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Jul 06, 2022 10:11 PM
A Sable and her Ship find their Crew
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"Dig in, and tell us a little about what you're running from, or to, when you're ready," the wooden woman adds with a smile as her Skipper starts eating.

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...Is that woman made of wood??? --Probably it's just very elaborate body paint let's go with that. 

She digs into the food with the kind of what-if-somebody-takes-it-away that leads to refeeding syndrome. 

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After finishing a sizable portion of the eggs on her place, the Skipper picks up her scone and starts spreading some preserves.

"I rather suspect you've had a rough time of it. So let's clear a few things up to hopefully make this safer for you. First, you're sleeping in a bunk, tonight, in your own quarters, with a proper hatch to ensure your privacy when you wish it. I'll not have a girl in need sleep on the bare deck in my cargo hold." She shakes her head at the thought.

"Second, you're eating proper meals so long as you're aboard my ship. You've quite obviously missed far too many meals, and I decently enjoy cooking when I have someone to share it with."

She takes a bite of her scone, smiles softly, chews, swallows, and continues.

"We're not here to hurt you or demand anything of you, and we're not going to snatch the food away from you mid-meal. Take your time. You're the only person other than me who eats at all here. We've got plenty of time."

And with that, she wraps a wing around her Figurehead (who snuggles happily in) and resumes eating.

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"Several reasons. For one, I've been a teen with no resources before. I was not a fan. I find it satisfying, now, to be the girl I wish I'd known then. Also, if you're in a situation where you need to stow away on ships, the best you can typically hope for is benign neglect, and the worse options include rape and slavery. Wouldn't be living up to my own standards if I let you go risk that again, after you got lucky enough to stow away on my ship."

She shakes her head, then sips her coffee.

"On top of that, I find people absolutely fascinating. I love the chance to talk to new people, hear their stories, nudge their plot arc in a warmer and safer direction than it otherwise would have gone. And I have the resources to afford it, here and there."

She shrugs.

"It makes me happy to make people safer and happier."

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The Figurehead shakes her head and smiles. "Oh my Captain... Her 'saving people thing' has ever gotten us in trouble, but we can handle trouble fairly well. There was one boy who played innocent for a whole week before flooding my engine," she shudders at the memory, "and trying to strand us for pirates to board."

She looks over fondly at the Skipper. "We came through well enough, though. She came up behind him and plucked the flare from his hands right when he was about to signal them, and asked if he was ready to tell the rest of his story finally. The poor boy fainted, and she talked with him for hours when he came to. Wound up dropping him in Gaider's Mourn with a pirate friend of ours, rather than in London, at his request."

She shakes her head and swats her girlfriend's shoulder. "And she still won't tell me how she knew."

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She laughs and shakes her head. "Can't explain it properly. Regardless, you're welcome and safe here, for my bleeding heart madgirl reasons."

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"...Oh. Thanks. Um, I don't know much about ships, but I can try to earn my keep..."

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"We'll be glad to show you a little of how things are done. It'll take us just under a whole day to get to London. Once we're there, you can decide if you like shipboard life so far, and either stay on with us for a while longer, or leave us and I'll give you a few options to help you get your feet under you."

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"Personally, I'd recommend staying aboard. My Captain has quite a few contacts in London, though, so that's certainly a viable option if you'd prefer."

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"Whatever you choose, your only obligations until you feel steadier are rest, heal, and learn."

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She kisses her captain's cheek. "Love, you're very sweet, but I think you forgot to introduce us."

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"What, really?"

She shakes her head at her forgetfulness.

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"I'm the Truthful Skipper, and this is my ship, the Heart's Handbasket," she says, finishing with a sweeping gesture.

"Or, in her more personable aspect, the Fierce Figurehead," and at this she gestures to the wooden woman cuddled into her side, who waves and smiles.

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"--So you're--really made of wood???"

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"Mhm!" She says with a nod and a smile. "My captain built me herself, and I can separate my figurehead body from the rest of the ship to walk around and interact with people. I'm aware of where everyone and everything on board is at all times."

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"...Oh," she says, flushing slightly in embarrassment as she puts together that this means her attempt to remain hidden was always doomed. 

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She reaches across the table, gently taking the other girl's hand, interrupting the nervous fidgeting. Her fingers really do feel like wood, though rather softer and warmer than wood has any right to be.

"It's okay, dear. You don't need to hide from us. You don't need to prove anything to us. We're not mad at you, and we're not going to be mad at you."

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"I don't understand." 

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The Skipper reaches across and takes her other hand. "Whatever you're running from, whoever and whatever hurt you, they're not allowed on my ship. It's over."

She gives the girl a bittersweet smile. "You've spent the past months or years fighting to live through whatever this broken world was doing to you. You've been hiding, and weathering, and running, and it's all been far too much for you, but you made it through anyway, despite the damage it did to your heart. And now here you are," she squeezes her hand, "on the Handbasket, facing two people who are offering you more kindness than probably anyone has even bothered lying about to you before. It's confusing. It's overwhelming. But it's also the end of your very lonely war. If you need to talk, we'll listen. And if you need a hug, we've plenty of those to share."

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"Then it's long past time."

And with that, the Skipper and Figurehead both get up from their seats, pull the girl gently up from hers, and fold her into a warm embrace between them, arms and wings wrapped snugly around her.

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At first she just freezes, not sure what to do. 

Then she starts trembling. 

Then she starts crying, tentative hiccupy sniffles at first, and when this fails to elicit a negative response, her sobs get stronger until she's full-on weeping on them, supported more by ship and captain than the chair she's sitting on. 

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They hold her tenderly while she cries, stroking her back and her hair, and humming softly and encouragingly, for as long she needs.

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Eventually--a long eventually--the sobs taper off and she just sort of huddles there, not really wanting to be let go of. 

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