Disclaimers: POTC is not mine, and James Norrington is certainly not mine either, though I wish...
'Away, I'm done with you, ungrateful and incompetent child. I pray to never set eyes on you again' the man said, his voice filled with anger and disgust.
'But father, what have I ever done for you treat me like this?' His daughter pleaded, tears brimming at her eyes. 'I swear, if you told me what to do, I'd do it. Just tell me, father, please.'
'You being still here is what troubles me. You being alive while your brother lies dead in his grave. You standing there, breathing, living, while he can't. I wish you were dead in his stead!' the man spat.
Charles Reynolds was a proud and a harsh man. He never talked lightly, he would choose carefully and mean any word he uttered. He had never been a kind man, not even with his wife who had died from a fever soon after the birth of her son, about seventeen years ago. Although being from the aristocratic society, Charles Reynolds was a peculiar man, who scarcely went out to meet with his fellow affluent friends. He spent his days in his estate of Charleston. His only joys were the books and treaties he read in his office, and how well faired his son, who promised to be a great officer in His Majesty's Royal Navy.
He never cared about his daughter, his first child. If he could, he would have got rid of her with a marriage to any man who proposed, if the said man lived far enough from South Carolina. It's not that Charlotte was a worry or anything, but he simply didn't know what good she could bring to him. Of course, she had received a proper education fit to her standing, with several tutors who complimented him many times on how his daughter was a fast learner and how impressive was her memory, no matter what the subject was. As such, none could say that he neglected her.
The other reason he bore with her constant presence was because of the fond liking her young brother had for her. Despite their slight difference of age, Lawrence was born three years after her, they were inseparable. Lawrence never saw why he should behave any differently because Charlotte was his sister and not a brother. When he was of age to learn fencing and the basics of naval navigation, he would teach it back to her, leading them to spend many an afternoon talking about how wonderful it must feel to be at sea, or playing with sticks, then with proper swords. Naturally, Lawrence had a great advantage on his sister, being by the age of fourteen more than a head taller than her, even though Charlotte was quite tall for a girl.
Mr Reynolds never understood that wildness in his daughter, for all he knew, he had never heard his friends or distant relatives talking about their daughters playing with swords or wanting to learn all that concerned warfare business and the Navy. But he let it slip through for his son's sake. If Lawrence was happy, then he himself was happy too. And now grief made him lose reason.
'Why are you still here? I said I was done with you. Go pack your things and go, I don't care what may happen to you. Now that my beloved son has past, I have nothing to hold on to. Now leave me… GO!' with those words, he turned away and locked himself up in his office.
Charlotte was desperate. Her dear brother's death already felt like an open wound in her heart, and her father's words didn't help at all. Sure she never had strong affections for her progenitor, but it hurt her deeply to be shunned and therefore deprived of any dowry or inheritance she might have claimed.
She ran to her room and sat on her bed, crying in her hands. If she didn't leave tonight, only God knows how her father would forcefully cast her out. 'He might even kill me…' she realized with dread. She hated the state she was in, she wasn't one for crying usually, but since her brother fell from his horse the previous week, and now that she knew how strong her father's hatred was towards her, she was quite naturally shaken.
She took a deep breath, her eyes now dry, and started to pace in her room.
'I have to do something. Should I join my cousins and explain them my situation? No, even now, I won't bring dishonour on my father by showing to the world how he treated me. But I need to go somewhere though… If not with them at Port Royal, then where? There's no way I'm staying with my friends here, I won't take advantage of their generosity. What if I helped people in town? Surely, some of them must need a cheap hand?'
Thoughts ran freely in her mind, exploring any possibility, and then she stopped pacing. She knew what to do, it was a bold move, but she had to take that risk. Running to the opposite side of the corridor, she went to Lawrence's room. As she looked at his former belongings, she fought back her tears and started rummaging through what was once his. She then stuffed his navy uniform in a bag and put aside a pair of plain brown pants, a loose shirt, a couple of pairs of socks, and a pair of boots. She looked around, trying to find her brother's sword and dagger. After some time, she found the dagger in a drawer and the sword under his bed. She took the pile of clothes she had put aside, the bag, the weapons, and headed to her bedroom.
It was lucky that the servants in her house weren't supposed to attend to her needs, that way nobody noticed what she was doing. She closed the door, dropped her brother's belongings on her bed, and started undressing, her dress pooling at her feet.
'Oh god, I haven't thought of that problem…' a hand on her breast, she flushed. 'What am I doing? I'll never look like my brother, not even like a boy…' She almost felt beaten by the idea, but her quick mind eventually pushed her into action. She looked in her trunk filled with clothes, and found what she was looking for. She deftly wrapped a particularly long ivory scarf around her breast to bind her chest. True, she wasn't as endowed as her friends, but the decently large swelling would definitely give her femininity away. Looking into the mirror on her table, she sighed with relief. Though it was unpleasant to wear, her breast was now quite flat. The other thing to conceal was her monthly blood. She opened a drawer and took out her soft stick and linen rags then stuffed them in the bag. Of course she'd have to be careful, but it wasn't something she couldn't handle.
She proceeded to put on her brother's clothes, making the pair of pants fit her with a slim belt and turning up the legs that were way too long; she put on two pairs of socks so that the boots wouldn't be too large; as for the shirt, it was thankfully just slightly too large and thick enough to hide her bindings. Facing the mirror once again, she realized she had completely forgotten, about her hair. With a sigh, she took a pair of scissors and lock by lock started to cut down her golden blonde hair to just above her shoulders and tied what remained with a black ribbon that was at hand.
She stepped back and took a full look at herself. 'Oh!' In front of her was standing a young man looking very alike her brother, though with the difference that the latter had brown eyes when she had grey-blue ones, and that her features looked rounder and less muscular than her brother's. But apart from that, the resemblance was uncanny. 'That will do then. I'll live the life you dreamed of, Lawrence, for you, and for me. Just you see, I'll make you proud and let your memory live on until I die.' She sighed again, straightening herself and carried her bag on one shoulder.
Being as silent as possible, she climbed down the stairs, went to the back door of her house and stepped into the night that had fallen without a warning. Walking at a quick pace, for fear of being seen by the servants, she arrived at the end of the property. 'Adieu Charlotte' she said without any remorse, not even glancing back at her former house.