The Sounds of Home
Sonadow | T | Pirate AU
The sirens were singing again. A regular nuisance for Captain Shadow, but this was the first time a certain crewmate had heard them.
A little Pirate Fic I've quickly written up for @solar-socks (sorry it's a bit rushed HA!)
Happy Birthday you beautiful, beautiful person! And thank you for gracing us with your gorgeous art!
It was beautiful.
So, so beautiful, how the voices echoed around Sonic, how it called and caressed his soul. It roused him from his dreamless sleep, pulled at his limbs to move like driftwood among the waves, and blurred his vision like he was already underwater. The night was silent - usually filled with the snores of his crewmates - but the silence gave way to a lullaby so sweet, Sonic believed that no sound could ever compare.
But the song was voiceless, like it belonged to both no-one and to every soul in the world. A familiar stranger. A lost friend.
It called for him to return home.
The night air blew salt into his eyes, and Sonic could taste it, taste the tears of whoever cried their lullaby. Sonic wanted to comfort them, wanted to tell them everything was going to be okay, that he was coming home...he was finally going to go back home…
“Driftwood! Don’t you dare go overboard!”
And then it shatters. Strong arms wrap around Sonic from behind, dragging him backwards, dragging him away from where he belonged, away from where he was supposed to be, and Sonic fought to hold on to whatever what was in front of him.
“Driftwood! Let go of the bannister right now! S-stop struggling!” That voice. Sonic knew that voice. Smooth and rough, chipped and sturdy, distinct like when one runs a fingertip over woodgrain. It was familiar, truly familiar. “Drift...Sonic! Listen to me, let go!”
Reality washed over like waves to shore, and Sonic opened his eyes.
“W-wha?” The words tumbled from Sonic’s mouth as he let go of the ship’s bannister, and he fell backwards with an ungraceful yelp as he landed on top of something warm. Recovering quickly, Sonic bolted back up to his feet and looked back at the groaning person he previously stumbled on...but upon realizing who it was, Sonic froze. “Captain?”
And indeed it was. Captain Shadow, donned in a simple shirt and breeches, very unlike his usual prim uniform, his boots unbuckled like it was shoved on in haste. And said captain looked up with a mixture of annoyance, the scar over his unpatched eye only adding to the angered expression plastered on Shadow’s handsome face.
Nervous laughter bubbled up from Sonic’s lips - for lack of anything intelligent to say at the current moment - and a furious blush travelled all the way up to the tips of his ears as Sonic shakily held out a helping hand to his Captain. “I-I’m so sorry! Here, let me help you up.”
Shadow stilled for a brief moment, eyes flitted between Sonic's eyes and his outstretched hand, and just when Sonic thought about dropping the gesture he felt Shadow's strong grip upon his wrist. Shadow pulled himself up, quietly observing Sonic through narrowed eyes, before nodding towards the entrance of the crew-quarters below deck. “You should go back to sleep. It will be a while yet before we fully sail past the sirens.”
Sonic furrowed his brow with concern. “Sirens?”
“Yes, sirens.” Captain Shadow scoffed as he rolled his eyes, then he swiftly turned to make his way back to his own quarters. “Don’t do it again. Now go to bed.”
Instead of doing as he was told, Sonic only shook his head in confusion. “Sorry, Cap’. I don’t understand. Don’t do what, exactly?”
Shadow stopped mid-gait, and heaved out a tired sigh. He slowly looked over his shoulder, scarred eyes observing Sonic with the same level of focus as when he was studying his maps. Eventually he closed his eyes, breathed in through his nose, before regarding his crewmate once more with gentle disposition. “This is the first time you’ve heard them, isn’t it?”
“The sirens, you mean?” Sonic asked, and Shadow nodded in confirmation. He looked down at his own boots, stared at the salt-rusted buckles like it was the most interesting thing in the world. “I’ve heard of ‘em. Never come across them, though.”
Captain Shadow hummed thoughtfully as he crossed his arms, steady gaze watchful and studious. He curtly nodded. “I see. Come with me, the next wave will be coming soon.”
“The next…” The words trailed off Sonic’s tongue as he awkwardly followed Shadow, his footsteps stunted as he teetered behind the Captain. Shadow opened the door to his quarters, held it open, and gestured for Sonic to enter. “T-thanks…”
With tentative steps, he entered the room, green eyes drinking in the décor. He had never been in the Captain’s quarters before, never seen the large desk taking precedence in the middle of the room, the welsh cabinet in the corner filled with books and trinkets, the distinct red Captain’s feathered tricorn hung on one of the wooden chairs. Shadow brushed past Sonic, and waved a lazy hand to the chair in question. “Go on, sit.”
Sonic wordlessly did as he was told, and Shadow took a seat on the opposite side of the desk. Shadow relaxed into the seat and leaned his head in his hand, elbow on the chair rest, and stared at one of the ink stains on the desktop.
“So…uh...” Sonic cleared his throat as he looked around the room again, trying to focus on anything other than his Captain.
“Look at me.”
And he did. Sonic drew his attention to Shadow, and then felt awkward as Shadow looked at him expectantly. It was then that he realized Shadow had previously asked an unheard question. “Sorry, care to repeat?”
A small laugh mixed with Shadow’s sigh, and he shook his head with slight amusement. “I said, what brought you back?” Shadow said, voice a little lighter than before. “A siren’s song is different to everyone, but it always compels you to go to them under the guise of going back home. In order to combat that urge, you remind yourself of your true home. So, if you don’t mind me asking, what brought you back from that urge?”
“Uh, I-I don’t,” Sonic looked down at his hands. “I don’t know.”
Shadow seemed unsatisfied with the answer. After a moment of brief silence the Captain shifted in his seat to pull out something from his pocket. Shadow looked at it fondly, like it was a treasure, then gently placed it on the desk. A compass, worn and scratched, but a small patch on the lid seemed more polished than the rest of the steel surface. Shadow pointed at it, and Sonic slowly picked it up to take a closer look.
“My first compass,” Shadow began. “Holding it reminds me that my home is this ship. If I feel the siren song taking hold, I feel the engravings on the cover.”
Sonic turned the compass in his hands, scrutinizing the surface with confusion. “There’s no engravings on here. Some scratches, but…”
Shadow shrugged. “Well, there used to be engravings. Too many a hold has polished it away. It used to have initials on there.”
Sonic looked up. “Your initials?”
Shadow shook his head. “No. My sister’s.”
Sonic knew better than to ask more about the Captain’s sister. No-one knew why, and no-one daren’t ask, but it was a mystery Sonic was willing to accept. Instead he put the compass back on the table, and Shadow took it and placed it back safely in his pocket.
“Back to my original question, Driftwood. What brought you back from the siren song?”
Sonic opened his mouth to speak, but quickly shut it again for lack of anything to say. Instead he took a moment for himself as he wracked his brain for the answer, an answer that he didn’t have. “I…”
Shadow leaned forward in his chair with a creak, brow wrinkled with slight concern. “Ok, let’s rephrase that question. What was the first thing you became aware of when you returned back to reality? A...A thought, the feel of something on your person, a memory or…”
Another blush took over as soon as Sonic blurted out his answer, and even Shadow seemed taken aback by the response. The Captain leaned back in his chair, red gaze focused intently on the books in the cabinet, and he swiftly stood up to peruse the books there. He muttered each title under his breath before he settled on one and pulled it out.
“Shush,” Shadow said as he gave him the book, and Sonic took it with uncertainty. “A book of poetry. Something with a little more decorum than the terrible shanties you like to sing. I know every poem by heart.”
Sonic looked at the book and carefully opened it to a random page. “The entire works of William Blake?”
“Indeed.” Shadow nodded at the book. “Choose one verse from any poem and read it out loud.”
The echo was back, caressing the back of his mind. The sirens were singing again. “Uh, o-okay, so um,” Sonic cleared his throat as he narrowed his eyes in concentration. The words on the page began to blur, but Sonic tried his best to focus on reading them out loud. “T-to see the world in a grain of...of sand…” Sand. Sand on the shores as the ship docked, the pier going straight to home. Sonic shook his head to clear the thought and carried on. “And a heaven in a wildflower. To hold…”
The sirens were taking hold, hold of his mind. Hold of his heart. He should put the book down. He could walk out to the pier and stretch his legs and run as fast as he could through the wildflowers.
But then Shadow’s voice came through, the sound as deep as the ocean, gentle like the sway of palm trees as he finished the stanza. “To hold infinity in the palm of your hand, An eternity in an hour,” He said, and Sonic looked back up, back up at Shadow who was the only thing that permeated through the haze, and Sonic listened with reverence. “Auguries of Innocence, a good choice.”
And Sonic was back, back at the room, eyes wide as he stared at Shadow.
A smile turned the corners of Shadow’s lips, small but evident enough to reassure Sonic. “Sonic, I will give you a task. Remember that stanza, and imagine me reading it out to you.”
Sonic audibly swallowed, and nodded. “Don’t think I could ever forget that…” But he quickly coughed as he realized his own words and loudly cleared his throat. “I-I mean, Aye Aye Captain!”
Shadow gave him another smile, wider than the one before, but quickly schooled his expression to it’s usual passivity. Back to stoic Shadow.
“Good,” he said as he stood up. “Now, I believe you should catch up on some rest. Your work is awfully lacklustre when you’re tired.”
Sonic scrambled up from his own chair. “Sure thing. Uh…” He shifted his weight from one foot to the other as nerves took over. “G’night. And thanks.”
The façade was briefly broken as Shadow regarded Sonic again with a playful smirk. “You’re very welcome. And rest well.”
With that, Sonic returned the sentiment with his best smile, and left the room, book clutched tightly in his hands.
And in his head, the voice of Shadow reading poetry out loud echoed softly in his mind.
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