DISCLAIMER: I do not own Pirates of the Caribbean. I wish Jack was mine though.
Chapter 1: Katie?
"You expect us to sail with him?" Will snarled. "If we are to rescue Jack it will not be under his command!"
Barbossa raised a shaggy eyebrow but said nothing, choosing to take another supple bite of his apple instead. The juicy spray erupted over his beard.
Tia Dalma's smile faded and she pointed a bony finger in Will's direction.
"You said, if dere was anyting to be done, and now you not be willin' to do anyting?" She lowered her arm and raised her head in a haughty gesture. "I be callin' you a liar den, William Turner."
"I am not a liar!" he retorted hotly. "Barbossa is a murderer and we will not sail with him."
"Do not presume to tell me his crimes," Tia Dalma's voice grew softer and more dangerous. "They are naught compared to what you will do."
Will faltered, "What?"
"How are you alive, Captain Barbossa?"
"The real question would be, why is Kate here?"
Everyone ceased their talking and stared at me as I moved slowly towards Barbossa and my sister, Kate.
"She was brought 'ere 'cause you needed 'er. Fate 'as decided that."
I was stunned. So was Elizabeth. She stared at him as he said.
"Miss Swann," he purred, tipping his overly large hat, "It seems you've taken my advice and given up on the ceremony after all. Although I must say those breeches really do nothing for you."
Will started to say something but Elizabeth interrupted, taking another step closer. "Why would you help us get Jack? You've tried to kill him in the past. And he did kill you, in case you've forgotten. Why would you risk yourself to help him now?"
Barbossa grinned mischievously. "Oh, I've not forgotten. But you'll be wantin' to ask Tia Dalma those questions, my dear. I am in her debt and therefore merely a tool to her whims."
Elizabeth shifted her gaze to the voodoo lady.
"Do it really matter why if I be showin' you how?" she replied coyly.
"Lower your swords," she told Will and Gibbs.
"But-," Will protested.
"Just do it!" she snapped. They complied reluctantly. Will attempted to make eye contact with his fiancé but Elizabeth refused to meet his gaze, instead fixing it on a neutral point on the wall beyond all their heads.
"If anyone here does not want to come, then I suggest they leave now. As for myself, I am accompanying Captain Barbossa. And Miss...?"
"Dresden. Kate Dresden and sister of Ashley Winslet. So if any of you have a problem with us then I suggest you leave!" Kate's voice boomed throughout the room as she made her point. No one spoke or moved so she continued. "We all owe Jack," her voice dropped and she finished in a near whisper. "Some more than others…"
Elizabeth met Will's gaze and a tear silently escaped her eye.
Taking a deep breath, Will sheathed his weapon. "When do we leave… Captain?"
Barbossa chuckled. "Don't get too ahead of ye self, Mr. Turner. We sail at first light. In the meantime, I suggest that ye all do well to prepare yourselves. There be more horrors at world's end than the kind you can kill with a sword."
Still chuckling darkly, Barbossa exited the room. Jack the monkey followed at his heel, turning around to screech at everyone before disappearing from view. Ragetti and Pintel shot questioning looks at each other, then shrugging, walked after their former captain. Kate sat across from me on a stool, smiling.
"Kate. You- How?" I asked her in shock.
"Tia, or should I say Calypso here says that you needed me. How? Don't ask. She told me the same way she brought you here." Kate smiled.
"She brought me here?" I asked.
"Of course! Do you honestly believe that Jack did?" She laughed.
"Haha! Ashley! We are finally living the dream! It's awesome!"
"But are you really gonna help me with Jack?"
"Of course, Ash. That's why I'm here. And...she told me about you guys. Lucky."
"Oh..She did? Well-"
"Enough chit-chat, I want Will."
"I know you do."
"So...will you help me get him?"
"I would but...he belongs with Elizabeth. It's in the movie."
"Don't you realize that if you got Jack, I have a chance with Will? It's all fiction anyway."
"Does this look like fiction to you?"
"Well...no, but it is! So will you help me Ashley? You have known him for longer than I have, well in person anyways. You could convince him to talk to me perhaps..."
"Of course, sis. But there is something you need to know."
"What is it Ashley?" She asked me. I gulped. I really did not want to tell her the current situation with Lord Beckett. It would probably have her disappointed in me.
"I...I don't know if I want to face Jack."
"Why?" She asked.
"I left him."
"What!?" Kate asked in surprise. Her mouth dropped to a round 'O' as her eyes widened.
"Yes. I left him a year after, his escape from the gallows. We were fine until we went to Tortuga. Then I got emotional. I started to think of you, of him. What Jack and my relationship really was. I had convinced myself that I was merely his 'plaything'. Which didn't make any sense yet, my head was rushing at the time. I was acting immature." I bowed my head in sadness.
"What happened after Tortuga?" She asked.
"I bartered passage to Port Royal. I had gone to Elizabeth and Will's wedding, which as you know was rudely interrupted by Lord Beckett. We didn't see eye-to-eye at first but...My feelings had already grown for Cutler. As he sent me off with Norrington to retrieve the compass it was too late. As I met Jack again he threw countless words and misdemeanors at me. I understood though. I knew how he felt. But I couldn't tell him. He still doesn't know, even after we, made up, the relationship between me and Cutler Beckett."
"Ashley...I am so sorry." Kate told me as she pulled me into a hug. She rubbed my back in comfort.
"I thought you would be mad."
"Why would I do that? It is your choice entirely who you choose to love..."
"I don't love Beckett. But I'm not sure if I truly love Jack either."
"Fate will take it's course. Don't worry. I'm here now...you're safe Ash."
"Oh and Ashley?"
"I'm Barbossa's first mate. Don't ask, it's really not worth it. " She smiled.
"I wasn't gonna."
"What sorts of horrors do you think he means, Gibbs?" Will asked softly, his eyes fixed on Elizabeth, who sat with an almost catatonic expression on her face.
"Well," Gibbs began, "if you believe that sort of thing, it is said that at world's end there is a door of sorts to the locker of Davy Jones himself. Inside Davy Jones' locker," his voice lowered for dramatic effect, "there are the things which frighten you the most, horrors and beasts so fearsome that nay a man alive could survive to tell about." His eyes swept around the room, surveying the effects of his story. Apparently disappointed, he finished flippantly, "that is, of course, if yer believin' in such things."
Tia Dalma, who had been listening to Gibbs with an apparently amused expression, grinned enigmatically at him, then walked into the adjoining room. The sounds of her muttering and moving something rather large soon followed. Will stood up as if to go help her, then, seeming to think better of it, sat back down.
"I guess we should all get some sleep then," Will told the remaining occupants of the room.
"Aye, right you are, lad," Gibbs said, lowering his head to his chest. Moments later he was snoring. Will shook his head in astonishment, then turned to Elizabeth, who still hadn't moved.
"Are you just going to sit here all night?" He asked her, not managing to keep the coldness out of his voice.
She appeared startled for a moment, then sighed dejectedly, her long hair falling in strings across her face. "I don't know."
"Elizabeth…" He stared at her for a moment, his mouth open in question, but seeming to reach some resolve, closed it.
"I'll be outside," he said after a moment. Will rose to his feet and left out the front door, leaving his fiancé the solitude of the room. Elizabeth stared after him for a moment, and long into the night. Somewhere in her breast she knew he was hurting, that he needed to speak with her. But at the moment Elizabeth was coping with her own demons. The ironic twist to the situation was that she didn't want to cope. She didn't want to forget. She especially didn't want to forgive. She probably felt bad for me, for Jack, and for Will. But too bad. Kate was gonna score Will's heart before Lizzie had a chance to rebound. She closed her eyes after a time, and to some she would have appeared asleep. But the mind beneath the eyelids remained sharp and lucid, and terribly aware.