Author's Note:This is it, my wonderful, kind, and eloquent readers. It's been delightful; thank you all for your wonderful reviews. I could not have finished the story without you.
Chapter Seven:The Gift of a Sunrise
Smee stumbled back, mouth still agape, as Hook slowly sat up on his deathbed, wincing slightly. His eyes first went to Smee, and then to Yekin, and the eyes widened ever so slightly.
"You," he breathed in quiet awe, and Yekin smiled weakly. He swayed a bit where he stood, and his eyes had become lacklustre, his face drawn. Smee stared as well, and then it came to him.
He's let go all them people he ate, all that life, he thought amazedly, an' hardly left none for himself.
Quickly Smee went to Hook, who looked upon him with a new kind of light in his eyes, and had Smee been better versed in reading his captain's expressions (other than the ones that meant impending doom) he might have recognised it as respect. Though, of course, Smee had never before been looked upon with respect, so we might forgive him of his ignorance. Yet respect it was, for Jas. Hook saw that his bo'sun had disobeyed his orders, and therefore saved his life.
Good form, he thought wearily. His side pained him still, but when he moved his hand to the spot he felt not the gaping wound from before, but only a cut, deep and bruised, but nothing he could not tolerate. He had had worse wounds in the past, which seemed so very distant now, as though it had been another life.
Presently Smee moved closer and smiled timidly. "It's good to have ye back, Cap'n. You was gone from us, an' I thought ye'd never come back, but Yekin's a magic beast, an' he proved me wrong. But he don't look too good now, does he, Cap'n?"
Hook turned to Yekin and studied him again, and noticed that his bo'sun was correct. Yekin merely smiled gently and wanly down at him.
"Smee," said Hook, not turning from the creature, "are the prisoners still on board? No one has slaughtered them without my order, have they?"
"No, sir," said Smee, "though they was aimin' to this night, on your word, o' course."
"They didn't know you was in such an awful state, Cap'n. They think yer still fit enough to give orders."
"Then I shall give them," said Hook curtly. "Have them bring the prisoners here, to my quarters. Keep them bound."
"Aye sir," said Smee, understanding, and had to fight the joyful tears that welled up inside him then, for he thought that he might never say those words again. He hurried out of the room with all speed, giving Yekin a quick salute as he did so. Yekin merely smiled again, and turned to Hook.
"So, James," he said softly, "I thought we might never meet again. Your bo'sun is very brave indeed; he came to my cave with only one other, whom he gave to me. He made his request, and braced himself in the thought that I might kill him, and when I presented this possibility he merely nodded, and told me that he thought he might try despite the danger. He requested that I make his death quick."
Hook smiled. "I am amazed at his deeds, and equally at yours. You said you would never help me."
Perhaps," sighed Yekin, "the Watchers saw it fit that you feel the need to help me that night, though you had no reason. Perhaps they knew that I would, in time, return the favour."
"Thank you," said Hook honestly. He could not remember the last time he had said those words together, and yet they rolled off his tongue as smoothly and easily as though they were meant to be. Yekin smiled again at him.
"You're welcome, James Hook," he said.
At that moment the door burst open, and each prisoner was led in by Hook's mystified crew. Smee came trundling if after them, and, shooing out the crewmates, shut the doors.
"Yekin, sir," he said timidly, and then looked to his captain, who merely nodded for him to go on, "these are the prisoners we took from the Shark. They're now yours; recover your strength, sir. It's the least we could do."
Yekin stared at Smee for a long, long time, and then looked to the prisoners. A the sight of Yekin each had gone mad with terror, and now they stared at him with bloodless faces, expressionless, as though every facet of their minds had been wiped clean.
"They're already gone, sir," said Smee, noticing Yekin's hesitation. "They ain't got nothing left to live for, an' no minds either. Everything they've seen's been too much for 'em, poor cullies. You'd be doin' 'em a favour by takin' their lives."
Yekin nodded slowly, and looked to each face as though to assure himself. He hesitated only a moment longer, and then set upon them, painlessly drawing away the life that had once seethed within them.
When he had finished and no trace of the prisoners were left save for their bonds, which had fallen to the floor, he gave a great contented sigh, for at once he felt stronger. He then turned to Hook and his bo'sun.
"Thank you," he said. "But I must go now, for it is nearly daylight, which is poisonous to my kind. Goodbye, James Hook. Goodbye, brave Smee."
At that he went to Hook's great shuttered window, and threw back the coverings, and leapt gracefully into the water, where he landed with nary a splash, his long body trailing after him until it disappeared. Smee and Hook remained at the window for some time; they became lost in the dark swirling of the water, where Smee fancied that he could see the shapes of Yekin's brothers moving about in the great black depths; a flash of white, a glimmer of silver. They said nothing to one another, but their silence spoke volumes, and Smee knew that in the morning things would be back to normal again. Yet he was content in this moment, and willed that it might last forever. He thought of Yekin and the majesty and glory of his existence, and wondered if Yekin's words were true, if he really were brave. In his heart he hoped he was, and thought that he might take Yekin's word for it, for he had never met a creature so wise, save for his captain. He was lost in his reverie, thinking of nothing and everything all at the same time; he even thought of the Lost Boys and their leader Peter Pan, sleeping in their underground house on the island, and even that thought did not darken his mood.
Neither spoke, and they were only roused from their introspection when the black waters turned to gold. Both sat up at the same time, and looked at one another, and then out the window again to see the creeping tendrils of dawn slowly probing Neverland.
At length Smee said, "I said to Yekin in his cave that I did not think you'd see this sunrise, Cap'n."
"And what did he say?" asked Hook.
"He said, 'and you realise that dawn is but a few hours away'. It seems as though it's been so much longer."
"A lifetime," agreed Hook, and then they smiled at each other, warm, deep smiles as bright as the dawn that stole across their faces.
The sun rose, and they watched it, the two of them. Not another word was spoken until it was high in the east.
No words were needed.