During cake time, O'Cras has some memories about, eh... her own cake time.
Briggs didn't have to speak for O'Cras to recognize her. Her distinctive knock was enough. "Thought you'd be asleep by now. Burning the midnight oil, Captain?"
O'Cras lifted her head. "I don't get this sorted out by tomorrow, we don't have money for food. We used up all the rations getting here, on account of the fish not biting. Can't have the Ocrais sailing on an empty stomach."
"Saw a couple merchant ships in harbor. Could always eat what we catch." Briggs gave O'Cras a playful grin. "Sure you should be working so late today of all days? And when you gave the rest of the crew shore leave, no less."
"What's special about today?" O'Cras's voice had an edge to it.
"Well, uh... Since you hung back, the crew and me decided we oughta do something special for you," Briggs said, not answering the question.
She moved aside, tilting her head. Two other crew members moved forward, carrying between them a naked, dark-furred catgirl. Icing strategically covered areas of her body - little swirled icing pasties covering her nipples, the mimicry of an icing thong covering her waist. Her arms were tied to her sides, and her ankles and knees were tied together. She'd been gagged, too. And her stomach had been written on in some translucent, gelatinous red paste. "Happy Birthday Captain"
The woman whimpered through her gag.
Briggs continued, unaware of O'Cras's reddening face. "We had a, uh... little run-in at the bakery. This one here was buying a cake off the baker when we went in there. Almost too good to be true, y'know? So we had her prepped."
The woman wriggled in the pirates' grasp, but to little avail. Her body curled in slightly, as much as she could manage, but it wasn't much. Another binding seemed to prevent her from bending forward.
Seeing this, Briggs added. "Ah, yeah, we had to redo her tummy a few times. Kept squishing it with her knees. Must be ticklish. You two are kin, eh, Captain?"
O'Cras didn't respond.
She remembered a moment from her childhood. She couldn't remember now if it was a nightmare or real.
Something about a noblewoman's maid, and a cake...
Icing on her skin, being enjoyed by the maid...
Her protesting that she wasn't a treat...
... The ticklishness of being prepared as one anyway...
"That, uh... Nice of you," O'Cras muttered, lowering her gaze.
"You alright, Captain?" Briggs asked. "Thought you'd be happy. How often we find catgirls these days, eh?"
"It's. It's the icing. You know I've always been more a fan of savory sauces," O'Cras mumbled under her breath. "Hate to look a gift cat in my mouth."
"Aye, we can do that. It's your birthday, ain't it? ... Ain't it? We weren't, er, exactly sure. Kinda had to guess." Briggs blew out a breath. "Alright, you ladettes heard the Captain! Get 'er outta here! Aye, there was a barbecue place right by the docks, wasn't there..."
O'Cras sat back, tilting her head back.
"Happy birthday, Pup," Celia had said, sliding the little plate of cookies across the table. A solitary candle sat burning in the middle of the plate, dribbling wax onto the cookies. "It ain't much, but this part of the world, sugar's like gold. We're lucky we could get this much sweets. Had to rob some poor noblewoman's kid."
Treoir stood nearby, her arms folded. Her eyes smiled down on O'Cras, though. "You grow up, we'll get you some proper birthday cakes. The kind that kick and struggle the whole way down. This, eh. It'll do. Hope you like it, anyway."
This was, without a doubt, the worst birthday cake O'Cras had ever seen. And it was beautiful.
She fought back her smile, wiped her eyes, and leaned forward and blew the candle out.
The muted clapping of the crew around her was better than any present.
"You weren't wrong," O'Cras mused, listening to the yelps of the catgirl as she fought in the crew's grasp.
"Don't let her knock over the barbecue sauce, we ain't got much of that!" Briggs shouted. "Don't- She's loose! Hold her down! What fool tied her? You a mermaid? Tie this knot with your flippers?"
"... Think I prefer a birthday dinner, though," O'Cras said, smiling to herself and getting back to her work.