Chapter 1: Prologue
Morgan’s ship had sunk. The whole crew was in a frenzy. Captain Sabertooth was barking orders, and everyone scurried around the rock formation hoping to find any scrap of treasure left behind. Yet Longfinger of all people couldn’t seem to focus on the task at hand. His mind was elsewhere, thinking of Morgan. Their relationship was extremely uncomfortable for him to look back on, but now it was very likely that Morgan was dead. The thought left a pit in his stomach.
For better or for worse, Longfinger’s somber thoughts were interrupted by a strange sound. He hurried over to the source of the noise, chilled by the realization of what it was. “Captain!” He yelled, waving him over. Longfinger tossed aside wood and debris to reveal what he dreaded. A sobbing infant looked back up at him.
“What is it?” Benjamin yelled out, following behind Captain Sabertooth, Wally, and Wimp. They all gathered around, eyes growing wide upon seeing the discovery.
“Who’s this little guy?” Wally asked, unsure of what else to say to break the stunned silence. Longfinger instinctively picked the baby and held him close. The physical contact seemed to be enough to calm the child down from his crying fit. Longfinger smiled and sighed in relief, then turned around to face his captain.
Captain Sabertooth’s face scrunched up in confusion. He cleared his throat. “Well. Nothing else for us here. Back to the ship, all of you!” He commanded. The crew obeyed. However Longfinger lagged behind, infant in hand, unsure of how to interpret Sabertooth’s reaction. His word was law of course, so however he decided to deal with this situation, Longfinger would no doubt obey. Not wanting to keep them waiting any longer, Longfinger carefully boarded The Dark Lady.
Everyone was abuzz with fascination for what- or more accurately, who- had been found. Longfinger didn’t bother listening to all the murmurs as he searched the deck for something to put the child in. After finding a wide wicker basket, he laid down and large scrap of fabric and carefully placed the infant inside.
“What are you doing?” Captain Sabertooth growled, peering over Longfinger’s shoulder.
Longfinger turned to face him. “It’s a crib… of sorts.”
“And what do you need a thing like that for?”
“We can’t just leave him out at sea, Captain!” Longfinger said, taken aback.
Sabertooth raised his eyebrows. “So you’re going to raise the little shrimp? This is a ship, not a daycare Longfinger. Why don’t you find someone at Abra Haven to take care of it?”
“If that is what you wish of me then of course I will do that,” Longfinger said. “But if you’ll allow it, I’d like the chance to take care of him on my own. If he becomes too much of a distraction then I’ll find someone else for him, but please Captain, let me see if I can make this work.” Sabertooth stared at him, not yet responding. “Maybe we might need a galley boy someday?” He continued, hoping to lighten the mood.
Captain Sabertooth took a deep breath. “Fine,” He said, voice low. “But this is your responsibility.” The Captain sniffed. “It needs changed.” He nodded at Longfinger, looking rather uncomfortable, and walked off.
Longfinger sighed. He was relieved that Sabertooth agreed to his idea but he wasn’t even quite sure why felt so strongly about raising the boy in the first place. As if on cue, just then the infant started crying. Bending over his makeshift crib to take care of him, he noticed the reflection of something around his neck. There was a metal tag on a string. He picked it up and saw something etched into the metal.
“Pinky?” Longfinger said, reading the engraved name out loud. He smiled and reached into his pocket to grab a light blue handkerchief. He gently tied it around the top of Pinky’s head. “Pirate.”
Chapter 2: Keeping Him Abreast
A little while later, Longfinger had managed to clean Pinky from head to toe, find something better to act as a diaper, and moved his crib basket to a room below deck. Pinky looked like he was feeling much better, staring wide-eyed at Longfinger and chewing on his tiny hand. Longfinger smiled then sat down, feeling rather overwhelmed with everything that just happened and having not quite processed what he signed up for. A few quiet moments passed, well quiet aside from Pinky babbling here or there, before a light knocking could be heard on the door. “Come in.”
Benjamin poked his head through the door before entering. He smiled at Pinky and Pinky smiled back at him. “So you decided to keep him?”
“Don’t say it like that, you make him sound like a stray puppy.” Longfinger replied. “But yes, I’m going to try to raise him. His name is Pinky.”
“Pinky, huh? I like it, where’d you come up with that?” Benjamin asked.
Longfinger pointed at the necklace. “I didn’t, it was written on here.”
Benjamin leaned over and chuckled. “The boy even came with tags? He really is a newborn puppy.”
“He’s not a newborn at least- thank god. I don’t think I could handle that.”
Benjamin inspected Pinky more closely. “He’s not? How can you tell?”
Longfinger stood up and wiped some of the drool around Pinky’s mouth. “It’s not too hard to tell how old a baby is if you know what to look for. He’s already has two teeth and responds well to sights and sounds.” He picked up a small sack filled with some coins and shook it above Pinky’s head. Pinky tried to reach for it and giggled in excitement. “I’d say he’s around four to six months old.”
“Since when did the great fearsome Longfinger know so much about child development?” Benjamin asked, both teasing him and genuinely surprised.
“I was the oldest in my family so I learned a lot from helping my mom raise my younger siblings.” Longfinger said neutrally. He didn’t like to dwell on the past.
Benjamin nodded his head. “Oh, makes sense. I’m the youngest in my family myself.” That fact did not surprise Longfinger. “So, what exactly do you feed him?”
Longfinger paused. When he helped his mom raise his siblings the answer was obvious, breast milk. But there’s not even any breasts on this crew let alone lactating ones. He had no idea what, if any, alternative there was. “I… I don’t know. I guess I’ll have to do some research.”
“Well we’re almost at The Invisible Land, I’m sure you can find someone there to help! Hopefully Pinky here doesn’t mind waiting.” Benjamin patted Pinky on the head. “Nice to have you aboard, little guy.”
The Dark Lady arrived at The Invisible Land, met with celebration from the villagers. After asking around most of the crew, Longfinger got Loki agreed to keep an eye on Pinky while he set out to solve the issue of feeding. He headed straight towards where he thought he’d have the best luck finding information.
“Longfinger!” Oliver called out with a smile as Longfinger stepped inside his shop. “Good to see back!”
“Pleasure as always to see you, Oliver.” Longfinger said. “There’s something I’m hoping you might be able to help me with.”
Oliver leaned over the counter. “Of course Longfinger, anything for you. What do you need?”
“Do you happen to have any books on child care?” Longfinger asked sheepishly.
Oliver put his hand to his chin, thinking over his inventory. “I don’t remember having any but let me go take a look. Wait right here.” Longfinger nodded and Oliver walked off to a back room. After a moment of some shuffling around he returned and placed two books on the counter. “This was all I could find.”
Longfinger picked up the first book. It was small and had simple illustrations and appeared to be about teaching your child right from wrong. He turned to a random page. “‘Just because you want something doesn’t mean it’s yours.’ ...Who wrote this bunch of nonsense?” He sat it down and picked up the other book. After skimming a bit he could see it was guide for dealing with your child going through puberty. “...And this one won’t be helpful any time soon.”
“What exactly do you need parenting books for?” Oliver asked curiously.
Longfinger waved his hand dismissively. “It’s complicated.”
Oliver walked around to the other side of the counter. “I don’t think I can help you if you don’t tell me, Longfinger.”
“We set out for Morgan’s ship.” Longfinger said slowly. “But… it had sunk. We searched the wreckage. The only thing left was an infant crying helplessly.”
Oliver looked at him sympathetically. “I’m sorry to hear about Morgan, I know-” Longfinger held up his hand.
“Please don’t mention him.” Longfinger said, sounding slightly pained. “The point is, I want to raise this child. I don’t know who on that ship was his parent, but it’s irrelevant. I need to learn how to take care of him.”
“I’m surprised Captain Sabertooth is letting you.” Oliver said after a moment’s pause. “Then again, it’s you, so I’m not too shocked.” That at least made Longfinger smile slightly. “I may not have the books you need but I know for a fact that plenty of parents here would jump at the chance to help.”
Longfinger rubbed the back of his neck. “You're probably right. I was just hoping to keep the whole situation a secret from the rest of the village.”
Oliver laughed. “Captain Sabertooth’s shadow? Raising a child? Secretly? Be realistic.”
“A man can dream.” Longfinger said. “Thanks for the talk, Oliver. I’ll head over to the inn and see if I can get some help.”
“Good seeing you, Longfinger. You’ll have to let me see this boy of yours some time.”
Longfinger nodded and opened the door. “Will do.”
Chapter 3: Don't Poke the Bear
Just before sunset, Longfinger climbed aboard The Dark Lady while carrying a barrel on his shoulder. Captain Sabertooth was standing on deck and approached him curiously. “What is it that you’ve brought me?” He asked, his voice nearly purring.
Longfinger sat the barrel down. “Apologies Captain, this is for Pinky.”
“Pinky? Who the hell is Pinky?” Sabertooth said.
“The child, his name is Pinky.” Longfinger said, grimacing at his own oversight. “It was written on his necklace.”
Captain Sabertooth crossed his arms. “Something that small couldn’t possibly need a whole barrelful of goods!”
“The villagers got a little… enthusiastic.” Longfinger said. “I went to the inn looking for some advice but upon explaining my situation a lot of the parents there were very happy to give me their old baby supplies. This barrel is mostly filled with old toys, clothes, and blankets.”
“So everyone in town knows about this now? Wonderful…” Sabertooth grumbled. Longfinger opened his mouth to reply but he cut him off. “Whatever, get this out of my sight.”
Longfinger picked up the barrel. “Aye aye, Captain.” He entered the room below deck where Loki was watching over Pinky.
“Hey, what took you so long?” Loki said. He was bouncing Pinky on his knee.
“Sorry. People got a little carried away with offering to help. Is he doing okay?” Longfinger asked.
Loki sat Pinky back down in his crib. “Yeah, he did good! Did you find out what he needs to eat, though? I think he’s starving, he kept trying to chew on everything.”
“That, or he’s teething.” Longfinger said with a chuckle. “But yes, I know what to feed him now. Thanks Loki, I can handle it from here.”
“Alright. Good luck!” Loki gave him a thumbs up and left the room.
Longfinger leaned over to Pinky. “Hey there buddy. Let’s get you some food, huh?” He shuffled through the contents of the barrel and pulled out a glass bottle with a rubber nipple. “Be right back.” He headed straight for the kitchen. Inside the kitchen, Longfinger grabbed some milk and removed the nipple from the bottle. “Good old goat’s milk…” He filled the bottle most of the way with milk and then poured in some water, “Just a little watered down. There we go.” He placed the nipple back on the bottle and returned to Pinky’s room.
“Sorry to keep you waiting.” Longfinger said gently. He picked up Pinky and cradled him in one arm and fed him with the other. Once Pinky had finished and was back in his crib, Longfinger sat down with a tired thud. It had been a long day but he let out a sigh of relief. All things considered he was feeling rather optimistic. Longfinger leaned over to the barrel and pulled out an old patchwork blanket. He laid it on top of Pinky and smiled. He was going to make this work.
A few weeks had passed since that day, and Longfinger had pretty quickly fallen into the routine of taking care of Pinky between his other duties. But he had always been someone who was hardworking and dedicated, so it really came as no surprise to himself. What did surprise him was the little ways the dynamic between him and everyone else seemed to have changed as a result.
Gossip had quickly spread throughout Abra Haven and soon it seemed like everyone in the village wanted to run up to Longfinger and ask him about Pinky. Not only that, but even though he was certainly no stranger to having the villagers fawn over him, finding out that he was now raising a child seemed to only make people more attracted.
It wasn’t all positive changes. It was subtle but Longfinger noticed that Captain Sabertooth had become a little more reserved around him. Nothing extreme, but he had noticed him approaching him less. Sabertooth seemed to pause more and stare at Longfinger, as if he wanted to say something. There was just always this slight uncomfortable vibe whenever Sabertooth addressed him. Longfinger wasn’t sure exactly what to think of it but he hoped it wouldn’t last long.
Meanwhile, a lot of the crew seemed to jump on the opportunity to tease Longfinger. Twice now he had been giving orders when Pinky started crying. The first time he ran off immediately to take care of him, much to everyone’s amusement. The second time he tried to wait until he was done to take care of Pinky, but trying to listen to Longfinger bark orders while a baby cried in the background made everyone crack up and unable to focus. Benjamin also recently decided to only refer to him as “Daddy Longfinger.” Longfinger absolutely hates it but ribbing from his crew is nothing he wasn’t used to. That is of course, as long as it never got malicious.
“So much work… I don’t think I can take much more of this.” Wimp complained. Longfinger was making sure everyone was getting The Dark lady ready to sail.
“Me neither.” Wally replied, out of breath. Longfinger could easily overhear them both from the other end of the ship. “We should sneak Pinky some of Skalken’s food. He’ll be so sick that Longfinger will be too busy taking care of him to check if we’re working.”
Longfinger marched over so furiously he practically teleported behind Wally. “What was that!?” he hissed.
Wally jumped in surprise and Wimp froze in place. “It was nothing! Just a joke is all! Of course we would never!” Wally said, voice quivering.
“It was Wally’s idea! I have no part in this!” Wimp cried. Longfinger motioned with his head for him to run along and Wimp immediately scurried away.
Longfinger loomed over Wally menacingly. “If I ever find you messing with Pinky in any way, you’ll be sharing a bed with Skalken permanently, got it?”
Wally looked at him in horror. “U-understood Longfinger! Sorry Longfinger! No messing with the baby! Got it!”
“Good. Now get back to work and don’t let me catch you complaining again.”
Wally nodded furiously and ran off to keep working.
“Ooooooh, looks like somebody angered mama bear.” Benjamin called out, causing several of the crew members to snicker. It seemed that everyone had watched the scene that unfolded quite intently.
“What are you all looking at? We need this ship ready for tomorrow! Move it!” Longfinger commanded, feeling rather flustered. Some of the crew members lingered and continued staring. “I said move it, or you’ll be cleaning with your toothbrushes.” That was enough to get everyone back into gear.
Longfinger took off his hat and clenched it tightly. He needed to calm down but that was difficult considering there were crew members scuttling around the entire ship. So instead he knocked on the door to Captain Sabertooth’s quarters.
“Come in.” Sabertooth responded. He was sitting down at his desk and examining a treasure map. Longfinger entered and Captain Sabertooth glanced up to see who it was, then returned to his work. “Why have you interrupted me?” He asked flatly.
“Apologies Captain, I just needed to step away from the crew for a minute.” Longfinger explained.
Sabertooth raised his eyebrow. “Is there a problem I should know about, Longfinger?”
Longfinger shook his head. “Just some issues with the crew being disrespectful is all.”
“You wipe a baby’s ass multiple times a day and you’re surprised they lost respect for you?” Captain Sabertooth said with a snort.
“Not surprised, but I am disappointed.” Longfinger scoffed. “Taking care of a child is hard work and if anything they should be impressed that I can take care of Pinky and whip those slacker’s into shape!”
Captain Sabertooth finally put his magnifying glass down and looked up at Longfinger, resting his chin on the back of his hands. “I don't suppose you're telling me that you taking care of that turnip is affecting your duties as my first mate, Longfinger?”
Longfinger straightened his posture. “Of course not, Captain.”
“That better not be an excuse I’m hearing.”
“I have everything under control, I promise.”
Sabertooth stood up from his desk. “Good.” He approached Longfinger slowly, a pronounced clank of his heels annunciating every step. Longfinger held his breath. “Never forget that nothing is more important than your Captain.”
“Rest assured Captain, you’re the most important person in my life.” Longfinger said. The room grew quiet. Sabertooth tilted his chin upward and gazed at him intently. Longfinger thought over what he just said and cleared his throat. “What I mean is- you- my duty-”
Captain Sabertooth cut him off with his domineering voice. “You’ve said your piece. Now get back out there and make sure we’re prepared to sail tomorrow.”
Longfinger flushed and opened his mouth to say something more but didn’t know what. After floundering for a moment he simply said, “Aye aye, Captain.” and quickly exited Sabertooth’s quarters.
Captain Sabertooth stared silently at the door after Longfinger left. After stewing in his thoughts he straightened his jacket and got back to work.
Chapter 4: Beginner's Luck
Everyone had managed to get their act together in time for tomorrow’s treasure hunting adventure. The sky grew dark as Captain Sabertooth lead his crew to a spot they had been lead to by his map. Longfinger helped to unearth the treasure chest that was hidden beneath the land.
“Only one chest…” Captain Sabertooth said. His fingers glided over the old map he was holding. “There should be far more in the ruins East of here.”
“Should we leave this one here then and continue on ahead?” Ali asked.
Sabertooth scoffed. “Of course we’re not leaving treasure behind! Don’t be ridiculous.”
“Then we’ll just grab it on the way back.” Benjamin said.
Wimp butted into the conversation. ”But what if it’s gone by the time we get back!?”
The crew started bickering amongst themselves about their different ideas of what to do. Captain Sabertooth pinched the bridge of his nose. “Longfinger.” He said impatiently. “Solve this for me.”
Longfinger looked at the treasure chest and then looked towards how far away the ruins were. “How about I take this chest back now while the rest of you continue?” He offered.
“By the time you make it to the ship and back we should already be done at the ruins.” Captain Sabertooth said.
“That’s fine.” Longfinger said, giving an awkward smile. “I’ll just stay back at the ship. It gives me a chance to check up on Pinky anyway.” His voice started trailing off slightly towards the end.
Captain Sabertooth nodded his head in agreement despite not looking very pleased. “Fine, fine, better than listening to everyone squabble.” He turned back towards the rest of the crew and motioned with his arm. “Alright! Onwards!”
Sabertooth and his men continued East, leaving Longfinger alone with the treasure chest. Longfinger grabbed it by the rope handles on the sides and was able to lift the old chest with ease and started walking.
Eventually Longfinger made his way back to The Dark Lady and sat down the treasure chest. He poked his head into Pinky’s room to find him wide awake. “Came back early for you, kid. How’s it going?” He walked up to Pinky to see how he was doing. It became clear that Pinky had gone to the bathroom during everyone’s absence. As Longfinger cleaned him up, he was relieved he got the chance to arrive first and take care of this early.
Once Pinky was clean and had settled down, Longfinger moved to the next order of business, which was storing the treasure chest he brought back below deck for the trip back to Abra Haven. He moved the chest into place and then sat on top of it to take a moment to relax.
Just after he had stood up, Longfinger heard something from up above. He paused and held his breath and tried to listen more closely. After hearing what sounded like several dull thuds, his hand moved to the hilt of his sword. Longfinger crept as quietly as he could to the deck, hoping that what he was hearing wasn’t footsteps.
Longfinger got back up to the deck looked around. The dim lighting proved to be a challenge, but he suddenly saw movement from up at the helm. A tall woman whipped around and stared daggers into him. “Why the fuck are you here!?” She called out with a booming voice.
Longfinger drew his sword and pointed it in her direction. “I think I should be the one asking that question.” The woman laughed and jumped down dramatically to the lower deck. She was wearing an extravagantly colorful coat that appeared to be cobbled together from several different silks with wild patterns. Her stockings were mismatched and her boots were golden. It looked as though her head was shaven but it was admittedly hard to tell, considering her head was obscured by her ostentatious tricorn hat. She grinned and revealed her cutlass.
“You know, I was just thinking that this was too easy! Now I get to have some fun.” She came striding towards Longfinger. “When I’m done kicking your ass, you get to have the honor of telling Sabertooth that The Dark Lady now belongs to Captain Frieda the Fearless!”
Frieda screamed and thrusted her sword straight at him. Longfinger parried and passed backward. He swung at her but she blocked him right back. They seemed to be evenly matched, both of them halting each other’s attacks as their fight went back and forth. Frieda made a rather odd approach of attempting to distract Longfinger by chucking her hat at his face. It worked for a moment, allowing her to slightly gain the upper hand. Frieda kept slashing but Longfinger parried and riposted, catching her off balance. It wasn’t enough to end the fight and it was starting to seem like they had reached a stalemate. But if Longfinger managed to wear her out he should have no problem claiming victory.
It was at that moment that Pinky let out a loud cry.
The sound caught Frieda off guard and she lowered her cutlass in confusion. Seizing his opportunity, Longfinger swiped at her weapon, disarming her. Her mind snapped back into focus as she realized what just happened. Frieda raised her arms up in surrender.
Longfinger was restaining Frieda with rope. The mood was rather awkward as he silently looped rope around her as the distant sound of a baby crying could be heard. He finished his knot and sarcastically said, “Now, try not to run off” as he headed to Pinky’s room to calm him down.
Pinky had stopped crying and Longfinger returned to the deck. Frieda was staring at him, looking quite bewildered. “Do you… do you seriously have a baby on this ship?”
“Do you really think you’re in any position to be asking me questions?”
Frieda glared at him. “Christ’s sake, you already won! Excuse me for being curious.” She glanced around the ship. Her large hat was still sitting on the deck after she threw it earlier. “Shit! Can I at least have my hat back?”
“This hat?” Longfinger asked, pointing at it. He picked it up, removed his own hat, and placed hers on his head. He grinned at her smugly. “No.”
“Oh fuck you!” She yelled.
Longfinger frowned. “Hey, watch your language! There’s a child on board.”
Just then, Captain Sabertooth and his crew arrived at the deck, four treasure chests in tow. Sabertooth analyzed the scene with an icy stare. “Longfinger!” He called out.
Longfinger turned towards him and saluted. “Yes Captain!”
“Who the hell is that and what the hell is on your head!?”
Frieda spat in Sabertooth’s general direction. “Don’t act like you don’t remember me Sabertooth, I’m Captain Frieda the Fearless!”
“More like Frieda the defenseless...” Loki muttered to the rest of the crew, making some of them chuckle.
Sabertooth stared stone-faced. “Oh, it’s you. How has your wardrobe somehow gotten even worse since I last saw you?”
“I caught her trying to steal The Dark Lady, Captain.” Longfinger said.
“Good work, Longfinger.” Captain Sabertooth said. “Put her on a float and get her out of my sight.” Longfinger nodded. “...And take that stupid hat off.”
Longfinger awkwardly removed Frieda’s hat and put his own hat back on. “Aye aye, Captain.”
Frieda the Fearless had been sent out on to sea (with her hat on) and was now long out of sight. The crew moved the four new treasure chests that they found below deck and were done for the day. It was well into the night at this point, so it was decided that they would leave for Abra Haven in the morning. Most of the crew was settling in for bed but Longfinger lingered and pulled Captain Sabertooth aside.
“Any problems getting the rest of the treasure, Captain?” He asked.
“None whatsoever.” Sabertooth replied. He was examining the cutlass left behind by Frieda. “Glad I wasn’t the one who had to deal with that clown.”
“Funny story about my fight with her actually, Pinky actually helped to save the day.” Longfinger said. Captain Sabertooth looked at him straight-faced and raised an eyebrow. Longfinger shuffled on his feet. “We had been fighting for a few minutes and seemed to be rather evenly matched. But then we could hear Pinky crying and the distraction allowed me to disarm her.”
Sabertooth carefully sat down the cutlass. “I hope for your sake that you just made up a story in a poor attempt to impress me.”
“What? No, of course I didn’t make it up.” Longfinger replied, dumbfounded.
"Then you are more foolish than I thought.” Captain Sabertooth said coldly. “First of all, don't be ridiculous. I have no doubt you would have bested her even without the distraction." Longfinger continued to stand there, unsure of how to respond. Sabertooth sounded so bitter but at the same time he was complimenting his skills. It was hard to tell where this was going.
"Second of all," Sabertooth continued, “That flour sack might have caused a distraction this time, but what if the next time you square up with someone they see an opportunity?” He stepped even closer to Longfinger. “Say the next pirate isn’t distracted by the crying. Say they find where he is. Say they point their sword to his little throat and say ‘Give me the ship, or I take the boy!’” Captain Sabertooth’s voice was dark and full of resentment that stung Longfinger with every word. “What would you do then?”
“I… I would…”
“Exactly.” Sabertooth said, cutting him off. “You would freeze. And that would be all it would take for you to lose. You got lucky this time Longfinger, but I don’t think I would be celebrating if I were you.”
Captain Sabertooth began walking away. Longfinger managed to straighten out his thoughts in time to grab him by the arm. “Excuse me Captain, but might I point out the fact that if it weren’t for Pinky, I never would have come back early to save the ship?”
Sabertooth whipped his arm out of Longfinger’s and turned back around to face him. His eyes were wide, and Longfinger looked equally surprised that he had talked back like that. “I have nothing against you checking in on the boy,” Sabertooth pointed Frieda’s sword towards Longfinger’s chest, “Just make sure no one ever has the opportunity to get to him first.”
“...Understood, Captain.” Longfinger finally said. Captain Sabertooth lowered the sword, turned, and walked away.
Chapter 5: Not Looking Sharp Today
The morning came and the crew returned to Abra Haven without any further issues, and Captain Sabertooth’s newfound treasure had been moved to his castle. Longfinger watched over Pinky as he fell asleep. The rest of Sabertooth’s men were off enjoying their downtime but Longfinger left to take care of his last responsibility.
Longfinger arrived at Rosa’s. “Hey!” Rosa called out as soon as he walked in. “Didn’t expect to see you back here so soon. Run into trouble?”
“I guess you could call it that.” Longfinger said.
Rosa cupped her hands together. “What are you here for?”
Longfinger presented her with the cutlass he had taken from Frieda the Fearless the night before. “Orders are for you to fix this up.”
Rosa took it from his hand. “Just a sword? Damn, I was hoping you brought me Pinky so I could play with him.”
“You know, I thought about bringing him but then it dawned on me that holding a baby in one hand and a sword in the other probably isn’t the best idea.” Longfinger said.
“Oh sure, when you put it like that…” Rosa rotated the cutlass, inspecting it from all sides. “This shouldn’t take me very long if you feel like waiting around.”
Longfinger nodded and sat down on top of one of the empty barrels of gunpowder. Rosa searched around the room for a moment until she spotted a glass bottle full of oil. “So what’s the story behind this one?” She asked.
“I single-handedly defeated Frieda the Fearless and took her sword after she tried to steal The Dark Lady.” Longfinger said with a grin.
“Alright alright, no need to brag.” Rosa said. She poured some of the oil onto a whetstone. “Frieda… I think I remember that name. Isn’t she that older captain whos really over the top but in a cute way?”
Longfinger cocked his head to the side. “That’s certainly… one way to describe her.”
Rosa shrugged and began sliding the cutlass across the whetstone repeatedly. “Pinky doing okay?” She asked. Longfinger nodded his head slightly and muttered a yes under his breath. “You know, the villagers are very curious about you two.” She said. “I think the favorite theory that I’ve heard was that you slept with the queen of a faraway island so you could steal her gold, but she got pregnant so she forced you to take the child to save her reputation.”
After sharpening the cutlass across the whetstone a few more times, she lifted her head up. Longfinger was looking away towards a corner of the room. “...Obviously, that’s ridiculous.” Rosa said after a pause. “You never sleep with the women you seduce.”
Without hearing any sort of response, Rosa huffed and sat the sword down. “Okay, what’s with you?”
Longfinger sat up straight, suddenly brought to attention. “What do you mean?"
“You’re staring off into space and ignoring everything that I’m saying?” Rosa retorted, crossing her arms.
Longfinger pointed a finger upwards and opened his mouth before closing it again. “Fair point.”
She rolled her eyes. “So? Are you gonna tell me or not?”
“I hardly see how it’s any of your business Miss Rosa.”
“Oh don't give me that bullshit, Longfinger.” Rosa said. “I’m asking as a friend. It’s not like you to be this spacey.”
“I appreciate the sentiment, but I just a little lost in thought.” Longfinger said.
Rosa walked around to the other side of her work table so she was closer to Longfinger. “Is this about Sabertooth?”
He blinked. “Maybe so.” A slight smile formed on the corner of Rosa’s lips in response. “Am I that obvious?”
“Well it was a fifty fifty chance between it being him or Pinky.” Rosa teased.
Rosa placed her hands on her hips. “It’s about both of them, isn’t it?” Longfinger nodded. “Alright, spit it out.”
Longfinger hopped off the empty barrel. “Last night Pinky was in a situation that could have been potentially dangerous, and The Captain chewed me out for it.”
“What?” Longfinger looked at her confused.
Rosa moved back to the other side of her work table and went back to sharpening the cutlass. “You’re seriously over here pouting because Captain Sabertooth called you out for being irresponsible?”
“Of course not! There’s more to it than that!” Longfinger protested. He let out a sigh. “Ever since I decided to raise Pinky, The Captain has been different towards me. I know he’s my captain of course but I’d also like to consider him a friend. And yet recently it’s like he'll avoid speaking to me unless it’s necessary.” Rosa looked at him sympathetically. “So that on top of what happened last night... I fear he’s disappointed in me. I fear taking in Pinky was a bad idea.”
Rosa wiped down the cutlass with a cloth and smiled gently. “You’re an idiot.”
Longfinger frowned. “Why did I even bother telling you?”
“Because,” Rosa said, walking towards Longfinger, “This is what you’re gonna do.” She held out the freshly polished cutlass. “You’re going to find Sabertooth, give him his perfectly polished sword, and then you’re going to tell him exactly what’s been bothering you.”
“What!? I can’t do that!” Longfinger said, bewildered.
“And why not?”
Longfinger held his hands up. “I can’t just go telling Captain Sabertooth, King of the Seven Seas, that I’m sad because he’s ignoring me! I’d sound like a child!”
Rosa looked at him sternly. “You’re his first mate right? So it’s your duty to service him to the best of your abilities?”
“Of course.” Longfinger said slowly, unsure of where she was going with this.
“Then it’s also your duty to make sure that anything that is preventing you from serving him properly is taken care of.” Rosa held out the sword closer to him. “This is a distraction. You need to take care of it. You need to talk to him.”
Longfinger reluctantly took the cutlass from her. “Fine.” He headed for the door. “But if this goes bad I’m blaming you.”
Rosa smiled. “Attaboy!”
Chapter 6: Oh, Boy
Captain Sabertooth was in his castle’s office, writing away in a log book while wearing a pair of reading glasses that honestly he should use far more often. He had just dipped his quill into an ornate bottle of ink when a knocking sound echoed through the castle. “Enter!” He called out.
Longfinger stepped inside the office. “Evening, Captain.”
“Did you get the sword repaired as I asked, Longfinger?” Sabertooth said, continuing to write.
Longfinger placed the polished cutlass on his desk. “It’s good as new.” He said.
Captain Sabertooth paused to look over the sword. Deeming it to be in acceptable condition, he nodded his head and resumed his work. “Good work.”
There was a moment of silence as Longfinger continued to stand there in front of Sabertooth’s desk. Captain Sabertooth sat down his quill. “What? Do you want a cookie for a job well done? You’re excused.”
“Actually Captain, I was hoping we could talk.” Longfinger said rigidly.
Longfinger took a breath. “About my situation with Pinky.”
Captain Sabertooth slowly removed his reading glasses. “Really? We have to do this right now?”
“If not now, then when?” Longfinger said, sounding a little more harsh than he had intended.
“Fine, let’s get this over with.” Sabertooth neatly folded up his glasses and slid them inside a satin case. “What do you have to say?”
It was then that Longfinger opened his mouth and just let a stream of consciousness fall out before he lost his nerve.
“Ever since deciding to rear Pinky it seems as though that your attitude towards me has changed. Of course you are my Captain, but previously I felt as though we had a good rapport. Yet now I have the impression that you are much more standoffish towards me when not being downright avoidant.”
Longfinger looked upward, avoiding Sabertooth’s gaze as words continued to spill out. “I know it is not really my place to complain about your behavior like this, but that fact coupled with the events of last night makes me fear that my relationship with you and my position as your first mate has been irreparably damaged. Even if this is not the case, I still feel the importance of bringing my concern to your attention, as I feel this issue has become a distraction to me which I don’t want becoming a hindrance as I serve you.”
Captain Sabertooth blinked. “For Sabertooth’s sake, did you recently sleep with a thesaurus?”
He rose from his chair and walked to the other side of his desk. “Do you want to know my problem, Longfinger?” Why I’ve been ‘standoffish’ and ‘avoidant’?” Sabertooth said, his deep voice dripping with contempt. Longfinger stared at him anxiously. “What if I ordered you right now to get rid of that boy?”
Longfinger’s body tensed. “If that is what you wish, Captain.”
Sabertooth slowly tilted his head to the side and Longfinger felt like he was staring into his very soul. “That’s the problem.”
“What?” Longfinger’s voice was quiet.
With his eyes scrunched closed, Captain Sabertooth balled his hand into a fist banged the top of his desk. “For crying out loud Longfinger, would you feed yourself to the sharks if I ordered you to!?”
“N-no, don’t be ridiculous!” Longfinger sputtered. Every part of him stung, as though Sabertooth’s words were swipes of a sword, slicing at every last one of his weaknesses.
“I’m being ridiculous? I told you from the very beginning that taking care of him is your responsibility! And yet you shuffle your feet, unsure of yourself, embarrassed of this role you have decided to play. I thought this was something you were going to commit to, and yet you’re ready to abandon him at the drop of a hat!” Captain Sabertooth collected himself and lowered his voice. “Decide to raise him or don’t, but quit tip-toeing the line, Longfinger.”
Longfinger swallowed hard. “No less than two days ago you reminded me that nothing was more important than my captain. You’ve mocked me for doing things like singing Pinky to sleep. You’ve hated the fact that the villagers know I’m taking care of him. And now you’re mad at me because I’m not committed enough!?” He looked at Sabertooth, genuinely confused and upset. “I want nothing more than to keep raising him, Captain. But forgive me if I’ve been unsure of myself with all the mixed messages you’ve been giving me.”
Captain Sabertooth closed his eyes and rubbed his temples. “I don’t like parents.” He said neutrally. “I don’t trust parents. There are some that consider me an evil man but I can tell you with first hand experience that there is no one more evil than a parent who neglects their child.”
“When I see you taking care of that rotten apple perhaps there is a part of me that is bitter because I’m reminded of the majority of parents that I’ve seen that are nothing but self-centered monsters.” He leaned against his desk. “There is nothing more important than your duty as my first mate, but if you’re truly serious and committed to raising him, then that should be the second most important thing in your life.”
The room grew quiet as both took a moment to absorb everything that has been said. Finally, Sabertooth looked at Longfinger with a twinkle in his eye and continued speaking. “I suppose what I’m trying to say is, you can either prove me right and decide to give up on that child, or you can prove me wrong. Convince me that a parent can actually be caring.”
A spark ignited inside of Longfinger. “I’m going to prove you wrong, Captain.”
“That’s more like it.” Captain Sabertooth said, finally smiling. “Now I order you to get rid of him.”
Longfinger grinned. “I’m afraid I have to refuse, Captain.”
Sabertooth patted him on the shoulder. “Good. Are we settled then? I really do not want to have another discussion on this subject.”
“It’s settled.” Longfinger said, finally at ease. “Apologies for my tone earlier.”
Captain Sabertooth sat back down at his desk. “Before you leave, drop this cutlass off in my treasure chamber.” Longfinger nodded and picked it up. “While you’re there, grab a gold coin for yourself and get someone to make that lump of clay a proper crib. Understood?”
“Understood.” He held the cutlass close, feeling slightly overwhelmed by Sabertooth’s generosity. “Thank you, Captain.”
Captain Sabertooth winked at him as he walked out.
Chapter 7: First Time For Everything
After that conversation, everything seemed to have settled down. Longfinger was no longer second guessing himself, Captain Sabertooth was far more understanding, and Pinky finally had a much nicer crib. Rosa was very eager to brag to Longfinger about how right she was too. Since then, two months had passed of nothing but smooth sailing, both literally and figuratively.
While the weather was rather tropical year round in Abra Haven, there was a slight cold chill in the air as November began to draw near. Longfinger sat on The Dark Lady, humming quietly as he stitched up one of the sails that had torn slightly from the winds of the night before. He normally wasn’t the one tasked with doing repairs such as this, but from having to fix up clothes for Pinky as he grew, Longfinger found working with a needle and thread rather relaxing as of late.
Just as he finished his work, Captain Sabertooth passed by him and paused. “You’re certainly in a good mood today.”
Longfinger chuckled a bit and stood up. “You noticed?”
Captain Sabertooth rolled his eyes. “Yes, surprisingly I can in fact notice when someone that I see on a daily basis seems more chipper than usual.”
“How sweet of you, Captain! I’m honored.”
“Do you actually feel like saying the reason why you’re so happy, or are we just going to stand here bantering back and forth?”
Longfinger stuck his hands in his pockets. “Oh, it’s nothing you’re too interested in, I’m sure.”
Sabertooth crossed his arms. “I don’t have time for this playing around, Longfinger.”
“Okay, okay.” Longfinger said with a lopsided smile. “It’s just that- he’s been trying for a while now but I think Pinky has finally gotten the hang of crawling.”
“That’s it? Just crawling? I thought all babies could do that.” Captain Sabertooth said.
Longfinger shook his head. “No, it really is something to celebrate! It’s an important stage in his development and a good sign that he’s… going to be okay.”
His voice fell quiet and Captain Sabertooth looked at him with a slight concern.
“I mean, let’s not kid ourselves here, Captain.” Longfinger continued. “I’ve just been trying my best to make things up here as I go along. Pinky surviving… is a gamble.”
“The same could be said about all of us. No one is guaranteed survival.” Captain Sabertooth said bluntly.
Longfinger gave a dry laugh. “Well, yes. But it’s a bit different than that. Infants have a very high mortality rate, and I’m sure raising him in this-” He gestured around the ship, “Environment sure isn’t doing him any favors. He’s already been sick a few times in the past, so I guess I’m just glad he seems to be on the right track.”
Sabertooth furrowed his brow. “You never mentioned him being sick.”
“He just had a cold once or twice, and a bad earache last week. Nothing serious that I couldn’t handle on my own.” Longfinger said.
“Alright. But if anything serious does come up, you are to let me know.”
Longfinger smiled and picked up his repaired sail. “Aye aye, Captain.”
It was a few days later and the sun was beginning to set. Longfinger had just entered Pinky’s room to check on him, only to find Captain Sabertooth sitting cross-legged on the floor. Pinky sat across from him and three small upside-down dishes were lined up in a row between the two.
Longfinger glanced back and forth between both of them. “What are you doing?”
“What does it look like?” Captain Sabertooth said. He was looking straight ahead at Pinky with an intense expression.
“Like… you’re playing with a baby?”
Sabertooth glared at him. “I’m testing his abilities”
Longfinger raised his eyebrows. “By… playing with him?”
Captain Sabertooth groaned. “Since you told me that the little snail could crawl now, I concocted a little experiment.” He gestured to the dishes sitting in front of them. “There is a gold coin hidden under one of these. I wanted to see if he would be able to smell the gold and crawl to it.”
“Uh-huh. And how’s that working out for you?” Longfinger said, looking incredibly amused.
Pinky crawled forward, straight past the dishes and climbed onto Sabertooth’s lap. Sabertooth looked up at Longfinger with a straight face. “My skill remains one of a kind.”
Longfinger nearly doubled over in laughter. Sabertooth picked up Pinky, holding him against his chest, and stood up. “Oh please, it’s not that funny.”
“Sorry, Captain!” Longfinger said between laughs. He finally took a deep breath and steadied himself. “You know, I don’t think I’ve ever seen you hold him before.”
Before he could reply, Pinky grabbed the lacy cuff on the end of Sabertooth’s sleeve and shoved it in his tiny mouth. Captain Sabertooth eyes grew wide as he flinched. “And this is exactly why! Longfinger! Take him! Take him now!”
Longfinger quickly scooped Pinky up and held him close. Sabertooth shook his arm that Pinky had drooled on frantically. “Disgusting! Slime! Someone will have to wash this immediately.”
“Apologies Captain, that certainly is a bad habit of his. I have to be careful to keep my braids away from him.” Longfinger said with a slight chuckle. Both of them left the room, returning to the deck.
Captain Sabertooth removed his coat and draped it over his arm. “Well.” He said, clearing his throat. “Aside from that, he seems to be doing quite well. I’ll leave my experiment with you. Perhaps if you practice enough while he’s still young, there’s a chance he could be taught how to smell gold."
Longfinger smiled. “Aye aye.”
“Aye aye!” Repeated Pinky.
Sabertooth raised his eyebrows. “...Did that toadstool just talk to me?”
Longfinger covered his mouth with his free hand and looked like he was about to cry. “That… that was his first word.” He looked at Pinky, face beaming. “Aye aye!”
“Aye aye!” Pinky said, clapping his hands together. Longfinger laughed with delight and hugged him tightly.”
“Well, you certainly seem proud.” Captain Sabertooth with an amused look on his face.
Longfinger paused for a moment before returning a smile. “Yeah. I am.”
“As you should be.” Sabertooth patted Pinky on the head and walked off. “Wally! Get over here and wash my coat!”
As everyone went about their business, Longfinger found himself leaning against the mast and watching the sunset while holding Pinky close. He was overcome with an overwhelming sense of peace.
His mind began to wander about everything that had just happened. He couldn't believe Pinky finally said his first word! And of all things to say it was aye aye! It was adorable. And how could he forget what happened with Captain Sabertooth? Seeing him essentially sitting there playing a game with Pinky- that was adorable too. Sure, it resulted in him having to take his coat off... Longfinger thought about how rare it was to ever see Sabertooth with his coat off.
As Pinky babbled incoherent vowels, Longfinger continued to think about just how happy he was. He truly did love his responsibility of raising Pinky, and his responsibility as Captain Sabertooth's first mate. Getting to interact with both of them together, he surprised himself with how much he enjoyed it.
Longfinger wished it happened more often. He wished he could spend more time with Sabertooth, while laughing and playing with Pinky. He almost wished it was just the three of them. Just him and Sabertooth together like-
Chapter 8: Being Too Hard On Him
Here's some fanart of the last chapter courtesy of my good pal Solstjerne!!
That night, Longfinger sat up in his bed, his conflicted feelings unable to allow him to rest. Did he actually have romantic interest in Captain Sabertooth? It sounded absurd, but he grew flustered at the thought.
No, of course he didn’t have any romantic interest! Romance… romance was complicated. Messy. Something that could go wrong far too easily. Longfinger just found Sabertooth to be attractive, that’s all! Yeah, nothing weird about finding him attractive, he would bet money that most of the crew felt the same!
Really, being attracted to Captain Sabertooth just meant that Longfinger wasn’t blind. His luxurious clothing, his haunting makeup, his long, voluminous hair… truly, anyone with eyeballs could see that man was handsome! And that’s without even mentioning the hypnotic way he commands a room. And his voice , oh, the way he practically purrs…
Longfinger quickly covered his groin with a pillow. Denial really wasn’t an option at this point.
Weeks passed and Longfinger eventually managed to shove whatever feelings he felt towards Sabertooth into the back of his head. He had to, Sabertooth was his Captain and he couldn’t let anything get in the way of that. He knew from experience that intimate relations among crew members never ended well.
So Longfinger instead focused all his energy into his responsibilities, finding himself in Oliver’s store in preparation for the latest adventure. He had Pinky balanced against his hip, as Oliver enjoyed the opportunity to see how he was doing.
“Hello there Pinky!” Oliver said with a gentle smile. Pinky didn’t have much in the way of an actual vocabulary, but he knew the sound of his own name enough to babble happily in response. “Hello to you too, Longfinger.”
“You’ve certainly asked for a lot of supplies this time. Far journey?”
“It’ll take us about three days to get to our destination, assuming conditions are good.” Longfinger said.
Oliver approached him. “And what exactly is this destination?”
“A small island east of here called Roche d'Acajou.” Longfinger said. “I’ve certainly never heard of it, but one of the Captain’s further reaching men has it on good authority that there will be a perfect opportunity for us to steal some royal treasures from there this week.”
“Interesting. May I?” Oliver held out his arms and Longfinger shifted and handed Pinky over to him.
With his hands now free, Longfinger carried two supply crates out to the front of the store.
“Need any help getting those back to the ship?” Oliver asked.
Longfinger placed the crates on a cart that already had several sitting on it, ready to go. “No,” He said, going around to the back of the cart, “but you can carry Pinky back with me.”
“As if I wasn’t going to anyway.” Oliver said, holding Pinky close.
“Hi!” Pinky said.
Oliver smiled. “Hi kiddo.” Longfinger started pushing the cart towards the harbor and Oliver followed along beside him.
The walk back to the ship was unusually silent (aside for Pinky’s babbling) until Oliver decided to speak up. “So… how are you feeling?”
Longfinger blinked. “Are you talking to me or Pinky?”
“You, of course.” Oliver said with a chuckle.
“Umm. I’m fine. Why do you ask?”
Oliver looked around innocently. “You sure? Not feeling any particular way about someone or something?”
Longfinger looked unamused. “No, I’m not.”
“Well let’s say that you did hypothetically you did feel some way for someone-”
“Let’s not. ”
Oliver smiled. “In that case I would say that you should tell that someone that you are feeling that way because that someone might have more in common with you than you might think.”
Longfinger scoffed. “In that case, I would say that you don’t know what you’re talking about.”
They arrived where The Dark Lady was docked and Longfinger began removing the crates from the cart. “You’re a good friend Longfinger.” Oliver said. “I’m just trying to look out for you.”
Longfinger sighed and took Pinky from him. “I appreciate it, but you really don’t know what you’re talking about.”
“It won’t be like last time.”
Longfinger held his breath. “You don’t know that.”
"Fine." Oliver looked at him sympathetically. “When do you leave?”
“Tomorrow morning.” Longfinger said.
Oliver pulled him into a side hug. “Safe travels.”
Chapter 9: A Foreign Delicacy
After four long days of sailing and Longfinger ignoring what Oliver told him, The Dark Lady arrived at Roche d'Acajou in the middle of the afternoon. Captain Sabertooth sent off a few of his men to scout the island in order to get a better idea what they were working with.
Eventually, Lech, Lodin, and Ali returned to the ship. Lodin laid out a rather simplistic map with only a few general shapes that allowed you to see where things were relative to each other. Captain Sabertooth and the rest of the crew gathered around.
“Let’s start with the good part,” Lech said. He pointed to a square that was drawn inside of a large circle on the map. “The treasures that we want are here, locked in a chamber inside the palace.”
“It was hard to tell as I was the only one of the three of us who knew any French, but I was able to gather that these treasures are being held here, as they are being auctioned tomorrow night.” Ali said. “Unfortunately, the perimeter of the palace is currently swarming with guards.”
Lech had a fiery look in his eye. “Now I still say we might be able to take them-”
“I can assure you that we cannot.” Lodin said. “Anyway, the guards are only letting in royalty, and one guest of their choosing.”
Ali pointed to one of the shapes on the map. “While we were scouting around this area, I overheard a woman asking a young man if he had chosen anyone to bring to the auction tomorrow. He said no.”
“The plan is obvious. One of us finds this man, gets him to invite one of us to the auction, gets inside the palace, and finds a way to get the rest of us to the treasure.” Lodin said.
Longfinger leaned in slightly and gave a cocky smile. “By ‘one of us’ you mean me, yes?” Several of the men groaned and rolled their eyes. “I’m sorry, was anyone else volunteering?”
“Yes, yes, Longfinger will get to play dress up and befriend royalty.” Lodin said.
Benjamin snorted. “You mean seduce.”
“Assuming he likes men.” Ali said.
“He’s probably gay.” Loki finally spoke up. “Probably why he doesn’t have a date to the auction.”
“Or he could be homophobe who also just happens to be a loner.” Lech said, crossing his arms. “He’s French, I don’t trust him to be cool.”
Longfinger held up his hands. “Guys, I’m a professional. When I meet him I’ll figure out the best way to approach this.”
“Maybe too much of a professional. What if you get recognized?” Benjamin asked.
“Well let’s just hope that won’t happen, shall we?” Longfinger said. “I should get dressed. Where can I find this man?”
Ali pointed to one of the spots on the right side of the map. “We last saw him over here. He shouldn’t be too hard to spot as he was wearing pink and teal.”
“Got it.” Longfinger nodded his head and went to the room on the ship where they stored clothing.
The Dark Lady housed a surprisingly impressive supply of costumes, as many outfits had been stolen and accumulated over the years. With all the layers of clothing coming off and on, it took Longfinger some time to get dressed. But eventually he stood in front of the mirror, wearing a large olive green greatcoat made of satin. It had been buttoned up to obscure the lower half of his face, and completely covered his waistcoat and breeches underneath. His hair was unbraided and instead pulled back into a neat ponytail, and his usual tricorn hat was replaced with a more expensive looking black one. Finally, Longfinger slipped his shoes on over his white stockings.
“So what’s your name this time?” Captain Sabertooth asked, appearing in the doorway.
Longfinger chuckled. “You know, I couldn’t decide between Raphael or Sebastian.”
“Go with Sebastian.” Sabertooth said. “And your story?”
“I was thinking ‘travelling researcher.’” Longfinger said, adjusting his hair in the mirror.
“And what exactly are you researching?”
Longfinger drew a blank. He glanced around the room. “...Birds.”
“Birds? Why birds?”
“Well, somebody has to research them.”
Captain Sabertooth shook his head but still looked slightly amused. “You think this is a game, don’t you?”
“Yes.” He replied with a grin. “One that I always win.”
“You’re rather arrogant for someone who’s never seduced royalty before.”
“Oh please,” Longfinger turned around to face him and posed. “Do you see how suave and mysterious I look in this? I’m irresistible.” He took a few steps forward but immediately lost his footing and fell face first into Sabertooth’s chest.
Captain Sabertooth looked down at him. “...Charming.”
Longfinger’s face grew red as he laughed nervously while wobbling backwards. “My apologies, Captain. It’s, uh, been a while since I’ve worn shoes with heels.” Sabertooth looked unimpressed. “I should get going.” He scurried past him, poked his head into Pinky’s room in order to say goodbye, then went into town.
After slowly adjusting to walking in his heels, Longfinger was easily able to find this man of nobility. His teal coat paired with his pink waistcoat and breeches certainly made him stand out from the rest of the crowd’s more subdued color palettes. He appeared to be a few years younger than Longfinger, and he had curly brown hair that was tied back and covered by a feathery hat.
The man was reading a book while sitting on a bench located near what appeared to be a bakery. Longfinger began to walk towards him and thought over what would be the best approach. He could drop something and have the man pick it up? Or ask for directions? No, neither or those were conversation starters. Luckily as he neared the man, Longfinger noticed the words on the cover of his book and saw the perfect opportunity
“Pardon me, sir.” Longfinger said in French. “Is that book you’re reading German? Der abenteuerliche Simplicissimus?”
The man looked up at him with wide eyes. “Yes.” He said in French. “You can read German?”
“Yes, but I’m a bit rusty. It’s rather hard to find German novels, so that’s why I felt the need to ask about yours!” Longfinger replied.
“I have to say, I’m quite surprised. I hardly know anyone outside my family who is actually literate, let alone can read German!” The man closed his book and placed it on his lap. “And that accent of yours, you’re not from here, are you?”
Longfinger nodded his head. “Very observant of you! I only arrived in Roche d'Acajou earlier today. I’m here on research.”
The man looked quite intrigued. “Oh? What are you researching?”
“Birds! I’ve been travelling to different islands around The Caribbean, documenting which birds can be found where, and studying their migration patterns.” Longfinger said, absolutely pulling some smart sounding nonsense out of his ass, hoping to sound sophisticated.
“Fascinating… I barely give the birds here so much as a second thought but I suppose there is a lot to be learned from them.” The man stood up from the bench. “Might I have your name?”
“Sebastian.” Longfinger said.
The two men shook hands. “I am Félix. Prince Félix.”
“Prince!” Longfinger said, feigning surprise. He bowed deeply. “Forgive me Your Highness, I was not aware.”
“No need for such formality! Just Félix is fine.” He said with a smile. “It was quite refreshing to have someone speak to me who didn’t know I was royalty!”
“Your kindness is most appreciated.” Longfinger said.
Félix thought for a moment and then looked as though he had just had a brilliant idea. “Since you are new here, Sebastian, might I offer you a tour around the island?”
Longfinger mentally high-fived himself. “I would be honored.”
Chapter 10: Could Have Seen That Coming
It only took about an hour for Félix to show Longfinger around most of the island. But at the end of it all, the two of them finally arrived at what was most likely the palace, as it was surrounded with security.
“And here we are!” Félix said, clapping his hands together. “At my home sweet home.” Longfinger followed behind him as Félix nodded to one of the guards, letting them both enter the palace.
“Are there always these many guards here?” Longfinger asked.
“Oh, are you not aware of what’s happening tomorrow night?” Félix said. Longfinger shook his head. “Several other neighboring royal families are visiting here and we're all holding an auction.”
Longfinger looked around at the magnificent entrance room. “What sort of things will be auctioned?”
Félix continued walking down one of the halls and Longfinger trailed behind. "Mostly paintings, vases, jewelry- things found during colonization,” Longfinger had to bite his tongue. “They’re currently being locked up in the chamber over here, hence the security.”
Longfinger paid careful attention to the room that he had gestured to. There were no guards anywhere near it, and it seemed the only thing barring one’s entry was a simple padlock. He made sure to memorize the room's location.
“Sounds like they would be rather fascinating pieces to study.” Longfinger said, hoping not to sound too interested
“Yes, I suppose so… Oh! Speaking of studying, I have to show you the library!” Félix took him by the hand and ran off before Longfinger could protest.
Félix continued to show Longfinger around the palace. The Prince seemed to be rather eager, talking up a storm about practically every object he owned and asking for Longfinger’s opinion on it. It seemed things were going well in the befriending department- it seemed too early to tell if Félix held any romantic interest or if he was just extremely friendly, but Longfinger still hadn’t secured an invitation to the auction.
Eventually, Félix lead Longfinger into the garden. It was filled with beautiful flowers, surrounded by tall, neatly trimmed hedges, and in the middle of it all was a white gazebo.
Félix glanced at Longfinger. “Oh, will you unbutton the top of that coat of yours already, Sebastian? It’s hardly cold enough to warrant it.”
Longfinger was taken aback at his forwardness. Truthfully, he kept his greatcoat’s collar buttoned up all the way in the chance that it might prevent someone from recognizing him. But he supposed it was just the two of them in the garden and it’s not like he had any excuse to refuse, so he silently undid his collar and laid it flat. “Better?”
“Very much so!” Félix said with a smile.
Félix lead him through the garden, pointing out several of the flowers and naming where they came from. Once they had reached the gazebo, Longfinger decided to bring up the auction once more, as he feared the tour was nearly over.
“So Félix, about that auction you mentioned-”
“Oh, yes, about that!” He said, quickly interrupting. “I’m expected to bring a date to that, but you know, none of the women here have caught my interest.”
“That’s quite unfortunate.” Longfinger said. He had a feeling he knew exactly where this was going.
“You see Sebastian, my problem is I prefer people with a lot in common with me. Perhaps even too much in common with me.” Félix stared deeply into Longfinger’s eyes. “Most don’t know what I mean when I say that, but perhaps an intelligent and cultured man such as yourself might understand?”
Longfinger smiled gently. “Your Highness, I do believe we have more in common than you might think.”
As soon as those words left his mouth, Félix placed his hands on Longfinger’s cheeks and pulled him into a deep kiss.
Longfinger was certainly no stranger to kissing people while in disguise. Sure, it was eventually to get what he wanted, and Longfinger never truly harbored feelings for those that he seduced, but there was an immense amount of please to be had from the satisfaction of how quickly he could have someone fall under his spell.
Félix pulled away, looking slightly horrified. “Forgive me, I’ve lost all my manners, I-” Longfinger quickly shut him up with another kiss. This one was rougher, longer, and when they finally broke apart Félix looked as if he was in a daze.
“I’ve never met another man who also liked men before. I thought I was alone.”
Longfinger chucked. “You have a lot to learn.”
“Clearly.” Félix said. “So does this mean you’re interested in being my date to the auction?”
“I would be delighted.”
Félix smiled but it soon faded and he looked slightly nervous. “You said you arrived here today, yes? Did you find a place to stay for the night yet?”
Longfinger tilted his head to the side. “No, I suppose I haven’t.”
Félix scooped up Longfinger’s hands into his own. “You can stay here. There are plenty of guest rooms. You can stay as long as you need.”
“That would be perfect!” Longfinger said. He pulled his hands free of Félix’s. “I’ll just go get my things and meet you back here, okay?”
“Why don’t I come with you?”
Longfinger blinked. “Because! I’d like to take a quiet walk back. I might stop and watch some birds along the way, you know? So we couldn’t talk as the sound might scare birds away so it would be… very boring… yes… so I should just go by myself.”
“Alright, if you’re sure.” Félix said, looking rather confused. “I should ready one of the rooms for you anyhow. Just ask for one of the guards to escort you to me when you return.”
“Thank you, Félix. It will only take me a moment.” Longfinger left the garden and exited through the palace, then practically sprinted towards The Dark Lady once he was out of sight.
Longfinger finally reached the ship and paused to catch his breath. “Can everybody gather round? I don’t have much time here.”
“You have good news, I hope?” Captain Sabertooth said.
“Mostly. The good news is I was able to get Prince Félix to invite me to the auction.”
“His name is Félix?” Ali asked.
“He’s a prince?” Wimp interjected.
“Please don’t interrupt me.” Longfinger said. “As I was about to say, not only did he invite me to the auction, he also offered to have me stay in the palace."
Loki smirked. “So he is gay?”
Longfinger closed his eyes in annoyance. “Yes. He is. Now if we’re done gossiping, what I want to say is that this is even better than our original plan. The perfect time to strike is tonight while everyone is sleeping.” He rubbed the back of his neck. “Here’s where the not so good news comes in. If I’m spending the rest of the day at the palace, one of you will have to take care of Pinky.”
The crew members exchanged awkward glances. “Not me. I refuse to clean up after a baby.” Lodin said.
“Not me either! We’re pirates, not parents!” Lech said. “Why did you even bring him!?”
“I’ve always brought him and it’s never been an issue before!” Longfinger said. “Besides, it’s a little too late to argue about that. Pinky is here now, so somebody has to agree to watch him or the whole plan is off.”
The men started squabbling amongst themselves about who should be the one stuck to deal with Pinky. Captain Sabertooth however, continued to stand there silently, the emotion on his face unreadable.
“Why can’t we all just take turns watching him?” Wally asked.
“Because everyone else needs to be over here,” Longfinger pointed to a spot on the map, “Preparing an escape route by the back of the garden.”
Benjamin sighed. “Oh fine, I’ll stay and watch him. I’m probably more useful here than out clearing a path.”
“And since I have to stay behind anyway,” Captain Sabertooth said, finally speaking up, “Then I will be available to assist you if necessary.”
Longfinger looked stunned. “Are you sure, Captain?”
“Of course I’m sure, I’ve had to do more ridiculous things than taking care of a baby to ensure I get treasure!"
Longfinger breathed a sigh of relief and smiled. With that situation taken care of, he then went into explaining his updated plan. Once everyone’s roles were assigned and the game plan was completely understood, Longfinger then went into giving Benjamin and Sabertooth the basics for taking care of Pinky for the night.
“I think that about covers it. I should hurry and grab my things before Félix starts getting suspicious.” Longfinger said. He quickly shoved some items into a satchel, such as a dagger, as well as some books placed on top, both to seem less suspicious and also in case Longfinger got bored.
“Hey Sebastian!” Benjamin called out as Longfinger hurried past him. “Don’t forget to pack the coconut oil!”
Longfinger showed Benjamin his middle finger as he ran off back to the palace.
Chapter 11: Baby It's Cold Outside
A little over an hour had passed since Longfinger returned to the palace. The crew, being careful not to be spotted, had moved The Dark Lady over to the side of the island that was behind the palace gardens. All of the men were already out somewhere on the island, getting ready for later that night, leaving only Captain Sabertooth, Benjamin, and Pinky behind on the ship.
It was beginning to get late and Sabertooth realized Pinky should probably be hungry by now. He doubted that Benjamin would remember by himself to feed him, so Sabertooth went out to check. Walking into to Pinky’s room, Sabertooth saw Benjamin leaning over his crib.
Sabertooth peered over his shoulder. “What are you doing?”
Benjamin jumped backwards. “Just giving him his dinner, Captain! Mashed up some fruit, just like Longfinger said!”
It seemed that Benjamin had in fact given Pinky his dinner in the literal sense, as in set the bowl full of mashed up bananas and mangos with a spoon in front on Pinky and let him go to town. The boy was managing to pick up a few spoonfuls and guide it to his mouth, but there was certainly more food on his chin and the blanket he was sitting on than in his stomach.
“You know you have to actually feed the guppy yourself, right?” Captain Sabertooth said, smacking Benjamin on the back of the head.
“Ow! I tried! But he was making a mess anyway! This was easier.”
“Well, maybe it wouldn’t be so hard if you actually put him in his highchair instead of trying to feed him while he’s in his crib!”
Benjamin looked at the wooden chair in the room, then back to the crib. “Oh… that makes more sense.”
Sabertooth huffed and took the bowl and spoon away from Pinky and set it aside. He gently moved Pinky off of his blanket and used it to wipe off his face. “Here,” He said, handing the dirty blanket to Benjamin. “Why don’t you actually make yourself useful and go wash this.” Benjamin muttered under his breath and left the room.
Captain Sabertooth picked Pinky up and placed him inside his highchair. Really though, calling it a highchair was rather generous. It was a regular old wooden chair that had been nailed on top of a crate to give it height. Alongside that was another plank of wood that had been nailed in place to connect the armrests together in the front, so Pinky couldn’t fall out of it. Longfinger had cobbled it together rather quickly once he started feeding Pinky solid foods, and Sabertooth made a mental note to replace the ugly thing.
Once in his chair, Sabertooth picked up the bowl of fruit and brought a spoonful to Pinky’s mouth. Unfortunately, Pinky stubbornly kept his mouth shut.
“Open up you little splinter.” Sabertooth said sternly, poking his lips with the spoon.
“No!” Pinky whined, crossing his arms and turning his head away.
“No!? You can’t talk back to me!” He tried again but Pinky wouldn’t budge. Captain Sabertooth closed his eyes in frustration. After a moment to collect himself, he reluctantly opened his mouth wide and went “Aah.”
Pinky looked at him curiously and opened his mouth, allowing Sabertooth to feed him. It felt rather humiliating, but he begrudgingly kept motioning for Pinky to open his mouth in order to feed him the rest of his dinner.
More time passed after that and the sky had grown dark. It would only be a few more hours before Longfinger could strike. In the meantime, everyone else just had to worry about not being caught. Unfortunately, at that moment while sitting inside his quarters, Captain Sabertooth heard the distinct sound of Pinky crying.
Sabertooth walked out onto the deck and looked around. He really didn’t want to deal with this, but he didn’t see Benjamin anywhere and calling for him would only draw more attention.
Entering Pinky’s room, Captain Sabertooth couldn’t tell what was wrong with him. He couldn’t have been hungry already, and he didn’t appear to be wet or dirty. Sabertooth rubbed his temples. At the very least he had hoped he could resolve this issue without having to hold Pinky, but it seemed like he had no choice.
After hesitantly picking Pinky up, Sabertooth’s eyes grew wide. “You’re freezing!” He said in disbelief. He looked at the crib. After sending Benjamin to wash his blanket earlier, neither of them had replaced it. Pinky had been sitting here with nothing but a onesie and bandana on to keep him warm on that November night.
Pinky was still crying and Sabertooth didn’t see anything in the room that could help warm him up. Knowing that avoiding attention was more important than his pride at the moment, Captain Sabertooth winced and tucked Pinky inside his coat, holding him against his chest.
Despite his best efforts, Pinky still hadn’t calmed down. Sabertooth had run out of ideas at this point so he tried thinking over what Longfinger had done before to calm the kid down. One thing came to mind. Lullabies.
Captain Sabertooth closed his eyes and sang the first thing that came to his mind.
A landlubber keeps his gold in sight.
Anything can happen,
Because it's time for pirate night.”
It seemed to be working, as Pinky was now doing a shuddering sob rather than crying. Sabertooth continued.
“A rowboat glides in silent waters,
Eager eyes are aglow,
They're adventurers on a treasure hunt!
Whispering softly as they row,
‘The strongest men sail at night!’
On land they're asleep to the truth,
Soon their gold will glitter,
For Captain Sabertooth.”
As he sang the final lines of his song, Sabertooth found himself slightly bouncing in place. At the very least, Pinky had fallen completely silent and at this point even looked like he was about to doze off. Just as Captain Sabertooth finally breathed a sigh of relief, Benjamin entered the room.
“Heh, whatcha doing there, Captain?” Benjamin said, clearly amused at the sight of this intimidating pirate practically cuddling with a baby.
“Your job, apparently.” He replied bitterly. “Where were you? The boy could have alerted the entire island with his damn siren call!”
“I was just taking a nap since we have to stay up all night.”
Captain Sabertooth scoffed. “Lazy good for nothing… Go fetch me a blanket.”
“Sure thing, Captain.” Benjamin saluted and then hurried off. He quickly returned and handed Sabertooth the blanket.
Captain Sabertooth wrapped Pinky up and gently lowered him back into his crib. “There. Next time, I expect you to handle him.” He said, pointing a finger at Benjamin.
“Don’t you worry, Captain! I’m nice and rested now.” He said with a grin.
Sabertooth shook his head and left the room. “The things I put up with…”
Chapter 12: All is Fair in Love and War
Longfinger had managed to survive his evening at the castle without arousing any suspicion. The closest call was during dinner where Félix had asked him where he learned so many languages. Longfinger made up some story about being raised as a scholar’s apprentice and that seemed to satisfy him.
Luckily everyone had retired to their rooms for the night, so it was time for Longfinger to spring into action. He began by removing his coat, hat, and shoes. The coat was a bit too bulky to be stealthy in, and the heels of his shoes would make way too much noise while walking around. He also didn’t want to worry about his hat falling off while he was sneaking. After that, Longfinger put his satchel back on and crept into the dark hallway.
Inside his satchel was a candlestick, which Longfinger used to illuminate the area around him. After making sure that no one was still up and about, he carefully found his way to the treasure chamber. Once there, he pulled a small hammer out and used it to break open the padlock that was securing the door. Holding his breath, he stepped inside.
A cursory glance around the treasure chamber told Longfinger that he didn’t have to worry about the room being booby-trapped. It was time to get moving. He picked up what he thought looked to be the most expensive item, an intricately painted vase that was embedded with gemstones. He looked around for as many pieces of jewelry as he could and filled up the vase. After it was to the point of nearly overflowing, Longfinger returned to the entrance.
If any part of this plan was the most likely to go tits-up, it would be this section. Longfinger had to slowly and quietly walk all the way down the hall, past the door to Félix’s bedroom, and reach the garden, all without being spotted with his obviously stolen goods. Yet luck seemed to be on his side, as he made it all the way across and into the garden without any issue.
Longfinger carefully sat his treasure down in the grass. He was onto his next step, to bring over the large wooden wheelbarrow he had spotted when he was in the garden earlier that day. He brought it near the doors heading back inside, and carefully lined it up against the wall. It was in the perfect position for Longfinger to easily access it when he entered the garden but also wasn’t visible when looking through the windows from the inside.
Longfinger picked the vase back up and sat it inside the wheelbarrow. Now all he had to do was to go back to the treasure chamber, grab something else, and place it back in here, over and over again, all without being caught. It was a rather monotonous plan, but time was of the essence, so Longfinger headed back in.
Back and forth, to and fro he went, slowly building up his treasure collection in the wheelbarrow. On one trip he grabbed a few paintings, on another he plucked an antique knife, and on his latest trip, he protected a fragile looking tea set with a rather ornate rug. Given the time and the constant walking around, Longfinger was getting rather tired. It would be so much easier if only he could bring the wheelbarrow straight to the treasure chamber, but that thing was far too old and squeaky and would give him away in an instant.
It seemed that the wheelbarrow was almost to the point of not being able to hold much else. Longfinger decided he would make one more trip back to see if there was any small coins or gems to be added before it was time for the final act of his plan.
All Longfinger would have to do is take that wheelbarrow and push it on through the tall hedges that surrounded the garden. It was extremely fortunate that the hedges were the only thing in the way between being inside the palace and being outside. Sure, once he pushed through he would alert the guards that were on the outside of his presence, but that’s where the rest of Sabertooth’s crew came in. Longfinger would just signal for them to take care of the guards, while he pushed the treasure through the path that they cleared straight to The Dark Lady. It was perfect.
Unfortunately, as Longfinger walked through the hall back towards the treasure chamber, a door in front of him slowly opened.
“Sebastian? What are you doing up?” It was Félix. Of course, it had to be Félix. Longfinger hoped he could talk his way out of this.
“I couldn’t sleep.” Longfinger said. It was the first thing that came to his mind, but he knew that wasn’t a good enough excuse. “I couldn’t stop thinking about you.”
Félix visibly relaxed and began to smile. “Yet another thing we have in common, it seems.” He beckoned for Longfinger to enter the bedroom, and Longfinger obliged.
Inside Félix’s brightly lit room, Longfinger could now see that he was wearing a silk nightgown, while his curly hair laid freely. “You said I have a lot to learn.” Félix said in a low voice. “Perhaps I can be your apprentice.”
Longfinger sat down his candle and satchel. “Of course, but in my opinion, the best way to learn is through first-hand experience.” Longfinger replied with a sultry grin. This was one of the rare times where even he couldn’t stand the cheesy lines he was trying to pull. But Félix seemed to be into it, as he guided Longfinger to his bed.
They sat together on the edge of the large bed, Félix pressing himself against Longfinger. Longfinger kissed him deeply and Félix nearly shuddered with pleasure, as though he had been waiting all night for this. The Prince moved down to his neck, as Longfinger tightened his grip on his thigh.
Félix suddenly moved his hands behind Longfinger’s neck and undid the ribbon that held back his long dark hair, letting it fall loose. “Like unwrapping a present…” Félix whispered breathlessly into his ear.
Longfinger gave a light chuckle. This wasn’t exactly how he expected this evening to go. But getting to sleep with a Prince before getting away with a boatload of treasure? He definitely wasn’t going to complain about that. Though that might have just been his sexual frustration talking.
Either way, Longfinger began unbuttoning his white waistcoat and Félix watched intently, completely entranced by the show. Once all the buttons were undone, he slowly slid the article of clothing off his arms and tossed it aside. He then grabbed the bottom of his shirt and pulled it up over his head.
After dropping his shirt on the floor, Longfinger looked up to see Félix staring at him with wide, nearly frightened looking eyes.
“Your… chest.” He said quietly. “These muscles, these scars.”
Longfinger fell silent. He certainly was a muscular man from his years of adventuring. It wasn’t something he ever actually hid, he was rather proud of his physique in fact, but he supposed the looseness of his shirt kept it concealed. His scars, on the other hand, were something he had honestly forgotten about. Several long thin scars decorated his torso and ran down his arms, remnants of sword fights he was less than lucky in. There were also a few markings that were the result of something far more life-threatening, the worst one of all resulting from a bullet piercing his shoulder. Longfinger hesitated, unsure of what Félix was thinking.
“You’re not a scholar at all, are you?” Félix said, more statement than question. A chill ran down Longfinger’s spine.
“What? No! Of course, I am!” He floundered. “I can explain!”
Félix looked furious. “You told me you grew up as a humble apprentice and yet here you are with the body of a lifelong soldier, what is there to explain!?”
Longfinger stared back at him, completely frozen. He knew he should be saying something, anything but no words seemed to form. He was too wrapped up in disbelief that he had made such an obvious error. Perhaps it was too late to talk his way out of this. Maybe he should just run.
“Well!? Say something!” Félix hissed.
“I-I just didn’t want to tell you-” Longfinger reached out to touch him, but Félix jerked his arm back.
“Don’t touch me!” Félix yelled. “You think I’m an idiot, don’t you? Arriving right before the auction, I should have known!”
Longfinger’s body visibly stiffened and Félix took that as confirmation of his suspicions.
Félix’s hand slid under his pillow. He pulled an object out from underneath but his hand moved so quickly that Longfinger didn’t catch a glimpse of what it was. It wasn’t until he felt the sharp pain of a blade being plunged into his stomach that he realized it was a knife.
Chapter 13: Blood, Sweat, and Tears
Time appeared to stand still. The initial pain had faded and Longfinger was left with a dull, warm, throbbing sensation around where the knife had entered his abdomen. More than anything, he began to feel incredibly light headed. He glanced upward to see Félix, his eyes full of rage and tears streaming down his face.
In the next moment, Longfinger could feel the sharp pain return as Félix began to try and pull the knife back out from him. Knowing that without the knife acting as a plug, he would surely bleed out, Longfinger leaned back and kicked Félix away from him.
Félix fell against his pillow and Longfinger scrambled up to his feet and began to run. He used one hand to hold the knife in place, careful as to not allow it to slip out of his wound or plunge any deeper.
“Get back here you licentious bastard!” Félix screamed, chasing after him.
Longfinger busted open the door with his shoulder. It’s unclear if that saved him any time from simply unlocking the door and opening it, but Longfinger wasn’t exactly thinking straight. “I’m sorry! I truly am!” He meant that as an apology for this whole situation but he supposed it worked as an apology for breaking Félix’s door too.
As Longfinger sped through the pitch black hallway, he could feel a thin stream of blood trickle down his leg. Behind him, He could hear Félix’s footsteps as he continued his pursuit. Whether from not being able to see, or from running through some of Longfinger’s blood, Félix ending up slipping and falling to the floor, allowing Longfinger to get far ahead of him. Longfinger reached the entrance to the garden and took a second to catch his breath. His breathing was absolutely ragged and he hands were shaking. He needed to get back to ship fast.
Longfinger got behind his wheelbarrow full of treasure and began to push it towards the hedges. Unfortunately, the wheelbarrow was already rather heavy and trying to push it one-handed certainly wasn’t helping. As he finally reached the hedge, Félix burst into the garden.
Félix saw the stolen treasures and stood there frozen in shock. “You… you manipulative traitor! How could you!?”
“I promise, this isn’t personal.” Longfinger said, with a woozy smile. He pushed through the hedge and came out the other side, now scratched up from the branches on top of everything else. He knew that the guards would be after him at any second, so he needed to signal for his crew fast.
Longfinger picked up a plate that was in the pile of treasures and chucked it at a large rock, producing a piercing shattering sound. “Code black! Code red!” He yelled as loud as he could.
Lech and Lodin were waiting in their position before they were alerted by the sound of the plate shattering. Then they heard Longfinger’s code. Code black. Alert the Captain. Lodin pulled out his pistol and shot three times in a row into the distance, creating a noise loud enough for Captain Sabertooth to hear all the way on the ship. They then both ran after Longfinger to attend to the other code, code red. A possibly lethal injury.
Several things happened at once. Lech and Lodin met up to where Longfinger was running, where Ali and Loki had already arrived. Guards began chasing after them, and Félix pushed through the hedge to the other side.
“Holy shit!” Lech yelled upon seeing the knife lodged in Longfinger’s stomach. “Wait… where are your clothes?”
In the midst of everything else, Longfinger had forgotten that the only thing he was wearing was his breeches and stockings. “In the palace.” He replied, stupidly.
“Priorities, guys!” Loki said.
Ali assessed the situation. “Loki, take the wheelbarrow and go!” Loki nodded and ran off down the path. “Longfinger, you need to get to the ship as fast as possible. Everyone else, take care of the guards!”
“Longfinger!?” Félix shouted as he began to catch up to them. “Captain Sabertooth’s Longfinger!?”
“Sorry, I can’t take autographs at the moment!” Longfinger yelled out as he ran down in the direction of the ship. Sadly he forgot to say this in French so Félix didn’t get to understand that totally funny thing he just said.
Wimp and Wally finally caught up to the scene. They looked at Félix. Wimp leaned over to his brother. “Is that the prince guy?” Wally shrugged.
One of the guards began to chase after the twins. Wally ran one way and Wimp ran another. The guard decided to continue following Wally. Wally then dipped behind a tree and Wimp appeared from the other side. The guard, now confused, began to run after Wimp, but instead found himself falling down a hole in the ground that had been covered by leaves. The brothers had dug the trap earlier in preparation. Wally blew a raspberry at the guard.
A different guard was busy pursuing Lodin. Lodin had stopped by a tree to taunt him, and the guard took the opportunity to aim his musket and fire. Lodin had grabbed onto a branch that was above him and pulled himself up, avoiding the blast. As the guard tried to find where Lodin had gone in the darkness, Lech appeared behind him and whacked the guard on the back of the head with his pommel, knocking him unconscious. Lodin hopped down from the tree and took his musket.
Longfinger was doing his best to follow behind Loki towards the ship, but considering the circumstances, it was a struggle. His body felt cold and it was hard to keep focus.
Suddenly, Captain Sabertooth emerged in front of him from the shadows. Sabertooth looked him up and down with a fiery intensity. “What’s your status?” He asked.
“Not good. The Prince got me by surprise.” Longfinger replied. He looked down at his blood-soaked hand that had gone numb from clutching the knife so tightly. “I haven’t blacked out yet, so that’s a good sign.”
“How many guards?”
Captain Sabertooth looked around the general area. “I’ll call for a retreat. Everyone needs to get to the ship as soon as possible.”
Longfinger gave a half-hearted salute. “Aye aye, Captain.”
Elsewhere, another guard stayed hidden and aimed his musket at Loki. Just as he was about to fire, the guard felt a blade press against his throat.
“Drop your weapon.” Ali commanded. The guard did as he was told, holding his hands up in surrender. “Good man.” Ali tied his hands behind his back and left him there.
Longfinger was still running down the path but found himself stopping. He felt paralyzed and disorientated. He unexpectadly began to dry-heave. It was incredibly painful, even more so thanks to the fact that every time he involuntary contracted his stomach, pain shot through his stab wound like lightning. Captain Sabertooth and Loki, who were further up ahead, both stopped and looked at him.
“Get in the wheelbarrow.” Sabertooth commanded.
“What…? No.” Longfinger tried his best to steady his breathing. “There’s porcelain and antiques in there. If I get on top I’ll break it all! Or at the very least, bleed on it.”
Sabertooth put his foot down. “This isn’t up for debate Longfinger, I said get in the wheelbarrow!”
“If all of that treasure gets ruined then I’ll have gotten stabbed for nothing!” Longfinger said, slowly making his way towards him. “It’s not worth it. I can walk.”
“You’re more important than the treasures, you fool! Now get in the wheelbarrow, that’s an order!”
Longfinger wasn’t sure if that declaration made him blush or if his face just felt warm from another wave of pain. “Alright.” Longfinger awkwardly leaned backwards so he was lying face up on the wheelbarrow. Luckily one of the last things he had put in there was a rug so it wasn’t too uncomfortable, although his lower legs dangled awkwardly over the edge.
“Get going. I’ll stay behind and make sure no one is left to cause trouble.” Captain Sabertooth said.
Loki looked down at Longfinger. “Ready?”
“I guess so.” Longfinger said, who was basically staring up at Loki’s face from his position.
“Alright, let’s go!” Loki pushed the wheelbarrow along at a speed barely faster than a light jog. “God, you’re heavy.”
Captain Sabertooth walked in the opposite direction, surveying the area. A guard abruptly came charging from behind, with a socket bayonet aiming straight at him. Yet before he could reach Sabertooth, the guard tripped and fell to the ground face first. Benjamin had apparently appeared and stuck out his foot to trip him.
“Benjamin! Why aren’t you on the ship!?” Sabertooth asked, stepping on the guard’s back, pinning him in place.
Benjamin crouched down and tied the guard up. “Gee, that’s a funny way of saying thank you.”
Sabertooth rolled his eyes. “Just go make sure everyone knows they need to get on The Dark Lady.” Benjamin saluted and ran off.
A few minutes of scouting passed and it seemed that there were no more threats in the area. The crew should have had plenty of time at this point to get back to the ship, so Captain Sabertooth decided he was clear to head back as well.
Sabertooth finally reached the shore where The Dark Lady was. He was only about ten meters away from the ship when he heard a voice from behind him.
“Captain Sabertooth…” The voice said bitterly. Sabertooth turned around to face Félix, armed with a rapier pointed straight towards him.
“I assume you’re the one that wounded my first mate?” Captain Sabertooth said, unsheathing his sword.
“If you’re going to invade my island, you could at least be polite and speak our language.” Félix replied in French.
“I’d sooner die than speak French.” Sabertooth said. “But if you don’t know English then let’s at speak the language of the people who originally lived here, shall we?” He said, now switching to Spanish.
“Fine, but I’d like to do more than just talk.” Félix said, now also in Spanish. Their swords clashed and they began to fight.
“What do you hope to accomplish here?" Sabertooth said. He was getting the upper hand. "Your guards are all incapacitated and you’re nothing but a scrawny amateur trying to fight me in a nightgown! The treasure is already mine.”
Félix's hands were starting to sweat but he refused to give up. “I don’t care about the stupid treasure! This is about Longfinger backstabbing me!”
“Well, you front stabbed him so I suppose you’re even!" Sabertooth said. "What more do you want?”
Tears blurred Félix’s vision. “He broke my heart! I want closure! Something! He can’t just leave like this.”
Captain Sabertooth pushed forward with his attack and Félix lost his footing, causing him to fall backwards and drop his rapier. Sabertooth stood over him. “Sorry, but I don’t take kindly to someone severely injuring Longfinger.” He hovered his sword above his chest. “This should stop your heartbreak.”
“Captain! Stop!” A voice shouted. Sabertooth turned his head to see Longfinger leaning over the side of the ship. “Please! He doesn’t deserve it.”
Sabertooth took a deep breath and slowly sheathed his sword. “Consider yourself lucky.”
Félix laughed dryly. “He’s got to you too, huh?”
Sabertooth elected to ignore that comment. He reached out his hand and pulled Félix to his feet.
“You won fair and square.” Félix said. “See to it that Longfinger survives.”
“If he doesn’t I assure you I will come back here and finish what I started.” Captain Sabertooth said.
Félix nodded. He turned towards The Dark Lady and waved at Longfinger. “Au revior!” He silently walked back towards the palace while Sabertooth boarded the ship.
Chapter 14: These Lips Are Sealed
Captain Sabertooth decided to set sail before Félix could change his mind. Longfinger was lying down in one of the rooms as Ali gathered supplies to tend to him. In the meantime, the rest of the crew went to sleep, considering it was still in the dead of night.
Ali sat down and poured some vinegar on a rag. “Well, the good news is, if that knife hit anything vital, you’d already be vomiting blood or dead by now.”
“Wonderful.” Longfinger said humorlessly. Ali wiped off some of the blood on his abdomen.
“Ready?” Ali said, grabbing the handle of the knife.
“As I’ll ever be.”
He pulled the knife out of Longfinger’s stomach and promptly pressed a sponge that had been soaked in wine against the wound. Longfinger winced from the pressure and the sponge quickly turned red with blood. Ali continued to press against the wound for a few more moments before removing the sponge.
Turpentine was poured on the cut to help stop the bleeding. Now that it was easier to see everything, Ali examined him closely.
“Congratulations, If the knife went any deeper it would have punctured your intestines.”
Longfinger’s head was spinning from the blood loss. “Maybe I should try the lottery.”
Ali held the lips of the wound closed and sutured it shut. He applied an aloe over the area. “Sit up.” He said.
Longfinger slowly sat up in the bed and raised his arms in the air as Ali wrapped his torso in bandages. Ali finished the ligature and Longfinger finally stood.
“Unfortunately we didn’t supply that much extra bandaging so we’ll only redress it twice a day.” Ali said. “You’re also going to want to spend these next few days as we head back to Abra Haven in bed.”
“Which means I’ll need to arrange for others to help take care of Pinky for me again…” Longfinger groaned. “Thanks.”
Longfinger walked out and went to sleep in his bed that only had one blanket because his other blanket had been placed in Pinky’s crib. Longfinger wasn’t in any state to question it.
Practically the entire crew took turns visiting Longfinger while he laid in bed and asking him for the story of what exactly happened last night. A simple stabbing wasn’t something to get too excited about, but since he was practically naked at the time, everyone wanted the gossip.
Everyone it seemed, except Sabertooth. Captain Sabertooth had been notably silent about the whole incident. He never once checked up on Longfinger as he laid in bed, and during the few times that Longfinger was up and about, Sabertooth never mentioned what happened. Longfinger was a bit too embarrassed about the ordeal to approach him about it himself.
The stolen treasures were sorted through and about half of it ended up being ruined. It was mostly jewelry that survived being crushed. Yet there was one particular painting of a battlefield that ended up being ripped in the middle and stained red in one corner with Longfinger’s blood that just seemed to cool to throw out.
Thankfully for Longfinger, most of the crew was more willing to help watch Pinky this time. It was easy enough to run to Longfinger for any questions. Though, he promised to figure out a better arrangement for Pinky the next time they go on a trip like this so it wouldn’t happen again. In the meantime, since he could do seldom else but lie in bed, Longfinger enjoyed having Pinky share his nap times with him.
And so the next few days at sea passed by rather uneventfully. They had been sailing for four days already, and although it only took them four days to get there, it seemed the winds weren’t as favorable heading back. Longfinger had decided he was feeling well enough that he wasn’t going to spend the day in bed. He got dressed, glad to be back in his normal comfortable boots, but decided to forgo the usual belts and sash he wore across his waist as to not add extra pressure.
Longfinger knew he had to talk to Captain Sabertooth about what had happened. Avoiding the subject was driving him mad. So, with a deep breath, Longfinger knocked on Sabertooth’s door.
“Come in.” Sabertooth said. Longfinger entered and saw him there, sitting at his desk. He was wearing the reading glasses he had seen him in the last time Longfinger approached him to talk. He let out a quiet laugh of relief.
“What exactly is so funny?” Captain Sabertooth asked.
Longfinger tried to play it cool. “Apologies Captain, it’s just fascinating to see you wearing those glasses.” Sabertooth looked back at him coldly. “I mean, if they’re helpful to you, why don’t you use them more?”
“I don’t want anyone to know I have weaknesses.”
Longfinger couldn’t help but smile. “That weakness being... the fact that you’re farsighted?”
“Exactly. Anything can be used against you.”
“So why are you fine with me seeing you wear them, then?” Longfinger asked.
Sabertooth paused then removed his glasses and put them away. “Was there an actual reason you came in here?” He said, rather dismissively.
“Of course, sorry, I came here because I wanted to thank you.”
Captain Sabertooth looked surprised and smirked slightly. “Thank me?”
“Yes… for several things. For watching Pinky, for letting most of the treasure get destroyed for my sake, for being willing to kill Félix for my sake, and even sparing him because I asked you to.” Longfinger was beginning to feel flustered but kept going. “I made a grievous mistake during my mission. But you went above and beyond as my Captain. I hope to serve you even better in the future.”
Longfinger bowed slightly as he finished his speech, but slowly looked back up at Sabertooth when he hadn’t yet responded. Sabertooth had his hands clasped together and looked practically emotionless.
“You’re truly committed to playing the role as both caretaker and first mate aren’t you?” He finally said.
Longfinger felt a pit in his stomach. A figurative one, not the physical one that was currently stitched together. “Was that in doubt? We discussed this Captain, I’m dedicated to raising him.”
“I know. That wasn’t that part I was doubting.”
The implication of his words hit Longfinger like a wave. He stood there dumbfounded “...You thought I’d leave?”
Sabertooth refused to meet his gaze, instead staring at whatever papers were on his desk. “Well, you wouldn’t have been the first man to decide to leave my crew to start a family.”
“Captain... this is my family! You are my family!” Longfinger said, practically pleading. “I would never leave.”
“How delightfully corny.” Sabertooth said, finally looking up. “Don't worry Longfinger, I trust your role as my shadow. I don’t expect you to leave.”
Longfinger stepped closer to the desk. “You do know it’s more than the fact that you’re my Captain, right?”
Sabertooth raised an eyebrow. “Oh?”
“I meant it when you said you went above and beyond for me the other day. If by some act of God you ever decide to no longer be a pirate, I would wish to remain in your company.” Longfinger felt his heart pounding. “You are… my closest companion.”
The room was painfully silent. Captain Sabertooth stared deeply into Longfinger’s eyes as if he was trying to analyze his thoughts. Longfinger bit his tongue and hoped his face wasn’t turning red. Finally, after what felt like an eternity, Sabertooth visibly softened.
“So sentimental today! If I didn’t know any better I’d say you were trying to flatter me.”
“Of course not, Captain! I’m being sincere here.” Longfinger sputtered.
“I know.” Sabertooth said. A playful smile crept across his face. “A shame though, I do enjoy flattery.”
Something about the look Sabertooth gave him or the way he spoke compelled Longfinger to press further. “...Would you like me to flatter you?”
Sabertooth looked amused but there was a hint of apprehensive. “Would you like to flatter me?”
“I would if you wanted me to.”
“I would not ask it of you unless you wanted to.”
“I know, and that’s all the more reason why I want to.”
“You really don’t have to.”
“But if I said I wanted to, would you accept?”
Captain Sabertooth stood up from his desk. “Alright, I think we both know we’re not talking about compliments anymore.”
Longfinger smiled anxiously. “Are you sure? Because if we’re thinking the same thing, you’re a little too far away.”
Sabertooth walked around to the front of the desk and approached Longfinger, who held out his hand. He gently placed his own hand on his, and Longfinger leaned forward and kissed the back of it softly.
Before Longfinger could feel any uncertainty, Captain Sabertooth wrapped his arms around him and pulled him into a kiss on the lips. It started with one quick kiss, then another, then another, until they were practically inseparable, strung together through sheer force of longing and hunger. Longfinger was clearly no stranger to passionate acts such as this, but this time, oh this time, it was as if everything that had come before it had melted away. This time it was real, and Longfinger nearly forgot how to breathe.
Sabertooth’s hands rested on Longfinger’s cheeks, while Longfinger’s hand slid under Sabertooth’s waistcoat. The intensity of their lust found Sabertooth pressing Longfinger up against one of the walls. In that moment, nothing else in the world mattered.
In the next moment, someone was banging on the door.
“Captain! I think there’s an octopus stuck to the side of the ship!” Wimp called out from outside the room.
Captain Sabertooth removed himself from Longfinger. “We will resume this when we’re back in Abra.” He said in a low purr. “Not a word of this to anyone.”
Longfinger blinked and swallowed hard. “...Aye aye, Captain.”
Sabertooth straightened himself out and left the room looking like nothing had ever happened. Longfinger slumped against the wall, staring up in a slack-jawed daze.
Chapter 15: A Good Head Start
Was what happened a dream? Obviously not but Longfinger thought it just seemed too good to be true. Seeing Captain Sabertooth walking around and talking to him like they weren’t previously making out was certainly disorienting. Maybe it was all just some pain induced fantasy and Longfinger was dying. He didn't actually believe that but hey, it wouldn't be a bad thing to go out on.
And so the day came and went with Longfinger desperately trying and failing to not think obsessively about what happened between him and Sabertooth. But time ticked on and The Dark Lady arrived in Abra Haven, greeted by the fanfare of the villagers. Longfinger wasn’t exactly in the mood to talk about his injury but some of the crew were apparently very excited to let the whole town know he got stabbed. So Longfinger tried his best to slip back into his showboating self, lifting his shirt up to show off his awesomely badass stitches (and his abs), and bragging that it totally didn’t hurt at all. He supposed that this was better than sitting around and wondering when what happened yesterday with Sabertooth would resume now that they were in Abra.
Captain Sabertooth had Lech to carry the treasure to his castle. When he returned to the ship, he walked over to Longfinger.
“Hey, the Captain wanted me to tell you to go meet him at the castle.” Lech said. “He said something about ‘unfinished business to attend to.’”
“Yes! of course!” Longfinger said, trying to keep his cool. “Thank you.”
Benjamin happened to be standing nearby. “Unfinished business? What’s that about?”
“Oh, well, don’t tell anybody but the Captain asked me to alphabetize his library.” Longfinger bullshitted.
“Hah! Good luck on your mission, Longfinger! Hope you don’t get a paper cut.” Benjamin laughed. Longfinger rolled his eyes and headed off to the castle a little too quickly.
Longfinger was greeted at the entrance of the castle by the sound of ravens cawing. His heart was already beating like crazy and the atmosphere certainly didn't help. He opened the large doors and stepped inside. The inside was empty of course, as always. He slowly made his way down the hall, anticipation bubbling inside him, eventually finding himself in front of the door to Captain Sabertooth’s bedroom. It took him a moment to build up the nerve to finally knock.
“Come in.” Sabertooth’s voice said. Longfinger anxiously entered the room.
Captain Sabertooth stood facing away from the door, pouring himself a glass of red wine. He wasn’t wearing his hat or coat.
“Did you get a chance to look at that knife you were stabbed with?” Sabertooth said, setting down the bottle of wine on his dresser. “I happened to see it just now, and by the looks of its engravings, I’d say it was a family heirloom.”
“Oh. I didn’t know that.” Longfinger said.
Sabertooth took a sip of his wine and then turned to him. “Care for some?”
Longfinger stepped closer. “Yes, thank you.”
Sabertooth poured wine into another glass and handed it to him, and Longfinger took a long sip. “Are you nervous?” Sabertooth asked.
“I suppose so.”
“It’s alright if you’ve changed your mind.”
Longfinger set his glass of wine down. “No, it’s not that. But I need to be clear with you.” He paused, unable to bring himself to say what was on his mind.
Sabertooth took another sip of his wine before setting it down and turning to face to face with Longfinger. “I’ll wait.”
“I have very strong feelings for you, Captain. More than just physically.” Longfinger said, avoiding eye contact by looking down at his feet. “So if this is going to be a one-time thing or a friends with benefits situation, I’m afraid I have to decline.”
Then Captain Sabertooth started to laugh. It was a pure, genuine, joyful laugh. Longfinger looked at him in confusion, a fear of rejection tugging at his chest.
“Oh you adorable idiot, did you think you were being subtle yesterday?” Sabertooth said, with possibly the sweetest smile Longfinger had ever seen on his face. “I invited you here knowing full well how you felt.”
Longfinger’s heart skipped a beat. “You did? So you…?”
Captain Sabertooth leaned forward, removed Longfinger’s hat and kissed him on the forehead. “Yes Longfinger, I do.”
Longfinger smiled and let out a chuckle in disbelief before sweeping Sabertooth off his feet, dipping him, and kissing him tenderly. As he stood Sabertooth back up, Longfinger winced, his stitches aching from having moved so suddenly
“Is it that painful?” Sabertooth asked.
“No, not really.” Longfinger said. He swallowed. “Perhaps I should… remove my clothes, so you can see.”
Sabertooth smirked and looked at him like he was an idiot. “Yes. Perhaps you should.”
Captain Sabertooth helped to remove Longfinger’s coat and neatly hung it up along with his hat. Longfinger unbuttoned his waistcoat and took it off. Sabertooth helped to pull his shirt over his head.
There wasn’t really much to see on Longfinger’s torso, just some bandages wrapped around his stomach. Captain Sabertooth delicately placed his hand on the slightly raised area where Longfinger’s stitches were.
“You… risk far too much for me.” Sabertooth said gently. He placed his other hand on Longfinger’s chest and his thumb gently glided back and forth against his stitches.
Longfinger placed his hand on top of Sabertooth’s. “It’s what you deserve.”
“Well, you deserve to be treated.” Sabertooth said. He took Longfinger by the hand and lead him over to his large bed. “So why don’t you just sit here,” He pushed Longfinger back onto the bed, laying down with his lower legs over the edge and propping himself up on his elbows.
“And I’ll sit here, ” Captain Sabertooth said, his hand slipping under the Longfinger’s breeches and curling his fingers around his erection. Longfinger closed his eyes and gasped quietly. “And you can just sit back and relax while I do all the work. Sound good?”
“Yes Captain…” Longfinger moaned.
Sabertooth slid down Longfinger’s pants, revealing his treasure. “But let’s not get ahead of ourselves, love.” Sabertooth said. “It would be rude of me to skip the foreplay.”
And with that, Captain Sabertooth got down on his knees.
Chapter 16: Fluff the Pillows
Captain Sabertooth and Longfinger silently laid close together in bed, basking in the glow of the connection they had just shared. Their naked bodies pressed up against each other, with Longfinger as the big spoon and Sabertooth as the little spoon.
Longfinger’s arms were wrapped lazily around Sabertooth. “We should have done this a lot sooner…” He murmured with his face buried in Sabertooth’s long curly hair.
“Indeed.” Sabertooth whispered.
Longfinger shifted back slightly. “So why didn’t we?”
“You tell me.”
“What do you mean?” Longfinger asked.
Sabertooth grumbled and turned over in bed so they were facing each other. “I’m your Captain. I couldn’t be the one to approach you.” He said. “You know I love having a first mate as loyal as you but that’s exactly the reason why I couldn’t.”
Longfinger looked back at him quietly.
“What if I had asked if you were interested and you said yes simply because you felt obligated too? Because you didn’t want to say no?” Sabertooth continued. “I would never take that chance. So I had to wait for you to make the first move.”
“That was very thoughtful of you, Captain.” Longfinger said. He leaned forward and gave him a quick peck on the lips. The pair settled into their new positions as their legs and arms intertwined. “So how long were you waiting for me exactly?” He teased.
Sabertooth chuckled. “Do you mean for sex or romantically?”
Longfinger blinked, caught slightly off guard. “Both, I guess.”
“Mmm well, after you became my first mate I pretty much decided that if you ever asked me to sleep with you, I’d say yes.” Sabertooth said nonchalantly.
“O-oh! I see.” Longfinger’s face grew red in response.
“Romantically though… I don’t think it was until I thought you might die the other night that I realize how deeply I cared for you.” As Captain Sabertooth spoke he snuggled closer to Longfinger, nuzzling his head against his chest. “What about you?”
Longfinger’s hand drifted idly up and down Sabertooth’s back. “If I’m being honest, I’m sure it was long before this, but the moment I truly realized was that afternoon when you were with me when Pinky said his first word.”
“Really?” Captain Sabertooth asked, sounding fairly surprised.
“Yeah, I don’t know. I think at that moment it just felt like we were…” Longfinger’s voice trailed off as he began to feel embarrassed.
“A family?” Sabertooth offered. Longfinger didn’t reply but the way he held Sabertooth closer in response was confirmation enough.
Captain Sabertooth mumbled under his breath and rubbed his eye. “Got makeup all over my bed sheets…” He untangled himself from Longfinger and got out of the bed. He put on his breeches so he at least wasn’t completely nude and walked over to his vanity.
“What are you doing?” Longfinger asked with a yawn.
“Removing my face paint.” Sabertooth said. He took a cloth and began wiping his face clean.
Meanwhile, Longfinger sat up in bed and stretched. “Of course I’m not complaining about seeing you naked, Captain, but it did look rather odd seeing your pure white face right next to your brown-skinned body.”
His face now barren, Sabertooth walked back over to the bed. “Yes, I should have taken it off beforehand. But I suppose I got caught up in the moment.” He said with a flirtatious grin. “You don’t have any makeup in your skin tone to cover those hickeys, do you?”
“Definitely not.” Longfinger said. Several hickeys patterned his neck and down his chest like paint splotches. Sabertooth reached out to him, and Longfinger took him by the hand and stood up from the bed.
Captain Sabertooth was about to say something but as the men stood face to face, they both realized something was off. Longfinger realized it first and a small smile grew on his face. Sabertooth wasn’t barefoot. Which meant he wasn’t wearing his heels. Which meant instead of him and Longfinger looking to be roughly the same height, Sabertooth was now noticeably shorter.
As soon as Sabertooth noticed this his eyes widened and he shoved Longfinger back onto the bed. He quickly hurried over to his shoes and stockings and began to put them on.
“Is that really necessary?” Longfinger said with a laugh.
“Don’t get up yet.” Sabertooth said as got his second shoe on. “Okay. Now come here.”
Longfinger stood back up and shook his head with a smile. “And here I thought you just wore those shoes because they were fashionable.”
“There can be multiple reasons.” Sabertooth said. “I just don’t like people looking down on me.”
“Really? Because you didn’t seem to mind me looking down at you when you were on your knees.” Longfinger teased.
With his face now barren, this was the first time Longfinger had actually seen Sabertooth blush. “That’s not the same thing and you know it!” Sabertooth huffed.
“Of course, Captain.” Longfinger gave him a quick kiss on the cheek but noticed something when he pulled away. “I didn’t know you had a scar on your cheek.”
Sabertooth rubbed the thin raised line on the upper left side of his face. “Had it since I was a boy.”
Looking at the various scars across Captain Sabertooth’s body, Longfinger thought about his own scars. He had far more than the Captain, proof of years of adventuring and recklessness. It was the thing that blew his cover. And yet here he stood in front of Sabertooth with wounds of his own and felt as though they shared an unsaid understanding. Their bodies were harmonious. Everything just felt right.
“You need to put your shirt on before I can put makeup on you, or else it’s all going to rub off when you get dressed.” Sabertooth said, pulling Longfinger from his sappy daydreaming.
Longfinger did as he said and put his shirt on. He put on his pants as well because it felt rather silly to be wearing a shirt and nothing else.
Captain Sabertooth walked over to his vanity and seemed to be mixing some minerals together. He tested it against Longfinger’s neck but it wasn’t quite dark enough. Trying again, on the second try he seemed to have gotten an accurate color.
“Chin up.” Sabertooth commanded. Longfinger did as he was told and Sabertooth began brushing the makeup over the hickeys on his neck. The room was notably quiet and peaceful as the brush grazed him gently.
Longfinger’s thoughts couldn’t help but wander. “...Why can’t anyone else know about us?”
Sabertooth took a deep breath. “You know why.”
“No, Captain, I don’t.” Longfinger said, tilting his head down so he could look him in the eye. Sabertooth pulled his brush back.
“I already told you. I don’t want anyone to know I have weaknesses.”
A somber atmosphere hung in the air of the silent room. Longfinger held Sabertooth’s free hand smiled gently. “I understand. But I hope one day I can be your strength instead.”
“Oh, I’m sure you’re both, Longfinger.” Captain Sabertooth said. He brought Longfinger’s hand up to his cheek and nudged against it. “But still… not yet, okay? Just not yet.”
“Aye aye, Captain.” Longfinger said. Sabertooth smiled and resumed putting makeup on Longfinger’s hickeys.
“All done. Come find me tomorrow morning so I can touch it up again.” Sabertooth said. Longfinger nodded and put the rest of his clothes on. “You should probably get going.”
“You don’t want me to wait for you?”
Captain Sabertooth shook his head. “I promise you don’t want to wait here for me to put all my makeup back on.”
Longfinger chuckled. “Fair enough. Oh! Actually, before I forget, is it okay if Oliver knows…?”
“Because he already figured out I had feelings for you before.” Longfinger said, feeling rather sheepish.
“Well, I suppose if anyone must know, he is the most trustworthy man I can think of." Sabertooth said.
“Yeah…” Longfinger gave a nervous chuckle. “I’ll see you later, Captain.”
Sabertooth walked over and gave him a deep kiss goodbye. “I look forward to it.”
Chapter 17: The Gossip Train
As it was already late and Longfinger still needed to spend a good chunk of the day just lying down, Longfinger decided to pay Oliver a visit first thing tomorrow- after allowing Sabertooth to touch up his makeup, of course. Entering the shop, he was greeted by Oliver’s caring smile.
“Longfinger! I was hoping you would stop by.”
“Good to see you, Oliver.”
Oliver approached him cautiously. “I heard about your injury.”
“What, this?” Longfinger said, gently placing his hand on his stomach. “It takes a lot more than a little stab to kill me.”
Oliver grinned at his ridiculous showboating. “I take it you’re doing well, then?”
“Well, physically I still feel like crap. But otherwise… I’m doing great.” Longfinger said.
Longfinger leaned on the counter and gave a sheepish lopsided smile. “You were right. About the captain.”
“Well in that case, I suppose congratulations are in order!” Oliver said with a chuckle.
“We’re keeping it a secret for now so don’t let anyone else know, okay?”
Oliver patted him on the shoulder. “Understood.”
“There is one thing I don’t understand though.” Longfinger said. “You sounded so sure about how the captain felt before I left. But when we talked about it, he said he didn’t realize until after I was stabbed.”
“Longfinger, you came strolling in here a few months ago flaunting some gold that he gave you to get Pinky a new crib.” Oliver said. “Captain Sabertooth doesn’t just do something like that for someone he doesn’t care an awful lot about, even if he himself didn’t realize it yet.”
“I suppose that does seem a little…” Longfinger’s voice trailed off as he felt his cheeks grow warm. “Well, anyway, I wanted to thank you for caring so much. And my apologies if I was a little harsh towards you before I left.”
Oliver smiled brightly. “No harm done. I’m just glad to know you’re happy.”
Longfinger moved to leave but a particular item on one of the shelves caught his eye. He paused and picked up the object and tested it out. As he tested it an idea began to form in his head. He turned to Oliver. “How much does this cost?”
Oliver waved his hand dismissively. “That little thing? Consider it a get well soon present.”
Longfinger smiled and put the item in his pocket. “Thanks.”
With that taken care of, Longfinger turned to his next order of business for the day. He went to track down Rosa in her usual spot.
“Hi Rosa! Do you have a minute?”
Rosa saw Longfinger and quietly gasped. She hurried up to him and hugged him tightly around the neck, careful to avoid his abdomen. “Longfinger! There you are!” She pulled back from the hug and looked him up and down. “Is what everyone is saying true? Did you get stabbed in the stomach?”
“It’s true. Good to see you again, Rosa.” Longfinger said.
“Glad to have you back.” Rosa replied. “So how did you manage to piss someone off enough to stab you?”
Longfinger shrugged his shoulders. “Oh, nothing out of the ordinary. I tried to pretend to be a nerd but my super sexy body blew my cover so some French prince twink stabbed me while I was half naked.”
Rosa blinked. “You know I really hate that I can’t tell if you’re exaggerating or not.”
“Such is the life of pirates.” Longfinger said. “Regardless, there’s something important that I need to ask you.”
“Oh? Do tell.” Rosa said, crossing her arms and looking at him expectantly.
“As you can imagine, while I was out busy being stabbed and recovering from said stabbing, I didn’t exactly have time to take care of Pinky.” Longfinger said. “So in the future to avoid forcing the crew to watch over him, would it be okay if I left Pinky with you from now on when we leave Abra?”
“Oh thank God. Please do.” Rosa said. “Every time you leave I get anxious that something might happen to him. I will gladly watch him.”
“Thank you, this will be a big help.” Longfinger said.
Rosa waved her hand. “Don’t even mention it, I love that kid and it’s pretty boring around here anyway after you guys leave.”
Longfinger smiled. “I appreciate it all the same.”
“Glad to hear it." She paused. "Nice hickey by the way.”
Longfinger’s eyes went wide and his hand flew to cover his neck. “How did you..?”
Rosa held up her arm to reveal a streak of Longfinger’s skin toned makeup across her sleeve. “Your makeup rubbed off when I hugged you.”
“I’m so sorry, I’ll wash that for you right away-”
“Forget about my sleeve. I just want to know who gave you those.”
Longfinger began to blush. “That's… that’s none of your business!”
A smug look grew on Rosa’s face. “Knew it.”
“You and Sabertooth, huh?” Rosa said with a smirk.
“What!? What gave you that idea!?” Longfinger sputtered.
“Well, you’ve never hidden any hickeys you’ve gotten from people you seduced before- in fact you practically show them off, so you obviously didn’t get them from that.” Rosa said. “Really, there’s only one person who would want to keep your hookup a secret that also has this high-quality makeup.”
Longfinger opened his mouth to give some sort of retort but instead just stood there slack-jawed.
“I mean if I’m wrong, please say so.” Rosa said.
“No… you’re right.” Longfinger finally said reluctantly.
“Hey cheer up, I’m happy for you! Can’t say I ever thought about you two getting together but it seems so obvious in retrospect.”
“Thanks…” Longfinger said. “Listen. The captain and I really want to keep this between the two of us for now. Promise me you won’t tell anyway. I don’t even want the captain to know you found out.”
Rosa’s smile softened. “Relax, Longfinger. You’re like the only person on this whole island whose opinion I really care about. I won’t tell, I promise.”
Rosa held out her hand and the two shook on it. “Thank you.” Longfinger said.
“I’m surprised you’re keeping it a secret though. Knowing you, I’d expect you to be shouting from the rooftops and gloating to everyone you come across.” Rosa said.
“Oh believe me, I’d love to.” He said wistfully. “But the captain would prefer it stays under wraps and I will respect that.”
“Fair enough. But if you need to come brag to someone about how great a kisser Sabertooth is or something, I’m your girl.”
Longfinger chuckled. “I’ll keep that in mind.” He took a second to look around the courtyard they were in and something in his brain clicked. “Actually Rosa, can I ask for a favor?”
Chapter 18: Past and Future
It was the next day and Longfinger was in Pinky’s room, having just put him down for a nap. Longfinger heard the door in the back open and then shut with a click. He then heard the click of Captain Sabertooth’s heels approaching him from behind.
Sabertooth walked up to Longfinger and wrapped his arms around him in an embrace. He rested his chin on Longfinger’s shoulder. “You wanted to speak to me?” Sabertooth said.
Longfinger closed his eyes and placed his hands on top of Sabertooth’s and just took a moment to enjoy the state they were in. “Indeed I did.”
From over Longfinger’s shoulder, Sabertooth could see Pinky asleep in his crib. “How’s your little sapling growing?”
“Good.” Longfinger said, slightly chuckling at his choice of words. “It won’t be too long now until he’s a year old.”
“Is that so…” Captain Sabertooth unwrapped his arm’s from around Longfinger and stepped to the side. “You said the day he said his first word was when you realized you had feelings for me, yes?”
Longfinger swallowed at the sudden conversation switch. “That's correct.”
Sabertooth looked at him curiously. “But that was over a month ago. I explained why I never did anything sooner, but what about you?”
“Because I was scared.” Longfinger said, in a surprisingly calm and casual manner.
“I’m used to sleeping around, seducing people, one night stands, that sort of thing. It’s what I’m good at. It's what I always do.” Longfinger said. “But serious long-term relationships? I’ve only ever been in one before. And, well, you know how that ended.”
"I'm aware." Sabertooth said, now looking slightly guilty at opening an old wound. “I just didn’t think it had affected you that much.”
Longfinger laughed dryly. “Yeah, I didn’t think so either. Then he went and died.” He shook his head. “The point is, when I realized how deeply I cared for you, I didn’t know what to do. I dreaded to think it would be a repeat of what happened before, so it seemed easier to just avoid the subject.”’
“I understand.” The atmosphere in the room was starting to seem rather heavy, so Sabertooth decided to switch topics. “Now, what was it you wanted to speak to me about?”
Longfinger seemed to perk up, “Yes, that. The funny thing is, it’s actually sort of relevant to this topic. Will you be busy one week from today?”
Sabertooth tilted his head to the side. “I shouldn’t be, outside of my usual daily responsibilities.”
“Perfect. In that case,” Longfinger held Sabertooth’s hands, lifting them up slightly, “Captain, would you like to go on a date with me?”
“A date?” Sabertooth repeated with a surprised smile.
“Yes. As I said, I’m not used to serious relationships, so I want to do this properly. And that starts with a proper first date.”
“And what sort of date is this exactly?”
“I’d prefer to keep that a surprise if that’s alright.” Longfinger squeezed Sabertooth’s hands. “What do you say?”
Sabertooth smirked. “Ridiculous… of course my answer is yes.”
The two men leaned in to give each other a quick peck on the lips. “Glad to hear it.” Longfinger said, looking positively giddy. “Then I’ll come and fetch you in the evening, one week from today.”
“Can’t wait.” Sabertooth paused and looked at Longfinger’s makeshift high chair that was in the room. “Please remind me to get you a new one.”
Longfinger chuckled. “You don’t have to worry about that, it works well enough.”
“Don’t flatter yourself, I wasn't offering to be nice." Sabertooth said. "I just hate looking at this ugly thing. You need a new one.”
“Well, I suppose I can’t say no to that.” Longfinger said.
Sabertooth freed his hands from Longfinger's and headed towards the door. “Just to be clear, our date might be in a week but don’t expect me to wait that long to be alone with you.”
“Oh, I’d never keep you away from your treasures, Captain.” Longfinger said flirtatiously.
Sabertooth smiled and shook his head. He then thought for a moment, as he seemed to notice something. “You know you don’t have to just refer to me as Captain, right?”
Longfinger looked slightly startled. “Oh, I know! ....Would it be weird to say I’d prefer too?”
Sabertooth raised his eyebrows. “Submissive, aren’t you?” Longfinger blushed in response. Sabertooth reached for the door. “Carry on, then. I look forward to seeing what you have planned.”
“See you later… Sabertooth.”
There was an incredibly painful silence. Sabertooth stared at him blankly.
Longfinger blinked. “Yeah… that doesn’t feel right, sorry Captain.”
“As you were, Longfinger. As you were.”
Chapter 19: Courtyard Courtship
In the week that followed, Captain Sabertooth and Longfinger quickly fell into the routine of finding ways to be alone together, mostly involving lots of excuses for inviting Longfinger to Sabertooth’s quarters or his castle. Perhaps surprisingly, Longfinger was the far more cautious one of the two, to the point where he was almost avoidant of Sabertooth while the crew was around. Sabertooth, on the other hand, wasn’t afraid to pull Longfinger out of everyone’s line of sight just to sneak a quick kiss.
But the moment they had both been waiting for had soon arrived. With his hickey's faded and stitches removed, Longfinger couldn't be more ready On the morning of their scheduled date, he had slipped a note under his Captain’s door, telling him when and where to meet. As evening fell, Sabertooth arrived at the designated spot, finding Longfinger waiting expectantly in front of a gate to Rosa’s courtyard.
“Glad you could make it.” Longfinger said, visibly at ease from the sight of Sabertooth. “Before you ask, Miss Rosa is out of town today and she owed me a favor, so we have the whole place to ourselves.”
“Well prepared, as expected.” Sabertooth said warmly, making Longfinger’s heart flutter.
Longfinger pushed open the gate and held it open. “After you.” He gestured. Captain Sabertooth nodded his head and stepped inside.
The first thing to notice inside the courtyard were the candles. Every scattered surface seemed to have a dimly lit candle on it, creating a soft and cozy glow when blended in with the moonlight above. The next thing to notice was the small round table, draped in a black tablecloth and accompanied by two wooden chairs.
In the centerpiece of the table was certainly interesting. It was a display of beautiful yellow winter jasmines. But, either because Longfinger failed to find an actual vase, or he simply thought this looked cooler, the flowers were woven through the eye sockets and around the horns of an old sheep’s skull. Also on the table was a bottle of rum, two glasses, bread, a small basket full of nuts, and some cubes of cheese.
Captain Sabertooth looked genuinely astonished. “It seems you really did prepare.”
“Is it too much?”
“Not at all.”
Longfinger lead him over to the table and pulled out the chair for Sabertooth. Longfinger sat across from him and picked up the rum. “You know, I’ve been holding onto this bottle for about seven years now.” Longfinger said, pouring the glasses. “Such a nice bottle that it only felt right to wait to use it for a special occasion.”
“In that case, I am honored to share this drink with you.” Sabertooth held up his glass and they clinked their glasses together.
“Trying to find that old bottle did make me realize I’m a bit of a hoarder, though.” Longfinger took a sip of the rum. “Do you remember the first treasures we found after I became your first mate? It was some jewelry and you let me keep a piece. It’s hardly even valuable but I’ve held onto it as a good luck charm.”
Sabertooth laughed. “I remember that day! I still can’t believe you tried to steal that horse.”
“I might have been trying to show off to impress you.”
“Yes, seeing you scream because you were nearly kicked by a horse was truly impressive.”
Longfinger chuckled a bit, embarrassed by the memory. The two grew quiet as they continued to drink their alcohol and partake in the food set before them. Longfinger reached for some of the nuts but the hoot of an owl cause him to flinch and spill the basket onto the ground.
“Shit!” Longfinger bit his tongue and rose out of his chair.
Sabertooth reached out and put his hand on top of Longfinger’s “Leave them, it’s fine”
“It’s a mess, I should-”
“Longfinger, I’m here for you, not macadamia nuts. Sit down.” Sabertooth said.
Longfinger made some sort of awkward squeaking noise and sat back down.
Captain Sabertooth gave him a funny look. “You know, when I imagined a date with the famous Longfinger, I thought you would be a nonstop flirtatious casanova.”
“Sorry to disappoint…”
Sabertooth furrowed his brow. “I’m not- I just mean to say that you seem so uncharacteristically flustered. Is there a reason?”
Longfinger sat up in his chair a bit. “I’m just a bit nervous, Captain. That’s all.”
“But why? This is hardly our first time alone together.”
“Yes, but this is different.” Longfinger said. “It’s our first date, I want it to go well. But dates are sort of foreign territory for me.”
Sabertooth smirked. “Relax. Considering this is the first date I’ve ever been on, that means it’s automatically the best.”
Longfinger looked surprised. “Really? You’ve never been on a date before?”
“Not that I haven’t been asked. Sabertooth knows how many times Valdemar tried to ask me out when we were sleeping together.” He said, looking askance. “People have wanted to court me many times, but I am a man of high standards.”
“I take it that I meet those standards, then?” Longfinger said with a coy smile.
“Yes, yes you do.”
Longfinger leaned forward. “And what standards might those be?”
“Why don’t you take a guess?”
“Let’s see. Brave, loyal, hardworking.” Longfinger grinned. “Good hair, muscular, has a big dick…”
Sabertooth chuckled. “Well being humble certainly isn’t on that list.”
“Oh, great Captain Sabertooth, king of the seven seas, please tell me more about this humbleness of which you speak!”
“Very funny.” Sabertooth took another sip of his rum.
Longfinger let out a sigh. “I have a… small surprise for you, Captain.”
Sabertooth looked at him curiously “Do tell.”
Longfinger rose from his chair and approached Sabertooth, holding out his hand. “You’ll have to stand up.”
Captain Sabertooth did what was asked and stood up from his seat, taking Longfinger by the hand.
“Now just stand over here…” Longfinger said, leading him away from the table. “And close your eyes.”
“Have to have your dramatic reveal, huh?.” Sabertooth closed his eyes as instructed.
Once Longfinger confirmed that Sabertooth couldn’t see, he walked back over to the table and pulled the object he got from Oliver’s last week out of his pocket.
Suddenly a quiet mechanical melody hit Sabertooth’s ears. He opened his eyes. On the table sat a small music box.
“Getting musicians to play for us doesn’t exactly work with the whole secret business, so I found the next best thing.” Longfinger said, approaching Sabertooth so they were standing face to face. “Care to dance?”
Sabertooth took him by the hand. “It would be my pleasure.”
Step. Click. Step. Click. Hand in hand, hand on waist, the two began to slow dance, with Sabertooth taking the lead. They stared into each other's eyes through half-lidded gazes. It was clear neither of them had much practice in such a slow intimate style of dance, but they matched each other's rhythms and that's all that mattered. Nothing else in that moment was important but each other.
Eventually, the music box’s song winded down to a stop.
Longfinger tried to pull away “I should rewind the-” Sabertooth did not loosen his grip.
“Stay.” That was all he said. So stay he did. Longfinger closed his eyes and began to hum the melody the music box had been playing. They danced once again.
Step, click, step, click. As they swayed around the courtyard in blissful harmony, a word bubbled up inside. It was something they both had been avoiding. Something that when spoken would make things real. But as they danced around the room, perhaps it was also time to stop dancing around the subject. And so those three little words quietly fell from Sabertooth’s lips.
“I love you.”
Longfinger did not stop humming nor open his eyes. Captain Sabertooth thought that he had said it too quietly, that his confession had not been heard over the sound of his hum. It might be for the best, Sabertooth started to wonder if it was too early to say such a thing. His position as Longfinger’s Captain also filled him with a sense of dread. Thoughts of Longfinger saying he loved him simply to appease the captain burned in the back of his mind.
Eventually, the two slowed down to a stop as Longfinger finished his tune.
He opened his eyes.
“I love you too.”
With a sigh of relief, their confessions were sealed with a kiss. They couldn’t imagine a better first date.
Chapter 20: Epliogue
Many Years Later
It was a beautiful morning and Longfinger was sorting through some supplies when Pinky ran up to him with an excited look on his face.
“Hey Pinky!” Longfinger said. “What’s got you fired up, huh? Something interesting happen?”
The young boy with ruffled hair and a face full of freckles smiled. “Kinda! I was spending time with Raven, but then her mom lost her necklace! Her mom said it was an anniversary present so it was a big deal. Raven and I helped her find it.”
“That was very nice of you to help.”
“Oh, it was nothing…” Pinky said, rubbing the back of his neck. “But I wanted to tell you because it made me think, why don’t you and Captain Sabertooth celebrate your anniversary by giving gifts or anything like that?”
Longfinger chuckled. “Birthdays, anniversaries, pirates don’t worry about those sorts of things, Pinky. You know this. We can spend weeks at sea and living life one day at a time. We don’t fuss with tracking dates or calendars.”
“Aww, that’s no fun.” Pinky said with a pout. “So do you even have any idea how long you and Captain Sabertooth have been together?”
“Well, let me think. You’ve been ten years old for a while now,” Longfinger said, “So It’s been ten years.”
Pinky gawked. “What!? A whole decade!? And you mean you two started dating when I was a baby!?”
“Yes indeed!” Longfinger rested a hand on Pinky’s shoulder. “Actually, you sort of helped bring us together.”
“No way! How?”
“Well, deciding to raise was a big decision for me to make. And with it came some heavy discussions between The Captain and I.” Longfinger looked a little bashful. “Those discussions opened up a lot of vulnerabilities and we became closer. Which eventually lead to… well, I'm sure you get the idea.”
Pinky looked starry-eyed. “Wow…”
“So, I guess this is a thank you, Pinky. Without you, who knows how long it would have taken for The Captain and I to end up together, if at all.”
“Hey you two! Having a little father-son bonding?” Benjamin said, walking up from behind.
“Benjamin! Did you know Longfinger and Captain Sabertooth have been dating for ten whole years!” Pinky said triumphantly.
Benjamin let out a low whistle. “Been that long already, huh?” He leaned over to Pinky with a mischievous grin. “Well Pinky, did you know that those two actually tried to keep their relationship a secret at first?”
“What? No way.” Pinky scoffed.
Longfinger sighed. “No, he’s telling the truth.”
It was too hard for Pinky to imagine. He’s always known Sabertooth and Longfinger to be so… openly affectionate. Neither of them ever seemed shy about sometimes calling each other ‘my love’ or sharing a celebratory kiss. ‘Captain Sabertooth’s loving partner’ was practically one of Longfinger’s titles used to introduce himself. Their relationship was basically a bragging right for both of them. Pinky doubted there was a single person in Abra who didn’t know they were in love.
“Only took us about to a month to figure them out.” Benjamin said. “All the ridiculous excuses to go to the castle, leaving Sabertooth’s quarters in the morning, oh and those disgusting doe-eyed stares. It was almost funny how bad they were at hiding it.”
“Hilarious,” Longfinger said, clearly flustered. Pinky couldn’t stop giggling.
“What wasn’t funny though,” Benjamin said, “was when me and the rest of the crew were at sea trying to sleep, and these two honestly thought we couldn’t hear them having-”
“Loud conversations about how much we love each other!” Longfinger quickly said, slapping his hand over Benjamin’s mouth.
Pinky made a face. “Haha, ew!”
“Very, very ew.” Benjamin said once Longfinger removed his hand.
“Don’t you have a deck to clean, Benjamin?” Longfinger said sternly.
Benjamin started walking away. “Fine, I can see when I’m not wanted.”
Alone again, Pinky looked eagerly at Longfinger, “You should get Captain Sabertooth a gift for your ten year anniversary!”
“Okay, slow down there.” Longfinger said. “First of all, The Captain and I have discussed this. There’s no gift you give to a man who has a treasure chamber overflowing with gold.”
“Second of all, the kind of anniversaries people usually celebrate and give gifts for is wedding anniversaries, not dating ones.”
Pinky crossed his arms. “Well, why aren’t you married?”
Longfinger shrugged. “I mean, no reason in particular.”
“Is that actually true or is this one of those ‘I’ll explain when you’re older’ things.”
“I promise you, I’m telling the truth. We’ve talked about it, neither of us are against the idea or anything.” Longfinger said. “But considering The Captain is in charge here in Abra, it’s not like getting married would give us any legal benefits as you might see in other places.”
“This is already a lot more complicated than I thought it would be.” Pinky said.
Longfinger chuckled. “You have no idea. Anyway, since The Captain has had to officiate dozens of the villager’s weddings over the years, t I think he might be a bit sick of the concept. Either way, us getting married isn’t off the table, but it’s something we’ve never gotten around to.”
“Okay, fine.” Pinky said. “But I still think you should give Captain Sabertooth a gift.”
“Talking about me, are you?”
Pinky jumped and turned around to see Sabertooth standing behind him.
“Good morning, Captain!” Longfinger said with a smile. “I was just talking to Pinky here, and he made me realize it’s been ten years since you and I became romantically involved.”
Captain Sabertooth placed a hand on his chin. “Is that so?”
“I think you two should celebrate.” Pinky chimed in, with his hands on his hips.
“Ha! Celebrate a mere ten years?” Sabertooth said with a laugh. “Captain Sabertooth will not waste his time with one measly decade when we will have so many more decades together in the future!”
Longfinger loved the way that Sabertooth often managed to sound dismissive of romance while at the same time implying the most lovey-dovey shit. “My thoughts exactly.”
Pinky leaned forward. “Longfinger said that I basically helped get you two together because you two had to talk about me a lot when I was a baby which brought you closer together."
Sabertooth raised his eyebrows at first but then began to chuckle. “You hear that, love? I suppose we should thank the boy with a reward.”
Longfinger grinned. “I suppose so.”
Sabertooth held up a hand. “Still too young to ask to be a pirate.”
“We’ll decide on a reward later, but we should get back to business.” Longfinger said. Sabertooth nodded and walked off.
Once Pinky and Longfinger were alone again, Longfinger pulled Pinky off to the side. “I think you’re right about getting him a gift.” He whispered. “But I’ll need your help.”
A few hours later, Pinky approached Captain Sabertooth.
“Captain! If you were serious about that reward thing, I’ve thought of something.”
Sabertooth smirked. “This should be good. What is it that you want?”
Pinky handed him a piece of paper. “Well, I found this treasure map and I was hoping we could go on a treasure hunt together!”
Sabertooth examined the map. “This treasure is right here in Abra… what fool would hide their treasure right under Sabertooth’s nose?”
“Does that mean you’ll go find it?”
“Yes, let me just get Longfinger-”
Pinky held up his hands. “Wait! No Longfinger this time.” Sabertooth gave him a skeptical look. “Please? I want my reward to be to see how the great Captain Sabertooth finds treasure all on his own!”
“I suppose I can’t say no to that.” Sabertooth replied, looking rather prideful. “Let us go while the day is still young.”
And so off the two went on their adventure around the island. Following the map’s instructions, they were eventually lead to a small beach at the shore located north of Abra Haven.
Sabertooth looked unamused. “Nothing but sand. If anything was buried here it would have been swept into the sea long ago.”
“We should still check, just to be sure!” Pinky pleaded.
Sabertooth huffed and continued using the map as a guide to his destination. “It should be here.” He finally said, stepping on a spot on the beach. He held out his hand to Pinky, who gave him a shovel that he had been carrying.
After digging through a few layers of sand, Sabertooth’s shovel hit something. He bent over and pulled out his treasure. It was a very small wooden chest, roughly the size of his hand. He looked at it very curiously, but he could sense the faint smell of gold inside. He lifted up the hatch and opened the chest.
Inside of the box sat a single ring. It was a simple band, no jewels or anything. He could tell it was merely gold plated- not that valuable. The most noteworthy thing about it was the wave design etched around it in a loop.
Captain Sabertooth looked confused. “Just a ring?”
At that moment, Longfinger appeared from behind an old shack that stood nearby. “Not just a ring.” He said. He gently took the chest from Sabertooth’s hands. Sabertooth simply stood there, too confused to know else to do. “It’s the ring you let me take from the first treasure we found together. But do you know what else it is?”
“What?” Sabertooth asked quietly. He had no idea what was going on.
“It’s also-” Longfinger got down on one knee and held open the chest. “An engagement ring.”
Sabertooth’s eyes grew wide and Pinky was trying as hard as he could to contain his excitement.
“We both know there isn’t a force on earth that could stop us from spending the rest of our lives together, so why not make it official?” Longfinger said. “What do you say, Captain? Will you marry me?”
The sound of waves crashing against the shore matched the beating of Sabertooth's chest. “Making a treasure map… and having Pinky play along…” He smiled in disbelief. “You devilish dork. Yes. Yes, of course I’ll marry you.”
“Woohoo!” Pinky shouted.
Longfinger stood back up and slid the ring onto Sabertooth’s finger. “I know it’s far less fancy compared to your other rings, but-”
Captain Sabertooth shut him up with a kiss. “It’s perfect.”
Longfinger smiled. He looked at Pinky and waved him over. “Thank you for your help with this Pinky, I couldn’t have done it without you.”
“It was my pleasure!” Longfinger pulled him into a hug and after a second Sabertooth awkwardly joined in.
Though it usually went unsaid, those three were a family and they knew it. A rather unconventional one, but what about a pirate’s life was conventional, anyway? They loved each other and will continue to love each other for many more years to come. And that’s all that mattered.