LuCarly: I'm writing this because I feel like it. So, ha.

Tetra: Shouldn't you be working on your schoolwork?

LuCarly: Procrastination, my friend. I don't own Zelda.


Black Fingernails

"Favoritism, while poorly understood, seems to be innate and cross-cultural."

- Ingrid Olsen


There are actually a few perks to being the captain's favorite; some are more beneficent than others, but hey, I'd rather deal with lame assets than be stuck below deck fighting off hordes of rats. That's Niko's thing. But, when you find yourself in the captain's favor, forget swabbie duty: you'll be living a somewhat better life, at least, as good as life can get for a pirate who isn't the captain.

Why? It's simple:

1) They usually won't kill you if you refer to them casually.

"Oh my Din," said Tetra, smacking her forehead after seeing the damage done to the ship when Gonzo idiotically drove the hull into Windfall's dock. The fine wood was splintering at the front, and it was blatantly clear that the ship wouldn't be fit for the sailing until it was repaired.

The young captain peeked through her fingers as if to check if she was just imagining that there was a giant gaping hole in her ship, and turned away when she saw it was still there. "Oh my Din," she repeated, heaving her shoulders dramatically.

At this point, Gonzo had already apologized to the blonde at least a thousand times; but even he knew that a million apologies wouldn't make it better. Tetra removed her palm from her face, and turned to her oldest shipmate, asking through gritted teeth, "How the hell did you ram my beautiful ship into the port?"

Gonzo opened his mouth to explain when Tetra held up her hand, silencing him. "Never mind," she said with a sigh, "go tell the boys to make themselves comfortable. It looks like we're going to be here for a while." Gonzo nodded and scurried off before Tetra could completely lose her temper.

"Aw, come on Te-te; it's not that bad," I said encouragingly. I was lying through my teeth though; the damage was monstrous. "We can probably find someone who can fix it."

"Yeah, for 10000 rupees, I'm sure we could find a lot of people who would be willing to fix our ship," sneered Tetra sarcastically. "Unfortunately, have hardly a green rupee to our name. We're just going to have to fix it ourselves. Also, call me Te-te again, and I'll stab you. You're lucky I don't get on your case for not referring to me as Captain Tetra."

"Fine then, Tetra," I mumbled, rolling my eyes.

"That's much better," she said, smirking as she brushed her blonde bangs out of her face. "Now, come on, we're headed to town.

"We?"

"I need to blow off some steam."

"Yes, but why am I included in this?"

"Because I said so."

2) They'll let you in on their secrets.

"LIIIIINK!" Tetra hollered from bellow deck as the sun started to set on already-exhausting day: no, Tetra hadn't worked us all to death, but the anticipation of eventually being worked to death was exhausting in itself. I cringed once I heard her call, unsure of whether I was in trouble or not. Nevertheless, I ventured below deck to meet her in her private cabin.

She sat on her bed with her legs stretched out, practically half-naked as she wore only her worn-down khakis and a bra. I wasn't in the least bit embarrassed, however; this wasn't... the first time I had seen her shirtless. (Tetra has been around men for so much of her life anyway that she doesn't seem aware of the fact that she is actually female. Well, that, or she just doesn't care.) In her right hand was an odd-looking brush that was slowly dripping with a black liquid while her left hand was set forth before her, and she appeared to be painting her nails with the black substance.

"What did you need me for, Captain Tetra?"

"Don't mock me," she said, barely casting me a glance as she held up her painted hand to examine it. "There's a letter to Outset on my desk; can you be a dear and go mail it for me?"

I sighed; I just couldn't win, could I?

"Why are you trying to contact Outset?" I asked.

"For timber."

"Timber? But-"

"But Outset's main export is fish, I know," finished Tetra for me, dipping the brush into a glass vile full of the inky black liquid beside her. "Let me tell you a little secret; why do you think fishing is such a successful trade on your island alone? It's because of the wood that goes into your fishing boats. The wood from the trees atop Outset is simply fantastic: light, yet durable, which allows the boats to venture out further in the sea where the fish are larger."

"How can that be true though?" I questioned, giving her a funny look. "I grew up on Outset, and I've never heard of this."

"Best kept secret, my friend," she said with a wink while starting to paint her other hand. "It's all for economic reasons, you understand; they have more fish than they have wood."

"Well I guess that makes sense," I replied hesitantly, walking over to her desk and picking up the sealed envelope. The ink on the heading was still fresh enough for me to smell it. "Hey, uh... Tetra?" I asked as I started to leave her cabin.

"Yes?"

"Er... what is that?" I asked, pointing at the vile that sat soundly on he bed.

"This?" she inquired, carefully picking it up and holding it up near her face. "Nail polish. It's some new fad in Windfall, apparently. I bought it in the market today."

"I thought you said we hardly have a green rupee to our name."

"Shut the hell up and mail that letter."

3) They'll listen to you... Occasionally.

"Knock knock," I said, leaning up the damp wood of the doorway to Tetra's cabin. Tetra herself laid sprawled out on her bed, her arm cast over her eyes. She groaned, and turned toward the wall.

"Go away."

"Aw, don't you wanna hear about my amazing tale of mailing your letter, Te-te?" I teased, sitting on the edge of her bed.

"Shut-up," she snarled, kicking me harshly in the knee, "I'm trying to take a nap." I frowned.

"I listen to your stupid stories all the time, can you at least listen to one of mine for once?" I complained with a frustrated sigh. She remained motionless for a brief moment before taking a deep breath and sitting up, running her fingers back through her blonde hair as she did.

"Alright, let's hear it," she said groggily. I grinned.

"Well, you're in for a real treat," I said, scooting up closer to her. "So it was really windy when I went outside and-" I stopped myself mid-sentence. Before I could even delve into my story, Tetra had leaned forward and began resting her forehead on my shoulder. Almost immediately, I could feel warmth swell up in my gut and rise to travel throughout my body like a shock of electricity.

I swallowed.

"Tetra, what are you-?"

"You interrupted my nap, therefore, I'm tired," she explained in brief. "You make a pretty damn good pillow though."

I couldn't help my smile and ruffle her already messy hair; even she could be sentimental in her own odd way sometimes. I then paused, and rested my own head on her opposite shoulder, inhaling the moment: the faint scent of salt water that lingered on her skin, the quiet ticking of the broken clock on the wall, the rush of the breeze through the cracked open porthole. "I love you," I breathed, absentminded.

She stiffened and pushed herself off of me. She leaned up against the wall and held her hand out in front of her, ignoring me as she examined her black nails. "You don't think the crew will make fun of me if I go outside with these, will they?" she asked, pursing her lips.

"No, I don't," I replied. "Did you even hear what I said?"

"No, sorry, I don't listen to crap."

4) They'll let you off your duties easy.

Tetra rose from her cabin no less than an hour later, after she had a proper nap. The crew, who originally had been spread out around the deck, chatting and having a shot of whiskey or two, scrambled to stand in line so that she could address them. I came up with her, and suddenly became unsure of whether I should stay beside her, or stand in line with the rest of the pirates. To be safe, I went with the latter.

Tetra stopped before her crew, and silently stared at them for a moment, her hands placed firmly on her hips. From the corner of my eye, I could see the men's eyes focus on her black fingernails, gleaming in the fading sunlight as she impatiently tapped her waist.

After a few minutes of her silent treatment, the crew was becoming nervous; even I felt a little put off. But at least I knew that she was over the ship's crash in the port; she had been since she returned from the market earlier that morning. Unfortunately, the rest of crew was bereft of this knowledge.

Finally, she took a step. She paced casually past Zuko, then Senza... Until she stopped directly in front of Gonzo, the one responsible for damaging the ship. Gonzo stiffened, and the rest of the crew held their breath in anticipation as she moved in closer to him, her arms crossed.

Then, she smiled and stifled a laugh. A collective sigh left the mouth of every man on the ship.

"Well, Link sent a letter for me today to order some more wood to fix the damage done to the hull," she explained, letting her hands falling to her side, "but I don't expect the shipment will arrive for, at the very least, five days. Until then, I see no problem with you all heading out to the market and having some fun." There were a few whoops and even some huzzahs before the crew started filing off the ship. However, before the smallest, Niko, could even reach the gangplank, Tetra had sauntered over to him and pulled him aside.

"Not you," she hissed, pulling him back. "Tonight, you're keeping watch over the ship."

"B-b-but, I'm not the swabbie anymore!" he protested, upset. "Link's the newest and the youngest!"

"Yes, but I'm the captain," she said, flicking his nose. "And tonight, Link gets to go out." Niko let out a frustrated huff.

"Link always gets it easy," he murmured. "He never has to clean the deck, or do everyone's nasty laundry; he always get bigger rations of food, and sometimes, you'll even let him spend the night in your cabin without ever-"

"-You know, it's okay Tetra," I interjected, coughing awkwardly as heat rose to my face. "I don't mind staying behind tonight. Er... I'm actually kind of tired..."

Niko let out a joyous squeal and escaped Tetra's grasp to run and catch up with the rest of the pirates. Tetra only stared at me incredulously as I headed below deck.

5) If they really like you, they may even try to show it.

My assigned bed isn't too bad, actually: it was originally Gonzo's, but she booted him off of it and gave it to me. Unfortunately, at the time, she had only six beds below deck, one for each member of her crew. So when I joined up as the 7th member, Niko had to sleep on the floor for a month until Tetra found it in her heart to spend a few rupees to buy another mattress. Tetra's cabin remains, of course, the most preferable place to stay for the evening.

"Knock knock," said Tetra's voice mockingly from the doorway. I smiled and sat up to see her figure, dimly illuminated by the candlelight.

"Hey, I thought you had went to the market," I said, swinging my legs over the edge of my bed.

"Yeah, well," she began with a shrug, "they all went out drinking. I'm personally not a fan of alcohol; it's great if you need a buzz, but it tastes nasty in general. Besides, there's a reason I wanted you to be off duty tonight: I don't know if you've noticed, but you're the only one who's even remotely close to my age. It's not as fun hanging out with men who are ten years older than me; Nayru, I love 'em, but they're just too old for me."

"So are you saying you'd rather spend your night with me?" I said wryly, smirking.

"Don't push your luck, kid," she sassed as she wrinkled her nose. "Ugh, it smells horrible down here. If I were you, I'd consider burning some incense in those candles before one of you suffocates from the stench," she coughed, feigning choking.

"Hey, you're the one who makes us live down here," I retorted, standing and approaching her. She cocked her brow at me, crossing her arms as she shifted all her weight to her left hip.

"You are welcome in my cabin anytime," she reminded.

"And why is that?"

"Don't ask stupid questions."

"It's not a stupid question!"

She paused, her eyes falling to the ground as she untangled her tanned arms. I took another step toward her and reached out to take her hanging hands into mine, but she closed her fists, disallowing me. "What do you think the reason is?" she asked, turning her cheek toward me.

"I know what I want it to be."

"Then let that be the reason."

"Okay, fine then," I said in exasperation. "If what I want is the reason, then let me kiss you." Her Persian blue eyes widened, but she remained firm in her stance, crossing her arms again.

"You've kissed me before," she stated plainly.

"Then let me do it again."

For a moment, she didn't move. And then, she slowly faced me again, and I took that as an invitation. Gripping her arms, I moved in under her nose and brought my lips to hers. Still, there was no rise out of her... no motion... I felt my heart sink. That is, until she moved one hand onto my shoulder and the other to brush the hair off of my cheek, the slick surface of her painted nails brushing across my skin as she kissed me back. Inwardly, I sighed in relief; perhaps then, she did feel the same.

"Tell the crew anything about this, and I swear to Farore, I'll slit your throat," she growled threateningly after we broke apart. I chuckled nervously. Being the captain's favorite couldn't save me from quite everything.

Fin.


Comments: It's fairly different from my usual approach of TeLink. Well, actually, Tetra's pretty much the same; a sassy and sarcastic softie. But Link can be interpreted in so many ways since he's silent in the installment. So I wanted to portray him as a typical, chill guy, who happens to be completely smitten with Tetra, but for the most part, stays cool about it. Tetra loves him too, but she's much less... expressive.

Also, if you couldn't tell, they were already sort of romantically involved from the beginning of the fic. I tried to make it more subtle, because I hate it when authors are like "Oh btw, they're dating" in the summary or in the first line of the story. (I'm guilty of this, actually.)