Disclaimer: I don't own any of the characters in this fic.  I don't know where this came from, but the idea just popped in my head and I took it from there.  Hope you enjoy!

Touch of Light

He still remembered her.

She had passed through his life like a ray of sun that sweeps across the land.  Shining brightly, filling all that was around with a halo of light before disappearing, never to be seen again.  For all the life he had lived, all the things he had seen, there was nothing that he could compare to her. 

Memories of her did not come as frequently anymore, as much time had passed since she left.  But every now and then he would think of her, wonder what had happened to her.  Wonder if she too had thought of him, remembering of all they had shared over the short time they were together.

He stared off into the distance, the gentle lapping of the water against the side of the boat calming his nerves, bringing him peace that he so rarely had.  He watched the sun sink slowly, the golden rays that were given off by the place where the sun kissed the sea reminding him of her.  He remembered her, remembering how at peace she had seemed as she stared out over the ocean, her hair blowing lightly in the breeze.  The sun had reflected off of her hair, changing the tendrils into waves of gold.

She had appeared as abruptly as she had disappeared.  What had started out as an average day for him had changed in a mere second when she had appeared on the ship before him in a blaze of light.  He was the only one that dared to go near the unconscious woman that had appeared from the light.  As he had walked cautiously towards her, he had heard the members of his crew muttering to themselves, worrying about bad luck and curses.  Some had called him crazy for daring to go near her; he was, in a way.

He had gently rolled her over, brushing the cascading golden hair from her face.  Her breath came in shallow gasps, giving him complete indication that she was alive.  Without even a glance at his crew he had picked her up, carrying her carefully into the Captain's Chambers.  There she slept for days on end, never waking.

It was not until the sixth day after her mysterious appearance that she had awoken, shooting straight up in bed and looking around wildly as her eyes searched for a semblance of recognization.  Her eyes had fallen on him immediately, asking him in a brusque tone where she was.  He had smirked at her, slowly standing up and walking towards the bed as he answered her.  She had jumped out of the bed immediately, crossing her arms across her chest as she glared at him, the top of her head barely coming up to his chin.

She had argued with him, at first, saying that she was not suppose to be there.  Saying that was not how it was suppose to work.  But as days turned into weeks and weeks turned into months, she had stopped arguing with him.  She had accepted the place she was.  And she had started to accept him.  The wariness she had treated him with for so much of those early weeks slowly began to face, turning into genuine interest and acceptance.

It was not until she had been there a month when he had realized she was different.  She was not like the women he had known.  While, like them, she was not afraid to speak her mind, there was strength and power behind her gaze that very few people – men or women – had.  There was something intriguing about her.  He could not take his mind off of her – he suspected something about her that made her different, but he could not figure out what. 

But he did find out.  He found out what made her different.  Even with the years that had passed since that fateful day, he could still remember everything that had been spoken between them.  He could remember the ocean breeze blowing across his skin as he listened to her story, the disbelief that had filled him, yet the quiet acceptance of what she said.

He watched her as she leaned on railing, staring out at the calm sea beyond her.  He had watched as she lowered her head, her hair falling across her face in waves.  Whatever possessed him to walk over to her, he could not say. 

He joined her at the railing, looking at the sea before him.  The freedom before him.  He said nothing to her at first, just allowed the silence to sit between them.  He finally broke the silence, his words loud in the silence of the night.

"It's beautiful, isn't it luv?" he asked her, though he continued staring at the sea.  For a moment there was no response.  There was only silence, only the gentle lapping of the sea against the ship.  Finally, she broke the silence, her words barely loud enough for him to hear.

"It reminds me of home," she whispered, a silent tear sliding down her cheek.  "I use to love the ocean when I was younger.  My parents would take me there for the weekend and I would just laugh and scream and enjoy it all so much.  I never worried about anything when I was there.  I was carefree, burden-free.  I could be just Buffy then.  But then we stopped taking the weekend trips to the ocean.  And one thing after another happened and suddenly, I couldn't be just Buffy anymore.  I always had to be something else.  Someone different."

"Someone different?" he asked, arching an eyebrow as he turned to look at her.  She refused to meet his eyes, though, and continued to stare out at the sea.  "You're goin' to have to explain that one to me.  Something's hiding behind those eyes of yours, been hidin' since the moment you stepped foot on this ship.  I'm not normally a patient man, Buffy.  And what patience I have is wearin' thin."

She sighed, tearing her eyes away from the ocean and staring at him, her eyes burning into his.  "You wouldn't believe me if I told you anyway, Jack."

"I've seen many a strange things in my lifetime.  It'll be hard to top that."

And so she had started into her complicated and absurd tale, talking about demons and vampire and the Slayer, the one girl in all the world that could fight against them.  He had listened to her tale without interrupting, wondering at first if she was crazier than he.  Yet as he looked into her eyes, he could see the truth behind her words.  He could see the strength, the power…and the weariness.  The harshness of her calling had taken a toll on her young life, putting the weight of the world on her young shoulders.  Her innocent views of the world had been ripped away, shredded by the burden she had been forced to carry.  And, deep within his heart, he could sympathize with her.  Wasn't it his naïve view of a faithful crew what shredded what remained of his innocent view of the world?

After that night, everything had changed.

She was more open to him, to the crew.  She smiled more, was troubled about her memories less.  She blossomed before his eyes, grabbing onto the only life he had known, the life of a pirate, and running with it.  She was soon learning the tricks of the trade – how to gamble, how to drink…how to fight unfairly with a sword.

While he had realized immediately she was incredibly adept at swordplay, he managed to beat her every time.  While she was the better swordswoman, he was a pirate.  And a pirate looks to win at any cost.  Even now, he chuckled as one particular memory arose in his mind, remembering as she had glared at him angrily, her cheeks red in indignation, claiming that the only reason he had won was because he cheated.

"I'm a pirate.  Pirates cheat.  If we have to cheat to win, so be it."

She had taken the lesson to heart, and during their next match, he was the one that had ended up on the ground, sword pointed at his heart.  He remembered her smirk as she stared down at him, remember how the sun had reflected off her hair, causing an almost ethereal glow to her skin.  When she had offered a hand to help him up, he had taken it.  He still remembered the feel of her soft skin against his callused hand.

Time had passed in a blur after that, each of them slowly growing more comfortable around each other, each of them missing the amused looks they received from the crew.  If he had known that she would be gone so soon after that, he would have savored each of those moments, would have saved each of those moments as crystal clear as possible in his mind.

It was not until the very end that she had let him touch her gently, caressing her soft skin.  He still remembered that night, remembering as they stood at the back of the ship watching the sun set slowly into the gentle waves of the ocean.  It was not until the end when she had turned to him, her hazel eyes glowing, telling him that at last that she had found peace.  It was not until that moment when they had kissed, their first and last time.

He still remembers touching her face lightly, watching a gentle smile blossom on her face, her eyes closing at his touch.  She opened her eyes once more, staring deeply into his eyes when suddenly…

She was gone.

He had stood there momentarily, in mute shock, as he stared at the place she had been moments earlier.  He blinked his eyes in disbelief, looking around wildly for the woman that had been there moments earlier.

She was gone.  Forever.  Never to be seen by him again.

Time passed slowly those first few weeks without her until life returned to the way it had been before she had arrived.  For months afterwards he had blocked her from his minds, not wanting to be reminded of what he had lost.  He had taken up with many women since her disappearance, though none had touched her life as much as she had.

That was why, even after the years that had passed, he was still reminded of her when he watched the sun setting over the ocean.  When he saw the rays of light reflecting off the water, turning golden in color, he was reminded of her.  For the rest of his life, she would be his sun, his ray of light that guided him over the world and back.