Shame on me for forgetting.
For a long time, she dreams. There is only the sea and the pattern of waves drawing gentle maps against her hull, sighing names of foreign lands. She wakes to a pirate flag and running footsteps. And the laughter of a boy. It is the purest sound she has ever felt tremble along her dusty planks.
They are young and their love is clumsy. They hurt her more than all the ones who had come before combined and the waters they steer her into feel vast and faithless, so unlike the cradling harbor of home. She is built for shallow seas and summer rain, not oceans in the sky and hurricanes. Even so, she has never known love like this.
They have claimed every last inch, corner and nail of her. And although Merry is a Ship and Ships can't feel, she will hold on until the last. She will carry her precious cargo as far as she can, though not as far as she would like (ends of the earth, beyond, I'm yours).
They bid their farewells midst a sheet of flame, and she makes sure the flag is the last to burn.
She wakes to a memory of lands she's never seen and voices she's never heard. She doesn't question their presence or the flag that flies so resplendent overhead.
She is young and has never known loneliness, yet there is an echo of regret inside her walls that feels ancient. It whispers of a task she must complete, a destination she must reach. But Sunny is not afraid. She is built for seething storms and blazing sun; for joy and war. She is built for them, and the journey has only just begun.