Aboard the Black Pearl.
Lying limply against the bars of his dank prison, several inches of salty water seeping into his damp clothes, his nearest company two scurrying rats, Will Turner wished for his own pistol, as willing as he'd ever be to aim its only bullet towards himself.
Though Jack's crew were locked in a cell only steps away from his own, he was isolated, separated by his own choosing, guilt and humiliation their own barrier. The crew's low murmurings had risen in pitch and volume, and Will could only assume that his sullen silence had led them to believe that he was either asleep or non-existent.
Visions of Elizabeth played through his head in sickening succession; she had been so strong, so proud, barely clothed and yet so fierce, and so entirely unafraid. Having been used and manipulated, kidnapped and threatened, abused and ultimately failed by those she should have been able to trust, namely himself, she had leveled her shoulders and faced imminent danger with a cool head and flashing eyes. The nauseating sound of her splash into the sea still echoed in his ears.
He'd felt the urge to vomit upon being tossed into the brig along with the crew. Did she even know how to swim? Would the waves allow her to resurface at all? How long would it take for the thirst to become insufferable, the heat unbearable? Would Jack ensure her safety at his own risk? Remembering the pirate's previous motivations in regard to his own well-being, Will had felt the urge to be sick once more.
And still the crew's voices grew louder. Did they have no respect for their captain, condemned to a slow and miserable death from which he could not possibly escape?
"Aye, tis a fine point, but yer forgetting one important thing-" Gibbs was in the process of explaining.
Another man interrupted: "That he's Captain Jack Sparrow?" A smattering of low laughter ensued.
"No, no, besides that. The coconuts themselves, once halved and emptied, can float!" How that would prove to be the winning argument to any conversation was beyond Will, and yet the rest of the men, even Anamaria, nodded at his words, their faces contemplative.
One particularly intrigued sailor spoke then, "But how could he bind them together?"
Will felt a vague urge to make some inane comment about human hair, but maintained his peripheral observations quietly. Various suggestions were offered up:
"Twasn't a jungle, you idiot!"
"What about shredded palm leaves?"
"Doesn't he carry rope with him?"
"Lord knows he's got everything else!"
Finally one option caught the group's attention.
"How about if he tore the lady's dress into suitable pieces?"
The crew roared with laughter, and the comment quickly gave rise to others.
"Maybe the raft'd get built faster if both have them contributed their clothes as scraps!"
"Aye, for the sake of survival, of course!"
As the remarks dove from moderately offensive to decidedly raunchy, Will's face grew more and more flushed, anger bubbling in his chest. How dare they? Did they not know her station? Did they not know her father? Did they not know that he himself was an acquaintance of hers? And perhaps more?
He couldn't forget how she had caressed his hand as he bound her cut, how her face had reddened when she explained calling herself by his name, how her urgent, hopeful inflection had belied supposed confusion at the choice. He could not have mistaken her agony while he was trapped and they were separated, nor the way her eyes had brightened and her body sagged with relief when he had reappeared, alive and well.
How could they understand, he thought, those pirates…He didn't care what Jack had said; in fact, he didn't trust the man's words now, didn't trust anyone for that matter, not Sparrow, not his worthless crew, and certainly not Barbossa's scum. His father was not a pirate, and neither was he. They were well above such common speculating, such vulgar imaginings.
Elizabeth Swann was a lady of the sort those filth could never hope to understand.
As incensed as he was, the crew's discussion had gradually eased his initial fears for her safety. The two must have reached the island by the previous evening…Perhaps they were concocting a plan for escape. Jack may not care for anyone other than himself, but getting off that blasted island and catching the Pearl was his aim exactly. With his own welfare and his ship's welfare at risk, his scheming and plotting would know no bounds.
Elizabeth too would be driven, by survival instinct, yes, but also, he hoped rather selfishly, by the same desire that had sparked within him the night she was taken. A desire blind to reason, blind to caution, and satisfied only with protecting and possessing its object.
His precious treasure, now abandoned and alone as he, their positions worsened, the blame his alone…He only prayed that with her strength she might elude the despair that now threatened to overwhelm him completely.
Aboard the Dauntless.
Wrapped in the white sheet of her bunk, Elizabeth Swann, betrothed, shifted uncomfortably on her mattress, sand slipping from the most inconvenient of places and a distinct soreness between her thighs, which had lingered throughout the day, keeping her from sleep.
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