|Black and Blue Lagoon
Author: Nugar PM
Rock and an unconscious Revy end up adrift after a botched pirating job, finally ending up on a deserted island. Revy sees a new side to Rock as he fights man and nature to save her, but the real danger may be more insidious. They're out of cigarettes.Rated: Fiction M - English - Romance/Adventure - Words: 17,094 - Reviews: 34 - Favs: 157 - Follows: 24 - Published: 01-21-08 - Status: Complete - id: 4026846
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Black and Blue Lagoon
"Hey, you! Yeah, you, you bastard! You better start cowering properly or I'm gonna shoot you in the balls!" Revy snarled.
The man in question, a big, stocky, light skinned Filipino, shot her a dirty look as he glanced up from his kneeling position on the floor.
Revy kicked him in the face, her left pistol never wavering.
"Oww! You bitch, what the fuck!?" he cried, clutching his nose.
"You're a slow learner, ain't you?" she spat, and kicked him again, this time in the side.
It was actually a small mercy, he was too busy gasping for breath to bother cursing her after that, and she really was getting close to shooting him.
She hit the transmit button on her wireless, not glancing below and behind her, because that would take her eyes off the nearly three dozen sullen crew members kneeling on the deck in front of and below the bridge. "Hey, Dutch, how much longer? Some of them keep scratching even when I threaten to shoot them if they ain't still. I think they have fleas."
From his position on the rail of the captured freighter The Grace of God, Dutch glanced up at her position on the third level in front of the bridge, and briefly held his shotgun one handed as he responded. "Fifteen or twenty minutes. Don't worry, we have plenty of Gold Bond." He returned his attention to the four man freighter crew guiding a bundle of large crates dangling from a crane as they ascended from the hold.
Rock walked over and joined him, tapping a clipboard with the pen in his right hand. He was puffing slightly from the long climb up the ladder from the bottom of the hold. "I didn't get a complete inventory," he said apologetically.
Dutch raised one eyebrow. Rock usually was pretty meticulous about such things. "Oh?"
He shrugged. "It looks like it was all there, but if it's not, there's not much we can do about it. Those crates are the only cargo aboard the whole ship." He paused, looking up at the dangling crates as the ship's crane lifted them. "It's strange, even given the cargo, its wasteful to make a trip under loaded. The fuel costs on a ship this size alone…"
Dutch grunted and slung his shotgun over his back on a leather sling as he reached for the rope ladder dangling down to the Lagoon.
"Oh, one more thing," Rock added. "The two skinny ones that got up to help the deckhand you picked to transfer the cargo… I think they're on the Triad payroll."
Dutch paused, giving the two the once over. "Did they ask for a ride out?"
Rock shook his head. "No, but they both have a faint chinese accent, and one of them asked me to keep Two Hands from shooting them."
Dutch smirked and started down the ladder. "Well, we're not paid to murder the crew this time, so it should-"
Two swift gunshots cracked loud, even over the diesel hum of the crane's engine.
"Revy!" Dutch called out loud. "Are we playing it cool?"
Revy's voice crackled to life in their earpieces. "Sorry, Dutch, we're cool. Some idiot threw a fire axe at me."
Ah. That explained it. Dutch shrugged and began his climb.
Up just outside the bridge, Revy holstered one of her guns and used the hand to stick a cigarette in her mouth and light it. None of the rest of the crew looked like they were going to be a problem. Really, it explained a lot, they'd been rather surly and resistant for people with no hope, and it was all because some clever motherfucker had been hiding in some sort of tall equipment panel thing with a big red axe.
She didn't glance at his bleeding corpse, though she did spare an ironic look at the man's friends, one of whom had pissed himself. The big guy who'd given her shit earlier was staring at her in horror, whispering something, maybe the guy's name, to himself over and over.
Axes. Who in the hell tried to kill people with an axe? Guns worked. They weren't new. They were a hell of a lot easier to use, and a lot more reliable than an axe. You pointed a gun at someone, you pulled the trigger, they died. Axes were nowhere near as accurate, as the crewman had found out when it had whistled harmlessly by her, over the rail, and out into the sea, where doubtlessly it'd make an interesting addition to an octopus's garden, or some Beatles shit like that.
But still, for some reason, some people continued to insist on trying to kill other people with weird shit.
Oh well, with Mr. Fire axe leaking blush all over the deck, the crew seemed properly resigned to their fate. She tapped a tag of ash off her cigarette onto the deck, but the wind whipped it away before it made it that far.
Something on the horizon caught her attention, right there at that bright spot where the sun came close to the sea. That other freighter Benny had noticed when they had approached The Grace of God was still out there. Weird, it should have moved away by now. Of course, there was no way anyone on board the captured ship could have sent out an SOS, not with Benny jamming all available frequencies, but the other ship was still there.
There it was, the something that caught her attention. A wink of smoke sticking out from the ship at a sharp angle, barely visible at the edge of the sun's disk. A line that went up, just above the top of the ship, then dipped back down towards the water...
Her thumb frantically stabbed at her radio. "EXOCET!" she screamed, her free gun back in its holster in an instant as she vaulted the rail closest to her, taking steps four at a time as she fled. "EXOCET! STARBOARD!"
"Revy!" Rock called, glancing up where the woman was vaulting down the stairs.
Dutch was sprinting for the bridge of the Black Lagoon as soon as the word registered, but fortunately, he was already on board, gesturing with the barrel of his shotgun as the two probably Triad deckhands unhooked the cargo net from the crane hook. The French made antiship missile would fly just above the water's surface, then dip down at the last second to impact somewhere near the waterline. At least the target wasn't the Lagoon, Exocets used radar guidance and it would have to be heading for The Grace of God, but the Lagoon was right there at the port side, and an Exocet could very well punch all the way through.
"Dutch! Incoming missiles!" Benny called over the radio. "We have a second launch!"
He had to move.
But there wasn't time.
The Exocet was doing right at the speed of sound about fifteen feet above the water when its guidance fins twitched. The resulting sharp, last second dip put it on the freighter two feet above the water line, right at her engine room. The tremendous speed, coupled with the over half ton weight of the missile, punched through the unarmed skin of the hull like paper, shredding the missile as well. Given it'd only had to fly about fifteen miles out of a potential of nearly sixty, it still had most of its fuel left, which coupled with the explosive payload to deliver a truly tremendous explosion.
Revy stared in horror, her body just leaping into the first jump of her last flight of stairs, as suddenly the entire ship jumped beneath her. One of the staircase rails flung itself into her side, then she was hitting the other one, and the deck was suddenly close, so close, and her world was topsy turvy, and all she could think was to make sure her tongue was clear and to clench her teeth.
Rock, who'd been lucky to still be holding on to a rail, was shaken violently, but managed to keep his footing, and was even aware enough to watch as Revy flipped over the safety rail of the staircase, slammed shoulders and head first into the deck, and slid the remaining five feet across the deck, beneath the deck rail, and over the side.
"Twenty seconds, Dutch!" Benny screamed, trying to keep electronic equipment from snapping out of its braces from the recent impact as the Lagoon's engines roared to life.
Dutch pinned the throttle.
At first the Black Lagoon hesitated, straining against the ropes holding it to the doomed freighter. But for piracy purposes, Dutch never used ropes stronger than he had to, and they quickly snapped under the strain. The boat surged forward.
It was a long drop to the water, Rock had time to think, right before he hit. The tropical sea was blood warm, and he wasted no time gulping breath and diving, searching frantically for Revy. Fortunately, the sea was as crystal clear as the water pouring from his faucets back in Japan, and a damned sight clearer than what was on tap in Roanpur. Revy was only about ten feet down, her hair billowing around her face as she slowly sank.
Rock snagged her wrist and pulled her to the surface, right as the second Exocet hit twenty feet from the bow, flying straight through the hole it made, through the empty hold, and exploding against the far wall with a shower of shrapnel and debris.
For a moment, it all seemed surreal to Rock, and he could do little but keep his and Revy's head above the surface as water sprayed, metal flew, and scraps of unknown ship materials tumbled slowly in the air to slap to the water, all in complete silence. Two tremendous explosions in quick succession had deafened him pretty thoroughly, and rattled his marbles to boot.
But he recovered quickly, noticing both that the Lagoon was leaving a hell of a wake behind it as it fled, keeping the remains of The Grace of God between it and the attacking ship, and that Revy wasn't breathing.
"Revy! Rock!" Dutch hollered into his radio, sparing an eye for his radar. Neither answered.
"Dutch!" Benny called. "I think I got a line on that ship! It's Thai Navy!"
"Shit!" Dutch cursed. "It must have been escorting the freighter! Have you seen Revy or Rock?"
"No, wasn't Revy on the bridge?" There was worry in his voice.
"SHIT!" Dutch yelled.
But he didn't turn around.
The Grace of God didn't so much sink as simply fall apart. With a huge hole aft and an even bigger one through the entire bow, plus the secondary damage of the two explosions on an elderly, battered hull, it took surprisingly little time to disappear beneath the waves, leaving a trail of trash, oil slick, floating bits of hull, and several dozen extremely unhappy crew.
Those who survived the explosions, anyway.
Rock ignored these things, kicking mightily as he breathed into Revy's waterlogged lungs and held her head out of the water at an angle so she could cough weakly. Her breathing was ragged, and bubbled with remaining water in her lungs, but it was steady. Her eyes didn't open.
He looked around. A scorched electrical insulation board floated nearby, so he kicked towards it, dragging Revy.
He didn't know what it was made of, some sort of plastic, or maybe just really strong styrofoam, but it didn't crumble when he grabbed it, and it didn't buckle when he kick-dragged Revy's unconscious body on top of it. It was barely wider than she was, shorter by a foot and a calf, and it rocked like a bitch when he tried to turn her onto her side, but at some length he was able to get Revy into position long enough for her to puke the remaining water out.
He glanced around in alarm at the fifteen or twenty surviving crew members, each doing their best to get their own makeshift life raft, all of them yelling at each other in a half dozen languages. Considering that they'd been the victims of the Black Lagoon's latest piracy job, they probably wouldn't be the best company.
Getting his unconscious friend flat on her back so she wouldn't roll off, he set to kicking with a will, putting some distance between them and the crew. Rock was in good shape, so his frantic efforts lasted for a good twenty minutes before he finally stopped and just breathed, holding onto the edge of the makeshift life raft.
With a buffer zone between them and the crew, he finally had time to look at Revy's wounds. Somehow she'd gotten a gash across her left forehead and into her hair, and the back of her head was wet with blood as well, though it was hard to find the actual cut with her ponytail in the way.
Blood made him think about sharks, and he looked around nervously, half expecting to see a triangular fin slicing towards him that very second. But he didn't see anything but sea, sun, and some sailors grouping together with the biggest bits of floating debris.
His ever present neck tie served as a makeshift bandage to stanch the blood from Revy's head, and he washed the insulation board repeatedly with handfuls of salt water, doing his best to remove any smears of blood. Summoning up his remaining strength, he pushed Revy even farther away from the sailors, but mainly from the tainted water he'd created. Then, completely exhausted, he settled down to wait for the Lagoon's return.
The sun arched across the sky as Rock quietly zoned out, leaning his head against the side of Revy's stomach, one arm jammed under her legs to keep him attached without much effort. Her steady breathing was comforting, and the gentle rocking of the waves soon put him asleep.
Screams floating across the water woke him several hours later, and he raised his head blearily, blinking salt crust from his eyes.
The sharks had come.
Attracted by the noise and smell, further enticed by the blood seeping from wounded sailors, dozens of oceanic sharks had flocked to the biggest floating buffet around. A nosy bump in the water, a curious nibble… it all quickly degenerated into a frenzy, centered on the freighter's luckless crew.
Rock bobbed in the water, now and again glancing through the starlit darkness at where the screams originated, though he couldn't see the carnage. Some voices babbled in fear as surviving sailors waited for the first bite, others screamed as comrades were pulled from their arms, and some shrieked high and long, sometimes cut off at the last moment, as they were sucked under and torn apart.
Strangely, Rock felt no fear, waiting patiently to see if death would overlook him again.
"This job gets weirder every day," he said with a kind of bitter humor.
After a while longer, he added, "I wonder where Dutch and Benny are."
The next time he woke, the sun was high in the sky, and he felt the burn on his exposed skin. Wincing at his stiff limbs, he wiggled and stretched as best he could as he checked on Revy. She was still out cold, her head rocking softly back and forth on the white insulation board as it bobbed in the water. He couldn't be sure because the sun's glare was blinding, but he thought her pupils might be dilated. Concussion, head trauma, brain damage, swelling, none of it really mattered, because there was nothing he could do in any case but keep her head above water.
Her lips were parted slightly with her breathing, and they were cracked and crusted in salt just like everything else. He wished he could give her some water, hell, he wished he had some, but no convenient canteen floated by.
Come to think of it…
Revy was fairly dark skinned, both naturally and from spending a lot of time in the sun, but he could tell she was burned as bad as he was.
Worse, even, she'd been out of the water the whole time, exposed to the direct sun, while everything but his head, arms, and shoulders was below the surface, and often underneath the board as he floated. Plus, he wore more clothes than she did. A black shirt that left her midriff bare, plus short blue jean shorts, left a lot of her skin vulnerable to the sun's merciless rays.
It didn't take long for him to reach a decision.
After carefully arranging her arms across her stomach, he carefully draped his shirt over her and tucked it in around the edges so it wouldn't accidentally come off. But that left her legs bare, and it took longer for Rock to gulp and take his pants off, balancing his shoes on her stomach as he shucked his nice khakis and covered her legs, though short of putting them on her, which he really didn't feel up to at the moment, the pant legs didn't wrap all the way around. There was an inch strip around the bottom on both sides, though at least it was shaded.
With nothing else to do with them, Rock put his shoes back on, then laughed at the incongruity of floating in the open ocean in nothing but his shoes, socks, and boxers.
"HEEEEEYYY!" a voice called in tagalog.
Rock looked around, startled. He hadn't seen anyone else besides Revy since yesterday. After a moment, he yelled back. "HELLO! IS ANYONE ELSE OUT THERE?!" in the same language.
"HEEEEYYY! WHO'S THERE?"
Squinting against the glare coming off the water, he finally saw the other man, a dark head bobbing in the water three or four hundred yards away, much closer than he'd thought. Rock kicked himself high in the water and waved frantically, setting Revy to rocking as he upset her balance.
"WHO ARE YOU?" the sailor called.
"ROCK!" he called back. "WHO ARE YOU?"
There was a long pause, and finally the other man exploded into curses.
"THE FUCKING PIRATES? YOU ASSHOLES THAT SANK OUR SHIP ARE STILL ALIVE?! I'M GOING TO FUCKING KILL YOU, BITCH!"
"…shit," Rock said quietly.
"I'M GONNA RIP YOUR FUCKING HEAD OFF!" the man screamed, and Rock could see he was swimming their way with a vengeance, sending spray high into the air with the force of his movements. Every now and then, he'd stick his head back out of the water and scream more imprecations and threats. "I'M GONNA KILL YOU, AND THEN I'M GONNA FIND THAT BITCH WHO SHOT LANG, AND I'M GONNA MAKE HER SCREAM FOR A WEEK!"
Rock glanced around. He should probably be trying to push Revy away from the angry sailor, but that was slow going, and the other man was moving a lot faster, clearly having abandoned whatever floatation device he'd managed to find in his hurry to settle the score.
Revy still had her guns, and for a moment, Rock actually put his hand on one, prepared to draw, and fire, if need be, to save Revy's life.
But the man's screams grew shorter and farther apart, even as he drew closer, and for the final fifty yards, he didn't scream at all, his movements growing more and more ragged as the murderous rage that sustained him drained away. Rock left the guns in their holsters, covered by his shirt.
Rock watched neutrally, putting himself between the man and Revy as the sailor struggled the last few feet, his hands always reaching, but for several tense moments unable to grab the edge of the board. Rock actually grabbed the man's wrist with his own hand and put it on the edge of the board, and the man puffed and blew for several long minutes, too weak from his long swim and the activities of the previous half day to do anything but breathe.
It wasn't the sailor's fault, Rock reasoned. He'd been pretty mad when the crew of the Black Lagoon had first raided the boat he was on, threatened to shoot him, and kidnapped him. He could relate.
But as his breath slowed, his eyes filled back up with murder.
Rock was a pretty good judge of eyes, now. Cold, dead eyes like Revy's or Balalaika's were the most dangerous. But he'd seen plenty of hot, fiery eyes, eyes that spoke of bottomless rage. The man wasn't going to stop just because Rock had helped him.
So Rock pried the man's hand away from the insulation board, trying to ignore the rising panic both he and the other man felt at his actions. He had to let go of Revy completely to get both the man's hands, and the sailor, the same one Revy had kicked in the ribs, clutched frantically at Rock. But Rock's chest was bare, there was nothing to get a grip on, and Rock pushed him away from Revy.
He tried to swim, to kick back to the board, to complete his vengeance against the bitch and the skinny little fuck who'd acted like raiding a ship was just another day's business, but his body was at its limit. His arms wouldn't swing, his legs wouldn't kick, and the water was closing over his head as he sank slowly beneath the swell.
Rock watched him sink, unable to see the regret and compassion in his own eyes.
People kill with all sorts of eyes.
Rock turned to Revy's peaceful, sleeping face. "Ne, Revy, did you see?" he asked. "I just killed a man in my underwear."
He paused, and a sickly grin spread across his face, stretching his chapped, cracked lips painfully.
"Now you might wonder why he was wearing my underwear, but you know, the important thing is, I don't like it when guys mess with my underwear. He had it coming."
Chuckles gave way to giggles gave way to hysterical laugher, but mercifully stopped before retching. Drained more than any other time in his life, Rock leaned his head against Revy's stomach again and tried to ignore the burning sensation of needing to cry but not having any tears.
After a time, he looked up and stroked Revy's stiff, salt crusted hair as he looked off to the horizon, not expecting to see a ship, and not seeing one.
"Every day," he said with a sigh to himself.
At some point, he became aware that Revy had soiled herself. And, since Revy wasn't exactly able to handle it herself, that meant, gulp, Rock had to do it. Leaving her like that was not a good idea, as Rock knew. So he had to clean her up. That meant taking some of her clothes off.
Oddly, it was not the hardest thing in the world to do. There was nothing sexual about it, he'd seen her mostly naked plenty of times before, shipboard quarters being what they were. It wasn't pleasant, but it had to be done, and a Japanese businessman did a lot of unpleasant things that had to be done.
Finally, he worked her shorts back up her legs and buckled her belt again, sighing in relief. He'd had to make some pretty unpleasant arrangements for himself already, something that they'd never mentioned in all those old shipwreck movies and books and TV shows where peopled drifted around for weeks on end fighting sharks.
"Dutch is right," Rock muttered as he stared at the horizon. "Shit does happen."
The great thing about where they were at in the Philippines was that there were a lot of islands. This handy feature was outweighed by how little boat traffic there was, which was none, and the unfortunate fact that the ocean currents swirled around the islands and did not actually hit them.
Rock watched helplessly while three islands passed by on his left that afternoon, the closest probably not more than five miles away.
Reasoning that, if he was farther that direction in the current, he might actually have a chance of making it to land, he began swimming that direction, pushing Revy along steadily. His progress was slow, partially to conserve energy, partially because he didn't have the energy to expend in swimming.
He watched a new island appear on his right, three hours later.
Exhausted, Rock slept, his head resting on Revy once more.
Blearily, he woke up and looked around. Something…
Something was wrong.
He ached from head to toe, but that wasn't it.
His shoulders and arms burned like fire, and the skin was already peeling. His skin stung from the salt water. But none of that was it.
There was something missing… something to do with Revy.
He squinted owlishly at her in the light of the crescent moon. No, still there, still unconscious-
His heart skipped a beat.
She wasn't breathing.
"No, no no no no," he babbled, kicking like mad to get closer to head, even though it was only a foot away. At some point, since his head had been resting on the side of her stomach, he'd noticed that the steady rise and fall of her chest had stopped. He only prayed he'd woken up in time.
The makeshift raft was tippy, but fortunately low in the water, and it was easy enough for rock to push his shirt down and reach her mouth, blowing one deep breath past her cracked lips. His breath whistled slightly as her chest fell and pushed it back out, and he quickly gave her another, then checked her pulse.
He gave her chest a few ineffectual pushes with his hands, but he could tell that wasn't working. In desperation, he kicked himself high in the water and elbowed the fuck out of her right tit.
That probably didn't help matters, either.
Oh fuck oh shit oh no-
His panic made him giddy, gave him strength he didn't know he had. But this wasn't like CPR back home. No one had ever taught him to give CPR to a dying friend on a fucking piece of styrofoam out in the middle of the god damned ocean in the middle of the fucking night!
Breath. She needed breath.
He gave her two more, feeling her chest get tight as he forced air into her lungs. Then he tried giving chest compressions again, putting his knees on the bottom of the raft for leverage as he forced down on her chest with his elbows placed close together, the strongest position he could manage, with all the strength in his wiry body.
One, two, three… he lost count. Never mind, keep going. Harder. Harder. He had to get her heart going again. Something cracked in Revy's chest, sending a shiver up his arms, but he didn't stop, just kept going, beating Revy's heart until it beat for her.
Gasping, his efforts gave out, and he slipped down into the water, nearly tipping Revy off the board in the process. Can't stop now!
He listened to her chest fall.
Chest compressions. That was what she needed. He had to make her heart beat. He slid back down her body, positioning his knees and nearly pulling Revy off as he prepared to assault her chest again.
Suddenly Revy gasped like the time she'd sat in the open ice chest on the Lagoon, once when she was drunk, dipping her shorts into the slush of ice water, ice, and salt they had been using to chill the beer.
Rock wept in relief, checking her pulse with fingers numb with terror. It took a moment, but there it was, a pulse, weak, thready, but steady. And she was breathing again, shallow, but several times a minute, on her own.
He sank back into the water, yet again laying his head against the side of her stomach. It was a good place to feel her breathe, and for a long while, that was what he did. They might be lost, shipwrecked, drifting aimlessly in a hostile ocean surrounded by bloodthirsty sharks, but everything was okay, because Revy was still breathing.
Then the wind picked up, clouds blotted out the moon, and it started to rain like a motherfucker.
Wind actually helped, since, unlike the ocean currents, monsoon winds didn't give a shit about the placement of a few dinky ass little islands, even if one of them was a volcanic mountain a couple miles across.
Rock, holding on to Revy and the raft and all his clothes for all he was worth, didn't know all this. His opinion of the tropical storm was less than complimentary, since the swells kept threatening to tip them all over, he was having a hard enough time breathing himself and was worried sick about Revy drowning in the rain and spray, and every now and then his skin prickled in a way that he just knew was lightening hitting way too god damned close. Plus he was seasick as hell, but even the most determined retching couldn't bring up more than a bit of bile and water that drooled from his lips and was washed away by the rain. He gulped rain as often as he could.
At least he'd finally gotten a drink of fresh, clean water. After nearly two days, that was nice, even if he was about to drown. It gave him the surge of strength he needed to keep Revy safe and ride out the storm. He'd had the foresight to take all of his clothes and tie them into a long rope, which he tied around Revy's chest, under her arms. He'd have loved to tie it around him, too, but it wasn't long enough, so he settled for hanging on to one of his pant legs.
With the wind, the noise, and the spray, Rock couldn't see a damned thing. So it was something of a surprise when, for the first time since he'd jumped off the boat, he felt something beneath him, just for a moment, as he dipped to the bottom of a particularly large swell. Something hard, almost rocky.
He had just enough time to widen his eyes before the swell turned into a wave as it surged over the reef, lifting him, Revy, and the lucky insulation board over the coral heads.
Something sharp, like a dozen cat's claws, raked at his leg as the wave dragged him higher and farther, and he screamed in shock.
The wave quickly crested and turned into a curler, and for a long moment they road it like surfers sharing a board, tilting farther and farther down as the wave carried the back of the board, and Rock's trailing legs, higher than the leading edge.
If Revy had been conscious, an experienced surfer, and Rock hadn't been dragging behind it like a big fleshy kite streamer, they might could have surfed the wave all the way in.
Instead, the curler lifted them ass over teakettle and buried them under tons of water.
Rock wouldn't, he refused to let go of Revy, holding on to the clothes tied around her for dear life and clinging to their raft with the other hand as the wave flattened out and they bobbed to the surface, only to be tossed forward by yet another storm surge that came up from behind to hit them in the ass.
Suddenly there was sand underfoot, and Rock struggled to stand, using the surprisingly light board almost like a crutch, but the ferocious wind whipped it away in an instant as he lifted it out of the water, and the retreating surf sucked him backwards, tumbling him under the incoming wave.
Coughing water, his eyes stinging from the salt and blind in the pitch dark, Rock crawled his way up the beach, lifting and dragging Revy's limp body with every inch forward he took, doing his best to get her out of the ocean. It took everything he had, he was weak from days without food or water, but desperation gives strength, and soon he had her above the high water line of the steeply sloped beach. He stopped to check her breathing.
Fortunately, it only took one breath and tilting her onto her side to get the water out, and Revy quickly coughed weakly and breathed, which was a relief. Unwilling to stay so close to the pounding waves, Rock dragged her farther up the beach, into a narrow strip of trees, and ran, literally, into a rock wall.
Jagged cliffs encircled the cove, which was only open to the sea.
Hugging Revy to him, lest she be washed away in some freakishly huge wave, he fell asleep.
Morning came with cloudy skies and a stiff breeze, but the rain had stopped at some point in the night.
Rock felt pretty good. They were on land again. Sure, he was sore all over, and he was hungry, and thirsty, and there was a line of scabbed over, sand encrusted cuts up his left leg-
Okay, he felt like shit. But he was alive, Revy was alive, and that was all that mattered.
Walking hurt. But he still managed to get up and hobble around their little sheltering cove. He found their erstwhile life raft pretty quickly, laying at the base of the cliff. He also looked interestedly up into the hairy groins of coconut palms where so many coconuts hung. The trees grew right up to the very top of the cliffs around them, then stopped or bent and twisted, keeping their leafy heads in the shelter provided by the island.
Luckily, the storm had done as storms often do, and there were two coconuts lying on the sand, torn off the trees by the wind, but not yet sent on their ocean journey.
Opening them proved problematic, though. Rock had never had to open a coconut that hadn't already been husked. The thick, fibrous husk that enclosed the shell was tough as hell, and it also absorbed impacts from a jagged rock the size of his head.
Wait, didn't Revy have a knife?
Rock had one himself, a little pen knife handy for cutting bits of line or shipping container seals, but he hadn't sharpened it in a month or better. Revy, on the other hand, usually carried around some sort of bigger pocket knife, one that only had a single blade. Mostly, she used it to clean her fingernails, and sometimes slice open a carton of cigarettes.
A quick check of her pockets produced not only the knife, but a lighter, and a crumpled, sodden pack of smokes.
Rock stared at the ruined cigarettes wistfully. One would sure be nice about now. But hadn't he put a fresh pack in his own pocket?
Oh please oh please god of nicotine, let it be true!
He quickly untied and unwrapped his clothes from around Revy and slipped them back on, wincing at the contact of his shirt on his sunburned shoulders, and the pants didn't exactly feel good on his cuts, but it was good to be clothed again. And in his own pockets, he found the ruined radio he'd been talking to everyone on, his own little knife, his own lighter, and, YES!, a crumpled, but most importantly, plastic sealed, fresh pack of cigarettes.
He lost little time pulling the little string, opening up the wadded box.
Well, the plastic had kept them mostly dry, but not perfect. They were a little damp. And at least a couple had burst, spilling tobacco inside the pouch. But there were a couple in the middle that seemed good, and he gently pulled one out, straightened it, and lit it with a few flicks of his lighter.
Only seventeen cigarettes left, but hey. Everything looks better with a fresh cigarette. He attacked the coconut with renewed vigor.
Soon he had several slivers of coconut in his mouth, which he chewed slowly, and a small hole worked into it. The milk smelled okay, unlike some of the ruined ones he'd had, and he wished strongly for a drink.
But there was someone who needed it more.
Cradling Revy's head in the crook of his arm, he gently coaxed her to swallow the coconut milk. It wasn't much, only three or four ounces, but it was certainly better than nothing. He repeated the process with the other coconut, though he took one small swallow for himself, then ate some of the nut meat thoughtfully.
Obviously, being on land was great, but they still needed food and water. He needed to explore the island, but the cliffs blocked his way. They looked easy enough to climb, plenty of hand holds, but doing so with Revy on his back would be impossible. He could swim around the cliffs, but he needed to know where to go.
But that would mean he'd need to leave Revy.
He didn't like that idea. She'd already stopped breathing for some reason, several times, actually, though she wasn't likely to drown here on the beach.
But they were out of coconuts, and he really didn't feel like trying to climb one of the trees.
The meager meal of coconut went a long way towards restoring his energy, oddly enough. He felt stronger, eager to get about the business of saving their lives. So he climbed the cliff.
It wasn't easy, but it was doable. If Revy had been awake, she probably could have ran up the damned thing. Rock took a more conservative route, and emerged into the jungle.
Well, it was close enough to a jungle. Just more palm trees, with bushes growing beneath them. Real trees could be seen farther in even from the cliff edge, and it looked like the undergrowth cleared out some. But it also sloped upwards, and that wasn't where he needed to be going.
Without knowing where he was going, his direction didn't matter, so he randomly picked left and started pushing his way through the brush.
The rocks continued for a ways, then, abruptly, the shoreline doubled back on itself. He'd been following the edge of a thin peninsula only thirty yards wide, but hadn't known it, because the brush was thick enough he couldn't see the other side. The cliffs dropped closer and closer to the water, and soon turned into head sized rocks mixed with sand and pebbles. Eventually, the shore started curving back out again, and Rock found a narrow strip of beach sand on the inside curve of a small lagoon a few hundred yards across at its widest point.
Sticks and seaweed littered the sand, washed up by the storm of the night before. Rock trotted through swiftly, feeling the pain in his leg peak and ebb. The steady slope of the land going inshore would be easy to get Revy up, but useless if he couldn't find water.
He nearly turned around when the sand gave way to rocks once more and the land started to rise, but lacking a better idea, he continued on. Fortunately, there was a sudden sharp drop into a gully, and there Rock saw his hope.
A trickle, barely enough to wet the rocks it leaked around, of clear water tumbled over moss covered rocks down to disappear in the sand and surf. Turning, he followed the trickle inland, watching it carefully as he pushed and stumbled through the brush, until he found a shallow, standing pool.
He nearly broke his neck slipping on the mossy, damp rocks, but in no time at all he was pressed to the cool stones on his belly, sucking noisily at the pool, which disappeared far too quickly for his tastes. He sat back in the most comfortable spot he could find, waiting for the tiny pool to fill again.
A minute later, he was holding his stomach and moaning. Too much water, too fast, on a nearly empty stomach.
But the cramps faded, and soon he was drinking again, slower.
Refreshed, he rose and followed the gully even farther, finding a much larger pool formed in a depression in the volcanic rock. There must have been twenty or thirty gallons available, weeping slowly out a crack in one side, so Rock's thirst problem was solved. Now to either get it to Revy, or get Revy to it.
The beach he'd passed would be an obvious place to put her, and he could carry water in coconut shells. They were small, and it'd take a lot of trips, but he could do it.
His mind made up, he headed back to Revy.
Swimming Revy around the peninsula of the island was almost as easy as he thought it would be. Of course, he thought it was going to be a hell of a pain in the ass. He underestimated. Considering that the wind was still blowing towards the island, the surf was still high, and he didn't want to be slammed to pieces on the rocks, he had to swim pretty far out to sea, as far as he dared, then the few degrees around the outcropping, through the lagoon, to the beach.
Still, it was only late afternoon by the time his feet felt purchase in sand and he stumbled, once again on his hands and knees, up the shore. He was thirsty, starving, and exhausted.
No rest for the weary.
After a short breather, he'd dragged her and the raft up the beach, finally stopping well into the trees beside a particularly thick based palm. There was another palm trunk nearby, toppled, perhaps, in the storm, and though the butt of the log was too heavy to move, he was able to pull on the top and swing it around against the base of the big standing one. It accomplished little, but it gave him a place to sit off the ground, and just the small act of changing the environment made it fell more like home.
He'd eaten most of the meat out of one of the coconuts before the swim, then napped for an hour or two, and the meal still hung heavy in his stomach, like a lead weight. Taking both of the coconuts in hand, he made the much easier trip back to the big pool he'd found, and drank his fill before taking two coconuts worth of water back to Revy.
He was slow in giving it to her, wary from his own stomach cramps, but over the course of an hour or so, he gave her all the water he'd brought back. It might have been his imagination, but he thought Revy breathed more easily after she'd gotten a decent drink, stronger, and deeper.
It took one more cigarette before he felt up to making one more trip to the spring, and it was mid evening by the time he stumbled back to Revy's side, well up into the trees and theoretically safe from big waves should another storm hit them that night.
Setting the coconuts down where they wouldn't tip over, he lay down beside Revy with his head touching her stomach and fell into the deepest slumber he'd ever had.
He awoke with a strangled yell and frantically reached for Revy's neck, checking for breath, pulse, any sign of life at all in his sleep fogged mind.
For one long moment, he felt cold.
And Revy breathed. And kept on breathing, like she'd never stopped. Steady, strong breaths.
Closing his eyes and rubbing at his forehead, he turned and slumped into a sitting position to watch the sun rise on a clear, calm morning. He wanted a cigarette, but there were only sixteen left. He needed to make them last.
He gave Revy all of the tepid water, ate the remaining coconut, and got more water. The level in the big pool he'd found hadn't noticeably dropped despite dripping out the crack and losing some to his own uses, so it would most likely last a good while.
Shelter wasn't much of an issue, either. Revy seemed okay on the grassy sand, and he made her a pillow out of some loosely wadded palm fronds. The weather was warm, almost hot, but the frequent ocean breezes kept it from being stifling. The sun was bothersome, but putting Revy far enough back under the palms to always be in the shade solved that. He'd make her some sort of shelter when he got the chance, but that was low priority.
Making some sort of signal fire crossed his mind. Dutch would more than likely spend at least some time searching for them, and a good plume of smoke might get his attention. But… Rock hadn't spent a year and a half working with the most unsavory elements of southeast Asia without learning something about the factions in the area. And the Philippines, especially the less inhabited areas, were known havens for Islamics, gangs, and small hostile groups of various flavors. If he made a signal fire, the wrong people might investigate. Dutch at least knew they were somewhere out there. So, regretfully, Rock abandoned the idea of being saved by some random good samaritan. There weren't any in the waters off southeast Asia.
The problem was food. Revy was still unconscious, which worried him, but so long as she stayed alive, she'd either wake up eventually, or he'd get her to a hospital somehow and they'd fix her. So he had to keep her alive. Water was solved now, but he needed food. Food for him was solvable. It would be a pain in the ass to climb and get, but he could eat coconut. But while coconut milk had some nutritive properties, it probably wasn't enough for Revy. So he had to find something else.
So he went for a walk.
The island was surprisingly large, and when he finally got out from under the trees on a rocky hill, he saw that it was dominated by a big central volcanic mountain he'd been seeing pieces of through the trees. Not the tallest mountain in the world, barely taller than any of the foothills of Mount Fuji, but with nice steel sides that would probably be hard to climb. They tended to be black and rocky, and probably would tear through his battered shoes if he climbed, to say nothing of his unprotected hands.
There was another small beach farther on around the island, in its own little cove like where he'd washed up first, except the cliff sides around it weren't as hard to climb. And there he found a treasure.
It was a dead sea turtle, a pawikan in the local lingo, if he remembered right. Well, actually, it was more like three quarters of a dead sea turtle, there was a big semicircular bite out of the bottom left corner, and tooth marks scarred the other sides, as if it'd been mauled. The arms and legs were missing, torn from the shell, and the head lolled to one side, stiff in the morning sun.
He was disappointed at first.
It was clearly a day or more old. The flesh was sandy, and didn't look appetizing. It smelled.
But as he looked at it, and tipped it over with his foot, he saw a use. On its back, despite the chunk taken out by unimaginably strong jaws, it looked like nothing so much as a big, fleshy bowl two feet across.
Or a pot. A pot that could be used to boil stuff and make a broth for Revy.
In a considerably better mood, he picked it up, grunting at the nearly fifty pound weight, and carried it back to the beach he now thought of as 'home'.
The obviously ruined meat he cut out and lay aside, the heart, liver, and backbone meat he wasn't as sure about, so he saved it carefully. He'd had to use a rock to chip off the chest plate of the shell, and sand to scour out the inside while he washed it in the surf, but when he was done, he had a serviceable looking shell bowl that held about four coconuts worth of water. But water alone wasn't going to do it.
So with a number of whispered prayers as he filled it up with water, he added the turtle heart and back meat, chipped fine into a mush, reasoning that it was the farthest from the air and therefore might still be good. He'd boil the hell out of it, too.
Boiling it was tricky. Fire right on the shell would probably cause it to split and spill everything. So he found some rocks and built a sort of tripod, only he used five rocks as legs and layered brush limbs and a lot of wet seaweed over them before he put the shell on it.
Making a fire was easy in comparison. There was plenty of brush, and he had two working lighters. It blazed up merrily, eating its way into the brush he used to hold the seaweed, and licking at the dripping leaves.
The smoke was horrendous. Steam, seaweed, and scorched turtle shell did not smell good, and it left his throat raw and lungs hurting despite a year and a half of cheap third world cigarettes. And despite having the seaweed sopping wet, it seemed to be drying out really damned quick.
He knew he had problems when the fire suddenly started hissing and the water level in the shell dropped sharply. A crack had formed on one side, where the seaweed was thinnest and the fire hottest, and some of his hard gotten turtle soup drained out.
Cursing, coughing smoke, and losing some arm hair, Rock lifted the shell off and set it to one side, then, squinting at the fiasco with bloodshot eyes, he lit a cigarette and pondered.
Only fifteen of them left, now, he thought.
The problem was the fire. The seaweed wasn't cutting it with the fire right on it, and all the brush had done was added fuel.
Soo… More rocks. Less brush. The rocks would transmit the heat to the shell and water, and less brush would keep the fire down low enough to keep it from burning the shell. He'd just have to feed it pretty often.
At first, his fire died. The rocks blocked the air. More fuel helped, but then he worried that the shell was getting to hot, so he added more rocks. Unfortunately, he didn't know that volcanic rocks, with all their air holes, make really good insulation, and the water didn't seem to be warming up at all.
Then the fire died again.
He was getting thirsty, and Revy probably needed more water, so he made a couple of water runs, thinking about the problem.
He took off some rocks. Then the split in the shell, which had steadily gotten bigger, widened abruptly. Only quick reactions saved any of the meat, and the water essentially drained away.
He was tired, his eyes hurt, his throat hurt, and he was still hungry. Feeding Revy was proving to be quite the challenge. He collapsed near her in the shade.
He sat there for a while, his thoughts chasing each other around and around. He needed tools, camping gear, something, and he had nothing but a couple knives, lighters, him, and Revy. And the insulation panel that had saved their lives.
He looked at it.
It was a pretty typical fire panel. Some sort of flame resistant insulation, backed by heavy aluminum foil to reflect heat.
Rock's eyebrow raised.
A moment later he was scraping insulation off with his knife, and had a makeshift, thin walled aluminum pot with crinkly edges. His weariness fell away as he scrambled to fill it, using the new pot itself to get the water, since it held more than the coconuts, and was strong enough to hold it as long as he held it in both hands.
The fire was rebuilt and a cradle of rocks was made to keep the pot steady, and he carefully raked the well soaked turtle meat in. The insulation smoked slightly at first, and turned black and sooty, but the pot held its shape. Less than half an hour later, the water bubbled nicely.
Rock sighed relief. Provided that the slightly spoiled meat didn't kill her, Revy wouldn't starve to death. He boiled it for two hours, until it was more a thin gravy than a stew, just to be sure. He tried some himself, and it didn't actually taste all that bad. Then, making sure to cool it, he gently spoon fed Revy with a spoon cut out of more of the aluminum backing. There was a pretty good bit left when he finally stopped, but he'd feed it to her slowly until it was all gone.
Feeling as good as he did when he first found the turtle shell, he pulled her from the shade and bathed her in the waters by the light of the dying sun.
The next day was devoted to food finding.
The island was nearly bare of easy foodstuffs. Coconuts hung in the trees, and Rock borrowed an idea he'd seen on television, using his shirt, knotted into a rope and tied around his ankles, to climb the tree.
He managed to not break his neck falling out.
Perseverance, and practice, carried the day, and soon he had six coconuts piled by Revy. He talked to her while he painstakingly sawed into a coconut and gave her the milk. The rest of the juice was added to the stew pot for a fruity broth.
None of the leftover uncooked turtle meat looked edible, so he threw handfuls of it in the shallows of the cove and settled down to make a fish spear, whittling a sharp, although crooked, one out of a brush stem.
Fish scattered at his approach, and a determined throw produced nothing. But he stumbled, literally, over something else.
Conch snails dotted the seabed around the island.
Rock had eaten conch before, they made a good sushi. Remembering that brought up pleasant memories of a lot of shellfish sushi, and it wasn't long before he was splashing his way through the water, feeling for clams, conch, and other shellfish as he swam along the beach, tossing them onto the shore whenever he found one.
Hours later, tired, but feeling productive, he stood up in chest deep water and looked towards the shore. Something was making a hell of a commotion up there, splashing and thrashing about in water only a foot or two deep.
Something big, over fifteen feet long. Something with a big triangular fin and a powerful tail, which swept back and forth where he'd thrown the spoiled turtle meat into the water, hoping to attract fish.
His blood ran cold and his breath came in short hitches. Despite his raw terror, he didn't immediately start fighting towards shore. The shark hadn't noticed him yet, maybe, if he moved slowly, it wouldn't.
He edged towards the far side of the beach, inching his way into shallower water as he did so. Three feet down the shore. A foot closer. Another foot down, another foot closer.
Apparently, the turtle meat was gone, and nothing but the smell had kept it at that spot. Finally giving up, the shark turned.
Giving a cry of fear, Rock surged forward, stumbling on submerged rocks as he ran through water waist deep.
The shark, sensing the commotion, gave a mighty flick of its tail and covered the distance in a flash.
Panicked, Rock did the only thing he could.
The shark was beneath him when he landed, one foot hitting its pectoral fin and pining it briefly to the sand, but the shark pulled it out from under him with a heave of its body, and Rock tumbled into the surf.
He scrambled out of it on hands and knees almost as fast as he went in, nearly hyperventilating in terror. For many long moments all he could do was sit on the shore and hug his knees, shaking as he watched the big shark cruise back and forth in the clear water of the reef.
He'd nearly been eaten!
Now! Now that he and Revy were safely on shore! Son of a bitch!
The post fright shakes subsiding, he got to his feet and gathered up the shellfish he'd caught. He and Revy were having conch stew for supper that night. He could worry about the damned shark later.
The next day presented a hell of a problem for Rock.
He really really really did not want to get back in the water.
So he ate coconut and roasted conch, fed and watered Revy, and generally watched for the shark. He also smoked three cigarettes, wincing each time he grabbed another one, but unable to stop himself. The only productive thing he did was make a bigger, straighter, three pronged fish spear, whittling on the points until they were sharp and slick, with grooved barbs to hold the fish he would theoretically stab.
He also cut more stems, laboriously carving them in two with the little knife despite the blisters forming on his hands, and constructed a short awning covered in palm fronds over Revy's upper body. Then, after staring at it for a bit, he took it down, and piled the materials over to the side. It looked silly, and neither of them needed shelter from anything except another storm, which would make his flimsy contraption of sticks and palm leaves pointless.
The next day was much the same, except he held himself to two cigarettes and ate more coconut, and bathed Revy again, this time carrying water to her. He also explored the island more, and it took him over half the day to make it all the way around the island, confirming that it was fairly small, and it was completely uninhabited. He could see another island off in the distance from the far side, but it was a long way away. Way too far to swim, especially with hungry sharks in the water.
The third day after the shark encounter found Rock with ten cigarettes, no shellfish, and a fervent wish to never eat coconut again. So much raw, fibrous coconut had torn his stomach to pieces. He knew that, but he'd eaten it anyway, because he had to save the conch and clams for Revy, and that damned shark kept him from getting more!
He looked at Revy's shoulder holsters, piled neatly by her side.
Enough was enough.
He pulled one of her guns out and held it for a moment. Revy had never said why she'd had them engraved with the skull and swords, but she did, spending her own money to do it the one time he'd seen her have to replace one.
Armed and dangerous, he boldly strode to the ocean.
The shark was nowhere to be found.
Well, that was good, sort of. No shark means it's safe to go in the water. Of course, that was assuming the shark wasn't lurking somewhere just out of sight, waiting to take a bite out of his ass, which Rock rather suspected that it was.
And wasn't there an issue with using regular guns underwater? When they'd been scuba diving, Revy had used that weird Russian one.
So, reluctantly, Rock put down the gun he'd just gotten brave enough to pick up, grabbed his spear, and waded into the water. Despite nervously sticking his head out of the water on average once a minute, and climbing all the way out of the water several times to look around from a higher perspective, the shark never came.
He only found a couple of clams and a conch, splashing around in water only three feet deep. He was too afraid to go deeper, and he'd picked this section of the shore pretty clean already, even with a couple days for new stuff to move in.
Sighing regretfully, he grabbed his spear, and the gun, and moved on. First he hit the little cove where he'd found the dead turtle, and came up with three conch and a half dozen clam like shellfish. He piled them neatly in wet seaweed a long way up the shore, to return for them later.
Farther around there was an even smaller beach, barely a beach at all, really, just a place where the shore had smaller rocks rather than the big jagged ones so common along the edge of the island. Only one conch was to be had there, and it was small. He nearly threw it back, but thought better of it. It was getting late in the day, so he returned to Revy to cook up the pathetic meal, using his shirt as a makeshift sack to carry his catch.
And there it was. The big shark. Swimming slowly down the beach in shallow water, its fin slicing neatly through the light surf.
Rock dropped the bag and ran forward, shouting.
"Hey! I'm right here! Come and get it!" he cried, pulling the gun from his front pocket.
The shark, unconcerned, turned and headed for the deep water entrance to the lagoon.
Frustrated, Rock splashed knee deep in the water.
"HEY! COME ON YOU STUPID SON OF A BITCH!" he cried, kicking fiercely at the water and sending a spray into the air. "COME ON! I'M RIGHT HERE! EAT ME!" He knelt and slapped the water with his hand hard enough to make his palm sting.
The shark ignored him, and he kept splashing, tears of frustration rolling down his cheeks. His voice grew hoarse, and his motions slower and slower. Finally, giving up, he sat down into the water and stared helplessly at the sea.
Then, lacking anything else to do, he got up, gathered his catch, and began the laborious process of cleaning them, which mainly involved smashing them with big rocks. Rock fell to the task with vigor, feeling the need to smash things at the moment.
He lit a cigarette while he watched the water come to a boil, then, glancing at Revy and feeling guilty over how many he'd smoked, he held the butt to her lips while she breathed. The tip glowed red on her inhales, but after a moment she coughed and he snatched the cigarette away, feeling foolish. He finished it in silence, smoking it right down to the butt like he'd been doing since they got there.
Only nine left.
The next day, he woke up with a grim expression.
Today was the day he was going to get that fucking shark.
He prepared himself for battle, checking Revy's gun to the best of his knowledge, working the slide, familiarizing himself with it. It felt good in his hands, heavy and cool to the touch. His fish spear he planted butt first into the sand out in the waves, ready for his hands. In his pocket went the gun.
And with one quick, convulsive jerk of his hand, he sliced his left forearm open with Revy's knife.
Blood welled up and dripped quickly into the water, drops seeming to boil as they dissolved into the salt water.
Rock hissed at the pain, feeling stupid for even thinking of such a stunt in the first place, much less actually doing it. But he was committed now, and he whirled his arm over his head and flung a splatter of blood out into the cove.
Hours passed, and Rock pressed seaweed against his cut, working his left hand every now and then to make sure it still would. The salt stung like fire, but at least it'd probably stay clean. Every now and then he'd pick at the clotted blood and mash at the edges of the wound, then fling more blood into the ocean.
It was around noon when the shark finally came, swimming surprisingly fast as it ghosted out of the deep water into the lagoon. For a moment, Rock didn't see it, then, when he did notice it, spent a moment blinking stupidly at it.
But the gravity of the situation took hold and he leapt to his feet, grabbing the spear in his left, point down and ready to jab, his gun in his right, pointed, his hand steady.
The shark grew closer. Fifteen feet. Six. The gun was suddenly alive in his hand, alive and kicking as it roared defiance at the shark, the harsh cracks of the nine millimeter bullets exploding out of the barrel and slapping the water mixing with his own cry as he stabbed forwards with his spear, feeling it jerk in the water.
Blood foamed, and it wasn't his, so at least some of the bullets had struck home. He fired again and again, dancing backwards from the rushing shark, thrusting with his spear to ward off the hungry jaws.
Then the shark was turning, bleeding from holes in its head and back, headed for the safety of deep water.
"NO!" Rock cried, and threw the spear aside as he lunged for the shark's tail, clutching at it with his left hand as he convulsively pulled the trigger one more time. His hand found purchase on the shark's sandpaper skin, but the beast was strong, and weighed several hundred pounds. Rock found himself jerked side to side as the tail thrashed, and he was pulled into the water.
Dropping the gun, Rock twisted, putting his feet underneath him as he heaved with all his might. The shark would NOT get away this day.
He was pulled into water waist deep, but he got his balance for a few crucial seconds and lifted, both hands on the tail as he got it out of the water. Beneath the sea, it was a powerful appendage, but in the air it only flailed ineffectually.
Rock heaved, and the shark followed, twisting its head back and forth as it sought to bite its attacker.
The little waves helped some as Rock hauled the shark's ass end up the beach, and the gunshot wounds had hurt it enough that it was slowing, but there was fight left in it. He needed to kill it now, while it was stuck, but where was his spear? More importantly, where was his gun?
Rock looked around frantically, trying to wonder where he'd put it, still pulling on the shark with all his strength.
…there! Just in front and to the right of the shark's head! Something shiny glittered in the sun beneath the water, visible, then hidden by the white froth.
With a grunt of effort Rock threw the tail aside and lunged for the gun, his hand hitting the shark's nose as he pushed its deadly jaws away, his other hand questing for the gun. There it was! He had it by the barrel, and he had to shift his grip, which made him take his hand off the shark's nose.
The shot rang out almost as a surprise to him, his finger finally on the trigger and the barrel inches from the shark's head. It quivered, whole body tremors as the huge shark went through its death throes.
Rock collapsed to the sand, breathing heavily.
He eyed the shark, which must have been at least ten feet long and hundreds of pounds, with a wary respect. It was a sandy brown color with darker stripes on top and lighter beneath, with a broad, flat, very blunt head currently leaking blood from four holes here and there.
Tiger shark, Rock thought, his brain on autopilot. A big tiger shark. This must have been what killed the turtle.
And now, he had killed it. Dragged it on the beach, shot it in the head with Revy's gun.
For some reason he felt sad.
But dead sharks filled bellies, so with a brief bow of respect and a prayer, Rock used Revy's knife to slit open the shark's stomach and spill its intestines into the shallow water. They floated aimlessly, like a huge, fat sausage, and he dragged them onto the beach and let them lie in the sand.
Without its guts, the shark was far lighter, and he thought he might be able to drag it. So, bracing himself and lifting as much of the tail possible across his back, Rock set to heaving and slowly pulled the tiger shark from the water and up the beach.
Revy was sitting against a palm tree, watching him silently as he approached.
"Revy!" he gasped, dropping the shark's tail and running forward.
Weakened, with a pounding headache and a throat that burned with thirst, Revy didn't protest as he fell to his knees and gave her a fierce hug.
"Oh, Revy! I thought you'd never wake up!" he babbled, sitting back on his heels. "You took a nasty hit to the head and you've been unconscious for days! How are you feeling?!"
Revy shrugged slightly and grunted. Weakly, she wiped blood off her upper arm with one shaking hand and held it up, looking at him questioningly. "Yours?" she asked, her voice raspy and uneven.
Rock shrugged modestly. "Just fishing."
Revy let her hand fall. "Fishing?" She glanced at the shark.
He laughed and rubbed the back of his head. "Yeah, well, you should have seen the one that got away."
Revy looked at him for a long moment, then leaned her head back against the tree and closed her eyes, for all intents and purposes appearing to go to sleep.
He stared at her worriedly.
"Rock?" she asked.
"Your jokes suck."
He laughed in relief. "I'll keep that in mind, Revy. I hope you like shark fin soup, because that's what we're having tonight."
Revy seemed to slump. "Oh, and Rock?"
"I think I pissed myself."
Nodding, Rock glanced back at the shark, then at Revy. "Yeah, yeah, I think I did, too."
Supper was a quiet affair, since Revy kept drifting in and out of sleep, but she was awake enough to chew and swallow small pieces of shark fin, and nearly half a gallon of the coconut milk fish broth he'd made.
Rock was pleased she was doing so well, a few hazarded questions revealed that she had no memory of the explosion, but was otherwise coherent. He worried that she was so weak she actually let him feed her without protest, but he was happy to do so. He'd had a nice big shark steak for himself, and was pleasantly full for the first time in what felt like months. His only complaint was that his arm, wrapped in a salt water and seaweed bandage held in place by twisted palm fronds, stung whenever he moved or used it, which, given how much he had to do, was constantly.
While everything cooked he'd done his best to clean Revy up, and again, she didn't protest or make any comments. She'd even slept through most of it, which Rock was glad for, since it made it less awkward.
The fire burned merrily well up into the night as he fed it bramble and brush, giving him light to see by as he made a twig frame and draped strips of shark flesh over it to dry. With salt, easily obtained from the ocean, he'd be able to cure the meat well enough that none, or at least not much, would spoil before they had a chance to eat it. Another catch that big might be a long time coming.
Curious, Rock had even slit open the shark's stomach and found some odd bits of trash, including what looked like a partially dissolved leather deck shoe, several bits of shiny, thin sheet metal, and an amber beer bottle with a chunk knocked out of the base.
It was late before the fire died down low and Rock fell asleep in his usual position at right angles to Revy, his head touching her stomach, listening to her breathe.
Some days later, Revy leaned comfortably back in a stick and palm leaf lounge chair he'd made for her, fiddling with her knife and one of her boot laces. Really, most of it was made of a sloped pile of rocks and the leftover insulation board, with a lot of padding made from whatever he could find, mostly leaves and seaweed. The sticks were there to keep the rocks or the board from sliding around.
She watched tiredly as Rock balanced on a platform of thick sticks driven deep into the sand in chest deep water, tied together with twisted vine and frond. Japanese fishermen had used identical structures for hundreds of years in the same manner, balancing themselves motionless just above where the poles crossed, waiting for a fish to swim by.
Rock's arm moved like lightening, driving his fish spear deep into the water, through some luckless fish attracted by the bits of dried shark guts. He'd decided to continue baiting the fish, pinning long scraps to his poles with twigs so they would waft back and forth in the waves. Another fish, something like an angelfish, hung impaled on the top of a pole next to him, a testament to his growing skill. All in all, Rock was really glad he'd remembered seeing them the time he'd been up to Tomamae.
Two fish was enough for the day, considering that they were still trying to eat dried, salted shark as fast as they could stuff it in their overfull bellies. Drying it had worked fairly well, helped considerably when he'd started keeping a small fire going, boiling seawater down to a heavy brine, and sometimes even to dry crystals, if he forgot. The salted shark strips had actually eased their growing thirst, their bodies finally getting the much needed salt that had been sweated out. But there was still more than his own body weight in fish to get through, and he didn't know how long it would stay edible. Already, they were boiling it before they ate it to kill any lingering bugs. But with nothing else to do, he fished.
Revy had been up and walking around, a little, supported by Rock. She acted like she wanted to be in a bad mood, angry at her own helplessness, but she was too tired to muster the effort.
Rock, for his part, was just glad she was okay. They had talked some, Rock mostly, telling her what had happened on the freighter, and giving her an extremely brief version of how they'd ended up on the island. Revy tended to doze off if he got too longwinded, anyway. He found himself leaving out a lot of details, and surprisingly, not wanting to say much about the time they'd spent on the island.
Revy's one or two word questions about how he knew how to do things like make the fishing platform brought up better memories, and he spent quite a few hours telling her about some of his business trips, or things he'd noticed the locals doing since he'd joined the crew of the Lagoon.
He celebrated her first steps on her own by giving her a cigarette, which prompted the first word of thanks she'd said since she woke up. Conscious of her need, he'd refrained from smoking anymore, and occasionally found himself twitching, but the gradual way he'd stopped helped considerably.
Splashing behind him drew his attention. Revy was awake and walking through the water out to him.
"Revy? Are you okay?" he asked.
"Hey, Rock, I think we need to find shelter somewhere." She pointed out to sea.
For the first time in hours, Rock looked up from the blue waters of the lagoon and noticed the gathering clouds on the horizon. Big, black thunderheads, much like the ones that had hit while they were still out at sea, moving swiftly past. His eyes widened.
"How long do you think we have?" he asked. "The wind isn't headed this direction…"
Revy shrugged and looked to their right, the direction they'd been blown to the island from. "Yeah, but look up there. I think it's getting darker, too," she replied, pointing into the wind.
"You're right, though," he agreed, and, gathering his two fish, he jumped into the water with a splash. "We've got a lot of stuff I'd hate to see blown away. Do you think you can carry the board?"
"I got it, Rock, I ain't helpless anymore." She took the fish from him as they waded quickly to shore. "The problem is all that damned shark. There's no way we can carry it all."
Rock tossed his spear into the camp where it clattered off the palm log, and quickly took off his shirt and began tying the sleeves. "Yeah, but I think we can get most of it. I'll use my shirt and pants as sacks, and I don't think we'll have to leave much behind."
Revy raised an eyebrow as she lay the two fish down and pulled out her knife. She used quick, deft strokes to fillet the fish. One she crammed into her mouth and chewed noisily on, another she offered to Rock.
He'd been filling his shirt with salted shark, but he took the sashimi gratefully as Revy took over, filling the makeshift sack as much as she dared. Seeing how much of the meat was left, and with a speculative eye towards Rock's pants where he sat eating, she pulled off her own shirt and began knotting the holes.
Her shirt was much smaller than Rock's, since she usually wore short sleeves and a cropped midriff. But it was better than nothing, and certainly better than leaving behind the extra ten or fifteen pounds of fish it would hold.
Rock's eyes widened as he watched her. Revy hadn't been wearing a bra, often didn't, in fact, though her breasts remained almost defiantly perky despite that tendency. A lot of her shirts had built in support, something he didn't know. And while he'd seen her nude a great deal over the past week, it was somehow different when she took her shirt off herself.
But not very different. The necessities of survival, plus his own politeness, made him ignore her hard brown nipples and eat his fish, popping the last bite in his mouth as he began taking his own pants off.
Unfortunately, there was still quite a bit of shark left when they finished, his pants stuffed to bulging and his shirt, and Revy's, at the limit they could hold without ripping.
"So do we know where we're going?" Revy asked, smirking at the sight of Rock in shoes and his boxers scurrying around the camp.
"Yeah," Rock replied with a nod. "I haven't been everywhere inland, but I have followed the stream where we get fresh water up a ways, and I think there's a place higher up we can hide from the wind in."
Rock shook his head. "I wish. I haven't found one of those. But there's a big cut in the side of the mountain with an overhang, if the winds keep blowing the same direction we should be able to avoid the worst of the storm."
She shrugged. "Well lead the way, boy scout."
The sky grew progressively darker, and the wind picked up as they walked, making them glad that they'd heeded the warning promised by the dark clouds and prepared to seek shelter. Moving around the island cut most of the wind, which blew almost directly into the cove where they'd first landed. Only the palm and treetops above them rustled in the steadily increasing wind, creating an eerie dead zone around them, even as it howled over the rocks of the edges.
The great thing about pants, Rock reflected, is that even though they may not hold much more than a shirt, they're a hell of a lot easier to carry. With the legs full of salted shark, all he had to do was hook them over his shoulder, and they rode fine. Juggling the twin bags of his and Revy's shirts was way, way harder, though at least the weight wasn't much of an issue.
Revy stumbled often, this was the most she'd walked for a while, but she gamely held on to their board and the blackened cookpot, which they'd put fish and fresh water in. Uncooked, soaked, salted shark wasn't that tasty, Rock thought it needed teriyaki sauce and Revy thought it needed burying, but there was no telling how long the storm would last. She had a couple coconut shells stacked together, carrying them with the arm hooked around the pot, so they'd be able to catch a drink if the rain behaved right.
The thunder and rain hit roughly the same time, but the wind was blowing so hard the rain was horizontal, and mostly hit the side of the mountain. They reached the shelter provided by the cut in the mountain shortly after, looking around in the gloom. Lightening cracked around the island, giving them occasional brighter glimpses, but no matter how you looked at it, as shelter it was subpar.
Nothing grew in there, and the rocks were jagged and sharp in most places. Rock sat his burdens down quickly, with a little sigh of relief, and quickly used the board Revy carried to make her a fairly decent seat on the ground at the base of the overhang. Revy swayed on her feet, enough to stifle her protests as Rock helped her sit gently.
Wind swirled madly in the lee of the island, but while fast, it never blew steadily in any one direction, sending leaves, twigs, and torn off palm fronds swirling back and forth erratically. Only a fine mist of spray hit them for the moment.
Revy settled for the moment, Rock borrowed her knife again and ran back out into the storm, grabbing at whatever vegetation he could reach. Palm leaves weren't exactly soft, but they beat sharp rocks in the ass any day of the week. He grabbed several before running back to Revy's side. He used them to make seat padding for he and Revy as they sat on the flat board.
"Che," Revy complained as she leaned forward, allowing him to shove layers of leaves under her butt. "Rock, this ain't a four star resort. This is a desert island. We're supposed to sit on sharp rocks."
He shrugged, as if it didn't really matter. "If we sit here all night, you're gonna be glad of the padding." He smiled. "That's the first time you've complained about me taking care of you since you woke up. I'm glad you're feeling better."
"Shit," she cursed, and looked away.
He looked at her. For the first time in… okay, minutes, he noticed that she was still topless.
"I'm not helpless," she growled, but even to her ears, it sounded hollow.
"I never said you were," he replied patiently, used to her moods after all this time. "I'm just helping out."
They sat in silence, watching the storm swirl in front of them.
"Wow, it's really hitting hard out there," he noted after a time, watching five lightning bolts flickered across the sky in quick succession. The mist from the swirling rain grew heavier, beading on their skin and making their hair limp.
Revy grunted agreement. After a moment, she spoke.
"Hey, Rock?" she asked quietly, as if unsure of herself.
"Mmm?" he asked, leaning in closer to hear her better. The howling of the wind was really getting loud.
"How close was I?" she asked.
Rock paused. Revy sounded… no, not frightened. But not normal, either. Finally, he sighed.
"What?" she asked, leaning closer to him.
"I said, 'Real close,'" he replied louder.
Rock thought about it for several long moments, as they each got colder and wetter, and the storm grew worse. Something occurred to him.
It wasn't that she didn't sound normal. She just didn't sound normal for lately.
…she sounded like the old Revy. The one he'd first met. With the dead voice and the cold, inhuman eyes. The Revy that faced death without flinching, and killed without a smile. But that Revy was gone, disappeared. For what seemed like ages now, Revy had smiled. She was loud, rambunctious, and crude, and she made fun of people when she shot them. She joked with him. She was alive.
He wanted the new Revy back.
But knowing her, saying so would just make it worse. So he sat there beside her, miserably.
Thunder boomed closer than ever, and an entire palm tree, dirt still hanging from its root ball, flew through the air at an angle, smashing down and rolling across the ground into the trees in front of their sheltering cut, making them both jump.
"Holy shit, did you see that?" Revy said, a tinge of wonder in her voice. "You don't see palm trees do that very often. That wind must be moving."
As if to punctuate her words, the breeze seemed to die back a moment, then surge forward with twice the strength. The very mountain they sat on trembled with the impact of waves on the far side, and a sudden burst of sand and grit leapt into their hole and blasted them.
Rock turned, placing his back to the wind and blocking it from hitting Revy, his arms around her. He noticed she was shaking in his arms.
"Revy?" he whispered, but his words were carried away on the wind. He kept his arms around her, her shoulder pressed into his chest.
Her shaking eased. Maybe she was just cold and tired. He really wanted to kiss her, to make it all better.
So he did, on her temple.
"Rock?" she asked incredulously, touching her head where he'd kissed her. "Did you just…?"
He shrugged helplessly. "You're very beautiful in the rain," he said honestly, embarrassed by his weakness.
"You idiot," she whispered back, unheard and unseen. But she put her arm around him, and stopped him from pulling back.
It wasn't quite the same surprise when he kissed her again. It was when she kissed him back.
Mild lemon removed. Visit my bio for a link to the full version.
Rock knelt on the ground, carefully applying the flame of the lighter to the dry brush twigs. Real fuel for the fire was scarce on the island, mostly just brush and a few fallen limbs, and he'd already used a lot of the ones broken off in the hurricane that had hit a week ago.
Beside him lay a loose pile of coconuts, painstakingly gathered, though he had strong, calloused toes and fingers now, and could scramble up almost as agilely as a monkey. He'd also stumbled into a small lime tree on the side of the mountain, heavily laden with small, hard, unripe limes. They might not be edible yet, but the juice would make a welcome addition to the flavors the island had to offer, which were mainly salt, coconut, fish, charcoal, and conch.
He was looking forward to a meal of lime brushed fish.
A sound caught his attention, and he looked up to see Revy approaching, gloriously bare and tanned, spear in hand and a forked stick in the other, from which dangled eight big reef fish. Her reflexes were like lightening, and her aim was phenomenal. She rarely missed.
"Hey, Rock," she said cheerfully. Spearing things wasn't quite as satisfying as shooting them, but it wasn't bad. It kept her in a pretty decent mood, considering.
"Hey, Revy. Good catch," he said appreciatively, then tossed the ripest of the limes at her.
She speared it out of the air with a supple flick of her wrist, and he laughed nervously. Whatever damage she'd taken from being righteously bopped in the head hadn't affected her skills.
Revy sniffed the sphere dubiously, then her eyes widened.
"Lime," Rock confirmed. "There's a little tree halfway to the top. Most of them aren't ripe, but I should be able to use the juice anyway."
She sat her fish down and pulled the fruit off the prongs of her spear before squeezing some the juice into her mouth.
"MMMM!" she said, half complaining. "That's bitter as hell." She worked her tongue and shook her head like a dog bothered by a fly. "Whooo!"
"Want another?" He reached for her fish and began deftly filleting them.
"Yeah," she agreed, catching the second thrown lime, sitting down on the palm log, and repeating the process. "I would KILL for a corona right now," she said wistfully after a moment. "Lime, fresh fish, tropical island, it'd be all right."
Rock bobbed his head assent, filleting the third fish, then proceeded to simply gut the others.
Revy sighed, watching him work. "Yeah, this'd be pretty nice if we had a couple cases of beer, cigarettes, and maybe some hamburgers every now and then or something."
He looked up, gave her a smile and resumed his task, spitting the fish on sticks so they dangled near the fire. "But you know, it's not that bad now."
She sniffed. "And now you're getting stupid and sappy."
He ignored her, slicing limes and squeezing their juice into the pot he'd desperately made weeks ago to save her life, then adding the fillets and a half coconutful of water. The fire was going nicely, but he set the pot on rocks off to one side, so it'd simmer instead of boil away.
"Yeah, it ain't all that bad," she said finally, looking up at the darkening sky through the palm tops. She looked back down at him, and there was a positively mischievous glint in her eye. "Hey, Rock, how long's that gonna take?"
He looked back, taking in her slouch, the pale white scars from countless past battles, her thighs parted crudely, her limp, brown, salty hair. But he saw lean nakedness and a crooked grin that promised no end of trouble.
"Long enough," he replied with an answering grin, scrambling to his feet and shucking his pants in the same motion.
Lemon removed. Visit my bio for a link to the full version.
He took a deep, shuddering breath as he stopped, then opened his eyes to find her grinning in triumph up at him.
Rock smiled and kissed her, and watched as the grin faltered, but the smile that returned was more genuine than ironic.
He was tempted to stay, but something about the situation called to him, so he carefully reached for his pants. Inside, in a carefully folded plastic wrapper, was a thin, crooked thing of a cigarette, which he pulled out, stuck in Revy's mouth, and flicked a lighter in front of it.
Revy gave him a cross eyed look, staring mostly at the surprising thing in her mouth. She sucked gently on it as he applied the flame, and was rewarded with a thing stream of harsh, but much missed, smoke.
"I love you," she mumbled around the cigarette.
He laughed. "That's just because I give you cigarettes."
"Probably." She took several long puffs, savoring the smoke. "How? We were out." Feeling generous, she plucked the cigarette from her mouth and held it to his while he took a drag.
He held the smoke for a long moment before exhaling slowly, the rush of nicotine every bit as intense as the sex. "The grounds in the pack. Some of them had busted, but I saved the tobacco, and the paper. It was kind of hard to get one rewrapped, and it took both of the ones that had busted, but…" He shrugged.
"Boy scout indeed," she replied with a smirk, giving him another drag. They savored the post coital glow almost as much as the post coital cigarette, and they lay together for many long minutes, long after the last ember had gone to ash.
"That was good, wish we had another one," Revy said regretfully.
"Yeah," he agreed. "I never thought of a cigarette addiction as a problem until we were somewhere where we couldn't get any more."
"Yeah, even in the poorest dirt villages around, you can always find some kind of cigarette, usually plenty, and cheap. We must be the only people in the world without smokes."
"I never would have imagined being stuck on a deserted island like this," he admitted. "And not having cigarettes… it's not a good thing. But I'm going to make that one my last. I can breathe easier now, and who knows what other kind of thing is gonna happen in the future, after we get rescued I mean, to keep me away from cigarettes?"
Revy sighed and nodded. "Yeah, Rock, same here. I miss them, but going through this sucks. I don't ever want to even risk having to give them up again, so I guess I'll make this one stick, too."
Rock regretfully rolled off and checked the fish. Finding it to be doing well, getting close to being done, even, he turned to his lover. "May I offer you my shirt to clean up, my lady?" he intoned formally.
She shrugged as she sat up, dripping come onto the sand. "Feh. It doesn't matter." She paused. "And Rock," she waited for him to look at her, "don't play. It doesn't suit you."
He made a helpless gesture, then handed her a hot fish on a stick. "Appetizer?" he asked. "Spiced with the heady flavor of lime and the tangy piquancy of charcoal?"
Revy rolled her eyes and took the fish. It was hot.
They ate in companionable silence for a while. The lime juice cooked fish, which was very nearly a cerviche, was a nice variation in the diet. They both ate until replete, and lolled on the sand, watching the sun go down.
Abruptly Revy was moving, and Rock watched with a bit of a leer as she bent over, displaying all her charms, and rooted through her shorts.
"Here," she said roughly, throwing something small at him.
It hit him in the chest, but he caught it before it hit the sand.
It was a tooth, white, with sharp serrations all along its edge. Unlike most shark teeth it wasn't triangular, or at least, it was like a triangle that had been kinked to one side, forming something that looked much like a serrated saw tooth. It was nearly an inch and a half across at the base, and braded white nylon had been wrapped around and around it, making a firm, tight socket, with dark cotton line coming off the sides to form a necklace.
Rock raised one eyebrow at her.
"Feh," she spat, looking away. "Don't make more of it than it is. It's just thanks for the cigarette."
Rock smiled, and slipped it on over his head.
"And don't let it go to your head. That was a really damned little shark." But there was a smile tugging at her lips.
Another three days passed. They were both surprised to see a nasty looking fishing boat, billowing blue smoke following it, pull in close to the edge of the reef.
Revy put on her shorts, shirt, and her holsters, ready for anything. Rock… put on pants and looked concerned.
But the middle aged chinese gentleman on the back picked up a battered looking bullhorn and yelled "Boss Chang sends greetings!" in heavily accented english.
"Took 'em long enough," Revy spat. "I'm kicking Dutch in the balls when I get a chance."
Rock just laughed nervously.
Author's notes: Wanted to do something else. Still working on a couple odd projects, but I've been wanting to do an original flavor Black Lagoon fic for a while, something kinky, sexy, and fun, with plenty of fanservice for all. But while I had ideas for missions, I never had a really good idea that would naturally end up with some hot Revy on Rock action. I've always had a thing for 'stranded on a desert island' stories, probably because it's one of my fervent desires to have it happen to me one day. I'd love it. I grew up on tales of wilderness survival, and practiced a lot of what I was taught, (it's sort of a family thing), and even today I like things like Cast Away, and the Discovery Channel shows like Survivorman and Man versus Wild. The biggest inspiration for this fic was some book about a little south seas islands kid sailing to one and growing into a man, the title I can't remember, and the 1980 movie The Blue Lagoon. Blue, Black, hey, though admittedly there wasn't much bruising in this. (naked young Brooke Shields, mmm….)
Anyway, I ain't promising anything, but I had fun doing this, and I do have some more ideas for Black Lagoon, so maybe we'll see more adventures. And next time, if Rock and Revy have sex, I can point to this and say, 'Hey, that's when they started!'. Heheh.
Hope you enjoyed this, I had fun writing it. Brought back a lot of pleasant memories, and a few sad ones.
"Damn it, Dutch, did you have to take a fucking month to find us?" Revy raged, though she cut her tirade off abruptly when he pressed a cold Heineken into her hands. Then she was too busy gulping the brew to bitch.
Benny waved greeting, then handed a beer to Rock.
Rock accepted it with considerably more decorum, tapping the top a couple times before he cracked the seal and took a drink. "So were you able to save the cargo?" he asked, concerned. "Last I saw it was still hooked to the crane."
Revy finished her beer with a theatrical sigh, then just pressed the cool can against her forehead for a moment.
Dutch nodded and leaned back in his chair aboard the bridge of the Lagoon, ignoring the activity off to the side as the greasy fishing boat cast off lines. "Yeah, they had just gotten it unhooked. We nearly lost it overboard during the getaway and avoiding the patrol boat that was just over the horizon, but Fei Won, one of the guys who was lucky enough to be on my boat when it all went down, got a cable around it, and he and Huan got it secured enough we didn't lose it. Chang was tickled pink."
"Tickled enough to take a god damned month to find us?" Revy snarled before Benny handed her another beer.
"Fishermen have to make a living, too," Benny replied. "And the Lagoon doesn't have enough range to search the whole ocean. There were over two hundred thousand square miles you could have been in."
Dutch nodded. "We actually owe Chang one, he wanted to give up after a week."
Rock nodded seriously, then drained half his beer. Pulling favors like having a quarter of the northwest Philippine fishing fleet, a loose collection of individualists if ever there were any, search each island in person had to have been expensive.
"I hope you enjoyed your tropical vacation," Dutch continued. "We've got another job."
"Another job?" Revy asked incredulously. "Already? Dammit, Dutch, can't I at least get a shower and a decent meal?"
"Beanie weenies in the galley, hose on the deck," he replied, deadpan. "But I don't expect you to rough it completely." He tapped a cardboard box, and two cigarettes leapt out like an invitation.
Revy shook her head firmly. "Oh hell no, running out of cigarettes on that damned island was the worst thing that's ever happened to me. I don't ever want to go through that again."
"If we start again, we might have to quit again," Rock admitted, as if it was a private terror.
Dutch raised one eyebrow.
"…GIVE!" they both cried at once, fighting for a smoke.
Eh? Eh? Why don't you anti tobacco people stick THAT in your pipe and smoke it?