Stowaway, 108

It’s Not Unusual To Think about Your Own Relationship at A Wedding

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“We are here today to unite two members of this crew in marriage,” Natalie said, standing at the helm in front of Pig and Jade, who were grinning wildly like it was the best day of their lives, which Pax supposed it was, and good for them.

Everyone cheered at that. They were wearing their fanciest clothes, which for some of the crew meant they were wearing an entire outfit. Pax himself was wearing a set of very frilly, lacy, formal dress clothes from the Empire, where Jade was from, with brocade and trim that was in line with Dolovin fashion to represent Pig’s culture. Everyone said it was too fancy for a ship wedding, but there was no such thing as too fancy for a wedding, and besides, Pax had to be dressed enough for himself and Nate, who, if he’d had a body, would probably have worn a shirt to the wedding.

He had, however, chosen not to wear the cravat that went with the outfit, because he didn’t want to be fancier than Pig and Jade, who’d managed to find matching outfits in blue velvet. Pax would save the cravat for the next time he went to a royal wedding.

Do I even need to say it?

“Okay, quiet down,” Pig said to the cheering crew after a few seconds of cheering. “We haven’t even gotten to the cool part yet.”

When the cheering died down, Natalie held out her hands to Pig and Jade, who each took one. “As captain, I have the happy duty of officiating your union.”

“Wait, officiating?” Jade asked. “I thought it was your job to consummate it. Honey, nevermind, let’s call this off.”

Everyone, including Pax, dutifully laughed at the joke even though it wasn’t funny, because it was rude not to laugh at the bride’s jokes at a wedding.

It actually was kind of funny.

The mental image of Pig having sex with your mother isn’t funny, Pax explained.

I’m pretty sure Jade was planning to be the one consummating it with mom, Nate said.

Oh. Yes, Pax decided, that was much funnier.

“The sea isn’t the place for lengthy speeches and we don’t stand on ceremony on this ship,” Natalie said. “But we do have rituals to follow. Have you each brought something to surrender?”

They both nodded, reaching into pockets with their free hands. Pig pulled out a small pendant, and Jade an even smaller pouch. Natalie nodded, and Jade handed her pouch to Pig. “I kept these, even after I took them out. I don’t really know why. But my piercings belonged to someone who I’m not anymore, so I’m giving them to you to surrender to the sea.”

Pig smiled, took the pouch, and handed Jade the pendant. “I stole his from my mother, when I ran away from home. I don’t even think it was important to her. It was just something I could do to spite her. I wish I hadn’t bothered. She wasn’t worth the effort. I’m giving it to you to surrender to the sea.”

Nobody cheered at this, which Pax approved of. Surrendering relics of the past to the sea was an important tradition that he’d just learned about this morning, and he liked to see it respected. Nate took Pax’s hand.

“Is there anything you’d like to say to each other before you’re married?” Natalie asked.

They both nodded. “Pig, you’re a dumbass,” Jade said. “And I love you for that. You made me see that the world doesn’t have to be dour and serious all the time, even when everything is terrible. I love you for a thousand reasons, but I think I love you for that most. And I’d like to marry you. But not, you know. That seriously.”

Everyone laughed at that one too, and even Pax could admit it was funny.

“Jade,” Pig said. He stopped, cleared his throat. “I’ve always thought that being happy meant finding somewhere better. I’ve been looking for that since I was a kid. You made me realize that somewhere better can be right where I am, as long as the right people are there. I love you for a thousand reasons, but I think I love you for that most. So I’d like to marry you, and be happy right where I am.”

Natalie brought together the two hands she was holding, placed them in each other. “Go and surrender your pasts to the sea.”

Together, Pig and Jade went up to the prow, holding hands. They stayed there for a minute, just far enough off that if they were talking, Pax couldn’t hear them, which meant nobody else could either. They were there for several minutes, and then together they tossed their things into the sea. Pax couldn’t help but wonder how many merarcheologists had built entire careers writing papers interpreting sky person culture based on wedding offerings. They stayed for another minute and then came back, still holding hands.

“Under my authority as captain of the Coral Witch,” said Natalie, holding her hand over theirs one more time. “I pronounce you married.”

Everyone cheered again, and Pig and Jade kissed for the duration of that cheer, which was very impressive and spoke well of their lung capacity. Jade looked out at them all. “Well apparently the captain’s not going to consummate the marriage, so I hope you all planned a party.”

There was more cheering because, in fact, a party had been planned, though not actually by everyone, because only Denver, in his capacity as quartermaster and morale officer, and Pax, in his capacity as an overbearing micromanager, had planned it.

As John and Louis and Cedric brought out the food and everyone started to go over and congratulate Pig and Jade, Nate squeezed Pax’s hand. You’re thinking about what you’ll give me to throw overboard when we get married, right?

Pax nodded. How metaphorical can the surrendered object be? Can I load a lifetime of self-loathing into a kettle? Or should I just steal something that belonged to Dominic?

I think we’ll figure something out. You know what I’m thinking about?

No, because your telepathy only goes one way. It’s very unfair.

I’m thinking about how we’re going to need to start the ceremony at sunrise so I have enough time to say all the things I want to tell you about why I love you, Nate said.

Pax cleared his throat, blushing in the sun. Your excessive loquacity has been an ongoing problem in our relationship, he agreed. I can barely get a word in even now and you don’t even have a mouth. We should go congratulate them before they start eating and it seems weird.

Yeah, let’s go, Nate said, and the two of them headed for Jade and Pig, who both looked so very light today.

No wonder everyone Pax knew was getting married. It looked like it was working wonders.

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