Gemini Reborne

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Earning Respect

Marcelina was eventually carried back to her container when her allotted time was spent, and in her free time, she found herself with a pair of human 'allies' (she refused to call them 'friends' yet). Emilio, for one, along with the childish and surprisingly strong Sergio. Plenty of other crew members-young cabin boys and deckhands- were brave enough or curious enough to find time to talk to her. Marcelina hadn't minded it, in fact, she found it akin to entertaining herself with fish. Arturo had come out on the deck, taken one look at it all and promptly demanded her to be shooed out. Marcelina knew it wasn't time yet, but the captain was such for a reason, so Sergio had scooped her up and brought her back.

Now, she was by herself in the cabin, bored and watching the sun set. She free-floated in the container, moving with small strokes of her tail. Marcelina watched the sun set with a wistful sigh, and with naught else to do, Marcelina took to singing. She pushed herself up to the window sill-successfully this time- and let her face be warmed by the sunlight. Songs to nature had no magic to disillusion as much as to praise and enhance that which already existed, so she knew she had the freedom to express herself. Like the gentle lull of the sea and the lingering warmth of the sun, her voice surrounded and nurtured the air on the ship; it leaked through the cracks of doors to human ears, where it was caught and held with reverence.

Though her songs had words in a language no man would understand, the men were able to supply their own. They all had their own unique visions of Marcelina's music, but in the end, they were unified in that they were all about the sea. Arturo couldn't bring himself to go in and shush her, because who would do such a thing? A sweet, harmless song like this should be allowed to flourish. A pirate he was, but Arturo could appreciate the finer things. It wasn't often that one, much less an entire group of people, heard a siren's personal songs and didn't die.

When the sun finally sunk into the horizon, Marcelina eased off her music. She had sung the sun into slumber deep within the lovely waters of home, and in the morning she would draw it up. However, the crew felt as though a glass bubble had been wrongfully shattered unexpectedly. They called for more, pleaded with Arturo to get her to start it up again. Eventually, he sent a cabin boy to urge her on. He was sure if he went in she'd take offense and refuse. The boy was no more than 10 or 11 and was dreadfully shy. Marcelina heard his heavy bare feet padding the floor before he actually came in. She turned around and watched him come close, green eyes reflecting the light gathered from the sun, glowing compared to the dull brown ones of this boy.

It was pretty, but also scary. He knew why she was here. "U-um...you sing nice, miss! Yeah, real nice, the crew and I would really like it if you..um..kept going?" Marcelina just stared at him silently, and he squeaked at the intensity of her gaze. His eyes were glued to the floor. Suddenly, Marcelina smiled and even giggled--a breathy sound not quite there--then reached out to grab him. "You remind me of an old friend of mine when we were your size. Hm...70, 75 years ago, I think? He was so shy and aware of me back then. You see, I'm not an average nereid. I'm quite special, and he knew that, so he was always so careful not to offend me. But little did he know I wanted him to be close to me. So, since you are so much like him back then, I'll tell you what I told him." To the boy's amazement, Marcelina became incredibly gentle, her touches lingering on his arm and her eyes warm. "If you promise to be my close friend, then I'll see no harm come to you from me, or anyone else. And I'll do whatever pleases you most."

The boy didn't know what to do with himself, he was so shocked. The captain said to be cautious and show no fear, but why would he if she were so nice? Maybe it was because he was young, and hadn't offended her before now. "O-Ok. I promise to be your close friend. May you sing more for us? That would please me most." He finished it off with a little bow, to sweeten the offer. Marcelina chuckled and released him, leaning back to pull heaven from thin air. "As you wish, oh, and do leave the door open when you leave." The boy scurried out, taking care to leave the door ajar. It was only when he reached the deck did he realize she didn't ask his name. It didn't seem to matter, though, his task was done, Marcelina was pleasing the ship with her voice.

Marcelina called upon the powers she could safely use, coaxing the winds to dissipate, and the sea to ease so the crew would have to do less work. It felt, for a moment, everything had stopped in order to allow everyone to properly settle down and listen. Marcelina sang for the crew well into the night, only interrupted by the natural call for dinner. This time, when she eased off into silence, no-one felt robbed of anything. It felt complete and peaceful, even as the business of routine started up. Arturo entered his cabin once he was able to pull himself together, sitting at his mini-office to begin working. Marcelina watched him come in and continued watching him with an expectant look. When he said nothing to her, much less spared her a glance, Marcelina's gaze turned petulant and she decided to mimic him in the unfair silence.

For a while, it did nothing but allow Arturo to make a decent dent in his duties. He wrote in his log, reviewed the notes from his navigator, and drew up plans for when he came upon ample ships to attack. Yet, as the silence carried on, one blank and the other irritated, it began to catch onto him. He began to lose focus. Finally, he turned around to see Marcelina positively glaring at him, even though her face was more or less stony and inexpressive. Her eyes were the window to her ire. Arturo frowned and stood, walking up to the container. Marcelina pushed her head from the water, resting her arms on the lid. Crossing his arms across his chest, Arturo began his questioning. "Why are you glaring at me like that? I've been rather generous to you today." Marcelina looked him up and down for a while, reading his posture and his eyes. She tried, again, to stay silent, but the bond was too much to beat. "I won't willingly speak to you until you apologize and learn to respect my opinion and personal interests." She was slightly rushed in her response, spitting it out in a breath and taking deep ones to recover.

Arturo was taken off guard by that response. He laughed condescendingly to gather himself. "Why would I do either of those things? What have I done to warrant an apology?" Marcelina narrowed her eyes, temper rising dangerously as it was wont to do around him. "Perhaps because you were the one who left me alone with that despicable carpenter, and what happened after the fact was your fault. Or maybe because I have to practically go to war to get you to do anything concerning me? Or, oh, and prepare for a shock, maybe for abducting me in the first place?!" Marcelina dug her fingers into the rim again, her fingers having made grooves in the build by now. It didn't whine now, but she could feel the wood suffer. It felt good. Arturo was quiet for a minute, his face leveling off to become entirely serious and commanding. Then he put on a defiant smirk. "No. I'm not obligated to apologize for the carpenter. He barely did anything besides manhandle you for a moment, and even so, I handled it. Also, being abducted would imply that I intend to return you for a ransom, or some political gain. Which, might I add, I'm not. You will do your purpose until I no longer need it, and that is questionable."

He watched as she grew angrier and angrier until she had pushed herself as high as she could manage--up to his chin, impressive--and her eyes were as bright and as sharp as a blade made of lightning. There was a looming mass brewing in the room, rumbling low and powerful. It rolled off of her in waves even if it was invisible. It threatened something unclear, but dangerous and vindictive. "I have never had the displeasure of dealing with pirates until now, and I have found them most uncouth. You, in particular, are the rudest, densest, most damnable man since the tyrant of Greece! You owe me many things. I could've killed you when you took me, called Poseidon to my aid and had you all swallowed into oblivion! Even now, I can simply lull the ocean to the calm state it was before, with no infraction on the cowardly curse you put on me and watch you all starve to death! It would thrill me to do so even now! I could create storms to plague us for eons until not even your soul could persuade me to cease! You may think you're in control of me because of the minimal knowledge of my kind, but you are far, far from dominating me. I am my father's most prized daughter in this region. He has given me more abilities and power than you can comprehend! If you'd have listened to me when we docked, you could've avoided having to disown your 'friend' and wasting time! You could've actually managed to make this bearable!"

Marcelina paused to take one singular breath, and the loom over them burst into rivulets, fueling her continuation of rage and indignation and every possible complaint against Arturo. Emilio had walked into the cabin intending to call Arturo to dinner and maybe convince him to yield to the nereid but instead was nearly crushed by the animosity. Arturo looked livid, trying to speak but also under the pressure of the loom over him and Marcelina, while Marcelina had nearly fallen out of the container. Her hands were shaking, ready to tear into flesh, preferably Arturo's. It took quite a while for Emilio to coax Marcelina to stability. Arturo seemed to have control of himself when he left, but Emilio knew he was trying his hardest not to bolt. As they ate their stew, Emilio got to work by chuckling humorlessly. "So I see you've made the creature quite upset." Arturo scoffed, roughly chewing on a bite of beef. "She demands I apologize, like that'll ever happen. I've done her no real ill will."

Emilio sighed and lightly shook his head. "She has a right to be, in a sense. She very much wants her standards met and to be treated properly. That means taking what she has to say regarding her...care seriously. After all, she is a lucky find for you, and you of all men should know to respect the creatures of fantasy." Arturo nearly choked on his food. "She has you on her side as well? At this rate, I'll have a mutiny in a matter of days." He said it in a way to imply dismissal, but it was clear that comment struck a chord in him. "Marcelina is a nereid that was stupid enough to get captured and bonded. That makes her underneath me, and I don't need to 'respect' any opinion, much less hers!" Arturo's eyes were dark with anger, almost poison green. Emilio saw more, naturally. There was denial and an inner war in him over that denial. It wouldn't last long. Arturo didn't do well with denial. Emilio watched him, calm sea blues showing clearly that he knew Arturo knew he was digging himself a rather deep hole. "Think about it, Arturo. Think of how furious you'd be if Marcelina treated you the way you've treated her. You're acting quite like that naval officer you hate so much."

Emilio knew that was a low blow, but it had to be done if only to help that inner war in Arturo's eyes. He had done his best. The little silence between them had settled it quickly, and with a grumbling sigh, Arturo finished his stew, fetched a platter of food for Marcelina, and prepared to go and face more of the creature's anger. When he re-entered the cabin he felt the crushing weight of the mass again, bubbling now instead of the absolute tempest from before. It stuck to his chest, weighing it down and making his breaths long and difficult. Marcelina was staring at him just short of murderous. He walked up silently to the container, the plate easy to see. Marcelina sighed and began to settle into a feeding state of mind. Her eyes began to go blank and her face leveled out. He began to drop fish into the water, one by one. "You have won this battle, Marcelina. I'll attempt to accommodate your natural needs and habits. To a degree. I won't have rumors circulating that I'm going soft. As for an apology, this is the closest you'll get it. Be grateful for this much."

Marcelina looked half-gone to feeding, but Arturo saw something settle in her eyes, relief and acceptance, if a little resigned. It would do. He dumped the raw meat in and Marcelina succumbed to her baser self. The looming mass receded away. Arturo took a light, deep breath of normal air, going back to his desk. Marcelina was quiet for a very long time after that, but Arturo didn't let it distract him. Finally, when they were preparing for bed, Marcelina spoke. "Though you are very far from being forgiven, much less regarded in a different light, I will be grateful. But you must listen to me. I know what's best for me, and if we're going to adjust to being around each other, it'd do us both good to heed me. In return, I'll heed you. To a degree." Marcelina didn't look up at him as she spoke, too busy braiding her hair for bed. There was no room for negotiation or argument, and Arturo could do naught else but make a basic hum in agreement and settle down to sleep. He put out the candle and night was over them.

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