Night had fallen, long gone was the safety of the sun which protected Nicolette from the truth and in its place rose the moon who's light showed what she truly was. Like always, she was seeing out the night in the cabin she shared, regretfully, with Hector.
Seeing Jack, though she hated to admit it, had took her back to that night which felt so far away. Since dusk, when she had poured a cup of wine and rejoiced in the silence of the cabin when the memories started to creep back, some tainted with lies fed to her amongst the last decade, others flawless and untouched. If she closed her eyes, Nicolette could taste the rum and the sweet Spanish wine and the salt in the air as she caught her breath on that one unforgettable night.
Then, her beloved Captain had retired and joined her. As he had sunk into the kingly seat behind the ebony desk, she had Perched on the end of their marital bed, scowling.
How could the last ten years feel so painfully long but fleeting at the same time? If Nicolette tried, she could close her eyes and picture perfectly, the scene of how they had been just months after Jack's departure. She would be draped on the bed, young in her twenties her skin had practically glowed and her hair had been long and tangle free, flowing down her back like a paradise waterfall. She was barely ever tired, always fuelled by adventure, and there were very few times she had not smiled. Even through the taunting, the vile tricks the crew put her through, the surrounding calm oceans always allowed her to keep smiling.
Her husband had also been a vision of enthusiasm. He lived through the seas. More often the not, Hector returned to their cabin after a good day and they drank and laughed… It had taken time to forget about the man who they had now damned…again… But the freedom of adventure allowed her to slowly forget. Before the curse, she would go as far as to say she had been happy. Hector had managed to give her something she had always wanted, overnight, and she valued that.
But now, Hector was cruel more often that he was loving. The mere reminder that he could not feel her warmth against his skin enraged him so much that time he could not even bare to look at her. The space in the bed next to her, once occupied by his beating heart was empty and his eyes were dull.
It was odd, how one could go through years learning to love someone and succeeding, only to have it slip away. How long had it been? Months? Years perhaps? When exactly had she stopped? And when was it time to stop pretending?
Nicolette was lost in her memories now, her mind jumping back and forth from good times to others she prayed to forget. But they remained, tainting the remanence of the girl she once was. In one she could remember being held by Hector and missing the earth when he moved away, then in another she recalled the sickly goosebumps crawling over her skins as his hands roamed where only one others had.
She had hated him, but she had also loved him for a long time. Now… Now when Nicolette looked at the man she once called Love, she prayed to all the gods in existence to be released from this curse so she could be free of him.
"We can't be far now." Barbossa's husky murmur pulled Nicolette from her thoughts, when her eyes trailed to him she saw him hunched over the maps, tensed.
"You think we can trust the boy?" Nikki rose a brow and stood, taking slow steps until she was at his side. "It is Jack's word at the end of the day." Ever since that man had first opened his mouth in the caves she had known he was up to something and now like dancing monkeys they were trusting his word…mainly because it was the only word they had but still, it was not to be taken without precaution.
Barbossa stilled and tilted his head to her just enough to spy her out of one eye. "And here was me thinking you were a one for believing Sparrow's words." As she scoffed, Nicolette turned on her heel and rolled her eyes, but he continued. "The boys stupid, and he ain't lying."
"He could be." She muttered, going back to her spot on the bed. "Stupid boys do anything for a girl when they're in love." He knew what she was referring to and started to chuckle lightly but Nikki simply watched the sway of the flamed by her bed side. "He could have said it to spare her."
"Either way, we will know for certain before the new day." Just then they heard the calls from the crows nest letting them of land in sight. With a level of grace sometimes surprising for a pirate, especially of his age, Barbossa stood and gathered his hat and coat before barking at her. "Go and get the young Mr Turner."
She stayed back for a moment and it wasn't until the door slammed closed after him she muttered, "Aye Captain."
Down in the brig, things weren't much brighter among the hoard of pirates which had been stuffed into the stalls cells available. Pintel and Ragetti, so to not get in the way of Nicolette, and to make sure none of Jack's crew attempted an idiotic getaway, had been tested to swap the ever damp rotting flor boards as a crowd of eyes watched them.
"Awwk, shiver me timbers."
"Cotton 'ere says you missed a bit." In return for Gibbs dig, Pintel hit the wet head of the mop against the bars causing stray drops of stale dirty water over the many heads. Most of them groaned at the sensation, but William Turner who was being held separately, stayed worryingly still, hanging off the bars as if they were keeping him upright.
"You knew William Turner?" The words were so sudden it caused almost every man in the brig to stop, eyes all turning to him.
Pintel took a second to ponder if it was smart to answer or not and then nodded. "Ol' Bootstrap Bill. We knew him. Never sat well with Bootstrap what we did to Jack Sparrow, the mutiny and all. He said it wasn't right with the Code."
"Stupid blighter." Ragetti chimed in.
Gibbs however, had a different opinion. "Good man." Will looked to the older man for a second and then back to the two pirates.
"The only one of us he felt bad for was Mrs Barbossa." Ragetti huffed. "Made out like she was our prisoner he did, like she were better than the rest of us. She were like a daughter to him.
Upon hearing this new piece of information, Will's eyes widened and his hands wrapped around the bars tighter. "The Captains wife?" That cold woman, the one who who he had seen stare at Elizabeth in such a dark, hard way…she had been like a daughter to his estranged father, a man who had acted as if he never even had a son.
"Aye." Pintel answered, the harness evident in his tone. "Bootstraps didn't even want her married to the Captain, tried to protest he did. Said it went against her basic human rights. But Barbossa didn't listen, course, he made your father give her away." The last part was said with a grin as he stared at Will and the giggle Ragetti have from beside him caused them all to shiver.
"Was a lovely wedding."
"Bootstraps forgave her for the mutiny of course." As the story crept on, Pintel's mopping got more vigorous. "Even after what she did to Sparrow."
There was a pause, during which Will looked to Jack's crew and the man who had told him Jack's brief story just a few nights ago. There had been no mention of a woman, just Barbossa and Will could see the confusion in Gibbs eyes.
"To Jack? What did the lass do to Jack?" Gibbs asked, slowly, as he he did not really care on knowing the answer to his own question.
As a dark chuckle began to boil up from Pintel's swollen belly, Will started to wish the same. "The night before we dropped Jack on that Island, the Captain gave the lass a choice, that was back when she was Nikki Barker."
"Sparrow's wench." Ragetti squeaked.
"He said she could help take down Sparrow or join him. It surprised the whole crew when she choose to go against Jack Sparrow." With every new piece of the past revealed, Will found himself growing more curious of it. He couldn't imagine turning against the woman he lived just to survive, it was weak, it was cowardly. But, it was pirate. "So, after sunset, she went to Sparrow's cabin. She got him in a vulnerable state if you get what I'm saying…"
"And Jack fell for that?" Will ground but at the same time, Gibbs knowingly rolled his eyes at Jack's obvious weakness.
Ragetti, suddenly looking sleeping, grinned. "It wasn't a situation out the normal for them." He looked much like a small boy, giggling and spluttering. "Lovers they were."
Gibbs, upon hearing this, narrowed his eyes at the pair and lowered his voice. "And Barbossa was jealous? It was jealousy which caused the mutiny against Jack."
A silence followed which no one was expecting. Pinter and Ragetti stilled, both looking to Gibbs before turning to each other, the grins wiped from their face and both without an answer. Will was not sure what to think of the situation, he couldn't understand why his father had held such seemingly paternal love for such an evil woman, or what had made her turn against Jack or what on Earth made her worth mutineering a Captain.
"Ol' Bootstraps never forgive us though." Pinter started again slowly and turned to Will. "That's why he sent off a piece of the treasure to you as it were. He said we deserved to be cursed… and remain cursed. He never even wished to spare the girl. And well, as you can imagine, that didn't sit too well with the Captain."
"That didn't sit too well with the Captain, at all. Tell him what Barbossa did."
"I'm telling the story!" Pintel growled, slapping his mate with the mop and finally getting sick of his constant butting it. "So…what the Captain did, he strapped a cannon to Bootstraps' bootstraps."
Pinter grinned, even through the side eye aimed at Ragetti. "He made Mrs Barbossa watch, just like he made her watch Captain Sparrow. The last we saw of ol' Bill Turner, he was sinking to the crushing black oblivion of Davy Jones' Locker." Suddenly, the mood seemed to lift and Pintel's face became questionably brighter. "'Course it was only after that we learned we needed his blood to lift the curse.
"That's what you call ironic."
Almost as soon as Ragetti shut his mouth, and as if their story had summoned the devil herself, the door to the brig slammed open sending a single cast of light into the gloomy lower deck and Nicolette appeared on the upper steps.
She looked down, expression as hard as before, and eyed the crew before turning to the boy and then the pair of idiots. They had been gossiping, she could tell by the pathetic creepy smiles on their faces as they looked up at her in fake admiration.
Nicolette rolled her eyes, holding back a groan and then threw the keys down to Ragetti. "Bring him!"
After she left them to bring the boy, she marched straight to the row boats and took a seat, waiting restlessly. She wanted this over with, she wanted to be free. If it weren't strange she would have dove in and Swan to the Shore by now. But no, she had to wait until the crew climbed in as slow as they could and they were lowered.
They were half way across the shallow waters by the time the boy opened his mouth, breaking her anxious thoughts.
"You knew my father." The boys words were spoken as an accusation, rather than as a question.
He had been staring at her, with quite the amount of rage, for the past ten minutes since they had forced him to sit opposite her in the longboat. Originally, Nicolette had believed Will had merely felt a little riled due to the fact his life was to end soon, she never once thought it was due to her connections with William Turner.
"Aye." She replied, choosing to focus on the man rowing rather than the boy. "I did."
"You were close." Again, he wasn't asking.
Nicolette glared towards Pintel and Ragetti, the awe inspiring duo, then groaned as each of them bashfully looked away, whistling.
"Some might say." When she finally looked at Will, Nikki once again noticed the uncanny resemblance he held to ol' Bootstrap. It wasn't that surprising, they were of course related, but it was…uncomfortable. Every time the boy watched her with those brown eyes, she saw an older pair looking up at her as they sank beneath the murky waves. "What's it to you?"
A moment passed and the only sound was the oars sweeping through the calm waters. Then, the boy frowned. "You betrayed him."
Had she? That wasn't the tale as she recalled. If her memory served her right, it was Bootstrap who betrayed her. In the dark nights, he whispered about how everything would be alright, how they were going to find the treasure and she would be free. He nursed the bruises Barbossa had inflicted and convicted her to go back to her husbands bed with soft words, each time he found her hiding at the bow of the ship. He had been Nicolette's one ally, her one pillar of strength, and then he had left her. Bill Turner had condemned her to a life of hell, with Hector; with that this crew.
So she wished silently, do tell Will Turner, how did I betray your father?
"Is that what they told you?" Nikki smirked, nodding towards the pair of idiots sat behind them. Will didn't answer her, not with words or a gesture, and instead simply gazed at his feet. Her expression, the way her lips coiled upwards into a grin like a sleeping snake, it scared him. "I knew your father better than you did, better than you ever will. So I can tell you, with great certainty, that he was the one who betrayed us."