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.
Jack Sparrow glanced up from the black spot which marked his palm, to the island the compass had brought them to.
Something sounded in the water and Jack instinctively ducked behind some barrels. Moments passed in silence without any attack or glimpse of tentacles, so he pulled himself up. He didn't notice the odd looks the crew gave him as he tiptoed to the side of the ship and peered into the dark waters to find nothing there.
Sighing in relief, Jack leaned against the railing and bandaged up his marked hand once more. That girl better be alive and on that island. Sure, if she wasn't he'd find a way to trick Will into going to Davy Jones in his place, but he would prefer if he could keep the boy around. True, he was depressing as hell, but he was the best swordsman Jack had onboard. But if push came to shove Jack had no qualms in sacrificing Will, it wasn't as if the lad was really living anyway.
Jack turned to once more stare at the shore. It was brightly lit and even from this distance they could hear music. There must be a festival going on, and one that drew in outsiders because there was another ship in the dock - it appeared to be a trading vessel.
"Cannot wait for some pretty women and dancing," one of the men declared.
"The Cap'n sure thought about us!" Another agreed.
This had nothing to do about them and everything to do with him, but Jack wasn't above letting them believe otherwise.
Chloe hadn't dressed up in a very long time, but it felt right and wonderful to do so right now. Her hair was loose and she wore a gift one of the women had given her which tied seashells around her locks. The shells clinked softly when she moved, and she smelt of the sea. She loved it. It went with the sea-shell colored dress she wore, which was plain yet beautiful in her eyes.
James had dressed in a new shirt and the breeches she loved him in. His shoulder-length brunet curls (which she was finally used to) were held back with a leather string and he also smelt of the sea.
They mingled with the villagers as the music and singing filled the air. The night was filled with laughter and merriment. Some people sang, some played instruments, others clapped their hands to the beat of the music while others tended to the bonfires which lit the night sky. Ale was handed out and chugged with happiness as dancing began.
James moved away from her to speak to Seamus. Their friendship was the oddest thing Chloe had ever seen, but she appreciated it because no longer did Seamus drunkenly beg her for kisses or serenade her. She didn't know what James had told him, but the guy had cleaned up his act and acted like a gentleman.
"Will ye be singing for us tonight, Miss Calypso?" Harridan wanted to know.
Chloe's flushed. "I do not sing for a crowd."
"But you must," Victoria declared with a cry. "Please!"
"I really couldn't," Chloe hedged.
"But Miss Calypso—!" Someone declared from behind her.
"'Scuse me," Ernest's voice interrupted the mayhem. He was scrubbed clean and dressed better than she'd ever seen him, and yet the ten year old was clearly still up to mischief if the glint in his eyes has anything to say about it. "Reckon we could dance?"
Before anyone could say anything, Chloe accepted Ernest's arm gratefully and nearly dragged him off to where the others danced.
"I figured yuh could use some saving," Ernest whispered to her as he leaned in.
Smiling down fondly at the the kid, Chloe pulled away to lower into a curtsy. "My savior."
Ernest pouted and blushed. "See if I will save yuh any more if yuh keep teasing me."
Laughing, Chloe rose from her curtsy. She wasn't sure how they segued into the dancing but they did, and dance after dance she danced with the ten year old boy, able to relax and forget about the others or the whispers around her. Ernest forgave her around the third song because by the fourth he was swinging her around with glee and confiding to her that she was a much finer dance partner than his usual partner - who so happened to be his eighty year old grandmother.
Finally, by the end of the fourth song, Ernest bowed ridiculously low, probably his own way of getting back at her for her curtsey, his cheeks read and his grin large. "My feet are killing me!" And with that he turned to motion with his head towards someone, clearly calling them over.
Chloe followed his gaze to find James leaning against a tree, watching them with a fond smile on his face. At Ernest's call, James pushed away from the tree and came towards them.
"Kept an eye on her to make sure the others did nah crowd her, just like yuh asked me to," Ernest informed James. "When I saw them starting to encircle her I dove right in."
"Good lad, I am indebted to you," James declared.
Ernest grinned. "You sure are! She danced me feet right off!" And then, with a cheeky wink to Chloe, Ernest ran away into the crowd, presumably to sit down somewhere.
Chloe's green eyes turned on James in intrigued. "You asked him to look after me?"
James stood straighter. "I figured the locals might press you while I made my rounds."
Unable to keep her smile from her lips, Chloe turned her gaze on the dancers on their either side before they returned to James. She reached her hand out towards him. "May I have this dance?"
His lips twitched. "In polite society I would be the one to ask you."
She didn't respond to that, merely raised an eyebrow.
James visibly bit the inside of his cheek to keep from grinning and instead tried to look exasperated as he let out a deep breath and took her hand in his. "It would appear that you are not content with merely dancing the feet off of poor young Ernest." He led her deeper into the midst of the dancers. "So, out of concern for my fellow man, I shall have to accept."
Laughter escaped her lips as James suddenly, and without warning, swept her up into the tempo of the dancers, easily joining the others. "You are such a martyr, James Norrington, a veritable saint."
"Well…" He pulled her a little closer than was proper. "As long as you recognize it."
Chloe threw her head back, James' laughter mingling with hers.
Her sister was alive.
Lucy's ship had just arrived maybe twenty minutes ago and she'd had Mervin take her to Calypso's house, but upon finding no one there they'd returned to the village to search those partying, and Lucy had finally found her. There Chloe was, dancing with some fellow who looked vaguely familiar. Whoever he was he wasn't Will but Lucy had the feeling she'd seen him somewhere before, although she couldn't place where.
He wasn't important though, no, it was Chloe. She looked so differently from the last time Lucy had seen her, it left her shellshocked. Gone was the pale, regal looking woman with the long golden locks and the sadness she was trying to hide behind a smile despite how painfully obvious it was in her eyes that she wanted to cry. Replacing that Chloe was one with skin slightly darkened from time spent under the sun. She wore simple clothes, and other than her necklace her only adornment were shells worn in her hair - which was only breast-length now. Yet it wasn't Chloe's clothes or her hair which had Lucy so frozen in shock, no, it was the way she smiled, the way her eyes flashed, the way she kept throwing her head back and laughing.
Chloe was happy.
Gi was right.
Lucy wondered whether Chloe had felt this bone-deep shock when she'd seen Lucy in the Captain's Bride. This was so removed from what Lucy imagined when she thought of her sister, and yet she didn't think she'd ever seen her so happy, so vibrant, so visibly free.
The drums grew louder as the flutes and other instruments livened up.
The fellow dancing with Chloe surprised the blonde by picking her up by the hips and twirling her up in the air before allowing her bare feet to touch the sand once more. Chloe's eyes were wide, as was her smile as she continued to dance with him. She only had eyes for him, and he seemed to feel quite the same way towards her.
"Such a brave man," one of the people close to Lucy whispered to someone else. "Tis a dangerous thing to grow enamored with a goddess."
"Especially of the sea!" The person next to them agreed. "You know how changeable the sea is!"
"Changeable or not, she seems ta like the lad jus fine, or so I reckon," an old man cut into the conversation with a gruff voice.
"True," the first agreed as she turned to look at Chloe and the guy she was dancing with. "And they make a handsome couple."
"Imagine the children," the second giggled.
The first giggled as well.
The older man harrumphed.
Children? Lucy raised an eyebrow as she trained her eyes on the dancing couple. Chloe, why did you let us believe you were dead? Do you love your life here so much that you did not want us interfering?
What were they doing there?
Will could see the same question on the others' faces as they mingled with the festive islanders, but unlike most of Jack's crew Will wasn't happy to have a night off to just enjoy himself at a conveniently planned island festival. No. Jack had brought them here for a reason, and from the way Jack made him hold onto the broken compass - and kept looking at the compass and peering around at those dancing and singing - Jack wasn't exactly sure what they were here for or where it was either.
And how exactly was a broken compass supposed to help them find anything? Will had never quite understood that.
Having about had it with Jack and his many wild goose chases, Will turned to shove the compass into Jack's hands and storm back to the ship when he glanced down and saw the compass' pointer. It was acting oddly. While it'd been straight and still as they'd sailed towards this island, it now danced from one direction to the other.
Frowning, Will turned to face the direction it was currently trembling in. He glanced up and froze as a couple appeared in his line of sight. The man was tall, wearing worn yet neat and clean garbs, but he wasn't who caught Will's attention. No. It was the girl.
Laughter poured from her lips as Chloe Swann twirled around and around and around. It couldn't be. She could not be there. He was hallucinating! He'd finally gone insane! Will glanced down to find the compass' pointer following her movements, and suddenly Jack's comments before made sense. This compass did not point north! It pointed to what one wanted to find most in the world! That was why Jack had been so shocked to find that the compass had a bearing - why he'd made sure that there was nothing else Will wanted more! It'd meant that what Will wanted to find most was still amongst the living… that meant that…
Will's eyes widened as he glanced back up and nearly dropped the compass in the sand.
That was Chloe. She was alive!
And suddenly he realized what that meant. She had allowed them to believe she was dead. They'd mourned her for a whole year while she lived here and seemed so incredibly happy dancing with the man who was partially hidden from sight by the shadows of the night.
Will's grip on the compass tightened painfully. He'd shoved it into his pocket and found himself pushing through the crowd towards the dancers before he even realized what was happening. The dancers switched partners over and over against as the rhythmic clapping added to the growing sound, Will was blind and deaf to this, and slipped into the dancing mob. He shifted from partner to partner, watching Chloe as she shifted rapidly from partner to partner as well, the blonde completely oblivious to his presence.
The people separated into groups of two and spun in large circles. A buxom, overly eager woman ended up on Will's arm but his ignored her, gaze on Chloe who spun on an elderly man's arm, and then, after a couple of minutes the partners were quickly exchanged once more. Despite never having been one for dancing Will worked his way towards Chloe, and right before they separated into partners once more he stepped in front of the man who should've been Chloe's partner.
Chloe spun towards him, smile large and the fire dancing on her face, giving him a perfect view of the utter shock that filled her green eyes as she came to a halt in front of him. "Will?"
He didn't answer, merely grabbed her hand and swept her in close with his other before forcing them into the dance. The shock never left Chloe's expression, confusion mixed in with it, but there wasn't any of the guilt that he'd expected. She could tell that with every spin he danced them further and further away from the rest of the crowd and into the darkened beach, and he could read apprehension on her face, but there was also curiosity there.
She wasn't acting like someone who'd made her friends and loved ones believe she was dead for a whole year.
Finally, once they were away from the others, and bathed in shadows, Will stopped dancing and just looked down at her.
Chloe stepped back and out of his grip, her face half bathed in moonlight, half in shadows as she stared up at him. "Are you really here?"
"I could say the same about you," he finally spoke, his voice low. "You look very lively for a dead woman."
The surprise and confusion that covered her face could not be faked. "What do you mean dead woman?"
It was staring down at her that Will's resentment and anger evaporated as quickly as he'd first felt them. She didn't know. And yet he couldn't keep the harsh tone from his voice when he asked: "What did you expect we would believe with no word from you in all this time? Everyone believes that you were killed in a fire on The Wanderer, and—."
"No word?" Chloe interrupted, confusion spiked with frustration clear in her tone. "I have written six letters! I sent them to both Port Royal and Tortuga! It is them who do not write back to me!"
"Six letters?" Will's eyes widened.
"I have the seventh half finished back home," she confessed softly. "I contemplated not reaching out anymore, my family have most likely disowned me for deciding not to go with Aunt Gwendolyn, but—."
"How could you think that?" Another voice asked, hurt.
Will saw his own shock mirrored on Chloe's face as they both turned to see Lucy Swann emerge from the shadows. She was dressed in drag - to be fair by now Will found her dressing like a woman the odder sight - and visibly barely managing to keep a lid on her emotions.
"Lou?" Chloe's eyes filled with tears. She took one step, two, and when Lucy flung her arms open Chloe raced into them. The sisters burst out crying as they held each other tightly, both talking loudly and at the same time to the point where their words were indistinguishable.
A small smile tilted the ends of Will's lips. While a part of him would've wanted Chloe to himself for a little bit longer Lucy had suffered just as badly as he had, mourning Chloe's death, and she was his best friend. Being able to see her rejoice this profusely, and see Chloe's tears of joy, was beautiful in its own way.
Something sounded in the darkness and Chloe looked up, her face contorting into a large smile. "Look who is here!"
Someone cleared his throat. "When I heard some stranger had spirited you away I grew worried." James Norrington moved into the moonlight, a far cry from the man Will remembered. Like Chloe he was more commonly clothed, although the worn jacket he wore appeared to be one of his old uniforms. "I am most happy that you have come in answer to Chloe's many letters, Miss Lucy." He seemed to recognize Lucy despite the fact that she was in drag. "She was beginning to fear that you had shunned her."
"Norrington?" Lucy whispered in shock before going to hug him.
James Norrington blinked in surprise before patting Lucy's back.
Will stood frozen in place as he stared at the other man. What was he doing here? Why was he here? With Chloe? On this island? How had he known that she was alive while the rest of them thought her dead?
The resentment and anger he'd felt before returned tenfold and he couldn't muster even the fakest of smiles for the man when he glanced in his direction.
"Mister Turner." James straightened, his face also visibly lacking any sort of friendly greeting.
"Mister Norrington," Will muttered. "What are you doing here?"
"Will!" Chloe turned to him in shock.
He stood his ground, his gaze on Norrington. There was something different about the man and Will couldn't figure out what it was. But whatever it was it left him highly uncomfortable and on the alert.
"He has a point though, Chlo," Lucy declared before she turned to Norrington. "How did you find her? We did not even know she was alive!"
Norrington turned his gaze on Lucy. "To be frank, Miss Lucy, Chloe was the one who found me."
"More like James was ill and his shipmates left him in my charge so he could heal," Chloe declared, and smiled at the look Norrington sent her. They were having a silent conversation, Norrington appearing both grateful and ashamed, while Chloe shook her head at him with a smile on her face. "He has graciously stayed on and helped me at the inn, I would not even be as close to where I am if it was not for his help."
"Yes you would," James countered.
"Not without a good's night sleep I would not," she argued. "And you have had so many good ideas that I've incorporated."
"My merely doing what the other men should have and taken Seamus aside—," Norrington began, hands clasped behind his back.
"You have done much more than that for me and you know it," Chloe grumbled at him.
"That might be true, but you have done much more for me than I could ever repay you for," Norrington declared.
"The only thing I have done is given you board and food!" Chloe countered. "You, on the other hand, have done so much for me! You do all the heavy lifting, and you bargain prices with the locals, and you have started to learn how to fish from Seamus so we do not have to buy fish, and you have started the corral so that Starfish can be more protected from the weather, and—."
"It was all for my own enjoyment, I assure you," Norrington responded.
Chloe anchored her hands on her hips. "How can manual labor be for your own enjoyment?"
"A gentleman will not die if he learns to become useful," Norrington said in an odd tone.
Chloe bit her on her bottom lip to keep from smiling, obviously trying to scowl at him despite the amusement she felt.
It was like watching an old married couple bicker, and it hurt to watch. Will wasn't sure exactly what was going on, or what exact circumstances had brought them all here at this very moment, but it was more than obvious that while the rest of them were mourning Chloe and trying to accustom themselves to the fact that she was dead and never coming back - Norrington had grown closer. There was an undertone between him and Chloe that hadn't been there before, one that made Will want to scream.
"You run an inn?" Lucy squeaked, as if that was the weirdest part of all of this.
Will instead focused on the ease between Chloe and Norrington. They cared about each other, they always had, and any real gentleman would back away and concede defeat. "I have been traveling with Jack."
Three pairs of eyes turned to look at him in shock.
"Really?" Lucy made a face. "That is where you disappeared to? So how come you never came to visit when he did?"
"Jack Sparrow?" Norrington asked in clarification.
"Why would you do something like that?" Chloe wanted to know in utter consternation. "What about your trade? You wanted to build your brand! You wanted to show Port Royal the truth about the creations they treasured! Wanted to show them that it was your talent and not Brown's that they were reaping the benefits of!" She stepped away from Norrington and Lucy, her gaze and attention solely on Will. "Why would you just up and leave Port Royal like that?"
"Because I thought you were dead," he responded softly. "I had pushed you to leave and I thought that had killed you. I could not stay."
Horror struck her visibly. "I made you turn to a life of piracy?" She brought her hand to her lips. "Will. I am so sorry! I swear to you that I did not know that everyone believed me dead!" Tears filled her eyes. "I ruined your life again."
What? Will stared at her in confusion, and then he remembered the cruel words - the utter lies - he'd used to make her leave. She still believed them, still thought that he'd resented her for getting kidnapped. He stepped closer to her to clear things up, to confess the truth to her no matter the witnesses, but just as he opened his mouth they were once more interrupted.
"Is everything all right here, Miss Calypso?" The sound of sand crunching under multiple feet betrayed the arrival of several men from the village, no longer jovial, instead faces hardened.
"When Mister Norrington did nah return we came ta see if he needed our help," another declared, his eyes narrowed on Will and Lucy. "Are these two botherin' you?"
Norrington had won over the locals. Just how busy had he been since the last time Will had seen him?
"It is fine, gentlemen," Norrington declared after a quick look in Will's direction. "These are old acquaintances of Miss Calypso's and mine."
"Dear friends," Chloe agreed as she wiped her eyes and plastered a smile on her face, turning from Will to face the others. "This is William Turner, and this is Lou Swann. I have known them both since they were children."
Understanding dawned on the villagers as their hostility dissipated.
"Ah, pardon the intrusion then, Miss Calypso!" One of the men declared.
"Not at all." Chloe beamed at them as she wrapped an arm around Lucy's arm. "Your friendship warms me."
The men all blushed, obviously pleased with themselves.
"Now, let us return to dancing!" Chloe grinned and yanked Lucy behind her as the girls and the men returned to the festival.
Will didn't move.
Neither did Norrington.
They didn't look at each other, but it was more than obvious to both as to why they'd stayed behind.
"The locals believe Chloe is the sea goddess Calypso," Norrington's first words shocked Will into turning to look at him. "I would appreciate it if you and the others refer to her using that name whilst on this island. I do not want the locals feeling betrayed, I do not know how they would react."
"Why would they believe she is a sea goddess?" And then Will realized why. "She still brings in the fish."
"Or so the locals believe." There was something odd in his tone. "How long do you and Jack Sparrow intend on being on island?"
Will sneered. "Why? Do you wish to arrest Jack and regain your position in His Majesty's Service?"
Norrington chuckled darkly. "The thought is highly tempting, but you forget, Mister Turner, that I am a strategist. It would be unwise to try apprehend Jack Sparrow when he has a crew of lawless pirates with him on this very island, and I have a peaceful people who I would not bring into a battle they would not leave with their lives - a fight which is not their own."
Will frowned as he stared at the other man. "Why are you here?"
Norrington raised an eyebrow. "Why are you here?"
Will clenched his hands at his sides. "You broke her heart."
"So did you," Norrington countered, hands still clasped behind his back. "The only difference between us is that I did so unknowingly."
"I was doing what I thought was best for her!" Will snapped as he took two steps towards Norrington. "I thought her life would be better if I was not in it! It was the gentlemanly thing to do!"
The man raised an eyebrow, not at all intimidated. "Then, I repeat my previous question: Why are you here?"
Will's clenched fists shook before suddenly a calmed understanding washed over him and he chuckled softly. "Because I am not a gentleman any longer." He grinned. "I am a pirate." And with that he moved to join the others.