Mahad's ship is down, but is he okay?
When both Cortes and Dahlia eventually got there, Mahad climbed up from beside the engine, waving a billow of smoke away from his face. "Took you guys long enough."
"We called you on the radio," Cortes growled.
"It busted when the Hyperion crashed. As did most of the other parts of the ship..." Mahad grumbled. He threw his hands in the air and looked around at the Hyperion, as if he couldn't decide which bit he was supposed to try and fix first.
Cortes sighed. "Can you get it to fly?"
Mahad looked at him, shocked, and then gestured around himself. "What do you think!?"
Cortes eyes narrowed. "Then I'll go help Wayan set up the winch and we can drag the Hyperion into the Saint Nazaire's hold. Dahlia, stay and help with this mess Mahad's made of his ship."
Dahlia closed her eyes for the briefest of moments, but made no other signs of her annoyance. "Yes, sir."
Cortes nodded to her, then turned and stamped back towards the Saint Nazaire.
"You know... at least I'm fine... even though the ship's not! Thanks for asking!"
Dahlia could've sworn she heard Cortes mutter something along the lines of 'won't be when I'm finished with you', but he didn't turn around to respond.
"I really don't think it's wise to push him," she growled at Mahad, once Cortes was out of ear shot.
Mahad shrugged. "Yeah... he's going to kill me..."
"Better him than these mines."
"I'm not so sure about that..." Mahad winced.
"And look what you did to the Hyperion!"
"What? I can fix it!"
"You'd better hope so..." said Dahlia as she climbed onto the deck of the Hyperion "those mines could've killed you, you know."
Mahad sighed. "They didn't, okay? You pirates spend too much time worrying about what could happen."
"Yeah, now we have to worry about you being stupid on top of it all," Dahlia retorted.
"I'm not being stupid! You're as bad as Cortes. Just because I'm less scared than the lot of you doesn't make me stupid."
"There's a difference between fear and caution, Mahad. Ever think that Cortes knows what he's talking about when he tells you not to fly into something? Like the fact your ship blew up because..."
"I get that! Okay!? I don't need you to spell it out. I blundered into a mine field, I trashed my ship, I'm lucky to be alive, blah, blah, blah..."
Dahlia growled. "Do you want help or not?"
"Not if you're going to treat me like an idiot. I can handle this."
"/That/ is your problem. You think you're capable of handling everything by just rushing into it."
"And I'm stupid and immature, yeah I get it."
"/I/ didn't say immature. But that probably works too."
"Yeah!? And you're too... think you know everything..." Mahad trailed off and went back to tinkering with the engine, though Dahlia couldn't see what he was actually doing to fix it.
"Look... I'm not trying to call you stupid, Mahad. But look at your ship!"
"I get it," Mahad growled. "Look, you want to help? Another part of the engine blew when I was trying to fix it. I think something got thrown over there... somewhere. Might be important."
Dahlia sighed. "Fine, I'll go look for it." She left Mahad, and slid down the deck into the grass. She wasn't sure if he was telling the truth, or just wanted to stop talking to her. Either way, she didn't particularly mind taking a walk away from him. He did seem to be a little more upset than usual, possibly because all of the damage the Hyperion had taken. Maybe it'd make him think twice about rushing into something in the future.
The grass on the block was almost knee-high. It was probably in a region that got a half decent amount of rain. But that only made it more difficult to find whatever part that had been thrown into it. The Hyperion had left a trail of churned up earth behind it, and there were burnt trails scattered around it. They would most likely where parts of the engine had been thrown. Dahlia made her way over to one of them, but then felt something crunch under her feet. She looked down, and calmly observed that it was not an engine part she had stepped on. The blue energy that was now twisting up her leg made it obvious that it was in fact a damaged mine.
Mahad was trying to see past the smoke in the Hyperion's engine to get at a bolt, when the explosion cut through the air. For a moment, he though something in the ship had blown, and he jumped back from the engine to avoid being hit by any debris. But the ship hadn't moved, so it must have been...
He saw her as he stood upright on the deck. She was lying on the ground, the grass around her flattened. Her legs were twisted under her body, in a way that just didn't look right. And she wasn't moving.
Mahad swallowed hard, then realised he wasn't doing anything, when he should be doing something. "Dahlia..." he repeated again, this time choking over the word. Suddenly finding he could move, he ran to the edge of the deck. He slipped clumsily over the edge and rolled heavily in the grass, but got back up again. He had to get to her. He had to make sure she was okay.
Then he was by her side. But he didn't know what to do. He took her hand, and his eyes fell on her legs again. He looked away quickly. They were making it too hard for him to believe she'd be alright. He put his other hand on her far shoulder, willing her to move or do anything. "Dahlia? Come on, wake up..."
She opened her eyes then. Mahad felt her hand squeeze his.
"Dahlia... I'm sorry, I shouldn't have... I'm sorry..."
Dahlia opened her mouth as if to say something, but the only thing that came out was a thin trail of blood. Then she coughed up even more, red and frothy. Mahad felt his stomach churn as she gripped his hand even tighter.
She gripped his shirt with her other hand suddenly, pulling him closer. The grip was weak, but Mahad let her drag him down until they were nearly touching noses. She tried to talk again, with him closer to her lips, but all Mahad could hear was her ragged breathing. She must have realised he couldn't hear her, because a look of frustration crossed her face.
Dahlia dragged down on Mahad's shirt again. He could feel she was weakening; he barely felt the tug. But he let her pull him closer anyway. He didn't know what else to do. And then her lips pressed against his.
Mahad wasn't sure exactly why she was doing it. So he just kissed her back, hoping he was in some way doing what she wanted. It was only when her hand slipped off his shoulder, and her lips stopped pressing into his, that he realised she was telling him goodbye.
Mahad pulled back from her. "Dahlia!?"
Suddenly Cortes was behind him. "What happened!?" He put a hand on Mahad's shoulder and pulled him away from Dahlia, and then knelt down beside her body, checking for vitals.
"She's..." Mahad started, pushing himself up from where Cortes had shoved him into the grass. He trailed off, putting a hand to his mouth. It tasted like copper, and when he pulled his hand away it had blood on it. Dahlia's blood. He looked across at Cortes, who was looking even less like he expected a response from Dahlia. "Cortes..."
"She's gone, Mahad," Cortes growled, shifting back from Dahlia. He didn't look at Mahad as he said it.
Mahad looked over at her lifeless body, and knew he was right. And it was all his fault. He felt his stomach churn again, and then turned to the side and threw up.
Cortes looked across at him, before moving away from Dahlia and coming and putting a hand on his shoulder. "Steady, lad..."
"I'm sorry..." Mahad choked out, trying to catch his breath, "This is all my fault..."
Cortes sighed, and closed his eyes for a moment. "Look, don't worry about that for now, alright Mahad?"
"You're not hurt, are you? Mahad?"
"... no... I wasn't anywhere..." he paused, regaining control of his voice, '... near her..."
Mahad felt Cortes squeeze his shoulder, and then heard him get up and switch on his radio.
"Wayan? I need you to check the area for any still active or damaged mines."
"What's happened?" Wayan asked, perhaps hearing from Cortes' voice that something was wrong.
Cortes took a deep breath before replying. When he did his voice was shaking. "I think Dahlia set one off. She's dead, Wayan."
Those words sunk into Mahad's mind as he sat there, and he knew she wasn't coming back. She was gone. He'd never thought that he was putting her in danger. He would've never flown into the mine field if he realised he was. But he couldn't change what had happened. And as he sat there, staring at Dahlia's unmoving body, he realised that perhaps that was why the pirates were so slow to take risks. They knew the consequences, and they knew they couldn't take them back.
He only wished, as he put his face into his hands and felt his whole body start to shake, that he had figured that out earlier.
A/n: Yes, I know I'm a mean person. I can't help it. So flame me. No really, I actually wouldn't mind some flames. :P Anyway... Mahad does need to learn something, sometime... I just hope it's not like this. o_O