Author's Note: It's been an incredibly long time, I know. I haven't died yet, so please don't kill me. I've got nothing else to tell you other than this pathetic, frequently used excuse: Life just got in the way.

But enough with my inevitable pleas of forgiveness; let's just get this story started with. You guys deserve it, and I'm sure my apologies are becoming quite trite.

And once again, I wholeheartedly thank every single one of you who have loyally read and remained by this story through and through. You really have no idea how much it means to me, so thank you all very much. :)

Oh, but one quick warning before we begin: This chapter may be dark for some.

Disclaimer: I hold absolutely no ownership over the Total Drama Island series. But I do own all of these mini plots. That's something, right?




Bright, sapphire eyes met with the even brighter glow of the crystal blue firmament that comprised the serene horizon, dabbed with cotton white fluffs and feathery puffs of gentle clouds and hazy billows. A blinding light pierced through the wafting skies and brilliant rays of afternoon sunshine leaked everywhere, leaving even the dreariest and darkest of places faintly illuminated by fragile beams of glittering hope.

Yet, as radiantly gorgeous as the perfect day seemed, as a well-renowned captain of one of the world's leading eighteenth century pirate ships, Captain Geoff of The Bloody Skull knew that where there were misleadingly friendly clouds in the sky, a storm was brewing.

Never in his life had Geoff been one to underestimate such deceptively innocent tufts of ashen, white clouds—very much like the ones breezing before him—to be anything but dangerous omens of approaching inclement weather. In most any other area of the seven seas, these harmlessly fluffy clouds would be nothing more than what they already were—as light and pure as they were pleasant.

But in this particular portion of the ocean and in these particular currents, he knew that they were not so. Instead, he was well aware that at this time of day, the adorable nimbus clouds that blew in from the east only signaled oncoming, tumultuous thunderstorms for this area of the west.

The captain sighed. There really was no mistaking when it came to his own predictions. He knew the temperament of the sea as well as he knew the color of its cerulean waves.

So much for his glittering hopes.

Geoff groaned tiredly as he ran a calloused hand through his unruly, golden locks, biting his lip lightly in annoyance as he mulled pensively over the present situation at hand.

Right now, The Bloody Skull was firmly anchored at the beautiful, tropical shores of the lush island paradise that every member of his crew unanimously referred to as Island X, due to the fact that they had intruded on these grounds at least five times and still had no idea as to what the name of the island was. In fact, he and his men hadn't even bothered to check if there were any people residing along such a mysteriously alluring coast because most of them had been convinced that absolutely no one else was living here.

If not for the trustworthy assurance of the ship's first-mate, also recognized as his best friend Duncan, Geoff would not have believed anyone else's claims and would have scouted the entire island himself for any remnants of human life.

But in the end, no one had blamed him. It was only natural and wise that Geoff wished to know what type of inhabitants were living in the places his crew "visited" in order to deduce whether they were worth killing or not.

If they were particularly gracious, Geoff always made sure to oblige his men never to engage in any harsh or inconsiderate behavior to the indigenous people they met, knowing quite well that every man on his ship could be quite fierce whenever they wanted to be.

But of course, that was the way all pirates were: selfish, greedy, dishonest, and sometimes utterly ruthless. However, Geoff liked to think that they were more of a cleverly skillful bunch than a distastefully violent one. And despite his crew having been resentfully recognized by a good majority of their victims as possessing all of those hideous traits, for the most part, Geoff knew that they were his friends. As a proud and loyal captain, naturally, he had absolute faith in their nobler and righteous sides; especially in Duncan's, who had yet to fail him.

And speaking of the valiant daredevil…

The blonde began pacing back and forth on the still ship, fingers intertwined behind his back as his muddy boots pounded against the rusty, wooden floorboards, emitting noisy creaks and squeaks. His seemingly restless pacing was done not so much out of a nervous habit but rather, a reflective one. Such movement allowed him to think thoroughly as he kept his legs wandering, while his mind did all the pondering.

Today he had been kind to his comrades by allowing them a brief period of relaxation upon Island X, which was becoming one of their favorite vacation spots as of late. As soon as his ship had come into contact with its sparkling shores, his crew had dashed off from their positions—at the consent of their captain, of course—and had paraded wildly about the beach, kicking sand everywhere.

Geoff had found this amusing, as did Duncan who had stayed behind with his friend, watching the excitement unfold from their places on the deck. It had truly been an enjoyable sight and the men couldn't have been happier.

That had been, until Geoff had announced that he would remain on the ship while the guys had their fun. Almost immediately, there had been several loud shouts of protest from everyone, imploring that their captain come along with them and participate in their frivolous activities.

Yet, Geoff had denied them with his overused excuse of having to keep guard of their vessel should anyone try to hijack it. Of course, his damp attempt at trying to wriggle his way out of a few hours of mindless foolery had irked hard feelings on most of the crew, who had been unable to comprehend why their captain didn't want to spend time with them.

Thankfully, Duncan had been far more understanding than the other men and had left him with a fond good-bye wave and a sympathetic smile as he had lead the entire group onward to relish their paradise…

The blue-eyed man shook his head ruefully as he shoved away the mere image of minutes ago into the far recesses of his brain, pursing his lips into a thin line. Although he loved hanging out with his fellow pirates, he would achingly admit every now and then that he was ultimately growing tired of being one.

He couldn't quite pinpoint it, but lately, the blonde would experience a subtle twinge of unhappiness pull at his heartstrings whenever he raided another helpless village or sparred with another round of Red Coats, spilling blood everywhere. For some inexplicable reason, he just didn't experience the pure, unadulterated thrill he used to get when engaging in such crimes.

At first, he had passed off his sudden discontent as being his punishment for having such an annoyingly convicted conscience. But his theory so begged the question: Were pirates even allowed to feel remorseful? Duncan had always told him that feeling guilt was a sign of horrible weakness, and should one ever sense a temporary guilt-trip coming on, it was best to bathe oneself in a frothy barrel of rum.

There was nothing that alcohol couldn't cure, or so, Geoff had been led to believe.

Yet, soon enough, as the weeks had passed after he had taken that advice, he had learned that Duncan's prescribed "medicine" hadn't been able to relieve him of these sudden feelings of foreboding (if not, he only acquired some of the worst headaches).

The captain had always known that there were severe risks and repercussions for being who he was and doing what he did, but it was moments like these in which he would apprehensively worry to himself if being a pirate was supposed to make him feel this bad.

And in this instance, it wasn't simply making him feel bad, but bad-bad.

As in unmistakably terrible, up until the point where he wasn't even sure if he could handle the emotional stress that came with obtaining the reputation of being such a hardened thief, and an almost murderer.

Geoff shivered frightfully at that last thought, involuntarily reminding himself of the time in which he had been so fixated on stealing the governor's money that in his greed, he had nearly left an innocent man headless…

He suddenly face palmed, groaning unevenly to himself. His shamefaced desire to resign as a pirate altogether was probably one of the only secrets he would never tell Duncan. Who knew what he would say to him? Who knew what he would do?

To Duncan, being a pirate was the best thing in the entire world. If his best friend aimlessly told him one day that he hated being a pirate and wanted to do something more meaningful with his life, well…

Geoff really didn't want to think about that.

Instead, he pushed his thoughts roughly aside as he shot one more glance at the dimming horizon, only realizing with the slightest sense of worry that the sky was now coated with various hues of oranges, blues, purples, and the softest tinge of pink. He would've considered it beautiful—his azure eyes widened—but those combinations of colors in the sky meant that it was sunset. And if it was sunset, then that meant he had been waiting on the deck of his ship for a little more than… three hours!

His mind went crazy as he processed this disturbing information. Did that even make sense?! All he had been doing was thinking to himself… Surely he hadn't lost track of time by merely musing quietly.

No, not him! He never was one to get too carried away in himself… but then again, he was best friends with Duncan; and people like Duncan were hard not to rub off of.

"Damn it," he cursed under his breath—something he didn't normally do, "where are they?! I told them to come back before sunset! Not during, or any time after!"

Geoff grumbled irritably as he stared at the now darkening clouds again, reminding himself that all the signs were still there—it was all too perfect weather for a dangerous storm. If his crew didn't return within about half an hour, giving them enough time to sail away before things could get worse, everything would spell utter disaster.

"Aha! Good one, man!"

Geoff's head suddenly jerked upwards at having heard the sound of boisterous laughter emitting from an all too familiar group of rowdy shipmates.

"Finally," he breathed a grateful sigh of relief as he pleasantly jogged off the ship and onto the grainy shoreline of Island X to catch up with them.

"Captain!" Duncan cried excitedly as he sprinted across the yellow sand to greet his best friend. "Man, did you miss some fun!"

Geoff chuckled good-naturedly as he embraced Duncan with a heavy pat on the back, beaming at him elatedly, having caught Duncan's contagious smile.

"Ah, don't fret. I was fine as I waited here for all of you to get back. And what with this beautiful sunset," he grinned, his cerulean eyes gesturing to the slight warmth that comprised the ebbing horizon behind him, "I'm sure I didn't miss a thing."

Duncan merely shook his head in earnest as he affably disagreed, "Well, buddy, I beg to differ. I really have to tell you, we—"

"Ack! Where do you want this one, Duncan? It ain't exactly easy to carry!" the youngest and newest member of their notorious bunch squeakily called out, grunting in concentrated determination as he lugged what appeared to be one of the bulkiest sacks among the several other bags that the men happened to drag along with them.

"Just hold onto it tight. I'll tell you when you can bring it here," Duncan commanded as he shot the youth an annoyed expression, his face devoid of any sympathy towards the sheer weight the overworked teenager had been hoisting around. Yet, the scrawny brunette simply saluted compliantly, a buck-toothed grin etched cheerfully upon his face as his struggled to grasp the sack more efficiently, only for it to seemingly deflate and inflate steadily from underneath him…

"Where'd all of… this… stuff come from?" Geoff questioned hesitantly as he warily glanced at the items the men carried in their arms. He never ordered them to loot or ransack anyone; hell, he never even knew that there was anything to rob in this miserably forsaken island.

"That's what I was trying to tell you," Duncan smirked proudly, shouting out to the crew as he signaled them to come closer with a wave of his hand.

Once everyone was huddled behind Duncan's back, with the exception of Geoff who was facing him as he stood at the foot of the shoreline, all became quiet as the murmuring ceased.

"Captain," his first-mate grinned widely at him as his azure eyes twinkled with the oddly distinctive impression that he knew something Geoff didn't, "these past few hours have been slightly exhausting, but quite fun. We practically ran around the island half mindless, threw sand in each other's faces, and some of us even brought rum along with us and managed to get tipsy along the way."

As he said this, he shot an indiscreet look at their cabin boy, Ezekiel, who immediately blushed in embarrassment. Everyone chuckled under their breaths.


"Well, anyways, aside from all that," he continued, that impish smile never leaving his face, "we fell upon some interesting… goodies.

"Hatchet, bring the loot you're carrying over here," he called out from behind himself, motioning for an extremely buff and intimidating African American with a gaping hole between his teeth to stand beside him as he held a bulging sack in his iron grip.

There was a moment of still silence as Duncan instructed with heavy authority in his voice, "Open the bag for our captain to see."

Geoff instantly felt his throat become dry as their ship's chef, Hatchet, untied the knots from the thick rope binding the bag, completely unprepared for what he saw next.

Gold. Layers and layers of pure, gold coins made up the contents of that single sack—so much so, in fact—that the valuable metal begin spilling out of the hefty bag in a flood of dazzling yellow.

After having finally found his voice at last, too shocked to have said anything a few seconds ago, Geoff stuttered, "Whe-where did you get all this?" He shifted a stiff hand to point his index finger at the other protruding bags the crew grasped in their arms, almost seeming as if they didn't ever want to let go of whatever precious treasures laid inside.

Duncan's confident grin remained in place as he gladly gave the baffled man a much deserved explanation.

"It turns out all this time that we were wrong, buddy. There are people on this island. In fact, there was a whole village filled to the brim with gold and expensive artifacts, and they had been hiding from us all along on nearly the opposite side of this end.

It took a bit of walking, but not only did we accidentally find them—we also found their huge stack of wealth as well!" The captain's preferred pal smiled wickedly as he audaciously snickered, "And we figured since they had so much booty to spare, we might as well enjoy some for ourselves… or more like all of it."

Everyone waited expectantly for Geoff's reaction, but once he spoke, it was not the response Duncan had hoped to hear, "How do you know there are people on this island? You told me there weren't."

The raven haired first-mate wanted to face palm. Of course; leave it to Geoff to be so utterly oblivious that he hadn't even fully comprehended his first few sentences. It was as if he hadn't even been listening to begin with. Unless…

Duncan's turquoise eyes squinted strangely at him, examining his form, until he finally considered, "You don't believe me? Is that it?"

Geoff's blue orbs scanned every one of his comrades intently, remaining reflectively quiet for a few seconds until he replied, "You told me that there weren't any people living here before. Now you suddenly tell me that there are. It's not that I don't believe you. It's just that… I'm a little confused."

Duncan's previously questioning look graced into a full blown smile as he thought to himself in amusement. Good ole' Geoff. He was confused as always. Well, he supposed that maybe the plans he had laid out for him would finally help him clear his mind...

"I can easily give you proof," he insisted, his smile growing into a satisfied smirk as the captain now curiously gazed up at him in newfound intrigue. "Cody, hand me the bag you were assigned to carry."

The same chocolate haired, scrawny little buck toothed teenager that had once been lugging the dead weight of the aforementioned sack slowly stepped forward, a frightened expression scurrying upon his features. He had come forward as Duncan had commanded.

But currently, he appeared to be unmistakably empty-handed.

He squirmed nervously under Duncan's alarmingly vindictive stare as his icy cobalt eyes burned holes through the brunette's head.

"Where is it?" he demanded angrily, yet his tone deceivingly esteemed itself as containing somewhat of a calm edge, when inwardly, Duncan felt far from being calm.

"I—I," The young boy known as Cody stammered fearfully, "I—I—I tried bringing the—the bag over here but—but I couldn't 'cause it started moving and—and I think she's awake!"

"What?!" he hissed viciously at the lad, unable to hide his quickly developing wrath any longer. "What do you mean she's awake?! Where is she?! Is she still in the bag at least?!"

"Yeah—yeah," Cody cried in reassurance as he anxiously covered his head with his arms as a means of protection, all the while pointing a trembling finger over his shoulder. "She—she should still be in there. She—she's still tied up and—and everything!"

Duncan's furious gaze keyed in on the area Cody was jabbing at, irately noticing that the sack was laying in the hot sand a good twenty feet away from everyone else where it should not be.

The rebellious pirate roughly shoved past the inexperienced novice as he made his way towards the direction of the wriggling sack, coarsely jerking it over his shoulder as he callously stomped back over to where Geoff had been standing, motionless and eyes bulging in bewilderment. He carelessly dropped the burlap container three feet away from where Geoff stood near the refreshing shoreline, muffled shouts of protests now faintly audible from within the bag itself. Duncan was internally seething as he ripped off the thick, knotted ropes tied firmly around the sack, drawing his forceful hand inside it as his fingers instinctively wrapped themselves strongly around soft tufts of smooth blonde hair.

In a shocking instant, Duncan unkindly pulled out the securely fastened body of a young blonde, hazel eyed woman, approximately about eighteen years of age, give or take a few years. He seemed to be tactlessly dragging the girl out of the burlap sack by the golden roots of her ponytail, harshly towing her petite form out of her containment until she was in clear view of everyone's line of vision.

He swiftly bent down on his knees to meet the lowly level of her rigid figure, which was bundled up stiffly by burning ropes. He craned his neck on his left side as he predatorily studied her terrified face; her shrieking had already ceased by the time her yellowish orbs had come into visual contact with his merciless, azure ones.

"I'll take the gag out of your mouth if you promise not to scream," he whispered inaudibly into her ear; although his suddenly hushed demeanor belied the malicious consequences that would automatically ensue should she dare to even breathe a single syllable.

She nodded furiously and dreadfully in muted compliance as her eyes widened helplessly in horror.

At having received her forceful acquiescence, Duncan, in a brief change of character, gently removed the dirty rag obstructing her parted lips. "And who says pirates can't be gentlemen?" he grinned nastily.

Geoff, his sapphire eyes completely disbelieving as he watched the aggressive way Duncan was man-handling this woman, finally came out of his shaken stupor as he demanded with a guttural shout, "What the hell is going on here?!"

After having freed the young female of her binds, Duncan gripped her arms callously and brutally as he yanked her forward towards Geoff as if she were a lifeless rag doll.

"Consider her a gift," he smirked arrogantly at his best friend, "from all of us."

"What?!" Geoff bellowed incredulously, his facial expression made up of one of utter panic and chaotic disorder.

"She's yours," Duncan tried again, beginning to grow very impatient with him, "you know, for fun."

"What?!" Geoff repeated himself, only his voice echoed into an octave much louder this time as he stared back in a crazed frenzy.

Duncan, by this point having wholly lost his patience, blurted irritably, "She's your fu—"

"—my play thing, right?!" Geoff interrupted furiously, his cerulean eyes now blazing with pure, unadulterated anger.

His erect posture suddenly bent over in a flash as he allowed his shaking form to fall onto the ground in order to prevent his enraged self from committing anything rash against his childhood friend. His trembling hands dug into the grainy, golden earth beneath him, as he fisted heavy clumps of sand as if they were his anchors from doing anything regrettable.

He absolutely could not believe what the crew—what Duncan—had allowed to occur; had deemed acceptable to take place.

First they had claimed that the island was completely deserted, and like the faithful captain he was, he had decided to believe them. But now, out of the random blue, they had all come back with mountains and heaps of stolen treasure bundled in their greedy arms with crooked smiles plastered onto their smug faces, telling him that there were in fact, unidentified locals living on this presumably abandoned island.

And then—then, they had had the outright audacity to kidnap a living, breathing human girl conveniently close to his age so that they could bring her forth as an actual present—almost as if she were some sort of sparkly trinket that he could own as a possession! And now—now, they wanted him to—to use her as he pleased, as if she were his sexy little screw toy!

Just what kind of man did they think he was?! He—he didn't need a sex slave! What they were planning—what they were trying to make him do—it—it went against everything he stood for!

It was rape!

And he couldn't believe… he couldn't believe… that out of all the men here, Duncan would even permit such a—such a—

He couldn't even finish thinking that last sentence; not when he was this infuriated!

He was so angry. So angry, he could—he could…

Geoff swallowed thickly as he clamped his eyes shut, slowly gritting his teeth as he whispered in a grating, feral growl, "Take. Her. Back."

After several seconds of having received no response, he finally opened his eyes to see an extremely pissed Duncan glowering murderously back at him. His rather fierce look almost caused Geoff to jolt in surprise. But instead, he mustered up another glare that rivaled that of the first-mate's.

"What the hell is your problem?" Duncan grumbled at last, his tone anything but friendly. "We just gave you one of our best prizes. You should be grateful."

"Grateful?" Geoff snorted, his frown deepening with every word Duncan had said. "Why should I be grateful?! I don't need a bed warmer," he scowled, cautiously standing up to better meet Duncan's leveled gaze.

But his best friend merely stared long and hard at him until he let loose a humorless laugh.

"You're an idiot, Geoff. This is the thanks we get for being nice? For trying to help you?"

"Help me?!" he questioned incredulously, biting the inside of his cheek in indignation, choosing his next words carefully, "How exactly does abducting an innocent woman to unwillingly serve as my personal… uh, whatever… help me?"

"Funny you should ask that," Duncan snappishly scorned, derision in his voice as he continued.

"You know what, Geoff? Lately, you haven't been acting like yourself at all. I've noticed that—we've all noticed that," he emphasized his point as he motioned to the rest of their shipmates, "and frankly, it's really been getting on all our nerves.

"We've given you almost every remedy we could think of; stealing, gambling, tobacco, fighting!" he hastily counted them off as he listed some examples using his fingers. "Hell, even rum didn't work! We had thought up of just about everything that would do a pirate some good. But that's when it suddenly hit me!"

In one swift motion, he gave a violent shove at the blonde woman he was still holding captive, roughly pinching her arms as he waved her in Geoff's face. "This," he proclaimed, digging his nails deeply into her flesh, "is what you really need. I honestly can't believe I didn't see it before! I mean guys, when was the last time Geoff felt like a man?"

"I don't want to keep a prisoner on this ship!" the captain screamed, his face turning scarlet as he vehemently fumed at Duncan.

"Then don't think of her as a prisoner!" he admonished with great irritation. "She's more like a… naughty entertainer," he sneered maliciously, painfully elbowing the small female in her ribs as he contemptuously teased her. "Isn't that correct? You're gonna be a bad girl for my buddy here, right?"

She tearfully whimpered under his unyielding grip as he viciously resumed in mocking her.

With every ruthless slap, shove, pinch, and stinging insult Duncan imprinted on her, Geoff felt a compassionate twinge of pain and hurt as he looked into her glistening eyes, brimmed with unshed tears of absolute fear and sadness. All of a sudden, something in Geoff violently snapped as boiling rage took an unexpected hold of his body, driving him to the very brink.

In a flash of righteous fury, Geoff made a grab for the hilt of his sword and before anyone knew it, its sharp edge was only millimeters away from Duncan's throat, freezing in midair before it had the chance to pierce his skin.

In his astonishment, Duncan had dropped the female in his arms, his body instinctively on alert as he prepared himself for defense mode.

"TAKE HER BACK!" Geoff demanded, his facial expression burning with so much fervent passion that his once calm blue eyes seemed to have lit on fire.

While Duncan had been surprised at first, he quickly regained his composure, his own form having gone completely rigid as he wrathfully glared back at Geoff in unmistakable hatred. His steely ice blue eyes narrowed dangerously as he clenched his fists, all but whispering, "I really wouldn't do that if I were you."

Geoff said nothing as he kept his sword steadily pointed at Duncan, obvious pain in his eyes as he begged, "Please, Duncan. Don't make me do this. I—I can't do what you're asking me to do. It's wrong. It's wrong and you know it."

Duncan merely spat in his face, snarling with every breath, "Damn, Geoff. Did you ever become weak. Look at yourself, turning on your own friend for some worthless little wench. I hope you're proud of yourself. I can't believe how pathetic; how insignificant you've become. You've let your conscience rule your life. You're not yourself anymore, and never will be. You are not the same man I grew up knowing."

Everyone had been utterly frozen in their spots up until this point. Even the fair haired woman who had frightfully scrambled away from Duncan the moment he had dropped her simply could not find the strength or the willpower to bring herself away from the intense dispute, somehow feeling as though she was partially to blame for this mess.

Pleading azure orbs connected with unforgiving teal; their eye colors were practically the same, yet their owners were truly nothing alike. One was fighting for justice. The other was fighting only because he had the power to do so. As close as the two had been in the past, none of it seemed to matter anymore. It was as if their entire history together magically disappeared, their very friendship having evaporated into thin, untraceable smoke.

"I'm not insignificant for having a conscience. In fact, I'd say I'm stronger because I've gained a sense of what's right versus what's wrong. If having morals makes me a weaker person, then I'd rather be a pathetic weakling over being a pathetic ass," Geoff mumbled, an unwavering firmness in his tone as he said this.

"Put that sword down right now or you're going to get it," Duncan hazardously threatened, having totally ignored the other male's speech.

Geoff sent him a withering look at his seeming inability to feel, his sword gradually descending as he realized his words weren't getting through to him.

Without delay, there appeared a deadly glint in his eye as Duncan howled madly, "Now you're going to get it!"

In the blink of an eye, before anyone had had the chance to see it coming, two heavy, echoing bangs went off as Geoff immediately sunk to his knees, his figure crouched over in the sand.

An empty scream belonging to that of a certain girl pierced through the cloudy sky as it suddenly began to drizzle lightly, the fresh raindrops rapidly mixing in with the splatters of crimson blood that now ran through the veins of the earth.

Duncan slowly bent down to catch his victim's face as he unfeelingly stared into Geoff's injured eyes, his breathing becoming ragged from the bullet wounds to his right shoulder and his left leg.

"You wanna hear something funny, Captain," he breathed, smiling cruelly as he hummed softly into his ear, "we were planning on mutinying against you anyway. Except, of course, the pesky little pain in the ass known as my conscience was keeping me from doing it. But now," he grinned gleefully in sadistic satisfaction, "I know that it was only getting in my way. Good thing I didn't listen to it, no?"

Geoff shuddered involuntarily as he struggled to block out the pain, but it was all too much. Combined with the pain of losing who he used to consider his only best friend, the gun wounds had merely been the bittersweet icing on the cake.

"Oh, and I'll take that," Duncan spitefully smirked as he snatched the captain's hat Geoff was wearing clear off his head, replacing it with a different master, symbolizing his new rank.

"Men, move out," he commanded as he forcefully established his newfound role as leader of the nefarious Bloody Skull.

The rest of the crew began piling onto the ship straight away, trekking solemnly with their stolen fortune in hand as they wordlessly moved past Geoff, completely disregarding him altogether. As of this minute, he no longer existed to them anymore. He was meaningless; inconsequential and entirely worthless.

"D-Duncan," he whispered hoarsely to his former friend, his cerulean orbs glazed over with unbelievable grief and disgust, "you make me sick."

"That's Captain Duncan to you," the pirate barked heartlessly as his cold, menacing eyes glanced once more at the downcast figure of the damaged man before him, his spilt blood strewn carelessly all over the damp shore.

And as Duncan finally sailed away, not even a single pang of remorse or pity dared to wash over him; he wasn't upset even in the slightest. If anything, he had won more than he had lost—Geoff had been nothing more than dead weight to him, holding him back from his true potential.

Meanwhile, the ex-criminal remained writhing in absolute anguish in the soaking sand, until the young blonde woman from earlier scampered over to his aid, hastily ripping off the hem of her skirts as she attempted to dress his wounds with the little that she had.

As the tiny female began to quickly patch up his injuries, for the first time, Geoff was able to get a really good look at this woman without being distracted by his anger.

Full, rosy pink lips; smooth, pale cheeks; a wonderfully slender body; thick locks of golden, feathery hair; and the most amazing hazel eyes he had ever seen in his entire life, were what he saw when he gazed at this truly stunning woman.

She was so beautiful, it was breathtaking.

"Thank you," she murmured sorrowfully, her voice nearly cracking as she struggled not to cry.

"Ah, so the angel speaks," Geoff mused aloud as he grinned softly at her, feeling a bit light-headed as he drank in her marvelous presence. "But why thank me? There's no need. I should be the one thanking you. You're trying to save my life here."

The still trembling lady now choked back a sob as she whimpered, "Don't talk like that. I'm not trying to save you—I will save you."

Geoff glanced up at her in complete and total awe at her unrelenting determination, moved by her wondrous kindness and compassion.

"And when I said thank you, I meant thank you for standing up for me," she gently clarified, applying pressure to his wound as she squeezed the blood-stained wrap around his arm. She had already finished bandaging his leg by the time Geoff spoke up again.

"What's your name, gorgeous?" he asked quietly, that content little grin never quite leaving his face.

"Bridgette," she answered meekly, a misty blush spreading across her cheeks at the casual compliment.

"Really?" Geoff sighed, gasping slightly as Bridgette carefully adjusted his form so that he was temporarily cradled in her delicate grasp. "That's a beautiful name."

Bridgette quietly nodded as she stared down at him worriedly, concern etched warily into her tender features.

"I've strapped your injuries tightly enough, so that should help stop the bleeding as your blood begins clotting. I also happen to know a secret shortcut to the village in which I live in, so I won't have to walk that far as I carry you."

"Wait, but you don't have to do that I can—"

"—not move a muscle," Bridgette instructed sternly, her topaz colored eyes blinking seriously as she reminded him of his condition. "Don't worry about it," she assured, "I'm stronger than I look. I will be able to carry you just fine. My village really isn't far from here if I take the shortcut."

Geoff exhaled tiredly as he consented, automatically finding himself able to trust every word she said even though he never actually met her before. For some reason, she just seemed so honest and caring and loving and—

"I'm so sorry," she shivered sadly as she grimaced down at him with a mournful attitude.

"Sorry for what?" his peaceful demeanor faltered slightly as he took in her cheerless face, feeling a small piece of his heart crumble inside.

"I'm sorry for what happened between you and your old… friend," she elucidated hesitantly, watching for any signs should his relaxed facial expression fade from view. At having registered no prominent hints of sadness or anger, she continued, "I'm also very sorry that I got in the way. I must admit, I feel a little guilty for causing everything to—"

"No," Geoff insisted somberly as he shared an all too serious gaze with Bridgette, suddenly finding himself wanting to softly stroke her cheek in reassurance, but resisted the urge not to.

"Everything that happened was mine and Duncan's fault. You can't be held responsible for his cold-blooded actions and my rash behavior. You shouldn't be sorry at all. If anything, I should be," he mumbled. "And besides, I couldn't care less anymore about whatever happens to him. Turns out he wasn't exactly as great of a friend as I thought him to be."

"But don't you feel sad about how he betrayed you?" Bridgette questioned doubtfully, as she began to cautiously lift him from the ground, prepared to carry him a short distance's away towards the village, where he could better seek medical attention.

"Bridgette," Geoff murmured soothingly, finally giving in to his previous urge as he gingerly caressed her smooth face, "look at me."

The golden haired beauty warmly met his fond stare as he gently whispered, "No regrets," wearing the faintest of smiles as he passed out in her arms.

A/N: At last, it's done. Wow. I do believe that this is the longest story in this series so far.

Hey, well I can't say I'm not proud of myself. x)

But anyways, mind doing me a favor by clicking that good ole' review button? I'd love to know what you think.