Title: Crystal Eyes
Disclaimer: All Pirates of the Caribbean characters and situations belong to Walt Disney Co., everything else is mine.
AN: I decided to set a specific date and timeline for my Pirates universe because it was getting kind of hard for me to keep track of when/where things were happening. So imagine CotB being about 1736, and the 'present' bits of Little Voice taking place in about 1745. I strongly suggest you read Little Voice first or a lot of this won't make an abundance of sense.
London, England, 1726
She closed the large, hand-written book with a wistful smile. In the dim lamplight, her little girl's eyes were wide open and she stared at her mother. She never slept when there was a pirate story to be told.
"And then?" The little girl begged for more detail. "Was he caught? He got away didn't he Mother?"
"Yes," the word came softly as she tucked the blanket under her daughter's chin. "Of course he did darling. No one could ever capture the infamous -"
"Captain John Teague!" The name slipped from her lips, excitedly. "Please tell me another, I promise I'll go to bed after."
"Not tonight dear heart, tomorrow." She picked up the lamp and stood over the bed, eyes filled with an emotion that the girl would never understand.
"Please Mother, just one more. About Jack Sparrow!"
Her lips pursed in amusement, and she nodded. She set the lamp down upon the dresser again and picked up her book. "Captain Jack Sparrow darling," she corrected gently. "Now let's see...it was early June, and a hot summer evening...Nassau Port is usually quite heavily guarded, but that day there was a skirmish with the Spanish, and many of the soldiers had been called away..."
The little girl listened with rapt eyes and open ears, drinking in the adventures with an unending enthusiasm. She loved these stories.
She always remembered, in later years, the exact way her mother's eyes looked as she turned down the lamp, and the soft swish of her skirts as she left. Perhaps it was the excitement of the stories, or the intensity of her love that made it memorable...but most likely, it was the fact that it would be her last memory of Victoria Swann.
And as the moonlit shadows grew long across the richly furnished home, a pale-haired woman packed a bag, and stole away into the night.
In the morning, Weatherby Swann found two letters, one addressed to him and one to his daughter. He stared, dry-eyed as the second curled to black ash in his fireplace, and went downstairs to tell the little girl that her mother had died in the night.
The Caribbean, 1747
The salt sea toyed with her hair, pulling it from the long braid she had plaited the night before. She paid it no mind...what concern was it to her, with such a day ahead?
Strong, lean arms slid around her waist and she leaned back against the chest of her lover. "Good morning," she murmured.
He rested his chin on her shoulder, his beard tickling her neck. "Mornin' love," his hands rested on her slightly rounded belly, and he grinned to himself. She didn't have to look at him to see the smug expression on his swarthy countenance; the firm but gentle motion of his hands on her stomach told her exactly what he was thinking.
"Stop being so damn proud," Elizabeth elbowed him gently. "I'm doing most of the work here," she added, twisting her head to look at him. He wiped the smile from his face and nodded somberly, with a quiet 'aye, aye' that earned him another elbow in the gut. He grinned again and pulled away a bit. She let out an unconscious noise of objection and moved to follow, but her stopped her when he placed his hands on her shoulders. He began to knead gently, and she threw her head back with a moan. "You didn't just steal the devil's luck Jack, you took his hands too," she whimpered a little.
"Now Lizziebeth, those sort of noises are just for inside me cabin, savvy?" His hands drifted slowly, first closer together against her neck, then tracing her spine down her back. Her moans didn't abate, and he couldn't say he minded. Even if some of the crew were beginning to take notice – let them. It only added to his legend. He grinned to himself – imagining the stories it would generate. Not that he would use his Bess for increasing his notoriety but...well, if she insisted on acting in a helpful manner, he wasn't going to argue the point.
For her part, she was glad to have some measure of relief from her aches. It was only beginning she knew, it would get far worse in coming months – but for the first time she would have the father there for one of her children's births, and she couldn't say she regretted that. Even now, her stomach rounding, becoming firm from being four months with child and aboard a pirate ship, she was more content than she had been in all her years safely raising her children on land.
Speaking of her children...she glanced back over her shoulder, scanning the deck calmly. She smiled slowly, her eyes brightening as she spotted her young girl, a child not quite eight. She was, at the moment, standing near the helm, listening to one of Mr. Gibbs' more...outrageous tales of their previous adventures. She heard the word 'seaturtles' and couldn't resist a chuckle.
Jack's hands stilled and she whimpered in protest, but still leaned against his chest again as he wrapped his arms around her. A small contented noise escaped her, and she felt him smile against her neck. He pulled her close and for a few moments indulged in feelings of complacency. Things were, quite frankly, exactly as he wished them. Most importantly – they were very near how Elizabeth wished them, which in turn meant that she was happy, and added to his own general contentedness. He had long since discovered that a happy Elizabeth Swann was absolutely essential to any joy in his own life – not only because he enjoyed seeing her so, but because she was so excellent at making him utterly miserable when she was displeased.
Jack listened to Gibbs with half an ear, just in case any stories began to pass that were inappropriate for his Peg to hear. A good man for tales, but not terribly aware of...sensibilities – not to mention that his rarely involved faerie princesses, as Peg's favorites did.
He found it rather insulting that Peg never listened to his pirate stories – she demanded nothing but princesses and brave knights from her father, and piracy from everyone else. Elizabeth had told him one, laughing irrepressibly, that she supposed there was more honesty in his stories of the fae than in his tales of his own adventures – and usually more of himself too. Since he couldn't actually deny any of that, he had simply looked rather put out and proceeded to tell Peg an absolutely outrageous story of princesses, brave knights and fairies that had absolutely no similarities to anything he had ever experienced – just to be contrary.
Of course, she had hated it and begged him to tell a better one before bed. It was that exact moment that Jack Sparrow knew he was no longer his own person, because at least in the past he could imagine defiance and spit in the eye of his fate – but if this little girl could cow him with nothing but a sad expression in her big grey eyes, his true pirating days were lost to the world. No man can plunder and pillage when his heart has been pierced by a lisping voice – for she did lisp now, her front teeth lost weeks earlier on a different voyage – and baby-soft blonde curls.
And so he told her a tale that had taken place many years ago, when he was a boy and his father had taken him aboard the Devil's Luck. He described his sister with love, a strange young woman they had kidnapped with consternation, and his father with distaste; the adventure however, he described with truth and only the teeniest bit of exaggeration – which she rather astutely pointed out, seeming particularly unable to believe in his ability to take over entire ships of enemy pirates at the ripe old age of thirteen.
It was at this point that he concluded she was very clearly very tired, and would have to hear the rest of the story another time. He kissed her head, tucked her safely into her cot – they had converted the captain's dining room into an additional bedroom some months earlier – and left to go find himself his ladylove for a more adult tucking into bed.
Elizabeth had told him that night that she would have another child – and they had stayed up long into the wee hours attempting to find a way for their little family to survive on the sea.
It had been nearly two months since then, and neither were quite sure they had found a solution...they had rather avoided making any decisions by continuing on as they were, and hoping that nothing terribly traumatic happened. In fact the only difference that had come about was Jack's new insistence that Elizabeth hide with Peg – and Liam, on the occasions when Will would pop up aboard the Flying Dutchman and leave the boy behind – whenever there was any pirating to be done – which she had violently argued against only until their next endeavor, when she'd very nearly been stabbed directly in the abdomen. After that she accepted her lover's wisdom...for the next few months only, naturally and of course.
So this particular morning, when Jack spotted creamy sails on the horizon and with a familiar flag, she did not argue overmuch as he sent her to Captain's cabin.
"Bit of a personal fight I think love," he'd said reluctantly. "Knew the captain as a lad – had a bit of a falling out." She had looked at him, clearly waiting for further explanation. "Go on love, I'll tell you the story once we're sorted out."
"Aye," Elizabeth smiled and headed back to the cabin she shared with her captain. She paused on the steps and turned back to Jack. "Who is it?" She asked, almost as an afterthought.
"An old friend of Claudia's," he replied after a moment. "A lady-pirate by name of Tori Jenney. Captains the Bluebird. We've a few things to sort out between us darling, that's all."
A puzzled frown crossed Elizabeth's countenance, but she rounded up the children and hurried them into her cabin for safety.