Locke was standing, more or less, leaning on the railing and looking out to sea, when Jean came up from belowdecks. Jean came over and joined him at the rail. "Being seasick?" He said, with some attempt at lightness.
"Fuck you." Locke's voice was flat and hoarse. He was dirty and unkempt. He looked, in short, like shit. Jean leaned against the railing and offered no more conversation, not letting himself get pissed, not right now, just watching Locke's weak left arm, hanging limp at his side.
"Wonder what it's like where they are."
Jean blinked. "What?"
"I said, wonder what it's like where they are."
And there was a note of emotion in Locke's voice, though not the one Jean had been looking for, exactly. Bitter, bitter despair. Jean hesitated, then allowed the lie. "Where who are?"
Locke wheeled around and swung for Jean, who caught his wrist easily, feeling the bones brittle under his fingers. "Who the fuck do you think?"
"I want to know if you still know their names."
"Asshole," Locke hissed, and tried to pull away. Jean didn't let him go.
"Hey, at least you're sober. That's a novelty."
"Godsfuckermotherfuckingdamn let go of me!"
"You have another hand. Oh, right, I forgot. You can't use that one. Why? Because you haven't been excercising it."
Locke just snarled and tried to pull away. Jean let him go this time and Locke stumbled back into the railing. Jean saw his face pale rapidly and resisted the urge to hop over and go to his aid. He let out the breath in a hiss. "Bug. Galdo. Calo. Of course I fucking know their names. I paid their motherfucking death price, didn't I?"
"No, thinking, I suppose it's not an issue of you knowing them. More them knowing you. If you're going for a disguise, this is awfully convincing."
"What the fuck do you mean?"
"The Locke I know would never be moping about, half drunk, dirty, a mess. You haven't shaved in nearly a week. And I haven't seen you so much as try to come up with a plan."
"I'm mourning. In case you hadn't noticed, it's my fucking fault they're dead."
"Kind of you, to take all the credit for that."
"Why not? It was my massive fuckup."
Jean shrugged. "Wasn't you who got killed."
Locke's voice broke. "Are you suggesting it's their fault they died you motherfucking asshole?"
Jean seized Locke's shirtfront and dragged him closer. "Godsdammit, of course I miss them! But there's nothing you can do. So why don't we focus on keeping us alive, huh?"
Locke tried feebly to push him away. "Fuck you."
"Right back to where we started," Jean said dryly, and dropped him. He winced when Locke didn't catch himself, just crumpled to a heap. He rubbed his temples. "Gods."
He heard a soft noise from the deck and looked down at Locke. And then blinked. Something was cutting tracks through the dirt on his face. He was so skinny he looked less than a boy, especially curled into himself. Those tracks, though. Jean blinked, and to his shock, another tear slid down his face, silently. His shoulders were shaking.
"They were my responsibility," he said bitterly, "And I fucked it up. I was supposed to protect them. They were my brothers."
Jean felt himself shift a little as Locke's voice cracked. He put his arms around Locke's slender shoulders and drew him into a careful hug. "I know."
Locke hunched his shoulders more. "Godsdammit. I'm sorry. I'm sorry."
Jean took a breath through his nose and told one of the biggest lies he'd ever told in his life. "It's all right. It's going to be all right. Okay? We Gentlemen Bastards, for fuck's sake, aren't we?"
Locke didn't answer, shaking with the cries he kept locked up in his chest. Jean felt his heart clench and gritted his teeth. "Come on. Let's get back inside."
It worried him that Locke didn't both to resist being dragged to his feet and half-shoved, half-carried back to their cabin.