…Pirates of the Craribbean does not belong to me and I don't profit from writing this story...
AN: First and foremost: This is fiction. It may, or may not, be related to some historical facts or knowledge. It's all made up anyway. Everything except Jack Sparrow! He's real, they just removed him from History books to make him more mysterious!
Pirates of the Caribbean: On Unknown Waters of Truth and Past
BETA by Gina Tsukiko
"All the world 's a stage, and all the men and women merely players. They have their exits and their entrances; And one man in his time plays many parts."
No person likes to fail; even knowing that there are things we can't predict or avoid. Things we have no say about. Things that just happen and spoil our plans, it doesn't make the failure any less painful.
So, the storm wasn't and couldn't by any means be Norrington's fault. There was no way to avoid it, there was no way to save the vessel. The ship was too small and the storm too vicious. It wasn't even his ship and he wasn't a captain on this particular voyage. It just so happened that he had been in Singapore when they heard about a pirate ship lurking further to the north. Since the sails of the ship were said to be crimson, "like painted in blood" sailors claimed, (instead of black) the Commodore decided to sit through this one. He had sent Lieut. Groves on a reconnaissance only to accept the invitation for a harmless trip to Christmas Island from the noble dr. Joseph Stewart. The man was very keen on seeing the Island and Norrington didn't mind being his tour guide. The prospect of spending time with a person whose famous discoveries did so much for medicine and science was actually very appealing.
Yes, James wanted to befriend the brilliant individual. They had spent hours discussing politics and literature. That was until the terrible storm broke out and wiped their ship away. It was a stroke of luck really that James managed to save Dr. Stewart from the sinking vessel.
It was not an easy task to pull the unconscious man onto the floating piece of wooden door, but nothing James couldn't handle.
It was afternoon. The sky was clear and the sun scorching. There was no sign of the storm ever occurring except for the two survivors drifting peacefully on the traitorous waters. The sky was clear and the sun scorching. Hours seemed like days. The boredom was irksome, the thirst was unbearable. Knowing their location wasn't very comforting either. The only ships they would possibly meet, were those very few heading for Christmas or Coconut Islands, they were so isolated. It could take many days or even weeks before they would be found.
Of course. The first relatively peaceful afternoon and here you have it. Another troublesome thing. Jack sighed and put his hat on. He needed his tricorne to look more like a Captain.
"Drag 'em out."
Since from the helm he had a great view of everything Jack didn't bother to go down to the main deck. The castaway was probably dead anyway. But then he saw the flash of royal blue… Well, he already had two idiots from Norrington's division in his crew, Gibbs and even the Commodore himself at one point, so maybe this could be another convert, who knows. And the guy wasn't by any means dead. He was very much alive and extraordinarily rude fussing over the carcass he had dared to bring on board. Jack was instantly charmed.
Norrington couldn't believe it. Out of all the ships in the world he had to come upon the Pearl! It was crazy. It had to be some kind of conspiracy! It was impossible for this to happen for no reason!
But he didn't have a choice now. He had an unconscious Dr. Stewart in his care and just couldn't let him die. But just the mere thought of spending any length of time around Sparrow made his blood boil! He glanced up to the helm and glared daggers at the proud figure handling the wheel. The man looked ridiculous, like an idealized picture of some sort of a pirate hero, or something as ridiculous as that. Sparrow stood out among the rest of the pirates like a sore thumb with his flamboyant personality. He was like a caricature. Like some spoiled brat merely playing a pirate. Nothing and no one could ever be even half as infuriating as that man was without even trying.
"Captain!" Gibbs sounded helpless so Jack took pity on him and gracefully strode down to the commotion.
"Jack Sparrow!" The words were spat with disgust straight into his face. From the lips that had nothing but insults ever since Jack laid his hungry eyes on them.
"So, the prodigal son is back… It's 'Captain' to you my dear." Jack corrected him with a smile and glanced down at the body still lying by their feet.
"I did not come back, Captain Sparrow! I'm a castaway!"
"Sorry, Commodore, but you can't bring a dead body onto the ship!"
"He is not dead, Mr. Gibbs! He requires medical attention!"
Norrington didn't look at Sparrow anymore but he was very much aware of the man's presence. When Gibbs called his Captain over, James didn't even have to turn to know that the man walked up to them with that stupid spring in his step, and now he knew that the man was smiling. Filthy drunkard!
"Mr. Gibbs is right. We don't have a medico on board of my precious Pearl, so the man is as good as dead anyway."
Norrington's fists were squeezed so tight that they were probably on the verge of bleeding.
"I refuse to let you get rid of this great man! If you want to toss him overboard then you will have to throw me away with him!"
Sparrow's coal lined eyes sized him up but when they locked with Norrington's, the Commodore couldn't help but take a step back.
"Fine, have it your way. Mr. Gibbs, throw them both away!"
"I beg your pardon? How dare you! Do you have any idea who that unconscious man is?"
The pirate made a point to look as if he were thinking.
"Let me guess then, my dear Commodore. Since you're so worried about him maybe he's your precious lover, a saint patient enough to be able to stand your bitching for longer than the rest of us?"
If anger could cause a person to explode it would happen now. He was tired and angry even before meeting the bane of his existence. Now, he was ready to kill. His body moved on its own, taking a swing. The pirate dodged the Commodore's sluggish movements, taking advantage of the man's exhaustion. A few more swings and Sparrow simply tripped on nothing and fell. Norrington wanted to laugh but didn't make it. He didn't even know what hit him but it knocked the wind out of his tired body. Was that a boom?
His fall though, was surprisingly painless.
"Well, Commodore, in my wildest dreams I haven't foreseen you throwing yourself at me…"
Hearty laughs roared all around the deck but a loud slap made them all die down instantly. Even Cotton's insolent parrot didn't dare to open its bill. Norrington was sitting on Jack's stomach, feeling how strong and taut it was. He blushed at the realization and stood up quickly. His hand still stung from slapping the pirate's ugly mug… Well, ok, maybe Jack wasn't as ugly as most pirates, but it only angered James more. Why couldn't the man just be normal? At least about this one simple thing! It would make things so much easier if he were ugly…
"Now, that certainly wasn't a part of my dreams either."
"You deserved it!"
"Really, luv? I don't recall telling you that I loved you only to flee with your jewellery and money…"
"You're disgusting! Is that the reason why those women in Tortuga do that to you all the time?"
Jack shrugged. "Maybe..."
"You know, Commodore, each man calls barbarism what is not his own practise. For indeed it seems we have no other test of truth and reason than the example and pattern of the opinions and customs of the country we live in."
"Then it's hard to believe that you've lived in a Kingdom, Captain!"
"And you, Commodore, shouldn't forget that even on the most exalted throne in the world we are only sitting on our own bottom!"
Norrington couldn't help but snort at that. "Right, I guess it's those women's own fault if they trust you again and again, despite that you lie to them all the time."
Jack held out his hand, and with an enchanting smile tried to encourage James to grab it and help him up. The man scowled. It seemed that he would try to be stubborn, but surprisingly he did help the pirate to get back onto his feet.
"It's not a matter of trust, Commodore. It's simply my charm." Jack's face was closer than necessary and James felt the urge to slap him again.
"A charm? Finding Cities of Gold and the Fountain of Youth is more probable than finding even the slightest trace of charm in a lousy pirate like yourself!"
A step back, and another, but Jack's face was still as close as before.
"Do you really still think I'm a lousy pirate, Commodore? I thought I've proved myself already."
Norrington's heart sped up and almost burst out of his chest when his back met the hard wooden surface of the forecastle.
"You're the most boorish person I have ever met!"
"It's because I have seen too many people uncivil by too much civility, and tiresome in their courtesy."
The pirate's pitch black eyes were captivating, making it impossible to look away. The most infuriating thing about the man was the way he was able to manipulate people; manipulate James. Had it been Hector Barbossa in Sparrow's place Norrington would never even think about slapping his face like some weak damsel. He would use his fist or a sabre, and he would certainly not take even one step back! But this... this cheap, grotesque imitation of a pirate never failed in making him feel weak and hopeless; made him do things he couldn't understand or explain. Unthinkable things, like letting the man go... He wanted to see Jack Sparrow on the gallows but somehow couldn't bring himself to drag him there. This manipulative bastard played them all like a puppet master.
Hands rested on the front of Jack shirt, fisting the fabric, trying to push the man away. Instead, the shirt gave in. The thin material shredded baring half of the very nicely toned caramel chest and an affrontingly dark nipple.
"Rrrrrrrrrrrrape!" Shrieked the parrot.
"Now, luv, I think we should leave that part for later..."
It was irritating how Jack seemed to be perfectly used to being slapped on the face. It took away half of the pleasure from slapping him at all.
"Take your hands off me, Sparrow!" No one had ever humiliated him like that! Ever! Not even when they threw him into the pigsty!
"I didn't even touch you, luv! You were the one to bare my chest." The truth of those words was like a bucket of cold water.
"Listen to me, Sparrow!"
"No, no, no. You're doing it all wrong, luv. It so happens, my dear Commodore, that you need our help. So, I think you should greet us with something akin to: My dear friends, I'm thrilled to be back at your side! We would take it better than the never ending insults, savvy? Besides, you must call me Captain!"
"Ok, Captain. I request your help in delivering that sick man to the nearest port!"
Norrington tried to focus on the essentials. He needed to save the doctor and it was all that mattered at the moment.
"But you are in no position to make requests. Surely, slapping me, tearing off my clothes and jumping me doesn't put you in this position just yet, Commodore! It merely makes you look like a woman so... we will treat you like one!"
"Aye!" Cheered the crew. "Deep-six him!"
"What?! Why?" To his own horror Norrington realized he had been trying to hide from the approaching men behind Jack's back.
"Well, Commodore, women on board bring bad luck!" Gibbs explained.
"Ok, mates, that's enough! Don't scare him." The men didn't look convinced by Jack's words. "He's our former crew man after all. He'll work for what he eats and we'll just drop him off in Bengal."
"WHAT?!" Norrington shrieked. "Why the hell would I go to Bengal?! Are you crazy?!"
Jack smiled and tossed a braid aside.
"Answer that yourself if you please, luv. Our first stop is in Bengal, but of course, both you and your... friend, are free to leave any time. FULL SPEED AHEAD! No time to waste."
And so, James found himself sitting cross legged at the deck, winding back spare halyards. He always hated to do that but with time he realized it was soothing his nerves and right now he really needed to calm down. So he sat there untangling the ropes and watched as the Captain went about his business. Norrington hoped to catch a glimpse of ... something; anything that could serve as a proof that the man knew nothing of being a Captain. Of course, that bastard didn't give him a chance. He knew he was being watched! But still, he was without fail his clumsy self. How was it possible that a person so... so impossibly gauche, could even survive for so long without a nanny.
Norrington didn't take his eyes off of the man. At one point Cotton missed the rope that was holding him up and would certainly have fallen and probably break his neck if not for Jack, who just in time staggered drunkenly and grabbed it to hold his balance. It was another thing that angered James to no end - Jack's luck.
He was like a walking joke, a living proof that God was really trying to make fun of humanity, mocking people with favouring an individual like Jack Sparrow. The man was an eyesore and a disgrace but still Fortune seemed to always stay on his side. Maybe Lady Luck and Fortune were just women, like Calipso? It wouldn't be surprising, really. After everything James had seen so far nothing could surprise him anymore. Or so he thought. Anyway if Fortune was a woman then Norrington already knew where Jack's 'luck' was coming from. Jack had his way with women. For some unfathomable reason they adored him, they loved everything about him, from the stupid smirk dancing on his lips, through his teasing voice, crazy bravado and delirious mind to the rest of the package that could only consist Jack.
Norrington frowned. Maybe Jack was the Devil?
Just then piercing black eyes met his for a moment. He shuddered and finally bowed his head over his work. He needed to be more discreet with the observing.
The sun was setting lazily over the horizon putting vivid warm colours on the sky. That was why James loved sailing; loved the sea. Only when you were in the middle of the Ocean, with no other vessels in sight and no land, only then you could feel it: tranquility.
But not this time, not with Jack Sparrow around. Somehow even the overwhelming magnificence of the force as great as the sea could do nothing against this man's incorrigible charisma. Because that was just it. Jack didn't really do or say anything. He just stood there at the helm and... well... just simply was. And that was enough to shatter the Commodore's balance completely and irrevocably. How was he supposed to think about himself in the middle of the endless Ocean knowing that Jack was standing up there?
Last time when he was a part of the Black Pearl's crew he drank a lot. He drank to forget, he drank to not think. He wasted many chances to kill Sparrow and he stopped pretending that he wanted to do it. At some point that hate and disgust he felt for the man transformed into some twisted form of absolutely misplaced awe, admiration and then jealousy. Yes, he envied Jack. He envied him that life was unfair and treated the pirate better than him, even though the scoundrel obviously didn't deserve it. He was a wicked liar and a thief! He always got into trouble and dragged everyone in with him only to later come out using them as stepping stones. And then things always made him come up as hero saving others any way. He was like a cat that not only always lands on his paws but also has nine lives to waste for foolish stunts.
James vaguely remembered one night from when he was on the pearl. There was a terrible storm that flushed three men off the deck in a blink of an eye. Gibbs was trying to chase away the bad luck with some ridiculous charms and Jack told them all to hide under the deck. When Norrington refused to hide like a coward Jack tripped him, pushed him down into the gun deck and closed the hatch. James sat there numb and uncaring, waiting for the vessel to go down. The water was slipping through and no one, not even great Captain Sparrow, could control such a big ship alone, so he believed they were doomed. When he finally emerged from the gun lock the clouds were gone and the ocean was calm and quiet. Nothing disturbed the silence, not even Jack. Hours later he saw Elisabeth. She was trying to hide the tears so James walked up to cheer her up. He was almost sure that meant that Jack is dead.
She laughed saying that it's not that easy to kill Captain Jack Sparrow.
So, Jack liked to risk his life. Or if he didn't, he still did it awfully often and always for this goddamn ship of his. James tried hard to learn why, but what was so special about the Pearl was beyond him. She was fast, yes, but aside from that it was just a ship.
"Did you get rid of the carcass yet?"
"With all due respect, Captain, doctor Stewart is not a carcass!"
"Alright, luv but we could really drop him off now, before the sunset. Dear Will should pick him up in no time."
"Will?... You mean... You're insufferable! Doctor Stewart is not going to die so we really don't have to 'catch' a Flying Dutchman! How can you be so crude?"
Jack smiled cheerfully showing his golden teeth. "Said the man who had thrown himself at me and ripped my clothes off."
"Oh please, Sparrow! Don't flatter yourself. Are the whores of Tortuga such an ego boost for you? Really?"
"So, you think that only whores can fall for my charm."
"What about our dear Lizzy?"
"How dare you? Miss Swan chose Will!"
"Ah, yes, she did in the end, didn't she?"
Now James was fighting back tears. Out of all the things he hated Jack for this was by far the worst. Because he had seen how Elizabeth was looking at Jack. He had seen her secretive smiles after talking to the infuriating Pirate and he envied him. Not because he wanted Elizabeth. Of course he wanted to marry her but it was always a choice of his head more than his heart. Still, seeing how the woman that he was supposed to marry was falling for a savage like Jack... it just hurt.
"I hate you, Sparrow."
He tightened his grip on the railing and tried to contain his anger.
"Easy, luv. I never wanted her or any other woman. I only needed her to find the chest."
God, how James wanted to punch him! Not slap, but really hit and make him hurt.
"Is it supposed to make me feel better that you didn't even care that you could have what I couldn't?"
"I'm just saying that I was never your rival... So I really don't understand why you hate me so much. I always wanted you to win Lizzy."
James snorted. The next words just came out of his mouth without much thought.
"Probably only because you wanted Will for yourself!" As soon as he heard what he said he realized how probable it was.
Something in his chest tightened and he found himself dreading the answer.
But Jack's face didn't change. If anything his smile even widened.
"Oh I did want Will, but not for myself, mind you! For the Pearl, aye. His father was a good pirate and a good man; a good friend too... Even though he betrayed me, gave me a black spot and brought the Kraken which eventually killed me... But who didn't betray good old Jack at least once, right?"
Jack continued not noticing the change in James' expression. It was hard to actually blame Sparrow for not caring about other people since all they ever did was trying to use him. Just like young Tuner and even Norrington himself, when he joined the crew only to find and steal Davy Jones' heart. Take what you need, give nothing back. That was pirate's life for Jack.
"I would take care of his kid. Young William was born to live in an open sea. He wouldn't be happy as a blacksmith in Port Royal."
"So you willingly gave up the Dutchman to save him from this terrible fate?"
For a moment Jack was looking into Norrington's eyes with an unreadable expression. It was always hard to read anything from Jack's eyes. He lied too much and joked too often. He probably only spoke truth by mistake, if ever. And that made James wonder for the very first time, who was that man really. A fool or maybe... a genius?
"No, I just thought about it, and decided that this kind of life wasn't really my thing, savvy? I would probably get bored pretty fast with all the duties and turned into a crab or a fish, like Jones."
Jack made a gesture with his fingers and a silly face, portraying the Dutchman's previous captain surprisingly well. Another surprise came when James heard his own soft chuckle. He didn't point out that Jones looked more like an octopus than a fish.
"Besides" Jack continued. "I would belong to the Dutchman and the greatest thing in the world is to know how to belong to oneself. Will already belonged to Lizzy. She will wait for him every ten years on the shore. I would probably only go to Tortuga for those rare days, so why wait ten years when I can go there as often as I please right now?"
James rolled his eyes, but somehow he wasn't disgusted by Jack's words. They amused him.
Jack was just fooling around again. He always did. But which part of what he was saying was a lie? Was any? Was all of it one big bull? Why did he save Will losing his own chance for immortality? Did he love Elizabeth after all and didn't want her to suffer from losing her loved one? Did he care for Will so deeply? Or maybe he was somehow forced to help the boy? Like he had been forced to 'heroically' die in Kraken's terrifying mouth? Jack was such a mystery. Trying to solve it only made James' head hurt.