Dinner Aboard The Caspartine

Yvaine and Tristan sit at an old wooden table in Captain Shakespeare's dimly lit chambers. The Captain is a generous host and the table is piled high with food, much of which Yvaine has never seen before. She picks at her food, pushes pieces of it around her plate with her cutlery, deep in thought. She almost jumps when the Captain appears behind her with a pitcher of wine and refills her glass before scuttling away.

"Here," Tristan says softly, leaning towards her and offering her the morsel of food speared on his fork. "Try this, it's good."

Tentatively, she eats what she's offered and it is good. She smiles and nods and this seems to be enough to satisfy Tristan as he smiles back.

Yvaine reaches across the table and helps herself to some of the meat she's just tasted, putting a couple of slices on her plate.

Tristan's relaxed smile turns into a grin. "I was worried you weren't going to eat a thing." His eyes crinkle up at the corner to show that he's pleased

She finishes another mouthful and looks up. "It all looks foreign to me."

"Human food not quite up to standard, eh?" he teases her, the crinkles crease up even more.

"I'm just not used to it." She points to her dinner plate. "This is good though."

"You should try the cheese too. You have to like cheese." He cuts a chunk of a hard cheese with holes in it and slides it on to her plate.

"Are you trying to fatten me up?" Now she's teasing him and is surprised to find that she's actually enjoying his company. She can feel herself glowing ever so slightly around the edges. She can't help it. She never imagined she'd feel this comfortable and relaxed around a human being.

She wonders if Tristan will notice her skin softly glowing with light, like she notices when even the faintest of blushes creeps across his cheeks. He may duck his head to try and disguise it but she still knows, sensing it more than seeing it.

Yvaine doesn't realise that she's been staring. As if on cue, a tinge of red appears on Tristan's cheeks and he blushes under her scrutinising gaze.

"What is it?" he asks, wiping his mouth with the back of his hand. "Do I have something on my face?" The blush increases and he ducks his head so that his long hair falls across his face and conceals it.

"No. It's ok. I'm sorry," she apologises. "It's just…" She stumbles as he looks up, his intent gaze now examining her. Yvaine realises that if she could blush, she would be doing so right now. Instead her glowing halo flickers a little with her discomfort. "It's just," she continues, "I always thought humans and stars were extremely different. And when we met, nothing could be more apparent, but I'm beginning to realise that in many ways we must actually be similar."

Tristan is intrigued. "How?" he asks.

"Well, I suppose, like the fact that I wasn't sure if I could enjoy food and I have. And I was unsure about wearing human clothing but, actually, this is the nicest dress." She touches the midnight blue fabric admiringly. "And I thought," she continues with a smirk, "That I would be sick of you by now and in fact…well… I'm not." Tristan laughs at this final admission.

"I did think we would have nothing in common to talk about," he admits, "But here we are. It's amazing what nearly getting killed together can do."

They share a smile and there is a moment of quiet reflection, as they both remember their shared experiences.

"Thank you again," Yvaine says, finally breaking the silence, "For finding me and saving me from that witch." She reaches over tentatively and squeezes the hand he has resting on the table top. It's an awkward moment but the intent is clear.

"It's ok, Yvaine, you don't have to thank me." She smiles at him. It's then that Tristan notices how her blonde hair shines like she's basking in the sunlight, rather than the faint candlelight of the cabin.

He traces the scar on his left hand and remembers the Babylon candle. "I'm sorry I used up the last of the candle," he says in a rush, his words coming out as a fast jumble. "I guess we'll have to find another way, but I promised I would get you home and I will. I'm sure I'll think of something." He pauses for breath. "I promise," he adds sincerely.

"Maybe we can track down another bubbling candle," Yvaine jokes half-heartedly. Suddenly, the idea of being back in the sky, away from this strange but vivid world with all its colours and characters, makes her feel sad. The emotion throws her off balance. It's like the clouds have darkened around her and the contented glowing stops.

Tristan senses but misinterprets her sadness. "Are you ok?" he asks, "I'm sorry, you must miss your home."

Yvaine nods and her companion looks sympathetic but, inside, she thinks that it might be ok, actually, to stick around on Earth for a little longer.