[identity profile] mollivanders.livejournal.com posting in [community profile] prefer_my_life
Title: fine sailing and fair weather
Fandom: The Witch of Blackbird Pond
Rating: PG
Characters: Kit Tyler/Nat Eaton
Author's Note: Just a little drabble I wrote after months of having no inspiration. This seems to have done the trick! Set after the end of the book and gifted to [livejournal.com profile] stainofmylove. Word Count – 1,052.
Disclaimer: Not mine.



In the summers, she gardens with Hannah. In the winters, she sails with Nat.

That was the plan, but as it turns out, they are both as impatient as ever.

+

She stands at the prow of the Witch as they head out to sea, the salt air stinging her eyes and the sea spray filling her lungs.

“What do you think of her?” Nat asks, sidling up next to her. She casts an eye over her shoulder, checking to see if the crew is watching their captain loiter with his new bride. “You sailed her on the river, but there’s nothing like the open ocean.”

“It’s the most wonderful feeling,” she says, relaxing back against her husband. Two strong hands rest gently at her waist, holding her steady as she tilts with the ketch. As before, she has more sea legs than land legs, and she ruefully thinks that should have been her first hint about where she was meant to be in this world.

But then, she never would have met Hannah, or Mercy, or Aunt Rachel, or even Judith.

“I’m glad you like her,” Nat says, dipping a kiss on her neck and completely derailing her train of thought. “And that she likes you,” he adds wryly, pulling back enough to satisfy the prestige of a captain. All the same, his hands drift from her waist to encircle her entirely.

“How long do you think before we see home?” she asks, dropping one of her hand’s from the ship’s railing to cover his. The scent of fresh lacquer competes with the smells of the sea, and they mingle in a tantalizing aroma.

“Two, three months,” he answers, and nuzzles at her neck again. “But the crew needs me as much as you do.” She laughs loudly then, completely out of place for a newly married New England bride, but not so out of character for the Barbados girl she used to be. “Well don’t let me keep you from your duties,” she teases, leaning back towards the rail and standing on her toes. “I think I’m more patient than the Witch.”

“You both say that,” Nat says with a smirk as he leaves her. “You can’t both be right.”

+

There are days with full sails, the wind billowing around her skirts and tempting her skyward, like the witch the people of Wethersfield thought she was, and there are days where the wind teases the sails and the crew rushes about under Captain Eaton’s orders. She stays out of the way as best she can, but the months of hard work in New England taught her to value skill and competence in others.

Her tasks are different now, in style and effort. Nat refuses to let her work the rigging with the crew, showing he can still be scandalized by her at times, but she does learn how to manage the stock they carry over the Atlantic and back. Over time, she becomes a shrewd manager and learns to bargain at the docks of Barbados, Jamaica, New Orleans, and a hundred other ports.

(But not yet. She is still learning.)

There is little she can do that does startle Nat anymore, although she can still surprise him, earning a bright laugh for her often haphazard troubles. When she wanders across his tutoring the young boys on how to navigate by the stars, she joins the class.

(Years later, they get lost in a squall while Nat is ill and fevered, and it is Kit who lends a hand to the first mate and other officers.)

“Is there nothing you will not attempt?” he asks, his exasperation tempered with the edge of a laugh, as she climbs the rigging to the crow’s nest.

“She’s my namesake, Nat!” she calls down, and clings to the rigging as a gale of wind swells beneath her. “I must know her as well as you do!”

“Not possible,” he mutters to himself, but climbs up after her.

Captains and their ships, after all.

+

There are other aspects to married life that she enjoys as much as her newfound freedom. She never would have guessed, in a thousand lifetimes, that marriage could make her even happier than she was as a child, and of all marriages, the one with this man.

He joins her in their cabin after he has retired from his charts and maps and ledgers, and she thinks back to that warm summer day when she caught him at Hannah’s cabin, chopping wood for the winter. She should not have seen him thus, and they never discussed it after, but in the long weeks of that autumn and winter, it was that day that her mind wandered back to – a day of hard work, but of companionship like she had never known before.

And something else, something new and fresh, like when she watched him swim alongside the Dolphin, taunting her to join him.

He was never shy then, and he’s hardly more so now, but there is a dignity he leaves at the door to their cabin.

“Mistress Eaton,” he murmurs, his voice a low hum in her body, as she lights the candle by their bed. A captain’s quarters are finer than any other shipmates – but quarters on a ship nonetheless. He’s hardly past the door when he’s at her side, and she’s grateful there’s no crew to watch them now. “How was your day?” he asks, though most days they step past each other in a practiced routine.

Her fingers undo the buttons on his coat with practiced skill, and a shiver of pleasure runs through her as he cradles her backwards, his mouth seeking hers.

“Fine sailing and fair weather,” she answers, her eyes sliding shut. “My compliments to the captain.”

(Married life is treating them very well indeed.)

+

The weeks stretch into months, and she almost becomes accustomed to the sight of her old home growing above the bow and slipping behind the stern. She never tires of it though, and when the ache for Hannah and New England call to her, she goes willingly, knowing she will see it again.

(Nat, after all, gave her his word.)

And so, in the summers, she gardens with Hannah. In the winters, she sails with Nat.

Finis
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