Title: Neither Volition Nor Consciousness
Characters: Evil!Calypso, Elizabeth
Warnings: Dark, character death, femmeslashy if you squint right.
Summary: A short story about drowning.
This was inspired by the Marianne Moore poem "A Grave", which I re-read recently and which got me thinking about the darker side of Calypso.
Thanks to Atraphoenix for beta-reading!
The waves are a cold shock on Elizabeth's body, and she gasps as if for air, like they all do. Breathes in salt water instead, heavy on the lungs: a sentence passed.
She stops struggling when she realises the fight's lost, stops scrabbling for rope or spar or handhold in the wreckage and opens her eyes wide instead. Scans depths and surface with a look that's more hope than despair. No need to guess what she's seeking. But there'll be no rescue from beyond the grave, not this time, no call for the Dutchman to heed. There'll be no Fiddler's Green for the pirate king. Calypso's made sure of that. She'll be keeping this one.
For she swore, didn't she, that she'd be revenged upon the Brethren Court? And it's been a while coming, for sure, but many things lurk beneath the surface of calm waters, and Calypso's taking her vengeance slow. She'll have them all, eventually, or nearly all. Jack Sparrow might outrun her yet, might outrun even fate – it's his perpetual quest, his seeking, that keeps him safe.
Barbossa languishes below already. She'd wanted to wait for him, to start with the king, but Jack put another bullet through his chest on the deck of the Pearl and delivered him into her possession. And this time she's no favour to ask of him, no need to grant him hers.
Vengeance is one reason, yes. But if she's honest with herself, she's always wanted this one. Hair stiff with salt, eyes full of horizon, and a nature no man could master. No man…
And she's watched her, through the years in-between, watched her walk on the shore with her little one and listened with a sardonic twist of a smile to the words she speaks to him. Tender, loving words, yes – but words about duty and honour too, trying to instil in him the importance of living an honest life though she's raising him among thieves and beggars, though she's the king of them all herself. No use to it anyway, not if he's got anything of his mother in him. Sure, he'll grow up with good intentions, but they'll never be enough to hold him back from the call of the sea, of freedom.
Freedom. It's a pretty irony, and it's not lost on Calypso. Elizabeth's eyes have closed, but perhaps she catches the impression of a soft laugh and knows who has her now. Perhaps not. When those eyes open again she'll see nothing, know nothing – except a faint whiff of filth and incense and the sense of a presence nearby that's familiar but far from comforting.
Yes, Calypso will keep this one alive, after a fashion. She doesn't do this often – bones make playthings just as good as flesh, and offer less resistance. But the ones she's known in life she likes to preserve, to look at and caress just as she used to. They were always hers, these ones, and no goddess ought to forsake her own. They're in her keeping now. Forever.
Elizabeth's hair fans out as though invisible fingers ran through it, and the sea wraps her tight in its embrace. It's a long way down, although no resting-place awaits.