“Look Cap’n, stowaway. Barnes was only shitting right.” One of her crew thrust the small boy in front of her on the deck.

Meg eyes’ flicked down from scanning the horizon. The lad was small, thin. Wouldn’t have had too much trouble slipping on board and hiding in between what they had stashed down there.

“Name?”

“Toby, miss.”

Her crew had started to gather around, and they all burst out laughing. Her first mate clapped him round the back of the head. “That’s cap’n to you boy.”

“Sorry Sir. Sorry Cap’n.”

“Age?” Meg asked him, still keeping half her eye on the horizon.

“Twelve m…cap’n.”

“Pah, a child. Nothing to do with a child except chuck them off.”

“I’m not a child! I can work!”

The crew started laughing again, jostling the boy.

“Come on lad. We’re dropping you off at the next port. Might be pirates, but we’re not going to kill a child for no reason.” said the first mate.

“Childhood ends when the person wants it to.” Meg said, and quiet descended. “Age is irrelevant. You can be twelve, you can be eighteen, it ends when you realise it’s time to grow up.”

Her eyes narrowed, then she grinned and looked down at the boy. “You want to be a pirate?”

“I want to see the world!”

“Good enough. Stick around. Help out. We’re getting visitors soon.” She pointed a lazy finger a the dark blotches on the horizon she’s been searching for. “Survive this little meeting, and we’ll start calling you a man.”

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