Warning: This work has been rated 16+.
Lee stepped off the ship's edge and let himself plummet into the water below. Many a sailor called him crazy at his semantics but while they all enjoyed their stinky selves, he would be refreshed and ready for another day. What they didn't understand was that the chances of a shark being right where he decided to jump was slim. Worse chances were being gambled every day and although a pirate, he wasn't one to leave himself in bad shape for long.
The water was cold and sting at his skin but he relished in the way it made him feel alive. It took any feelings of being cooped up on the ship, away. Water was a beautiful, yet deadly thing. In that way, it resembled most things of life.
He quickly dipped his head underneath the surface and ran his fingers through his hair, careful to close his eyes tightly. Salt water was a bitch when it got in his eyes and with the water subtly guiding the ship away, he didn't want to stick around long. There was no joy in the fear of being left behind. It'd happened a few times and by the time he got back to the ship, his muscles had been screaming in agony. He was in no hurry to repeat the experience.
After quickly wringing out a few articles of clothing, he grabbed hold of the rope that he had placed specifically at his reach from the water. His arms flexed as they pulled the whole of his weight from the grasp of the ocean and he began to climb. He could have used his legs to help but who didn't love the challenge of it without them?
As he came up to the top, he smiled vigorously at the men who stood to watch him as if he was mad in the head. He didn't care. Actually quite the oposite. He loved to see their astonished reactions at every new thing he would do. In his eyes, he didn't become Captain under the Headmaster as fast as he did without being a little crazy. It was in the job description if you read the fine print.
"Refreshed?" Timothy asked, mock barely lacing his words. To any other, it would sound like an innocent question but Lee knew the man well enough.
Lee grinned widely, almost child-like and said, "Of course," and taking a step closer to the brute of a man, he exclaimed while throwing himself back, "The Seven Seas know how badly who you could use some refreshing."
Timothy chuckled but didn't say anything. He found that surprising. The man nearly always had a comeback whether it made sense or not.
He took the towel out of Timothy's hand and dried his hair. The way it pulled this way and that told him it was finally growing out again. He had a run in with an angry woman a few weeks back and she'd cut all his hair when he was too drunk to notice. The witch. It's not like he'd accidentally started a fight in her tavern and destroyed the place. Ok, maybe he did deserve it.
After pulling on his boots, Lee pulled the clean, white shirt over his head and let it hang around his waist. The bottom instantly began dripping with the water still clinging to his pants. The material stuck to his chest and back even though the shirt was loose on him. He could have filled it if he flexed but with no woman around to impress, he didn't.
An instant pang of guilt stabbed his chest as she fluttered into his thoughts.
"You ok, Cap?" Timothy asked, his brows furrowed in confusion.
Lee swallowed, his throat dry, "Yeah, I'm fine."
Without another word, he left the deck and entered into the privacy of his quarters. He went to his bed - which he secured to the wall after being tossed out of it multiple times - and fell to his knees. His shoulders slumped as he reached underneath and pulled out the small portrait he kept tucked underneath the cheap mattress. The picture damn well took the breath out of his lungs as he gazed upon her curly blonde locks. The intense look in her eyes could be seen even through the rough picture. Those beautiful green eyes that seemed to burn through his soul. The very woman he had burned his soul for.
His Kristine. The very one he had chosen to leave behind. For so many reasons, he hardly understood it himself.
A lone tear slipped from his eye as he stared at her. It fell against the parchment, warping it slightly as many had done before. The smile tracing her lips was beautiful. The smile that he clearly remembered destroying as if it was yesterday. The light in her eyes had disappeared as he himself disappeared. Away from her for the rest of his days. Separated and yet left yearning for her.
Two and a half year since his lips had touched hers.
A knock at his door interrupted his thoughts and he physically shook himself, trying to rid himself of the self pity. Self pity was as deadly as poison.
He stood and straightened his shoulders, composing himself. The past was not the future and no matter what he thought about it, it would never change. What he did was done. No man or lord could change the resentment that had replaced her smile.
Mark stood by the door, his eyes slightly wide, "I'm sorry to disturb ya, sir."
When he offered no further comment, Lee impatiently looked at him, widening his eyes with expectation.
"Sorry sir but that young'un you brought from that ship is causing an awful lot'a racket. Permission to deal with him, sir?"
"No," Lee said coldly, "I'll deal with him."
Mark nodded his head once before moving away from the door. He could see the protest in the old man's eyes but he wisely didn't try to change what was said. Any man could see the danger in Lee's eyes and only a stupid one would interfere.
He pulled on his leather jacket which he picked up off of a dead noble and threw his belt around his waist. The leather was studded with metal and was slung across one hip while it dropped lower around the other side. Multiple daggers were assorted across it, each placed carefully as to not get in the way of his movement. One long, slender blade rested on his left hip, easily maneuverable to be drawn by either hand in an emergency.
He stepped out of the hidden past and into the present day. The sun was bright and he did everything in his power not to shield his eyes from it. He squinted and let his eyes adjust before making his way to the trapdoor to below decks. It was positioned in front of the main mast, closer to the center of the ship.
Lee stepped below deck and cursed as his damned eyes had to adjust again. He could hear a faint rattling and almost rolled his eyes visibly as the young man was banging his shoulder against the metal bars repeatedly. What he hoped to gain even if he managed to beat his way through three inch metal bars was beyond him. His spirit was a pleasant change compared to the men on board. Most were well on in age and the rest were already broken into the pirate life.
This one, however, was a challenge he looked forward to.
He looked up and met Lee's gaze head on. He watched as the man glanced down at his tattooed arm and immedietely spit at his feet. Interesting.
"You recognize this?" Lee asked, lifting his arm to reveal the whole of it. A key stretched down his forearm, the bow in the picture of a melting skull, the teeth pulled out by long strands of flesh, the shank resembling the bone beneath it before pulling into a normal keyhead. It's origin wasn't well known so the fact that this man recognized it was intriguing.
As he stayed silent, Lee directed the conversation elsewhere, waiting for a different opportunity, "What's your name, boy?"
Calling him boy had the desired effect as his little feathers bristled, "Sam...and I'm no boy. Make no mistake, if you were man enough to release me, I would kill you."
"Spoken like a pirate," Lee chuckled, loving the hatred. It would be turned into fuel later on, "Tell me, Sam, a man like you, why are you on the bottom of the chain in the Greystead ranks?"
The silence answered him perfectly. He knew why but questions were the first step to make them question everything they've ever been taught. It was a long game of manipulation and games but in the end it paid off. Sam had much potential to climb the ranks here. All he had to was point him in the right direction.
Lee left it at that and said, "I have no intention of killing you as you think. I'm a pirate, not a member of Greystead," then turning to Timothy, he ordered, "Release him."
He could feel the hesitation in Timothy's movement but he obeyed nonetheless. The door swung open with a creaking announcement and, much to Lee's surprise, Sam stayed where he was. He expected him to lunge at him and try kill him. He felt his hope for him vanish as disappointment filled its spot. Maybe this boy wasn't all he was hoping for.
He turned nonetheless, and started to walk away. He didn't turn to look back but he could hear Sam clamber out of the cell and follow him. So easily broken he was. So disappointing. Lee contemplated just killing him but decided to wait. If he was easily swayed, he would be a good help around the ship. An extra hand was always needed around with a crew almost as ancient as the system.
Lee climbed the steep steps and was careful not to let the door swing back down on Sam and Timothy. When both men were clear of the door, it shut with a solid force. He winced inwardly, thinking of all the times it'd done that on his men. It had cracked a newcomer's neck once. Not the most welcoming thing, he'd admit.
He watched as Sam studied his surroundings. The dark blue sails that occupied the tall, sturdy masts. The ropes. The men. The ocean around them. Everything.
In a moment's notice, Sam leaped for the closest man, Darwin, who happened to be too old to have the quickest of reflexes. He watched as the man twisted his whole body to flip over Darwin's head and land behind him. Somewhere in the extravagant movement, he'd gotten hold of the old man's dagger which was currently held against his throat. He noticed it wasn't pressing to draw blood but rather a warning.
Lee caught his eyes and smiled. Like he thought, no blood rage could be found. No cold blooded murderer stood before him. More like a bluff really.
He took a step forward, testing Sam's will. A look of warning flashed across his eyes and yet his dagger did not press harder. Another step. This time, his fists became white as he grasped Darwin harder. The best part was Darwin was barely a necessity. His demise did nothing to hurt Lee. A perfect test subject to test the young man that held him.
"What do you plan to do?" Lee asked, making disdain prominent in his voice, "There's a hundred of us and one of you. You kill ol' Darwin here and you're signing your own life away so let him go and you'll be treated as an equal. I don't see much of a choice but I still give you the choice. What will it be?"
The situation was more than ideal to get a grasp on his character. Was he truly a wuss? Or would he attempt to take hold of the situation.
Lee could see him obviously thinking of his options. He looked this way and that, looking for an escape. He looked like a little rat in a maze and at that moment, he almost pitied him. Almost. He was too caught up in what he would try to let the pity last long.
In one fluid motion, Sam released Darwin and somehow made it to the rails of the ship. He turned to look at Lee for just a moment, a small smirk on his face before he disappeared over the edge. Lee cursed and ran to edge, ripping off anything on him that wasn't a necessity. He heard Timothy call out at him to stop but before he could do anything about it, he followed Sam over. They weren't far enough from land for him to die at sea and there was no way this little bastard was going to get away that easy.
Lee felt a wave of de ja vu as the water once again stung at his body. He would have kicked off the ship to give him a launch forward but even in the short minute, it was already out of his reach. He didn't worry about that. He knew Timothy would turn them around and come get him. What he focused on was a steadily smaller shape, swimming viciously away from him.
He took a deep breath and dove, knowing he was faster when completely under water. It felt like just a moment but when he resurfaced for a breath of air, he saw that he had ade a considerable gain. Sam was slowing already. He was small but made very thickly. Much contrast to his own long legs that helped propel him faster.
Another moment passed before Sam was in his arm's reach. He grabbed his leg and before he could use his other leg to keep him at bay, Lee launched used it to launch him onto the man's back. It was surprisingly easy to stay on his back as he clawed and thrashed underneath him, deperately trying to resurface and gain the upper hand. He was in no mood to give this boy a chance and he grinned as his motions slowed and eventually stopped.
He pulled him above the water's grasp and stayed where he was. Swimming to the ship would be a pointless attempt when he could wait for it where he was. No use in making himself look foolish as he would be dragging a dead-weight body along with him. He worried for a moment that he'd held him under too long but realized that if he had, he'd lost something he had never gained to begin with. A win-lose situation, really.
Sure enough, the ship was turned around and headed back for him. Timothy smartly quit rowing a far ways away and lowered a rowboat. Mark and another crew member were stationed in it and they helped Lee push Sam into it before bringing him on as well. He watched the wheels turn at the top as the men still aboard pulled the roped to bring them up. It was a slow process but when finally at the top, Lee ignored Sam's still limp body and ordered for it to be brought down to the cell he'd previously occupied.
He also ignored the daggers in Timothy's eyes and went to his quarters, suddenly feeling tired. The adrenline had left his body and again, he experienced the aches that a quick swim always left him with. He laid down on the mattress and sooner than he expected, darkness overtook his world.