Chapter 1: Chapter 1
Summary: Mermaids. Sea creatures feared by anyone that dares to defy the vast ocean. Sign of bad luck for sailors and pirates alike.
What happens when a curious mermaid is taken hostage by pirates?
Alternative universe- Mermaid Tora/Kanae x Pirate Ushii/ Eiji
Warning: This fic will contain strong language and sexual content.
They say that the darkest night always brings out the brightest stars and that was one of the reasons Kanae loved the night.
It was also the only time where she could freely go to the water's surface, taking in the beauty of the darkness as the moon shone above her and the only sound that could be heard would be the waves or maybe occasionally a ship that passed by those waters.
The mermaid was always hiding her tail behind the rock that was in the middle of the water, giving her support to lean on something as she saw the boats passing, always unaware of her presence as she contemplated and admired from far away.
Humans were always a mystery to her, creatures so look alike to mermaids yet so different at the same time. She wasn't exactly unfamiliar to humans as one of her hobbies was sneaking up on the ships that got too close, she didn't hurt them, nor she tried to kill them, most of the times she didn't even do anything else than just explore the ship and then leave or if she found something that caught her eye she would take it with her before going back to her habitat.
Little did she knew that her little hobby would change her life.
One night, just like every single other, she was back to her rock, watching a ship passing by. By the moon's position, she was sure it was pretty late and as she assumed everybody should be sleeping by now so it was time for her to go try her luck.
Like she assumed, the ship seemed to be deserted, this she noticed as soon as she finished climbing the stair that, for some reason had been left what made her job even easier after she had used her ability to change her tail to her human legs.
Unlike what many thought, mermaids had the ability to do so whenever they felt like it and not just whenever they touched water, that was one of the factors that allowed them to choose between a life in the ocean or just live regular humans, of course, there would be consequences on the second one but Kanae never thought much about abdicating on her mermaid life.
With the skill of a feline, she made her way inside, starting with the kitchen as she wanted to avoid going near the quarters, after all, it was always a problem when someone with light sleep managed to hear her.
It didn't take too long until Kanae found something that caught her eye, making her smirk and even purr lightly as she hurried to the pile of barrels and bottles that were on the right corner of the room, quickly grabbing a couple of bottles and immediately opening one of them and drinking the wine that was inside, the familiar taste of alcohol cheering her up and be already happy about her sneak.
As the mermaid was so lost in her small moment with her drink, she didn't even notice that she wasn't alone anymore but her instincts quickly were on again when she heard a noise similar to a saber being removed from its case, what made her drop whatever she was carrying and even ignoring the alcohol that was now spread across the floor as she ran away back to jump to the ocean.
Kanae almost could sigh in relief when she saw the border where she could jump and as she didn't hear any footsteps following it almost made her think she was thinking things but her instinct told her to keep running.
Yet, as she was changing back to her normal form, slender arms grabbed her wrist, pulling her back until her back was against a warm body, whose arms were now around her waist and blocking her arms to keep her in place.
"So you're the one that decided to break into my ship ... " Kanae looked behind her in shock, only to find a broad chest in front of her face, making her look up to be able to face whoever had caught her, finding grey eyes so cold and tired yet with some sort of hidden mystery behind them. There was something in those eyes that made Kanae so intrigued to the point of almost forgetting the situation she was in. On the other side, the man also seemed to have stopped but it wasn't exactly for the same reason as Kanae, in fact, he was admiring her, a special part in particular "huh?"
It took a while for Kanae to look away from those eyes and instead look to whatever had gotten the human's attention, just to find him staring at her tail.
Both shifted their eyes to each other, now fully catching each other's eyes. The grey eyes stared back at the green ones that belonged to the girl on his arms, they shone with innocence and mostly curiosity but he was a little taken back that she showed no signs of fear for being so close to a killing machine as him.
Kanae felt her heartbeat get faster, too faster for her liking if she was honest, but she blamed that for being the first time being so close to a human, and for being found out.
"Well... " She interrupted the strong silence that had been settled by the surprise between the two. If this was one of the crappy lovey-dovey stories her mermaid friends told her down on the ocean, this would be probably be considered one perfect moment where it could be developed into a really pretty love story but Kanae was not a girl for girly-girl love stories. "Shit."
"A mermaid...?" Was the only thing the man could say as if asking out loud made the situation easier to believe, something his eyes were having problems doing.
"H-Hey, you're a pirate right? Like, you go on those hunts for treasures and shits like those...What about we make a deal? I tell you about one of the most valuable treasure any human has ever heard about it and you just let me go back to water so that we'll never need to see each other again?" The mermaid quickly tried to offer, taking in by the ship's construction and even the way the man was dressing it all pointed out to her deduction and if he was indeed a pirate, what would be more attractive than a lost treasure that could only be revealed by her own species?
Yet... Either this pirate didn't believe her or he wasn't as idiotic as she had given him credit for.
"You speak too much..." He told her while removing his saber once again from the case that was attached to his belt and drags it to the girl's that throat "Any last words?"
"Want to go swim with the fishes?"
In shock with her bold answer, he didn't even manage to fight back the sudden strong grip Kanae had when she fought to jump back to the water, in a successful attempt to get back into the ocean, ending up dragging the pirate with her.
Finally, she was free once again as the pirate had let her go but in her escaping, the sword he had been using had made its turns during the process and had ended up causing a cut on the man's right arm before being left on the deck, it wasn't too deep yet it was still enough to make the arm bleed and enough to make it harder for him to swim.
Kanae was too much aware of the predators that used to swim along those waters and even if she was supposed to take the chance to run away and just let the man either to his luck to go back or tire himself until he gave up and ended up drowning, there was something in her that didn't want to let him die, not just want but she couldn't let him there to die.
Carefully, she swam her way to him, watching as his eyes didn't leave her as if he was waiting for her actions. Putting herself under his left, unharmed, arm and wrapping the arm around her shoulders she then swam to the rope, completely aware of the questioning look he had been giving her the whole way.
The pirate then held onto the rope/stairs with the left arm, the one that had enough strength to support him but when Kanae backed away his right hand instantly went to grab her wrist, pulling her to him once more "You come with me."
Kanae's eyes had widened in surprise but she kept herself in the water "Why so? You'll kill me as soon as I step in there once again. That gives me, even more, the idea of dragging you back here again... I can easily kill you right now."
Yet, to her surprise, to her threat he had just smirked and pulled her against his body, wrapping his injured arm around her figure to drag her out of the water and be face to face with him "Then why did you saved me?"
A strange heat hit her cheeks as she felt his breath so close, not to talk about their proximity itself. This pirate was surely starting to get on her nerves but she just could stare at her, her tonguetied refused to let out any words as the man started to climb the stairs with only one hand, the other keeping her in place as they climbed together.
Kanae changed her tail back to legs once on her feet, yet in matters of outfit it was nothing more than a bikini with the same tiger stripes as her tail fins, but her attention was focused on every single movement the male made, watching as he carefully grabbed his saber that had fallen.
"They say a mermaid brings bad luck to sailors... In such a short time I could experience that..." She watched him checking the sword as if it was his most precious treasure, only sparing a second to her, what for some reason made her extremely mad.
"Hey, I just saved your life jerk!"
"You dare speak to me in such way?" He now seemed to give her his full attention, even saving the saber in its case, which made Kanae smirk in accomplishment.
"Oh, I can speak much worse love."
"Interesting..." He hummed, amusement clearly present in his face "So, about that treasure, you were talking about..."
"Oh, now you're curious about it." Kanae couldn't help but glare at him, finding such attitude so nerve-wracking but that only seemed to contribute to his amusement as now the pirate had a graceful smirk on his lips.
"You're a feisty one... Alright, there's no need to say it now, either way, you'll be the one to show us the way there." He stated, making Kanae confused at his meaning.
"I'll make myself clear. From now on, you're my hostage. Even if I'm thankful for you to have saved me, you were still in the origin of the problem so as I can't kill you, then I'll take you as a hostage until you show me the way to such treasure and then, we'll never will need to see each other again, like you said." He spoke slowly, making every word more and more deeply as if to fix them in Kanae's brain.
Kanae felt a shiver down her back hearing the deep voice that demanded domination over her, the worst part was that it wasn't exactly a shiver from fear if she had something to say it would be the exact opposite to fear in fact.
"I'm a mermaid, I can jump back to the ocean anytime now. Why do you think I'll be an obedient puppy and follow your rules?" She fought back, but her body betrayed her by backing away from the pirate, even if he still made his way to her.
She only stopped when she felt trapped, her back hitting the border of the ship and before she could dodge to any side, two arms trapped her in that same place, making her know there was no place to run.
"Because..." Kanae felt him lower himself to her levels, just to feel his breath near her ear as he whispered to her "You don't want to meet my bad side. Believe me, little mermaid."
She gulped, suddenly nervous in being so near a human, taking in the scent that the pirate transmitted from being so close, and out of nervously she muttered the first thing she came off "One week."
"I'll give you one week to prove me you deserve the treasure. After all, I'll be breaking my species' rules because of you." She tried to look at him in the eyes, yet being so close was making it an impossible mission to her so she just focused on looking ahead, meeting his chest that was covered by the soaked white half opened shirt, that only exposed more of the skin underneath it, so, feeling even more embarrassed, she looked up again this time not finding so hard to look at his eyes.
"So... You want me to show you I deserve it...? Interesting... Interesting indeed." He smiled a little and backed away, yet not enough to remove his arms from her sides "You're a very interesting woman... No one ever dared to treat me like that..." He looked at her, taking in the human form of the mermaid, she was petite, and that only made him more intrigued as such short figure dared to speak up to him when many of the most powerful and dangerous pirates didn't even manage to look at him "What's your name, Miss?"
"Now you treat me by Miss? What a nerve... Who do you think you are? Why do you even need to know it?"
"To introduce you to the rest of the crew, of course. And for your question, I'm the captain of this ship, Eiji Kashii or more known as Ushii, yet you can simply treat me by the captain." He presented himself with a courtesy light bow, finally letting her go as he thought it would be unpolite to make a deal in such a position.
She huffed at his courtesy "Sure thing Eiji." She smirked when he looked back at her, no expression on his face "And... Kanae. Kanae Aira. Just try to not get on my nerves this week and I'll try to not kill you."
He couldn't suppress a sigh at her still attempt to scare him but then grinned "Are all mermaids like that?"
"Some. The others don't waste time on talking and just drag jerks like you out of the boat instantly." She started out confident but as she realized about what was happening her mood changed to a more serious, something that didn't pass by Eiji "Hey... Can I... Request one thing?"
"As long it's nothing related with you going back to the ocean..."
She shook her head slightly, now knowing that returning back to the ocean would be a difficult mission "Can you... Not say anything about me being a mermaid...? This would be quite problematic for my family."
For the first time, Eiji saw sincerity and a sense of protection on the mermaid's eyes. He would never hurt innocent persons or creatures in general but see how the girl was somehow exposing her weakness he found another level of respect towards her so he nodded " Your secret is safe, just be careful yourself..."
She released a relieved sigh that even herself wasn't aware she had been holding and then smiled at the captain "Thanks..."
Part of her was complained at why she was thanking, she should just run and jump back to the ocean but the other part seemed to be in control as it demanded her to stay there.
"Tomorrow, I'll introduce you to the rest of the crew. "
Kanae nodded and turned her head to the water, having a new question in mind "And one last question... Where exactly am I going to sleep?"
"With me. At least for tonight. I can't let you alone when there's a high risk of you running away." He explained and started making his way to the captain's quarters, in slow steps as he didn't hear her following, making him turn his head to look at her, who remained in the same spot.
"You... You want me to sleep with you? Who the fuck do you think I am?" She shouted at him, her cheeks feeling incredibly hot as she just thought about the suggestion.
Eiji sighed and walked to her, just to put her over his shoulder and walking to his room, ignoring her protests as he calmly answered her "Don't worry. It's nothing like that and it's only for tonight. Tomorrow you'll have another place to stay." He explained, trying to make her stop complaining before she would wake up the whole crew.
Indeed, he could have put her in the same room as the other women from the crew but... He had to admit he was starting to grow fond of teasing the mermaid.
Even if none of the two truly trusted each other, their encounter had tired them from all the energy they had left and it didn't take too long until they were both sleeping on the captain's bed, already getting prepared for the following day that both were sure it was going to be a long one.
Chapter 2: Chapter 2
On the next day, Kanae woke up rather comfortably, more comfortable than she had ever awakened but truth to be told, a rock was never comfortable in the first place.
At least the bed she was in was a good thing in all this situation.
"Eiji? Are you there?" An unfamiliar, tired voice called out from outside the room Kanae was in. This voice was not as deep as the man from last night but it clearly belonged to another male.
The name he had called had made the mermaid look to her side, where she had been forced to sleep next to Eiji, but found the place empty.
"Are you missing me there already?" A now familiar voice teased her, what caused her to turn and glare at him but, when facing him, immediately turned her face away at seeing the pirate buttoning his white shirt, still having time to not miss how he had put a sort of bandage over the cut from the previous night.
"Fuck you." She muttered before pulling the blanket over her, covering even the top of the head. It was way too early for her to handle him.
"My... I really need to do something about that language..." Eiji didn't sound angry or upset, Kanae could almost even hear a hint of amusement of his tone but as she pulled the thin blanket to uncover her head she instantly regretted doing so.
Not even having heard him walking to her, leave alone returning to the bed yet this time he wasn't exactly by her side but rather literally on top of her, the blanket being the only source that separated their bodies.
Kanae still tried to hide again but Eiji's hand blocked her from doing so " Get... Get out." She muttered lowly, barely audible as she couldn't bring herself to look at his face, feeling her body suddenly hot.
"Can you repeat it again?"
"Get out..." She repeated, yet it didn't seem to be enough for the pirate. The man put his hand on her chin, just to direct her face to him.
"Not that." His grey eyes seemed to burn as Kanae looked into them, not seeing any traces of hostile intentions and even catching a hint of amusement.
She didn't reply. For her, his touch seemed like a slow torture, despite the fact that he was barely touching her, aside from his hand that was forcing her to look at her, her body still felt like it was on fire. She could feel his body on top of her, trapping her against him and the bed underneath her and just that was driving her crazy.
"Kanae..." She noted his voice has a little hoarse but it didn't help her that it was so near her ear, feeling his warm breath against it "I gave you an order..."
Kanae shivered a little and her hands let go of the blanket, just to be placed on his chest to try to push him away. Thankfully for her, the one that had previously knocked on the door had decided it was enough of waiting and just barged in the scene.
"Eiji, we believe someone broke in last night and..." A young man entered the quarter, a little worry clearly present in his voice but it seemed more tired than anything. At least, he was concerned until surprise overtook him to find his captain with an unknown woman on his bed.
"I already took care of her," Eiji stated simply, moving to get up and Kanae finally could breathe normally again, only then looking better at the new pirate in the room after sitting up on the bed.
"Who is...?" The grey-haired male started to ask but Eiji got ahead of him.
"I'll explain everything when everyone is gathered. Please, gather everyone in the cafeteria. But first, please ask Ryouka or Misaki for one of their clothes."
The younger pirate spared one more look at Kanae, who watched him with curiosity as she analyzed him. He was young, without a doubt, probably even younger than her, but even that way his hair was as grey as his matching eyes. He followed Eiji's orders without complaining, just giving a nod and closing the door behind him again.
After the door was closed, Eiji turned to Kanae "You better get ready to answer some questions."
"Figured. Just don't ruin my cover. Remember your promise." The ginger-haired got up and stretched, warming up her muscles, turning her back to him as she still refused to look at the captain, even worse after his tease "Can we go eat? I'm hungry. And thirsty."
"We will. Just not with you dressed like that." Eiji pointed out, watching the defined muscles of the girl that the lack of clothes allowed him to see.
Kanae looked down at her outfit, her simple tiger-striped bikini was still intact, never had she been worried about it as nobody saw her during the night and then she would be back to her tail but she didn't exactly understand what was wrong with it "Why?"
"You're half naked, leaving my quarter after arriving in the middle of the night out of nowhere. We have already many questions to be answered, your lack of clothes is not a theme that should be bought."
"Fair point. But I have no clothes... Wait, I have an idea." She grinned and quickly rushed to his closet, while he put on his long jacket and watched her movements, taking on one of his random shirts and put it on "There."
The mermaid had a proud look on her face, which caused Eiji to also let out a small side smile "I don't think so..."
"Heh? What's wrong now?" She asked, her hands on her hips as she half glared at him, demanding for answers but only got him to point out to the shirt that was covering her. The shirt was so large that it reached her tights, making it look like a short dress if it wasn't the fact that the long sleeves also made it fall over her shoulders. In no time, she was back to her original outfit as the "dress" slipped down her figure "Shit."
Pouting, she could do no more than just put the shirt back on its place, in the meanwhile, Eiji hears a faint knock on his door, what made him open the door slightly to not reveal Kanae inside his room but thankfully he only found a pile of clothes on the other side, thinking Tsugiyoshi has left as soon as he dropped the objects Eiji had requested to give them privacy.
Eiji closed the door once more and turned to Kanae, giving her the clothes he was carrying "Here. I'll be waiting outside."
When grabbing the pieces of clothes that were being given to her, Kanae watched as Eiji left the room to give her the privacy to change. At least she could have five minutes to herself.
She looked at what had been given to her before dressing up and looking her reflex in the mirror. The black skirt was long and ripped, yet it still fit her even if she wasn't exactly comfortable, she liked to have space to move her legs and part of her was a little afraid she would trip on the red edges. The shirt, however, was better, it also fit her perfectly, the white color matched perfectly with the black of the skirt and even if it was showing her shoulders, it still was kept in place.
Kanae checked herself for a little longer, taking in her image. She actually liked what she saw, shocking herself with the thought but as she would have to spend the next days as a pirate, at least she would enjoy it.
To her surprise, as soon as she left the captain's quarter, Eiji was still there waiting for her like he had told. They didn't speak, Eiji looking at her and inspecting her silently, for some reason making Kanae nervous under his gaze.
"You... Look good." He quietly complimented, earning her to stay even shyer and nervous for not understand why she was
acting like that.
"Thanks..." She replied as quietly "Can we go now?"
"Yeah... Of course." The man shook away any thoughts that were going on his brain and went back to his expressionless self as they made their way in silence to the cafeteria.
As soon as Kanae stepped into the room where the whole crew was in, the previously chatting she had heard while walking there fell into a deep silence as well as the tension grew once the ten pirates present laid her eyes on her.
“So another woman heh... Are you even sure she's not a child? She seems young” Kanae heard an old man muttering to himself in a corner.
“Is she a new friend?” Another pirate asked, now more loudly as he wasn't talking to himself but rather was excited to see a new person. Kanae asked to herself why a pirate would be so excited in making new friends, but there were so many questions about that pirate himself like why he was using black rabbit ears hidden along his white snow hair.
Following the rest of the crew, her eyes stopped by another figure that was a little more secluded from the rest, also choosing to be near a corner as he also analyzed her. His blue irises seemed to be glaring at her as she saw him sniff, watching his face contort in confusion but as he didn't say anything, Kanae actually wondered if she had somehow been found already.
“Usagi... You'll end up scaring her.” The same grey haired boy that had interrupted her and Eiji before spoke to the one with the rabbit ears, trying to calm the excited pirate.
Next to them was another male figure, a tall, muscular individual that was as silent as the one that Kanae thought had found her secret but this one wasn't glaring at her, in fact, he seemed to have no reaction to her presence as if it wasn't anything worth to stop eating his food.
“You'll all end up scaring her.” A soft and gentle voice calmed the rest, the tender motherly tone immediately dragged Kanae's attention to a short woman with hazel hair and eyes, that was hidden behind her glasses. The woman, seeing Kanae looking at her, gave her a smile, causing the ginger-haired to smile back thankful for a warm reception.
On both of her sides there stood another two females, one of them looked as excited as the Rabbit one seemed to be, while the other with long blonde hair had a similar reaction to the tall man, except her eyes shifted from Kanae and Eiji and she was sure she could see a small hint of a smirk on those red lips.
Lastly, there were two other figures by the end of the room, checking on the bottles that Kanae had dropped on the floor before being chased by Eiji the previous night, until they turned to her just to reveal to her that they were twins “Wait, was she the one that drank these whole bottles?”
“Uhm...yes?” She assumed she should be honest with the crew, at least until they accepted her but not knowing what they were expecting of her, her answer ended up being more of a question itself.
The twins looked at each other, silently having a mental conversation with each other leaving Kanae a little nervous until they both turned to her with a large grin on both's face “Can we keep her?”
“You idiots. She's not a pet.” The green haired from before shouted out at the twins, scolding them but before Kanae could interfere with someone grabbed her by the waist, pulling her against the said person's body.
“Kanae will take us to a treasure until that happens she'll stay with us. And if anything, she's MY pet.” Eiji possessively stated, refusing to let go of the mermaid, catching the whole crew by surprise.
Yet, Kanae, even if feeling her heart beating faster, broke away from his grip “I am not a pet.” She glared at the tall man, earning a glare back at the way she was facing him, before turning back to the rest of the ones present there “Nice to meet you... I'm Kanae and I'll be here until he lowers his back and let me go.” She bluntly said, pointing out at her captor, but to her surprise most part of the crew actually laughed, probably mistaking it as a joke.
“Good one newbie but you should know by now, Eiji is not one to let his guard down.” One of the twins commented while laughing, in the meanwhile, the woman with the glasses got up and walked to Kanae, gently taking her hands on hers.
“It's a pleasure to meet you Kanae, I'm Misaki if you need anything please don't hesitate to ask.” She continued with her soft smile, making Kanae feel instantly welcomed “ I'll give you some brief details about the crew so you can be aware of at least our names. Starting with the senior over there, Hitsuji prefers to be called by his pirate name so he never actually revealed his real name.” Misaki started introducing every member that was in the room, while Kanae tried her best to memorize every single one but in all the mixes of their real and the pirate's names she started to grow confused.
“I believe it's too much information to handle at once, Misaki.” Ryouka, the green-haired woman that had been sitting next to Misaki, called out to her before getting up herself and quickly walking to them, grabbing Kanae's wrist to drag her away from the cafeteria “I'm going to show her the ship”
With that, Kanae was dragged away from the scene, giving one last look to Eiji, who had a concerned look on his face but it faded away quickly as he talked about her position there for the rest of the crew.
The two girls looked through the ship, occasionally having a random chit-chat just like asking about the age, hobbies, and likes and dislikes, Kanae needing to have extra care to not share any information that would reveal her mermaid self but otherwise, she needed to admit it was nice to have someone to talk and the crew didn't seem that bad at all, she could even see herself there getting along with them.
The rest of the day was basically Kanae trying to find out the more that she could and trying to fit in in this new life. But in the process, it was only by the end of the day that Kanae had a chance to rest.
Honestly, she had thought it would be a much larger group but for what she saw until there, they were few but each of them extremely good in their fields. She thought she would be nervous about being around so many people but all of them, a few more than the others, seemed to be nice people to be around.
“Hey, Kanae!” She was immediately called out once arriving at the cafeteria once more, thinking she wouldn't be able to have any time for herself... “Come have a drink with us”
Finally, something she could feel comfortable with.
Kanae walked closer to the table where the twins were, immediately giving her a cup full of beer “Thanks.” She said while taking a sip, letting her throat be blessed with the beer.
“No worries. Good to see there's someone else brave enough to try to steal from the genius of slaughter ship.” The younger Tatsumi brother confessed, joining Kanae in also drinking from his cup, but that caught the mermaid's attention.
“Huh? The genius of slaughter...?”
“You aren't aware of Eiji's title?” Nagayuki asked her, quite surprised, what made Kanae wonder if it was so rare to not know about it.
“ So you didn't hear about the fact that Eiji is a natural born killer, every battle he steps in the floor gets covered by a trail of his enemies blood.” The older continued to explain as his younger brother was currently filling his and Kanae's cup that were both empty.
“Really, is he that dangerous?” The girl looked down at the cup filled with the liquid, starting to ask how would she survive there.
“You bet. But whatever you did, he seems to like you so congrats.” Nagayuki took a shot, grabbing the bottle his brother had near him and pouring even more into his cup again.
“ You... You also said someone else had tried to break in, right? Did he... Did he killed them?” Kanae asked some fear in her voice after hearing the truth about Eiji.
But to her concerns, it was only met with laughter from both twins “Hell no. You're seeing them right now.”
“Wait... You two? Really?” She asked again, now shocked at the new information.
“Of course. We tried to break in and steal some treasures, you know, we weren't really many pirates to go look for treasures, we kinda have a gift in finding the most precious ones... We're just too lazy to get them ourselves so we steal them from other pirates. We tried to do the same with Eiji but things turned around and he took us in his crew. Funny heh?”
Kanae watched as the two twins drank and drank more, their cheeks already pink from the alcohol and they started to lose their conscious to speak. It didn't take too long for her to be by herself again as the two companions had ended up passing out.
She sighed, now even more unsure of what to do about her situation until she decided something: she needed to run away before it was too late.
Quickly making her way along the ship, she wasn't able to find the captain anywhere so it made the job easier for her... Or at least she thought so.
Once making sure the coast was clear, Kanae headed to the ship's border, just to find herself being dragged by Eiji over his shoulder just as she was about the jump.
She tried her best to get free but as the two just walked slowly to his quarter, passing by the rest of the crew, Kanae could only complain, not having any other get out.
Eiji locked the door behind him once in his quarter and went to sit on the chair by his desk, shifting the girl on his shoulder to sit on his lap, holding her arms and legs in place that it would make impossible for her to escape.
The two glared at each other, having a silent war just by glaring, each of them demanding answers and freedom.
“ I let my guard down for five minutes...”
“ I warned you. I can run away anytime I want.” She continued glaring at him, threatening with her escape once more, which made him look at her for a long time, until he spoke again.
"Let's make a deal then. If you manage to bring us to that treasure you talk about, I'll let you go without giving any fight."
She smirks, finding the deal pretty easy for her even if she would have to struggle a bit to not run away " what about the other part of the deal?”
An even longer silence took over " If you try to escape,” Eiji's eyes never left Kanae's as he thought about the deal "I will follow you and when I catch you, you shall become my bride "
She... Wasn't expecting that that was saying in the least. But she wouldn't let it be seen in her face, either way, she now had a good reason to not try to run away "So... I can leave as soon as you have your treasure, that's it?"
“That is correct. Now, what exactly is such a treasure?”
“Dunno. From what I heard it depends on who finds it. It is said to hold what the one that finds it desires the most.” She shrugged, telling the honest truth of what she knew and had heard from other pirates and mermaids that had gone there, none story was the same aside from the mermaids conducting the travelers to the said treasure as a sign of thanks for some reason between them.
“So it changes from person to person...?” Eiji thought out loud, his grip on her arms and legs ceasing but she still didn't move away, she was actually comfortable, even more, when there wasn't anything forcing her to be there “Interesting.”
Kanae's ears, however, did catch some sound from outside the quarter, having no doubts of what was happening outside: they were listening to their conversation.
“Eiji... We should probably talk about this later.” He seemed to have caught the indirect remark as he looked at the door before nodding at her, finally watching her getting up and leaving him alone, just leaving him time to say the last line before she left the Captain's quarters.
“Remember, if you try to leave, you'll end up being with me forever.”
One week passed by, in all the confusion and attempts in remember everything and everyone, it spends faster than Kanae ever thought and by the end of the seven days she was already aware of the lifestyle of each of the pirates.
Like Eiji had stated, already on her second night she moved to the girl's quarters, having a spare bed to her, and that already let her some freedom to herself as she somehow felt more comfortable with the other girls - Even if she needed to admit she sometimes missed Eiji's bed warmth.
Despite the confront of personalities of all the twelve persons in the ship, they somehow managed to get along. Every night, the twelve all gathered somewhere in the ship, either to drink, chat or eat, occasionally even playing some games.
After the eldest of them, all went to his quarters to check on his favorite grenades in case of any surprise attack like he said, the rest of the group stood behind on the deck, a couple of bottles around them while they were in a full circle.
There was just an empty bottle in the middle of them, rotating to select the next victim of the game they were playing to distract themselves.
Until there, the game of truth or dare could be resumed by easy and simple tasks such as jumping out to the water, drinking a full bottle or rather just answering silly questions about their lives before choosing the pirate life.
With the game, Kanae had been able to find out more things about the rest, for example Toshiko was an heiress of an extremely powerful family yet as she didn't want to set in with just one guy she decided to explore the world by herself; Ryouka didn't have any memories of her childhood; Misaki had been quite vague in her reply but Kanae was sure she had some type of romantic relationship in her version; the twins were more of pranks and dare than choosing the Truth option, while both Usagi and Tsugiyoshi would rather choose the Truth. Kanae noticed how vague Eiji's replies were, giving little or none information that it wasn't necessary and never taking any dares until it was Kanae's turn to ask him.
“Why did you become a pirate?”
Silence fell over the group. Nobody had the audacity to ask such question, not even the twins, even if they knew about the captain's goals they never really knew how it all started. Kanae thought her question would be treated like the others but to her surprise, she saw a small smirk on the corner of his lips “You really don't hold back, do you? Well, if you believe in my word, my mission is to help those in need. I simply collect lost treasures and after sharing them with the crew for their own business, my part will go mostly to poor families or orphans.”
“That...” Didn't answer my question, she wanted to say but the bottle had been spun again, ending her turn.
A couple of more games went on until the bottle stopped on Kanae herself, who is tired of boring truths, just choose a dare, grinning at Takeyasu who was in charge of the job “Make sure to think of a good one.”
“Hm.” The younger twin hummed as he thought about something until an idea appeared on his head “I know. I dare you to go swim.” Kanae shrugged and got up, seeing as it seemed to be the dare itself but as she was about to jump like the pirates seemed to love to interrupt her at that moment, Takeyasu continued “With no clothes.”
Kanae turned her head to face him, to know if she had heard him correctly but the other girls seemed to be quick to react, the usual chirpy green-haired being the first one to comment “Don't you dare to use this as an excuse to see her naked! That's disgusting!”
“That's right. Kanae, don't take him seriously” Misaki told her before glaring at the younger Tatsumi, who by his expression acted like it was nothing out of the ordinary.
“C'mon, we're just having fun.” He excused himself but this time, the girls weren't the only to try to stop the game as Eiji also got up.
“This is enough for tonight. It's time to stop.” The captain warned them but Kanae, seeing him bothered by the dare, smirked and seeing as he was now the only that was truly looking at her while the rest was arguing about the game, she gave him a wink before removing her clothes and jumping to the water, the discussion of the pirates being interrupted by the splash.
As the rest got closer to the edge to see Kanae, hearing Takeyasu muttering an “I can't believe it”, Eiji slowly followed, wondering what the hell was going on Kanae's mind and what did she intended to provoke on him, if she was aiming to make him crazy, she was starting to be able to do so.
Down in the water, Kanae stared at them with a large grin on her face as she swam a little, letting the water embrace her figure, feeling at home and free once in her nature “Isn't really anyone that's going to join me? You're boring”
Eiji had to stop himself right there, he wasn't sure if it was her charm as a mermaid or just himself losing his mind but he truly felt a need to gladly join her down in the water and he would possibly do it if they weren't surrounded by the rest of the crew.
After a few minutes however, Kanae started climbing the stairs back, the night helping her to keep her body hidden in the dark and in the meanwhile Misaki had gone inside to grab a blanket, even if Eiji had tried to offer his jacket to cover Kanae, what even earned him a scold by the motherly pirate.
“You too Eiji. Close your eyes.” She had warned him, as the other two girls covered Kanae from the male gaze before Misaki could cover her with the blanket.
With that, the game was over and each of them decided to go to their respective quarters one by one or in small groups until only Kanae and Eiji stood behind.
“You're crazy” The captain had warned her, watching her leaning against the border of the ship with her grin that refused to leave her face.
“I know you liked it. And you didn't answer my question earlier.”
The two stared at each other for a while, the waves crashing into the ship being the only calming sound around them until Eiji finally spoke: “Let's just say you're not the only mermaid that changed my life.”
“Hm? What do you mean?” She asked, feeling an unusual anger she had never felt before under those words.
Yet, Eiji being Eiji didn't seem to be wanting to give her any explanation as he gave her a hidden smile “It's getting late, you should go back to your quarter. Have a good night Kanae.”
He waited for her to leave, not wanting to leave her alone there, and she waited for him to answer her, which never came. After a good minute, Kanae had to give in, feeling tired and just walked to the girl's room, not even bothering to say anything but a low mutter of a good night.
Eiji always had troubles with sleep yet, aside from the night where he had met Kanae, that night that followed had been the easier and hardest that he could ever remember, finding both easy to fall asleep while remembering Kanae's body and the seductive way she acted and harder because of the consequences the fact had on his mind and body.
That woman would definitely be the end of him.
A/N: Chapter 2 is done~ Now off to write the third one, expect it hopefully in a week or so.
Related to their backstories, I'm planning on treating each of the warriors with a little time of their own and sooner or later you'll be aware of all of them, I'll try my best to adapt the original characterization to this universe such like what happened in the "Detention" fic.
Chapter 3: Chapter 3
"This feels nice in here"
A petite feminine figure stood leaning against one side of the crow's nest, the wind gently whipped her hair, making it fly softly to behind her while she saw the ocean through the above. She could almost feel like she was flying while being in the taller place of the ship and even if the water was her natural habitat, she would need to admit that flying should be as amazing as swimming was.
"Doesn't it?" Another petite and feminine figure smiled at her, looking behind to face Kanae as she had been doing her job of checking for any possible enemies in near spots from high above "It almost feels like we're flying, right?"
Kanae returned the smile and nodded. A few days had passed since she had made the deal with Eiji and until there she had not made any attempts on running away, not exactly because she didn't want to but rather for three reasons.
The first one being the deal itself. She didn't want to be anyone's bride, much less to a pirate. The second was Eiji's title, if he was indeed so strong and serious like the others warned about then she probably wouldn't have any chances to run away in time before he would realize her missing. And the third one...
She continued looking at the scenario in front of her, Ryoka coming to rest by her side as she also started looking back at where Kanae was looking "You know, we're all happy to have you here. It seems our lives changed completely, it used to be so boring and there were even days we didn't talk to each other... Now, that doesn't happen anymore and it's all because of you. I'm so happy to finally have someone to talk with and to keep me company here, the other girls refuse to come here, Toshiko has a little of height fear and Misaki is too busy cooking..."
The third reason was just for that. Not only did she changed their lives but the eleven pirates had somehow been a blessing to her too. Never in her life had she had so much fun and learned so many things.
"I'm happy to be here too. Do you mind if I come here from time to time?"
The green-haired shook her head "Not at all, feel free to invade my little hideout whenever you want. Just be aware that the twins also share this place but they're here mostly during the night time or when we're near an island... Somehow they can see it better than me... I can only figure it whenever birds show me the way."
"You can talk with birds?" Kanae asked, surprised. Mermaids had abilities that surpassed the humans but she wasn't aware of them being able to speak with animals, at least not that both parts spoke the same language and part of her believed many of the animals were only looking at her species as if they were crazy to talk with them, so she assumed that for normal humans it would be an impossible mission.
"Only when I sing." Ryouka looked at the other girl with a teasing smile, what caused Kanae smile back at the joke.
"Sure. What the fuck are you? A princess?"
"You'll see. Someday my prince will come and you'll be here, married with Eiji." The playful atmosphere continued until the last statement, what caused Kanae to lose her smile and instead look at Ryouka without any expression on her face.
"Did you heard my conversation with Eiji?"
"Nope. But the news doesn't take too long to be spread in this place. I just heard it from Misaki, who had heard from Toshiko, who had heard from Michio, who had heard from Tsugiyoshi, who had heard from Takeyasu, who had heard from Nagayuki."
"Wait...Too fast." The ginger-haired held her hand in front of her as a sign for the other girl to slow down "Basically, everybody in the ship knows about it?"
"Pretty much, yeah." Ryouka watched as Kanae buried her face on her hands, muttering some not so decent words "But you know, he surprised even us when he made you that deal..."
"Why so? Is it not usual for him to just randomly try to find someone to fuck? " She was probably jumping to conclusions but to mermaids, a marriage interspecies was always a bad thing, at least that was what they were made to believe.
Yes, there were cases of mermaids marrying humans but they almost never seemed to end well for the mermaids, they would end up treated either like freaks for the circus or traded as sex slaves, or the man would forcefully take her away from her home to force her into marriage, never letting her go to the ocean once again.
No feelings were involved in such a relationship and Kanae didn't want to spend her life stuck like a pet. She wanted her freedom and even if she was truly enjoying herself there, part of her was afraid that this idea of a marriage would go ahead.
Ryoka smiled at the language but shook her head "Not at all. Eiji was never one to look at women, let alone to even mention anything of any sorts of relationship... Demanding you to be his bride was ... It was truly unexpected, to say the least. He must have seen really something in you."
"Marriage is just a facade either way" she huffed, trying to ignore the whatever feeling she was having, she felt happy for some reason, maybe it had been the fact of managing to attract in some way the stoic pirate's attention like Ryoka had said but... That was only probably her effect as a mermaid " It's just an excuse to someone own the other."
A deep and strong silence took over the two, completely breaking the playful atmosphere from before.
"I think..." Ryoka just smiled, giving no other reaction " I think you should learn by yourself... Both you and the captain seem to need each other more than you will admit it."
Kanae looked at her confused but Ryouka seemed to understand that the mermaid needed time for herself and her thoughts so she gave her one last smile before climbing down the stairs to go down back to the ship's deck, leaving Kanae by herself.
"Marriage..." The green-eyed sighed, leaning herself against the edge again, facing the ocean " Ryouka is just putting things in my head. There's no way he's interested in me, I'm sure it's just because of the treasure and he needed to make sure I wouldn't leave. He probably knows about the thing of marriages between mermaids and humans and is threatening me because of it. Yes. That's it."
She tried to convince herself, yet she felt hurt.
Taking a hand to over she felt hurting, it rested over her chest, just above her heart. ´Here. That's where it hurts. But... why?´
The mermaid looked over the wood edge, staring back at the vast blue ocean, just hearing the sound made her want to jump back but she felt something holding her there and it wasn't really the deal.
After a couple of minutes, however, Kanae started getting upset for not being able to reach an answer and only more doubts and questions were showing up, so she decided to just stop thinking and going back down, hoping to find something to distract herself.
Yet to her distress, as soon as she got back on the deck she was met with the one she wanted to avoid the most, thankfully his back was turned to her as he spoke with Michio and Ryouka, who seemed to have been caught in the conversation.
"Are you sure there's nothing wrong with the girl?" Kanae heard Michio ask Eiji, seemingly not having noticed her presence and Kanae, despite not being one to overhear the other's conversations, took the chance to hide behind the central mast.
"What do you mean?" She heard Ryouka's voice, a little confused, shocked and intrigued.
"Doesn't she kinda has a strange smell? Like fish..."
Kanae started to feel sweaty as the nerves were getting to her. What now? Michio was onto her and if she didn't find a plausible excuse there would be a high chance that it wouldn't take too long until they realized that pirates weren't the only that spent their lives in the vast ocean.
"Well..." She wasn't sure if he had heard her thoughts but Eiji seemed to be wanting to play as the hero of the story as he spoke, trying to take Kanae's work of thinking of an excuse " we're in the middle of the ocean, fishes are all around us and you should have realised by now that the girl has a problem in jumping to the water whenever she can, it's probably due that fact. Also, it would be quite unpolite of my part to ask her to simply take a bath, don't you think?"
"Eiji's right. That's rude and Kanae doesn't really smell all that bad... At least she doesn't smell like a wet dog everytime meeting water.
Michio growled at the provocation "Don't you have anything better to do?"
"Well, I'm doing my daily moment of annoying you so I'm doing something important. By the way..." The green-haired's voice lost all the curiosity and childish tone as it changed to one more dangerous, one that Kanae didn't have the chance to meet until then but by the expression of fear that was on Michio's face she was sure she wanted to stay away from such mood " Why are you shamelessly smelling another woman?"
"H-hey, it's nothing like that! You know I can't control it and ... Fuck"
"Come back here! Stupid horny dog" Ryoka shouted at him, who had turned his tail to sprint away from the jealous rage, before not wasting any more time in going after him, refusing to finish the conversation like that.
Eiji watched with amusement as the two pirates walked away, rather he saw how Michio tried to escape the petite woman while she chased after him like a dog chased their prey, never turning around as he spoke: "It is rude to overhear conversations."
"It was about me so I also had the right to know. " Kanae got out of her hiding spot, even if part of her just wanted to pretend she hadn't heard him so she wouldn't have to be alone with the tall man. She made her way to him, both of them leaning their backs on the border as none looked at the other "Thanks for the excuse"
"I had forgotten about Michio... I should have remembered his accurate sense of smell... But still..."
Without a warning, he leaned in, catching her by surprise as Eiji's face was suddenly on her neck, causing an unusual heat on her face "h-heh? What the hell ... What the hell are you doing?!"
Kanae felt his breathing against her skin, his nose slowly traveling from her collarbone to almost reach her ear before he backed away again, only then the mermaid felt like she could breathe again.
"Checking. " The corner of the pirate's lips turned into a twisted smirk that was being hardly retrained when seeing the blushed Kanae "I don't want to take more risks."
"Couldn't you just had given me a fucking warning before doing whatever you did...? I thought you were the mister respect in person..." She muttered, feeling impossible to look at him so she just ended up choosing to stare at the water behind them "Either way, I want to go swim, can I go?"
He noticed her staring intensely at the water, not being able to avoid thoughts of her running away and Eiji just couldn't allow that to happen "Don't even think about it."
Kanae let out a tired sigh "I need water. I'm. a. fucking. mermaid. I won't run away if that's what you're thinking."
Eiji stared at her, thinking on what to do but then he also sighed "fine..."
"Thanks..." She muttered ironically, returning once more to look at him but looked away when noticing how the captain was removing his jacket and unbuttoning his shirt " what are you doing?!"
"I'm not going to let you have any escape opportunity."
"Geez, don't you know how to talk? Learn on how to give warnings" She muttered under her breath, forcing herself to not turn to him and check that body.
"Remember, you're a hostage. You have no rights in giving orders." Kanae heard him speak behind her before slowly making his way to the edge so he could jump, be followed by the female a little reluctant.
When checking that no other was around, Kanae allowed her legs to return to her scaled tail, the previous orange glow was now dry and seemed a little tired out, the membranes looked fragile and the tail itself seemed to be losing color.
The soothing feeling of water meeting her skin made her sigh in pleasure, diving in the sea to allow her full body to have contact with the water, as she was there, one thought appeared on her mind : She was in her habitat, if she ran away there would take a while for Eiji to catch her as he wouldn't be able to swim as fast as her nor did he had enough time to return to his ship without losing her of his sight.
It was a little dangerous, and Kanae didn't exactly want to leave without saying her goodbyes to the crew but this could be her last chance to catch the pirate distracted.
But she just couldn't leave like that. Eiji was too much for her to just leave like nothing happened. So, she needed to do what mermaids do what they did better: seduce and, in Kanae's case, run away.
Or, at least, that had been her plan.
When returning to the surface, she took a deep breath, recovering the oxygen, and then got closer to the pirate, who kept himself floating not so far from her, watching her with some curiosity, after all, it wasn't that easy to believe that a mermaid was in front of him.
"Your tail... Is this what happens when you don't transform for too long?" Eiji deducted as he took notes on the fish part of the woman who kept it hidden underneath the water, only on a close look it would be possible to distinguish it from the water.
Kanae nodded, without looking at her tail, it wasn't even needed to as she already knew the consequences of living outside the water "Yeah... It's been more than a week since I needed to use it, a mermaid's body adapts to their choices as such if she chooses to live on land, the tail loses her strength until it is impossible to change back."
"I see... So we need to be aware of it. " The mermaid was a little shocked in hearing such, part of her was expecting him to just let her be on board until she lost her ability " If you really have the need to return to the water, I'll allow you to do so. I know that sooner or later, I'll be able to fully trust in you and I know that you'll think of your acts yourself."
She nodded again slowly, still taking in the surprising concern "Thanks..."
Eiji watched her, Kanae could see how lost he was in his thoughts until his hand was placed on her cheek, being easy at their proximity, and his thumb slowly and carefully passed by the mermaid's fish like ear "Does this hurt?"
She shook her head, finding the touch comforting and even leaning against it.
It felt wrong... Kanae knew she shouldn't let a human touch her so freely, and even more important, she shouldn't allow herself to get too close to him, it was too dangerous for her future but she couldn't help but want to feel more of the pirate's soft touch, so careful to not hurt her that even made her forget he tried to kill her on the first night.
As their eyes refused to leave each other, Kanae just let things happen, her body seemed to be acting on its own to be more accurate as she moved even closer, resting her hands on Eiji's shoulders and closing the gap between their faces, only stopping when their lips were a few inches apart.
"Kanae..." The girl felt her name being whispered by Eiji's lips, his thumb rubbing her check sent shivers down her spine and at that moment she wasn't sure of who was seducing who.
This was it. This was the moment she was waiting: he had his guard down and it meant it was the perfect moment to run away.
"I've had enough for today. I want to go back to the ship." The mermaid quickly broke apart, burying her face on his shoulder instead to hide her furious blush, completely ashamed of herself for choosing that decision.
It had taken a while for Eiji to reply to her but it only came out one word "Alright".
Eiji climbed the stairs first, then Kanae soon followed, still wondering what the hell had happened back there. She had the situation completely on her side and then she ruined it.
She wanted to know what was wrong with her but no answers reached to her brain, thankfully even if she wasn't aware of such, a pair of ruby colored eyes that had been watching the two had the answers she was looking for.
"Misaki! I need help!" Kanae slammed the kitchen's door open, looking in the spot where the woman should be since her role was the cooker, and Kanae never remembered having eaten food so good before.
Thankfully for her, Misaki was in the Kitchen, sitting by a table with Toshiko on the other side, being both interrupted by Kanae's appearance.
"Kanae? Is everything ok?" The hazel colored haired asked concerned at seeing the trouble written on Kanae's features.
"I... I don't know! I feel so weird, please help me." The mermaid pleaded, now more silently as if afraid others would hear her.
"Alright, calm down. Take a sit here with us and let's talk about it." Misaki signalized one of the free seats around the table, which Kanae took "Take a deep breath and tell us what's wrong."
kanae once again did what was told and after taking a long breath, she started explaining "Well, you see... How do I put this..."
"This is related with Eiji, isn't it?" Toshiko asked, looking at her curiously, taking Kanae by surprise.
She gave a small nod "Yeah... How do you know?"
"I saw you two in the water... You seemed quite in the moment. How was the kiss?"
"K-kiss?" Kanae stumbled on her own words, just the thought about what had about to happen to bring a heat and color to her cheeks, that didn't escape any of the females present in the room "We didn't kiss! Nope. No kiss."
"Oh really?" Toshiko's smile was no without a doubt changed to a smirk even if it was hidden behind her hand " You seem quite nervous about it. Don't tell me you have feelings for the captain."
"Feelings...?" The ginger-haired repeated the word, almost feeling like it was the first time she had ever heard it. Yes, she had feelings for him: anger, hate, fear... No... She didn't actually felt any of those, instead she could only think of curiosity, respect, admiration and a weird feeling she still couldn't describe or put a name on, yet she always felt nervous when staring at his eyes even if she felt she could stare at those grey irises for hours and not get tired of them, she felt her skin on fire every time he touched her, even in water so... What was she really feeling towards him?
"Kanae." Misaki called out to her again, tearing her apart from her thoughts "It's alright to have a crush, just be careful to not let it fool you too much."
"A crush? Misaki, you should know that it isn't just a crush here. I mean, look at them. This is much more than just a simple crush and you know it." Toshiko interfered again "Believe me, I know how to distinguish a crush from love."
With that, Kanae heard about Toshiko's life before meeting a pirate's life. She was an heiress of a very important and powerful family and, despite going against the societies rules, Toshiko always dreamed of being loved and so, even having lovers back at home, she wanted to explore the world in search of more persons who would love her. She knew how to distinguish those who wanted her for her power, those who had a tiny crush and those who truly seemed to love her; yet she still wanted to meet someone who she could love and be loved in return, possibly even stay with that one for the rest of her life.
As the romance was the theme of the conversation, Misaki also opened up a little about her own romantic life story. She had always been a pacifist, trying to spread peace among the world with her boyfriend, yet along the way her lover had fallen ill and as they were too poor to pay for the medication, Misaki could only watch in despair at the slow death of her companion, from then on she had never given love a chance again.
She had eventually met with Eiji and as her mission of spreading the peace message met his goal, they ended up partnering up and that was how Misaki joined the pirate's life, never having regretted on doing so as she had nothing to hold her back.
Even if the long conversation had got the three of them a little closer and made Kanae understand now all of the female part of the crew, she was now more confused than ever before.
The two women had clearly a deep vision of the romance field yet Kanae couldn't be farther away to understand it.
A crush or even something more, could she really be starting to have those sorts of feelings for her captor?
She was even afraid of such thoughts, even more, when part of her knew that she was indeed starting to fall for a human.
Chapter 4: chapter 4
The next weeks it had been extremely hard for Kanae to focus, even if she still was in charge of directing the crew to wherever her instinct commanded them to go, it was starting to raise some suspicions for the rest on how she knew where to go but Eiji had once already thought beforehand about that and had excused her saying the two of them planned the trail the night before, what could help to erase the doubts but it definitely didn't help to cease the teases about a premonition relationship between her and Eiji.
"And nothing's going on again... Boring" The older Tatsumi brother sighed, still looking at the horizon from the crow”s nest. Despite being the middle of the day, and the twins usually only were there doing the night time, this time the two troublemakers had nothing else to do and Kanae had found them out of pure luck.
"What were you expecting? A sea monster?" Kanae joked, watching the two sit in front of her on the wooden floor, being the three sitting there.
"Hey, a mermaid would be awesome." Kanae wasn't sure if the younger brother was joking or not when he had said that, she just knew by their expressions she should have made a reaction that she shouldn't do. "What's wrong? Are you scared of the fishwomen?"
"Maybe she's jealous..." The older brother also tried to guess. By the looks of things, Kanae could sigh in relief as the twins were without a doubt kidding.
"As if." The woman faked a huff, having a smirk on her face "I'm already great even without a tail."
"hey Kanae, later let's have a drink right?" Nagayuki asked, which earned an eager smile from the woman, who quickly nodded.
"That's our girl" He returned the smile with a smirk of his own, ruffling her hair playfully but just earned a slight bump from his brother.
"Idiot. That's Eiji's girl."
"You can't own someone..."
"Unless it's Eiji we're talking about..."
Even if they were partly joking, Kanae was back to her problem, that was a clear message that the rumors about her and Eiji weren't disappearing anytime soon and that had the consequence of her realization about her feelings confrontation.
She had been told it was a crush. Yet, what exactly was a crush? Kanae had never experienced anything like that and truthfully, she was scared of that being true. She didn't want to have anything with these pirates once her mission was over.
"Kanae? Are you ok?" Takeyasu had been the first one to notice how Kanae”s gaze seemed to lose the playful glitter but the girl just gave him a tiny smile, shaking her head to not show any concerns.
"Sorry, I think I'm a bit nauseous right now, I'll go back downstairs first. Let”s meet later in the cafeteria, right? And make sure this time you won't let me drinking by myself."
She refused to get sentimental, even if the conversations about her and Eiji were really starting to get hard to ignore.
Once she was downstairs, not having any idea of what to do she decided to try to chat with the others, starting by seeing if Misaki needed any help in the kitchen, yet she wasn't really expecting to find her with the youngest pirate next to her.
"Do you guys need help?"
The two cookers turned around to face her, Misaki giving her a bright smile "Well, there's always something to do, want to help us cut this?"
Kanae returned the smile and nodded, getting closer to the other two and starting with her job, occasionally taking quick peaks at the silver-haired male, who eventually caught her.
"I've been actually wondering this for a while but... Aren't you too young to be a pirate? How old are you actually?"
"The same question could be directed to you. You seem too young, even more for a woman to be traveling by herself..."
"Tsugiyoshi! You shouldn't ask a woman her age. That's rude." Misaki scolded him, even without taking her eyes from the food, unlike her two co-workers.
The boy let out a huff "Whatever..."
"You see Kanae, he is indeed young, so don't wonder about his moody changes... You know, things of age." Misaki started explaining.
"I see... No worries."
"Would it also be unpolite to ask how things are going between her and Eiji?" Kanae turned to glare at him, would it be possible that anywhere she went that question would always show up?! Yet, her glare didn't seem to matter as the boy kept his attention on cutting the onions.
"There is nothing going on between me and him." Kanae growled lowly, trying to focus again.
" You would like to believe that." The silver-haired continued, getting no reply from the woman "Yet, you're blushing at the idea."
He pointed out and Kanae put one of her hands on her cheek to check that they were indeed hot.
" That's just because it's hot today. You guys have no proof for those rumors and... Fuck" she hissed when she accidentally cut herself, thankfully it wasn't a big cut but it was still enough to let some blood escape from her finger.
"Kanae! My god... Are you ok?" A concerned Misaki quickly came to the rescue, taking away the knife from the injured mermaid.
"Yeah... Don't worry, it was just a cut, nothing much."
"Tsugiyoshi, take her to Usagi."
"But I'm fine..." She tried to argue but by the time she finished talking, Misaki was already pushing the two of them to leave the kitchen, closing the door to make it impossible to return, not that the boy made any effort on doing so, instead he spared a second to look at the finger before making his way, Kanae assuming to go see Usagi like he had been ordered to take her.
"Misaki sure knows how to overreact..." The younger mumbled under his breath, almost unable for a normal human to hear, thankfully Kanae was not a normal human.
"She's only worried... " She tried to defend, even if she actually agreed with the silver-haired.
"You still deny what I said?"
He hummed and the two kept their walk in silence for a while, not once meeting anyone from the crew.
"Kanae." Nezumi was the first to break the silence "Can I make you a question?"
"What is it?"
"Why didn't you tried to run away again? And don't tell me you didn't have chances to do so."
There it was the question she couldn't answer no matter how many times she asked herself. What was exactly keeping her there? She wasn't one to stay in the same place for this long and even with the deal going on she could swim away for a while and then return but she just couldn't see herself leaving this place.
"I see two options." He interrupted her, catching her by surprise as in how out of character that attitude was "Both related to who we know. One, you are either scared of him and I don't that's the case or..."
"Or..?" Kanae asked a little scared of the reply.
"Or you've fallen for him."
"I..." She wanted to say that the idea was just ridiculous, a mermaid couldn't fall in love with a human, but she didn't say anything, not because of realizing what she was about to say but instead going against the infirmary's door shut her up.
"Heh? What are you doing here?" Usagi peaked over the door, just sticking his head out from the room after having heard someone talking outside and checking what was going on.
While Kanae rubbed her face with her hands to try to erase the light pain, Tsugiyoshi sighed and decided to speak out himself "She was thinking about love and cut herself, can you do something?"
Usagi looked at Kanae, trying to find the wound but was a little surprised to see a tiny cut on the tip of her finger, yet nodded anyway "Is thinking about love so painful?"
"You have no idea... Just take care of her, I'll go take a nap"
"I wasn't thinking about Eiji!" Kanae finally exploded, tired of the theme, annoyed from being there when she didn't need help.
"I don't remember to mention his name... Remember, you said it, not me." Tsugiyoshi mumbled and let the mermaid with the other pirate without saying any other word, even ignoring the bad words that the woman was throwing at him.
At the infirmary, there wasn't exactly much that could be done to such injury so after disinfectant any possible bacterias, Kanae was ready to go cook again - not that she would go back to the kitchen anytime soon.
She looked around the room, it was clean and it had way too many supplies that Kanae had no idea what they did or how they worked, instead, she rather focused on the other person in the room, there were so many mysteries about him that Kanae didn't even know what she could ask him.
"Usagi... How exactly was your life?"
"I didn't have any friends... But now I have so I just want to think of the present."
"You really enjoy friends don't you?" Kanae smiled gently at the white-haired. Despite his somewhat psycho looks, it was amazing how innocent he actually was.
He threw her a genuine smile, pure happiness on his face as he nodded "Hm. Can I also ask you why you get so upset when we talk about Eiji?"
Usagi didn't have any teasing tone, in fact, he seemed concern about her, which made impossible for Kanae to actually stay mad, instead, she saw it as a chance to actually think of the correct answer.
"Because... Accepting the truth is hard." She whispered but by the looks of it, the man had heard her as he replied.
"But what does the truth has to do with it? Are you upset that Toshiko saw you two kissing?" She wanted to argue about the argument but just the thought of the almost kiss that she had wasted created a knot on her stomach. "Aren't you happy when you're around him?"
´Happy?´ Kanae thought.
Even without her noticing, a smile started to grow on her face "Yeah... I'm actually happy. "
"Then, what's so bad about it?" How Kanae wished she could tell him. How much she wanted to say that a romantic relationship was almost impossible between a human and a mermaid. How much she actually wanted to admit that she regretted not having allowed the kiss to happen.
Without a warning, Kanae got up from her seat, her thoughts started to drift away to a perfect illusion she had been trying to destroy making her just want to get away from there before she would reveal something she was trying too much to hold back.
"Thanks for taking care of me. I should be going by now."
"Oh? Already...?" Usagi asked, sadness clearly present in his voice that made Kanae feel a little bad but made a mental note to make sure to visit the white-haired pirate more often.
"Yeah, sorry, I really need to do one thing..." She hated lying, she sucked at it but she really couldn't stay there when images of Eiji started to haunt her brain.
"See you around then?"
Kanae looked at him again, only a few seconds an idea showed up in her brain "Hey, I and the twins will go drink later, show up in the cafeteria and join us."
The red irises widened up a bit and he excitedly nodded "I will."
"Alright. See you later." She smiled, happy to see Usagi back to his excited mood again and then left, trying to take the same way she had walked with the younger pirate.
The hallways were long, despite the way there seemed short for Kanae when she had made her way with Tsugiyoshi and she passed door by door, some were the quarters while the others were rooms indispensable to the crew however as she noticed one room that was usually locked had the door slightly open, what immediately caught her interest.
She peaked up inside the room, only to find many, many bottles with strange looking liquids.
The curious mermaid tried to get closer to try to understand what was contained in the jars but before she could touch any, a strong voice warned her from the door "I wouldn't touch that if I were you. Human bodies can't handle poison all that well."
Kanae turned around to see Michio standing behind her, he didn't seem upset yet he wasn't jumping in joy seeing her in his personal office.
'Good thing I'm not exactly a human' " So this is all poison?"
The mixture of a dog and a human hummed and grabbed the jar that Kanae had tried to reach " Exactly. This one is a sleeping paralysis... Or rather, was supposed to be. For now, all it can do is drain the person's energy... It's not really deadly unless you use a large amount in a short time."
"Ah..." Kanae woke up from her momentaneous drift off, it was too much information that she didn't even need so she stopped listing after the name of the potion" Interesting... So wait, if humans can't react well with poisons how do you do it? And exactly why...?"
She had never heard that pirates would need poisons experts so when she found out that Michio was in charge of taking care of everything involving such things she was pretty surprised.
Michio, on the other hand, didn't really seemed to be wanting to give any attention to the female " It's important to know how to fight back from poison. It's not rare the occasions when exploring that we find poisonous animals and plants. And as for why it doesn't affect me, I also said that humans had a hard time with it but as you figured by now, I'm not exactly human... Like you."
"What..." Kanae stared at him, shocked and for the first time in her life, scared.
"I'm still not sure of what you are but I'm not an idiot, at least not as the rest of the crew. I am aware that Eiji knows it too so I deduce he trusts you as such there's not anything I can do. I just want you to know that I know that you're not like them.
Luckily for you... I am not one to go around and tell everyone of what I think. For Eiji to be protecting you so much I'm sure I would also be in trouble if I decided to focus on you so consider yourself lucky."
This wasn't, without any doubt, Kanae's day. She was scared, mad, relieved, confused, she wanted someone she could just let everything go but unfortunately for her, the only person she was the closest to being able to do so would be Eiji and she refused to see herself being comforted by him, being in his arms comfortably protected.
Once again she left the room without any word. She regretted entering that room, that was for sure. And Michio gave her the same treatment, closing the door as soon as she left and returning to his work.
She needed a drink, that was it, she needed to forget everything.
Thankfully, she was still able to have some time for herself before her drinking companions showed up, now catching her with higher spirits.
The conversation with Michio was nowhere to be forgotten, along with the fantasies over a certain black-haired captain yet alcohol would always be her lover, the one thing that made her forget about the rest and so she just wanted it to help her forget about everything.
Her two companions had actually gone better with drinking, now being able to take in more alcohol than before and Kanae wasn't sure if she should be proud or feel bad for influencing them, at least now she had decent teammates.
Yet, despite her plans to drown her sorrows in alcohol weren't going as she planned as she still couldn't ignore the annoying knot on her stomach whenever she thought of Eiji, blaming the thought that he could show up anytime to check if she didn't have ran away.
A scolding huff was heard behind them, making Kanae look around to face the senile pirate "Oy! Wanna join us, gramps?"
"Don't you have chores to do? Young people these days..." Hitsuji spoke with clear annoyance in his voice, not even giving the work to hide it but Kanae only laughed.
"Oh come on. You need to chill a little."
"That's right" The younger twin called out, pulling the older man to sit next to them and putting a new cup in front of him "Here, drink it, you'll feel like you're a new man."
Even a little hesitant, Hitsuji wasn't one to deny things so he tried a sip, nevertheless, the other three ended up convincing him to try more and he ended up not leaving the table.
Soon after, both twins and Kanae were surprised to hear the old man speak so openly about his life, his reason of wanting to give a better life for his family and going to give the treasure's money to raise his grandson, even ending up to reveal his true name, something that he had never done during the whole time that he had been aboard.
Not much time had passed until Usagi had appeared too, just like Kanae had invited him to, and even if he didn't drink, Kanae smiled as she saw the white-haired happily chatting with the drunken comrades.
The atmosphere was cool and fun and Kanae would stay there if Ryouka hadn't shown up and asked her to stay with her as she would be looking from the crow's nest, asking for her company, which the ginger-haired couldn't see herself refusing the request so she said her goodbyes and left the cafeteria with the other female.
Eiji's grey tired eyes looked away from the papers he had been engulfed into the whole day, being exhausted of studying the map and wondering why the ship was so calm, so far nobody had come to interrupt him and part of him was a little worried of why it was so peaceful.
Leaving his desk cleaned from the papers he had been using, he left his quarter to go check on the rest of the ship and it didn't take too long to find some commotion coming from the cafeteria but before he could walk past the doors, they were open just to reveal Ryouka pulling his hostage by the wrist to head to the opposite direction of where Eiji was heading.
The first one didn't give him much attention but he noticed how Kanae's emerald eyes immediately caught his and she stopped in her tracks, even making Ryouka let go of her wrist to look at her in confusion "Kanae?"
He watched as Kanae snapped away from her thoughts, breaking the eye contact to look at Ryouka, mumbling a sorry and walked away with her again, looking back at him over her shoulder discreetly.
The behavior let a confused Eiji behind, never before had Kanae ignored him like that, not even when she was mad.
"So you're here." A male voice called out behind him, and Eiji didn't even turn around, it wasn't needed to identify it " I should say what I also said to her. I don't know what you're thinking Eiji but I warn you, be careful of her."
"And why is that, Michio?"
"You know that she isn't a human like you, right?" He tried to argue, bringing some sense to his captain that even if he was always so logical there was something that was making it impossible to face the truth.
"I'm perfectly aware of such."
"And you still allow her to stay here? She can be a threat to us."
Now finally Eiji turned to him, a stoic expression yet his eyes shouted danger, a storm ready to be released "Really, is that what you think? Just hear it. I know you can hear it too." He commented, listening to the cheerful group that was inside the cafeteria "Do you really believe her presence is such a bad thing? Everybody seems happy and even if she had attacked before I'm sure every single pirate in this crew would be able to defend themselves, fortunately, there won't be any need for that."
A couple of minutes passed, Michio thinking on what to say "Alright, maybe, just maybe she isn't a threat but still... Were you serious with marrying her?"
"When am I ever not serious?"
"Why? Did she charmed you or what?"
Eiji did not respond, instead, he just chooses to turn around, muttering a quiet "This is my business. Also, don't bother her anymore. It's an order."
He felt Michio still there, for moments he thought he would continue the discussion but thankfully the dog seemed to have other plans as he heard his footsteps getting far with each step.
Well, now at least he now was aware of where most part of his crew was.
The captain leaned in the ship's borders, watching the sun being hidden by the vast ocean as the orange colors mixed with the blue water. He wasn't sure of how long he had been there but by the time he was back to himself, the sun was gone, just a tiny light from it still available but then was where he heard a sound of someone jumping to the water.
He looked down, instantly recognizing the ginger-haired of the mermaid that he had been keeping. At first, he thought that maybe she had thought she had the coast clear to run away but then she didn't change back to her mermaid self, rather she just kept floating and swimming as a human, completely unaware of how he was watching her.
Eiji knew it was disrespectful to watch a woman like that, when she didn't know he was there watching her but a fact made him impossible to leave that place, the fact that he noticed that she, even if she was still in her human form, had gotten rid of her clothes, just choosing to swim and as if the water was all the clothes she needed to cover her skin.
Eiji felt uncomfortable. Not because he was peaking at the mermaid that took her bath, pure pleasure on her face as she was inside her element but due the fact effects such vision had on him.
As he watched Kanae slowly passing some water along her body, his thoughts started to drift off to things he had honestly never cared much so he could only wonder how her skin would feel against his, at how sensually she would whisper his name as he bathed her with kisses all over that luscious body.
It was mad at how much he was fighting back the urge to simply remove his own clothes and just join her. Would she be surprised? Or would she be waiting for him? Was she trying to make him crazy? It was almost as if he was a prey, where she was the predator waiting to attack, waiting for her prey to go her, completely seduced and without any choice.
With all the self-restrainment that he had left, he somehow managed to drag himself out of that place and instead head to the cafeteria to grab some food. Such as alcohol was Kanae's way to forget about things, Eiji's solution was food and he desperately needed it at that moment.
Kanae didn't show up to dinner but Ryouka had told him she had previously eaten something while she was drinking with the guys, by the tone she had told him, Eiji could sense a lie but perhaps Kanae had told the green-haired that so she could go swim.
He was surprised to come in and see not only the twins but also Hitsuji and Usagi drinking, Tsugiyoshi wasn't drinking when the captain arrived yet there was a tiny hint of pink cheeks caused by the alcohol. Eiji wasn't a fan of drinking but it sure had made his crew cheerful.
It was already late when Eiji decided to leave the cafeteria and was instantly met with the starry sky above him.
"You can clearly see the stars tonight." Even if he had no doubts about who that voice belonged to, he still turned around to see the mermaid also looking up at the sky.
He hummed as a reply and went to sit down on the middle of the deck's floor, watching the starry night above him and hearing how cautiously the woman sat next to him.
Some good minutes passed until Kanae broke the comfortable silence between them "Eiji... Can I make you a question?"
"What is it?"
"Why did you want me as your bride...?" She quickly asked, as if she was about to explode if she didn't ask it, or just would back down if she took longer to make her question.
Eiji turned to look at her, just to find that she had been looking at him, at least until looking away shyly when he turned to her. Back when Michio referred to the same part of the deal between him and the mermaid, Eiji had gotten a little annoyed for other's trying to get in his business but Kanae had also the right to know, or that would be the case if Eiji also knew what had gotten in his brain at that moment.
"I don't know... There was something different about you..."
"Well, yeah. A tail." Leave it to Kanae to fight back instantly, Eiji thought, even not being able to suppress a light chuckle what made her look up at him again, a small smile on her lips.
More silence followed, a silence that none bothered to disturb, other than the waves softly crashing against the ship.
"Do you miss it?" The captain asked, watching how the moon's light bathed Kanae with a tender glow, making that the emerald eyes that were locked with his seem to shine as she looked at him, the confusion on her face made her appear so innocent yet at that moment Eiji couldn't help to think how incredibly stunning she was... Or maybe he was starting to believe that Michio had indeed reason when he had told he had been charmed by the mermaid "Do you miss the ocean?"
"That's better. You're learning to talk more openly, that's good." She joked, remembering what she had told him on their first encounter but when Eiji thought she would cry out how much she lived the life he had stolen from her or at least take a while to find her answer, yet Kanae always proofed to be a little surprise box as she immediately answered " And not really. It's more fun here... I like being here with the rest despite everything else and..." He saw her smiling brightly, unaware of how she was remembering the talk she had with Usagi "I'm happy with you."
"Kanae..." He looked at her shocked, out of all the things she could say that one was never an imaginable scenario on his mind, Without being able to restrain himself, his hand was rested on her cheek, seeing how a pinkish blush adorned her cheeks but she didn't do anything to push him away "Do you mind if I make an experiment?"
The mermaid looked at him nervously, her heart beating so fast as she felt his fingers caress her cheek so softly and lovingly along with the way that he was looking at her, so intensely that she could even see her own reflex on his eyes "Are you going to play a trick on me?"
He just shook his head and she sighed, even if still having her doubts she knew Eiji was not one to pull pranks, yet on the last time they were this close Kanae had actually made it look like she wasn't intending to kiss him "Alright... What is it?"
"Just... Just close your eyes for a second."
"Ok..." She murmurs, even more doubting him but does the order anyway, just for seconds after feeling her heart beating so fast she thought it would explode when thin lips brushed lightly over hers.
The presence of the other pair of lips on hers only lasted a brief seconds but it was enough to make Kanae think she had lost her mind as she tried to realize what had happened.
"Eiji... Did... Did you just kissed me?"
Watching the mermaid's red face as she was fighting to get some words, Eiji could only let out a small, teasing smirk while rubbed her cheek one last time "Want me to repeat it so you can be sure?"
She averted her gaze, blushing even more under his vision, but quickly brought his face to hers in the heat of the moment, whispering against his lips" What a pervert... Kissing a woman out of nowhere."
"Only one woman has made me like that... Perhaps it was because she was a mermaid?" He whispered back, feeling her smile against his lips before the two made the final push and forget about everything else around them.
The first kiss had been chaste and even if the one that followed was a little more confident, there was still nothing but pure tenderness put in the affection by both parts.
"I never thought you were this bold Eiji..." She smiled when breaking away from the kiss, purring his name, sounding just like he thought it would sound but earing it out loud was just pure music "First, you watch me while I take a bath and now this... And in the end, you still blame me."
"You knew I was watching?"
Kanae stuck out her tongue playfully before pecking his nose and getting up "Nothing escapes this mermaid. Well, now at least you have some material for your fantasies."
Her smile grew even more when seeing the light tinge of blush in the stoic's pirate face as he also got up, following her steps but stopped when seeing her heading to the border, ready to jump.
"Aren't you going to bed?"
"I want to take this opportunity to stretch my tail, earlier it was still too soon and someone could have seen me. I won't take too long, don't worry, the twins forgot to get back the stairs so you don't have to wait there, I can come back by myself."
He looked at her a little reductant of leaving her by herself but as to not make her upset as he knew how she liked her own time to herself, he ended up bidding her the goodnight and left back to his quarter.
Back in the water, Kanae sighed as soon as she changed to the original form, the smile on her face never left during the whole time she had been underwater and part of her just wanted to scream out of happiness but for her own safety she controlled herself for doing so, however, in her moment of pure bliss, she wasn't totally aware of the ship that had seen her.
Unfortunately, Kanae only noticed them when a net was thrown at her, treating her like a normal fish as she was pulled against her will. When she was on the unknown ship she didn't even have time to see those that had trapped her, having only time to feel a pain being shot through her entire body, even if it had only been a needle that contained something that made her sleepy, so sleepy and dizzy.
She had screwed up. It was her final thoughts as she closed her eyes. And this time, she didn't have Eiji to help her for sure.
A/N: The end.
Just kidding. Just a friendly warning, don't be like this idiot that is writing this and try to write three chapters at the same time... I should had this chapter at least two weeks ago but at least one-quarter of the next chapter is already written. Another head's up, the next chapter will be a little violent and will contain stronger themes but by then you'll have another warning.
Chapter 5: Chapter 5
A brief note before this chapter start: As someone that for now can only speculate about the western zodiac I will assume the characters will probably be OOC but I thought they would be a nice idea to write so here they are. This chapter will contain explicit and implicit violence, drugs, blood, themes that somehow might trigger some even if I tried to not make them as detailed as I thought before writing the chapter, but in the meanwhile, I kinda lost my motivation so please excuse me if this chapter sucks... I'll try to remake it when I get inspired again... More notes by the end.
"Where is she?!"
Never in his life or in just the years that he has been working with Eiji, had Nezumi seen his captain lose control like that.
In fact, he never had seen him angry to the point of wanting to break anything like the desk of his office and a couple of doors were and even worse never had Eiji shouted, not even once until the whole crew woke up that day to the tall pirate loud question.
"Where is she?!" He repeated the question again, is the only thing he seemed to be able to say.
"Eiji... Calm down... " Sharyu had been the first one brave enough to try to calm down the raging ox, without any noticeable effect.
"I will. When I see her here. Where is she?!"
"Eiji... She needs to be here on the ship, why are you so mad?" The green-haired tried to bring him to reason, yet just the glare the swordmaster sent her was enough to shut her up.
For others, they could not understand the fact that Kanae could, indeed, run away without any problems but Eiji was aware that the ginger-haired was a mermaid and that he had made a mistake in letting his guard down.
He was angry about her leaving, he was angry that he let himself be iluded, he was angry that he opened to her, he was angry for not having her near him.
He was mad for feeling something that he couldn't put a name for Kanae.
All of this was making him so angry, upset and even depressed that he didn't even think about the treasure she was supposed to bring them to.
"I've already checked everywhere. Michio, can you smell her scent?"
The dog-human hybrid resisted the urge to let out a huff since it was clear that it wasn't a good time to challenge Eiji and did what was told yet, when returning from a quick tour around the ship, nothing had been found.
"She's clearly not here. Her scent seems to stop here" He mentioned to the deck, the same place Eiji and Kanae had been in the previous night, where they had kissed just before parting ways.
Did she... Really left then?
Eiji looked down at the water, dismissing the crew. One by one started leaving, giving the captain some time and space until Eiji heard steps coming near and the youngest of the crew stood by his side, also looking down at the water.
They stood in silence for a while until the grey-haired spoke "Heartbreaks suck, don't they?"
"Heartbreaks...?" Eiji asked, finding the word strange.
"Hm. You know, when you love someone and it just doesn't go the way you want. Believe me, I know that... You start understanding after being rejected for one hundred times by the same girl..."
"Why do you think that word applies to me?"
"Eiji... I'll be honest. I saw the way you two acted, we all saw it and we were happy to see you two happy. I have a feeling there's something going on between you two and whatever you guys are hiding I just want you to remember we'll always accept everything that comes up."
The older pirate didn't say anything, but Nezumi was already aware that it would be the case so he continued.
"If it makes you feel better, I don't think she ran away."
"What are your reasons?"
"I shouldn't be saying this but it's painfully obvious that she has feelings for you as well, and she isn't one to run away with unsolved business. Plus, she seemed to be happy here so unless she was taken away forced, ..."
"Wait, are you suggesting that she was kidnapped?"
The two of them stared at each other intensely, almost as if having a mental discussion until the captain spoke again "Tell the twins and Ryouka to meet me right now. We shouldn't have much time."
Kanae tried to scream his name yet no sound was coming out from her mouth.
She felt heavy and tired. Her eyes refused to open even if she tried to open them.
So many voices unknown to her were talking around her.
Despite still feeling weak, she forced her eyes to open once feeling feet being pushed against her tail, making her bite her lip in pain.
"Oh, she's finally awake."
Kanae noticed how a red liquid was released with more persistence as the man's leg made force on her tail, just for her to realize how in bad conditions she was.
" You're lucky you didn't kill her. Are you aware how much money you could have lost?"
This time a woman's voice was heard and once again Kanae didn't recognize it but she was aware of the words they were saying and it didn't take too long to put one plus one together ' they're going to sell me...'
"Are you sure someone will pay for a mix of a fish and a woman?" Another feminine voice spoke while Kanae felt someone coming near her and making her open her mouth, which she ended up doing without giving any fight as she had no strength to do so, and felt a liquid being poured into her mouth "What are you doing?"
"Drugging her. Now that she's awake we can't let her recover her strength and have any chances of running away." The first woman spoke with confidence as if this hasn't been the first time she had something of the sort "Also, I want to test until where she can handle."
Kanae never thought she would feel any more pain that the one she was feeling at the moment. She would arch or even scream in pain if the drug hadn't stopped her movements.
Even if she was aware that her body was quick to react and eliminate or ignore any effects that would be introduced into her body, like alcohol or even drugs like they were experiencing, it would still take a while for her to be able to come back to her senses and ignore the pain of the deep cuts that were all over her skin and scales.
"Dandy, please stop hurting her even more than she already is." By that point Kanae was wondering just how many people were around her, watching her in despair, but as that voice commanded, the man who had been stepping on her backed away while the mermaid felt someone gently, so gently that even scared Kanae, combing her hair "She's already suffered by giving all that blood. Dr. Finish now has a lifetime amount for her experiments."
"Oh please stop pretending to care Baron. Next thing you'll say is to release her." The first man spoke again, his tone deep and strong.
"Just listen to Baron. The mermaid won't run away, so there's no need to cause her any more harm." A quiet, slow and tired man spoke, it almost remembered Kanae of Nezumi.
"Muppet" The woman with Long blue hair that resembled a mermaid tail spoke again, putting the bottle of the poison on her jacket's pocket. She was going to say something but unexpected guests decided to show up on the island where the twelve pirates had decided to settle in for a short amount of time, just enough to catch the mermaid. They hadn't been there for too long, it had taken them the rest of the night at arriving at the Island but they had lost too much time in studying the sea creature so they were sure it was that reason that the other group managed to catch up.
By then Kanae finally managed to get back to her senses, or so she thought. But at that moment she wasn't sure of anything, especially when she thought she had heard that familiar voice she so desperately wanted to hear and felt the one that had been petting him hastily moving away as a sound similar to a spear being thrown hit her ears, feeling the cold saber movements past her and opening her eyes to see how Gobouken was used as a barrier between her and the gold-haired pirate that had been touching her.
"So you really showed up... We never thought we would be honored to meet the famous genius of slaughter himself." An older looking man spoke, pure amazement and amusement on his voice as he looked at the group of five pirates that were now in front of his crew.
They were at the numbers disadvantage, yes, yet Kanae doubted that Eiji was there without a plan. Her eyes weakly noted the surprised expressions on Misaki, Tsugiyoshi, Yoshimi and Usagi's expressions but her mind wondered on where the rest of the crew where.
Eiji walked to his saber, giving no attention to the almost unconscious mermaid that he passed by instead choosing to focus on the enemies "I'm assuming you've heard about me then..."
"It would be quite impossible to not hear such name although I would expect your crew to be a little larger..."
It was true that showing up with only four of his pirates was a crazy idea but in the way things had gotten to the point that requested other measures, also Eiji was already counting on the possibility that there would be someone that would find out about Kanae's secret so he had gotten lucky with staying with the two persons that would more easily accept the truth.
" I believe you know why I'm here. You should be aware of the consequences of stealing a pirate's treasure." For brief seconds, his greyish eyes met the mermaid's fierce emerald eyes that now seemed so tired yet there was still that tinge of hope and innocence that Eiji was so attracted to.
"So this mermaid was really yours... Our mistake." Muppet spoke with his monotone tone yet if his words seemed to be an apologize, something about him screamed the exact opposite: they were proud of themselves, catching such prize that provided them with so many useful blood and scales that would be used for the blue-haired woman's experiences and even managing to attract the so infamous deadly pirate.
Now that their plan was actually working, it would be just a matter of time until the rest would also complete their part of the plan.
"Indeed, it was perhaps your worst mistake. After all, I'm not sure until where my crew will be able to control themselves..." The captain warned and Kanae recognized the same aura as the first night they had met. She knew he was seriously threatening them but by the smug look on the rival's face, none seemed to be taking them that seriously.
As soon as Eiji's crew settled on land, being directed by Ryouka's helping birds and by the directions that the twins pointed out that was a near land, it didn't take too long to find what they were expecting: As if they were also waiting for them, two women carried each their weapon, pointing at them.
Without any warning, Ryouka used the birds that had helped them to find land, with the help of the fork-like weapon of her choice, to create a distraction so that the rest of the group could go try and find Kanae, if there were those two there as if they were protecting something that should be an accurate guess that Kanae had been taken hostage.
Eiji was still unsure about leaving the green-haired fighting by herself but Toshiko also stepped forward, the pride of the heiress had been slight hurt by the kidnap of her fellow companion so she refused to give any mercy to her enemies, or so until the captain warned her to not use her own weapons to kill anyone, just to keep them away and seeing that both of the two pirate's weapons consisted on more body-to-body attacks, Ino's strategy would be an advantage.
Hitsuji had stayed on board in case of someone trying to sneak in while they were on their mission, always by the borders to check if a case of attack was needed.
The twins had moved along with the group yet their alliance didn't take long until they stopped on their track, letting the rest go on their own as it was reduced to those that actually made to the cave.
Misaki had looked at them, wondering where they were going but when she had asked them they only gave the vague answer that they would meet once again in the ship.
And that had been how the situation had brought itself at that moment, with only four pirates from Eiji's crew facing the other's eight in the heavy and dangerous atmosphere.
"H-Hey, maybe we can find a solution where nobody ends up hurt" Sharyu started, to nobody of the crew's surprise in trying to find a peaceful way to settle the issue.
"Let's see, I doubt there's anything worth to exchange for the fortune that this mermaid will bring us."
"You're planning to sell her...?" Usagi tilted his head confused, he clearly wasn't bothered by the revelation of Kanae's true identity yet there was a slight tone of anger in his voice as he gripped on his twin spears.
"So you just want the money." The black-haired captain stated, as a matter of fact, there was no emotion in his voice unlike Usagi, he didn't reveal any anger or confusion, he just sounded like his same everyday self "Then I'll make an offer."
He looked at his first mate and Nezumi didn't need any words to figure out, nodding with his head he left the tense atmosphere in the middle of the cave, being followed by Uuma for protection and by the rival's crew Muppet and Unsun to make sure they weren't escaping.
As the four pirates went to grab what Eiji had told, the captain proceeded to explain his plan "I'll offer you every single treasure that I have on my ship in exchange for the mermaid."
"Are you really willing for that?" Sir Cancer asked, giving a small mocking smile. There were doubts everywhere, not only because you couldn't trust a pirate but also of the reasons for the offer, it was clear that the mermaid was to hurt to sell and it would be extremely difficult to carry her without having her dying on the ship or having any escaping opportunities, if someone was actually trying to give anything in exchange for her, they should be completely out of their head "you don't even mind of what your crew tell you? Or are you really lost for this monster?"
Despite Eiji himself for not have any doubts about what his choice was, the rival had still a point. Even if he was the captain, never he did choices without requesting the crew's opinions but this time he couldn't help but be selfish to that point. Whatever the choices the rest could have, in the end, he would refuse to leave without Kanae, either way he still looked at those present, Misaki wasn't even needed an answer as she was glaring, yes glaring, at the man that had called the mermaid a monster, Dotsuku wasn't really happy about having Kanae back, that was clear, yet he still revealed anger in his expression, and finally he looked at Kanae, whose bleeding had stopped thankfully but she was still in extreme attention needed.
"Do you accept the offer or not?"
The other man didn't lose his smile yet there was some hesitation of his eyes, thinking in ways that Eiji could be fooling him, he thought that maybe he was just bluffing but that thought was immediately changed when a muscular pirate set a large box that hid the treasures that the pirate was offering.
Sir Cancer looked at Baron and Dr.Finish, who seemed to be the brains of the group, looking for an answer, the blue-haired was the first one speaking, without revealing much interest "Well, I already have what I want and we aren't sure how much she'll cost us so just this time we'll accept the peace trade."
Never in her whole life had Kanae felt so relieved, that feeling only got deeper when feeling arms gently wrapping around her and lifting her up, just to come face to face with the one that made her heart skip a beat.
"Eiji..." She whispered while holding a gentle grip around his shoulders, mostly out of instinct but it also provided some more security while being carried even if she was aware the captain wouldn't let her go no matter what, such thought even provoked that a light, soft due her loss of blood, pink color adorned them, the fact that his face was so close didn't help at all for her to calm down the fast pace her heart was beating.
Honestly, she even felt a little ashamed of herself for seeing her captor like that but whenever she tried to blame him for making her feel things she had never felt before, she could only feel butterflies on her stomach and not even alcohol helped to forget them.
If she was trying to hide her blush, it was impossible when she caught she tinge smile on the tip of his lips as Eiji pulled her closer to him, if they were close before with his movements their noses were only a few inches apart, what didn't help for Kanae to stop cursing at the torment of butterflies that seemed to be fighting inside her.
"You seem happy to see me." The movement that his lips made when talking had Kanae completely hooked, almost making it impossible for her to stop her hand to reach up to his face and trail his lips with her fingers- or even with her own lips-.
"I... I just didn't want you to think I had broken our deal..." ´ This isn't fair...´ She thought ´I'm the mermaid here, I should be the one seducing him, not the other way around. I shouldn't be so focused on this guy.´
The smile on Eiji's lips was now even more evident "Oh right. This doesn't really count as you trying to escape does it...? Another time there will be for me to make you my bride then. For now, let's go home."
She smiled under the words, home... That sounded good.
The mermaid looked behind her, watching how the enemies had now their treasure and how engulfed they seemed to be with it that didn't even bothered with the rest anymore, at least it was a good thing they weren't aware of the mermaid's treasure.
Back on the ship, the small group wasn't exactly ready to find the large amount of treasure that was still in their saferoom but when they looked at the twins, immediately assuming what had happened they had just shrugged "They stole one of our members, we just found weirdo twins that were protecting this and we could have or not have taken it with us... Why does Kanae has a tail?"
As if only now that seemed to stick on the crew's head, after sailing away from that small island they had been obligated to stop, all of the present's eyes were now turned to the mermaid still on Eiji's arms, who refused to let go of her.
"I'm going to have to answer to a lot of shit aren't I?" Kanae sighed, burying her face in her hands.
Eiji looked down at her, a small teasing smile on his face "Don't have any doubts about it."
A/N: So... I'm really sorry. I know this chapter seems rushed and all but seriously, my imagination left me, even worst in moments of battles and all where I am already bad at writing so without inspiration and motivation this is the result. I'm actually been feeling pretty down in the dumps at the moment so I hope I can cheer up soon to continue writing and giving you guys something worth to read.
Sorry about this one, I'll make up in the following ones, I promise.
Chapter 6: Chapter 6
A/n: Thanks for the reviews and likes, really, I hope this chapter cheers you up after that previous one that I'm currently editing.
The cafeteria was in a deep silence, out of nobody knowing what to say or even how to start, not even the twins were able to crack a joke that they had somehow caught the largest fish they could.
"So..." The blonde beauty started, the rest of the crew thankful for the long silence having been broken " We're here to talk about Kanae right? We should hurry before Eiji even knows about this."
That was another factor they had to face. After the previous chapter, it was impossible to be unaware of the possessive that their captain had turned to the mermaid and it was even more impossible for anyone to deny that there was something more than just a beneficial relationship in search of a treasure.
They even took the opportunity that was provided by Eiji as he refused to let go of the mermaid and didn't even gave any explanation as he walked with Kanae back to his quarters, or maybe he knew that the crew needed time to think about what had been revealed.
"That's right..." Michio followed the trail, out of the crew he was possibly the only one that seemed to not show any attention to the mermaid, neither as a human or as a sea creature - even if he was more calm about her after the reveal- "The question that is more important is, is this creature" He found himself in a threating position right after using that words as the other ten elements that were present glared at him "I mean, Kanae, is someone dangerous. Mermaids are a sign of danger, especially to pirates and she already made us lose our treasures."
" That might be true but... If she was planning to hurt us, wouldn't she had already done something? Like at least try to poison us, or maybe drown someone and run away." The wiser and older element commented, trying to connect the facts.
It was true. Kanae could have already easily tried to kill them, she had many opportunities to do so as she would often be alone with someone of the crew, either watching the sky with Ryouka or try to help Misaki cooking, or listening to Toshiko as she muttered her love live affairs or drinking contests with the twins, or try to tease Tsuyoshi, or just spending time with Usagi as she tried to make him some company, or listening to the most muscular, silent pirate as he revealed his insecurities or to the older pirate telling her stories of his grandkid, or even when annoying Michio.
Despite everyone being able to defend themselves, a sneaky and unexpected attack would be enough, yet it had never come.
Kanae never had intentions of hurting them.
Not even by accident.
"And also, she may have caused us to lost our treasures, yet we in some way got them back right?" Takeyasu called out at their find, clearly proud of him and his twin "So, that problem is solved."
"Yup. We just wanted to know how it only took a minute of us being gone for everything turn around..." The older twin muttered. He knew the whole crew was confused but there was no way to understand how in one moment him, Takeyasu and Kanae were mocking about mermaids not existing and then as soon as they turn their back to go find some treasures and mess with rival pirates stood a Kanae with a fishtail replacing her legs, in Eiji's arms, who refused to let go of her, not even letting her explain herself as she was carried away from the crew.
There were so many unsolved questions that all the pirates needed their answers but there was never more time for them to be capable to discuss it for themselves, having wasted a large amount of time in that strong silence of before, as an unusually quiet and timid voice made the center of the conversation know her presence.
"Hum... Hi?" Kanae muttered shyly when entering the cafeteria, the focus of all the pirates back on her immediately, causing that the guilt that she felt grow drastically "I... I understand you guys have some doubts... And I'm here to answer all of your questions."
She was thankful that Eiji had understood the panic in her eyes and, a little out of his character, he let his crew without any answers just to give her some space for her to calm down and relax again, which she did as soon as he set her on his bed, her tail finally changed after recovering from the poison that was obligating her to stay like that.
Her green eyes teared apart from Eiji's, feeling both embarrassed and ashamed of herself for her actions and the consequences they had brought to the crew and so she couldn't find herself to be able to look at him.
However, Eiji seemed to have different ideas as he gently grabbed her chin and carefully turned it to check for any possible wounds that were hidden.
Kanae did nothing to stop him, not uttering a word as he checked her.
Only when feeling him resting his forehead on hers did she looked at his greyish eyes, usually unemotionally cold yet this time they had an undeniable concerning glint.
They were so close... Just an inch closer and she could taste those thin lips again...
"Don't scare me like that again."
Kanae smiled gently, unable to break away from that gaze that held her captive, and softly moved the long piece of hair that always rested over the captain's face, trying to clear the face from the hair even if there was no avail as it quickly returned to the same place.
"I'll try..." As she gave him the reply he desired, he started to back away, just to have hands quickly holding the collar of his shirt "Eiji, wait."
He was already surprised by the actions of the mermaid but it was only deepened when he felt her lips being softly pressed on his cheek. It was quick, almost too quick to even register in his brain but he was sure she had placed a teasing kiss on his cheek, it was enough to look at her with her own cheeks tinted with a light pink tone "Thanks for helping me."
"Kanae..." He muttered, closing the space between them once again, this time even closer as their lips brushed over each other but not taking the final step "I don't want to lose control, at least not while you're hurt like this but... You're not making my job easy."
That sentence, the way he hotly spoke, his warm breath, the pressure of his body on hers... She could feel herself becoming hot and at that moment she didn't even remember about the pain that she was feeling, despite had been given some sort of painkillers.
Kanae wanted to kiss him so badly, to shut him, to push him further enough to make him lose control yet she had more important business to take care at the moment. No matter how much Eiji mattered to her, and with each minute by the pirate's side she was wondering more and more about how much he mattered, she still needed to take care of things with the rest of the crew.
"We should go see the rest... I still own them a couple of explanations..."
Eiji was a bit reluctant at first for letting Kanae speak so early with the crew but when finding them all gathered he needed to admit a much-needed talk was required immediately.
"How did this all start? Does Eiji know about this since the beginning?" The older Tatsumi brother asked, trying to understand now how Kanae had been able to enter the ship for the first time. They could have let the rope down that night, it wasn't the first time it happened nor it would be the last, but there was still something odd about Kanae just having found it by pure luck.
"Yeah... It makes sense start from the beginning. So, as much as I love the sea and my underwater life, it gets boring and dull pretty quickly, plus it has no alcohol, so since pretty young I developed a hobby of staring at ships at night and try to take the booze they had. That was also the plan for your ship at first, but I wasn't expecting to be caught. As I was about to jump back to the water Eiji caught me in the middle of transforming. The rest you know about it, the treasure deal and here we are...."
"So, wait, there's more of you?" The younger twin now spoke on his brother's half, now more excited over the idea "You're saying that there are thousands of fish women living secretly underwater?"
"We're... We're not as many as you think..." Kanae muttered, with some bitterness on her voice that none has failed to notice "But yes, kinda. However, there are different types of mermaids, those that can only live underwater, the ones that can shapeshift into human and change back as soon as they touch water, and finally the ones that can freely control their transformation."
"So, that treasure you're in charge of leading us to..." Michio spoke, ignoring the bitter tone of the mermaid "Once we have it, you'll leave, is that it?"
She was sure the dog would want her to say yes, that was the deal, but she couldn't help but smile when seeing the concerned and even sad expressions on the others faces.
Kanae was about to answer Michio the reply he wanted when Eiji got ahead "That is something between me and her. If that is all the questions you have to ask Kanae..." He waited, giving a short while in case someone had some doubt that needed to be given at that moment but nobody stepped forward "Usagi, take her to the infirmary and treat her wounds, she needs assistance."
Usagi nodded eagerly, taking the mermaid to the infirmary like it was ordered, in fact he just acted as if the mermaid never revealed her other side, as if it didn't bother him and Kanae was relieved that during the whole time they were in the infirmary he acted like nothing was wrong - and maybe, for him, he knew nothing had changed.
Eiji followed the two not that much later, only after giving a warning to the crew "Don't bother Kanae with the treasure or her stay. It will be better if you just forget about what you just found and let things like they were."
"So, we're back on the first stage..." Nezumi sighed, leaning his head on his hand. He seemed sleepy, like always, but even if Eiji hadn't warned them, he still would treat Kanae the way he had until there.
"I guess so but Eiji is right." Misaki smiled at the boy, reassuring the rest of the crew of what the captain was trying to spread "Kanae is still Kanae. It's not because we just now found out she's not... Well, like us, that she's going to start acting differently and we shouldn't do it either."
The rest was not as sure as Misaki, that was certain, but she spoke the truth, they had fun with Kanae and the idea of her just leaving was rather scary as they would be back to their old boring days without the excited mermaid on the ship.
As to prevent that, they would try the idea of just ignoring the revelation than to think of it as a threat.
A sharp pain hit Kanae's skin, making her hiss at the one that was trying to take care of her - that was already covered with uncountable scratches from Kanae's large nails- "Ouch, that fucking hurts"
"What the hell you want me to do?!" Michio shouted back, what lasted from his patient being completely gone "I'm just doing what Eiji told me."
Kanae sighed and threw a dirty glare at the captain that wasn't so far away from them as since the accident from almost a week ago Eiji had refused to lower his guard from the mermaid, even to the point of not even allowing her to sleep anywhere other than his own bed, just like the first night however unlike that first, far away, night these last few ones had been so nerve-wracking for Kanae as her heartbeat seemed to not want to stop beating fast anytime she was near Eiji which resulted in many sleepless nights, leaving her with her thoughts as she felt the calm breathing of how the captain slept with his arm holding her close to his body's warmth.
On the other side, Eiji didn't even bother to look up from the papers he was reading, ignoring the glares that were being directed to him "Michio, make sure she's alright. It's getting a little tiresome to not be able to sleep with her always fuzzling around on the bed."
"I can always go back to my own bed if it bothers you so much" Kanae mumbled, trying to pursue the persistent pirate while Michio injected a sort of poison on her arm, hoping this time it would finally stop the last hints of consequences that the rivalry pirates had given her.
That week, for her, it had just been walking between Michio's office and Usagi for him to also help take care of her body, who surprisingly seemed to be well aware of the human's anatomy, and spending her time on Eiji's room. At first, things were pretty awkward between her and the crew but she didn't blame them, after all, she had been hiding from them, she had betrayed their trust, she wasn't going to blame anyone but herself if they refused to treat her like before.
Eiji finally looked up to her and Kanae was sure she saw a mocking smile on his lips despite his face being as stoic as ever "That is not going to happen."
She let out a growl, this time not out of pain but out of patience. She was a mermaid that didn't spend too much time by someone's side and even if she agreed on bringing that crew to a treasure she still appreciated her space - That Eiji seemed to refuse to give her.
When Michio finally ended his turn, Kanae muttered a small thanks and took the chance to rush of out of there as Eiji shared a few words with the dog pirate, not seeming to notice her escape.
Once alone, the mermaid took a long sigh, enjoying being by herself for the first time in a full week. However, that didn't take too long until someone touched her shoulder "So, he finally let you go? I must admit, I never saw Eiji so possessive over anything or anyone like with you..."
"Ryouka" Kanae showed a small smile at the green-haired, it had indeed been a long time since they had spoken by themselves, they hadn't had the chance from the moment Kanae's secret was revealed and the mermaid still had her doubts about the crew's opinions about her now but if Ryouka was bothered by such fact, she didn't seem to show.
"You should have seen him when he couldn't find you... Wait, let's not speak here. The others are also dying to speak with you." The green-haired excitedly grabbed Kanae's wrist after checking Eiji was nowhere near, after all, she didn't want to face the anger of the pirate for stealing his treasure and dragged the poor girl who was unsure where she was heading until she found herself in the kitchen, facing confused Misaki and Toshiko for seeing her there. "Look who I stole from Eiji"
"You're risking too much Ryouka" Toshiko joked, giving a small smile to both girls.
"C'mon, just admit you missed her too." Ryouka teased and Kanae just smiled at a fake cough the heiress had given.
"Kanae, how are you? Do your wounds still hurt?" Misaki asked concerned, signalizing the two newcomers to sit next to them, which they complied.
"Not really... Michio and Usagi seem to know what they do." Kanae showed the bandaged arm, that had still a few scales that were getting a little while to recover.
She still wasn't sure how much poison had been injected into her and for her to not be able to recover in a few days just proofed that the other pirate knew what she was doing, that concerned Kanae in a way but unfortunately there was nothing she could do to change what happened, for now, she only could think in recovering as fast as possible.
"Ryouka, earlier you were saying something about Eiji's behavior when I disappeared..."
"Oh right. You just got away from Eiji and still thinking about him? That's lovesick..." Ryouka teased but Kanae just rolled her eyes.
"Well, Eiji..." Toshiko continued, picking up the theme of the topic as she twirled her long blonde hair with her finger "Did not have the best answer to your disappearance. It was even a little frightening..."
"Frightening?" The heiress glared at the petite green-haired, hating to be interrupted "That was the worst I ever remember seeing Eiji. There was nothing in his way that didn't turn out to be broken."
"Oh... That explains the state of his room..." Kanae muttered, now understanding why Eiji no more had his desk or why his door's locker didn't work anymore.
"He was really depressed over the idea of you leaving," Misaki explained, managing to catch the mermaid's attention "We all would be if he hadn't reacted and went to look for you.
Kanae smiled sadly, she didn't want to give them any sadness, if she was there even if for a short amount of time she wanted them to remember her, and for her to remember this experience with humans, as something they would never forget for the good memories.
"That reminds me." Toshiko got the spotlight again, a mischief smile painting her face "You have been sleeping with Eiji, haven't you? What have you guys been doing for you to get those dark circles? I'm assuming you've been too busy to rest."
Kanae blushed hard under the insinuation. She was sure she had dark circles due the almost sleepless nights as she could barely sleep with her heart beating like a maniac yet the few hours she finally managed to doze off were while listening to Eiji's heartbeat and after her own started to match his, she would be sleeping peacefully on his arms, but she wasn't expecting the crew to think of such things going on...
Actually, yes, she was expecting it.
"I-IT'S NOT LIKE THAT! It's just... Hum..." Kanae tried to find an excuse that wouldn't make the other three girls tease her even more but the teasing smiles each wore did not make the job easy.
"I also have a question" Ryouka lifted her hand to get the attention, going along with the playful atmosphere "So since you're a mermaid, how exactly would your and Eiji's kids be? Would they be human or..."
"There will be no kids." Ryouka had intended to be mostly teasing the girl, so she wasn't prepared by the harsh tone that Kanae had used to reply, instantly cutting her " Please don't be offended... You guys are the only humans I intend to reveal myself to but as soon as you have your treasure, I'll go away..."
Her face still was red and burning but she was seriously glaring at them as if she was giving them a threat or as she wanted to make her point in a hard way.
The words hurt her as she spoke them but she needed to make things clear. She didn't know words could hurt this much but she wasn't going to let the same thing that had happened to her family happen to her.
Once again, the word ´home´ couldn't find their way in her sentence, just deciding to end it there. Day by day, as she questioned her feelings, also her heart fought with her mind in accepting the ocean as her home instead of the ship and the crew that had got such a big space on her life.
That was a harsh reply that took everyone by surprise if the room was starting to get lighter, now was as heavy as it was the moment that they had settled to talk.
"Kanae... Sweetie, what are you feeling right now?" Misaki calmly asked, after throwing a glare at the other two girls as a mother scolding her kids to stop teasing the other.
"About... what exactly?" Now, her tone was scared, she didn't know what to say, what to think, what to feel. She was confused, so confused.
Everything... " I'm... I'm scared." She lowered her glance to the floor, refusing to look at anyone and letting her ginger short hair cover her from the world. She hated being vulnerable, she hated fear, she hated herself right there. "I made you lose all of your treasure. I revealed my species to humans. I betrayed everyone, you guys and the mermaids... And Eiji... There's also Eiji... I'm scared of what he provokes on me..."
"Wait, are you saying that Eiji... Is he hurting you?" Misaki spoke again, the other two clearly understanding who was better with words in this case, but Kanae quickly shook her head.
"No... Not like that..." Taking a deep breath, she moved her hand to rest over her heart "It hurts here... There's something you guys should know about the relation of mermaids and humans..."
And so, she started telling them everything she knew about the few relationships that existed over time between the two species.
" I know it seems like a fairy tale, a human and a mermaid helping each other and they eventually fall in love and live happily ever after, yet... Life is shit. Even if I admit that maybe, there's some feeling really deep within me and I start falling for him... This isn't a fairy tale.
Mermaids and humans don't work out together. They just don't. Most of the mermaids are caught and dragged away from home just to be forced to marry the human that caught her, or worst, she ends up being sold or finds a need to kill herself for the secret to not be revealed."
"Kanae... " The motherly pirate grabbed the mermaid's hand in an attempt to calm her "Nobody is going to force you to stay... We understand that your home is down in the sea and it would be awful for us to make you stay somewhere you don't like... Have you told Eiji about that?"
"Why would I? As I said, what is happening between me and Eiji is just a deal, I'll then return to the water..."
"Still, you should talk to him or you'll both just end up hurting yourselves but... Kanae, you know Eiji is not like that. I know love is selfish, and it makes you do awful things, but in the end, you two will be happy, I know it."
Kanae looked up at the caramel eyes and smiled softly, it was true that Misaki was nowhere as good as words as Eiji but she still knew what to say to calm her down.
Maybe, just maybe she was overreacting a bit, Eiji would never break his deal and could it be that even if there was something between them... Would it be real? Would he actually care for her like the crew insistently teased them?
Maybe, Kanae would have to find what really were those feelings inside her before tormenting her brain even more.
When Kanae left the cafeteria it was almost sunset, the orange light that the sun provided shone brightly on the water's surface, making Kanae stop to admire the beauty of her natural habitat.
Yet, she could only stare for brief minutes before some whistling was heard coming from the sky, as well as some familiar voice shouted to her "Hey, fish-woman! Come to join us!"
She didn't even need to look up to see the two identical faces belonging to the twins that were smirking down at her from the crows nest "It's called being a mermaid, dingoes!"
"Whatever. Just move that fish-tail to here." Nagayuki called out, trying to pursue her to climb the stairs.
"I'm with my legs now," Kanae smirked, only to start laughing when the younger twin didn't waste any time in replying.
"Then move that ass and climb, geez, now the Miss thinks she can fight with us" The mermaid laughed a little more and rolled her eyes, only then she started climbing, taking one of each hand of the twins when she arrived upstairs, being helped by them to get some support in the higher place of the ship.
"Finally, here's our favorite fish." The older Tatsumi ruffled her hair, as an almost brotherly affection "Look what we got over here"
He pointed to a small hidden corner behind them and Kanae's eyes even glittered when seeing the bottles "And this is why you two are my favorite cute troublemakers."
"Are we gonna drink or what?" The mermaid looked back at the younger of the siblings, watching as his lips were in a tiny pout and as both of his and his brother's cheeks were tinged with a light tonality of pink, what made her smirk as she knew that she would always get that reaction whenever mentioning the troublemakers as cute beings.
"Of course, my tolerance to you two is limited without alcohol." Kanae joked, bringing the booze near them as they sat on their usual circle and started their normal session.
"Pst, as if. You love us." Nagayuki muttered before leaning his back to the wooden piece that was supporting him behind and taking the bottle to his lips.
"Not gonna deny it... But not gonna say it's true either." The mermaid continued teasing them, like always receiving another tease back, that was what was so fun about being with the twins.
But this time, it had taken a couple of bottles until the next teasing started:
"Hey, Kanae, tell me something. Are you into girls?"
Not having to expect that question, Kanae ends up chocking with the drink she was having, only to look at Takeyasu completely confused "Where does that question come from?"
"You see if all mermaids are girls, doesn't that mean you have to rely on each other?"
She wasn't sure if smack him for his idiotic question and assumption but ended up laughing loudly at how truly confused he seemed to be, even more than herself actually "Idiot, there's also men down there, and also, it's not the less frequent for mermaids to assume human bodies to have fun out there."
"Also, don't forget that she's into Eiji."
"So, she's Eijisexual?" Takeyasu still tried to think yet his drunken brain refused to get any smarter than the pirate already was when sober, however instead of having a similar reply to what had happened in the cafeteria, this time Kanae laughed and reached to take the bottle away from the younger Tatsumi.
"Takeyasu, give me the bottle, you're already drunk."
"I'm fine! " He claimed, yet only managed to trip as his hand that was supporting his weight slid away, causing him to fall along with Kanae who was trying to reach for the bottle.
"Hey, I also want a hug." An equally drunk Nagayuki pouted, before also joining the unexpected hug.
So, an affectionated Nagayuki, a confused and inquisitive Takeyasu and a cheerful and laugh-it-out-at-everything Kanae spend their time there until they lost track of the time, only when the twins finally dozed off, still embracing each other as Kanae somehow managed to escape the tight hug she had forced to be in, the mermaid was able to return back down to go grab a blanket so that the twins wouldn't freeze to death while spending the night there.
"I'm assuming you had fun with the rest." The voice caused shivers down her spine. The night wasn't that cold, it was in a warm and inviting moment, it was those sorts of nights where Kanae often saw couples cuddling together as they shared intimate moments alone at the beach during the night.
"Eiji... Have you been looking for me?" Kanae watched the Captain walk closer to her, seemingly to have come out of his quarters while she climbed down the stairs.
"Not exactly, I thought you would want some time for yourself..."
She smiled, unconsciously, Misaki's words returned to her brain, yes, Eiji would make sure to make her stay comfortable, no doubts.
"Thanks... Hey, can we stay here for a while before going back? The weather is so nice tonight."
Eiji nodded in silence, following her lead to seat down in the middle of the wooden floor. As they sat, their hands brushed by accident and Kanae quickly removed her own just to move it a little to the side, feeling a shock traveling down her spine as a blush started to appear on her cheeks "S-Sorry..."
The captain chuckled and carefully used his hand to remove the ginger hair that escaped, covering the emerald eyes of the mermaid, to be able to lock eyes with her "Are we acting shy now?"
Her gaze never left his and his chuckle ended turning into a gentle smile, feeling a warm, large hand reaching out to hold the one she had moved away yet this time she allowed it to stay there, intertwining their fingers with Eiji's help.
"Kanae..." He was so close, Kanae could feel his warmth again, almost getting intoxicated by his scent that she already forgot what she had to talk with him but she was too captivated to focus on anything else "I'm sorry, I can't hold myself anymore."
He gave her time to stop him, yet she didn't want him to restrain himself. She needed it as much as him and so, she eagerly allowed her lips to meet his in a so desired kiss.
As they kissed, Kanae didn't think how incorrect that was, she didn't care, she forgot about the difference of species that separated them and that would later bring consequences for sure. She could only savor the moment as the captain's gentle lips kissed her with a passion she never knew it existed. One of his hands rubbed her cheek tenderly while the other held her hand, their fingers intertwined.
She was so lost in the moment that she couldn't even remember about the fact this would all end when the mission would be completed when the pirate would have his treasure on his hands, the hands that were currently holding her so gently.
She only knew that she liked, no, she loved this feeling.
And as the kiss broke she realized another fact: She was so screwed with these dazzling feelings.
Yet, that didn't stop her to lean in once more for another kiss, wanting to go back to forget all the logic that was destroying her happiness.
A/N: Yay, there's a happy (?) ending! And a hell of a late update, I know, I know, I'm sorry, to compensate it, next chapter things will get spicy and the first smut of this fic will finally arrive - Just a small spoiler~