Falling into Heaven, falling into Hell

by Oneiriad

Disclaimer: PotC are not mine. If it was, would I be posting this here?

Chapter 1. – How the mighty have fallen

"I want you to know that I was rooting for you, mate. Know that." And Sparrow looks me in the eyes for one long moment before taking a few dancing steps, then stopping, suddenly, more suddenly than when he stopped in front of me, and speaks a short and preposterous greeting to Elizabeth. A few more steps, another stop and a couple of words to young mr. Turner – mr. Turner, who has just stolen Elizabeth from me. It hurts to have lost her, and to have lost her to – of all people – a common blacksmith with a pirate for a friend hurts even more. Is that hurt the reason I follow said pirate so closely, sword in my hand, as he dance-walks towards the edge? Much to closely, as it turns out.

Right on the edge he whirls around, gold teeth showing in a huge grin, eyes a-gleeming, and begins that ridiculous little trademark speech of his. As though anyone would want to remember this day (although I probably will – not because of Sparrow, but because of Elizabeth). But then he suddenly gives me ample cause...

Halfway through Sparrow´s speech I suddenly feel a foot tripping mine and a hand grasping my right one, and then I am falling and pretty confused as to how that came to be, my sword no longer in my hand. Below me the brightly shining Caribbean sea is rising up to bid me welcome, above me I can hear the scrambling of marines only now beginning to react to this unexpected turn of events, and, as I hit the water and the air is knocked out of my lungs, I hear a voice – Gillette´s? – high, high above me, shouting: "Don´t shoot! Don´t shoot! You´ll hit the Commodore!"

I push my head up over the surface of the water, not quite grateful enough that I have avoided hitting one of the many rocks at the foot of the cliff, and find myself face to face with one Jack Sparrow, smiling like the madman he is and with MY sword in his right hand. I don´t understand what he is smiling at. What does he think this will accomplish? That is, apart from my complete and utter humiliation – I can see my hat and wig floating a few feet away. But then the voices from above ring out again, this time in a mixture of surprise and alarm: "Sails ho!" I turn, slowly, somehow knowing even before I can see them that those sails will be black as a pirate´s soul. And then I feel the tip of my sword at the nape of my neck, and I hear Sparrow´s voice, somehow devoid of its usual slur: "Swim."

Perhaps being given an order by a scallywag that has just pulled me out over a cliffside is the final straw – I don´t know. I just know that I simply refuse to obey Sparrow. I try to draw my pistol, though it can hardly be of much use to me now – the powder must have gotten wet – but perhaps I can use it like some sort of club? But Sparrow must have guessed my intent, and suddenly he is very close, and we are wrestling in the water. I try to grab the sword – MY sword – but Sparrow is far more agile than me, and I suspect him of having had to fight in water before, while it is a new experience for me. Somehow he manages not only to avoid my grasping hand, but also to knock the pistol that I had finally managed to draw out of my hand. It sinks to the bottom of the sea, lost to me, but even disarmed I refuse to surrender. Dragged down by a waterlogged uniform I try to struggle, until I feel a burst of pain from my groin, where something – Sparrow´s knee? his fist? – hits me. The pain wrests a cry from my lips and I splutter, desperately trying to avoid swallowing half the Caribbean sea, now above me and all around me, blinding me, trying to force its way into my lungs – and I trash, desperately trying to resurface, but to no avail. Then suddenly hands are grasping me, pulling at my coat, heavy with water and brocade. It slips from me at the same time as I feel a sharp pain from my hand and cry out, spluttering yet again, but this time there is air trying to pass my lips and I gratefully fill my lungs with it, whilst blinking to clear my eyes of the blinding salt water. And with that accomplished, what is the first thing I see? The tip of my sword hovering right in front of my face. Again I hear Sparrow´s voice – "Swim, Commodore." – and this time I obey.

They throw a rope down from the deck of The Black Pearl as we draw near, and, once again obeying Sparrow, I grab hold. He follows suit and then, suddenly, we are pulled up, out of the sea and through the air, only to land on the deck of the most notorious pirate vessel in the Spanish Main. I scramble backwards, away from Sparrow, then freeze when – of all things – a midget pirate points his pistol at me.

On the deck of the Pearl there is a hushed silence, and everybody´s attention, including mine, is on Jack Sparrow – presently sitting on the deck with my sword still in his right hand, looking vaguely suspiciously up at a bewhiskered pirate who now steps forward. He looks somewhat familiar to me, this pirate, though I am not exactly sure were I might have seen him before. And now he is helping Sparrow to his feet and there are smiles and greetings. An elderly sailor with a parrot on his shoulder gives Sparrow a hat, and then a black woman steps away from the helm to drape a solid coat around his shoulders and inform him that the ship is his. A long moment of silence follows, as Sparrow steps forth to just – touch – the helm, seemingly not noticing that all eyes are on him – except, that is, the midget´s, whose eyes and pistol never leave me.

Finally Sparrow seems to shake off his – sentimental? – mood and starts shouting orders to the other pirates, who scramble to obey. And then I find myself hauled to my feet by the woman, who is apparently a lot stronger than any woman has any right to be. "And what of this one, Captain? Shall I shoot him now and throw his carcass to the sharks?" she shouts, holding her pistol under my chin. I feel tiny beads of sweat forming on my forehead. Is this, then, how Commodore James L. Norrington, the scourge of pirates, dies?

But apparently this day is to be full of surprises, for Sparrow actually leaves the helm to step over to us, his hands moving in front of him. "No, no, no, no. No shooting the Commodore. No hanging the Commodore. No keelhauling the Commodore. In fact, no killing the Commodore whatsoever, savvy?", and I cannot keep the surprise away from my face as he drives that point home with a stab of his finger. "But Captain, this bastard tried to hang you!" and I am sure that it is disappointment I hear in her voice, as well as something very similar to outrage.

"Aye, that he did, but as you see, he failed to finish the job. And now, Anamaria my dear, if you would care to look over at the fort, you would notice that nobody is firing all those little cannons at us, even though we are well within range. Now, I wonder how that can be," and he pretends to ponder the question, twirling a chin-braid between two fingers. "Might it be, you think, because we have their precious Commodore aboard, and they don´t want to risk us killing him? Now, what do you think would happen if they saw you shooting him through all those little spy-glasses of theirs, eh?" Her sole answer is silence. "So, no killing the Commodore, savvy?" and he waits for her to nod before whirling around and starting to walk back to the helm.

"Well, what am I supposed to do with him, then?" she yells after him, loud enough to leave a ringing in my ears. Sparrow does not even stop, let alone turn around, just makes a dismissive gesture as he replies: "Put him in the brig. I´ll deal with him later." And then the woman starts pulling me away, only I finally seem to have recovered from the shock of being – what? kidnapped? – by Sparrow – the worst pirate I had ever seen – and I start to object, try to fight her, which simply means that a couple of burly pirate men has to help her pull me along. The last I see of Sparrow as they drag me below, he is standing at the helm, looking at that broken compass of his and singing some ridiculous song about – well, about rum, of course.

And so I find myself in the brig of The Black Pearl – basically a great metal cage devoid of furniture. I sink down on the damp floor and lean against the very hull of the ship, trying to take stock of my situation. I am dressed in my good uniform – sans hat, wig and coat – now well and thoroughly soaked. There is a cut on the back of my right hand, fortunately neither particularly deep nor bleeding terribly much, and I manage to bind it with my handkerchief, which is as wet as the rest of me. I am unarmed and alone, the prisoner of a man whom I tried and failed to hang on this very day, a man who has every reason to hate me. At least nobody comes to torment and mock me. In fact, as the hours pass and the light dimms at sunset, nobody comes at all, and soon I can add hunger and thirst to my list of complaints. I sit shivering in darkness only broken by the light of a lone lantern. Looking out of a small hole left by a knot, I can see the moonlight playing catch on the surface of the sea, and from somewhere above me, presumably on deck, comes the sound of dancing and drunken singing. I wonder if they have completely forgotten about me. I wonder if Elizabeth – no, not Elizabeth, miss Swann – I obviously no longer have any right to call her by her first name, seeing how she has chosen another – still, I wonder if she is sparing me a thought tonight. I wonder if Gillette has given chase yet. And most of all, I wonder what could possibly make this day any...

ATISHOO!

Oh, blast!