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Story: Bittersweet

This is to counter the recent stream of wank. A nice, cynical pirate story to brighten your day!



For those who think 'bittersweet' is deeper than a happy ending, this story is just the thing for you! Warning: Spoilers.

Disclaimer: I own none of this. The elements in this story are created and owned by Ted Elliott and Terry Rossio, Jerry Bruckheimer, Gore Verbinski, Disney, and of course, Ambrose Bierce. I am making no money from the forthcoming endeavor.

Bittersweet



"Yo-ho, yo-ho, a pirate's life for me..."

Young Elizabeth Swann stood singing on the deck, staring into the fog and letting the warning of that fat old drunken idiot Gibbs about cursed pirates in these waters go in one ear and out the other. She was the daughter of Jamaica's new Governor, and no one would tell her what not to sing.

The fog parted, revealing burning wreckage, and Elizabeth heard gasps of consternation from the men. Her keen eyes spied an object bobbing out upon the waves. "Look -- there's a boy in the water!"

"Take care of him," her father said, after the lad had been pulled out of the sea and laid on the deck. He promptly rowed off with Lieutenant Norrington, leaving her alone, as usual. She had become used to her father going off to political meetings and court functions while she remained at home, bored to tears. Some day, she promised herself, she would find a man who did not leave her behind.

This time was different, though, for Papa had left her in charge of an unconscious youngster. She spied a glimmer of gold at his neck and reached to pull it away. The boy's eyes flicked open . . .


* * *


Will Turner opened his eyes and looked up into the face of an angel. 'I thought I was dead,' he told himself, as she stroked the damp hair away from his face, 'but now I am alive. I will live for this girl, and I will die for her . . .'


* * *


And so he had done. He worshipped her from afar during the years of his apprenticeship, becoming a skilled maker of swords and a crafter in metal so that he might be worthy of her favor. When the Black Pearl attacked Port Royal and took Elizabeth, Will Turner had risked all to follow her and to rescue her. No matter that he had lain down with dogs to do it; her life was well worth the cost. And when Jack Sparrow had shown a surprisingly decent side by helping him, Will had returned the favor, saving Jack from the hangman.

He had been willing to pay the price for that, but when Elizabeth faced the noose along with him, he'd had no choice but to seek Jack out again. In the course of it, Will learned the sting of betrayal and found his lost father. When Bootstrap had sacrificed himself for his son, Will learned the pain of opposing loyalties. He owed his father. He owed Jack, and he loved Elizabeth, even though he feared her heart might belong to another.

The journey to the ends of the earth and back had been a dark one; he had lost more and more of his soul along the way, yet in the end, he saved his father and found Elizabeth's love again. It came at a horrible cost; he had taken one of his own swords through the heart and condemned himself to servitude ferrying the dead, but his Elizabeth was a pearl of great price. His last day on land with her had been everything a man could ask for in an entire lifetime.

He stood now on the deck of the Dutchman, straining for his first view of land. Ten years it had been, ten lonely, joyless years in which he often wondered how it was possible to feel such loneliness and grief when his heart was so far away. There had been many times as well, when he wished he were truly a eunuch, as Jack Sparrow had been so fond of suggesting, but when he saw Elizabeth standing on the cliff, silhouetted against the darkening sky, he knew the sacrifice and the privation had not been in vain. His face slowly bloomed into an ethereal smile. Only one day with her, or all of his remaining life, it made no difference. She had waited and that made all of it worthwhile.

Will Turner dove from the bow of the anchored Dutchman and swam towards shore. She was standing on the beach by the time he reached the shallows. "Elizabeth!" he cried, struggling up through the surf. "Elizabeth . . . !"

"Will," she said and held out her arms. Behind her, he could see a boy staring at him with shy, hopeful eyes. Oh, God . . . his son! Will heard him singing, in his piping voice, "Yo-ho, yo-ho, a pirate's life for me . . . ."

"I love you, Elizabeth," he said. As he stepped up onto the dry sand of the beach, he felt the awful void in his chest and the strength drained from his legs. Will Turner was a mortal man again, and he had no heart . . . .

* * *


Young Elizabeth Swann looked down as the boy's brown eyes slowly glazed over. "He died," she said, as she sensed her father's shadow over her again.

Edging Weatherby Swann aside, Lt. James Norrington reached down to take the gold medallion from Elizabeth's hand. "Don't trouble yourself, Miss Swann. This boy was a pirate, or a pirate's get. I would have had to hang him anyway, eventually."

Comments

( 13 comments — Leave a comment )
jynky
Apr. 25th, 2008 01:37 pm (UTC)
Very interesting. I've always thought that the curse couldn't be broken by Elizabeth waiting because that would mean Will was human again and he doesn't have a heart! So I love that you included that. And even though that's the ending you've offered us, I don't want Will to die as a boy - even if it means he avoids all the horror of his future.

Great story.
randy_o
Apr. 25th, 2008 04:25 pm (UTC)
I've always thought that the curse couldn't be broken by Elizabeth waiting because that would mean Will was human again and he doesn't have a heart!

That comes straight from the pen, er, keyboard of Ted Eliott (I think) who said that he doubts the heart curse can be broken, although he is open to suggestions of how that might be accomplished.

Keep a weather eye on this spot, because I have a WIP underway that attempts to do that very thing.

I'm glad you liked this, and I'm pleased you took the time to read and comment.
jynky
Apr. 25th, 2008 06:35 pm (UTC)
This only popped into my inbox because it appeared on my Norrington Google Alert, lol! But I'll save this page and keep an eye!
randy_o
Apr. 26th, 2008 12:00 am (UTC)
This only popped into my inbox because it appeared on my Norrington Google Alert

Norrington fan, eh? I thought they absolutely wasted him. What a crime.

But keep an eye out -- he does a walk-on, rather a roll-through, in the WIP. I want some happiness for him.
jynky
Apr. 26th, 2008 07:39 pm (UTC)
Wasted? Yes, criminally so! If there's Norry-happiness involved, I'll be there with bells on. Drop me a PM if I haven't shown up in a few days - I find LJ very confusing and may miss it otherwise!
heartofoshun
Apr. 25th, 2008 04:02 pm (UTC)
I am torn between saying this is very sweet and sad or that you are a wicked person. Well done.
randy_o
Apr. 25th, 2008 04:30 pm (UTC)
Literary Piracy.
I am torn between saying this is very sweet and sad or that you are a wicked person.

*Snort* No need to choose, for I am both. The Amazing Randy is a man of contradictions. The wickedness, however, belongs to Ambrose Bierce, who did this same thing in An Occurrence At Owl Creek Bridge. I merely . . . pirated the notion. ;)
heartofoshun
Apr. 25th, 2008 04:34 pm (UTC)
Re: Literary Piracy.
You ARE very good at that and well read also. Who said, "Only steal from the best"? (Did I say steal? I meant something more like "garner inspiration.")
this_weirdness
Apr. 25th, 2008 07:18 pm (UTC)
This is a really interesting fic, randy. It reminds me of the question I have asked myself many times: Is it better to die and save oneself the pain, but deny oneself the pleasure, or is it better to live and endure the pain, so that one can relish the pleasure? Wow! That makes me sound a bit freaky...

It's a great story, and a great summary of events from Will's POV.

Bittersweet indeed.
randy_o
Apr. 25th, 2008 11:57 pm (UTC)
Is it better to die and save oneself the pain, but deny oneself the pleasure, or is it better to live and endure the pain, so that one can relish the pleasure?

In this version, Will seems to have had it both ways, in an odd little time paradox. Elizabeth will be spared pain -- I daresay in this AU she'll grow up to marry Norrington.
crowdaughter
Apr. 25th, 2008 11:01 pm (UTC)
I think I already commented on this story, elsewhere, but as I have said before: this is very intense, and a sad, but unfortunately not unlikely version of the tale. Well done!

I am looking forward to the other tale... :)
randy_o
Apr. 25th, 2008 11:50 pm (UTC)
I think I already commented on this story, elsewhere, but as I have said before: this is very intense, and a sad, but unfortunately not unlikely version of the tale. Well done!

Thank you! And you may notice the addition of one extra word, to reflect your concern about whether Norrington would actually hang a child. This is now the definitive version.
crowdaughter
Apr. 26th, 2008 08:01 am (UTC)
Thank you! And you may notice the addition of one extra word, to reflect your concern about whether Norrington would actually hang a child. This is now the definitive version.

Thank you for taking that concern in. I apologize for being such a nit-picker, but I have to admit I think it works even better, now. :)
( 13 comments — Leave a comment )