It was late in the afternoon of the final day when the couple woke up. Marcelina was first, blinking blearily and then bursting into a fit of bubbly coughing. There was a pressing uneasiness in her gut, followed by an itch all over her skin. It was awful, this rejection of her natural home, but all a result of the bond with Arturo. Marcelina woke Emilio gently, but her face conveyed their need to rush. If she was away from Arturo too long beyond the allotted time, she'd feel much worse than vague itchiness. She'd be tortured slowly, as if she was melting from the inside out, until her return to Arturo or her death.
Emilio understood this well and with one last embrace in the cave, they left to swim back to land. Emilio loathed leaving the water, but he knew they must. He walked out first, in order to fetch their clothes. Once found and dressed, he helped Marcelina out and she dressed as soon as she changed. They walked at a brisk pace to the docks, where the Magia Negra waited for them in all her majesty. Once Marcelina fell under its shadow, she shuddered and recoiled. "It reeks of dark magic and trickery," she hissed out, holding Emilio's hand. Through their shared sixth sense, he could feel her discomfort and wariness and it heightened his awareness. Poseidon had warned them about this.
"No matter what happens, our bond will outlast it. We are the Gemini and we'll overcome all attempts to ruin our happiness," he reassured, pressing a kiss to her temple. Marcelina eased some, smiling at him. "Spoken like the Geminius," she whispered. Emilio beamed at her and saw how the light played off her still-wet hair and lit up the planes of her face. Her eyes sparkled with mirth and life, a sublime beauty that spoke deeply to him. Emilio felt a surge of desire and swallowed it down. As humans, he yearned to show her that physical intimacy, but it would do no good to be reckless on board. Especially with the added dangers. He would have to tamper that down.
Emilio felt eyes on him and looked up to see Arturo staring heatedly at them from the bowsprit. He was precariously balanced, too, meaning he put considerable effort to do this. From this distance, it was impossible to truly read his eyes, but Emilio and Marcelina could guess he was quite impatiently waiting for them. They took a low sigh in unison and boarded the ship. Once on, Marcelina bee-lined for her cabin, Emilio following close behind. They got inside and he gently nudged the door shut with a click. It was quiet for a while, then Marcelina seemed to relax and tense up at the same time.
Marcelina had been facing away from him but turned around so they could stare face to face. Emilio's gaze continuously roamed her body, from what little he could see of it. He took in each curve and edge, the dots of freckles on her shoulders and the beauty mark on her collarbone. "I've never been so loath to be clothed as I am right now." Marcelina bit her lip and stared directly at Emilio's chest, "The way you're looking at me, each inner desire you have, I feel it magnified with my own. It almost hurts, this need." She spoke softly, taking slow steps towards Emilio, stopping when her fingers brushed his.
"Marcelina, you know I would love to show you physical intimacies beyond simple contact, but it's dangerous right now. We'll have the opportunity, but we must be careful, nothing needs to go worse," Emilio's voice was deep and slightly husky, fighting himself and part of her as well. Marcelina gulped softly, then forced herself to take steadying breaths, though it didn't quell the soft trembling in her hands. "Then, my love, you should leave, before we do act rashly." Emilio nodded but remained there. "Not before this," he risked touching her chin, tipping her head just enough to make kissing her easy. This kiss was similar to the one Marcelina gave him to breathe underwater: chaste, but solid and deep. Marcelina didn't have time to begin to kiss back before he pulled away, smiling tenderly.
She smiled back and caught his hand before he could take it back, bringing his hand up to gently kiss each knuckle. "I love you, Emilio," Marcelina whispered, for the first time aloud. Emilio felt his heart thud and his knees almost give out. Using the gentlest voice he possessed, he returned, "I love you too, Marcelina." then he left her in the cabin. Marcelina wanted to snatch him back and hide in his arms for a moment longer, but let him go, leaning against the door to gather herself. She almost felt like crying, and that scared her a bit.
Emilio walked slowly to the main deck, forcing himself to think of something other than running back to Marcelina. It worked in quickly, though he wasn't sure if he was grateful or not for it. He took barely two steps into the open before he was being whistled at and applauded. Rough hands clapped his shoulders and Emilio gave a long-suffering sigh. "Welcome back, Emilio! D'you and Celi have a good time?" Sergio leaned over the helm, looking genuinely glad to see him as well as mischevious.
"Hello, Sergio. Yes, we had a 'good time' but not carnally, so you and everyone else can push that right out. I value Marcelina higher than that," he replied, giving the other sailors a hard look, silently enforcing his request. Most of the sailors just snickered but pressed him no further, going back to their regular routines. Emilio was acutely aware of glaring eyes watching him keenly. "Well, what's nereid life like? You're the first to be stolen away and lived to tell!" Sergio asked, as enthusiastic and eager to learn as ever. Emilio breathed a silent sigh of relief for the distraction Smiling, he fished in his pocket for a hair tie to pull back his hair. "I'll tell you during dinner. We have work to do, or did you forget already?" he teased.
Sergio pouted but Emilio was right, and the hustle and bustle of everyday resumed without a hitch. The ship was in the open Atlantic in a matter of hours, and luckily no one was scolded by Arturo. He'd changed in the last 3 days, and many weren't sure if it was for the better. A few minutes after entering the open ocean, Marcelina emerged from her cabin, but not in her original borrowed clothes. She'd found a dress in her bureau, a simple beige and blue. It was a soft mix of cotton and silk, airy and quite comfortable. She still wore her boots, but now had socks on over her feet. Marcelina found the blasting things a little more agreeable now.
On her way to the deck, Marcelina gave men she knew friendly smiles, then leaned on one of the lesser masts to watch the horizon. She would miss home, but this voyage would be easier. This time, she had a mate and a purpose. Sergio saw her and beamed, abandoning the helm to rush up and snatch her in a swinging hug. "Celi! I'm glad you're back, we missed ya!" He held as tightly as ever, smiling so hard it looked painful, the blues of his eyes as bright as the sky above them. His hair ruffled in the salty wind, catching sunbeams and shining. Marcelina weakly patted his chest, barely getting air in. Sergio remembered himself and set her down with an embarrassed chuckle. "Little brother, it's nice to see you, too," she greeted with a warm smile.
Sergio's grin softened, but his body perked up more if it was possible. "Dressed do look good on you! Arturo and I went shopping for you while you were gone. There's plenty to last in the bureau, along with some other things to beautify yourself with, if you feel like it," he explained after looking her over once. Marcelina had to process his spheal on her own for a moment, then hummed softly. "I appreciate that, Gio." Especially now that she a reason to stay on this ship for an extended period. Sergio preened a bit until his eyes caught something and he made a hasty retreat. Marcelina didn't have to ponder why he left so abruptly, she'd been feeling those piercing eyes on her back the moment she walked onto the deck.
She took a breath before turning around to face him. "Arturo." He looked entirely too smug about something, which put her on edge. He radiated with that dark magic energy, making her itch internally. Despite the urge to grimace, Marcelina kept her face a schooled calm, giving away nothing. Arturo had planned something, and Marcelina wasn't sure she wanted to find out what. Arturo smiled at her, all slick and unlike himself, looking her over. It made her fingers twitch. "Welcome back, Marcelina. I trust you found all the answers you needed," he greeted, side-stepping past her and starting to circle her. Marcelina's hands clenched into fists. "I took the liberty of assuming you won't be trying to change back anytime soon, so I didn't get a container commissioned," he continued, earning a nod.
Marcelina followed him keenly with her eyes, trying to decipher him. "Besides, we have a good deal of things to talk about, in private. Having an outside container would impede on that," he finished, earning another nod. Then Marcelina began to look for a way out. "I'll leave you to manage your crew," she cut him off early, quickly walking out of Arturo's circle path, towards the back of the ship. She got her private moment thankfully, and she leaned against the back wall of the captain's quarters. Staring at the horizon, she prayed for safety, for her and Emilio.