by Siryn

Every scar tells a story and theirs are no exception. A piece of history you carry forever, a living reminder of who you were before and how you came to be the person you are now. The map of a life, a map you never lose no matter how hard you try.

She has the least. The one on her right knee is uneven and rough. She'd been running home from the harbor. Something about the ships and the commotion of people coming in and out lured her. She could disappear among them for hours and be Lizzie, not little Miss Swann, the governor's daughter. There was Marian, who had a cart near the docks, told stories of handsome pirates and long-lost treasure and fed her tart grapefruit right out of the crate. One day she lost track of time helping Marian and took off running, hoping her father would be delayed on his way home. Her feet got caught in her skirts and she went down hard on the cobblestones just outside her gate. It bled for what seemed like forever then and when it healed and the scab fell off, the skin was pink and puckered, marring her unblemished skin. The newest one is barely healed, a nick on her shoulder from her sword-fighting lesson with Will.

Will's are mostly on his hands and arms. Blacksmithing isn't the safest trade and his hands weren't always as sure as they are now. The three small ones inside his right arm came from hot ash and metal during his first days as an apprentice. Another one on his thumb from the time he didn't quite catch the sword he was flipping in the air. She never would have seen the one on his forehead if she didn't know just where to look. It's razor-thin and covered by his hair. She liked to think of it as hers, since he got it on the day of the shipwreck, the day they met.

Jack's are by far the most interesting and the most frightening. The ugly, jagged one on his wrist was the one he never wanted to talk about. Even with all of their prodding, he refused. She wondered whom he was trying to protect from the harshness of his past, them or himself. The ones on his chest were an interesting story. They finally pried it out of him after two full bottles of rum and the promise of a striptease by moonlight. In his younger and much more foolish days, he had been caught stealing the wrong man's goods. And by goods he meant gold and the man's oldest daughter's virginity. Unfortunately for him, the Spanish are notorious for shooting first and thinking second. He barely made it back to the ship and it took Bootstrap an entire day to dig the bullets out. The thin, criss- crossing ones on his back are faded with time and mostly covered by a jumble of tattoos, but she's fairly certain she knows what they are from. She might be a governor's daughter, but she's not a fool. He has more, but she knows that there's plenty of time to hear all the stories.

And then there's the one they all share. A thin, white line dissecting each of their left palms. Lifting her hand, she examines hers. It's wider than Will's. With the hasty bandaging and the exposure to salt water from the swim to the island, it took longer to heal. Jack's is long and thin, done fast and with a sure hand. The one on Will's hand is deep and has a slight downturn at one end, like he wasn't focused fully on what he was doing. Which he wasn't, she knows. He was watching her, trying to make sure she was safe.


Almost as if he knows she's awake, Will turns in his sleep.

"Elizabeth," he murmurs sleepily, "are you alright?" Smiling, she snuggles closer to his side, her head pillowed on his shoulder.

"I'm fine, just a bad dream," she answers softly. Their movements wake Jack, who drapes his arm over her hip, his hand splayed over Will's stomach.

"Will you two shut up, 'm trying t'sleep," he says roughly, breath warm against her neck. They settle against each other, the rocking of the sea lulling the both of them back to sleep, but her mind will not rest.

She wonders if there will be more. The life they've chosen isn't an easy one and on nights like this she dreams about horrible endings, filled with bloodshed and broken necks. If something happens to either one of them, she wonders if she'll be able survive it, a wound to her heart that will never heal over, but will leave an indelible mark nonetheless. Another symbol on an ever-widening map of who she is and who she will be.


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