Title: Love on the High Seas: "The Treasure I Long For"
Author: Pirate Turner
Rating: PG-13 for language and hinted violence
Fandoms/Characters/Couples: Sons of Thunder's Carlos Sandoval with OC Trina Malloy; mentions of Sons of Thunder's Trent Malloy, Touched By An Angel's Andrew, and OC Markus
Summary: Carlos contemplates the treasure he longs for but knows he'll never have. Takes place before LotHS #3: "Question of the Gods".
Disclaimer: Carlos Sandoval, Trent Malloy, and Andrew are © & TM their respective owners and are used without permission. Trina Malloy and Markus are © & TM Pirate Turner and may not be used without permission. No copyright infringement is intended, and no monetary profit is made from this story.

I can't help watching Trina. I don't know if she knows it. I know Trent does, but he never calls me on it. I know she's his sister and my other best friend and belongs to another man, but I just can't help watching her and longing for what I know I'll never have.

She leans against the railing, her long legs shifting, her blue eyes sparkling like the ocean's gently lapping waves, and her rosy lips parting in bubbling laughter as she chats with Andrew. They're rehashing the past and hatching future schemes. Her attention's all on him. Right now, she doesn't even know I exist, but I still can't help watching her. She's just so beautiful . . .

She's so beautiful, and yet she's been hurt so much. We never talk about Markus. I don't know if she still thinks about him or not, but I remember those days every time I see her with Andrew. The same old jealousy and loathing rise up in me as does the desire to protect her though I know I can't.

Markus never deserved Trina's attention or time, much less her love. He never deserved the chance to be so close to her, to feel her warm embrace, to taste her tender, sweet lips . . . He never deserved the chance to get so close to her, and he never should have been able to hurt her so badly with his betrayal yet he did.

I still remember how it felt to finally be able to hold her again after so many years. I hadn't had that pleasure since we were kids and a storm scared her but she wouldn't let Trent know. It wasn't a pleasure that time, though. I loved the sensation of holding her close and the feel of her body against mine, but her tears and her pain ripped my soul apart.

I recall handing her over for Trent to hold and comfort, and my fists tighten in a knuckle-whitening clench as I again feel Markus' throat in my hands. She doesn't know what I did, how I scared Markus away, or why she never had to face him again after leaving the altar. She never will know what Trent and I know about that day.

Markus never deserved her, and neither does Andrew. Andrew's too weak for her. He tries hard, but he hasn't got it in him. He'll never be able to stay with the life of a Pirate -- he's too gentle for that -- and, one day, that life'll tear them apart just as it almost tore Trent and Trina apart. It was my determined manipulating that convinced Virgin Boy, as Trina calls him, to finally come after his twin.

But when the Pirate life comes between Andrew and Trina, I'll stand to the side; wait, knowing there's really nothing I can do no matter how much I'll long to lessen her pain until he's broken her heart and left; and pick up her pieces once more. I don't know how long it'll take before a new stranger comes into our lives and somehow gets lucky enough to win her heart, but I know it'll happen. When it does, I'll again step to the sidelines, where I know I belong as she could never love me the way I do her, and wait till she needs me once more.

Until then, I'll continue to secretly watch the beautiful, strong Queen of my heart just as I'm doing now, and at least, no matter how many beaus come and go, I'll always have this privilege. Trina leans in to Andrew for a kiss, and I look away, batting the tears from my dark eyes. I can't help watching, admiring, longing, or loving her and it is a true privilege to simply feast my aching eyes upon her golden glory, but sometimes it just hurts too much to watch . . .

The End