All The Stars @modern_age
To Fare thee Well

ii. To Fare thee Well

The smell of the sea had caused Dakota to be filled with many memories of the past. Some were more pleasant and filled with joyous laughter of her younger self. Too see her smile as the cold water crashed into her toes. Those memories of a happy Dakota will always be replaced by a woman who forgot what it meant to be happy. The reflection of a woman who kept her hair in a ponytail and wore Jean's and a simple shirt. No longer the child that was carefree. She was the woman who gave up trying to find her parents murderer. A woman who spat out blood and wailed on her opponent as the crowd cheered.

Dakota wasn't that child anymore. The world had jaded her. If she was to be happy again, it would be taken from her just as quickly as it came. Dakota was afraid of being happy, because she saw it as a burden. There was no point of finding happiness.

Misery loved company. Her and misery shared the same friends. Lonely, bitter, and often time pathetic people who drank their problems away with their best friend Jose Quavo or Jack Daniel's. Sometimes it was with a woman named Tequila. Dakota could use a drink right about now. Thinking about happiness was sort of depressing. Rather sad that she has to resort to forgetting what being happy meant.

The wind blowing against her tanning skin and hair had her craving for a night of forgetfulness. Right now, she had to make do with being sober and lonely. Since being here, it was all she could do. Problem drinkers were depressing drinkers. Dakota might want to find happiness somewhere. Anywhere. With anyone. With someone who would tell her, Are you really alone?

Too bad there wasnt someone for her. Never to love again. Who knows? Life sucks that way.

Just beyond the sea and the borders, something waits. Luring her into the unknown and possibly into danger. Where it will lead them was up to the gods, but what else was new? The gods didn't care about the lives of mortals. Leading them into the unknown was their dickish way of telling men that greatness awaits them with trials. Whatever was pushing them to go, was in a hurry for them to leave. They needed to leave now! Urging them to go and never look back.

To Dakota, her heart was racing a mile a minute. Her nerves had made her sensitive to the world around her. There was a lingering feeling in the pit of her stomach. That same feeling when she saw the raven and the feeling of being watched by those who wear hoods.

But they guide you. She shook her head as the feeling of gooseflesh appeared upon her skin. The voice was not of her imagination and it sounded as if someone was next to her ear. The voice soothing and feminine; one she has never heard before. Looking around quickly, all her senses heightened. These strange occurrences were happening far too often for her liking. Whatever was trying to get her to listen was doing a good job of being invisible. Dakota was getting peeved at everything being hidden in either riddles or something supernatural.

If the gods wanted her to have faith, she'll just have to go out on a limb here. If she wanted to find those answers and solve those riddles, she'll have to find them. As much as it pissed her off. They are fucking with her life! Well, whatever was left of it. She didn't have much to lose and she wasn't some rich man's daughter who could be put up for ransom. Dakota was a single broke fighter living in a shitty apartment in a large city.

I am beginning to hate life. She was sulking!

For the love of the gods. Alexios thought as he looked over to his side. Dakota was making that face, again!

This woman is impossible! Is she never happy? I thought women were meant to be happy. She always has this face about her. Having to keep pretty much be mediator to her emotions, Alexios was finding it taxing. What would he get out of this? Dakota was a mess of emotions that would come out all in one. Different things. Different thoughts.

Yet, you cannot stay away from her. His thoughts hated him. Alexios wanted to be away from Dakota, but some pull was making it impossible. And he hated it. All of it.

Barnabas was enjoying what he was seeing in the two young adults. Clueless. Both of them. Rather clueless and the signs of something was there in the thick tension. To be young again and in love.

"We're ready when you are, captain." Captain? Dakota looked to the older man- Baranbas was his name- before looking to Alexios for some hidden joke that she wasn't aware of. Sensing her eyes upon him, Alexios crossed his arms over his chest as he stared at her with a bit of a glint in his eye. There was a sense of pride within his stance and possibly a challenge for Dakota to say something. Anything to protest his newfound position of having Dakota's life in his hands.

Fuck! This is a sick joke. This has to be a sick joke! Her mind was going haywire, that Dakota groaned.

Phobos flicked his ear as he stood next to Captain. The two horses unaware of what was to await them as their riders were having another stare down. The tension was so thick that Barnabas was thinking- plotting- to lessen the tension between the two.

Even the animals know. He mused to himself with humor in his thoughts.

A sailor had come down from the ship and grabbed hold of both horses' reigns. The animals did not know what was to come and could not protest as they were lead aboard the ship. Possibly to be stowed away somewhere where Dakota would have to explore later. Maybe, that would not be a bad idea. However, how was the sailor to know that both horses were to go.

Unless this man had talked to Alexios beforehand. Her eye lightly twitched in irritation. She had kept her hold on Alexios and knew that backing down would make him the winner. And a captain?!

Dakota went slacked jawed for a moment. If this was a joke, it isn't funny. Hell, she was hoping this was one of those situations where the joke was just some elaborate running gag. When she did not hear any laughing, all she could think about was the word: fuck. Even the older man was looking between the two to figure out what was going on.

My life is in the hands of this guy and the universe just wants to see me suffer. She groaned loudly enough for all to hear her distress. Dakota was not only having a lousy time, but the universe wants to laugh at her. Everything was just so perfect!

"Wait!" Phoibe's voice had broken the mold of a very tense silence.

Dakota was the first to look away from him, claiming Alexios the winner of their little game. Whatever that game was. Barnabas knew that traveling with these two could end in one of two ways, if he could pull the strings of fate. He could see something that both adults just were a bit blind too. Maybe it was a little bit of a dominance game, but if he could see it and the animals could, maybe he could plot together a game for himself and the crew.

One: They could end up killing each other if they traveled for a long period of time.

Two: They have this weird fascination with each other and have yet to admit.

Three: they were both idiots.

Barnabas humored his thoughts before turning his attention to the little girl that broke up the tense situation.

"Wait for me, Alexios. I'm all packed and ready." The young girl had run towards Alexios. Her spirits high and unaware of the scene that played before hand. Dakota groaned and slapped her hands against her thighs. The older man kept quiet and observed them for a few more moments. Whatever he was thinking about them would not be spoken. Hidden in his thoughts was a small group who had come together in a mixed family-type of togetherness. In their own strange way.

But who was he to judge them?

"You're coming, are you?" Alex said.

Phiobe looked so proud and mighty for someone her age. She was confident that Alexios would not leave her behind to stay behind and wait for his return. Dakota had reminisced about her first deployment. Seeing fathers and mothers telling their children to wait for them. Where they go, they would always think of them.

No one was there for Dakota. It was a lonely feeling back then and the return home was very much the same feeling. No one to hug or even cry tears. It was like when she was still a kid and no one was there to see her accomplish such little things. Graduation day. Enlisting. Bailing her out of anything. She was seeing something that she had truly missed out on.

"If you're going, I'm going." Phoibe was not going to be swayed either way. Dakota smiled at her bravery. She was putting her foot down here. Either she goes or she goes without question.

"Kephellonia's the only place you've ever known. You'd leave your home?" Alexios was now eye to eye with her. There was sadness within him and to see the hurt in Phiobe, Dakota could not help but feel a bit sad herself. The life he had was not for someone so young, such as Phoibe. He was acting the older brother and being the parent.

"I would if it meant staying with you." Shit. She's good. Dakota thought feeling a little guilty for having to leave behind the girl. She was so full of life, but there was danger out there. It was bad enough Alexios had to make sure Dakota could defend herself, but to have a child come along? God knows what could happen out there.

"You can't go where I'm going. I need to be alone." He said. Though Dakota could object to this, she didn't. This journey for Alexios was his own and Dakota was just tagging along to find her answers. They both shared the same road, but probably somewhere down the line they would have to go their own separate ways.

That would be a lonely road.

"Who's going to keep you and Dakota company? I know how much you two like to argue and want to be away from each other." Phiobe said, looking to Dakota for some assistance. The girl was begging with her eyes and using it to her advantage. Dakota was not going to get into this one.

Don't fall for it.

The older man looked to Dakota for a moment. He did not speak and only stood silent- observing the moment.

"We'll be fine. We won't argue as much." He said, trying his best to sound at least convincing to the girl. Dakota coughed, which earned her a hard glare from the misthios.

Ignoring him for a moment, Dakota walked by Phoibe's side. How was the woman supposed to feel about having to leave someone, when she herself said goodbye to those she had loved? Those goodbyes were always in a casket and they buried six feet in the ground. It's because of those haunting memories, that Dakota had vowed to never say a proper goodbye. It's always a 'see you later' or 'I'll call you when I get home'. It was never a solid goodbye, because they could be gone.

"Don't worry Phoibe," Dakota placed her hand on her shoulder. Looking down to the girl with a confident smile upon her lips, "If anyone could get this man out of trouble, it would be you. I think I can handle it from here. I am not taking your place, but someone with my knowledge has to keep oh-so -famous misthios from the end of a spear."

Phoibe gave a cheeky smile while Alexios continued to glare hard at Dakota. What was to be a soft and tender moment was one that made the man rather regretful for taking along the woman. It was a back and forth deal that Alexios just could not make up his mind. It was surprising that he has not yet lost all sanity over her.

"If I can't come, then take Chara." Phoibe seemed more convinced at having her friends comfort her. She even held a wooden eagle within her grasp.

"Chara?" Alexios said.

"My pet eagle. She's my friend. Mater gave her to me." She handed Alexios the bird that held so much significance to her. Memories of a past she would never let go of. Dakota smiled. It would always be a great reminder to Alexios. The girl did look up to him after all. Hell, she was just as brave if not more than any girl Dakota has ever known. "But she'll be your friend now, and it'll be like I'm there with you. You know, to remind you of me." She's really good. Dakota laughed at her own thoughts, before she felt a stinging pain in her side.

Alexios had lightly hit her in the side for laughing. Asshole! She thought, rubbing at her side with a grumble before backing away from him. Of all times to make such remarks, Dakota was one to ruin the moment. It wasn't her intention to do so. Phoibe was just really good at making people feel guilty. What else was Dakota to do, say it out loud for everyone to hear? That would be rude and now she has to plot out how to get back at Alexios for basically making a bruise at her side.

He's going to get it! Her thoughts sang in a very high-pitched voice.

"Thanks, Phoibe." Alexios said.

"But you'll have to promise we'll see each other again." Phoibe smiled.

"I promise. You havent seen the last of me. Just stay out of trouble until then."

"I will, don't worry. OK, you can leave now." And just like that, Phoibe used her tactic to pull athe heartstrings and break them. Dakota just couldn't believe how manipulative a girl can be. She basically has Alexios wrapped around her tiny finger and it was just so damn funny to the woman. Forget being the older brother, Alexios was basically the father who would do anything for his daughter.

"Alexios! Dakota!" How could a departing party forget about dear old Markos?

Before you know it, the whole damn island would want a sendoff. Dakota shook her head and crossed her arms. Then again, they were mostly saying goodbye to Aelxios and Dakota just so happened to be there at the right time.

"Leaving Kephellonia without saying goodbye to your dear Markos? Tell me it isn't true?" He sounded a bit offended at having to be the last to know.

"Well, you're here now Markos, so it won't be true. Goodbye Markos." Alexios said.

"All these years as a dynamic due. I'll never replace you! Well, I may need another assistant someday. But it won't be easy. Come now, give me a hug." Markos looked quickly to Dakota. Another pleading attempt by someone who knew Alexios too well. Dakota shook her head, as if saying 'don't even think about it'. The look she was giving him was enough to have a full-grown man back down from asking Dakota something of a request.

Alexios, however, wasn't hesitate to give his oldest friend a simple hug. Bromance much? "Alright come here."

"Yes, bring it in. Oh, will I ever miss you, Alexios." Both men embraced for a few seconds, before backing away. Dakota wanted to cover her eyes, but it was worse than a train wreck. But who was she to think it wasn't embarrassing? Dakota did the same things to her brother's-in-arms when shit hit the fan. She did a lot of embarrassing things in her past and she found two old friends saying goodbye embarrassing.

Or maybe you will actually miss the creep.

"Thanks Markos, I'll miss you too." Alexios smiled lightly.

Markos chuckled and stood next to Dakota.

"I'll just have to get Dakota to be my new assistant when you are gone." He claimed, placing his arm over her shoulder. Dakota was just second from placing the guy on his back and twisting that very same arm. No one! No one touches her without so much as warning her. Touching was a big fat no!

"Get that idea out of your head before you find yourself being shark food." She warned. Markos chuckled awkwardly and moved his arm from her shoulder. Alexios grinned at the interaction and seeing how Dakota hated to be flirted with. It was rather humorous to him to see her feathers all ruffled.

Barnabas and Phoibe did not miss that reaction upon Alexios face.

"Oh, my dear olive branch, why must your words hurt me?" Markos placed his hand over his heart. The look of hurt upon his face, which made Dakota snarl and roll her eyes. Okay, maybe she won't miss the creep and his advances. Of all the people of Greece to flirt with her, why him! Hell, she'll take Barnabas over Markos!

"I'll do more than just hurt you with my words you motherfu-," Alexios quickly cut Dakota off from speaking anything further; which pissed off Dakota and made the older man- who still kept observing and quiet- chuckle.

"Is she always this lively?" Barnabas asked Phoibe.

"You should see her and Alexios. Much worse, because they act married when they are not. Its funny." Phoibe was blunt about the matter, making the older man laugh.

"I heard that!" Dakota yelled. Her cheeks red from embarrassment.

"So, what does the future hold for you?" Alexios said, ignoring what was going on around him. He will admit, he will miss these find moments of family. A rather strange family, but family nonetheless. Dakota was just the missing piece of a family that he has had since living on the island.

Did you just say missing piece? He thought, but again ignored it all.

Markos had kept a few inches from Dakota. His smile never fading from his face. "Wine of course. Though, you never know when the vines will wither. I'm always ready for another adventure." He turned his attention to Phoibe, the only remaining family he had left. He knew Dakota was leaving with Alexios. The two were practically inseparable- whether they saw it or not. Markos will surely miss seeing her lovely face and miss her threatening banter. He will still pursue her, but it looks like Alexios will have his hands full. "Speaking of adventure. I have a task for you, dear Phoibe."

"An adventure. Yes!" She yelled. Happy as can be.

"Already following in your footsteps, isn't she, my friend?" He looked to Alexios once more. "Also, please keep my olive branch safe." Dakota's eye twitched. The nerve of this man trying to take his claim on her, when he damn well knew how much she disliked his advances! Oh, it was going to be a bloodbath. A shark water bloodbath!

Markos waved a goodbye and a wink to Dakota. Phoibe waved as well. Dakota's blood was boiling, but what more could she do? It was all harmless fun, right?

"Ready to set sail?" Barnabas said.

"Prepare to cast off. It's time to leave. Isn't that right, olive branch." Alexios teased. Barnabas had himself a laugh at the nickname given to the woman. Her cheeks were already red, how much more can they get? The two were impossible to figure out as the tension from before had disappeared and made itself comfortable embarrassing the young lady.

"I hope you crash into an iceberg." Dakota grumbled as she walked towards the ship.

Both Alexios and Barnabas looked to one another confused at the statement. Neither one knowing what an iceberg was or what it has to do with crashing.

Whatever it was, Barnabas knew this journey was going to be interesting.

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