I hate this chapter. The next one's better. I think. *shrug*

Chapter Nine

Sinbad heaved a long sigh as he sat down in a chair with a bottle of rum in hand, slowly pulling his hand away from his wound. Blood oozed down his shoulder blade as he did so and he grumbled, returning pressure to it. He could really get used to the idea of a life where deadly peril wasn't waiting around every corner. This ship could only take so much abuse before it was driftwood and he was pretty sure his crew could only take so many more incidents of nearly being eaten before they went mad. Was this the kind of adventure Marina wanted? It wasn't as glamorous as she must have supposed it was. She didn't know what she was getting herself into and was probably going to learn that the hard way. He could have lost a lot of men out there today, and it was only by a stroke of luck that he hadn't. Okay, so maybe the kitchen boy could take a little of the credit…

He didn't even bother turning his head at the knock on his cabin door it was so expected. "Not now, Kale. I told you, I'm fine. You're supposed to be steering the ship." The door pried open slightly and someone tentatively cleared their throat. Sinbad turned to see Dimitri regarding him cautiously from the doorway.


"What do you want?" Sinbad turned back around to stare at the wall. "Didn't I tell you to get below deck?"

"Technically this is below deck."

Sinbad fixed him with a glare over the shoulder.

"Okay, look," Dimitri began as he shifted his weight. "I just want to…thank you. I guess. For…you know…"

Sinbad looked at his injured shoulder and snorted. "Yeah, well…it saved me a mess to clean."

A strained silence passed and Dimitri rocked back on his heels. "Right."

Sinbad cleared his throat. "Is that it?"

"Let me take a look at your shoulder," Dimitri offered with a sigh. "You might say that medicine's a little more advanced where I come from, maybe I can…help."

Sinbad huffed, gesturing to his injury with his free hand. "Well I was just going to stitch it up. What did you have in mind?"

Dimitri blinked, looking down at the needle and twine he carried in a hand before folding his arms. "Okay, smart guy, but let me ask you this: how were you going to stitch up your own shoulder one-handed?"

Sinbad awkwardly turned his head to try and get a full view of his wound and set his jaw petulantly when he couldn't. "How do I know you won't try and jam that needle in my jugular?"

"Would I make it off this ship alive if I did?"

Sinbad narrowed his eyes, slowly removing his bloody hand. "…Alright. Fine." He pointedly averted his gaze to a wall as Dimitri stepped over and loomed above him, studying the open gash. He told himself that it was because he was trying to make his wound more accessible, but deep down he was well aware that it was guilt that prevented him from meeting Dimitri's eyes. He supposed the stowaway wasn't as useless as previously suspected, and maybe he would have been just a little sharper and not in need of a rescue if he hadn't been run ragged. Was he being unreasonably harsh on the guy? He hated it when Kale was right—which was always. Sinbad grimaced as fingertips probed the edges of his torn skin. "Where'd you learn to do that, anyway? With the absinthe?"

Dimitri shrugged absently. "You pick things up when you're raised in a warzone. Seen a lot of riots. Hold still."

Sinbad resisted a stubborn comment about the nature of a prisoner giving orders before looking down to see a hand prying the bottle of rum from his grip. The questions caught in his throat as Dimitri poured some of it over the wound and he hissed in pain, jolting away. "Ah, jeez, what th—warn me, would you!"

"There. Worst part's over," Dimitri muttered almost wryly before threading the needle.

Sinbad's sneer melted into a grimace of dull pain as the needle pierced his skin. Alright, so maybe this would have been difficult to do on his own, but he wasn't about to sacrifice his pride by admitting it. Instead he tried to maintain the course of the conversation. "What war?"

"You wouldn't believe me if I told you and you wouldn't understand it if I explained it to you," Dimitri dismissed.

Sinbad shook his head. "Okay. So did you fight in this war?"

A frown. "Not exactly."

If Sinbad didn't know any better he'd say the man was being deliberately evasive. What would a man who's already crazy enough to claim to be from the future be afraid to admit? "I take it you didn't live the gilded life, then."

Dimitri paused before carefully beginning a new stitch. "Where I come from, if you aren't trying not to starve it's only because you're too busy trying not to freeze."


"Charming. Sure."

Sinbad sat in uncomfortable silence as Dimitri finished stitching his shoulder back together, unable to think of anything to say. There was no way he was about to apologize for his behavior, but at the same time he knew that he didn't like this arrangement between them anymore. Tormenting Dimitri was about as satisfying as pushing an old man down a flight of stairs. After all, it didn't take an omniscient god to see that Dimitri wasn't actually the one Sinbad was angry with. This self-assessment made him internally sigh.

"That should do it," Dimitri announced, nicking the twine with a nearby knife and tossing it aside.

Sinbad looked over to see the bleeding had more or less stopped, the sewn together skin discolored and raw, but it would heal. "Not bad," he remarked begrudgingly, his eyes finding Dimitri's blood covered hands. "For a kitchen boy."

"Yeah, well, I'm no surgeon," Dimitri grumbled. He wiped his brow and set the bottle of rum aside. "Anything else I can do for you, Captain?"

Sinbad noticed the slightly cheeky tone, but chose to ignore it this time. "No. Now like I said, get some sleep."

"Gladly." Dimitri nodded and turned away, nearly knocking into Kale as the larger man headed down the stairs.

"Oh," Kale mused, an intrigued expression forming. "Sorry."

"Don't mention it," Dimitri assured as he slid past him. Kale watched him go before turning back to Sinbad.

"What was that all about?" Kale asked suspiciously.


"Come on, Sinbad, don't tell me you were chewing him out again. After he—"

"What? No!" Sinbad turned, but the quickness of the act pulled at his stitches and he winced back. "Ugh, what do you want, Kale?"

"Just seeing if I've been promoted to Captain yet," Kale said dryly, raising an eyebrow at the stitch work. "But it looks like you'll live through this one."

Sinbad snorted primly. "Guess you'll just have to pray a little harder next time."

"I figured with the number of gods you've upset I wouldn't have to." Kale rested a hand on a nearby surface and looked down at the bloody twine strewn across it. "I have to admit, Sinbad, he continues to surprise me."


Kale set a hand at his hip. "You know who I'm talking about."

Sinbad glanced at the stairs where Dimitri had vanished and grunted. "Him. Right."

Kale sighed. "It amazes me that after all this time you still think I don't get you. If you want to go on treating him like the whipping boy, go ahead, but it's not going to make you feel any better about Marina."

"Kale, I don't—" Sinbad snapped, but quickly got a hold of himself, drawing out a slow breath and gently placing a hand over his wounded shoulder. "…I know. Okay?"

"Good." Kale nodded. "So I guess all that's left to ask is: what are you going to do about it?"

Sinbad looked at his stitches and sighed.