Thea ached. It wasn't just a small ache; the kind that appears when you've done a long walk and your feet feel heavy. It was a full bodied groaning of muscles, some of which she hadn't known existed. She felt as though this was Amalia's pay back for earlier, when she'd sassed her.
"So I suppose you'll be going to practice with the Princess?" the Captain muttered as they were finishing up plotting a route. "Learn how to at least hold a sword."
"I know how to hold a sword," Thea scoffed slightly, stretching her back as she stood from her folded position over the map. "I'm not entirely a novice."
"Oh really?" Amalia smirked. "Fought many people in your life have you?"
"No. Not with a sword anyway," Thea smirked, remembering the time she had gotten in to trouble with her step-mother for punching one of the men from a social event who spent three dances attempting to get a little too handsy, and then suggested that they found a private room so that no one would become jealous of their 'obviously heated passion'. And yet, she was the one that received an ear-full about 'proper decorum'.
Still grinning at the memory, Thea realised that Amalia was watching her intently. Had she said something?
"I asked if you would like to take lessons."
"Yes, I think I will go and ask Malik-"
"-No, not with Malik. With me."
"O-oh. Yes. I mean... do you have the time?"
"Barely, but I shall make some."
"Why?" Thea blurted out. She hadn't meant to let the question slip between her lips, but it had spilled out unhindered in her surprise.
"Because it looks like we'll be spending a lot of time together, little Penna, and I cannot be distracted by protecting you if we come under attack again."
"I can handle myself," Thea retorted, suddenly feeling a need to prove herself to the decorated Captain. Amalia chuckled.
"Then prove it."
The Captain had dropped her on her ass so many times that she thought it may just be black and blue now. Thea sat gingerly in the Mess with her food, wincing when the ship moved and she moved with it.
"Are you quite alright?" Xura asked, peering over at Thea.
"The Captain kicked my ass up and down this ship."
"Because she's decided to train me to use a sword. And she's insane. And I'm pretty sure that she took great pleasure in watching me fall on my ass after I sassed her about soldiers having no regard for their own lives." Thea winced again as she shifted on her part of the bench.
"But she is the Captain... you should be respectful to those in charge and above you in station." Xura frowned at her.
Thea rolled her eyes.
"I do respect her. I even like her. But I don't change who I am for anyone." She shrugged. "Besides, she can hold her own."
Xura did not look convinced but said no more on the subject. Thea glanced at her and sighed.
"How are you liking working in the kitchens?"
"It is good. And I am training with Major. He is very good and I am enjoying it."
"Oh yeah?" Thea grinned. "Good. Maybe we can practice together at some point?"
"I think I would like that." Xura offered her a rare smile.
Thea was sitting on deck, knowing that it was too early to go to bed but wishing that she could, since everything ached. She had found a space where she would not be in the way of anyone, and was staring out at the vast expanse of endless stars.
I wish my father had been here to show me this.
She closed her eyes and rested her head against the wood of the ship, trying to remember what his smile looked like, and how his eyes shone. He had been gone for so long, and it still felt like yesterday when she realised that he was not coming home.
"RAYS!" The shout went up and Thea's eyes shot open. Standing up quickly, she peered over the edge.
Rolling their wings, flying through space with incredible grace and agility; the rays glided underneath the ship in a large group. One by one, they followed their leader, and in formation, they rose around the ship. Thea felt that she could reach out and touch their blue skin, but held back, mesmerised by the florescent turquoise lines trailing along their tails.
"Don't touch them." Thea blinked, and realised her hand was outstretched. She pulled back and looked around to find Amalia looking at her. "What are you doing?"
"Nothing," Thea glanced back at the rays.
"You should go to bed. I expect you up tomorrow so that we can practice."
Thea opened up her mouth to reply that she didn't think she'd be able to move tomorrow, but Amalia Vega was already walking away.