Oceans of the Unforeseen
Taking place on the seas of the 18th century, Krad is commander for an elite naval force, while Dark is a well-known and popular pirate. What will happen when the two collide and Krad is thrust into the arms of his sworn enemy?
It had stormed yesterday, and was only just now clearing up. The waves were considerably less violent, but every now and then there'd be one to rock the boat. Dark had his work cut out for him these last few days, and it had certainly taken it's toll on his general well being.
Imagine stepping outside on the deck to your ship one night only to find that you'd not only been blown far off course, but you'd also somehow managed to find yourself anchored just off the coast of the one place in the whole world that seemed to actually haunt you in your dreams.
Dark had, for the past four years, dreaded this island—the resting place of Krad Hikari. He had stared at it for a very long time before, oblivious to Daisuke behind him. When the boy placed his hand on his shoulder, Dark had nearly jumped out of his skin.
"Way to sneak up behind me," Dark said bitterly, clutching his chest.
"I didn't sneak up behind you. I even called your name a few times. Mom wanted to know…well…never mind. Are you…okay…?"
Dark glanced back at the island, disliking how the vibrant green trees contrasted so with the dark clouds behind it. "…I'm fine. I…"
"You what?" Daisuke asked, his concern flashing in his large eyes.
"I think," Dark said through grit teeth, "that I want to go back."
"Go back…?" Daisuke's eyes fell onto the island that the other was looking at. "Oh. Go back…there."
Dark nodded. "You think I can get there in once piece?"
His best friend and close confident looked skeptical. "I don't think you should chance it."
"…Daisuke, I need to do this."
"Then why would you ask me?"
Dark shrugged. "I was kinda hoping you'd find a way to convince me that I didn't need to do this."
The teenager shook his head. "Dark, I totally agree with you. I think you need to do this, too. You're the one who wakes up in the middle of the night crying out absurdities. You're the one who wakes up calling his name."
Dark grimaced. "…Excuse me?"
"You can lie to me when you're awake," Daisuke said slowly, "but you can't lie to me when you're asleep. Mom says she's known ever since you first took him prisoner."
"…She's known what?"
"Don't be stupid," Daisuke said, hitting Dark with a rag he'd been washing with. "She's known how you felt."
"What's that supposed to mean?"
"You're so dense! Either that or you're just ashamed of it. Well, I don't care, Dark. Do whatever."
Dark watched as Daisuke stormed away.
His mind had been made up a long time ago, but his heart just wasn't ready for it.
An hour of rowing against the harsh waves had been hell, but Dark wouldn't have had it any other way. He reached shore and tied the rowboat off to a tree before he started up the long trek to the summit—to the place he so vividly recalled every night in his dreams. Another hour passed—the clouds had yet to break. There was a chill on the wind, though no rain, yet. He was thankful for that.
The slope leveled off into a flat plateau, and Dark could see the hideous head of the Koku Yoku peeking out. He glanced away quickly from the sight, keeping his eyes downcast. Walking, as he had so many times before in his dreams, he approached Krad's grave. He glanced up, slowly, half-expecting to see a half-rotted corpse glaring at him, waving a bony finger in his direction and giving ominous threats and cryptic warnings.
There was none of that. Nothing frightening or fearful—just a peaceful little plateau with a little grave marked and a sword, rusted, resting over a small mound of dirt.
Dark gave a little sigh—out of relief or disappointment, he didn't know. He was glad there were no monsters here for him to face, but upset, just a little, that he was once again met with nothingness.
There had been a weight on his chest since the last time he was here, and he felt it's presence so much more as he first approached the large marble statue. He glanced over it's features and shook his head before taking his time as he approached the grave. He stared at it for a long moment, thinking it only a pity that someone so great as Krad didn't even get a proper burial. He should have been buried at sea, Dark realized, where he was happy. It was too late now. Much as Dark wanted to give Krad the burial he deserved, he couldn't bring himself to exhume the grave.
After all this time, it seemed strange. It seemed wrong. It seemed…taboo. The urge to leave was almost unbearable when suddenly Dark found himself speaking.
"I was so stupid back then. I should have said something. I can't help it—it gives me nightmares. All the time. There's…there's this feeling, that I can't ignore. I know what it is, I've felt it before—but I couldn't say anything while you were alive. What if you'd run away? Being friends…no, we weren't friends. I don't even know what we were. You were…so much to me. I mean, really—you were my light."
Dark couldn't help but laugh at how stupid he sounded. "I didn't know you for long, I'll admit, and I know it's shallow—so shallow—for me to be able to admit that I really cared for you. You just—I mean—I just felt…like there was some connection. I can't deny it. Maybe you could have, but you're not here, now are you?" Dark spoke this last bit spitefully.
"…I didn't mean it like that," he admit to the empty air. "I just…this has all been really stressful. I can't understand myself. I mean, I can, but it's just…so stupid."
He waited for someone to urge him to continue, but when no voice came, he urged himself. "I didn't just like you. I think…I realized that you were more to me that day…you'd remember it, I hope…that day that you told me about your father. I should have told you then, but I guess I thought you'd think I just felt sorry for you."
Dark sighed and fingered the sword in its sheath at his side. "I think it was then that I realized I had feelings for you."
The wind picked up, and Dark sighed, sinking into a sitting position next to the grave.
"I wanted to tell you, but how do you just come out and say something like that? I don't even know I'm just making this up, anymore. You get what I'm saying?"
"…Of course you don't, you're dead. This is insane, I'm talking to a ghost. Less than a ghost because you're not even here."
"…That's what I get for coming here. A bunch of letdowns. But you know what? I sorta feel better, even if you aren't here. It wouldn't have worked out, anyway. I mean, you did promise to kill me." Dark smiled a little. "…Maybe that's why I was so attracted to you. It didn't matter what you lost, just as long as you got what you wanted in the end. That was it, right? That's how I'll always remember you. Hope you don't mind."
Dark rose then, growing weary of talking to thin air, even if he did feel as though some weight was being lifted from his soul. He continued, "I wasn't lying when I said I'd never forget you. Did I say I'd never forget you? I forget. The point is, though, Krad…I'm sorry."
Dark was pacing a bit; he knew he'd really overstayed his visit. He'd be lucky if he made it back to the ship before it started storming. It was a foolish trip—he could have waited until after the storm, but he'd just felt…such a calling.
He drew in one deep sigh. "Anyway…Goodbye, Krad. Thanks for listening."
"…Thanks for coming."
Dark spun around, his eyes wide at the sudden voice. How ridiculous he felt when he found no one there. He offered a bitter laugh and forced a smile so he didn't feel so very foolish. He shook his head and gave one last look about the tiny place. "I don't think I'll be coming back. It's just too weird. Still. I just…wish I had something to remember this by. To remember you by. Something other than memories.
There was no voice, only a small breeze. Dark accepted this and gave a little nod as he once again started down the path towards the shoreline so he could get back in the rowboat and get back to his ship. The winds picked up, and he knew he'd have to hurry; his hasty walk turned into a full-fledged jog; it was only a matter of time before he was to fall on the rocky path.
When he did, he landed face first in the ground, staring at a most peculiar ornament. He pushed himself up so that he was resting on all fours when he looked down at the pristine little necklace that lay there, just calling to him.
He recognized the little wing pattern and glanced up towards the leveled off summit he'd just come to when he scooped up the necklace. Either he had really good luck, or someone was messing with him.
No matter what the case, he held the necklace close to him and, despite it's broken silver links, he shoved it in a pocket in his shirt where it remained, close to his heart.
Fate was on his side; Dark managed to row back to the 'Black Wings' just before the storm broke. He had a smile on his face, a strange sight to Daisuke. It was not uncommon for Dark to randomly walk by wearing a lazy grin, but it had been a long time since he'd seen him with that bounce in his step, or that smile on his face.
Daisuke knew, then, that Dark had finally found his closure. Rain fell from the sky in large droplets as he watched the captain strut across the deck, barking orders with a certain bounciness he hadn't seen since before Krad died.
"It's sad that Emiko is always so knowledgable about these things," Towa said, walking behind Daisuke. Her eyes glued onto Dark, too, they shared a moment of silence before Daisuke tore away from the girl, still grinning faintly.
"It may not have been a happy ending for them," he said softly, "but at least he's happy, now."
The older woman cocked a head at Daisuke. "You're happy too, aren't you?"
"For him, yes," the redhead said. "I'm glad that he was finally able to move on."
"And, speaking of moving on," Dark said from very near to the two, "let's get a move on, ourselves. We've wasted enough time here, already!"
"You've wasted enough time," Daisuke corrected.
"Hey," the older male challenged, "I've wasted no time, here."
Daisuke took into consideration the defensive tone he'd just heard, and nodded. "I didn't mean anything by it..."
Dark smiled warmly at his young friend. "I know, Daisuke. Let's go, though. This place...has a lot of memories. I don't want to forget, but that doesn't mean I have to remember them. We can stay here and do nothing...or move on, and make more memories."
Not wanting to question Dark's sudden change in personality, Daisuke nodded. "...All right. We'll go forward. Where to?"
"There's a merchant ship carrying art from France that's supposed to be passing through just a day's sail from here--unless they've changed their route, but that's not likely. We'll try there."
Daisuke nodded. "I'll go make sure the sails are ready."
A nod. "Good boy, Daisuke," Dark said, and feeling a heaviness in his heart as he watched both Daisuke and Towa walk away, he placed a hand across his pocket. One more remorseful smile as he felt the tiny pendant beneath the thin, soaked cloth of his shirt...he glanced over towards the island as it was lit up with a bolt of lightning.
Maybe, someday, he'd be caught for plundering. It wasn't likely, but he was sure to die some day. Maybe in a storm, like this one, or maybe just a stupid accident. Maybe, even, old age. Dark wondered, then, if Krad would be waiting for him.
His heart refused to tell him anything but 'yes' as the Black Wings started away from the island, it's image forever preserved in the memory of Dark Mousy, the greatest pirate captain to ever stalk the seven seas.
So…this is it. The final end, for real. It means so much that you've read this far, but I really wish that you'd stopped at chapter 19. I really don't like either of the epilogues, but…you know. I did it for you guys, so I'm sorry if I've let you down. In any case, thanks so much for reading this…when I first started writing, OotU was really a big deal for me. I got fifteen reviews the first night I had the first chapter up, so it was a pretty big deal for me, who'd just been writing and getting little reviews before then. I guess…no more reviews after this, though, right…? This is…really the end.
All I can say is this—thanks for being with me for so long. You've all been really awesome.