Rin awoke with a pounding headache. She slowly eased herself up and stroked her head with her fingertips. She opened her eyes and glanced around to see where she was. She was in a room that wasn't used very often which was good. She didn't need any more loud noises. The ringing in her head was painful enough.
"How are you feeling?"
Rin suddenly looked over to see Pullings sitting in a chair beside her hammock. He seemed relieved she had awakened.
"Headache…" Her voice was scratchy from the salt water that she had swallowed. She needed something to drink.
"Here, the doctor left this for you. It should help with the pain." He bent down and brought back up a glass of cloudy water. Rin took it and brought it up to her lips. The water tasted stale and whatever the doctor had put into it, made it taste even worse. She grimaced after swallowing and she heard Pullings chuckle. He wiped his face then got up from his chair. It made a scratching sound against the wood with his movement.
"I better leave you to rest, I just wanted to make sure you got that medicine."
"Warely? How –?"
She settled back into her hammock relieved. She was so worried that her diving under the water for that length of time would've hurt him. But he was okay. In celebration she took another sip of her drink, then grimaced forgetting the awful taste. Pullings smiled at her warmly, making the scar on his right cheek lift. She smiled back weakly; she was starting to feel very dizzy. She needed to rest some more. She looked back at him, seeing if he had anything else to say, but the look on his face troubled her. His eyebrows were knit together as if he was trying to control an inner battle in his mind. He fumbled with his coat buttons and opened his mouth getting ready to say something then against his better judgment shut it again. He seemed to dismiss himself for he turned briskly and walked out, closing the door behind him.
Rin settled her head back on her pillow, the hay inside the cotton case crackling under the weight. She could only guess what had caused Pullings peculiar behavior. It was her. What she had done to save Warley. No normal human being could've accomplished such a task. The Captain had recently caught onto her powers and against his better judgment accepted her and them. He saw no harm in her as a person. Of course it had taken some explaining and some subtle pleading to let her stay aboard the Surprise. She told him of her feeling. The one she had when she was at the port, surveying the ships. This one had stuck out to her. He didn't seem worried about this seeing that he had everything under control but not having the heart to toss her off at the next port. They were already far off out sea when someone discovered her hiding near the rum barrels down below. The swinging of the ship put her in an unconscious daze placing a damper on her running thoughts; her eyelids heavy as lead. Before she was able to take another sip, darkness over took her.
The next time Rin awoke from her coma-like sleep, Will, the small boy with platinum blonde hair and freckles, accompanied her. The boy who had acclaimed Rin's heart the day he laid in that hammock, his arm punctured three times, showing signs of gangrene. His body shivered from his growing fever. They finally had to get him into operation. Luckily, she was able to sedate him. She wouldn't be able to handle watching the boy fight back against the agony he was about to face. The ending result was the loss of his right arm. Now he sat, staring at her wide-eyed, as did every other man on the ship. They all had a tendency to stare anytime she entered a room or came above deck to breath the fresh salt air. She never knew why they were so curious, but it never bothered her. She slowly brought a hand up, her arms feeling like they were filled with sand, and brushed her fingertips along her lips. They were dried out and cracked. Will sat up from his chair and crossed over to her side, making him her same height even though she was still lying down. He slowly brought up another murky glass of water and placed it in her hand. Rin slowly sat up, every movement more difficult then the first and gulped the water down. She actually felt fine now. Her body had healed, but it was the laying in bed for-what must it have been? Two days? She looked to Will and smiled softly. His frown turned up into a lopsided grin for a split second then toned down to a frown once more. Even so, his face, full of youth and innocence made her heart ache.
"What's wrong?" she almost whispered, not wanting to startle him with her renewed voice. He looked at her then back down again, his eyes searching for something interesting on the floor to distract him. She was about to say something encouraging to him, to help him along, when he spoke.
"Some of the men, they're saying things about you." Rin was taken back. She hadn't expected that, although she should have. In times like these, it wasn't good to be different. Even if you did end up saving someone or kept them from excruciating pain, like having your arm cut off... Her thoughts slowly came to a halt as she glanced over at the little boy in front of her. Yes, even though the talents that you may have help, it isn't good to be different. Slowly she faced him. "It's okay. You don't have to be sad for me." He looked up, innocently searching her face for some meaning. "The Captain will make it alright." she assured him.
Will nodded, lifting his chin high in the air, wounding his arms behind his back. He ducked his head, softly whispered a "Ma'am" and turned out the door.
She knew he would've sooner or later. At least until she had acquired enough energy to stand, let alone walk. Now she was well and standing in his doorway watching him pace angrily around his office, his back to her. He kept his anger bottled up inside until the shipmate who had come to fetch her nervously shut the door behind them. Captain Aubrey turned slowly to face her, his eyes furious and his posture strong.
"What, may I ask, had crossed your mind to make you pull a stunt like that?"
Rin, were was taken back by his sudden anger, though she shouldn't of been surprised, answered carefully. "Warely was drowning." She said simply, questioning whether he had forgotten the perilous state of one of his crew. His words came out in rush. "And you decide to take it upon yourself to be the hero." He didn't say it as a question, it had come out as a known fact. Rin watched him carefully, waiting, knowing he would have more to say. He brought his hand up to his head and wiped the sweat away, sighing heavily. "Don't mistake my harsh words for ungratefulness." He looked at her. " I am grateful."
Rin nodded slightly, knowing what he said was true. He continued. "But you have to understand. This is a war ship. Casualties are bound to happen and you can't interfere every time one happens to occur."
What he had just said angered her. Was he telling her that Warely's rescue was a mistake?
"What was I supposed to do?" she cried out, "Let him drown when I knew I could saved him?"
He matched her fury with eye-to-eye contact. "No, my dear, you just simply waltz right off the back of the ship and make it back on alive!"
"Your saying it was a mistake—"
"I'm saying it was a careless decision. Not the wrong one."
"You can't save everyone!" he yelled fiercely, making her stare back at him with wide eyes. He matched her gaze; probably unbelieving he had just released so much anger on a woman. But no matter how angry he would get, she would not let up. Interfere or not. She was supposed to be here. She had felt it. Slowly and breathing heavily, he walked over to his desk and sat. The chair creaked when he reclined, and brought a hand up to shield his eyes. "You can't do things like this." He spoke again, much softer this time, "it's inevitable that someone will discover you're different. Some of the men are already taking notice. Some even know." Rin listened quietly, at times wondering if he was even talking to her or to himself. He sighed to himself. "I told you to stay in that cabin." He looked up at her, "I don't like my orders to be tested." With that he begin pacing the room, his face distorted with thought. Abruptly, he said, "I don't how I'm going to explain your little folly. How you miraculously swam back to the ship in a godforsaken storm."
"Then don't." He looked at her as if she had spoken in French, the very language of his enemy. He blinked several times, attempting to control his anger.
"I beg your pardon?" he said in a low whisper. He strode over to her until he was only a couple of feet in front of her.
"Tell them! Show them what I can do." She flung her hand in a random direction as if showing him the path to all his answers then looked at him with passion filled eyes. "Tell them I only want to help."
"That can't be done." He said. She couldn't tell if he was sorry or just plain angry. She kept her eyes fixed on him, waiting for a further explanation. Instead, he changed the subject, "Do you realize how hard it is to keep you hidden down there in that cabin? The men know better then to question something that isn't their business, but I see it in their eyes how curious they are of you. You're a young woman aboard a ship full of men? It's just asking for trouble."
"I'm not causing trouble. The men know better—
"My men are distracted." He looked at her, his eyes fierce but questionable like he wanted her to come up with a solution to her being onboard the Surprise. He shook his head and sighed gruffly. "You continue to stay down below until further notice, understood?"
She didn't like how this conversation turned out. She was hoping to gain his trust and let her help. That's why she was there after all. She slowly turned and strode to the door then turned half way back to him. "A day will come when you'll need me and my abilities. And I will help," she said smoothly, "Maybe then, they will accept me."
For once, Rin was happy to be going back to her dark cabin. She didn't feel like talking to anyone and she just wanted to sit on her stool and watch the ocean pass by. But when she reached her door someone else was waiting for her. He was staring out the window, her window, and fidgeting with an object in front of him that she couldn't see. When he turned around, the object turned out to be his hat. He had crumpled and un-crumpled it, a sign of nerves, an action she had also started to notice when the other men were around her.
"Oh, uh, do you have a minute?" Nagle said. She stared at him, taking in his nervous state and nodded slightly. He didn't hesitate to start.
"I wanted to thank you for saving Warley, he's doing well and he was my, is my friend. Heh. Thanks to you." He stumbled over his words but he stood tall, wanting to seem stronger then he was at this current moment.
"It doesn't matter. I just did what I thought was right." She said simply wanting the conversation to be over. Nagle didn't seem to catch on.
He straddled, swaying slightly, not wanting end the alone time he was sharing with her. No one ever was able to be alone with her. She was a woman after all and the rest of the crew was respectable. It didn't change the fact that she was beautiful and many of the men, including himself, had to have her. No one ever uttered these thoughts.
"What you did was amazing. Truly amazing! The way you jumped off so graceful like and…" His talking got quieter as he seemed to think back to that night. He suddenly shook his head, remembering his place. "Well, I better get back up there." He turned to go then turned back abruptly. "You are alright?"
She gazed and him and silently nodded. He smiled softly then brought his hand up to his forehead, saluting her as he left her. Sad Rin looked around the empty cabin with the one window looking out to the sea and her favorite window cushion. Alone again, she thought. Then she went to the window and sat.
Nagle lifted off a piece of cloth from his drinking cup and brought it to his lips, his eyes never leaving the "Jonah." He heard the story about the real Jonah from the Bible; the man who was tossed over board by his crew when they found out he was the cause of all their bad luck. He was feeling an overwhelming sense of confidence ever since he had talked to "the Angel." He licked his lips, remembering her crystal-like eyes on him and her bold posture that she held. She also had looked extremely sad. But no matter, he had told any man, who had come to talk to him about Will, his encounter with her and that they exchanged words. But despite his great brashness he was feeling now, he always had his eyes on this weakling they were supposed to call a leader. He had no idea how to govern this ship and he couldn't care less if they all drowned in the sea. It was his fault, he remembered, that Warley had fallen overboard. He hadn't got to him fast enough. It was his fault. He nudged his scrubbing partner with his elbow and jutted his chin in Hollom's direction.
"It's like Killick says. Morning of the battle, he doesn't have the guts to beat to quarters. Then his entire gun crew's killed. Soon as he went up the mizzen, Will falls." He could see Hollom looking at him, listening to what he had to say. Good, he thought. He looked back to Hollom. "And whose watch was it when we lost our wind?"
He glanced in his direction once more, than continued to scrub faster, as if he had never opened his mouth. Hollom didn't look stern or angry; he looked nervous, unsure of what to do. Nagle scrubbed back and fourth, back and fourth until a foot that had suddenly appeared slammed on his stone and stopped his scouring instantly. He quickly glanced up and his eyes widened at the beauty before him. There she was, on deck for all to see, standing before him, her eyes burning with intensity at him. His mouth slowly parted as he took in the full sight of her.
She wore a sheer white gown that touched to the floor, almost covering her foot, and her hair was down, creating a striking color contrast of black and white. A slight breeze blew through the sails and whipped through her as well, sending her hair fluttering away from her face and her dress tugging at the curves of her body. It sent Nagle's heart racing. She continued to stare, piercing him with her sapphire eyes. She slowly began to turn and strolled over to Hollom and stood in front of him and stared as well, not saying a word. Everyone waited and watched her carefully. Her face seemed to soften and turn sad. If Nagle had blinked, he would've missed the brief nod of her head to Hollom. Then she then turned and exited through the door that led down below.
Hollom stared at the door through which Rin had disappeared. He could feel everyone's gaze on him and a blush spread across his face. Awkwardly, he pulled down his vest and cleared his throat and pretended to occupy himself by overlooking the crew on deck.
Nagle's companions around him had started scrubbing again. Nagle continued to stare straight ahead. Had she really heard him? Heard the things that he said about Hollom? He hadn't even heard her come on deck let alone walk up to him. She had given him a fierce look. He had no doubt that she was angry with him. An angry jealous feeling spread over him just then and it showed on his face. Why should she care about that leaderless coward? Did she pity him? A Jonah? Despite the intense gaze she had given him, he would continue his pursuits against Hollom, let him know he wasn't appreciated, let alone respected. What could she do about it?