RIP Edward Teach, you would have been so excited to pick out a shark plushie from Sharky's gift shop in Ocean Shores, WA
"Lucius - you HAVE to sketch us in front of the shark mouth!"
Stede wasn't sure how he felt about a shark-themed gift shop - he was more in the mood for a nature walk, but it made Ed so happy, who was he to deny him anything he wanted
New theory: Ed forgives Stede when he first sees him, cause who could stay mad at that face?
But he doesn’t want Stede to know that yet. After Ed signed the fucking Act of Grace for him, it’s Stede’s turn to put in some effort before Ed takes him back
Until some asshole shows up and is flirting with Stede and Ed realizes he must act now
Some studies from earlier this year. I always struggle selecting “favorites” of things I enjoy, but Our Flag Means Death is easily one of my favorite shows I’ve watched in a long time.
so i know ed and stede's love languages have been discussed to death but i'm gonna do it too because imo many cakes isn't just about fic.
specifically, i want to talk about what i think their love languages are, and why they are what they are, and also why this supports the fact that stede and ed are more alike than they seem at face value.
but in order to do that, we'll also need to talk about violence.
so there's pretty much no question that ed's love language is physical touch. his first real contact with stede (y'know, besides when he was like 3/4 dead and barely conscious and looking like a drowned rat) was a gentle touch to the hand.
he's constantly giving stede little reassuring touches, and just casual ones as well.
stede, on the other hand– i've seen people suggest that his love language is quality time based on the treasure hunt episode, but i disagree with this. he did that with the specific goal of impressing ed with an adventure, not just spending time with him.
no, i firmly believe that stede's love language is words of affirmation. he's always praising not only ed but also the crew with verbal reassurances.
i mean, his main motto as a captain is "we talk it through as a crew." it's hard to be more clearly in favor of verbal support than that.
(this is mostly split for Very Long length but also consider this your content warning for discussion of stede and ed's childhood abuse a bit further down.)
we see both of these love languages at play from the moment they meet. in their very first conversation, when stede is feeling unsure of himself, ed gives him reassurance and– importantly– a few gentle touches, and stede responds with praise.
and once they get to know each other better, they also start communicating in each other's love languages to show support and care.
so, we know their love languages. but why are these their love languages?
well, i'm far from the first to say it, but i think it's because of this.
they use what they know.
when you've grown up in a culture of physical violence, bodily contact is what you learn how to utilize.
and obviously being immersed in violence extends well beyond ed's childhood– it's present through his whole career in piracy– but that was where it took root.
and, likewise, if you've been raised in a world where violence is committed through words and not punches, then language is your most trusted weapon.
and the same goes for this being a factor throughout all of stede's life, and from far more people than just his father.
but... stede doesn't use his words for violence. not usually, at least, and never with people he loves. he's passive aggressive with izzy, with the french aristocrats, and a bit with mary after he catches her with doug. but for the most part, he uses his words to show care and appreciation to his crew and to ed.
just like how we rarely see ed use actual physical violence. he certainly delegates it, but the most we see him commit by his own hand (in real time, not counting killing his father) is threaten a racist french captain, horse around with calico jack (who was raised in the same culture of violence as ed, i might add), and then what he does to lucius and izzy after he gives up hope of stede returning. like stede, we mostly see him use physical touch as a gesture of care and fondness.
they may have different love languages, but their love languages arise from the same source: the methods they were taught to harm people. one of the many things stede and ed have in common is that they both show the most support using the tools that they were always told can do the most damage. they've both reclaimed the languages of violence they grew up with-
-to use them for love.