Aboard the Dauntless Ch. 7: Peas in a Pod
By Honorat Selonnet
Disclaimer: How could it be that an upstanding writer such as myself did not merit a share in POTC profits? Obviously someone has to make sure this movie stays off limits to amateur pirates.
Summary: In which we discover why and how Elizabeth got that uniform, and distrust abounds between Jack and Elizabeth. I've finally made it to that deleted scene! It took me three more chapters than I thought it would. More movie novelization including deleted scenes and filler—the second trip to Isla de Muerta. This story is now COMPLETE.
Thanks and one small Caribbean Island in a nearby universe go to Geek Mama for beta work on this. Any errors and inconsistencies remain mine.
Peas in a Pod
The shift she had acquired from Barbossa, Elizabeth decided, was beyond redemption. In her mad rush to help control the water springing through the Dauntless's riven hull, the worn fabric had begun to shred. There was most definitely a tear at thigh level that she was awkwardly holding closed. She'd heard it catch and rip as she'd scrambled over some object in the dark of the gun deck.
But she had nothing else to wear.
When she had first joined the governor in his stateroom, still shaken from the ordeal of her conversation with James, she'd asked her father if he'd brought any of her trunks.
He had turned to her, holding out his hands, terrible memories in his eyes. "There was no time, Elizabeth. And we had no expectation . . ." he had trailed off. Pulling her into his embrace, he had explained. " . . . It was the Black Pearl, my dear child." His voice broke a little. ". . . We had so little hope."
She shivered, not liking the reminder of that fearful time she had been in the power of Barbossa, uncomfortable imagining how the people who loved her must have felt.
The important point at the moment was that there was no possible way she could acquire any appropriate change of clothing. What's more, the Dauntless would soon be anchoring in the bay of Isla de Muerta. She would be of no use whatsoever to Will in this ridiculous garb.
As a young, vaguely familiar marine trotted by her, she had a sudden idea. Hurrying after him, she called in her most dulcet, "fair maiden" tones, "Oh, Mr. Burney!"
The marine turned, surprised to be addressed by a young woman of fashion. He was several years her junior, really just a boy under all that scarlet splendour. Embarrassed at finding the governor's daughter in such a ragged state of undress, Mr. Burney stared fixedly at a point somewhere beyond her left shoulder.
"Yes, Miss Swann?" he managed politely enough, although his adolescent voice betrayed him with a discordant squeak.
Elizabeth was reminded of Will at that endearingly awkward stage. Her heart squeezed painfully, and her resolve strengthened.
"I'm so glad I found you, Mr. Burney," she gushed, noting with fascination that his ears were turning pink. "I hardly know anyone on this boat," she lamented with a silent apology to the Dauntless, "and I was so relieved when I recognized you!"
"You did? I mean . . . your servant, Miss Swann," the young man stammered in confusion at this unexpected acquaintance.
"I am in such a quandary," Elizabeth continued, turning the full force of her melting brown eyes on the boy. "I seem to have torn my dress irreparably!" She lifted the ruined skirt to demonstrate. "See?"
Involuntarily, Mr. Burney glanced down at the rip she held clutched together in her hand.
"I can't possibly continue to wear this, can I?" she demanded, all confidentiality.
Apparently, Mr. Burney had an imagination, because he blushed the colour of his coat. Snapping his eyes to the toes of his boots, he mumbled, "I don't know what I . . . um . . . anything I can do to . . . um . . . are you sure one of the officers wouldn't . . .?" He stumbled to a halt, looking up, trapped.
"Oh, I knew you would be the right person with whom to speak," Elizabeth rushed on blithely, ignoring whatever it was the boy had really said. "I'm sure you'll think of something to help me!"
His trapped look increased at the exaggerated hero-worship in her voice. She was sure Mr. Burney wanted nothing more than to flee.
"Why you might even have a spare uniform!" she exclaimed, as though the idea had just occurred to her.
"Well, yes," he admitted doubtfully.
"What a wonderful idea," Elizabeth clapped her hands joyfully. "I knew a clever man like you would think of something!"
The puzzled look on Mr. Burney's face increased. That hadn't been his idea, had it?
"We're about the same size," Elizabeth enthused, waving her hand at her slim, boyish figure. "What do you think?"
If possible, the young man grew even more crimson. Time to seize the advantage while he was still too disconcerted to speak. Grabbing his arm, she began towing him along.
"Let's get that uniform immediately!"
"Um, Miss?" Mr. Burney tugged back. "It's the other way."
"Oh! Of course!" Elizabeth reversed directions and led her bemused captive off towards the crew quarters.
A few minutes later, a relieved Mr. Burney was watching the governor's daughter scurry off with an armful of his spare uniform, her heartfelt thanks echoing in his ears. He wasn't at all sure he had done the right thing, but he hadn't any idea what else he could have done.
As the doors to the governor's stateroom swung shut behind her, Elizabeth let out her breath. Good. Her father was out. Now to don that uniform with all haste in order to present him and the commodore with a fait accompli before they had a chance to object.
The dilapidated shift practically disintegrated as she shed it. This new outfit had arrived not a moment too soon. Awkwardly, she put on the unfamiliar garments. The loose shirt was easy enough, although it left her bare legs startlingly exposed, but the crisp tight smallclothes were an entirely unfamiliar sensation. They clung to her legs, requiring her to tug them on. Then she spent several minutes figuring out how to fasten them. When she had succeeded, she felt only slightly less naked. Her legs were still there and visible in the thin ivory sheaths. Her father was not going to be happy at all. And the commodore . . . well, her time on the island with Jack Sparrow had given her the idea that James might be happier than he would let on . . . but he wasn't going to like his betrothed parading about in front of his men in these revealing garments. She shrugged, dismissing their disapproval.
What mattered was that now she was free to move. Elizabeth capered a few steps. Nothing interfered with her motion. She could get used to this. She pretended to fence with an imaginary opponent. Perfect. Men were so lucky. Really, it was providential that shift had torn.
Now to tie the neckcloth. Too many minutes and attempts later, Elizabeth was till staring at the mirror, her brow wrinkled in concentration. She had succeeded in doing nothing but nearly strangling herself. Either the wide strip of fabric was so tight she couldn't move her chin, or it hung on her like an absurd necklace. How did men get those crisp, neat folds and elaborate tie arrangements out of these limp, recalcitrant things? She eyed the now crinkled object with disfavour. Will didn't wear these very often, and she was pretty sure Jack never did. Very well, neither would she. It would only get in the way.
And speaking of things getting in the way, she needed to do something with her hair. Elizabeth hadn't done her own hair often in her life, but she managed to work out the tangles with a comb and a moderate amount of Sparrow-inspired profanity. Since she had nothing with which to put up her hair, she finally decided on leaving it down, but pulling the sections near her face behind her head and braiding them together. There. That would keep her hair out of her eyes if she had to move quickly.
Next, she struggled into the bright red coat. It hung out over her like drooping eaves. Apparently Mr. Burney had a set of shoulders she hadn't noticed. Otherwise the fit wasn't too bad. She'd never be an advertisement for a tailor, but the sleeves wouldn't interfere with her actions and her movement would be unhampered.
Dropping down on a chair, Elizabeth set about putting on the white stockings. Propping up one ankle on her knee, she was momentarily charmed by the fact that she could. No voluminous petticoats! No crushing, pinching corset to force her to sit upright and keep her arms lowered.
The shoes were more of a problem. She pointed a delicately arched foot and rotated it, eyeing it dubiously. Nothing was going to make it marine-sized. Hopping up, she pawed rapidly through her father's trunk. Stuffing a stocking into the toe of each shoe, she retried them. Now they would at least stay on.
Time to brave parental wrath.
As she was about to leave the room, a thought occurred to Elizabeth. Spinning about, she pounced on the forlorn heap of dress on the floor. Stepping to the large windows of the stateroom, she unlatched one and dropped the offending garment into the dark current. There. Now no one could force her back into that stupid shift.
Unfortunately parental wrath fully met her expectations. Elizabeth popped out the door onto the deck right in her father's path.
She feared perhaps he might suffer an apoplexy when he caught sight of her shocking attire. His eyes bulged and his face turned—well, puce. Elizabeth stared at him in alarm.
"Elizabeth!" her father choked. "What are you wearing?"
"A uniform?" she asked, wondering if he were at all well.
"I can see that," her father sputtered angrily. "Where did you get such a thing?"
"I borrowed it from one of the marines," Elizabeth said calmly.
Weatherby Swann looked ready to do violence to someone. "Which marine?" he asked through clenched teeth.
Elizabeth had no desire to get poor Mr. Burney into trouble. It wasn't his fault she'd remembered his name. "I don't know which one," she lied. "They all look alike in those red coats, don't you think?"
Her father took a deep breath, trying to control himself. "Why?" he asked harshly. "Why do you insist on behaving with such utter disregard for all propriety? The commodore told you he could shield you from the consequences of this fiasco with the pirates if you behaved circumspectly and avoided any more contact with that Sparrow fellow. You couldn't be blamed for being kidnapped. But now this?" Words seemed to fail him and his wave encompassed her entire body in the form-fitting uniform. "Why?"
Because she hated the chains, she wanted to say. Because propriety imprisoned her, smothered her, tied her hands, crippled her feet, silenced her voice. Because she had done nothing improper and propriety had already tried and condemned her.
All she did say was, "My dress fell apart."
Her father's mouth opened and closed again, but no sound emerged.
"That would have been even more improper!" she flung over her shoulder as she strode out onto the deck.
Jack Sparrow stood by the rail staring out into the darkness as the Dauntless slipped into the calm bay on the leeward side of Isla de Muerta. Commodore Norrington would be ordering the ship brought to in the location Jack had recommended.
A thrill sang through Captain Jack Sparrow like the music of wind in rigging. She was out there now. He could almost feel her presence in the air, like the breath of a lover on his cheek. Only a single promontory of volcanic rock separated him from the Black Pearl. Only a slender strip of sea. He felt an almost overwhelming urge to vault to the rail of the Dauntless and dive into the inky water.
Barbossa would be feeling completely secure. He would have no reason to expect an attack. Chances were good the whole crew would be in that cavern—except for a skeleton watch. Jack smirked at the pun. Chances were also good that, if he could make it to the Pearl, he could overcome those remaining men. They could not be killed, but they could be trapped or thrown off the ship. That would leave him with an uncursed crew, likely still in the Pearl's brig. Barbossa had his own sense of honour if he coupled it with a vicious ability to find loopholes. The crew would not be harmed—yet. No doubt a loophole was in the plans, much like his own and Elizabeth's marooning. With the crew from the Interceptor, Jack could take the Pearl and flee this Isle of Death. He could maroon the whole lot of the bastards as they had done to him and wait safely at sea for the curse to be lifted.
Wait for the curse to be lifted—aye, there was the rub. Because the curse would be lifted when Bootstrap's boy was dead. Jack gripped his hands behind his back as though chaining himself. He would not be making that dive for freedom.
"Sorry, love," he whispered to the night breeze. "Soon. I promise."
Elizabeth caught sight of Jack Sparrow, standing alone by the rail of the Dauntless. She had to admit the stories hadn't even come close to capturing the amazing seamanship of the man who could have piloted this ship through that passage. He was gazing into the night with a look in his eyes that she recognized. It was the look that had been there when he had described what the Black Pearl meant to him, that look of longing for his ship. She reminded herself that she knew his priority was that bloody boat—that collection of keel and hull and sails that was his freedom. Because she had needed his help, had needed his ability to find this island and get the Dauntless here, she had not betrayed his motives to the commodore. But now she wondered whether she was any closer to rescuing Will than she had been on that last little island.
What was Jack up to? To what lengths was he willing to go to regain his ship? To get his vengeance on Barbossa? What and whom was he willing to sacrifice? Her slowing steps had led her past the silent pirate. She was not supposed to speak to him—propriety again—her fists clenched. But she had to know what he was thinking. How far did she dare trust him? Elizabeth moved to the ship's rail, several yards away from Jack.
Jack was aware that Elizabeth had joined him, although he did not yet look at her. Will's bonnie lass obviously had something on her mind. She was nervously playing with the paint on the railing, drawing patterns up and down in front of her with a restless fingertip, scraping at a few loose flakes. He wondered what she was plotting. He had no doubt that she was plotting. After all, so was he. But he was not eager to have her hurling her own chaotic strategies through the carefully choreographed lines of his own plans.
Turning to consider his partner and opponent in this subterfuge into which they were leading the Dauntless, Jack noted with interest that Elizabeth had managed to lose the revealing and impractical shift she had been wearing for the equally revealing, shockingly improper, but much more practical uniform of a British marine. Those tight breeches left little to the imagination. He wondered how she'd ever managed to slip that little change past her father and her fiancé. Used to getting her own way was Miss Swann. A dangerous characteristic. But she certainly had a set of legs worth the showing, Jack admitted. He was not at all averse to appreciating the scenery. However, what was more interesting was what the girl's choice of attire revealed about her designs. Obviously, Elizabeth was not planning on remaining on the ship in helpless femininity.
The lass was looking out over the water, her head tilted back. Without turning to Jack, she spoke, her voice small in the immense night, "You didn't tell them about the curse."
That was an accusation. So, Miss Swann was fishing for information as well. No doubt she was wondering if he had betrayed them all. Well that blade had two edges.
"I noticed neither did you," Jack returned wryly, "—for the same reason I imagine."
Elizabeth acknowledged the hit, bowing her head.
That's right, love. We've both betrayed Commodore Norrington and every last man on this ship.
"He wouldn't have risked it," Elizabeth admitted. Or he would not have believed it and would have accepted nothing of what she had said as truth.
Jack smiled mischievously. "Could have gotten him drunk," he suggested.
That had been an accusation, Elizabeth knew. She imagined Jack was never really going to forgive her for burning the rest of the rum while he was sleeping off the effects of consuming far too much of it.
The pirate looked mockingly apologetic. "Don't get me wrong, love." He smiled his fallen cherubim smile—heaven and hell in equal parts. "I admire a person who's willing to do whatever is necessary."
Yes, Jack would be a pragmatist. She had to remember that. At times it seemed so easy to trust the man. But then there were times, like now, when she could see the dangerous shoals lurking beneath his shifting, dark surface. He would do whatever was necessary for his own ends. And the universe had better step aside, because it would not be him doing the stepping.
Elizabeth finally met the pirate's gaze. "You're a smart man Jack," she told him, the light of battle in her eyes, an ironic smile twisting her mouth. "But I don't entirely trust you."
Jack moved over to Elizabeth, bringing his face close to hers. He waved his hand in a gesture linking the two of them.
"Peas in a pod, darling," he told her, the irony in his voice an echo of her own.
They stared into each other's dark eyes silently, measuringly. And neither of them could say whether it was peace or war between them.
Suddenly, Elizabeth caught sight of the figure of Commodore Norrington appearing out of the darkness behind Jack. Backing up a step, she turned away from the pirate guiltily. Oh, she was in deep disgrace now. She'd ignored those gently implacable suggestions and was consorting with the notorious Sparrow again in even more indecorous clothing. James was not pleased. She could tell by the crease between his brows.
Sensing something was in the wind, Jack tilted around to face the commodore. So that's what had the bonnie lass looking like she'd been caught with her fingers in the jam jar. The commodore appeared more than usually thunderous. And he'd thought they'd been getting on so well. Ah, jealousy was such an ugly emotion. Not to mention dangerous. Jack stepped away from Elizabeth with alacrity, raising his hands apologetically. Take it easy, mate. I didn't touch your bonnie lass. Just enjoyin' the view is all. You might remove that stick and enjoy it yourself instead of givin' her the megrims.
Commodore Norrington tossed Jack the compass, looking like he'd rather be throwing something far harder and faster at the pirate, possibly backed by a little black powder and some fire.
"With me Sparrow," he snapped.
Jack noticed he had no words for Elizabeth. Ah, trouble in Paradise, was there? He shrugged. The lass was trouble personified. The commodore might as well get used to it.
He followed Norrington as the man set a brisk pace towards the Dauntless's longboats. Time to set his plan in motion. As the commodore led him away, Jack glanced back once at Elizabeth. She was still staring after the two of them, an abstracted look on her face. The little rum-burner was a loose cannon. He'd had enough of lovestruck children whose nerve broke too soon. No more oars over the head for him. He needed to formulate a scheme to contain Elizabeth before she blew a hole in the hull of his strategy.
Elizabeth stood by the rail of the Dauntless, peering into the night. Will was somewhere out in that darkness, on that cursed island. She could almost feel his presence on the soft breeze, like his breath on her face when he had almost (oh, but not quite) kissed her. She had to find a way to go to him. No bloody immortal pirates would stand in her way. No officiously solicitous fathers and commodores could prevent her. No darkly disturbing trickster pirates were going to manipulate her. She would do whatever was necessary. And the universe had best be stepping aside.
"I'm coming, love," Elizabeth whispered to the night and to the wind. "Soon. I promise."
Thanks so much for the reviews, CaptainTish. To answer your questions, Jack has made the trip to Isla de Muerta once before in the Interceptor. The trick is not that you've been there before, but that you know where it is. One way to get there is to have the bearings—my version is that Barbossa has the chart which he got from Jack, but which Jack has certainly studied. And according to Gibbs, Jack gave Barbossa the bearings. The other is to use that compass, which Jack has. It's unlikely he would ever have been to the island before he arrives with Will, because he is unaware that the treasure really is cursed until he meets his old crew.
Jack as captain is so fun to write. I'm glad you enjoy reading about him.
As for my tea-party story, I have no idea where that name came from, but it makes me laugh every time I write it. I feel like Dickens. I have started a fic, a total reaction against the Mary Sue type OC—Mrs. Fitzbrace-Pennythump vs. Captain Jack Sparrow. It's gonna be war!
I must now go begin the story of Will, before I go any further towards the end of the movie.