Homecoming (Down to the Sea Extended Trance Mix)
by Rana Eros
Written for We Invented the Remix...Redux III: Reloaded. Great big hugs and thank yous to Eliza for chat hand-holding, and both Eliza and Mel for kickass beta duty. Also gratitude and admiration for Voleuse, my remixee, and her fabulous stories. If you haven't done so yet, read her lovely Homecoming, otherwise I'm not sure my story makes as much sense. Remix title taken from"Valparaiso" by Sting.
"Elizabeth, tell me truly. Are you happy?"
Elizabeth loves the sea. She loves ships and shanties and pirates and mermaids and Will, whom the sea gave her. She tries to love Will more than the sea itself, tries not to always look to the harbor when she is outside nor feel the tide in her blood. While Will sleeps in their solid, earthbound bed beside her, she tries not to dream of standing on a deck with the salt wind in her hair.
And when she fails, she tries not to let Will see it.
"I am happy, Will. Truly. Are you hungry?"
But he is not so blind, her Will. "I see you watch the horizon. You've loved pirates since we were children. Are you certain you would not have been happier with...aboard the Pearl?"
"Not without you, Will," she whispers, and he swallows, drops his eyes.
"I'm no pirate, love. No matter what my father was."
"I know. You are a blacksmith." She smiles and hopes it is not touched with too much melancholy. "And I am your wife, and glad to be so."
It's true, as far as it goes. She will have no man but her sweet and steadfast Will, her own bright treasure.
But the sea is not a man, and in her heart she feels the tide turning.
The next day, there is news that the Pearl has once more been spotted in the area. She comes home from market and looks at their small, clean rooms without recognition. Under her feet, she feels the roll of waves. She sets her basket down on the table and walks out of the house.
Up the hill out of town, toward the Governor's mansion, there's a tree she used to climb as a child. Aside from her bedroom balcony, it is the best spot from which to survey the harbor, with the added advantage of being away from her father's house. She is not so adept at climbing trees as she was, but she is also taller and so has a passable view from the ground. She stares at the distant blue of the Caribbean for hours.
Movement on the road breaks the trance of the sea, and she does not have to look to know it's Will. She looks anyway, because it's Will. His eyes are too bright in the growing gloom.
"I thought you'd already left without telling me," he says. She hears the rest of it, and something tightens in her chest that is worse than trying to breathe in a corset.
"I wouldn't do that," she tells him, raising a hand to brush away tears that aren't falling, not yet. "I would never do that."
He nods and closes his eyes. Then he pulls her close, buries his face in her hair, and she holds on as he shakes against her.
The salt of his tears is still in her hair when she leaves the next day. That much of him she takes with her.
She goes to Tortuga, where Jack rolls in at the same hour, as though they had arranged it.
"Am I to understand from your admittedly bewitching presence that young Master Turner turned out to be a eunuch after all?" he says over a tankard of rum, and she thinks it's meant to make her laugh or scandalize her, possibly both. What it does is remind her of one of the many things she's missing about Will, and she repays the pain with a sharp remark.
"I assure you if he had, I could find better company than yours to comfort me, Master Sparrow."
"Captain Sparrow, love, and I reckon my company is exactly what you wanted, otherwise you'd not be here."
Elizabeth takes a breath, takes a drink, makes a face, and then leans forward to meet Jack's eyes. "Actually, it's your ship I'm interested in, Captain. Have you room for another sailor aboard?"
Jack holds her gaze as he asks, steadily, "Where's Will, love?"
"In Port Royal," she answers just as steadily, "doing excellent business."
Jack is silent for a moment, then sits up straighter. "All right then, Turner. There are no layabouts on my ship, so I hope you're prepared for hard work."
"I look forward to it, Captain." Already she can feel the ship rocking around her as she sleeps.
When they board and she's given a hammock near Anamaria, the ship feels just as it should. But the hammock itself is strange in a different way from Will's bed, and her dreams are full of fire and the sound of metal striking metal.
Anamaria is apparently to be her tutor in her new life. The woman is hard on her, but Elizabeth grits her teeth and forces herself to learn quickly and well. Jack keeps watch, but does not step in when Anamaria takes her to task, and she finds she's glad of it. She gave up Will for this life, she will damn well excel at it.
She does, eventually, but in her dreams Will is there with her, and still she wakes reaching out for him. She knows he is prospering; Anamaria taught her how to pick up such news, and Jack has his own sources to keep him apprised of how Bootstrap's son fares. After so many years in Jack's company, she's learned to suspect what it means that he even bothers, but they do not speak of it. It's a moot point unless Will comes to them, until they go to him and coax him aboard.
"I know that look in your eye, bonny Bess," Jack says, coming up to her on deck one day. "What scheme are you concocting now?"
"It's Elizabeth, Captain Sparrow, as well you know. I'm no pet."
"Course not!" He looks at her keenly. "You're also not changing the subject."
"No scheme, I only thought it might be nice to return to Port Royal a while."
"And does the pirating life no longer suit you, love?"
"Oh, it suits me." She smiles. "But there's a treasure lain unguarded these past years, and I've a mind to reclaim it."
The words are not so light as she would have them sound, and Jack's eyes are sober when they meet hers. "This life might not suit your treasure, Mistress Turner. Pirate's blood means nothing without a pirate's heart."
"He has mine." Her eyes slide to the horizon, and the unrelieved blue of it has begun to trouble her. "It will be enough."
"What if it's not?"
She meets his gaze again, steps in close enough to share breath. "Then he has yours too, does he not, Jack?"
He gives her a kiss and a boat, taking the Pearl in dangerously close to Port Royal so she does not have to row as far. She leaves the boat hidden in an inlet up the shore. The kiss she takes to Will.
"Hello, Will," she says as she stands in the door of the smithy that now bears his name. She wonders how much it will hurt him to leave it, how long it will take to soothe that hurt. "I'm home."
As much as the Pearl without him, at any rate.
He stares at her, and in his eyes she sees the girl she was. She wonders what he will make of her scars and callouses, her newfound fondness for rum. The tattoo on her shoulder of a straight, slender sword. "Elizabeth?"
"Yes," she says, though she can't be sure he's not addressing her ghost. She wonders suddenly if Jack was right to be uncertain. "I just arrived. I thought you might still be here."
"It's nice to see you." He turns away from her as he says it, and now she knows he's speaking to her. He would not waste such false politeness on her ghost. "When does the Pearl sail off again?"
It's less comfort than it should be that she still knows him so well.
"Will." She steps into the room as he turns, stops as he steps back. Away from her. "It's gone. I'm staying." Long enough to convince you to come with me.
"You've said that before. When Jack escaped. After our wedding." His mouth twists, and his voice is bitter as seawater. "Two days before you left."
"I know." She rubs at the tattoo under her shirt, remembers the dream that had driven her to get it when she had refused one for so long. "I thought I needed the Pearl, before, and I did. But something was missing."
His eyes follow her hand. It gives her some hope, and she grabs onto it like line in a storm.
"So I came back," she says, and when she starts forward this time, he does not back away. She comes close enough to touch, close enough to feel his tide, and he reaches out for her. She wraps her arms around his neck and almost smiles. "For you."
"You can’t," he buries his face in her hair and she's reminded of a road overlooking the harbor, "you can’t just appear and expect me to--"
She will not have only his tears to hold onto ever again. She takes his head in her hands, pulls back and kisses him, hard and hungry. Pulls him into her own current, into the promise she and Jack made, and feels him dive into it.
"God, Will," she murmurs later when he is diving more carefully into her. She lets her eyes slide shut, savors the new-old sensation. "It's been so long."
There's a pause in his rhythm. "You mean...you and Jack never--"
"Not without you!" She opens her eyes with the shock, sees the lingering uncertainty in his eyes and answers it sharply. He has never doubted her sharpness, and she wonders if that's the smith in him. "You're still my husband."
He gives her a kiss, belief and apology. She takes it until she tastes salt, pulls away to see she's brought his tears back to him after all. She licks them away, tries to give him something sweeter.
"I love you, Will," she whispers. He rocks into her like a ship home to anchor, and she laughs, certain suddenly that she'll be returning to the Pearl, and not alone. "Now, can we--"
He surges strongly, and she lets him hear her pleasure. "Like that?"
She nods and smiles, and rocks with him, into him. Like that. Just like that. She moans, and he moans more loudly still, and over him she can hear the sound of the sea rising.
It sounds like home.
|Feed the Author|