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devils and black sheep and really bad eggs

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Henry is a little over two years old when Elizabeth sets sail once again on Barbossa’s ( or it might be Jack's , the title of captain changes so much Elizabeth has long since stopped trying to keep track ) Pearl to Havana, Cuba.

Barbossa tells her he has unfinished business there with a seafaring scallywag by the name of Leonicio Gutierrez, which Elizabeth understands as this man has some sort of treasure and we are to be led on what will most likely be a wild goose chase after it , but she agrees to come anyways.

Henry, like his mother, like his father, loves the sea and his extended piratical family, and Elizabeth has not been on a ship since Henry’s 1st birthday. It calls her in her blood, to brandish a sword and smell the salty sea spray, and she happily gives in.

Jack gives her a wink and smile when she steps on board with her son, and does a little bow as she passes him, calling out “Your Kingliness” in the same fashion as he always does. She merely rolls her eyes, but stands up taller and straighter for yes, of course, she is king.

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The days pass fast, faster than they did on land, and Elizabeth manages the ropes and hauls the canons and pitches in the best she can with a small little duckling, as she has taken to calling him, toddling after her. The crew takes to young Henry as well as they did when he was born, and Elizabeth happily enjoys the full meaning of the old proverb ‘it takes a village to raise a child”.

Pintel and Ragetti, joined at the hip as always, take turns telling him what they presume to be terrifying tales of monsters and sea goddesses, and sharing the same perplexed look when he merely giggles at them in baby fashion.

Jack of course, who despite how much Will had been apprehensive of, designated himself as the godfather the stormy night Elizabeth’s son was born, and takes his role very seriously. He scoops him up when Henry has wandered away from a watching eye and lets him tinker with his hair while he beguiles him with alternating life advice, stories of himself, and pirate curse words.

Elizabeth merely laughs when Henry crawls back into her arms at the end of the day, babbling the best a two-year-old can about the new words he has learned, and snarkily tells Jack that his impromptu lessons won’t be necessary: she's taught him all these words already.

                            

                                                                                  ____________________________

                                                            

They meet many a sailor on their voyage to Cuba, who both flee and fight them, depending on how balsy (and stupid) the crew is. Elizabeth fights at the head with her son strapped to her back, dodging and whirling and slicing in a way she has not for far too long, and for each one she kills she places a letter in their dying hands.

“For the Dutchman,” she whispers in their ears as she removes her bloody sword from inside them. She knows these love letters will reach him eventually, just as she knows the bottles filled with parchment she tosses into the sea will one way or another travel to whatever strange sea the Dutchman sails upon of late.

Jack once asked her why she did not name her son for his dear old daddy, carrying on the family tradition and all that.

She did not name her son Will because it felt too much like the man she loved more than the sea could contain, more than the moon could understand, more than any single person could possibly contemplate, was dead. And he was not dead, not as long as she kept his heart in a sac near her own, under the layers of fabric she wore, not as long as she saw the green flash, or the Dutchmen herself, and the captain at the helm with the smile she treasured like she treasured her son,  reaching out to her as their ships passed, stealing a kiss, a breath, a moment they had been cheated out of.

Elizabeth is a compass and Will is north, and fleeting moments and chance meetings and the terrible mystery of when they will next see each other, when their family will next be whole, is worth it. It’s Will, after all. She doesn't think she will ever stop being angry about it, however. She figured out a long time ago it was better to be angry. For if she wasn’t angry, she’d be sad. And that would be unacceptable.

She tells none of this to Jack, and simply says “ I was never one for tradition myself,  to be quite honest.”.

But it comes out too hollow, and when Jack laughs it is not without his own fair share of sadness. This is their own private way of grieving, in the only way they will allow themselves to.

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Weeks pass, and with them, they bring hurricanes and sea creatures and all manners of the scum of the earth.

Henry talks more and more, and has taken up the habit of mimicking the orders Barbossa calls to the crew. It is a hilarious sight, a small boy, a baby really, with Will’s face and Elizabeth's eyes and what is probably Jack’s hat, standing next to the dreaded Captain Barbossa screaming out “Man the cannons!” and “Put your backs into it you scurvy bilge rats, or I'll feed ya to the sharks!”.

Gibbs tells her as they pull away from yet another pirate port that it will take them only two more weeks to reach Havana. Elizabeth decides that although she was taught by the best, and is quite a sight to see as she slashes ad stabs the men who dare to cross her, she is not perfect, and the large bandaged shoulder wound she sports supports this.

So handing off her son to Gibbs and drawing her sword, she plants herself in front of the wheel, squares her shoulders, and asks Barbossa in a clear and strong voice to train her.

Hector Barbossa had trained her before, in the long voyage to Singapore in what seemed a lifetime ago. They had fought alongside one another at World’s End, at Calypso's Maelstrom, and against Davy Jones himself. Barbossa himself hold the honor of being the captain to marry the Pirate King and the future captain of the Flying Dutchmen, an honor which he does not take lightly.

He looks her up and down once, then bares his gold and black teeth at her in a smile. He nods to Cotton to take the wheel ad draws his own sword. Elizabeth grins.

They train every morning and every evening, in between Henry's feedings and the laborious task of sailing a ship. Their fights have become something of a scheduled spectacle, and they advance and deflect and parry and slice across the decks, their blades meeting and parting again and again. Righetti and Gibbs take turns bouncing the baby in their laps, as he enthusiastically watches his mama duel with a teacher who has once been undead, and has 15 years and 6 inches of skill on her.

Barbossa calls out orders to her as they fight, instructing her to jump, to parry his left strike, to always know where your feet are moving, to keep a sharp eye on the opponent always, you never know when they might stab ya in the back. Coincidentally, he tells her this just as he kicks her legs out from under her, sending both herself and her sword skittering to the deck.

Angrily spitting her hair out of her face, Elizabeth pushes aside his helping hand and clambers to her feet, snarling “Again”.

This continues on for days as they pass through murky waters and clear ones, pass  pirate ships and company controlled vessels

Elizabeth rolls across the deck as she ducks his next strike, and the crew cheers as she leaps to her feet. This, along with the humorous life of a toddler, is the only entertainment, and even Jack emerges from wherever he was hording his rum to watch the duels unfold.

They spin and twirl across the ship, the strap metallic clangs of the steel blades meeting each other creating a cacophony combined with the cheers and hollers of the Pearl’s crew. Elizabeth finds herself fighting like she has not for a long time, with the blood pounding in her ears and the clash of the blades and the face of her opponent the only thing she sees. They duel across the decks, scattering the crew, until one final strike sends Elizabeth's sword spinning out of her hand. The Pirate King, however, cannot be felled this easily.  Reaching madly behind her, she grasps for a handle, something to use a weapon. Her hand lands upon a large bucket, and without thinking she swings it around and hurls it at Barbossa, effectively causing him to drop his sword and be drenched in soiled seawater.

The crew falls silent, and Elizabeth holds her breath, waiting for the sputtering captain to unleash some kind of fury on her. Instead, he shakes the water out of his beard and hair, and meets her eyes. There is something in them that she faintly remembers filling her father's eyes, something, that under the right circumstances, might be considered pride.

“Pirate” he hisses happily at her, and she grins shamelessly back.

The crew erupts with cheers. Elizabeth catches sight of Ragetti throwing a laughing Henry into the air,  and someone begins yet another signing round of that old sea shanty Jack is always singing.

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No less than four days later she will tell Will about this, after a long battle he joined them against Gutierrez, whose treasure was indeed something supernatural, and attracted quite the attention, or what Jack called “a party, love”.

They will be lying in the captain's cabin on the Pearl, tangled up in one another, with their son fast asleep at the foot of the bed. Elizabeth's husband will laugh in his soft way at this, and press his lips to her hair, her collarbone, anywhere he can reach. They will enjoy one night of warmth and company, of love and passion, and William Turner will cradle his son as Henry sleeps, and everything will be right with the world.

Will is bound to be gone in the morning, returned to his duty of ferrying the souls of the dead, but Elizabeth will not cry. She will hold her son as he wakes, and she will turn her face towards the sea. The sea will say nothing, of course, as is its way.But it will be enough.

end.