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.
"How do you know the goddess?" Mervin asked three weeks into their voyage as they watched the sea together. He was a nice young man who was visibly eager to return home to his parents, something he wasn't ashamed to tell anyone who asked.
Lucy wasn't sure how to answer his question. She'd used the time they were traveling to Mervin's home island to grill him about this "Calypso" and was more than sure that this was actually her sister, but she wasn't exactly sure how to go about this. What if the villagers reacted badly to the knowledge that Chloe wasn't actually a sea deity? And why was Chloe pretending to be one? There were just too many questions and uncertainties for her to answer all willy-nilly.
"Did she used to live on your island as well?"
Lucy nodded. "I have known her since I was a child."
Mervin's expression went troubled. "So she does not stay."
Lucy tilted her head. "What?"
"First that bloke in the tavern talked about her on that island, and now you knew her in another… unless it is the same island?" He looked up, hopeful, but when Lucy shook her head he frowned and glanced down. "It means that she will not be staying with us forever and will leave, like she has the other islands." His grip on the railing tightened. "Our island has flourished since she arrived on our shores. We do not want her to leave." He reached into his shirt and pulled out a crudely made necklace, which was really just a leather string tied around a small leather pouch which obviously had something bulky inside of it. "She made this to protect me on the seas while I travelled." He clutched that pouch tightly. "The ship I arrived in Tortuga in was not the ship I left my home in."
Lucy stared into those intense eyes, able to see the haunted glint inside of their earthy brown hue. "What happened to your original ship?"
"There was an accident with the gunpowder," he replied softly. "The whole ship exploded and I was flung out into the sea. Some barrels that'd been tied together were swept towards me and I used them as a makeshift raft." He took in a deep breath. "They were barrels of fresh water, and without them I would not have survived the days at sea before The Vagabond found me adrift." His grip on the pouch was so tight his knuckles turned white. "Those aboard The Vagabond would not have found me either had the wind not stopped working in their favor. It only picked up after I was on board."
Lucy stared at the young boy, who couldn't be older than seventeen, and realized that he truly believed Chloe's gift was the reason he'd survived, and she really couldn't blame him. She didn't understand what was going on, and every little piece of the puzzle that she unlocked made her question things even more.
"Why did you leave your home and tavern to come and see her?" Mervin wanted to know softly. "What do you need of her?"
Lucy turned her gaze onto the sea and gripped the railing tightly. "I need to know that it is really her, and that she is safe and happy."
Mervin eyed her thoughtfully before he nodded and peered out at the sea as well.
Lucy fought tears.
"You are distracted," James admonished.
Chest rising and falling rapidly with deep, urgent breaths, Chloe bent over with her hands on her knees. "I just need a moment."
Standing in the moonlight, James stabbed the tip of his sword into the sand and peered at her. "Being distracted during a swordfight will lead to your death."
"I know, I apologize." Chloe tried to slow her breathing but like every night since he'd taken over her training, James hadn't gone easy on her.
"What were you thinking of that could not wait until after we were done with the night's session?" James wanted to know curiously.
Chloe hesitated, she almost didn't tell him, and then she did. "I was wondering when my family will forgive me."
James frowned at her. "What do you mean?"
"I have sent them six letters, James. I understand one going astray, even two, but not six." She licked her lips and forced herself to stand straight. "I even broke and sent some to Port Royal." She met his gaze for a second and then looked away. "I have to accept the fact that my family has disowned me for choosing to live here on my own instead of doing as told."
There was a moment's silence, and then James reached for his sword and sheathed it at his side. "It is not my place to meddle in your family's affairs, but I must speak." He took a step towards her before he stopped. "One would have to be blind, deaf and mute to not realize that your father adores you and your sisters. If he could stoop himself low enough to beg me to look the other way should I have to besiege Tortuga and find your sister – to allow her to escape with impunity – then I can say with complete certainty that you choosing to live a healthy, morally sound life here would not have him turning his back on you."
Chloe's eyes widened in shock. "He asked you to allow Lucy to escape?"
"He asked me to do so should I ever be ordered to take Tortuga and all within – or come across her during a pirate raid at sea," James clarified. "He was willing to sign over the deed to his grandest estate should I promise him that I would allow your sister to disappear and look the other way." He cleared his throat, visibly uncomfortable with this conversation. "I refused his offer. In fact it did insult me." His gaze bore into Chloe's intensely. "No matter my station in life, or the circumstances I might find myself in, no matter how adverse to myself it might become, I could never condemn your sister to the gallows."
Chloe stared up at James, unable to look away. Her heart clenched, her eyes prickled, and something warm coursed through her veins. She could see it clearly in his blue eyes: even if he had been an Admiral in His Majesty's Service he would never have allowed himself to hurt her in such a way. He cared about her, he cared about her more than she had ever realized.
Embarrassment had James looking away as he cleared his throat. "It is because of this that I can assure you that your family does love you and I encourage you to continue writing them because you will receive a response. I do not know why you have not received one as yet, but I know that it is not due to any lack of love from your father or your sisters." He licked his lips. "So please, do not lose heart. You are very much loved."
Chloe didn't remember moving, all she knew was one second her hurt thudded so hard against her chest it hurt, and the next she was hugging a stiff James Norrington. And she was crying. She was bawling. It was highly unladylike but James' arms slipped around her and he held her in utter silence, allowing her to cry against his chest. She hadn't cried for so long, hadn't allowed herself to be this vulnerable, but now she couldn't hold back as she clutched at James as if to life itself.
"I apologize," James cleared his throat. "I did not catch what you just said."
That was probably because she'd sobbed it into his shirt. "Thank you."
He cleared his throat once more. "Any person who has seen you with your family would have-."
"No." Chloe shook her head. "I am not thanking you for saying what you did."
He paused. "What am I being thanked for then?"
"For being here," she whispered tearfully. "With me."
He gulped, audibly. "W-what sort of gentleman would I be if I left you here without any sort of support or protection?"
Chloe frowned softly as she pulled away and hugged herself. "I do not want you to think that you are obliged to stay here with me out of some sort of perceived duty." She glanced away defiantly. "I was doing fine before you came and if you left I would survive quite well on my own."
"No." She turned her back on him, knowing she was acting like a child and hating herself for it, but look what 'duty' and 'doing what was right' had done to her and Will. She didn't want that. Not ever again. She didn't want a gentleman looking after and protecting her – or one looking after her best interests like some sort of surrogate father figure. No. She'd left to get away from all of that, to start over again. And maybe she shouldn't expect any better given the fact that James had always considered her his little sister, but she'd thought that he'd abandoned that notion and now saw her as his friend – his equal. "I apologize if you have remained here out of some perceived need to protect the weaker sex, but I do not need protection. I have a mission to complete in my life, me, no one else needs to waste their time-." She flinched, hadn't that been what Will had called it? Wasting time? "—because only I am bound to do it, so if you ever feel the desire to go do not for one minute stay just because you believe it your duty to stay here and-."
"Will you stop being so childish for two seconds and actually look at me?" James snapped as he gripped her shoulders and turned her around to face him with such force it shocked her silent. He glared at her. This was the first time she could think of in which he'd done so. "You do not only insult me with this tantrum, but you insult yourself as well." His grip lowered to her upper arms and held her tightly in place. "I do not stay here out of some 'perceived duty'. Believe it or not I stay here, Chloe Ann Swann, because I desire to. I am not as selfless and gentlemanly as you seem to believe, so let me set you straight before you continue to make a mountain out of an anthill."
Shocked stiff, unable to believe James had actually lost his temper at her, Chloe just stared at him in wide-eyed shock.
"I could always go back to England, in disgrace yes, but I could find a way to make an honest living and somehow redeem myself. Maybe not to my father, but definitely to the rest of my family and to society." His grip on her shook, his eyes never left hers. "I could find employ suited to my station, I could work my way back up just as I always have, or I could merely oversee one of my father's many estates. I have saved enough during my years in service to start my own venture, and I am considering doing just that, but my venture can be helmed no matter where I am. I can do so from a cold, stuffy room in London, or alternatively I could take up residence in an island filled with naïve and definitely crass and culture-less locals… whom I yet still manage to find enjoyable to be around." His grip on her tightened. "I also enjoy your company. I have always enjoyed your company. Even when you were merely a child I found your company and conversation more entertaining and enjoyable than that of my peers. One of the many advantages I found in the idea of marrying your sister was in making you my family." He took in a deep breath. "I do not understand a family such as yours, one where love is so openly shared. I wished to marry your sister, not only because she was kind and lovely to behold, but as a way to join a family which I had always envied and desired to become a part of."
Chloe couldn't find her voice. Her eyes were wide, her throat dry, and her breaths ragged.
"I am not a gentleman!" James snapped in obvious shame and frustration. "I do not deserve the title - not when I planned on marrying someone I did not love merely for my own benefit!"
"Why not me?" Chloe asked before even realizing she was speaking.
James stared down at her in confusion. "Why not you what?"
"Why not use me to become a part of my family?" Chloe's voice cracked, unable to believe she was asking this. "It was more than obvious to all that I had loved you since I was a child, so why not love me back? Or at least pretend to?" She licked her lips. "There was a time in my life in which being your wife was the only possible future I could envision, so why not use it, use me, to your advantage?"
James stared down at her in wide-eyed shock. "No." He let go of her arms as he took a step backwards and away from her. "You loved me as a sister. You trusted me to protect you, allowed me to be your friend and confidant, but your love was not that of a woman!" He shook his head. "When I mentioned the idea of my starting a courtship you encouraged me to do so! You encouraged me the whole time with a large smile on your face!"
"I think I know what I felt better than you do!" She snapped, unable to believe him. "I was in love with you! You broke my heart!"
James shook his head rapidly in denial. "No. That is a lie. You-had you felt any sort of womanly affection for me you would have never encouraged me to go ahead and woo your sister! A woman in love would never-!" He turned his gaze on her once more. "I came to you that day! I asked you to walk with me in your garden, I held your arm in mine, stared deeply into your eyes, and told you that I was contemplating marrying someone I had watched for years… and you embraced me and told me you wished me the best of luck with Miss Lana!"
"I hugged you because I did not want you to see that I was about to cry!" Chloe threw her hands in the air. "It was not a surprise to me that you fancied my sister! I grew up watching you prefer her! Watching you watch her! I always knew in the back of my mind that you might one day choose to pursue your feelings for her and that should that happen I would have to let you go because even if you would not be mine you would be-!"
"Family…" James whispered in a haunted tone and looked away, pale and utterly shocked. He stumbled backwards and brought a hand to his head, looking like he was about to be ill. "I did not know. I believed you loved me as a brother. Had I known the truth of your feelings-!"
"You would not have wooed Lana so as to not hurt me, I know," Chloe interrupted, and continued on even when James opened his mouth to say something. "I always knew that, that was why I never told you the truth. I loved you and I wanted you to be happy. I loved you enough to want you to be with the woman you loved, even if it was not me!"
James looked, incredibly enough, like he wanted to cry. He shook his head, eyes wide. "Chloe, I-."
"It does not matter any longer, James. That was our past." She wouldn't have his pity, wouldn't have him apologizing for something that was not his fault. Things had happened the way they had, that was all. "I promised myself that I would learn to love you as a brother so it would not hurt so horribly." She reached out and gripped his trembling hand. "I apologize for my childish outburst earlier. It had nothing to do with you and everything to do with Will." She hated admitting that and couldn't look him in the eyes as she gripped his hand tighter. "I might not have loved him as long as I loved you, but it still hurt to have lost him." She smiled sadly. "I sometimes get defensive when I should not be, as I was to you earlier, because I…" her voice cracked and she cleared it. "It is silly, I know it, but that doesn't stop me from sometimes feeling that it does not matter who I love – they will never love me back – not how I wish they would at least."
James' hand in hers shook violently.
She looked up at him in worry and froze at what she saw.
James stared down at the sand, his face contorted, his eyes filled with tears and expression tortured. He looked like he desperately wanted to say something but was not allowing himself to. Instead, he yanked her towards him and wrapped his arms around her so tightly it hurt, but she didn't complain. No. As James buried his face in her hair she realized he was barely keeping himself together, and that his pride would never allow him to break down in front of her. Chloe clung to him as he clung to her. They didn't speak. Neither needed to.
Something changed between them that night, and it would take Chloe a very long time to realize exactly what it'd been.
Will clutched the railing so tightly his fingers hurt but he didn't even notice the pain as he gulped in greedy gulps of air. Nausea rolled in his stomach desperately. He could almost smell the scent of burning flesh.
Just how many times was he going to have that nightmare?
Head lowered, Will closed his eyes tightly, able to so clearly see Chloe's cabin on fire with her trapped inside. He couldn't get to her, couldn't save her, and in the worse versions of this reoccurring nightmare she didn't even try to save herself. In some of the nightmares they spoke, he yelled for her to try to the windows, or he tried to traverse the flames only to find himself unable to, but in the worse of the dreams Chloe merely sat there, staring blankly ahead of her, and cried as the flames consumed her body.
This had been one of those nights.
"You're depressing," a voice informed him.
Will peered towards the mast in time for Jack to emerge from the shadows. "Excuse me?"
"You take the fun out of raiding, pillaging, and pirating in general," Jack declared as he came to stand next to Will, gaze on the sea. "You mope. I do not condone such practices aboard the Pearl."
Will had no answer for that, just like he had no use for Jack. He sighed and took in a deep breath as he gazed onto the sea as well.
"She was just a wench," Jack declared with a flourish. "You've been with countless of them since you've joined us, have one in each island we visit, and yet you refuse to stop with thepouting." When Will wouldn't answer that, Jack resorted to a pout of his own. "She died at sea." When once more he was met with silence he pouted even deeper. "Davy Jones governs those who die at sea."
Will snorted, unable to believe Jack just couldn't take a hint and leave.
"What would you be willing to do to have young strumpet returned from the depths to you?" Jack pulled out his compass and looked at it in innocence, which meant he was absolutely conniving up some plan which probably had to do with him trying to trick Will into doing something for him. This was all probably connected to why he was acting so oddly.
Having known Jack as long as he had (which was much longer than he would've liked) Will was not about to fall for this. "What do you want, Jack? I have no patience for your games."
"Captain," Jack cleared his throat and shoved his compass into Will's hands. "See how the compass cannot find a bearing? You, like that compass, are aimless, have no direction or meaning, savvy? Breaks me heart it does, and out of the goodness of said heart I-."
Will raised an eyebrow. "What are you talking about? It's got a bearing."
Jack blinked. "Impossible." He dove behind Will and peered over his shoulder at the compass. "You want something more than you want her?" He shook his head and stumbled back to where he'd been before, expression shaken, as if something as fundamental as time had been destroyed in front of him. "I was sure I could use…" He cleared his throat and tried for innocence once more as he eyed Will. "I mean to say that I did not believe that you would have something you desired more than you did damsel fair."
"There is nothing I desire more." Will clutched the compass tightly as he battled his fury.
"That compass says otherwise, mate."
"This compass is broken!" Will snapped. "It's never pointed north!"
"We were never trying to find north, were we?" Jack asked as if Will was being childish. "You are lying to me and I know this without a doubt because should you be telling the truth that would mean—." Jack's eyes suddenly widened and then narrowed as he leaned in uncomfortably close to Will's face. "Hand on your heart – there is no greater desire in your eunuch's heart than to be reunited with the Blonde Swann?"
Will glared at him. "None."
Jack's eyes widened. "So your greatest desire is to be reunited with the kidnap-prone wench who has a penchant for appearing to be dead but not actually being dead, merely caught up in some fanciful situation involving magic and curses and -." His eyes widened. "-and who has a knack of turning curses so that they favor the ones cursed!" He lifted his hand, which Will only then realized was bandaged for some reason. "William, hold that compass! I need to find my map! We are changing course immediately!" And with that he raced off.
Will stared at Jack's quickly retreating back and wondered just what the devil had gotten into him.
"What is going on father?" Lois pushed passed the men stationed at the door and stormed inside to find her father and Lana surrounded by more armed men. Usually the presence of soldiers in their house wasn't something to be alarmed at, but the expression on her father's face, and that of Lana as she sat numbly on the sofa, made Lois take an instinctive step backwards. Something was wrong, something was terribly wrong.
"What is this?" Father looked up from the missive he was reading towards a man in black whom she'd never seen before.
"It is a warrant of arrest for Lois Swann," the man declared.
Lois' eyes widened. What?
Father's eyes widened as well. "This warrant says Lana Swann."
"Oh, how terribly embarrassing," a voice Lois had hoped she'd never hear again declared as the soldiers parted to reveal Cutler Beckett. He reached into his pocket and pulled out another missive. "This must be the order for Lois Swann's arrest." He grinned.
"What are the charges?" Lois wouldn't allow him to intimidate her, not in her own house.
"Treason," Lana whispered softly, hands clasped in the skirt of her dress.
"Where are Lucy Swann and Mister William Turner?" Cutler wanted to know. "Mr Mercer and I have warrants in their names as well."
"They left months ago," Lois responded, chin held high. "We have not heard from them since."
"So we heard," Mr Mercer, the man in black, sneered as he turned to father. "The only child you had that was any good is the dead one, I see."
Fury blossomed in father's eyes.
Lois stepped forwards and kept her own fury contained because Cutler's man was antagonizing them on purpose, wanted them to do something that would put them in an even greater disadvantage. "We are not traitors to the crown."
"You drugged His Majesty's finest, freed a pirate, helped said pirate steal one of our best ships, and then sailed with a pirate crew," Cutler declared with that sharp, disgusting glint in his eyes. "After having done all the above how can you possibly believe you are not traitors to the crown?"
"There were extenuating circumstances!" Father stood tall as he moved towards the other man. "Listen here now Beckett, those charges were dropped!"
"It is Lord Beckett now, actually, and His Majesty King George has decided that this is a matter that warrants further investigation. We cannot have the people of the realms believing they can carry out acts of piracy without any sort of justified retribution," Cutler responded haughtily before he turned to the soldiers. "Escort the young miss Swanns to our nicest cells."
Lana looked around her in horror as she was yanked up from the sofa and clapped in irons.
Lois shrugged away from the touch of one of the soldiers yet held her hands out for them to clap the irons on. She wouldn't cry, wouldn't react, wouldn't give Cutler any sort of joy in seeing her discomfort. Instead she stared him straight in him beady little eyes and smiled.
Cutler's own smile slipped for a second before he cleared his throat and turned towards her father when he tried to step forwards and stop what was going on.
"Take your hands off of my daughters!" Father yelled yet his advance was blocked by the soldiers. He was unable to do anything but watch and protest vehemently as the soldiers escorted Lois and Lana out of their homes like common criminals.
"What are we going to do?" Lana whispered to Lois in worry as they were thrown into the back of a guarded carriage to be taken to the jail. "They will find us guilty of treason, and the only punishment for that is death." Tears filled her eyes. "We are going to die!"
"We are not going to die." Lois gazed down at her bound wrists before she rose her hazel gaze to rest squarely on the soldiers who entered the carriage. "Father will not allow it. He will make Cutler see that he cannot get away with something like this just out of spite."
"He said that he would make you regret not agreeing to marry him," Lana reminded worriedly. "I cannot believe that he is such a horrid little rat to take revenge this way!"
Lois didn't answer, instead she peered out of the window of the carriage as it began to move. There was no way that she'd survived pirates and the undead to be killed on the command of someone like Cutler Beckett. No. She needed to escape, and so did Lana. But how?
Think like Jack - THINK LIKE JACK! Lois bit down on her bottom lip. What would Jack Sparrow do?