Disclaimer: Own nothing, own nothing, own nothing but the plot. And Dolan. And Ingrid. So there.
A/N: Wow, talk about some props for me! I'm updating twice in a weekend…I think I deserve some congratulations. WHY am I updating so much? Because I have the best reviewers in the world. Seriously: I love you guys. You make my day…..over 600 reviews? I didn't think my story was THAT good. J But in all honesty, I want to thank you all.
Dedication: To all of my readers and/or reviewers out there. Thanks a bunch.
Pirates of the Caribbean: The Winds of ChangeAccusations
Will felt as if a carriage had run over him twenty times.
His head hurt, his stomach churned unpleasantly, and his mouth felt like sandpaper. From the dimly lit corner of the room, he could barely make out a candle lightly burning, the flame flickering as it danced with the wind. Will closed his eyes again and groaned, wishing that he hadn't consumed so much rum. He had to take a moment to quietly admire Jack for being able to live off of that drink without feeling like a pile of horse manure afterwards.
A knock on the door made Will groan again. Although he was sure the knock was soft, to his ears it felt as if someone was banging on the door with a welding hammer. He decided if he ignored it, the person would get the hint and go away. Unfortunately, whoever was interested in coming in wasn't about to let up. The eventual incessant knocking almost made Will's ears burst in pain. Finally, he found his voice and screamed in a sluggishly hoarse voice, "Wha' d'you wan'?"
"To come in," came a muffled voice.
"Then come in, or shut up," Will shot back, rubbing his eyes.
The door opened with a loud creek, and Will swore his ears were going to fall off from all of the traumatic noise. He struggled to sit up, but found that his stomach didn't necessarily agree with that. Taking a deep breath in order to prevent himself from vomiting, he carefully lay back down again, silently chastising himself for looking and acting so ridiculous. What had gotten into him?
Shaking his head, Will squinted up at the man who stood before him. The man had a proud posture to him that was undeniable. Straight-backed, shoulders stiff, and hands clasped behind his back, he seemed more like an English dignitary than a crewmember sailing with pirates. His shoulder-length brown hair was pulled back, and the only indication that the man wasn't royalty was his rather shabby-looking jacket with worn pants and a soiled white shirt.
Will knew who this man was, but he wasn't about to let his mouth speak his name. His mind suddenly let loose all of the childhood memories he had been trying to suppress. He heard the mocking voices of young boys in his head who teased him incessantly about the absence of his father. He remembered overhearing the townspeople talk about the "bastard boy" and the "unwed mother", and he didn't have to guess twice who they were talking about. Shunned from society, his mother was surprisingly strong, insisting that he was not a bastard, that she was indeed married to his father, and that ignorant people were not worth the time of day to be listened to. However strong his mother had made him, Will had not forgotten the pain they both endured.
"My father's a merchant sailor!" he had shouted at the children who teased him, his fists clenched in a fit of rage. His anger did no good, and, of course, the children didn't bother to listen to a bastard boy. He had gone home to his mother, but refused to cry. Instead, he took a stick and began to fight the angry voices in his head, trying desperately to teach himself swordplay so that, one day, he could hurt every one of those kids who had hurt him so badly.
Unfortunately, wounds are only flesh deep. The wounds they had inflicted on Will as a boy had wounded his soul.
"May I sit?"
The man's question brought Will back to the present. In response, he gave an indecisive grunt, and the man took it as a yes. He sat down on a chair adjacent to the bed, and Will was shocked to notice that the man facing him was an older, mirror image of himself. In a torrent of memory, he knew this was the man who had grabbed him by the shirt in the falling cave, and had saved his life.
"I see you had a turn with the bottle." There was a slightly amused intonation in the comment.Great, Will thought, almost rolling his eyes. He's another Elizabeth.
"The last thing I need is another lecture," he muttered.
"Another lecture is the very thing you need," replied the man coldly.
In a sudden burst of anger, Will sat up. The world spun around him, but he took no notice as he focused his piercing gaze upon the man. His jaw was clenched and his stomach churned as his head throbbed unpleasantly. But he was too angry to notice.
"You have a wife and a child on the way, or so I'm informed," the man continued without preamble, apparently ignorant to Will's angry stare. "You have a responsibility to them."
Will felt himself laugh out loud. It was an abrupt, forced laugh, and the voice that came out of him was not his own. "Yes, you're right. I need to be lectured about a wife and family from a man who was never there for his own." In the man's silence, Will continued, "A man who chose sailing over his wife and son. A man who sent money home once a year. A man who pillaged and plundered, murdered and stole, but maintained to his family that he was an honest man, a merchant sailor." He laughed once again. "You're funny, William Turner, you're really funny."
The awkward silence that ensued afterward made Will realize that the rum was talking for him. But, for some strange reason, he didn't care. At all. "You know what you're problem is, Bootstrap?" Will heard himself ask, smiling dazedly. "You still think highly of yourself. You're a good-for-nothing pirate, yet you think of yourself as goddamn royalty." He chuckled. "Did they teach you to hold yourself high when you plundered villages, or did they teach you proper posture when you swabbed the decks under Captain Jack Sparrow?"
"Aye, I was a pirate," the man answered gruffly, as if he were waiting for the perfect moment to speak. "But that doesn't mean I wasn't a good man."
Will took in the statement and nodded. "I learned that you could be a good man and a pirate. But I don't hate you because you were a pirate, father," he spat unpleasantly, the word spoiling in his mouth. "I hate you because your selfishness killed my mother and orphaned me."
Bootstrap stood up abruptly, knocking over the chair. "I will NOT listen to this," he stated softly, now looking at Will menacingly. "Don't you dare blame me for your mother's death."
"Then who should I blame?" Will shot back, anger rising in his throat. "Did you know she would walk the docks every night, waiting for you to come home? And every night that you didn't return, I would listen to her sob by the fire. She never told me, and she never thought I knew. But I knew well enough that the reason she caught cholera and died was because she would walk those docks, day in and day out, in the freezing cold and sweltering hot, waiting for the husband who abandoned her to return." Will stood up and staggered, but managed to look his father in the eyes. "So don't you dare lecture me on taking care of my family. I'll be damned to the depths if I turn out to be a father like you."
Maybe I'm crazy, Jack thought as he looked out over the ocean. The sun was rising on the horizon, and the soft rolling of the ship had made Jack question his sanity. Hmmm…or maybe I'm not.
It was an act the pirate did every once in a while; he figured it was healthy to establish whether or not he was indeed completely daft, or whether it was simply too much sun and too little rum. Definitely not insane, he had decided, nodding to himself. At least, not yet.
Norrington's death had prompted him to once again question his mental status. For a couple days afterwards, Jack felt himself physically and emotionally exhausted. He felt more bemused than he normally did as he awkwardly assessed why he felt so disjointed and unlike his usual self. He had a lot of time to think on it, and he came to the astonishing conclusion that the reason why he was so upset was because he had been fond of the commodore.
Jack shook his head. He had promised himself long ago that emotional attachments were a dangerous trap for a man of his occupation. Meet a friend, lose a friend. Meet a stranger, don't know he's gone. It was the pirate way. Jack had broken that specific code of piracy twice: once with Anamaria, and once with Bill Turner. And both times, he learned from it.
Jack groaned aloud in disgust as he realized he had let his emotions get the best of him. He had seen Elizabeth peering curiously at him as he sat and thought about what he could have done differently to save Norrington's life. He racked his brain, but could not think that there was any way to save that man's life. He had risked his life to save Dolan's; it was his own decision.
But they had found Norrington's body. It had been Jack's duty to carry his body out of the cave, put it onto one of The Black Pearl's rowboats, and sent it out to sea. He had watched along with all of the crew well enough to stand as the little boat drifted silently off into the horizon, eventually disappearing into the setting sun.
"That's the second time I've felt responsible for a death of one of my crew," he had mumbled to Elizabeth. She only shed a few silent tears and nodded gently. He knew she understood.
And yet, life moves on. Jack pushed the memory of the commodore from his mind and had busied himself ridding the blasted ship with all of the rum. He had been back to his normal self, insulting Elizabeth's baby-sickness, mumbling incoherently under his breath, and swaggering about the decks like old times.
Defense mechanism, he thought grimly. If he didn't let on he was affected, nobody would know. And that was exactly what he was trying to do.
In the distance, Jack noted raised voices coming from Will's quarters. Frowning, he strode over to the source of the noise and put his ear to the closed door. The voices were too muffled now to hear clearly, so he pressed harder against the door, straining his hearing capacity. Just when Jack thought he could decipher specific words, the door flew open. Before he could gain his balance, Jack found himself toppling flat onto his face, landing with a loud thud directly on his stomach. Grimacing in pain he looked forward and saw a pair of boots. Following them up past the trousers, past the weapon belt, all the way up to the face, Jack found himself staring at a man who he had thought was dead for more years than he could remember.
"Hope we were entertaining enough for you, Jack," Bill grumbled, not looking amused. He stepped over the prostrate body of Jack and disappeared on deck.
Standing up and brushing himself off, he cleared his throat and was about to speak when he noted the absolutely distraught expression upon Will's face. Of course you bloody idiot, Jack thought to himself. Will glanced at Jack and then gingerly sat down on the bed again. From the lad's bloodshot eyes and vague expression of exhaustion, Jack knew he was still drunk. Not a good time to meet the father who you had thought was dead for onwards of fifteen years.
Jack sat down next to Will on the bed, and adjusted his hat. "For the record, you weren't entertaining." Will made no comment. Jack tried a different approach. "It's not worth blaming him, mate," he said softly.
"What would you know about it?" Will grumbled, avoiding his eyes.
Jack shrugged. "Never had a father…don't remember having a mother either." Will shifted uneasily next to him, and Jack sighed. "The past is in the past."
Will snorted. "Sure, Jack," he said sardonically, looking at him. "That's why you spent ten years searching for Barbossa who wronged you in the past," he emphasized. "You of all people should know what it's like."
Nodding, Jack replied, "Aye." Just say it, Jack, he thought. He took a deep breath and commented, "What's between you and your father is just that: between you and your father. All I'm going to say is that not a day went by where he didn't talk about you. Whether swabbing the decks, dining with the crew, or enjoying a bottle of rum, he would talk about you. Got annoying, really," he commented airily. Jack slapped Will on the shoulder and stood up, swaying just a bit. "Now, if you'll excuse me, I've got things to do." He opened the door to leave but turned back to Will. "The rum's gone, Will. So don't look for it."
Will looked at him incredulously. "Did you say the rum is- "
"GONE! It's gone. And don't make me say that again."
After checking on Anamaria and Dolan, Elizabeth and Ingrid assured him that the crew was fine, and that all they needed was rest. Jack had nodded, silently relieved at their improving conditions. He had bowed respectfully to both of the caretakers and marched his way up to the deck. They would make way as soon as the entire crew was healthy enough to raise anchor.
He turned and saw Bill moving towards him, his face illuminated by the sun. Jack nodded, and thought, Meet a friend, loose a friend…
Bill stopped short and eyed Jack accordingly. "You haven't changed."
"Neither have you."
Bill smiled. "It's good to see you again, Jack." He extended his hand. Jack looked at it curiously, and heard his mind repeat: Meet a friend, loose a friend…Nevertheless, he grasped his hand and smiled mischievously. "Good to have you back, mate."
"Speaking of having you back," Jack spoke, feeling the uneasy silence surround them, "how did you manage to steal a coin and send it to your son?"
Bill winced at the mention of his child, and Jack was surprised to notice his eyes looked overbright. But a knowing smile crept over Bill's face, and his eyes didn't look overbright anymore. "Long story." Jack knew not to persist.
"How did you meet my son?" The question was forced, and Jack glanced at Bill out of the corner of his eye. Jack shrugged. "Long story."
Bill laughed. "No, you haven't changed a bit."
Jack smiled and was about to reply when a shocked shout came from behind him. Jack whirled around and in a flash of white and red found himself face down on the deck, being restrained by several strong men. Jack struggled but felt a wild punch to the back of the head, and cried out in pain and iron clappers were put on his hands. The men restraining him were practically digging their knees into his back. He grunted and tried to swing his legs around to give him the momentum to stand up, but unfortunately, he was unable to do that because another soldier was putting iron shackles onto his legs as well. Relentless, he thrust his right elbow into the stomach of a soldier and sent him doubling over. Unfortunately, that warranted him a punch to the jaw. He felt a loosening of his jawbone and felt warm blood flowing into his mouth.
"Stand him up!" came a shout from behind him. Jack was pulled roughly to his feet. Blood trickled down his jaw and onto his chest. Yet an unwarranted and unprovoked punch to the stomach sent him doubled over, coughing and spitting. He turned to look into the eyes of a tall, nicely-built general. His hawkish stare made Jack's stomach clench, and his curling lips sent the message that he was not a man to be messed with. "Jack Sparrow, isn't it?" he asked, amused. Jack was in too much pain to answer. "Ah, Mr. Sparrow, it isn't cordial to not respond when asked a question." With a curt nod, Jack felt another blow to his body, this time to the side of the head. He went limp, and was only suspended by the soldiers holding on to him.
Shouts of dismay and shock reached his ears as if in a vacuum, distant and far away, as if they were from another world altogether. He looked up bleakly and saw Will being restrained in the same fashion as he was, except he was in far better shape. Elizabeth was being held by a soldier as she screamed and motioned wildly, and the rest of the crew of the Victoria Anne were surrounded by armed guards with their bayonets drawn. Coughing weakly, Jack struggled to stand up, but found himself unable to.
"Mr. Sparrow." Jack looked up and saw the hawk-eyed general staring back at him. "My name is General Ratherford. And I am here to accuse yourself and William Turner with the murder of Commodore James Thomas Norrington."
Fin Part I.
Don't hate me…although this is the end of The Winds of Change, Part II will probably be coming out tomorrow or sometime this week. I'm unsure of what to name it, but please look for it. It will probably be posted sometime before this Wednesday.
I hope you enjoyed. And I KNOW you'll love the next one.