As he turned the corner he nearly walked straight into a familiar face – one he hadn't seen all day. "Captain," he said, surprised out of his swagger.
"Ahoy, me heartie," the Captain said, grin splayed across his face. "Heard we're on route for the loot, aye?"
"Aye, aye, Captain."
"Good, good." The Captain's grin tightened into a little smile, and something about the purse of the lips was suspicious. Alexander waited for a tense moment for the man to say something, but the Captain merely shifted to lean heavily on his cane, staring pointedly off into the distance. The moment stretched thin.
Unable to take the silence, Alexander gave. "Aren't you going to ask?" he asked.
"Hm? Ask what?"
Ask what, he says – the Captain had working deadlights, he could see the state of the crew. "Well, perhaps about why there's cannon lead all over or why Tobias has my knuckles branded on his face or why Damian is swaddled with spare rope up by the sails," Alexander said, giving a slow, deliberate tilt of the head.
"Ah. Aye, I saw for meself. Bloody sirens – nasty creatures, aren't they? And far more potent than I'd thought."
Alexander let those words sink in. It took a moment, caught him while he raked a hand through his hair, but the slow wave of realization washed over him and his hand came away curled, questioning. His expression skewed in confusion. "You knew about them?"
The Captain's smile grew broader and, ah, there was a little flick of the gaze. The eye contact was enough to confirm his suspicions.
"Then why—" Alexander choked on his words, sputtered, "Captain, I – you – we could have shipwrecked! They tried to tempt us to the rocks – well, not on purpose, but—"
"Aha," the Captain cut in, beaming. "Tempt us, aye, but not you." In that moment, Alexander learned what true loathing was. No, not really, but he did very much greatly detest how the Captain prodded his chest with such flourish. That self-satisfied grin was not helping the man's case. "When I heard rumors of the siren song, hushed whispers that they could tempt anyone, I immediately thought, 'Bah! Not our Zander!' So I decided to take a wager and look where we ended up – I was always the best gambler of you lot!"
Begads, Alexander felt light-headed. The blood was rushing to his head. He may have actually gone red in the face.
He went rigid at the clap on his shoulder and grit his teeth at the Captain's sunny grin. "Well, no hard feelings, aight matey? Time to go collect our prize."
Aha. Ahaha. Alexander felt giddy and he wasn't even drunk – no, no, he could keep calm. He was a grown man and the sanest of this lot, he'd just proven it. All would be well if the Captain would just keep quiet because his reputation aside, the third mate felt about two words away from—
"We're taking the same route back, so I'm counting on ye to deal with them again, Zander!"
It took four men plus Elijah to keep Alexander from throwing their Captain overboard, and that was the story of how the pirates of the Jack Dandy learned that their third mate was a man to be feared.
((This was kind of the pilot episode or a test-run for a cast of characters that refused to leave me alone, aha. The actual story of the Jack Dandy is a little funnier, a little more serious, and a little more lovable than this. Hopefully I can get it written!))