Left. Then right. Then left again.
The needle of the compass swayed back and forth, and Luce attempted to follow, stumbling down the beach as though guided by the wind itself. It seemed to fixate on the flickering lights of the town, so she followed loyally. She couldn't yet appreciate how much she must have truly looked like her father, in that moment: walking drunkenly down the shore, squinting in the low light, trying to follow a damn compass that didn't even point North.
There was one pub on the entire island, and, though normally barren, was filled to the brim with rowdy pirates, and their deep, drunken voices floated through the still night air.
She had stripped off her leather boots and rolled up the legs of her trousers long ago, letting her bare feet sink into the cool, wet sand, her steady hands gripping the compass. What she wanted most in this world...?
And she didn't even know what that was.
The needle led her past the pub, spinning to and fro as if to the motion of an imaginary breeze.
She spins, her ankle nearly catching in the deep sand but suddenly there are hands, warm, familiar hands that wrap around her, pull her closer, into a strong embrace.
"Will? God, I never thought I would see you again!" she cried, slipping her own arms around his neck. "What are you doing here? Having a drink at the pub?"
His smile is blinding, and she can see it even in the darkness. It's not his normal jesting smirk; it doesn't just pull at the corners of his lips it pulls them wide, revealing his full set of teeth. "No. No, I'm not. Luce, I shouldn't... I wanted to apologize for...for how I behaved when we parted. I just didn't know what to say, I should have said anything, really."
And before she can respond, before she can even breathe, Will grabs her jaw with his calloused hands and presses his dry lips to hers.
It's surprising, it's unexpected, but certainly not unwelcome. Will, her only friend in the world, the only man who was ever impressed by her ability to shoot an arrow and handle a sword was, apparently, much more than a friend.
He pulls away suddenly, eyes blinking in rapid succession. "I'm... I'm sorry! I probably shouldn't have done that..."
Luce bursts into laughter, relief and shock all hitting her in a rush of emotion. Through tearfilled eyes, Luce watches a small, confused smile pull at the lips of her friend, who appears quite lost and self-consious. "What? What, why are you laughing?" And as Will shifts nervously, back and forth, the needle on the compass follows loyally.
With only a shake of her head, Luce smiles brightly and kisses him again, one hand gripping his shoulder, one clasped around the back of his neck. "No reason. No reason at all."
She drags him back along the beach, laughing and teasing and so damn glad that she hasn't ruined everything between them. By the time they make it back to the house, Jack has already gone inside, the candles having long since been blown out.
"So... Jack Sparrow is really your father? I mean...really your father?" Will asks, collapsing down into the soft sand beside her, taking her hand.
Unable to keep from laughing, on a high of gratefullness alone, Luce bursts into a fit of giggles, falling beside him. "Yes. Really my father. Believe me, I couldn't comprehend it myself. He knew much longer than I did, however. He was almost... protective of me. Like I really was his daughter. Well," she sighs. "You know what I mean..."
Smiling widely, Will pulls back, assessing her. "You know, I could see it. You being his daughter. You look like him. You sound like him. You drink a hell of a lot less, but you're just as stubborn as he is."
Creeping slowly up the sandy shores, the cool waves lap at the feet of the couple. Though Luce had (nearly) accepted her parentage, she couldn't help but cringe when she was compared to Jack. The man was quite coarse on first impression, and she had nearly been ill when Jack had come forth to claim her as his daughter. But he had also thrown himself into countless dangers for her benefit, for her protection...
Before another thought can pass through her mind, Will rolls over her, hovers above her, smiling in the familiar, mischievious way that makes her heart throb.
Lucia exhales in a half laugh, half sharp breath that empties her lungs for several long moments. "Wha... Excuse me?"
"Marry me. We're both young, in love. Pirates, too, you know how dangerous our job is. No telling how much time we have left. No time like the present!"
"Will!" Luce struggled up into sitting position, disbelief in her voice. "Will, don't be ridiculous! I'm not... I'm eighteen years old, Will. There is no way in hell I'm going to settle down and be a housewife. Not yet!"
With a sharkish grin, Will pulls her close. "Who said anything about settling down? I just said marriage. We can still sail, Luce, we don't have to just immediately ground ourselves and start fishing for a living. C'mon, wait do you say?"
Lucia raises a brow.
Mother of God, how long have I been gone? I'm sorry it took me so long, and that it's so short, but hopefully, the next/last chapter will be here soon.