So, this is from one of the most heartwrenching scenes in all three movies, in my opnion; but everyone always writes this scene from Bootstrap's point of view. In my opinion, it's poor Will that's getting whipped, so shouldn't he have his side of the story told? Anyway, this scene always breaks my heart. I love Will, and at first I was pretty ticked at Bootstrap. I mean, how could he? But then, I began to think about it from his perspective, but I wondered if Will would have been able to do the same. And that is how this story was born.
I hope you like it! (Or rather, don't like it; it's not really a scene that calls for liking, is it?)
Rain pounded the deck of the Flying Dutchman. The ship pitched and rolled on the rough waves, throwing the crew about like balls in a child's game. Will looked up at the man who was getting in his way.
Brown eyes met blue ones, and they both froze. Mr. Turner...Will thought, staring at the man before him. He immediately rejected the thought forming in his brain. It's not him, he thought. My father is dead.
But this man looked at him with an expression very akin to being clubbed over the head. That kind of look wasn't brought into existence by the mere sharing of a last name. The man mouthed Will's name, lips forming the words numbly, like he couldn't believe it. His fingers went slack, and the rope tugged Will forward. The cannon crashed onto the deck, taking Will with it.
"Haul that weevil to his feet!"
The voice belonged to the bo'sun, and rough hands scurried to follow his orders. A whip danced in the bo'sun's hand. Two crewmembers held Will against the ropes. "Five lashes'll teach you to stay on it!" he bellowed.
Will tensed in anticipation of the first blow, but it didn't come. "No!" shouted a voice.
"Impeding me in my duties. You'll share the punishment!" said the bo'sun.
"I'll take it all," said the man, and Will could have dropped dead from astonishment. A crewmember, offering to take the beating for him? He frowned.
"Will ye, now?" said a horrible, slimy voice. No one said a word. "And what might prompt such an act of charity?"
"My son," the man said. Without thinking, Will wrenched his head around to stare. Now that he thought about it, there was something familiar in the shape of his face, in his voice. No, thought Will, but Bootstrap said it again. "He's my son."
Jones looked delighted. "What fortuitous circumstance be this!" he laughed racuously. "Five lashes be owed, I believe it was." He handed the whip to Bootstrap.
He recoiled, looking horrorstruck. "No! No! I won't!"
"The cat's out of the bag, Mr. Turner. Your issue will feel its sting, whether by the bo'sun's hand, or your own!"
Will looked at Bootstrap, unable to speak, or think, or function at all. This man was his father-his father!-and Will hardly noticed the rain pelting his skin, or the rip of his shirt as it tore open. Would he do it?
"Bo'sun!" shouted Jones, losing patience.
"NO!" roared Bootstrap. He took the whip and stared at it. Will gripped the rope, steeled himself. His muscles tensed. Not a sound, he thought. I won't give either of them the satisfaction.
The whip cracked across his bare back. The blow drove all the breath out of him in a cry barely audible over the rain. The seconds stretched out, and then the second lash fell. His back arched, and his bit his tongue until he tasted blood.
His body stiffened with each lash, but no sound louder than a low grunt or groan crossed his lips. The crewmembers had a vicelike grip on his arms, and he could not roll away from the whip. Crack. Disbelief at the entire situation engulfed him. It wasn't happening. Jack would not have sent him on for this. Crack. The blows rattled his bones, he couldn't breathe, the pain was clouding out every thought, and still there was one more. Crack. The whip fell across his back one last time, crossing the other lashes and opening them deeper.
The crewmembers dragged him to the stairs and threw him down. He tumbled down the rain-slick steps. "You got off easy, boy," they shouted after him.
Hands tried to help him up. "I don't need your help!" Will snarled at his father. He gripped onto something-he didn't know what, his vision was doing strange things-and tried to get both the pain and his breathing under control. He was beginning to wish he had stayed out in the cold rain; the fire in his back flared sickeningly.
"The bo'sun prides himself in cleaving flesh from bone with every swing," said Bootstrap, voice pleading, begging for his son to understand.
"So I'm to understand what you did was an act of compassion!" Will burst furiously. He glared accusingly at the man in front of him. How could he do it? Will knew that if he had been faced with the same choice, he could not have done it. He could not have carved five lines into his son's back. In addition, he had a hard time believing his father had been gentle; hot blood rolled down his skin. The slightest movement stretched and pulled at his marred skin.
Will studied him for a moment. Bootstrap looked broken, his eyes the eyes of a dying man. He looked utterly appalled at what he had just done, and Will could feel his father's eyes on the livid, bleeding lashes on his back. His thoughts tugged him unwillingly in a different direction.
The bo'sun would have been worse, he reminded himself reluctantly. I'd have much less skin. His father had not been eager to do it; he had whipped his son simply because he believed he was choosing the lesser of the two evils. He did it to save Will, to prevent further harm from coming to him.
And as Will understood, his heart and face softened. There was some respect to be gained in Bootstrap's decision; it could not have been easy. He'd done it because it was in Will's best interests. Will sighed. He nodded once, and Bootstrap sighed a sigh that seemed to come from the very bottom of his soul. Will shrugged his vest on, wincing as it scraped over his skin, and followed Bootstrap into the interior of the ship.