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[ dead man ]
Setting: Okay. Here goes. The explanation. Everything is as it was, except Will never came to Port Royal. Jack was still mutineed 10 years ago, he still knew Bootstrap Bill. Will's still Bootstrap's son. But, Will and Elizabeth never knew one another. Everything else should be clear or revealed from there on out.
He sat on a crate with the rest of the lot, clutching his one and only satchel close to his chest. London far behind him, Port Royal just ahead, he had nothing to count on but his own self and the limited skills he had outside of blacksmithing. The people around him chattered on and on, laughing amongst themselves as he remained quiet and to himself. Every once in a while someone would seek out his attention, but he was reticent to engage and soon they learned to leave him be.
As they neared their destination though, a man with a round and laughing face smattered in a salt and pepper beard sat down in front of him and smiled. He offered a small smile back and turned his gaze to the floor beneath him, hoping the grime-coated man before him would follow the path of the others and find other company.
Name´s Gibbs, lad,’ the man said, his voice rough and rumbling. His big meaty paw reached forward and hung in the air awkwardly between them.
Will,’ he said, reaching out and grasping the man´s hand in his, a frown marring his narrow angular face as the muck transferred now to his own skin.
From London, aye?’
Will nodded. Yes sir.’
Gibbs smiled, so open and gregarious that Will couldn´t help but be uncomfortable with the familiarity he treated him with. Been there before,’ he said, reaching into his pocket and taking out an overly dirty once white kerchief. Nice place, London is. Not for ole Gibbs though. Bit too rough around the edges for Londoner´s tastes.’
Will offered a tight smile. They are a bit uptight.’
Oh, don´t mind me, mate,’ Gibbs said, laughing and swiping his hands uselessly over with the rag. Didn´t mean no offence.’
Gibbs leaned forward, squinting at him. Bit young to be making a trip ‘cross the oceans, ain´t ye?’
I´m 19,’ Will said, feeling indignation raise it´s ugly hackles. Old enough.’
Gibbs laughed again, leaning back. Alright, then. Alright.’
Listen sir, if you don´t mind ’
Where ye headed, if ya don´t mind my askin´,’ Gibbs asked, raising an eyebrow at him. Not Port Royal, eh?’
Will nodded. That is where I´m heading, yes.’
Gibbs frowned. Well stay away from the Commodore if ye can at all help it,’ he said, his voice grave and foreboding. Worked for him m´self, years back. Good man an´ all, but takes ya t´task, that one does.’
Will frowned, looking down at the letter that had been clutched in his hands ever since setting off from London. I was commissioned by the Commodore,’ he said, his voice soft. Blacksmith. Sent notices all ‘round London for a blacksmith needed in the town of Port Royal.’
Aye,’ Gibbs said, nodding his head. One of those, then.’
Will frowned. I beg your pardon?’
Gibbs shrugged. S´nothin, mate. Don´t worry ‘bout it.’
What,’ Will asked, his voice taking on a hard edge. What is it?’
Gibbs frowned, contemplating for a moment. Nothin´. Just probably already been filled, that job o´yours.’
Will shook his head. No. I sent word months ago. Day it went out. I sent word I´d be coming.’
Gibbs nodded. Well, I´m sure if the Commodore hisself send word that you were hired ’
Will felt his chest tighten. I never received word.’
Gibbs raised an eyebrow. Well,’ he said, smiling and reaching over to pat Will on the shoulder with a thick paw. Good luck t´ya then mate.’
Will frowned as he watched Gibbs get up and walk away. He told himself to not worry about it, that a below deck´s crewman of this ship probably knew hide nor hair about the Commodore or Port Royal. He watched Gibbs and his fellow men begin to load crates as they neared Port Royal and fought the qualms brewing in his stomach down with a deep breath and closed his eyes in prayer.
He offered the young native boy at his side a smile and nodded at him. Thank you.’
Welcome, sir,’ the boy said, smiling and taking off at a quick jog down the pathway he´d just led Will.
Will turned and made his way to the first man in a red coat he could find. Excuse me, sir, could you direct me to Commodore Norrington?’
The rotund man frowned at him, looking him up and down. You want to be speaking to Lt. Gillette,’ he said, pointing up towards the stone building. He´s at the entrance. Should be at any rate.’
Thank you,’ Will said, pausing and chewing on his lip. I´m Will Turner, nice to meet you.’
The man smiled. Angus Mullroy at your service,’ he said with a slight bow and a pat on Will´s back. An´ don´t mind Lt. Gillette. Bit of a stick, but he´s all talk.’
Will smiled slightly, turning and walking up the pathway to the Fort´s mainstay. He spotted a thin man in a blue coat surrounded by three red-coated men and hung back until he heard him bark out a final order. After the men took off on their way, he walked up to him and handed him the letter.
The lieutenant regarded him with a thin frown, snatching the letter out of his hands. Ah,’ he said, his eyes briefly skimming the paper. Blacksmith.’
Will Turner,’ Will said, stepping forward and extending his hand.
Gillette frowned at the hand and replaced the letter into Will´s hands instead of his hand. You´re no longer needed.’
Will felt all of the air deflate out of his chest. I sent word I´d be ’
Off with you now,’ Gillette said, waving a hand at him and returning to his desk.
Sir, I really must protest,’ Will said, following him. I sent word that I would be on my way in two months time.’
Gillette laughed. Sent word, did you?’
Will nodded. I did. And I´d like to speak with the Commodore if at all possible.’
Gillette laughed again. Oh would you?’
Will nodded again. I would.’
Gillette rolled his eyes. And just why should I allow you to ’
That´s enough, Lt. Gillette. I´ll see the boy.’
Gillette blanched and turned his head. Will gazed behind him to the handsome and surprisingly young commodore behind him. Thank you sir.’
Commodore Norrington smiled. Come into my quarters, young man.’
But sir ’
That´ll do, Lt. Gillette,’ the Commodore said, motioning Will into his room.
Will followed Norrington into the room and swallowed audibly as the man shut the door behind him. My name is Will Turner,’ he said, clearing his throat. Will Turner, sir, and I came for the blacksmithing job.’
Norrington frowned, walking back to his desk and sitting down. That job´s been filled, Mr. Turner.’
Will frowned. But I´ve come from London sir.’
The Commodore sighed. I apologize for your troubles, Mr. Turner, but the position has been ’
I sent word, Commodore,’ Will said, trying not to shout. He leaned over the desk and regarded Norrington with a plea in his eyes. Please sir. I´ll take a dock in my wages. I have no where to go.’
Norrington frowned. I´m sorry for that Mr. Turner.’ Frowning he regarded Will in silence for a moment. You seem awfully young to be traveling on your own. Where is your mother?’
Will straightened. My mother has passed.’
The Commodore´s eyes softened for a moment and Will felt a slight hope well within him. I´m sorry to hear that.’
Will nodded. Please. Isn´t there anything ’
Norrington shook his head. I´m sorry, truly I am. But there is nothing I can offer you but my condolences. Did you not receive word that the position had been filled?’
Will gritted his teeth, his fists clenching. No sir. I did not.’
Norrington smiled slightly. And yet you came? That was rather rash, Mr. Turner.’
Will frowned, holding the satchel he still carried to his chest. I´ll ask you not to mock me, Commodore.’
Norrington laughed. I wasn´t, honestly.’ He stood. Mr. Turner, if you´ll consider staying in town a few days, I shall see if I can route out another job suited to your skills.’
Will raised an eyebrow. Really?’
The Commodore nodded. Since you made the trip, it is the least I could do. There´s always cause for a man who is skilled with his hands in a town like Port Royal.’
Will allowed himself to smile. Thank you, sir.’
Norrington nodded, advancing forward and shaking Will´s hand. I cannot promise anything, Mr. Turner. Only that I shall try.’
Thank you, Commodore Norrington.’
Will had not enough money for a room so he walked along the beaches of Port Royal, searching for a spot that would stay dry. Finding one near the smaller boats he dropped his satchel under one of the overturned boats and went back into town to find a tavern to drink his worries away.
The Tavern was full of carousing drunkards and whores. He purchased a small bottle of rum with all the money he had on him and commenced drinking it all by himself in the corner. Despite the Commodore´s kindness he feared he was starting from scratch in an unfamiliar place with very little hope for a prosperous future.
He walked outside and just barely made it to the road before he realized he was slightly more drunk than he wanted to be and decided to sit down in the grass and stare at the stars until they stopped spinning. He heard the flap-bang of the door being thrown open and saw a girl being physically thrown out of the tavern.
Woman like you don´t belong in a place like this,’ the tavern patron shouted drunkenly at her. Go back on home now, little girl!’
Bloody pirate,’ the girl shouted at him, heaving a bottle at the door as it closed. Shards of glass rained down and she giggled as she hitched up her skirt and spied him. And just what are you staring at?’
Will stood and walked closer to her. Are you alright, miss,’ he asked softly as he reached her. No man has the right to handle a lady that way.’
The girl laughs again. And what makes you think I´m a lady,’ she asks, raising an eyebrow at him. Maybe I´m just another whore.’
Will smiled. You´re not.’
The girl´s laughter faded and a small smile appeared on her face. Elizabeth,’ she said, extending her hand.
Well, Will Turner,’ she said, her smile wide and dazzling now. Would you do me the honor of escorting me to my room?’
I think that man was rather angry with you,’ Will said as they began to walk.
Perceptive, Mr. Turner.’
The walk was long and the night was brisk, but Will found Elizabeth´s company endearing. They reached an old decrepit inn and the keeper frowned at them when they entered. Miss Elizabeth, you can´t stay here any longer.’
I´ll be going to my room, kind sir,’ she said, smiling at him with a slightly dangerous tone to her voice. Or I´ll tell my father about all the other times I´ve stayed here and you´ve allowed me to.’ The man paled and said nothing more.
They walked up to her room and she smiled at him as he walked past her into it. She shut the door behind her and twirled around, giggling and laughing. You´re prettier than most of the men in this town,’ she said, stopping in front of him and clutching his arms. Are you new here?’
Will nodded. I´ve come from London. The Commodore ’
Elizabeth´s face darkened. Do not ever mention that name in my presence again.’ She frowned, stepping back. And never mention mine in front of him either. Do you understand, Will Turner?’
Will frowned, taken aback by the anger in her voice. I understand, Elizabeth. I´ll speak of you to no one.’
Elizabeth relaxed slightly and she walked across the room, facing the mirror and taking her hair down. Will looked around the room and saw many tattered books lying under the windowsill. Are these yours, Elizabeth,’ he asked, bending down and picking one up.
She came over to him, her smile wistful. They are,’ she said, her eyes flicking up to look at him as she took the book from him. Her fingers traced its spine and she smiled again, a faraway look in her eyes. Do you read, William?’
Please, it´s Will.’
She smiled, looking at him. Do you read, Will?’
He frowned. A bit.’
She held the book out to him. Smell this.’
He frowned down at the book. I beg your pardon?’
She laughed. Smell it!’
He raised the book to his nose and breathed in slowly, sniffing it cautiously. Elizabeth ’
What´s it smell like,’ she asked, her hands clasped together hopefully.
He laughed. It smells like paper.’
It is paper.’
He laughed again. And dust.’
She shook her head, taking it from him and bringing it to her own nose. Closing her eyes she smiled widely. Do you know what I smell, Will?’
He smiled at her smitten expression, taken with her quiet simple beauty. I´d think paper, Elizabeth.’
Wind. The Sea. Pirates. Blood. Metal. Adventure. Love,’ she said, opening her eyes. They danced around the room in excitement, the corner of her mouth twitching on a smile that was almost a sob. Freedom.’
Will smiled, taking the book from her. Is freedom what you want,’ he asked, putting his hands on her hips and pulling her close to him.
She smiled up at him, staring deeply into his eyes. More than anything.’
They lay together in the bed, entangled in the sheets as he played absentmindedly with her hair. She read to him from one of her books, the words lulling him into a state of bliss once the post coital euphoria had dissipated. He shifted and felt a hardness under his head. Bringing his hand up underneath his pillow he frowned as he drew out a pistol.
Elizabeth sighed, putting her book down. It´s a gun, Will.’
He frowned, studying it. And what does a lady like yourself need a gun for?’
I keep telling you Will,’ she said, the anger returning to her voice. I´m not a lady. I´m a whore.’
He smiled at her and kissed her temple. You´re not.’
She sighed, shifting in the bed and looking at him as she shifted next to her. For protection. You never know what man will try to become rough.’
He frowned, sighing. Elizabeth, why do you do this?’
Do what,’ she asked, avoiding his gaze.
This,’ he said, spreading his arms wide. You´re clearly an educated girl. You speak with a diction that is not unlike that of the Commodore you begged me not to speak of ’
Elizabeth´s slap resounded throughout the room and she frowned at Will as he covered his cheek with a hand. I told you not to mention his name again, Mr. Turner.’
I apologize, Elizabeth.’
She opened her mouth to say something again but the door burst open and man dressed in Navy blue burst into the room. Elizabeth Swann, haven´t we had this discussion?’
Elizabeth rose, clutching the sheet to her sweat dampened chest. Lieutenant Groves, I´ll thank you to leave at once!’
Groves looked past Elizabeth to Will, his eyes narrowing to slits. Leave.’
Will shook his head. No.’
Groves´ eyebrows drew together. Listen, young man, you´ve no idea what you´ve gotten into tonight. I suggest you take leave now.’
We´re running away together,’ Elizabeth shouted, sneering at Groves. Will is going to take me places he never will.’
Groves raised his gun at Will´s head and fixed him with a cold hard stare. I shall give you to the count of three before I force you to leave not only this room but this Earth.’
GET OUT,’ Elizabeth shouted. This is none of your business.’
Will turned to face Elizabeth. Perhaps I should go, Elizabeth.’
Why do you do this, Miss Swann,’ Groves asked, his eyes flicking to her guiltily. You´re to marry the Commodore in no less than two weeks.’
Will´s eyes widened. Marry? You´re to marry the Commodore?!’
Groves looked at him in surprise. Don´t you know whom you are bedding? This is the daughter of Governor Swann.’
Will felt the color drain out of his face. Governor.’
Count of three, boy,’ Groves said. One two ’
Will could tell the gun was pointed to the right of him. He knew the bullet would whiz past him and scare him, but that it would pierce the wall behind him, not him. He vowed to stay right where he was, but he wasn´t counting on Elizabeth lunging across him and catching the bullet instead. He felt her slump against him and heard the gasp of horror across the room.
Was she hit,’ Groves asked in a whisper, his face drained of all blood.
Will reached down and checked her pulse, finding it weak and thready. Removing the sheet from around her chest he saw the bullet hole piercing straight into her heart. You´ve killed her!’
Oh fuck. Oh, bloody fucking hell I wasn´t going to shoot you I wasn´t aiming at your head, it was a bluff . Why did she have to lunge in front of ’
Will´s fingers stretched and grasped onto the pistol he had been holding only seconds before. Pulling it up he aimed it at Groves´ head and pulled the trigger before Groves was even able to drag his eyes from Elizabeth´s fallen body.
With shaking hands Will gathered his clothes and went to the door. He heard a loud clatter of footsteps coming up the stairs and abruptly turned towards the window. He climbed out of the window and dropped clumsily to the dirt outside. He ran to the waters of Port Royal and turned over the first boat he saw. Getting in it he started paddling as fast as he could through the black waters of the night.
It was an hour before he realized that the bullet had passed through her and straight into his own chest.
He woke to fire and pain and blindingly white light. It dissipated and just when he was about to be able to drift back off to sleep he was woken again with yet more searing pain in his chest. His eyes fluttered open and he saw a face painted with soot and kohl and golden teeth.
Easy, lad,’ the man before him said, and Will thought maybe it was a smile he flashed at him, but it looked like more of a grimace. S´necessary t´hurt ya. Get the bullet outta your chest.’
Will tried to sit up but the man laid a heavy hand on his chest and shoved him back down. What are you doing it hurts,’ he ground out.
That´s cause I got a knife diggin´ in your chest,’ the man said, laughing. Trust ol´ Cap´n Jack though. He´s helpin´ ya.’
The man frowned at him. Cap´n, love. Cap´n Jack.’
Jack Sparrow, at your service, mate,’ Jack said, digging the knife once again into his flesh. Bloody hell, is this thing wedged in there.’
Where am I,’ Will asked, unable to keep his eyes open despite himself.
You´re in Tortuga, man,’ Jack said. S´too bad ya can´t enjoy the festivities though, what with a bullet in your chest an´ all.’
Are you a pirate,’ Will asked, squinting up at him.
Jack laughed. Is that not apparent, mate?’
Will cringed, groaning as Jack twisted the knife again, white hot pain rendering him immobile. Bloody hell,’ he ground out finally. Would you stop that?!’
Jack frowned, tossing the knife to the side. I might as well, love. Not gettin´ that thing outta ya any time soon.’ He sat back on his haunches and smiled down at him. What´s your name, lad?’
Jack frowned. Come again?’
Will Turn ’
Will Turner? William Turner,’ Jack shouted, standing up swiftly. Can´t be. Ol´ Bill´s dead!’
Will frowned up at him. Not Bill. Will.’
Jack fell to his knees again, leaning over, nose to nose with Will. The years´ve been kind t´ya love,’ he said, smiling fondly. You seem to´ve grown younger despite your age.’
Jack laughed. 19 eh? You were 34 last I saw you, an´ that was 10 years ago mate. You ain´t foolin´ no one.’
Listen, I think there´s been a mistake,’ Will said, struggling to sit up. Jack planted a fist square in his chest and pushed him back down. We don´t know one another. You´ve mistaken me for someone else.’
No,’ Jack said, his smile wide. I´d know that bone structure anywhere.’ His hand reached out and fingered the golden coin around his neck. An´ that Aztec gold too. Would recognize that anywhere.’
Will sighed. Listen Jack ’
Cap´n Jack, love,’ he said, smiling. An´ listen, bout that mutiny business. I know it weren´t your idea. Had no part in it, I know that.’
Will frowned. Mutiny.’
Sides, it´s too good to see you again. Might as well let bygones be bygones, aye?’
Will sighed, closing his eyes, too tired to deal with the man before him. Alright.’
Alright,’ Jack said, clapping his hands together and standing up. Well you get your rest, William, an´ I´ll set us up a fire and o´course the rum. Always, the rum.’
Will smiled ruefully. The last thing he wanted right now was rum.
Do you have any tobacco?’
Will frowned, peering at him out of one eye. I don´t smoke.’
Mmm,’ Jack said, his mouth twisting into a frown. Pity.’