Edward knew two things for certain as he rolled off his bed, back slamming into the cool wood beneath him. One, he was a man. Two, Mary Read was dead. His eyes fluttered open, hand reaching up yearning to touch her cheek just once more. Dreams were a cruel mistress as of late, always haunting him with her face, her voice, and worst of all the feeling of her skin underneath his rough fingers. Every time he laid down, with someone else to keep him warm or not, he'd see her running from him. Chasing her to Kingston where suddenly they'd be behind bars and she would be across from him, curled up in pain, gasping to breathe.
"Just hold on Mary, I'm going to get you out of here," He'd call to her, everything fading but her sitting there and he'd be by her side, gently raising her face and see her kind smile. Her beautiful brown eyes struggling to watch him, "Aye, I'll always be with you Kenway."
It would repeat night after night with each night the bars sliding away and his arms around her but she would still die all the same, there laying in his arms like a ragdoll. And with every morning he'd find himself on the floor, clutching to his heart as sobs broke through him, shattering every nerve in his being and feeling his heart break at the weight of her. He didn't save her, the one person who had always betted on him, always fought for him to be a better man, and his best friend.
Wiping his eyes he managed to sit up, listening to his bedroom door slam open and looked up to see Anne watching him, knowing what was haunting him as it haunted her. They'd lost everyone but each other and today he was ripping himself away from her and sailing back to England where Mary's ghost wouldn't haunt him any longer. Jenny was here, he was going to take her home where they belonged. His pirate life was over, his friends were dead and long buried in water or grime though it didn't matter. Dead was dead and dreams were lies.
"I'll be up in a minute Anne, m'coming I promise."
"It's been two years Edward. I…I didn't know you were still having these dreams why didn't you say so?" Her voice as strong as ever as the sound of her boots clicked on the cool floor he lay on, "Your boat set sails this evening you should pack."
"Ain't got much to take, besides clothing. I don't want anything, I don't need things to remind me of my life Anne."
"Forgetten us isn't going to make you happier Edward, acceptance will." Anne frowned, yanking him up and setting him on his bed where she sat next to him, staring outside the window down to the bay where his boat was being prepared to take him to his new life. "Your dreams aren't going to stop either so you mind as well take something, and I think you should take her bandanna."
"Stop, Anne come on enough of this. Just because you're bitter of my leaving gives you no right to make me, to make me take a piece of Mary with me. I'm going to marry some woman and have children and forget all this."
"It's a pity you can't forget memories though isn't it? Is that what you want? To forget Thatch, forget me, and forget Mary? Because I assure you, moving away won't fix your problems. You don't think I'm going through this as well? For fucks sake man, she and I were the only two who fought when they crashed into our boat. No matter her screaming Jack was passed out drunk and his men wouldn't listen to Mary. She shot down at them, threw her creed right out the door to defend us and I couldn't help her. The man I loved let her die as much as them guards did. Least you didn't have," Her voice had risen, almost a shout until she stood up and took a deep breathe, calming her nerves. "Least you didn't have to listen to the birth, listen to her moaning for the pain to end."
"Stop, Anne please."
"No. I had to sit right next to her as she fell apart. Mary Read was a strong woman, a woman you didn't deserve to call friend. She sat there, begging for water, begging for a blanket and worst of all she began whispering your name. She may have saved her last dying breathe on you, but don't you dare think for a moment you're the only person in the world who still dreams of her. She was my best friend, my sister even. She'd be a right shamed to see you fleeing from this place and going back to the country who killed her. You may have become a man she would be proud of now, but what you're doing today would rip her apart. Abandoning our home for a country we hate, "Anne's voice was icy cold as she stopped and turned, storming through the door and leaving Edward to be lost in what she had only just told him.
She was right of course, he'd been selfish to think he'd be the only one who was haunted by her, and as he lifted the vase next to his bed he watched as it left his hand, slamming into the wall and the pieces fell one by one. Edward couldn't escape this pain but he could damn well try. "Anne! Annie come on now lass come on back!" He screamed, leaving his room in nothing but his trousers as he hunted her down, now finding her anywhere in his mansion nor his daughter. She must have taken her somewhere, somewhere where she wouldn't hear his breaking over objects he found pretty.
Though the one thing he was ignoring was James Kidd's clothing set on the table, folded up all nicely, save for the bandana which was laid on top. Anne just couldn't let it go, or maybe this was her own way of showing him he couldn't forget about them in the end. This place had been his home, his haven for so long and she was right. He was going back to the very country he'd been fighting against for so long, he was no better than a common traitor.
His fingers picked up the piece of red cloth, feeling its smooth texture against his palm. Lifting it up he breathed it in, and still yet faded was the lost scent of her, the scent of sea water, of sweat, and of those pretty flowers Anne used to shove at her from time to time.
"You know you'd be much prettier if you'd let me lace flowers through your hair Mary."
"Oh sod off," Marry Read chuckled reaching up as Anne began her attempt of placing big, vibrant petals into her hair. "Is too hot for all this." Her face tilted up into the hot Caribbean sun. They sat as three, on a beach waiting for sunset until the tavern would open and they could lounge in and have a relaxing night for once.
"Anne's right though, you'd look like a proper lass with some flowers in your hair," Edward grinned and ducked a hit headed his way from the woman who had turned to him glaring. "All you need is some skirts that let us see your pretty thighs."
"And what makes ya think me thighs are pretty Kenway? Ya been watchin me bathe now? You're a right pervert ya are."
"I'm sure I have a skirt that would fit you, your hips are slimmer than mine though..."
"Anne! Don' be on his side now!" Her laughter filled the air, grabbing a bottle of rum and bit into the cork, yanking it out and spitting it right in Edward's cheek. "The day ya see me in a dress is the day I die. Never gon'happen so ya can get right over that."
Edward rubbed his cheek, shaking his head as the goofy smile fell upon his face. Taking the bottle from her he took his own sip, handing it back and fell down into the sand with Anne, watching Mary look over the cove. "I assure you, you'll see me die long before you do. Lass like you has a smart head on her shoulders."
"Can't argue with tha' I sure do have a better head on me shoulders than ya," Sitting down next to Kenway, sounds of waves crashed over the comfortable silence that soon fell upon the three friends. "I leave with ya Anne, just till we get to where we be goin than I'm off. Me boat needs repairs and I have a mission to do. Where ya be goin Kenway?"
"To chase after an old friend," He smiled to her, reaching up and yanking the red bandanna from her hair as she reached for it back. "Oh come on lass, everyone knows you be a lady."
"I may be a lass but I ain't no lady. Give it back Kenway, its fuckin hot out."
He smiled, tying it around his neck and slid if over his face until it was pushing his own blond hair back, and he couldn't get over how sweet it smelled. He held her hair back, her sweat back but still it clung on to a sweet smell that he soon began to realize was Kidd's scent. Something between rum and pineapples, it had always intrigued him how a man could smell so nice and was all resolved when he sat with him on a windmill and watched his friend turn into a woman. "Yes it is, just happens to be why I'm in need of this."
"Then go get ya own, give it back."
"Make me," The words left his mouth with a shit eating grin as the wind was blown out of him, on his back in a matter of seconds with Mary looking over him with her stupid ass smirk. He gasped for air as her knees shoved into his ribcage. "F-Fuck you're boney."
"Aye, not all soft and sweet like yer whores," She smiled, grabbing her bandana back and slid off him listening to Anne laugh herself into a fit of hiccups.
"Not at all." Edward smiled at the memory, the last time the three of them saw each other before their time in prison. The last time he heard that laugh, her beautiful smile across her face as she laughed herself to tears. "You were one of a kind Mary Read." He whispered, clutching onto the bandana and lifted up her old coat, never realizing just how ornate it really was. His fingers felt over the velvet, the beautiful suede that made up the inside and how the gold reflected in the light. She may not have worn jewels like a normal pirate but she sure did have fine taste in clothes.
The sun was surely right over his home, the humidity already starting to make him sweat. Sliding the bandana over his wrist he tied it on, laying the coat down as he went around his home and began to open the doors up. A calm breeze began to flow through and he heard laughter, finally finding Anne bent over some plants showing Jenny a butterfly. She was beautiful, like her mother but it wasn't a beauty he dreamed of any longer. Caroline was a lost, gone memory to him and their daughter was something he was hoping would bring peace to his life but it only made him yearn. He should have found Mary's daughter, than maybe he could watch her grow up and they could have been friends.
But of course as his fate would allow, his and Anne's search only led them to a plantation with four infants and he wouldn't take them all. With sweet bitterness he had to turn his back on her, and prayed to whatever god was out there the she wouldn't grow up being a slave and would one day find happiness just like her mother had. He'd gotten himself piss drunk that night, first time in a year of sobering up and had to deal with Anne's constant nagging next to him on the Jackdaw the next morning.
And his memory was put in the back of his mind as he smiled over to her, walking out into his garden and watched as Anne stared at his arm and bit her bottom lip. "Yes darling?"
"Ms. Anne told me this plant can bring butterflies in, but why haven't any come?"
"Well," He smiled, picking her up and pointing up into the sky where the winged insects flew around them, kissing her cheek. "They have other things to do, little missions to gather food and fly a certain amount. They have their duties like we have ours."
"Maybe they're flying in hopes to see pirates, just like me."
"Maybe dear, just maybe." Edwards smiled, setting her down so she could run off with some children that were playing in over on the other side of the garden.
"I said take I don't wear it. You're no Kidd," Anne grinned, shoving the others shoulder with her own little smile and walked back through the house, finding a shirt and tossing it to Edward. "Come on now, time to get you packing and ready to sail."
"What are you going with the rest of it? Mary's clothing I mean."
"Hm? Putting it in my trunk where it's always been. Doesn't fit me, she was slim and I'm not built like a boy." Anne giggled, picking up the clothing and carried it off to her room, listening to Edward follow her as he pulled his shirt over his head. "It helps me, because if I miss her I can pull it out and hold it. Sounds awfully pathetic but it just helps."
"Do you ever miss Jack?"
"What and grieve over a dog? No. Never. I don't miss our happy times and I certainly don't miss how he treated all of you. I hold a lot of anger towards him and I will to my grave," He listened to her sigh and smiled to her, walking over and lifted her chin up.
"Not your fault, he had a way with words eh?"
"Aw, were you ever swooned by a man Edward? Listened to his words until you felt your knees grow weak. Or maybe it was a pretty lass, ever do something so stupid for love? With Caroline maybe?"
"Well Anne, sometimes I don't think I loved Caroline. I think I got myself rather swooned by a lass though, she was like no other one I've ever met. Like yourself even, didn't need anyone to get by."
"Was it that whore Mary found you with once? She was right annoyed with you that day. Would tell me about it all 'Can you believe the nerve he has? Fucking wenches instead of trying to make himself a better man.' She never got it though, all men like their wenches over their honor."
"No, wasn't her. She was worth more than any whore in the world."
"Ya think jus once you can not be thinkin with the head in ya pants Kenway?" Mary scolded him lifting him up by his blond locks and yanking him right off a table where he had passed out with a whores legs around his neck. "Can't say this doesn't suit ya though, nose deep in some whore's cunt. Come on, get up now she be sleepin and ya need it more than her now." Throwing his arm over her shoulders she tossed some coin on the table, nodding to the tavern keep, and began to half drag Kenway out of the damn building. "For once I answer ya calls to meet ya at a port and fin' ya to busy to greet me. Can't say m'shocked."
"Mar-, "Her hand threw over his mouth as she smiled, her dark eyes narrowing into a glare as she lifted him up, grunting at his weight and then flung him into the swamp behind the tavern, watching with her typical smirk as it took him a moment to realize why he was wet and that he was swimming in water where certain reptiles live, ones that liked to eat people. "Ya know Kenway."
"Save the lectures Kidd, not now," Edward came crawling out of the swamp water, glaring down as he kicked a crocodile in the nose and felt Mary help him back to his feet, feeling her laughter beside her and slowly turned to look at her. "You think it's funny? I almost lost my leg!"
"Say my name again and I'll unman ya jus like I promised," Mary winked, leaning over to get a better grip of him as she began to help him walk down to the docks where she planned on dumping his stupid self in his cabin. "For just once though, why would ya tell me to meet ya here if you just wanted a fuck?"
"Thought you were coming tomorrow," Edward smiled to her, watching her shake her head. Even dressed up as James Kidd, Mary wasn't a sight for sore eyes. She had beautiful cheek bones, the way her nose was just as angular as them, and her lips…he was too drunk to be staring at her like this. He felt his pants tighten and he could only giggle, trying to move to hold her shoulder but instead of her holding him up she dropped her arms, watching him fall down into the sand face first.
"Seriously man, not even fifty meters till we get ya in bed and ya falling over. I ain't carry'n ya, you gota help to mate."
"You're beautiful…fuck you're so beautiful Mary."
Mary's eyes grew big, looking around to make sure no one around before she kneeled down, poking his nose with a smirk playing on her lips. "Yeah? Ya think so?"
"Mm, the moonlight makes ya look so pretty. Always knew you were a pretty lass. Fuck, even when you were just Kidd you were so pretty."
"Fancy boys now mate? What would ya whores think? Ya need put in the brig till ya be sober."
"No I don't like boys I mean, sure you were a pretty one but I mean is, I've always thought you were special."
"That so mate? Keep goin," Mary smiled, lifting him up to his feet so he could resume his half stumbling to the Jackdaw. "I always thought ya were special too but ya won't see your true potential."
"You don't get it, never have," Edward hiccupped as the Mary shoved his sorry ass up the ship and he looked up, watching his laughing drunk crew go silent as a mouse and he waved to them. "Hello mates! Captain is back, you can keep your partying, we don't leave for three days yet and, oh," His drunken smiling ended when Ade shook his head and pointed to the person holding him up and he got it, trying his best to suppress the giggles that were about to burst.
"C-Captain Kidd can…c-an we help ya wit him?"
"Help me wit what? Yer fucking stutterin? Go sleep and sober up, lot disgust me lucky I ain't yer captain or you'd be thrown off this boat faster than a seagull shits." Mary snapped, grunting as she opened the cabin door and threw Edward inside, turning to shut it but fell into it as her leg was grabbed and yanked. "What are ya doin Kenway!?"
"Come here please, I want to continue our talking." Edward smiled, watching Mary pull herself up and move to kneel over him and he smiled, leaning up and pressed his lips to hers, his pretty blue eyes fluttering closed. His lips parted but instead of a tongue greeting him he felt a massive kick to his chest and fell back on his back, holding his ribs in pain and glared over to a smiling friend.
"Ah that isn't talken now is it? Yer randy Kenway, and I ain't helpen with that."
"So you kick me? Weak…I'm so weak I need saving oh please Master Kidd help a poor fellow like me." Edward mumbled, winking to the other which only got him a hard yank to his feet as he was led to his hammock and laid in it, a bit more gently than he was expecting.
"Get some sleep Kenway, find me in the morning when ya right sober," Mary gave him a soft smile, leaning down and pressed a kiss to his forehead, her left hand laying just above his waistline and slowly rubbing the fabric, a finger slipping under his waistband as her kiss went to his nose and her eyes met his. "And when ya fix yer problems. Night Kenway." Mary pulled away, grinning for once instead of a smirk and left Edward with a sword needing sheathed.
Standing in silence he fiddled with the cloth on his wrist and his eyes lifted up to meet Anne's as she walked to him, taking his hand. "You loved Mary didn't you? I should have seen it before, but I was too blinded by my own problems. I could have helped you, I mean it wasn't like she didn't like you."
"I don't think I've ever cared so much for a person in my life. Its fine Anne, it's over. She's dead, buried across the islands." He smiled, kissing the back of her hand and left to pack for the evening ahead.
And the evening came too soon, he found himself walking slowly around his manor, touching everything he was leaving behind and carrying only one case of things by his side. As his feet lifted him towards the steps he watched the moon shine over the island and began to realize what he was doing. Over the past many years he had lived more in his life than he ever had in England. He'd sailed with some of the best men in the world, founded a city where people could live free doing as they pleased, he fought besides some of the greatest friends he would ever had, and he ended up loving something else more than any amount of gold. She was right, all along. He'd have given up all the gold in the world to be able to talk to her just once more, and perhaps tell her how he felt after all this time. But time was a cruel mistress and it wasn't going to give him anything back.
Edward slowly walked down to the docks with his daughter holding his hand, nodding goodbye to the people who looked on him and waved, to the Assassin's nodding in respect back. He found Anne leaning against the railing by the tavern, holding a glass of rum and held out his arms as she ran into them, hugging her tightly as he breathed in her flowery sent one more time. "Make us proud, keep her proud of you Edward."
"I promise." Edward let her go, kissing her forehead as he picked up Jenny who was starting to tear up. Climbing onto the ship he set her down, looking back over his island, an island filled with so many memories it was almost too much to look at. "Goodbye love, stay strong. SET SAIL!" He shouted, leading Jenny to get in the cabin as the sails loosened and watched a small ship sailed into the cove, all the men waving their arms and he lifted his arm up back, "Sails down men." He watched Anne run to the end of the docks where his ship was only a few meters from and watched a boat filled with Assassin's decked out in green coats, only one jumped off.
"MESSAGE FOR EDWARD KENWAY! WHERE CAN HE BE FOUND?"
Anne walked over and pointed to the boat and took the message the man gave her and watched him get back in his boat and sail off. She looked up at Edward who nodded and opened it, breaking the wax seal and he watched her read the letter, and fall to her knees staring at it. "Jenny, you stay here and be good."
He climbed up and jumped onto the deck, stumbling to his knees as well and took her face in his hands, watching her look at him as her body shook with sobs. "What's wrong? God Anne it's a letter." He took it, watching her shake her head and smile at him. "Read it, damn it Edward read it!" Unfolding the parchment he began:
Dear Captain Edward Kenway,
Ah Tabai knows.
Mary Read lives.
Mary Read will be setting sail by the time you receive this and would like to meet you in Kingston by the new moon.
Nothing is true. Everything is permitted.
Edward Kenway knows one thing in life. He is a man.