A/N: As you may have noticed, my fanfiction writing sorta fizzled out for a while. And then I got really embarrassed about the old stuff and took it down. But then I looked over the PotC stuff and I was like, hey, I still really like this. So I've been editing it to make it even better.
Originally I was only going to post it on Archive of Our Own, because that's the ~hip new thing~ everyone puts their fic on nowadays, but it has exactly four hits and I figured the people who would actually want to see this are here. So yeah.
If you've read the story before you'll notice some differences, but hopefully it adds rather than detracts!
CHAPTER ONE: Library WeirdnessThey say I'm crazy
Got no sense
But I don't care
They may or may not mean offense
But I don't care
You see, I'm sort of independent
I am my own superintendent
And my star is on the ascendent
That's why I don't care
- "I Don't Care," Judy Garland
I opened the front door to the familiar sound of an audience laughing and applauding. My mother was watching one of those talk shows again. I don't know which one-I don't think even she pays attention to which one. She just likes having the noise in the background. Says it's a substitute for all the racket I make when I'm not at school.
"Hello, dearie," she said, looking up at me as I tossed my backpack aside and delicately placed my violin case next to me on the floor. I sat on the opposite end of the couch. My mother was going through the mail. Oh shit. Oh shit. "I heard there's another one of those Pirates of the Caribbean movies coming out, did you hear?"
"Oh," I said. "Well. Good for them." Once upon a time, I had liked them, but then stuff happened. Most of the time my excuse was that I distrusted sequels. A vague desire to become a pirate still lingered in my brain, but it was equally met by vague desires to become a musketeer, or a superhero, or anything that is less boring than my current existence.
"Don't tell me you don't like those films anymore!" Ma scoffed. "Oh, you fickle teenagers."
"Ma, I stopped liking them when I was like, twelve," I said.
"Oh. That was when-oh." We were both quiet for a while. Holy awkward silence, Batman.
"How was school?"That was the one thing I wanted to talk about less than I wanted to talk about Pirates of the Caribbean. "Oh, you know. Cardboard-flavored pizza, kids beating each other up in the hallways. Same old same old," I said, trying to keep the subject on the more extracurricular details of the school day.
"As long as you're not one of the ones getting into fights," my mother said. One time. One time I got in a fight at school! Okay, twice, but the second time doesn't really count because it was just self-defense. "Ah, speaking of school, I'll bet this is your progress report, hmm?"
"I think I'll be going," I said quickly, standing up. "I need to-to practice my violin. Mrs. Johnson says I've been getting sloppy and we've got that big concert in a couple of-"
"You're not going anywhere." She grabbed my sleeve and yanked me back down onto the couch.
"Of course I'm not going anywhere. This is important. School is important," I backtracked. She had opened the envelope and was looking over my grades. I braced myself for the explosion.
"An F in physics?" my mother shrieked. "What's the meanin' o' this?" Her accent was getting thicker, as it usually did when she was mad. Ma's from Ireland originally. I used to have a bit of an accent too, but I made an effort to cultivate the perfect Standard American accent after getting teased at school. It was never as bad as Ma's, though. When she yells she sounds like a pissed-off leprechaun.
There was pretty much no way I could make the F look good. "Physics...is...overrated," I said. "How much physics do I need to know, really? I wanna be a violinist. The bow goes up, ergo the bow must come down. Bam. Physics. And I didn't even need to get hit on the head with an apple to figure it out!"
"Bailey. This isn't a joke," my mother said, her voice shaking. "We discussed this before. Junior year is your most important year, in terms of colleges! This is the year of grades they look at. You promised you'd put more effort in than you have before. You're a smart girl-"
"Pfft," I said.
"Yes you are, you're a smart girl and ya know it," my mother said. "You can do so much better if you'd only get off your ass and do your work for once!"
"Hey," I said, getting a little peeved now, "I'm getting an A in history! And in English!" I love history, especially all the big dramatic battles. I dig historical literature, too, like, Shakespeare, Moby Dick, The Crucible? Heck yeah.
Last year was all contemporary literature, though. We read Jodi Picoult and The Help. It was rough.
"Yes, and I'm glad you are," said Ma, "but the fact remains that you focus on the things you like and blow off the rest, and you simply can't go through life that way! You'll never hold down a job or amount to anything at all!"
"Sure I will. World-famous violinist, hello?"
"Bailey, be realistic. Hardly anyone makes it as a musician-"
"Wow, thanks for that vote of confidence, Ma!" I said sarcastically. "That'll really motivate me to work hard! Yeah, my own mother has no faith in me. Super."
"I didn't mean it like that," she said.
"Yes you did."
"Regardless of your aspirations, I'm your mother and you need to listen to me when I tell you what to do," my mother said.
"There's just one problem with that, Ma." I picked up my violin case and slung the strap around me. "I don't care."
"Excuse me?" She narrowed her eyes.
"I said that I don't care." I started to sing. "I don't caaare, I don't caaaaare-" I danced out of the room and slammed the front door as I left.
After about thirty or forty paces I felt kind of silly for storming out like that, but by that point I was already almost halfway down the street, so I felt obligated to keep going. My feet moved without me really thinking about it, and before long I ended up at the library. I don't know what it was, but I got the feeling that everyone inside was staring at me, which only exacerbated my sour mood. A pinch-faced old lady glared at me as she shuffled her way to the magazines. A man with a shiny, pink bald head and a dorky sweater peered at me over the book he was reading. Even the librarian gave me a weird look as I made my way to the nonfiction section. Did I have some kind of invisible sign over my head that only adults and/or authority figures could see? "Warning: rowdy troublemaker, take care to avoid shenanigans."
It was pretty strange considering how much I don't stand out most of the time. Unless I make a whole lot of commotion, in fact, I blend right in (which is handy for eavesdropping). I'm short and small. My hair is so exceedingly difficult that I always keep it tied back, so I don't have to deal with the curly, poofy brown monstrosity. I think my eyes are too buggy, and they're gray, which is just so...blah. The rest of me, eh, not even worth commenting on.
I wandered around the nonfiction section. Nothing, from Calligraphy for Beginners to A Complete Encyclopedia of Zoology caught my eye, so I pulled a book off the shelf at random. It looked like there was something still on the shelf, behind where the book had been. I put the book down on a table and knelt down on the scratchy carpet, squinting into the dark, dusty space. I still couldn't see what it was. Reaching in, I felt around. My fingers brushed against cold, smooth metal. I pulled out it out-a ring, made out of a silvery-looking metal, with a shape I couldn't quite identify engraved on top. Even in the dim, crappy library lights, the ring shone.
The ring was too big for my pinky. My ring finger I skipped out of superstition. But on my middle finger, it fit perfectly. And that doesn't happen a lot-like the rest of me, my hands are...diminutive.
Suddenly, the ring grew hot, the way water gets hot when you're in the shower and somebody flushes the toilet. I gasped in pain, trying to pull the ring off, but it now seemed adhered to my finger. The ring burned hotter and hotter, and soon the pain wasn't as bad as the sight and sound and smell of sizzling flesh. And then, suddenly as it began, it stopped.
The ring was cold again. I slipped it off my finger. There wasn't the slightest trace of a burn, as it if had never happened. Weird.
Then the ring glowed bright, blinding white. I heard a vaguely familiar voice-although I knew I was alone, it sounded like a whisper in my ear. "A touch," it said, "of destiny."
Everything went dark. I think I fainted from weirdness overload.