Author's Note: Well, hello anyone who still happens to read this. It's been ages since I posted for a couple of reasons: school, I didn't have this typed, and I'm not quite as POTC obsessed as before. However, with any luck it won't be six months before I post again. (Damn that's a long time... Sorry!) Though I have no idea what's happening in the next chapter I hope I'll get it up within four weeks. Wish me luck! Also I hope you enjoy the chapter and please review if you'd care to.
A moment's silence encased the quartet before James spoke up. "I'm… an admiral?" he asked tentatively.
"Yes, now let's move on to this girl shall we?" Beckett said with a dismissive wave of his hand. "Mr. Mercer, if you would." At his employer's command Mercer walked over to Kat and grabbed her roughly by the arm. He began to drag her forward, but she wrenched her arm out of his grasp.
"I know how to walk," she said as she moved to stand beside Norrington. "You wanted me Mr. Beckett?" Kat said cheekily, purposefully using the wrong title.
"Lord Beckett," began Mercer, "Requests that you recite your name and why you were with Mr. Norrington for a month on Jack Sparrow's ship and how you two ended up in the ocean with Davy Jones' heart." He placed a derisive emphasis on 'requests' which indicated that the Lord would have his answer one way or another.
Beckett's eyebrows had risen in the meantime at the information Mercer had included in his question. This must have been the girl who owned the silver contraption. He had wondered why his preferred agent would have bothered bringing this girl along, but now he understood. Mercer had been right to do so. He needed to keep her from the hangman's noose long enough to find out just what that strange object was.
"My name is Katherine Vusan. I'm a Virgo who enjoys long walks in the park and watching sunsets," Kat began using the cliché dating introduction.
"You're a constellation?" asked James.
"I meant the zodiac, although I wouldn't exactly expect you to be the sort of man to know about those, James. They aren't exactly reliable," Kat replied.
Beckett made a mental note to research this zodiac which he remembered hearing about somewhere before. His tone of voice seemed both bored and arrogant at the same time as he said, "I don't believe I asked for that Miss Vusan, but I do recall wanting your story." Blue-gray eyes pierced into Kat's brown ones like steel through mahogany.
Though she was slightly unnerved by his stare she still managed to reply, "Of course Lord Beckett," while spitting out the word 'lord' like it was utterly revolting. Then, she told her tale while avoiding mention of her interesting relationship with James and her inexperience with weapons and ships.
Cutler wasn't particularly surprised at the tale. The battle for the key and multiple confusions were somewhat amusing, but the story didn't matter much. "You have engaged in activities which advanced the movements of pirates. Association with pirates constitutes a hanging so you will be held in prison until the time of your execution arrives," he said with obvious boredom.
"What!? But she didn't commit piracy!" shouted James in protest. However he quickly composed himself and raced to come up with a plan. "I forced her aboard," he finally said. "It was my—" Kat's hand clapped firmly over Norrington's lips muffling his next words.
"Would you excuse us?" she asked and without waiting for an answer she dragged James toward one corner of the room. "Quit being a martyr!" she whispered. "Mercer knows I came of my own free will so I can't get out of this." Kat looked up at James' worried face and told him, "I'm sorry."
"Don't be. It was good while it lasted," he replied before wrapping his arms around her waist. Kat hugged him back and squeezed her eyes shut to keep her tears away. The inevitability of her death was suddenly crystal clear. When she had originally planned to stay on the island with James she hadn't even thought about what would happen to her. It was obvious now that she would be hanged; there wasn't any other option.
As Kat and Norrington returned to their places Cutler was contemplating how he wanted to continue. Evidently Mercer's attempts to sabotage their relationship had failed which meant his new admiral would not make it easy for him to use all possible methods of extortion on Kat. A mental sigh of slight irritation floated through his mind. This would be more difficult, but he would succeed in getting what he wanted. Being ruthless had its advantages. "Are you two finished?" Beckett asked.
"Yes, we are," Kat replied firmly.
"Then, Mercer would you get one of the officers to take Kat to the cells?"
"You can't just put her in a cage with a bunch of horny pirates!" exclaimed James. Kat's eyes widened at the implication behind Norrington's words. She was quite certain that she didn't want to go to the cells.
"Hmmm… I suppose even a pirate sympathizer deserves a better fate than that. Fine, Mr. Mercer get one of the maids to clean out Lieutenant Groves' new office. Put one of the prison cots in there and a tub for bathing." Beckett wrinkled his nose at the smell of the two seafarers before adding, "Perhaps a change of clothes would also be prudent." Mercer left the room to do as his master commanded while James let out a sigh of relief. Kat, however, was surprised. This seemed like more courtesy than was warranted, particularly for Beckett. Since she knew he always had a motive Kat was certain that something else was going on, but what she could not determine.
"Lucky for you Mr. Norrington your home has not yet been sold. It is still completely intact as far as I know so you may return there. Enjoy your trip," Cutler said in dismissal. James nodded in reply and with a final glance at Kat he left for home. Mercer returned just after Norrington's exit and gave his master a nod.
"Things are prepared for you Miss Vusan. Please return here once you've bathed. You will have a constant companion since you are still a prisoner and will be expected to stay in your room. An escape attempt would be ill-advised with all the soldiers around here so I would suggest that you obey orders," Beckett said before adding," Mr. Mercer will take you to your room now." Then, he turned to observe the port which was visible behind him.
Kat was suspicious of the Lord's intentions, but a bath sounded wonderful. Anyway she'd figure out what was going on soon enough. So she followed Mercer to a room which obviously had only been completed recently. "I suppose I'm stealing a new office," the girl thought while observing the blank walls and, as of yet, unfinished floors. It was small, but large enough for a desk and a few chairs. One window lit up the entire room with Caribbean sunlight. At the moment a small cot and a tin bathtub occupied the space in the room.
"Excuse me, miss, but you'll want to bathe before the water gets cold."
Kat jumped as a soft voice spoke up behind her. Evidently this girl had entered and Mercer had left while she had been busy making her observations. "Oh," Kat began, "Yes, but do you mind my asking why you're here?"
"Why, I'm a maid here, miss. I'm supposed to take your clothes for you and get you some new ones," the blonde replied.
"Hadn't expected a maid," muttered Kat while undressing. Beckett continued to get more and more suspicious with his actions. But what preoccupied her more was undressing in front of a virtual stranger. To distract herself she asked, "What's your name?"
"Caroline," the soft-spoken girl replied as she stacked the discarded clothing in her arms.
'I'm Katherine, but feel free to call me Kat. May I call you Carrie?" continued the now naked girl. She lowered herself into the warm water and groaned happily.
"Certainly, miss, but are you sure you want me to call you by your first name?" Carrie asked as she grabbed the rest of the dirty outfit.
"Of course. You're no servant to me, Carrie, especially since I'm a prisoner," Kat answered while scrubbing the caked on dirt and sweat off her body. The water melted the grime away which made her feel cleaner than she had in a month. "I missed baths," she thought as her eyelids fluttered in pleasure.
Meanwhile Carrie had blushed at Kat's comment. Most everyone, no matter their class, looked down on servants. The thieves saw them as subservient fools and they were on the lowest rung of the working class. Kat's odd outlook brought a smile to the blonde's face as she said, "I'll be back to help you wash in a moment." Then, she left the room to bring the stained clothing to the laundry.
Kat jumped when Carrie spoke; she'd forgotten about the maid's presence. "Help me?" she thought, "That'll be awkward." This type of care was definitely not something she was used to and, frankly, she was once again surprised by it. Beckett was being far too kind for his character which meant he must have some other agenda. Admittedly, it was somewhat scary, but Kat was clueless about what the lord could possibly want. Since it seemed highly unlikely that she'd ever figure it out she figured she would just enjoy her bath while she could. Soon, Carrie returned with a bar of soap and a pile of clothing.
"Excuse me, but is that a dress? And a corset?" Kat asked with trepidation.
"Why, yes. What else would it be? You are in civilization after all, Kat," Carrie answered as if it were the most obvious thing in the world, though she did hesitate to use the other girl's name.
"I'd personally prefer some breeches and a shirt if you wouldn't mind. So could you possibly procure some?"
"Well, um, yes I suppose so." The maid rushed back out of the room, but left the soap behind. She walked nervously at doing something she had not been ordered to do, but Kat had asked nicely. Carrie was just passing Lord Beckett's office when his pretentious voice floated out into the hallway.
"You there," he commanded. "Why are you returning those clothes?"
"Oh, uh, Miss Katherine wanted breeches, sir," Carrie answered quietly while staring resolutely at her nervously shifting feet.
"Go tell her that she is wearing that dress," the lord replied with an icy glare.
"Of course, sir," the blonde answered quickly as she scurried back to the office Kat had been given. When she entered she found Kat already out of the now sudsy water and drying herself on the provided towel. "Um, Kat, Lord Beckett says you are to wear the dress."
Kat frowned as she pulled her face out of the towel and began drying her hair. "Can't have that now can we?" she muttered as she continued her task. Meanwhile Carrie was biting her lip in anticipation and wondering what she ought to be doing. Soon, Kat nodded her head as if she had decided something and said, "Hand me the shift will you, Carrie?" The blonde acquiesced and passed over the thin underdress which Kat held out to observe. "Not short enough," she muttered as she tore off the bottom of the piece and then the arms. The maid stared in horror as Kat pulled on the dress which was almost sheer and marched toward the door.
"You can't go out like that!" Carrie shouted in fear for her new friend's reputation.
"I can and I will," Kat replied rebelliously while exiting the office and walking down the hall. Multiple soldiers stopped to stare or took a second look at her. Though such an outfit wouldn't get a second glance in her own time Kat's sleeveless ensemble which ended above her knee was terribly scandalous in the 18th century. "Not like you've never seen it before," the girl muttered as she walked proudly toward Beckett's office. A few wolf whistles announced her entry to the room and Cutler was quick to turn so he might reprimand the out of line soldiers. However the sight of a virtually naked, for the period, woman stopped him mid-word.
"This is probably the first time you've been speechless, eh Beckett?" Kat commented as she placed an attitude-laden hand on her hip.
The lord cleared his throat before asking, "Exactly why are you wearing that? It isn't appropriate at all."
"Since you seem to believe that I'm going to wear a dress I figured I ought to wear something that at least makes me somewhat comfortable," the girl answered. "I can move at least a little in this."
"Well, you'll have to go put on the actual dress you're meant to wear because this can't continue."
"Why not? I'm perfectly fine with wearing this attire. It may be a bit distracting, but that's not my problem." Cutler was about to respond when Kat continued, "However if I could have some breeches and a shirt I'd be perfectly happy to wear those as well." She finished her words with a saccharine smile that mocked Beckett's inevitable defeat.
With a mental sigh Cutler decided he had no choice. He needed his men to be focused and this small episode would distract them let alone days like this. "Fine, get her some different clothes," the lord commanded to Carrie who had just entered the room. The maid rushed off to do as told while Kat paraded back to her cell with a victorious grin plastered across her face.