Pirates of the Caribbean: Bloody Water
Disclaimer: Anything POTC does not belong to me. I'm just borrowing it for a little while…. I swear I'll give it back.
AN: This is the final chapter! Thanks to everyone who reviewed during the course of the story! Hope you enjoyed it.
Chapter 34: Leaving You Behind
Cecily O'Connor's fleet sailed into the Dominican harbor, towing eight Navy ships in their wake, their battle less than a day behind them. The ships pulled up alongside the docks and dropped their anchors, bringing their final journey together to a close. Once every anchor had been dropped, the pirate ships began unloading their prisoners and escorting them to the brigs of the eight Navy ships. Their orders were to lock up the rest of the prisoners and help themselves to whatever cargo the Navy ships still held. Cecily was supervising the transfer of prisoners from her spot on the deck of the Sunrise when, to her surprise, there was a great splash, and the Flying Dutchman appeared beside the Black Pearl.
Her surprise only grew when she saw the ship's crewmen – now free of their fish-like appearance – escorting several Navy men down the gangplank. Frowning, she made her way to the supernatural ship. Its new captain was already coming down the gangplank, and Cecily met with Will Turner on the docks. "Captain Turner," she said with a small grin, showing him a tad more respect than he was accustomed to. "Imagine me surprise to be seein' ye here."
He smiled, and nodded at her. "I'm simply abiding by your orders, Commodore. I'm returning these men to their respective brigs, just as ye wished."
Cecily stood there, still grinning slightly, and gave Turner a once over. His shirt was open just enough to show off a long jagged scar that she doubted had been there before, and his hair was down around his shoulders, tied back from his face with a bandana. He carried Davy Jones' chest under his arm. "Captainship suits ye, Turner," she murmured.
"Thank you, Commodore."
She looked down to the dock momentarily and then back up at him. "Well, I suppose ye saved me neck back there," she announced. "And while I know ye certainly didn't do what ye did to help me, I figure I ought to thank ye anyway."
"You're welcome," he replied, smiling again. "And thank you, for helping me."
She nodded. Will looked off in the direction of the Pearl. "Well, Commodore O'Connor," he said. "If you'll excuse me, I only have a limited amount of daylight left, and then I'll be confined to the sea for ten years. I'd like to visit my wife."
Her grin widened. "O' course, Captain Turner. The last thing I'd do is stand in yer way. Have fun."
He smiled, and strode away. As he walked towards the Pearl, Elizabeth Turner happened to come out on deck and see her husband approaching the black-sailed ship. A huge, ecstatic grin spread across her face, and she rushed down the gangplank into Will's waiting arms.
Cecily supposed that was adorable, but she had more important things to do than watch the newlyweds spend their last night together. Will and Elizabeth disappeared in the general direction of the beach, and Cecily made her way over to the Pearl.
However, on the other side of the Pearl was the Empress, and before she could board the first ship, Sao Feng marched down his gangplank and walked purposefully towards her. Cecily stopped where she stood, smiled for the pirate lord, and waited for him to reach her.
"Aye, Sao Feng?" she asked as he halted before her. "What can I do ye fer?"
"I desire reassurance," he returned.
"Reassurance o' what?" she replied. "That Captain Barbossa will lead ye to yer li'l sea goddess? Don't ye fret now, darling, I intend to see to it that he does."
He gave a short, soundless, mirthless laugh. "And you can promise me that he will indeed take me to Calypso? That he won't lead me off somewhere else?"
"Well, I can promise ye that if he does he'll have me to answer to, as well as yerself," Cecily said.
Sao Feng gave her a distrustful look. "If I find anyone other than Calypso waiting for me at the end of my journey, you may expect to see me again," he warned her.
"I'm sure I will," Cecily smirked. "Now, I suggest that ye head back aboard yer ship and hustle yer prisoners off. I believe Captain Barbossa will want to leave very shortly. Ye best prepare to sail."
He gave her a curt nod, and headed back to his vessel. Before stepping on the gangplank, he paused and gave her a final, threatening look. Cecily responded with her usual cheeky grin. Sao Feng turned from her, and boarded the Empress.
She was about to march up the gangplank of the Pearl, but her route was cut off when Pintel and Righetti came scrambling down, escorting the last of the Pearl's prisoners. They were laughing in their usual dim-witted manner and making fun of the Navy soldiers. As they scurried down the docks towards one of the eight hostage Navy ships, Cecily turned to find Captain Sparrow standing at the top of the gangplank, watching his crewmen escort the prisoners away. "Captain Sparrow!" she called up to him.
He jumped slightly, looked down at her with the face of someone who'd just caught a whiff of an unpleasant smell, and glanced every which way before his eyes finally alighted on her face. A smile formed on his lips that, when paired with his usual maniacal eyes, was rather unnerving. "Commodore O'Connor!" he called back. "To what do I owe the pleasure of yer… presence?"
Cecily smirked. "I'd like to have a word with ye in me office regardin' yer prisoners, Captain Sparrow!" she announced. "Why don't ye head on over, and I'll meet ye in there?"
Was it her imagination, she wondered, or did Jack Sparrow suddenly seem uneasy? "Why ever would ye need me to walk all the way over to yer ship when ye can have that word with me right here, right this moment?"
"Because, Captain Sparrow," she drawled without missing a beat. "I have other very important things to tend to, and this way is just easier fer me. I suggest that ye do what I ask o' ye. Please?"
The please was clearly a formality. Anyone could tell she expected her orders to be immediately complied with, no questions asked, even with that cheeky smile on her face. He didn't appear to like it, but Jack smiled back at her – rather insincerely if truth be told – and began walking down the gangplank.
"As ye wish, Commodore," he said with an exaggerated show of courtesy, touching the brim of his hat as he passed her. Then he sashayed down the docks toward the Bloody Sunrise.
Cecily watched him carefully as he walked away. He strode up her gangplank, gave Marjorie a bow as he passed her, and then swaggered through her office door.
She spared a glance up at the Pearl. Captain Barbossa had suddenly appeared on deck and was staring down at her. Their eyes met in perfect understanding. They shared their stare for only a moment. Slowly, Cecily's cheeky grin returned, and she winked at Barbossa. He touched the brim of his hat, and smiled rather nastily. Then he turned from her and began yelling orders to the crew of the Pearl. Cecily's grin faded, and she walked at a dawdling pace back to the Sunrise. For some reason, she had a very strange feeling in the pit of her stomach that she couldn't quite name. Ignoring it, she marched up her gangplank and strode inside her office.
When she entered the room, she found Jack sitting in her chair, his feet up on the desk, picking trinkets up off her desktop and turning them around in his hands, examining them. Cecily felt rather taken aback to find him sitting in a manner that she often sat in herself. Giving her head a small shake, she pushed the unsettled feelings to the back of her mind and sauntered towards the desk, taking a seat in the chair she usually gave to guests. She saw no need to lecture Sparrow about where he was supposed to sit. This was going to be humiliating enough for the man.
As she sat down, he looked up at her, gave her that crazy-eyed insincere smile he usually gave people, and set the trinket he was currently holding down on the desktop in the exact place he'd taken it from. "Ye wished to see me, Commodore?" he drawled, clearly still annoyed that she'd pulled him from his ship and forced him to come to hers.
She smirked at him. "Aye, that I did," she replied. "I wish to discuss with ye the nature in which yer prisoners were treated."
"Am I being reprimanded or rewarded?" he asked, smirking back.
"Reprimanded, I'm afraid."
Captain Sparrow picked up yet another trinket from the desktop and turned it around in his hands, examining it much like he had the trinket's neighbors before it. "I see," he murmured lazily. "And why is Captain Barbossa not here, sharing in the reprimand? I can assure ye, he is equally, if not more guilty, of whatever mistreatment ye believe our prisoners to have suffered."
"Everything in its due time," she returned. "I asked to see ye specifically because I'm sure yer co-captain was more responsible fer said mistreatment."
"Ah," he exclaimed, setting down the trinket, his eyes lighting up. "So ye wish me to… play the informant."
"We understand each other," she smiled.
Jack Sparrow leaned back in his chair, his hand resting on his heart, and affected the appearance of an appalled man. "Well, Commodore O'Connor," he began, his voice filled with insincere sorrow. "What I saw on board the Black Pearl was… truly terrible indeed. I assure ye, most adamantly, that I most certainly did not partake in the many atrocities practiced upon the young Navy soldiers by Captain Barbossa and a select few of his crewmen. And, believe me, when I say many, I do mean many, and when I say atrocities, well… I do mean atrocities. Captain Barbossa and his men performed many an appalling deed that brought tears even to my horribly experienced eyes."
Cecily carefully concealed the smirk she could feel forming on her face. Sparrow was certainly laying it on thick. "It sounds terrible," she murmured. "I would be much obliged if ye would list the exact atrocities, as ye call them, that Captain Barbossa performed upon yer prisoners."
"I would gladly do that," he replied, swinging his feet down off the desk and standing. His large honey brown eyes bored into her vivid green ones. "However, first I feel I must ask, exactly why it is that ye give a damn exactly how poorly the Navy men were treated. Seems to me, that the treatment of Navy soldiers would be yer last worry."
She refused to rise to the bait, only smiling in a benign manner. "I have enough crimes to me name without adding 'mistreatment o' prisoners during wartimes,' to the list."
Jack smirked at her. "From one pirate to another pirate, I personally can't see why ye'd be concerned with additional crimes bein' accredited to yer name. Perhaps the reason ye seem so concerned about the treatment of prisoners is the same reason ye showed such mercy on the battlefield – er, sea, or whatever it is ye want to call it. Perhaps the reason ye are so concerned is because of a certain Navy commodore, and his bestest friend in the whole wide world, a certain Navy captain. Perhaps," Here, he came around the corner of her desk and leaned down into her face. Cecily crinkled her nose at the stench of his breath. "The reason ye care about the treatment of our prisoners is that ye hope to help Commodore Norrington and Captain Matthews regain their positions in the King's Royal Navy. Could that possibly be the reason, Commodore O'Connor?"
Cecily grinned cheekily and shrugged, decidedly unashamed. "I see no reason to burn bridges, Captain Sparrow," she replied.
He smirked again, standing back up straight. "I see," he drawled. "Forging alliances where necessary." Jack strode away from her. He opened his mouth to speak again, but suddenly froze in the center of the room, staring out the window. Cecily glanced over her shoulder to watch him. She slowly raised an eyebrow at his shocked and frozen posture. Suddenly, he took several very quick steps towards the window, grabbing the sill in both hands, and looked intently out at the sea, his eyes forlorn.
"Something the matter, Captain Sparrow?" she asked, knowing full well what the answer would be.
Jack's head snapped to the side, his gaze traveling from the window to her face. His eyes widened in that crazy manner, but this time there was no smile to accompany them. There was something much more upsetting in his face.
Cecily didn't let his stricken expression throw her. "Ye look pale," she observed.
Captain Sparrow turned quite suddenly from the window, stalked across the office, and threw open the office door, storming out on deck.
For a moment, Cecily remained in her seat, examining one of her hands. She swallowed. There was an odd feeling of guilt welling up inside of her that she hadn't quite expected to feel. Her attempts to ignore it were futile. Finally, she stood, and left the office.
Upon reaching the deck, she saw the Black Pearl sailing away from the docks, side by side with the Empress. That was not the only sight to greet her, however; Captain Sparrow was at the side of her ship, preparing to drop one of her longboats into the water.
She approached the pirate captain cautiously. His mannerisms were rather wild and jerky. Cecily wasn't quite sure what to attribute his crazed movements to. "Why, Captain Sparrow, what's this I see?" she spoke up. "Are ye stealin' one o' me longboats?"
"Of course I am," he returned, still preoccupied with his work. "Can ye really expect me not to, luv, after that stunt ye just pulled? I think ye owe me at the very least a longboat."
"Whatever do ye mean?" Cecily asked him, affecting innocence.
He stopped what he was doing, stood up straight, and smirked at the pirate woman in front of him. "Ye were distracting me, m'dear, so that my lovely fellow captain could commandeer me ship right out from under me nose. Ye help Barbossa steal me ship, I take yer longboat. Fair's fair, would ye not agree?"
Cecily acted shocked. "I would never do such a thing!"
"No? Wouldn't ye? I find that extremely difficult to believe under the circumstances. Is that not Sao Feng's ship, the Empress, sailing off alongside my Pearl? Let me guess: ye give Barbossa me ship, he takes care of yer Sao Feng problem. Can't say I really blame ye, luv; ye were in a tight spot there, I suppose."
Jack returned to preparing the longboat. "Don't ye complain to me about a missin' longboat," he continued. "I think I deserve it. Ye accept the consequences when ye turn thief, dearie."
"I beg yer pardon, darling," Cecily couldn't help but reply. "But even if I were to have done what ye claim I did – which I did not – then I still couldn't be called a thief, seein' as I wasn't actually the one who stole yer ship."
"Ah, yes, I see yer point," he said, looking up at her to deliver a smirk. "My, my, luv, from pirate Commodore to common accomplice. How the mighty do fall."
He let his words sink in, bending back over the longboat. Cecily was rather taken aback by his reply. She hadn't expected that out of him. As she watched him ready the longboat a moment longer – the work was a little too much for a single man – she began to question her earlier perceptions about him. Perhaps she had underestimated the other pirate captain. However, as unsettled as she was, she let another cheeky grin cross her face. "A word o' advice, Captain Sparrow," she announced. "If ye're goin' to take one o' me longboats, I suggest ye take the one o'er there." Saying this, she gestured over to the longboat beside the one Jack had chosen. He looked up and followed her finger with his gaze. "The one ye've settled on leaks," she smirked.
He smirked back at her. Then Cecily turned from him and walked away, crossing the deck to the gangplank. The unsettled feeling stayed with her as she left. She was certain now that she had underestimated Jack Sparrow – and something told her she would meet him again one day.
As she strode down the plank to the docks, she encountered the very person she'd been going to see: Commodore Norrington.
Norrington looked surprised to see her, too. Cecily supposed he'd been on his way to visit her much like she'd been on her way to see him. She stopped on the docks, staring up at him, and he stared back at her. "Um… Cecily," he murmured. "I just wanted to make sure the situation concerning the prisoners and such is, uh… taken care of. I mean, I wanted to make sure that everything was clear. I mean, I just wanted to…"
Cecily smiled at him. "I understand," she interrupted his ramble. "I was comin' to see ye fer that very same reason. All the prisoners have been returned to their ships – albeit, they've been locked in their brigs. I'll let ye and Matthews decide what to do with them now."
He nodded. "I plan to send for additional Navy forces once you and your fellow pirates leave port," he explained. "Then I suppose I will have to convince my superiors that I did what I did for the good of the Crown."
Cecily smirked. "Good luck with that."
He laughed slightly. "I think I can manage it."
Her smirk grew into a genuine smile. James was, as always, surprised to see the grin. "I know ye can," she replied.
James smiled as well, bowing his head. The two of them stood before one another, an awkwardness settling over them. "Well, then," Cecily said finally. "I suppose that's that. I'll be disbandin' the fleet now, and goin' on me way."
He nodded. The two of them were quiet again for another moment, and then James looked up at her with a rather rueful smile. "I suppose I won't ever be seeing you again," he murmured.
A cheeky grin spread across her face. "I wouldn't say never," she replied.
The two of them smiled at one another for a moment, and then Cecily gave him a nod. "Good bye, James," she said, turning from him.
James caught her arm as she walked away and pulled her back towards him. She looked up at him, seeing his intention in his eyes. "I'm not a 'kiss good bye' type o' girl, James," she announced.
He smirked. "Then you slept with the wrong man," he returned.
Cecily raised an eyebrow, a grin spreading across her face again. James cupped her cheek in his hand and kissed her on the lips. She kissed him back. It lasted only a moment, but neither party could say they didn't enjoy it.
They pulled away from one another, and Cecily gave him another smile and nod. "Good luck, James," she said.
"And to you," he replied.
Cecily turned from him and walked back up her gangplank. James watched her go, and then, once she had disappeared from view, turned back in the direction he came from and returned to the Dauntless.
All over the harbor, good-byes were being said. Commodore Norrington and Captain Matthews remained in port, keeping guard over the eight Navy ships filled with hostages. At sunset, Will Turner left the chest containing his heart in the possession of his wife, Elizabeth, and returned to the Flying Dutchman. The Black Pearl and the Empress continued their voyage together to find Calypso. Jack Sparrow made his way out of the Dominica harbor in the borrowed longboat from Cecily O'Connor's ship, already hatching plans to regain his beloved ship. The many pirate captains who had congregated to fight the battle against Lord Beckett waited only until the fleet had been officially disbanded, and then they sailed out of the Dominica harbor, fanning out in all directions, and returned to their lives of pillaging, plundering, and (in the case of Jim Sauder) smuggling. The Bloody Sunrise also set sail from the harbor, the last to leave. The crew and captain of the red-sailed ship didn't know where they were going or what new adventure was waiting for them, but they knew they were prepared to face anything. Captain Cecily O'Connor knew that no matter what, she had the map that Tia Dalma had given her, and she had the most loyal pirate crew in the Caribbean to go with it. No matter what new adventures were in store for her and her Bloody Sunrise, she was ready for them. After all, she was no stranger to hardship; she would take her chances, and embrace their next voyage.