"I hate it when they do this."
"Well obviously something is wrong and they're hiding it, Jack and Bridget." Elizabeth looked at her husband. "I can't believe they sailed out again into the middle of nowhere."
Fionn, who was getting better at being Will every day, looked over his shoulder where she was lying on the bed. He was sitting on the floor, up against the side. "Why?"
"Will, I'm so close to giving birth and I need to be on land when I do. I will need the aid of a midwife. You should talk to Jack, he always listens to you better than he listens to me."
"I'd have to disagree with you there; Jack isn't much for talking to anyone these past few weeks." If he had been, Fionn would have been able to get the location of the heart by now, release Will from his prison so he could return to Elizabeth. Every day that didn't happen and Elizabeth got closer to giving birth, the worse Fionn's plan got.
"Well, maybe try again. After all, if you can't convince him, Bridget will try and she'll more than likely succeed. If she weren't here, I daresay he'd be the most impossible person in the world."
He nodded. "I'll try. I need to talk to Jack about quite a few things lately. I recently escaped capture by one of his most formidable enemies and he couldn't seem less bothered."
"Another reason I suspect that there's something going wrong that he is not telling us."
"The biggest thing I can think of is Heather going missing but something went astray and Jonathan's gone off on his own to find her so I can't imagine what else would have Jack so rattled."
"Maybe it's something to do with Ritson's recent boarding. Can you believe that Jane Ritson actually turned out to be Bridget's sister?"
Fionn had been more surprised that Bernadette had turned out to be Jane Ritson seeing as he'd known the woman his whole life. "It's appalling what she did to her sister, leaving Bridget trapped in slavery all those years."
"I suppose if you look on the bright side of things, if Bernadette had taken Bridget away, she might never have met Jack."
"She'd have been better off."
Elizabeth frowned at him. "Will."
He realised that was much more something Fionn would say than Will would say. "I'm sorry; Jack's just been frustrating me lately. But you're right; I will definitely talk to him about getting you the best care, you and…Our baby."
Elizabeth smiled and reached over, kissing him. It caught him by surprise but it wasn't the first time she'd unknowingly shared a kiss with a man who wasn't her husband. "Thank you. To be honest, I'm quite done with being pregnant. I'm much more ready to be a mother now. I cannot wait to get back to fighting form."
"Fighting…? You're planning on continuing in this life after giving birth?"
Elizabeth looked at him. "We spoke about this, Will. We're in this life whether we want it or not, Beckett has made sure of that. Even if we live in hiding, I'm still going to have to know how to fight just in case danger does come to our door. You told me that yourself."
"Yes I did…Of course…"
"So once the baby is born and I'm feeling up to it again, we're going to continue our sword fighting lessons. Truth be told, I'm positively itching to get back to it. I did enjoy it quite a lot and I was getting bloody good at it, if I do say so myself. It'll be a good way to get back to being fit after so much lying around. I've so missed being out of all the action."
"Have you? Honestly?" He grimaced at her. "What's so fun about being nearly killed time and time again? What's so magnificent about holding a blade in your hand and knowing that it's either kill or be killed?"
"Will, you don't sound like yourself at all."
"I don't advocate murder, that's not an abnormal thought."
Elizabeth tried to sit up. "You just said it yourself; it's kill or be killed. How could you not like me wanting to be prepared? I don't intend to let the 'be killed' option become a reality any time soon. If there is a threat to me or my family, I would hope I'm capable enough to deal with it. And you've always shared that same thought. Why are you talking to me like a different person now?"
Fionn realised and restrained himself. "I'm sorry. It's just…This past year has been hell for the most part, our impending joy not included, and I'm just looking forward to some peace and finally being able to be a family away from all of it."
"Me too but I still want to get back to sword fight training. I'd just started getting into something more rigorous than walking down some stairs in a corset and I couldn't do it anymore. Not that I'm not positively blissful about getting pregnant. Our son or daughter will be the light of my life. And speaking of…"
"Well, we have a name if it is a boy but we never planned for a girl. Do you have any thoughts?"
"Oh…I don't know…" He knew he couldn't do that; choose a name for a child that wasn't his. "What do you think?"
"Well, if it's a boy, we're naming it after you and your father so I was hoping…Maybe if it were a girl, we could name her after my mother?"
"Your mother, I think that would be suitable." He said, trying to make it sound like he knew anything at all about Elizabeth's mother. He didn't even know the woman's name.
"You do? You don't sound very enthusiastic."
"I'm sorry, darling; I think it would be a terrific way to honour your mother. After all, if the woman was capable of producing you, she must have been something special."
Elizabeth smiled. "I'm so happy things are getting back to normal between us, Will. I was so scared when you came back from Jones and seemed so distant; I love you too much to ever want that to happen."
Fionn nodded, feeling absolutely rotten.
"I love you too."
There she is.
"Oh David, dear. Come here for a moment."
David stopped and turned when she saw Barbossa calling her. "Oh, I can't right now. Very busy."
"Oh, is that the way of it then? After helping you learn and devoting so much time to you when all the rest forgot you were here, you're willing to abandon me the moment they finally decide you're of some use?"
David's enthusiasm waned as she began to feel guilty. "I'm sorry." She walked towards him. "Of course I have time for you, the way you always have for me."
Barbossa smiled, his terrible teeth on show. "Always such a good girl. Now explain a few things to me because I am utterly lost, what exactly are you doing for Sparrow?"
"Oh…" She felt flustered as they walked along. "I'm afraid I can't say."
"Well I know he's turned old quickly and I know his lady can't get her legs back. And I know you're helping. How exactly?"
"I'm so terribly sorry, Captain Barbossa but I promised not to say a word to anyone."
"Am I just anyone? I thought you and I had a deep understanding, the likes that none of the rest understood."
"We do and you are very important to me, but…I'm finally becoming a really important member of this crew and I don't want to ruin the first chance Captain Sparrow has given me. He asked me to keep it private and I intend to keep my word. After all, what good is my word if I'm willing to betray it so easily?"
"What good is our friendship if you don't trust me enough to help you? If you don't consider me enough to keep whatever you say just between us? I've never let you down before, why is it that the minute you speak to Sparrow, you no longer trust me?"
"I do trust you! I really do, Captain Barbossa! I just…"
"David, I swear to you, if you let me know what you are up to, only so I can help you achieve your goals, no one will learn this new information from me."
"You won't say anything?"
"It will remain known only to those who already know it, I promise you."
David bit her lip. She did need help, if only from someone with experience in these things. "Alright…"
Barbossa smiled again.
"Put on a coat."
Evelyn coughed and was instantly annoyed when Ana wouldn't turn from spying on Edward and Karishma who were sitting the galley to pay attention to her. "Where is Bridget?"
"Bridget is out of commission, you have me." Ana said as she walked away from the galley, knowing Evelyn's whines would distract the young couple from becoming infatuated with each other. "Now, if you are cold, put on a coat. Don't start no fires."
"Where is my mother?"
"Resting? She doesn't need rest, she's young and energetic."
Ana huffed and turned back to the old woman. "Yes Evelyn, your mother did an awful thing to you. It was terrible. That's why we've been saying all this time how terrible she is."
"She's not terrible; I bet she never knew this would be a consequence."
Ana rolled her eyes. "Whatever you say, Evelyn."
"Where is she?"
Ana walked up on deck and was followed, much to her annoyance. "She's asleep; I can show you if you like."
"Well, with a little help from some opiate."
"You poisoned my mother!?"
"We didn't poison her; we stopped her from doing something all of us would regret."
"You pirates are so…Oh…"
Ana turned around and saw the old woman stumble slightly against the rails.
"Evelyn? Are you alright?"
"No…My breath is so short…"
Ana looked around. "Charles!"
The soldier came running over at her call to see Evelyn's pitiful state. "Is she alright?"
"No, she's too old for all this stress. We kept Jack in the comfort of his cabin and we've relegated her to nowhere." Ana was actually beginning to feel a bit bad, if only because the frailty of a person was never nice to watch. "Help me bring her to a room with a bed. Heather's old one."
"No…" Evelyn croaked. "Not her."
"She's not there anymore." Ana rolled her eyes again, her sympathy waning. "It's either that or a hammock."
She took one arm and Charles took the other and they brought her to the room.
"Now," Ana said while Charles waited outside. "Do you…Need anything?"
"We're working on that. I meant tea or something like that."
"No. Just leave me be."
Ana nodded and left the room, closing the door. Charles looked at her.
"I don't know about you but I don't think it's looking too good. She looks close to death."
"I know, I don't know what to do. With Bridget out of action, it's all fallen on me and I'm terrible at this rubbish. I wonder if Gibbs will switch roles with me, I'll run the sailing and he can make sure no one dies."
"I don't think he'll be too willing to go for that." Charles said. "How are Teague and Amelia getting on?"
"Like a house on fire, fortunately. Once Caroline wakes up from the coma Bridget put her in, we can get David to convince her to undo the spell and all shall be put right. The last I saw of them though, they were swapping stories in the galley. Better go check they're still there." They walked along below deck to get to Jack's parents but something will still irking Ana. "How could Caroline Harrison do this to her own daughter? How could someone be so callous as to sentence her daughter to practically death just so she could make a second go at life's mistakes? Why ruin two families because she can't face that her former lover from decades ago has moved on?"
"I don't know." Charles sighed. "All I know is that desperate people are without common sense."
"That I understand but even this has gone too far. How are things going with Harrison?"
"As well as can be expected. I don't want to be anywhere near him and neither do James but we've made absolutely sure he's gotten nowhere near Evelyn, Caroline or Teague."
"Edward, remember? He's Edward now. Or was. I don't know." She shook her head. "But maybe we should be Teague or Edward or whoever he is near Harrison and he can shoot him and we can be rid of the wretch forever."
"Captain said he's to live."
"Only because Bridget said so. Jack would be quite content to murder that sod."
"Just because he's still breathing doesn't mean he's still living. The man is a shell. He has no weight left on him, his clothes wouldn't do as dishrags, he's fallen a long way from Governor. He's gotten so much quieter too. I don't know if he's plotting some terrible revenge on us all or he's just given up but he doesn't talk anymore."
"I suppose losing your wife, finding her, realising she left you on purpose and wants nothing to do with you on top of losing your home, your power, your luxuries, your servants and slaves will do that to you. Oh, and finding out that your daughter began selling herself to pay for your food."
"I don't think he knows Evelyn did that. Or if he does, he's content to never, ever talk about it."
"Wouldn't you be?"
"I'd never let my daughter do that. I'd rather starve."
"Are daughters and sons something you think about often?" Ana asked, feeling strange that he'd just mentioned something like that. They'd never discussed it before.
"Sometimes, I wouldn't say often. I've very much become the kind of man who doesn't plan ahead into the future. I did so when entering the Navy and nothing turned out as expected. For the better. So I'm happy to take each day as it comes and not get too bogged down in ifs and maybes. What about yourself?" He asked. "Have you thought about it?"
"Not at all?"
"Not at all." Ana said. "I've thought about pregnancy, just because it is a risk but I haven't thought about sons or daughters. I haven't thought upon if I'd want them or not. I just…Haven't."
"Will you begin to now?"
"I suppose, now that it's been brought up between us."
"And what will your opinion be? Yay or nay?"
"If I knew, I wouldn't have to think on it, would I? All I know is I don't want them only to never get them. Seeing what happened to Bridget, how it hurt her so much, maybe that's why I haven't thought about it. Maybe it's because it hasn't happened yet. If it ain't going to happen, I would rather not have had too long to dwell."
"And if you don't dwell and it does happen?"
"I'll be dwelling pretty bloody quickly on what's what then, won't I?"
Charles had to smile at her. "Aye, I suppose you would."
"No sign of any ships yet, Captain."
"Well keep a weather eye open, I am not letting any pirate ships through my grasp, she's on one of them."
The first mate nodded and left Jonathan to the helm. He had no idea of his family's troubles as he had not been infected with the spell but his own problems didn't leave him carefree. Heather was still nowhere to be found but he wasn't giving up hope yet. "Donnell, take the helm."
As another crewmember took over steering, Jonathan left the helm and walked along deck. He wondered not only where Heather was but where the rest of his family were. He wondered if Jack had forgiven him yet, he wondered if his older brother was still with their parents or whether he'd departed from them too. When Jack had slept with Carla, Teague and Amelia had tried not to choose sides specifically but they knew the blame lay with Jack and because of that, were more willing to help Jonathan; so much so that they didn't see Jack for a very long time. Now that Jonathan was to blame, had he lost the rest of his family for years? He knew his parents would receive him if he went to them but if Jack was also there; would he even get a look in? It was a strange feeling to be the son in the wrong, to be the one that wasn't closer to their parents. He'd always been, for as long as he'd been living. Jack had been sent off to live with their grandparents and Jonathan had stayed with their parents; because of that, Jonathan had always had a closer relationship to them in ways that Jack just hadn't. It wasn't Jack's fault but it was just the way things had been; Jack had never fully forgiven his parents for what he saw as the throwing him away and he'd never forgiven Jonathan for getting to stay.
It wasn't a circumstance Jonathan had thought about a lot, he couldn't even remember his grandparents so he didn't much remember Jack living with them, but the further away he got from his family, the more he came to realise how awful it was to be on the outside looking in, something Jack had felt he was doing since Jonathan was born. But he'd still always protected Jonathan; he'd still always been there for him when growing up. Of course, they'd had their fights and they used to kill each other but for the most part, Jonathan was always left alone by others because Jack made it so. It was what Jack had done with Carla that Jonathan could never forgive.
And I tried to do the same with Bridget.
It wasn't an appealing thought to have about himself.
"This has gotten too far. We should let the Captain know."
"No, we gave him our word that we wouldn't."
"No one was expecting this ship to get taken out, not even him. We can't leave the lad trapped in there."
Jonathan tried to act like he hadn't heard the muffled whisperings from two of the original crewmembers on this ship, that had been under Craig's command, then Bridget's briefly, then Fionn's, then Barbossa's and now his. There weren't many of the original men left, either going off onto other ships or run off to start new lives in the Caribbean or even dead but these two had stuck through it all. Jonathan was now finding out there might have been a reason.
"Look, we've kept it quiet this long. We just have to wait a little longer."
"You don't know that. He might take ages yet and sooner or later, someone's going to check the brig, they'll know and we'll be hanged. That fella is one of the Captain's best friends."
"No, he ain't."
"Not this one, Jack Sparrow."
Now Jonathan was very, very interested and it seemed like his question would be answered with a trip to the brig. He walked below deck and once out of sight, hurried. He tried to open the door but found it locked. When he tried all the keys on the key ring, he found none worked.
That is quite peculiar. Someone took the brig key off this set and I have a feeling those two might have it.
Later that night, when the crew was asleep, Jonathan snuck from his cabin and down the crew's quarters. He came upon the two crewmembers he'd heard talking. One was still wearing his coat but the other had taken it off so he rifled through the pockets of the loose coat first and came upon nothing. Trying to be very quiet and very careful, Jonathan crept over to the sleeping man and gently slid his fingers inside the pocket of the man's coat. He smiled in relief when he felt the key. Taking it out ever so slowly, Jonathan got the key and left the quarters, returning to the brig. He opened the door and saw pitch blackness below. He grabbed a lantern off the wall of and began to walk down the steps.
Jonathan thrust the lamp out, moving his arm along so the candlelight hit different areas of the brig. He roamed across it but saw nothing. He did it again and realised that there was a shape in the corner of one of the cells which he'd missed before as the brown coat had melded into the wood. Once he'd left the light on the shape for a few seconds, he saw movement. A hand came up and pulled the coat down, leaving Jonathan shocked by who had been sleeping behind it.
Jonathan hurried down the steps and over to the cell. "Will, what are you doing in there?"
"Fionn…" The man croaked. "Where am I?"
"You're onboard my ship, which was Bridget's ship. Fionn used to run it though. Will, why did he lock you up before I left?"
"Longer than that…The man you've been seeing on the Pearl, since Italy…It's never been me. He used witchcraft to change his appearance into mine. Jonathan, you have to get me out of here. I have to get to Elizabeth."
Jonathan watched as Will tried to stand and failed. It was clear how weak he was.
"I'll get you out, Will, don't worry." Jonathan's head was spinning at these new developments. Once he'd gotten Will out of the brig and into the warmth of the cabin, with food, he felt it was okay to get him to talk.
"Why would Fionn do this?"
"He wants the heart of Davy Jones. He thought Jack trusted me enough to divulge the location so he became me. When I went missing in Italy, it was down to him. He kept me locked on the Dutchman and then brought me here but I never saw anything but brigs."
"You've been locked up that long?"
"It feels like an eternity. There were two men who gave me food and checked up on me when Fionn no longer did, when we were sailing. I could feel the waves."
"Those two are going to find themselves hanged very soon."
"You're going to kill them?"
"I have my own mission; Will and I don't need a crew who thinks they can walk all over me. You try to and you pay the consequences. I need these men to see me as their Captain, not as the brother to a Captain."
"I don't even understand why they would agree to do this to me."
"Fionn was around them a lot of the time, they probably see him as their real captain, another reason they must go. Why would he want the heart?"
"He's one of Jones' crewmembers. Jones sent him to Bridget so he could get close to Jack, find out his weaknesses so Jones could use them but Jack never learned to trust Fionn and Fionn doesn't want to work for Jones, he wants to kill him and so he came up with this convoluted plan. He'll find the heart, kill Jones, become Captain of the Dutchman and as a consolation for all he's done to me, free my father. He's made it out like he only has the best intentions but…Elizabeth…"
"Is fine, the last time I saw her." Jonathan said. "Still pregnant but healthy."
At least that was something. "Why are you Captain of this ship now?" Will asked. "And why are you away from Jack?"
Jonathan sighed. "Heather ran away. I need to find her so I can find my child. Bridget gave me this ship to do that."
"Jack wouldn't help?"
"Jack and I had a…falling out."
"Oh…" Will didn't want to pry. "But I have to get back to Elizabeth."
Jonathan knew he needed to find Heather but couldn't deny Will, he'd been a victim to exactly what Jonathan had been only it wasn't Will's foolish choices that had been the cause. "I don't know where Jack is, I'm sorry. But here…" Jonathan undid the compass from his belt and handed it to Will. "It's been useless to me since I don't want to be anywhere near Heather but at the same time want my baby so it doesn't know where it's leading to but you should have more luck."
Will took the compass and watched dial spin. Eventually it stopped.
Jonathan looked. "That's the way we came. Maybe they haven't left the Cove yet."
"Jonathan, I know you need to find Heather but please, please bring me to my wife and child."
"You'll be back to Elizabeth in no time."
"How are you feeling?"
Caroline opened her eyes quickly when she heard another voice in the room. She saw a young, blonde girl on the other bed in the room. "Who are you?"
"I'm Nora." They had decided for David to use a fake name, another fake name, when talking to Caroline as they needed her trust quickly. Not even giving her a real name wouldn't achieve that. David decided to use her mother's name as opposed to her own, just in case it got out and she'd lose David forever. "How are you?"
"My head is sore." Caroline said. "What did they do to me?"
"I know, they're such brutes." David sighed. "I've tried to escape them so many times but it never works."
Caroline frowned at her. "You're a prisoner here?"
"Not a prisoner as such, I thought this life would save me from my previous one but it ended up being just as bad. I wanted adventure and magic but all I got was dirt and grime. Although…"
"It is nice to have another young person on board, someone who understands."
Caroline smiled a little. "Maybe you could help me. I'm looking for a man, someone I love. They keep trying to separate us."
"I think I know who you mean and I saw him a while ago." David stood up. "Come on, I'll bring you to him."
Caroline beamed as she stood up and David took her hand, leading her through the ship. "Oh Nora, you have no idea how nice it is to finally meet someone who doesn't see me as some monster. I'm not, I promise you, I just want to be happy with the man I love and these people treat me as such a villain for doing so."
"Well, I don't want to do that. I just want someone to talk to who won't dismiss me for being a foolish young girl."
"Oh my God, yes! That is exactly what they've been doing to me too! I know I'm young but I know what love feels like and what Edward and I have is the real thing and it's…" Her words died when David led her on deck and she spotted Edward and Karishma sitting on the steps up to the helm, still lost in each other. "Who is that?"
"Oh no…" David looked at her, working her best sad face. "Caroline, I don't know what happened, who she is. I'm so sorry."
Caroline walked over quickly and David followed.
Edward looked up from Karishma and seemed to finally remember Caroline existed. "Caroline."
"What are you doing?"
"This…" He stood up as Karishma looked on, confused. "This young woman needed help; no one onboard can speak her language but me."
"No one else is around to talk to her but you! You're not translating anything for her, you're just with her!"
"I was chatting. She's had an amazing life, you should…"
"No!" Caroline cried.
"Caroline," David interjected. "Come with me, you don't need to be around this."
"Who the bloody hell are you?" Edward looked at her.
"A new friend, she seems to need one now that she's learned she wasn't as important to some as she thought."
"Caroline…" Edward said. "I couldn't find you; everyone had told me that you were getting sick of all the fighting."
"Do you honestly believe that of me, that I'd give up?"
"I believe that you and I are on a strange ship we have no recollection of ever getting on with people we've never met who are telling us we've married people we've never heard of and have children we couldn't possibly have. I don't know what I believe in anymore! All I know is that you left me alone and there was a young woman who needed help."
"Well, if she needs your help so much, don't let me stop you!"
She turned away quickly and ran below deck.
He turned to see Karishma standing on the steps, not knowing what was going on. He didn't know if he should stay or if he should run after Caroline like David had just done.
Edward looked up to see a man with thick sideburns at the helm who'd obviously just overseen all the drama. "I…"
"If you ain't sure which way to go, that must mean what just ran below deck weren't as important as you thought, aye? If it were, you'd already know."
"It's just…She can be a tad dramatic. Best to let her cool off."
"Aye, if that's what you want to tell yourself. Maybe that beauty there made you realise that there's more out there."
Edward looked at Karishma who was now looking at the floor coyly, having heard Gibbs' compliment. She didn't get many compliments that weren't quickly followed by a request of how much she was worth.
Edward had to smile a little at her demeanour. It had just been quite an amazing few hours where he'd barely thought of Caroline though he now felt guilty because of that.
"Both of you come up here." Gibbs said and they made their way up. "I want to tell you two a very long story about two people you both remind me off. Might make you realise that even if you're not looking for it, you can stumble into the life you never knew you wanted."
Karishma looked excited to hear the story but Edward looked at him suspiciously.
"Is this your way of trying to tell me that there might be more out there than what I've already committed to?"
"Just listen; the moral of the story is that chance encounters might change your life forever but it don't make much sense unless I actually tell it. So, a Captain friend of mine once dressed as a merchant sailor and went to a Governor's mansion which was hosting a ball…"
Conrad Ritson smiled as his three children ran towards him. It was late and they were in their nightclothes as it was past their bedtime but after the ship had been spotted coming into port, the staff couldn't resist their pleas of asking to stay up to see their parents. He embraced them tightly.
"Children, I have missed you!" He smiled. "I was terrified you'd be in bed, I should have known better."
"You should be in bed; it's much too late to be up at this hour." Bernadette, now Jane Ritson again, said as she walked in and had a servant remove her cloak. "Why are they not in bed?"
"They begged to stay up, ma'am, so they could see you." The maid said. "We felt cruel to deny them."
"We don't follow children's rules. If we did, there'd be none. They have a strict bedtime."
"I'm sorry, ma'am."
"Do not worry one bit, Kate." Conrad said. "If the rules were followed all the time, there'd be no need for them."
The maid smiled a little at him, feeling relieved.
"Children, I have a surprise for you." He turned back to them.
"Presents?" Cecily asked, excited at the thought.
"Of course but those can wait until morning. I daresay if you got them now, you'd be so excited, you'd be fit to burst and then we'd never get you to bed. Your surprise is that your nanny is home."
The children were beaming when Anita walked through the door. Seeing them was the first time she smiled since she left The Black Pearl. She embraced them just as tightly when they ran to her too.
"Oh children, I've missed all of you so much!" She said.
Anita had never been comfortable being in high society so she didn't partake in it, something she'd tried to convince Bridget of but seemingly never had any luck. Before Conrad had met Bernadette, he was a widower and needed a nanny for his daughter Georgina, now without a mother. He'd bought Bernadette and Anita and gave them the choice of working in his home or taking their freedom but they chose to stay in his mansion and work until they had enough money to start a new life. Bernadette was supposed to be Georgina's nanny but had absolutely no experience with children except for her little sister who she hadn't wanted to bother with when they were younger. Anita fell into being the girl's nanny naturally and when Conrad and Bernadette became closer and eventually married, Bernadette wanted Anita to join in the finer things in life, not to have to work. Anita had no interest, perfectly content to remain Georgina's nanny. Truth be told, Georgina didn't have many other female influences in her life; Bernadette wasn't too bothered with the child and that became truer when she gave birth to her own children, Daniel and Cecily. She never treated Georgina like her own but Anita treated all three of them as her grandchildren though they never knew they were, they simply thought she was their nanny and they were her wards. A few of the older staff knew of Bernadette's origins and the mother and daughter relationship between her and Anita but Conrad chose his staff wisely so the secret was safe, even from the newer staff who came after the marriage. Now Bernadette was a Governor's wife and lady of high society and Anita was quite happy being 'Nanny Annie' as the children had lovingly dubbed her. Well, she had been. Now she felt there was a hole in her heart where her other daughter should have been. She didn't even know if she'd ever see her again.
"I have yet another surprise but then it's off to bed." Conrad said.
"What is it, father?" Georgina asked. Bernadette and Anita were curious too.
"Well, since you four have been apart for quite some time, I thought it might be nice if you travelled out to the home in London for the Christmas. It's so much nicer there than here for the occasion, with snow and the like."
"Yes!" Cecily chimed. "Snow!"
"What do you mean four?" Anita asked. "Why are you two not coming?"
"We will." Conrad said. "But I have some business to take care of here first. Once that's done, we'll follow you out."
"Conrad, we've just come home to the children." Bernadette said. "Why send them away from us again?"
"I think you'll recall, dear, that this outing was your own doing." He muttered before turning back. "We might not be together for Christmas day but I assure you, we will celebrate it when we get there."
"Two Christmases?" Daniel asked.
"With two sets of presents?" Cecily smiled.
Conrad had to laugh. "Yes, of course. So that's settled, you four will travel out in the coming days and after we're done here, we'll join you."
Bernadette frowned. "Why can't I go with the children? Why do I have to stay here while you work?"
She had to stay because nothing could seem out of the ordinary when Beckett hopefully turned up.
"I have people to meet with and host, I need my wife with me. Don't worry Bernadette, you won't be bored."
"I was hoping to spend some time with my…With Anita." She said.
Anita didn't seem too interested in that. "Come along children, let's get you to bed and we can begin choosing what you want to pack tomorrow."
Anita led the children upstairs and Bernadette watched her go.
"She hates me."
"She's disappointed in you and for good reason. You were never going to win any favours with the way you treated your sister."
"A pirate's whore, what treatment should she receive?"
Conrad sighed. "I'll see you in the morning, Jane."
"Why are you not coming to bed?"
"I have to go write an important letter."
Conrad walked to his office without answering.
"That is extraordinary…"
David smiled as Caroline watched the fire change colour and make different shapes. "It's magic. I found an old book in the depths of this ship not long ago and I've been learning it ever since." She held up the book that Caroline Harrison herself owned. "I haven't told anyone in fear that they might not understand it or fear it. I personally think it's wonderful."
"You learnt it? You can learn?"
"Of course. Would you like to?"
Caroline turned dark all of a sudden. "Yes, and I want to curse Edward O'Tadgh and that trollop he's decided makes better company than me."
"Oh…" David grimaced. "Well, aren't you intense? Okay…" She flipped through the book. "I have an idea."
Caroline looked at her. "What?"
"Well, everyone is talking about how he should be much older, why don't we just make him older?"
"You mean take his youth away?" Caroline seemed hesitant. "I just meant give that girl some boils or something."
"If you're not interested in revenge for his cheating on you…" David began to put the book away.
"Nora, I love him." Caroline said. "Maybe I should go talk to him."
"If you go find him, you'll just find him with her again." David shrugged.
"How did this happen?" Caroline cried. "Only a few hours ago, he was speaking of running off and getting married. Now…Why hasn't he come found me?"
"I do have something…" David tried to improvise. "A spell that will turn everything back to the way it's supposed to be."
"Edward is supposed to be with me."
"So maybe this spell will interest you?"
Caroline watched her take the piece of parchment out of her pocket.
"You think that might work? Make Edward have only eyes for me again?"
David nodded. "It'll fix everything. You have to cast it though for it to work for you."
Caroline sat up.
"Let's do it."
"Are you sure you know how to play this?"
"Yes! Of course I do! Move that piece to the…place where I win."
Jack smirked down at her in the tub.
"Alright, so I don't know how to play chess." Bridget rolled her eyes.
"Hmm, I'm surprised we've never played this." Jack said, picking up the King piece and looking at it. "Or taught you how to play, rather."
"We've always been more preoccupied with more vigorous activities." Jack smirked wider at her. "No, not that. I just meant that before, we were much more able to do other things. Now I can't walk and you're a little too feeble for much else. Besides, I've never had an interest to learn."
"Oh luv, you should definitely know chess. It is the ultimate game of strategy."
"Really?" She looked at him with a raised eyebrow. "It's just moving pieces on a board."
"Moving pieces on a board? Luv, it's so much more than that." Jack placed the piece back on the board and lifted it to bring the board down to her so she could see it properly. "The point of chess is all about learning how to predict the move the other player shall make before they make it. It's the same in life, ain't it? For instance, say we're the black pieces and Beckett and the like are the white. I have my crew and he has his. There he is," He pointed to the white King. "And there's meself." He pointed to the black King. "And there you are, me black Queen." He smirked. "It's an important part of any war to try and know your opponent's next move and how he'll use his weapons."
"But this," She indicated to the board. "Is a game. And it has rules. If the white pieces are Beckett's men, then the knight represents Mercer. By the rules of chess, he can only go so many ways." She moved the piece in the L-shape. "But in real life, there are no rules and he can go anywhere." Bridget moved the piece straight up and knocked the black Queen down. "And he has."
Jack moved the black King one square across and knocked the white Knight off the board without a word.
"I guess the rules sometimes work out." She shrugged.
Jack was looking at the white King with a pensive look.
"Jack." He looked at her. "It's just a game."
It won't be for much longer.
"Aye luv, just a game." He half-smiled down at her. "How's the water?"
She flicked the water with the back of her hand. "It's fine. Want my legs back."
"Hopefully they'll be back soon. David got quite good quite quickly at the ol' witchcraft, didn't she?"
"She did indeed. I would love to know what's going on out there."
"Probably a lot of to-ing and fro-ing with people getting agitated. Judging from the way you looked before you were sentenced to be stuck in here, your flushed cheeks and mad hair going everywhere, I doubt it's fun."
"It's not fun but neither is not knowing anything. You'd think someone would come in and keep us up to date."
"As I said, probably too busy running around. Am I not good enough company for you?" He smirked.
Bridget smiled. "You're very good company. I always like being alone with you but I love being alone when you're your own age and I have legs. I'd like to get back to it."
"And we will. If something had gone dreadfully wrong, no doubt we'd hear of it by now. Everything's going swimmingly, I bet."
"I spoke too soon." Jack huffed when Barbossa stormed through the door. "What is it, Hector?"
"Witchcraft ain't to be messed with, you mangy cur! You two are the most selfish rats I have ever come across!"
"I think he's angry." Bridget said.
"David were happy to help." Jack shrugged. "Ain't nothing to do with you."
"It has everything to do with me! For the last year, I'm the only one who's bothered with the bloody girl!"
"That ain't true, Ragetti's been keen."
"We needed help, David wanted to help." Bridget said. "If you're afraid that magic will corrupt her then let her know your fears but she's a grown woman, she can make her own choices."
"She's a child!"
Jack looked at him. "But she ain't yours so you don't get a say. She is however my crewmember so I do."
"We'll see about that."
Barbossa stormed out of the cabin, slamming the door behind him.
"What do you think that meant?" Bridget asked.
"It very much sounded like Barbossa wants to take her away from us selfish rats. We'll see how that turns out." He turned back to her. "His shouting must have made you angry, as should his trying to control David."
Bridget let out a breath. "I'm fine."
"Are you sure? It's that kind of behaviour that should ignite the merrow within you to flare."
"I am trying very hard not to so could we please not talk about it?" She asked. "It's hard enough trying to maintain myself for this long, to keep the human side of me at the forefront."
"Is it really that much of a struggle?" Jack asked.
"Yes, it is. I can feel a hatred within me that just wants to rip a man apart but I'm not going to let it out."
"A man specifically?"
"That's what all merrows want."
"How terribly brutal. I daresay being this close now feels perilous." He joked. "If it's any man…"
Bridget smiled a little. "Not you, I would never want to hurt you."
"I'm so flattered."
He leaned in and pressed his lips against hers but had to jump back as quick as his feeble body would let him when she bit down on his bottom lip, eliciting blood that was now covering her own lip when he looked at her.
"I'm sorry." She said quickly, covering her now fanged mouth. "I guess I can't control it as well as I thought. I'm so sorry, Jack."
Jack stumbled up from the floor stiffly. "Don't worry luv but being this close does feel perilous now. I'll keep me distance until you're back to having feet."
He hobbled over to the bed and stretched out on it, closing his eyes.
"If it turns out that my mermaid side is stopping me from aging, will you agree that it should be gotten rid of?"
"Caroline Harrison tried to get of it, luv. She couldn't."
"She's not the only mystical being out there."
"We tried to get help from a Goddess and paid heavily for it. I don't want to mess with those likes again."
"So what do we do?"
"I don't know."
Bridget thought about it. "If it is true, I'll find your ring for you."
He opened his eyes. "My ring? The Phoenix ring?"
"Yes, I'll scour the ocean until I find it. I'll swim to the deepest parts if I have to."
"You hate that ring more than anything."
"I don't want to be immortal but if I have to be, I want you with me."
"That ring would also make me invincible; your tail wouldn't do the same for you."
Bridget hadn't thought about that. "It's a chance I'll have to take."
"No it ain't."
"Because as long as I am living, I will never again let anything happen to you. If I'm immortal or invincible or whatever you want to call it, I'll spend every day making sure you're safe and that you're happy."
"I believe you."
Jack didn't know how he actually did it but it was nice to finally have her trust back.
Elizabeth woke up to find her husband was missing.
He wasn't anywhere in the room. She tried to get up and had to clutch her belly as she walked through the ship. She needed to find her husband immediately.
"Miss Elizabeth?" She turned when she heard her name being called. It was Gibbs. "Why are you up at this time of night? You should be resting. Not long for you now."
"No Gibbs, not long. No time at all actually."
He frowned. "What?"
"I'm having my baby now."
Shall Will get home in time?
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