Title: Dead Man's Chest
Sequel to: Curse of the Black Pearl and A Tail of the Sea.
Pairings/Characters: Chloe, James Norrington, Will Turner, Lois/Jack Sparrow, Lucy/Giselle, Lana, Governor Swan, Cutler Beckett... more
Disclaimer: Don't own
Summary: A year has passed since Chloe started her life on the small, remote island, where she's managed to build a happy life for herself. But she has a debt to pay, and when old friends come a'knocking she finds out who The Voice is, and what she must do to be free.Warning PLEASE READ: Time has passed since A Tail of the Sea. Chloe genuinely believed Will when he told her he didn't want to be with her anymore. She has moved on. If you don't like that idea, then DO NOT READ! It'll be really immature to read and then complain about her 'being a whore' because she didn't pull a "Bella" and spent the whole time pining after Will, or something, so please don't!
It'd been a year since Chloe had come to live in this small island, a year since she'd sent out the first letter to her family, and six months since she'd sent her last one. Obviously they were extremely mad or disappointed in her and hadn't chosen to write back. She tried not to feel resentful about that, or hurt. What she'd done was selfish, but she'd hoped her sisters would understand like they had Lucy's choosing to live with pirates in Tortuga. How was this choice any worse or any more questionable?
It wasn't as if she was living in sin. No. Chloe lived in a more isolated section of the island, had a cottage of her own, a lagoon of her own, and a small, private cove as well. She easily survived by using the treasures she'd hidden away and bartering for food or services, and now that she had her own garden she needed less and less things from the village. She kept mostly to herself, swam in the ocean, and practiced the sword-fighting techniques Will and Barbossa had taught her. Barbossa didn't come to her in her dreams anymore and she was surprised at how much she actually missed their conversations.
The villagers were very nice. They'd been a bit suspicious of her at first but had bought her story of woe and allowed her to become one of them. Sure, she kept mostly to herself, but when she ventured into the village people always said their hellos and spoke to her in a friendly manner. She knew better than to get too close to them though, or to let them get too close. She was learning all she'd need to do the mysterious task The Voice had for her, she couldn't allow herself any sort of distraction.
She needed a little side business to keep herself going though, and while not a lot of people visited the island (or even knew about it, it would seem) she'd just finished construction on the cottage, adding on rooms upstairs. The idea of running a little inn was interesting, but thankfully since not many people arrived she wouldn't have to worry about too many people under her roof. It gave her time to slowly but surely furnish the new rooms as well as better her cooking.
There was no way she'd ever be a world-renowned cook, but a year of having to provide for herself had made her proficient in the area. She'd recreated the recipes she could remember learning aboard the Black Pearl, and the ladies on the island had offered her their own when she complained about eating the same things all the time. Thanks to them the little makeshift cookbook she was putting together was quite thick.
Catching sight of herself in a mirror, Chloe paused and stared at her reflection. A year had done much to change her. No longer were her clothes grand and her hair done up in fanciful styles. No. Her once fashionably pale skin had darkened due to time spent under the sun; her clothes were simple like those of every woman in the village. Her hair was no longer the long golden silk it's once been, the length had been beautiful but impractical, she'd kept getting it caught in things, or it'd keep falling in her face, or some other cumbersome situation would happen. It hadn't taken her too long to take her sword to her locks and cut them shoulder-length. She'd burnt the rest. It'd been oddly cathartic.
"Miss Calypso!" A young voice called out. "Miss Calypso!"
Peering out of the window of the second floor bedroom, Chloe glanced down to see ten year old Ernest Smith waving his hand back and forth at her. "Shouldn't you be in school?" There was a small school on island that catered to the fishermen's children.
Ernest smiled mischievously and held up a heavy-looking bag.
Knowing what was probably inside; Chloe smiled and waved him in.
Ernest ran towards the front door and when she met him there, he had already undone the knot at the end of the bag and opened it wide so she could peer inside. "Lookey lookey!" His excitement was adorable. "Last storm washed up some beauties!"
Peering inside, Chloe reached within and eased out a jewelry chest. It was beautiful, roughened by years at sea, but still beautiful.
"And look at this!" Ernest shoved his hand inside and scrummaged around for a second before pulling out a small wooden swan. "It made me think of you, wiffen your necklace and all!"
Fingers clasping around the swan necklace James had given her so very long ago, Chloe smiled. "It is lovely." She went through the other contents of the bag and finally reached into her pocket and pulled out two coins. No one else would pay that much but the boy was making an honest living, and she really did like the little treasures he found. "Go put everything on my table please."
"Yes Miss Calypso!" Eager and happy to have once again earned a wage, Ernest did as told and then rushed back out. "You need a husband, too much work still leff for a pretty lady like yourself to do all on her lonesome."
Amused by this change in topic, Chloe wrapped a shawl tighter around her shoulders. "Are you offering?"
"Am not old enough yet," he informed her. "But I reckon Seamus likes you just fine."
Oh, yes, Seamus liked her enough to come "serenade" her drunkenly almost every other night.
Ernest leaned in closer. "Though, between you and me, miss, you can do better than Seamus."
The laughter that escaped her was loud and amused. "I think so too."
Grinning brightly, Ernest glanced over his shoulder, turned back to Chloe, waved, and then was off.
"GO TO SCHOOL!" Chloe yelled after him.
"I CANNOT HEAR YOU MISS!" Ernest yelled cheekily over his shoulder before he was gone.
Leaning in the doorway, Chloe grinned. That boy reminded her of Lucy so much she sometimes forgot she wasn't talking to her little sister.
A strange breeze swooped around her and she glanced out towards the little cliff overlooking the cove. She didn't know why she moved towards it but she found herself soon standing on the edge, shawl tightly around her shoulders, staring out at the beautiful sea. A large ship could be seen on the horizon, headed this way. They did get some visitors, mostly sailors who needed a port where to buy more food and stock up on fresh water. They hardly ever stayed on the island so she didn't think she'd need to worry about having guests.
Hugging her arms tighter, Chloe turned away from the sea and returned to her home. She busied herself until sunset, and then she returned once more to watch the sun setting over the horizon. Every single evening she stood at this very place, watching the sun as it set into the sea. She didn't know why, or what she was looking for, but she watched it, and just like every day, the sea swallowed the sun, and darkness spread out across the heavens.
Returning home, Chloe lit the lamps in the house and sat by the window, gaze out over the sea. Maybe later she'd go for a dip, but only once it was later. The last time she'd gone to swim in the ocean around sunset she'd returned to chaos since someone had come to see her and had thought she'd "returned to the sea" or something like that when they'd found her dress in the cove.
She must've fallen asleep while gazing at the sea because the next thing she knew there was a pounding on the door. Wariness filled her as she grabbed her sword and made her way to the door. A peer outside the window proved that there were some men there, two of which held an unconscious man between them.
Opening the door, Chloe stood in the doorway. "May I help you?"
"Miss Calypso." Hannibal, a young man from town, appeared. "This sailor is looking for an inn and yours is the only one on island. I know it is not finished yet but his friends need somewhere to leave him."
"'Friends' is a strong word, young'un," one of the men declared harshly. "This one thinks himself too good for the likes o' us, and we find we dunna want his kind on our ship."
"His kind?" Chloe narrowed her eyes. If this guy was trouble he wasn't getting into her house.
"His Nibs thinks he is too grand for us and our ship," another of the sailors declared. "And he's a lousy drunk, all mournful. Drags the spirit of the men down he does."
"We can catch the next ship out fer all we care," another sailor snapped. "Just dunna want him with us!"
"We 'ave his tings here," one of the sailors in the back declared.
"We sauced 'im good and brought 'im here, will be gone before he wakes up," another promised.
Chloe was about to tell them to take their drunk friend and leave… but then the light of her lamp caught on his face, and her eyes widened. She recognized that face. How she did with how dirty he was was a mystery, but she did. "Bring him in. And do not drag in dirt with you or that will cost extra." She glared. "And you're paying me tonight's stay now. Otherwise get out." They sounded desperate enough to…
"Here you go, ma'am," the first handed her some coins. "Should be enough for tonight."
Stepping out of the way, Chloe allowed them inside and led them to the room down below that was ready. They threw their comrade on the bed, threw his things on the floor, and promptly left without another word.
Locking the door behind them, Chloe watched them leave and then slipped into the room. She hesitated at the door, light on him, and then sighed as she placed the lamp by his bed and sat on the edge of it. In a second she was up though, gone to the bathroom for a bowl which she filled with water she kept in a large container, and grabbed a rag before she went back to the bedroom and placed the bowl next to the lamp.
Wetting the rag, Chloe hesitated before she sat down next to him once more and began to wipe away the dirt and gunk. They were caked on, his hair much longer and unkempt than she was used to seeing. The scent of rum was so thick he smelt as if he'd bathed in it.
What has happened to you, James?
Continuing to ease the dirt from his face, Chloe observed him in his tattered, dirty uniform, and couldn't reconcile him with the James Norrington she'd known for so many years. What had happened to him since he'd left His Majesty's Service? How could he have fallen this low?
Those questions, and more, plagued her as she stared down at a dear friend who'd suddenly become a stranger.
If James had changed this much in one year, what about everyone else?
It had been six months since she'd seen William Turner.
Lana Swann stared out of the window at the unusually rainy day and sighed as she pressed her forehead against the glass. They'd come upon the anniversary of Chloe's death and the household was showing it. Everyone wore black and had the grimmest of expressions on their faces. Lana had expected to see Will back, even if only for the anniversary, but he hadn't come.
Worry curled in her gut, like it always did when she thought about Will. He'd up and disappeared into the night, saying goodbye to no one. They'd only found out the next day because Mr Brown had grumbled on how his apprentice had quit and left – and then he'd gone on to say how ungrateful Will was. Lana knew that the man's business would suffer because he'd actually have to do his own work instead of Will doing it for him, and that that was the real reason for his bad mood.
"Milady," Mary knocked on the door. "Mr White is here to see you."
Lana sighed and almost told Mary to let her visitor know she was indisposed, but instead she squared her shoulders and stood. "Please let him know that I will be with him in a second."
It was high noon by the time James Norrington stumbled out of his room with what seemed to be the hangover from hell. She'd learnt some cures for hangovers from Macy the barmaid, and had one ready for him when he stumbled forwards, hand on his forehead, eyes bleary.
"Where the devils am I?" James's voice was hoarse as he turned towards her and froze. "Apologies, madam, I did not mean to swear in the presence of a lady." He closed his eyes and groaned. "How is it that I came to be here? The last I remember I was drinking at the bar."
"Your colleagues left you here high and dry," she declared slowly. Was he so hungover that he didn't even recognize her?
James turned to face her. "That voice…" He moved towards her, eyes narrowed, head visibly killing him, and then he got close enough and his eyes widened as he seemed to lose all color. "Miss Swann?"
She smiled and lifted a wooden cup to his lips. "Drink this, James; it will help with the pain."
He accepted the glass and drank without question. "I must still be drunk."
For a moment she didn't understand what he meant by that, and then she did. "You are not hallucinating. I am really here."
"Why would you be here?" James wanted to know as he finished the drink and peered around the cottage. "In this sort of place?"
"James Ezekiel Norrington! Do not dare to disparage my home!"
He flinched at his full name. Something about it must've gotten through to him though because his eyes widened as he dropped the cup. "Chloe?"
She smiled. "Hello James."
Suddenly horror filled James' eyes. He took a step back and then looked down at himself, at the condition he was in, and shame quickly joined horror. He glanced away, as if unable to look at her, his gaze fixed steadily on the ground. "Please forgive me for the sorry state in which I stand before you." His hands clenched tightly at his sides and trembled as his voice thickened. "I did not realize just how low I had fallen until this very second. The shame I feel that you should see me like this… I would prefer to be dead."
Chloe moved closer and slapped him before even realizing what she was doing. She could see the shock on his face as he cradled his face and stared down at her with wide-eyes, and while she was surprised at herself she cleared her throat and raised her chin. "Now, if you are done feeling sorry for yourself I will draw a bath for you." She eyed his tattered uniform. He'd held onto it as if to a last bit of his past. "Once all the gunk has been washed away you will change into clean clothes and then have breakfast." She anchored her hands on her hips. "I trust you do not have any issues with this."
His eyes said otherwise. "You draw my bathwater? Chloe, you are not my servant girl! I could never-!"
She raised a finger and silenced him immediately. "This is my inn and you are my paying customer. Of course I will-."
"You do not have a maid assisting you?" James looked horrified. "You are doing the manual labor yourself? Chloe! You are a lady of fine breeding! You-."
"What I am is losing patience." She raised an eyebrow. "No offense, James, but you need a bath."
He lowered his head and cleared his throat. "Then I will draw my own bath water."
"Do not be ridiculous, I-."
"I will not have you doing manual labor when I can do so myself." James' voice was soft but determined. She knew that tone. He would not be swayed.
Deciding to concede on this matter for his pride's sake, Chloe instructed him on where he could get the water, and then towards the washroom. While he went ahead to bathe she readied breakfast. It wouldn't be anything like he was used to eating as former Commodore, but it would keep him filled and in the end that was all that mattered.
She'd finished setting the table and had opened up some of the windows so the sea breeze could come in when she heard someone clearing his throat. Chloe turned to see someone who looked more like the James she knew. He was scrubbed clean, so hard in fact his skin had a rosy glint to it. His hair was wet and pulled back from his face (she was still not used to seeing him without the wig) and his clothes worn yet clean. He smelt of soap. It was nice.
Smiling, Chloe moved to the table. "How do you feel?"
"Clean," he responded, apparently rooted to the spot.
Sighing, Chloe made her way to him and looped her arm around his, leading the surprised man to the table. "Come now, the food is getting cold."
James sat down and waited for her to do the same before he glanced down at his plate curiously.
She laughed. "Oh, come now James, I did not poison your food."
James looked up, eyes wide. "You cooked this?"
She leaned her cheek against her fist, elbow on the table. "A lone woman must know how to feed herself."
Something odd passed over James' eyes. "A lone woman?"
She spread her arms as if asking if he saw anyone else around.
James cleared his throat and lowered his gaze to his food as he picked up his fork. "Pardon, I had merely assumed that you and Mr Turner had decided to start your married life together away from Port Royal." He glanced up and must've noticed something in her expression because he dropped his fork. "You are here as MrsTurner, are you not?"
"I am here as Miss Finley," she admitted. "Miss Calypso Finley. So if someone from the village comes here I would appreciate it if you called me that."
James' gaze lowered and anger was visible before he pushed it back and took in a deep breath. Instead of asking why she and Will were no longer together, he picked back up his fork, his knife, and daintily tried the food. Upon swallowing he looked up at her in shock. "This is quite pleasing."
Chloe laughed, hard. She couldn't remember the last time she'd laughed like this. "Do not sound so shocked! My ego is bruised!"
"I did not mean to imply-!" James turned rosy at the cheeks. "I merely meant that-." He cleared his throat. "As the daughter of the Governor you should not have to—."
She waited for him to continue.
He must've read something on her face because he cleared his throat and lowered his attention to the plate once more. "Thank you for the meal."
Chloe's smile grew as she leaned back in her seat. "You are welcome, James."
Silence fell between them as they broke their fast.