The room was dark and empty, hearing nothing but the echoes of his boots touching the marble floor. Guybrush looked around for any source of light so he could see where he was when a torch lit up next to him followed by a series of them all leading him to a massive dining table.
“What the…?” He muttered, taking a step closer until he froze in place. The Founders all sat there, a chalice in their hand and a smirk on their faces, raised to toast to push aside their animosities and for Henry and Tew for reuniting them all.
“W-wait… wait STOP!! IT’S POISONED!!” Guybrush shouted, reaching a hand out for Anne Bonnie who turned to nothing but a skeleton the moment he laid a hand on her. “N-n-no… no this isn’t… this isn’t happening this isn’t what was suppose to happen I–”
He froze when he heard the sound of a gun cocking back. Tearfully looking up, he stared down the barrel of the flintlock the now skeletal Henry Avery was holding in front of him.
“For God and Liberty" Avery mocked and pulled the trigger.
The weeks turned into months since the fall of Libertalia but it felt like a lifetime ago since anyone has made mention of the hidden city. Guybrush hobbled around the town, noticing the people living their lives ignorant of what transpired on another island. He was silently thankful as it meant that it was only a matter of time until no one except for Elaine, Winslow, and himself would’ve known about it’s existence. Soon that island would be nothing more than a forgotten nightmare.
If only the island could let him go.
The inn they were staying in for the last few months was nice and all (and it helped immensely that Winslow knew the owner on a personal level so they didn’t need to pay) but Guybrush felt himself being called back to the ocean. He knew why they couldn’t go back to the Screaming Narwhal, but as much as it logically made sense, being stuck on land felt like a death sentence.
An exaggeration, sure, but he wasn’t one to enjoy staying in one place for to long.
“Easy steps now, love.” Elaine assured, her hand behind his back as he took small steps. He was determined to get better so he didn’t need to use that God forsaken stick and finally prove he can go back out to sea. She saw him gritting his teeth, biting back the obvious pain the bullet wound left him with before she saw him lock up and stumble, landing hard on his knees and hands. Not missing a beat, she pulled the cane he placed to the side and bent down, holding it for him to hold while placing a hand on his back.
“You’ll do better tomorrow. C’mon, let’s get you up.”
She heard him mumbling something in frustration.
“I said I’m fine.” Guybrush barked, causing Elaine to jump back a bit. There was a long silence before he sighed. “I… I’m sorry…”
He eyed the supposed temporary cane which felt more like handcuff that was mocking him and looked away.
He hated it.
Fresh air. He needed fresh air.
He found himself sitting on a bench in the middle of town square, or at least, this island’s idea of a town square as the morning kept replaying again and again in his mind. He couldn’t walk. He just couldn’t WALK. His leg kept failing him that even the doctors told him it would be best to just become adjusted to the wooden stick and out of sheer frustration, he tossed the cane to the other side of the room, almost positive he broke something in there but in the heat of the moment, he didn’t care. He couldn’t stay in that fucking room another minute otherwise he was going to scream.
There he was in town.
Holding on to that fucking cane.
Guybrush was being mocked, he was sure of it.
Soon the locals became familiar with the blond pirate. Or at least, as far as they were concerned, a simple sailor. He tried keeping his distance from them, he couldn’t go through that heartache again of knowing the citizens, but in the end he found himself waving at the people that bid him a good morning, afternoon, and evening. Sometimes they would ask how’s the weather from his height, how was Elaine or Winslow, or any tips for sailors about to go off at sea. Some asked how his leg was feeling and offer him some ice or anything to ease the pain.
Everyone here treated him so kindly, welcoming him with open arms. And it ate Guybrush up from the inside.
He didn’t deserve this.
The months began to blur and the self hatred was, while still lingering, beginning to slowly subside. Guybrush enjoyed hearing about the baker’s wife and her problems of what to cook for the next book club (which, according to her, he should part-take in one of these days). He didn’t mind handing the cane over for the kids to play whatever make-shift game Winslow invented. He enjoyed chatting with the local sailors that returned from recent trips and hearing about how the ocean life was fairing.
The small voice in his head, however, was shouting how he didn’t deserve this. But he kept trying to push it down for his own sanity.
If he was lucky, for a few hours of his day he could actually feel like his old self again.
Elaine saw him everyday sitting by the cliffside staring out at the ocean almost longingly. She couldn’t blame him. Ever since Libertalia’s fall, she and Winslow basically locked Guybrush to some other hidden island almost banning him from going near the ocean out of fear that any Libertalians might spot him.
She nearly lost him during that war, she couldn’t risk that chance of losing him again.
Still, something deep down was telling her that by holding Guybrush back, it was slowly killing him. No matter how much Guybrush would smile to the locals, it wasn’t really HIM smiling, just a phantom of the ones he used to give. But he would always go back to that cliffside and look at ease.
And only then would she actually SEE Guybrush.
“Are you sure you want to buy this shack?” The local asked with his arms crossed. “I mean, it’s not… big enough, y’know? It’s good for a weekend, if that but not to live here, plus I don’t think anyone has cleaned it up in years.”
Elaine and Winslow walked in the run down shack and eyed the place as the wooden floor creaked with each step. It was definitely smaller then what they were use to, and more than that, it was just a good few feet tighter than the Narwhal.
But it was the sounds and sight of the ocean from the kitchen window that made Elaine smirk.
“Can I open my eyes now?”
“Juuuuuuust a bit, Picarooni.”
“I– c’mon, Elaine.”
“Okay, now!” Elaine removed her hands from over Guybrush’s eyes who had to blink to adjust to the semi-dark room due to all the closed blind windows when he looked around.
“It’s… a shack.” He answered, looking at Elaine confused. “I don’t… I don’t understand?”
“The best part is out that door.” She smiled as she pointed at the back door in the kitchen. Guybrush looked between his wife and the door before walking over and opening it, covering his mouth to suppress a gasp. He looked over at Elaine, wondering if he was dreaming but she just nodded.
“Well, go on.”
He took a hesitant step forward, hearing the soft crunch of the sand emitting from his boots, feeling the sea breeze softly brushing against him as the seagulls cawed from above him. He walked over to the shore and watched the waves crash rhythmically into the sand.
Shakily with one hand still holding his cane, Guybrush took off his boots one by one and tossed it to the side, letting his toes feeling the sand underneath. How long has it been since he felt the warmth beneath his feet? Looking at his cane, he tossed it also to the side and took a step on the wet sand, letting the ocean crash into him, feeling the wet sand escape from beneath him. It was warm yet refreshing.
Like being home.
His breathing hitched.
For the first time in decades, he felt like himself.
After several weeks of pestering and asking, Guybrush eventually gave up. It was apparent Elaine wasn’t about to reveal how she was able to get a home like this and instead suggested that Guybrush simply enjoyed what they have followed by playfully bopping him on the nose.
Granted, he would pout every time she dodged the question and occasionally would make a point that they might as well be living back on the Narwhal (in fact he loved to openly point out that the ship’s deck was bigger then the kitchen).
But in the end, he did truly love their new house.
“Elaine, please? Just this once.” Guybrush asked.
“Guybrush, I insist, it’s alright it’s no bother to me.” She leaned her back on the counter staring at the puppy eyes that was Guybrush’s. For the past few weeks, he’s been limping around the kitchen always asking Elaine or Winslow if they needed help. Of course, they would always say no and then point him to the couch to rest to which then he would cross his arms and pout. Today, he seemed hellbent on cooking.
“All I need you to do is just relax.” Elaine insisted.
“It doesn’t even require that much movement, just standing a bit. I can do that. I’m good at standing!” Guybrush practically pleaded. “Please? I… I want to help. Please.”
There was a long pause before she just sighed in defeat.
“Alright. Just this once.”
Guybrush pumped his fists in the air.
Never in her wildest dream did Elaine Marley ever imagined this was going to be her life. Living in a small shack by the sea, married to a pirate (ah-ah… Mighty Pirate™) doing laundry. Not that she was complaining, if the circumstances were different she might’ve had a different attitude, but as it stands she didn’t mind it. Carrying the basket of clean clothes, Elaine hoisted it over to their bedrooms where she spotted the familiar cane resting by the drawer as a lanky blond was fixing the bed sheets.
Or at least, ATTEMPTED to fix the bed sheets.
Guybrush was currently sprawled like an octopus grabbing at all three corners trying to get it to go to their respective corners. She should’ve told him to knock it off and rest but for a split second, she was reminded of a time long ago.
“You know… most people do it one at a time.” Elaine spoke up, resulting in Guybrush giving a startled yelp.
“I ah… I know.” He blushed. “It’s just been a while since I did this… um… I’ll have it fixed in a minute.”
Within a couple of months, a routine was formed. Winslow would go out and gather whatever supply they needed from the town square, Elaine would prepare the meal based on said ingredients, and Guybrush would either jot around in journal, get some therapy in, and then go to their backyard to sit by the ocean. They would all pitch in with cleaning up the shack and doing the dishes and make their beds whenever it was deemed needed.
Occasionally they would shift around and Elaine would gather the supply and Winslow or Guybrush would cook. Both she and Winslow agreed that Guybrush wasn’t allowed to gather supply. Not because they were worried for his leg (although it had some part in the decision) but rather he couldn’t pick the correct vegetables if his life depended on it.
It was a very simplistic life, but all three were content with the quiet.
Since they moved to the shack, Elaine had taken noticed in the drastic change in Guybrush’s mood, silently kicking herself for not thinking of it sooner to move near the ocean. Granted, he wasn’t back to his old self pre-Libertalia, but there were moments where it almost felt like that entire time in their life was a far off dream.
But then there were times where he just couldn’t walk without his leg feeling like it was on fire, his growing frustration when it happened, and the night terrors.
God, the night terrors.
How she wished she could find a way to end those nightmares once and for all. It killed her inside every time he woke up screaming, covered in beads of cold sweat, begging for forgiveness and mercy from the nightmares. And all she could do was hold him tight and reassure him that those dreams can’t hurt him.
And yet she felt that it was already doing just that.
Guybrush sat on the shore, watching the waves crash in in a hypnotic motion. He heard the sound of talking and briefly looked over his shoulder and saw Elaine by the kitchen most likely whipping up another meal while laughing as he heard Winslow cracking another one of those suggestive jokes that turn Guybrush’s face red. He couldn’t help but give a small smile.
He missed hearing them laugh.
“Do you… do you miss going out at sea?”
She remained silent. Part of her knew Guybrush was trying to find a way to stay awake to avoid sleeping while the other part was a genuine question.
God, how she missed that nickname.
“Sometimes, yes.” She admitted.
“O-oh… would… would you go back out there if given the chance?”
Her heart sunk. She turned over to look at him in the dark room, the only thing she could see was his silhouette thanks to the moon peering between the curtains, and held his hand tightly. He wasn’t shaking, but she could hear it in his voice.
“Only if you’re there with me, Guybrush.” Elaine reassured.
She heard a small sigh but she couldn’t decipher if it was of relief or sadness or both.
“You know you don’t have to stay with us. I can’t… I don’t want you to feel obligated. If you want to go, you’re more than welcome to. I promise I… I won’t be mad.” Guybrush spoke solemnly to Winslow. The portly first mate simply sighed and moved his cup of tea to the side, leaning his arms on the table and looking at Guybrush in the eyes.
“Oh, I’m not leaving.”
“But Winslow, I–”
“Sir. I’ve told you once, and I’ll tell you again. I’m not leaving. Not now. Not ever.” Winslow answer firmly. “After everything we’ve been through, you and Mrs– you and Elaine, you two are my family now. If you think for a second, That I’m willing to leave you because I want to sail or feel like I’m being held back, then you clearly don’t know me very well. I spent two years stuck on Flotsam against my will. I WANT to stay with you for as long as possible.”
Guybrush began to shake. Winslow walked over to the blond and began holding him tightly in an embrace.
“You’re stuck with me, whether you like it or not, Captain Threepwood.”
Winslow rubbed Guybrush’s back as the blond choked up.
The sun beamed down on the ocean, making it look like it was a ginormous glistening gem. Guybrush sat once more by the shore as he did every day and watched it crash, taking a giant breath as he smelled the salty air. That’s it. Today was going to be the day.
Guybrush used his cane to stand up before dropping it to the side as he felt no need for it at the moment and hobbled over to the ocean, feeling the waves crashing into his bare feet. Soon the water rose up, feet, ankles, shins, thighs… he braced for the pain that never came as the waves soon went up to his hips, feeling the waves rocking him momentarily.
Before he could go further, he heard Elaine calling his name.
Some other time, he figured.
Once the sun began to set, Elaine was always found in the tiny living room reading a book by the candle light. It was her downtime when she wasn’t keeping an eye on a particular blond pirate and both Winslow and Guybrush respected that. However, occasionally she’d fine her husband resting his head on her lap, unbudging, holding her free hand with his ringed one and staring at it as his legs dangling over the tiny couch while she played with his hair, her eyes fixated on the book in hand.
It was a humorous reminder for Elaine of Guybrush’s height.
But upon closer inspection, he only ever did that for one of two reasons: Either he was bored and wanted to be affectionate or he was trying to distant himself from something. And as of late, he’s been far more reserved then she cared to admit.
She figured it was the latter and continued their little tradition, feeling him shake slightly on her lap.
“Okay… just like riding a bike…”
He stood in the ocean at his hips and took a deep breath before he dove into the water.
Slowly, he opened his eyes and saw the brimming ocean life as a school of fish swim by him, the brightly coral reef almost blinding him with their vivid colors.
He swam around, feeling the sand dancing at his finger tips and seeing a fish the size of his hand look at him with curiosity before swimming off.
Guybrush swam as far as he could until–
“Nrrgh!!” He winced and grasped his thigh, feeling the ache radiating. No. No nononono… please. Not now. He mentally pleaded.
He looked up and saw the ocean life, pushing past the pain and continuing swimming. His leg was on fire but he didn’t care. He could do this.
Eventually he saw the end of the line. Not because of his thigh or his time limit, oh no. It was just… dark ahead of him. And he knew he needed a boat to see further on. And at this point, he didn’t know if he was going to be on a boat.
Well, there was nothing left to see, and it felt like the pain was gone for now. He looked up and saw the sun dancing on the surface of the water.
Guybrush kicked himself up from the seafloor and emerged on the surface, taking in a bit a of breath before lying on his back on the water, letting his leg rest from all that swimming. ‘Guess I’m out of shape.’ He joked to himself. Maybe, one day, he’ll be back on his ship, sailing the seas and swimming to his heart’s content.
His thoughts fell quiet after a while, leaving him to hear the waves crashing into the shore, the birds cawing, feeling the sun beaming warmly on his face, and the ocean rocking him slowly.
On the plus side, he still had his ten minute limit.
That’s always a good thing.