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34. The Captain and The Engineer: The Gift

(PID:52358844375) Source
posted by Cormack Owle-Mysterious alias Cormack Owle-Mysterious on Wednesday 14th of September 2022 11:47:44 PM

After Vincent's vehement emotional exertions upon waking he'd fallen into a long, though much more restful, sleep. Several hours later he was barely aware that he was being shifted around while his wounds were cleaned and dressings changed. It was that following night when Vincent began rousing once again. His body was still healing from the infection and even while he was awake, it took him several minutes until he was aware of his surroundings. The candles nearby burned low and he could see that it was dark outside. At the moment he seemed to be alone. Shifting around a little uncomfortably, he groaned and blinked as he stared up at the ceiling. Surely one of the trio was here with him; likely Bernadette or Damien. Though he'd sent him away to rest, the one he wanted to see was Aiden. He wanted to know that he had taken care of himself; that he'd eaten and rested and maybe even burned those clothes. But even just as importantly, he also wanted to check on his mental well-being. After everything he'd been through the other night...well Vincent wanted to see him with his own eyes and make sure he really was okay; that they were okay. Hearing the floorboards creek in the other room, Vincent cleared this throat softly and called out, "Hello?" And it was Damien's voice who called back, "One moment!" Feeling a touch disappointed, he pushed past it and managed a slight smile for his friend as he came in from the other room. Damien grinned and pulled up the chair and sat down beside the bed. "So how are you feeling?" "Mm. I don't know yet. I literally just opened my eyes." Vincent licked his lips and said added, "Hungry, I think." "All you've had the last few days is tea and water so I'm not surprised. I'll get you something to eat." A short time later, Vincent was more propped up with a small bowl of porridge in his lap. With a quick thanks to Damien, Vincent began digging into his meal. When he was about halfway through his porridge, Vincent asked Damien, "How are Bernadette and Aiden? Are they here too?" "Bernadette is out on the terrace. She's fine and will be going to sleep after she gives you your next dose of medicine. As for Aiden well I imagine he must be at the ship still. He's not been back today." He paused. "Aiden told me what happened. Do you remember any of it?" "Aiden told you what happened?" "Yep. Came right out with all the details without needing much prodding. I bet he even told Bernadette." Vincent's brow furrowed as he felt a bit irritated with the situation and also with Aiden. Vincent HAD planned to tell Damien what had happened. He just would have preferred to talk to Aiden about it first. But Bernadette? He knew Bernadette wouldn't have asked Aiden but did he tell her anyway? He didn't want Bernadette involved! Bloody Hell she was already too involved as it was. God, he hoped Aiden didn't tell her. He sighed and set his bowl down. He looked at Damien and explained, "I think I remember everything. At least up until..." He trailed off as the memory of Aiden's soft, sweet smile and words came back to him: "It's just a wrench. But there's only one Vincent Dubois." Not even realizing that his cheeks were growing a bit rosy despite his slight upset with the man, he continued on a half second later, "...until I passed out. We were almost here too!" "Did they say anything?" "Who?" "Thorn and Micah. Did they say or give anything away?" Vincent looked down at his porridge as he thought of the other night and all that had transpired. He wasn't feeling so hungry anymore. He kind of moved the spoon around aimlessly in his bowl as he thought about it. "Not really, no. Once I was awake again they weren't around long enough to say much, you know?" Damien smirked slightly. "At least its over with! So Aiden really took that big guy down on his own huh?" "With a single blow to the head with his wrench!" Vincent confirmed and smirked slightly as his gaze met Damien's again. That had been incredible! No, he didn't believe that story about him and that arm wrestling bet but there wasn't anything he could do about it. He'd likely never find out the truth of why those two had targeted him. Like Damien had said, at least it was over with and he could move on. Putting it out of his mind for now, Vincent regaled his side of the story to Damien and got him all caught up on what Aiden hadn't been able to tell him. To be honest there wasn't much more to the story he was able to add but it did connect the dots for Damien a bit more and he finally understood everything that had happened. Needless to say, he was stunned! Soon after Bernadette came inside to give Vincent his next doses of medication while Damien stepped out for some air. And as Bernadette sat there adding bhang to the tea and mixing it, Vincent thought about how much he longed to smoke his pipe. Of course he'd not be able to smoke due to the dangers of coughing too hard right now. But it had gone missing along with his shirt, boots, and other possessions the day he was abducted. Thank God he hadn't brought anything special with him! "I have something to ask you and please tell me the truth," Vincent said quietly after a minute or silence, his gaze lifting to meet his cousin's. "Did Aiden tell you what happened the other night?" "No," she assured him with a slightly wry smile. "I told Aiden not to tell me. Not that he seemed to want to in the first place, mind you. He was keen on keeping your secrets for you, cousin." She shrugged and muttered to herself, "Though I imagine Damien bullied it out of him." "What do you mean by that?" Bernadette licked her lips and glanced out the window a touch nervously. That had slipped out; that last little bit. She hadn't meant to say it out loud. "Bernadette." "Vincent." "What happened? Please tell me." "Well," Bernadette began, unsure how to put it. She had purposely not listened in on the men's conversation as much as possible but loud voices made it hard ignore. She had an strong inkling about some of the events that had taken place but not because anyone had directly told her. "Damien was feeling rather strongly about not being notified about your condition and pushed Aiden against the wall and demanded to know what happened to you." "He what?!" "Aiden said he apologized!" she quickly added. "Afterwards they went outside to talk and when they came back in they were smiling again. It seems they worked it out. I mean, I know you'd have eventually told Damien. I know he's part of everything you do. But they've been fine ever since. I promise." Vincent sighed and pinched the bridge of his nose with his thumb and forefinger. What was he going to do with those two? While he was glad they had worked it out it didn't please him that they were bristling once again even for that small bit of time. "Aiden never betrayed you. Something tells me he never will." Bernadette offered out her pinky to Vincent who glanced at her and her pinkie, then reached out to take it with his. Her reassurance meant a lot to him. It meant something to him to be able to trust Aiden. "Thank you. I love you, you know that?" "I do know. I love you, too and I'd not be anywhere else! You're not just my cousin. You're my brother, you know?" "I know. Just as you are a sister to me." Vincent was determined to stay awake until morning. In fact he managed to stay awake all the way until the first touches of light in hopes that Aiden would be there soon. Damien, who had stayed up all night with him, had seen how drained Vincent was and had encouraged him to sleep. But his stubborn ass had insisted on waiting for some reason! However, after a meager meal, medicine, and bandages, Vincent wasn't able to stay awake any longer. As he started falling asleep, he heard a knock on the front door. Damien had gone to answer and sure enough it was Aiden! Damn it. He'd have to talk to him later. He was too sleepy now. And when Vincent woke next, he was informed he'd just missed Aiden. Bernadette assured him that Aiden seemed to be doing fine and would be back that evening with dinner. She'd also brought word that Vincent's aunt and cousins sent their love and looked forward to seeing them when he was more recovered. Hearing that made him smile. Much to Vincent's relief, Aiden did arrive that evening. Instead of getting the groceries for it, he had splurged for a celebratory meal to share! It was a hearty beef stew and crusty bread! It had cost a lot of money considering it was enough to feed the four of them but Aiden didn't care! He was just happy to have Vincent alive and on the mend and he wanted to celebrate with his friends! The four of them ate and were merry and enjoyed each other's company. Vincent didn't even care that he was stuck in bed! More so, Vincent was glad to see that Aiden seemed just fine and was clean and well rested. He was smiling and laughing like he had not a care in the world. Occasionally Aiden would cast little glances towards Vincent as if checking on him, himself. Vincent had, of course, noticed and returned his smiles with his own which always made Aiden smile as they shared those little, secret moments together. Yeah, it seemed they were okay. ... Monday afternoon, three days since Vincent had awoken, Aiden was humming to himself as he made his way along the walkway towards Vincent's flat. It was such a lovely day out; the weather a touch warmer than other days as of late. It was the first brushes of early Summer and it would have been a perfect day for flying, Aiden groaned in thought as he lifted his face to the Sun. It would be a while before they were back in the air. As Aiden walked, his attention turned to some of the shops he was passing by, aimlessly window shopping. Of course most of these shops didn't sell anything he'd likely ever purchase. The area that Vincent lived in was a nicer side of town and was quite out of his price range. But it certainly was nice to imagine having things this nice. Though as he walked around, he soon came across something that caught his eye on the outside window of a large bookshop: a chilling poster with creepy writing and an illustrated angry, hissing cat's face hovering underneath a cemetery. The image was quite startling! What was this?! Aiden paused and looked at the poster which was promoting a brand new item in stock released just this morning: a horror novel written by a well known author from a neighboring country. Aiden wasn't a big reader but even he was familiar with the name. And suddenly something clicked! Just yesterday Vincent was lamenting about not having anything new to read in a long while. He'd settled on one of the books on his shelf but it had prompted Aiden to ask him who his favorite authors were. That was when Vincent pointed out some of the other books on the shelves that he'd collected. And of course he had more books onboard Leon's Claw. But his flat's collection included books by the very author who's poster Aiden was staring at this very moment! Vincent had explained that the author had written many horror books that weren't meant for the faint of heart. And after seeing this poster Aiden believed him! Aiden wasn't quite sure why he was so excited about this when he'd never even read anything by that author a single day in his life. However the new book was something Vincent would have been excited over, he thought, and therefore it excited him. Five minutes later Aiden was walking out of the bookshop with the new book in hand and a smile on his face. He looked down at the book, packaged in heavy paper and twine. He couldn't wait to give it to Vincent! With it being released today Vincent wouldn't likely have his own copy yet! He tucked it safely under his arm and continued on the way with a little bit of bounce in his step. Meanwhile, Vincent was sitting up in his bed with an open book; simply enjoying the peace and quiet in the flat. While he was grateful for his cousin and friends they had a tendency to be overwhelming when all together at once. With Damien and Aiden out and Bernadette in the other room sorting through her medical bag, he had some time to himself. However when the knock came to the front door, Vincent blinked and found himself pulled out of his novel. The knock came again and a moment later it was being opened. He could hear Bernadette saying, "Hello! Come on in!" and Aiden responding "Good afternoon." A moment later the front door was closing and Bernadette asked in a curious voice, "What's that?" "This? It's something for Vincent." "Oh?" Vincent could tell she was smiling. "Well he's awake if you want to bring it to him." Well that certainly caught Vincent's attention. He licked his lips and set the book in his lap and tried to sit up a little more. Aiden had something for him? "Great! Do you need any help with that?" Aiden was asking but Bernadette responded, "Not at the moment. This more a 'me' sort of chore. Rather tedious, really. Go in and bring it to him." Only a couple of seconds later Aiden's shadow was at the doorway and he knocked on the door jamb. "Knock, knock!" Aiden called softly before peeking his head in. He was greeted with Vincent's genuine happy smile and saw that his book was already closed in his lap. Knowing how much Vincent loved reading (which rivaled his love of tea) it was quite the gesture! Clearly he was happy to see him! "Come in!" "How are you today?" Aiden asked as approached the bed, unable to help smiling brightly as well. He held the package a little tighter in his arm. He felt nervous to give it to him. It was the first time he'd ever gotten a gift for someone he was romantically interested in. "I'm feeling better today, thanks. A little restless and counting the days until I get out of this damn bed." "It'll get here soon." "Not soon enough. You look happy today." "Do I?" "Mhm." Vincent was aware Aiden held a paper package in his arm but he didn't want to assume it was for him. For all he knew whatever Aiden had been talking about earlier could be something else. He simply smiled at Aiden, wondering if his friend would elaborate on why he was so happy. "Well I'm in a good mood." "I'm glad to hear it." Aiden bit his lower lip cutely and a touch of red colored his cheeks as he stared back at Vincent. "So I uh...well..." Vincent's smile softened. Aiden was nervous? He felt his stomach flutter for some reason as he waited patiently for Aiden to come out with whatever he was going to say. "I got something for you." Aiden withdrew the paper package from under his arm and held it to his chest as he began to explain, "I know you're not looking forward to the rest of this week so...so I brought you this to cheer you up. Like a 'get well' gift to help you get through your bedrest this week." Aiden licked his lips and then held out the package to him and hoped Vincent would be happy with his gift. Feeling touched, Vincent nibbled his lower lip. Aiden had brought him a gift? He set the book in his lap on the nightstand and reached out for the package Aiden offered him. As he took it, he smiled at the weight and feel of it. Was it a book?! "Aiden, you didn't have to get me anything! But thank you!" Aiden didn't know what came over him but the next thing he knew he was boldly moving onto the bed to sit by side alongside Vincent; carefully of course. But a moment later he was settling with his back against the pillows and grinning at his friend who had captured his heart. "I know!" he told Vincent. "But I wanted to!" Vincent, though surprised at Aiden's choice of seating arrangement, simply grinned back and began to undo the twine bow as Aiden settled in beside him. By now, Vincent was used to the fact that Aiden had seen him naked numerous times for medical purposes so the fact that he was at such a close distance didn't bother him so much anymore; especially since he was under the covers. Instead, he was focusing on his task and didn't mind his presence at all. It wasn't even a thought in his mind. A half minute later, Vincent finished unwrapping his gift to discover that it was indeed a book! And not just any book! "Is this what I think it is?! Aiden, I- you- Wow, thank you! I didn't know a new one had been released!" "It is! I saw it and I remembered what you told me yesterday about how much you loved the author's work. It released just this morning!" Aiden watched as Vincent gently brushed his fingers over the cover then opened the first couple of pages with a soft smile. Beside him, Aiden could see how happy Vincent was in his silent awe, he knew he chose well and it made him grin. Vincent finally turned his gaze to Aiden and with a grateful smile, hugged the book to his chest. "Thank you. Words can't describe how much this means to me. I've been dreading the next few days but now? Now you've gone and turned it into something to look forward to." Aiden smiled softly and leaned slightly closer to look at the book cover as an excuse to be closer to him. "Good." He looked up to meet Vincent's gaze. "I'm really happy to hear that. I know I'm not always so great with words but I hope you know that I really value your friendship and I care very much about you. I wanted to do this for you." "I hope you know that I value your friendship too. It is the biggest gift you have given me. I care very much about you as well. I trust you with my life, Aiden." Aiden felt humbled by this man. Vincent was cut from a different cloth than any other person he'd ever known. He spoke from the heart and meant what he said. He was the first person, apart from Aiden's parents, who Aiden felt he could truly be himself around without shame or embarrassment. It was a feeling he didn't know if he could describe with words the contentment he felt in knowing that Vincent seemed to be feeling along the same lines about him. All Aiden could do was smile to which Vincent returned with one of his own. After a few more seconds Vincent turned his attention back to his book and cleared his throat softy. Normally he'd shoo out anyone nearby while he delved into his reading; especially with a new book. He didn't like being bothered with anyone else's energy. However, he was feeling different today. A good different. Plus Aiden's presence was calm and he enjoyed his company. Eagerly and more giddily than Aiden had ever witnessed of him, Vincent delved into the first page and was immediately lost in the story. Aiden grinned to himself as he settled in beside him and actually began to read over Vincent's shoulder. As it turned out, Vincent and Aiden read about the same pace with Vincent going just a touch faster. Vincent wasn't intending to share his book with Aiden but if Aiden was content beside him and read along then that was fine with him, he decided uncharacteristically. After a few minutes, Aiden decided that reading the book over Vincent's shoulder wasn't for him and he would rather let Vincent enjoy it on his own. But he didn't want to get up either. Without a word, he turned his attention away from the book and shifted slightly in place to withdraw a small notebook from his pocket as well as a small, well used pencil. He settled quickly again and was quickly lost in the sketching and mathematics of a new project. Perhaps he could make something to enhance Pete! Beside him, Vincent glanced his way with a small, amused smirk before refocusing on the book again. It was surprsingly kind of nice to have the quiet company while they each did their own thing. And, he thought to himself, Aiden really did smell as good as he remembered. It was a little while later that there was a gentle knock on the door that interrupted their activities. "Yes?" Vincent answered as he looked up. Aiden did as well, pausing in his small sketch to smile at Bernadette. Bernadette smiled at the two of them and felt a little burst of joy at seeing them so content side by side. She waved as she said, "I'm stepping out and going to go grab some more supplies and dinner ingredients. You better behave yourself while I'm gone, Vincent. No wild escapee attempts out the window, you hear me?" "Wouldn't dream of it, Cousin," Vincent responded with a straight face and stoic voice. "You know I'm a good boy. What do you take me for? A pirate?" Bernadette quirked her brow at him in a highly amused manner before she replied, "Indeed." She snorted. "See you boys in a couple of hours." She glanced over at Aiden, winked, then turned and made her exit with the sound of her gigglesnorting floating in from the other room. Less than ten seconds later the sound of the front door opening and closing was heard as Bernadette left to run her errands. Aiden wasn't really sure what the wink was about but he was glad to have some private time with Vincent alone. He didn't quite realize that was what Bernadette had left with the intention of giving them just that after seeing them so comfortably together. "So how do you like the novel so far?" "Well considering I'm barely into the second chapter I don't know yet!" Aiden chuckled as he shifted slightly again and felt the brush of Vincent's arm against his. Aiden began to apologize but Vincent waved him off and told him, "Don't be. It's close quarters. Can't help it." Aiden blushed slightly and nodded before looking back at the book in Vincent's hands. "So you really like it?" "I love it! I haven't been this excited over a present in years! I always consider a good book as a gift as a win." Vincent smiled back at Aiden, wondering if the heat was making him a little flushed. It was a slightly warmer day than usual as of late after all. But then again maybe it was just because of the praise of a well chosen gift? Putting it out of his mind, Vincent looked back to the book and slid a bookmark in the pages before setting it down in his lap. He stretched a bit, raising his arms over his head and let out a big yawn, the blanket sliding to his hips as he did. It really did feel natural to have Aiden there with him. It felt good. Somehow it felt...almost right. "What are some of your favorite gifts?" Aiden asked, relaxing back against the pillow as he gazed over at Vincent and set his small notebook and pencil down beside his hip. Vincent leaned back and relaxed against the pillow behind him as well and smiled slightly. "My favorite gifts?" He gazed up towards the ceiling and smiled a little more. "Well let's see. When I was six years old, my father bought me my own telescope. I stayed out all night and got a wicked awful cold!" Both he and Aiden chuckled. "It sounds like something I'd have done too!" "I believe it! I remember you telling me how your father used to catch you stargazing when you were supposed to be sleeping." "Uh huh! So what else?" "What else? Hm," Vincent pondered aloud and brought up his fingertips to tap against his lips. "The chess set we played with on Leon's Claw was also gift from my father! And then Leon's Claw, of course! It was a promotion gift from my uncle!" "Wow! When did that happen anyway?" "Hm. Right after my twenty-third birthday." "Only two years after becoming 2nd Mate?" Vincent chuckled and glanced off to the side shyly. Aiden was quick with his math, wasn't he? Vincent explained, "Less than, actually. My uncle is a generous man. I'd proven myself a leader and capable of handling a ship I suppose after an incident involving some pirates. In his absence I took control of the situation and it was settled quickly with minimal bloodshed and our opponents subdued. He was proud of me so here I am with my own ship and crew." Aiden suspected Vincent was massively downplaying whatever heroic save he'd done. You didn't just get your own ship with minimal effort! Aiden huffed at Vincent and very gently nudged him with his elbow. "There has to more to the story than that! We're talking pirates, here!" "Not really." "Fine. I will ask your uncle then! I'm sure he'd tell me!" "For the love of God please don't!" Vincent begged with a whine which caused Aiden to laugh. It was clear that Vincent was already embarrassed! "I'm serious, Aiden! He makes it sound much more exciting and glorious than it really was! I wasn't really that impressive!" "This is why I need to hear it from him! And that way I can tell him all about your heroic save on the way to Arturstown!" "Don't you dare!" Aiden began laughing even harder which caused Vincent to huff and facepalm with both hands with a grumble at Aiden's shenanigans. However, a second later he lowered his hands and couldn't help but smirk a bit in amusement at the younger man beside him. Somehow Aiden really did make things better just by being here. Aiden finally calmed his laughter and inhaled deeply. Then peeked over at Vincent. Vincent quirked his brow at him. Then immediately and simultaneously they both just started laughing even harder! "OW! Damn you, Aiden! Stop making me laugh!" "I'm sorry!" "No you're not!" "I don't even know why I'm laughing!" "Me neither!" Vincent and Aiden just couldn't stop laughing! Vincent knew a part of it was the excess amount of bhang in his system. And to be honest he was quite grateful for it! It was definitely helping to lift his mood! Thank God for Bernadette and her masterful concoctions! When they finally settled from their boisterous laughter, the men just grinned at each other. Vincent brought a hand to his head and told him, "Wow, I made myself dizzy!" Aiden chuckled and asked, "How long has it been since you laughed that hard?" "Like that? Wow. Years! Not since before..." Vincent's voice trailed off and he swallowed hard. "Three years. Its been about three years." The smile was long gone from Vincent's lips and he looked down at his hands and nibbled his lower lip as sadness seemed to take over him physically. They had come close last time to talking about his past. So close but instead he had skirted around it. He hadn't been ready to talk about it at the time. Beside him, Aiden's brow furrowed as he looked at Vincent. He felt bad for him and couldn't help feeling pity for him and his situation. The sorrow ran deep. Aiden had seen what happened to his own father when he lost his wife. And Vincent had lost both his wife and child to the same illness. Aiden had grieved greatly for the loss of his mother but even he knew it was something altogether to lose one's spouse or child. Aiden's father, though he had started coming around more and even had a new lady friend now, was not even close to what he was before his wife's untimely death. Aiden looked past Vincent to glance towards the picture frame. And that's when he noticed something new there that he'd not noticed before: the compass. Aiden recognized it immediately. It was the compass that had broken when Vincent and he had literally bumped into each other the day they met. He remembered the pained look on Vincent's face when he'd realized that the compass had broken. Thankfully Aiden had been able to fix it as good as new and it had led to his employment upon Vincent's ship. Vincent glanced up at Aiden and saw where he was looking. Licking his lips, Vincent turned his attention to his left and his gaze lingered on the picture; particularly of his wife and the bump of her pregnant belly. He reached out and withdrew the frame from its spot and brought it to his lap where he held and stared at it for a long minute. "Will you tell me about her? About them?" Vincent blinked slowly as he stared at the picture. To be honest he wanted to tell Aiden about her. He wanted to share this part of himself. "This story doesn't have a happy ending." "But its still part of your story." When Vincent didn't respond, Aiden encouraged him gently, "You're my friend, Vincent. I want to know more about you and your past so I can be here for your future. But only if you feel you're ready." As Vincent turned to look up at him with unshed tears in his eyes Aiden could see all the pain he held within him; all that heartache from the loss of his family. Aiden wasn't sure if he would agree to tell the tale after all. Surprisingly, Vincent gave a small nod and looked down at the picture in his hands. His fingers tightened around the frame and he took a deep breath before letting it out. He could do this right? NEXT PART: www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/52400049302/in/datepo... ... Shout out to the phenomenal Stephen King and his book 'Pet Sematary' for inspiring the poster and the new book that Vincent was given as his 'get well' present! Modern-day Captain would TOTALLY be a Stephen King fan! ... To start from the beginning or to read another chapter, here's the album link: www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/albums/72157717075565127 ***Please note this is a BOY LOVE (BL/yaoi/gay) series. It is a slow burn and rated PG13!*** *** Special thank you to Vin Aydin Raven-Mysterious for collaborating with me on this series and co-starring as The Captain! DISCORD SERVER: That's right! The Captain and The Engineer has a Discord Server! If you wanna join and chat with other crewmates and see what's new and happening before it gets posted to Flickr, click the link! discord.gg/qBa769TAC4



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