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Disclaimer: You all know the drill. I don't own any of the BTVS characters or POTC characters, because if I did Captain Jack would be my own personal cabin boy ;)
Summary: Set during POTC: At World's End and post 'The Gift' Season 5 of BTVS. Tia Dalma had seemed so sure when she said that everyone who'd died were at rest. Clearly she'd never met Buffy…
O Ocean vast! We heard thy song with wonder,
Whilst waves marked time.
"Appear, O Truth!" thou sang'st with tone of thunder,
And shine sublime!
The world's enslaved and hunted down by beagles,
To despots sold.
Souls of deep thinkers, soar like mighty eagles!
The Right uphold.
Be born! arise! o'er the earth and wild waves bounding,
Peoples and suns!
Let darkness vanish; tocsins be resounding,
And flash, ye guns!
And you who love no pomps of fog or glamour,
Who fear no shocks,
Brave foam and lightning, hurricane and clamour,-
Exiles: the rocks!
Victor Hugo: 'The Ocean's Song'
The sword slid into her heart.
Being impaled on a blade – again - was everything it was cracked up to be. There was the cold of the steel, the icky squishing sensation of her organs being punctured, and finally and most importantly, the damage to her clothing.
But at least there wasn't any pain. Only a vague sense of irritation.
"Will you people stop stabbing me!" she yelled, stamping her foot for emphasis.
Yanking the blade from her body in one easy motion, she decapitated the surprised looking crustacean that had dared to skewer her, before wiping off the blood and passing the spare sword to Elizabeth. The other woman took it wordlessly, before shaking her head and heading off further into the melee.
Norrington had now made his way over, slashing a swathe over the deck as he went. When he finally reached her side he took in the scene silently, his dark eyes wide and pinning her where she stood.
Buffy smiled innocently up at him, absent-mindedly dismembering one of Jones' crew members who was attempting to sneak up on them. As blood and fish guts rained down around them she touched Norrington's shoulder in concern as he continued to stare at her.
"Are you ok?" she asked. "Only you haven't said anything for like a couple of minutes."
"You're not dead."
"Yep," she replied, popping the p. "Points to you for noticing."
He frowned down at her. "Why are you not dead?"
"Thanks for sounding so happy about it," she replied flippantly. "You know a girl could get a complex that way."
"I have a reputation to uphold. I'm Buffy, the girl who just wouldn't die." She wrinkled her nose and poked at the hole in her shirt. "Pity the clothes never survive though."
"That's not an explanation."
Buffy raised an eyebrow and blocked a swing at her head, reaching back and slamming the handle of her sword viciously into a sailor's head. The man dropped silently to the floor. She dropped the Valley girl act and stared at James seriously. "You want to know how I'm still alive when we're fighting for our lives against an alliance between a bunch of posh British people and weird creepy fish monsters in the middle of a mystically arranged storm that was produced by an ex-shipmate who turned out to be a sea goddess?"
"Look," she said, touching his arm gently. "On a scale of weirdness I can see how this would bother you and I promise to explain as best I can later, but for the moment can we just focus on surviving this battle?"
Norrington pulled his pistol from his belt, raised his arm point level with her temple and fired.
The slavering lagoon creature behind her collapsed in a bloody pile on the deck.
Buffy shared a grin with Norrington and he bowed his head.
"As the lady requests."
Back to back they resumed fighting and as Buffy knocked out a soldier with her elbow whilst cracking the skull open of a giant lobsterman with a well-placed kick, Norrington couldn't help smiling to himself.
"Most unusual woman."
Salt water continued to lash the crew as they fought what Buffy was beginning to realise was looking dangerously like a losing battle. Ok, so she was trying to look on the bright side as much as possible, but the problem was her friends were mortal and these fish monsters just seemed to keep getting up and carrying on, despite the fact she was making sushi out of any who dared to cross her path.
"Are you having fun, Miss Summers?" called a familiar voice.
She grinned, finding herself up at the helm by Barbossa. The pirate was currently duelling a man who only had half a chest, the other side being covered in thick black barnacles that left not an inch of skin exposed.
"Blood, weaponry, killing bad guys- what's not to love?" she shouted back over the tempest, ducking and sliding across the desk gracefully, back flipping over the wheel to avoid a particularly nasty thrust of a cutlass. "You can't tell me you're not enjoying this a teeny weeny bit?"
There was a deep thrumming boom as canon fire echoed over the ocean and the ship shuddered, wooden shrapnel flying out into the dark waves.
"Aye, the chance to be blown to kingdom come always gives me a thrill," he snapped, softening his words with a flash of teeth.
Buffy merely winked at him. "That's the spirit," she replied, nimbly weaving her way between two slavering shark headed men, removing arms and legs into a neat bloody pile on the deck as she danced through them. "I hear you just married the Will and Elizabeth show. Didn't realise you were the gooey romantic type."
Barbossa shot her a look and viciously decapitated a crablike sailor. The head flew towards her, crab pincers spinning in the air and she had to duck to avoid being hit by it as dark blood sprayed out in a rainbow arc above them.
"Hey! Watch where you're killing people," huffed Buffy, wiping black goo off her face. "That head almost poked me in the eye."
"You mind what you're saying about people," Barbossa retorted, wiping his blade on the shirt of the severed corpse. "Gooey and romantic indeed. I've never been so insulted!"
Buffy smirked and made cooing noises. "You know denial's only gonna get you so far, Mr I believe in twoo wuv. You're just a big old softy pants."
Barbossa scowled and punched a sailor in the face who had been creeping up behind him. The man instantly crumpled to the floor. "Take that back!"
"Not a chance," laughed Buffy, twirling her sword and impaling three fish monsters in one go. "Wait until I te-"
But the explosion behind her ate up her words in a blast of searing heat. Rippling along her back, the pulse of supercharged air shoved her forwards, viciously propelling her over the deck, scorching the flesh of her back and charring her hair as she suddenly slammed into the side of the vessel.
Her head smacked into the wood with enough force to crack it, and something heavy suddenly hit her back, wedging her further into the side of the mangled ship.
None of it hurt, but the position was cramped and uncomfortable, even for a dead person, and as she pulled out several large splinters that had embedded themselves in her cheek and scalp, the skin closed up even as she pulled the slivers of wood from her flesh.
A trickle of blood raced down from her hairline, following the contours of her face to pool at her lip before trickling down her chin and dripping on her blackened shirt.
Almost instinctively, her tongue gently tasted the blood on her lips.
Warm, salty…not hers.
Crawling slowly out from underneath whatever had hit her and back into the carnage of the battle, she pulled her body out from the wreckage and realized that the reason she had felt uncomfortable was because her right hip was now hanging from its socket, clearly dislocated.
With a sigh she yanked it back into place and wiggled her toes and fingers, checking none of her other body parts were missing or where they shouldn't be. Satisfied that the rest of her was as intact as she was ever going to be she eyed the pile of debris that had smacked into her.
Planks of wood, cannon shrapnel, musket balls and severed limbs lay all around, but it was only as she surveyed the wreckage that she realized part of it was warm and solid and breathing…and terribly familiar.
Norrington couldn't hide the wince as she turned him over, his face scratched and bleeding, his shirt ripped to shreds and rapidly turning dark red.
It had been his blood on her lips.
"Are you all right, are you hurt?"
He squinted up at her through the blood and the dust, before glancing at the large piece of wood sticking out of his left shoulder and chest. "Does that answer your question?"
"Oh that? That's just a splinter." Buffy smiled, but her mouth trembled as she took in the damage to his body. "That's what happens when you go and get yourself blown up."
"Occupational hazard, I'm afraid." Any attempt at a grin was ripped from him as the waves tossed the ship and his body jarred against the deck. Ripples of blinding pain flashed across his face and his breath hitched in his throat, low oaths slipping from his lips.
Buffy scowled at him and clutched his shredded, bloodstained shirt. "Don't you dare die on me, James Norrington."
"My apologies, but I'm afraid I do n-not have your remarkable ability for invulnerability."
She curled her fingers further into the bloodstained linen as though she could keep him with her through sheer force of will. "Believe me you don't want to die. You end up in a small boat and trust me when I say it's just like being here only worse."
"And without your charming company."
Buffy shot him a look. "You can't be dying if you can still be sarcastic. You've just got a ...a man wound. Big fuss over nothing." She shrugged her shirt off, leaving her in just her undershirt and balled the material against his wound. "It's just a scratch."
He hissed as she pressed on his wound. "A scratch indeed." His fingers closed over hers and she suddenly realized how long and elegant they were. How warm.
"Buffy," he breathed, "leave me. There is nothing you-"
"Don't even think about finishing that sentence."
He fell silent but his eyes met hers; dark and beautiful and resigned.
Buffy bit her lip and tried to formulate a plan as the rain lashed down and the waves hurled themselves over the sides of the ship. Trying to locate her friends through the carnage she spotted Jack, William and Elizabeth onboard The Flying Dutchman. And they weren't alone. They were fighting Davy Jones.
And they were losing.
Buffy's heart sank as she glanced between her friends as they gradually lost ground and the dying man beside her, bleeding out slowly. If she left him, someone would come along sooner or later and finish him off. If she stayed her friends would be dead within a matter of minutes. Indecision squeezed her heart.
A small hand touched her shoulder.
"Fred." Buffy closed her eyes in relief and tried to pretend it was only rain tracking down her cheeks. She swallowed and summoned up the last of the strength from the Slayer swirling inside of her, and when she opened her eyes again they were fierce and determined and proud and she could not afford to lose. "Fred, I need you stay here with James and make sure he doesn't die, ok? Tell him how crap the afterlife is and keep him here."
The boy nodded, a dagger clutched in each hand and stood protectively beside the dying sailor.
"Good boy. I'm going over to there to kick some ass and then I'll be back as soon as I can. If I don't come back," she said seriously, and her voice lowered so that only Fred could hear her above the crack of the storm, "if I don't come back, you look after yourself and you look after him and you live, understand?" She pulled him into a hug before letting him go and tightening her sword belt, eyes narrowed in calculating the angle to swing over there
"Buffy." James' hand and reached out to gently touch her leg. "The boy's dead too?"
"No, he was, I still am," she replied distractedly, tightening her sword belt, eyes calculating rope angles and somersault positioning and battle plans. She glanced down and squeezed his hand. "I'll be back." Impulsively she kissed his cheek. "Promise."
And then with a bright smile she did not feel she took a running jump for the side of the ship and swung herself over to The Flying Dutchman and Davy Jones.
Davy Jones grinned mercilessly and kicked Will hard in the side as he lay helplessly on the deck of The Dutchman, watching with pleasure at the look of terrified resignation that passed between the man and Elizabeth.
"Ah, love. A dreadful bond. And yet so easily severed. Tell me, William Turner, do you fear death?"
"Do you?" interrupted Jack, from the other side of the deck, clutching Jones' bloody beating heart in his fist. "Heady tonic, holding life and death in the palm of one's hand."
Jones blanched. "You're a cruel man, Jack Sparrow."
"Cruel is a matter of perspective."
The pirate snorted. "Is it, now?" He span round, sword in hand to stab Will in his chest and the blade slid easily through clothes into flesh, puncturing through the skin and out the other side.
The only problem was it wasn't Will who he'd stabbed.
Buffy rolled her eyes at the blade that once again was skewering her and placed her hands on her hips, glaring at Jones. "You get half marks for accuracy and none for originality, because this," she waved at the weapon, "does nothing for me. Steel grey is not my colour, though you people seem determined to get me to model it."
Jones almost exploded in a ball of incandescent rage. "You again!"
Buffy waved brightly. "Yeah me," she looked down at the sword, the blade still vibrating in her chest. "You know, I think we really need to work on your people skills. That's the second time we've met and you've made me into a pin cushion. If I didn't know any better I'd get the feeling that you didn't like me."
The pirate roared in rage and pulled his sword from Buffy and raised the blade to hack at her. "Why won't you just die?"
Buffy clucked her tongue as she parried the blow from Jones and twirled out from his range. "That's a bit hypocritical coming from a semi-immortal man-pirate-fish thingy." She wrinkled her nose. "Just what are you exactly?"
"Your doom," the pirate boomed.
Buffy rolled her eyes. "Now that's just mean. And here I thought we'd be BFF's forever. I had a whole thing worked out where we could have gone shopping and gossiped and tried out new hairstyles. I am so totally sure your tentacles would look great in plaits. And I have the most perfect waterproof mascara that would really bring out the rage in your eyes."
"Don't you ever stop talking?!" Jones yelled, swinging at her as they fought their way over the wildly rocking deck.
"Now what would be the fun in that," said Buffy as she diced a handful of the pirate's tentacles with her sword, "when me babbling away serves as the perfect distraction?"
"What?" Jones whirled and raged as he watched both Elizabeth and Will swing over to the other ship and away out of his reach. Only Jack remained, the hand clutched in his heart, indecision clouding his expression as he hesitated.
Buffy frowned at him and made shushing motions, even as she exchanged furious blows with Jones as they danced over the ship. "Jack! Get your ass over onto that ship with the heart now and give it to James!"
Jack clutched the heart closer to his chest and balked. "You want Norrington of all bloody people to have it? He's insufferable enough as it is, without making him immortal on top of it."
She slammed her foot into Jones' chest and he toppled backwards even as the storm around them reached a crescendo.
"He's dying!" she yelled, though she wasn't sure whether Jack would hear her or simply read her lips. "He stabs the heart and saves the world. Or something like that. Whatever."
"But it's Norrington!" he shouted back. Or at least that's what his expression screamed at her.
She neatly pin wheeled round Jones, jabbed her elbow into his face and stuck two fingers up at Jack, followed by a more expressive gesture of what she'd do to him if he didn't get the heart over to the former commodore, pronto.
Jack held up his hands in the universal gesture of surrender and took a perfect leap off the boat using one of the dangling line ropes and a ragged sail, which turned into a parachute as the wind caught it and Jack flew into the sky.
"Show off," she muttered under her breath, even as Jones viciously slammed the back of his sword into her temple. Something cracked loudly by her ear and that, thought Buffy vaguely, was the first time she'd ever sustained a fractured skull. From an undead pirate captain at least.
"You will not forestall my judgment!" roared Jones and slammed his sword back into her head.
Buffy shrugged and looked up at him from her position on the floor, where the force of the blow had sent her.
"Maybe not," she replied evenly. "But the massive whirlpool we're about to be sucked into sure as hell will."
"What?!" screamed Jones, as the water that had been slowly closing in around them crashed over the ship.
The maelstrom sucked the ship into its dark, unfathomable centre and the last thing Buffy saw was the malevolent green of the waves, the grey of the thunder above them and Jones with his sword raised, prepared to fight the sea.
Buffy just grinned, lay back on the deck and let the waves swallow her up.
On boardthe other ship, Elizabeth watched with a heavy heart as The Dutchman sank into the swirling mass of roiling waves. Beside her Norrington lay, pale as death itself, and breathing shallowly, his eyes fixed on some distant place only he could see.
There was a muffled thump behind them as Jack landed on deck and untangled himself from his makeshift parachute. The still beating heart was clutched in his hand as he walked over and kneeled beside the dying man.
The movement jarred Norrington from his reverie and he looked up at the crew who surrounded him now, his eyes travelling from face to face, searching until they landed on Jack's unusually solemn expression.
Will squeezed Elizabeth's hand and the three of them shared a look.
"She's just coming, mate," said Jack finally.
Norrington closed his eyes and the corners of his mouth lifted slightly in what might have been a smile. "Kind of you to lie to a dying man, Sparrow."
Jack swallowed and lay the heart by the side of him. "Listen, Norrington, you need to stab the heart. You won't die and we'll win. Hopefully."
Norrington's eyes flew open. "Pardon?"
"Buffy… she said you have to stab Jones' heart."
"Those were her last words?"
Moving painfully slowly, Norrington wrapped his fingers around the proffered dagger with what little strength he had left and thrust downwards. The blade pierced the beating heart with ease and there was a sudden stillness all around, even as the wind raged and the rain pelted down.
The silence suddenly exploded into a crescendo of noise and over the roar of the storm someone was screaming the sea goddess' name.
And then Norrington's breath hitched in his throat one final time, his eyes slipped closed and his chest stilled.
"James!" Elizabeth dropped to her knees beside him and grasped his hand even as Will placed his hands on her arms and tried to pull her away.
"The Dutchman must have a captain," said Jack dully, and raised the knife over Norrington's chest.
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