HERE BE MONSTERS
Summary: An alternative ending to the sequence with Elizabeth's father in the locker in AWE. Elizabeth tries to save her father, and Jack has some demons to face.
Disclaimer: The characters belong to Disney, and they can keep them. I'm just letting them out of the toybox. I have also borrowed the script to form the basis of this fic, and no infringement is intended.
Rating: PG / K-plus, purely because I don't think angst should be anything less.
Spoilers: At World's End, but probably not much else.
Pairing: Mainly J/E with some minor W/E because it was there, really. At the point this is set, I couldn't really ignore Master Turner…
Author's Notes: This is my first story in this particular fandom – be nice! – and I don't rightly know where it came from… I was watching AWE for the second time, having finally got the DVD, and was quite disappointed to find out that my memory of the Locker scene with Elizbeth's father was completely different to what really happened – i.e. there wasn't as much J/E interaction as I had thought. So I've re-written it. :P
This starts off from the point in the film where Elizabeth spots her father, using the original dialogue, and then goes off on a tangent. I think it was Tia's warning that planted the idea, to be honest…
I picture the Sea of Souls as being a bit like the Swamps of Sadness from The Neverending Story, incidentally. Also, I must apologise for any horrible phonetic spelling. ;)
Without further ado, I hope you enjoy my little foray into this piratical world…
Here Be Monsters
The end of the world was a dark and foreboding place, but Elizabeth doubted it should be any other way. It was for this reason that she considered it strange that Jack Sparrow's own private hell was a vast expanse of sunlit sand, considering their current path across the charcoal sea. But then, she realised, Jack's heaven would be an open ocean. Perhaps his hell was not so strange at all.
Beneath her feet, the Pearl rocked and swayed gently with the waves, and she stared out to an invisible horizon, where – somewhere – the sea met the stars. The drifting souls below gave her a strange sort of comfort. Tia Dalma's sing-song voice drifted to her ears from further along the deck, telling the story of Davy Jones and the duty he was meant to serve. So, Jones had been a good man once, too; Elizabeth gave a derisive snort. Bloody pirates…
Ragetti spotted the oncoming boats first, and Elizabeth turned to look. Other crewmen moved to the railings to watch the small vessels approaching, and Gibbs began to load his pistol, cautious of a potential threat. Will stopped him, Tia confirming his suspicions that the occupants of the boats were not dangerous. They moved in ominous unison, pulled by some unseen force towards a destination unknown.
And then, Elizabeth spotted an all-too-familiar face amongst the cold, staring bodies. She leaned close to the railings, the better to see.
"It's my father!" she cried. "We've made it back!"
The landscape had not changed from only moments before, but Elizabeth's addled brain paid that no heed. She began to follow the boat along the deck of the ship, calling out.
"Father, here! Look here!"
He did not see her, at first, and she kept on walking, gaining some speed. Finding Jack in her way, she pushed past him impatiently. He took one step back, allowing her enough room to get through, and made no move to follow her.
"Elizabeth," he called quietly after her, "we're not back."
His soft explanation fell on deaf and ignorant ears. "Father!"
Finally, Weatherby Swann seemed to notice her, lifting his head and staring at her confusedly. "Elizabeth. Are you dead?"
A frown graced her features. "No… no."
Her father did not meet her eyes; his expression was blank. "I think I am."
Elizabeth would not accept that. After all, he was there in front of her, as plain as day. "No, you can't be!" She was running out of deck, her path now blocked.
Weatherby, deep in thought, attempted to make sense of the situation. "There was this chest, you see. And a heart. At the time it seemed so important…"
Reaching out, his daughter was not yet ready to give up. "Come aboard!"
He continued, oblivious. "I learned that if you stab the heart, yours must take its place. Sail the seas for eternity. The Dutchman must always have a captain. Silly thing to die for…"
"Someone cast a line!" Somebody handed her a rope, though she paid no attention to who it was. She threw it with all her strength, hitting the rowboat easily. To her dismay, her father ignored it completely. "Take the line!"
He looked at her then, for the first time. Something inside Elizabeth snapped – a sudden, awful realisation of what she saw in his eyes.
"Elizabeth, I'm so proud of you."
"Father, the line… take the line!"
She was losing him again, the brief eye contact broken once more. Screaming in hysterical determination, she ran towards the stern of the ship. Tia's voice sounded out – "She must not leave the ship!" – but before Will could reach her she had thrown herself from the railings.
The dark water pulled her underneath and for a moment, all on the ship were silent in horrible contemplation. Gibbs held Will back by the shoulders as he struggled to go after her, cursing and shouting her name, and Tia Dalma quietly scanned the surrounding area, whispering something nobody could understand. Jack had not moved, seemingly unaffected by the drama which was unfolding.
Suddenly, Elizabeth broke the surface, spluttering. A sigh of relief washed throughout the crew; Gibbs released his hold on Will. Elizabeth recovered quickly and swam over to her father's boat, drawing level and grasping the side. The wood was slimy and gave no purchase, and she was careful not to capsize it.
Will called after her: "Elizabeth!" and she ignored him.
"Father, come back with us," she pleaded. Gripping the boat with one hand, she reached with the other to clasp his. "I won't leave you."
Weatherby Swann's eyes had become glassy and distant, and his hand felt cold and clammy within hers. The line she had cast drifted slowly away from the boat and sank beneath the surface, disappearing into the murk. She was floating far from the Pearl now, and the path of the rowboat seemed to be diverging away from the ship. Elizabeth squeezed her father's hand tighter, refusing to give up, and for the briefest of moments, he reciprocated. She felt a rush of sudden hope and began to kick furiously in an attempt to turn the boat around.
"I'll give your love to your mother, shall I?"
That was that. Accepting of his fate, Governor Swann stared dead ahead into the approaching gloom, and Elizabeth's attempts to focus his attention back on what was happening failed, each in turn. His hand slowly loosened its grip on hers and fell to his side.
Gripping the side of the boat with both hands now, Elizabeth heaved… but the course was set and there was to be no breaking it. She lost her grip on the slimy wood, falling back into the waves, and could only watch as the army of lost souls sailed onwards in their endless journey, her father amongst them. She pushed forward in haste, but the cold water was taking its toll, slowing her down and dragging her deeper…
The assembled crewmates of the Pearl were at a loss. Will, pacing the deck in frustration, was furious at the lack of action.
"Can't we do something?" he asked. Turning, he spotted Tia Dalma, marching towards her. "You," he said, poking her in the shoulder roughly. "You brought us here. There must be a way."
Tia took a step back away from Will and looked at him with a dark expression. "Barbossa was de one who brought you here," she said, "not I. He be de one you should ask."
Before Will could utter another word, Barbossa had stepped in with arms raised placatingly, eager to remove the blame from himself. "Aye, 'tis true I brought ye here, but I'm not the one who knows these waters. There's not a man alive knows these waters. In fact, I'd say that be the point."
Tia was being deliberately unhelpful, it seemed. "I told her not to jump," she explained. "Once a man is taken by de Sea of Souls, he gahn foreva."
Will shook her angrily. "I don't believe you. You're lying."
Tia's eyes flashed fire. "Get yuh hands off meh, William Turner, or you'll be joinin yuh pretty gyal in dat ocean. And den dere be no way to save yuh both."
Maintaining his grip, Will realised what she was implying. "So there is a way?"
"Dis one time… perhaps." She had an idea which was struggling to come to full fruition, and needed more time.
Will released her, turning away to the railings. Elizabeth was some way off now, still afloat but obviously beginning to struggle. She had made no effort to return to the ship and was drifting with the tide in the direction of the boats.
"Please," he said, quieter this time. "Please think."
Tia Dalma began to stroll the deck almost casually, her expression thoughtful. There was no sound except the jangling from her beads and trinkets. She stared intently at each crewman in turn, dismissing them one by one. Each man breathed a sigh of relief as she examined them, and moved on.
On reaching Jack, Tia stopped. She raised herself to her full height and looked him up and down, quietly contemplating. Jack allowed the examination of his person for a while, but soon grew suspicious and repeated the treatment to Tia, before eventually interjecting with a "What?"
She clapped her hands with a small laugh. "Dere be a way."
To be continued…
A/N: This was meant to be a one-shot, but I am too superfluous. ;) I don't think it'll end up too long, but for the moment, please be so kind as to leave some feedback.
PS: I know I'm not accepting anonymous reviews, and there's a very good reason for that if you'd be so good as to check my profile – please don't tell me what I already know. Thanking you.