it's late at night (and i'm still thinking 'bout the words you said) @flyingfalconflower12
Chapter 1

The Novalog's deck in the middle of the night is Berlyne's favorite place to be. Everybody's down below, sleeping or quietly talking or doing whatever her shipmates do when the sun goes under the waves. Even Joe's fallen asleep at the wheel; his head is tucked into his arms as he softly snores and Berlyne hasn't the heart to wake him.

She leans back on her bench and stares up at the sky. Nighttime has always been so beautiful to her, a time when she can just be quiet and think without worrying about everything and everybody else.

She glances over at Joe and smiles. He shifts his head, still slumped over the wheel, and the boat creaks for a second as it continues on its sail. Berlyne is about to go over and wake Joe so she can take over the sailing for a bit when she hears soft footsteps on the stairs. Apen's head pops up, and he pulls himself up onto the deck.

She glances over at Joe and smiles. He shifts his head, still slumped over the wheel, and the boat creaks for a second as it continues on its sail. Berlyne is about to go over and wake Joe so she can take over the sailing for a bit when she hears soft footsteps on the stairs. Apen's head pops up, and he pulls himself up onto the deck.

Berlyne sighs, shifting over on the bench to make room. Apen walks over to her, dumping something onto her lap.

"I brought you a scarf," he says, sitting down next to her. "I--uh--I know it's cold."

"I'm not cold," replies Berlyne, but she puts on the scarf anyway. "You didn't make this, did you?"

"No, uh--" Apen scratches the back of his neck, blushing. "I got it from Idony. She said you might need it."

"No, she didn't, but thanks."

Apen looks down. "You're welcome."

A moment of silence passes. Berlyne sighs, looking at Apen. "So why'd you really come here?"

He shrugs. "I couldn't sleep. And," he adds after another moment, "I wanted to talk to you."

"About what?"

Apen tugs at the collar of his shirt, his gaze glued to the floor. "I--I wanted to say sorry. For leaving. Chara told me how much you resented me for it. I just--I was scared, and it was all my fault, and I'm sorry." He lifts his gaze, looking unsure.

Berlyne's lips turn up in a soft smile. "It's okay," she whispers. "I was mad about it, but I guess I realized that at least you're back now. And as far as I'm concerned, you're kind of stuck here anyway."

Apen laughs. "Yeah. I guess I am."

Berlyne touches his hand, and Apen blushes again. "Why did you leave?" she asks. "I don't think you ever told me."

"Oh." Apen looks down, again. Berlyne rolls her eyes. "I'd gone to the Capitol again. And I attacked Enel with a sword. And I ripped up Velvare's favorite book. And I was caught and imprisoned in the library by Marcus. And I probably got Enel in trouble for convincing him to let me out--I noticed he left the key in the lock."

Berlyne bursts out laughing. "That is--that is amazing, Apen," she says, wiping tears from her eyes. "How do you even manage to do all of that in what--an hour?"

Apen shrugs, smiling softly. "Honestly, I don't know. I think I was chasing Melly."

Berlyne chuckles. A moment of silence passes between them, but this time they're both smiling. But after another minute Berlyne's expression grows serious again, and Apen cocks his head.

Berlyne folds her hand over his. "I know I was mad when you left. And I know it wasn't entirely your fault that you did, so I'm sorry too."

Apen opens his mouth to protest but Berlyne puts up her hand, and he falls silent.

"Just--promise me you won't leave again. At least not without telling me. Beforehand." Her dark green eyes are earnest as she holds Apen's gaze. "I was mad at you, but I was worried too. I knew about the weavers--I'd been to the Deadlands. To rescue you. And--I'd seen you do... things. Risky things. I'd seen you hurt yourself and I--" Berlyne closes her eyes for a moment. When she opens them, they're filled with tears. "I just didn't know if you'd ever come back," she whispers. "I didn't know if you'd want to come back. And I know you're back now, but I guess I just wish I'd had more of a chance to say goodbye."

Apen's eyes are bright blue as he looks back into Berlyne's. "You--you were worried about me?"

Berlyne nods firmly. "Just promise. Please."

Berlyne pulls him into a hug, and even though it's an awkward, sad hug with Apen's face in Berlyne's scarf and tears in both their eyes, Apen doesn't think that there'll be a moment that makes him happier than this.


(And, of course, when Noah climbs above deck at sunrise to stop Pigeondove's incessant screeching, he finds Apen and Berlyne asleep on the bench, curled up in each other's arms.)

(And Joe's still sleeping on the ship's wheel, but that's probably another story. Noah's pretty sure he's still dreaming, anyway, so he just goes back below and back to sleep.)

1. Chapter 1 889 0 0