A/N: Here I am, in good old college...attending Miami University of Ohio. I've been so busy lately that I honestly have not had time to update. But, because I love you all and I owe you at least a post every now and then, I decided to.
I hope I didn't upset any of you. I really apologize if this chapter isn't up to par, but it's been pretty stressful here, as you can imagine. So try to enjoy, even if it's not my best!!!
Pirates of the Caribbean: The Wind's Eye
Somehow, everything seemed to be alright again now that he was back at sea.
The sea calmed him in a way nothing and no one else could. The sloshing of the waves against the hull of the boat brought a sense of earnest to his love of the shining waters that surrounded the Intrepid as they headed after Jack and Elizabeth.
The ironic thing was, up until he was eighteen, Will was terrified of the water – the indefiniteness of it all frightened him. The uncertainty of it, the strength of the waves, of the unknown depth...all of it made him feel unsure. He had always been timid about the unknown until Elizabeth...
"Just go in, Will."
"Miss Swann, I can't swim. I'd drown," he protested, leaning over the dock the stood on, gazing timidly towards the calm water.
"Stop being such a baby."
Will shot Elizabeth a nasty glare, one of the only times he had ever done so. He was very self-conscious about his fear of water; especially considering he lived in Port Royal, which was practically surrounded by the blasted element. And he certainly didn't like letting Elizabeth, the love of his life, know about his terrible fright of swimming.
His gaze was torn away from the black-blue waters as Elizabeth sighed heavily, crossing her arms over her chest. "Honestly."
"Honestly what?" Will grumbled.
"I honestly would have thought you braver," she stated, her eyebrows rising.
"I am brave. I just don't prefer water, if that's acceptable to you." He had never been so short with her.
After a long pause in which Will was growing afraid that he had insulted her, she asked, "Will, do you drink water?"
"Do you touch water at the smithy?"
"Always. We need that for – "
"Do you bathe, William Turner?"
Will blushed at the thought of Elizabeth thinking of him bathing. "Of course."
"Well then, you ingest it, you work with it at the smithy, and you even surround yourself in it while you sit in your bathtub. How could you possibly be afraid of it?"
Will looked at her, stricken dumb. How to respond to that?
To avoid answering her question, Will gazed out at the now completely set sun, and felt the salty breeze play with his unkempt hair. His eyes struggled to adjust to the growing darkness, and the only sound detectable was the lapping of the water on the hulls of the docked ships. Everyone in Port Royal was either eating supper, closing up shop, at the local saloons, or sleeping. Will suddenly felt extremely alone, and realized that he and Elizabeth were the only ones on the entire dock.
"Are you really afraid of the ocean?" Elizabeth asked, a bit quieter this time.
"Yes," he muttered.
"It's a shame."
Suddenly, out of no where, Will saw Elizabeth dump her dress on the dock and, in only a lacey, frilly undergarment, she went flying past him and feet first into the water.
It took a few moments for him to realize what had actually just happened, but when he did, his mind became frenzied and his heart began to beat extremely fast. He ran to look over the dock and saw Elizabeth treading water about four feet directly beneath him, smiling mischievously.
He had secretly always loved that smile.
"Miss Swann, what are you doing?" Will asked, alarmed. He reached out a hand to her. "Come on, I'll pull you out."
"Oh, Will, the water is so refreshing and cool," Elizabeth pouted. "Don't make me come out."
Will looked around the docks, and noticed that there still wasn't anyone present within a mile of them. Relieved but still tense, he said, "Don't play games. If your father comes down here and sees you in...in your...undergarments, swimming in the water with me watching, he will have me hung come high tide."
Elizabeth studied him for a few moments, and Will thought he saw a twinkle in her eyes; it was gone, however, before he could be sure. He extended his hand down towards her, encouraging her to get out. "Please, Miss Swann, it's growing dark. It's not safe."
Sighing, Elizabeth nodded, reaching for his hand. "Yes, I suppose you're right."
She took his hand, and Will struggled to pull her up. His eyes widened in surprise as he realized she was leaning back, using all of her weight to pull him towards her. She was going to pull him in!
"No...don't....Elizabeth!" he screamed as he fell face first into the water. Suddenly submerged and sinking fast, Will felt panic rise within him. He instinctively inhaled, and gulped down a mouthful of foul tasting sea water. He gagged as he became disoriented – his eyes stung from the salt, and all he could see was a never-ending blue blanket of water surrounding him...
And then, he found himself kicking and flapping as he propelled himself towards the surface. Breaking the water's top, he gasped for breath, inhaling deeply and coughing up water at the same time. He continued to kick and move his arms as he had seen Elizabeth do, and he found himself treading water with ease, although he was slightly out of breath due to his panic a few moments ago.
"See? Not so bad, is it?"
Will turned to see Elizabeth treading directly beside him, grinning widely. Her hair was slightly messy and clung to her face and neck, the rest of her long locks flowing gracefully behind her like a mermaid. Her fair skin reflected against the gently flowing ripples, her eyes wide and beautiful...
Every other time he had caught himself openly admiring her, he had looked immediately away, embarrassed and out of place. But somehow, in the water, he felt he was shielded from all of the bashfulness and societal rules that he had dealt with for so long. The water protected him.
He saw Elizabeth narrow her eyes, noticing his intent gaze upon her. She squirmed a bit, and then remarked, "That was the first time you called me that."
"Huh?" he asked dumbly, still gazing at her.
"That was the first time you called me Elizabeth."
Will thought about it, and realized that she was absolutely correct. "Yes...you're right," he commented. Then, still looking at her, he remarked, "But it's a pity to avoid using such a beautiful name." He had said it before he could stop himself.
Elizabeth had just blushed.
And Will had just smiled.
"What is there to be smiling about, may I ask?"
Turning, Will looked into the face of Governor Swann, his inquisitive gaze reminding him a lot of Elizabeth's. "Oh, um, nothing, sir. Just a...ah, random memory."
The governor smirked and nodded slightly, and Will knew his story didn't convince his father-in-law. Clearing his throat awkwardly, the young man tightened his grip upon the railing of the Intrepid, feeling its lulling motion underneath his feet. He gazed out at the horizon and inhaled the fresh Caribbean air.
"William, I want to inform you that just because I have taken authority to Commodore Ratherford's ears does not mean that you are absolved of Commodore Norrington's murder."
Will turned to the governor, his face tense. "Sir, you must believe me...I had nothing to do with it, and neither did Jack – "
"Jack?" the governor replied questioningly.
"Uh, yes, sir...Jack Sparrow."
"Yes...the pirate," he answered hesitantly.
The governor sighed and nodded his head. "I figured as much. I thought I had taught Elizabeth to choose her friends wisely."
Will pursed his lips, unwilling to talk. He didn't want to upset Elizabeth's father, especially not now that the man whom Will had wanted acceptance from his whole life was beginning to warm up to him. But something nudged at his stomach, and he knew that he couldn't let the governor think poorly of Jack.
"Governor Swann, I know that pirates are not looked upon...ah, favorably, by most people here in Port Royal...or anywhere, for that matter. But take it from me, one who cares more about your daughter than anyone or anything else in this world: Jack is a good man who keeps to his word. He may not be the most...normal pirate a man could know, but he certainly is loyal. If Elizabeth is off across the sea with anyone, I would hope it would be with Jack Sparrow."
The older man looked Will up and down critically for a few moments. Then, he said something that made Will's jaw drop in astonishment. "Between you and me, William, I do believe you're right."
"That's not right, William!" Elizabeth protested loudly. Her grievances weren't helping Jack's splitting headache, and he made it known by groaning loudly. However, both Kidd and Elizabeth ignored him.
"It's right by me, and it's right by the crew. Therefore, it's right for you."
"That is the most sexist, womanizing thing I have ever heard you say. You can't make decisions for me just because you think a woman cannot handle herself in Tana!"
"I am not trying to belittle you, Lis. I'm trying to protect you."
"Oh, that makes perfect sense," she shot back sarcastically. "You're trying to keep me safe by bringing me to the most dangerous pirate haven in the world. Brilliant idea, William, superbly excellent notion."
"For the infinite time, Elizabeth," growled Jack from the corner of the captain's quarters. His headache was growing worse. "You simply don't understand."
"What don't I understand, Jack? If you're going to keep me on this boat under guard and surveillance I think you owe me an explanation as to why."
Rubbing his head, Jack squinted at Elizabeth in the sunny, morning light that streamed through the one, gloriously draped window in the captain's quarters. "Do you know what the natives are like there, missy?"
"No. But why would there be a pirate haven if the natives were so dangerous?"
Jack smirked. "Perhaps because we pirates and those natives are so interestingly alike."
Elizabeth and Kidd stared at him for a moment, before shrugging off his comment. He was acting weirder and weirder, they both noticed that. But, then again for Jack, what counted as normal?
Jack noticed their perplexed (and slightly concerned) gaze, but just shrugged his shoulders and closed his eyes. "You'd have to see it for yourself, lass."
"Excellent idea, Jack! See, William? Jack doesn't think –"
"Captain Sparrow," Kidd interjected. "Remember: she's pregnant."
Jack's eyes grew wide, and a slightly worried look crossed his face. "Aye, almost forgot about that. Elizabeth, forget my last statement. It was nothing but a figment of your imagination."
"It was not. You said it," she huffed, growing impatient.
"That I should see for myself."
Jack shook his head and shrugged. "I don't know what you're talking about."
"You just said it!"
"Yes, you most certainly – "
"ENOUGH!" shouted Kidd, and both Elizabeth and Jack fell into cooperative silence. "This is getting us no where, Lis. You are to remain on the Galley, both for your safety and that of your child's."
Feeling the sting of certain defeat, Elizabeth looked from Jack to Kidd, clenched her jaw, and strode from the room, obviously aggravated and angry. Kidd shook his head and sighed, and Jack studied the other man through the blinding lights in his eyes due to his headache. Where did this blasted pain come from?
"I don't know what to do with her, Captain Sparrow," Kidd sighed, rubbing his eyes. "She's so..."
"...annoying?" Jack finished.
"No! She's my cousin, and I don't find her annoying in the least bit. She's just..."
"NO. Not loud either. I don't know how to describe it. Umm...she's incredibly..."
Kidd looked slightly entertained. "Do I get the impression you're not fond of Lis?"
Jack remained silent for a moment before responding. "Fond...fond as in 'loving', 'doting', and all of that business? No, that's Will's proper job as a husband. Although I will tell you, on that deserted island, I think she was growing...how to say it...fond...of me?"
"I hear tell otherwise," responded Kidd, smiling. "But then again, that's beside the point. I don't fancy telling Lis exactly why we can't let her in Tana."
Jack frowned. "Why don't you just tell her that there are a bunch of fetus-eating, brain-chomping, skin-frying cannibals on that island and you're afraid she might be someone else's desert?"
Kidd cringed. "That's positively disgusting, Captain Sparrow."
"That's another thing," Jack said, waving a hand. "As much as I appreciate the 'captain' as a wonderful acknowledgement of my naval aptitude, I would be much obliged if you would just call me Jack. This is your boat – um, ship, your ship, and I think you had best be the only 'captain' aboard her, eh?"
"Just Jack, then, is it?"
"Aye, just Jack."
Kidd nodded approvingly. "Agreed."
"Splendid. Now," Jack announced, getting up and rubbing his hands together. "When's our estimated time of arrival in Tana?"
"Sometime in the late afternoon, if I did my math correctly," stated Kidd, now pouring over the maps strewn about on his cherry-oak colored desk. "I do have to say, we've been very lucky with the direction of the wind. It's been acting in our favor ever since we left Port Royal."
"The wind's unpredictable, mate," Jack warned. "A pirate always loves 'er, but he never trusts 'er."
"Aye, too true."
"But Elizabeth must stay on the ship...for more dangerous reasons than fetus-eating cannibals."
Kidd looked up from the maps and frowned, studying the other man. "There's something more dangerous than cannibals that would devour not only my cousin but her unborn child?"
"Oh, to be sure. I take it you've never been there?"
Jack smiled sardonically. "I had the unlucky fortune to visit there a while back. It's not a pretty place, to be sure. It's a place of dark magic, voodoo, idol worship, cult followings. A man could get wrapped up in Tana, and find himself unable to leave."
"Were you such a man?"
Jack looked at Kidd in a way that made the captain of the Galley want to curl under his desk and hide. He remained silent for a long while, his intent gaze blazing into Kidd's face. Then, he spoke.
"Aye. I was such a man."
"But you left..."
"...barely with my life. I have scars...permanent scars from my escape. They will do things to you there..." Jack trailed off, shaking his head and turning his back on Kidd. As he walked over to the window, Kidd saw Jack rub his forearm absent-mindedly. He gazed out of the clean glass into the horizon beyond, seemingly in a trance, lost in memories past. Kidd decided it was best to leave Jack to his thoughts, and he returned to the scattered maps, trying to pinpoint the dock they should arrive at, according to the wind patterns of late.
"You cannot let Elizabeth off of this ship."
Kidd looked up, startled that Jack had spoken after such a long silence. "We already agreed that she would remain aboard, Jack."
"We shouldn't be going here," he suddenly declared, ignoring Kidd's previous statement. He turned his back on the window, his face hollow and sunken. "We need to turn this ship around. Now."
"We can't do that, Jack," he said slowly. Something was wrong...very wrong. But he couldn't tell what. "We're very close, and Ratherford is sure to be on our tail. If he catches us..."
"If Ratherford catches us, we'll be lucky. He can't do anything to us that would even compare to what they can do..."
Kidd had never been a superstitious man; logic had always prevailed for him. All of this nonsense about voodoo and black magic had made him want to roll his eyes, but out of respect for Jack, he had taken it seriously. But it was something about the way Jack now spoke, something about his pallid skin and his haunted eyes that truly made Kidd want to listen and turn the boat around immediately.
"Jack – "
"Captain!" the cry erupted as the door to the captain's quarters flew open.
Kidd looked into the face of Smithe, open eyed and apparently shocked.
"Yes, what is it?" he asked, impatient.
"Sir...I think you'd better come on deck."
He was about to object and explain how busy he was at the moment, but a nagging feeling in his gut told him to go. With one more backwards glance at Jack, he headed out of his quarters and onto the deck.
Struck by the sudden humidity and heat in the air, Kidd inhaled deeply, finding it somewhat hard to breathe. The sun was glaring, and he felt the sudden urge to heave. Fighting it back and wondering what had made him suddenly feel so sick, Kidd turned to look at his crew.
Each man stood, open mouthed, looking up at the sky. Following their gaze, Kidd looked to see the moon inching its way towards the sun, slowly and yet deliberately, about to form an eclipse.
"I'm sorry, I don't understand what the problem is," snapped Kidd. "We're about to land in Tana, gentlemen. I need to figure out when we will arrive, where to dock, what conditions we will be facing – "
"It's more complicated than that, William," Elizabeth said, coming up beside him.
"What could be complicated? This isn't the first time it's happened – "
"No, but it's not supposed to happen for another two years."
Kidd blinked. "What?"
"The eclipse. It's not supposed to happen for another two years," she repeated in a hushed voice.
"She's right, you know. One of the few times I could say that." Jack had arrived on deck, and strode over to where the two of them stood. Gazing up at the sky, Kidd saw a strange sense of awe, fear, and ecstasy flow across his face, his kohl-lined eyes twinkling mysteriously. His expression sent a chill down Kidd's spine.
"An eclipse," Jack whispered, almost inaudibly. "Yes..."
Jack turned to face Kidd, and he felt the chill travel down his back once more as he answered.
"They're watching us."
Ratherford gazed up at the sky, watching the celestial phenomenon through squinted eyes. He appeared to be solely focused on the eclipse, but instead, thoughts were running through his mind.
He knew the governor did not like him one bit, and he knew the governor didn't trust him either. He had immediately sided with Turner, disregarding Ratherford's authority and position as commodore. He had embarrassed him in front of that low-life blacksmith, and had made Ratherford publicly swallow his own words.
Of course he sided with Turner, he thought bitterly. He's married to Swann's daughter.
But it did not matter. The whip of reprimand had struck him hard.
And he would not let the governor and his swine of a son-in-law get away with it.
He had his own plan. He had worked so hard to reach the top – he was not about to let a boy no older than twenty-five and an old, run-down politician stop him from his success. It was his ship, with his crew, doing what he commanded...it was foolish of Turner and Swann to be so eager to accompany him.
Ratherford smiled as the moon finally covered the sun, dropping the Intrepid into shadow. Yes...very foolish of Turner and Swann...
If they were real sailors, they would have known.
Because no one but the wind and the water sees what happens on rescue voyages...
...and neither wind nor water speaks.