She didn't intend to come back here. Ever, if she's truthful to herself. Port Royal is as scarred in its own way as she is, and she isn't sure she would ever have been prepared for seeing the home of her childhood changed the way it has been.
Or is it all the same, and she's the one so completely changed? Perhaps that's true. Perhaps it's both.
She has the Empress moored at the docks and leaves Tai Huang with orders to arrange reprovisioning and leave for the crew. The trip from Shipwreck is a long one and she's just as happy not to court mutiny by denying them their rum.
The walk along the docks into the town is not the first time she's wondered what in the name of God and Heaven has brought her back to Jamaica, and to Port Royal. She's been wondering it since the thought first came to her. Still, at least no one recognises her —
She turns. Two women from another life are hurrying along behind her, voluminous skirts hitched up with both hands against the mud. Very few people are left here to recognise her, so few that she imagined, perhaps foolishly, that a simple disguise would be enough.
She thinks for a moment about making an escape, but it seems a little melodramatic to go racing through the streets chased by the voice of a young housemaid, so instead she stands her ground and waits for the past to catch up to her at last.
"It is you. Oh, Miss Swann! I hardly thought to see you ever again." Her old maid, the woman she suddenly realises she never knew as more than Maid, stops: her old chambermaid, Annie-Mae, is tucked behind the woman like a scared duckling and they're both staring. "Miss Swann, you're wearing—" Maid's voice drops, scandalized— "breeches."
She looks down at herself. She is, in fact, wearing plain brown cloth breeches, under a wide leather belt, an undyed linen shirt and rough sash: her favorite Singaporean black silk coat hides the harness and pistols that weigh against her breasts. When she tips her head, the tight pins holding her hair up under her flopping hat pull against her scalp.
She looks up again sharply and smiles a hopefully winning Jack-like smile. "So I am."
"Actually, it's Mrs Turner now," she finds herself saying. Well, at least she doesn't say Captain Turner, or worse, King.
"Oh," Annie-Mae says, in a soft cry.
"Miss, ah, that is, Mrs Turner. Why, I never thought to see you in Port Royal again, I—"
A hand of jewelled fingers grips her shoulder: Elizabeth tenses, and her sword is half-drawn before she hears the familiar sound of Jack's breathing close to the back of her neck.
Maid is looking at him over Elizabeth's shoulder with scandalised eyes, and her voice tremulous when it comes out. "This surely cannot be your Mister Turner?"
Jack chuckles darkly. "Me? Not on your pretty little life, love. He couldn't make it, more's the terrible pity," and he wraps his arm about Elizabeth and tugs her back against him. "Now if you'd be so kind," and he tips his hat floridly from behind her and grins, gold teeth glittering, and in the corner of her eye she can see his sleeve ride up, tattoos and the pirate brand standing out against his tanned skin, "young Mrs Turner and I have some business to be getting along with, what might involve some good rum and most definitely will involve a good thrust or two, if you catch me meaning."
Annie-Mae cries out again and throws a hand to her mouth and backs away. Maid takes her by the arm and tugs her sharply away, muttering things Elizabeth would once have been surprised to hear from her.
"That went well," Jack says, as he watches them go. Elizabeth laughs. Jack nuzzles her neck and his hands wander delightfully across her person. She feels him grin against her cheek as he finds the pistol beneath her coat, while he's saying, "The lass had a point. What are we doing here, pet?"
"I have another name now," she says.
"Aye, and that would be—"
"Your highness," she says, with a glittering smile as she turns and presses, sinuous, against him, her hand travelling up the back of his neck. "You made me your pirate King, Jack, do you not remember?"
He sighs in her ear, a soft breath that makes her shiver against him. "Reason must have escaped me at the time."
She smiles, turns her head just so, to brush her lips over his. "Reason has no dealing with you at all, Captain Sparrow."
He shrugs. "A position which would seem to be rubbing off on those of my acquaintance — and I ask ye again, Elizabeth Turner, me pirate King, what on the surface of the Earth made you choose this place for our happy little reunion?"
"I know where there's a good tavern," she says. Jack shrugs.
l'épée de cour
It shouldn't be done, but the man is dead, a spirit lost longer than he should be and cannot be bound to the Dutchman, and so Will gives the order to lower the boat and brings him aboard.
"Governor Swann." He bows, although he is the Captain aboard ship and under such circumstances as these, not behoved to bow to anyone. Weatherby Swann is not quite anyone.
Swann has that slightly vague tone that Will remembers all too clearly from passing this way, the other way, aboard the Pearl, a lifetime ago. Will nods.
"Are you dead?"
Will smiles. "No, my lord. Without a heart, but not dead."
And just like that the man's eyes sharpen with understanding. "This is the Flying Dutchman."
Will puts a hand on the other man's elbow. "Yes."
"And you…" Weatherby leans close and stares at him shrewdly, more shrewdly than Will ever remembers before. "You are its Captain?"
"Aye, I am." Bound to the Dutchman and her crew and the sea, bound to ferry all drowned souls to the next world for ten years, to have only one day of solace on land. He can see all of that in the Governor's expression. He smiles. None of it is more than he hasn't thought, himself — but there is more to life than that, even to his. "She's a good ship, my lord. Well provisioned; will you do me the honor of taking supper with me while we travel?"
"I did not think to be presented with such an offer on my way to the next world," Swann admits, still looking eager. Will grins and guides him below.
Despite the length of time they were acquaintances, and his attachment to the man's daughter, he's never had much chance to dine with Governor Swann before. Only once or twice during the engagement, before things went so badly awry and fell onto the path he now sails, and those were peppered with enough awkward moments that Will was quite glad of excuses not to be invited again. It comes as a pleasant surprise to find that death does change a man — though which of them seated at the captain's table is more changed than the other, Will isn't sure.
"Elizabeth and I were married during the battle," he says, partway through the meal.
Swann pauses, and then says slowly, "I see."
Will smiles fondly, in memory, and shakes his head. "No, my lord, I don't think you do. The Dutchman wasn't my intention when we married, but if I could have chosen her, I think I would."
"Even over Elizabeth?" The Governor's voice is faintly disapproving, not that Will blames him for it.
"Over Elizabeth, and Jack," he says softly.
Swann's eyes darken with something Will cannot quite translate yet. "I see."
"I am not as unwise as you once thought me to be," the Governor says. "You leave him to care for my daughter in your stead, then?"
"I leave them to care for each other," Will says. "I would choose this ship and this duty for what it has given me. A chance to have a wife and a love, and a son."
Now suddenly he can read that look in the man's eyes, and it makes the emptiness in his chest warm almost as if it beats, for just a moment. "A son…?"
"Elizabeth carries my child," he says. "Yes."
"A grandson…" The vague tone of death is back in Swann's voice, for just a moment, but tinged with such wonder that Will smiles.
"Aye, and he'll have my name and yours — I think Elizabeth would agree, if that pleases you."
Weatherby Swann looks up at him and smiles, too, with a look that lifts his eyes with joy. "Oh, it does. It does."
Later, much later, when they berth briefly at their destination — it's such a bright, calm place, and it tugs always at his soul — Will indulges himself just this once and watches his father-in-law until he's out of sight.
Elizabeth looks over at the bed and feels the wicked smile creep back to her lips. Will is sprawled there, his shirt still tangled around his neck and his bandana come loose on the pillows, the scar across his chest pale against his flushed skin as he breathes hard under Jack's ministrations. Jack, for his part, is kneeling at the foot of the bed — not even on it but with both hands on Will's thighs, and she can see where his rings press into Will's skin, or would see it if she weren't distracted by the sight of Will's cock disappearing into Jack's able mouth.
Will groans and clings to the sheets. Jack chuckles, loudly enough that she can hear it across the cabin. Will thrashes, reaches down to grab Jack's wrist and hair and hold him there; Jack grunts and swats the hands away, and Elizabeth starts to laugh at the sudden battle of hands that ensues over Jack's industrious sucking.
Grinning, she drops the silks back across the porthole and crosses back to the bed. She grasps Will's hands by the wrist and straddles him, just above Jack's bobbing head: Jack seems to think it a good idea, too, from the sound he makes and the way his hands slide up to wrap around her upper thighs.
Will opens his eyes and looks at her, and she smiles down at him as she places his hands on her breasts. There are new callouses on his fingers since last he touched her, that rub delightfully against her tight nipples and make her hum with pleasure.
"Elizabeth," he says, in a strained voice filled with love. "My Elizabeth," and his hands massage her breasts, possessive, hungry, cupping their weight as she leans over him. His eyes glow with the same pleasure she can feel under her own skin. "You're getting wet," he says, grinning, and she growls and arches down to capture his mouth with her own. Will kisses her passionately — and then roughly, making desperate noises into her mouth. She feels the tension roll through his body beneath her, through his hands on her, and presses him into the bed: he turns his head sideways and gasps.
"Yes, yes, Jack—"
And then he jerks up from the bed despite her efforts, his eyes wide, and she watches the climax come in them as he shouts Jack's name.
Jack grunts behind her, part pleasure and part pride, and she watches every extra lick of an incredibly nimble tongue reflected in Will's face until he's snarling for breath, eyes closed, soft shudders running through him. He's muttering, "Jack, Jack, Jack, Jack," under his breath, and keeps doing it until she hears a soft pop behind her and his face relaxes with a kind of pained relief she knows well enough.
She squeaks — how undignified — when warm hands close on her, around her waist and between her spread thighs. Will opens his eyes and chuckles.
"Jack," he says, a low drawl. Jack laughs and wraps himself around her back. She groans.
"Did ye doubt it?" he murmurs in her ear, and then bites it gently. She shivers.
"Wench," he retorts, affection strong in his voice, and pushes a finger inside her. She arches back against him.
"Oh, yes." He pushes in deeper and she can feel the cool pressure of a ring against her — and then two, a second finger joining the first, and he thumbs that sensitive spot and she bites her lip hard to keep from moaning his name again. One of Will's hands comes up to hold her waist, opposing Jack's: she writhes when the other closes about her breast and he rubs her nipple with his thumb. It's exquisite, both their hands all over her, and she falls into the pleasure of it. It will be all too brief, this quick flash of time they can be together on the waves, but she's learnt to savor every moment they can get.
"He's a boy of barely eight, Jack."
"A bit late to be owning his first blade, 'tis true, but he's Will's lad and will make up for lost time, I'm sure."
"Just because you'd give your own son anything he asks," she says, and doesn't need to turn around to know what said boy is up to. "James!"
Jack shrugs. She pretends not to see the proud gleam in his eye when he glances over her shoulder. "Aye, I would." He reaches out and draws her in close, stepping one leg firmly around hers and pressing them hip-to-hip. His voice is low. "Give either of me sons anything, and their mother too, whatever they want most."
Elizabeth smiles and blushes, irked with herself for even saying it. She should know, does know, behind her mother's worry, that Jack sees no difference in their boys at all. That one is fair and Will's, the other dark and his, is of no moment to Jack.
"They grow so fast, Jack."
"Aye, boys do that."
"Girls too," she says, eyes flashing. He chuckles.
"Aye, but 'tis not my turn for that, and you well know it, pet."
She smiles. In his own way, Jack Sparrow is as much or more of a gentleman than any she knew in her previous life as the daughter of a Governor. She doubts any of those starch-shirted suitors would have spent so many years insistent on awaiting another man's return before planting her with his seed a second time. Not that she and Jack haven't practised, of course, but the herbs do their work well, and though there's been a time or two of concern she's never grown full since James was born.
"Another year," Jack says, in the deep tone that makes her shiver. "Not long to wait now, Elizabeth."
"Another year," she whispers back. Barely anything compared to the time they've spent already, and yet it still feels so far away to her mind. She wraps herself around him and runs one of his dreadlocks between her fingers. "And is it done then, Jack? No. One day at home, ten years at sea—"
"Aye." He takes her hand from his hair and kisses her fingers. "That's the way of it, and you don't regret it."
She sighs. It's true; though she misses Will terribly, though William's pleas for tales of his father wrench at her heart, she doesn't have it in her to regret where life has taken them. The Dutchman must always have a Captain, but for that price she has William and James and Jack, she has their all-too-brief times at sea with Will, and for all of that it's a payable price.
"I still don't like you giving him such things," she says sternly. "You'll teach him to use it yourself or he'll wait."
"I'll teach him," Jack says, and grins.
The green flash strikes across the horizon, and however far away, Elizabeth is sure she can see the familiar silhouette outlined against the brief light.
From behind her, out of nowhere, like always, Jack's hand snaps out to grab young William by the shoulder and keep him from tumbling to an unkindly death in the lapping waves below.
"Easy, boy, unless you'd like to meet your father at work." He squeezes the boy's shoulder and wraps the other arm around Elizabeth's waist. She scowls at him, although her eyes never leave the horizon. Is that the Dutchman, there, in the fading light? It must be.
"Jack," she says, scolding lightly. "Don't scare him."
"He'll be more than scared when he's draped over the rocks down there," Jack says, but he puts his hand affectionately on William's hat instead. His beard tickles her cheek.
"I've missed him so much, Jack," she says quietly, for him to hear, not for William who knows it anyway but is too intent on the horizon to listen.
"So've I," he says, just as quiet. "Patience not being such a virtue as all that, as it turns out, not that I couldn't have told ye that to begin with."
Elizabeth smiles, and then laughs, because it is, it's the Dutchman sailing in close, at long last, and she both can and can't wait. She turns her head away for just a moment and Jack's there, his lips quirked in a grin of his own, and he kisses her soundly, his tongue playful against her lips and his hand spread against her stomach to hold her tight.
On the deck of the approaching ship, when she looks back out to sea, she can clearly see Will raising his sword in greeting.