Uma and Harry are thick as thieves, partners in crime. It’s been that way since they were little.
Uma can manipulate and threaten with her words better than anyone. She has the art of persuasion down perfectly. Sometimes her mere presence can throw someone off, dusting goosebumps on their skin, and there they are handing over their money, that piece of fruit, or the bedazzled necklace they just bought without more than a few words said by her.
And there’s Harry, always lurking in the shadows, his hook in hand. His smile is wide, barring teeth. Sinister. He’s built up quite the reputation of being mad as a hatter, a loose cannon, and he loves it. There’s nothing he loves more than the sound of hushed whispers and hurried footsteps as he passes.
Of course if they’re feeling bored, they’ll ambush some poor unfortunate soul together. It’s even better than terrorizing people alone. Between the two of them (her looming presence, his delirious grin) they’ll come away with nearly everything they wanted and more. Who said being evil wasn’t fun?
After her late shifts and the place is closed, Harry will stay at the chip shop and join her throwing leftover food at the tv, while they make fun of those cheesy Auradon soap operas her mother watches play the organ while she hums along listen to her sing while he lackadaisically wipes the counters down help her with the piles of dishes. For a split second, they forget they’re on the Isle.
But some nights are different. Nights when the tips of her fingers are tied to anchors. They drag her down to Ursula’s depths and its not until she’s hit every rock (“Useless girl!”) and reef (“You’re the joke of the Isle. My reputation, my legacy, my good name - it means nothing thanks to you.”) that she is allowed to come up to the surface again. All the strength in her voice gone.
It’s these moments Harry waits outside the chip shop: strict captain’s orders now. When he first heard the way Ursula spoke to her many years ago, she told him his presence would only make matters worse.
Once Ursula has slithered off, Uma comes outside and locks the door behind her. They walk wordlessly to the ship. She stays in his room for the night to sleep. His arm goes around her waist, her body faces the wall and she avoids his eyes. He understands.
It’s quiet. She shakes in low sobs that he swears feel as strong as the blast of a cannon and he holds her tighter. She moves closer, tucking her tiny frame into him and he wishes with everything he had that the barrier would break so she could finally be free.
Sleeping in each other’s cabins becomes automatic when their respective confident facades fade.
Uma doesn’t remember exactly when these sleeping arrangements began, but Harry does.
It was one of those days when his father’s drunken rages were too much for him to shove into the back of his mind, when terrorizing some goblins down by the wharf wasn’t enough to let him forget.
He got caught in the cross-hairs of his father’s slurred words and a broken glass bottle. His lip was split, blood dripping onto his shirt when he stepped into the threshold of Ursula’s. The look in her eyes haunted him; he was sure Uma was afraid of him. He never felt lower.
She growled at the lunch crowd to leave and the lot of them breezed passed Harry.
He found himself being whisked away to the ship and shoved into a chair in her Captain’s quarters. She came back and left multiple times. A bucket of hot water at her feet, her hands were gentle as she gripped his face and cleaned his wound with a rag. He kept his eyes shut, not daring to look at her and risk seeing that expression on her face again.
He felt something fall into his lap and found a shirt - one of his own. She motioned for him to change into it, averting her eyes as he pulled his soiled one off and replaced it with a new one. She sighed and stood before him, a hand at her hip, looking him over under furrowed brows.
He winced when her other hand came up to his face but immediately relaxed into her ministrations. She combed her fingers through his hair, smoothing the wild parts down. But he was greedy, leaning into the touch and resting his cheek against the palm of her hand for the shortest of moments before she pulled it away. “Rest here, Harry.”
He woke (wasn’t it early afternoon when she brought him here?) to feel her nestled beside him, the glow of the moon illuminating the planks on the floor.
They never speak of these nights and no one knows. It’s one of their many silent understandings.
Harry wears his heart on his sleeve; Uma is more in control and able to rein in her emotions when she needs to - a clear poker-face.
When he realizes he feels differently about Uma than he does toward any of the other members of the crew, he decides this feeling is loyalty. Undying loyalty. I mean, what else could it be?
Loyalty is perfectly fine; admirable even, so he enjoys showing Uma how loyal he truly is.
But she’s got this scumbag by the collar, his hook in her hand against the low-life’s cheek, as she spouts insults that make him cower in fear. He had the nerve to leave without paying. Harry’s face suddenly grows warm at the scene before him. This feeling scares him.
She’s occupied by the man’s pathetic groveling and Harry looks at her in a way he knows would result in his blood being spelt on the deck by her hand… if she noticed.
Fair is fair, right? Thanks to the hijinx of Harriet, he steps onto the deck soaked to the bone one morning. He takes off his shirt to drain the water out of it, leaning it over the edge of the ship, and Uma can’t help but let her eyes linger on her first mate’s exposed skin. She was goal-oriented, absolutely, but she was human, too. She vows to take those thoughts and her wandering eyes to the grave. No one will ever know.
Between Harry’s “loyalty” to Uma, quick temper, and inability to conceal his emotions, he gets jealous. Very. Easily.
Desiree finally has the clove hitch knot down? Well, Harry’s cleat hitch knot is perfect every time he does it. A good pirate knows a cleat hitch knot is invaluable, much more important than that stupid clove hitch knot.
Jonas’ fighting form improved? Harry will spar with him right on the deck. He’s absolutely merciless. It’s all for the good of the crew - it’s practice. The more practice their crew gets the better prepared they’ll be, right? It’s what he tells himself and what he tells them, but his glances at Uma during their sparring match don’t go unnoticed by her.
Uma’s aware Harry treats her differently but she doesn’t mind, not enough to address it, at least. She knows she plays a role in it, too. She likes being around him; she likes having him close. They’re the closest of friends.
She decides if it becomes a problem, if she hears rumblings - people questioning the extent of their friendship - she’ll put an immediate stop to it. Considering her position on the Isle, neither can allow their guards to slip, for weakness to show. It would be a disaster and would put both of them and their entire crew at risk.
Uma is many things but a liar isn’t one of them. Does she enjoy the attention he gives her? Her name rolls off his lips like curling waves. He bites his lip and his eyes are calm, blue waters. They draw her in, beckoning her to step closer, to dive in, to let go. Maybe… maybe.