Of Stars And Sea
Stars. Why? Everyone admires them. Thinks they're beautiful. But sometimes, they're not even there anymore – a ball of fire and gas that burned out millions of years ago. Only admired from afar or only after their deaths... must be pretty wretched to be a star.He stood on the helm of his ship, looking up in the velvet sky pinpricked with thousands upon thousands of sparkling, gem like stars. He thought these ridiculous thoughts, analysing the stars and the sea, the sun and the moon. Anything to pass the time.If admiring a star was to admire something that was possibly already dead, then by that logic, was Milah a star? It had been a grand total of six days and nine hours since her life was snuffed out.She would have loved this, he thought.He remembered one night in particular, he was utterly absorbed by her and the stars reflected in the dark orbs of her eyes.She stood where he stood now, at the helm."Did you ever see anything so magical?" She asked, breathless. "Oh look! A shooting star! Did you ever see one of those before?" She was like a child, seeing the entire world for the first time. He had, in fact, seen plenty of shooting stars but to humour her he said:"As a matter of fact, no. It is remarkable - but you, darling, outshine any of the stars up there."She responded by wrapping an arm around his waist, but never once did she take her eyes off the skies."I want you to show me the entire world, Killian." She had said."I swear, I won't rest until you've seen every corner of this earth and every inch in between."And so they had acquired two magic beans on the black market – they went to Japan and Africa, sailed to Jamaica and Barbados, London and undiscovered parts of America and Mexico. They used the second bean to get back to their land. And they started again – they went as far as they could in all four directions, from extreme heat to extreme cold, extreme winds to extreme rain. And yet nothing, nothing in any of the places they visited or any of the wonders he had seen, nothing compared to the wonder in her eyes and the smile on her face when she realised that the world truly was hers.She dressed in leather and smelled of rum and sea salt. He called her his true pirate lass and bought her an exquisite and elaborate compass from a far off market. He taught her how to sail, standing behind her with his hands placed over hers on the wheel. He gave her a sword with an engraved gold plated hilt and a magnificently shining blade. He taught her to fight on this very deck."You need to focus on your opponent's weakness. Think – knees, shoulder, neck - look for the weakness.""And what if their weakness is something invisible to human eyes?""Like what?"He aimed a blow for her left side, but she blocked it with ease."Like this."Then her sword was abandoned on the deck, and she'd all but pounced on him, surprising him with a kiss."Well, if that's my weakness, I'd love to see what my strengths are.""Good form, Captain." She said, taking his hat and putting it on her own head, atop her tangled curls.
He was pulled away from his reverie and focused instead, back on the stars.Was it the stars she loved? Or the freedom they offered? But then, what freedom could they offer the dead, he thought bitterly."Darling, it's late." He remembered whispering. She was on deck again."Do you think, somewhere out there, he's looking at these stars? My son? No matter where he is in this land, when he looks up we see the same stars, the same sun, and the same moon. Do you not think that makes the distance between us seem that much smaller?"He went to comfort her, but she did not need nor want it. She was strong. Much stronger than your average human being.He remembered this, he remembered her very words. And now, he thought them over again. If Milah is somewhere, watching over me, he thought, maybe she's looking at these stars too.But Neverland is different, he thought. These probably aren't even the same stars.And upon thinking that, he could have sworn he had never felt so lost in his life. These stars, millions upon millions of miles away, they were his maps. To think, Neverland could have different stars, it made him feel completely isolated from everything – but especially from Milah. She had never admired these stars. She had never picked a favourite. She had never pointed at the one that was shining brightest. And she never would. Maybe that's what hurt the most. He promised to show her every inch of every world. Could he have failed on a grander scale? What with all these stars she had not seen, not stood and admired?"I'm sorry." He whispered to the wind and hoped that if spirits did exist, she was somewhere listening to him.
Almost three hundred years to the day later, he stood here again.But he was not on deck alone this time.She was here. Emma. Not Milah."Can you believe it?" She asked. "How many stars are here?""Yes and no." He answered softly. Milah had asked him this almost a thousand times."The only stars I see always turn out to be helicopters." She whispered. It was so beautiful, so utterly devoid of hope that he felt an overwhelming need to be closer to her. And then something changed. She saw something differently."Henry could be looking at these stars. Right now. We're so close; we're seeing the same sky. Isn't that oddly comforting?"He stayed silent, Milah's own words echoing silently inside his mind. "Do you think, somewhere out there, he's looking at these stars? My son?""That shooting star, Henry could be looking at that very thing right now." The hopelessness of mere seconds ago was gone now. Her eyes were bright and determined. "I've never seen a shooting star before you know. City lights were always too bright. Have you?"And without thinking, he said:"No."