Nonetheless, as Marjorie got a good shot at his wrist and dug her nails in so hard it drew blood, Corra let out a sigh, as though this were such a bore, and drew her gun from where it was holstered beneath her coat.
“Alright, down, girl,” said Corra sharply, aiming at Marjorie’s head.
The woman shrieked — Fiearius threw a hand over her mouth, just in time — and finally released her grip. Across the room, Corra had already reached for her other pistol to point at Marsden, who was sputtering in utter terror, backing away with his hands in the air. So now they had two terrified lovers just aching to screw this up …
“You got any rope?” said Fiearius hopefully, and Corra rolled her eyes.
Luckily, Majorie had a collection of woven silk scarves that were just as effective. Soon after, Fiearius was crouched on his legs, tying knots around Marsden’s wrists, attaching him to the sofa beside his estranged beloved, and then Corra started complaining.
He wondered when this would start.
“You know, this whole thing was avoidable,” she said, breaking the long silence that had prevailed since he’d shoved a scarf in Marjorie’s whimpering mouth. Fiearius glanced up at her tiredly. He was well used to Corra’s lectures by now. “We could have just waited,” she went on. “I don’t know why you had to barge in here and come up with some stupid ridiculous act. Just to show off? Don’t you ever get tired of being such an exhibitionist?”
“No,” Fiearius replied at once, standing up and admiring his two squirming two captives thoughtfully. “You two be good now,” he chided. “Someone will find you soon enough. And just remember. When they do. We’ll already be gone. So don’t even try.”
“This is just dumb,” Corra snapped. “If you weren’t so damn arrogant, none of this would have happened.”
“Why does it matter?” Fiearius laughed. “We got what we came for.” He held up the necklace, which glinted brightly in his hand, and he grinned.
“At what cost though?” she asked, gesturing towards Marjorie and Marsden who blinked up at them, teary-eyed.
“Oh they’re fine,” Fiearius told her with a shrug, sliding the necklace into his pocket. “C’mon, let’s get outta here.” He headed for the door, but even in those first few steps, he knew Corra wasn’t following. He could almost feel her anger radiating from across the room.
“Are they fine?!” she snapped suddenly, in such a tone that gave him no choice but to stop and look back. “Are they? What do you think her husband’s gonna do when he finds them up here like this? And if she tells him how you were able to get the thing to begin with. And when he realizes what you stole. What’s gonna happen then?!”
Fiearius just blinked back at her, perplexed. “Probably nothing. Why do you care anyway?”
“I care because–” Corra began, gasping for air, “Because I just do! Shut up! I hate you!” And with all the dignity of an eleven year old, she threw her hands in the air in exasperation.
Fiearius stared at her, perplexed. Surely this wasn’t the time for a fit. Or was it a fit? He’d seen Corra viciously angry at him before, but this was just — distress.
“Corra…” he muttered, somewhere between unease and annoyance, taking a step towards her.
“No!” she yelled. “Don’t ‘Corra’ me. I’m so sick of you and how you think you’re so damn right all the time, even about things you don’t even understand and I’m tired of it and you’re not right all the time. You’re never right. You’re wrong. You don’t understand and you’re wrong so shut up.”
Dumbstruck, Fiearius blinked his eyes slowly, trying to understand what was happening here. It occurred to him that this outburst of hers had very little to do with their captives and very much to do with something else.
“Is this about Cyrus?” he ventured carefully, anticipating her pulling a gun on him for the comment.
Thankfully, she did not, but the storm brewing in her face made it clear she was considering it.
“No, it’s not about Cyrus!” she raged. “It’s about you! And how you’re a stupid know-it-all with an ego the size of a planet and how you’re a shitty captain who ignores his crew and doesn’t fulfill his promises and how you shove your nose in business that isn’t yours and say things that aren’t true without even thinking about if they’re hurtful or not and I’ve had enough of it!”
Then, she suddenly reached for the nearest object to her, an ugly decorative pillow, and tossed it at him with all the force her arm could manage.
The pillow knocked him in the face, then hit the floor. Wincing, he muttered, “So it is about Cyrus…”
If possible, Corra looked even angrier now, and she grasped blindly for the next closest object which was, much to his dismay, a heavy brass lamp. Just as she was raising it above her head, Fiearius rushed towards her, hands outstretched in alarm.
“Woah, woah, hang on, princess, hang on,” he said, though she continued to hold it threateningly in the air, ready to swing it at his face and just waiting for him to give her the right reason.
Hopefully he wouldn’t…
“Look, I’m–I’m sorry,” he went on, hoping to see some slack in her stance. There wasn’t, so he pressed on, “I shouldn’t have said anything and I’m sorry.” Still, nothing. She looked just as ready to pummel him as ever. He heaved a sigh and dropped his hands to his sides. “I didn’t–it’s not your fault, okay?” He met her eyes which were slowly softening. “It’s not your fault….”
And then the lamp started to lower. “I know the whole…affectionate touchy Corra thing?” he continued. “That’s just you. Being you. And it’s not your problem that my little brother is too much of a social invalid to realize that.”
Her frown came back suddenly as she demanded, “Then why’d you say it was me? That it’s my fault he can’t get over it? Why’d you say that and make me feel crappy if that’s not even–”
“It’s not your fault for being you,” he interrupted before her angry tirade got any worse. “But…” and here he hesitated, already able to feel whatever strike she was about to lay on him, “Sometimes…you gotta play to the disability.” She tilted her head in confusion. “Think of it this way. You’re a teacher. You write out your lessons on a board. But one of your students is blind. Do you expect that student to understand the lesson?” Still not really understanding, she shook her head slowly. “No. So you’re Corra, you specialize in touchy-feely happy friendships, but you’ve got a friend who’s too blind to differentiate between friendship and romance because he’s never been that exposed to either. What do you do?”
Corra looked at him, lost. “Learn braille?”
“Well … yeah,” Fiearius acknowledged slowly, “but no. Cyrus is an idiot. Which is not your fault. But treating him as though he’s not an idiot. That might be.” He smirked hopefully, fully prepared to be met with a household object to the face.
To his surprise, Corra looked down at her feet thoughtfully and lowered her arms again. After a moment, her eyes swung back up to him. “So what’s the answer? What am I supposed to do?” she breathed, her tone finally softening.
Heartened, Fiearius said, “Aid’s right. You need to just be honest with him. Cyrus is a scientist, give it to him straight in language he’ll understand. I know he’s a sensitive little prick so telling him anything he doesn’t like is an uncomfortable, dramatic affair, but he’s not a total moron and he’s not a child. He might throw a little fit, in fact, he probably will, but he’s not gonna give up what you guys have for the sake of what you haven’t.” Half as a gesture of comfort and half as extra encouragement to put down the battering object, he reached out and laid a hand on her shoulder. “He values you far more than that.”
Finally, it worked. Corra’s frame relaxed, the lamp dropped to her feet with a gentle, innocent clatter and she sighed. “Yeah I know…” she muttered. “I just hate seeing him upset…”
“Well I hate hearing both of you complain so … hurry up and sort this shit out,” Fiearius told her bluntly.
Corra rolled her eyes, but there was a smile on her face. Small and nearly hidden behind a mask of despair, but it was there. A silence lapsed between them until her attention fell back to the two bound captives who were just staring up at them, confused.
“You sure they’ll be okay?” she asked curiously.
“No,” Fiearius told her honestly with a shrug, glancing down at them himself. “But do we care?” He met Corra’s eyes and she smirked skeptically. “Hey, if anything, we taught them a valuable lesson about the perils of adultery.”
“Good point,” Corra admitted, tilting her head and following Fiearius as he made towards the door again. “Hey cap’n?”
“These people. That guy downstairs. Cyrus. Rich people can be pretty stupid, huh?” she mused thoughtfully.
A grin came to his own face. “They sure are, princess. They sure are.”
– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
With the stolen necklace sitting in Fiearius’ trouser pocket, and Corra looking decidedly less murderous than before, the mood was considerably lighter, inching toward the giddiness of impending victory, when they hurried out of the mansion.
Quickly and quietly, Corra and Fiearius padded downstairs as Aiden finished goodbyes with Sanilac. (“I only wished there was something even more I could do,” Sanilac was saying sadly, “You know I’m a very charitable man to the needy … “)
Now, safely out in the street and making their way back to the ship, Fiearius clasped one hand on Aiden’s shoulder, another on Corra’s.
“So that was fun,” he declared cheerfully, ignoring Corra’s snort of laughter. “Don’t you just love the sweet taste of victory? Especially when victory isn’t lightly seasoned in blood and gunpowder? See, my job’s not always bad.” He grinned at Aiden hopefully. “And we make such a great team. Why would you ever want to be a professor when you could do this? Together, we could rule the span. Just think of the glory, Aid. Think of the glory!” he yelped, while knowing full well Aiden had loved his career as a professor. But it was not a life he could imagine, personally.
“This is certainly more thrilling,” Aiden admitted, but he wasn’t, Fiearius noticed curiously, grinning back. He wasn’t looking at Fiearius at all, but rather walking thoughtfully with his hands in his pockets. His eyes were dimmed, focused somewhere in the middle distance.
“You alright, professor?” Fiearius ventured hesitantly. At last Aiden sent him a glance, knitting his brow in bemusement, or perhaps puzzlement.
“Well.” He gave a one-note laugh. It died off quickly. “Sanilac offered me my job back.”