Notes and Disclaimers:The Pirates Are Coming!
Okay, so, Sean Gaffney steals a meme from Erin on LiveJournal. “Send me the title of a story I didn’t write and I’ll write details of it.” And I send him, “The Pirates are Coming!” (which, now that I look at it, really seems filthy.) He writes that I would ask about this, since I dared him to write it. So…I dared him to write it. And he’s starting, at least. But I don’t believe he’ll finish. lol
In the meantime I decided *I* wanted to write it too. And here we are. It’s a piece of crack. Please, please don’t look for anything sane or sensible in it. I know ^%&! all about ships – please don’t correct me. I don’t care.
The characters in this story are the property of Konno Oyuki, Geneon Entertainment and Cobalt Shueisha. There is no premise at all to this story, so I can hardly lay claim to that.
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The Pirates Are Coming!
“Steward!” The shout came from the deck. “More rum!”
There was a long pause, then the sound of feet stomping heavily on the wooden stairs. A bright-eyed cheerful face framed by twin braids appeared first, followed by a petite body. Taking a deep breath, the young woman planted a sweet smile upon that face, and tightened the apron around her waist. Braced for the encounter, she edged the brightness of the smile up one more notch.
“Get,” she chirped, “your OWN DAMN DRINKS!” She bellowed the last few words directly into the face of the person who had originated the command. When she finished, she took another breath, let it out audibly and smiled, even more sweetly than before. Turning on her heel, she stomped back down the stairs to the galley, muttering, “When did I get to be steward anyway?” Her voice faded away, but, “Rei, you idiot,” carried back to the deck on the wind.
“Whoa,” Kei said, drinking down the last of her cocktail and standing with a hand outstretched to take Sei’s empty glass. “I’ll get the next round, provided Yoshino isn’t planning on biting my hand off.”
Sei shook her head and waved Kei off. “Don’t bother. I hear Rei coming.”
Sure enough, the sound of a tread on the stairs, and a breathy apology preceded the tall, boyish cook. “Sorry, sorry, she’s having a bad day,” Rei said by way of apology as she took the empty glasses and replaced them with filled ones. “It’s just that on days like today, it’s harder on the young ones – they want to know why they have to work, when you’re just lounging…” she bit the comment off and looked away.
Sei laughed and clapped her on the shoulder. “I know how she feels. It’ s rough swabbing the damn deck for the fortieth time when some asshole onee-sama’s sitting on her butt in the sun spilling her grog on the planks. Don’t worry, don’t worry.”
Kei smiled at Rei reassuringly and took another mouthful of rum. “It’s not like we’re lazy, really,” she said, shifting the bandolier around her shoulder, setting the sword at her hip swinging lightly. “Tell your Yoshino that, as soon as we’re in battle, she’ll be glad of us.”
Rei bowed. “She is. It’s just – she’s having a bad day.” Straightening up, she looked around, her eyes narrowing. “Any sign?”
“Not yet,” Sei said, pulling a dagger from her belt, eyeing the edge, and rummaging around in a pouch. Pulling a rectangular stone from the pouch, she set to honing the edge of the blade. “Noriko!” she shouted. “Anything?”
“Nothing sir!” the voice came from above, where the young woman stood in the lines, one eye to a telescope.
“Nope,” Sei relayed unnecessarily.
There was a noise from behind them, as a door slammed loudly. The young woman who appeared had her hair pulled into two tight ponytails, and was buttoning her blouse as she stepped out into the sunshine. Sei’s laugh drew her attention to the little group on the deck.
“Still in a bad mood, is she?” Sei asked archly.
“Not as bad as it was an hour ago,” Yumi shot back smoothly. She nodded to Kei and greeted Rei politely. “But yes, she’s bored. I hope we see something soon. Anything?”
“Not yet,” Kei supplied.
“Shame,” Yumi commented, buckling a leather belt around her waist that held a surprising number of pistols. Turning to the cook, she smiled pleasantly. “Could I trouble you for a sandwich? I’m hungry all of a sudden.” She ignored Sei’s soft cough.
“My pleasure. In fact, Yoshino should be up in a second with lunch.” Rei turned slightly towards the galley, when the telltale stamping presaged Yoshino’s arrival.
“Here,” the young woman slammed a tray down ungraciously on the large spool that served them as a table on deck. “I hope you like them. If you don’t, make your own.” She stopped talking, mouth open, and gave Yumi a withering glare. “You missed a button,” she pointed to the middle of Yumi’s chest. “And do you have to be so loud?”
Yumi buttoned her blouse without comment. When she was done, she looked Yoshino in the eye. “That wasn’t me,” she shot a tight, snarky smile at her crewmate.
Yoshino laughed at that. “Good job, then, Yumi!” she held up a hand, which Yumi met mid-air with her own. They laughed.
“Um,” Kei began. “I know I’m new here but…is there anything I ought to be doing?” she looked around. “Like, I don’t know, cleaning or something?”
“Relax, relax. Have a sandwich.” Sei held out an example. Kei took it unsurely. “And…”Sei glanced at the bowl on the tray. “Pasta salad? Where did we get pasta?”
Rei smiled brightly. “It’s booty. We pillaged it at the last port of call. It’s tricolor pasta.”
“Oh, okay, then,” Sei said and helped herself to a large serving.
“Really, it’s all right,” Yumi smiled at the older woman. “Us swabs’ll do all the cleaning. You high and mighty fighters can just laze around and make a mess.”
“As long as you don’t expect me to be a waiter, too,” Yoshino cautioned. Quite suddenly, she looked around, as if missing someone. “Where’s Shimako?” she asked.
“On the rudder,” Sei pointed astern. “Uh, Youko’s in her room looking at maps and Eriko’s…” she paused. “I have no idea where Eriko is.”
“Asleep in her room,” Rei supplied, her face reddening slightly. “She fell asleep while I was massaging her feet.”
Everyone stood in awkward silence, their attention turned towards Yoshino, awaiting the oncoming reaction, but the young woman simply pushed her braids back and smirked. “So easily satisfied,” she said. Taking Rei by the apron string, she tugged firmly. “And now that lunch is served, you can start satisfying me.” Rei didn’t bother protesting, but went along meekly back down into the hold.
“Hah,” Yumi huffed. “And she complains about *us* making too much noise.”
Sei turned to her fellow fighter and grinned. “When will it be our turn to annoy everyone?”
Kei decided that it was extremely important just then to chew her sandwich quite thoroughly before swallowing.
Yumi just laughed. “I’ll go see if Shimako wants a break.” She glanced up. “Maybe one of you can take over for Noriko?”
Kei stood immediately. “I’ll do it!” she cried, but Sei drew her down to her seat again shaking her head. “Let Touko take the watch. We have lunch!”
Yumi turned her head and called over her shoulder. “Touko! Front and center!”
“Aye sir,” came the not at all chipper reply. The cabin door opened, and Touko slid out, stomping her feet more firmly into her shoes. “Sorry – she was just…”
“Yes, yes,” Yumi said, waving off the end of the sentence. “We know ‘she was just…’. More importantly, give Noriko a break, will you? She’s been up there since we went in.”
Touko sighed. “Yes, sir.” As she passed the spool table, she nabbed a couple of sandwiches and nimbly ran herself up the main mast, her curls bouncing as she climbed. She tagged Noriko, took the telescope and the other girl slid down one of the ropes in one smooth motion. Landing on the deck lightly, Noriko scooped a sandwich into one hand, Sei’s glass into her other, and ran laughing back to where Shimako stood at the helm.
“Kids,” Yumi grinned. Sei stretched, incidentally snagging Kei’s drink as her hand passed by. “Yumi, be a love and get us all more rum?”
“Rum is on the way, you lazy sloth,” the smooth voice came from below. The woman holding a tray full of glasses and a pitcher of cocktails was smiling so fiercely that Sei flinched.
“Youko, nice of you to join us. Have a sandwich.”
“I will, thank you.” Youko lifted her swords slightly to be able to prop herself on the edge of a barrel. “And thank you, Yumi.” She gave a much more pleasant smile to the young woman, who was filling a glass for her. Youko took a sandwich from Sei’s plate, reached out her glass to clink with Kei’s new drink. “So?” she asked pleasantly. “How do you like our little family?” she asked the newcomer.
Kei smiled. “Shizuka was right – it is an interesting group. It was nice of her to ask me to stand in for her this time out. But I feel like I should be doing something…”
Youko waved the thought off. “You’ll be busy soon enough.” She slapped the saber at her left side. “If my calculations are right, we ought to be busy quite soon indeed.”
Sei snorted. “And your calculations are always right.”
“They are.” Youko commented without emphasis. “Good thing for you too, or you would have been stuck on that island with the tribe who wanted you to marry them all. At once.”
“Yes, yes. Ancient history,” Sei grimaced. “Is Eriko awake?” she changed the subject.
“Ought to be the way those two are going at it.” Yumi grumped. They had all been assiduously ignoring the noises coming from below decks.
Kei cleared her throat. “I guess…erm, that Yoshino’s satisfied, then?” She blushed as they all stared at her. Then they started laughing and she laughed with them.
“What’s so funny?” Eriko was adjusting the bandana across her forehead. She slipped her trademark crossed bandoliers over her shoulders, and checked that the knives all fit snugly in their sheaths.
“Them,” Sei gestured with her chin from the direction Eriko had come.
“Oh, that.” Eriko laughed. “Well, Rei does have good hands.”
“Okay, *that’s* enough,” Yumi said, standing. “I’ll go relieve Shimako at the helm.”
The older women smiled at her fit of pique. It was well-known to all on the ship that she and Yoshino had a contest of sorts about who had the better lover. Maybe it was about who was the better lover. Whichever, it was too close to call, from what the others could tell.
“Oi!” the call came down from above. “I think we have something!” Touko’s voice carried across the ship – everyone was on their feet instantly. From above and behind, Shimako and Noriko appeared. Noriko was carrying both their swords and, as they stood there looking up at the scout, Shimako took hers and buckled it on. Noriko slid her scabbard across her back and unsnapped the safety on the quick release sheath.
“Well?” Yumi’s voice was just audible from the stern.
“We have it! SS Hanadera on the port bow aft!” Touko’s voice was raised in triumph. “We have her! Call the captain!”
“No need,” the door to the main cabin slammed open as the captain made her appearance. Black thigh-high boots, black leather pants, a black leather great coat and above all, the glistening silky black hair that fell down her back, made her an irresistible target for the eyes. “I’m here.” Sachiko commented, quite unnecessarily.
In an instant the entire crew was on deck. Yoshino and Rei, their faces red and sweaty, ran up from the galley last. Rei carried her unsheathed greatsword, and Yoshino hefted her chain dart happily.
“Yumi!” Sachiko called out, “Pull us alongside. We’re going to board!”
“Yes SIR!” came the enthusiastic response.
“Well,” their captain addressed the crew, who now stood to the ready, their weapons to hand. “Time to get to work”
“Aye, aye, Captain!”