Disclaimer: I do not own Pirates of the Caribbean.
AN: Hope you enjoy!
Chapter 5: Knowing
Two boats were being rowed up river into a overgrown and gloomy swamp. People stood on porches, silently watching the sailors passing. I peered around, half listening to Gibbs and Will in the boat behind the one I was in.
"Why is Jack afraid of the open ocean?" Will asked.
"Well," Gibbs began. "if you believe such things, there's a beast that does the bidding of Davy Jones. A fearsome creature with giant tentacles that suction your face clean off and drag an entire ship down to the crushing darkness. The Kraken. They say the stench of its breath is... ooh." He shuddered. "Imagine, the last thing you know on God's green earth is the roar of the Kraken and the reeking odor of a thousand rotting corpses." Pintel and Ragetti, who where rowing the boat, cringed. "If you believe such things."
I rolled my eyes. "And the key will spare him that?" Will asked.
"Now that's the very question Jack wants answered. Bad enough even to go visit... her." Will raised an eyebrow. "Her?"
"Aye." Gibbs replied.
A few moments later, they stopped at a semi-large hut on high stilts above the water. After the boats were tied to the small dock, Jack stood on it and began speaking. "No worries, mates. Tia Dalma and I go way back. Thick as thieves. Nigh inseparable we are. Were. Have been. Before…" I scowled. "What?!" Jack asked.
"Nothing...Nothing at. All."
"We'll watch your back," Gibbs said, nodding to me.
"It's me front I'm worried about," Jack said as I raised an eyebrow, but Jack avoided my gaze as he went up the steps and cautiously opened the door. Inside, Tia Dalma looked up from her crab claws.
"Jack Sparrow," she drawled out.
"Tia Dalma," Jack greeted with a smile.
"I always knowed the wind was going to blow you back to me one day," then she noticed me. "Ah, Jack…" she grinned at him. I looked from Jack to Tia and back to Jack again, wondering what 'Ah, Jack' could have meant. Tia Dalma noticed Will as he walked through the door. "You. You have a touch a' destiny about you. William. Turner."
"You know me?" Will asked, dumbfounded.
"You want to know me?" she stepped a little closer. However, Jack came between them.
"There'll be no knowing here!" I raised an eyebrow. Jack seemed to be a little nervous. "We've come for help and we're not leaving without it." He lead Tia away. "I thought I knew you."
"Yes! No knowing now come on mates!" I reminded them. Tia ignored me.
"Not so well as I'd hoped," she replied, as she ignored me, walking away. "Come."
"Come," Jack waved Will over. Will sat down at the table and Tia began caressing his face.
"What service may I do ya?" Turning to Jack she spat, "You know I demand payment."
"I brought payment," Jack whistled at Gibbs, who produced a cage with cloth over it. Jack flipped the cloth up. Jack the Monkey was inside. "Look!" he cocked his pistol and shot at it, scaring the monkey half to death…that is, if it could die. "an undead monkey! Top that!" Jack set the cage on the table. Tia Dalma undid the cage door and let 'Jack' free. Gibbs winced.
"No," 'Jack' ran to a room in the back of the house. "You've no idea how long it took us to catch that."
"The payment is fair," said Tia, satisfied.
"We're looking for this," Will said, spreading out the bit of cloth with the drawing of a key on it. "And what it goes to."
"The compass you bartered from me," Tia asked Jack. "it cannot lead you to this?"
"Maybe," Jack said. "Why?" He was holding a hat that looked strangely familiar to me. There was also a familiar presence in the house that I could not put my finger on. Oh Barbossa's! Jack put his hat down after a while.
"Aah," Tia sat down. "Jack Sparrow does not know what he wants. Or do you know but are loath to claim it as your own. Your key go to a chest. And it is what lay inside the chest you seek. Don't it?"
"What is inside?" Mr. Gibbs asked.
"Gold? Jewels?" Pintel suggested. "Unclaimed properties of valuable nature?"
"Nothing bad, I hope." Ragetti added.
"A heart..." I muttered under my breath.
"You know of Davy Jones, yes?" Tia began. Everyone nodded. "A man of the sea. A great sailor. Until he run afoul of that which vex all men." I looked over at Jack, who pocketed something and smiled at me. I raised my eyebrow again at Jack, smirking, listening to Tia's story. Well Calypso, her story about Jones.
"What vexes all men?" Will asked. Tia seemed to laugh seductively.
"What indeed." She said.
"The sea?" asked Gibbs.
"Sums," Pintel guessed.
"The dichotomy of good and evil," Everyone gave Ragetti a look.
"A woman!" Jack said, ending the game. I looked at him again quizzically.
"A woman. He fell in love."
"Nononono, I heard it was the sea he fell in love with." Gibbs contradicted.
"Same story, different version and all are true," stated Tia firmly. "See it was a woman as changing, and harsh and untamable as the sea. He never stopped loving her. But the pain it caused him was too much to live with. But not enough to cause him to die."
"What exactly did he put into the chest?" Will asked.
"Him heart." Tia smiled. I scruntched up her nose. Romantic as the tale was…the heart bit was kind of gross sounding. And, as I've said, it was the heart.
"Literally or figuratively?" Ragetti asked.
"He couldn't literally put his heart in a chest. Could he?" Pintel raised an eyebrow.
"It was not worth feeling what small, fleeting joy life brings." Tia replied. "And so, him carved out him heart, lock it down in a chest, and hide the chest from the world. The key he keep with him at all times."
Will stood up and faced Jack. "You knew this,"
"I did not. I didn't know where the key was. But now we do. So, all that's left is to climb aboard the Flying Dutchman, grab the key, you go back to Port Royal and save your bonnie lassies, aint'cha?" Jack snapped his fingers and made ready to leave.
"Let me see your hand." Tia reached for Jack's hand. Jack offered his right hand at first but then, looking like a kid caught in the cookie jar, handed over his left hand. Tia undid the rag that surrounded it to reveal the Black Spot. Mr. Gibbs gasped.
"The Black Spot!" he brushed his hands on his vest, spun around and then spat on the floor. Pintel and Ragetti repeated, "The Black Spot!" and did the same thing. I laughed.
"Guys it's just a-" I started as I got cut off.
"Now, that sight's good as ever, just so you know," Jack announced. Tia went into the back room where the Monkey seemed to be looking at something very concerned. Jack reached onto the table and stole a ring, which Meg had been staring at for a moment. That, too, looked very familiar. Tia returned with a jar in her arms.
"Davy Jones cannot make port. Cannot step on land but once every ten years. Land is where you will be safe, Jack Sparrow, and so you will carry land with you." She held out the jar to Jack. He received it, awkwardly. There was a pause.
"Dirt." Another pause. "This is a jar of dirt…"
"Yes…" Tia Dalma said.
"Is the... jar of dirt going to help?" Jack asked.
"If you don't want it, give it back," she stepped forward.
"No." Jack held it closer.
"Then it helps," Tia smiled. I went to touch it but Jack held it away from me.
"Hey…" I muttered.
"It seems... we have a need to find the Flying Dutchman." Will said, sitting back down. Tia Dalma sat down and gathered up her crab claws.
"A touch...of destiny," she opened her hands and let the claws fall…and there was their map.
I only hoped my destiny involved "knowing" with Jack Sparrow. I groaned.
I was starting to write in the red leather bound journal that lay upon the desk. The first page was blank, as the rest except for a single note,
Record everything useful. Don't forget, and don't trust Norrington.
I assumed it was from Cutler Beckett. Along with his red wax seal.
I wrote many things. Mostly from my day, experiences, and things that I felt. Today it included Beckett, leaving him, leaving Port Royal, going to find Flik, telling Norrington the story of Jones, remarking Norrington's eyes, and smile, and pretty much how excited, nervous, and scared I was of the journey that awaited both me and James.
I was halfway through my last sentence when a knock interrupted me at the door.
"Yes? Come in."
James appeared in his scruffy pirate attire. Although this time he wasn't as...dirty looking as before. He had made himself look nicer, his brown locks were combed back into his Navy hat, and he (attempted) to shave his beard, or at least cut it a bit. He looked nice. Like Jack almost, with an edge.
"Holland, Nice to see you this evening. I thought I'd visit with you before you retire for the night."
"Ah, well...I do miss the company. I miss a lot of things actually." I admitted as James took a seat on my bed. He then seductively took his jacket off as he stretched, showing his perfectly toned muscles.
"Like what?" I snapped back into reality. Of course I wasn't going to say Cutler Beckett, that would be absurd.
"The feeling of...being wanted. Loved I guess. I miss Felicity a lot."
"You don't need to feel that way Miss Holland..."
"Why?" I asked as I took a seat on the bed next to him.
"You are beautiful. And...I feel like, even through our short time together, you understand me better than anyone." He admitted. I blushed.
"Ah- Um... Really?"
"Yes...Miss Holland...What does Cutler Beckett require of you?" He asked.
"I don't know to be honest. He wants me to make sure we can retrieve the compass-"
"But why not leave that to me!? Why risk you in the process and journey of finding it?"
"Commodore...I am not as weak and frail as I look. I know...I don't look like much but-"
"That's not what I meant."
"No...it is. I am not a good swordsman alike you James...I cannot fight. Even for my life. But I am needed for my knowledge, says Beckett. I can read, and write in two languages, and find the meanings of many."
"I admire that about you Miss Holland." He smiled again. My heart beat faster. "I could teach you, some sword skills...if you'd like."
"Really? I mean, that would be just great Commodore." I smiled back.
He then grabbed my hand like a gentleman would and led me out on the upper deck of the Dauntless. He then took out his sword, pointed it at me, and the flipped it mid-air to offer the handle of the sword to me.
"Oh but James, it's your sword. The one you received upon-"
He put a finger to my lips as he ran up to his cabin and retrieved another sword, less spectacular than his, but it would do.
"Now, I want you to stand like this." He showed me a practical fighting stance. I did so. "Now...move your sword in different angles, be ready to strike if your opponent tries anything."
He pretended to take a blow at me, which resulted in me jumping back, tripping over my feet, and falling on the wooden planked deck. "Ouch..."
James ran over to help me up, "I'm so sorry Miss Holland! I didn't mean to-"
"It's okay, James." I smiled. "I'm learning, and you're being a great teacher."
He smiled back, "Okay then. Be more focused this time, ready...ready yourself," He said as I did. He then tried to strike at my arm this time, and I deflected it! While in response I used my other to push him down. This time the Ex-commodore fell to the ground. "Ah, Miss Holland! You did it!"
"I'm sorry James!"
"Don't be sorry, I am proud of you!" He smiled as I realized what position we were in. I was on top of his as our swords lay a foot away on deck. I looked into his gorgeous hazel eyes again as I laughed. My hands just so happened to be on his chest, his muscles were strong and big under my hands. I studied his face. I already knew I loved his eyes, but his lips, they looked so soft and gentle, like he couldn't hurt anything if he tried. He was still smiling at me, although the silence was...peaceful. Nice.
"Thank you James Norrington..." I whispered as I lowered my lips onto his. The kiss started out slow, as I carefully caressed his soft lips with mine. He kissed me back just as nicely, and tasted like brandy, tea, and something else I couldn't put my finger on. I broke the kiss as I had realized what I had done. What had I done!? I had just ruined the movie. No...no James was still supposed to be in love with Elizabeth Swann, not kissing me! And me!? I thought I liked Beckett, not Norrington! Oh no...
I then almost turned away, and suck back, lying down on the deck, gazing at the stars. Norrington did the same as he looked at me looking at the stars. "I never would have thought..."
"Shush..." I whispered.
"No...Miss Holland...I cannot keep myself away from you for more than a second, don't you understand? Is it fate?" He asked.
I know this is cruel...but I had to mention Elizabeth just then. "James, you love Elizabeth...This is why you're finding the compass...to save her."
"No, I mean yes...No! Forget that-"
"But I can't James...I'm sorry I kissed you...It was wrong. I know you love her, you always will...there is no point in me trying to even fancy you." I admitted.
His face fell. "I had...I had thought I loved Elizabeth...but she's engaged to Will, and then I found you and...things changed."
"I don't want to be your second choice James." I muttered.
"You aren't. Miss Holland, you happen to be a very unexpected surprise, yet a great one. I admire you greatly Ashley." He smiled as he said my name...My full name. I could tell that his feelings were genuine, from his heart.
And so I did another thing I shouldn't have, again, and kissed him for the second time. This time with more intensity than before, as Norrington deepened the kiss. Our tongues fought an epic battle yet his soft lips could still be felt on mine, in a caring, adoring way.
He broke the kiss and stared into my eyes. His hazel ones stared into my deep brown, almost black ones. "I don't regret this Holland, even though I do with everything else in this world."