When the cat's away
Mission: Chapter 10: Brakes on a Train
The train was massive. Dottie had been wandering for hours taking pleasure in pretending to be a simple maid. Wearing a skirt made her feel different, the way people treated her was ... different. She would enjoy it for as long as it amused her, but truth be told, she could not wait to get out of these clothes and put on some proper trousers again. Wearing a skirt certainly made her feel more vulnerable and trapped. But for now, she enjoyed it.
She had left Colton behind somewhere; a turn into a carriage, or lost at a shopping stall, and they split. She was not sure how to get back to the Peacock carriage, but again, she felt like walking in a dream, and returning to her crewmates and regular life was not really pressing on her.
A shiny object in a shop window caught her eye and she stopped. Shops on a train, she still was amazed at that. As she was distracted by the shiny things, Akito pushed past mothers with children, teenage girls with ribbons in their hairs and groups of loud young men doing that thing that young men who are not boys anymore do.
He stopped in his tracks as he saw a longhaired blonde woman swinging her skirts with her hands as she was window shopping. Such grace, such gentleness; it was enough to overcome his usual taciturn shyness. He boldly stepped up to her and made a stiff bow, his arms at his sides. "May I s...," he started and then stared. "O'Toole?!?" he exclaimed in a deep and insulted tone of voice.
"Himuro!" Dottie immitated him. "Something wrong?"
Akito stared, frowned and generally tried to hide his disappointment at finding out the identity of the woman. "What are you doing in a ... here?" His question took a wrong turn somewhere.
"Shopping," she giggled. "I have some money to spend. It's rare, and it's ... nice." She grinned. Pirates are used to taking what they like, and being able to buy something like a normal person was, as she said, nice.
"Well. I did not recognise you. Which is a good thing," Akito said.
"Yeah," Dottie said, "I scrub up real nice, don't I?"
"No, that is ... , no," Akito stuttered. "It is good you don't look like a ... " he lowered his voice "criminal."
Dottie laughed. "You need to lighten up," she said. "Remember that drinking competition? Did you know," she said as she took his arm, "that they have bars here, on the train?"
Akito tried to push the hand away, but people were looking at them. "Yes, but we need to stay sober. And sane," he added. "Let me take you back to the carriage."
Dottie did her best to pout, but it just looked silly on her. Akito lifted an eyebrow. "Or shall we buy that trinket you were looking at?"
Dottie looked into the shop window again. The 'trinket' she'd been staring at was way above her budget. "Nah," she said. "The shop closes after dinner. I will come back for it then."
Akito looked confused. "I am still a ..." then Dottie whispered: "criminal."
Akito sighed as he led Dottie through the corridors back to the Peacock luxury carriage. He worried about being in a confined space with pirates of Dottie's mindset. There was always some theft on trains like this. That's why the marshals were here. He hoped his fellow pirates would keep a low profile. It crossed his mind to discuss this with the captain, but it was the captain he was most worried about.