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{fic} Never Learned to Drown 4/4 | Pirates

See first part for header.


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The scenery of his dream changes, melting away to reveal his cabin. Will sits up and peers into dark shadows, sensing he is not alone. A candle flickers to life near the organ and its light illuminates Tia Dalma sitting on the bench. She cups the flame in her hands and lifts it to her lips. With a gentle blow, the other candles scattered around the room ignite. Tia smiles at him. The fingers of one hand caress the ivory keys.


“Dere’s chaos in dat heart of yours.” She presses one of the keys and a mournful note fills the air. “De Duchess, she ache wid you. Feel her?” He nods. Her expression gentles as she stands. “My William. So much love in him heart. Dey reach for dat, knowin’ you’ll understand.” She glides closer to stand beside his bed.


“Understand what? Their pain? I don’t need to feel in order to—”


“Shh.” Tia rests her fingers against his lips. “Not forever. You will learn ‘ow to block some t’ings.” She removes her fingers from his lips in favor of stroking his hair. “Dest’ny be cruel to you.”


Will offers a faint smile. “Seems pointless to argue what’s already been established.”


Tia kisses his forehead and Will closes his eyes as calm washes over him. “I know you fear de pain. You mus’nt hide from id, else suffer me Davy’s fate.”


Eyes still closed, Will whispers, “Please, make it go away.”


“I ken’t, William.” She cradles his head in her arms and kisses his cheek. “Bu’ if you ken gid rid of some worry, de pain ken lessen.” Her voice resonates with power. “Search your heart ‘n accept ids desires.”


He leans into her, for a moment able to pretend that the woman holding him is Elizabeth. He wishes the fantasy actually provided comfort.


“Whad do you wan’, Cap’tan?” Tia eases him onto his back, her hand brushing over his face as she murmurs something in an unfamiliar tongue. Her hair falls forward, teasing the skin of his throat. Though he doesn’t understand her words, he can feel their effect. The Dutchman calls to him, opening her arms as the song of the sea grows louder in his ears. Another voice begins to speak, much softer than the others as if from a great distance.


“De ships always know dere cap’tans,” Tia whispers.


The Dutchman urges him to reach for the other’s call, listen carefully for the faraway ship. Although he’s afraid, he lets his ship guide him. The ocean is full of voices – lost souls, living spirits, other ships, and all of nature’s creatures. He’s brought up short by the siren call of the Black Pearl.


The Pearl greets him eagerly, projecting relief and joy at his presence. Her song is little more intelligible than her captain’s emotions that continue to haunt Will. The Dutchman intervenes to calm the flood of images and feelings. Almost like a human, Pearl seems to catch her breath and gather her thoughts. When she tries again, Will can feel wind against his skin and smooth wood beneath his feet.


Standing at the Pearl’s helm, Jack Sparrow leans into the ship. Will can feel the other man reaching out to his ship, seeking her support and guidance. The pirate’s gaze is locked on the horizon where the sun’s earliest rays have appeared. A frown decorates his lips and his hands seem to rest listlessly on the wheel pegs. Will hangs back despite both ships urging him to step forward.


No, he thinks. Please don’t. I can’t do this—I’m not ready.


Jack reacts at the Pearl’s sorrowful moan. “Wha’ is it, luv?” He strokes the wheel lovingly. “Don’t fret ‘bout ol’ Jack. Haven’t we fared worse weather?” The smile that touches his face is far from confident. He takes a deep breath and Will feels the other’s emotions wash out in the exhale.


Closing his eyes, Will swallows back his own feelings that threaten to respond. I don’t want to know this. Why are you punishing me?


The Dutchman whispers that he is not being punished; Will can’t quite believe her when the Pearl begins to weep quietly. He watches as Jack’s frown deepens with concern.


“You’re worryin’ me, luv. Come now, tell us what’s about.”


Pearl abruptly shoves Will violently away. The Dutchman’s invisible hands run over his body to ensure he’s unharmed. He awakes and lies shuddering in his bed, gut twisting painfully at the raw emotions Pearl left him.


His ship rocks unsteadily in reaction to his mood. He’s suddenly angry – with himself for listening to the strange whisperings of ship spirits; at Tia for suggesting he still has a heart to heed;  at the Pearl for dumping him with a storm of emotions; and with Jack for the agony he instigated.


In the back of his mind he hears Tia telling him not to blame Jack. Will finds it easier to ignore her.


He rises from bed, determinedly ignoring the lingering shivers and haunting echoes of the Pearl. The Dutchman groans as he storms from the cabin on the way to the helm. She doesn’t fight her captain when he directs her to press on with their work.


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Continued in next story