Immediately pre-series. Shanks/Beckman (mild) for Kujakku, Christmas 2004.
by Mina Lightstar
Seagulls were like roosters, only not. Like roosters, they could be counted on to make a decent amount of noise and wake you up. Unlike roosters, they never shut up. And of course, there was the little detail about not wanting a rooster to wake you up -- came with being at sea, and such.
So when the gulls dragged Captain "Red-Haired" Shanks up and away from his peaceful slumber, he muttered something inflammatory and pulled the pillow over his head. Who did the gulls think they were, anyway? Ruining a perfectly good dream like that....
The cries got past his pillow easily, and he reaffirmed his sleepy likening of gulls to roosters. Except that seagulls were more annoying. They were annoying and could be found out at sea. Damn them.
After the continuous calls of the seagulls had kept him almost-awake for several minutes, Shanks was willing to admit defeat.
"Why will you not be quiet?" he mumbled, at a loss. "It's my last day at sea for a few days, so why can't you grant me a morning of peace?"
The seagulls, of course, did not deign to answer. Unless, of course, their unending noises could be counted as a response. Shanks decided they could. Instead of trying to fall back asleep, he lay still, enjoying the sway of his ship as she rode the calm waters.
Though really, you'd think he'd be able to sleep through seagulls' cries by now. He supposed he usually did, but couldn't figure out why they woke him sometimes. Maybe they occasionally conspired to wake him, he mused with a grin.
... Whatever the case, they were damn loud. Shanks sighed into his bedding and then rolled onto his back. With his hands folded behind his head, he remained in bed. He wasn't ready to get up just yet.
The morning air was crisp and refreshing, and the crew was in high spirits. As pirates, the only thing they loved more than hunting for treasure was being at sea, but that didn't mean they didn't enjoy being on land. Especially, Beckman thought with a smirk, when being on land meant an afternoon of drink and celebration at Makino's tavern.
Beckman's stomach was already warming on the inside, just from his imagining it being filled with Makino's liquor. Wherever the lady got her stock, it was always impressive. Some of the townsfolk joked that when not on the water, Captain Shanks and his crew could be found in chairs, drinking in the booze and company of Makino's tavern.
Of course, it was never long before they left the little harbor town behind for another adventure. But the townsfolk would be pleased to see them again, particularly little Luffy. Beckman was sure Shanks had a narration of their travels already prepared to greet the kid. The question was: would Shanks remember it after last night?
Speaking of... "Hey," he started, half-turning to address the other members of the crew, "is the Captain--?"
But he wasn't able to finish his question. From the crow's nest came the traditional "Land, ho!" and then the excited murmurs began. Snippets of "Makino!" and "Ale!" and "A break!" buzzed through the crew, and Beckman laughed shortly. He pulled out a match and lit a cigarette, shielding it from the strong gusts all the while. Even sailors liked to set foot on land regularly, he mused.
"Well." Beckman squared his shoulders, flicked the ash from his cigarette, and winked at the men who were looking at him. "I'll leave you to it, then." Normally he would stay on-deck and supervise the pulling into port. But then again, normally the Captain would do the same. Beckman rolled his eyes, not entirely without affection, and proceeded to Shanks' cabin -- but not before grabbing a bucket and filling it with water.
It wasn't only the fact that he barged in unannounced, or that he made no effort to be either quiet or loud. He always carried the faint smell of tobacco with him, and that was how Shanks knew immediately that his visitor was Beckman.
For a moment, he debated actually sitting up and greeting his First Mate. That urge quickly died and remained just where he was: staring at the ceiling. "Morning, Beckman."
"Cap'n," Beckman acknowledged, his greeting followed shortly by a solid thump and the sloshing of water. Ah, so the other man had brought him a bucket of water with which to wash his face.
"Can't bear the sight of me when I'm dirty, eh?" Now Shanks chose to sit up, stretching for a few moments before turning his head to grin at the First Mate.
"Never could, Cap'n." Beckman pulled out one of the two chairs and sat down, plainly indicating his intention to stay.
Shanks kicked his bedding aside and got up, feet padding across the cabin as he walked to the other chair, where his shirt hung over the back. "Nearing the town, aren't we?" He'd heard the commotion on deck, and had noticed that they were a little ahead of schedule.
"Surprised you remember we were even going to town," Beckman remarked, flicking his cigarette.
Shanks watched the ashes drift to the floor. He wondered, briefly, how many ashes of Beckman's had found their way to his ship's decks, and how many more would. "Oh, come on," he laughed, choosing not to sit. Instead, he looked into the bucket of water. "We didn't drink that much," he added.
"Maybe not. But sometimes I wonder."
Shanks studied his reflection in the bucket. The still water was so unlike the ocean; not a ripple ruined his mirrored self. He looked a little filthy, too. "Hmm." Without another word, he dunked his hands into the bucket and set about scrubbing his face, messily, with water running down his chin to drop on his chest and the floor.
When he was finished, Shanks blinked away water droplets and groped around for a towel, forgetting that he hadn't set one up last night. Before he could request that Beckman bring him one, a cloth was wiping down his face, not too roughly, but enough to dry. "Thanks."
"Not a problem, Cap'n."
It was only when Shanks opened his eyes again that he noticed Beckman had dried Shanks' face with his shirt. "What do I owe you?" he joked, reaching for his own shirt that was still hanging over the back of the chair.
Shanks had been counting on Beckman to move, had been expecting it, and so when his First Mate did move, chair legs scraping against the cabin floor as he stood, Shanks merely smiled and waited.
Their kiss wasn't rough. It never was, though almost everything about Beckman's demeanor suggested otherwise. It tasted like tobacco, though, as it usually did. Shanks tightened his grip on the shirt in his hand, felt Beckman's stubble scratch against his cheek as they shifted closer. Beckman was pushing him against the edge of the table and Shanks didn't see any reason to protest the force. In some things, rank didn't matter.
When they broke apart -- partly for air, partly to stop things before they got out of hand -- Shanks rubbed the area around his lips. "You'll be shaving before we go into town, I hope?"
"Yes, Cap'n," Beckman replied, a smile on his lips. "You'll be putting more clothes on before we go into town, I take it?"
Shanks smirked back, already shrugging into his white shirt and doing up the buttons. "I can't to see Luffy. Always so full of spunk, that one."
"Don't be too tough on him, Shanks."
"I never am," Shanks laughed, waving the issue away and pointedly ignoring Beckman's look. Above them, the men were crowing with delight. "We must be near the port."
"We should get up there, then," Beckman said. He was about to flick the ash from his cigarette when he realized that it had burned to the end and fallen off sometime during their kissing.
"Do you think," Shanks mused as he started walking to the door, "that they get so excited because somewhere, land really is a home they love to come back to, or because it's just a familiar port?"
"I wouldn't know, Cap'n," Beckman replied immediately. One of his large hands brushed Shanks' shoulder. "My port is right here."
"Careful, Beckman," Shanks cautioned, reaching over to lightly touch the First Mate's hand, "or I might start to get ideas."
Shanks left his cabin, hearing Beckman begin to light another cigarette, the action almost hiding the First Mate's warm chuckle.