I need a drink.
It wasn’t until after dinner that he was able to get that drink. He kept himself busy for the rest of the day, all the way up to when he brought dinner back to his cabin with Kurt. When he got back, Kurt was sitting in his borrowed hammock, tracing the tattoos on his bicep. He jumped a bit when Zisteau swung the door open.
“Thanks,” he said, standing up to get his plate, “Tomorrow… I think I’ll be ready to join you guys tomorrow in the mess hall.”
Zisteau only nodded. He couldn’t help the small pang in his chest at the idea of these nights with just the two of them coming to an end.
But it was just because Kurt wasn’t ready to meet everyone. That’s the only reason.
As Kurt took a bit from his dinner, Zisteau got another look at the tattoos, mainly the runes. They were of no language he recognized. There were no curves in the characters, only intricate patterns of straight lines. And if Zisteau turned his head just so, the characters didn’t look black, but a deep purple. He was only more intrigued.
He put his half-finished dinner on the table, “What do the words on your arm mean?”
Kurt looked up from his dinner, obviously surprised at the question. He also set down his plate and looked at his arm. “Which words are you talking about; the ones on my wrist or around the sun?”
He had almost forgotten about the ones circling Kurt’s wrist. “Both actually.”
Kurt’s lips quirked up as he continued to look at his arm. “I grew up on the street with my friend, Brian. We couldn’t find work, so we stole from the market.”
He huffed out a laugh, “But then, when we saw the other street kids and saw that they were in worse condition than us, we would give it to them. It became a thing, us stealing and giving most of it to others. And, um, Brian used to always whisper, ‘For the children!’ before we went out to steal.
“And when the two of us finally got jobs and enough to pay a guy to get tattoos, we thought it was appropriate.”
Well that was, damn, fucking noble. It wasn’t required for all pirates to have had a tough time on land, but Zisteau had never heard of a story like that before. His mind immediately compared Kurt to Robin Hood and… well, the resemblance was uncanny. A good shot, giver of the needy, was there even a bad side to Kurt?
Of course there is, but it can’t be as worse as yours…
Zisteau didn’t even notice he hadn’t said anything to Kurt after he had finished his story. He shook himself out of his thoughts and said, “Wow that’s… wow.”
Kurt laughed. It wasn’t a huff of a laugh, nor was it a belly laugh, but it was a laugh all the same and Zisteau felt a swell of pride for making Kurt laugh again.
“I… wow. And I thought I was articulate,” Kurt smiled, “So, um, do you want to hear about the other tattoo?”
“Well,” Kurt ducked his head, looking at the designs on his arm, “I never planned on getting them. They, um… weren’t a part of the original tattoo. I joined Bd- The Emerald with the full sleeve without the runes. Then, like three years after I joined, Bdub- Captain BdoubleO decided that, for whatever reason, we needed Calypso’s advice. Th-”
“Wait, the actual goddess Calypso?” Zisteau interrupted.
“I- yeah. We were preeetty desperate at the time and willing to do anything. Anyway, then we, um, we set sail for the island she was supposed to be at and, sure enough, in the middle of a bog in a rickety old hut, there she was.
“So BdoubleO got whatever he needed, and we were about to leave, when she grabbed my arm and said she needed me for a moment and the captain let her. Everyone left the hut, except me, and she more or less dragged me into a seat. She said that she could feel that my life was about to change and she asked if I wanted some help. So of course I said yes, I wasn’t going to deny Calypso anything!
“Then she got out this feather-like-thing and traced it around my tattoo, saying something in a weird language. Then my skin kinda started to tingle where she was tracing and…then the runes appeared!”
“So she just said something and the runes appeared?”
Kurt nodded, “Yeah, but it hurt, like a white hot iron on my skin.” Zisteau tried not to tense up. “But yeah, that’s how I got them.”
The memory of the crew’s talk popped into his head. “Did she enchant your compass?”
Kurt looked at Zisteau with a thoughtful expression, “Did she... oh yeah! She did, but it’s not like it points to gold or anything. It just… here, look.”
Kurt held out his right hand and snapped his fingers, immediately flattening out his palm. A silver compass with a red arrow appeared seconds after the snap.
Zisteau could feel his jaw drop and Kurt flushed. “Yeah it’s, that’s all it can do. It’s just so I’ll never be without it.”
“That’s all it can do?” Zisteau repeated, “You’re kidding me right? That’s freaking awesome!”
Kurt brought the compass closer to his chest and started fiddling around with it. “You think so?”
“Of course I think so! It’s a compass that comes when you snap for it!” he yelled, making some large gesture with his hands that made Kurt grin like a loon.
The rest of the night passed by much more quietly. There was no more sharing of their pasts, but Zisteau was fine with it. I’m surprised I got all that out of him.
He was content with the next week. Being able to work by Kurt was definitely a new experience. He kept quiet, but every so often, he would pipe up with some witty line that would have the whole deck roaring. Needless to say, the crew dropped any fears they had of the ex-member of The Emerald… except for the captain. Guude still was wary of the navigator, but Zisteau expected that out of him. He was still fiercely protective of his crew and Zisteau couldn’t help his thoughts from wandering to whether Guude would back their newest member up in a fight.
He didn’t have to continue wondering about that for much longer, because a week after Kurt officially joined, His Majesty’s Royal Navy was spotted closing in on The Mindcrack.
~~~~~To Be Continued~~~~~
By the way, I was thinking, if you guys want, I can take requests for small ficlets set in this 'verse. Like, say, if you wanted a more detailed telling for what happened at Calypso's hut, I could write that out from Kurt's POV. I don't know, you guys tell me wat you think and leave your "prompts" (I guess that's what I'll call them) in the comments. :)
Chapter 5 PLUS Deleted Scene