The Case of the Diamond Murderer
Summary: Officer William Turner lost his memory due to a strong bout of pneumonia, thereafter losing his job at the London Police Department. One year later, now that he is a private investigator, living from paycheck to paycheck, he finds himself involved in a theft and murder case simultaneously. With the help of nurse Elizabeth Swann and victim of the theft, Captain Jack Sparrow, can he prevail in the case of the Diamond Murderer?
Disclaimer: William Turner and Elizabeth Swann do not belong to me. Nor do any other characters used that are recognizable in the Pirates of the Caribbean trilogy. I do own all characters that are not in the movie. I borrowed some character situations, as well as some of the time period ideas from Anne Perry, the amazing authoress of the William Monk mystery series.
It was a particularly lovely morning, but the young man staring into the Pool of London wasn't fit to notice. He'd been drowning in thought for the past two days since his discussion with Elizabeth about her involvement with Cutler Beckett. The conman hadn't just betrayed her father; he'd woven himself into their family and destroyed it from the inside out.
But there was something else that had caused him to elude sleep lately.
Jack Sparrow was acting suspiciously. He'd left so quickly after Turner proffered the bracelet with the diamonds on it. But since then, he'd only spoken very shortly to him. He was disgruntled, not his usual smirking self. He snapped more easily. And his desperation for William to find his stolen shipment seemed to increase tenfold.
William turned away from the water and watched the men toiling in the mid-morning haze.
He'd been forcing himself to make connections between Beckett and the crew that stole the diamonds. He thought he'd just about figured it out.
It was as he'd explained to Elizabeth in her home those two days prior. The crew would go to the brothels Beckett owned within a few blocks from the Thames, they would pay the prostitutes with Sparrow's stolen diamonds, and the diamonds would then go to the pimps, who would then give them to Beckett. The diamonds would go through two people before they got to him, making it more difficult to trace. And he would receive the shipment in small but frequent installments. Everyone got what they wanted in the bargain.
The crew got sexual favors for free, which was their payment for stealing the diamonds. The pimps, like Hallifax, received payment from Beckett for providing the prostitutes. And Beckett in turn received Sparrow's stolen diamonds. Everyone won, except the prostitutes themselves, who would never have a say in the matter anyways.
But how did Beckett even find out about Jack Sparrow's shipment of diamonds? Who told him it existed? How did he know where the Black Pearl would be? And why would he just steal a random merchant's shipment of diamonds when before he'd been involved in land-based swindling and extortion?
Unless there was some sort of connection between Cutler Beckett and Jack Sparrow. His mind began to race. If Cutler Beckett and Jack Sparrow had been acquainted at some time in the past, it would all make much more sense, although their connection was still a mystery. Perhaps Jack had shipped something for Beckett.
But if he knew Cutler Beckett, why hadn't Jack told them?
When Turner had been prepared to see Judge Harding to obtain the locations of the brothels Beckett owned, Jack had verily jumped to do the deed himself. William had thought nothing of it then, but thinking back, his behavior was very odd. He was paying Turner to conduct the investigation. Was Sparrow in acquaintance with Judge Harding as well? Were all three men involved in some scandal together?
He mulled until he could mull no more. And then he found himself walking along the streets away from the Thames, leaving the London Bridge behind. He strolled along, his brow furrowed in thought the whole way.
Once the young man had almost been barreled over and killed by a hansom speeding by, its driver sporting an unnaturally filthy hat. Turner resigned himself to stopping his reckless walking and hailed a hansom of his own. As he climbed in, he wondered at how incredibly convoluted the entire case was getting. He'd followed the Beckett lead to please Elizabeth and because he'd had no other leads. But now it seemed there was some sort of connection. And somehow Jack was involved in the whole thing.
The hansom had been rolling about random East End streets for a few minutes when Turner looked out the window and down Whitechapel Road. They were near the clinic, he realized. He thumped on the roof and gave the clinic's address when he'd gotten the driver's attention.
They turned around in the road and then turned onto Whitechapel, pulling up beside the clinic. Turner paid the driver and walked up to the front door. He wondered belatedly if Elizabeth was working.
As he neared the door, Elizabeth opened it and tilted her head at him in question.
"Elizabeth…I wasn't sure if you were working."
"I am. Was. My shift just ended and I saw you arrive from the window. What are you doing here?" She opened the door for him to enter the clinic lobby. He took his hat off and bowed his head in greeting at the nurse at the front desk. "Come into the other room," Elizabeth said behind him, shutting the door and leading him to the break room.
He followed, resigned to telling Elizabeth the truth. He'd been keeping her in the dark about just one more thing, but perhaps this wasn't as drastic as the last time. She shut the break room door behind them as well and turned to regard him.
"Has anything happened?"
"No, nothing. I came to speak with Ja—Doctor Norrington." She frowned at him in confusion, and perhaps a bit of worry.
He stared at her in silence, trying to find a way to explain. He wasn't usually so incapable of speech. He thought frustratingly that there was once a time when he didn't feel the need to explain himself to anybody. Especially not to a woman.
Those days were long gone, ever since Elizabeth Swann had come into his life. And he'd resigned himself to it…because he had to.
"Well for one, he's brilliant. And I needed someone else in the clinic who might have a bit more…pull." He saw her pretty pouted lips contort sardonically and knew he was in for it, despite having only spoken the truth.
"You mean because he's a man, he can do things I can't. Say things I can't. Because I'm a woman. Only a nurse." Her words were clipped and her chin high. He'd offended her. "So Doctor Norrington has known about the case all this time?"
Turner shook his head. "No, it was very recently when I took him into my confidence. It was a spur of the moment decision, and so far he hasn't given me reason to regret it."
"Once more, you've made me look foolish. And this time, in front of one of my colleagues." She refused to meet his gaze.
"I didn't make you look foolish," Turner reasoned. "Not at all. He's only known for maybe a week at the most. I hadn't much of a choice; he caught me poking around the clinic in search for—" He stopped himself. She couldn't know he'd been sneaking into the autopsy room. She'd be even more upset. And since he gained little there, it was pointless to tell her about it. "For you."
"You didn't have to tell him about the case."
"No, I didn't. But for some reason, I told him anyway. Maybe because he'd already guessed I was some sort of policeman. Maybe because I had a gut feeling that he could be trusted. Maybe because I knew he would be able to tell if I lied."
Elizabeth smiled a bit. "He would. I've never been able to lie to him." She sighed then. "Well, as much as I hate to admit it, James isn't just a man—he's a man with authority here. Infinitely more authority than me." There was a pause in their conversation as the young man felt his admiration build for the woman before him.
"Will you do me a favor, Elizabeth?"
Her immediate response would have been 'Anything', but she held her tongue and nodded, afraid he'd take the full meaning of that one word. And now was not the time.
"Is James here?"
"Yes—You're not going to leave me out of it?" she exclaimed, her stubbornness, and perhaps even her youth, ringing in the words. He shook his head.
"No. I'm not. I need both of you. Find him and whenever he can get away, tell him to meet me across the road at the chapel. Join me when you're through here." He walked past her to the door.
"I thought you said nothing happened," she said, turning to watch him leave.
"Not yet. But it might." He opened the door and made to leave. "And if it does happen, it'll have to be very soon, I fear," he muttered under his breath.
"The chapel?" she asked, humor evident in her voice despite the strange sense of foreboding that lit in her chest. His lips tilted in a smirk and with a shrug he left.
Elizabeth hurried down the hallway to James' office after tying her cape and grabbing her effects. She knocked lightly and heard a muffled voice inside. Cautiously, she opened the door and found James sitting at his desk, engrossed in a massive book that took up half his desktop.
"Elizabeth," he greeted with a fleeting smile. "How can I help you?"
She nodded her head in greeting, then dove in. "Detective Turner would like to speak to both of us. We're to meet him at the chapel across the street."
"He told you?"
"Yes, he did."
"And you're not angry with him?"
Elizabeth met James' gaze and let out a small huff of amusement. "There's always something to be angry with him about."
With a humored smile, Dr. James Norrington stood from his desk and pulled his white lab coat off, shrugging his black coat on and setting his hat on his head. "I'll follow your lead then. Do we know what this is all about?"
"No. But you have some catching up to do. I'll explain on the way."
As James Norrington opened the door to the chapel, rain started falling steadily. When the doctor and nurse entered, they were met with a sight they'd seen recently. It was where the service had been held for Lucille not but a few days after Lucille's passing.
Elizabeth watched James in front of her as his eyes scoured the vaulted ceiling, the cross hanging above the altar, the rows of pews, the marble floors, and the deeply colored stained glass windows. The young nurse wondered if her friend and colleague was thinking about Lucille, the way his sad eyes suddenly shut.
But when he opened them again, the sadness was dulled. He raised a hand and pointed at the lone figure sitting in the furthest-most pew from the altar. Turner had taken his hat from his head. He sat with his head bowed, his features shadowed and his back hunched over.
Perhaps he was thinking of Lucille's service as well. She hadn't spoken to him about it, but during the service, she had turned around from where she sat towards the front of the congregation. Way in the back of the chapel, in the same seat that he sat in now, she saw William Turner with his head bowed much in the same manner. It made her wonder whether Lucille was the first victim in one of his cases whose funeral he'd chosen to attend.
He didn't know she'd seen him that day. And he hadn't waited after the service long enough to see her. He'd left before she could walk to the back of the chapel and acknowledge his respectful gesture.
William looked up as they approached, blinked in greeting, and motioned for them to join him. Elizabeth rounded to sit on his other side, grateful for the emptiness of the chapel.
Norrington sat on Turner's other side.
"Dr. Norrington, I hope you're faring well," Turner said quietly, for fear a wandering priest might berate them for their conversation in this house of God.
"Very well, Mr. Turner. Thank you."
Turner nodded once. Then turned to look at Elizabeth. He settled back, facing forward and sighing. "I hope I'm wrong in this, but there are certain things about our eccentric captain that aren't adding up."
"That's not surprising," Elizabeth murmured, just as quietly, and for the same reason. "We know nothing of him besides that he's rich and, for whatever reason, very powerful."
Turner nodded and was silent for a moment. "I don't trust him. He's been acting rather…dodgy…ever since I gave him that bracelet with his diamonds. As if he was shocked I found them there."
"How is that particularly odd, though?" James asked. "I'd be shocked if something that had been stolen from me ended up in a brothel."
"Jack Sparrow has an air of confidence and indifference about him that's difficult to explain if you haven't met him. It's as though his life and everything in it is already mapped out inside of his head, and nothing in the world can stop it from happening exactly as he's planned." Turner began twisting the bill of his bowler around in his fingers thoughtfully. "But that confidence seemed compromised when he saw those diamonds. It left him unsettled. I've never seen him unsettled before now, even when he first came to me about his stolen shipment." He paused. "No, in fact he was quite calm then."
"After I told you about that particular brothel receiving pirate clientele, he left in an awful rush," Elizabeth added.
"Yes, he did. And remember his insistence at seeing Judge Harding himself to get the addresses of the brothels? He must know him personally. Maybe he had some information he could blackmail Harding with in order to get his cooperation."
"And perhaps he's also linked with Cutler Beckett?" James asked in a thoughtful murmur.
"Jack knows Cutler Beckett?" Elizabeth asked, her pretty face contorted in disbelief and anger. "You mean…before we started investigating him?"
"Yes. I'm not sure of it. Not at all. But Jack has to have some connection to Beckett. Otherwise, why did Beckett target him instead of some other unsuspecting merchant? Especially because Beckett's criminal record (or lack thereof, I suppose) consisted mainly of land-based extortion and harassment charges. Why would he suddenly switch to preying on river merchants, unless he knew about this particular river merchant and had some score to settle?"
Elizabeth leaned forward and regarded the detective with a small smile. So he had read the file on Beckett after all. He wasn't entirely lying when he said he would investigate the criminal. In fact, he had at the very least done some investigating.
"This Captain Sparrow you're working for knows the brothel you went to was owned by Cutler Beckett, right?" James asked, folding his arms at his chest.
"That explains his strange reaction to your finding the diamonds at Beckett's brothel. All this time, he's been under the impression you're following a dead-end lead with Beckett. In a split moment, everything clicked for Mr. Sparrow, so to speak." Norrington took a deep breath. "He's realized Beckett has been stealing his diamonds this whole time."
Turner nodded, a sardonic smile on his lips. "I'm sure the irony isn't lost on him. But I have a sneaking suspicion it's not that simple. There's something else there that I can't put my finger on just yet."
"About what?" Elizabeth whispered, drawn to his contemplative features.
"The diamonds themselves."
"What do you mean?"
He turned to her, his eyes flashing passionately, leaving her momentarily breathless. "If they're here, in London, hidden somewhere in this very city—why haven't I found them yet?"
"William, you're doing your best—" she tried, but he interrupted her.
"That's just it. I am doing my best. But there's something that has been stopping me."
"Stopping you?" James asked. "Some…otherworldly force?" Turner and Elizabeth both glanced at him strangely. He shrugged. "It's been talked about before—a force that can't be seen stops people from completing tasks. It may be a trick our brains play on us, or…well…" His voice tapered off, leaving Turner to continue.
"No, not that. It's…I feel as though I don't know everything I should to be able to—to investigate to my highest potential. Someone doesn't want me to find those diamonds."
"Of course," Elizabeth chimed in. "Whoever stole the diamonds doesn't want you to find them. It goes without saying."
"Sparrow?" They both turned to James again. "Perhaps Sparrow doesn't want you to find the diamonds. Is that what you mean?"
"It's possible. But I don't know why. Everything is so convoluted and confusing. I don't know what to think anymore. I don't know where to start or what to do. I'm lost."
"You don't think Jack has something to do with those murders, do you?"
"No, no," William hurriedly said. "No, I don't think so. Perhaps he's a sneaking bastard thief, but he's not a murderer."
"Can you be so sure?" James asked, his voice losing its strength for a moment. He turned and looked at the opposite wall of the church, memories of Lucille suddenly flooding his senses. He turned back suddenly and regarded the couple sitting beside him.
"I should go back to the clinic." Norrington stood and put his hat back on his head, bowing to them both. "Keep me informed of anything I can do to help."
"Thank you, Dr. Norrington." Turner watched the man sweep out of the chapel, his coat swishing behind him in his haste. When he turned back to Elizabeth, he found her staring after the man, her eyebrows drawn with what looked like sympathy. He wondered if perhaps there was something about Norrington that she knew, something she was keeping from him. Elizabeth's eyes flicked away from the door back to William and her lips upturned in a sad little smile. He thought for a moment to ask her, but kept silent instead.
"What are you going to do?" she finally asked quietly.
"I'm going to pay a visit to an old friend."
"How long has it been since I fired you, Mr. Turner?" Captain Albert Josset turned from where he peered out of the small, eye-level window in his office. "You're not a detective. You haven't the authority to even ask me about it. I don't even know why you're here."
"Captain, I've invested a great deal into this case."
"It isn't your case to invest in!"
Turner ignored his comment. "You know what it feels like to go 'round and 'round in search of a lead, only to come up with nothing."
"No, Turner," Josset said with some satisfaction. "I don't. I will solve this case, and with no help from some amateur agent of private inquiry, or whatever you call yourself, who couldn't hack it with Scotland Yard."
Turner found himself almost smiling. Any other man might find the captain's words biting or cruel, and while they were meant to be as such, the sting missed the young man altogether. Josset's words were true in many ways, for he'd been the man who'd pulled him from the force. Turner wondered if the person he'd been before his amnesia would've been offended or angered by Josset's attempts to put him down.
"With all due respect, sir, I can help you just as much as you can help me. I want to find Jack's diamonds and you want to find the sick bastard committing all of these murders. He's making you look like a fool, sir…with all due respect," he added as he realized he'd injured the man's pride. Of course, he took a small bit of satisfaction from it. Who wouldn't?
"I don't see how you can be of any help to me. Now, get out of here. I told you before I didn't want to see you anywhere near the Yard headquarters. And I meant it." With a shrug, the young man started for the door. "And another thing, stop poking your nose around this case. If you ruin it, by God, I'll have you in prison for life, you son of a—"
"Captain Josset." The older man stopped, calming himself down and sticking his hands in his pockets in frustration. "Jack Sparrow hired me. He's paying me out of his own pocket. There's nothing you can do about that." He paused, seeing that he at least had Josset's attention for the moment. "But you see, sir, I'm worried. Because when he first approached me about the case, he told me he wanted to keep this whole thing under wraps. It was bad for business, as it were. I agreed to those terms. I investigated in secret, almost at the cost of my own life—the lives of others as well," his voice quieted as he thought of Elizabeth's near brush with not just death, but losing her innocence in that brothel a few days before.
"He wanted you to keep it under wraps?" Josset asked, his eyes narrowing.
"Yes. He especially wanted to keep Scotland Yard out of it, he said. You're too much trouble, he said. Which is why he hired me."
Albert Josset was silent for nearly a minute, gnawing on his cheek, his eyes squinting down at his desk. He stood straight again, seemingly having made a decision. "But he didn't."
"Keep us out of it. The moment he found his diamonds were stolen, he rushed here and filed a claim with us."
William Turner's face contorted in disbelief as he turned to fully face the authoritative figure standing behind the large mahogany desk. "He did what?"
"He filed a claim on his shipment of diamonds. We sent someone out but they came up empty handed, so we assumed the stolen goods were already out of our jurisdiction, in China or India or something." The blazing look in Turner's eyes intensified.
"Thank you, Captain." William turned and made his way to the door, then spun back for a moment. "Good day to you, Sir."
"Turner!" William stopped at the door. "I'm warning you to stay out of this. I'm serious."
The young man hurried out of Josset's office and down to the street level floor, before bursting into the late afternoon beginnings of the London fog. He walked quickly, thoughts pounding against the walls of his skull. Josset wouldn't have lied to him about that. He was an honorable man, for all of his awfully heroic faults. That was what made him a good captain, and a great leader.
Why would Jack file a claim with the police about his diamonds and even let them send a man to look after the claim if he was just going to hire William Turner to do the same thing anyways? And what was the point of hiring a private investigator if he didn't want the whole business kept private? The contradiction in Jack Sparrow's actions created in increasing amount of alarm in the young detective.
When James Norrington walked into the clinic the next morning, he found Elizabeth waiting in the lobby, sitting drowsily in one of the uncomfortable waiting chairs. Her head snapped up when he entered, and she jumped to her feet and went to him, taking his arm urgently.
"James, come with me."
His eyebrows shot up to his hairline, his heart racing, as he allowed her lead him down the hallway and towards his office. He opened the door and they walked in.
"It's William. He was here but he's rushed off. I don't know where to but he's made a discovery. I'm afraid he's…" Her voice died out. "He keeps everything inside, but I can tell that…"
"Was it about Captain Sparrow?"
"Well?" he continued after an overly long pause. "Out with it, then!"
"On a whim, yesterday afternoon after we met in the chapel, he went to Scotland Yard and found out that Jack Sparrow filed a claim after his diamonds were stolen."
"Why would Jack file a claim with the Yard and hire a private investigator at the same time? Unless, of course, something unscrupulous was going on?" she nearly whispered, her hand still on the doorknob. "William said that when Jack hired him, the stinking rat said he'd not wanted the police involved. He wanted the whole affair kept private."
"Why would he lie?"
"Exactly! Something is going on that Jack isn't telling William. And, really, isn't it rather essential for him to tell him important things, like the fact that he's not only told the police, but they even sent someone out to investigate themselves."
"Where did Mr. Turner go?"
"I don't know. When he told me, he got that odd look in his eye…the one he gets when something all of a sudden occurs to him that he hasn't thought of before." Her ability to recount to him even the minutest of the young detective's expressions wasn't at all lost on the doctor. Norrington fought back a smile and shrugged.
"What sort of an idea could he possibly have gotten? You don't think he's going to approach Sparrow with his suspicions?" James asked, quickly, eyes wide.
"That's what I'm afraid of. I'm sure he's smarter than that. He knows how dangerous that man can be; he's experienced it firsthand, I'm afraid. More than once. But William is also very proud, and I fear if Jack's pulled something over on him, that pride of his might cause him to do something rash."
"Proud, yes. And young." He swallowed thoughtfully. "Well, what could I do about it? Sparrow doesn't even know of my involvement, does he?"
"Yes, I think William's told him. At least I assume so." She paused, biting her lip. "I'm not suggesting you barge into Jack's office to save him. I just thought two heads would be better than one."
Elizabeth opened her mouth to say something else, but shut it again. No, James would already know she wanted to prevent anything from happening to Turner. In fact, she had a sneaking suspicion that James already knew how deep her affections were for the young private investigator.
James pondered for a few minutes, Elizabeth watching him in silence. If Turner found out Sparrow had filed a claim on his diamonds at Scotland Yard, his next step would surely be to find out why. "But where would he go?" James mumbled out loud.
"How would Turner find out why Sparrow filed that claim?" he asked her. Elizabeth's eyes widened a bit.
"He might break into Jack's office to see his records."
"He might, but that's very dangerous. I can imagine a man such as that having a number of men to protect him and his records—especially if those records have evidence of his unscrupulous activities."
"Perhaps there are copies of the records," Elizabeth tried.
"The Treasury!" James said. "At least, that's where my records are kept, as far as my insurance goes. Large purchases I made."
"Then we go to Her Majesty's Treasury?"
"We go to Her Majesty's Treasury," he agreed.
"Jack Sparrow. Er, uh…Jackson Sparrow, perhaps."
"Listen, Sir, there are people waiting in front of you. There's nothing I can do for you today." The young man sitting before him gave off a distinct air of self-importance. The desk in front of him was cleared of any and all paperwork, causing Turner and many of the other answer-seekers to assume he was paid for nothing more than to shoo people away.
"I've been here for an hour, Sir, and I'm not about to leave. His name is Jackson Sparrow. I'd like to see his accounts." The young detective was beginning to lose his patience. But of course, it wouldn't do to hit a government employee, and unfortunately this little brat counted as such. He'd be back in front of Josset, but in restraints this time.
"Who do you think you are, then, wanting to see the man's accounts? No one can see his accounts but the man himself. Now, if you'll go back to your seat…"
"I've been at my seat long enough. If I went back there, I could find them myself in five minutes."
"Perhaps you could. Now sit down before I call in the policeman standing just outside that door." He gestured with a flick of his overly large head towards the door at the front of the room and William walked back to his seat, all the while glaring at the stuffed-shirt scamp. His father had probably gotten him this nonsensical job. The men who worked at the Treasury were paid for standing about and being rude to visitors, all the while the Empire struggled.
As Turner comforted himself with thoughts of the man's overly large head and what it might be compensating for, he heard a soft whistle over the tumult of people arguing, babies crying, and papers rustling. He turned and was surprised to see Elizabeth Swann standing at the door from which he entered the cramped, wooden room. Her eyes were wide and urgent as she subtly flicked her hand to signal for him to follow her.
Deciding he wouldn't get anywhere in this corrupt agency, he followed her, disheartened by his failure. She turned away from him and walked past the policeman William had just been threatened with, her back straight and her chin held high. He followed after her, very curious as to where she was taking him.
As she turned and met his eye, he saw relief there. Just where did she think he would have gone when he left her in such a hurry? Was she afraid for his safety? He felt damnable warmth flood his chest at the thought.
But then they came upon a shut and presumably locked door. As though it were nothing, Elizabeth glanced quickly to the left and right, then opened the door and walked through. William joined her and walked into a much larger, wooden paneled room. The walls seemed to shoot up into the sky they were so tall. The dome ceiling arched down to meet high rectangular windows from which sunlight flooded in bright beams, dust twisting and rushing about through them.
He couldn't help but stare in awe at the shelves that shot up from the floor to just a few feet below the windows. They were filled with files, no doubt, perhaps files on every middle class to upper class Londoner there was. Perhaps even insurance policies on country homes.
Turner felt Elizabeth's hand on his arm and he stopped, dropping his gaping gaze down to see a highly pleased and calm James Norrington watching him. Beside him stood a tall, thin man, his cheeks gaunt and his eyes sunken. But the man had a small smile on his face. He reached up and tugged weakly on the cravat at his neck, then coughed lightly into his fist.
"Ah, good morning, Mr. Turner," James said. "This is an old friend of mine, Mr. Harris Baker. It seems he knows just where a certain captain's files are being held and he has no qualms at all about your looking at them, do you, Harris?"
Harris Baker grinned widely. "No qualms at all, Mr. Turner. Seems I remember them…" He paused, turning and walking towards the wall of files. He put a finger to his chin in thought and scoured the shelves with his old eyes. "I remember them somewhere in this section."
As he searched, James walked over to Turner and stood beside him. "How did you know to come here?" William asked quietly.
"Same as you, I expect," Elizabeth answered, her eyes nervous as she watched the feeble man climb on the movable ladder to reach for a particular file drawer.
"How is it so much easier for you to get things done in this damnable place?" Turner looked at the slightly taller man standing beside him.
"I saved Mr. Baker's life awhile back. Seems he couldn't do enough to repay me for it, what with the family he'd have left behind had I not…" He shrugged, his voice drifting off as the older man started to attempt to climb down the ladder without hurting himself, the heavy-looking drawer shaking in his arm while the other arm clung to the rung above him.
Before Norrington could act, Turner surged forward and reached up to relieve the old man of his burden so that he could descend the ladder safely. As Turner clutched it tightly, the man lowered both feet to be planted firmly on the ground. He sighed his thanks to the young man and hobbled over to the nearby desk, where the three younger people joined him.
"Put it down here, young man," Mr. Baker said, patting the desktop in front of him. Turner followed his instructions as his eyes alighted on a thick folder with Jackson Sparrow printed on it. "You see, your captain's files are lower down because they're so active. Men with less money have less to bother us with, and their files move further and further up along the wall until we can barely reach them."
"That doesn't seem very fair," Elizabeth breathed.
"No, I suppose it doesn't. But sometimes being unfair is the only way we can get things done. There are too many people in this hell on earth city we live in—Oh, I beg your pardon, Miss. I'm an old man. I forget myself." He bowed comically to her, which caused her to smile in spite of the gravity of the situation.
Turner reached for the file to retrieve it but found Mr. Baker's hand stalling his. "Now, now. Let's not be hasty. I'm the only one as can handle this file. I'm not much longer for this earth, I fear," he mumbled grumpily, pulling Jack's file out and setting it before them on the desk. "But what I've got left, I'd like to have a job during it."
His long, crooked fingers opened the folder, revealing a messy stack of papers.
"This will take hours to go through. Hours," Elizabeth nearly whined.
"Well, best to start at the beginning then," Mr. Baker said, turning the first paper over and letting them look at the second. He was so slow at the task that all three of them began to feel their patience wearing thin.
"Please, Mr. Baker, sir," Elizabeth hurried, her patience the thinnest of all. "What if you allow one of us to turn the pages? You see, we have to do this very quickly."
"Yes, Mr. Baker. Time is of the essence," Turner said with a small sense of urgency.
Mr. Harris Baker turned and smiled at his doctor friend when his voice piped in, then backed away from the folder. "You should have said so before. If you're in such a rush, then by all means…"
Elizabeth thanked him as Turner grabbed the folder and began skimming the pages within it. His fingers flipped the papers quickly but carefully, eyes scanning the words and taking them in.
He wasn't exactly sure what he was looking for per say, but he hoped something might pop out at him concerning the shipment of diamonds.
Fifteen minutes had passed since they first started going through Jack Sparrow's personal and business records. They'd found nothing but large purchases, trade-agreements, and other financial documents. Some were hand-written, others printed, but
Jack's wild and oversized signature spread across the bottoms of each one.
Turner stopped on a particular document, his heart in his throat. He dragged his finger down the document. It had been made up a few days before Jack's diamonds had disappeared. Again, Jack's signature adorned a large portion of the lower half of the paper.
"He took out insurance on the shipment of diamonds right before they were stolen,"
Elizabeth breathed at his shoulder, her eyes immediately going to William's profile to gauge his reaction.
If she was expecting anything, she was surely disappointed, for his features stayed the same. His tongue flicked out to wet his lips.
"A coincidence?" James asked softly at Turner's other shoulder.
"No," Elizabeth breathed. "Look, on this next page." She moved that paper over to reveal another. "It says he was paid the money when he filed a claim with Scotland Yard."
Turner shut his eyes tightly and felt himself began to shake with rage. He suddenly pounded his fist on the desk beside the folder, startling Elizabeth, then rushed out of the room, the words "Bloody pirate!" on his lips.
(A/N): Uh oh! Thanks again for your patience, and all of your lovely reviews! Until next time...