Crazy though it was, he felt less lonely in the years that followed. The giant monster appeared from time to time, sometimes when he was in danger, sometimes just seeming to watch him. He invited it to eat him, but it never took him up on the offer. Sometimes it opened its beak and waved at him, and he was forced to note that its breath now smelled seaweedy and rank—but not like a thousand rotting corpses. Which was, perhaps, because it was no longer eating thousands of men. Well. If it was on a human-diet to keep its breath sweet, who was he to argue?
He got into the habit of talking to it, and it showed up more frequently, just floating near the ship. He shared with it as he had once shared with Elizabeth. Telling it everything on his mind, from how much he missed Elizabeth to how much he resented Jack, to how much he wished he’d never found the fountain of youth. He went back and destroyed the fountain, ensuring that nobody else would drink its water in the foolish hope that immortality would make them happy. He’d dropped a cursed crystal from a voodoo witch he’d found into the clear water, and it had turned it to normal water. It wasn’t poison, but it wouldn’t stop aging.
He talked about the weather and the water and his memories. He didn’t talk about his dreams. He would have if he could have thought of any, but all that came to mind were the old ones, the ones that had died with Elizabeth. No, to be honest, they’d died earlier. He’d loved Elizabeth, but it had never been what he’d hoped. There’d never been the happily ever after he’d dreamed of.
When the kraken was attacked by a pod of sperm whales, he helped it drive them off and then climbed down to sew the worst of its wounds with line and a needle quickly adapted from a harpoon. It had borne with the procedure docilely enough, but its high-pitched keens were as agonizing as his work could possibly have been. He braved the screams again a couple weeks later to remove the huge stitches.
They took turns choosing their destinations. Sometimes the kraken followed him, other times it took the lead and he went after it. They ran into Jack a few times. Well. Three times were in a pub, so only Will met him. The other two were at sea. The pirate captain was madder than ever, but his crew seemed loyal and devoted. Jack said it was because he was the model of the perfect pirate captain. Will figured it was because he didn’t age and they either that thought he could share that secret or that he had other powers and would destroy them if they turned on him. Maybe a combination of the two.
His voice got old, even though his body didn’t. Not weak or querulous, but ... rusty. Salt water and time working their magic and leaving it hoarse. It probably didn’t help that he only talked to the kraken, which meant he only shouted and rarely talked in a normal voice. When he went to land, people gave him odd looks and shouted back, probably assuming he was half-deaf. He didn’t go to shore much.
The kraken didn’t eat people very often. Mostly just pirates, and not even Jack’s pirates. Just the ones who attacked Will, which was fewer and fewer as time went by and the ship looked older and he looked more ragged. He didn’t have anything worth stealing except the yacht itself, after all, and that mostly wasn’t worth the trouble. He’d had a few vessels see them and flee in the opposite direction, apparently thinking they were some sort of ghost ship, if not something worse. He was amused, mostly, and the kraken was, too. He’d gotten pretty good at interpreting gracefully waving tentacles and the occasional snapped beak over the years.
And then they started hunting them. He wasn’t sure who ‘they’ were, exactly. It started out with adventurers, continued on to bounty hunters. And then it turned into something else entirely. Something ... different. They came in a ship with sails that billowed even without a wind, and waved sticks rather than guns. He’d been inclined to laugh at them, but the kraken warned caution.
It hadn’t been enough though, and the last thing he heard as he dove under a glowing green light that sprang from one of the sticks and knocked himself silly as head hit wall, was the high pitched, agonized scream of the kraken.