At once, Corra flared up at his other side. “Leta’s awesome, you leave her alone! She stole us drinks and she does surgery and she is the best.” Her words slurred, but they were still enough to make Leta suddenly beam drunkenly with pride. Then, Fiearius felt a mild pressure in his ribs that he could only assume was Corra’s attempt to attack him. He feigned a grimace of pain on her behalf.
Finally, it was with one last drunken stumble that they made it up the ramp into the open cargo bay. The rest of the ship lay in sleepy silence, although probably not for much longer if Corra and Leta kept shouting at one another about how cute that bartender had been or whatever they were saying. It was difficult to discern amongst the giggles.
Finally Corra pried herself away from his arm and started to wind dizzily over to the stairs. “I bid thee a good night, mine cap’n,” she declared with dramatic flair. “Mine friends.” She giggled. “Shall we be off?”
“Just one second,” Leta called back, and to Fiearius’ surprise, she slipped away from Cyrus and caught his forearm in her hand, pulling him back towards the open door. As Cyrus wandered off after Corra, Fiearius watched with interest as Leta set down her prized bottle carefully near her feet, then stood up with sudden authority, staring at him avidly in the semi-darkness.
“I need to talk to you,” she said. Her voice wavered, but her eyes shone with seriousness. “About things.”
Curiously, Fiearius surveyed her through narrowed eyes: she was swaying slightly on her feet, her cheeks were flushed pink and she seemed to struggle to hold her gaze on him. He raised an eyebrow. “Think now’s really the best time, kiddo?”
Surprisingly, it was with a clear, cold voice that she said, “Please, don’t call me that. I’m not a child. I’ve never felt less like a child in my life, actually.”
Unable to decide if he was annoyed or impressed with her sudden bout of lucidness, he only smirked. “Still look like one, though.”
“You — you’re seriously insulting my appearance now,” she said blandly. “That’s where we’re at with each other? I really don’t think you want to play that game with me, captain,” she laughed, but it was a maddened one. There was a definite strain of hysteria in her voice he hadn’t really heard before, and he had to admit he was intrigued to see where this was going, at least for the moment. “But, guess I should expect that from you by now, right?” she rambled, “Even if you really have — ”
But whatever it was about him, he never found out. She cut herself off, suddenly looking up at him with an odd look of loss in her eyes. As quickly as the look appeared, she went on, with an abrupt snap back to her usual manner, “Nothing. Fuck it. Let’s just get this over with.” Suddenly, she pointed at him accusingly, rather like a lawyer might confront a witness. “You need to tell me if I’m wasting my time on your ship. Because I deserve to know that. You’ve been avoiding answering me all week. So are you going to help me with Ren or not?” she demanded. “Because otherwise, I need to be left at the next stop.”
Fiearius couldn’t decide how he wanted to answer her. Then, he realized he wasn’t interested in this drunken conversation after all.
“It’s late,” he said shortly, starting to step around her. “You’re drunk. Go to bed.”
Unfortunately, he only made it a half-step to the side before Leta was in front of him again, blocking his path with a fire in her eyes. “No, you don’t get to tell me what to do. I’m not part of your crew.”
Pausing, Fiearius squinted innocently at her. “Have you told Corra that? ‘Cause I believe she thinks differently,” he said, starting to veer around her other side. But she was in front of him at once, making them do some sort of zig-zag around one another. Now she looked as if she’d been slapped in the face.
“Oh leave her out of this,” she snapped. “Corra knows why I’m here, she wants to help me. And you’ve made it pretty clear you won’t, so I am wasting my time, aren’t I? Just tell me so I can finally leave and plan my next move.”
Fiearius observed her in a dull, sarcastic admiration. The scrawny young woman stood blocking his way to the stairs with the confidence of a warrior. “Gods,” he couldn’t help but grumble good naturedly, “you’re pushy, ain’t ya?”
“Terribly,” she admitted. “But what do you — “
This was definitely not when he wanted to talk about this. Not here, not now and definitely not to this belligerent woman who looked like she was either about to slap him in the face or sink to his feet and pass out. “You’re not. Just go to bed. We can talk about this later,” he finished gruffly, and he was about to elbow her out of the way when she elbowed him first.
“I’m not?” she repeated heatedly. “I’m not what?” Apparently, she was sharp even in her drunken state.
But that wasn’t enough to keep him from rolling his eyes. “Wasting your time. You’re not wasting your time.” Though you are wasting mine, he thought bitterly, thinking fondly of his bed waiting for him on the command deck. But now, as she continued to stare up at him intensely, he could only think of one way to end this conversation.
“Look,” he growled finally, clasping a hand in his hair and stepping back from the stairs. “I may be a dirty rotten criminal, but I’m a man of my word. If I tell you I’m gonna do something, you gotta trust me to do it. But since apparently you don’t … “ He dropped his hand to the side in defeat.
“Your boyfriend’s on the Baltimore,” he stated shortly, causing her to blink in surprise. “Cy got me the coordinates, I did a bit of digging in Society records and that’s what came up. The Baltimore. One of the better prison ships in the fleet. I don’t know where on the Baltimore or how to get on it or how to get someone else off of it yet, but it’s a start. It’s a start,” he paused for dramatic effect, “that I will think about. As I told you. Multiple times. Thinking about it.” He tapped his temple with two fingers. “Okay? Satisfied?”
It was clear this woman was hanging on his every word, absorbing what he said with a shocked look on her face. It was actually difficult to witness: for the first time, hope glinted in her eyes.
“He’s on the Baltimore?” she said at last, one hand clasping nervously her mouth. “We know where he is?” A shaky sort of exhale escaped her, and for the first time since he’d known her, she looked stricken and somehow much more human than usual.
“So that’s — so that’s where we have to go then,” she whispered, her eyes growing distant, until she spared him a look of apology. “Sorry I just attacked you,” she added quietly. “But it’s just — ”
“It’s fine,” he interrupted before she could finish the thought. He eyed her warily in silence. It was hard to fault the girl, really, no matter how annoying she was. When it came down to it…
“It’s fine,” he said calmly. “If I were in your position, I’d do the same.”