Title: Debts, Burdens
Character/Pairing: light preslashy Matthew/Guy, past Matthew/Leila
Author's note: kink meme: Matthew/Guy, hurt/comfort when Guy's seasick on the ship to/from the island.
He's holding back Guy's hair. The pressure is taut, and with the rocking of the boat, even painful at times as the storm tosses them back and forth. He wants the plains, their sureness, their sameness. Here the water is mercurial, even more so in the pull of the storm. The sky is dark, the sea looks angry. He doesn't want to die at sea. He doesn't want to die here. He's still not perfected his swordsmanship. He's still...
Matthew stands above him, his cloak shielding the stinging drizzle away from Guy. Sometimes a particularly violent wave will send Matthew against him until he's all but pinning Guy, but there's little fear – or at least logical fear, not that fear and logic ever had much in common to begin with – that they will fall. Matthew holds them tight with a determined hand. His face is probably as green as his hair and his stomach has butterflies, the sort which make him feel like he's going to lose the rice he just ate, not the sort he associates with love.
"Urf...d-d-damnable s-ship," Guy mutters. "D-damnable s-sea." He knows this will be another strike on his oath paper; Matthew has added three during their time on the island. Twice for backstabbing enemies before they could reach Guy (even though Guy could perfectly have taken them out himself) and once for sharing a blanket during the cold night with limbs touching in the dark. He'd held him tight and whispered Leila... in his sleep. Guy's throat had felt tight, and wondered if Matthew was dreaming the sort of dream that leaves you sadder for having glimpsed paradise and never able to reach it.
Matthew looks out over the water, and murmurs I've got you. He hasn't even got it in him to be teasing. Matthew hasn't smiled since he got the news. All Guy has seen are grimaces, determination and all the sunniness drained away from Matthew. He never thought he'd miss being teased, miss the cat and mouse games Matthew would play with him, adding more to the oath paper until Guy was sure he'd spend most of his life indebted to Matthew.
He doesn't say I'm sorry because it will do no good, because when the blood of his Sacae tribe is spilled, they do not apologize – they honor. When he reaches mainland and away from this damnable sea, this damnable island he will burn incense and release the sweet smoke to pray for her soul. Perhaps this will soothe Matthew's soul as well, so her ghost will not haunt him and will walk on to the sky plane, to live in the house of the stars.
He looks up and feels the sting of the drizzle, icy to his skin. It reminds him that he is alive, and it is the burden of life, of knowing that this whatever that binds them together will unravel Matthew if he loses him too.
"I-I'm going to get off this accursed sea n-no matter what!" Another wave tosses him to the railing, as if the sea were saying Oh, really? Matthew's hand is tight against his shoulder, so tight that his fingernails are digging in. It hurts, and Guy closes his knuckles to white as he clings on. The deck is growing slippery.
They're tight, as tight as the night they shared the blanket, but they aren't discussing this. Probably won't now, maybe never will.
"W-We're getting out of this," Guy says, showing his hand, revealing the presence of the we which has been forming between them.
"Of course. You can't die on me when you owe me so much, in fact, I think this is worth at least one more for the paper. At this rate, we're going to have to get two oath papers to hold it all." Matthew's voice almost regains its former playfulness at this, he can barely hear the trace of the shadow that Leila's death has cast over everything Matthew does.
"D-damn you and y-your favor grubbing w-ways," Guy mutters, though his heart isn't in the insult.
"I just like to think of myself as a good businessmen."
"Y-you're nothing but a thief."
"Ah, but isn't free the best kind of business?" Matthew says. Guy can hear the smile in his voice. But it only lasts a moment, a glimpse of sun before he continues with But then, nothing is ever really free... and Guy can't contest this, can't fix this or right the wrong save for the prayers he will chant for her spirit, and his. He feels lightheaded, but he knows neither of them can take the cold much longer.
"I-I think I can make it in the cabin," he says weakly.
Matthew takes his arm without a word and wraps them both in his sodden cloak asthey stumble beyond the slippery deck, the rolling of the waves to below deck.
Just for a moment, he thinks he'd like to see Matthew regain that smile, whatever the cost.