Magi is my current obsession. It wouldn't let me go until I typed out a least a couple of ideas (from my seven total, a record in a single fandom for me).
'It is what a man thinks of himself that really determines his fate.'
~Henry David Thoreau
Alibaba sniffed loudly as he rubbed his hand over his eyes.
"Stupid Kassim." He muttered darkly. "I can help. I can get money too. I'm not too small like Mariam."
He stumbled slightly and had to stop to blink the tears out of his eyes. Once he could see clearly again he looked around.
"Oh, I ran far."
He managed to run all the way to the southern lower docks. Alibaba looked up in awe at the swaying ships docked and crawling with people. Sailors were moving large boxes and crates to and from the ships. He always loved hanging out at the docks and watching the sailors do their jobs. It was also fun to go down to the beach and pick up seashells and poke at the creatures that washed up in the tide pools.
(His mom always loved the seashells he brought her.)
Alibaba's eyes began to water again.
(Mom hadn't woken up in three days. Would she…would she ever wake up again?)
"I should go back." Kassim had probably already left and he didn't want to leave Mariam alone to take care of mom for too long.
"I don't want your help! I can get the money for the medicine on my own!"
He bit his lip stubbornly to keep the tears at bay.
"Heeeyyy kid…" He jerked in surprise at the voice.
The man it belonged to was leering at him in what he probably thought was a friendly expression, but Alibaba saw right through it. He was nothing but trouble.
(Like that stupid gang leader Kassim was running with lately.)
"You know, blond hair is pretty rare in these parts…you have a pretty face too under all that dirt." A large hand reached out to touch his head, but he lashed out before it could make contact.
He stomped on the man's toes and kicked him in the shin.
"Don't touch me!"
"Ouch! Ya little shit!"
Alibaba didn't hesitate he darted away from the guy and made a break for the seawall.
With a leap, he was over the ledge and climbed down the wall. He grimaced at the sharp shells the wall was made from cut into his hands a little, but he didn't stop until he touched the wet sand. He glanced up and found the man glaring over the ledge at him. Alibaba stuck his tongue out and ran down the beach.
Or at least he would have if he didn't suddenly trip over a pair of legs.
He coughed and spat out the sand that managed to make it into his mouth from his face-plant and turned to the culprit with a snarl worthy of Kassim.
He froze as he got a good look at the person in question.
"AHHH! It's a dead body!"
As he stumbled back the dying light of the sunset seemed to flash.
(It almost looked like little birds. Birds made of pure light.)
He paused for a moment and looked more closely at the man.
Alibaba shifted so that he was sitting in front of the man. It was easy enough to assume he was dead by the state he was in, but…his chest was moving. He was breathing. He just looked like a wreck. His clothes were in disarray, torn in some places and soaking wet. His hair was disheveled and hung limply in large wet knots around his shoulders. He couldn't tell its color from the dim light, but the man's golden eyes caught the reflection of the sunset drawing his attention to them.
"You look like a mess, mister." He tilted his head and tried not to shiver as golden eyes met his own in a listless fashion. "Did you wash up here? Or are you like old man Jahl and you just sit places?"
The man's eyes blinked, but he didn't respond.
"You know mister, you really look dead." Alibaba murmured. "Maybe not on the outside, but dead on the inside. Old man Jahl's like that. He just sits and sits and sits. Mom used to bring him food when we had some."
He glanced around him.
The man from before wasn't leaning over the wall anymore. He probably wandered off to mess with someone else. He could still hear the murmur of voices on the dock above them, but no one was close. His eyes drifted over to the jewelry on the man. Golden hoops in his ears. A couple of necklaces draped around his neck and rings on his fingers. Even the buttons on his jacket looked expensive.
"Hey, mister…I could steal all your stuff, and no one would know…"
(Kassim wouldn't hesitate.)
Alibaba reacted out and touched one of the man's necklaces. It was pretty. It had thick gold loops with red and orange stones hanging from them. It would probably sell for a lot. Probably enough to buy the medicine for his mother. His hand dropped back to his lap and he looked down.
"This is probably why Kassim doesn't want me in the gang." He felt his eyes water and he scrubbed at them roughly. "I can't even steal the jewels off a guy just sittin' there to pay for mom's medicine."
"Your…mother is sick?"
He leaped away in shock at the man's rough voice. The waves licked at his heels making him shiver from its cold touch.
The man's eyes were now focused on him. Not as listless as before.
No, now they had an odd intensity.
Alibaba shivered again, but not from the cold water. He eased himself back into a sitting position, a little bit further away this time.
"So, you can talk." He shifted slightly. It was uncomfortable under the man's golden gaze. "Yeah, she's been real sick lately. Very hot and weak. Three days ago, she fainted…and she hasn't woken up since then. She just mutters and thrashes around like she's having terrible nightmares. The lady on the other street said that we could get medicine if we got enough money, but…we don't have enough…"
"You should…you should do whatever it takes…even if it soils your hands…"
The man's eyes were distant again, but his hands slowly moved up to fumble with the necklace that Alibaba touched. It hit the sand with a wet thump.
He watched silently.
(Kassim wouldn't hesitate…)
But, Alibaba wasn't Kassim.
Alibaba was Anise's son.
"No…Kassim and some of the other kids might call me weak, but I'm not going to steal from you, mister." He paused, looking the man in the eye. "I…I think you lost too much."
The man flinched and lowered his head.
"'Sides, even if I did get the money for mom and she got better, I don't think she'd be very happy." He stood up and glanced up at the sky. It was getting very dark. "She'd never be happy if she knew that I had to hurt someone to make her better."
"What if she dies?"
Alibaba took a step back. "I…"
(That was Kassim's argument. Alibaba never knew how to argue against that. Because…Because…deep down he was scared it was true…but…)
A gentle breeze rustled his hair.
He blinked. 'Ah, those little birds are really pretty.'
(They made him feel calm. Like his mothers embrace.)
How strange. Now he knew exactly what he wanted to saw to Kassim all those times they argued over this.
"Maybe…" He folded and unfolded his hands for a moment. "But, I'm sure there's another way!"
Now it was the man's turn to blink. He felt his confidence grow. Kassim usually shut him down with words or with fists at this point, but this guy was just sitting there. He raised his chin.
"Mom, she always said that sometimes we just gotta look at things in a different way! Sometimes we don't see what's right in front of us. A different road, just sittin' there 'cause we didn't even think of it!"
Alibaba nodded. "Yeah!"
Alibaba crept a little closer to get a look at the guy's face again. It was a lot darker than when he first tripped over the man's feet, but he could make out the way the man's features shifted in thought.
He smiled. "You're lookin' a lot more alive mister."
Golden eyes met his own before the man looked away again.
"Yes…a different road then?" Alibaba tilted his head to the side, watching silently as the man picked up the necklace and fastened it around his neck once more. "Well, why don't you help me back to my place and I give you the money for your mom's medicine."
"What?" Alibaba gasped.
The man smiled a very tired smile. "Like you said. A different road, right? Instead of stealing from me, help me home and I'll pay you for your service."
"Oh," Alibaba blinked as that information set in. His stomach fluttered with hope. "Ok!"
He leaned down to take the mans hand and help him to his feet.
"What's your name, mister?"
"Me? Oh, it's Sinbad. What about you?"
I don't know how everything is going to go down in the Adventures of Sinbad with Sinbad's first country. The manga hasn't quite gotten that far yet. All I know is from the Magi manga, which is frankly just fragments of what is undoubtedly a complicated tragedy. Obviously, whatever happens, he bounces back and ends up creating the new Sindria that we know from Magi, but I thought…what if? Alibaba was shown looking at Sinbad from a rooftop when they first moved their merchant business to Balbad in Sinbad's manga. So…what if they actually met? How would that change things? How would that change Sinbad/Alibaba themselves?
So, basically the premise for this fic is that Sinbad broke down after everything that goes down in his first country, whatever that may be, and he basically secludes himself from his remaining friends to suffer his sorrow alone. For which, little Alibaba finds him.
Let me know what you think!