The ship was still in port, and the crew was still ashore - mostly. Hannah sat on the bowsprit, boots dangling either side of it. She'd abandoned her disguise now; although her clothing remained the same, she'd tied her sash around her waist, tight enough to emphasise her figure, and her plait, instead of being tucked up in her hat, hung like a rope down the back. There just didn't seem much point in pretending that Joseph von Brandt the younger was any one other than a figment of her imagination, now that everyone had met Hannah.
Eventually she became aware that Captain Foxx was standing behind her - he hadn't made any sound in approaching, of course, and she had no idea he was even there until one of his breaths scratched his throat briefly, giving a noise a touch more subtle than actually clearing it.
Hannah pushed herself back along the pole until she was close enough to resume her place in deck, should she need to. The Captain had yet to say anything, but he also didn't move away. By the time she was sitting on the railing, he was close enough to cast a shadow over her, a cool spot in the otherwise hot sun.
She just sat there for a moment, content to feel his presence, before she said,
"Well. We won."
"Yeah," said the captain, and there was silence again.
Nevertheless, Hannah felt a content smile on her face as she watched the busy dock, ignoring the occasional puzzled glance that came her way. "And where are we sailing to next, Captain?"
"St Martin," he said blandly. "Between our two shares,we should be able to set you up in a dwelling."
Hannah's response was a moment coming, because she needed a second for the implication to sink in. When she spoke, it was slowly, trying to suppress the tears she suddenly found catching in her throat.
"You're putting me ashore?" she asked, wondering if she sounded as desperate as she felt for this to be a misunderstanding.
However, the captain's grunt was in the affirmative.
"You can't stay aboard," he answered impassively, and Hannah's heart - everything she had dared hope - fell with her gaze into the sea.
"Because I'm a girl,"she said, resigned. "The crew won't have me."
It was a surprise, then, when she felt his hand on her shoulder. "I don't pick a crew so stupid as to put ashore one of the best sailors," he told her. "I'm putting you ashore because of your condition."
"My... condition?" Hannah tilted her head up and back, running her eyes first up the inked rope that writhed around his wrist, to his shoulder, then to the young, chiselled face that was looking out over the dock like she had just been.
With no display of emotion of any kind, Foxx explained, "Our bid to save your life."
"Oh," Hannah said, suddenly understanding, and she placed her hand over his. "That didn't work."
"Well, we didn't need it," he replied. "But we still need to deal with the consequences, and I've been thinking."
"No," she said again. "I mean it didn't work, Captain. I'm not in any condition."
He turned those sea blue eyes back on her, blinking in confusion. "But our plan..."
"Wouldn't have worked," she replied, curling her fingers against the back of his knuckles. "Not that I'd ever need it."
As much as she was hoping he wouldn't put her ashore as he said, Hannah couldn't help smiling when she saw the honest confusion in the face of one of the most brutal murderers she'd ever met. "But we..." he started, then frowned when he saw her smile.
"Captain Foxx," said Hannah, "was that your first?"
He said nothing, and moved her hand from her shoulder.He couldn't do anything, though, when her hand followed his, sitting into his huge palm.
"It doesn't always have the same result," she explained, leaning her head back so it rested on his upper arm. "It probably wouldn't have then anyway. Not the right time for me."
It felt, to Hannah, that he had tensed against her, and she wondered if she had gone too far.
"Then why did you do it?"
"Because I wanted to," she said gently. "Because I like you, Jason Foxx, and I wasn't raised to refuse the chance to have something I wanted."
His eyes on her were blank, but piercing, reading like they did with no hint of what was going on behind them. Hannah waited, smiling hopefully.
Finally, he said, "you don't have to go ashore."