Disclaimer: I own this story idea, the characters and objects not shown in the movies, and the personality of William Turner III. Nothing else is mine.
By Yami no Kokoro
The small town of Tortuga was in far worse repair than he had imagined. He'd heard stories upon stories featuring this place, from his uncle and his group of friends, but in those tales all of the grease, grime, and drunkenness had always possessed a sort of romanticized glow. It was a place where adventures were born.
Now that he was actually there, though, the whole town just seemed sort of... dirty.
A tall woman in a gaudy red dress that barely covered her voluminous chest accosted him as soon as he stepped off of the pier. Her goldenrod hair was curled into tight, unnatural ringlets and her pale face was covered in rouge.
Giggling, dramatically waving a fan in front of her face, she proclaimed in a high, breathy voice, "Why, you absolutely must be the captain of this fine ship. Care to treat me to a drink at the tavern? Or if ye like we could skip that and go right upstairs..."
More put on edge by the woman's fawning than anything else, the boy stumbled out of reach of her toying fingers and nearly fell back off the pier.
"Me? I... uh, well, no..." At eighteen years old, dressed in a fraying brown shirt and leggings, and still very much a stranger to sea travel, (he had nearly fallen when he'd stepped onto the wooden dock for sheer relief of the sight of dry land) he couldn't imagine how this woman could have mistaken him for a captain. She didn't seem put off by his stammering refusal, however, and opened her full, bright lips to speak again.
Then the unmistakable growl of the real captain came to his rescue.
"No taking advantage, Isobel, dear. This is the boy's first trip to Tortuga."
Captain Sly was a grizzled, age-spotted man with a beard that bushed over his face like a great, gray mask. His arms, speckled with thin, white scars from over twenty years worth of adventures, starting back with what he spoke of reverently as the Pirate War, were covered in a water-spotted shirt of blue Chinese silk. The glistening silver scabbard at his waist and the extravagantly plumed hat atop his head spoke of his wealth and success as a runner of illegal goods from Asia to the Caribbean islands.
The woman's smile turned into a pout as she moved her attention to the older man.
"Well, new just means he deserves a proper welcome, don't it?"
When she looked back to the boy her voice changed to a coo. "What's your name then, sweet thing?"
He shot a wary glance to the captain. He had been warned against using his surname while at sea.
"William... Swann." The older man gave him an approving nod behind Isobel's back.
"Swann, eh? Sweet name for a sweet thing. Well, William, before ye dive headfirst into the grand world of piracy, I find it me duty to warn ye, it's not all fun and adventure like the stories. Me fiancé went piratin' to get money for the wedding. He's down in Turner's locker now. And me daddy got done in too. Bit up by a three headed shark while sailing on Sparrow's very ship during the Pirate War. Or so me mum said, anyway."
William fought to hide a smile. The fate of Isobel's loved ones was truly tragic, but of all the variations he had heard of the great battle (and his uncle Jack had told a fair few, himself), he had never once heard of three headed sharks entering the fray.
"I'm sorry for your losses," he murmured sincerely. The woman shrugged, waving her fan dismissively.
"Nothing to get teary over, love. Me mum raised me fair enough. It's you I've got ta worry about. Not many faces pretty as yours in the Caribbean, and if you keep on like this you'll end up in the locker or, worse yet, looking like him."
At the end of her sentence she snapped her fan shut and pointed, scowling, at Sly. William smiled.
"Well, I can only hope to be so lucky."
With that he swept past Isobel and headed toward the taverns- the heart of Tortuga and the best place in the Caribbean to find information you wouldn't hear anywhere else. Sly caught up to William as he cleared the edge of the docks, pounding his shoulder with a casual ease that suggested either that William was too soft or Sly's hands far too calloused.
"So, boy. You mean to go on with your plan, then?"
William smiled wryly.
"Had you expected me to change my mind?"
"No. Well..." Sly chuckled and shrugged. "I always did have hope. You're a good hand, if a bit green. I wouldn't mind keeping you aboard for my trip to China. The opium trade's rich there, boy. You'd come back dripping diamonds, enough to support you and whatever girl catches your fancy for a decade. And that Mother of your'n as well."
William stopped walking and turned to face the captain, frowning.
"My mother doesn't need money from me, Captain. She doesn't need anything I can offer. You should know that."
"Well, I do. As far as it goes, anyway. Your mother's famous amongst us, William. Nearly so much as your father. Practically a legend, the first Pirate King in over a century. But she's still a woman, and there isn't a woman, living nor dead, who wants her son far away and off in danger. Will," the man grasped out for William's shoulder suddenly, brown eyes soft and crinkled with concern. He looked as kindly grandfather might.
Not, thought William with surprising bitterness, that he had much experience with grandfathers.
"This idea you've got," Sly continued, "it's insanity. It's a plan worthy of Jack Sparrow, and most of us haven't got that man's luck. Your mother would never-"
"Do not speak of my mother's wishes as though you know her, Captain Sly," William snapped, weary of lectures. "She is nothing more than a mythical figure to you. Like the Kraken, or Sirens, or a three-headed shark. Do not presume to tell me what she would say or how she would feel. And," he quieted suddenly, his anger having run its course, but there was still a look of distaste on his features that refused to fully fade. "It's William. Just... William."
Sly frowned, and released his grip on the boy's shoulder.
"You're right and I've never met your mother myself, or your father and bless Calypso for that. But he's a great man, Will Turner. Saved us all from the terror of Davy Jones and the East India Trade. You should be proud to share his name."
"So I've heard." With a sigh the younger man turned his gaze to the sea, defiantly gazing over the domain his estranged father had taking to haunting ever since his death nineteen years before. When he turned back, however, the anger in his eyes had faded, and a genuine smile had replaced it.
"In any case, I thank you for taking me this far, Captain. You have been most generous with your ship and your time. I know this was out of your way."
"No more'n a day," the Captain said dismissively. He did not appear entirely placated. "But I'm not sure I should've done it in any case. William, you're asking to be left in Tortuga armed with naught more than a sword and your parents' names to protect you. And I wouldn't count on those, either. Famous, your family might be here, but there are those that will sell you out for just a taste of that glory reflected on them."
"I have heard this all before, Captain."
"And you'll hear it again! Damned, I'll be, if I let the son of Will and Elizabeth Turner stumble off blindly to his death in a dark alley in Tortuga."
"I am more than just my parents' child, Captain Sly. Please, you have no cause to worry. I did not simply wake up one morning and decide to undertake this journey. I know what I am doing."
"You'd better," the Captain grumbled. "Sea witches, I ask you... wild children these days. Wild plans..."
"Go," William laughed, regarding the man fondly. "Adventure in Asia. Become fabulously wealthy, and when you return we will have many tales of adventures to share."
The man smiled wearily.
"Wild plans," he repeated, and pounded William's shoulder fondly, so firmly the young man was sure he would bruise. "We'll have plenty enough, I'm sure. Well, no sense in setting off right away. The Stallion's getting restocked as we speak and we'll set off shortly after dawn's light. If you change your mind and decide you just want a good thrill of piracy..."
"Then I will know where to find you. Thank you, Captain."
"It's been an honor to serve," the Captain flashed a rakish grin, and William shook his head, thinking to Isobel's smirking dismissal of the older man. He might not have been young, but it was clear he had once been quite handsome. "And may the winds be with you, William."
With that the Captain turned and strode down the cobbled path back toward the docks. William watched him go, feeling a strange sense of loss. The journey from Port Royale to Tortuga had barely taken two weeks, but it had been a hard trek, as they had traveled under the path of a long and grueling storm. The hard work and constant danger had created a sense of kinship between William and the rest of the crew- a connection he had rarely felt with any of the aristocrat boys and girls he had known growing up at Port Royale.
He was sorry to see the Stallion go, but glad at the same time to part ways with the kindly Captain before he set off on the more perilous portion of his quest.
Which, with any good fortune, would begin this very night.
A/N: Ok, so after I wrote this I realized that the Opium trade probably wasn't going on the same time as Pirates, but since I don't particularly know when Pirates takes place and it's not a huge part of the plot so I decided to leave it in. This is my first time in the Pirates fandom, and I'm not sure how I am at it so please give me all kinds of constructive feedback! see you soon (if anyone responds.)