confronted with the smallness of their existence. As the columns rose higher, higher - higher even than the tallest mast and slithering about themselves, muscles moving coordinated to twist and grip snakelike - the pirates knew they were infinitesimal.
But so is an ant, fighting to stay alive when it rains; but so are the fish in the sea, swimming away from their nets; but, as scientists from the future will observe long after the pirates’ bones lay in the ever-gliding ocean floor, so are roaches who survive nuclear decay; decomposition. And isn’t that just the way of life.
The tentacles grip the vessel, amorously suffocating the fragile shape of it. Wood slabs whine as they are forced together by the crushing embrace, and it’s a pitiful sound. Frantic shouted orders are barely heard through the raucous groan of the ship. Still, the captain demands to be heard, and the blades and cannons rise to focus on only one of the columns. The pirates manage to slice one appendage right off. The creature makes a hissing sound - which, were it not for the liquid shield of adrenaline, would have burst all of their eardrums – and retreats immediately.
It stinks of rotten seafood. Someone faints, goes overboard.
Mostly, it’s just silent.
He finds the navigator that night, up in the crow’s nest. It can be their own realm, if just for a while. Their new universe’s topography is humble, and includes only the rails which encase the limited space in a wooden circle, their crossed legs, their shaking hands. Time is stolen; more precious than the gold they manage to loot, more precious than watching the navy’s ships sink, more precious than rum and songs of camaraderie.
A stolen kiss is worth all the time they’ve got, and more.
They die just two weeks after, when a storm floods the ship.
hi, i'm back (maybe, maybe, maybe not). title is self explanatory, and borrowed from a song by cosmo jarvis (go give it a listen). inspired by a fictional pairing, bonus points if you can guess who. also no i will never write about heterosexual couples because im gay and its my Gay Given Right.