Pairing: None defined – Light Honda/Kajiki if you squint. Squint. It's intentional.
Challenge: Lyric challenge
Disclaimer: The fandom’s not mine, and every element of this story is fictitious.
Notes: Man...it's been a while since I've done this. I've never written Kajiki before. In the dub, you know him as "Mako Tsunami." Fisherman duelist. He's been quietly bothering me to write for him for a while, now. I could do better...but hey, it's a first try.
The lyrics used for this fic are from "The Downeaster Alexa," by Billy Joel.
Early morning. Everything was gray, gray, gray, and hissing with the sea spray and waves breaking against the bow of the Mariko. Cruising through Block Island Sound.
We took on diesel back in Montauk yesterday
Left this morning from the bell in Gardiner's Bay.
Weather fair. Ocean like a millpond twelve miles out.
No fish. Not one damned fish.
Charted a course to the Vineyard. Tonight Nantucket-bound.
Kajiki smoothed one thickly-callused hand down the pages of waterproof paper in the logbook, folding and creasing the spine so that it would lay flat on the desk. There was a raised, jagged scar on the back of his hand. Pink, strangely pale against his otherwise leatherlike complexion.
Swordfish hook. Right through the hand.
He’d learned to keep his hands back from the lines when the empty hooks were coming up. They flew up out of the water when they were empty, fast and sharp enough to snatch a man up through the wrist and throw him back a half-dozen feet.
That was life. Or death, to be blatantly honest.
There was nothing they could do to save the unlucky sailor in that instance. Worse still, with a poor harvest – most of their catch had been stripers, which they couldn’t sell – the crew of the Mariko was bringing in a tiny wage, and there wasn’t much pay to send back to the man’s wife. Japan seemed like a dream, half-forgotten and far away, lost in the fog off of the Sound.
For some reason, that didn’t stop them from going out. Didn’t keep them from sailing day by day, further away from shore in search of their elusive catch. Kajiki was far, far from home, moving through North American waters on the eastern side of the continent.
But he wouldn’t be anywhere else, for anything in the world. And he knew that the rest of his crew would countenance.
The broad-shouldered silhouette that appeared in the doorway of the captain’s cabin was just as tanned as he was, if a little taller. Sailing northeast in the early morning, Kajiki’s first mate threw a halfhearted shadow onto the gray-washed floor, across the desk where he worked.
He knew who it was without having to look up. “Any luck?”
“Bait’s gone,” Honda replied, with a wry smile, and spread his hands to indicate that the lack of bait on the hooks they were pulling in was the only sign that there were actually fish in this water.
Kajiki grunted to acknowledge the statement, but said little else. He looked at the log for today a little longer, then reluctantly folded the cover back and smoothed it down. At last, his gaze rose to meet Honda’s. The younger man was still waiting in the doorway, presumably for his orders.
“Let’s not waste any more bait on this spot. We’re bound for Nantucket by tonight. We’ll try our luck tomorrow.”
Honda was still waiting in the doorway. Kajiki didn’t look at him.
“Maybe we oughta—” Honda began.
“—We’ll try tomorrow,” Kajiki interrupted, firmly.
They didn’t stand on formalities, considering how Kajiki tended to refer jokingly to Honda as ‘sir’ belowdecks. But when the pale, blue-white eyes drilled into the brunet man’s mellower brown, Honda knew he really shouldn’t press. He understood his captain’s motives, and took it upon himself to act as his conscience – lest the older man push them all to break.
Kajiki and his damned pride.
“The rest of the guys are beat,” Honda tried, one last time. And so are you. You know it. And I know it. Goddamned sea-wolf. You’d chase ‘em until you dropped if I didn’t stop you.
A pause stretched as they stared one another down.
“We can’t—” Kajiki started to protest, tone level.
“The weather’s good for another week, right?”
“Well, yes, but—”
“And we’ll be out to sea by then. One day.”
Kajiki eyed him coolly. “You’re not questioning me, I’m sure.”
A dark, sunburned smile creased Honda’s face, revealing a white row of teeth. He looked absolutely barbaric, as tanned as he was. “Nossir.”
“Good. One day more won’t hurt, I suppose.”