Authors Note :
No slash for you perverts out there. Honestly, I cant understand why people ruin that wonderful father-son-relationship between Silver and Jim with something gross like that. -.-
Just my two cents.
Treasure Planet and its characters©Disney.
„Damn spider psycho..." muttered Jim as he stumbled down the stairs to the galley.
He clenched his left shoulder and walked unsteadily to one of the benches where he sank down exhausted. Why couldn't he have kept his mouth shut!?
A short time ago he was busy with mopping the deck of the Legacy for the third time that week, all the while quietly cursing Silver for giving him a boring yet strenuous job like this. He just wasn't sure if he could trust the old Cyborg. At the one hand he was really nice and obedient when others, especially Mr.Arrow and the captain, were near, but towards Jim he acted much more authoritarian, always giving orders, always having new work for him when he was just done with the previous one. Of course, he had to admit that he had learned a lot from him, there was no denying. But he seemed to enjoy pushing the boy to his limits without mercy. And by now, Jim gradually felt that he was reaching those limits. He hadn't had much sleep during the last days, mainly because his duties protracted till late at night and he had to get up long before sunrise to help Silver prepare breakfast for the whole crew.
He supported himself on the helve of the mop and yawned tiredly as he stared into the space. The work was almost done; only one more hour and he would be lying in his hammock and finally get some well-deserved rest. That was, when he suddenly heard footsteps behind him, which slowly came nearer. He turned around to be face to face with the last member of the crew he wanted to see right now.
"And what do you want from me?" asked Jim in an annoyed tone and glared at the scrawny but huge black and red creature that was looking down at him.
"You sssshouldn't talk ta me like that, cabin boy!" hissed the spider-like alien threateningly.
With a quick move he knocked over the bucket which resulted in the dirty water being spilled on the deck.
The boy didn't have a chance to finish the sentence as a big red claw gripped him by the collar and lifted him high up into the air. Jim let the mop fall down as he felt himself losing the ground under his feet.
"Are you crazy!? Let me down!" he yelled nervously as he tried in vain to get Scroop's claw away from him.
"Not ssso brave anymore, are we?" grinned the dark insect sinisterly. "And thisss time the old cyborg isssn't there to ressscue you…"
Jim gasped as the grip on his collar became stronger. That spider-psycho wasn't going to kill him…or was he?
Just as he thought he would faint due to the lack of air he was released, but not before being slammed with his back against the mast. The boy groaned in pain as he crashed hard onto the ground. He had no time to even open his eyes as he felt a dull but heavy blow in his stomach that made him throw his head back abruptly. The pain in his belly mixed with the harsh contact of the mast behind him brought dizziness upon him. He grabbed his head to stop the world around him from spinning. That's when he felt another blow of the arachnids balled claw against his stomach. And another one. And one more.
"Sssso what'sss the matter? No sssmart commentsss thiss time?" meant Scroop darkly, apparently enjoying that the boy was too weak to defend himself.
Jim managed to open his eyes and looked at him disgusted.
"You wouldn't understand a smart comment anyway." he retorted, all the while breathing heavily.
He immediately regretted his words as he felt a sharp pain on his left upper arm.
"You're gonna pay for thisss!"
Scroop's yellow-glowing eyes were narrowed in anger as he pressed his claw even deeper into Jim's arm, what made the young man grit his teeth in agony.
The spider was about to say something else as he suddenly looked around him to scan the ship. Had he heard something or just imagined it? He wasn't sure but he didn't want to risk being caught. Muttering something incoherently under his breath he finally released the boy, however in anything but a gentle manner. He squeezed his arm violently before he let go and pushed him back onto the hard ground.
"I would ssssleep with open eyesss from now on if I were you…" he snarled.
It took Jim some moments to recover, but as he could see somewhat clearly again, the arachnid had disappeared. He groaned as he tried to stand up but his legs gave in and he sank quickly back onto the deck. By reaching for the mast to support himself he eventually managed to get up and leaned his head against it to think about what he was going to do now. Every inch of his body was hurting and he was tired as hell, but he couldn't go to his hammock. No, he wouldn't sleep in the same room that Scroop was in, since he feared he wouldn't see the next day. As he looked around, his gaze stopped at the entry to the galley…
And there he was, slouching on the bench and grabbing his aching shoulder. Why was it so warm? He removed his hand from his wound and looked at the red fluid. Only now he noticed that he was bleeding badly.
"What teh devil has tha lad been up to now!?" cursed Silver as he glared at the bucket and the mop which were lying carelessly between spilled water on the ground.
It was the old Cyborg's turn for the night watch, but he wasn't willing to also clean up the mess his cabin boy had left.
Morph swirled curiously around the knocked-over bucket and eyed it attentively, as if he was searching for a clue of what could have happened here. Suddenly the pink blob squealed in a fluster as he quickly flew to his master and back to the ground, where he circled around a specific spot.
"What did ye find there, Morphy?" asked Silver and used the light of his mechanic eye to see better in the darkness.
He frowned as he noticed some droplets of blood and immediately scanned the rest of the deck. There was a trail of blood leading down into the galley.
Jim had almost drifted to sleep when a familiar voice rang in his ears and ripped him from his dizziness.
The boy stared weakly at the Cyborg as he came closer and looked at him, an unusual worried expression on his face.
"Lad, what happened to ye?" he asked with an upset, yet also concerned voice.
"Nothing…" mumbled Jim quietly, all the while clenching his shoulder and trying to shoo away Morph, who swirled around him anxiously.
Silver's human eye narrowed as he saw the thin streams of blood flowing out between the boy's fingers and down his arm.
"Now, that don't seem like nothing ta me." he said and reached for Jim's arm but he backed away from him, not allowing the old Cyborg to touch him.
"Jimbo, lad, don't be so stubborn, I just want ta help ye!" reassured Silver and came a bit closer towards him.
Jim sighed in defeat; he was too exhausted to fight and besides that he knew that somebody had to take care of his wound. A short cry escaped his lungs as Silver helped him to take off his jacket. Even the shallowest contact was sending shivers of pain through his arm. And even more concern was evident in the Cyborg's eyes as he put Jim's blood-stained shirtsleeve up to his shoulder to get a better look at the injury. There was a deep cut on his upper arm with blood still flowing out of it. He thought for a moment and went to the small pantry in the posterior part of the galley where not only food, but also dressing material was stowed. Since he sensed that Jim was in no good condition, Morph cuddled against his cheek and chirped softly to cheer him up. He smiled weakly at the little shape shifter as Silver came back with a few bandages and a bottle of rum.
"Ta disinfect teh wound." he replied to Jim's questioning look.
After he had dripped some of the liquor on a piece of cloth, Silver gently grabbed the boy's injured arm.
"That's gonna hurt a bit, so clench yer teeth."
Jim closed his eyes and winced miserably as the alcohol came in contact with his wound. The liquid made him feel like it was burning his skin. His whole body tensed and his fingers dug into the wood of the table, leaving some minor scratches there. After a while he got used to the pain and stared into the void as the old Cyborg took care of the cut on his arm.
"So, I guess it was Scroop who did that to ye, wasn't it?" meant Silver matter-of-factly.
"Maybe…" mumbled Jim, not being in the mood for talking right now.
A deep sigh was to be heard from next to him.
"I told ye ta pick yer fights more carefully-"
"It wasn't my fault that that spider-psycho has a problem with me!"
Jim suddenly yelled at him, but was soon quiet again as he saw the stern expression on Silver's face. He looked away from him once more. The Cyborg sighed. He had explicitly forbade Scroop to use violence against the boy, so he had to have provoked the alien.
"Ye gotta stop starting fights with that spider, lad! Ye could have been killed!"
Jim closed his eyes and sighed softly. After a few moments he opened them again and stared sadly at the ground.
"Whatever...as if anyone would care..."
He said it with such a serious and cold tone that Silver was startled at his statement. This wasn't the Jim Hawkins he had gotten to know during the last few weeks. What had the boy gone through, that he had such a low evaluation of himself? It took him some seconds to think of a response.
"Well…" he said while bandaging Jim's arm, "What about yer mother?"
The cabin boy chuckled in a sarcastically sad way.
"I guess she's better off without me."
Without turning around he could sense the old Cyborg's questioning look and began to clarify what he was talking about.
"All I've ever caused her were worries and pain, nothing I have ever done could make her proud…maybe ´cause I didn't really try. She'd be happier if I wasn't around, then she wouldn't have to be worried about her worthless son eventually landing in jail."
For the first time in his life, Silver was at a loss for words. He had never imagined the stubborn and moody teenager to act and speak like this. Judging by the way the young lad used to argue with him, he had always thought he would have quite a strong self-confidence, but now…he wondered if he did have any at all. After he was done with tying up the bandage, he crossed his arms and leaned down against the table so he was face to face with Jim.
"Don't ye think ye're exaggerating a bi-"
"Why the heck don't you get it!?"
Jim suddenly shouted as he jumped down on the floor and stood right in front of Silver, staring him directly into the eyes.
"I can't even mop this damn ship without getting in trouble and – Aaaahhhh!" he cried in pain as he sunk to his knees.
"Jimbo! Lad, what's wrong?" yelled Silver as he kneeled down next to him, not sure of what to do.
The boy was clutching his stomach tightly and struggling desperately for air. He laid his arm carefully on his back but Jim just flinched at his touch.
"No, I-I'm...fine." he gasped and tried to get back on his legs but to no avail. "Please, I…I just gotta get some sleep."
He leaned back against the bench with a lowered head and almost completely closed tired eyes.
"Ye're not gonna sleep here, are ye?" asked Silver with a raised brow.
"Where else? In the same room with that spider, who just waits for me to fall asleep so he can send me straight to hell?" meant Jim sarcastically.
The ship's cook pondered for a moment before he came to a conclusion. The boy was right, if Scroop got him into his claws now he would be as good as dead. He couldn't let him get hurt even more, the lad was his responsibility after all.
"Well, then ye'll sleep in my cabin tonite." he said in a definite voice.
Although he had almost dozed off Jim suddenly looked at him with an unsure expression.
"The capt'n has put ye in my charge, remember? It's my duty ta prevent ye from gettin' slaughtered by some nasty insect." he winked, trying to hide that he was honestly worried about the boy.
Jim just sighed in defeat, he was too weak and even more tired to argue. With Silver's help he managed to stand up, his face distorted by the pain this action caused. He leaned against him for support and it took them a while to make their way to the Cyborg's cabin. All that Jim could see was blurry, but he could perceive a large hammock in the middle of a dark room.
Absent-mindedly, he noticed that he was laid into it and that his boots were taken off. He must have looked funny, the hammock was much too big for him, letting him seem even smaller than he actually was. The last thing he was aware of was that someone covered him with a blanket before he fell asleep exhausted, finally getting the rest he had longed for so long.
As Silver went towards the door he stopped and looked back at the boy. Morph floated around him with curious eyes, wondering what was going on in his master's head in that moment.
"Morphy, ye stay here and keep an eye on the lad."
He couldn't hide the worry in his voice. The little shape shifter nodded its head and quickly flew to Jim's side where he transformed into a little soldier who saluted and stood on guard.
Silver gave a little chuckle as he went out of the cabin. He closed the door and after a moment of thought decided that it wouldn't hurt if he locked it. Just to make sure nobody except him would get into the room. After reassuring himself that no one was watching him he pulled the key out of his coat pocket.
A short time later he was back on deck, where he noticed the knocked over bucket and mop still lying between the spilled dirty water on the ground. His gaze wandered to the dried spots of blood, which were scattered all the way down to the galley. Since he didn't want anyone to get what had happened here, especially not the captain or Mr. Arrow, he quickly began to clean up the mess and wipe off the trails of blood. As he arrived in the galley he frowned at the sight of the red fluid right there where Jim had been sitting a short while ago. The lad had lost more blood than he had thought at first.
"Just hope he'll be fine soon…."
Later that night Silver was standing at the railing and smoking his pipe. For once he wished his night watch would finally be over. He knew that Jim was safe in his cabin, but that didn't make him less concerned. But why? There was no single time he could remember that he had ever cared for anyone but himself.
"Ye're not goin' ta go soft, Johnny, are ye?" he thought and another chuckle left his mouth.
When he had met him for the first time down in the galley he had never thought that the lad would ever be dear to his heart. At the beginning of the voyage he was just trying to keep him busy so he wouldn't interfere with his plans of the mutiny. But the time passed and although Jim remained in his stubborn and moody attitude, he did everything the ship's cook wanted him to do; every hard and unpleasant task like mopping the deck over and over again, removing the barnacles at the keel of the ship, cleaning up the bathrooms, checking the ropes and washing up the dirty dishes, only to name a few. Sometimes Silver wondered if all those duties weren't a bit too much for Jim, but even though he didn't seem to be all too happy, he never complained about it. The image of the boy sitting on the galley's floor came back to Silver's mind. Those heavy eyelids, the dark rings under his eyes, it wasn't just because of the injuries, no. He was at the end of his strength.
"Maybe I've been too strict with the lad." he mumbled, staring at the millions of stars in the dark blue night sky.
But there was another thing which was occupying his mind.
"Ye gotta stop starting fights with that spider, lad! Ye could have been killed!"
"Whatever...as if anyone would care..."
"What about yer mother?"
"I guess she's better off without me. All I've ever caused her were worries and pain, nothing I have ever done could make her proud…maybe ´cause I didn't really try. She'd be happier if I wasn't around, then she wouldn't have to be worried about her worthless son eventually landing in jail."
A shiver ran down his spine as he remembered the sound of Jim's voice. It was so unlike anything he had ever heard from him. It lacked his typical sarcasm and contrariness, but was full of bitterness and loathing…towards himself. Silver just couldn't get the sad look in the boy's eyes out of his head.
The old Cyborg was ripped from his thoughts any turned around hastily, glaring at the owner of the shrill voice.
"Mr. Onus!" he almost yelled at the small multi-eyed member of his crew, but quickly reminded himself to keep his voice low. "I told ye ta not call me captain as long as we're on this here ship! Ye're lucky that no one's heard ye!"
The grey alien muttered his apologies and prepared for taking over the night watch. Silver sighed as he extinguished the fire in his pipe and put it back into a pocket on the inside of his coat. Without wasting any time he made his way back to his cabin. He didn't even hear the bright "Good nite, capteee-….Mr. Silver!" behind him.
The door opened with a little creak as Silver entered the cabin and closed it slowly behind him, careful to not wake anybody up. He was relieved to see Jim exactly where he had left him, lying in his oversized hammock. Morph was peacefully sleeping on his chest and snoring almost inaudibly.
"Great work at keepin' an eye on the lad, Morphy." chuckled Silver quietly and made his way towards a chair in the corner of the room.
This night surely wasn't going to be very comfortable.
Even before the first sunrays were shining through the small porthole of the cabin, Silver was woken up by his protoplasmic pet, which was nervously scurrying back and forth in front of his face and making somewhat shrill noises. The Cyborg opened his eyes and yawned.
"What's come over ye, Morphy? Makin' such a noise at this time o day."
At this moment he heard a soft whimper from the other side of the cabin and followed the pink shape shifter towards the hammock. There he saw Jim rolling around from one side to the other, teeth gritted by the pain this action brought to his body.
"No…NO! Please, don't!" he yelled in his sleep.
Silver took him by the shoulders and, trying not to hurt him, shook him gently.
"Jimbo! Jim, wake up!"
The boy kept moving his head to and from as the expression on his face turned sorrowful.
"Please Dad…don't leave me." he whimpered so quietly that one could barely hear it.
Silver shook him another time and finally he did wake up. Jim's eyes shot open and stared into the void in front of him while his chest was heaving with quick deep breaths.
"Lad, ye had a nightmare, easy now, it's all right."
The young man turned his face away and pretended to rub the sleep out of his eyes, but Silver had seen the tears in them.
"Jim…are ye okay?" he asked worried.
Jim took a deep breath and tried to keep his voice as steady and unemotional as possible.
"Yes, sure, I'm fine."
"Aye, could bet that I heard that one before." replied Silver unconvinced.
"Whatever." said Jim, who was still not looking at him.
After a moment of silence the Cyborg turned away, took his hat and coat and went towards the door.
"Ye'll stay here today, ye have the day off."
Jim suddenly stared at the ship's cook.
"But…my work, I gotta-"
"Ye gotta get back on yer feet, and that'll only work when ye take some time ta rest."
The cabin boy just rolled his eyes in annoyance.
"I told ya I'm feeling fine again! See?"
He jumped out of the hammock and almost choked on the cry he was trying to suppress as his feet touched the ground.
"Aye, I see."
"Please, I…I can work. Really, it's okay."
Jim cursed himself for showing so much weakness in front Silver, he didn't want to be pitied and he certainly wasn't going to show his pain anymore. The Cyborg saw the determination in the boy's eyes and sighed defeated.
"Well, if ye say so. But no too hard work fer ye t'day. I'll meet ye in the galley in ten minutes."
"Ten minutes! Ten minutes!" squealed Morph, who had been quiet for a disturbing long time.
"Why can't I just go with you now?"
Silver raised an eyebrow and pointed a mechanical finger at the boy's bloodstained sleeve.
"Ye best gotta get somethin' other ta wear, lad." he said with a slight wink and left the cabin.
Jim waited until the door was closed and let out a low groan as he sunk to his knees. He had suppressed the pain in his stomach as long as he could, but now he wondered if it had been a good idea to insist on working again already. A big pair of worried eyes stared at him and he patted the little shape shifter's head gently.
"Don't worry, Morph, I'm fine."
Morph however did, just like his master, not believe him and snuggled against his cheek. With some effort Jim managed to get back on his feet and was quickly reminded of the fact that he lost quite a serious amount of blood last night. He tried to get over the fit of dizziness and began to make his way towards the crew's sleeping quarters, hoping that he wouldn't attract anyone's attention.
"At least nobody's here." said Jim to Morph as he was fumbling for a shirt in his duffel bag.
Since moving still involved a sharp pain, he was very careful when he took of his shirt. He gasped as he looked down on himself and saw a large almost black bruise that led from under his chest all the way to his bellybutton
"Well, that explains why it's been hurting so much." he said sarcastically.
The little shape shifter floated nervously around him as he slowly put on his clean shirt, staring at him with huge worried eyes.
"I told you I'm fine, Morph." he reassured his friend and headed for the stairs that led to the deck. "There's nothing to worry abou-"
Both gave a small yelp as they almost ran into the dark figure, who was standing in front of them and blocking their way. They were trapped. Jim stared in fear at the creature, instinctively backing away a few steps. But it just kept glaring at him with its yellow-glowing eyes and a mischievous smile on its face.
"Well, well, cabin boy…sssssssseems ye've recovered very fassstly." sneered Scroop as he came closer towards Jim.
"Me thinksss we gotta change that."
The boy looked around him in fear, only to notice that Morph wasn't there anymore. He knew he wouldn't survive another fight. In a desperate effort to escape he tried to run past Scroop, but was quickly grabbed by the collar of his shirt and lifted about a meter up into the air.
Jim's whole body was trembling as the spider brought a sharp claw towards his neck. He closed his eyes, preparing to die when suddenly a loud, strong voice clanged through the quarters.
Being taken by surprise, the arachnid quickly let go of Jim, who somehow managed to land on his feet, even though it was quite painful. But he ignored it and looked at Silver, who was standing near the stairs. Just as he wondered how the Cyborg could know that he was in trouble, he saw Morph floating near him. He heaved a soft sigh of relief and silently thanked the little shape shifter for alarming Silver.
"Mr. Scroop, I gotta have a word with ye. Down in the galley." he said sternly and couldn't hide his aggravation.
"And Jim, ye best be mopping the posterior part of the blasted ship, there's a plenty o spots ye left out yesterday."
The dark insect growled but obeyed and followed him grumpily up to the deck.
"Well, that was a close call." said Jim as Morph flew towards him.
The pink blob chirped happily and cuddled against his cheek. Jim had to smile and patted the shape shifter's head before he went to mop the deck as Silver had told him.
"Are ye stark ravin' mad!!?? Which part of Just stick to the plan! didn't ye understand!?"
yelled Silver at his 6-legged crewmember.
"I told ye not ta bother about the boy, I'll deal with him and ye just avoid to attract anyone's attention! But NO, ye beat him up and think no-one will notice!?"
"The boy'ssss provoking me! And me thinksss he'ss far too curiousss, it'll be better ta get rid of him!"
At this point Silver was furious. He rose up against Scroop and looked him straight into the eyes.
"Now ye best be listening well ta me! If ye dare to threaten or hurt him one more time I'll throw ye into the Etherium personally!"
The spider opened his mouth to say something, but Silver transformed his mechanical arm into a pincer and grabbed his left arm forcefully.
"IS that CLEAR?"
Scroop nodded with gritted teeth and muttered something darkly as he made his way out of the galley.
Jim wished that the day would finally end. The hours passed by far too slowly, whereas the pain in his stomach became worse and worse. He had to get a grip of himself for not crying out loud when he was jostled by some random members of the crew. They had a liking for pushing him around and he had gotten used to it to some extent. But with his current injuries this was in fact more torture than annoyance. When he was finally done with mobbing the deck he went down to the galley, where Silver was busy with preparing the food for the crew.
"The deck's clean now, what shall I do next?" asked Jim.
Silver turned around and looked at him surprised.
"What? Ye're already done? Seems like ye're yer old self again, heh?"
Jim just smiled weakly. The pain was almost killing him, but he didn't want Silver to worry about him even more.
"I-I…because of what you did…I mean the thing with Scroop…thanks."
He cursed himself for not being able to think of anything better to say. Silver had saved his life and all he could say was a lame 'thanks'.
"Don't worry about the bastard, Jimbo. Just keep outta his way."
Jim nodded as suddenly his tummy rumbled rather loud. He blushed and realized that he hadn't eaten anything for about two days. He went to the barrel in the corner of the galley and reached for a purp.
"Nah, lad, ye need a square meal."
The Cyborg told him to sit down on one of the benches and brought him a bowl of fresh Bonzabeast stew. He went back to his work to the stove and eyed Jim inconspicuously as he quickly gulped down the food. The boy looked so starved and for a moment he thought about the last time he had seen him eating something other than a purp during a short break between his work. Within a few minutes Jim had finished his meal and got up to wash up the bowl.
"So, what's my next job?"
Silver pondered for a moment and told him to check the ropes on the longboats, get some supplies from the pantry, clean the gangways and peel about four sacks of potatoes.
"Ye sure ye can do that, lad?" he asked with a raised eyebrow.
"Yeah, of course." said Jim and went down to work.
His body begged him to just go back to his hammock and lie down for the rest of the day, but he wanted to show Silver that he was strong. He wanted him to be proud of him.
It was late at night when Jim was done with his work. During the last few hours he had had troubles with staying awake. He was tired as hell and the loss of blood still had a dizzying effect on him. He thanked heavens as he had peeled the last potato. With his last bit of strength he put the fourth and last sack in the posterior part of the galley and wiped some small beads of sweat from his forehead. That's when he suddenly saw the blurry silhouette of Scroop standing in front of him."I would ssssleep with open eyesss from now on if I were you…"
Jim gasped in fear and tumbled back over the bench behind him. As he opened his eyes the dark spider was gone. Had he just imagined him?
"Great, now I also start having hallucinations…" he muttered to himself.
He was just about to get up and leave the galley as he stopped at the stairs. Scroop would be in the crew's quarters. Jim shuddered at the plain thought of sleeping in the same room as the arachnid. His feet almost couldn't carry him anymore and in a state of utter exhaustion he decided to sleep in the galley for this night. After looking shortly for a proper place he went into the dark corner next to the potato sacks and sat down. He used one of them as a pillow and lay his head down on it. There surely were more comfortable places to sleep than the hard metal floor of the galley, but he didn't care. He was too tired and it didn't last long until he fell asleep.
In the next morning Jim woke up by someone casually walking down the stairs to the galley. He could hear heavy steps coming nearer and quickly got up, cursing the floor for being this hard as he felt an unpleasant ache in his back. Before the person was in sight he managed to brush off the dirt of his jacket and tried to look as casual as possible. Soon he was greeted by the pink shape shifter, who dashed towards him and licked his cheek playfully.
"Morning, Morph! Good morning, Silver!"
"Aye, Jimbo! Already awake at this time o day?"
The Cyborg stared dumbfounded at the boy, who was standing next to the purp barrel and grabbing on of the fruits.
"Yeah, I-uh, I was hungry and couldn't sleep anymore."
Silver raised an eyebrow at him. He usually had to wake him up every day because he tended to sleep in.
"Is that so?" he asked as he took off his coat and put his apron on.
There was no doubt about Jim getting a little uneasy while the Cyborg threw a suspicious look at him.
"Well, then ye best get som' breakfast and scrub teh astrobarnacles from the keel and clean the crow's nest afterwards."
"Got a purp, that's enough." said Jim, put said fruit in his jacket and hurried out of the galley.
Silver observed him as he was climbing the stairs. Was his cabin boy having some difficulties with keeping his balance? With a frown the ship's cook turned back to the oven.
"Somethin's not right with the lad, Morphy."
"Not right! Not right!"
The next three days went by with agonizing slowness. Jim's physical condition got a little worse every day, and the hard work didn't help either. But despite his injuries and general weakness he had somehow managed it to fulfill all of his duties. Although Scroop left him alone for most of the time, except for some rather hateful glares and muttering insults behind his back, Jim preferred to spend the nights in the galley. He hated to admit it, but he was scared of the arachnid. Fortunately Silver still hadn't found out about him sleeping not in the crew's quarters, and Jim was glad about that. His back cursed the choice of roost, but it was better than not being able to close an eye because he was frightened of Scroop killing him in his sleep.
But that night, Jim was definitely at the end of his strength. He had used up his last reserves of energy and almost couldn't walk straight anymore. As soon as he had reached the corner in the galley where he had spent his last nights, his legs didn't carry him anymore and he collapsed onto the floor.
A faint voice in the distance was all he heard. It sounded upset, no, more like worried, but he couldn't understand what exactly it said. He felt something cold on his shoulder…metal… a metal hand; shaking him gently. That voice again.
"Jimbo? Jim, wake up, lad."
He tried to open his eyes but to no avail. It was like no last ounce of strength was left in his body. The hand shook him again, this time harder.
"Please, lad! Open yer eyes!"
Another sound got through to his ear. High and upset; more a squeak than a voice. It didn't come from a particular direction, it was…as if it was floating around him.
After some more moments, which seemed like an eternity, Jim finally managed to open his eyes. His vision was blurry, but it was enough to recognize who was kneeling next to him.
"S-Silver?" he whispered with an awfully groggy voice.
"Thank heavens, ye're finally back among the livin'!"
Jim was surprised at the unusual both concerned and relieved expression on the old Cyborg's face.
"Well, I had finished me night watch and wanted ta get a lil midnight snack, and then I saw ye lying in that here corner!"
It took Jim a while to think of an excuse.
"I…I must have fallen asleep and-"
"Don't ye talk about fallen asleep!" Silver suddenly blurted out. "Ye were blacked out, lad!"
At this moment Morph had stopped floating around and lowered himself on Jim's belly. Taken by surprise about the sudden cold protoplasm on his wound, he let out a sharp gasp. The pink blob flew back away from him quickly and Silver's frown became even more serious. He had a suspicion and reached for the boys shirt
"No, don't!" begged Jim and wanted to prevent him from pulling up his shirt, but he was still to weak to even lift his arm.
"It's nothing, really."
Silver stared at the large black bruise on the upper part of his body. His expression softened as he looked at him.
"Jimbo, why haven't ye told me that?"
The young man didn't say a word and just looked away.
"I'd never given ye so much work if I'd known! How did ye manage ta do all that anyway?"
"No big deal…"
"Oh, what the heck! YES, it IS!" yelled the Cyborg, but quickly lowered his voice as he saw him wince at his sudden outburst.
"…Jim, why didn't ye just say that ye're still in pain?"
The boy tried to turn his head even more away from him and stared at the wall.
"I…I didn't want to disappoint you, that's why…I…wanted you to…be proud of me."
"Lad…I'm already proud of ye. I'd never thought that ye'll comply yer duties that well. But ye can't gamble with yer health like that!"
"I don't wanna be pitied."
"Oh, I surely don't pity ye…I'm worried about ye."
The last few words made Jim finally turn his head to Silver, and he looked at him with uncertain eyes. He couldn't believe what the Cyborg had just said. He really was worried about him? That meant…he cared for him? A small tear appeared in his eye as the realization sank in.
By now Silver had troubles with holding back his own tears.
Jim smiled weakly and despite his physical condition, he couldn't remember when he had felt so happy before. The Cyborg smiled back at him and cleared his throat.
"So, I think it's best fer ye ta take one or two days off. Ye gotta give yer wounds some time ta heal, do ye get that, Jimbo?"
The boy nodded insightfully and both him and Silver had to chuckle as Morph transformed into a miniature of the Cyborg and repeated with raised index finger and overacted serious expression :
"Do ye get that? Do ye get that?"