All characters © their respective owners
KN: On the thirteenth day of Christmas my true love wrote for me…
Warnings: Easily ignorable hints of a minor characterXHans. Luke is not an OC. First SoA fic ever!
"Are we visiting your hometown again?" Fina asked Vyse as she watched Lawrence steer the prototype warship to the island in the distance.
"Yep!" Vyse answered quickly. "It's kind of a tradition around this time."
"Oh, that's right!" Aika piped in. "You wouldn't know this, but ever year around this time, one of Vyse's dad's crewmates devises a little challenge for Vyse!" she explained. "It's part of the celebration and also to make sure that Vyse keeps his skills sharp."
"Sharp?!" Vyse echoed. "Don't tell me you forgot how Mabel challenged me to a loqua drinking contest that one year! How was that supposed to teach me anything?" Aika giggled at that.
"You're just upset that I could put it away better than you could!" she accused teasingly. Fina tilted her head a little.
"Why would they give you a challenge during a celebration?"
"Oh, it's all just for fun, Fina." Vyse assured her. "And besides, I always get something good out of it."
"Was wondering when you'd get here." An amused voice asked when Vyse departed from his ship. Vyse looked up to the tree branches where the voice had come from. A flash of red was all he needed to see to know who it was. "Ready to lose again?"
"Not this time, Luke!" Vyse answered as the man jumped down from the limbs. Luke smirked at the response as the rest of the crew filed out from Vyse's ship. It had been a while for the Delphinus to visit Vyse's hometown. "So what's the challenge now? Knife skills, thieving skills, or treasure hunting?"
"It'll definitely be treasure hunting." Luke answered. Vyse raised a brow at that. Luke usually never told him outright what the challenge would be until the man had already started the timer. He kind of played dirty that way, but a challenge was a challenge.
"Hey, Luke!" Hans exclaimed as he ran over. "It's great to see you again."
"Likewise." The red-haired thief answered. Vyse tilted his head a little. Since when was his engineer a friend of one of his father's thieves? Luke turned to face Vyse. "Well, whenever you're ready, Vyse. This year, I've only got one treasure hidden on the island. You've got 25 minutes to find it."
"Bring it on, then!" Vyse declared.
"…" Vyse had already explored the base and the town and the buildings, but it was nowhere to found. The only place he didn't check was Aika's room, and it wasn't like she'd let him in there. He wouldn't put it past Luke to store it in the one place he wasn't allowed to be in on the whole island.
'Where could it be?' he thought. 'The island's not that big…'
"Ready to give up yet?" Luke asked smugly.
"It's only been 20 minutes." Vyse stated. Aika then came out of her room with a wide smile.
"I checked all over, and there's no treasure in there. It's definitely not in my room."
"Are you sure you checked everywhere?" Vyse asked.
"Why can't you just look somewhere else?!" the boomerang-user asserted, her hands on her hips. Fina laughed at that.
"I guess Vyse can have a one track mind sometimes."
"Hey!" Vyse yelled indignantly. He then frowned in thought. "Where else haven't I checked yet…? The vegetable patch, maybe?"
"Don't go digging in there, Vyse. You know how important those vegetables are to the town." Luke said. He leaned back against the wall of one of the buildings. "If you want, I'll give you a hint. There's a reason why only you can do this challenge. Aika would definitely fail it."
"Hey!" Aika yelled indignantly. "What's that supposed to mean?! I can do anything that Vyse can!"
"That's it." Vyse realized quietly.
"What?" Fina asked. "What's 'it?'" Vyse then dashed off from where they were.
"Vyse! Where are you going?!" Aika asked.
"You hid it in the well?" Fina asked in disbelief. Cupil managed to pull the treasure chest out of the well. While the chest itself appeared to be pretty soaked, it also looked sealed up tightly to prevent any moisture from getting in.
"Thanks, Cupil." Vyse said as he took the treasure chest from the silver creature. Cupil 'kyuu'-ed tiredly and returned to Fina's wrist as a bracelet. The goggle-patched rogue set the chest down and turned to face everyone. "The reason why Aika wouldn't be able to do this challenge was because-."
"I'm terrified of swimming." Aika finished. "I almost drowned in that well when I was a kid…" She looked down.
"Aika…" Vyse put a hand on her shoulder. She looked back up and smiled.
"Got to hand it to you, Luke! Not a bad spot at all! Probably shouldn't have given him such a big hint if you wanted to win, though." She teased.
"Just claim your prize already, guys." Luke said. "And besides, it's not like I'm aiming to win anyway." He added quietly. Vyse slowly lifted the lid of the chest while Aika bounced happily and Fina looked on curiously.
"I wonder what it is…maybe jewels or a weapon or a-!" Aika stopped getting her hopes up once she saw it. Vyse and Fina were silent as well. "A wrench?!" she finished incredulously.
"Yep, that's what it is." Luke confirmed.
"You…you got something for my engineer…?" Vyse asked as he held the wrench in his hands.
"I thought the prize was supposed to benefit Vyse?" Fina asked as she tilted her head a little.
"Well, it does." Vyse thought about it out loud. "It benefits Hans who benefits my ship who benefits me."
"Awww, you suck, Luke!" Aika protested.
"I'm not rich, you know." He responded. "Can hardly afford to maintain my knives let alone a little something for you guys too."
"Wow, this is in such great condition!" Hans praised as he turned the wrench over in his hands. "Thanks, Luke."
"No problem." The older pirate smiled.
Vyse looked at Hans. Then he looked at Luke. Then he looked at Hans, who was actually blushing slightly. Then he looked at Luke, who hadn't changed his expression. Then he looked at fifteen years old Hans as he wished him happy holidays and left to the ship. Then he looked at most likely older than that and an adult Luke who also wished him happy holidays and looked at Vyse because he was staring.
"Luke, you realize that's a crime, right?" Vyse asked him seriously.
KN: Luke is a red-haired minor crewsman of Captain Dyne. I have no idea why I liked him enough to give him a spotlight, but I did. And I love Hans! He's adorable and so nice! Weird pairings, anyone? …anyone? Also, sorry for the rushed story. College. Finals. Life.
Holiday moral: When you give a gift, somebody benefits.