RP PotHN: at the Captain's Chambers


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It was closer to the sunrise than Caleb wished it was by the time he got back to his room. The night had taken a turn he had not accounted for, and his fingers trembled as he unbuttoned his shirt and tossed it at the dresser in the corner of the room, as if getting rid of it would’ve made him feel any less dirty. He kicked off his boots and sat at the edge of his bed to remove his socks, laying down with a long and loud exhale.

That was a part of captaincy he didn’t like.
It was selfish of her to go. The day had been long, emotional, eventful, even until the early hours of the morning. She'd finally decided to sleep in the former captain's quarters, choosing the discomfort of a hammock and Sinead's watchful, imaginary eye over the tension that undoubtedly waited for her in the women's dorm. A choice she found herself doubting almost instantly. Should she really be here? In this room? In this role?

Clean, face finally bare, curls loose and pulled back, Alys found herself slipping on a pair of comfortable linen pants after she heard the footsteps. Wading to the neighbouring door, she didn't hesitate from tapping on the door a couple times. She'd grown to find comfort in their scheming and conversations. And knowing that she'd have a hard time sleeping with this on her mind, among many other things, Alys decided to pursue comfort. Besides, they needed a plan.
A knock on the door, just when Caleb had closed his eye.

“I’m sleeping, come back tomorrow.”
He answered loudly enough to be heard through the door. There was silence for a moment, no footsteps announcing that whoever was at the other side had left. If they hadn’t left it had to be important, and only a matter of time for them to barge in or knock again.

“It better be good news.”
He muttered, forcing himself up and opening the door, frown disappearing at the sight of who was on the other side.

“My bad, I thought it was one of those guys.” He apologized with a sleepy smirk, stepping aside so Alys could walk in.
Placing the palm of her hand against the side of the door frame, Alys waited, albeit impatiently, for him to get up and open the door. He had to be loud about it too, enough for her to hear through the door. Perhaps now the entire ship would know he had a late night visitor.

The scowl on her face faltered when he did open the door, half-dressed, a dark circle beginning to appear beneath his uncovered eye. Her gaze drifted from his, down, though she didn't bother trying to hide it. It was dark, a half-dead lantern flickering behind him, illuminating just enough for her to see. She felt the corners of her lips twitch upwards, though that too faltered at the sight of the pale scar running across his chest. A straight line. Emer had done a lovely job.

She walked past him, making her way towards the wooden desk that sat against the wall. "Sorry to disappoint. Do the guys visit you often around this time of night?" She asked casually, amusement evident within her question. Plucking one of very few books from the surface, Alys twirled around and took a seat on the edge, the wood creaking slightly beneath her weight. She began to flip through the pages, glancing at the tiny words lining the pages. Even if she had enough light, she would've had great difficulty reading them. "Don't worry, I'll make this quick. Wouldn't want to keep them waiting."
Caleb was aware of Alys’ gaze, enough to tense his abdomen even if the light was too dim for the slight change to be noticeable. Beneath the contracted muscles a thousand butterflies twirled inside his stomach, calming down as she walked away from him and towards his desk. He closed the door and turned the key.

“Only to threaten my life.” A truer statement than his tone would imply, the weight of it ruining the lightness Alys had brought to his door. If only she knew what had happened, and she would eventually, but Caleb was too tired to deal with it now. He returned to his bed and sat up straight, with crossed legs and a pillow between his arms, where he could rest his chin. “You can stay as long as you want.”
His quip sunk in, and despite his tone, Alys wondered if there was some truth behind his words. Wonder; that's all she'd do for now, with the shadows on his face masking his expression and her ability to decipher the truth.

Still, she couldn't help but think the worst; it was easy enough with Lucien residing across the hall. Perhaps things would be different now that she'd taken over Sinead's quarters - her dog certainly wouldn't be too happy about it. Even if just for the night.

Running her finger down the spine, Alys continued to flip through it's pages. And she finally smiled, a soft, tired thing, in response to Caleb's offer. "You haven't even heard what I have to say. You might change your mind."
Caleb closed his eye again, but opened it after Alys’ mysterious response. Apparently, he had been right to assume the worst.

“Can’t we end the night on a high note? Save the bad stuff for the morning.” He asked, even though he doubted she'd accept his suggestion. He scooched to the side, making it clear there was enough room in the bed for the both of them.
But it was already morning, and this was what he'd signed up for. Though she wasn't sure if he ever crawled into Sinead's room at this hour to discuss business. He probably wouldn't have, and she wouldn't have opened the door for him.

Whatever this was, the lines were blurring. Perhaps they had been - blurred - for some time now. It's why she deliberately restrained herself, her dangling toes suddenly pressing into the floor. She wasn't here for that.

Alys was here for herself, because now that she'd moved, she knew she'd be thinking about this, about her role, until they spoke about it. Better to rip off the bandage. They could sleep when they were dead.

"I can't read for shit. And my handwriting is even worse. Emryk took care of everyone's payments, not me. He'll make sure everyone gets what they're owed, and that all our supplies are in order. He'll make a better quartermaster."

"In those specific roles, of course."
Now, that was unexpected. Caleb had noticed Alys had spent more time with Emryk the last couple of days, but he wasn’t bad company so he didn’t think much of it. Why hadn’t she said anything earlier? He didn’t have to ask, they had barely even spoken prior to the other secret she had shared earlier that day, and here came another one, to a much lesser extent. Was it even a secret? He had simply assumed she knew how to read, when so many people on the crew didn’t. While the thoughts ran through his head, he realized he had been quiet for far too long.

“Fine.” He tossed the pillow back, tucked in his wings and laid on his back, head slightly raised so he could look at her. “Tell Emryk he’s getting a fifteen percent raise and the position of quartermaster. You’ll still be second in command, as my first mate.” Basically, Emryk would have all the work, and Alys would hold all the power. Caleb was okay with that, he had both during Sinead’s reign but he could make the rules now. And he wanted her by his side.

"Was that all?" He asked, raising an eyebrow.
It came out so easily. She realized it quickly; after the fact, yet before his response. Dropping her gaze back down to the book she held, one she couldn't bloody read, suddenly thankful for the incredibly dim lighting. But she was granted an answer, for the surprising ease, with his own response. A non-judgemental response.

Nodding silently, she closed the book and placed it where she'd found it, finally turning her attention back to him. Comfortably sprawled out on the bed. Against her better judgement, she crossed the room, leaving behind the book and role, and took a seat on the edge of the bed. Legs still touching the ground, she twisted her body to face him. "I'll tell him later. And what should I say about the room?" She questioned quietly, tilting her head towards his headboard, which sat against the wall that separated his room from Sinead's.
Perhaps she was ashamed, and that’s what had made her so stiff. Caleb was in no position to judge anyone, and it was clear it had been a weight let off her shoulders after saying it, for she finally crossed the room to get closer to him, though not close enough.

“There’s nothing to say.” He answered. Despite having just laid down, Caleb crawled to the end of the bed where Alys had sat, placing a hand on her waist and a kiss on her shoulder. “It’s yours, for as long as you want it.” He added, without thinking.
It didn't take long for the gap between them to close, this time on his account. She welcomed it, the closeness, albeit hesitantly.

It was a bad idea, and she knew it.

Her laughter was quiet, breathy, as though she exhaled through a smile. Turning her head to the side, shoulder raising and chin dropping to rest against it, she looked to him after he pulled back. "Of course I want it. You know, I've never had a room to myself before." The edges of her tired eyes softened at the thought. "But I don't want a hammock. I want a proper bed, with silk sheets and more than one pillow."

She placed a hand down against the bed, letting it slide against the cover, then bunch up some of the fabric within her grasp. "At least five pillows, I think," Alys added, laughing quietly once more.

Releasing the fabric and splaying her fingers out, she looked back to him. "I just - I want to deserve it."
Caleb’s cheeks burned when he realized what he’d just said. Luckily for him, Alys didn’t seem to waste a thought on what it implied. Was that truly what he wanted, to give up his privacy for a woman he hadn’t even fucked yet? It wasn’t like him, he’d never been like this and as much as a part of him wanted to snap out of it, the bigger half melted at her expressing her desires. He’d get her a thousand pillows if that's what she wanted, all she had to do was ask.

“You deserve it. All of it.” He said, sliding his thumb over her lower lip and down to her chin before leaning in for a kiss, pulling her back to lay on the sheets she seemed to like. Then, he whispered. “We’ll shop for a bed tomorrow before we leave.”
Of course he'd say that. But would anyone else? Would they recognize the months of quiet hard-work and loyalty, or would they assume the worst?

Alys already knew the answer, as she laid down on her side, kicking off her shoes and responding to his advances. A self-fullfilling prophecy. She recognized it; the risk of being caught leaving his room again, and yet the feeling of being safe and wanted without total control was everything.

What if she could have both?

Head resting on a pillow, she pulled back and nodded in response to his suggestion. Her hand rested against his jaw, fingertips gently brushing over the skin and hair, and then slightly lower, against the delicate skin of his neck. Over the slight bruising she didn't see in the dying light.

Her eyes closed for a couple of seconds, for a couple slow breaths, and when she forced them open once more, she whispered, "Thank you for taking me to the ball tonight."
Caleb closed his eye, shivering at her touch. When he opened it, her blue eyes stared directly at his and the words he had written, currently crumpled in his pocket, died in his throat despite his smile, that spelled out everything.

"It was my pleasure."


He was locked in a cage for the crimes he had committed. The words “traitor” and “murderer” filled his ears and through the fog that surrounded him Caleb got to see Emer pointing at him and shouting, her gaze filled with rage while the baron’s arms kept her from reaching him with her outstretched hands.

“I’m sorry…”

“No, you’re not.” Juniper said. They were on top of the cage, unscrewing the chain that kept him attached to the bottom of the ship. “You’re just like her- no, you’re worse.” They smiled. “Everyone sees it, but you.”

Caleb had no words for that. With the final screw set loose the cage fell, and the real Caleb, the one laying in bed, frowned as the cage dove into the sea, salty water quickly filling his lungs. Air bubbles surrounded him as he struggled, trying to set himself free and gasping for air when the cage disappeared and his head emerged from the surface. The fog was gone, and the night was just as dark as the ocean, sprinkled with little stars.

He looked around but there was no shore and no ship, just a couple floating a few meters above him. He recognized Alys’ wings, but not the arms around her waist.

Caleb flew towards them, a sharp pain on his chest when he got a closer look at the dark hair entangled with her blonde as he sucked her neck. What seemed sexual at first turned grimmer at the sight of the trail of blood slipping off her shoulder.

“Lucien… Stop.”

He did, before that version of Caleb said a word. Alys turned to him as well, her skin paler and her eyes no longer blue, but vibrant red. She smiled, blood dripping out of her full mouth.

Caleb realized then that it was a dream, but one he couldn’t bring himself to wake up from. As if he’d noticed he was trying, a pair of bat-like wings ripped through the fabric covering Lucien’s back, each the size of the Hard Nox. He turned Alys’ back towards him, each of his thumbs covering her eyes, a sickening grin growing as he started to press it, and pull it apart.

“Stop. No! NO!”
The room was still dark when she stirred, slowly returning to consciousness. Paired with Leimor's gloom, the early morning light cast a faint grey through the tiny window. She felt warmth, radiating through her back, and a weight loosely draped across her waist. Smiling to herself, eyes still closed, Alys pulled at the blanket and brought it up to her chin. Allowed her hand to graze his.

And then heard his faint, incoherent muttering. Curious, she remained still and held her breath, eager to hear what he was sleep-talking about. Ready to poke fun at him in the morning. But as he continued, Alys began to pick up specific words. Lucien. Stop. His breathing rate began to increase, and she felt every shallow exhale against the back of her neck. Frowning, she opened her eyes and began to sit up, turning to face him.

"Caleb," she whispered, placing a hand on his shoulder and gently squeezing. And when he didn't respond, entrenched in unconsciousness, she tried again, squeezing than shaking his shoulder a little more forcefully. "Caleb, wake up."
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He could hear her voice calling his name, but his eye wouldn’t open, his body wouldn’t move. Caleb groaned, trying to think of anything but the blood sliding down her cheeks, and it felt like it was sliding from his as well, beneath his eyepatch. When he opened his eye it was wet, but not with blood. He saw the blurry image of Alys looming over him, a clear look of concern on her face, her real face.

Caleb grabbed Alys’ arm and pulled her, holding her tight over him. He glanced up at the ceiling, slowly calming down his breath, trying not to blink as everytime he did, the dreadful nightmare flashed back in his mind. It was a dream, he told himself. Just another fucked up dream.

“I'm fine. It was just a nightmare.” He said in a wrispy voice, trying not to sound as distraught as he truly was.
Worry clouded her mind when he didn't wake, and even more so when his dream had hit it's peak. His body had tensed even more, muscles interlocked as if he was being stilled by outside forces. A stray tear rolled down his cheek, trailing down his jaw and then the side of his neck, a path uninterrupted due to his stillness.

Alys was looming over him now, whispering his name more urgently, and then...

Her body stiffened due to the unexpected tug, and the feel of his rapidly expanding chest beneath hers. With time though, as his breathing normalized, she relaxed as well. Her arms were wrapped loosely around his neck, holding him in an embrace, her face angled into the crook of his neck.

"Just a nightmare," she repeated, murmuring against his skin - as if he hadn't just been terrified. As if it hadn't scared her either.

Pulling herself back up slightly, so that she could better look at him, she added, "That didn't seem fine." Perhaps it wasn't the best time for this, but he had promised not to lie to her. So although she didn't dig any deeper, not when she could still feel some of the tension, she'd make it known that they'd re-visit the topic later.

Then, she pulled herself closer, back to the position she'd been in earlier. "Do you think you can fall back asleep?"
Just a nightmare, one he’d forget in a few hours like the other ones he’s had since the Ice Lands. He wondered what it had seemed like to her, wiping the tear that had escaped the corner of his working eye. Shit, that was the second time Alys had seen him cry. He brought her down to rest her head on his chest, so she wouldn’t see the embarrassment on his face.

“I can, I just need a moment.” He whispered, running his fingers carefully through her entangled locks, mostly to soothe himself before he regained the courage to close his eyes again. It was easier to relax this way, with his arms around her, but it still took him a few hours to finally rest his eyelid. Perhaps Alys had fallen asleep before he did, if not she was doing a great job at laying still.
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Nodding silently, Alys inhaled and shifted her weight, tugging the blanket over her shoulder. Her hand moved against the skin of his chest, fingertips brushing over the grooves, over raised scar tissue -

She halted, feeling her face warm and the blood that thrummed through her veins quicken. But instead of jolting away, she splayed her hand and began to wait. Wait until he fell asleep. She still had time before the sun rose, and she'd make sure to be on the other side of the wall before the rest of the crew was awake.

A moment passed, and then several, and Alys stayed, waiting until his breathing slowed and grew more regular. Her eyes started to close while waiting, and soon enough, she drifted away.


Early morning, dull light fought through the window, waking Alys. Blinking, she looked sat up and looked down at Caleb's sleeping figure, his face turned away from the window. At peace; that pained expression no where to be found.

Sliding out of bed, she slipped on her shoes and left the room quietly, finding herself behind her own wooden doors mere seconds later.