Kiss of Death
Note: This is a crossover between Black Butler (Kuroshitsuji) and Pirates of the Caribbean. I am changing the year Black Butler takes place for this story, instead of 1888 it would be in the 1740s sometime but otherwise everything is the same – this is to put the storyline into the pirate era. This story is mainly about Elizabeth's curse, the curse that kills every man she kisses and explains why she is cursed.
Disclaimer: As usual, the characters are not mine. They belong to Disney and whoever owns the rights to Black Butler. This is just for fun.
Pairings: Grell & Sebastian, Elizabeth & James, some Elizabeth & Will
Warnings: Grell being typical Grell (a man who believes he's a woman) and slight mention of Mpreg (nothing graphic)
"Oh, Sebas-chan, it's a miracle!" The redheaded Shinigami cried as he suddenly appeared in the doorway to Ciel's study and automatically attached himself to the demon's arm. The reaper looked especially happy, his yellow-green eyes sparkling with mirth and a wide grin on his face, the shark teeth hidden for the moment. "I just saw the Shinigami doctor and he confirmed it! I knew you could do it with those demon powers of yours!"
Sebastian, however, looked confused as he gazed down at the redhead. It was obvious he had no idea what the other was talking about. They had been getting along a lot better, yes, but he had certainly not used his demon powers for anything, not that he knew of anyway. "What is a miracle?"
"Yes, what are you babbling about this time?" Ciel asked in a bored tone as he lifted his eyes from the paperwork on his desk. The young Earl was thirteen-years-old and head of the Phantomehives, his parents murdered by some unknown parties as of yet. But it was because of the murders that he had contracted to the demon, Sebastian, as he wanted revenge. His hair was a dark blue and he wore a black eye patch over one eye, his other eye an intense shade of blue."I have companies to run, you know. I have graciously allowed you and Sebastian to see each other, as long as you keep the noise level down."
"Sebas-chan and I are expecting!" Grell cried with a flourish of his hand, running it through his long red hair for a moment.
Ciel stared blankly at the reaper. "Expecting what?"
"A baby, silly! It's what happens when two people are in love!" Grell gazed up dreamily at his demon, a demon that now looked very startled indeed. "Oh, are you surprised? I was too, at first, but this is what I have always wanted since I first laid my eyes on you. I just know we'll be the perfect parents!"
Ciel sighed. "You might as well move in. You're here all the time anyway."
Thrilled at the invitation, Grell dashed around Ciel's desk to give him a hug, planting a kiss on his forehead while mussing his hair.
"Yes, yes, I'm not a child." Ciel huffed in annoyance as he tried to smooth his hair with a hand. "You can help Sebastian protect me. You've been doing that anyway."
Sebastian was still somewhat shocked at the news, his dark eyes wide as he watched the energetic reaper he had started a relationship with some months ago. Giving Grell what he wanted was the easiest way to get the other to behave. Besides, he was nice to look at. The Shinigami had the most amazing green eyes and the softest hair…and they were both immortal. They were well matched physically, although in a fight the demon always came up as the winner, which Sebastian truly enjoyed. The sadistic demon side of him found pleasure at dominating the weaker male and crushing him into any surface available, but now it seemed he would have to be gentler. And loath as he was to admit it, he did have warmer feelings – human feelings – for the other. That's what happened when he spent too much time on Earth doing contracts and not below. But he enjoyed doing contracts, just like he enjoyed spending time with the reaper. And now that the redhead was carrying his demon spawn, he would have to make certain nothing happened to him.
A smile graced Sebastian's lips as he stepped forward and pulled Grell against his chest, wrapping his arms about him. "What a wonderful and unexpected gift you're giving me, Grell. Come; let's get you moved in so we can be together."
Ciel frowned at the uncharacteristic mushy talk from his butler, disgusted. "Please, Sebastian, not in front of me."
Sebastian bowed to the young boy, a white gloved hand over his chest. "I am sorry, My Lord, I shall refrain from such sentiments in your presence."
Ciel waved his hand. "You may go now."
Once they were gone, the young earl sat in the room alone. "My demon is getting soft and addle-brained from that reaper. Oh well, I suppose two protectors is better than one."
Months passed and a baby girl was born, who the happy parents named Selina. The little girl was truly one-of-a-kind, half reaper and half demon, the result of a forbidden love affair. Everyone fussed over her and Ciel had to put up with all sorts of annoying reapers visiting his home, including William T. Spears, Ronald Knox, Eric Slingby and Alan Humphries. The young earl frowned with annoyance at the constant intrusions, only stepping in when Spears and Sebastian got into arguments, as which was expected as Spears still saw demons as vermin. Even Undertaker left his funeral parlor to come visiting, cooing over the baby who clutched at his long silver hair.
As the years passed, Selina grew older and soon turned five. Her mother would take her to visit the Shinigami Realm where she worked. There she would see the other grim reapers that would dote on her. Ronald would give her rides on top of his lawn mower, Eric would sneak her chocolate bars behind Grell's back (looking stunned when her face and hands later was covered in the sticky brown goo and putting on an innocent expression as if he had no idea where she had gotten it from), and Alan would tell her stories about the grim reapers while she sat on his lap. William, who generally was sour, would lighten up a bit but would then complain that no one was getting work done. He seemed to enjoy showing her his hedge trimmer though, making it shoot out to strike at an imaginary target. It was the consensus that William was hoping the girl would grow up to be a reaper and not a demon.
Selina also visited the Grim Reaper Library, awed by the huge building and all of the books inside of it. It was no secret that her mother was death and went around with her chainsaw taking people's lives and ending their suffering. Grell explained it the best he could, saying that when people were sick and in horrible pain, that death was the only way to end their suffering.
It was around this same time that a horrible strain of the influenza broke out and soon Grell found himself overworked. The lazy days of taking Selina to the office ended, as he was too busy reaping soul after soul and being buried under paperwork. The London Dispatch Office was understaffed, as there was always a severe shortage of reapers, so everyone was being forced to do overtime. He would come staggering home in the early morning hours, his hair limp and emotionally drained, to cry on Sebastian's strong shoulder over all of the babies and little children that had been on his list that night.
But the next day came and Grell forced himself out of bed, pulling on his usual work clothes of a white shirt, a dark grey waistcoat, black pants and his red-and-black heeled ladies' boots. Pulling on the red coat he had borrowed from Madame Red, he ate whatever breakfast Sebastian put in front of him and went off to work. Opening his book, he looked at the first name on his list. "Elizabeth Swann, age five… oh no, not another poor child! When will this madness end?"
Grell ran off across the rooftops until he came to a large estate in the country. Like Ciel, the Swann's were wealthy and apparently were doing well for themselves. He paused for a moment, thinking the place looked oddly familiar and then realized he had reaped a woman here a few weeks ago, possibly Elizabeth's mother.
That made him feel even worst.
Already dreading the assignment, he walked up to the house and snuck in through a window. He found the girl's bedroom easily enough and went inside. And there she was, lying in bed with her damp, sweaty curls spread out across a plump white pillow. Her face shone with a greasy look due to the heavy sweating she was doing and her slim body was raked with violent coughs. The coughs would come in spells, lasting for long minutes as she struggled to breathe, gasping for air. With each breath her lungs rattled fearfully, testimony to the fluid that was inside them.
Grell paused beside her bed, his chainsaw forgotten in his hand as he stared at her, for Elizabeth Swann was the spitting image of his own daughter. Her hair was fixed different, yes, but he could easily see past that. Her face was the same shape; they had the same brown eyes, the same little freckles on their cheeks and the same hair color, a dark brown. He supposed his daughter must have got the brown hair from his human form… but this, this duplicate, it was uncanny! He couldn't understand how this could be, as he had never met an exact copy of anyone else he knew… "How could I possibly reap her when she looks so much like my own Selina? How can William be that cruel to me?"
He knew that William only had names though; not pictures so he could not have possibly known at all…still, it stung painfully.
Elizabeth coughed pitifully, her face taking on a bluish tone as she struggled for air, her body trembling.
"I'm sorry, honey." Grell told the girl sadly as he turned on the chainsaw that was his death scythe. He held it above her, tears running down his face and making a horrid mess of his mascara. His own breath was getting unsteady now as a hard lump formed in his chest and he knew his nose would start leaking soon. His eyes would be red and horrible to behold, even if he normally did like red. "I really don't have a choice. If I don't take your soul now, some hungry demon might eat it…"
He lowered the spinning blade through her body and her cinematic record sprung up. He watched it through blurry eyes and saw that her father had treated her well. She had lived a decent life and would go to Heaven. Her soul safe, he turned to leave. As he was crawling out the bedroom window, he heard the girl's father come into the room and started to wail over his dead daughter lying in her bed. Weatherby couldn't see him, though, as the elder man had not caught the flu at all and was not on his deathbed, as reapers were invisible most of the time. But the man's wails affected Grell and he lost his balance on the windowsill, falling all of the way to the ground. He landed hard in the flower beds, crushing the delicate blooms and receiving several nasty bruises. But he was a Shinigami and his wounds would heal quickly.
The emotional trauma of taking his daughter's look-alike's life, that would take a lot longer to heal. And he couldn't help but feel a foreboding, as if he would lose his Selina soon…
"Let me mark her…" Sebastian said to Grell a few days later. "If I put a seal on her, I can find her anywhere and be at her side in an instant. That will lift your fears that something will happen to her…"
"No." Grell shook his head stubbornly, his fiery red locks flying about with agitation. "I won't let you put a seal on her. She's our daughter, Sebas-chan, you can't have her soul! How can you even think that?"
"I don't want her soul!" The demon protested. "It's to protect her! Without it, I cannot track her if she gets lost. You know that. And we have enemies. I have enemies and some of them are other demons. They would not hesitate to harm her. And you have enemies as well. Add to that the ones Ciel has…that adds up to be a lot of suspects that may mean her harm."
"Yes, but she's safe here…" Grell said as he watched Selina playing with Pluto, the giant demon dog. She was sitting on the dog's back and laughing gleefully as she clung to handfuls of fur as he romped around the yard. "Pluto will scare off any intruder!"
"That dog is not trust-worthy. I only brought him here because he was causing problems where he was living before. And this estate is not the safe paradise you think it is. You are blinded by the lifestyle you've taken up, Grell. This manor has been burned several times in the past. Murders have been committed here or have you forgotten what has become of Ciel's parents? Marking her would be the best solution."
"But it's so painful…" Grell protested as a pale hand rose up to his earlobe where a tiny circular mark was hidden by his hair. "I don't want her to suffer that…"
"You let me mark you."
"That's different, Sebas-chan. I'm an adult and I was well aware what I was doing! She's just a child. She won't understand…" Grell pushed his face against Sebastian's chest, tears in his green eyes. "I'm … I'm just upset over taking that girl's life. She looked so much like our daughter…"
The demon sighed as he wrapped a black clad arm about the other's heaving shoulders. "Let's get you inside, but please think about the seal…"
Selina watched her parents go into the house and encouraged Pluto to run even faster across the yard. She remembered fondly the trips her parents and Uncle Ciel would take her onto London, but they hadn't been there in forever. They would go visit so many fantastic places, including a big shop full of tasty colored sweets. She thought fondly of the sweets, especially the peppermint candies. They made her mouth feel so wonderfully cool, even if they were not cold at all.
Pluto dashed through the trees, the evergreens shaped like skulls for some unknown reason. Selina laughed, thinking her Mom must have been playing with her chainsaw again. He did that sometimes, although she didn't exactly understand why. Her Mom was moody and her Dad was steadier with his emotion, as not much affected him. The demon dog ran on and she encouraged him to go faster. Soon Pluto was off the property somehow and on the way to London, the image of the sweet shop in his doggy brain. It didn't seem to matter that Selina had no idea where it was and Pluto didn't either, but sweets were great so they were sure they would find it.
All too soon they reached the hustle and bustle of London, the giant dog causing a big stir. Horses reared up terrified and people ran, screaming something about a monster. Selina looked about, eager to see the monster but was disappointed when there was nothing there at all. What was it all about?
Pluto paused in an alley to scratch his fleas, sitting down to do so. His back foot kicked at his head vigorously, his entire body vibrating like mad. This knocked Selina off of his back and she landed with a hard thump on the cobblestones, pain shooting up through her back and rear.
Then Pluto ran off, a fantastic scent drawing him away.
"Pluto! Come back here!" She cried as she tried to run after him, but he was too fast. Soon she lost him and she found herself on the streets of London, alone. Nervousness bit at her now and she was beginning to think this was not such a good idea after all. Nothing looked familiar and she didn't see the sweet shop anywhere. But how big could London really be? But as she walked and walked and walked some more, she was beginning to realize it was huge! There were tons of people, many of them dressed poorly and others looked as if they were sick maybe.
Stopping on a sidewalk, she trembled as tears ran down her face. She was lost and had no idea of how to get home! She was wiping at her eyes when a carriage started to rumble past, the horses' hooves thudding loudly on the cobblestones. Others had rolled past her before, but this one stopped; the man inside calling for the driver to halt.
"Elizabeth?" The man asked as the door opened and he gawked at her with wide eyes and an open mouth. "Can it really be you, Elizabeth? I … I thought I had lost you forever and hear you stand, as if waiting for me!"
Selina looked about slightly confused, her vision still blurry from her tears. When she didn't see anyone else nearby, she placed a hand on her chest. "Me?"
"Yes, come here my dear!" The man encouraged as he held out his arms to her. "You're the spitting image of my daughter, Elizabeth. Now tell me, my dear, where are your parents? Did you get lost?"
Selina hurried forward and allowed the man to lift her up into the carriage. For one, she was used to riding in carriages and the man dressed very similar to Uncle Ciel, in nice clothes. She hoped he might know where she lived and could take her back home, as surely all rich people knew each other did they not?
"I … I got lost." She sniffled loudly as she wiped a bit more at her wet eyes. "My father is the demon…"
"A demon?" Weatherby Swann scoffed, his eyes growing in alarm. "Demons are not real, my dear. They're just stories they tell us in church so we behave and live good lives. Living a good life is important, don't you think? It wouldn't do to be a bad person and commit crimes. You get hung for that."
"Hung?" She asked, unsure what he meant. "But father says he's a demon and mother agrees…"
"Well, I can only assume he is an evil man." Weatherby said with a frown. "And where is your mother?"
"My mother is the red death." She said, using the name the other Shinigami often called Grell and pointed up at the sky. "She works up there…"
"You poor dear…" Weatherby said sadly as he pulled her against his body, a protective arm about her. "Your mother is dead and your father is some horrid criminal…but don't worry, I'll adopt you and you can be my Elizabeth. We'll live a fine life in the Caribbean. Why, I was just appointed Governor of Port Royal and we're to sail on a big ship! Doesn't that sound exciting? I need to get away from all of this death and suffering. There is nothing left for me here in England…but the Caribbean will be a fine place I'm sure."
"But my mother is immortal!" She cried as she tried to squirm away but the man's grip was too strong for her.
"Yes, of course she is." Weatherby quickly agreed as sadness took over his face, thinking of how many poor souls had died from the horrible influenza. "Would you like some sweets? I just bought some; here they are in my pocket."
Selina took the offered candy and started to eat it, somewhat happy now. She watched the cityscape roll past the carriage windows and relaxed as she saw the countryside, believing the man was taking her home. But instead of her Uncle's house they arrived at a different place. "What are we doing here?"
"Oh, we just need to pack your things." Weatherby explained as he hustled about packing girl's clothing into some chests and then had it brought out to the carriage. "And I must hire a governess for you. I hope I can find one on such short notice, as we sail today…"
"Sail, like on a ship?" Selina asked, now excited about the idea of seeing a ship. She had never seen one before, not a real one. Her Uncle had bought her a toy one and it sat on her table at home. "A real ship?"
Weatherby laughed, his eyes now filled with happiness. "Of course it's a real ship. I've never heard of a fake one. It's called the Dauntless and there's several nice men working there. I'm sure they'd be willing to tell you exciting sea stories…"
"Stories?" She asked with eagerness in her voice. "I've heard reaper stories but never any sea stories…"
Weatherby gave her an odd look but then shrugged off the unusual word. The girl had been through a lot and he couldn't blame her for uttering some odd word she might have picked up from that criminal father she might have. He then picked up some gadget and motioned her over. "Here, let's fix your hair. A young lady must have curls and not go about with it in such a loose mess…"
Selina didn't care for the process of getting her hair curled but suffered through it, fidgeting. Soon it was over then and a hat was put on her head, something else she was not used to. Her parents never bothered with wearing hats, only her Uncle and Aunt did. Now that she had one tied on, she couldn't see why they bothered: it was annoying as could be! "Do I have to wear this thing?"
"Of course you must, Elizabeth. You're a proper young lady, a governor's daughter. You'll have tutors and maids and fine dresses. And when you're older you'll go to balls and meet handsome young men, ones suitable for you of course."
"Why do you keep calling me Elizabeth?" She asked him in confusion.
"Because you're my daughter." He said as he lifted her back up into the carriage. "We must hurry and get you a governess, as the ship will sail soon and I cannot miss it."
On the way to the port, Selina saw Pluto out of the window. He was sitting in his human form naked in the street and chewing on a raw hunk of meat he had stolen from some butcher shop, his white hair a mess as usual. "Pluto! Pluto, here boy!"
But Pluto was too busy gnawing at his stolen prize to pay any attention to her call.
Governor Swann looked out the window at the scene, grimacing as he covered her eyes with his hand. "Oh, how revolting! Elizabeth, don't look at that crazy man!"
An hour after Sebastian put him to bed, Grell couldn't sleep any more, as he had this nagging feeling that something was wrong. He first checked Selina's bedroom and found it empty and so he searched the rest of the manor, which took some time as it was a huge place but that didn't turn up his daughter, either. The panic that she was gone was growing and he hurried towards the front door, his high heels clicking on the waxed floor and he almost slipped. Sometimes that demon used too much wax and was liable to kill someone! No wonder he could never control that serving cart when he had been playing butler at the Phantomhive Estate!
Outside, he looked about frantically but didn't see Selina nor Pluto. He rushed around the property as quick as a flash, looking between the trees and behind shrubs and anywhere else a girl could hide but he didn't see her anywhere. His heart in his throat, he raced back inside and leapt atop a startled demon butler. "Sebas-chan, she's gone! Our daughter is missing! I looked everywhere but she and Pluto are gone!"
"It's that darn demon dog!" Sebastian growled angrily as he shook the flour from his hands, as he had been baking. "He must have run off of the property again! I knew we shouldn't have allowed her to ride around on Pluto's back…"
Sebastian quickly informed Ciel of the problem and was given permission to search for his daughter. Soon he and Grell were running around at fast speeds, invisible to most humans as they just simply moved too fast. After scouring the nearby countryside, they headed for London.
"Sebas-chan, surely our baby isn't lost in London alone! Why, the worst sort of scum lives in certain areas! Just think what they might do to her…" Grell cried fearfully as he ran alongside the demon, his long red hair and red coat trailing out behind him.
"Or what a demon might do if they realize who she is…" Sebastian frowned at the thought, not liking it one bit. But he ran on too, his black locks of hair flying back off of his forehead and his long tailcoats flapping in the breeze.
"With all of these deaths, they've been a lot of free demons prowling around London. That's why we have to work so much overtime!"
"But she's used to going to London, Grell. To her it's a fun place to get candy from Ciel's candy shop and tasty biscuits from Undertaker." They arrived in London and the demon used his sensitive hearing to listen for any signs of commotion. He heard several passersby's gossiping about a giant dog they had sworn they saw, others dismissing the claim with a wave of their hand. And there were louder calls and hoots from the next street over. Heading in that direction, Sebastian found a large circle of people around Pluto, pointing and laughing at his nakedness.
And although his demon eyes scoured the nearby crowd, he did not see or sense his daughter anywhere nearby.
And that scared him.
After rescuing Pluto, Sebastian dragged him through deserted alleys until they found the dog some clothes they had decided to borrow off of a line, the demon vowing to return them later. He may be a demon but he wasn't a thief and at the moment his need was great. Once he had the dog-man properly dressed or covered anyway, he put the collar and leash on him. Knowing he would require Pluto's help in tracking down his missing daughter, Sebastian had brought along a piece of her clothing, her night dress that had her scent on it. Sticking the article of clothing under the man's nose, he allowed him to get a good sniff.
And they were off.
Pluto ran easily on all four feet, which looked very odd as he was in his human form. People they passed stopped and stared with surprise, but the demon didn't care what they thought of the sight. He could only think of the safety of his little girl and prayed some horrible demon hadn't got their clawed hands on her.
But he hoped she had just wondered off and had gotten lost.
To his surprise, Pluto led them out of London and down a busy, well traveled road. As they went further and further from the hustle and bustle of the city, the demon frowned. A little girl could not have traveled this far on foot and his worry went up another few notches.
"Sebas-chan, where are we going?" Grell asked with worry clear in his voice. "Surely she could not have come this far by herself! Has someone taken her? Tell me it isn't so!"
"It appears that way…" The demon admitted through gritted teeth as his anger and worry surged, his eyes turning scarlet. "But they won't be able to hide long. I'll find her no matter where they have hidden her away; even if some demon has dragged hew down to the fiery pits of hell itself!"
They ran on and on, the sun traveling across the sky until finally Pluto stopped. The dog sat down and started to whine in the most hideous way.
"Why are we here?" Grell asked as he looked at the official Royal Navy pier, the far end guarded by two marines in red and white uniforms. The reaper was clearly confused and worried beyond belief, his mascara having run to leave wide dark circles about his eyes. He flipped his hand in the air, the other on his hip. "I expected some sort of building, a house, a hideout, something! This is the official pier for the Royal Navy. They would not take our daughter! That darn dog has led us on a wild goose chase!"
"Hold Pluto for a moment." Sebastian said as he handed the leash over to the reaper. Walking up the pier, he approached the two men. Upon spotting him, they straightened up and took on serious facial expressions. "Excuse me, but did a ship leave this pier by chance earlier today?"
"Aye, that she did!" The one marine told him. "The Dauntless sailed for Port Royale, Jamaica just a few hours ago."
"Did they take any children onto the ship?"
"I rightly don't know about that, Sir." The marine replied. "See, my shift just started an hour ago and by then the ship was already gone. But I heard through the grapevine weeks ago that the new Governor has a young daughter. I'm sure he took her along."
Sebastian thanked the man and returned to the reaper's side. "The Dauntless sailed for Jamaica a few hours ago and the new Governor apparently has a young daughter…"
"A lot of people have young daughters…" Grell pointed out unhappily as he stared out at the sea. "The Navy takes men, not little girls!"
"I think we should find out the name of the new Governor, as at the moment that is our only lead." Sebastian stated as he turned to leave the pier. The demon took a few steps and then paused. Turning, he startled the reaper by gripping him by both shoulders as his eyes glowed red. "That girl who died, the one that looked like our daughter, what was her name?"
"Elizabeth Swann, how could I ever forget?" Grell replied sadly.
"And where did she live?"
"Some estate out in the country…" The redheaded reaper replied. "They seemed to be as wealthy as Ciel if you ask me."
"The Queen would have appointed a wealthy person, a friend even, as Governor." The demon butler explained as he thought of what he knew of human politics. "I know you don't dabble in human affairs much, but I've learned a lot of it over the long years and even more working for Ciel. We should inquire as to what the new governor's name is."
"Well, go ask then."
The demon went back to the marines on the pier and returned a short time later, his face dark as a storm cloud. "The new Governor of Jamaica is one Weatherby Swann."
"Governor, she's doing it again!" The new governess complained as she rudely snatched the piece of parchment Elizabeth had been drawing on away from the young girl. "Just look at this! It's utterly horrid!"
"But I don't understand…" Elizabeth cried as she tried to snatch the piece of paper back.
"Uggh…" Weatherby scowled as he accepted the piece of parchment and saw the circular devil sign drawn neatly upon it. Turning, he waved the symbol in front of the young girl. "I thought I told you not to draw these devil symbols? It's just not done in polite society! If people see you with a sign like this, well, I won't be able to protect you. People on this ship are very superstitious. They fear signs like this. Do you understand?"
"But my Daddy has that sign on his hand!"
"I don't have any signs on my hands, see?" Weatherby showed her both of his hands, first the backs and the palms. "You just imagined it all, my dear. It was a fever dream. You were sick with the influenza and almost died. Do you remember?"
The young girl shook her head no, her brown eyes wide as she stared at him.
Weatherby then turned to the governess he had hired. "You must forgive her. She's been dreadful sick and just recently lost her mother. The poor child has made up some fantasy where her mother is still alive and goes around collecting souls to take them to Heaven. I suppose it makes her feel better."
"I understand, Governor." The woman replied sadly. "It's hard losing your mother at such a young age. The poor dear must be heartbroken. I just wish she wouldn't draw those … things! It gives me the willies, it does!"
"Elizabeth," Weatherby said as he handed her another sheet of parchment. "You may draw anything but those devil symbols. Do you understand? If you draw another, I shall be forced to take your ink away."
"I understand." She replied meekly. Accepting the new piece of paper, she thought of what else she could draw. The symbol had been easy and making the round outer part just required tracing the bottom of a cup. She would draw her parents, but feared her drawing skills were not good enough yet for that. She needed something simple, but what? Then she thought of the little skulls that dangled on her Mom's red eyeglasses. And when her Mom trimmed the trees, they always turned into skulls, so it must be her favorite shape.
And a skull was simple to draw, too. It was basically just a circle on the top and a square on the bottom for the jaw. Then teeth, eye holes and the nose could be added. Smiling, she set to work trying to draw one properly.
"Governor, she's drawing skulls now!" The governess complained loudly, fear in her voice. "Its bad luck it is!"
"Well, I did say she could draw anything but that symbol…" Weatherby smiled weakly as he took his young daughter's side this time. "I suppose that Norrington or one of the other officers was telling her about pirates."
"Pirates?" Elizabeth asked with interest, as she had never heard the word before.
"Yes, pirates." Weatherby repeated. "Pirate flags often have skulls on them. I'm sure that's where you picked it up from, isn't it?"
She nodded, sensing he wouldn't want to hear the truth anyway. But she filed the word away and promised herself she would ask one of the lieutenants what a pirate was as soon as possible.
"But William, you have to give me the time off!" Grell insisted as he leaned over his superior's desk, his yellow-green eyes dripping tears onto the neatly filled out paperwork. "Don't you understand, my little girl was snatched? She's on the way to Jamaica!"
"You don't have any proof she was on that Navy ship, Sutcliffe." William T. Spears replied in a firm voice. His eyes were caring, though, and he appeared sad. "You're not thinking straight. Just because the demon dog leads you to that pier does not mean Selina was on that ship. Who knows what scent that thing was following? It could have been looking for something to eat for all we know. And you said yourself that Swann's daughter died…"
"And Selina looked just like her! When he saw her in London, I bet her took her for his own!"
"I care as much about Selina as you do." William stated. "I know I may not show it, but I do. I will call all of the reapers for overtime and send them out. We can search all of London and the surrounding areas. And we'll find her, Grell. I'm sure the human would know better than to take someone else's child, even if he had lost his."
Tears ran from Grell's eyes, his vision blurry as his voice hitched. "But … but what if we don't find her?"
"We will." William promised as he stood and wrapped a comforting arm about the other's narrow shoulders. "She's part demon. I'm sure we can sniff her out."
"But there's a ton of free demons down there!" Grell pointed out unhappily.
"And any one of them is more likely to be guilty than some heartbroken human mourning his own daughter."
Elizabeth rested in her narrow bed, an open book about pirates in her lap. It had been a gift from Lieutenant James Norrington. She hadn't expected for him to give her anything, but he had. And he had happily explained what pirates were to her, although she sensed he had left a lot out.
Opening the book, she looked at the drawings inside them. There were lovely pictures of pirate ships dancing over the ocean waves, their sails full of wind and the Jolly Roger flying from the top mast. And yes, one of her Mom's skulls was there on the flag, the skull seeming to laugh. And there were pictures of pirates, too. Some had scary hooks for hands and others had wooden pegs for legs. But they all seemed to dress similar more or less: a white shirt with puffy sleeves, a dark colored waistcoat, dark pants and boots.
She stared at one of the drawings for a long time, the illustration being replaced in her mind by a memory. Maybe it wasn't exactly the same, but it was close enough in her mind. "My Mom dresses like a pirate?"
And she noted the pirates had coats, too, but she couldn't tell what color they were as the pictures in the book was only black-and-white. Were their coats a brilliant blood red too?
The door opened then and her governess came in. "Are you ready for bed, Elizabeth?"
The young girl nodded, although she didn't feel tired at all. If anything, she felt wide awake at night. Maybe it was from her Mom's nightly reaping.
"Uggh. Looking at that horrid book again? I don't see why you find pirates so fascinating. They're evil people!" The woman said as she pulled the sheets up around the girl. "Now be a good girl and give me a goodnight kiss."
"I don't want to!" Elizabeth pulled away, not wanting to kiss the grumpy old woman.
"Now a little kiss on the cheek isn't going to hurt anyone…"
Elizabeth pouted. "Do I have to?"
"If you do, I'll sneak you an extra piece of fruit."
"I want pear-blackberry cornbread!" Elizabeth insisted with her arms crossed over his skinny chest. "Not the lousy old fruit on this ship!"
"We don't have any." The woman pointed out. Her face changed then and the young girl could see she was thinking. "You like drawing, don't you? I could give you a container of me rouge and you could color with that. But you have to promise not to make a mess with it or your father will kill me. I don't want you getting it all over your clothes and ruining them."
"I promise I won't make a mess!" Elizabeth quickly said even if she had no idea what rouge was.
"Good. Now give me that kiss." The governess leaned forward, holding her cheek out.
Nervously Elizabeth leaned forward as well and quickly gave the woman a peck on the cheek, her lips touching the dry skin briefly. It felt weird as she had never kissed a stranger before.
"There, see, that wasn't that hard, now was it?"
"Where's my rouge?" Elizabeth asked, her eyes eager to see her prize.
"I'll give it to you tomorrow."
But the next day Elizabeth never got the rouge as the governess was found dead, not a mark on her body.
"I can only assume she must have had the influenza after all…" Weatherby said as he stared in confusion at the already hard corpse. "Or perhaps she died from fright, something scaring her during the night. Some women are so frail you know…"
The consensus on the ship was that it had indeed been the influenza as it was running rapid and everyone hoped no one else aboard had it. But they sailed on and slowly began to relax as no one else died or grew sick.
Elizabeth, however, was secretly terrified and she vowed to never kiss anyone ever again. She had seen what a death scythe could do and how easily it could stop a person from breathing and make them go cold. The life left their eyes and the eyes glazed over, the person staring but not seeing anything at all. Then their soul was gone, collected. She had no idea what had become of the woman's soul but she was sure the kiss was the thing that had done her in.
"I can never fall in love, ever!" She whispered to herself in the dark of night.
She never even considered what her demon half could do.
"You didn't find her, did you?" Grell asked his supervisor in a glum voice, all hope already gone.
"No, but some demon could have taken her." William pointed out. "They can open portals and take her elsewhere."
"I know…" He knew all too well what a demon could do and he just hoped that one didn't have its evil black claws in his poor daughter. But wherever she was, he was sure she was alive still. He believed he would know if she had passed over to the other side or he thought he would anyway, but he had no proof of that – just a feeling.
Maybe, just maybe, she would come home someday.
Elizabeth was sitting with her new babysitters, if you could call them that. They were really lieutenants in the Royal Navy. There was her friend who had given her the book, James Norrington. He had lovely green eyes that sort of reminded her of her mother, but her mother's eyes had been much prettier. And with him were his two best friends, Andrew Gillette and Theodore Groves. Theo was more relaxed and easy going while Andrew could either be quiet or quick with a remark, depending on his mood. Some of his remarks were a tad strange, like the one about mermaids the other day and then he had laughed it off. She wasn't too sure exactly what a mermaid was, but it was clear he hadn't really believed they existed. That made her sad.
Someday Andrew would have a rude awakening to the true nature of the world.
Things really did go bump in the night.
And reapers and demons were real.
"What happens to the people who die out at sea?" She asked them out of the blue, her brown eyes shifting from one to the other. She realized that they probably wouldn't really know, but maybe there was some old sea myth that explained the truth and that would be good enough for her.
"I …" James seemed to be at a loss for words, apparently unprepared for such a heavy subject with a little girl. "I realize you must miss your governess…"
"They go to Davey Jones Locker." Andrew replied rather easily as he apparently enjoyed such stories. "Davey Jones is the Captain of the Flying Dutchman. He goes around collecting the souls of those that die at sea or so I heard. Some say he has the face of a squid, with tons of tentacles on his chin!"
She watched as Andrew stuck his hand under his chin and waved his fingers about to represent the tentacles, clearly trying to frighten her. But after living with a demon, Pluto the demon dog, a cook that blew up the kitchen on a weekly basis, her Uncle that was the head of the British Underworld, an Aunt with a tendency to murder women and her Mom that was a reaper, well, fingers under the chin just didn't cut it. "That's interesting…"
"He's supposed to be darn right frightening!" Andrew added as he stared at her. "Seeing the Dutchman would scare any honest sailor."
"Oh, please, that's not even real!" James snorted in disbelief. "Even you scoff at it. Admit it, Andrew. Who really believes in a death ship that sails around the seas?"
"Well, I suppose a thing like that could exist…" Theo said cautiously, his voice uncertain.
"I believe in it." Elizabeth stated with confidence. How could she not, when she was half reaper herself? She had seen the Shinigami Realm, she had seen the death scythes in action, and she had seen cinematic records. To her it was reality.
James smiled at her, humoring her. "Of course you do."
"But what happens to a person after they die?" Theo asked his two friends, interested in their opinion. "Any ideas?"
Before either Andrew or James could open their mouths or even think of what they should say, Elizabeth had the answer. "Your time of death is recorded in a book before you die and a grim reaper is assigned to your case. He will show up at the proper location before the event happens and be waiting with his death scythe. Then at the proper time, he will jab you with it, ending your life. Your life will flash before your eyes as a Cinematic Record. Then he judges you, based on your life. All of the Cinematic Records are stored in the Grim Reaper Library. Of course, if the reaper is late a hungry demon might eat your soul and then that's the end. I'm not sure how it works out at sea though…"
The three lieutenants gawked at her open-mouthed and with bulging eyes.
"That's … that's quite the story…" Theo finally said as he found his voice. "You seem to have it all figured out…"
Andrew fidgeted uncomfortably and James took an interest in shining one of the golden buttons on his uniform. James smiled then at her, his green eyes lighting up. "Children have such wonderful and vivid imaginations."
That seemed to settle the matter and the three men laughed uneasily.
"Look!" Elizabeth cried as she peered over the railing of the Dauntless. "A boy, there's a boy in the water!"
She watched with fascination as the boy was carried onto the ship and her new father put her in charge of him. She found a shiny gold pirate medallion around his neck, pulling the heavy gold coin free to hold it in her hand. There was a skull right in the center of it and seeing it broke her heart, as it reminded her of her mother. It seemed like forever since she had seen them and she was beginning to doubt if she ever would. Surely they would have found her by now, but how could they when she was lost in the middle of all of this water? The water went on and on and on forever until she began to believe that land was just a fairy tale. Hearing someone approach, she hid the golden piece behind her back.
"Has he said anything?"
"His name is William Turner. That's all I found out." Elizabeth sighed with relief as she watched the adults walk away, intent on examining the burning wreckage out on the water. Stepping closer to the railing, she peered into the thick fog and to her amazement it parted then, revealing a tall frigate with tattered black sails and flying a proper pirate flag of a grinning skull and two crossed swords.
Seeing the pirate ship was the most exciting thing ever.
Years passed and Elizabeth grew up into a proper young lady. Her early life at the Phantomhive Estate was like a dream, only half remembered as she was busy with other things now. She had her studies to do and all sorts of things to learn so some day she could be a proper wife. She suspected her father wanted her to marry James, but she secretly loved Will even if he was just a blacksmith. Such a relationship could never be, though, as it just was not proper.
Still, that silly childhood resolution she had made all of those years ago still stuck with her and part of her feared kissing anyone. So far she had avoided it, but if she married then she would be required to kiss her husband.
But what if he dropped dead like her governess did all of those years ago?
She tried to still her mind, telling herself it was just silly fears of a child, that the woman had been sick and that was it, but some part of her could just not let it go. It would go around and around: it was true, it was not true, it was true, it was not true and so on for years. Sometimes she thought she had made it all up, the reaper and demon nonsense because everyone knew such things only existed in the minds of a child.
And she had been deathly ill. Her father had told her so. She had caught the influenza that had taken her mother's life and it had almost taken hers too, but then like a miracle she had recovered and they had left England. As hard as she tried, she could not recall ever being sick.
Things that other people around her caught didn't seem to faze her at all. And her bumps and bruises healed incredibly fast.
But her father insisted that her ideas had been nothing but the fever talking.
Had the fever burned all other sickness out of her? Not even the pesky mosquitoes bothered her while those around her were eaten alive. Dogs avoided her best they could, some going as far as looking scared, but that suited her fine as she preferred the soft fur of cats.
But yet … yet … she seemed to recall vaguely a giant white dog, one as large as a horse if not bigger. Elizabeth shook her head at her madness. No wonder her father had been driven up the walls when she had been younger and spouting all of that nonsense!
But if it was nonsense, then why was she scared to kiss Will, as she very much wanted to? Was it really rejection she feared or the potential for scandal or maybe disappointing her father? She saw other girls her age happily kissing their beaus and jealousy rolled through her in waves. She wanted that, too, but here she was scared that a kiss might kill the one she loved!
"Oh, what utter nonsense!" Elizabeth cried as she crawled out of bed and moved over to her drawer. Pulling it open, she lifted up the fake bottom in it and pulled out her pirate coin. She called it a pirate medallion now but yet each time she looked at the grinning skull on it, she saw a different image in her mind's eye: a redhead with the most amazing yellow-green eyes hidden behind red framed eyeglasses and that had tiny skulls hanging off the chain that attached to the glasses. And then that brought to mind trees trimmed into skulls, but that was just ridiculous as nobody trimmed shrubs that way! Still the images persisted.
Sometimes at night, while she slept and dreamed, she saw more images. There was a large manor house with servants that were always panicking. There was a tall pale man with the softest black hair, dressed in a black outfit with long tails and white gloves, a young boy with dark blue hair beside him and a pirate patch over one eye…
Well, that was just impossible as nobody had blue hair!
But the dreams persisted and when the eye patch was removed, the covered eye was a strange red or purple color – she was not sure which as the colors changed in her dreams … an odd glowing circular mark directly on the eye. That bit usually woke her up, as she found it disturbing. People just didn't have red or purple eyes and there could not be glowing marks on the eye itself! It was freaky is what it was…
Other times she dreamed of some place with a bunch of desks, men dressed like pirates but more clean and tidy looking, sitting around with big stacks of papers. Those dreams at least did not disturb her and she felt more relaxed after having one.
She looked for a few moments at the other childhood things she had stored away in secret in her drawer; a few candy wrappers; totally worthless and she had no idea why she had kept them so long. Then there were the silly drawings she had made when she had been a child sailing on the Dauntless. They showed various things from her mad dreams in terrible scribbles that looked nothing like the real thing at all. The only thing that was drawn clearly was the 'devil mark' that her father would kill her if she knew she had. That she had drawn after she had arrived in Port Royale and had hidden it away. Sighing, she allowed the fake bottom to drop back into place, closing the window on her childhood fantasies once again. And that's all it was, a fantasy or perhaps imaginary friends. She certainly didn't recall having any real childhood friends…
She tied the pirate medallion around her throat, letting it fall between her breasts atop her shift.
"Elizabeth, are you decent?" Her father's voice called.
Panicking, Elizabeth tucked the golden coin under her shift and pulled on a robe. "Yes, yes."
Elizabeth stood atop the battlements of Port Royale, her hands on Will's shoulders. It had pained her to break James' heart, but her feelings for Will were strong. He had dared to rescue her, risking his own life like a true hero. Staring into his warm brown eyes, all of her worries and fears vanished.
Without thinking, she leaned forward and kissed him, pressing her lips against his. The gentle kiss seemed to go on forever but in reality was probably just a short time. The kiss ended and she pulled away, feeling breathless and excited, her heart thumping madly inside her chest.
A minute passed and then another, a third and a fourth. She realized that she was actually waiting for something to happen, for what exactly she really didn't know, maybe a lightning bolt out of the clear blue sky? But whatever it was, it never came and she breathed a sigh of relief.
It had been a child's fantasy after all …
She had kissed Will and he was still alive.
Now they could plan their wedding.
The kiss had brought bad luck, Elizabeth had realized much later. The curse, for that's what she called it now, was alive and well. Her life was ruined and in shambles. She and Will were no longer talking to each other, their dream of a happy marriage long forgotten.
And Jack, Jack was dead!
She had kissed him and then a kraken, a monster that wasn't even supposed to be real, came out of the sea and swallowed him alive!
All of her childhood fears were coming true and she just couldn't understand why… why was she cursed like this? Why did the people she kiss die? It was utter nonsense except she saw it with her own eyes.
And Will, Will would have been dead except he kept dodging it somehow. Supposedly he had a destiny about him, whatever that meant.
But Barbossa was back and now they were going to the Locker to free Jack.
Elizabeth was in Singapore with Hector Barbossa, going to see the man that they might get a ship from. Somehow she had managed to hide a huge amount of weapons inside her clothing without one bit of it showing. She knew that the pistols, bombs and other items should have left suspicious looking lumps on her body but they didn't.
And she had even managed to stick a giant blunderbuss down her pants.
Truthfully she had no idea how she did it and Barbossa just shook his head in utter confusion. But carrying the hidden weapons made her feel safe. But she didn't understand it. She would pat herself and would feel nothing but her firm flesh yet if she stuck her hand within her clothes to get the weapon it would be there.
It was a bit frightening and it made her heart pound faster.
She had long forgotten that she was half demon and that her mother could magically pull a chainsaw out of the aether.
Elizabeth stared in horror at the dying man, Sao Feng. He had tried to force himself on her and had managed to press his germy lips against hers. The feeling made her sick to her stomach, as she hadn't wanted to kiss him at all. She had struggled to break free, but it was no use as he was just too strong.
And then the cannonball had flown through the wall and tore him apart.
Fearfully she inched closer to his bleeding and horribly mangled body, the sight disturbing beyond belief. There was blood everywhere, so much red.
"Calypso.." He breathed as he looked up at her. "I am sorry, Calypso. I see you now for what you truly are, a goddess… take it and free yourself!"
With shaking hands she took the Piece of Eight he shoved at her and claimed the title of Pirate Lord. His last breath rattled out of his body then, his eyes going dark as the spark of life left them. Nervously she stared about the room; half expecting to see some ghostly spectral figure in a cloak with a death scythe but of course there was no one there. No, it was just her.
It had been her all along.
There was no doubt about it in her mind at all. For one reason or another, her childhood fear had come true and anyone that kissed her died.
Her lips had the power of death…
"James, come with me…" She urged him as they stood on the deck of the Flying Dutchman during the middle of the night. James, now an admiral, had risked all to break her and her pirate crew out of the brig. The pirates had climbed along the rope to the Empress, the Chinese Junk she had inherited from Sao Feng. She hadn't expected James to help her, but he had.
She stared into his green eyes and suddenly realized that he truly did love her, that he always had loved her and had never stopped loving her. That was why he had graciously stepped out of the way when she had proclaimed to love Will, as he valued her happiness above his own. He had been selfless and broken hearted. It's probably why he had carelessly ordered his ship to sail through a hurricane. Maybe he had hoped he would die, but it hadn't worked and instead he had ended up a drunk in Tortuga until he had stolen the Heart of Davey Jones for Lord Beckett. And then Lord Beckett had appointed him Admiral on the Flying Dutchman.
And Will, Will only cared about freeing his insane undead father now.
To her surprise, James chose that moment to be very bold and forward, something he had never done before. He wrapped his arms about her and leaned close quickly, pressing his mouth against her own in a kiss. Her brown eyes widened in surprise as she realized what he had just done.
He had just doomed himself to death.
And then the manner of his death became apparent to her.
Bootstrap, Will's inane father, came stumbling into the scene muttering some nonsense. "Part of the ship, part of the crew."
Elizabeth was frantic now. She had lost Will but she would not lose James as well. There was no way she was going to be an old maid forever doomed to be alone! No, she would fight Death tooth and nail!
Some unknown instinct seemed to take over then and she gripped James securely by his open officer's jacket and leaped upward, her eyes flashing green for a moment. The next second they crashed down onto the deck of the Empress and one of the Chinese pirates cut the stout rope that had tied them to the Dutchman.
Stunned, Elizabeth lay on the hard deck of the ship, unsure what exactly had happened. Moaning at the pain in her body from the hard impact, she slowly sat up and rubbed at her sore head. She looked around, confused to see the deck of the Empress. How had she gotten here?
"Elizabeth? How…" James voice trailed off as he too looked totally perplexed. "We were on the Dutchman and now we're here…"
"Nothing in my life makes sense anymore." She told him as she slowly climbed to her feet, testing each limb carefully for strains or breaks. But as usual she had suffered no serious injuries. "Reality has been replaced by some wild fantasy, a fantasy where anyone who kisses me soon dies. I could not let you die, James, not after all you have done for me. You're all I have left…"
James blinked his eyes in surprise. "But what of Turner? He promised to devote his life to you, to care for you…"
"Will has forgotten me in favor of his father." Elizabeth explained as she thought of the mad man that she had met on the Dutchman. "His father is bound to the Dutchman and has been so for many long years. It has driven him mad yet Will had vowed to save him somehow, to free him. It's a lost cause I fear but to him it's more important than I am."
"Do you mean I have a chance to win you back?" He asked, hope in his green eyes as he climbed to his feet and stepped closer, taking her slender hands in his own larger ones. "That is all I have ever truly wanted, Elizabeth. Just being with you is enough to make me happy."
"But didn't you hear? I'm cursed!" She cried in anguish as she cast her gaze downward. "I think I've always been cursed… anyone I kiss dies. The first victim was that governess I had on the Dauntless. She bid me to kiss her goodnight and then the next morning they found her dead! Do you remember that?"
"Vaguely…" He replied honestly. "It was a long time ago. I thought it was decided she had the influenza?"
"But she had no symptoms!" Elizabeth pointed out in annoyance. "How can you die of the flue if you're not sick and coughing? I should think I should know, as my aunt is a doctor…"
"I didn't know you had an aunt that was a doctor." James studied her, a perplexed look on his face. "Your father never mentioned her, either, and over the years I've had many conversations with him."
"I … I just remembered now, this moment…" Her eyes widened as she realized it was true, but before she could grab at the memory it slipped away again. Frowning, she leaned against the rail with arms crossed over her chest. "This is all screwed up! I apparently have an imaginary family that doesn't exist, I'm cursed for unknown reasons and now we're in the middle of a fight for our very lives!"
"Elizabeth, I … I may be overstepping my bounds, but when you and your father arrived on the Dauntless, well…." James paused, his voice faltering and an uncertain look in his eyes.
"What?" She asked him, raising her gaze to look at him with curiosity.
"You seemed so lost and confused." James continued as he nervously fiddled with the cuff of his officer's jacket, noting that there was a tiny tear in the fabric there with a loose thread. "And you did not seem very close to your father, which I thought was a tad odd, but then my father had never treated me kindly. But Weatherby seemed the type of man to dote on his daughter and it just struck me as peculiar. He explained it away by saying you was mourning the death of your mother, but you didn't act that way. For one, you never called him 'father' and half the time you didn't respond when he called you. Perhaps I should have said something, but I was uncertain…"
She stared at him, confused, but the words made her heart pound within her chest and her skin grew clammy. "What are you saying?"
"It may be that imaginary family of yours truly exists."
"But they can't!" She exclaimed as she felt the need to walk the nervousness off and so she started to pace. "You haven't seen them. If you did, you'd understand why they can't be real. It's not ordinary people we're talking about here, James! They're odd and peculiar and it's just too weird! How could someone have blue hair or have weird marks on their eye, marks that glow no less?"
"It stands to reason." He simply stated with his precise logic. "This curse is not normal either, so perhaps a unique family matches it. You did say some extraordinary things on the Dauntless as if they were perfectly normal. Truthfully, half of the time Andrew, Theo and I were shocked and didn't know what to think. You had caught my attention since you were a child."
"But…even if they are real, how in the world do I find them?" Elizabeth asked him, feeling helpless. "My memory is gaps and holes with nothing solid, just fleeting images. I don't have any names or addresses…"
"Leave it to me." James said softly as he took her into his arms, pulling her gently against his chest. "After a lifetime of chasing pirates, rumrunners and all manner of criminals, I'm very good at ferreting out information. Trust me, I'll find them if they exist and I think they do. Then perhaps we'll get a solid answer about this curse of yours."
"But how…where do you start if you have nothing solid?"
"It would surprise me greatly, Elizabeth, if there were more than five women doctors in all of England. We'll start there."
To Elizabeth's surprise, Jack voted her the King of the Pirates. Her brown eyes grew wide and she couldn't fathom why he would do that after what she had done to him, tying him to the Pearl and letting the kraken eat him. Later, when she had pulled him aside and asked him about it, he just stared at her with those kohl-rimmed eyes and said that there was 'something about you' which really did not answer her question at all.
What, what did Jack sense about her?
And Will, Will had not been at the Brethren Court… it had disappointed her but also strengthened her resolve to stick with James. Weatherby, whether he had been her real father or not, had had her best interests in heart when he had chosen James for her husband. He was dependable, loyal and truly loved her. Will may have looked great and had that exciting pirate air about him, but he was flighty and had abandoned her all too soon…
Just like a true pirate.
They all gathered on the Black Pearl, James not complaining about being on the pirate ship for once. He and Jack looked a tad uneasy at each other, but Jack just simply said "pirate" at him with a grin that flashed golden teeth.
Yes, James had been a pirate as he had ran off with the heart.
He had learned his lesson all too well.
The battle with the Dutchman started then and madness ensured. Calypso was freed from her human bonds and she created a giant whirlpool, the Pearl and the Dutchman going around and round the swirling waters. In the end Will got stabbed in the chest by Jones and Jack helped save his life, holding Will's hand so he could stab the heart of Davy Jones. Bootstrap appeared then and cut his own son's heart out then, putting it away inside the chest. The Dutchman had a new captain.
The Endeavour was destroyed and soon afterwards the Pearl was busy fishing the survivors out of the sea. To James surprise, Andrew and Theo were among the crew of Lord Beckett's lost ship. They were thrilled to see each other, especially since James was now friends with the pirates that had just captured them!
Will then appeared on the Pearl before Elizabeth and gave her the chest. "My heart has always belonged to you. Please keep it safe. Maybe someday, if the fates are kind, we'll see each other again…"
"Where are we going?" Andrew asked James as they sailed the Empress across the Atlantic towards England.
"To London." James replied as he busied himself with checking their speed with a log on a rope. "Elizabeth is apparently cursed and we need to get to the bottom of it. She apparently has another entire family there, one she hasn't seen since she was just a child."
"Uh…" Andrew uttered nervously as his eyes shifted to Elizabeth. "You do remember she used to talk about some really weird stuff, right?"
"Yes, I remember." James confirmed as he wrote down the numbers in his log book. Using the numbers, he could now take an educated guess as to how far they have come and where they were on the chart. "We're going to get to the bottom of that mystery, find out the truth."
"But James," Theo said as he inched closer with wide eyes. "She used to talk about death gods and demons of all things!"
"So she did."
"But… what if it's real?" Andrew asked nervously as he clung white-knuckled to the wooden railing. "I mean a demon! Who would want to meet one of those?"
"If it'll lift the curse from Elizabeth so I can marry her, then I will." James stated truthfully as he shifted his gaze to the Pirate King, a smile gracing his lips. "She's worth the risk and a lot more."
Elizabeth busied herself on the deck of the Empress, unaware of the three sets of eyes watching her. Her long brown hair was streaked with blonde from long years in the tropical sun, her skin a nice light tan. She wore a white shirt and a dark vest, very similar to what a man would wear. It went well with the man's pants and boots. A sword was at her side, the sword belt going across her chest. And a leather tricorne was perched on her head. All in all, she looked every inch the Pirate King that she was.
They arrived in London and James went straight to his research. He seemed to know exactly where to go and had no problems getting answers, not in his Admiral's uniform with sharply dressed lieutenants at his side. The hospital he visited bent over backward to make him happy, taking him to a supervisor right away.
Elizabeth, however, was a nervous wreck. She couldn't sit still and kept jumping out of the chair while she waited for James to emerge with the answers. Truthfully, she was scared to see if the family she had imagined was real or not. What if they were? What did that mean and would they truly have an answer to her problem?
And what if they were not real – did that mean she was crazy?
She chewed on her fingernails as James emerged from the office at the hospital, as she didn't know what else to do. She tried to read James' expression as he approached but as usual it was that emotionless one that revealed nothing. He was way too good at doing that and she wished he would just give her the answer already, as the suspense was killing her. "Well? What did you find out?"
"I must say, Elizabeth, I am very surprised at what I discovered." James said as he sat down next to her. "To my disbelief, there is a woman doctor here in London and she is a baroness no less. I cannot imagine someone that wealthy being a doctor but that is how it is. Her name is Angelina Durless and she has a home right here in London. I have her address and we can go see her."
"So it's not just a figment of my imagination?" Elizabeth stood and took James arm, letting her lead her back out to the carriage. He helped her inside and then climbed in as well, Andrew and Theo joining them.
"She is real enough. I suspect the others must be real as well, although I admit I have no real answers for the ummm… things … you've described." James had already given the address to the driver and so they were off.
"Perhaps there are simple answers, Miss Swann…" Andrew offered a tad nervously. "Maybe the marks you've seen on the boy's eye are scars? Eyes can get injured, you know, and sailors often lose them. That one pirate friend of yours had a missing eye."
"Yes, but it glows. How do you explain that?" She asked as she made the familiar mark with her finger on the wood of the carriage's bench, all of the eyes watching her motion. It was a circle with a star inside it, a five pointed star.
Andrew seemed to go pale, his breath hitching in his chest as his eyes grew huge. "That's a devil mark! I mean, doesn't it have to do with … witchcraft?"
Elizabeth shrugged. "I really don't know…"
"Truthfully, after seeing what I've seen in the Caribbean…" James stated dryly. "Nothing will surprise me. First there was undead pirates, then Davy Jones and fishmen, a kraken, the Flying Dutchman, the goddess Calypso… why not devils next? Or perhaps a real man-eating mermaid will leap out of the river at us…"
Andrew groaned, horrified.
Theo was clearly thinking about it. "I can't decide what would be worst, a devil or a mermaid…"
"And don't forget that giant white dog…." Elizabeth said with a frown as she nervously picked at her pirate outfit. She felt so … so… underdressed compared to the three guys. They had their expensive Navy outfits with the fancy waistcoats with golden buttons and the nice dark blue jackets and the powder wigs and here she was looking more like Jack.
"A dog yet?" Andrew asked even more nervous than before. "Exactly how big is 'giant'?"
"Umm… I think it was larger than a horse?" Elizabeth screwed up her face as she tried to recall more about the mysterious dog. She tapped her fingers on her sword hilt, thinking. "Uh, I think he could breathe fire?"
"Oh, that's just great!" Andrew grimaced in disgust, crossing his arms over his chest. "We survive sea battles to get roasted by dog breathe!"
"But can a dog even do that?" Theo asked uncertainly.
"With our luck, it can and will." James stated dryly.
They arrived at the London manor and the carriage pulled into the yard and stopped in the driveway. James helped Elizabeth out and she nervously took his arm. Truthfully, she had no idea what she would say to the wealthy woman, although she herself was wealthy as well. She certainly knew how to entertain and how to be gracious and how to be a fine lady, but it was the situation that left her uncomfortable. It was basically going up to a stranger and saying you thought you were their relative.
Then she remembered that Jack believed in her. And James did as well. Even Barbossa had agreed with her! Why, all of the pirates had looked to her to lead them. Maybe she had left London as a little lost girl, but she was returning as the King of the Pirates.
And so she walked up to the front door with confidence, her slim hand on James' arm. He gripped the doorknocker and knocked loudly several times.
Her heart pounded in her chest and she tried to still it. This was like the tense moments before a battle and you never knew what the outcome would be. For all she knew, the woman might not even be home. Moments passed and then a few more, each one seeming to last an eternity. But after fighting the Battle of the Maelstrom, she could deal with this.
She heard footsteps on the other side of the door and her heart skipped a beat.
The door slowly opened and a neatly dressed butler appeared. He had dark brown hair pulled back with a large red bow, the edges of the bow just visible behind his neck. A few loose strands of hair hung on his forehead and he had the most amazing green eyes behind his plain eyeglasses. The eyes looked familiar for some reason, like the ones from her dreams. He was tall and thin with a light almost feminine build. A red-and-white striped piece of fabric was tied into a neat bow around his neck; it was something more suitable to the tropics than cold and dreary England. A brown jacket covered his white dress shirt and white gloves were on his hands.
He stared at them for a moment, looking a bit confused.
Elizabeth was sure that the Royal Navy had never shown up at their door before.
"I'm Admiral James Norrington of His Majesty's Royal Navy and this is my fiancée Miss Elizabeth Swann. Is Dr…"
Before James could continue what he was going to say, the butler's eyes grew incredibly wide and he leaped at her with some sort of odd squealing noise. The sudden and unexpected attack almost knocked her right off her feet as his arms flew about her in a tight hug, almost crushing the air out of her. Her grip on James' arm helped keep her on her feet but just barely as she gasped for air.
"Ah, after all of these years my baby has come home! It is a dream come true! " The butler cried as wet tears ran down his face and dripped onto her shoulder. They were almost the same height, with him just being a fraction taller. She could feel his thin body heaving with sobs as he cried on her shoulder. She somewhat awkwardly put her arms about him, hugging him back while feeling confused.
"It seems my theory was correct." James stated in his dry but cultured voice. "I presume you're her real father?"
"Oh, no – I'm her mother!" He said as he pulled back and wiped at his wet face with a hand. "I normally don't look like this, without my makeup and my glorious red! How embarrassing to be caught without it, but a lady has to do something to pass the time so I play butler for Madame Red. Come inside and I shall introduce you to the real me!"
His mouth turned into a wide grin, shark-like teeth exposed.
Elizabeth stared at the teeth but somehow they didn't surprise her, not after everything else. The extraordinary was becoming ordinary in her life.
She was pulled into the manor, the man claiming to be her mother having a firm grip on her wrist. James followed her as did his two lieutenants. Soon they were brought into a nice but somewhat small parlor where a few others were gathered.
"Sebas-chan, our baby girl has come home at last!"
Elizabeth noted there were three other people in the room, two of them sitting before a chess board and the other standing behind a chair. The man that was standing was dressed as a butler in a black suit with a white dress shirt and a black tie. He had dark reddish eyes and soft raven black hair that fell on either side of his face in messy tendrils.
The second person was a boy of twelve or thirteen years old with dark navy blue hair. One eye was a startling brilliant blue while the other was covered by a black pirate-like eye patch, his dark bangs partly covering the eye patch as well. A sophisticated air clung to him, which suited the expensive clothes he wore. He was dressed in a blue jacket with a white dress shirt, a dark red bow tie and shorts.
The third person was a woman with short red hair, a white blouse with a big ruffle in the front and a red skirt. Oddly enough, she had red eyes as well.
"You're the people from my dreams…" Elizabeth stated as she stared at them in surprise. She hadn't thought they were real and now to actually see them, well, it was a bit of a shock but then she was used to shocks. Undead pirates, Davy Jones, the Locker… she was used to it. Her gaze focused on the young boy. "You haven't aged…"
"I'm a demon now." He explained in a bored aristocratic tone. "Demons don't age."
She then noticed that her 'mother' was pulling the red bow out of his brown hair, allowing the hair to fall free. Taking a comb out of his pocket, he ran it through his hair and it turned into a brilliant red color as well as instantly growing longer so it fell to his knees. Next came the fake eyelashes and then he switched his glasses, the plain ones being replaced by ones with red rims. A chain with little skulls hung from the glasses, the little skulls swaying with each movement he made. Finally the brown jacket was replaced with a brilliant red one that hung off his arms. He spread his arms wide. "Now do you recognize me, darling, in my splendid Shinigami form?"
And to Elizabeth's surprise she did. She remembered the red glasses and the little skulls and the red coat…Her brown eyes grew wide as she did and she threw her arms about the redhead, hugging him. Turning, she gazed at her fiancée. "James, this is my mother. I remember her! She's a death god."
"So it's all true then, what you told us all of those years ago, about demons and death gods…" James stated as he gazed at the now transformed death god.
"It doesn't surprise you?" Ciel asked him as the single blue eye focused on him.
"Oh, please…" James laughed somewhat sarcastically. "After undead pirates, the Flying Dutchman, Davy Jones and his fish-men, the kraken, Calypso and a beating heart inside of a chest. The Caribbean was normal and then it changed. I think it changed the day of my promotion ceremony to commodore. Elizabeth fell off of the top of Fort Charles into the sea, just missing the rocks somehow…"
"I couldn't breathe with that corset on!"
"And then that pirate Sparrow saved her. I arrested him, of course, to send him to the gallows but then the undead pirates arrived that night and kidnapped her. Everything grew strange after that…"James informed them as he studied the others in the room with interest.
"My little darling has been kidnapped more than once? How simply dreadful! But fear not, Mommy will protect you now that you're home." Grell cried as he fussed over his daughter, pulling her hair behind her shoulders and then noticing the sword belt she was wearing, complete with sword. His green eyes lit up at the sight of the sword hilt poking out of the scabbard. "Oh, look, Sebas-chan! Our baby has a sword! Clearly she takes after me and my chainsaw!"
Sebastian came over then and hugged Elizabeth as well, Grell automatically attaching himself to the demon's arm happily, his head resting on the demon's shoulder. "I am your father, Sebastian Michaelis and he is your mother Grell Sutcliffe. I'm a demon and he's a death god."
The three navy men looked on in confusion.
"Did he say 'he'?" Andrew asked totally perplexed.
"Sebas-chan! You do not call a beautiful lady a he!" Grell protested hotly as he pulled away from the demon and placed his hands on Elizabeth's shoulders. "You're going to confuse our little girl! Everyone can see that I'm a lady!"
"Our little girl is grown up, Grell." The demon pointed out. "And I should know better than anyone else what you are."
"Yes and I'm a lady! How else could I be a mother?" Grell appeared very pleased with the logic he had thought up and he made a fancy pose, forming the "I love you' sign with his hand.
"Through demon powers…" Sebastian simply replied.
"Sebastian!" Ciel called as his blue eye flashed. "Stop arguing with the Shinigami. Even after all of these years I'm clueless as to what it is. It did have a baby so I guess it must be a woman."
"I am not an 'it' either!"
Ciel ignored the deadly glare that was directed his way. "Go and get our guests some tea and refreshments, Sebastian."
"Yes, My Lord." Sebastian bowed deeply to Ciel, one white gloved hand over his chest, and then he vanished into the kitchen.
"I am Earl Ciel Phantomhive." The young boy said as he invited them to sit down on some nearby plush sofas. They did so, Grell happily sitting next to Elizabeth and with James on her other side. "I'm your uncle although we're not related by blood. Sebastian and I have a contract. When my parents were murdered years ago, I accidentally summoned up a demon and I made a deal with him. He would get my soul in exchange for helping me get my revenge. I had every intention of keeping my end of the bargain, as promises mean a great deal to me, but somehow I ended up a demon instead. So now Sebastian and I are bound by the contract forever."
Ciel removed his eye patch, showing them his covered eye. The eye looked rather purple in color and had a pinkish sign etched onto the eye itself. There was a five pointed star in the center and a circle around it, the circle having little lines through it.
"Madame Red is my aunt," Ciel continued as he indicated the short haired woman. "She's a doctor and I presume that's how you tracked us down."
"It is." James confirmed as Sebastian returned with a wheeled cart with tea and other refreshments on it. "Exactly what do demons do?"
"We eat souls." Ciel explained as if it was an ordinary everyday thing. "And we sign contracts. We find desperate people who want something and we give them want they want. Once we do that, the contract is complete and we can eat their soul. Not all demons do it that way. Some are free and will try to eat any soul they come across. Sebastian and I keep ourselves busy by serving the King and solving any nasty problem that comes along, the unsolvable cases. We have powers, of course, and that helps greatly. We can repair broken items, move incredibly fast, jump incredibly high and so forth."
Elizabeth accepted the tea that Sebastian handed her and sipped it politely. She may be dressed as a pirate but she certainly knew how to act like a lady. "And what do you know of curses?"
"What does the curse do?" Sebastian asked as he placed perfect slices of pear-blackberry cornbread onto fine china plates.
"Every time I kiss someone or they kiss me, they end up dying in some freak accident!" Elizabeth blurted out. "I admit with Sao Feng, it was very helpful but otherwise it is annoying."
"Did he die in some hideous way?" Grell asked eagerly as he leaned closer to her, excitement in his green eyes.
"A cannonball tore through his body…" Elizabeth replied with a grimace.
"Ah, so much blood!" Grell cried happily as he threw an arm about her shoulders. "You painted him a glorious red! If only I could have been there to see it!"
Elizabeth didn't know what to think, except that her mother was more bloodthirsty than she had remembered. "Yes, but what about the curse?"
"That is not a curse." Sebastian replied as he finished serving everyone a slice of the cake. "Grell is correct when she says you take after her. That is your grim reaper powers. Normally they work through a death scythe but since you don't have one yet I can only presume they're working through your lips, perhaps because you're half demon. Demons normally suck souls out through our mouths and lips, but I would think you'd know if you were doing that."
Elizabeth sighed, as that was not the answer she had been expecting.
"Ah, it is so romantic, death by a kiss!" Grell exclaimed with a dreamy look on his face. "I always said love and death walk side by side and here is the proof!"
"You do realize that you're immortal, do you not?" Sebastian continued as he focused his gaze on her. "Now that you've reached adulthood I would think you'd stop aging, just as Ciel has."
Immortal? That had never occurred to her and she felt the shock of it roll through her. She reached out and gripped James hand, knowing that he must be feeling utterly depressed by now. "No, I didn't realize I was immortal. I pretty much had forgotten all about it, as my other father…"
"That hideous kidnapper!" Grell exclaimed angrily.
"Convinced me it had all been a fever dream from the influenza…" Elizabeth thought of how Jack had wanted immortality so much and here it had been handed to her on a silver platter at birth. But Jack never gave up, either. He seemed to wiggle his way out of every crazy situation and came out on top. She would do the same and not give up until she had an answer so she and James could be together. "Look, there must be some sort of answer to this problem! How am I supposed to have a fiancée or a husband if everyone I kiss ends up dying?"
"Oh, there's a simple solution…" Grell giggled as he leaned forward and kissed her on the cheek.
"What are you doing?" Elizabeth exclaimed as she leaned away. "Do you want to die?"
"I'm immortal, my dear, I'm immune! I was just showing you it will have no affect on a death god." Grell lifted a red painted finger nailed hand to the back of his head. "You will not believe the number of times that William, the brute, has hit me in the back of my poor head with his death scythe! And guess what, I'm still here. So just turn your boyfriend and your friends into death gods and the problem is solved! We are understaffed anyways…"
"That is the easiest solution." Sebastian agreed. "It's much harder to become a demon."
"How do you become one?" Elizabeth asked as she straightened back up and allowed her mother to put his arm around her shoulders again.
"Oh, it's rather easy." Grell explained as he flipped his free hand in the air. "There's just this drink you drink and then you're a death god. You're eyes will become like mine, with rings in them, and then you'll have to wear the special glasses. We're all horribly nearsighted, but there are benefits. One, you're immortal. Two, you're really fast and can jump really high. Three, you can play with a nifty death scythe! Of course, there's horrid paperwork involved… uggh!"
"Paperwork doesn't bother me."James informed them. "I've been doing it since I was a commodore. Even lieutenants have to write reports."
"Great!" Grell exclaimed happily. "I will go get the potions and then we can all be a big happy family! William had been hoping you'd be one, you know."
"And you're welcome to stay at my manor." Ciel said as he lifted his cup of tea for a drink. "That's where you grew up, until that man snatched you and hauled you onto that ship. Apparently you and his dead daughter looked identical, so that's why he did it. Some humans are very emotional."
Elizabeth thought of the last time she saw her father. He had been in the row boat down in the Locker and had refused to take the rope that had been tossed to him. It had broken her heart to realize that he had been dead and that she would never see him again. And no matter how much they would say otherwise, Weatherby would always be her father. "He loved me and treated me kind. He bought me gowns and made sure I had a proper education. And when things turned bad he did the best he could to protect me. In the end he gave up his life for me. The last time I saw him he was down in the Locker with all of the other thousands of lost souls of those who died at sea…"
"The Locker?" Ciel asked with a curious expression on his face.
"It's where people who die at sea end up." Elizabeth exclaimed as she recalled the eerie place. "It's mostly a sea that stretches on forever and there are all of these people in rowboats and others that just float in the water…"
"And no one has collected their souls or cinematic records?" Grell asked, clearly shocked at the very idea.
"Davy Jones wasn't doing his job." She explained. "But now my friend Will Turner has the job. He's the new captain of the Flying Dutchman."
Elizabeth didn't mention the heart in the chest she had.
She also hoped the demons wouldn't see the Locker as an unclaimed smorgasbord.
"Well," Grell said as he leaped to his feet. "I will go see if I can acquire those potions!"
Elizabeth watched in amazement as he pulled his chainsaw out of the air itself and then used it to open a portal to the Shinigami Realm. It appeared as a big white circle that hung in the air of the living room and he easily leaped through it, disappearing. Turning to look at her three friends, she saw that they all rather looked pale, and their eyes bugging out.
"We never saw anything like that before…" Theo managed to utter after a few long moments of silence.
"As I said, it gets stranger and stranger…" James agreed.
"Do they expect us to do that?" Andrew asked in a worried tone.
"Apparently once we drink that potion." James replied.
"I believe," Ciel said in his serious tone. "That your human father had property here you can now claim. I can start the paperwork for you since you said he's dead. And I presume he had property in the Caribbean as well?"
"Yes, in Port Royale." Elizabeth confirmed. "But I doubt if I'll be able to claim it, not with piracy charges against me. I refused to let them hang Jack Sparrow, as he saved my life and things just blew up after that. I was arrested and thrown in jail. My father freed me and I managed to escape…"
"I'll see if I can get the charges dropped." The young boy replied. "Being a demon, it should be rather easy."
Grell returned then with the potions, a wide toothy grin on his face. "William and my friends can't wait to see you again! They've all been very worried, you know. He even gave me several extras without a fuss, which is not like him at all. Usually we give these to people on their deathbeds, people we think will make excellent Shinigamis, but technically you don't have to be dying to drink it."
Elizabeth accepted the little bottle her mother handed her and then watched as he handed the others out to James, Andrew and Theo. She could see the nervousness and doubt in their eyes about drinking some magic concoction and truthfully she felt the same way. She had no idea what it would do to her or what was in it. Would it be painful? Would it change her eyes so they had those rings in them? She sort of liked her perfect vision and was loath to give it up, but she supposed she had to. She was already a death god and needed a proper scythe so she could control her powers.
And maybe, just maybe, it would be nice to stay young forever and to be with her friends. Plus that increased the chance that she could see Will again someday. She did have his heart and she owed it to him so he wouldn't turn into another heartbroken Jones.
"Are we going to drink it?" Theo asked James.
"Of course." James replied as he opened his bottle and smelled at the contents. "It will allow us to stay together."
Elizabeth opened her own bottle and raised it to her lips, the others following her lead. "Drink up my hearties, yo ho."
Author's note: I'm planning on writing a sequel to this story (which I have already started) where they will be Shinigamis. Ah, the office will never be the same! And yes, I realize that Grell and Sebastian could have / would have rescued their daughter, but then how could I explain Elizabeth's curse?