Chapter 11

"No!" came a surprised cry from the room where Haruhi usually slept. Hikaru rubbed his eyes and yawned widely as he stretched and sat up. Kaoru was roused awake by Hikaru's movement, and he sat up also.

"What do you think is going on?" Hikaru asked. "I haven't heard Captain like this in a long time."

"I don't know, but it seems like something bad," replied Kaoru as Hikaru hopped out of the bed and started putting his boots on, tying his blue sash around his head. Kaoru followed suit, and the two brothers exited their room to the location where Hikaru had heard Tamaki's loud yell. They turned the corner to what was Haruhi's room, pulling back the curtain and seeing Tamaki on Haruhi's empty bed, looking dejected.

"Captain, what's wrong?" asked Kaoru, entering the room and looking around. He had never stepped foot in Haruhi's room. It was rather simple, with a single bed and mahogany-wood dresser. A bag full of Haruhi's personal belongings was situated right next to the bed neatly. However, the bedsheets were messy, and Kaoru got the idea that something was wrong. Haruhi would never have gotten up and left the bed unmade.

"I just went into her room because I was wondering why breakfast hadn't been made," Tamaki muttered quietly. "And I come face to face with nothing."

Hikaru blinked. "She's gone?"

Tamaki nodded stiffly, refusing to look up at them. "It's my fault."

Kaoru shook his head. "It wasn't your fault, Captain. Why would you think that?"

"I imprisoned her; I stole her from her home; I kept her here without her consent; I forced her to work for us as a maid; I kept secrets from her. There are plenty of reasons why she would leave. She probably hates me. She must have run away."

"That's ridiculous. Didn't you make amends with her? Besides, how would she have run away? And even if she was able to manage it, where would she go? She would be putting herself in great danger. Haruhi isn't stupid enough to dare trying something like that, especially when she could so easily have gotten pneumonia from cold water, and, if she survived that and made it to shore, wandering around without any money? It makes no sense," Hikaru reasoned.

Kaoru looked around and added, "Yeah, and, besides, she left all of her stuff here. Don't you see the unkempt bedsheets? It looks a little too suspicious to think she ran away. I think something different must have happened."

"Like what?" Tamaki finally looked up, and Kaoru was shocked by the sheer despair in his expression.

"Well… like maybe she was capt—" Kaoru began.

"No!" Tamaki interrupted, shaking his head in desolation, eyes wide. "Don't say that. That cannot be true. I cannot have slept through that. I will not accept that she was stolen from me from right under my own nose." He reached a hand up to his neck, undoubtedly to grasp onto his mother's necklace, which he always did to comfort himself. His fingers clutched around nothing.

"What?" Tamaki whispered, and he looked down and saw nothing.

"Captain?" Hikaru asked, stepping forward. Tamaki covered his mouth and started to shake.

"No, this can't be happening!"

"Calm down, Captain," Hikaru said in a soothing voice, putting a hand on Tamaki's shoulder. Tamaki didn't move, frozen in place as he began putting the pieces together in his head. There were only two options he could think of. Neither one was particularly better than the other. Either Haruhi had stolen the necklace had had boasted about for its value and then ran away somehow… or Haruhi and his necklace had both been stolen by an enemy.

"It looks like whoever wanted Haruhi took your expensive necklace too…," Kaoru observed quietly, mirroring Tamaki's thoughts. A knock on the doorway informed the twins and Tamaki of Mori's presence. Kyoya and Honey could sleep through a navy attack, and they never awoke early. Mori had been waiting for the right moment to enter, hearing the conversation from outside the doorway.

"Good morning, Mori," Kaoru greeted, and Mori answered with a silent nod.

"Tamaki," he merely said, staring right at the adorned Captain with a steely gaze. Tamaki stared back at the most imposing member of the crew. He sighed, realizing what Mori was silently telling him to do.

As if to emphasize, Mori spoke out loud, "Instead of dwelling over the losses, shouldn't you be taking measures to locate those you have lost?"

Tamaki took a deep breath and nodded, his previous authority creeping back into his eyes as he smiled grimly. "Yes, you're right, Mori. Go wake up Honey. Hikaru and Kaoru, you two get Kyoya up. This is an emergency, and everybody needs to be up to contribute." He walked out of the room without saying anything more, Mori following along to complete his order. Hikaru and Kaoru glanced at each other. Waking up Kyoya… was going to be quite the task.

They were walking out the room just as Tamaki called out to the heavens, "Haruhi, we will find you!"

Haruhi woke up in an unfamiliar place. She was nestled in soft, off-white sheets, and the room was rather dark despite her knowing that it was daytime. She sat up slowly, looking around her and trying to brush a hand through her long, tangled mess of hair.

"These tangles are really getting to be a hassle," she said quietly to herself.

"Ah, young maiden! You are up?"

Haruhi jumped as she heard a thick, husky alto voice come from beside her. She turned her head and, in the dim light, saw a woman sitting close by, staring at her almost warmly.

"You really are beautiful," said the woman. "Manon was not lying when she said that you were too pretty to be working for pirates."

Haruhi blinked. "Manon? How do you know Manon?"

"I have been helping her and her friend Berune look for you."

"Berune?!" Haruhi exclaimed loudly. "Berune is here?"

The strange woman laughed. "Quite, little flower. But they are still sleeping, so you cannot see them just yet. I, however, have been up all night waiting for you, the pretty young maiden, to wake. I couldn't wait to see your eyes, and they are just as brilliant as I have been imagining. Oh, and by the way, my name is Benio Amakusa. It is very nice to meet you, dear Haruhi."

Haruhi frowned, a little wary around the woman, who was undoubtedly a pirate as well.

"Why would Berune and Manon ask a pirate for help? Not that being a pirate is bad, of course, but I know that they don't think too highly of them, so…."

Benio smiled. "They were desperate. Besides, they have gotten used to sea life quite wonderfully. They are a real help. Besides, perhaps they instinctively know that they feel much more protection when guarded by a ship of maidens, as opposed to shady young men who know nothing about the ocean and its deadly waters."

"Are you talking about Captain Tamaki and the others?" inquired Haruhi curiously. "Why would you feel so strongly against them? Have they hurt you?"

Benio laughed. "Hurt me? They couldn't do that even if they wanted to. No, I have no grudge against them for that reason. It's a different reason."

"What is it?"

"Think, Haruhi. Surely you know. None of the so-called 'pirates' on that ship were born that way. Something wrong just happened in their lives and they thought that piracy was just going to be a fun project with their friends. As if they even knew what piracy really was."

"Oh. So you're mad that they call themselves pirates even though they weren't born pirates."

"They insult the pirate name. The navy rarely attacks them because they know that they aren't threats. They aren't pirates, they're just clumsy idiots thinking that they can wear bandannas and suddenly be qualified as pirates."

"They are just trying to escape from things in their lives. Maybe they are a little naïve, but I think it would just be better to ignore it than antagonize them."

"Maybe," Benio sighed. She turned away, looking into space. "Sometimes I think avenging the once-honourable name of the pirate is just a burden I should cast off into the cold ocean. But then I remember my mother- how she would take no prisoners, how she would not stand by while the name of her profession was slandered across the seas. She would slaughter navy soldiers in droves, trying to earn back that name, no matter how paradoxical it all was. I feel like Tamaki's crew just makes piracy look like a joke."

"I think I see, I guess," Haruhi said slowly. She may not really understand Benio's motivation, but she did see that the whole issue was very important to her. "Still, why steal me, though?"

Benio turned back to her. "I rescued you, maiden. I wouldn't have done anything if I wasn't obliged to. I promised your friends I would find you and bring you back to them, and I have. I obtained what my true treasure was, don't worry. You weren't actually the loot, you were just conveniently on the same ship I was originally seeking."

"What loot are you talking about?" Haruhi asked.

"This." Benio grinned widely, reaching into her pocket and bringing out the golden necklace Tamaki constantly wore around his neck, letting it unravel, dangling in front of Haruhi's shocked face.

"Oh my goodness… why would you take that?!"

"Do you know what it is?" Benio asked.

"Yes! That's Tamaki's last memory of his mother! How could you take that from him, for some petty revenge?"

Benio nodded gravely. "I understand that this is important to him. But that is the reason why it was imperative to take this precise item. Maiden, war does not make any compassionate decisions. You must understand that. You seem to be very close to them. Why do you sympathize with the very ones who stole you from your comfortable home? They keep secrets from you."

"Well, yes, but that doesn't make it right!"

Benio sighed, pushing her hair back. "They would have endangered your life. Don't you understand that? Do you know what they are chasing after? Do you?"

Haruhi pressed her lips together. She shook her head 'no' very slightly. Benio smiled slightly.

"Do you want me to tell you?" she asked.

Haruhi thought about Benio's inquiry. She did want to know, very much, but she also knew there was a definite reason why Tamaki would not tell her what they were doing.

"I… don't know if I do want to know or not," answered Haruhi.

"You aren't going back anyway. You deserve to know."

"I… suppose so…."

"They are chasing after a very dangerous ship. Do you think you know what it is?"

"I don't," Haruhi answered, wanting Benio to get to the point.

"The Calypso's Death."

Benio's answer triggered something in Haruhi.

"The… Calypso's Death?" Haruhi asked slowly. There was something about that name that seemed vaguely familiar….

"Yes. They intentionally put you in danger for their petty little goose chase. Funny, isn't it?"

"I… suppose so." Haruhi couldn't shake that foreboding feeling from her mind. Suddenly, the door to the cabin burst open. Manon and Berune ran in, crushing Haruhi in hugs.

"Haruhi! Are you okay! Those pirates didn't hurt you, did they?" Berune asked fervently, taking in Haruhi's condition and appearance. Once she determined that Haruhi was not sick or dying, she relaxed and just hugged Haruhi. Haruhi hugged back, a joyous smile spreading over her face. She was with her friends again… maybe things could go back to normal.

But… did she really want things the way they were? Haruhi felt like she had gotten used to life on the waves… she didn't know if she could adjust back to terrestrial life. Besides, what would become of the crew who she had become quite close to? What would happen with Tamaki?

For the first time since her capture, Haruhi wasn't elated to finally be going home. She was unsure of what she wanted to do.

Benio stood, speaking. "Where are we, Manon?" she asked in her husky voice, looking at the small girl. Manon smiled nervously and answered.

"We've reached Santana."

And just a few hundred meters away from Benio's black-sailed ship was another ship, anchored menacingly by the pier, darkness and rage reflected in its sable sails, flowing gently with the seaside wind.

AN: Here is the next chapter! I hope you all enjoyed it! Be prepared for some action next chapter (I hope, if all goes well).