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Purple Pain

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Uma rolled her eyes as Harry and Gil wrestled across the ship’s deck, it was towards sunset and the crew hadn’t had much activity that day so they were making their own. The crew cheered and roared while the two teens wrestled until Gil had Harry pinned to the floor, causing him to blush, not that Gil noticed. Prepared to declare his victory, Gil was suddenly thrown onto his back and Harry took up his previous position, this time locking Gil’s legs together with his own and holding Gil’s hands above his head with a tight grip. 

It was at this moment that Harry noticed the deep purple bruise on the underside of Gil’s bicep, as if someone had gripped his arm and lifted him off the ground. Gil struggled against Harry while another crew member counted to three before they declared Harry the winner.

Harry didn’t move though, he was staring at the hand shaped blemish.

“Harry,” Gil whispered, unable to get up. “You won, you can get off now.” Harry shook his head and switched his eyes to Gil, who smiled awkwardly.

“Right, right.” Harry climbed to his feet and pulled Gil up with him. “Who’s next?” Gonzo stepped forward as Gil shuffled into crowd. Harry gave him a fleeting look before he crouched down a prepared for another match.

“Gil?” The youngest LeGume boy turned to smile at Uma, his eyes were tired and his smile was tight but Uma didn’t question it. “What are you doing here? It’s 5am.”

“I’m here to help you.”

“At five in the morning?”

“Well, yeah, I mean, you’re always tired after your morning shifts so I thought you could use the help.” Uma raised an eyebrow in suspicion before she shrugged and lead Gil inside.

“Grab a broom, you can sweep, I guess.” Uma watched as Gil wandered into the back, her eyes instantly drawn to the green-yellow bruise that Gil had attempted to hide on the lower back of his neck. “So, Gil,” Even though she couldn’t see him she could almost feel him tense. “How’re your brothers, still rolling with Maddy and that crew?”

“Yeah,” Gil returned from the back room with his same tired smile. “Why?”

“Just curious. What about your dad?” Gil froze but recovered quickly. The boy was way too easy to read for his own good. “Still drinking ‘til lights out?”

“Um, yeah… I try to be home after lights out.”

“And gone before lights on?

“He’s angry when he wakes up.” Gil moved further away from Uma with every question, hoping she would relent, but she didn’t get a crew and a ship from giving up.

“Are your brothers home when you are?”

“Sometimes, but not every much now that they’re older.” Uma nodded slowly, thinking carefully about how to construct her next question but Gil interrupted her train of thought. “Uma, I’m here to help you not to be interrogated.” He snapped with venom. He didn’t look to see her reaction but she was staring at him with surprise, Gil had a backbone made from crape paper and he’d just snapped her. Uma’s eyebrows knitted together as she continued to stare holes into Gil’s back, he wasn’t going to admit anything further unless she really pushed him. With that thought in mind, Uma rushed towards Gil, spun him around and pushed him against the wall as hard as she could without really hurting him. She lift her hand as if she was going to strike him. Gil immediately raised his hands to protect himself.

“Dad, please don’t!” He shouted on reflex, shaking violently as his eyes started tear up. He looked up at Uma with red tinted eyes, waiting for the pain.

It never came.

Uma pulled Gil into a hug, wrapping her arms around as though if she were to let go Gil would disappear and very be found. Gil was frozen in place, Uma was hugging him, Uma doesn’t hug people, he hasn’t even seen her hug Harry, why is she hugging him? Gil let out a shaking breath before he lifted his arms and wrapped them around his captain. If hugging someone felt this nice Gil never wanted to let go.

“Gil, you need to tell me the truth, Harry and I can help you.” Uma whispered, even though the room was empty of unwanted ears. Gil nodded as Uma released him, his eyes were less red but his cheeks and Uma’s shoulders were damp.

“Okay, but I think I should show you first.” Gil took a hold of Uma hand and lead her to the back room. Uma’s eyes were drawn to their connected hands, something in her stomach felt warm like the first time she and Harry kissed, but that was something she didn’t want to think too hard about. “Um, just don’t freak out, it doesn’t hurt as much as it looks, I swear.”

Carefully, Gil took off his vest and then his shirt to reveal the spear of bruises along his back and chest. Uma stepped closer to him with one hand over her mouth and the other stretched out.

“Oh my god.” Uma’s hand brushed along Gil’s back, there wasn’t many bruises but the ones that were there were large and grossly coloured. “Is this because of your dad?” Gil hesitated as he turned to face Uma, letting her see the other bruises.

“Yeah, but I-I’m fine, really.” Uma stepped closer to Gil and rested her hand to his cheek, the blond pressed into it before he pulled her into another hug.

“What’s going on?” The two turned to see Harry standing in the door frame.

“You and I are going on an adventure.” Uma said in a low voice with a twinkle in her eyes.

“An adventure?”

“Yep, Gil, stay here with the crew, Harry and I will be back soon.” As Uma passed Harry she gripped onto his hand tightly and pulled him towards the chip shop’s exit. Gil watched as they both grabbed their swords before leaving.

Uma and Harry didn’t return for three hours, leaving Gil to fidget and waiting impatiently. When they did return, the captain and first mate had small splatters of blood on their clothes and a couple of small bruises themselves.

“You didn’t-”

“No, we didn’t.” Uma replied before Gil could finish. “But he’ll leave you alone now, and if he doesn’t, he knows what’s coming.” Uma pulled Gil into a hug, making him feel blessed for the third time that day.

“Why don’t you stay on the ship tonight?” Harry offered. “You could stay in my cabin,” Gil nodded before he held out a hand to welcome Harry into the hug, the old boy accepted. “Or you could stay with Uma and me.” Gil smiled.

“… I’d like that.”