Thanks to the warmth of the day, Jude’s skin was almost completely dry by the time he arrived with Sebastián in the crew’s quarters. His face felt crispy from the sea salt and his clothes no longer dripped, but they were still damp enough to hang heavily off his frame. When Sebastián pulled his hand off Jude’s shoulder, he frowned at his palm before wiping it off on his vest.
“Your clothes are still drenched,” he noted. “Do you have something to change into? Trust me, I’ve sailed through enough storms to know that working whilst wet becomes a real slog.”
Jude hummed as he tugged at his tunic. He was relieved that it no longer clung to his skin, but now it was pointed out to him, he realised how uncomfortable it was.
“I should have something. Give me a minute,” he nodded and peeled off to find his hammock.
“I’ll be here, doing all the work,” Sebastián sang after him.
Jude smiled and shook his head to himself as he stuck his fingers into the pale yellow sash tied around his waist. He loosened the knot, pulled it undone, then lifted his tunic over his head. His chest was still damp from the water collected in his clothes, which sent a chill through him now that he was hidden from the sun’s comforting rays.
Once he found his hammock, he hung his wet clothes over it to dry, then dug around for his burlap sack. He’d managed to keep it mostly hidden from the other crewmates by using it as a pillow, which let him keep his clothes and personal items to himself.
Granted, he hadn’t brought much. Half the point of starting fresh was to do just that– to leave his old life behind. He only had room for a single change of clothes and some trinkets he’d mostly forgotten about since packing. As he dug around to find his fresh blouse, his hand passed over a velvet coin purse from his father, which held the few pieces of coin he’d managed to scrounge together for emergencies. His fingers then brushed over a folded scrap of paper, which he knew to be a sketch of him and his mother. Jude decided to leave that at the bottom of the sack for a little while longer.
He grasped the blouse when he finally managed to differentiate it from the material of his trousers. Jude pulled it out and flourished the deep green fabric loose, but frowned when he held it up to inspect it. The tie was missing from its loops, letting it fall completely open. His chest would be completely exposed if he wore it like that, so he sighed and threw it down so he could search through his sack for the missing string.
Jude dug his hand in a little deeper, pushing past his papers and his coin purse to search through the folds of his other clothes. He gasped with delight when his fingers brushed something resembling the leather string, and he snatched it up right away.
He tugged the cord out of the bag, but his face fell when he held it up to the light. Instead of the tie, in his hand was an old hemp necklace with an emerald pendant hanging off the end.
It was the finest thing he owned, and he’d already forgotten about its existence.
Jude jumped when he felt something suddenly brush over his shoulders. He spun around, eyes widened to see Sebastián stood there holding a thick blanket up to him. He too looked startled, frozen in place with the blanket held up high.
“It’s just me,” he teetered. “You’re just standing there all wet, I thought you could use a hand to get dry.”
Jude exhaled and pressed his fist to his chest to help calm his racing heart. “Thank you,” he gasped, shaking his head. “You just caught me off guard.”
At the sign of relief on Jude’s face, Sebastián relaxed and stepped closer to wrap the blanket around him.
“Bloody fool,” he murmured affectionately as he tugged the linen close, pulling it shut to cocoon him and dry off the last of the seawater. He fussed as he adjusted it to fit around him comfortably, but froze when Jude lifted his hands to help hold the blanket closed.
“...What have you got there?” Sebastián asked, head tilted curiously.
Jude looked down at his hands where the necklace was still wound between his fingers. “Ah,” he breathed, lifting his fist to reveal the emerald to his friend. “My, uh… I found it under all my things... It’s my birthstone.”
Sebastian inched closer and gently took hold of Jude’s wrist, lifting the pendant into the light. “It’s beautiful. Is that emerald? What birth month is that, then?”
A smile tugged the corner of Jude’s lips as Sebastián stared, transfixed on the gem.
“May,” he murmured.
Sebastián hummed softly and finally turned his gaze back to Jude’s face. “Would you like me to fasten it for you?”
Jude tensed. He turned his hand to look at the pendant again, unable to help the frown that pinched his brow. “I don’t know,” he muttered. “It was given to me by… Someone I’m not particularly fond of.”
Sebastián hummed again, this time in thought as he snaked his hand back around Jude’s fist. He ran his thumb across Jude’s knuckles, then gave them a gentle squeeze until his hold loosened enough for Sebastián to slowly pry the necklace out of his grip.
“Here,” he whispered, smiling up at Jude as he held one end of the cord in each hand. “Now I’m giving it to you.”
Jude huffed out a quiet laugh and rubbed a hand over his face. He couldn’t ignore the sparkle in Sebastián’s eye, nor how badly he wanted to chase it; to keep that smile wide for as long as he could. So he obediently turned around, offering his back to him.
Sebastián looped his hands around his head from behind, placing the jewellery delicately around Jude’s neck. He twisted the clasp at the back to secure it in place, then ran his hands along the curve of Jude’s shoulders to let him know it was done. When Jude turned back around, Sebastián was already looking down at his chest, ready to admire his new accessory.
The hemp was short and snug around the base of his neck, the pendant sitting atop the dip of his collarbone. Sebastián couldn’t help but reach out and touch it, his smile growing as he traced Jude’s skin around the teardrop shape of the gem. Jude’s insides shivered at the touch, that familiar heat quickly returning to his chest and flourishing underneath Sebastián’s fingertips.
“It suits you,” Sebastián murmured, glancing up at Jude’s face through his lashes. “You should wear it.”
Jude swallowed dryly. Sebastián’s fingertips lingered on his collar, barely grazing his hair that grew thick across his chest. His gaze never wavered.
“Okay,” Jude whispered.
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