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The Dead Shall Be Raised Incorruptible

by Melusina

 

Fandom: PoTC    Rating: PG    Pairing: none    Full Header

 


The house was silent except for the creak of the rocking chair and the ticking of the parlor clock.  Estrella was long abed, and the baby snored on Elizabeth's chest, his sweaty head leaving a damp spot on her bodice.  It was nearly midnight and still there was no sign of Will.  Elizabeth sighed and William stirred.  "Shhhh. . .Daddy will be home soon," she said, more to reassure herself than the child.

Will had left town that morning to meet a customer at his estate.  The man was building a new house for his bride, and wanted to discuss the hardware he would need.  It would be a large order; if the negotiations had gone into the evening, perhaps Will had decided to stay the night, rather than returning to town so late.  There was no need to wait up for him, Elizabeth told herself.  But she was restless without him, and the baby was sleeping fitfully, so she sat up, fretting over nothing. 

Despite her worry, she was dozing when the clock chimed midnight.  She jumped, startling the baby, and he began fussing.  As the last chime sounded, there was a heavy knock at the door.

Settling the crying baby on her hip, Elizabeth took a candle and went to investigate.  She didn't like to open the door at this hour, but it might be someone bringing news of Will.  She peered out the front window, unable to recognize the figure standing in the shadows.  The knocking continued relentlessly, rattling Elizabeth's already frazzled nerves.  Gathering up her courage, she clutched the baby tightly and pulled the latch.

As soon as the latch was free, a gust of wind pushed in the door, nearly knocking her down, and blowing in dead leaves and the smell of the sea.  The candle guttered, then flared brightly, revealing an oddly familiar face, worn by years and care.  She gasped and said, "You must be-"

"William Turner, Senior, ma'am."  His voice gurgled wetly and Elizabeth wondered if he were ill.  He cleared his throat, and went on in a more normal tone.  "I'm told m'boy looks just like me."  He grinned wryly.

Elizabeth stood staring, wondering where he had come from and what he was doing here at this time of night.  Thunder boomed in the distance and recalled her to herself.  She could hardly leave Will's father standing on the doorstep.  "Come in out of this wind," she said automatically.  She ushered him into the foyer and reached for his threadbare coat.  There was an awkward pause in which he refused to divest himself of it. He must be shamed by his poor clothes, Elizabeth thought, and rushed to fill the silence.  "As you've probably guessed, I'm Elizabeth Turner, your daughter-in-law.  And this is your namesake, William Turner, III."

Turner beamed beatifically at this, and Elizabeth's suspicions waned.  "That was kindly done of you.  He's a likely lad, ain't he?"  Turner held out his tar-stained hands and, to Elizabeth's astonishment, the baby unwound his hands from Elizabeth's hair and let his grandfather take him.  Turner dug through his pocket, and produced a large scallop shell.  With one last halfhearted sniffle, William quieted, gnawing on the shell.

"Where are my manners?  Please come in and sit down.  I'll put the kettle on for tea."  As she assembled the tea things, she called over her shoulder, "Have you traveled far?"

"Aye, a fair piece.  I had hoped to see my Will tonight." 

"I expected him hours ago.  I'm afraid he may have stayed the night, but I'm sure he'll return in the morning." 

A wistful look passed across Turner's face, then he resumed the nonsense song he was singing to William as he bounced him on his knee.  Elizabeth served Turner some tea and cake, her nose wrinkling involuntarily at the strong scent of mildew that emanated from him.

"Tell me about Will," he said, poking at the cake with his fork.  "What sort of man is he?"

"I thought he was a pirate."  Elizabeth chuckled.  "And he is.  At least. . .he has it in him to be a pirate. Jack says he comes by it honestly. But mostly, he's a blacksmith.  He's a good husband and a good father.  You'll be proud of him."

Turner's voice was soft.  "Aye, I am."  He swirled the tea in his cup reflectively, then spoke with more cheer.  "Broke the curse, didn't he?  He and Jack gave Barbossa what he had comin' to him.  And I hear you had a hand in that as well.  Will's not the only pirate in the family!"  His laughter was a wheezing, consumptive sound, and Elizabeth wondered again if he were ill.

Unable to contain her curiosity, she asked, "We heard what Barbossa did to you.  We feared that you had perished when the curse was broken.  How did you manage to free yourself?"

The baby's head was nodding, and Turner took a moment to position him in the crook of his arm.  "Nothin' lasts forever.  Not even iron chains."  His eyes grew vacant and flat, and Elizabeth shuddered.  "I don't suppose you've anything stronger than tea, do you, missy?"

Elizabeth laughed and fetched the rum from the cupboard.  "We keep it on hand for Jack's visits."

Turner sniffed his drink, and smacked his lips appreciatively.  "Did Jack ever tell you how we met?"

He proved to be as good a storyteller as Jack, and he regaled her with one tale after another of his adventures at sea.  He looked like Will, but there was something of Jack in the flourish he gave at the end of a story.  Elizabeth felt completely at ease with him.  The baby slept peacefully in his arms, and, engrossed in his reminiscing, Turner barely touched the rum or cake.   

As the sky outside the tiny parlor window grew lighter, Turner seemed increasingly agitated.  He watched every minute tick by on the clock, keeping time with his twitching foot.  Finally he lost the thread of his story completely, as streaks of pink and gold shot across the sky.  Just then, Elizabeth heard the latch lifting.  "That must be Will!" she exclaimed, rushing to greet him.

Will's brow furrowed in confusion to see her awake at this hour and still dressed.  They talked over one another, Will explaining how his horse had thrown a shoe, and Elizabeth telling of his father's arrival.  Finally hearing what Elizabeth was saying, Will stopped short.  "What?  My father?"

"Yes!" she said impatiently.  "He's in the parlor.  We've been talking all night, and he's so eager to see you."  She tugged on his arm.  "Hurry!"

They stumbled together down the dark hall into the parlor, and Elizabeth cried out in surprise.  The dawn light shone in on Little William, who was stretched out on the sofa, the scallop shell still clasped in his hand.  There was no sign of Turner, although he couldn't have left the room without passing them.  A long strand of seaweed clung to the sofa where he'd had been sitting, and when Elizabeth picked up the baby, he was soaked through with seawater.

 

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