It had been almost 400 years since Will Turner had become the captain of the Flying Dutchman. He had fulfilled the mission that Calypso had entrusted to him without complaining or asking for any reward. Because even when he had been blessed with the faithful love of a beautiful woman who waited for him every ten years until the end of her days, he had been unfaithful, sealing his curse. He loved Elizabeth, true, but he also loved the freedom of the Sea, to feel a ship under his foot, and that unfaithfulness, not of the flesh, but of the mind, had been enough to condemn him forever.
His crew had changed with time, but a few asked to remain under his command. His father, now his first mate, remained aboard no matter how many times Will told him he was free; Mr. Gibbs, who had died falling off a railing of a merchant ship at the ripe age of 70 joined the crew and proclaimed it was bad luck if he left; Hector Barbossa, murdered in his sleep aboard The Black Pearl - after the seventh time he had managed to steal it from Jack Sparrow- who was a good navigator once he admitted he wasn’t the captain anymore; Pintell and Ragetti, who had been mutinous in life, but surprisingly loyal in death, and insisted to stay for as long as Will needed them. Others came and went, but those who remained were the closest to Will’s thoughts.
Elizabeth had tried to hold on, and when her age started to show, attempted to live on the sea so when she died they could be together forever. But Calypso was a cruel and fickle mistress, and Elizabeth died from a fever in the American Colonies, away from the sea, and thus, Will was never able to ask her to join his crew.
After Elizabeth’s death, Will changed his habits, and no longer made berth on that desert island near Shipwreck Cove. In fact, he seldom used his one day every ten years, choosing to remain on board of his ship.
As years passed he became different, never corrupting his mission as Davy Jones had, but he was still far removed from the innocent and wide eyed apprentice blacksmith he had been.
Sometimes Bootstrap worried about his immortal son. However he remained at his side, respecting all his wishes, just as Will had respected Calypso’s.
That changed when Will Turner met an old friend whom he never expected to see again.
* * *
Will Turner, captain of the Flying Dutchman, watched the enraged sea with cold eyes. He hadn’t been to land in almost 100 years. After Elizabeth’s death he hadn’t any reason to do so. But this made him even more distant from mankind. In a way he had become more of a strange sea spirits than a human being and it had begun to affect his duties. It was hard for him to connect with those he ferried to the other side, and where once he had been understanding and warm to the newly deceased, acting like a merciful ripper, now he was cold and aloof. Perhaps that had been the reason his father came to him while the rest of the crew busied themselves below the deck.
“It’s been a while since you had a break, Captain,” Bootstrap Bill said, while his son kept his sight on the horizon behind the wheel. “Perhaps it is time for you to go ashore.”
“It still isn’t my day,” Will answered, not looking at his father.
“It’s been a hundred years; I think Calypso will understand if you go today instead of waiting for three more months.”
“There’s nothing for me on land, Father,” Will turned to see his first mate, angry. In his eyes, Bootstrap could to see the storm reflected back. “And I’d rather keep with our mission.”
“Part of the mission is to keep going to land, son,” Bootstrap wasn’t cowed. “Remember what happened to Captain Jones when he tried to change the terms.”
“Are you telling me that I haven’t done all Calypso asked of me?! That I haven’t made all of the sacrifices demanded of me?” Will asked angrily. “I have been the faithful captain of the Flying Dutchman for 400 years. I’ve seen all my loved ones die, ferried my own flesh and blood to the other side. I doubt Calypso can find any reason to complain for my services.”
“Aye, that’s true,” Bootstrap said raising his hands in a placating manner; he didn’t seem ready to face his son’s anger. Around them the storm became more furious. “However, she might think that you aren’t appreciating her rewards if you do not take a day off on land. Isn’t it safer not to risk offending her?”
Will had to admit that his father was right. He nodded and handed the wheel to him, saying he needed to think about it in his cabin. He never saw his father’s body surrounded by sea crabs, morphing back to the shape of the Sea Goddess.
* * *
It was very early in the morning when a wet William Turner emerged from the waves. While his crew had insisted that he should take a longboat, Will had declined. He had no real interest in pretending to be mortal, and truth be told, he was planning to spend the whole day watching the waves break.
However, while the crew had lost the ‘long boat’ discussion, they had managed to convince him to change his clothing. He was now wearing blue slacks made of a cotton-like material, that fit loosely around his waist, and had the words ‘blue jeans’ stitched on the back pockets. Their original owner had been taken to the other side the night before. Will was also wearing a black shirt with the legend Hotel California that showcased his muscles. It had been chosen by Ragetti, the only one in the crew who took it upon himself to talk with the new members of their group. The one eyed pirate said that it was fitting for their immortal captain.
The Flying Dutchman was led by his father for the time being, so Will’s only worry was not to die of boredom until the sun came down.
The shore where he arrived at was no different than the deserted islands where he had spent most of the last days of his mortal life. Barbossa, who had become his navigator, had told him that they were off the coast of Maine. Will had never been to the American Colonies, but his son William the Third, had. Young William had loved to share the stories of his travels with his father. Shaking his head to dispel those old memories, Will felt water drops hit his face.
His first crew had told him that Davy Jones didn’t feel anything. But even when Will’s heart was buried deep on an island no man had stepped foot on, he still had ghosts of feelings. When he thought of his family, he felt a hurt in his empty chest.
“Are you all right? Do you need help?” Will stood paralyzed, the waves gently rocking against his naked feet. The voice was familiar, even after all those years, a happy, rough, slightly slurred and teasing tone. There were no traces of the drunken cadence Will remembered, but even sober, it was still Captain Jack Sparrow’s voice.
Will hadn’t seen Jack pass to the other world. While that could mean that Jack, like Elizabeth, had died on land, Will hadn’t really considered that possibility. Although he had never confessed it to anyone, he had always kept the hope that somewhere hidden from the Dutchman, Captain Jack Sparrow was still navigating the Sea, free as he had always wanted to be: The Immortal Captain Jack Sparrow.
“No, I’m…” The words died on Will’s throat and he felt a strange constriction in his chest. The man who had seen him was standing far away from where the waves broke. It was hard to see his features, but even at the distance it was clear that he was standing straight unlike the perennial sway that was purely Jack’s. In the twilight, Will could see that the man had short hair and there was the slight shine of glasses. The Jack he knew had never needed glasses. “I’m fine.”
“Where you on a ship last night?” the man asked but he didn’t come closer to Will. His voice sounded very worried. “Do you need a ride to a hospital? My car is not far away.”
Will looked at the man for a moment. Even when he didn’t seem to recognize Will, even with the strange straightness of his posture, he looked almost exactly like Jack. The eyes were the same and Will couldn’t just bring himself to say no to the offer.
“I don’t need a hospital; perhaps a place to dry and have some breakfast would to be nice.”
“Are you sure?” the almost Jack said to him “You could have water on your lungs, and salt water can be incredibly infectious… and who knows what’s polluting the sea now a days. They said on the news that yesterday’s storm was quite dangerous, you really should come and let me take you to a hospital.”
Will took the opportunity to walk closer to the man, who still didn’t seem to recognize him but was honestly worried about his welfare. The man still hadn’t made any movement to close the distance between them, but didn’t walk away as Will got closer. Up close, his resemblance to Jack was uncanny. From the straight nose, to the angular cheekbones, and his dark deep eyes; truth to be told, the only differences were the hair, the glasses, and the clothes, far cleaner than anything Jack had worn as long as Will had known him.
“You can dry at my house, it’s not far away and I have a fireplace if you want to dry your clothes… I also can make something for you to eat. What do you say? After breakfast I can give you a ride to the local community college,” the man said. His smile was warm, sincere. Will could count with his right hand the times he had seen a similar expression on Jack Sparrow’s face.
“You are very kind, Mr…” Will let the phrase die hoping for an introduction.
“Borrows, but you can call me Jaques. I’m only Mr. Borrows inside a classroom.”
“William , but my friends call me Will.” And that’s how Will Turner, after 400 years of solitude, decided to risk his heart and make a new mortal friend again.
Will’s day on land brings many surprises.
Will tried not to show surprise at Jack’s strange carriage. Through the years, he had found the advances in technology on ships that the Flying Dutchman rescued from the bottom of the sea. However that didn’t mean he was ready for the surprise of seeing a horseless carriage, or the changes that he could see on their way to wherever Jack was taking him to. Through the window of Jack’s carriage, Will could see men and women walking around in fashion similar to the one he was wearing. There were many carriages like Jack’s, making an insufferable noise and Will wondered how Jack could live there.
In his mind he kept calling his new friend Jack, because he was still convinced it had to be Jack Sparrow.
Barbossa had told him about Jack’s unsuccessful attempt to find the Fountain of Youth, mermaid’s flesh, and other similar ways to get immortality. Looking at the man at his side, looking right at home on land, Will guessed that whatever he had found had come with a hefty price tag. Perhaps that was why Jack didn’t seem to recognize him.
Finally, Jack stopped inside the garden of an square looking white house. It wasn’t as beautiful as the mansions Will remembered from Port Royale, but it was bigger than most houses Will had ever lived in. Still silent, Will followed Jack through the main doors and into a beautiful living room. There were practically no walls, and through the windows Will could see the open sea, far away.
There was no visible fireplace, though.
“It’s on the other room,” Jack said, strangely calm compared to his anxiousness back on the shore, when Will asked about it. “But now that I think of it, you’re just wet, right? So you can dry in the bathroom and I’ll put your clothes to hang. The bathroom is the first door to the left, there are towels in there, and I think I might have some sweats to lend you.”
“I hope I’ve not been a bother, Mr… Jaques,” Will said, forcing the strange name out of his lips.
“Don’t worry about that,” Jack smiled to him again, another Sparrow’s smile. It made Will feel nostalgic for the old days, when his heart still beat inside his chest. “I’ve just done my good deed of the day, that’s all. Do you like eggs?”
It had been a long time since Will had eaten anything. He drank rum, mostly because it no longer had an effect on him, but real food was a luxury that he really didn’t need, so he just nodded, answering Jack’s smile.
Inside the bathroom, as he took his clothes off, Will realized that his father had been right. He had no idea of what some of the strange things he had seen in Jack’s living room were, even in the bathroom, which shouldn’t have changed that much in all those years. He was completely out of touch with mankind. As he was drying his hair, Jack knocked softly on the door before handing him some dry clothes. It was then when Will could see Jack’s right wrist. There was no pirate mark, nor the famous Sparrow tattoo.
Will felt that his stomach made a turn. He had ways to explain to himself why Jack didn’t remember him; curses, prices to immortality, even a hard hit on the head. But none of those explanations accounted for the missing marks on his arm.
Jaques couldn’t be Jack.
He finished drying himself, and while he put on the slacks and shirt Jaques had loaned him, Will figured that he could spend his one day with Jaques, to try and figure out why the man looked so much like his old friend. Maybe, Will realized, Jaques was Jack’s descendent. He was pretty sure that Jack had left many bastard children all around the Caribbean. It was, he guessed, as good as any way to spend his day of freedom, remembering the man who had given him immortality.
He looked at his reflection in the mirror, and made up his mind. He just had to find a way to convince Jaques to spend that day with him. Jack wouldn’t have a problem with that, but Will had been never been good at talking circles around people.
Jake was waiting for him on the door next to the stairs, with two glasses in his hands. They had a dark, reddish liquid inside and that made Will smile. Maybe Jaques wasn’t Jack, but he sure shared his taste for rum.
“I forgot to ask you what would you want to drink, so I hope you like grape juice,” Jaques was still smiling, leading Will inside a spacious kitchen.
“Anything is fine with me,” Will answered, taking a sip of his drink. To his surprise, it was really non alcoholic. “As long as it doesn’t bother you.”
“Don’t worry about that,” Jaques said, waving his hand in a dismissing motion. His nails were clean and evenly cut, and there was a ring on his index finger that Will spotted immediately. It was disconcerting. “Do you have somewhere to go? Do you need to make a phone call or something?”
“Oh, well, actually no…” Will tried to think quickly. It was strange, but just by being near someone who looked like Jack made him feel like the old naïve blacksmith apprentice he had been when they had meet. “It’s foolish, honestly, and quite embarrassing. I live on board of a ship, and after the storm I made a bet with the other crew members. I said I could swim to the shore and survive one day without calling for them, and without money. They’ll pick me up at the docks at sundown. Until then I have nowhere to go.”
Will waited for Jaques’s answer, sure that his story was completely unbelievable. It was more probable than some of the stories he had heard in his time, but to believe those stories one usually needed to be completely drunk.
“Well, Mamma Borrows would skin me alive if I left someone to wander around town without money or direction,” Jake’s said after a long pause. He seemed to be studying Will as he spoke, and Will braced himself for judgment even when he was not used to the feeling. The only one who could judge him was Calypso. “I pride myself of being a good judge of people, so I hope you won’t try to steal everything from my house, ok?”
“Savvy,” Will answered, because the last word sounded to his ears just like Jack’s old catchphrase. His answer made Jaques smile brightly.
“Been a while since I heard that one,” Jaques said. “Savvy then. Well I got a class at ten, and then I’ve got to pick the house’s little lady for the weekend. If you don’t mind accompanying me for that, I can give you a tour through town later, and give you a ride to the docks in time.”
Despite himself, Will smiled. Suddenly his one day on land didn’t seem so bad.
During breakfast Will decided to study Jaques more carefully. His clothes were casual, jeans, a black shirt with his sleeves rolled, and a tie. He ate carefully and tidy, not in the messy manner that Jack always used. He was carrying an old leather bag that seemed to have been fixed more than once. His glasses, now on the table, where black rimmed and by the light they cast on the table Will could see that they had some magnification. Where Jack’s sight had been perfect, Jaques’ was weak.
Still that wasn’t enough to convince Will that there was no more than just a probable blood relation between the two men, there was something about the way in which Jaques moved that made Will think of Jack. But if Will was honest to himself, everything about Jaques reminded him somehow of his old friend.
“If you don’t want to sit through a boring history class,” Jaques said, as he finished his grape juice. “You could see the campus. It’s a nice place.”
“What period of history do you teach?” Will asked. It really didn’t matter to him, Will was planning to watch the class anyway. However he figured that it would be better to ask, so Jaques wouldn’t grow suspicious of his intentions.
“All of them, really. Let’s see… Monday it’s World War I, politic and military strategy; Tuesday World War II and it’s consequences, followed by Renassaince and then after lunch three hours of Medieval Culture; Wednesday is my worst day, British Royalty I and II, then History of Greek Culture III, followed by three hours of the hell known as American History, a review, to top it with the Vietnam seminar; Thursday isn’t much easier, as I repeat both World Wars courses, and Medieval. But today is Friday, which means I only have the class on Piracy, Myths and History. We’re reviewing the eighteenth century.” Jaques smiled at him wickedly. There was no doubt, that was a Jack Sparrow’s smile. “One of my favorite subjects, to be honest.”
“I know a bit about that period,” Will managed to say, after almost chocking on juice. It was too much of a coincidence. “I’d really like to see your class.”
* * *
The college where Jack -Jaques Will corrected in his mind- taught was quiet far from the man’s house, so Will had to endure another trip on Jaques’ horseless carriage, the ‘car’, as Jaques called it. Once there, he had to admit that it was a nice place, reminiscing a bit of houses of his time. Jaques lead him through various gardens and hallways; they were greeted by everyone who crossed their path. It was obvious to Will that Jaques was very well respected
Once inside the classroom, Jaques motioned Will to take a seat on the first row, and waited until room was filled with students, who all seemed eager to listen to Jaques.
“Well, mates,” Jaques began after closing the door. “I hope you had to a productive week, and don’t forget to hand in your homework when the class is over. As you remember, today we will review the Brethren Code, as a set by Bartholomew and Morgan.”
“What?” This time, Will couldn’t stop himself. The coincidences were starting to be too many.
“Don’t worry, William, I don’t expect you to hand in anything,” Jaques said, taking off his jacket. Then, he turned to see the rest of the class. “Everyone, this is Will. He’ll be listening in today, so I hope you don’t try to eat him. Be people, not sharks. Now, then, What were we saying about the Code?”
“Last class you said that the Code were more like guidelines,” A male student said behind Will, making the whole class laugh.
“Very strict guidelines, Mr. Andrews,” Jaques answered, taking off his jacket. “Men were killed for disobeying the Code and we even have written proof of crews being sentenced to lose the support of the Brethren Court for disobeying the Code, signed by the Pirate King herself. But I’m getting ahead of myself.”
Will had to bit his tongue to avoid yelling a curse. Before Jaques’ mannerisms had been more than enough to convince him that he wasn’t Jack, however as soon as the jacket was placed on the chair’s back, Jaques whole persona seemed to change and shift. His hands started to move in rhythm with his words, his steps took a definitive sway, and despite the lack of rum, the short hair and the missing tattoos, Will swore he was watching Jack Sparrow himself.
“Perhaps the most famous of the Code’s articles was that any man who fell behind would be left behind,” Jaques/Jack was saying, and his words were an eerie echo of the first time Will had heard about the Code. “This of course, did not mean that if a fool fell from the board wouldn’t be saved, as long as there was someone to see him fall. What it meant was that if someone was fool enough to get captured, there would be no rescue for the poor devil.”
“Is it that the origin of the saying ‘there’s no honor among thieves?” A pretty red-haired lady, who was the only one in the classroom wearing ladylike clothing asked.
“No, no, no,” Jaques laughed. Will could almost believe he was seeing kohl under his eyes, now that the glasses had been forgotten on the table. “As a matter of fact we do have many stories about honorable pirates, such as the Pirate King, Elizabeth Turner, who led a battalion of pirates against the East India Company. As we will see this semester, Miss Turner was famous for her honesty and mercy.”
“I found many essays and books that claim in that Miss Turner didn’t actually exist,” Another student said, without even raising his hand. Will was a little confused about the way in which everyone there talked to Jaques, almost as if they where his equals, and in not his apprentices. “In particular, Collin White of Oxford postulates that Miss Turner’s story is probably an embellishment of Mary Read and Grace O’Malley’s stories.”
“Of course some would find it hard to true believe that a bonny lass would have been elected Pirate King.” Jaques dismissed the student with a flourish of his hand. “But there are many history documents that can testify for Miss Turner’s existence. In fact it is believed that the name became popular because of her fame, and that the British Queens were later named in her honor.”
“But all the stories about pirate women say they were married. The fact that she was called Miss Turner, and the King make it sounds like a legend, as Mr. White said on Myths of the Caribbean, there isn’t any historical proof of her name before the battle of Shipwreck Cove.” A student objected, making Will feel angry. Still he didn’t interrupt, he was a guest on the class, and still didn’t know why Elizabeth was subject for discussion.
“Of course there isn’t, if one is looking for honest men,” Jaques said leaning against the blackboard like Jack used to lean against the Pearl’s rail. “However, in one of Barbossa’s shiplogs, recovered in Florida, there is a mention of an Elizabeth Turner, kidnapped in Port Royal.”
“But Barbossa’s account can’t be considered accurate, either,” the same student that had started the discussion said. “After all, he also claimed that he couldn’t die because of an Aztec curse.”
“Of course we can’t take Barbossa’s words as the absolute truth,” Jaques said, narrowing his eyes at the student “We’re historians Mr. Andrews, and it’s our job to compare all possible sources of a story to understand what really happened. So what do we know about Elizabeth Turner?”
“Tuner wasn’t her maiden name,” Will finally interrupted. “She was born Swann, and was the daughter of Port Royal’s governor.”
“Care to share the source of that, mate?” Jaques turned his attention to him, and Will felt his blood grow cold. He knew he couldn’t say that he knew because he had married her. Not unless he wanted Jaques to believe him mad.
“The Swann’s family record?” Will felt out of his depth, a curious feeling for him. “And she was sentenced for piracy before the battle under that name.”
“But it was proven that Lord Beckett falsified documents,” another student said to Will. ”The man was deranged, and in his logs he spoke of monsters and hearts beating outside of human bodies. Pretty much anything written by him is considered fiction.”
“And honestly, everybody in this class knows that,” Another lady said rolling her eyes. She had almost as many piercings as the Black Pearl’s old boatswain. “Beckett was the man who reported Jack Sparrow’s death in 1744, like 30 years before the fact.”
“Don’t dogpile on the newbie,” Jaques interrupted, his voice slowly losing Jack’s cadence. ”He brings interesting facts. There have indeed been some documents that talk about both women as if they were the same, noblewoman turned pirate. What do we can’t find is any connection between the famous Pirate King and the Port Royal’s maiden. Its all conjecture, so for next week I want you to bring either a defense on why Miss Turner existed and if she was or wasn’t Miss Swann, or a good explanation of the contrary, using the documents we have at hand.”
“Can we use your books as resources?” Mr. Andrews asked, making the whole class laugh.
“Of course you can,” Jaques answered, the cadence returning to his voice. It was unsettling for Will. One moment he was watching a man who just looked like his old friend, and the next he was watching a modern version of Captain Jack Sparrow. “As a long as you don’t just copy my own theories, agreed?”
The rest of the class went by quickly for Will, as he watched the modern apprentices, who had probably never set a foot on board of a ship, discuss the more complicated issues of the Pirates Code. At some points, Will had been sure that Jaques was watching him from the corner of his eye, making him feel suspicious of the mortal man. However, there was no spark of recognition in his dark eyes.
By the time Jaques said that the class was over, Will was even more confused.
* * *
“I hope that you didn’t get bored,” Jaques said, as he and Will got back to his car. “Although it seems that you have some knowledge on the subject. Not many people know about Governor’s Swann’s daughter, at least not outside the scholar circle.“
Will looked at Jaques, wondering how to answer. He had never believed someone would remember Elizabeth so many years after her death. And he was still confused over why there was so much interest in pirates. “My father is a sailor and he taught me most of what I know.”
Jaques nodded, as he started the carriage. He stayed silent as they got out of the campus. He remained silent as he drove through the town until the car suddenly stopped.
“Interesting,” Jaques mumbled, mostly to himself. “And what’s your full name?”
“Will Turner,” Will said, startled. He hadn’t even thought of making up a lie.
“Even more interesting,” Jaques said, as the car started moving again. “No relation to her Pirate Highness, I gather?”
“I couldn’t really say.” Will managed to lie. He was Elizabeth’s widower, but he doubted that was the right answer. “But I think not.”
“I really hope that’s true, Will,” Jaques nodded, not looking at Will. “I’d really hate to find out that you were sent by Miss Turner’s descendants in a attempt to stop my research, or try to accuse me of libel again. Not that I really understand that family, they could accept that their Grandmum was a good woman, and a pirate. Piracy is in their blood, that’s why they are lawyers, the lot of them.”
Will just nodded, not sure of what those comments meant.
“You do seem to know a lot about it yourself,” Will decided to fish for information. “Is piracy in your blood as well?”
“No, sadly no.” Jaques smiled at him, the honest smile that didn’t look at all like Jack’s. “I’m just a humble scholar, who happens to be passionate about the subject, ever since I read the recovered Barbossa’s letters in college.”
“Barbossa’s? As in Hector Barbossa, the one who stole the Black Pearl from Jack a Sparrow?” Will frowned. There was a hint of admiration in Jaques’ voice.
“Commandeer more like it,” Jaques shook his head. ”There isn’t much about Sparrow in the few documents we have of the time, but what we have points that Sparrow was the worst pirate in the whole Court.”
Before Will could come with an answer to that, Jaques stopped the car.
“I’ll be back in a minute,” Jaques said, getting out. “Just a thing. Are you allergic to dogs?”
“No,” Will answered. “I like them.”
“Oh, all right then.”
And with that, Jaques closed the door and walked away.
Will took the opportunity of solitude to put his thoughts in order. There was still the possibility of Jaques being Jack’s descendant, without him knowing it but that did not account for the expressions and mannerisms that made Will feel that no time at all had passed since the last time he saw Captain Jack Sparrow. There was a third probability, but even himself was hesitant to think about it. Gibbs sometimes talked about souls who took trips back from the other world, not by Calypso’s power, like Barbossa had, or in soul and body like Jack and his rescue party, but to new lives, with no memories of the past.
Reincarnation was something that Will seldom thought about. His job was to ferry souls to the afterlife, and whatever they did afterwards was not his business. However, meeting Jaques made him rethink his position on the matter.
If he was honest with himself, Jack had always intrigued him. At times Jack seemed the most selfish and disgusting human being anyone could meet, while others times were proof that Jack was a loyal and trustworthy friend. Will owed his immortality to Jack, and while he tried not to think too much of about it, Will felt that he had a debt of honor with the pirate. Perhaps, meeting Jaques was a mean to pay that debt.
Will’s thoughts were interrupted by a loud bark. Startled he turned to the window to see a brown and hairy German shepherd was barking at him. He barely had time to lean back, wondering if there was anyway to close the window before the dog decided to bite him.
“Commodore! Stay back!” A young female voice said and to Will’s surprise the dog stopped barking. The owner of the voice was a young girl dressed like a boy, but with long, wavy brown hair. She had freckles on her face, and beautiful brown eyes. Seeing her, Will cursed his now perfect memory. She might have been wearing man’s clothing, and not a lady’s blue dress, but there, in front of him, was a perfect mirror image of Elizabeth the day he had seen her for the first time.
The girl didn’t seem to notice his surprise as she looked at him sharply.
“Who are you and what are you doing in my father’s car?”
“Jaques is your father?!” Will managed to ask despite his shock.
“I asked you first,” the girl said. She didn’t look as friendly as Jaques. “Now answer before I change my mind and let Commodore bit you.”
“Lizzie!” Jaques came walking behind the girl. He didn’t look as a happy now as he had before he left the car. “That’s no way to talk to my friends, young lady.”
“I know all your friends, daddy,” the girl answered, smiling at Jaques. “This one is new, and Commodore doesn’t like him.”
“Commodore?” Will asked weekly.
“Lizzie’s mother wanted to call him James, but he only answers to Commodore,” Jaques said, scratching the dogs head. “Don’t worry, he doesn’t bite. Well, unless you try something funny with my daughter, Old Commodore is awfully protective of her.”
Will took a deep breath, nodding. Just because he couldn’t feel pain, didn’t mean he was looking forward to get bitten.
“You look like a bum,” Jaques’ daughter said, sneering at him. It wasn’t an expression Will liked on a face so similar to the girl he had loved so many years before.
“Elizabeth Borrows! That’s not the way to talk to a guest,” Jaques said, opening the back door of the car. The dog jumped in, sniffing curiously at Will.
“Mother says all your friends are strays, Daddy,” Elizabeth sighed. She looked somewhat chastised. “She says you are going to get murdered in your bed one day.”
“And we both now it’s not going to be one of my friends who will do the deed,” Jaques answered, looking annoyed. “Now get in the car or I’ll have to accuse you of mutiny.”
“I still don’t like him,” Elizabeth said, getting in the back seat next to Commodore, who licked her face happily. “He looks like one of those lawyers who harassed you in Florida.”
“You’ll have to excuse my daughter, Will,” Jaques said getting inside the car. “But she will behave until it’s time for you to go, if she wants to accompany us to the docks.”
“The docks, daddy?” Little Elizabeth leaned forward to be between Will and Jaques and Will felt a constriction on his chest at seeing the two people responsible for his life so close together. “You mean it? Are we really going to the docks?”
“Will’s friends will pick him up there. He lives in a ship, you know?” Jaques smiled, with the old ‘I’ve got leverage’ Jack Sparrow’s smile.
However, the smile died as Elizabeth frowned at Will. “Are you in a cult or something?”
“Elizabeth!” Jaques looked at his daughter. “One more remark and you can forget about going to the docks today or in a whole month.”
“Sorry, daddy, I won’t do it again.” Then she turned to see Will, her eyes suddenly solemn. “I’m very sorry if I insulted you, Mr. It wasn’t my intention.”
Will could tell that she wasn’t sincere. Her tone reminded him of the times when his Elizabeth had used a similar tone to get what she wanted from the Governor or Norrington.
The trip back to Jaques’ house was silent, except from the Commodore occasional bark at the other cars. When they reached the house, Will looked up to the skies. The sun was high, signaling that he only had a few more hours on land. He was surprised when he realized he wished that he had a bit longer than that, especially when he had swore to his father that he had no use for dry land just the night before.
* * *
“So this is what you do everyday?” Will asked. He and Jaques where sitting at Jaques’ house balcony, watching Elizabeth play with Commodore. They just had lunch, made by Jaques’ house keeper, an old Mexican maid named Dolores, who had been friendlier to Will than Elizabeth had.
“Well, usually I have more classes, so I spend most of my time at the college,” Jaques said, taking a sip of a black, bubbly non alcoholic drink he called a Coke. “Most of the time I spent my afternoon writing.”
“The books your students mentioned.” Will nodded. Jaques was an interesting man, even without taking into account his likeness to Jack .
“Its funny, but I’ve talked to you about my work more than what I talk to a reporter,” Jaques said, not acknowledging the comment. “I hope you keep in touch, Will, even if my daughter was such a brat to you.”
“I’ll try,” Will lied. “She seems awfully interested in the docks, though.”
“She got that from her grandfather,” Jaques laughed, shaking his head. “She wants to be a marine biologist when she grows up.”
Will had no idea of what a biologist was, so he just nodded. The reincarnation idea was looking better every moment and Will wondered what he could do if that was the case.
If Jaques was indeed Jack’s reincarnation, that meant that Jack had died. Despite everything, despite the betrayal, and the lies, Will still had considered the Captain a friend. The one who had showed to Will the beauty of the sea.
“What do you do in your ship?” Jaques’ words brought Will out of his thoughts. “If you have seen whales, dolphins, or giant octopus, I think Lizzie would be friendlier to you. She loves sea animals almost as much as I love history of piracy.”
“We mostly travel to salvage shipwrecks.” It wasn’t exactly a lie. By Calypso’s request, Will had saved many books and works of art from the ships were they picked the newly departed. “We just live day by day.”
“Shipwreck rescue, eh? Interesting line of work.” Jaques said, raising his eyebrow. “I hope you aren’t one of those scavengers who disturb the dead.”
“No.” Will shook his head. “The dead deserve their peaceful rest.”
Jack nodded, as if satisfied to by Will’s answer. Before Will could ask why, Elizabeth came running through the balcony doors, followed by Commodore.
“Daddy, I forgot! Mom didn’t let me practice while I was at her house. Could we please practice a little before we have to go?”
“You’re not asking so you can show off to my guest, are you?” Jaques asked, kneeling down to end at eye level with his daughter.
Will chuckled, remembering the times when his wife had complained that her father made her play the piano to his guests. He just hoped that this Elizabeth was a bit better than his beloved had been at the same age.
“Very well, we can do a few drills,” Jaques said and turned to see Will. “Do you enjoy fencing?”
“Yes, I used to practice three hours every morning when I was younger.” Will blinked, surprised at the question. He followed Jaques and Elizabeth to a big backroom, with mirrors for walls, and a wooden floor. He remained silent as he watched Jaques and Elizabeth put on white jackets, and grey masks. Obviously swordplay had changed a lot in a hundred years.
He watched in silence as Elizabeth and her father dueled, following with his mind the changes to the art. The main one was not the swords, Will was familiar with foils, having done a couple in his time, but the intention to only touch the opponent, not to hurt. Elizabeth was quite good and managed to get her father’s chest more than once, her small size making for her lack of experience, but will found himself a little disappointed, as he figured that Jaques was going easy on the girl.
Perhaps it was because of that, as well as the nostalgic bubble in his empty chest, than when they finished he couldn’t stop himself and asked Jaques if he would honor him with a friendly duel.
“My dad has four championships under his belt,” Elizabeth said as soon as the words were out of Will’s mouth.
“Lizzie, you had been behaving. Don’t ruin it now,” Jaques said to his daughter before turning to see Will. “It will be my honor. I’d never say no to a friendly bit of fencing. I think I have an extra vest about your size.”
Will agreed to use the protective clothing, even when he wasn’t really used to such equipment. Soon he was weighing the foil, that wasn’t at all like any of his old swords.
It had been a while since Will had needed to fight seriously, at least 150 years or perhaps more. But as there wasn’t much to do on the Dutchman when they weren’t ferrying souls, Will had kept practicing with Barbossa, and whoever wanted to join the fun. It beat the dice game to alleviate the boredom. Mentally, he decided to try and go easy on Jaques. Whatever those championships that Elizabeth had mentioned were, it was a very unlikely that Jaques would be as good as Jack had been.
He was forced to rethink that issue as soon as the first crossing of blades. While Jaques posture and manner were a lot more studied than Will’s, it didn’t mean that the man didn’t know what he was doing, and Will found himself momentarily on the defense.
When the first attack was done, Jaques laughed.
“You know what you’re doing. I’ll give you that. Excellent form,” Jaques said, the odd cadence returning to his voice. “But how is your footwork?”
And with those words, Will was transported back to his first meeting with Captain Jack Sparrow.
He could almost see the forge where he had spent most of his youth, where he had meet Jack for the first time. It was a strange situation for him, as he could almost hear his old mule braying on the background. Perhaps that was the reason why he couldn’t see Jaques’ movements, because he wasn’t seeing him, but Jack’s, just as he had been that day. At least that’s what he was planning to say if anyone asked why he had lost against a man who probably had a lot less practice than he had.
“You cheated,” Will said when the duel was over, hoping to get that familiar answer, still lost to his memories.
“Dad never cheats!” Elizabeth said, quite offended. “He’s just better than you.”
“I’m sorry,” Will apologized. “You just remind me of my old fencing teacher. He called himself a pirate.”
“Sounds like an interesting man,” Jaques said. His words were enough to remind Will that he wasn’t talking to Jack. The way he talked to him was probably just a coincidence and not a way to tease him. “Sorry, what time did you said your friends were going to pick you up?”
“Around six, just before sunset.” Will was aware that he couldn’t just say that he could stay on land until the last ray of sunlight shone over the shore.
“That’s still hours away,” Jaques mused. “Is there anything you’d like to do, since you’re here? We could go to the movies or something, just to kill some time.”
“I really don’t have any plans.” Will opened his arms quite honestly. “It’s been quite a while since I’ve been on land. I love the open spaces too much.”
“Well then, a movie would be a bad idea,” Jaques said. Will sighed relieved, as he didn’t want to admit that he had no idea of what a movie was. “There is a carnival not far from the docks, Lizzie has been asking me to take her there for a while. What do you say if we go then?”
“But Daddy,” Elizabeth complained, stopping her foot on the wooden planks. “That won’t give me enough time to get in all the rides!”
“Well, you can use the time to check all the games, and we’ll go back tomorrow morning. What do you say?”
Elizabeth seemed to consider her father’s deal, frowning, a calculating expression Will had never seen in his wife’s face. “We could go as soon as they open, and we get ice cream. Today and tomorrow.”
“That’s why I call you my little pirate princess,” Jaques laughed, messing his daughter’s hair. “Go and fetch Commodore’s leash, ok? And bring a warm sweater too.”
“You don’t have to do this, Jaques,” Will said, feeling somewhat awkward about the whole situation. “I can find something to do, don’t worry about me.”
“No, it’s really all right, mate,” Jaques waved his concern away. “I told you. I pride myself on being a good judge of character, and call me crazy, but I think we meet before. Maybe in college or something.”
“I think I would remember that,” Will smiled warmly. “Especially since I didn’t go to college.”
“I can’t believe that,” Jaques said, leading him outside to where Elizabeth and the Commodore waited next to the car. “You acted like a natural today in the classroom.”
Will didn’t have an answer to that, He was still wondering why it was so easy for Jaques to be so friendly with a complete stranger who had come from nowhere.
* * *
The carnival wasn’t that different as the ones Will remembered from his youth. Sure, back then there weren’t the huge mechanical monstrosities that Elizabeth called rides, but other than that, it was still nosy, filled with people, and luck games.
As soon as they entered the lot where the carnival was installed, Elizabeth ran to a nearby booth, decorated with ice and penguins.
“Daddy, I want an angel hair double cone, you promised,” Elizabeth said, as Commodore barked happily next to her.
“I know, I know,” Jaques smiled indulgently at his daughter, it was clear to Will that he rarely, if ever, said no to her. They walked together towards the both were now Will could see a sort of menu on the walls with some familiar words like lemon, grape, and vanilla, but also other strange offerings like bubblegum, tuttifruti and napolitan. Jaques turned to see him, smiling. “What do you want, Will?”
“I’ll have…” Will quickly scanned the names written, looking for any familiar names until he spotted the one that still hadn’t failed him. “A rum cone, if it is not a problem.”
“You are too polite, mate,” Jaques laughed before turning his attention to the man behind the booth. “One double angel hair cone and two rum singles, please.”
That made Will smile. He had spent nearly 7 hours with Jaques, and there had been no mention of rum at all. It had been almost enough for him to dismiss his reincarnation theory. Jack without rum was unthinkable.
The clerk handed Jack three strange brown cones, toped with what looked like snowballs. The first one, with two snowballs, was for Elizabeth, and was a shade of pink Will was sure he had never seen in any of his travels. It also had white spots all over it, and bright blue small chunks of something. It looked like something out of a madman’s dream. In comparison, the one that Jaques handed him was almost innocuous. The color of the lone snowball was beige, a clear color that reminded him nothing of rum. He stared at it for a second, not quite sure of what to do with it.
“If you don’t eat it quickly, it’ll melt on your fingers,” Elizabeth said, licking her own cone. “Sticky fingers will make you look worse.”
Not precisely encouraged, Will took a tentative lick at his cone, imitating Elizabeth while Jaques was paying the clerk. He was surprised when his tongue touched the snowball that it felt creamy, cold, and yet, solid. Although it tasted too sweet to be really rum, it still had a touch of the flavor Will had become used to in the long years on board of the Dutchman. It also tasted like milk, but the one thing that surprised Will the most was how cold it was, despite the warmth of the summer air around them.
It was one of the best tastes he had experienced in his long life. It made him feel better just by eating. Now he understood why Elizabeth had been so keen on negotiating a cone, even if it didn’t tasted really like rum for that matter. Idly, he wondered what her cone would taste like, or all the other flavors.
“Nothing like an ice cream for a warm evening, right?” Jaques said, smiling as he ate his own cone. He had a small white moustache on his upper lip, which Will found inexplicably funny.
But before he could say anything, Elizabeth was dragging them to something she called a “Roller coaster”, and Will was yet again introduced to something that no one in his right mind would’ve dreamed off. Although he didn’t said it out loud, after the first ride on the monstrosity, he felt just as if he had gone back to try and escape from the Kraken, and couldn’t believe that Elizabeth not only seemed to enjoy it but also asked her father to go for a second ride on the coaster.
Definitely, mankind had gone a little insane while he was at sea.
* * *
The sky was starting to turn orange when Jaques’ car arrived at the docks, which was around the time when Will started to worry. Getting back to the Dutchman was not an issue, he only needed to get on any ship and concentrate in his own, one of the many advantages of being the ferryman of the dead. No, what worried Will was how he was going to explain to Jaques when no one was there waiting for him.
“So, where are your shipmates?” Jaques asked, sounding strangely nervous. Will turned to see him with no real explanation for him. After all, he had seen enough of the modern world to know that there was no place for legends and magic there. In his mortal life, Lord Beckett’s word had been enough to make the whole East India Company believe the existence of Davy Jones. Now, the man had been committed to history as a madman.
“They might be delayed…” Will started saying. He had never stayed long enough in land to be so close to sundown, and he had no idea what would happen when the day was over.
“Captain! Hey, Captain!” At the very familiar voice, Will turned confused. He knew that, unlike him, his crew could go to land whenever they wanted, and on occasion, he had given them shore leave after a particular bad week. But even that knowledge didn’t prepare him for the sight of Mr. Gibbs, Pintell and Ragetti, all dressed in modern clothes, on board of a small white fishing boat like the ones they had been visiting the night before during the storm.
“Captain?” Elizabeth asked, raising her eyebrow. “What? Are they giving the ranks for free now or something?”
“Elizabeth…” Jaques warned, although there was a strange edge on his voice that Will didn’t remember hearing before. Then, he turned to see Will, a forced smile on his face. “You must be good at what you do; you look quite young for being a captain.”
“I started very young,” Will said, before a wicked idea came to his mind. “Come on, I’ll introduce you to the guys.”
Elizabeth started walking towards the small ship on the end of the docks, but Jaques remained rooted to his place.
“Sorry, mate. This is as far as I go.” Jaques said, lowering is eyes. “In fact, I think I’m already too close for my tastes.”
“Too close to what?” Will frowned. He almost didn’t notice Commodore and Elizabeth coming back.
“To the ocean,” Elizabeth explained softly. “Dad has acute aquaphobia. He can’t get too close to the ocean or he’ll start hyperventilating. But he still brings me from time to time because he loves me too much.”
Will turned to see Jaques, who now looked down right embarrassed. Will had heard about some men with irrational fears, had met a couple in his time, but the idea that Jack, or someone who was practically Jack would be afraid of the ocean was too much to handle. Jack had always loved the ocean, more than his own life. He had made deals with the devil himself, just for one more day, one more year, at the sea. But there was no mistake in the emotion that Jaques’ eyes were showing. Jaques was truly terrified, and they were still on land, away enough from the docks.
“Wait here then,” Will said, smiling even when it was hard for him to keep a calm face. He needed some reassurance that he wasn’t going insane. That he was not the only one seeing the resemblance between Jaques and Jack.
He ran to where his puzzled crew was waiting for him, trying to imagine why they were there.
“Did anything happen while I wasn’t on board?” he asked, barely looking at the small boat where they were.
“Nay, Captain,” Mr. Gibbs answered, smiling. “Nothing bad, at least. But the Goddess herself came to us and told your father that you might need us here before the sun set, so here we are.”
“Calypso sent you?” Will frowned. If he had needed any other proof that there was something strange on the way in which he had meet Jaques, this one would’ve been enough. “Well… I’m glad. I want you three to meet someone.”
Will led his quite confused crew to where Jaques, Elizabeth and Commodore were waiting for them. They hadn’t quite reached the car, when Commodore started growling. Apparently, the dog shared his namesake’s dislike for pirates.
“Easy there, Commodore,” Elizabeth said to her dog, looking at Pintell and Ragetti with some distrust.
“Hello, poppet,” Pintell said, kneeling to her eye level like Jaques had done before. “That’s a nice doggy you have. He looks quite loyal to you.”
“He is,” Elizabeth answered, still not fully trusting Pintell. “Is Mr. Turner really your captain?”
“That he is,” Ragetti agreed. They were paying attention to the girl, and not to her father, who was still glued to his car, not looking at the ships moving on the water. “He’s a good captain, one of the best we’ve served under.”
“You’re missing an eye,” Elizabeth pointed out, not grossed out. “How on earth did that happen?”
“Have your parents ever told you not to run with scissors?” Ragetti asked, and the girl nodded. “Mine never did.”
Elizabeth giggled, nervously, and even Will had to smile. Ragetti seemed quite at home in the modern docks, dressed with faded slacks like Wills, and with an old shirt with the Jolly Roger printed on it. Pintell looked less comfortable than his mate, with a white shirt without sleeves, that showed a couple of his tattoos, including one very rough of the Black Pearl, but even so, he looked more confident than how Will had felt all day.
“By the beard of the old Jones,” Mr. Gibbs muttered. He had finally joined them and wasn’t paying attention to Elizabeth. His eyes were fixed on Jaques. At the tone of his voice, both Pintell and Ragetti looked up, their faces lighting up in recognition.
“You…” Pintell whispered, looking as if he had seen a ghost, which was both appropriate and funny, given than they were more ghostly than Jaques Borrows.
“Is there anything wrong, gentlemen?” Jaques asked, looking at them curiously. To Will’s dismay, there wasn’t any hint of recognition in his eyes.
It was Gibbs the one who recovered first. He grinned, and held out his hand to the mortal man.
“I’m so sorry, sir,” Gibbs said, trying to sound casual. “You just look very similar to our old Captain, and we were a bit startled. I’m Goshamee Gibbs, pleasure to make your aquitance.”
“Maybe you sailed under my da’s command.” Jaques took the offered hand, smiling. “Keith Borrows, of the SS.Lowtell? He sailed the Pacific until the navy forced him to retire. Everyone say I look just like him.”
“No, sorry, the name is not familiar,” Gibbs shook his head. “Maybe it’ll come to us later. But we didn’t catch your name.”
“Gibbs, Pintell, Ragetti, I’d like you to meet Jaques Borrows, his daughter Elizabeth and Commodore,” Will interrupted, remembering his manners. “They showed me around town today.”
“Well then, we have you to thank you for the fact that we still have a captain,” Gibbs laughed, and, despite the small jab at his expense, Will smiled. As long as Jaques didn’t notice the wayward looks the other three men were giving him, everything would be alright for the few minutes he still had on land.
* * *
“How did Jack die?”
It was early in the morning on board of the Flying Dutchman. They were navigating the seas on the other side, after leaving another group of souls in their final destination. The skies were clear, and the wind constant, and if he wasn’t thinking about Jack, about Jaques, it would have been one of the days where Will didn’t regretted any second of his long immortal existence.
Barbossa turned to see him, his attention on the wheel. The man didn’t look older than the day when Will and he had met, but it had been long since the old pirate had looked impressive to Will Turner.
“What brings that question, Captain?” Barbossa asked, not changing the course. “I believe that long ago you said that Jack Sparrow was nothing of your concern.”
“That was four hundred years ago, Hector,” Will said, using Barbossa’s name so the old sailor would know that Will was being serious. “Now tell me, how did Jack die?”
“I don’t know,” Barbossa admitted. “I didn’t even know he had died until you came back from land with word of his reincarnation. He outlived me, despite all the odds.”
“What do you mean?” Will frowned. Jack was younger than Barbossa, anyone would’ve imagined that he would die later, unless he had a run in with the wrong side of a sword.
“You know Jack and I had history,” Barbossa began, not looking at Will. “After the Shipwreck Cove battle, Jack and I agreed to share the Black Pearl. Of course, we never quite agreed on how to share her. He thought we would sail together, I thought I would leave him in Tortuga. And you know how that went on. We kept running into each other, in different shores, with different ships. But the last time, just three months before I was murdered, something changed.”
“What do you mean?” Will tried to read Barbossa’s eyes, and was surprised to see that his navigator’s eyes seemed to be shining with unshed tears.
“Everyone believed that we had a glorious last battle on the rails of the Pearl, and that Jack fell off board, then swam to shore. The truth is, he stopped fighting.” Barbossa sighed, sadly. “It had been just after he discovered that the legend of the golden apples that grant immortality was a lie, and we had picked him up at the shores of Minos. We started fighting, as we always did, for who would be captain of the ship, when he suddenly stopped. He saluted me with his sword, one he had stolen from Port Royale a couple of months after you took command of the Dutchman, and asked me to take care of the Pearl. Then he jumped off.”
“So, he drowned?” Will asked, horrified. It didn’t sound like Jack at all. Jack didn’t give up, no matter the odds.
“No. We saw him swim to shore,” Barbossa shook his head. “Besides, Captain, if our friend had drowned, you would know, wouldn’t you? Last I heard, he had gone back to Shipwreck Cove. But then I got killed, so I couldn’t say what happened afterwards.”
No one in the old crew knew what had been of Jack after the battle of Minos. Will asked everyone, even asked a few of the older souls that still walked the shores of the locker, but no one seemed to know, or even remember, old Captain Jack Sparrow. But they at least solved one mystery for Will. Among the souls on shore, he meet old Wheaterby Swann again, and the former Governor confirmed Will that he had walked among the living more than once, even if he only remembered when he was back in the Land of the Death. It was possible for a soul to be reborn, and maybe, remember the past while he was living.
The Governor, however, had no idea how that could be managed.
It was three months after Will had met Jaques that he decided he had only one person who would give him the answers he wanted. One more month to figure out how to make the question, and two weeks to gather the courage he needed to call on her.
Will no longer believed in rushing towards anything. He had learned that there was no place for rush actions if he wanted results.
The day when Will carried on with his plan, the Flying Dutchman was again over the waves, in the side of the living. The storm around them raged and wailed, as it was hurricane season. But there were no ships around; mankind had finally learned to respect Calypso’s rage.
Will, however, knew that when Calypso was angry, it was the best time to call on her attention. He sent all his crew away from the deck, and stood on the top of the main mast, feeling the wind and rain against his skin.
“Calypso!” he yelled to the sky. “We need to talk!”
“You are a proud man, Will’am Turner,” Calypso appeared before him, standing idly on top of the sails, wearing her Dalma disguise. “Wat makes you believe I answer to your beck and call?”
Wisely, Will didn’t point out that she had come when he called. Instead, he decided to go straight to the matter.
“I thought you would be interested to know that I found Jack.”
Chapter 3: Chapter 3
“I thought you would be interested to know that I found Jack.”
The Sea Goddess blinked twice, and then shook her head, amused.
“And why do you think ah care?” She asked, walking towards him. Her eyes were shadowed, like the sky before a storm. “Witty Jack left my domains long ago. He made his choice to abandon me and found his prized immortality on land, I’m sure.”
“He died,” Will whispered. He wasn’t sure that Calypso was being truthful to him. She was a goddess. She had to know that Jack hadn’t found what he looked for, at least not in that life. And not in the ones that followed in four hundred years.
“In dry land, away from my embrace,” Calypso huffed and Will bit back a smile. So she had known that Jack had died, and she was hurt that he had been away from the sea. That gave him some leverage.
“I could bring him back,” he said, calmly. The truth was, he had no idea if that was possible, but he figured that Calypso would know. And if he played his cards right, she would tell him. “I could convince him to return to the sea.”
“And why would you do dat?” Calypso asked, walking closer to him. “Once a soul goes to the other side, dey don’t come back as dey were when you met them. Witty Jack must have changed. May not be so witty anymore.”
“I’ll figure out a way. I’m sure I can remind him of who he was.” Will said, full of confidence.
“Whatever for? Why would you want Jack back?”
“I once went to the end of the world to retrieve him and the Black Pearl, don’t you remember?” Will didn’t back off. The truth was, he wasn’t completely sure why it had become so important for him to have Jack, the real Jack, back. The Jack Sparrow who was a drunken pirate, who couldn’t say more than three words without lying or manipulating you into doing exactly what he wanted. Not the strange, modern, decent man he had met on land.
“You had another motive to look for him den, and so did I,” Calypso accused, smiling wickedly. She was right, but Will wasn’t going to back up now. “Is it dat you think he might find your lovely girl? De one who kept de key for you all dose years?”
“You would take her away from me again if I did,” Will stated, calmly. He knew that Calypso had wanted him on the sea forever; she wanted absolute loyalty from the Flying Dutchman’s captain, since she hadn’t gotten it from Davy Jones after she failed to wait for him the first day he could step on land, so many years ago. Trying to think like Jack, he sighed. “You have a debt with Jack, if I bring him out, you can repay him.”
“A debt?” Calypso sounded amused. “What are you talkin’ about? I owe nothin’ to Jack, William Turner. All de things I took from him were given in fair exchange, and he always took more dan what I was willin’ to give.”
“What about your freedom?” Will asked, trying to sound confident. “He didn’t know of Hector’s deal with you. He didn’t even know you were Tia Dalma.”
“But he did suspect, that’s why he gave up his piece of eight,” Calypso shook her head, and the waves around the Dutchman grew in intensity.
“You wouldn’t have a captain for this ship if it wasn’t for Jack,” Will said. It was more his debt than Calypso’s, but he hoped his gamble would work. “What did you give him in exchange for giving you Jones back?”
“Dat could’ve true, yes,” Calypso said, but her face darkened and Will knew he had hit a sore spot. “But it doesn’t change de fact dat Jack doesn’t come to me anymore… and in ten years a lot can happen. You think you can find him again de next time you’re on land?”
“No.” Will took a deep breath. This was the part that he dreaded the most, and where he had to be careful. Calypso wasn’t easy to fool, but Will had once fooled Jones with a similar gamble, and he was trusting she would commit the same mistake as the old cursed captain had made: Underestimate Will. “But I didn’t go to land for a hundred years, and I have been faithful to my mission every moment of my existence. I believe you could grant me a boon for that.”
“You want de ten days you didn’t used back den?” Calypso laughed. “Ten days on land, to bring our stray bird back?”
“I’d need more time than that,” Will said. “The world has changed too much, and I don’t think the new Jack would so easily jump on a ship and leave all behind like our Jack used to do.”
“And what would you be willing to sacrifice for more time, William Turner?” Calypso was now smiling knowingly, that same smile that used to make Will fear her back then, when he was mortal. “What would you give up, so I could pay my so called debt to the fleeing Sparrow?”
“I have nothing of my own to give, and you know that,” Will said, slowly. This was still going more or less like he had planned. But if he wanted to keep the upper hand, he couldn’t sound triumphant.
“You have time.” Calypso smiled. “Ten years for one day, dat’s the deal, isn’t it? What would be enough time for you to bring our bird back? Six months? A year?”
“I have to win his trust again, and that might take time. He’s still as crafty as ever, I’m sure of it,” William said. He felt strange, conspiring with Calypso. But it was for a good cause. Maybe Calypso didn’t have a debt with Jack, but Will did. And he was going to repay it somehow. “What do you want in exchange for a year?”
“A year? Sounds like a huge gamble, my William.” Her eyes shone, very much like Captain Jones’ had the day when Will played his soul against him for his father’s freedom. Only this time, Boostrap wasn’t around to help if he made a mistake. “How sure are you that you will triumph?”
“Sure enough,” Will said, still confident enough. Unless she asked for some impossible thing, he could still get his year on land. He didn’t particularly look forward to spending so much time on dry land, but it would be more than worth it if he could bring Jack Sparrow’s memories back. “What do you want in exchange?”
“A bet, if you will, my William.” Calypso walked around him, caressing his neck. It made Will feel cold, colder than he had felt when he had crossed over the end of the worlds. Norrington’s voice echoed in his head, advising him not to make any rush decisions. But it was a bit too late for that. He had always been impulsive, despite everything. “I’m bored. Men no longer try to challenge me. Dey try to understand me and dat’s fine but I need something more thrilling. So I’ll give you your year. And if you manage to free our bird before dat time, I’ll grant you a boon. Whatever your heart desires and is in my power to give, I’ll give it to you. But if you fail, if him not be on board on the Flying Dutchman by midnight of the three hundred and sixty fifth day, you’ll retrieve your heart and stab it yourself. Dat will bind you forever to the Dutchman, dere will be no rest for you, until the end of time. Is that good enough stakes for you?”
Will thought about it for a minute. Being bound to the Dutchman forever didn’t sound that bad. The way in which the goddess said it made him believe that maybe there was a way for him to be freed of his charge, and that if he failed, that way would be lost, but Will found that he didn’t really care. He had always thought he would be forever sailing as the ferryman of the death, making it a certainty wasn’t that big of a sacrifice. And he wasn’t thinking about failing.
“If they’re good enough for you, they’re good enough for me. We have a deal, Calypso.”
* * *
“Are you insane, son?” Boostrap had sounded happy when Will announced that Calypso had given him a shore leave for a year. Unfortunately, that happiness didn’t last when Will explained why she had done that. “Let the dead rest. Captain Jack paid his dues long ago.”
“He didn’t,” Will didn’t feel guilty as the lie rolled from his lips. “There’s still something to be repaid.”
“I think you should ask Calypso to forget the bet.” Bootstrap shook his head. The rest of the crew were busy pretending to be busy, but Will was sure they were listening to every word said by them.
“Can’t do that. I’m still a man of my word, and besides it would probably anger her even more than me winning it,” Will shook his head. “I will do this Father, with your blessing or without it."
“Then I’ll go with you,” Bootstrap said, in a tone that made clear that he wasn’t about to discuss it with his son, even if his son was the captain. “Just to make sure you don’t do something stupid that damns you forever.”
“I was going to ask you to accompany me,” Will said, not showing his anger at the remark. He was the captain, yes, but he rarely had tried to force his crew to accept his orders as he didn’t want to follow the path Jones had. And now, he figured that if his father saw Jaques, he would understand why Will wanted to bring out Jack from that shell.
“We would like to go too,” Pintell and Ragetti came forward, before Boostrap could answer. Around them, the rest of the crew gathered. “You might need someone with more knowledge of the modern world than Bootstrap.”
“The world has changed fast,” Ragetti agreed. “We’ve had some troubles understanding the newer souls we’ve picked, and it’s only for a short while. But we could be useful. We’ve been learning.”
Will frowned. He hadn’t planned on letting anyone else leave the boat. But his crewmembers were right. In one day, he had seen many things he didn’t understand, and if he was going to stay on land without making Jaques suspicious, he would need to learn fast.
“Why should you two go?” Amelia, one of the very few women among the crew, walked forward. She was an adventurous soul, that hadn’t even let Will finish the question before accepting to join the crew. “Many of us were alive long after your corpses were pushing daisies. We could understand modern civilization better than you two.”
“But you didn’t know Captain Jack Sparrow, like we did,” Ragetti answered smoothly. “And Pintell here, he’s been closer to the new souls than any of us. I bet he knows more of modern times than you do.”
“That’s true.” Another of the crew walked forward. Jack was among the newer recruits, and even he had been at least fifty years on board of the Dutchman. His skin was slightly blue, as he had died frozen in the Atlantic Ocean. “He understands them much better than we do. I’ve seen him talking to them, asking all about what’s going on in the world. Even if I’d like to go on shore for a while, Rags would be the one who could help Captain Turner the most.”
“But if he’s with the captain, who will help us with the new souls?” An old gentleman that had been picked up in the same shipwreck as Jack argued. He had been one of the first ones that Pintell had befriended. A musician in life, old Marcus had become a fine sailor.
“I think we can do his job well for a year, can’t we?” Mr. Gibbs interrupted, finishing the argument and turning to see Will. “What do you say, Will? Do you want this two with you?”
Will thought about it for a moment. While he hadn’t trusted them much when they had been alive, and Pintell in particular had been guilty of threatening Elizabeth more than once, four hundred years had passed since that, and both men had been quite loyal not only to the Dutchman, but also, surprisingly, to Jack, Hector, and Elizabeth herself while they had been alive. That was what decided it for Will. He still had no clear idea of how to go around getting Jack’s memories back, but he supposed having other familiar faces could help.
“They are right,” Will said, finally after the long silence. “I had problems passing for a modern man when I was there just for a day. I can’t ask many of you to be with me, as such a gathering would raise more questions than needed, but Pintell and Ragetti can come.”
If nothing else, Will thought, maybe they would help him to convince his father that bringing Jack back wasn’t a bad idea at all.
* * *
When Will became the captain of the Flying Dutchman, he came to his own powers almost effortlessly. The main one, the ability to sail from one world to the other, was the most useful, but Will’s favourite was the one that allowed him to bring ships back from the bottom of the ocean, even if he didn’t use it all too often.
Pintell proved that it wasn’t a bad idea to let him come to dry land when he suggested that Will could raise a small houseboat for them. While they usually didn’t pick any souls from those boats, as the families living on them could swim to safety if they sank, and they were rescued from the sea by the very men who had lived on them, but a few remained on the bottom of the ocean, forgotten by all except for Will. The one he raised had been used by a sailor and his family, until they had been caught in a hurricane and picked up by Will for one last trip. It had been painted white in her prime, and had enough room for all of them. Will chose it, not so much for her size, or because it had sunk in the seventies, and would pass neatly among the modern boats they had seen near the docks of the town where Jaques lived. No, he had chosen it because her first owner had named her ‘Pearl’. Will thought it was fitting.
It was midnight when the Pearl and her new habitants rose from the waters, and Will led her towards the docks where he had seen Jaques the last time. Standing on the wheel, the immortal captain smiled. He had asked for a year, but he was sure that it would take less than that. Just as Jack had told Will long ago, piracy was in Jaques’ blood, in his very soul.
Soon, Captain Jack Sparrow would sail the seas again.
Chapter 4: Chapter 4
Time for Will to start planning his next move.
Many thanks to Milosflaca who helped to make heads or tails from the story, and who helped decide Jack’s profession as well as Will’s deal and had the original idea for Elizabeth’s fate. You’ll see. It’s cool. Oh, and she also helped me tons to fix the scene between Anderson and Will that was the reason why it took so long to put this part of the fic up. As the film takes liberties with history, so must I. So for this fic purposes, lets assume that the films are historically accurate.
Also, sorry for the delay... Will definitively didn't want to cooperate!
After just one week of living among the modern men, Will missed the Dutchman already.
Money had been an unexpected problem with a surprisingly easy solution, as Pintell managed to exchange a few gold coins for the paper that was currency now. They still had a lot of coins hidden on the Pearl, as they all knew that just because civilization had moved forward, that didn’t mean there were no thieves among men anymore. After that, both Pintell and Ragetti looked for normal jobs, while Bootstrap decided to stay on the Pearl as he insisted that he had nothing to do with Will’s foolish errand.
Meanwhile, Will plotted.
He was sure he would have no trouble finding Jaques again. The man had told him that he spent most of his days at the college, so it was just a question of going and staying there until their paths crossed ‘casually’ again. What was a bit trickier was how to get Jack’s memories to resurface.
So far, he had only seen very small glimpses of Jack’s personality in the modern man’s body. Both of them had been when Jaques had been doing something that Jack used to do. Talk endlessly about piracy, and fencing. But that, together with seeing Will –who hadn’t changed physically since their last meeting-, Pintell, Ragetti and Gibbs, hadn’t make a lasting impression. Will needed something bigger, a shock to Jack’s memories.
Will was willing to bet that if he could only take Jaques on board of a boat, any boat, Jack would come forward.
But to manage that, he had to win Jaques’ complete trust.
And that was where Will’s planning got lost. He had no idea of how to do that. Sure, Jaques seemed like a trusty fellow, but Will couldn’t just ask him to join him for a stroll on the Pearl just for fun.
Will had taken to eat in a small dinner next to the docks called the Skylight where Pintell worked, at first because if he slipped up and forgot something about the way the modern world worked, his crewmate could always cover up for him, and later because he honestly liked their food. There, he spent hours thinking about how to make his plan work.
Unfortunately, he mused, there weren’t that many armies of undead pirates left. Or even live pirates. And he hadn’t known Jack for enough time to think of other possible scenarios that might bring the captain back. There was always the possibility of throwing Elizabeth to the sea, but Will didn’t want the little girl to drown and he was almost sure that Jaques didn’t know how to swim.
He was wasting his time, and he knew it. If nothing else, he needed to come up with an idea to reintroduce himself to Jaques’ life. Sighing, he got up from his chair, paid his bill and walked outside.
“Elizabeth Jean Borrows, come back here in this very instant!” The woman yelling crashed against Will in the moment he walked out the door. It was both their faults, really, as he had been immersed in thoughts, and she was chasing after a familiar blonde girl.
“I’m sorry,” Will began, helping the woman to get to her feet. She was a tall, thin, blonde woman, with deep brown eyes, dressed with a short blue skirt and a white, elegant shirt with blue trimmings.
“Oh, no, I’m sorry,” the woman said, smiling before turning to see the girl who was still running, followed by her faithful dog.“Elizabeth Jean! Come back in this instant if you wish to ever set foot in a fencing class again!”
It seemed that that was the threat that could work, as the girl turned around and started walking towards them, while Commodore started barking loudly.
“That girl is going to be the death of me,” the woman muttered under her breath, before turning to see Will. “I’m very sorry about bumping into you. Thanks for helping me.”
“Not a problem, madam,” Will said, studying the woman. There was something familiar about her, and not only that she seemed to be Elizabeth’s mother. Jaques' wife, whom he had never even considered when he had been planning to make Jack reappear. And that familiarity nagged at the back of Will’s mind and didn’t let go, like a hook on a fish’s mouth.
“Mom! You said we could watch the ships go out today! You promised!” Elizabeth was saying, as she walked closer. Now she was dressed more like a little girl, with a cute summer dress with spaghetti straps. The girl was pouting, and her expression turned to a frown when she saw Will. As if he was following her cue, Commodore started to growl. “Oh, you’ve met Dad’s last bum.”
“Elizabeth Jean Burrows!” the woman scolded, but her gaze turned sourer when she looked at Will again. “You’re a friend of Jaques?”
“Yes,” Will answered, taken aback by the scowl. He half expected to get slapped. In fact, he could almost feel the sting on his face, as if he had been slapped with great strength. “I meet him last time I was in town.”
“You can't be a stranger if you know my Betty," Jaques’ wife shook her head. “Are you one of his college friends?”
“No, I…” Will began, only to be interrupted by Elizabeth.
“I told you mom! He’s a bum, Dad picked him out of the shore, he told me so.”
“Betty, your father is prone to lie. You and I know that he wouldn't be near the beach, not for anything in the world,” Jaques’ wife said, making Will feel uncomfortable. That was another modern thing he didn’t fully understood, the lack of modesty and how married women talked about their husbands. “I’m very sorry, I didn’t catch your name.”
“William,” Will said, offering his hand to the woman. “William Turner.”
“Oh, one of them then,” Jaques’ wife’s tone became icy, as cold as the edges of the world, back when Will could feel the cold. He remembered how Jaques had mentioned problems with the modern Turner family, and kicked himself mentally. If he had known, he would've used the name Swann on the first place. “I’m surprised he agreed to talk to you, then.”
"I'm not related to the Turners that bother your husband, madam," Will smiled, trying to win her trust. One advantage of having an old-fashioned education was that modern women tended to swoon at his feet when he spoke.
But Jaques had apparently married the one woman who was immune to the Turner charm, as his wife only glared at him. It was obvious that she didn't believe a word Will was saying.
"Of course you're not," she said, turning away. "If you excuse me, Betty and I have an appointment. Have a nice day, Mr. Turner."
Will stood there, dumbfounded, watching them go. At one point, Elizabeth turned back and waved at him, and, as he raised his hand to return the gesture, he couldn't help but touch his cheek, where he could still feel the ghost pain of a slap.
* * *
Two days later Will had realized that the best possible solution was to go back to how he had been back when Jack had met him. It was the closest he could get to imitate Jack's life without resorting to really desperate measures like getting Jaques hanged. Now the trick was to get himself into a position in which Jack would feel that Will needed mentoring, but the solution came to him when a man dressed in a dark suit arrived early in the morning to the dock where the Pearl was docked.
"I'm looking for the man who calls himself William Turner!" The man yelled, pulling Will out of his thoughts. He had been lounging on the deck of the ship, trying to ignore both his father who insisted that he had to withdraw his deal with Callypso and the passing of time. Nine days were nothing compared to his lifetime, but now that he only had 365 days to fulfil his mission, they could very well mean the difference between absolute failure and success.
"Who are you?" Will asked, standing up.
"I'm John Anderson, and I work for the Turner associates," the man said, without letting go of his suitcase. Etiquette demanded that Will had to invite him on board, but the Captain of the Flying Dutchman had long ago decided that etiquette rules were less useful than the Pirate Code... and he didn't follow the Code either.
"Is that supposed to mean something to me?"
"Identity theft is a very serious crime," John Anderson continued, in the same monotone that he had used to introduce himself. "We both know you're not William Turner."
"We do?" Will now couldn't stop himself from feeling amused. While he knew thanks to Pintell that now mankind had better ways to track each other. There were registers that spanned the whole world, and no one could stay hidden for long. But at the same time, there were far more mortals now than before, and thus, it was quite possible that two or even a hundred men had exactly the same name. There were probably dozens of William Turners in the Colonies alone, and only Callypso knew how many in the rest of the world. And yet, this puny mortal was assuming he actually had that knowledge. It was amusing.
"My clients make a point of following anyone with the name, it's a matter of family business. The Turners... discourage the use of the name," the man said, not even blinking. "So of course, we know exactly how many Will Turners are in the world. And that you're not one of them."
"Only an idiot presumes to know everything," Will answered, walking down to the pier. He had already decided that Anderson was never going to set foot on the pearl. "I am William Turner, whenever your bosses like it or not."
Anderson took a step back, even if he tried not to look afraid. "And yet, you're a friend of Jaques Borrows. Excuse me if I find that a little hard to believe. Mr. Borrows has been an... obstacle for the family for a long time now."
"So, because I know this man, I am not a Turner, sounds ridiculous," Will shook his head. It seemed that Mr. Anderson needed a lesson. And he remembered what Jaques had said about the Turners wanting to deny Elizabeth's true role in the Pirate Court, and with that memory, a plan started to form. "I'd guess being a direct descendant of Bootstrap Turner is far more important for the family line. Or maybe having Lady Swan's letters to her husband... during the unfortunate trial in Port Royale."
Anderson narrowed his eyes, obviously taken aback. "Those letters don't exist."
"And yet, if they found their way to Mr. Borrows, your clients wouldn't be happy," Will smiled. While his preferred weapon was the sword, after meeting Jack for the first time, he had also gotten some enjoyment from a good intellect fight. And Anderson was sorely unarmed to fight against someone with 400 years of experience. "It wouldn't be wise to threaten me, if they want to avoid that."
“If you are in contact with Professor Burrows, what guarantee we have that this fake letters will not end up in his desk anyway?” Anderson asked. It was obvious he knew the letters existed, which opened new information for Will. After the death of his grandson, Will had stopped checking on his family, first because it had been too painful to be reminded of his late wife, and later as the centuries passed, because he was sure that they wouldn’t understand his nature. When Jaques had mentioned the ‘Turners from Florida’, Will had assumed that they honestly didn’t know that their great-great-great grandmother had been the Pirate King. Now, he was beginning to suspect that they knew exactly who Elizabeth had been and thus, their animosity against Jaques had to come from a different source. And it could’ve a good tool for Will’s plans.
“If I wanted him to have them, he would’ve had them the day we met,” Will shrugged, lying easily. The days when he had acted without thinking were long gone. Jack would’ve proud if he could see him now. “I just mentioned them as proof of my identity.”
“What is your interest in Jaques Burrows then?” Anderson’s frown deepened.
“In the man himself, none,” Will shrugged. That much was true; the modern man Jack had turned into was interesting, yes, but didn’t hold a candle to his past incarnation. “But he has something I want.”
There was a flicker of recognition in Anderson’s eyes that puzzled Will, but the man hid it well. “And if my clients were able to obtain this object, would you accept it in exchange of the letters?”
"Your clients wouldn't know what I'm looking for even if they had in their hands," Will said, walking forward to stand face to face with Anderson. Now the man was trembling, and Will had to admit that in moments like this, he understood Davy Jones. It was thrilling to see a man cower before him. "But we can still reach a different deal."
"What is your price?"
"I need to be closer to Professor Burrows," Will explained carefully. "The easiest way is as one of his students, but I lack the papers needed to enrol. I could procure them, but it would take time."
"And if we were to procure papers for William Turner, would we receive the letters in exchange?"
"No," Will smiled widely. "In exchange for those papers, I will insure that Jaques Barrows will never bother the Turner family again."