The sky was overcast, only a few bars of golden light breaking through the cloud cover to speckle the rippling waves. A light curtain of drizzle was blowing in as well, slanting towards the west. All in all, it was a sluggish day.
A ship was sailing towards a small island, all sails set. The ship wasn't a normal ship. Two jutting bowsprits gave it the appearance of a great beast on the hunt. The sails were the color of the timber, covered in sea creatures and algae. Any seafarer would have recognized the ship at once. The Flying Dutchman.
Aye, it was the Dutchman. She was moving swiftly, the wind billowing out her thick sails as sea spray blossomed out at her bow.
Davy Jones stood at the prow, scanning the horizon and the island before him. It had been ten years to the day since he had last set foot on land. He was looking forward to his next visit. A few weeks earlier, he might not have been so optimistic.
And now the reason for Jones' optimism and high spirits came to stand beside him at the railing. A young girl who appeared to be about seventeen but in reality was almost twenty, thanks to her immortality, leaned out to survey the oncoming island. She had dirty blond hair that hung in Nordic braids, and her skin was tanned by the sun, but still a fair complexion. She had the faint reminders of battle scars, attesting to her occupation as a tough pirate and warrior, even though the presence of a large double hilted broadsword strapped to her back gave that away immediately.
But one look at the girl's wild eyes told an onlooker all they needed to know. The girl was older than she seemed. She was wise beyond her years, she had seen things other young girls never would, and she had experienced life in a way completely different from anyone else who ever lived. Those deep blue depths carried their own story.
They carried the story of Bad Luck Bree.
But Bree wasn't known as Bad Luck Bree anymore. She had sailed for four years with Hector Barbossa aboard his ship, the Bloodmast. During this time, Bree had worked her way up to first mate. She had proved herself a true pirate and had gained a new name for herself. Barbossa affectionately named her Broadsword Bree, as her old name wasn't as fitting anymore. And now that Bree was back aboard the Dutchman, her home, she didn't return to that name.
And so it was that Broadsword Bree stood beside Davy Jones, looking out over the waves to the approaching land. Bree looked to Jones excitedly. It had been a while since she had gone ashore.
Jones glanced down at Bree, grinning at her, admiring the excited glow that was in the girl's face and eyes. He wished he could give her more than a day to go ashore, but his curse only allowed him twenty-four hours on land.
Bree spoke in her unique voice, almost too low for a girl's but too melodious for a boy's, "What's this island called, Cap'n?"
Jones turned to her, almost about to reprimand her for not using his name. When he had married Bree he had requested she call him Davy, as a wife should call her husband by his name. And Bree had agreed, but then they both decided that it would be wise for Bree to call him by his title in front of the crew.
"I'm not sure I know this place," Jones answered Bree, looking closely at the island in question. He gave up and shrugged, "Ah well. 'Tis too late t' go ashore today. We'll go tomorrow. An' no arguments, ye understand?" He looked down at Bree with mock severity. Bree grinned and saluted, "Aye aye, Cap'n!"
Bree lay on her back, trying to sleep. She was too excited to be going ashore again to sleep. She could hear Jones' measured breathing beside her, so he was asleep. Bree was somewhat surprised. He hadn't been ashore for a decade, and she had been only been away for a few months. Ah, well, no matter.
Rolling over onto her side, Bree tried shutting her eyes, but she couldn't relax. She sighed heavily. Jones stirred. Bree ruefully remembered how good his hearing was.
The Flying Dutchman's captain raised his head drowsily, saying in a groggy voice, "Ain't ye 'sleep, Bree?"
Bree blew another deep sigh, "No…I can't relax…too restless."
Jones sat up a bit, looking over at her. He blinked several times and rubbed at his eyes with a tentacle. Bree tapped him gently, "Aren't ye a bit restless? I mean, havin' been at sea for ten years…"
Jones shrugged, "Returnin' to shore never was much of a happy occasion, Bree. I would only go to Isla Cruces."
Bree tilted her head at him, "To look at the chest? An' the…"
Jones caught a slight uneasiness in Bree's voice. He knew she was thinking of the crate of forgotten memories. Slightly concerned, Jones stroked Bree's arm, speaking softly, "Aye. But no more. I thought we'd stop off here. Give ye a chance to have a li'l adventure, aye?" He grinned.
Bree smiled, her eyes shining, "Aye! Ye know how to please a woman, don't ye?"
Jones chuckled, laying back down, "Aye, that I do. But ye're an easy one to please, Bree. Another thing I admire 'bout ye. Now ye'd best git some sleep."
Bree followed his advice, allowing him to tuck her into his arms. She breathed a contented sigh of comfort and soon drifted off into a dreamless sleep.
Bree woke shortly after dawn. Jones was already awake, but he hadn't moved, as the girl was still comfortably folded in his arms. Bree stretched her arm over Jones' chest and yawned expansively, straightening her legs in a comfortable contortion to get the sleepy cramps from her body.
Gently pulling away from Jones' arm, Bree sat up, rubbing at her eyes. Jones sat up as well, watching Bree. He liked watching her in the mornings. It was a good time to simply admire her as there were no crewmen around to suggest lewd things.
Bree's hair was in lovely disarray over her shoulders, falling down to her back. Her shirt was wrinkled and creased from her sleep and the sleeves were slightly rolled up to reveal her lean, muscular arms, the faint light giving her tanned skin a golden glow. Jones liked that about Bree. She wasn't a proper lady. She was strong and hardy, capable and tough, weathered and a real survivor. He admired her independence and fiery spirit. It matched his own.
Jones rose, clenching his claw a few times before turning back to watch Bree. She slipped from the bed, yawning again. She went to the corner, retrieving her boots, her jerkin and her sword belt. Jones also retrieved his own sword belt, buckling it around his waist.
Bree was still trying to wake up properly, yawning and stretching. Jones went to her and began to rub her arms in an attempt to help her wake up. Bree nodded appreciatively and began to fix her hair into her loosely arranged braids.
Jones, as he waited for the girl to properly prepare herself, went to his organ, fingering some of the keys. He piddled around for a bit until he spoke, "Are ye ready to go ashore, love?"
Bree stamped her foot down a few times to shake off the tingling numbness from it before answering, "Aye, I'm ready. Considerin' how I'll be holdin' out for ten years like ye."
Jones turned to her, "I thought I told ye that anytime we was close enough t' shore ye were free to visit."
Bree nodded, speaking, "Aye, ye did. But the Dutchman ain't ever that close to land often. Besides, who'll be retrievin' the lost souls if ye're always playin' chaperone?"
Jones grinned slightly, "Ye're a true pirate, Bree. Eager for ship battles, that's it, innit?"
Bree growled, "Maybe…somethin' wrong wi' that?"
Jones stood and went to her, tipping her chin slightly, "No. An' ain't I th' luckiest man to have someone as bloodthirsty as ye to stand by me side!"
Bree searched his face, saying in a somewhat suspicious tone, "Are ye makin' fun o' me?"
Jones looked right back into her eyes, speaking in a no nonsense voice, "No. Never." Then he bent quickly and kissed her. Bree gave a little squeak of surprise, but settled and answered back. Jones was so unpredictable. He still had a hot temper, and Bree could never really read his eyes. But there was always a soft affection for her there. However, he normally didn't show his affections too openly when they were in front of the crew. The entire crew knew, of course. But passion and affection were saved for the times when Jones and Bree were alone.
Jones drew away and strode out onto the deck. Bree shook off the daze and followed after him, adjusting her sword hilt.
Soon, the ship's boat was lowered. Bree sat between Clanker and Bootstrap, watching the shore eagerly. As they rowed closer, Bree felt her eagerness increase. At last, they scudded to a halt. Bree vaulted over the boat's side, splashing knee deep in the surf. She ran onto the beach, looking back at the crew and at the tracks she was leaving in the damp sand. She still didn't know why she was so eager to be ashore. She had gone for almost a total of three years without setting foot on land once. Perhaps the change of lifestyle for her was the reason. Or maybe she was excited for Jones. Excited that he was coming ashore as well.
Jones watched Bree, smiling inwardly at her eagerness. She was like a small child, running down the beach, completely unconcerned if she was making a fool of herself. He didn't think she was. He liked her youthful spirit. That was one of the many things he found so alluring about her.
Jones gingerly stepped over the side, splashing through the surf. He stepped onto the firm sand and shook off the water. He smiled again. He supposed it was nice to be back ashore. Over the past few centuries, his visits to shore would be to Isla Cruces, to brood over his painful past. But now Jones had put his past behind him. Now he had Bree.
Clanker and Hadras pushed the ship's boat up past the tide line, saluting as Jones nodded to them. Clanker looked over at Bree, smirking, "Lookit Miss Bree! She's found a tide pool!"
Jones looked to where Clanker was pointing. He couldn't help a smile.
Bree was up to her waist in the rock pools, laughing like a child as all manner of sea creatures swam around her. As she was a crewmember of the Flying Dutchman, sea creatures were not frightened of her.
Clanker and Hadras went off to join Bree. Jones grinned, stretching his good leg and looking about him. The island seemed quiet enough. Not too small, though.
A squeal attracted Jones' attention back to the rock pool. Clanker had shoved Bree under playfully, and she had surfaced, pulling her crewmate into the water. The rest of the shore party gathered about to watch.
Bootstrap stood by Jones, laughing quietly. If you had watched the two, you would have seen affection in both blue stares. Bootstrap loved Bree as a father would love a daughter. And that was one of the reasons he didn't hate his captain as much anymore. Because he hadn't broken the girl's heart. She had healed his.
Jones looked down at Bootstrap, "Would it be undignified if I were t' join 'em?"
Bootstrap actually dared to make a joke, "Maybe ye should skip the frolickin' in the water."
Jones actually laughed, making his way closer so as to watch the spectacle.
Bree was winning her wrestling match against Clanker. She had him in a headlock and was forcing a large hermit crab into his mouth. He managed through a mouthful of crushed shell, "Mmmpf! I give, I-golmpf…I give! Lemme go!"
Bree let him go, slapping him on the back, "Tonight, bones'n'bread on me!"
The crew gave three rousing cheers. Then Bree was hauled out of the rock pool, followed by Clanker.
Jones made his way to Bree, flicking some wet hair from her cheek. He admired her silently. He had never mentioned it to her, but he liked seeing her roughed up. Her face was all aglow from the wrestling match, there was seaweed intertwined in her hair and she looked very wild indeed. Like a maiden from the sea.
Grinning down at the girl, Jones said, "Ye need to stop doin' that, miss. Ye're makin' me smile too much. Crew might think I'm gettin' soft."
Bree looked up at him, "You? Davy Jones, terror of the seas? Remember, ye flogged me with a chain. I don't think they'd think ye're soft."
Jones visibly winced as she mentioned the flogging. He gripped her shoulder hard, hissing down at her, "Why did ye have to bring that up? Ye know how I feel about that!"
Bree, much to Jones' chagrin but reluctant delight, stood on tiptoe and kissed his cheek, answering, "I brought it up so ye know I've forgiven ye long since."
The day was waning. It had been a day of rare fun for the crew. They were normally a sober, rather sadistic bunch, but Bree brought out the child in all of them. Her youthful, enthusiastic antics cheered everyone. Good thing Jimmylegs wasn't there. He would have dampened all spirits.
Bree had decided to take a short walk alone along the beach. She needed a short time of solitude. This would be her only chance.
Bree had found a beautiful spot along the beach, a large clump of rocks where the sea spray reached high in large, blooming white fountains. Sitting out in a rock that reached into the water, Bree watched the surface, her keen eyes following the swirling designs formed by sea foam on the aqua water.
This was a good time for Bree to think. Think about her life. Things had changed drastically over the last year. She had been kidnapped, pressganged, rescued, captured, freed…and she had fallen in love in the midst of that. Then she had gone ahead and gotten married!
Bree smiled. She would never doubt her decision. But she had always had doubts about herself. What if Davy grew apart from her? What if his thoughts returned to Calypso? What if…
But no one could answer the what if's. Jones himself had reassured her countless times that he had moved on. And Bree believed him. She was happy to believe him.
As Bree sat there thinking, a voice hailed her. Turning, Bree saw a band of dark-skinned men dressed in sailor's clothes, probably natives, coming down the beach towards her. Bree groaned inwardly. Bree might have been a young girl, but pirate and warrior was written all over her, from her sword to her rough, sun tanned skin and hard muscled limbs.
Bree decided to slowly begin moving away from the men. She stepped back onto the beach and walked backwards, trying to disappear around the next bend. But the men began jogging toward her, realizing that she wouldn't stop.
There was nothing else for it. Bree turned and ran, sprinting as fast as she could, sand flying up from her heels.
Bree would have gotten away, but the shifting sand betrayed her and she fell heavily. She felt hands grasp her shoulders and was flipped over. Rolling over, Bree was pinned to the ground.
But Bree acted quickly. Pushing up with her legs, she managed to propel the man away from her. She wriggled free, scooting backwards and leaping up, her sword out. She turned to the man, only to be confronted by a total of seven men.
All seven rushed at the girl, but it was like trying to catch smoke upon the wind. Bree darted in among them, stinging with her blade like a deadly wasp. She slit one man's throat with a skillful flick as she passed under him, and managed to break another's neck by striking him with her sword hilt.
Bree was handling herself fine until one of the men, one whom she had recently kicked to the ground, caught her foot in a noose. Bree tripped and fell heavily. The first man leaped on her, straddling her hips and holding her wrists down. Bree struggled, angling her head around and delivering a sharp bite to the man's hand. He yelped in pain and let go of her.
Bree scrambled up again, turning swiftly. One of the men had come up behind her and struck her a hard blow to the face with the flat of his dagger. Bree stumbled back, clapping a hand to her cheek.
A roar erupted from further down the beach. Everyone, including Bree, turned to see Davy Jones come barreling through the surf towards them, moving at an alarming pace considering how he only had one good leg.
Jones hit the men like a whirlwind, his sword out. He flew past one, severing him through the torso as if he was slicing soft wax. He broke another's neck by striking the unfortunate with his claw, and drove his sword blade up to the hilt into another man's chest.
The two remaining men dropped their weapons and took off running down the beach.
Jones stood there, chest heaving, teeth bared and eyes blazing. He wiped his sword blade off on his coat arm, not minding the red stain. He looked to Bree, concerned, "Ye all right?"
Bree was rather huffy. She sheathed her sword, speaking in an indignant voice, "I could've handled 'em meself."
Jones hid a smile. He could hear a slightly playful tone in Bree's voice. He answered in an equally deceptive tone, "Aye, an' if I thought ye could've I wouldn't 'ave stepped in."
Bree sniffed, nursing her injured dignity. She looked off towards the beach, "Ah, well. Ye hogged all the fun, though."
Jones concealed his admiration. What a little savage! He lightly touched her cheek, wiping some blood from her face. She had a cut on her cheek where the dagger blade had struck her. Bree touched the area gingerly, as if just noticing it.
Jones looked back in the direction the other two had run, "We'd best leave now afore more come back."
Bree nodded in agreement, and the two trekked back to the boat. The crew was preparing to leave. Jones took a swift headcount.
"Where's Mister Turner?"
Bree's expression swiftly changed to one of concern, "He ain't here?" She gripped Jones' arm, "Oh…what if he was caught?"
Jones shrugged, "Not much we could do. They can't hurt 'im, an' we have to leave afore nightfall."
Bree hatched a swift plan, "I'll stay an' look for 'im. I can catch up later."
Jones shook his head, "'Course not, Bree. Ye'd be caught!"
Bree looked defiant. She crossed her arms across her chest, her eyes hard, "I'm stayin'!"
Jones sighed, knowing he wouldn't move the girl. He raised his hand in resignation, "Fine. But take Koleniko with ye."
Bree nodded, beckoning to Koleniko, who came obediently, "Marm?"
Bree patted his shoulder, wincing a bit as his spines pricked her hand, "Ye're comin' wi' me to look for Mister Turner. We won't be long."
Jones, reluctant to leave them but not wanting to argue further, turned to the boat, stepping in, "Try to be back by nightfall."
Bree raised her hand in answer. Then she and Koleniko disappeared into the island's forest of palms.
Bree and Koleniko trekked through, calling out to Bootstrap. Surely he couldn't have gone far.
"Maybe we should split up, Bree," Koleniko suggested, and Bree agreed, "Aye, we'd cover more ground that way. But we won't go too far. We'll stay within earshot, aye?" Koleniko nodded, and the two separated.
Bree didn't realize that her hearing was far better than Koleniko's. And he had no chance of hearing what happened next.
Bree was seized in a vice-like grip, her sword ripped from her back as her attacker began squeezing the breath from her. Bree wriggled helplessly. Twelve natives came out of the cover of the trees, weapons pointed at her. Bree began yelling out frantically to her shipmate, only to be knocked senseless by a musket butt struck across the back of her head. All went black.
Bootstrap hurried along the beach, shouldering a skin of fresh water. Aye, the Dutchman didn't need supplies, but it was always nice to have fresh water.
Slipping into the water, Bootstrap began making his way for the Dutchman. Jones would have his hide for making them all wait. He cursed, hoping he wouldn't cause any consequences for the rest of the crew.
Bootstrap hauled himself up the ship's side, taking Clanker's helping hand and allowing his mate to pull him over the railing. He landed a bit awkwardly but straightened, shaking the water from his cloak.
Jones spotted him and came towards him anxiously. He looked over the side, confusion on his face.
"Where're Bree an' Koleniko?"
Jones' confusion was mimicked in Bootstrap's face, "They…aren't they with ye?"
Jones' expression turned to concern, "They're still over on th' island? We've only a few hours to stay here! Then we have to weigh anchor!"
Bootstrap looked back to the island, concern for his two mates filling him. He began praying that they came soon, before they had to be left behind.
Koleniko had given up the search. For Bootstrap and for Bree. The girl hadn't shown up anywhere. His only choice was the return to the Dutchman. And he was sure he would receive a flogging when he did return.
Slipping into the water, Koleniko concocted a story on his way to the ship. A good excuse was what he needed.
Koleniko climbed over the side, only to be confronted by Davy Jones. Jones looked behind Koleniko, his eyes going dark with dread.
Koleniko cleared his throat uncomfortably, "Erm…she, uh…she ain't with me. I searched fer a long time! But she didn't come back!"
Jones' tentacles were writhing with distress. He had no time to spare! He had to sail away from this island in less than an hour! And without Bree!
Maccus nudged Jones, "Sir…ye need to make a decision…do we break the rule or move on?"
Jones opened his mouth to answer when Hadras spoke up, "Er…Cap'n…there was a ship that sailed by here about an' hour ago."
Jones whirled around to face the crewman, "Colors?"
Hadras scratched the side of his shell, thinking, "Ah…don't remember. Looked like a slaver ship, though."
Jones gave a roar, yelling out orders to set sail immediately. He would've bet anything that Bree was on that ship.
He wouldn't have lost that bet.