The dinner bell rang. That was good news for you because you were getting tired of running around the deck. It was also good news for Jamison because he was getting tired of having his backside smacked with a wet towel. As if on queue all the men formed a stampede toward the galley below. You kept close to Ian to avoid becoming steam rolled. It seemed like dinner time was the big thing on this ship. Maybe because it meant that their work was over for the day. It was also the fact that thanks to you dinner was actually eatable. And pretty good tasting to if you do say so yourself. Thankfully Gibbons was good at remembering things after a few times so you found yourself helping him less and less with basic stuff. Which was also good for you because you really didn't have time to be helping him, plus all the regular jobs you already had on the ship plus the running around the Captain was having you still do. You wondered if maybe since he knew about your situation, your real situation, that maybe he would go a little easier on you.
'I wonder if I scared him for good.' you thought. 'Heh, yeah. That would be hilari-'
"So lass! Are ye hungry or what?" Ian said, gently smacking you on the back, breaking your thought process. You smiled and looked up at him.
"Yeah, that workout really got my appetite up." you said, referring to your little towel rampage you had not too long ago. Ian laughed hardily and lead the way to the galley, you following behind. The line was long. As usual. And of course Arthur got to go first. This stopped bothering you so much. But then when Francis winked at you, you started hating it again.
'Why does he have to be so annoying??? He doesn't even have to open his mouth and he's still annoying!' you thought, shooting a icy glare in Francis' direction. He simply chuckled and walked to the table where Arthur was sitting.
..why is he still on the ship?!? Wasn't he suppose to leave with the other two???' you thought puzzled. If Francis was still on the ship that meant you would have to stay in the same room as the Captain
AGAIN! It's not like you hated the guy. But you just thought it would be nice to have some privacy once and a while. Especially since what happened earlier that afternoon, things could get a little
.awkward shall we say? Oh well, if all else fails you could just push Francis over board and say it was an accident.
"It's not like anyone will miss him" you said aloud. Ian looked at you.
"What did ye say lass?" he asked. You looked up at him and shook your head.
"Oh nothing. Just thinking out loud." you said, smiling up at him.
It was nice seeing Ian and Gibbons talking to one another again. There wasn't anymore tension. No more silence between them, no more shoving bowls in peoples faces and then stomping off to a table in the back to glare at them whilst eating. None of that. In fact, Ian gave his uncle a big smile. Gibbons returned the smile while handing Ian his bowl back. You watched Ian return to his table. You could practically see the smile though his head. You chuckled and shook your own head, handing your bowl to Gibbons.
"So how be yer day today lass?" Gibbons asked, filling your bowl up. You smiled at him and nodded.
"It was good. I got some good exercise today." you said, slyly glancing at Jamison who was in the back on the line, almost avoiding you completely. He shrunk back a bit and blushed when the men around him snickered.
"Poor lad." Gibbons said, handing your bowl back "I'll bet he learns after today, aye?" he asked. You chuckled and started slowly walking away.
"We'll see." you said, glancing at Jamison again who was still red faced. And probably red in other areas too. You laughed again and made your way to the table. It was the usual. You, Ian, Hector and Peter. Eating and laughing. Peter was acting out a little skit, doing the Captain Morgan pose on the bench while squinting one eye and doing his best Pirate impression. It was not only cute but funny too. You squealed a bit at Peters adorableness. He seemed to be over the whole 'talk' shock by now. At least you hoped. You were starting to get use to being on this ship. That didn't mean that you enjoyed it. There were plenty of things you didn't like about it. It was damp, crowded, no privacy, no bathroom, no shower
.but whose complaining! Suddenly you felt a tap on your shoulder. You turned around and looked up to see Arthur standing there.
"Hi Captain. What can I do for ya?" you asked nonchalantly. He half smiled and leaned down into your ear.
"Meet me up on deck when everyone is asleep." he whispered before standing up and leaving the galley. You sat there a little confused and slightly worried. Why were you worried? You didn't know. But something wasn't sitting right. And no! It wasn't Gibbons cooking this time! You shook it off and decided not to worry. What was there to worry about? Its not like you were in trouble or anything! Or were you? No, you couldn't think of any reason why you would be in trouble.
"What was that all about Miss. (Name)?" Peter asked, still in his Captain Morgan pose. You smiled up at him and shook your head.
"Nothing Pete. Don't worry about it." You said. You turned back in your seat to see Ian with a stupid grin on his face. You glared a bit at him. Already knowing what he was thinking.
"Oh shut up Ian." you said, going back to eating. Ian just laughed and went back to eating as well. You kept thinking about why Arthur wanted you to meet him when everyone else was asleep. Some ideas seemed plausible, others disturbing. You decided to forget it and just find out when you got there.
The steady stream of snoring came poring into the hallway, giving you the signal that everyone was asleep. You stared at your 'once room' and glared a bit.
'Why does that jerk get to sleep in my room? Why doesn't he sleep in Arthur's room?' you thought. As much as this whole situation bothered you, you felt a little bad about thinking that.
'That was selfish of me to think. I should be happy I haven't been thrown over board yet, or worse
' You sighed and quietly walked down the hallway, dawning your red hoodie for warmth. You decided you weren't going to let it out of your site from now on. Even if Arthur did know, you couldn't risk letting anyone else find out about it. Or more specifically what you kept in it. Your boots made gentle thumping sounds as you walked across the wooden floor. Thankfully you got use to the constant rocking of the ship. Well
sort of. You would wobble every now and then but it wasn't as bad as when you first got here.
'When I first got here
' you thought 'Its hard to believe its only been a week. It feels longer.' You sighed. You missed home for sure. But the crew was sort of growing on you. You just remembered what Alfred said about not becoming too attached to people while time traveling. You understood why but you still hated it. You quietly walked up the stairs, hands in your hoodie. When you got to the top the wind was very gentle. More gentle then you had ever thought it could be. This took you by surprise. You were fully ready to be wind blasted. But no. That didn't happen. Not like you were complaining. You looked around and spotted the captain up on the quarter deck. You sighed.
'Well, time to go find out what he wants.' you thought, making your way toward him. He must have heard you approaching because as soon as you started going up the stairs he turned his head in your direction and smiled.
"Ah! You made it! Wonderful." he said, fully turning around. He had one of his hands behind his back. That seemed a little suspicious to you.
'What's he hiding behind his back?' you thought as you made it to the top of the stairs. He simply stood there. Smiling at you. With something suspicious behind his back. Waiting for you to come closer it seemed. You sighed and came closer to him.
"You wanted to see me?" you said, approaching him. He kept smiling at you and nodded his head. Luckily you didn't see an evil or mischievous glint in his eyes so you felt a little better.
"Indeed I did." he said, taking a step back. "Its about time we started your training." he said. You cocked an eyebrow in confusion.
"Training?" you asked. Arthur nodded and pulled out what was behind his back.
It was a sword.
"Yes, your training. Fencing that it." he said, laying the sword across his two gloved palms, presenting it to you like a gift. Your eyes widened a bit and panic took over your whole body.
'Oh no' you thought. 'I can't do this! I can't do this! I cannot do this!' you thought frantically in your head, completely oblivious to Arthur advancing toward you.
"Love, you need to learn how to fight with a sword. Its mandatory if we are to face Cruz." he said, stopping two feet away from you. You just kept your eyes on the sword, watching it glint in the moonlight.
"Now I'm not saying that your current fighting skills aren't useful. But you will be coming across men who won't hold back simply because you're a lady." He said, looking at you. You just nodded slowly, still wide-eyed and staring at your phobia laying across his hands.
'If only he knew
' was the only thing going in your mind at the moment. Arthur chuckled and lifted your face to meet his.
"Shall we begin?" he said, softly looking into your eyes. He noticed you seemed scared but he figured you were just nervous and didn't pay any attention to it. For some reason you slowly nodded, even though in your mind you were saying, no, screaming:
'GET THAT THING AWAY FROM ME!'
But those words never left your lips. The captain smiled at you and handed you the sword. You just looked from the sword to Arthur and then back to the sword. Arthur chuckled.
"Its not going to bite." he said, trying to make you feel more relaxed. It didn't help but you gulped, nodded and slowly reached for the sword anyways. You took it slowly into your hand and tried your best not to drop it in your fear. Arthur nodded and backed up a bit.
"That's a good girl." he said, unsheathing his own sword. Now you were starting to really panic. You could feel yourself sweating in fear. Flashbacks of your not so happy childhood racing in your mind. Especially that memory. That memory that left you with a long deep scar on your neck. The memory that was the cause of your fear of sharp objects, namely knives, swords, even Swiss army knives made you squeamish. In fact every time you used a carving knife for cooking your hand would always shake a little. Gibbons saw this a few times and would always ask if you were alright, you always just said you got shaky when you were hungry. And that was just when you were cooking! What was now in your hand was for combat. You really didn't like fighting, unless it was absolutely necessary. You'd rather not do any harm to others.
'How am I going to do this???' you thought frantically as you watched Arthur get into his fighting stance.
"Do as I do. A proper fight must always start with a proper stance. Like this." he said. You nodded slowly and did your best to copy him while being scared out of your mind. Arthur chuckled quietly and walked over toward you.
"No love. Your feet are too far apart." he said, placing a hand on your hip and guiding your legs into the right position. You were really too scared to pay attention to what he was saying.
"Like that. And keep your arm ready for battle" he said, lifting your arm a bit more. You just stood there and let him help you. Because you knew you wouldn't be able to function well if this was going to be long.
"Excellent!" he said, walking back to where he was and taking his stance once more. Oh you would give anything to not be here right now. You were pretty sure this was more scary then when Arthur caught you on your phone earlier that day.
'Great.' you thought.
"Alright. First we will work on your foot work. You're already pretty light on your toes so this shouldn't be difficult for you. Follow my lead." Arthur said, starting to move to the side. You followed his lead and did as he did. Just being thankful that you weren't banging swords together yet. You tried to stay as calm as you could but you knew your hand was shaking slightly.
"Excellent!" he said, stopping and moving the other way. You did as he did again, circling each other.
this isn't so bad. Maybe this will be my only lesson for tonight!' you thought, hopeful and wishing for the easiest for tonight. But, being that your legs weren't completely use to being on a ship, you wobbled a bit on your legs. Arthur chuckled a bit.
"Careful now. Don't fall. That could mean the end for you if this was a real fight." he said, smirking at you a bit. You regained your footing again and waited for Arthur to tell you what to do again.
"Alright. Now is where the real fun begins." he said. You gulped.
'Real fun? But I was having plenty of fun just a moment ago! NOT using this weapon!' you thought. Arthur got back into his stance and waited for you to do the same. You did begrudgingly.
'I have to think of a way to get myself out of here.' you thought, thinking of all plausible ways to vamoose.
"Alright. Being that this is your first time, I'll go easy on you." he said, grinning a bit. Usually you'd scoff at his demeanor, but now, you were just terrified. Unbeknown to you, your arm was dropping until the tip of the sword was touching the floor beneath you. Arthur furrowed his brows a bit.
"Love, lift your arm." he said. You snapped out of whatever trance you were in and tried your best to lift your arm and keep it steady. Well, you managed to lift your arm.
"Alright." he said again. "First I shall show you how an enemy is most likely to attack." he said. It was at this point that your brain shut off. Completely unable to hear a word he was saying. In fact you didn't hear a word, which is why when he started advancing toward you
that's when it happened. Flashbacks from your past came flooding into your mind. Your father coming at you with a kitchen knife. You running. Him finding you and ultimately leaving you with the scar you now had. Fear completely took over you. You screamed. Screamed out of fear, dropping your sword and hightailing it away from him. You ran down the stairs as fast as you could, trying so desperately to get away from the one thing you feared most. You didn't even look back when he called out your name.
"(NAME)!" he shouted, dropping his own sword and running after you. But you didn't stop. You couldn't stop. Now that you were running you had to keep running, for fear that if you stopped it would leave you with another scar. But unfortunately for you the ship made a sharp dip, causing your already weak ankles to roll on you. You fell to the ground with a 'Thud'.
'OH NO!' your mind screamed at you. Scrambling back to your feet only to have your wrist gabbed firmly. You screamed again, reliving your past experience.
"No! Let me go!" you yelled. Trying to yank your wrist out of whoever was grabbing it. You kept screaming as you tugged. Arthur grabbed both of your arms, trying to stop you from squirming. He was completely baffled as to why you were acting the way you were.
"(Name)! Stop! Its me!" he said, trying to calm you down. Finally shaking you a bit to get you attention.
"(Name)!" he shouted, causing you to stop squirming, looking at him. Eyes wide in fear. He could see it. He knew something was wrong. You didn't seem like the type to get scared easily and if a little sword fighting lesson scared you that badly he knew something was up.
"(Name)" he said firmly. "Why did you run?"
You stood there, his hands still keeping a firm hold on your arms. You blinked a few times, breathing a little heavier the normal. You tried to speak but couldn't. You were too afraid to.
"(Name). Answer me." he said, his voice as firm as his grip. You bit your lip and turned your head away from him, unable to even look at him. You just couldn't bear to tell him the truth. Very few people knew about it. Also, it wasn't exactly something you could easily talk about. You closed you eyes and tried to calm down. Your eyes opened suddenly when you felt a warm hand take your chin and gently turn it.
"(Name)" he said, his voice more softer and gentler with you. "What's wrong love?"
You just stared at him, unsure of what to do. He was hoping to make you calm down and tell him what was wrong. His hand slid down to your neck. But instead of calming you down it made you gasp and jump away from him, using your hand to cover the spot that he touched, the spot that your scar was at. Arthur looked at you with concern, his hand reaching out to you.
"What's the matter my dear? Your shaking like a leaf." he said, taking note of your body language. You just shook your head letting some air out of your lungs. Arthur took a cautious step toward you.
"Did I do something wrong?" he asked. You answered him by shaking your head.
"Was it because of training?" he asked. This time you nodded your head quickly, your hand still on your neck. He nodded as well.
"I see." he said. Walking closer to you. "Are you afraid to fight?" he asked. You shook your head.
"N-No, it's not that
" you said, just above a whisper. He furrowed his brows together.
"Then what is it?" he said, now standing less then a foot away from you. You looked down and shook your head.
I ca-" you started to say but Arthur interrupted you, gently taking your face in his hand once more and turning your head up to face him.
"Please (Name). What made you run away? Why are you so scared?" he asked in a soft voice, not wanting to frighten you away. You bit your lip.
"I can't fight like that." you said softly "Not with a sword
or anything like that." Arthur looked at you in concern but also confusion.
"Why?" he asked. You shook your head and tried to back up, but he grabbed onto your arms again, preventing you from leaving.
"Please don't leave. Tell me what's wrong." he said. Keeping a firm grip on your arms. No matter how hard you tried to get away you weren't able to. The more you struggled, the tighter Arthur's grip became. He wasn't letting you leave.
"Please (Name). Let me help." he said. You sighed in defeat.
"You're really persistent you know?" you said, looking up at him. He gave you a smile and nodded. You nodded and looked down at your feet.
"I need a free hand." you said, Arthur looked at you in confusion.
"What?" he asked.
"Just do it." you said quietly. Arthur slowly let go of one of your arms. You slowly brought your hand up and moved the hair away from your neck, showing him the long, deep ugly scar that covered the side of your neck. Arthur gasped when he saw it, loosening his grip on your other arm.
"That's why I can't do it." you said bitterly. Closing your eyes and furrowing your brows in anger and sadness. Arthur stared at the scar on your neck. Sure he'd seen his share of scars before, he had plenty himself. But never like this, and never on a woman. It shocked him. He was sure there would be less barbaric acts in times to come. It turns out he was wrong.
" he said softly, gently gliding his hand up to your neck and touching your scar. You shuddered a bit when he did but he didn't retract his hand.
"That's absolutely horrid." he said. You jerked away a bit, looking up at him. Anger and sadness still filling your eyes.
"You don't have to remind me of how ugly it is." you said in a hurt voice. Arthur's heart broke a bit. He didn't mean it like that. He took your hands into his and held them tight.
"No love. That's not what I meant. I meant what happened to you was horrid. Nothing more." he said, giving you a sweet soft, reassuring smile. You looked up at him and couldn't help but smile back. It was a small smile but a smile nonetheless. Then Arthur's expression got a little more serious.
"How did this happen?" he asked. You sighed. You had already told him so much you may as well go all out. Besides, he would keep asking until you told him. He was persistent like that.
"My father." you said, bitterness laced in your voice. Arthur's expression changed to pity. He could see the pain in your eyes. Almost like you had been holding this secret inside of you for so long. It pained him to see you like that. You seemed like such a strong person and now, seeing you so vulnerable and hurt
he didn't know what to make of it. But it made sense. The last time you had mentioned your father he saw the same expression on your face. Arthur's face turned into one of disgust.
"That monster." he said in disgust. You gave a short laugh but nodded.
.I was only six when it happened." you said, starting to tear up a bit. This was not something that was easy for you to talk about. Arthur's eyes widened.
"You were only-but you were just a child!" he said in a raised voice. You looked down and nodded.
he was drunk. Again. Like he was practically every night." you said, looking the other way, trying to blink back tears. "I-I did something to anger him obviously." Breathing normal was getting more difficult because, you see, you were choking back sobs.
"What on earth could you have done to deserve that?" Arthur asked, feeling sorrow for you. You bit your bottom lip.
"I was making too much noise while playing." you said, unable to hide the tears. Your eyes betrayed you and let a single tear slide down your face.
"He got so mad at me
.he yelled and screamed at m-me." you said, looking down at the floor, unable to keep your head up.
"H-he grabbed the kitchen knife and
" You never got to finish what you were about to say. One part because you were too emotional and crying to say anything else. And the other part was because Arthur had pulled you into a hug, holding you tight, wanting you to not feel scared. You couldn't hold on any more and just burst into tears, sobbing into his shoulder, gripping onto his coat for dear life. But Arthur didn't care. All he cared about was making you feel better. Again, his soft spot. Women crying. And you had legitimate reason to cry.
"Such a horrible thing should not happen to such a beautiful person." he said softly, stroking your hair to comfort you. You didn't know what to say to that. You really couldn't say anything because you couldn't get a single word out past the sobs. So you said nothing and continued to cry. Unable to stop the flow from cascading down your face.
I-I'm s-so s-sor-ry A-Arthur." you managed to squeak out from your sobs. Arthur shook his head and held you tighter.
"No. You have no reason to be sorry (Name). Don't you ever apologize about something like that." he said, resting his head on yours. Wanting you to know that everything was alright. You were touched. You didn't know someone else could be so kind to you. So caring and considerate. So gentle and understanding. It made you feel so good. Like you could really trust this man.
That was something hard for you to give. Mostly because you didn't feel that most people deserved to earn it from you. But Arthur
.perhaps he was worthy of it.
"(Name)" Arthur said, lifting your chin up gently and softly brushed away the tears from your face with his finger.
"I promise to protect you." he said, looking deep into your eyes so you would know he meant it. "I promise that no harm will come to you." he said "And if any man dares to harm you the way your father did, or simply upsets you." he said, looking very serious. "I will make them suffer."
The words left your mouth. You had no words left. In fact, you were speechless. No one, not even Alfred had worded their protection of you so beautifully. You were really taken aback by it.
"Th-Thank you." you said quietly. Arthur nodded and gave you a kind smile in return.
"On my honor as a gentlemen." he said. This caused you to let out a little laugh. Arthur laughed a little bit with you, placing a hand on your back and leading you forward.
"Come. I think our lesson is finished for the night. I say we get some shut eye, what say you?" he said, looking down at you with kind eyes. You sniffed but smiled and nodded. Arthur smiled and lead you to his cabin. He offered for you to take his bed for the night but you declined again. You found it sweet but you just weren't that trusting of him. Not just yet. These things don't just happen over night. But you felt good. Elated even. You felt as if a huge weight had been lifted off your shoulders. It was the first time ever that you felt that kind of relief. But as for Arthur, he didn't feel relief at all. In fact, what happened tonight made things all the more difficult for him. One thought was going in his mind at the moment.
'How will I be able to let her go?'