The Grand Master stood, resting his elbows on the side of the Morrigan. He watched the waves breaking on the waterfront, ignoring the bustle of a crew, which, using the occasion, was replenishing food supplies for the onward journey. The rays of the afternoon sun were gleaming at the rooftops of a small, port town, illuminating it with a warm, reddish yellow glow. Flocks of seabirds were circling above the moored ship. The wind carried a soft, cool breeze.
Haytham tried to collect his thoughts, which, truth be told, wasn't easy at all. He felt distracted like never before and the reason for this distraction was none other than Shay Patrick Cormac.
Haytham almost unconsciously clenched his fists. He was desperate to find out the reason why he treats Shay differently than the others. No doubt he was a well-trained killer - he had always been taught to get the job done with no questions asked. Moreover, unlike Charles, Shay wasn't doing anything to pay court to someone, nor for his own benefits - he believed in the rightness of the case and this has surely increased the former assassin's value thousandfold. However, this wasn't the cause of his irrational attachment. Despite all efforts, Kenway couldn't treat him like a regular subordinate. Shay was something more to him. Definitely more...
His thoughts were interrupted by the sudden voice of a doctor, who has just came back from Shay's cabin.
"Master Kenway." The man bowed.
Haytham turned to him.
"Doctor." He nodded his head slightly, eyeing his interlocutor and folded his hands behind his back. "What news do you bring?"
" It's not as bad as I thought, Sir" the man replied. "The bullet passed cleanly through, not damaging the tendons excessively. The wound itself wouldn't be too much of a problem in this case, if only there weren't any complications. Gunshot wounds usually become quickly infected, even if they're washed with alcohol after some time, which, fortunately, your subordinate had enough common sense to do."
Haytham snorted under his breath. " That's one comfort, anyway" he muttered. " Though I must admit that the common sense is not his forte."
The doctor allowed himself a small smile. "Judging from the fact that he procrastinated so long, it's not, indeed. Anyway, I did as much as I could - I cleaned the wound deeper and stopped the bleeding. I've also given him some painkillers and the blend of herbs to facilitate sleep. You have to be patient, Sir. It'll take time before Sir Cormac returns to health. The arm also may not be fully operable yet, but don't worry, it's just a matter of time. Despite all, I think he had a lot of luck."
"He makes his own luck" Kenway said and corners of his mouth twitched slightly in a smile. "Perhaps this is why he has it in abundance."
"Perhaps" the doctor repeated, mechanically adjusting his glasses. " But there's something more you should know, Sir."
Haytham frowned, his face immediately darkening. "What is it?"
The doctor was silent for a moment, wondering how to begin. " I'm not a specialist in this field" he spoke finally. "However, I feel that a subordinate of yours is being harassed by a disease, which source lies not in his body, but in mind."
Kenway began to understand the point. Still, he asked: "What do you mean?"
"The past, Sir. Captain Cormac told me about the nightmares interrupting his sleep whenever they occur. Mostly because of that I decided to give him the hypnotic drugs. Unfortunately, the sick soul cannot be cured with any medicines. All he needs now is a proper distraction. And, with all respect, Sir, I'm not talking about wandering around taverns. He needs someone, who will give him a peace of mind and maybe even understands him. I suppose, however, breaking through the walls he has built up won't be easy."
Haytham unconsciously bit his lip thoughtfully, analyzing in mind what he has just heard. That was the information he could make use of. "I'll do my best" he assured. "Thank you".
"Always at your service, Sir." The doctor bowed again and left the ship.
The Grand Master sighed, closing his eyes for a moment. Meanwhile, the crew was unmooring the Morrigan. Already unfurled, scarlet red sails puffed up in the wind. Not waiting until they sail out from the port, Haytham went down the narrow stairs below deck. He nearly automatically directed his steps towards Shay's cabin, but eventually resigned from going inside. It wasn't a good time for a visit. He should let him rest. The hypnotics have certainly started to work already, so he wouldn't see any diffrent sight than the first time he visited Shay, shortly after appearing at the Morrigan.
Haytham closed the cabin door, then dropped heavily into a chair at the desk. He took off his hat, putting it on the desktop in front of him and ran a hand through his hair, tying them again with a red ribbon. He couldn't explain to himself, why didn't he left Cormac's cabin immediately last evening, nor why did he ever went in there. The view of Shay asleep, wrapped tight in a blanket, with tousled hair, spilled a strange feeling of warmth inside him - a little bit like he has just drunk a cup of hot tea. The only difference was that tea has never aroused his tenderness. Truth be told, he no longer remembered the last time he felt that way.
Lie. He remembered perfectly. He couldn't forget Ziio. No one but her could so incomprehensibly deprive him of any resistances and liberate him from the need to hide his feelings. He felt comfortable around her and she knew it well. Haytham couldn't say, however, what was really binding them together. They had shared a few pleasurable moments, no doubt, but with time, they've all become just a collection of blurry, obliterated memories, nothing more.
So what could direct his attention to that Irishman then?
The Grand Master tapped his fingers on the desktop, irritated. What was it about Shay that made Haytham nearly forcibly restrain himself not to brush away the strands of hair from his forehead, while standing over his bed? It was just ridiculous! Haytham felt embarrassed like never before. He wasn't used to having feelings he couldn't understand, and if he wasn't able to understand something - he never trusted it.
He opened a leather-bound journal with a sigh. He stared at the blank page for a moment, holding a pen over a sheet of paper. With an unpleasant surprise, Kenway noticed that he couldn't even put into words what he'd felt because there were really no words to describe it. Since he crossed out everything he has just written, he didn't even bother to start over. He was way too distracted now, and to make matters worse, he knew exactly who was the cause of it.
He stood up, putting his hat back on his head and returned to the upper deck. He hoped that a little bit of sea air will refresh his mind. Indifferently passing the crew singing an old sea shanty about a tavern wench, he came to Gist, who was standing at the helm, as usual.
"Something interesting on the horizon?" he asked, standing next to him.
"Fortunately not" Gist replied. " Not even a single ship. I cannot believe I'm saying this, but all this calm is getting to bore me as hell!"
The Grand Master smiled slightly, but didn't reply. His gaze was fixed somewhere in the far distance, while his thoughts must have been miles away as well. He wrapped himself tighter in a coat, feeling the rapid cooling of the air.
The first officer glanced at him briefly. "How's Shay? I mean... captain Cormac?" he asked.
"Certainly better than two days ago" Haytham snorted. " According to the doctor, he should recover soon. He just needs a rest, that's all."
Gist nodded silently. The crew suddenly silenced, being just in the middle of finishing the second bottle of rum. The wind gusts were getting stronger with every moment, blowing furiously into the Morrigan's sails.
"Well, seems like you've said your words in the wrong time, Gist" Kenway muttered, noticing the dark clouds gathering over their heads. "I hope it'll just be a rain. The storm is the last thing we need right now."
"Douse the sails!" shouted the first officer, feeling first drops dripping on his clothes.
At first, Haytham was going to suggest that he could take the helm, but since he remembered that he hasn't been steering ships very often lately, he considered this offer a bit risky in the current situation - especially that he had a tendency to make really sharp turns, which the crew wasn't very enthusiastic about.
Gist seemed to be reading his mind.
"Don't worry, Sir" he said. "I can handle it"
"Are you sure?"
Kenway nodded. Truth be told, he didn't want to get wet, so he was glad to go back below deck. He didn't manage, however, to go to his cabin, since he heard something disturbing. Something like... a scream? Haytham unhesitatingly opened the neighboring door. The sight that met his eyes confirmed his suspicions about the source of the sound.
Shay was half-lying in his bed, breathing quickly and irregularly. His pupils were dilated. He must have been shocked. As soon as he noticed Kenway standing in the doorway, he simply wanted the ground to open up and swallow him. Or at least to hide under the blanket. He would do anything just not to feel Haytham's gaze fixed on him.
Grand Master carefully closed the door behind him. Shay inhaled loudly, awaiting his reaction. Some time ago he would expect a reprimand, but now... Now he had absolutely no idea what to expect.
"Everything alright?" Haytham's voice sounded unnaturally warm and soft, which, willy-nilly, Shay considered pleasant.
"Aye, Sir... I mean... No... Ugh, I don't know" Shay choked out, feeling a lump in his throat and looked away sheepishly. 'Idiot...' he mentally scolded himself.
In the meantime, Kenway stepped closer and, to the surprise of the Irishman, sat on the edge of his bed. Shay's first impulse was to back away, since this physical closeness wasn't natural for the two of them - that was the only reason Shay considered it uncomfortable.
"I see that dreams won't give you much rest..." Haytham said softly.
A bitter grimace settled onto Shay's face. "Does everyone on this ship already know about this?"
Haytham shrugged his shoulders. "Most of them, I suppose."
Shay sighed. He didn't even have to say anything - it was obvious that he would feel much better acting like nothing happened a while ago. Hayhtam decided to meet him half-way. "How's your wound?"
"It's been worse, Sir" Shay replied, feeling relieved by the fact that the Grand Master wasn't going to ask him about the nightmares. "However, it would hurt less if the bandage wasn't so damn tight..."
"I can loosen it a bit if you want" Haytham offered unexpectedly.
Shay looked into his eyes, as if he was looking for something in them. Something that would reveal the hidden intention of that offer. So you care pretty much then, he thought, then nodded his head in response. What else could he do?
Haytham reached out his hand, slowly moving away the bandage. Shay shivered involuntarily, feeling the touch of cold fingers on his skin, careful and gentle. It was as awkward as the fact that the space that separated them from each other now was really small.
Cormac didn't even realize how difficult it was for Haytham to limit his touch to the minimum necessary, nor how much keyed-up he was.
What's wrong with me? Kenway thought angrily. He's a man, not a port girl, damn it!
"Master Kenway...?" Shay asked shyly, seeing the change in his face.
Haytham looked at him briefly and not saying a word, he finished putting the bandage back on. The ship was rocking harder in the growing storm. They could hear the sound of a heavy downpour outside.
"Will you be able to sleep?" Haytham finally spoke, getting up from the bed.
"I doubt it, Sir."
The Grand Master sighed. " If not for yourself, try to do it for me."
Shay gulped nervously. It felt kinda strange that Haytham was acting more like his own mother than the Templar Master.
"I'll try, Sir ..." he said, rather halfheartedly.
"Trying to help you is a real challenge, isn't it?" Kenway asked after a moment of silence, gazing at the Irishman.
"I've heard you like challenges, Sir." Shay smirked.
"That's true." Haytham also smiled slightly. "The more difficult, the more interesting, of course. So, you may choose - you either take your sleeping herbs again or I'll sit here until you finally fall asleep."
Shay laughed quietly.
"I was serious, Shay".
Haytham was the one who laughed this time, seeing Cormac turning red with embarrassment, which was both funny and charming in its own way. Although Shay undoubtedly wasn't any port girl, Kenway would be lying if he said that he wasn't acting like one of them.
Here comes the chapter 2: "Cure for the broken soul". Enjoy!
I love these story's so much!
I would be happy if you could maybe continue on them. ^^
I would be happy if you could maybe continue on them. ^^
unfortunately I've kinda lost my track with the story, but maybe some day I'll come back to it since you liked it ^^
This is great I love these stories
Oh no! Take your time
Just curious, but do you do rps? You seem like you'd be good at it
Just curious, but do you do rps? You seem like you'd be good at it