Thomas Jopson was not proud of the fact that his mother had been a laudanum addict.
Sometimes she’d drink it, inject it into herself, whatever she could do to get herself induced to the point she’d be a giggling, laughing, sometimes sobbing mess… anything so she wouldn’t be in pain from her accident.
The marks from the needles had been the most unpleasant things to see, but yet he had looked kindly at his mother without a single spectacle of judgement.
At the sound of a loud thud, Jopson startled awake, bolting upright in the hammock both Doctor MacDonald and he had set up as a temporary sleeping arrangement in the great cabin.
It was only the first fortnight of the Captain’s long, painful path to sobriety and he was already exhausted.
“J-Jop…. Jopson!” came the disoriented and weak rasp of the captain, his voice afflicted with a heavy waver as he tried to force himself to speak through his delirium.
Fearful that the man may have fallen out of bed, again, Jopson moved swiftly… or tried to, at the last moment his legs got tangled in the few blankets he’d been using and he promptly fell on the floor with a curse.
“J-Jopson…” he could hear the poor, suffering soul in the small room yonder.
“Blast.” he swore quietly as he struggled for a few split seconds to untangle himself, and upon success he was instantly scrambling up off his hands and knees to get his feet beneath him.
A few brisk strides had him standing before the door which he opened quickly and quietly.
What befell his eyes was enough to make his eyes mist with unshed tears.
The captain had, indeed, fallen out of his bunk again. His body was taken with tremors so, so very fierce in their hold that the man’s muscles twitched and seized as he tried to get onto his hands and knees.
‘Tommy… please, I just need a little bit to take the edge off. These shakes they won’t stop.’
‘Shh, mother, you know I cannot.’
Shakes. One of the first severe symptoms of withdrawal.
He remembered their presence far too well, and he’d hoped his captain would be spared their cruelty.
Not even bothering to compose his worry as he’d been taught, he rushed forward crouching beside the irishman and shushing him softly, “Here, sir. I got you.”
“T-Thomas… they won’t stop…” the man groaned pitifully, a hacking dry-heave following as he struggled to raise himself up to his feet.
“P-Please, sir… don’t strain yourself, let me help you.” he pleaded, at this point he was unable to keep the emotional distress of the situation from his own voice.
The Captain let out a miserable groan, ceasing his attempts to rise at all and instead letting himself sit there for a second as vertigo had his head spinning like one of Terror’s propellers.
Jopson grabbed one of the thick wool blankets off the bed and draped it around his shoulders in the meantime so he could straighten out the sheets, but he stopped however when he noticed how drenched with sweat and quite possibly something else they appeared to be.
Conflicted, Thomas stood there for a moment, his heart throbbing painfully for the captain, their strong, resilient albeit morbid-minded captain, had messed himself in the midst of his withdrawals.
Debating whether or not he should fetch Doctor MacDonald as he’d never had to deal with care to such a degree, he eventually decided against it and instead gave the man a weak smile despite his glistening eyes.
While the man was distracted with his delirious moaning and misery through his shakes, he stripped the sheets as to try to prevent embarrassing him. Quickly he took them outside the man’s bed chambers where he deposited them beside the great cabin door, immediately moving back to one of the several cabinets to retrieve fresh linens to take into the room.
Crozier was still sobbing and groaning through his horrid affliction, totally unaware he’d actually left the room to fetch new linens which he quickly spread about the bed. “Not to worry, I’ll have you back in bed soon.” he reassured him.
“Jopson…?” he inquired wearily.
“Yes, sir, I’m right here. I’ve got you Captain.” he assured once again, ignoring the two silent tears that dripped onto the fresh linens as he made the bed.
Thomas made swift work of putting on the bed clothes, it only took him a couple minutes before he was read to move the captain.
Now came the difficult part that he wasn’t sure if it was his place, even as the captain’s steward, to do.
“Alright, sir, I’m gonna get something to help clean you up. Stay right there.”
With that he disappeared from the room and almost the great cabin altogether, he poked his head out the door and looked around.
He really didn’t want to leave the man alone in the room, what if someone came in?
It was then that he saw Mr Blanky wandering the hall and he quickly called for his attention. “Mr Blanky, sir.”
The grizzled sea dog of a man turned his attention his way, taking a moment to scan for him before he saw him when he stepped out of the great cabin completely.
“Aye, mister Jopson, what can I do for ya lad?”
“Sir, I hate to send you running on errands… but do you think you could fetch me a basin of warm water?”
Mr Blanky quirked an eyebrow in question but as soon as he noticed his cheeks flush lightly in both frustration and unease he understood.
“Ah… aye, that I can… lad, these are hardly duties you should be doing for him in his state. Would you want me to get Doctor MacDonal-”
“No! I… “ he cleared his throat to calm any sense of hysteria in his voice. “No, thank you, sir. I would like to uptain the Captain’s dignity before the men if I can.”
The Ice Master aboard Terror just nodded at him, a grim look on his face with a touch of admiration in his eyes. “You’re probably the best steward there has ever been mister Jopson.”