There are colorful sprigs hung at random below deck of the Urca. They appeared shortly after leaving the port of some town that Flint had decided to sack, but no one lays claim to putting them up. The men make a game of it, leaping out of the path should they pass each other too closely. It provides some much-needed relief in the wake of Flint's dour mood, the bloodlust sharpened to a fine point by Mrs. Barlow's death.
Silver does not know what to say to him. But then, is it really his place? As newly appointed quartermaster, he is the go between, a voice for the crew, an ear to the captain. He takes his duties seriously, despite his dubious appreciation of the gesture, and it isn't as if he does not have more than enough on his plate adjusting to life being less one limb than he'd started with.
It's painful, but he doesn't complain. To be seen as weak, as someone deserving of pity sets his teeth on edge, makes him feel as if he's a feral animal backed into a corner. So, he grits his teeth, and he bears it all.
The mistletoe is a nice distraction, if only for the creative ways the men find to jump out of its way, or to jump into it - depending. They're at sea again, with nothing but each other for company, awaiting word from Flint on whichever town has decreed pirates an enemy, and so made one of the crew.
It's only he and Flint who have managed to stay out of the way of it - Silver because he keeps an eye out and Flint because he's more shadow than person these days. Some days Silver thinks he may just disappear completely, swallowed up in the ship, or the sea.
But it is his job to bend the captain's ear, so he seeks him out occasionally, just enough to figure that the man is not alright. Mrs. Barlow's death has broken him and Silver - there is a part of him that very much would like to look at the pieces. Closely, pour over them with a fine-tooth comb. There is no one so familiar with pieces as himself - for he's been made of cobbled together shards for as long as he can remember.
Christmas comes, and the ship is full of merriment. There's liquor to spare and someone's produced a fiddle from god knows where. It's all background noise. Silver hasn't seen hide nor hair of Flint for two days. It'd be unremarkable, but the ship is only so big, and he worries - worries about what Flint might be doing between raids to keep whatever blackens his mind at peace.
He leaves the merriment, the hollow thud of his metal stump swallowed up by the sound of the festivities. The pain is a sharp bite that he readily ignores, focusing only on the sway of the ship as he navigates below decks, looking for their wayward Captain.
He's covered the entirety of the ship beneath the decks and there's no sign of him. Before he heads up to the top deck, he passes by the Captain's cabin, rapping on the door with a solid knock, then pressing his hand against the wall to hold his weight, just for a moment.
There's silence, and Silver resigns himself to having to fight with the stairs, but then it opens and there's Flint, standing in front of him. The shadows cover his eyes for a moment and he looks more ghost than anything else, before he shifts into the light and Silver can see pain in his eyes rather than hollow emptiness. It claws at his gut - he does not know how to handle this - the grief that Flint carries around with him like a shroud. It's easy enough to ignore after a raid, when Flint is high off the blood - but in the moments between, the ones that stretch out over the sea, it's there.
"What?" Flint barks, and Silver wishes he hadn't taken his hand off the wall, for he sways, slightly with the swaying of the ship.
"The crew are wondering where their Captain might be," Silver says, although that's not strictly true. He doesn't think a one of them cares if Flint joins them, and a few may actively hope against it.
"They sound occupied enough without me," Flint replies, and there's silence for a moment in which Silver can hear the sounds of rowdy men and the incessant fiddle.
"Yes well -" Silver starts, only to be distracted as Flint's gaze slides off his face, eyes narrowing slightly at something above their heads. Silver feels something twist in his gut as he waits a beat, then two, before looking up too.
Someone had hung a sprig right there outside the Captain's door. When Silver finds out who it is he'll -
The thought is barely finished because there - just a flash for a moment, Flint's gaze falls from the mistletoe to Silver's lips. He saw it, plain as day, even though it's gone before he can blink.
It's not a decision so much as something that happens, the leaning into Flint's space, the hand on the collar of his linen shirt (for balance), the press of his lips against Flint's, it starts out soft but immediately implodes outward, into teeth and tongue.
Flint fights it, fingers closing around his biceps so hard Silver knows they'll bruise. Flint fights it, but he fights into it too, holding Silver's body away from his even as his mouth chases his, a body divided. "Let me distract you," Silver murmurs, and it sounds more a challenge than anything else as Flint's teeth bite into the skin of his lower lip. Heat pours off of him and Silver has never felt so hot in his entire life.
He tells himself that it's purely for survival reasons. Survival of the crew. Flint is an internal storm of gale force winds and lashing rains - he needs something to soothe it, if only for a little while, so that he does not lead them all into madness along with them.
Silver is not sure how fucking factors into anything, but he's willing to go with his gut.
Which is saying, in no uncertain terms, that continuing what he has started with his Captain is an endlessly brilliant idea.
From there it's a jumbled mess of limping and clinging, Silver's fingers fisted in Flint's shirt as Flint backs into the cabin and then turns, reaching up for a moment and then slams the door, pinning Silver to it.
Silver looks up at him, a wide breathless grin on his face, but it's less about delight and more about the slightly wild feeling in his chest as Flint's gaze falls on his face for a beat and then two, and then there's more kissing.
For some reason, it feels more like Flint is distracting him then the other way around.
After a few moments, Flint moves them once more, and Silver feels rather dismayed at being hauled around like nothing so much as a sack of fish, but it's quickly abated when Flint takes them to the bed.
He's about to move in for another kiss when a flash of color catches his eye and he looks down at Flint's hand.
Silver pries the mistletoe, crushed now, from between Flint's fingers, shoots him a crooked grin as he holds it above their heads and crowds into a kiss. It's hard - tongue and teeth - and Silver hasn't tasted blood yet, but it feels inevitable.
He divests Flint of his clothes - or rather urges Flint into doing so while he sits, watching as tanned, freckle dotted skin is revealed, scars here and there that Silver would very much like to investigate further. But this is not that - this is - this is giving Flint something to feel other than the shadow that follows him, as if Silver might be able to break him free under the guise of festive celebration.
He blinks, and Flint is wresting his clothes from him as well, and he takes just a moment, gaze scanning slowly over Flint as Flint's gaze does the same. He feels pinned, like a specimen, a slow shiver working slowly up his spine. This feels far more than just a distraction, and there's a faint curl of panic in his gut because he's not - he just needs Flint to lighten the fuck up and - there's a hand on his cock that shuts up every single thought in his head and then some.
He forgets all about the mistletoe - his plans for using it to work his way around Flint's well-muscled body - and instead grips at his shoulders while Flint jacks him mercilessly. Flint's staring right at him and it feels dangerous to meet his gaze, but Silver, does, staring back at him even as his mouth opens on a soundless groan.
Silver reaches down, without looking, unhooking the clasps on his metal leg and the clatter as it falls to the floor is too loud. But he can't - he can't do this while he's encumbered by that and it's easier to move now, jostling Flint's grip from him and pressing the Captain to the bed. He goes easily, almost too easily, and Silver would be enthralled by the power but he's too busy being caught in the intent look Flint is pinning him with.
He swallows, leans over him, balancing on one arm, the faint pain when his stump connects with the bedding a mere backdrop as he nips at Flint's mouth, and Flint doesn't so much as close his eyes - but then neither does Silver.
It's too hard to kiss and look at him at the same time, so he closes his eyes first, giving himself in to the fire of Flint's mouth, the pleasure skittering along his nerves as Flint's hips buck up, cocks rubbing together, and Silver feels like his entire world is tilting.
From there it's a steady slide against each other, biting kisses and choked groans, until Flint is fumbling with something from the bedside, a bottle of oil that Silver hadn't realized was there, and then there's two fingers inside him, somehow, and he tenses, breathing out roughly as he presses his teeth against Flint's shoulder, resisting the urge to bite down.
Flint shushes him, soothes him with a hand over his side as if he's gentling a horse, and Silver doesn't have time to bristle at that because those fingers are twisting, and he's choking on how good it feels, especially when they press up and - he does bite down then, hard enough that he can practically feel Flint's grunt. This isn't what he'd - this isn't what he'd had in mind when he'd come down here, but he doesn't regret it.
It's only a matter of time before he's lowering himself down on Flint, stretched by the girth of him, the stinging pain belied by something dark fluttering in his gut when he's fully seated.
There's sweat coating every inch of him and he stares, open-mouthed at Flint, who looks looser than before, but there's something still hidden in his gaze - the sadness that won't quite leave him alone. Silver rocks his hips, hoping to see it disappear, but it doesn't, though Flint does moan, low and soft, eyelids fluttering.
Silver can't keep it up for long - he can't balance with his leg, listing too far to one side so that Flint keeps slipping out of him, and it's only a few minutes before Flint is taking pity on him and rolling them over, driving back into him with one solid thrust that leaves his hands scrambling for purchase on his shoulders, blunt nails digging into flesh as a noise like a wounded dog escapes his mouth.
Flint doesn't relent, his thrusts hard and fast and there's nothing for Silver to brace against, he just has to take it, every thrust forcing a stilted noise out of his throat. He's awash in sensation, nerves lighting up and his climax is upon him before he even realizes it, without even a hand on it. All of a sudden, every muscle tenses and he wheezes, nails digging into Flint's shoulders, body twisting helplessly as pleasure unspools and he's spilling hot between them. Flint slows slightly, fucks him through it, and he's a mess of oversensitivity as Flint continues, chasing his own pleasure, his face pressed to Silver's shoulder.
He's almost overwhelmed with it by the time Flint reaches completion, one last hard thrust as he buries himself as deep as he can, and Silver can swear he feels him twitch. There's only a low, punched out groan, and then Flint's weight upon him. It's - comforting, actually, and Silver feels his hands gliding lightly over his back, over and over again as if he can't control it.
It takes a long moment for Flint to seem to collect himself, and Silver winces when he pulls out. Silver expects Flint to get up, or to demand he leave, but he doesn't, just tilts to the side and curls around Silver's body.
Silver looks at him, at his face in the candlelight, and the shadows are still there, and so is the sadness, but there's something else, too. Something - he wouldn't dare say lighter, but something else indeed. He swallows, leaning forward for a lazy kiss that he knows he doesn't need but feels unable to prevent himself from giving.
He does not think he'd mind distracting Flint again in the future (or being distracted by him).