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WHO: Alijah and Tucker
WHEN: Tuesday after chatting with Winston
WHY: To build bonds
PROMPT: 045 - Ocean Breeze

Grinning ear to ear, Alijah turned to look at Tucker as the fishing boat they were on started to move away from the dock. He was excited about the whole idea of getting out on the ocean, doing something he had only really ever practiced on lakes and in rivers. He stared out over the water as the dock grew more distant, leaning against the edge of the boat with their fishing gear he'd bought beside them. He'd had the money to spare, and he'd been itching to get out for a while, now. Today had seemed like the perfect chance to get away... the sun was out, and the clouds were sparse.

"Ever done this before?" he asked Tucker, nudging him with his elbow. His enthusiasm had been pretty obvious since he'd shown up earlier to take him out, having only really told him what he was up to after they'd reached the dock.

Tucker shook his head, slowly and glanced at Alijah. "Not for a very long time. It's been years actually." he wasn't ever allowed out to do anything fun when he was growing up. Fun was dangerous. Tucker was happy to just get out and do something for a change.

Alijah raised his eyebrows and laughed a little. He turned around to lean his back against the side of the boat, folding his arms over his chest as he sighed. "I've never been out on the ocean, but I used to fish a lot with my brothers growing up... Haven't had the chance to do it in a while, though. I may be a little on the rusty side." He smirked and recalled the weekend trips they'd taken in his youth... and he wished privately that he'd been more involved, that he hadn't been so withdrawn during that time period.

"I'm sure you'll be a lot better than me," Tucker said with a small smile. "I haven't been out on the ocean for fun in ages. The last time I went out was for business related things. I've been forced to watch most of the time. It's good that you had such a strong relationship with your brothers."

"I don't know about a lot better than you," Alijah said with a shrug. He scratched the stubble on his chin and glanced out over the boat, his eyes catching a bit of movement on the water. There were a handful of other men with them, but they kept mostly to themselves on the other side of the small area. "I wish I'd managed to keep my family relationships," he mumbled. "You went out on the ocean for business? For the Agency?" His voice was low as he said it, to be careful not to attract the attention of the others.

Tucker nodded at Alijah and leaned back casually, relaxing. "Yes, for the agency. I've lived here practically my whole life." his tail flapped lazily in the wind. "I often wish the same thing myself."

"Your whole life?" Alijah was stunned into a moment of silence, his gaze blinking away to comprehend that. He hadn't realized. Or maybe he'd just never soaked up the information until now. Either way, that was a long time to live here. He supposed he could relate, though... living on his family's farm for most of his life had been pretty much the same scenario... minus the dangerous missions and constant training situations. He smirked faintly. "Family can be... rough." He licked his lips as his hair fell down over his eyes, the wind having picked up a little as the boat had gained speed.

"Just about," he mumbled sourly. It wasn't something he really enjoyed about his life, but there was a list of those things. "We came here when we were about eight years old, so it's been a while. About as long as I can remember, because I don't remember anything about my life prior to here." he shrugged a little. "Rough is one word for it." He wasn't quite sure what he felt about family.

Alijah listened to Tucker's explanation patiently, watching his eyes as he told him about his upbringing. It was interesting, the idea of being here for so long. Surely the other man had seen a lot, then... experienced a lot. "Eight is pretty young..." He brushed his hair back again, fighting with it a little. He knew Jordan loved it, and he was really having fun with it as well, but... damn, it could be aggravating. "Sometimes, I... I wish I could go back, you know? Start over... change how things went." He picked a bit of fuzz from the front of his shirt nervously. "I miss it... the family stuff. It was sorta... brought into focus last week when my Uncle died." He stopped speaking with a shrug, feeling like he'd just needed to say it.

Tucker nodded and listened to him, curiously. "I guess it was the only safe place for us. Sometimes I wonder what life would be like if things were different. If certain things had never happened. If I hadn't come here for instance, but I'm not sure if I like the results of starting over and going back." he said quietly, "But it is interesting to think about, as well as remembering the important things in life."

Nodding as Tucker finished what he had to say, Alijah moved a little closer to him to keep their conversation between them. A few of the men wandered by, talking to each other and paying them mostly no mind. "Going back would change things, for sure. And for a long time, I felt really miserable about it. I was really lonely... there weren't a lot of things in life that made me happy. I came here, and everything changed. So now... it's harder for me to say that, that I'd go back and just change things. I think the sentiment is strong, but... the reality of it is something else entirely." He picked at his nails a little, and then stopped abruptly as the boat started to slow.

Tucker looked around as they slowed down and rested his head on a hand. "It seems like you're getting things in order then. Good for you." He wished he could do that. He certainly didn't know what he wanted.

"I'm trying really hard," Alijah told Tucker, bending to mess with their fishing equipment. He prepared the line for his partner, getting the proper bait attached and checking for any problems with the actual fishing rod. Moving onto his own, he looked up at the other man briefly. "And even after all I do, I feel like sometimes it isn't enough..." He stood with both of their rods and handed one to Tucker. While adjusting his, and messing with the line, he continued, "Like with Micah." He hoped this wasn't a sensitive topic. "I really admire the boy for his incredible love for his mother, but I... I feel like he just hates me, sometimes. I don't really know how to handle it, I guess. I've never put myself into a situation like this before." He sighed and leaned on the edge of the boat again. "Just between us... I think he believes I'm here to take his mother from him... to... somehow steal her affection."

Tucker nodded and continued to listen before he found a place to cast out his line. And then he waited. "I'm not sure what Micah is thinking. He might just feel like his family is falling apart, and he will get left behind. Not just you taking away his mother, but everything changing all together. He doesn't seem too into the idea of gaining any new parents. He's been civil with Senga, but I don't know if he does that just to humor me or not. He most likely just fears change."

Alijah cast out his line after Tucker did, fidgeting with it almost nervously. He nodded and stared out at where the small ripples spread out, the bright bobs catching his eye. "Yeah... I care a lot about him, which makes it difficult. Obviously he has every right to feel a little intimidated about the idea of having step-parents, you know... he's inclined to be a little thrown about it. I can't wait for the day when we can be okay, though." He pulled in his line a tiny bit. "Change can be scary for someone so young." He coughed a few times and cleared his throat. "How... how're things with Senga?"

Tucker nodded slowly and swallowed hard. "Yes, I'm sure things will be fine." He swallowed again, and didn't add what he was thinking. He didn't need that. That Micah would replace him with Alijah and he wouldn't be needed anymore. "Change can be scary for anyone. As for Senga," he shrugged. "I don't know."

"Change..." Alijah sighed and messed with his line as he spoke, "can be one fo the most difficult things to accept about life. I know it's given me a lot to think about over the years." He made a bit of a face. "But I suppose I can just keep trying and hope for the best, right?" He looked at Tucker, catching a bit of something in his eyes. "Have you spoken much with Senga since...?" Alijah's question stopped; he wasn't sure how to finish it, so he just left it.

Tucker nodded slowly, agreeing. "I'm learning to just deal with what I'm dealt. If my...positions in life are shifted, then so be it. It's not right for me to try to form a destiny that isn't mine." He sighed a little. "We've spoken and spent some time with one another."

Alijah blinked a few times, feeling down for Tucker. It seemed like he'd been given a poor hand... at least from his understanding of what had happened. His gaze moved back out to where their lines floated in the water, realizing he hadn't been paying enough attention to it... almost at the same time somebody on the other side of the boat started to yell about something. He glanced at the other group. "It's good that you're still talking," he said finally. "If you want to talk about it, I'm here to listen."

Tucker nodded and focused on his line, though nothing was really going on yet. Which was fine because he really liked the non-excitement but anticipation. "It's something. I'm giving her a chance, but outside of that I'm not sure what I want to do. Or what I want in general."

"You not sure you want to be with her?" Alijah asked gently, hoping not to cross Tucker or get too much into it if he wasn't prepared to share. He couldn't imagine having that kind of relationship strife again... not after last time. It was hard to watch someone he knew go through it, but he was old enough to know that sometimes one just had to fight through it on their own. He only hoped Tucker was willing to talk about it if he needed to... and not make the same mistakes Alijah had made after his wife had left him.

"Right," he said quietly. "Things started so well and they were fun, and then so much of my time turned into being her slave that I've now lost....everything. I don't know what I enjoy. I don't know anything about myself. I have been stripped of my identity. I have become so involved in her that I've lost the rest of my family."

Alijah was blinded suddenly by the things Tucker said, feeling his heart drop. He hadn't really realized... "I'm so sorry, Tucker. You deserve to be happy..." He wasn't sure what else to say. What else would be appropriate for this situation? So caught up in their conversation, he missed the light tugging on his line. It wasn't so important anymore. "It'll take a while to sort through, I'm sure." Taking a chance, Alijah reached out and patted the other man on his shoulder, giving him a bit of a squeeze.

Tucker looked at Alijah, just wanting some kind of reassurance that he wasn't trying to invade on his life and take things away. He believed that Alijah didn't want to do those things, "It'll take a long while. I hope it's possible. It has to be."

"You're a strong man," Alijah told him, trying to be supportive. He felt worse about everything suddenly, about how he'd come into everyone's lives and changed it, whether or not it was part of the problem. His issues with Micah felt childish. Here he was, standing with the boy's real father, and he'd been concerned for his relationship with him. Tucker needed his family. He was at risk of losing it, and Alijah wasn't prepared to stand by and watch it slip through his fingers. "Look, I... just wanted to tell you... I... I care a lot about Micah. I don't want to see him hurting... and I know he loves you. You mean a lot to him." He shifted uneasily. This was difficult. "You're his father. I don't want to get between the two of you."

Tucker looked at Alijah curiously as he said that. "Are you sure about that? Are you sure that's what you want? You seem, hesitant." he observed. He didn't want problems. He just wanted truth. "If it's what you desire, then please, don't let me get in the way." He didn't want to give up Micah or Jordan or any of his family, but it was easier to give up when he believed that everyone would be better off without him. He only wanted what was best for Micah.

"I'm hesitant because I care so much about him," he explained, sighing heavily. This was tough. "I just don't feel like it's my place to get between the two of you, especially when I know Micah needs you." He leaned on his elbows against the rail, glancing out at his mostly still line. "He needs his father. He needs the man that brought him into this world. He wants to feel loved, like you care about him... like you know he exists. I think a lot of his hatred for me stems from that... from his insecurities. He just wants what any child wants... He wants his dad. And I... as much as I want to be there for him, I know that you two can be and are close already. It would be... wrong of me to try and change that. At this point... I'd be happy just being accepted."

Tucker nodded slowly, taking all of that in. He watched his line thoughtfully. "Hmmm."

"Hmm?" Alijah returned, reeling in his line a little. He glanced over at Tucker, who seemed like he was still sifting through what he'd had to say. He didn't want to press for a response, but he was secretly dying to know what he was thinking. A little bit of silence fell between them as the wind brushed through their hair, whistling over the edges of the boat.

"Yes," Tucker said. "I'm just trying to figure out what to do." But he couldn't really think much for himself anymore.

"Yeah, I-" Alijah started, falling short as he caught movement. "Oh, your line!" he exclaimed, pointing out over the boat. "Tucker, look, your line is moving!"

"It is?" he blinked a few times and started to reel it in. "Oh shit, I hope I know how to do this." He would ask about whatever he was saying later.

Alijah bounced on his heels a little, excited about Tucker's luck. He nearly dropped his fishing rod in his frantic movements, trying to encourage him as best he could. "Yeah, yeah... reel it in," he said, smiling as he saw the flash of silver under the surface. There was something big there, definitely. "Wait... let it pull, hold on..." Realizing he was coaching, Alijah shook his head at himself and laughed. "Sorry, I haven't done this in a while..."

Tucker looekd at him and shook his head, "No I don't know what I'm doing." he started to follow his instructions, it was a start but he wasn't sure how to continue.

"Oh, okay... um, well..." Alijah strained to follow up on his instructions, watching the struggle in the water. It was turning around, trying to swim off. "I... reel it in again... slow, a little slow..." He held out a hand as he watched Tucker, the fish, Tucker, the fish... "Okay, now pull it in! Pull it in!"

Tucker did as he was told, pulled it in hard. "Like that?"

"Yeah, yeah..." Alijah grinned, pretty sure Tucker was winning the battle. This was a lot more fun than he'd hoped. They were actually going to go home with something. "There, you got it, you totally have it... pull it in!"

Tucker grunted a little and pulled harder. "It's so big."

Alijah glanced at the few people who'd come to see what they were doing, eyeing the fish thrashing around as Tucker reeled it in. "You've got it... don't let go, don't stop pulling it up." He turned to grab for a net, nervous almost to the point of dropping it before holding it out, waiting to see the prize close up.

Tucker pulled up the fish, "Stop wiggling dammit." He scowled some more.

Holding the net out for Tucker, Alijah grinned at the size of the fish fighting for freedom. "That's great," he said, bringing the net up around it. "It's huge..." He helped Tucker, wrapping it up to take control, grabbing it through the net to unhook it from the line. Several people commented on it and left them again, having wanted to see it themselves.

Tucker gasped at the sight of the fish. "This is incredible! Wow."

"It sure is," Alijah said as he pulled the hook out of the fish and showed it to Tucker. "That is one amazing catch right there. And we weren't even paying attention. We're pros at this!" He laughed and put the fish down in their bucket of water.

"Isn't that how it works?" he asked, "Like boiling a pot of water?"

"Like doing what?" Alijah asked, standing up to furrow his brow at the strange question. "Like boiling water? I've never heard that expression before..." He smirked and shrugged. "But I think so, maybe."

"A watched pot never boils," he clarified.

Alijah laughed, feeling stupid suddenly. "Yeah... I gotcha," he commented, reaching to scratch the back of his neck. He needed to learn to pay better attention, he thought. This was why people got frustrated with him, he told himself.

Tucker smiled a little and nodded. "But it worked." he said and looked at the fish in the bucket. "Now what do we do?"

"We try for more?" he suggested, shrugging. "We're gonna be out here for a while, so we may as well..." Alijah reeled in his line, put new bait on the hook and messed with it before casting it back out into the ocean. "I think we stay out for a few hours, and then they take us back."

Tucker nodded firmly. "Alright."

"Alright then," Alijah responded, turning his attention to his line. He needed to catch something to take home. It would be a little embarrassing when he walked in the house empty handed, and was teased for it by his fiance.

"We won't leave until we each have something," Tucker said quietly.

"Sounds like a good idea," he said, smirking as he got comfortable. He could play the waiting game. His father had taught him the importance of being patient while fishing. "Although I don't think I'll be able to top what you got..."

"I won't show anyone then," he said with a smirk. "Though you might be surprised."

"I'm hoping for surprise," Alijah said with a smirk. A long time of silence fell between them as they drifted in and out of brief comments, his mind spreading through all they'd spoken about, focusing on tiny details, analyzing everything that had happened. Eventually after about twenty minutes, he felt a tug on the end of his line and startled into action. "I have something?" he asked the fishing rod, blinking at it.

Tucker turned and looked out at the water. "I'm pretty sure that's what the movement means? Unless you've magically snagged a rock."

Alijah burst into laughter at that, feeling like an idiot for even having asked. Tucker's comment was more than called for. He started to reel in whatever it was that was tuggin on his line, trying to settle himself, to stop laughing. "Damn it, Tucker... if I lose this because of you," he threatened playfully, shaking his head as he strained.

Tucker had only meant it in fun. He had a bit of a dry humor like that. "You won't. I won't let you."

"Good," Alijah said, smiling as he fought with his line, reeling it in, letting it fall slack, reeling it in... There was definitely something there, and he couldn't wait to bring it up. "I hope it's twice as big as your fish," he said with a laugh, winking at him.

"With the way it's fighting," Tucker said, ready to help, "I'm sure it is."

Alijah worked hard to reel it in as it fought with him, his heart beating excitedly. He hadn't had this much fun on a boat in years! "Here it cooooomes," he warned, staring intently down into the water as it crashed open and a fish broke the surface, flopping against the side of the boat. He pulled it up as it struggled, the look in his eyes telling as it came over and onto the boat. It was definitely not bigger than Tucker's. In fact, it was absolutely a much smaller fish. Eh. Oh well.

Tucker got the net ready and grinned. He still thought it was a big fish, no matter what anyone else said.

"Grab it, will ya?" Alijah asked, holding onto the line and looking around for that stupid net. They needed to get it unhooked and into the bucket with the other fish that Tucker had caught.

Tucker nodded and held the net under his newly caught fish, trying to do what he could.

Letting the fish drop into the net, Alijah dropped his fishing rod rather unceremoniously to the floor of the boat. He reached for the fish while Tucker held the net securely, and took his time unhooking the fish before dropping it into the bucket with the other one. He stared at the both of them, letting out a heavy sigh. "Well... at least now we can both go home with something," he said, smiling up at Tucker.

"We should cook them," Tucker said. He loved fish, as was true to his almost cat-like nature. "Maybe have a bit of a party?"

"Oh, hey... that sounds like an awesome idea." Alijah nodded a few times, genuine in his interest. "You can come over and we'll cook it all up. Have sort of a friendly gathering, feed everyone..."

"Yes, exactly," Tucker liked the sound of that. It would be good to get out with the group.

"Well, then... we'd better make sure to get these on ice when we get back," Alijah told Tucker, standing up to wipe his hands on his pants. He was definitely going to need to change when he got home.

Tucker laughed, "Oh, we can put them on ice now I think."

"I don't know that they have it on the boat," Alijah said, looking around. Nobody else was really doing anything aside from collecting their fish the same way. He sniffed a little and brushed at his nose, kneeling down for a moment to look into the bucket again. Secretly, he dropped his focus for a moment and collected the forms of both of the fish into his body, saving them away for a time when they might be needed. "But whether or not they do, I'm pleased with what we've got already..."

"There can be some," he said quietly and focused all of his energy into making ice, much like Ryan could. They were identical and thus they had identical powers. They just developed them at different spots and in different ways.

Alijah looked around to be sure no one had seen it, and bent down to deal with the fish. He took them from the bucket and secured them into the ice, burying them as he remembered his father doing it so many years ago. Someday, he thought, he would take his own son or daughter out on fishing trips. It was a comforting thought. After a while, and after being sure he'd done a good job, Alijah stood back up and shook the ice off of his hands. He sighed and smiled at Tucker. "Thanks for coming out with me," he said, genuinely happy to have had the company.

"Thank you for inviting me," he said quietly.

Alijah gave Tucker a hug, and let him go before it became awkward. "Thanks for being my friend. I appreciate it. I really needed it, I think. Guy time, you know?" He shrugged weakly, feeling a little strange.

"Yeah, I know." he said with a nod. "I know all too well."

Settling down into a nearby built-in bench, Alijah started to pack away his fishing rod. The boat had turned around by now, he knew... and was headed back for the dock. He'd paid to be taken out for an hour. "You know... I never did get the chance to say this, but... Thanks for the help on that mission." He glanced at the people around him. "When we went on the rescue mission. I wouldn't have survived it without your help."

"You're welcome," he said softly, "And I can say the same for you."

Alijah smiled and settled comfortably as the boat took them back to the shoreline. He watched the waves as the traveled, and the other men packing up opposite them on the boat. "I'd trust my life in your hands any time," he said to Tucker.

Tucker smiled a little at him. "And same to you."

After about ten or so minutes, the boat they'd been riding finally reached the docks. Alijah gathered their fishing supplies and waited patiently, feeling good after such a relaxing trip out onto the water. "You wanna get the fish?" he asked the other man, turning to look at him as the boat was secured.

Tucker nodded and lifted up the buckets of fish, carrying them easily. They were much better to handle when they weren't squirming.

Alijah lead Tucker off of the boat after the other men had left, walking along the shore as they headed in the direction of the bungalows in the distance. He smiled, hoping Jordan loved fish as much as he did. "You want to keep the fish until we get together to eat it? Maybe tomorrow night?"

"I can do that, yeah." He said with a nod. "I'm sure Micah won't mind. And if he does, well..."

"Well... too bad, so sad?" Alijah finished for him, grinning. He yawned a little, thinking back over the day he'd had so far. He couldn't wait to get home and tell Jordan about everything that had happened.

"Exactly," he said with a nod. "Precisely."

Alijah laughed, imagining in his mind Tucker saying that to Micah. It was comical, the version he played out privately. A short while later, they'd reached the bungalows with their equipment and their catch in tow. He felt good about the time they'd spent out that day on the water, and the words they'd exchanged. "Thanks again for coming out with me," he said, smiling at Tucker. "We'll get together tomorrow, right?"

"Yes, of course." he said with a smile. "The whole family then."

"The whole family," Alijah repeated, his face softening. Had Tucker just...? He blinked a few times and chanced a hug, pulling Tucker against him for a moment. He patted his back and then pulled away, turning to head for his and Jordan's home. "Bye Tucker," he called back.