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Sure as the Earth Beneath His Feet

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There are times Billy wonders if he isn’t imagining it, this strange phenomenon he has grown to notice as they settle into their home. Other times, he wonders if he should have already known it about her, about his dark eyed Abigail, so out of place in his world, and yet more at home here on the island often than he is.

 

But then, he’d only known her out at sea before, hadn’t he? She’d been so off balance aboard ship; even when seated with her journal before her, she’d seemed… untethered, he supposed. Like the rest of the men, he’d thought her merely seasick and unsteady on a landlubber’s legs, or perhaps still adrift after the trauma of what she’d been through.

 

But in truth, it was just that she was, in fact, adrift.

 

Seeing her now, bare feet in the soil of her flower beds, so as not to risk crushing a seedling with her shoes, or so she’d told him, he knows she is grounded in a way he cannot achieve, in a way he would not have thought possible. In a way he wouldn’t even have begun to think of at all, truly.

 

But here she is, flowering vines reaching for her as if she were the sun, vegetables growing that have no business doing so well in the sandy island soil. And he knows too, that same earth she coaxes into feeding their eyes and bodies will warn her should danger come.

 

It’s how they escaped the last Spanish raid after all, and the British one before that. Someday the great powers of the world might cease to fight over the right to claim this isle, but Billy doubts it will be soon. Until then, it’s a relief to know his lovely bride will have that extra edge of protection, especially should he be out to sea and unable to protect her when danger comes. He’s teaching her to fight sure, but knowing the earth is stronger than he is, even earth as surrounded by the sea as they are, stronger and able to tell her when it is best to run, instead of fight… Well that knowing is a comfort he’d never expected.

 

It’s one he depends on when Abigail’s out of his sight, or hell, even when she’s just out of reach. He’ll never speak of it to her, never ask where or how she gained such a gift. She’ll tell him or not when she’s ready. It’s enough to know it’s there, steady beneath his feet and his hands. Steady like her heartbeat against his skin.

 

Steady like a shore to a man lost at sea so, so many times.