Heeeeey! It's been a while guys. LOL!

Bit of a filler, but then toward the middle (end?) there is PLOT. Hehehe, surprise ain't it? Like those cupcakes filled with pudding. You're all eatin' the cupcake and then you're all "Whaa? PUDDING? Wow this is great! Icing on the cake!" ... Or, y'know... pudding in the cupcake, as it were.

Or, um, plot in the story...?

Y'know what, forget it. Reading it will be much better anyway...

Oh! And before I go all scatter-brained, be sure to check out my new "How Not to Get Thrown Overboard the Flying Dutchman". It's a sort of rulebook! Very funny, and if you have a suggestion for a rule, review yay!

Ahem, yes, well, I hope you enjoy the new chapter! :D

The next two weeks weren't the best time of Lynn Blackwell's life, but they weren't atrociously awful either. She worked with Bill on rigging some days, helped raise the anchor (as everyone, including Jimmy Legs, had grown accustomed to her verse of "Drunken Sailor"), and the first couple of days helped Hadras with things that needed mending. To her dismay, once the crew found out that she could sew, they came to her whenever they needed anything fixed up. She was happy to do it, but she felt some of them (Hadras said, namely, that it was Ogilvey and Quittance) were taking advantage of her.

It was a bit of a blessing though, because when she was mending something, she'd sit down by the helm and talk to Greenbeard. He didn't much talk back, of course, but he'd said that whatever she wanted to tell him, she could. He wasn't going to be running about blabbing her secrets, and he liked to listen to the stories she told him about when her father was first mate on the Angel May.

She'd gone to Koleniko after her first day, faithfully as Bill had told her, to see if the lash marks on her chest were healing properly. Niko (as the rest of the crew called him and she'd taken to, as well) inspected them with an impressed eye, saying Bill had done a fair job and that those were alright. But, he'd also caught sight of the ones on her leg, which had begun aching her terribly. They'd darkened, almost so as to look like a bruise, and he was alarmed; after a closer look, he told her it was his opinion that they'd become infected.

She was surprised, and her heart filled with worry when he'd said that. Her next course of action, logically, was to ask what he could do about it. After a moment more of looking at it, he told her to lie down in her hammock and wait. When he returned, he had a bottle of rum and a rag. He carefully soaked the rag with rum, and proceeded to slop it about on her leg, making sure it burned each and every inch of the wounds.

She shrieked as it happened, but then bit back her cries. It felt horrible, and the second he was done she shouted at him, "What the hell was that for?!" He laughed, wrapping up her leg with seaweed, in lieu of bandages. He said that doctors used alcohol to offset infections, and as rum was the only type of alcohol they had at the time, it would have to do. He sat there with her for a moment once it was wrapped, holding her legs down to keep her from kicking out of agony and expressing his hope that this would kill the infection.

A good doctor he may have been, but brutal, too.

She could barely limp round the ship for the rest of the day. She whimpered under her breath, and stuck out her leg as she sat by the helm, mending. Every now and then she would hunch over and start crying, though it was usually short-lived. She knew she couldn't take too much time to drown in self-pity, or she'd feel the sting of the whip again. But for God's sake, it felt like an entire bottle of iodine had been dumped on the injuries.

Thankfully, Niko had checked on it before she went to bed that night, and it was much better. The color had lightened up, making him sigh with relief, and he promised her that tomorrow, he'd give her an entire bottle of rum to drink. (Though he warned her she probably didn't want to down in it one gulp if she didn't want to be vomiting the entire day.) He wanted to keep it covered with seaweed till it was completely healed though, because he said infections couldn't thrive as easily if they weren't exposed to the air.

She decided she had to try to stop wallowing in her pain, because she was almost sure she'd seen Davy looking at her in pity one time when he'd come out. Bill and Clanker were one thing, but she must really be pathetic if the Captain felt bad for her.

All in all, though, within a week her leg was much better, and in fact so were the lash marks on her chest. She'd gotten a lash to the back a few times while she was raising anchor with the others, and she thought that perhaps she should find another layer to wear like a coat during that. She had only her shirt, since she'd taken to not wearing her corset, and she'd noticed that the others didn't usually have as much pain as she did after that, probably because they didn't just have one layer. (The ones who went shirtless, though, oh! The pain must rival hers even.)

Niko was getting annoying, as he kept pulling her aside every time she received a lash after raising anchor. He said that with her apparent vulnerability to infection, he ought to take precautionary measures and guard the wounds against becoming infected with a rag of alcohol each time. (She wouldn't have thought he knew words like that, but the right agony of his irritating "precautionary measures" would teach her to judge, wouldn't it?)

She'd learned Liar's Dice from Clanker, though she lost poorly. Whenever anyone played with her, they didn't bother wagering because she had yet to win a single game. And if by some fluke of the fates she did win, they all knew the only one she'd hold anything over was Jimmy Legs, who refused to play with her.

Speaking of whom, Jimmy had stopped waking her up every morning, and now it was either Hadras or Clanker who got her up before he could turn his cat on her. They figured if she was already awake, what reason would he have to whip her awake? None! She found herself both amused by and grateful for their plan.

She discovered that Clanker and Hadras were good friends as well, since Hadras wasn't particularly cruel either. He really was a sweet lad, and she found out he'd been younger than she was when he'd come aboard the ship to serve; he'd been just a few weeks shy of his twenty-first birthday. He didn't quite have it in his heart to commit truly heinous acts. Mostly he just tried to follow orders and stay out of trouble.

Of course, the youngest got taken advantage of, though. There was one time she'd come back from noon mess to find that he'd gotten his head knocked off again, which wouldn't be so bad to remedy in itself; however, seemingly just to make her upset, she saw that Ogilvey, Quittance, and the Twins were playing a disturbing game of keep-away with it. And his body was just bumbling about looking for it, poor dear, while his head shouted various Japanese obscenities (well, she assumed he was rather cursing them out - she would be!) at the three.

She'd also found a few new friends - Finnegan (who she called Finny), Jelly (who was like Hadras, but grinned more), and Palifico (who mostly served as a guard).

Finnegan had looked intimidating at first, because he snarled, but Niko explained to her that he just had a condition with his lip, and couldn't really make any other expression. He was actually a pleasant fellow.

Jelly liked to joke with her, and even though some of them weren't funny she laughed anyway. It wasn't like she could listen to his laugh and not laugh along, that was impossible.

Palifico she didn't see that often, but when she did they liked to watch the stars together. He was a quiet one, and it was usually him that calmed her down if she couldn't find any of her other mates.

She knew everyone told her, the whole ship was downright ruthless. But so far, she had yet to see the brute in anyone but Jimmy and Davy. (Well, and Maccus.) She thought they were good mates, most of them.

As the date for making port approached, everyone got a lighter mood about them. Maccus was more cheery in leading the shanties; people stopped stealing Hadras's head just because it was funny; hell, even Jimmy lightened up a bit on everybody. Lynn had thought that first day, that she would want to go on land with them as well. She did want to, sort of... but she still wanted to know what was the matter with Davy.

She knew that Bill had told her the problem was his temper; she was certain it was deeper than simply that. There was something in his eyes that first day, she knew it. Something that said he wanted to trust her, but he couldn't. Like something about her struck him as untruthful; made him uneasy. She had to find out why. It killed her, not knowing, because by this point more than half the ship trusted her. So why couldn't he?

Maccus said they made port every three months, and she showed up two weeks from their next date. So this would be her only chance for three more months to be alone with Davy and figure out what it was about her that he couldn't trust. (Not to mention, if she tried to go into his cabin and talk any other time, Jimmy'd probably get on her for slacking; that, or she'd be thrown out.)

It was a miracle Jimmy didn't even turn his whip at them as they turned the capstan and dropped anchor at the port. Most of them were already wearing cloaks and such. (She knew Niko had said "disguises" before, but to her it looked like they were asking to be stared at.) It took less time than normal, since they were all anxious to get onto land.

Maccus had been the main one bragging 'bout "cracking Jenny's teacup" or some talk like that. Niko had rolled his eyes at that, explaining to Lynn what it meant, and told her not to worry; with all the rum he was planning to bring back, he'd get Maccus drunk enough to be quiet for once. Hadras didn't know what he was most excited about yet, but Lord was he excited. Clanker said he was looking forward to lying about on the sand for awhile, with nothing to do but sleep.

Not to mention, the one thing that got them all hyped: the sun. There wasn't a single man aboard who wasn't eager for the sun's warmth on his skin. Lynn was a bit amused - after all, if it turned out to rain while they were on land, she was sure she didn't want to be anywhere near the riot they'd start.

She got out of the way and Clanker stumbled out. She went over and chuckled, reaching up and adjusting the scarf he'd tied round his head, beneath his hat. "Honestly, Clanker, y're gonna kill yourself tryin' to see with this thing over your good eye."

He shrugged. "Aye, I may 'ave tae take it off. Cannae barely see wha's..." At that point, he took a step and promptly fell onto his face. "... In front o' me," he finished, mumbling into he deck where he'd landed.

She resisted a laugh at his expense and grabbed his arm. "You're taking it off and that's final, me good sir." She hauled him up to his feet, snatching the scarf away from him. "You won't be stumbling about 'n' running into things any more than usual, not on my watch."

"Aww, ye're not any fun, Miss Lynn." He crossed his arms once he'd gotten back up.

The others were gathering around her, probably wanting to protect her from the very thing they were about to greet with open arms; alcohol and the pleasure of the flesh. "Aye, 'n' ye don't even have ta dress up like the rest o' us," Maccus complained, though he was grinning.

"Agreed," Koleniko snorted. "I mean, wha' is this, a damn masq'rade er somethin'?"

"Actually, lads..." She took a step back, rubbing her arm. "I changed my mind. I was figurin' I'd stay behind for this one. I'll go with you next time though."

There was an outcry from many of them. "But ye have ta come!" Hadras complained, grabbing her arm. "I wanted ta split a beer wit' ye!"

"Lass, ye said ye wanted ta come earlier," Koleniko added, blinking at her with both eyes.

"Th-That was the first night I got here, Niko!" she defended.

"Won't be 's fun 'n' smiley wit'out ye, Miss Lynn," Clanker frowned. "All it'll be wit'out ye is this'n..." He jerked a thumb at Jimmy. "Takin' bets on 'ow much 'e can drink 'fore 'e passes out! T'ain't a good situation fer anyone whether 'e wins or loses!"

Jimmy growled. "Ye'll be the firs' one gettin' a lashin' when we get back, mate! 'N' I'll be lookin' forward ta it!"

Lynn stepped forward a little, spreading out her arms. "Alright, alright," she called, a bit nervously. If a fight broke out, she wouldn't be able to stop it. "Now, boys, let's calm down. No need to start at each other's throats like animals."

Jimmy pointed his cat at her. "'N' ye'll be the second one gettin' it, lass!"

She glared at him. "Fine, then! I couldn't care less! But right now, you shut yer bloody mouth 'n' leave Clanker alone, he didn't do nothin' to you. Ain't his fault he's disappointed. 'N' I'd bet that is all you're plannin' to do, ain't it?"

He opened his mouth to retaliate that no, he had other things planned. But after a moment of standing there impersonating a dying fish, he cracked his whip on the deck and closed his mouth, crossing his arms over his chest. "... Ye're stupid. And a girl. Stupid girl."

She kept herself from aiming a kick at him, and just rolled her eyes. "Fair enough, bo'sun. Now kindly refrain from addin' any more to the conversation, thank you."

"Wha' changed yer mind, Lynn?" Maccus asked, walking forward.

She shrugged. "Well, I just... you know, you said Captain can't go on land but once in ten years. Yet you all get to make port every three months. I just wondered... how must he feel?"

"Glad we're off ship fer a day," Hadras answered. "That way he c'n be alone 'n' not have ta deal wit' any o' us."

"I think tha's true," Clanker agreed, looking over at Lynn. "'E likes it better alone any'ow, Miss Lynn. Rather 'ave the ship tae 'imself fer a while."

"I don't like that idea much either, Lynn," Bill spoke up. "It would worry me ta have you... alone here wit' 'im. Thinkin' of what might happen if none of us were here ta protect ye."

She put her hands on her hips. "You all know that I don't always need your protection just because I'm a woman... right?"

She looked at Maccus. "Maccus, you were the one that took me aboard, and I thank you for that. But I am capable of getting out of unsavory situations without your help."

He looked down at the deck, muttering something he was probably hoping she didn't hear as he stiffly straightened the cloak about his top half.

Then over at Koleniko. "Niko, you got my leg to heal. I'm grateful for that, but I'm not so clumsy as to hurt myself if you're not there to fuss over me. You're the coxswain, not my mum."

He couldn't bring himself to meet her eyes either; instead he rubbed his neck, looked away, and cleared his throat.

She looked at the youngest of the group. "Hadras, I love that you look up to me, and I enjoy doing things with you. But truth is, sometimes I just..."

"Need time away from me?" His voice had gotten higher, and she swore he looked like he was about to cry.

"Yes - well, no, no!" She shook her head. "Time away from everybody. You know, with just one other person. You know how crammed we are on the ship, especially in the hammocks. It'll be nice for all of us."

He pouted. "Aye. Watashi wa shitte iru."

She turned her head. "And Clanker, it's very sweet of you to want to defend my honor or... what have you. But there are times I can defend my own honor, savvy?"

He wrung his scarf tight in his hands, sighing and making eye contact for maybe two seconds before jerking his eyes down.

She looked at the last member of her little group. "And you, Bill, have been an absolutely wonderful friend to me. We'll always be friends, won't we?"

He glanced down, but then unlike the others, he looked back up. "Lynn, you gave me your word. No closer'n necessary."

She took a step forward and grasped his shoulder. "I know. I know I did, but... you have to understand, Bill, that for me, this is necessary." She looked right into his eyes. "I must investigate here and find my answer. If I don't, the next eight years of my life are going to be miserable."

She gave a look to all of them, drawing away from Bill. "And believe me, lads, if the next eight years of my life are miserable, I will make sure the next eight years of yours are half a step from hell." She doubted she could really do that, but she would definitely try.

After a moment of silence, Clanker took off his hat briefly. "Sorry, Miss Lynn," he mumbled. "We jus' worry 'bout ye, tha's all."

"Aye - we don't want ye gettin' hurt," Koleniko added.

"'N' we know what the captain's capable of," Maccus interjected.

"Y'ain't been here long," Hadras spoke up, surprising everyone. When they all looked over, there were tears shining in his eyes, but he was stubbornly holding them in. "If ye make Captain mad, he could change 'is mind... anata gata wa, watashitachi no yō ni owaru kamo shirenai."

She took a breath, then briefly looked down. When she looked back up, she stepped forward and wrapped her arms around Hadras. "Love, it's alright. I won't do anything to make him angry."

He put his arms around her too, and even as a couple tears slipped down his face, he didn't make any noise. "Y-Ye cannot be like us," he said clearly, closing his eyes. "Iie. Never."

"Oh, Hadras." She patted his back lightly, rubbing her hand across his back, over the cape he was wearing. She held him tight and pressed her face into his shoulder. "I promise you, I'll be fine. You don't have to worry 'bout me. When you come back, everything's going to be just the same as when you left. I give you my word."

"Ye gave me yer word too," she heard Bill say.

She threw him a mild glare, then let go of Hadras. "Nothing's going to change, I promise. Savvy?" She gripped his arms tightly. "Now! You dry your eyes, lad. Don't dare concern yourself wit' me. You go out there, 'n' you have a bloody good time in my stead! I'll come along next time, I swear it."

He quickly wiped the tears away, taking a deep breath. "Hai, Lynn-san."

"There's a good lad, now." She gave him a soft punch on the shoulder. "Don't let worries cross your mind once today." She crossed her arms and looked at the others, smiling. "I should think you'd all want to get going. Don't want to waste your one day in three months, do you?"

They all looked at each other, seeming to have some sort of nonverbal conversation between them. Except for Jimmy Legs. He extended his hand, and his whip came at her. At first she flinched, afraid she was going to be lashed again. But to her surprise, its handle just hit her arm and fell to her feet. She opened her eyes, then raised an eyebrow.

"Keep 'n eye on that fer me, lass," Jimmy grunted, waiting for no one and climbing down onto the ground. "Maybe ye can figure out 'ow ta use it. Give ye more r'spect fer it the next time I lash ye wit' it!" He proceeded to walk off, laughing loudly at a joke that nobody else thought was funny.

She sighed and tucked it into the belt of her pants. "Aye, bo'sun, sir. Might respect it so much I'll have to try it out when you get back," she hissed through clenched teeth, and she actually fingered the handle as if considering it.

Maccus snickered. "Ye know, I'd pay more ta see that than I would ta see tha' l'il whore-"

Koleniko elbowed his mate harshly in the ribs. "Maccus! We're in polite comp'ny 'ere."

"Aye," Hadras agreed, grabbing Maccus's arm and pulling him toward the side of the ship to go down. "Lynn-san be a lady!"

"Pfft, ye think I ain't seen that? I can't stop lookin'!"

Clanker smacked Maccus's shoulder. "C'mon, mate, be decent fer once. Y'are cap'ble of it, ain't ye?"

Hadras gave the shark-man a push. "Lynn-san! Do ye want me ta get anythin' for ye?"

"Oh no, that's fine, Hadras." She barely held back a few giggles. "You don't have to spend your money on me."

Clanker put his hat back on before tipping it to her and following the others. "We'll see ye soon, Miss Lynn. 'Ope ye find wha' ye're aimin' tae find, 'n' I 'ope it's worth it."

"Oh, it will be. Don't have too much fun wit'out me now, lads," she called, raising up a hand good-bye.

Bill looked back at them, then at her. He took her hand. "Lynn," he said lowly, leaning in closer, "I trust you. But I don't trust the captain. Far's ye know, ye're walkin' on thin ice here, savvy? Just be careful. Don't do anythin' like ye did yer first day."

She nodded, squeezing his hand reassuringly. "Aye, Bill. I'll tread lightly."

"Good." He shook a finger at her. "'N' I'll be holdin' ye to it this time."

"Of course." She smacked his shoulder. "Now, go on and enjoy your day! And I will know if you didn't. I can sense it. You know, through Hadras being honest when I ask 'im."

She didn't think it was possible for anyone to roll their eyes out of their head, but Bill came pretty close. "Oh, I fear ye, Lynn. Ye got yerself a cat 'n' no idea how ta use it."

"I do so!" She pulled it out of her belt. "One day, the Angel May's bo'sun decided it was high time I learned!"

With that, Bill backtracked and was off the ship before she could flick her wrist. "Have a good day, Lynn!"

"Bill! What in God's name are you running for?" She leaned over the bulwark, waving the whip in the air. "The one lesson he gave me only lasted five minutes!"

She pouted and crossed her arms over her chest with the cat, closing her eyes as she twirled around. "Well, fine then."

When she opened her eyes, she found that, to her shock, she'd nearly run into the captain. How on Earth did he keep getting so close so fast? He gave her a not-quite smile - more like a smirk - and crossed his own arms over his chest. "Just us, now, Miss Blackwell?"

I hope ye all enjoyed! Writin' the next chapter now, it shall have MUCH one-on-one with Davy and Lynn. *wink wink nudge nudge*

Davy: Wha' are ye talkin' 'bout? None o' tha' happens, readers. Jus' thought I'd let ye know, she's got a righ' dirty mind. Sorry 'bout tha'.

Japanese translations for Hadras!

Watashi wa shitte iru = I know

anata gata wa, watashitachi no yō ni owaru kamo shirenai = you might end up like us

iie = no

hai = yes

-san = equivalent of Mr./Mrs./Miss/Ms. (Hadras is using "Miss" for Lynn)