[http://rp.eliteskills.com/vc.php?c=387893 [pic http://i.imgur.com/FeWfB37.jpg]] [http://rp.eliteskills.com/vc.php?c=387862 [pic http://i.imgur.com/aU7bt1D.jpg]]
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He was glad when Mai responded, but his smile had turned downward into a frown when he'd heard what the man had to say. The first thing he wanted to do after he got his ship back was to sail into Drink's Kingdom waters just to punch that asshole that called him the Emperor Consort in the face. “I stuck by you because we're friends,” He wasn't entirely sure if he should say that they were lovers as he was sure that ship had sailed long ago, and he'd missed his chance. Mai was still pretty hopelessly head over heels for someone who'd thrown him out in exchange for a wife who had it all. “Despite our past, I'm not going to leave someone I consider to be a friend behind. You only think you're broken because people have told you that you are. People have thrown you out because they see no worth in keeping you, but you shouldn't say you have no value because it's not true.”
He'd let other people do the thinking for him, and had let people tell him that he had no value. Shaoran still had ahold of him, and Reiley wasn't sure he'd ever be able to break that bond. “You're free to stay with me on the Carina. I'd be happy to help you find where you're from. And even after that, you'd be free to sail with me as you pleased.” He opened up that offer- hoping he'd worded it in a way that showed him that there were no strings attached. Mai was free to come and go as he pleased, and the red haired male wouldn't stop him from leaving if that was what he wanted to do.
“Don't feel like just because one asshole says you're broken, and throws you out of his kingdom that all of us are like that. I don't expect you to trust me because I know I messed up by not telling you who I was. I've been running away from my past for so long that I just didn't want you to hate me too.” It had been selfish of him to keep this secret, and he knew that he'd done Mai a disservice by keeping it from him. He just hadn't wanted to be hated by someone who disliked the royal bloodlines as much as he did. Thankfully, he'd been forgiven for it, but he knew that that wound would always be there.
“Just know that if we ever go back to the Drink's Kingdom, I'm going to punch your boyfriend in the nose.” Reiley nudged the male with his elbow gently. “How else am I going to let him know that I'm going to steal you from him.” He was joking- for the most part anyway. He just wanted to lighten the mood between the two of them as he very much disliked this grim and palpable atmosphere between them at this moment in time.
[size11 There was a sudden tension in the room that bubbled like a carbonated drink overflowing in a glass. An unstoppable force in the moment, too far gone to do anything other then wait for it to recede and clean it up afterwards.
Maybe Mai pretended not to notice the shift in the atmosphere, or maybe he just didn't acknowledge it. Still, at the former prince's sharp order, Mai couldn't help but stand and exit the room without a sound, letting the air settle heavily in the room once he had disappeared out the door.
He was an obedient pet in that sense- following orders like a mindless solider rather than the sassy royal-hating thief that the pirate had come to know. It wasn't something sudden either, it was something programmed into his brain from years of following orders. Years of being a dog to the Empress and her Consort, whether said Empress herself knew it or not. Whether the thief himself knew it or not. He said he was a free man, free to do whatever pleased. But if that was the case, why did he continuously return back to the Drinks again and again?
And it wouldn't take only a night to revert those years of mechanically following orders without question. It wouldn't take only a night to repair the broken thief.
[center [size17 | Time Skip |]]
They were nearly ready to leave. Mai wasn't sure how Reiley convinced his older brother that he was vital to sailing the ship across the ocean. He wasn't sure he really cared, if he was honest. It was even more surprising when a squire carrying a letter approached him while he was alone, scampering off as quickly he had appeared.
[size18 [Homemade+Apple Dear Killian,]]
[size18 [Homemade+Apple I understand if you didn't want to hear from me ever again. I hurt you. I used you, and once you got in the way, I threw you aside. I regret letting you leave with so much anger between us. I heard from Alois that you had made it over to the Fruits Kingdom and I wrote this, hoping you would receive this message.]]
[size18 [Homemade+Apple I hope one day we can find ourselves to be friends again, after all, you've been my best friend my whole life. So hear me now- there's more work to be done. It's time you cast that silly brother of Alois's aside. How long are you going to hold onto him as your plaything? Until you screw up and he tells you to leave too? The only one who will ever truly care about you is me. It's time to come home.]]
[size18 [Homemade+Apple Forever Yours,
Emperor Consort of the Drinks Empire]]
Mai clenched the letter in his fist, mood soured. But ultimately saddened. Where even was home? What was a home at all?
[center [size17 | Time Skip |]]
The first time he had sailed around on a ship with Reiley he had taken to laying on the bow side of the deck after it had been cleaned for the night when the rest of the crew, expect for the night shift, had gone below deck to sleep. He enjoyed the crisp open air and the stars overhead. He enjoyed the time alone eventually too.
It didn't take long after they set sail again that he returned to the habit, occasionally even falling asleep right there out in the open air. Lucy and some of the others teased him mercilessly when they found him the next morning snoring away, hair tussled by the relentless sea breeze.
He and the prince-turned-pirate eventually returned to being as thick as thieves once they had hit the open ocean, maybe as close as they once had been. They had changed as people, sure, but their nature towards each other had remained. At least it had once Mai finally forgiven the red head for keeping his royal status a secret. Still, there was highs and lows. Sometimes Mai would retreat into a dark room and stay there, unwilling to socialize. But for the most part his snarky personality had returned. A fire slowly returning to full strength after nearly being put out.
The dark haired thief didn't look up when the pirate took a seat next to him, voicing his opinion about finding their destination within the next couple of days. While he certainly wasn't as skilled in navigation as the pirate prince, he was maybe more knowledgeable then the others when it came to the ocean, and he couldn't help but agree with Reiley's assessment. But the light atmosphere grew heavy when the red head continued to speak.
[#870082 "If I'm honest, I'm surprised you stuck around me. No one likes a toy that's already broken."] Mai finally replied, deadpan. But he only held the expression for a moment before laughter trickled from his lips. [#870082 "Sorry, too soon for self-depreciating jokes?"]
He drew a breath and let out a sigh.
[#870082 "I guess because technically it's my fault your ship is missing in the first place I'll have to help you find it, huh? Who knows... maybe we'll get lucky and find out something about where I'm really from in the process."]
Maybe he could finally find home.
[center [pic http://i.imgur.com/tOSBhPJ.jpg]]
“Rei-Chan?” He repeated- a ruby colored brow rose slightly in curiosity. “Now, that's a turn off,” He snorted quietly. The pure fact that he'd likely learned those types of mannerisms from spending far too much time in the Drinks Empire was disconcerting to him. “Since when were you so civilized, Mai?” He turned to face the wall- pouting over the use of a nickname he already hated. He felt as though he were still competing for Mai's trust with someone he'd never met before. It left a bitter taste in his mouth, but it wasn't something that he'd admit so readily that he was jealous.
“Go get breakfast. I'll follow in a few minutes,” It was not so much a request as a command to leave him alone. Though, when Mai did leave, he felt guilty for having said what he'd said. Those types of things would only push them further away than they'd become.
「 ❤ Time Skip 」
Reiley knew that he shouldn't, but as the time that they spent together grew more and more during the expedition, he felt himself drawing closer to Mai. Whether it was love or something else, the thief hadn't the slightest idea. He'd worked hard to bring up the man's self worth in the the weeks that they'd spent together, and he felt as though there were some progress. He wasn't sure if Mai stayed only because he'd asked it of him or if he truly wanted to be here. He felt somewhat guilty for being yet another royal who- for the most part- was keeping him hostage while he was of use. Hopefully the brunette didn't see it that way though.
The past month had been spent trying to get his siblings and the others to an island that Alois had been interested in. Not all of them, however, were suited for traveling the seas. None of them- save for Mai- were like his crew. A few of them had somewhat neurotic tendencies the closer to the island that they got. Veloce seemed to have a hard time keeping herself together despite everyone's attempts to reassure her that she would be more than fine, and that she would be protected from whatever she was afraid of.
“We'll be there in a few days,” Reiley slid down next to Mai and craned his face up toward the sky. The clouds were few against the inky darkness of the night sky. “I was thinking that when we get there, we should split off from them and search for my ship. They'll know their way back, and I'm not the diplomat sort.” He let out a breathy laugh through his nose. “Of course, you don't have to come with me. You're free to stay with them or go wherever you feel you should. I'm sorry, Mai. I haven't treated you with the respect you deserve lately, and I feel terrible about it. I just hope it hasn't changed your opinion of me.” He gave the man a sideways smile. “Is there anything you want to do now that you have the freedom to do whatever you want?”]]
There was something immensely reassuring to the thief about falling asleep next to his pirate companion and rousing from said sleep when the other shifted in bed besides him, moaning and groaning about having to deal with a world outside their bedroom. Whatever they were now was certainly different than what they were when Mai had snuck on to Reiley's boat oh so long ago. They had certainly changed too. The dark haired man was more subdued now than ever before, although on occasion it wasn't odd to see that former firey personality come to life, typically when someone pissed him off.
The bruising along his his cheekbone and his eye had darkened considerably in the night, a sharp contrast to the sunkissed skin that lay underneath, like blues and purples and blacks and reds splattered across a white canvas. The man had certainly decked him hard, harder than he expected from a Fruits soldier. And because of it he refrained from opening his eyes, even as Reiley wiggled besides him, sunlight filtering from the window. Still, a hum from his lips as Reiley spoke his worries was to assure his companion that he was indeed paying attention.
[#870082 "Talking about your little sister in the same breath as talking about what you want to do in bed is more of a mood killer than you think, Rei-chan"] The taller man complained as he opened his eyes finally, or opened them as wide as they would go. The use of a suffix when teasing the other male a habit from being in the Drinks Empire for so long. There was more of a chance to that he hadn't even realized he had used it, voice and eyes still heavy with sleep, than to think he used it on purpose.
An appreciative keen sounding from the back of his throat as Reiley's slender fingers squeezed them closer together. But unfortunately, all good things must come to an end and if the thief was anything, late wasn't one of them. So he took it upon himself to sit up first, pulling his arms away from his partner in order to stretch, arching his back in the process.
[#870082 "If Reishia is as tough as Astrid, she'll be fine. And Veloce traveled with me here... If she can put up with me, than she'll be fine as well."] A yawn blossomed from his lips as he spoke, causing a brief pause in his words, eyes closing as he did so. And when they opened once more a soft light filtered through. The shine in his eyes lacked luster when compared to what they used to be, the last time he and Reiley saw each other. But in comparison to the dark, dead look he carried the night before, it was a small improvement.
[center [pic http://i.imgur.com/tOSBhPJ.jpg]]
[center [Abel The next morning, Reiley burrowed his face against Mai’s shoulder as the sun filtered through the open blinds that he had sworn he’d closed the night before. The maids must have already been in to make sure the red-head woke up. He let out a groan and pulled the covers over his face. “Goddamnit,” he whined softly. The warmth of his companion made him even less likely to want to get out of bed. Even though he knew they were supposed to be getting ready for their journey, he was much more content to stay here snuggled next to Mai. Though there was nothing between them as far as he was aware, he greatly enjoyed the company of another body next to him.
“The only thing I’m looking forward to of this trip is the potential of treasure and being back in familiar territory as far as a job goes,” Being a navigator and a captain he could do. Doing this royal crap, he couldn’t. At least Alois had allowed him the decency of putting him in charge of the ship as he was the one who knew his way around one as large as the one they were taking. It wasn’t his familiar crew, and the crew that they did have likely hated him, but none of that mattered. “My only worry is that we have Veloce and Reishia with us.”
Reiley had no idea what either wanted from this trip or why they were going. He couldn’t bring himself to say no to his youngest sister after being away from her for more than six years, and Salem had seemed somewhat attached to the young girl from the Grain Kingdom. “I wish we could just stay in bed and make out- maybe see where things go~ I think I could make you forget about that loser.” He teased- giving the other a squeeze around his midsection. If this was brought up later or offended the brunette, he could just say that he was half asleep and not coherent in what he was saying.
He had promised Mai that he would help him figure out who he was, and even if he failed to do that, then the male would always have a place at his side regardless of where they were. Reiley had no interest in tossing him away for good. He was fond of Mai, and even though he did like to do his own thing, he would never outright abandon him as this Shaoran had done so. ]]
He was aware that they shifted positions. Suddenly he was more secure on the ground and there were hands wrapped around his body. And Mai took the touch in stride because he needed it. He needed someone to remind him that he was worth more than being a pawn in someone else's chess game. That he wasn't as expendable as he was led to believe.
Through the tears , the thief laughed. It was a choking, hiccup-y sound that was neither elegant nor pleasant, but a laugh all the same. [#870082 "I want you to tell the Emperor Consort of the Drinks Empire to his face that [i 'he isn't shit']."] By the time he finished the harsh laughter had dwindled down to a wheezy chortle.
Despite Reiley's soothing words there was still that small voice in his head full of doubt. A harsh reminder that Shaoran was all he had after his father died. That without him, he might have been killed long ago. Long before he met the pirate before him at least. He didn't ever think he would need saving from his savior, of all people. It was a sharp, stinking reminded that he was more a damsel in distress than a fierce opponent.
He trusted to easily. He fell head first, and his loyalty was next to none once someone earned it. And that was going to kill him one day. He was a black knight. A black knight with a bleeding heart. A parasite who clutched to any source of light. Or at least that's what he thought of himself.
[#870082 "What if I don't know what I want though?"] He whispered, pulling away slightly from the shorter man to straighten his back, having hunched over earlier to hide his face in Reiley's chest. [#870082 "What if I don't know who I am?"] Once again he drew in a sharp breath, shoulders quivering, and not just because the faint chill in the air. [#870082 "I've had so many aliases, so many masks, so many disguises. I don't remember what's real and what's fake anymore. I don't..."] His voice died in his throat and he fell silent once more.
Mai knew Reiley was teasing, but he couldn't summon enough bite to even draw a joking reply in response. He was a shell of a man who used to be so full of life. Or maybe that shell was just another mask, another wall away from the world. But at the pirate's suggestion to head inside as the evening turned to night, the thief paused again. Fingers unclenched around the other man's jacket, instead reaching out to wipe the wetness away from his face. It was the building of a mask upon is face and although the redness in his eyes, and the bruise on his face still remained, a listless smirk replaced his frown.
[#870082 "I'm not saying I'll stay, but if the bed is more comfortable than your bed on that ship of yours than I guess I need to test it out now don't I."] It took him a couple more minutes of silence before he managed to speak and although his eyes were still dead the words were filled with sass. This much he could do, pretend he was perfectly fine. But one thing was sure in his mind.
[i I'm too broken to be loved by you.]
[center [pic http://i.imgur.com/tOSBhPJ.jpg]]
[center [Abel Perhaps it had been out of spite that Reiley had said those words to Mai. They hadn’t necessarily been that close before they’d split up, but it still had felt as though he’d lost a lover or a best friend. He’d thought for sure he’d be dead or long gone by now, and being reunited brought back these feelings that he’d had when they were closer. He lowered the male to the ground, and kneeled on his knees in the grass as well- slender arms wrapping around the dark haired man’s middle. “[+cd607e I have use for you, but more importantly, I don’t want that to be all we are. You’re not just a commodity to me to use and be done with. Jesus, I didn’t even do that to you when we were sleeping together, Mai,]” He didn’t intend just to use him and toss him out as if he were someone who didn’t mean anything to him. “[+cd607e Don’t make yourself useful for someone only to have them be able to throw you away in the end. Don’t give someone that chance.]” He moved once more and rested both hands on the male’s shoulders. Red brows furrowed in concern. “[+cd607e You should move on with your life from whoever this guy was. He ain’t shit. Be who you want to be.]”
Reiley was feeling uncharacteristically sentimental, and was glad that the guard tended to leave him alone. Were there anyone else around, he doubted that he’d be so open with his feelings in the presence of another person. “[+cd607e You know, when we met, I thought we would just end up being someone who warms the other person’s bed. And even when I pushed you out the window, I was more afraid of losing your trust and your acceptance than I was of being captured. I lied to you and you still trust me even now or you wouldn’t have waited when I asked. I hardly think it’s deserving, but I’m glad. I thought of you as a close friend, and you were someone that I confided in- though you didn’t necessarily get the whole story sometimes, but you know a lot more about me than most people.]” He wouldn’t call what he felt for Mai love, and there was no way he would force it on him after he’d recently been rejected by someone he’d obviously had feelings for. The pirate might have been an asshole, but that didn’t mean he didn’t understand how badly it felt to be rejected.
“[+cd607e If there’s nothing else for you with me after we’re done, you should be your own person. You don’t need me to tell you who you are. Mai, you are stronger than this, and we both know it.]” He hated the fact that whatever had happened in the few years they’d been apart had broken Mai to be so dependent on someone telling him who to be and how to think. “[+cd607e I need you as a friend, a confidant, a fellow thief. But most importantly, I want you to do what you want to do. I won’t stop you from leaving if you really want to, but don’t just go from guy to guy who won’t respect you.]”
By this time, it was starting to get darker. The sky had turned orange and purple with the coming sunset. “[+cd607e We should go inside if you're coming before they start to worry. And if you tell anyone else about that sappy speech I just gave you, I won’t forgive you.]” Reiley teased. He wasn’t known for his compassion, and he preferred to keep that he wasn’t as cold as he portrayed himself to be a secret. ]]
[i So your boyfriend dumped you...] Those words irritated him a little. Maybe more than a little. It was the first time he openly admitted just how devoted he had been to Shaoran. He was no better than a princess who fell in love with her knight. He'd broken his father's number one rule of keeping your distance. That people were always going to betray you, so you always kept them at arms length. He had gotten to close, a metaphorical Icarus that got too close to the sun and was sent tumbling harshly back to the ground of reality. He had stiffened then, although he did not speak.
And when we finally did speak he had all intentions on leaving, but something made him hesitate. A single, soft command.
And wait he did, listening to Reiley drone on about how he could get him pardoned. That the pirate needed him. Oh did he now? The dark haired man threw his head over his shoulder to eye the pirate behind him.
[#870082 "So what do you want me to be then? A thief? A pirate? An assassin? Or perhaps a friend? A brother? A lover? How can I help you your m-"] He cut himself off before calling Reiley anything he might later regret. The words felt heavy in his throat, too heavy to even be considered a joke. He was used to this, fulfilling a job and then being tossed aside. Doing the dirty work, and being left to clean the mess up by himself.
[i He made his choice, now you make yours.] But what was the right choice? Killian, or Mai, or whoever he was stiffened at the squeeze to his shoulder, a gentle reminder that while he drifted through his thoughts, the pirate prince was waiting for an answer behind him. He stay still for a second longer, head bowed, a heavy intake of breath audible in the silence.
And then he turned, his rough hands latching onto the fabric of the stupid coat the red head had on, no doubt a decision of the maids. He needed this, something to keep him grounded. And with his head still bowed, his face buried in the very same jacket. It started from his knees. A slow quiver. A shaking that slowly intensified until his legs buckled and his body dipped down towards the ground, the only thing keeping him up- his fists clenched around the fabric like a lifeline. Nearly kneeling now, his voice muffled as he finally spoke once more. A single question.
[#870082 "What am I going to do when you no longer have any use for me?"]
[center [pic http://i.imgur.com/tOSBhPJ.jpg]]
[center [Abel “[+cd607e I didn’t even tell my crew that, so there’s no way you could have found that out until you figured it out or someone told you,]” Of course, if he’d allowed Mai to stay with him in the house, he would have figured it out, and their friendship probably would have fallen to the wayside. Not that the redhead could blame his companion for that in the least bit. He didn’t trust the upper echelon either. He trusted Alois and Astrid to some extent, but they acted less like crowned princes and princesses and more like military leaders, and the fact that they were related to some degree. “[+cd607e Alois only married Lucy so the people would get off his back. You should see them together; they can’t stand each other in the least.]” And he thought he was the one with no manners. If those two were put in a room, all they did was stare daggers at one another.
He gave a sympathetic glance to Mai at the mention of not being needed. To be cast aside so easily after basically devoting oneself to someone else. He knew how much it must have stung Mai’s pride. “[+cd607e So, your boyfriend dumped you. Does that mean you’ll come back to me?]” He raised an eyebrow in a suggestive manner- although he wasn’t serious. They weren’t very serious to begin with, and although Reiley found use in Mai, he wasn’t looking for a relationship. “[+cd607e It’ll really hurt my feelings if you say no,]” He continued for effect.
His heart raced as the dark haired man’s words sounded as though he were leaving yet again. “[+cd607e Wait,]” It wasn’t a request, but more of a soft command. “[+cd607e Forget this guy, Killian- or Mai- whoever you are. If I can guarantee you a pardon, will you stay? I can grant you that and a permanent place on my ship once we get it back, but I need you here. Your skills are better used here than out there.]” Mai was loyal- perhaps to a fault. Reiley knew he was asking a lot of him, but he’d rather have the male there at his side than wandering around aimlessly with no sense of direction. “[+cd607e If he can’t see that you needed him too, then he’s not worth thinking about. He made his choice, and it was clearly not returning your feelings. The faster that you move on, the better.]” It was easier said than done, but it was the right choice.
“[+cd607e He made his choice, now you make yours,]” He rested a hand in silent solidarity on the male’s shoulder and gave it a light squeeze- hoping that Mai would stay. The two had quite a bit of catching up to do, and it’d only be made harder if he decided to leave rather than accept Reiley’s offer. The Fruit Kingdom royal guard would be furious that they couldn’t arrest two wanted criminals, but they were needed here, and Reiley wasn’t below making sure they knew that. ]]
There was a reason he hated royalty and their guards. Or at least, so Mai thought as he sat back in the dirt with a faint hiss, one arm holding himself up and the other prodding at the bruise that was surely forming along his jaw and cheekbone. He had full intentions on leaving despite Reiley's protests that he hated the role he was born with, at least until he was punched in the face. Bold eyes looked up at Reiley, questioning what would be the Pirate prince's next move, and only a little surprised when he offered him a hand. And after some hesitation, he took it.
Faster than he would have liked he was swept away, a part of him hoping Alois would have said no, so he could leave without hearing Reiley out. A thought that quickly changed as they walked off on their own, and Reiley launched into his story. They were more similar, the thief and the prince, more so than Mai realized. And as a side note as his thoughts drifted, Reiley looked better with his red hair untamed than in the neat and tidy way his maids had undoubtly out it in.
[i Why are you here?] It was a question that had more answers than he cared to admit.
[#870082 "I left the crew with the ship once we reached port again. I wandered for a little while with a group of petty thieves in the Grain Kingdom. It was fine at first, they didn't realize who I was. I guess I got comfortable again and stayed too long, because one of them found an old wanted poster and realized I was worth more to them dead than alive."] He sucked in a breath, eyeing Reiley to gage his reaction. [#870082 "It was just luck on my part that the same road we were to be traveling on happened to be the route Alois's little bride was taking back here. So her guards saved my life, and in exchange for my life I hung around in the Grain Kingdom, waiting for her to send word that she needed me to do something for her. Eventually, her request came to me - to find a couple of people in the Grain Kingdom and bring them here. So here I am."] He finished his tale with a meek shrug, although meekiness was unbefitting of the broad shouldered thief. [#870082 "God... I thought you were dead when you didn't come out of that stupid house."] It was a thought that left his mouth a bit off topic, but without any more elaboration. His gaze on the Pirate turning away as he shifted so the red head couldn't see his face.
[#870082 "I guess I can't blame you for not telling me you were a prince. I guess truthfully, we aren't entirely different. Although, I'm certainly not royalty."] His chest heaved and for a second his whole body tensed as if he might bolt. But slowly his shoulders slumped only a heartbeat later and he raised his voice to speak again, voice soft.
[#870082 "I don't remember my real name anymore. But for a while I went by the name of Killian. I was a thief still, mind you, but I worked under Shaoran of the Drinks Empire. By extension that meant I worked for Miyuki also, and Alois and Astrid on occasion. Practically since the time we met as kids, some how he reeled me in right fron the start. I was anything he needed me to be."] [i A thief. A friend. An informant. A shadow. A lover. An assassin.] [#870082 "And then one day he didn't need me anymore."] It was a synopsis of his life up until now. A harsh reminder that even though he hated royals, standing behind them was all he knew. The dark haired man fell silent with that, letting his words linger in the still air.
All too quickly that moment was over, and Killian stood without turning to face the ex-prince again. [#870082 "I should go before Alois's dogs realize I have no intention of letting them arrest me."]
[center [pic http://i.imgur.com/tOSBhPJ.jpg]]
[center [Abel He wore an incredulous expression. He almost couldn’t believe he was face to face with a man he’d shoved out a window a few years before. Damn. He’d never expected to see Mai again, but he was more relieved than upset that he was still alive. They’d been comrades after all- no matter how short their time together had been. “[+cd607e No, no, no, no, you’ve got it wrong. I’m only a prince by blood. I never wanted this life. I don’t belong here.]” He didn’t want the man to look down on him just because of his family that he’d renounced from the very second he left this place. “[+cd607e I’m still Rei, and the second you call me ‘prince’, I’ll deck you myself,]” The man mused- seemingly amused by the guard having decked the darker haired man in the face as soon as he’d turned around.
A soft snicker left him before he moved over to offer Mai a hand. “[+cd607e Let’s go somewhere we can talk for a while? Alois will brief me on everything later,]” He shot his brother a one eyed glance. The white haired man seemed none too happy about this, but he waved them away dismissively- almost as if he were trying to get rid of them.
“[+cd607e I might as well have been dead. They tried to sell me for ransom, but once they realized that my dearest father,]” his words oozed with sarcasm, and he placed a hand over his heart for the pure theatrics. “[+cd607e Wouldn’t pay them anything for me as I was still wanted for the crimes that I’d committed here in the Fruit Kingdom, they left me in a lowly prison cell of which was simple enough to escape from once they stopped paying attention to me,]” Slender fingers ran through his hair- brushing it with his fingers back to how he preferred to wear it rather than how the maids had decided he’d wear it. He was glad Alois wasn’t around to hear this. Although he was sure that his brother had some inkling of what he’d been through, he’d rather not discuss it with someone who wouldn’t understand.
“[+cd607e It was a trap for me, and the only reason I shoved you out the window was so that you wouldn’t find out about this,]” Reiley gestured to his attire. “[+cd607e I never wanted this life. My family is large, and my siblings are all competing against one another. Even though they won’t admit it outwardly, it’s all one huge competition. Who can win father’s admiration? Who will get the throne? Who runs the military? Alois and Astrid are the ones that people aspire to be.]” There was quite a bit of contempt in his tone, though he attempted- unsuccessfully- to hide it. “[+cd607e I made friends with the other kids that people didn’t like, and we grew up to become just like you. Then I bought the Carina, and it became our home.]” His friends and crew had no idea where the sum of wealth had come from, but he supposed if he wasn’t royal born, his dream of becoming a navigator wouldn’t have come true. “[+cd607e And now, Alois has agreed to pardon me in exchange for helping him with this. After that, I’m going to try to find my ship. I’m going to assume its ownership has changed.]”
Though that still begged the question of why Mai was even there in the first place. Wasn’t he a wanted man as well? “[+cd607e Why are you here?]” Reiley repeated his original question.
If separate the thief and the pirate were some of the best in their lines of work, together they were unstoppable. It helped that as the weeks passed their relationship moved away from that of strictly business and to one instead of friendship. They found solace in each other's company in a way Killian had never felt before. Neither side taking more than they gave in exchange. It was a balance the Thief had never had in his relationship with Shaoran.
So it was surprising when the Pirate suddenly turned around and shoved him from the window before he could even fully get into the room.
His back hit the ground with a dull thump and Killian waited right were he was for a few spare moments, hoping Reiley would come out from the window himself. But he never did. And as lights began to flicker on the thief scrambled to his feet, only hoping the pirate found another way to escape as he made his way back to were the crew was waiting. When he returned to where the perimeter crew was on lookout with nothing in hand and their captain no where in sight, it seemed like they knew more than he did. [i "We need to get out of here before we get caught."] Intoned one of the pirates, and instantly Mai straightened up, turning back towards where he had come.
[#870082 "Rei is still back there! We have to go back for him!"] He snapped, but before the brown haired man could take off again, two of the pirates held him back. [#870082 "What the hell are you doing? Are you just going to leave your Captain behind?"] He seethed, struggling to break free from their hold. Someone else spoke, but Mai barely heard him. Something along the lines of an apology? And in the next moment everything went black.
[#870082 "What am I doing here? We thought you were dead."] A twist of emotions curled in his gut, unsettling his stomach. Left him for dead rather. Maybe Reiley's crew had orders that he didn't know about, he never asked. After knocking the irate thief out they had dragged him back to the ship, and by the time he awoke they were docked in the closest port. He spent a few days on the ship, but eventually disappeared into the night once more. He had failed again after all. How could he stay when he knew Reiley saved him pushing out of the window that night.
He spent sometime in the Grain Kingdom after that, where Lucille had saved his life, and from their wandered until the Princess had sent him a job to complete. Now arriving in the Fruits Kingdom to complete said job, there was a thin hair of self control making him not drop his jaw when he realized who the man next to Alois was. It took him a minute to draw a conclusion together with the way the Pirate was dressed, and then he could only snort. A hollow laugh, a sharp contrast to the gentle tinkling laughter that had gradually returned in his time with Reiley on that ship months ago.
[#870082 "You know I always thought there was an elegance about you."] He threaded a hand through his longer brown hair. [#870082 "But I never even thought for a second a Pirate would actually be a Prince. I guess we both have secrets we never told each other, huh?"] His eyes looked dark, cloudy almost. Secrets that would be uncovered quickly it appeared, with Alois standing there. Because he knew Mai too, but certainly not under that name. Under the name he abandoned months ago. And as his thoughts drifted, the Thief turned his attention to Alois.
[#870082 "Tell your wife to stop calling for me whenever she needs something, yeah? Someone might think you aren't catering to her needs. If you aren't careful someone else might sweep her off her feet, Fruit boy~"] And with that he turned, fully intending to walk away with what dignity he had left.
Or at least that was his intention.
Maybe it was the fact that he was technically a wanted criminal. Or the fact that he called the General to the Fruits Army a Fruit boy. Whatever it was, he didn't expect for one of the young members of the Fruit army to be behind him. Maybe it had been to apprehend him at first, but as Mai turned around to walk off and be done with what he set out to do, he was instead met with a fist. A blow so quick he didn't even have time to recognize something was hurling towards him until pain exploded across the right side of his face. The thief stumbled, dazed.
[i Welp. That went well.]
[center [pic http://i.imgur.com/tOSBhPJ.jpg]]
[center [Abel A job gone wrong? An eyebrow rose in mild interest, but he decided it best not to bombard his guest with too many questions. He’d already answered the most important ones, and so for now, he supposed he’d let him off the hook. “[+cd607e Well, a guest of honor should be comfortable, should he not?]” Reiley’s words carried a hint of seriousness in his teasing. “[+cd607e This is usually a good place to lay low. Though, we do get occasional visits by the navy ships of the Allied Kingdoms. Something, something, getting rid of pirates in their waters, something, something,]” He waved a hand dismissively as if the words mattered very little to him.
“[+cd607e I have a rival of sorts. We have a bet that we can steal something before the other person can.]” He mused. Reiley had no intention of a friendly game. If he was to steal something, it was a serious matter all around. “[+cd607e We’re close to an island that the Allied Kingdoms haven’t laid claim to yet. There’s a rich family on this island, and they have quite a few valuables that would be worth selling. But our prize is this,]” He held up a sketch of large crystal like object. “[+cd607e This ruby would be worth enough to make every man on this ship rich enough to buy his own personal island,]” Of course the job wouldn’t be easy, but he’d never promised that. If it was easy, then where would the fun in that be?
Even after just a few weeks, Reiley found that he was growing quite fond of the thief that he’d saved. He’d shared a few things with him, but of course he remained guarded. They’d become somewhat close nonetheless. It was clear that the crew had thought of them as together after just the first week. It was a bit embarrassing, actually, as Reiley had rarely found such an interest in others before. And those that he did, he didn’t pursue due to their disdain of the life he lived. He had decided that the two of them would go on the mission alone with a few members of the crew watching the perimeters of the island, and the rest watching the ship just in case they needed to make a speedy getaway. He couldn’t shake the feeling that things were about to go wrong, but he shook it off and attempted his best to ignore the feeling for the sake of their goal.
The street light flickered as they walked underneath it- all but going out. Reiley stared up at the large building. “[+cd607e Remember if it goes south, get out as fast as you can.]” It would be every man for himself. If they stuck together, they were more likely to be caught, and he’d rather one of them get away, and they meet up again at another time if the other was still alive.
He went first- scaling the lattice with relative ease to move up to the second story. They were met with little opposition. Not from guards or from his rival. Reiley entered through the window which squeaked as he pulled it open. “[+cd607e Isn’t it a bit too quiet?]” He whispered to Mai in a sort of rhetorical question.
A slip of paper laid in place of where the ruby would have been on display. Though, it was dark, Reiley could make out the scripted writing of the man who had undoubtedly been there before him.
‘I found out who you are. Imagine how high a price you would get them once they use you for ransom.’
He balled the note up before Mai had a chance to read it, and as a bright flash of light blinded them both, Reiley all but shoved Mai back out the window. “[+cd607e Get out of here,]” was the last thing that he said to the thief before they were separated.
Alois had claimed to need him. They needed a navigator for some purpose. A few years of being stuck in a prison in some third rate island nation, and after escaping, Reiley had no intention other than to spend his gold relaxing on a beach somewhere. He hadn’t seen Mai in ages, and had only hoped that the thief had made it safely back to wherever he wanted to go. The only reason the redhead had accepted the offer of his elder brother was the promise to see Reishia again. The girl had been so young when he’d left home, and surely she’d be furious with him.
He wore his hair groomed, and his attire clean at the request of the maids. He felt and looked like a different person, and he wasn’t sure he enjoyed it too much. He wasn’t built for this life. Royal life was Alois’ shtick, and he certainly didn’t fit in here. Reiley fidgeted with the collar of his shirt before giving up. He followed after Alois to meet the others of the group they were bringing along. When he looked up once again, he was staring at a person who he hadn’t seen in a long time. “[+cd607e Mai?]” He questioned, unsure. “[+cd607e What are you doing here?]” Oh fuck. The last time they’d talked, he hadn’t mentioned his royal bloodline. He’d denounced it, but here he was- looking less like a pirate and more like the royal filth they both hated. This was awkward. ]]
The thief had never been on a ship as big as this one, so he would take Reiley's word for it that it was the fastest, even it indeed was an exaggeration. Fast was good. Fast meant no one would find them. [i Him.] Besides, he couldn't help to agree with the Captain's words. He used to always yell at the younger, wanna-be thieves for not having honor. For taking more than they needed, without giving anything in return. If you took and took and took, eventually all that bad karma would get to you. There was nothing wrong with wanting to live a comfortable life. But taking from others just because you could was no way to go about life.
That and the red head's proposition intrigued him. If Reiley was a skilled as he acted, what could he need a thief for? Even one with the skill set that Mai himself had from years of hard work? [#870082 "You shouldn't say stuff like that, I might take you up on that offer to sleep wherever I want~"] He couldn't help but tease, although these was a muted tone about his words, his head nodding quickly in the direction the bed in the corner of the room, obscured by papers. But then he fell silent once more as Reiley began to speak again, this time full of questions.
A chuckle that did not bear any happiness tore from his lips, muffled by the hand that covered his face. And there was a beat of silence in the cabin as Mai mulled an answer over in his head. He could, if he wanted to, tell the pirate captain in front of him everything. Spill his guts, and all the secrets he'd learned during his time working in the shadows of the Drinks Monarchs. What was keeping him loyal to them anyway? And at this point in order to keep him quiet they would have to find him. Slowly, the dark haired thief dragged his hands along his face, fingers tugging at the skin before he let said hand fall back down to his side.
[#870082 "Just a long job gone wrong. I should have noticed it was starting to go south long ago."] [i When he married her.] [#870082 "I guess I'm just an idiot in that sense. I'm sure you know how it is~"] There was a mellow lilt to his tone. [#870082 "Being the most wanted thief in the Allied Kingdoms has its downsides. It's hard enough to travel from village to village and disguises can get so tiring. I was just going to find a group of bandits or something that I could lie low with for a while."] He looked up at Reiley now, but with a smile that did not reach his green eyes. [#870082 "But what you offer is far more promising. Who would look for a thief that typically works solo on a pirate ship as a part of the crew? It's genius~"]
Mai took a step closer again to the papers strewn around the desk. [#870082 "So what are we talking about here.... Captain?"
[center [pic http://i.imgur.com/tOSBhPJ.jpg]]
[center [Abel Behind him, maps that charted stars, constellations, and planets were tacked to the walls. They showed Reiley's life's work as a horologist and navigator. As romantic as it sounded, the sky had been Reiley's first love, and while they were no stand in for real love, it was clear where his passion lay. Even the bed in the far corner of the cabin wasn't exempt from the mess of papers that littered the rather humble abode.
He eyed the man closer now that they were alone in his cabin. Mai. It certainly wasn't the name that the red haired man had expected, but then again, he hadn't expected someone to barge so brazenly onto his ship and disrupt his crew as he had. The male had guts even if he was telling the truth in that he thought it abandoned. “[+cd607e Well, welcome aboard The Carina. She's the fastest ship in these waters,]” It was rather haughty to say so, but Reiley had the utmost confidence in the ship he was the captain of. He'd never intended to become a pirate- just that he'd wanted to sail far away from his home and make a life with the group of friends that understood him the best.
The hand that was extended was taken and gripped firmly in his warm hand without hesitation. Mai was an asset to him, and it certainly helped that he was easy on the eyes. “[+cd607e I, unlike my men, have no intention of tossing a kindred spirit overboard. We may be a bit different, but I believe there's honor among our kind contrary to what people may say about us.]” that was to say that he believed that there was honor among thieves or those who made a living stealing from others. At least, from his point of view, those that had things worth stealing, and those that flaunted their wealth deserved what they got.
“[+cd607e They'll question my authority if I don't at the very least give you a test, so, I suppose you help me out on this next job, and I'll let you stay on my ship for as long as you want. You can sleep wherever you're most comfortable~]” An eyebrow raised at his own words in suggestion. He'd have suggested that perhaps Mai should stay out of the crew's barracks for the time being, but he assumed that was a given provided they'd almost let the man drown or be eaten by sharks.
Reiley pulled his hand away and made his way back to the chair where he'd been planning the next heist. “[+cd607e Mind answering a few questions? You don't have to answer them, but they're for my own personal curiosity. Just between you and me, of course. Where did you come from? You look a bit worse for wear,]” Not that it was meant as an insult. Mai had seemed so resigned at the moment that the raspberry male had made his appearance. Whether that was from exhaustion or from something else, he hadn't the slightest idea. “[+cd607e And also, as for what you want from me. I'm curious as to what that is. What can I, a humble pirate captain, offer one of the most wanted thieves of the Allied Kingdoms?]”]]
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