The Freedom To Choose

Chapter 3 Hesitation

Shit.

There was something seriously wrong with Logan's brain. Something had happened to him since he climbed that mountainside to board the Arcadia. Maybe he was going crazy, just like the rest of the maniac crew. Why else would he have actually walked into the Captain's room in the middle of the night with no excuse as to why he was there? Now he was stuck in a confined place, that piercing gaze focused intently on him, and no idea as to what he should be saying.

The Captain seemed unconcerned with Logan's seeming muteness, having been leaning against the wall staring at him for the last couple of minutes as Logan's eyes flitted around the room, taking in what he could see while his mind raced, frantically trying to come up with some excuse.

The room was simple and comfortable, though bereft of much personal touch. Logan supposed that even though Harlock had been living there for 100 years he was probably not the sentimental type. The bed was in the far right-hand corner, rather plain with white sheets and a dark pillow-cover and blankets. The floors were the normal dark and rather dull metal. Unlike most of the ship's quarters, Harlock's had no rugs on the floor, although there was a tapestry on the wall to the right of the door with a map of the known universe and another tapestry to the left with a strange pattern in earthy yellows, oranges, browns, and reds. There was a tall lamp in the far left corner between the wall and a chest of drawers made of dark-stained wood that stood about 3' tall. The room was small, perhaps 10' square, and no larger than anyone else's quarters. Logan would have expected the captain to be in much nicer accommodations, something far more comfortable to spend a century in, but maybe Harlock did not spend much time in his own room.

There was a door in the righthand wall at the foot of the bed that led into a small and dark room. Logan could see a desk against the far wall up against a large window at the outside edge of the ship; the surface was illuminated by the light of the stars. In the center of the ring of light was a glass jar - it almost looked like something from a chemist's lab - with a dark substance filling it about halfway. He could not see much else.

His perusal of the room, though he had taken as much time as he possibly could have with it, lasted no longer than a minute or two, and now Logan stood shifting on his feet and looking at anything but Harlock where he still leaned casually and completely still against the wall by the door. The yellow light made his hair look more brown than the black it normally seemed in the dull lighting of the ship's corridors. The light from the lamp shone directly into his one visible eye, glinting brightly from beneath the cover of his shaggy fringe. His skin looked warm and rich and his clothes smooth and free of the normal rumpling. For having just woken he seemed far too put together and attractive for Logan to cope with. The sleep pants were slim and pulled taut across his thighs, revealing the strong muscle underneath. Without the thick leather and concealing cape, Harlock seemed broader and stronger, not so slim and angular. The short sleeves on his shirt let Logan see the bulge of small but defined biceps where his hands rest in the crook of his crossed arms. His scar seemed less noticeable and that brown eye was staring him down with heavy intensity, waiting patiently.

"Umm..."

Logan paused, then let out a huff of breath, frustrated with himself for not being able to think clearly as he looked unseeingly at a space toward the wall at the end of the bed. He chanced a glance over at the Captain and found a slight smile on his face - an amused smirk, actually.

"I, uh..."

"You...?"

"I don't really - ."

He did not have anything else to say. He really didn't. His mind was entirely blank, empty of anything except his sweating palms, dry mouth, nervously shifting feet, and the languid grace and confidence of the figure just steps away. Three or four at most, and he would be able to reach out and brush the hair out of his face, see that captivating eye clearly and get a look at the hidden one. But he couldn't do it, he couldn't move, he could hardly breathe for the tension in his body. And then the last thing he expected to happen did. Harlock moved. The Captain pushed himself off the wall, unwinding his arms, and walked a step or two forward, leaning forward and to the side, his head cocked in question as he approached Logan purposefully.

"You don't know? You come to my room in the middle of the night, rousing me from sleep, and now you have nothing to say?"

"No, I..." Something seemed wrong with what Harlock said but Logan couldn't figure out what it was. His mind was fizzling out, unable to focus with the Captain so close and capturing all of his attention. That pull, that connect that he felt all the time was so strong that nothing else seemed to make any sense. He wanted nothing more than to close the gap between the two of them and touch and he knew there was a reason he shouldn't but he was having a hard time remembering why. The Captain took another tiny step closer, leaving only a couple of feet between them.

"Logan. Why did you come here?"

"I... I don't know..."

Another step. Logan could touch him now, if he reached out. The room felt hot, much hotter than it had when he first entered. The Captain's gaze was making him uncomfortable and he couldn't decide whether he wanted to leave or not. He knew he had gotten himself into something far too deep and dangerous for his liking and safety. He needed to leave. He wanted to leave. So why wouldn't his feet move? Why could he not stop looking at those eyes? Why do his fingers keep twitching, wanting to reach out and hold on and not let go?

"Logan. Why?"

"I..."

He finally moved, taking a step backward and kicking over the Captain's boots where they were lined up near the wall. Logan stumbled shortly before regaining his balance and straightening, feeling his cheeks heat and becoming even more flustered. The two stared at each other, eyes focused without blinking for whole moments until the Captain just sighed and turned away suddenly.

"Go back to bed, Logan."

"...What?"

"Go back to bed. Come back when you've figured it out."

Logan's eyebrows wrinkled in confusion.

"Figure what out?"

Harlock just turned back and looked at him for a moment.

"Go back to bed, Logan."

"...Okay."

Logan straightened his shoulders and stepped across the room and out the door when it slid open and into the hall. He turned around to see Harlock standing next to his bed, looking down at the blankets, his shoulders slumped slightly and looking... lonely? But then the door slid shut and Logan couldn't see him anymore. It was in that moment, when he was finally able to think clearly outside of the Captain's immediate presence, that Logan finally figured out what had been wrong with the Captain's question. Harlock said that Logan had woken him, but his bed - it was perfectly made, not a wrinkle or an untucked corner, as if it had not been touched in hours. Like the Captain had been too restless to sleep as well.


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