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.
A/N: All facts regarding Admiral Lawrence Norrington are canon.
One of Chloe's favorite parts of having her own personal cove was being able to collect stones and shells (as well as other things that washed up on her shore) to decorate her garden and yard with. Ernest must've told the villagers about her little quest to line the pathway to her front door because quite a couple of them had brought lovely medium to large rocks to help her in her little project. She hadn't felt this sort of community spirit in Port Royal and was quickly growing used to it. It was one of the reasons why she didn't mind the eccentricity of the people themselves.
"Why do they do that?" James watched the elderly couple leave as they murmured to themselves.
Chloe glanced up from the shells and driftwood the couple had brought her. These weren't for her yard or garden though. "They are superstitious."
James turned to face her in curiosity.
She elaborated with a sigh, knowing he wasn't going to like it. "I have a friendly relationship with a young local boy."
"Ernest," James figured with a small smile.
Chloe nodded. "He used to have two brothers."
James' smile slipped from his lips at her use of the past tense.
"They were fishing with their father in questionable weather and got caught in a storm." Chloe could still remember the storm that had rattled her bones. She'd even mentioned it brewing to Ernest when he'd visited her the day before the ill-fated fishing trip. "Ernest was the only one who survived."
James didn't speak for a moment, then he asked: "What does this have to do with you?"
"The day before the accident I gave him a necklace I'd made from some of the things he'd brought me. It was a way of thanking him, I suppose, for keeping me company and getting me things I wouldn't find otherwise. It wasn't a grand necklace, in fact it was quite amateurish, but he was wearing it the day he went fishing." Chloe clutched the material in her hands tightly. "The villagers seem to think it was a protection charm. Whenever one of them has to go to sea for a period of time, like the young boys when they join ships as cabin boys or sailors, their parents bring me things like this and ask for a 'token' for their sons."
James' expression darkened. "They believe you are a witch."
Sometimes she thought they did, but considering no one had tried burning her or her house to the ground it had to be something else.
"You must dissuade them from this sort of thinking," James pressed. "Should an illness or anything foul befall this island they will blame you."
She had not considered that.
Anxiety darkened visibly on James' face as he paced. "Do not make the amulet for those people."
"I told them I would make this for their son," Chloe protested. "I gave my word."
"And what if that boy dies at sea with your amulet?" James turned to face her. "They will blame you!"
"And what if that boy dies at sea without my amulet?" Chloe countered. "They will still blame me!"
James paused in realization and groaned.
She felt more sorry for his obvious headache than worried about any danger she might potentially experience. James didn't understand, he didn't know that the villagers believed she brought the fish, he also didn't know that she wasn't exactly sure she didn't bring the fish. The first island and the first villagers she'd thought merely superstitious, but this was two for two. What if she did bring in the fish when she sang? Hadn't Angus and the others said it enough times? Didn't they discourage anyone from doing anything that would make her "stop singing"?
It was why she still sung. If she called in the fish the villagers needed – if she really had this odd ability – the villagers needed it. They'd been kind to her and she felt the need to reciprocate. It was also why she sometimes drew blood while trying to make the crude little amulets, because if by the odd chance they did actually protect the boys who wore them – why wouldn't she make them and save the boys?
She wasn't a witch. She wasn't sure what she was, but she knew the Voice was special, and if it could be trusted there was something special about her as well. So why shouldn't she use that special – something – to help these people? To keep them from starving? To keep them from losing people they loved to storms and other dangers on the sea?
"I must head to the village to enquire on the chests you commissioned," James finally declared. "I will take the time to ponder on this dangerous misunderstanding and how to best put the villagers straight."
Chloe watched him head to where her horse was already saddled and was waiting. James mounted, freed the reigns, and with a nod to Chloe was off.
It was a good thing he was gone too, because minutes after he left that she blinked to no longer find herself standing by her house. No. She wasn't even standing. Instead she floated within water, the surface much higher up. A shadow cast over her caused her to glance up and see the outline of a smaller boat above her.
The Voice jolted her in surprise and it was only when her grip instinctively tightened on something in her hand that she even realized that she was holding something. Chloe peered down to see the bejeweled dagger she'd stolen from the Asian pirate.
Finally she obeyed and surfaced behind a small boat to find a couple she did not recognize, they were probably from a neighboring island. The elderly couple sobbed as they released flowers into the sea.
'Dey grieve da death of dere son,' the Voice informed her. 'Dey nah know he survived da pirate attack and has been forced to serve Blackbeard. Dey will never know he is alive, and dat if dey go to Las Tortugas and offer Blackbeard da right price, dey can buy dere son's freedom.'
The dagger warmed in Chloe's hands as understanding filled her. Sinking under the water once more she swam towards the front of the boat and surfaced amongst the flowers.
The old man and woman recoiled in terror.
She didn't blame them. It was only in this moment that she realized they must think her a mermaid, and mermaids were known to prey on sailors. And why shouldn't they think her a mermaid? Now that she looked around she could barely make out her island home in the distance. No human should be able to make this swim, and these people would know that. She wasn't even sure why the two had chosen this place to mourn their son. It must've been a huge effort to get them to this exact spot. Why was it important to release the flowers here?
The man raised his oar, about to swing at her with it.
"Your son lives!" Chloe's words had him freezing. "He survived the pirate attack on his vessel but has been made a slave on Blackbeard's ship."
"He lives?" The woman whispered tearfully.
"Why should we believe your words?" The man wanted to know, oar still held high.
"Because," Chloe lifted her hand to extend the dagger's handle towards them, "if you take this to Las Tortugas you will find Blackbeard's ship, and you will be able to use this dagger to buy your son's freedom from his new master."
"Thank you!" The mother sobbed as her husband took the dagger from Chloe.
"Why are you helping us?" The father asked softly. "Who art thou?"
Chloe glanced towards her island before she turned back to face them. These people probably hadn't heard any news from Port Royal and would never meet anyone she knew, but she still let her paranoia reign. "My name is Calypso."
The couples' eyes widened and the woman collapsed to her knees in uncontrollable sobs.
"You heard our pleas." The man clutched the dagger so tightly it shook. "Thank you, Calypso! Thank you!" He fell to his knees as well.
Increasingly uncomfortable, Chloe dove back under and began her slow swim towards home. It would take her a while to make it back to the island given the distance - every time she surfaced to gage the distance remaining (and make sure she hadn't accidentally gone off course) she found the sky darker and darker.
By the time she made it back to the cove her body was so sore, and she so tired, that she only managed to pull herself onto the shore. Collapsed on the sand, Chloe closed her eyes, meaning only to rest for a little while, but the next time she blinked her eyes open she found herself in bed, dry, with blankets up to her chin. The darkness of the room, as well as how low the lit candles had burnt, proved that she'd been in bed for a couple of hours. Chloe pulled her blankets down to find that she now wore one of her nightgowns.
"Mrs Sinclair changed you," a voice assured her.
Chloe turned to find James sitting in a chair in the corner of her room, the shadows from the candles dancing on his expressionless face.
"Dr Sinclair assured me that you were merely tired, and then mentioned casually that you are known to disappear for hours into the sea, so I should not worry when you do it next time." James's voice was soft as he leaned forwards on the seat, elbows leaning against knees. "Is there something which you wish to share with me?"
Chloe clutched at her sheets, not sure what to say.
'Tell him,' the Voice ordered.
Chloe's eyes widened in shock. The Voice had never given her permission to tell anyone before, but now that it had she rapidly did so. She warned him that what she was about to disclose would sound insane, but was true, and then she told him everything - even the things no one else knew. It took hours, and through out the whole time James' face showed no expression. He interrupted once or twice to ask questions and then would fall silent once more to allow her to continue.
Finally, when she had finished, Chloe clutched at her crystal swan necklace in anxiety.
What if James thought she was insane?
He looked at her, took in a deep breath, and palmed his faced as he leaned back in the seat. "The villagers do not believe you are a witch, they believe you are a goddess, and from what you have said, I believe the couple on the boat believe the same."
Chloe's eyes widened. This wasn't what she'd expected to hear. "What?"
"I never quite listened to sailor lore, but I have heard stories murmured by the more superstitious men onboard every ship I have ever been aboard." James looked like he was having a terrible headache. "From the little I can recall, Calypso was the goddess of the sea."
It was a good thing she was already seated, otherwise she would've collapsed in shock.
"Of all the names ever invented, why would you choose that one?" James groaned.
"I thought it was a word, not a name!" She defended. "I did not know the mythological connotations!" She bit her bottom lip. "But what if the Voice I hear is the real Calypso? Those people said that Calypso had heard their pleas - which would make sense considering the Voice sent me to them with the one thing they'd need in their situation."
James stared at her in silence before he groaned once more. "I cannot believe that your mental communication with an oceanic deity is an option which merits actual consideration."
She cleared her throat. "Why are you not telling me that I need to be interned in a bedlam?"
"Had I not entered into a battle with undead pirates whose skeletal form was betray by moonlight I might have issues such a fanciful tale. But as it has so happened, now that I have lived through such an experience I am able to listen to your story and not worry about your mental state." He looked depressed at that very fact. "Also, when I finally found you in the cove the tattoo I did not know you have was glowing brightly through your soaked clothes. That in itself corroborates part of your story." He took in a deep breath as he leaned back against the wall once more. "You can… breathe underwater."
A reluctant smile touched his lips. "I must admit that I am quite envious."
"I wonder if I could pass the ability with a kiss in the same way the mermaids do," Chloe muttered, and then turned bright red when she realized exactly what she had said.
James' eyes widened and he looked away.
Captain Jack Sparrow was acting strange…er.
The crew were starting to comment on their captain's actions but Gibbs seemed to brush it off as Jack being more eccentric than usual, and when it came to Jack people tended to trust Joshamee Gibbs' intuition as he was the one who knew their odd leader best.
Standing at the mast, wind blowing his hair, William Turner stared at the door that Jack had disappeared behind. He'd ordered they sail towards some sort of Prison Island in search of a treasure, and while the crew were happy and excited at the thought of treasure, Will hadn't been able to get the odd gleam in Jack's eyes out of his mind. That was probably why he hadn't been surprised when, instead of jewels, Jack had returned from the island with a drawing of a key. And then, after a half of an hour in his cabin, Jack had ordered they set sail for the nearest island.
Something was definitely going on with him. Will wasn't worried about Jack, he honestly didn't care much for the man. To be honest the only ones on this boat he half liked were Gibbs and Mr Cotton's parrot. He wasn't here because of camaraderie, no, he was here because it helped him forget everything he wanted to forget.
It'd been so long since Chloe's death, and yet it also seemed like just yesterday. He'd finally accepted her death and the role he'd played in it, but the guilt was still there. He'd forever regret it, forever wish that he could go back in time to that morning in Tortuga when Chloe had accepted the proposal he hadn't offered her. If he could go back in time he would've married her on that island and never returned to Port Royal.
But the past was the past and there was nothing he could do to change it. All he could do was continue with his life and find some sort of happiness, somehow.
Being with Jack and his crew didn't make Will happy, but it kept him busy, kept his mind too occupied and his body sore – made him sleep quickly and restfully at night. And that was what he needed.
"You cannot say that there is not something more off about him than usual," Will declared as footsteps drew near.
Joshamee Gibbs joined him with a frown. "He has a plan, I know it."
"He told us to sail 'in that direction'." Will raised an eyebrow.
Gibbs opened his mouth then closed it with a sigh.
Point proven, Will's gaze shifted onto the sea as he sighed.
"You really did not have to do this," Chloe repeated for the hundredth time as they sat aboard the small row boat, close to the barrier reef.
"It is not safe for you to be in the sea at night, especially not by yourself," James informed her. "What if you come across sea life not controlled by The Voice? It is a shorter swim to this vessel than it would be to the shore." He clutched his spyglass. "Also I can help keep an eye out for anything for you." He took in a deep breath. "If you insist on making these trips I insist on being here." He licked his lips. "And, to be honest, I want to see you breathe underwater."
"Ah, so this is all you being selfish," she teased before throwing off her shawl. The rowboat rocked under her as she moved to stand where she'd been sitting seconds before. Barefoot and wearing her thinnest slip, Chloe dove out of the rowboat and into the water, which was cool against her skin. She opened her eyes, the sea salt stinging for a split seconds before, with a blink, it was gone. She dove deep down, her body undulating. She glanced upwards over her shoulder, and could make out the shape of the rowboat, as well as James peering down into the water, the moonlight behind him and giving his silhouette greater detail.
Diving further and further down, Chloe finally reached the bottom. She shifted and allowed her body to drift downwards onto the sand as she gazed up at James and waved at him. The moonlight must've made the crystalline water even more see-through, because she could vaguely make out that he was returning the gesture. Giddiness filled her as she shifted once more and started to swim along the sea bottom. She'd never been able to share this part of her before, and the knowledge that there was someone she could share this with, could show this to, made her grin brightly. As she spun and changed directions, swimming here and there, she realized she was showing off.
Laughter escaped her lips in bubbles as she swam. It wasn't the first time that she wished she had a mermaid's tail, because those tails gave strong thrusts that sent the mermaids racing through the water. Compared to that, Chloe's kicks weren't half as strong and didn't propel her half as far. It was part of the reason why she spent nights in the water like this, strengthening her body. There might come a time where she'd need to swim a very long distance, and she couldn't be as fatigued as she'd been when she'd awoken by those mourning their son. No. She needed to have the strength to use this gift she'd been given.
She lost herself in her swimming, wasn't even sure how long it'd been, but suddenly she remembered James. Noticing that a small "anchor" of sorts had been dropped to keep the rowboat in place, she swam up, and once she surfaced she found James Norrington watching her with visible awe. Chloe swam closer and crossed her arms against the side of the rowboat before using them as a pillow to rest her chin. "Hello."
"The more I watched you the more I expected you to grow a tail," he admitted softly. "Chloe, your gift is incredible. No wonder the locals here believe you are a sea goddess! You were there for nigh two hours without coming up once for breath! No mere mortal can do something like that!"
"Was it that long?" Her eyes widened as the sea rocked her and the rowboat. "You must have been bored!"
James chuckled and shook his head. "Far from it. I must keep sharp should a shark or some other predator approach."
"And how did you plan on catching my attention?" Chloe wanted to know. "I forgot all about you and didn't even look up during the time I was down there. You would not be able to warn me."
"That is why I brought my pistol." He tapped said pistol. "And should that have failed to scare the creature away I have my sword."
"What could you have done with that on this boat?" Chloe asked in confusion, until it clicked. Her eyes widened. "You would have jumped into the water with a shark on the hunt for me?"
James cleared his throat and looked away. "Without hesitation."
Chloe's heart skipped a beat and gripped the side of the boat tighter. "Why did you truly leave Port Royal?" When James offered her his hand she took in and allowed his help as he pulled her out of the water and into the rowboat. "Thank you." Pulling her shawl around her, Chloe shivered at the cold air as it hit her wet body. "Just one loss against Jack cannot be the reason why you would resign your post as Commodore and leave."
James removed his coat and eased it around her wet shoulders. "Have I ever told you about my father?"
She nodded silently and hugged James' coat, and its warmth, tighter around her shoulders. "You said that he was an Admiral in His Majesty's British Royal Navy. That he'd shaped you into the man you were and that he was the reason you aspired to become an Admiral as well."
"Let me tell you a story I have never told anyone else concerning my father." James took in a deep breath. "While on a mission to pursue Captain Edward Teague – father of Jack Sparrow – my father brought me with him to foster my hatred of pirates. I was very young at the time; in the midst of a chaotic battle when Teague's crew came to rescue him and Sparrow I was knocked into the sea and rescued by Teague." James visibly steeled himself. "My father was humiliated that his son had been rescued by a pirate." James' gaze lowered to the ground. "He declared that he would've rather I had died."
"James." Chloe reached out and placed her hand on his. She couldn't believe his father had said such a horrible thing.
"He once told me: 'You need to be brave, son. There are men out there who are savages, and they want to destroy your entire way of life. They are uncivilized, heathen, thieving, filthy pirates, and when I have gone to a final rest, it is you who will carry on the banner of civility and order, and help the Crown and our allies in the East India Trading Company eradicate their slime from the Seven Seas.'" James smiled despite the sadness in his eyes. "I could not return home, not after having been disgraced by the son of the man who first brought down shame on my head in my father's eyes. He wrote me a letter to the same effect." He gulped. "It was hard for me to realize that I had sunk so low that I had no home."
She tightened her grip on his hand. "James, it is not much, but I am insulted you do not yet consider my house your home."
He tore his gaze from the sandy beach and instead those blues rested on her. He was silent for a very long time, and if it wasn't for the fact that he gripped her hand tightly she would've worried that she'd made him uncomfortable. James chuckled softly under his breath as he shook his head. "I have been a fool for so many years, the knowledge of the depths of it has me utterly mortified."
"You have never been a fool," she countered. "There is no reason to be mortified."
James licked his lips and lowered his gaze to their joined hands before he cleared his throat and turned his gaze once more to the sea. "I would be honored if you would continue to allow me to rest my head under your roof." He cleared his throat. "I will, of course, pull my own weight and-."
"Hush." She rolled her eyes in amusement. "You have already done so much." At his raised eyebrow she grinned mischievously. "I am able to sleep throughout the night without being serenading by Seamus – that is enough to make me want to give you a kiss."
James' eyes widened and he cleared his throat and he once more looked away. "That was nothing. I merely reminded him that as a gentleman it was his duty to-." He trailed off as, in the cove, the dolphins jumped out of the water and twirled in the air before they disappeared under the water once more. "What if this Voice you hear truly is the sea deity?" When his gaze returned to Chloe it was narrowed, worried. "What sort of favor could you perform for her?"
"She told me to practice with the blade," Chloe admitted softly, "so I assume that in the future I will have to fight someone."
James' frown darkened. "Mr Turner and that rogue Barbossa have both taught you sufficiently, but I will be taking over your training."
Her eyes widened in shock. He'd mentioned training her before, but nothing had quite come of it and she hadn't thought he'd truly meant it.
"I was taught by His Majesty's finest," James assured her. "I will commission the blade I told you of previously, but until then we can use the sword you have. We will train nightly."
"Will we?" She bit down on her bottom lip to keep from smiling.
"There is no reason to feel amused," he warned her. "I am a rigorous instructor and will only accept the best. I will not go easy on you merely because of your gender."
This time she didn't even try to stop her smile. "I would be insulted if you did."