Thirteen

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Even though he was quiet and hated people, it didn't stop Jongho from observing and absorbing every little thing he saw. His crew was... interesting, to say the least.

Hongjoong was a mixed bag. He was strict when it came to keeping the ship under control, as well as making sure the crew behaved. Yet, he was a big softy when it came to Seonghwa. There were too many times Jongho caught him staring fondly at the blonde.

Whipped for sure.

The eldest member, on the other hand, was probably the only one Jongho could tolerate, simply because he was such a caring person. Almost annoyingly so, but Jongho couldn't help but feel a little relaxed around him. His bright blue eyes always had a sparkle in them when he was taking care of the crew and the way he took care and babied Wooyoung...

Jongho sighed and started checking all the riggings, tightening any knots that needed it. He noticed his fellow gunner polishing their weapons and huddled on the portion of the deck furthest away from the wheel.

There was something going on between Yunho and Mingi that Jongho didn't know if he liked. The brown haired boy tried to avoid the first mate as much as possible, and some of the looks Mingi gave when he watched Yunho... He would stare at him intensely for several minutes and if he ever got close to Yunho, the later would tense and do his best to get away.

But it wasn't any of his business. Why should he care anyway? He just needed to find the perfect island to settle down on.

"Hey, Jongho?" He looked up to see the pink haired Yeosang walking over to him. "Captain said we are going to dock in a few hours to stock up on supplies. He'd like you to come along, it sounds like we are running low on a few things."

"Sounds good." Jongho said before turning back to the ropes. He could hear the other one walking away. He hadn't quite formed an opinion on Yeosang yet. He was too quiet, but he did feel sorry for him. Not knowing his past and how it shaped him into who he is today had to be hard.

Jongho knew he would be nothing now if he hadn't learned to take care of himself. He was a survivor.

Much like Wooyoung and San. Their story was an awful one. The fact that San had lived for so long as a slave was indeed impressive. Too bad he was an asshole and couldn't look at Jongho without glaring at him. And the way he clung to Wooyoung, sure, they were a couple. But still...

And Wooyoung's back... Jongho couldn't imagine the pain he had to go through every day. He wished there was something he could do to help him.
He froze, then shook his head and blinked rapidly. Pursing his lips, he returned to his work.

As Yeosang had promised, the ship pulled into an ocean city a few hours later. Hongjoong gave each of them tasks to do, and as Jongho was getting ready to disembark, he heard shouting coming from the sick bay. He hesitated then stepped to the side and rummaged through his pack acting like he was looking for something.

"No! You can't go! It's too dangerous." San said as he opened the door, "Youngie, you know you're too weak. You just need a little more time to heal."

Jongho peaked over and saw the door slam in San's face. He bristled and stormed off the deck, going to meet Yeosang where he was waiting at the end of the dock. The young gunner glanced at the sickbay door once, then hurried off the ship.

He was supposed to look for some new tools to help maintain the cannons and keep up with any ship repairs, while the others were off buying food and drinks.
As he walked into the market, he noticed a very tight lipped and pale Yunho being escorted around by Mingi, who had his hand resting on the small of the other's back the entire time.

"Hello, young man. How can I help you today?" A kind looking, older man said as Jongho stopped at his booth.

"I'm looking for some items to help repair a ship," He said, looking at the array of tools on display.

"Ah! I believe I have some kits I can give you, just a moment, Sonny." The man shuffled around and sifted through a few things. "Here it is. It's got everything you need, hammers, nails, sanders. Your ship will be in good hands."

"Thank you, Sir. How much?" Jongho handed over the required gold and took a few more minutes to meander the market, purchasing a couple of small snacks for himself.

He made his way back to the ship, chewing on some dried meat, when he heard a scream. It came from the ship.
Jongho ran forward, dropping the kit on the deck as soon as he boarded the ship and ran over to where Wooyoung was screaming on the floor. His body was twisted in pain and he looked like he was struggling to keep his body still.

"Hey, hey, hey, take a deep breath." Jongho said, kneeling at his side. He held hands up but froze, not really knowing what he could do to help.
Wooyoung whimpered and reached out to him, so he took his hand to start with. "What can I do?" He asked softly.

The older didn't answer, but he did squeeze his hand harder. "It h-hurts..." He whined, scrunching his face.

"What were you doing out here?" Jongho worked hard to keep his tone soft and even.

"H-Helping..." Wooyoung said, pointing one finger to a crate that was in the middle of the deck.

Jongho sighed and brushed some of his purple hair from his face. "Idiot." He kept his voice soft and gentle. "Can you stand?" The older whimpered, but nodded. Jongho placed his hands in the other's armpits to help lift him off the ground, which was surprisingly easy.

Wooyoung wavered and almost fell over again. Jongho turned around like he had seen San do many times and crouched a little. Getting the message, Wooyoung climbed onto his back, sighing slightly as the pain on his back eased.

"Let's get you back to your bunk. Do you think anything opened up?"

"No, I don't think so."

"Well I'll take a look for you." Jongho walked slowly to the sick bay and set the other down on the table there. Wooyoung bit his lip and stared at the floor. Jongho could see the ashamed look written all over his face, so he placed a hand on his knee. "No one needs to know if you don't want them to." Round, brown eyes met his and Wooyoung smiled, his lower lip trembling a little.

"You're nicer than you let on." He said softly, placing his hand on top of Jongho's.

"Yeah well keep that to yourself too." Jongho smirked a little then went to pull Wooyoung's shirt up. It didn't look like any of the scars had opened up again, thankfully, but it did look very red and irritated. "What does Seonghwa normally put on this?"

"Some green stuff... I think he has a bowl of it on his desk."

Jongho walked in that direction and saw a bowl of green goop. He hesitated and cringed at the smell. "Yeah, that's it." Wooyoung called, so he picked it up and sat on the table as well, crossing his legs so he could hold the bowl in his lap.

He hear Wooyoung let out a few small sounds as he rubbed to goop on his back. It made his chest hurt listening to them.

Then the door burst open and he heard, "What did you do to him?"
Both boys looked up to see San looking furious. The older marched over and shoved Jongho, nearly pushing him off the table.

"Sannie! Stop! He didn't do anything to me. He got back to the ship and... heard me screaming in here so he came to help."

San immediately turned to Wooyoung and cupped his face. "What happened?"

Wooyoung hesitated, then said, "I just twisted wrong on the bunk. Jongho was just putting some of the medicine on because we didn't know when everyone else would be back." He looked at Jongho and sent him a soft smile.

As soon as San had shoved him, he had moved to the corner of the room, ready to fight if he needed to. But that smile from Wooyoung relaxed him a little.
San inhaled sharply then glanced at him too. "Thank you."

Jongho just nodded then marched from the room.

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Written by flamewhipper!!

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