Hi there. Sorry to those that have followed 'My Various Works' and ' My Collection of Drabbles' I have not had any new stories to add to either of them. But this is my peace offering to you. I wrote this a while ago for a friend of mine. I edited and cleaned it up... so here it is.
I hope that you all like it. ~Cecelia


Sailor Bold

Black and white, light and dark, sound and silence. The world is filled with opposites.

I being among them. On the outside I am soft, delicate, and fair in feature. Generous in both word and deed.

On the inside though I am dead, dark as pitch, Empty. Nothing fills the void that I feel.

I know that I am beautiful by the standards of my class, My skin is the pale color of peaches and cream, my lips are the soft pink of fresh rose-buds, and my hair is the pale gold of corn-silk. My mother takes great delight in dressing me in white silks and satins, dripping with lace and weaving diamonds through my thick locks till I look like I have stars trapped in my curls. She tells me that I look like an angel. The only 'flaw' as she calls it is that my eyes are a startling shade of amber. Cat's eyes. She calls them. But even they are framed with long thick lashes.

I don't care. I do not care that I am pretty; life would be so much better if I had been born ugly. Then no man would want to marry me.

Mother enjoys flaunting my beauty in front of the rich spoiled sons of my father's colleagues. I smile gracefully and avoid conversation with any of them, taking action instead to match up the giggling daughters of society with them.

"They deserve each other." I think mercilessly.

Heaven have mercy on me for I know that I am wicked but I will not be forced to marry when I have already loved and lost. I will not be forced to share my body with any man, not even a husband.

I realize that I am scowling into my glass of champagne. A glance up at mother across the room confirms what I already know, mother has seen me. Mother and father will beat me again tonight.

Most of my body is covered in scars from the beatings they give me. The only boundaries that there are, they whisper in dark rooms as blows fall upon my small body. '"No broken bones."' '"Don't tough her face, we have a party tonight."' Sibilant, hissing reminders to keep the bruises hidden.

I wonder what they think a future husband would do if he ever saw my scars. I can hear their answers in my head.

'She is a disobedient, ungrateful chit. He would understand why we had to beat her, he will have to too.' And they would be right, if I am ever -impossibly- forced to marry then I will fight him tooth and nail. Men will never care about saving us. We are property to them. Something to own; something to adorn their arms. I wish there was a covenant that I could run away to, but there is not.

Not Dustin though, never Dustin. He cared, he really cared about me. He would tend to my bruises and cuts when they decided that their hands weren't enough to teach me my lessons.

We were sixteen when he went away to sea.

~"~"~"~"~"~

It was a beautiful crystal clear day but the mood around us was as bleak and dark as a thunderstorm.

We were standing under the tree at the edge of the garden, a weeping willow that provided a perfect hiding place. It was always our place, whenever we wanted to rendezvous this is where we would meet. We were arguing.

"Seraphina, I want to marry you. I want to take care of you!"

"Dustin, it's dangerous at sea! Just this past year two of my father's ships went down in a storm off the coast of Sweden only five men survived and another was captured by pirates. No quarter was given. Please, Dustin don't risk it!"

I cried and pleaded but he would not be turned from his course. The following week Dustin was gone, sailing upon the Neptune's Nymph He promised to send a letter back at every stop but after the last letter from Port of Brest, France, nine months after he had left, Ireceived no more letters. I never found out what happened to Dustin.

~"~"~"~"~"~

Crack!

My hand flew up to my cheek in shock at the stinging pain there. My startled eyes met the furious ones of my mother. She had broken her own rule I thought distantly; my mind was still to much dazed from reliving my memories to process her anger and the possible damage to my person as the consequence of such an anger. I was vaguely aware of the fact that the room was now empty save for us.

"You are an embarrassment to your father and me, standing like a mute over here in the corner. You are a disgrace, Seraphina." She hissed out from between her teeth. Then without another thought she turned her back on me and gracefully floated into the dining room, her violet skirts swishing gently across the floor in her wake, to tend to her guests and play the caring hostess.

'Caring hostess indeed.' I thought scornfully.

Catching my face in the mirror opposite of me I was amused to notice that even in anger mother knew better than to leave a mark. All that remained of her "Discipline" was a red mark on the apple of my cheek as if I was wearing rouge. Sighing, I slapped the other cheek knowing that people would not believe the reason that just one was red even if I answered truthfully about what had happened. I learned that lesson the hard way at five years of age.

~"~"~"~"~"~

"Dear me Seraphina, what happened to your' arms? Did you fall in the gardens? Tsk, tsk child what shall we do about your' clumsiness." Asked uncle Alan.

"But, Uncle I didn't fall down. Mama and papa beat me because I was helping Marme peel potatoes. They said that she is a servant and that I must not be seen with the servants. Then mama and daddy beat me." I had started to cry while telling him my story; I remember when I met his eyes the coldness there chilled me to the bone, his expression was like that of stone.

"Little girls should not tell falsehoods." Was all he said. Then he slapped me.

I remember overhearing him talking to papa that night over a glass of wine.

"That girl of yours' is a little devil's child in the making. You would not believe the lie she told me Today, brother."

"Try me." Papa said wryly.

"Please do not take offense, fore I did not believe a word of it but she told me that you and Marah BEAT her because she was helping your' cook peel the potatoes." At the end of his explanation uncle Alan burst into laughter as if it were the funniest thing in the world.

Papa joined in too but his eyes promised vengeance as they met mine where I was hiding behind the door. In fear, I ran to my room and prayed that they would let me sleep through the night without beating me.

The night that uncle Alan left was the night of the worst beating yet. It wasn't the last though.

~"~"~"~"~"~

Thud, thud, thud!

Someone beating on the front door startled me out of my thoughts. With a sigh I went to answer the door. I know that it is supposedly a servant's job but I did not care and I did not want to face my father, mother, and their dinner guests at the moment. As I calmly walked down the oak paneled hall I glanced at the pictures of my ancestors out of the corners of my eyes I shivered slightly as feelings of unease filled me. I have always felt as if they were watching me, judging me, thinking 'what is this pitiful scar covered girl doing in our house.' It was with a feeling of relief that I walked out of the corridor and into the front hall. Taking a brief breath in through my nose and gently smoothing the front of my dress I opened the front door. On the other side was a messenger.

He was a rather gruff looking man. About mid-thirties, unshaven and unwashed. He reeked of stale alcohol and cigar smoke. His brown hair matted to his head.

"I got a message for Count Ravenwood about one o' his ships. 'Tis urgent, girly." He said gruffly. Startling me out of my musings.

I gestured for him to enter and wait in the front hall. After he did so I closed the door after and hastened off to find father. I found him at the head of the table in the dining room. Quickly and gracefully I made my way to his side. Ignoring the glare that he sent my way, glancing pointedly at the vacant seat between two of the more insipid boys at the party, I leaned next to his ear.

"There is a messenger from the docks in the front hall. He said he has an urgent message for you. About one of your ships, I think he said it was." I said blandly.

With a charming smile plastered to his face he turned to his guests. "It seems that a matter of import has arisen that needs my immediate attention. Please enjoy the rest of your evening my friends."

Having said his piece he strode powerfully from the room to see what the messenger wanted of him.

"Intrigued, and not quite willing to let the small hope that had flared in my breast flicker and die completely I turned to my mother.

"I beg your forgiveness but I must make use of the powder-room, if you will excuse me." I curtsied low and gracefully swept out of the room. Upon entering the hallway I broke into a slow run, trying to get to the front hall to hear what that man had to say to my father. Stopping in the doorway, skulking in the shadow that the grand-staircase made like some ill bred thief, I listened. I caught only one word and a name but it was enough to make my heart stop and then restart at triple it's normal speed. "Docked and Neptune's Nymph."

All forms punishments and pain forgotten, I ran to the servant's quarters. Tripping on the hem of my dress I went sprawling onto the floor of Alexzander's room. I was back up in a flash, panting from the distance I had run. Mentally cursing the size of the manor, not for the first time either. I thought with a smirk.

Lass, what's got ya' runnin' like a bat out o' hell? He asked, concerned.

I noticed somewhat distantly that he has more gray in his hair then the last time I saw him. Father and Mother had kept a tighter rein on me than earlier in my childhood.

I held up a finger still panting. "Neptune's … Nymph… inharbor. Get the… horses ready…, please."

"With pleasure." He said. An ecstatic grin splitting his face.

I nodded in thanks before rushing off to my room; my heart leaping in my breast. I thanked the gods for my foresight in wearing a frock that I could remove on my own. Dropping the flimsy garment to my soft carpeted floor, I rush to the corner of my bed, in a crack in the wood of the headboard was a small iron key grabbing it I rush into my closet. At the back right corner was a locked Oak chest about the size of a watermelon. Kneeling before it I unlock the iron bound box, pulling out the garments inside. Beneath them lay long lengths of cotton cloth, grabbing all of it I stood up and began the long process of binding my chest flat.

My fingers are unused to the movements required to wrap the cloth around my chest from long not needing to use that particular skill.. By the time I'm done my fingers are a sore from holding onto the cloth so tight. Sighing in relief when I finished I bent over and removed my garter belt and stockings, tossing them into the other corner. I bent down and scooped up the trousers and peasant's blouse putting them on without preamble.

I walk out of the closet, practicing my boy walk. I slowly practice as I remove the diamond pins and clips from my elaborate hairstyle. When I am satisfied that I was walking like a proper boy and all my clips are out I turn to my bed where the ratty yellow 'kerchief and hat that I wear to cover my hair is laying. Striding to the coverlet, I tie the Kerchief around my hair, making sure that it is spread evenly over my head so that I do not have any strange looking lumps; Over it I placed the Irish fisherman's hat. I turn to look at myself in my full-length mirror.

I'll pass muster. On close inspection my face is too smooth and my body too willowy... but it will do. I sigh, running a hand over my face trying to calm the wild beating of my heart. The docks are not a safe place for a woman at any time.

Dustin had taught me how to be a boy so that we could go out together. A smirk tugs at my lips as I remember the many scraps that we managed to get in and out of. We had many adventures in the city. My parents cared not where I was except when it came to showing me off and delivering their "Discipline" so it made sneaking off very easy.

Alexzander must have sensed the desperation I was trying hard to repress because after only ten minutes there was a soft three soft taps then a scratch at my door. Quickly I flung open the door to behold Aimee standing on the other side. Timidly looking down and shifting her weight from foot to foot.

"Miss, it's ready." she whispered, bobbing a curtsy.

I smiled at her. "There is no one but us up here, you can drop the act Aimee."

Her head popped up from it's submissive position and she grinned at me broadly. Suddenly her bow creased in worry. "Be safe, Seraphina. The men from the docks are sharp fellows."

I smiled gently at her concern. "I'll be safe. I promise." I started to hurry down the dark hall when I remembered something. "Aimee, There are cookies, biscuits, and jam in the silver tray on my vanity. Take all of it."

"Thank you." she said softly.

I raised my right hand to signify that I had heard her as I continued to stride down the long hall. I just hoped that there were enough scones to satisfy both her and her growing sister's hunger.

Aimee and I have been closer than sisters ever since she came across me crying in the gardens after my parents had given me an especially harsh beating, when I was ten.

~"~"~"~"~"~

I was hiding under the willow tree at the edge of the gardens, snuggled among the Lilies, trying to stop the sobs that were ripping themselves out of my thin chest. Suddenly I heard foot steps on the gravel path that lead through the last garden before the willow tree; I stuffed my fist into my mouth, trying to stifle my loud sobs.

I was afraid. I was afraid that it was papa or mama coming to punish me again for being in the gardens. I pushed myself as far down into the embrace of the lilies a I could, trying to be invisible. Suddenly the steps stopped and the shadow of a person fell over me. I whimpered in fear and started to sob again. The shadow pushed apart the long green branches and stepped inside.

It was a girl. A girl about my age with long brown curling hair and kind silvery-gray eyes. I watched her as she watched me. Slowly she approached me, kneeling down softly among the lilies with me. She moved her hand slowly and carefully to caress my face, as if she was dealing with a wounded animal instead of a girl about her own age. I started to cry again. This time out of relief and joy that it was not my mama and papa come to beat me.

I sat up a little more as she continued to stroke my face and hair lovingly, flinching a little as the cuts and tears in my back and arms pulled and ripped open again, spilling warm blood down my back. She noticed and asked the question that no one had ever believed the answer to.

"why are you crying?"

I prepared myself to answer her with a lie. "I tripped in the gardens and then got lost go-"

"Please don't lie to me, petite ange. Did your' papa and mama beat you?" she interrupted me.

I just looked at her, shocked that she would understand what everyone else didn't.

"H-how could you figure it our when no one else would listen?"

She smiled sadly at me. "You look the same as I did when my papa beat me. He beat you with his leather belt, the side with the metal prongs." It was a statement not a question.

I merely looked at her for a moment as my amazement wore off then I launched myself at her, sobbing uncontrollably. She just held me, stroking my hair and singing a strange lullaby in my ear. Once I had cried myself out she gently helped me stand and we walked back to the manor together. She took me to her room and dressed my wounds, all the while humming that strange song.

Suddenly I thought of something that I should have done when I first met her."What is your name?"

"My name is Aimee, petite ange."

"What is that song you keep singing, Aimee? It is very pretty." I looked down at her where she was kneeling in front of me, tying a knot in the wrapping that she used to bind my back.

"It is a lullaby that mother would sing to me after father would beat both of us, when he was drunk." she said sadly.

"Would you sing it to me?" I asked softly, afraid that she would get angry with me for asking.

"Of course, petite ange." In a soft, angelic voice she began.

Dodo, l'enfant do,
L'enfant dormira bien vite
Dodo, l'enfant do
L'enfant dormira bientôt.

Une poule blanche
Est là dans la grange.
Qui va faire un petit coco
Pour l'enfant qui va fair' dodo.

Dodo, l'enfant do,
L'enfant dormira bien vite
Dodo, l'enfant do
L'enfant dormira bientôt.

Tout le monde est sage
Dans le voisinage
Il est l'heure d'aller dormir
Le sommeil va bientôt venir.

Slowly I felt my eyes start to droop but before my eyes fully closed I felt a gentle kiss on my forehead and a soft voice whisper.

"Sweet dreams. Petite ange."

~"~"~"~"~"~

Shaking myself out of my memories of the past. I glance down the east hallway checking to see if it is clear walk and am chagrined to see my mother walking up the hall.

'Damn, what is mother doing away from the party?'

Glancing around I am relieved to see a servant's stairwell nearby. I dart into the passage, hurrying down the dark spiral staircase, I make a left turn at the bottom and walk though a short stone hall to the kitchen. I swipe a bread roll and some cheese off of the counter as I run out the door.

Alexzander is waiting on the staff's errand coach waiting for me. I hop up onto the rickety old coach's seat next to him and grin crookedly. Remembering all the times that I would escape for the day with him, doing grocery shopping, or deliveries and messages.

He flicks the reins and the horses start to canter. "Ya's got quite tha' swagga' to ya tonight, Finn."

I grinned, suddenly remembering our code to let me know that I made a convincing boy. I responded with the other half.
"Well, Aideen was very happy to see me tonight, Alexzander." I grew silent after that listening to Alexander breath and the cantering of the horses.
If it weren't for the urgent pace of the horses I might have been able to convince myself that this was just another normal night out with Alexzander but it is not and I can't forget it.

I look at Alexzander and grin, remembering the first time he had caught me dressed as a boy.

~"~"~"~"~"~

Dustin and I had just gotten back from a day of mischief in the city and he was bound for home. I was about to walk up the servant's road to the manor when we heard the carriage coming up the drive, panicking we both darted into the bushes. Later Alexzander told us that darting into the bushes had made him think that we were going to rob him and Marme and that it had been our undoing. We waited until the sound of the carriage had recede before we crept out of the bushes only to come face to face with Alexzander's boots. Dustin looked up at him with a cheeky grin.

"I do believe that you've gotten new boots since the last time I've seen you ,Alexzander."

Alexzander, though not a small bit surprised, listened as we told him the whole tale of how I started to dress like a boy to go into the city with Dustin when I twelve. He had quite the laugh as we told him of our escapades and the trouble we had gotten our self in and out of over the years. Though we did not love each other then I think that he knew what was going to come because as we told our tales he looked on with a strange twinkle in his eye. From then on he was always the third musketeer of our group. Sometimes he would join in our fun or he would simply be there to help us get away when our fun took a turn for the worse.

~"~"~"~"~"~

I was jostled out of my thoughts as we jolted onto the paving-stones of the streets in dock town. Alexzander and I traveled along the pier, searching for the Neptune's Nymph. Finally we saw in at the far east side of the port, a weather beaten ship. It's sails were in tatters and It's crew looked half dead; if it weren't for the tired joy on their faces they would seem inhuman. I searched their faces for the face that I had longed to see for two long years but it was not to be found. My heart seized painfully in my chest, I wanted to burst into tears but I reminded myself that "I am a boy, boys do not cry in public."

Turning to Alexzander I asked with determination in my voice. "How do I get on the ship?"

"They wouldna' question some'ne 'ome to take care o' the sick on board. I alsa' know some'ne 'ho liked to pla' docta' and 'er bag might' be in t'e back." He winked slyly.

I gave a smile at his wit, remembering all the scraps, cuts, fevers, and bruises that I had tended to over the years along with the many broken bones. I hope off the cart, quickly I grabbed my bag, impatience burning through my veins, searing me. Steeling myself I quickly walked up the gangplank onto the ship. "I'm here to tend to the sick and wounded, can you tell me where they are?" Remembering just in time to cast my voice a few octaves lower.

One of the more gruff looked at me for a long moment before he answered. "They are down in the barracks, bottom of the ship, laddie." I sighed a sigh of relief at passing muster.

I nodded my thanks before hurrying off to where he had pointed me to. As I got closer I started to smell the tell-tale smells of vomit, piss, sweat, and sickness. My heart which had calmed down somewhat started to pound unevenly again, - "It can't be healthy for it to change paces so many times a day" I think with chagrin – afraid of what I would find in the sleeping quarters. I suddenly found myself at the door at the end of the hall. I took a deep breath, trying to calm myself for what I might find inside, then I pushed open the door and entered the dimly lit room.

What I beheld was not nearly as bad as what I had feared. There were maybe five men that were actually sick the rest just needed water, food, and sleep. After my assessment I went to examine one of the sick men nearest the door. He had an infection in his right arm wear he cut himself with something. Taking a bottle of alcohol out of my bag, I uncorked the vial and poured it over his arm. I threw myself on top of him to keep him from hurting himself as he trashed and screamed till the burning stopped. I was lucky he was weak from his fever or I would not have been able to hold him down. Once he calmed down I made a poultice for his arm to suck the bacteria out and bandaged it. I gave him some tonic for his fever before moving on to the next man.

I did what I could for each of them. One had a raging fever, another was vomiting and had diarrhea. I made a tonic for each of them, doing what I could to ease their pain. The others simply needed some vitamins which I gave to them with water. Dustin was not to be seen though. Suddenly the shape of a man laying down against the far wall caught my eye. Walking over I stopped when I was standing right over him, looking down at his face. I was looking down at the ravaged face of my Dustin. He had a raging fever and was delirious. I felt a cold hand clutch my heart, I could barely breath.

Could I have a gotten him back only to have him stolen from me again. This time by the cold merciless hands of death himself. Then I felt those cold hands vanish to be replaced by a burning determination in my heart. I will not let him die; I will not let him be taken away from me again.

"You hear me Death he is mine." I whisper fiercely. 'I MUST get him out of here and home, QUICKLY though!' I think. Mixing a tonic to bring his fever down. I helped him sit up and forced him do drink it.

It very nearly broke my heart when he looked at me and asked. "Who are you?"

I told him gently, with tears standing in my eyes. "My name is Seraphina and I'm going to make you better."

He nodded that he understood as he slowly closed his eyes and drifted into unconsciousness. Hoisting him up off of the floor and onto my back was not one of the easiest things I have ever done but I managed. Walking across a room with a floor slick with bodily fluids down a hall and us a staircase was agony though. When I finally reappeared on deck I was sweating profusely and about to collapse because even though Dustin had lost weight he is still a six foot big boned MALE, for crying out loud! I screamed in my mind.

Thankfully when I got to the top of the gangplank Alexzander saw me and came and relieved me of Dustin's weight, allowing me to go and collect my bag and tell the crew and Captain that I was taking Dustin to my house to treat him for his hallucinations and fever. Silencing their protests will a cold stare. Then I ran to the carriage, hoping into the back with Dustin to monitor his fever and keep him from being to jostled by the ride.

It did not take long for us to reach the manor and I have a feeling that Alexzander Drove dangerously fast to get us there but even with how fast we went and me trying to keep him comfortable Dustin's condition had worsened by the time we got there. Even before the carriage had come to a complete stop I had jumped out and was trying to get Dustin out too when I felt a larger pair of hands over mine. Realizing that Alexzander could Dustin inside the house faster with out my help I relinquished my hold upon him and ran inside to find Aimee, making sure to prop open the kitchen door for Alexzander as I went.

I found Aimee downstairs with her sister, I was loath to to disturb her as she didn't get much time to spend with Ameena but I couldn't help Dustin by myself.

Pushing down my guilt for disturbing them I whispered "Dustin is home but he is sick, I need your help, Aimee."Aimee gasped, rushing to me and folding me inside you warm arms.

"What can I do?" Those simple words were enough to make a weight drop off my shoulders and fall away. I crushed her to me gratefully as some of the tears that I had kept inside at the docks flowed into her hair. Once I had regained enough strength to pull away from her embrace I held her at arms length telling her what I needed her to do.

"I need you to make tonics for fever, malnutrition, dehydration, and hallucination."

She smiled at me. "Go do what you must, I will take care of it."

"Thank you, Aimee." I started back up the stairs that led to the kitchen suddenly I stopped as an idea struck me. Turning around and looking at the two sisters I saw the tears in Ameena's eyes as her sister got ready to help me.

"Ameena, as long as it does not bother you to brew the tonics you may stay with your sister. I do not want to take your time with your sister from you." The joyful smiles of from both Ameena and Aimee were enough to make me feel happy, if only for a brief moment.

Turning I ran up the stairs, into the kitchen looking around for Alexzander and Dustin. I ran down the hall to the servant's rooms and straight into Alexzander's, bursting into the room winded and out of breath. I found Alexzander laying Dustin out and the bed, turning I walked back out the still open door and to the linen closet to gather blankets to help Sweat the fever out of Dustin. Shutting the door to the linen closet, my hands full of blankets, I came back into the room as Alexzander pulled his blankets up over Dustin's bare chest. I blushed know that he was most likely naked under the covers.

I turned to Alexzander, forcefully willing my blush away. Alexzander looked tired. I sighed knowing that I needed to ask him for one more thing before I could let him rest.

Seeing the guilt in my eyes Alexzander pulled me into his arms. "He is my friend too, ye' both are 'ike my own childrun I will do all tha' I can to make him betta' for ye'."

I relaxed against his warm chest for a moment before gathering myself together. "I need you to go for Doctor Benedict. I can't cure him on my own, I don't know enough about medicine."

Alexzander nodded. "Be car'ful o' 'im, delirious men of'un know no' wha' the' do or who they are wit'. Tha' relive bad mem'ries. 'e coul' hurt ye'."

"I'll be careful, I promise." Alexzander nodded, placing a gentle kiss on my forehead before he was out the door and down the hall.

Quickly I turned, poking my head out the doorway and called down the dim hall. "Will you tell Aimee where I am?"

I saw him nod in assent.

Breathing a sigh of relief that I would not have to leave Dustin alone. I do not even know if I would be able to pry myself away from his side again after suspecting that he was dead for so long. Once he was gone I allowed the tears to flow unchecked down my face, as I watched Dustin toss and turn in his feverish sleep. His eyes flickered rapidly under his eyelids.

Nightmares visibly flickered over his ravaged features, violent memories making themselves seen. Slowly I stood up and leaned over him, gently placing a hand on his shoulder as I tried to shake him awake. Fast as lightning his hand shot out and gripped my wrist in a iron hold, his foggy eyes shot open and locked on me. I swallowed the fear that was rising up inside of me. I softly started singing a song that he taught me when we were just kids.

Upon one summer's morning, I carefully did stray,
Down by the Walls of Wapping, Where I met a sailor gay.
Conversing with a young lass, Who seemed to be in pain,
Saying, William, when you go, I fear you'll ne'er return again.

My heart is pierced by Cupid, I disdain all glittering gold,
There is nothing can console me, But my jolly sailor bold.

Slowly his eyes lost their hard edge and his hand sank onto his chest, not releasing his hold upon mine though.

His hair it hangs in ringlets, His eyes as black as sloes,
My happiness attend him, Wherever he may go.
From Tower Hill to Blackwall, I'll wander, weep and moan,
All for my jolly sailor, Until he sails home.

My heart is pierced by Cupid, I disdain all glittering gold,
There is nothing can console me, But my jolly sailor bold.

I wonder if Dustin knew that he would go to sea even when we were children, after all this song holds our story in is tune.

My father is a merchant, The truth I now will tell.
And in great London City, In opulence doth dwell.

His fortune doth exceed, 300,000 gold
And he frowns upon his daughter, Who loves a sailor bold.

A fig for his riches, His merchandise and gold.
True love has grafted my heart, Give me my sailor bold.

My heart is pierced by Cupid, I disdain all glittering gold,
There is nothing can console me, But my jolly sailor bold.

'My father did much more then frown upon me.' I think bitterly.

Should he return in poverty, From o'er the ocean far,
To my tender bosom, I'll press my jolly tar.
My sailor is as smiling, As the pleasant month of May,
And often we have wandered, Through Radcliffe Highway.

Many a pretty blooming, Young girl we did behold,
Reclining on the bosom, Of her jolly sailor bold.

My heart is pierced by Cupid, I disdain all glittering gold,
There is nothing can console me, But my jolly sailor bold.

'Please, return to me Dustin. Don't leave me here alone... if you do I will follow you.' I think with conviction. His hand is now cradling mine instead of strangling it.

My name it is Maria, A merchant's daughter fair,
And I have left my parents, And three thousand pounds a year.
Come all you pretty fair maids, Whoever you may be,
Who love a jolly sailor, That plows the raging sea.

While up aloft in storm, From me his absence mourn,
And firmly pray arrive the day, He's never more to roam.

My heart is pierced by Cupid, I disdain all glittering gold,
There is nothing can console me, But my jolly sailor bold.

My heart is pierced by Cupid, I disdain all glittering gold,
There is nothing can console me, But my jolly Dustin bold.

As I sang my eyes never broke contact with his. Slowly his eyes fluttered closed and his breathing evened out in the deep breaths of sleep. Shortly after he fell back asleep Aimee an Ameena came in, their arms full of the things I had asked them to gather. Once I had helped them lay out what they had brought on the small table in the corner by the window, Aimee and I started to make herbal teas to bring down his fever as Ameena started working on mixing the herbs for making poultices.

I felt better once we had completed those tasks. "Aimee, will you go and heat up some of the beef broth from our latest batch?" I took in her tired appearance. "Take Ameena with; Get some food for yourselves too."

Aimee nodded, giving me a quick hug before she went.

After she left I turned back to Dustin. Putting my hands on my hips, I gave his unconscious form a withering glare. "If you die on me then I just think it's fair to warn you that I with bring you back and kill you myself in the most horrible way known to man." I nodded decisively to punctuate my threat.

Having gotten that off my chest I walked over to his side and placed my hand on his forehead. What I felt there was enough to make me shudder with fear. He was hotter than a furnace! My mind scrambled for a way to cool him down until the doctor got here. I tries to get him to drink some of the tonics we had made mixed with tea but he had started to thrash to violently for me to make him drink. Growing frustrated I jumped on top of him, pining his hands at his sides with my legs, trying to quell his desperate thrashings. I used my left hand to try and hold his head in one place as I pried his mouth open with the cup. I quieted him down enough for him to swallow most of the liquid.

Sighing with relief I stroked his long hair before climbed off of him as he settled into a fitful dose. His fever still raged undaunted, never cooling it's vengeful hold upon Dustin. To calm my own anxiety and to banish his nightmares I began singing the old sailors songs that I remembered from the tales he would tell me when we were younger, of pirates, sailors, goddesses, and mermaids. The ones he would tell me to distract me from whatever my parents had done to me that day. Now I sing to distract us both.

Once a fair and handsome Seal Lord, Lay his foot upon the sand,
For to woo the Fisher's daughter, And to claim her marriage hand.
'I have come in from the ocean, I have come in from the sea,
And I'll not go to the waves, love, Lest ye come along with me.'

'Lord, long have I loved you, As a Selkie on the foam,
I would gladly go and wed ye, And be lady of your home.
But I cannot go into the ocean, I cannot go into the sea,
I would drown beneath the waves, love, If I went along with thee.'

'Lady, long have I loved you, I would have you for my wife,
I will stay upon your shore-land, Though it robs me of my life.
I will stay one night beside you, Never go back to the sea,

I will stay and be thy husband, Though it be the death of me.'

Dae dae dae da da dae dae...

'Lord, I cannot go and wed thee, All to watch my lover die,
Since I'll not be left a widow, I have a plan for us to try.

Let us speak with my grandmother, Who has ever dwelt beside the sea,
She may know some trick or treasure, That I may wed my fair Selkie.'

So they've gone to her grandmother's, Little cottage by the sea,
To inquire how a maiden, Can be wed to her Selkie.
For the Selkie's watery kingdom, Would surely rob her of her breath,
But to stay on land past midnight, It would surely be his death.

'Lord, I know not how to aid you, You may never live on shore,
For your kind to live 'til dawning, It has ne'er been seen before,
But my mother had a seal coat, That she buried 'neath the tree,
And she told me that its wearer, Would become a fair Selkie.'

Dae dae dae da da dae dae...

So they've journeyed farther inland, Though the Seal Lord's getting weak,
And she's shouldering the shovel, To unearth the thing they seek,
At the rising of the full-moon, Underneath the elfin oak,
She has unearthed that faery treasure, Of which her grandmother spoke.

Just before the stroke of midnight, They have made it back to sea,
And she has donned the magic seal coat, And become a maid Selkie.
Now they've gone into the ocean, Hand in hand into the sea,
She has gone along.
A fair seal bride for a Selkie.

Dae dae dae da da dae dae...

"I want to be your bride, Dustin."

My throat had gone hoarse from singing when I heard Aimee open the door and step inside. She was silent for a moment then she said the last thing I expected to hear.

"He looks peaceful."

My eyes flashed open from when I had closed them when I was singing. When my eyes alighted on his face, I nodded in agreement. He did indeed look peaceful, a far cry from his thrashing and whimpers of pain and fear from before. My eyes drifted to Aimee who was still standing in the doorway, holding the cup of broth. I took the broth from her hands, carrying it over to Dustin.

I shook his shoulder, gently pressing the cup to his lips. Silently begging him to drink.

I slowly wafted it under his nose, trying to wake him. When he was roused enough I helped him to drink most of the cup. I gave a silent prayer that it would help give his body the strength to fight.

Out of the corner of my eye I saw Aimee cock her head to the side to listen to something and slowly a grin spread it's self across her tired features. Listening myself now I could discern the sound of swift hoof-beats coming closer by the second. Both Aimee and I sighed in relief, sensing that the doctor was drawing closer by the second. I looked pleadingly at Aimee, I opened my mouth to ask but she cut me off with a wave of her hand.

"I'll help Alexzander with the horses after I tell the doctor where you two are. Then I will get more broth for, Dustin." I smiled gratefully in response. With an answering smile she left to do as she had said.

I realized then that the sound of horses hooves had ceased. Knowing that the doctor would be here any minute I returned to coaxing Dustin to drink more of the broth as he had awakened again at the sound of the horses's hooves pounding the ground. Suddenly the door burst open and a very bedraggled looking Dr. Adalbert Benedict came rushing in. I chuckled lightly at the look of confusion on his wise open face at my appearance before getting up to address him.

"Dustin has been delirious with fever along with hallucinations on top of being dehydrated and lacking any sort of good nutrition... He did not recognize me when I found him." I sighed. I saw the sadness in his eyes. Dr. Benedict had been the man who Alexzander and Dustin would take me to when the beatings were to sever for them to heal on their own. I trust him.

His eyes took on the professional look of a doctor dealing with a bad case. The next hour blew by in a flurry of tonics, poultices, tea, and broth. At some point I took off my hat because it was too hot to work in. Adalbert looked at me for a moment before resuming treating his patient.

Finally Adalbert turned to me with tears in his eyes and told me. "There is nothing else I can do for him, his fever has not broken. We can only hope and pray for a miracle." He sighed sadly.

I looked at him blankly for a moment before walking out of the room, out of the manor. In a daze I walked through the gardens. Watering the plants with my silent tears as I went. Falling to my knees I realized that I had subconsciously gone to my willow. I knelt and I prayed. I prayed that Dustin not be taken from me. That my friend, my companion, my partner in crime, my love be let live.

"Let him live. Don't take him from me!" I yelled.

I knelt praying until the sky started to lighten and I was chilled to the bone. Slowly I stumbled to my feet, walking slowly back to the manor and the eternal sorrow that I am sure awaits me there. Slowly, I entered the manor, as if a ghost in a dream I drifted down the halls to Alexzander's room. Gathering myself inward to withstand the crushing grief that I knew would come with knowing that Dustin is gone again and this time he would not be coming back. Taking a deep breath and closing my eyes I gently opened the door and stepped inside. Softly closing the door behind me I just stood there with my eyes closed. Trying to be ready to face the pain that was sure to come, because when had god answered my prayers?

A single tear escaped before I could stop it. Gently it traced the outline of my face before dropping onto the oak floor.

"What's the matter Seraphina?" Asked a rough voice. A voice I had not heard in two long years. I opened my eyes. No one was there. I closed my eyes another tear escaped. 'Had I finally gone mad? Hearing the very person I would never hear again?'

"Seraphina, why won't you look at me?" He asked sadly. I opened my eyes, then shut them again, tight! Dustin! Dustin was sitting up in bed looking at me confusedly.

With a hoarse cry I launched myself at him. Only to draw myself back. I stopped, standing at his bedside. Tears dripping down my face from my swollen eyes.

"What's wrong?"

"I don't want to hurt you." I replied softly.

He rolled his eye at me and pulled me down into a fierce hug. I crushed him to me fiercely, afraid that if I let go that he would disappear again. I noticed that he was crying too, I only crushed him all the tighter in response. I knew I should be embarrassed that I was pressed up against his bare chest but I couldn't bring myself to care when he was warm and alive in my arms.

"I love you, Seraphina."

"I love you too, Dustin. I'm never ever letting you leave me again."

After a while he drew back. Gazing lovingly into my eyes.

"Love, will you go and bring my jacket to me?" I nodded slowly. His jacket was draped over the back of Alexzander's reading chair. I did as he asked and brought it to him. Reaching deep into one of the pockets he drew out a small box. Dustin pulled me down next to him and took a deep breath before opening the box.

"Seraphina, I love you more than life itself. I want to spent the rest of eternity with you. Will you be my wife?"

I couldn't breath. I couldn't speak. I nodded.

"Really?"

I nodded vigorously "Yes." I whispered. Then louder. "Yes, yes, yes, yes! Yes I will marry you, Dustin. I have wanted to marry you since before we were old enough to."

Dustin grinned broadly and crushed me in another embrace, nearly smothering me but I didn't mind.

If either of us had looked at the door we would have seen the smiling faces of our family but as it was we were both to happy to be together again.

~"~"~"~"~"~

We were married in a small country chapel with our family of friends surrounding us. That is the only time that I was happy to make myself prettier on purpose.

Dustin became a blacksmith and Alexzander became the godfather and grandfather of our children. Two boys and three girls, all of them as beautiful as can be.

Aimee and Ameena live with us and have opened their own seamstress shop together. Their clothes are the most wanted in town. Even the higher up ladies want them for their picnic lunches and tea parties.

And every year on our anniversary Dustin and I will dress up as boys and have an adventure in town. We are living and loving fully till the ends of our days.

"Are you ready to get into some mischief, Finn?" I smile.

"Of course, Dustin."

~"~"~"~"~"~

The End


P.S. The only reason that Dustin didn't die is that this was for a friend and she likes happy endings. It was physically painful for me to write this sappy, unrealistic ending. *sigh* I love her enough to give her a happy ending though. Hope that you all like it.
Please review and tell me what you liked what you hated. Please? * makes sappy, puppy face*