Grizzled Alaskan King Crab fishing captain Liam Payne buried his oldest crew member, Andy Samuels, 2 weeks ago. They’d grown up together and had been fishing since they were both old enough to stand without their mums holding their hands, and they were greenhorns together on Liam’s dad’s boat. Every time Liam turns around to give an order to Andy and Andy isn’t there, the pain of his death is a slap as cold salty sea water whipping in his face.
Liam just took on a couple of new greenhorns himself, had to so they could keep the boat running, keep fishing, keep bringing in money, keep going. One of them, Harry, doesn’t look any older than 16, but that’s about when Liam himself started, and Harry’s stronger than he looks. He’s already covered in tattoos fit for the sea. Niall cheerfully follows orders and is very intuitive, always asking questions and curious about what’s next. For some reason, he always checks up on Liam to make sure he’s doing okay. Liam’s first mate, Louis, puts himself in in charge of breaking them in. Louis has an old beat up dummy that’s dressed like a crew member that he throws off the side of the boat and shrieks about until Harry and Niall jump into the water to try to save it while Louis cheers them on, then he dumps their clothes overboard. Liam tries not to smile, but he can’t help it.
Liam doesn’t like to think about it too much, but he wishes he could see more of Zayn. He hasn’t talked to Zayn since after the funeral - Liam hadn’t cried at all, hadn’t let himself feel it at first, but Zayn took him home and said, “it’s okay, I know,” until Liam’s tears spilled out, and he didn’t feel so overwhelmingly choked by sadness, and then Zayn took him to bed and fucked him. Zayn works back in the office; he’s the voice who comes through on the radio when there’s a storm coming. His dad died on a fishing boat when he was younger and he’s been angry at the sea ever since. Zayn told him that’s why - why he and Liam can’t be together, why he can’t let himself love Liam like he wants to. He can’t go through that again. Liam’s love for the sea is in his blood, and he thought he’d spend his whole life in it. But now - now he thinks he can want a life on land. He just has to figure it out.