Disclaimer: If I owned Pirates of the Caribbean, well-the DMC version of Norrington would've been in the first movie, too. 'Cause, honestly, isn't he so much hotter than Will?
Author's Note: This whole fic is due to the coolest person ever, Tawnie, who is known as coldpizza here. Since my computer is inadequate, she posted this vicariously. Worship her!
Hem, hem… anyway, this is the first (and certainly not the last) Pirates of the Caribbean fanfic I've written-and if you mildly liked this one, there's more in store. I might even do something with everybody's favorite rumphile, Captain Jack Sparrow. That is, if I can manage not to completely butcher his character. So, enjoy. And review if you like it, and especially if you don't-tell me how to make my stuff better. 'Kay?
---Lady and the Tramp
It was fast approaching the midnight hour, and Emily Swann was taking a purposeful stroll, fueled by pain and boredom and the inability to sleep, through her husband's cavernous manor. Though candle fixtures hung parallel from each side along the corridor, she carried her own column of pale wax with a brightly burning wick atop it to guide her way.
The flickering quality of the light showed shadowy, brief glimpses of Emily as she ambled past. She had a rather mysterious beauty about her, not at all quite too stereotypical of the young women successful men took as their brides. Emily's body was voluptuous and rather curvy, most of this currently being attributed to her pregnancy. But, it seemed, since puberty she'd always had wide hips and some plumpness softening her figure. Her hair was a long, tousled mane with varying shades of gold and straw. It fell with a casual elegance over her painfully swelled breasts, constricted by a creamy white nightgown. In her final month with child, all of the soreness of her feet, the engorging of her breasts, and constant kicking from within seemed to be hundredfold nuisance. Hence, she was walking about, trying to ignore her painful troubles for the moment.
It was mostly muffled snores that permeated through the doors she passed them, but one such door was an exception. Emily could quite distinctly make out choking sobs instead. Her stride immediately came to a halt. She leaned over slightly, resting her ear next to the bare wood of the door. The cries resonated even more clearly through the thin layer of cherry. Cautiously, Emily felt for the doorknob and turned it, and the door yielded. Inside, by the sudden burst of white light from the lightning outside, she could see one of the younger maids, a new one of their employment, as the source of the weeping. The maid was curled up on her bed, pressing her shaking hands to her face. Emily opened her mouth to say something, but held her tongue-seeing as she'd already intruded upon her servant's privacy, and she hadn't quite associated with this woman yet. But before Emily could slip away, the maiden noticed her presence in the room.
"Oh, milady!" she managed to gasp, "I'm terribly sorry-you mustn't see me like this-all cryin' and whatnot…"
"No, really-" Emily approached her bed, ambling. She'd cut herself off when she realized she didn't know the maid's name, "Begging your pardon, miss, but I'm afraid I haven't heard your name."
"Lett-um…" the young woman attempted to collect herself in her employer's presence, "Colette, Milady-Colette T-Turner." The lightning flashed outside again, showing Colette's face. She had coiling brunette hair that fell lank around her face, and though Emily could tell she was quite young, her face had years of wear on it. Her eye sockets had seemed to sink around her eyes, defining the dark brown pair almost in an almost deviant way. But soon as it came, the light went, and Emily couldn't see much else.
Emily plopped down onto her small bed. "Colette, what's troubling you?" she asked serenely.
"Oh, ma'am, don't be too terribly concerned with my troubles…" Colette said in a rush. Another blinding burst of light came through the windows, showing Emily something she'd missed while briefly studying Colette's face-her belly was slightly swollen, not too much unlike her own.
"Don't worry, the ones I do have aren't even worth telling, seeing as they're quite trivial. As for me, I'd like to hear of yours," Emily smiled awkwardly, out of the corner of her mouth, "and try to assist you, of course," she added quickly, not trying to sound as if she were snooping into the scandalous affairs of her maids. Which, to be perfectly honest, she was.
"Oh, it's just…" Colette began distantly, sighing quietly in the dark, "… I daresay I miss the man who left this burden upon me alone," she stroked her pregnant belly involuntarily, "the one who took away my last name and gave me his… well, it was quite voluntary at the time," she sniffled, wiping her eyes with the hand not attached her abdomen, "but I never realized…"
"I'm sorry-" apologized Emily softly.
"Don't be-'tisn't your fault, after all," she said, sounding slightly irritated and took another deep breath, "he was trying to be all noble, making me come here. To England. I used to live in the Caribbean, I did."
"Your husband," Emily replied after a while, "what did he do over there, making you come here?"
"Merchant sailor," Colette answered in a rush, "travelin' the Spanish main." Another lightning strike revealed she was blinking rather a lot. But whether it was from the sudden light or not was debatable.
"Ah… you know," the Swann woman began, "once the baby's old enough to travel, Weatherby-I mean, Master Swann-well, he's going to take up a position as governor of Port Royal."
"Port Royal… sounds familiar," Colette mused, hiding something behind her deep, shining eyes, "aye, it wasn't too much when I was last there. Mostly pirates."
"Well, Port Royal will become exceedingly inhabitable once Weather-Master Swann," she corrected herself sharply, "has taken up residence."
"Erm, Milady," Colette cleared her throat, "why're you telling me all this-I mean…" her eyes fell outside as echoing thunder rattled the windows in their panes.
"Well, as much as I am your Lady, I am also, although unofficial, someone…" Emily searched through her mind for the correct wording, "… someone that, perhaps, you could trust to know what is occurring to you, and not just by the fact that, well, we are both soon to become mothers."
Colette snorted, although by the look on her face she'd tried to hold it back, "Forgive me, but I'm not quite sure you and I have been in the same predicaments."
"Well, they're not quite the same, and yet they are," Emily mused, "our similar problems seem to manifest in different ways."
"Pardon me if it's too bold to say, but milady-you quite possibly are the strangest person I've ever met," Colette genuinely grinned, wiping more tears from her eyes, "and I meant that in the kindest sense of the phrase," she added, in hope of not being sacked for her comment, "and I thank you for your kind company."
She grinned and replied to the 'strange' comment, "You have no idea," before continuing, "and you are welcomed for sharing it with me," Emily returned, with a rare sincerity. "Shall you be alright?"
More tears were almost instantaneously wiped from her face. "I'm not quite certain of that, Milady Swann," she paused for a moment as Emily stood, "but, due to you, I'm well on my way."
The door to the hallway was opened, revealing a relatively young man with a curly, dark wig flattened against his head, as if he'd donned it in a swift flash. "Emily, what's the meaning of this?" Weatherby Swann inquired, attempting rather unsuccessfully to keep his voice as level as one could.
"Our new maid is having some… adjustment difficulties, Weatherby," said Emily, "and if you don't mind, darling, I think Miss Turner may need a day to herself tomorrow."
Swann gave them both flustered looks, but caved in with a, "If it is what you truly wish, Emily."
"Thank you, Master Swann," Colette addressed so rapidly that she was jumbling the words together, "I-I-erm, good night, sir." She finished lamely.
"And a good night to you, Miss Turner," Weatherby replied nonchalantly, taking the arm of Emily, and saying to her, "honestly, Emily, walking about the manor at night is not precisely a good thing to do for one in your condition…" and Emily just smirked.
The next day had shone London in a rich, cloudless sunlight, from her puddle-strewn cobblestone streets, to the patrons purchasing expensive fruit from the European mainland. Colette had spent her rare day of free reign within the confines of her room, though, guilty that many of her coworkers merited days like this much more than she deserved. She feared that venturing outside spelt humiliation for herself and her household, and that she should either be working, or here.
Less than a few months here, Colette thought as she stared vacantly outside, and this damn crowd's already gotten me thinking like this. Honestly-Colette Turner, a dutiful maiden in a dignitary's household? I know better, or at least I should… but Bill…
The last time she'd seen Bootstrap Bill, he'd worn a horrified expression even before she'd told him she was pregnant and, in short, shooed her off to England, saying with the most serious of tones that she'd be Davy Jones' target practice within the month if she remained. Besides, raising a child on Tortuga? It was the equivalent to pirates' private brothel and by all means no place for a small girl or boy. She'd seen it; it guaranteed the child of life of prostitution or piracy. And, back on the ruddy island, hers wasn't exactly an honest living.
When the sun had starting leaning toward the western horizon, Colette had at last made up her mind. She'd finally dressed into her homely, gray uniform dress, but abandoned the cream apron and bonnet-like hat and pushed the door open. No sooner did the door squeak open then another maid rushed by, nearly toppling Colette over in her sprint of urgency. Before she could inquire as to what the fuss was about, the maid had seemingly disappeared in a fury down the stairs.
Colette cocked her left eyebrow in bewilderment and followed at quite a slower rate. As she gradually scaled the hall, she became aware of something different about the manor. The noise-or, rather, the lack of it. There was usually a rather consistent buzz of conversation from one room in the manor or another, but now, now there was nothing but the reverberating silence.
She'd finally made it to the end of the hall, where it turned sharply left into a much wider one, then to the grand staircase at the manor's front-it was the first thing one would see after stepping inside the magnificent stony façade. Unlike what Colette anticipated, there were people there, milling about with an uncomfortable hush in the foyer at the base of the staircase. Standing stoic at the top of the stairs was Master Weatherby Swann. Cautiously, she approached him and he acknowledged her with a small incline of his head.
"Forgive me, Master Swann," she began hoarsely from the lack of speaking all day, "but what is the meaning of all of this?"
For a while-a long while-he did not speak, but when he did, every word came out decisive and clear, "I am afraid that something rather wonderful and terrible occurred this very morn."
Colette waited impatiently for him to elaborate, tapping her foot soundlessly.
"Emily… she began childbirth last night," Master Swann continued, staring at the grandeur of the room and, quite apparently, feeling nothing from it, "and this morning… she…"
Colette didn't hear the rest of the sentence, because a dreadful realization swept over like falling through an icy pond. She understood, but she wished she didn't. The only person she'd really met since she'd fled the Caribbean-the only person who actually saw her as a human with gurgling emotions and recognized them for what they were. That only person was gone.
Her dark eyes shone with a reflective sparkle as they glazed over with tears. She found her own words silenced, too. But, somehow, after she'd allowed a tear to finally drop from her eyes, she managed to ask, "And the child?"
Master Swann sighed deeply, radiating a very painful, but genuine, smile.
"Her name is Elizabeth."