It was night and it was raining outside. Elisabeth lay in her hammock, listening to the rain hitting the deck of the brig on her sail to Singapore. Half a year span away from the moment she did a thing she could have never forgiven herself for. She has killed her friend. She has left Jack to die. And the worst was that he didn't blame her for that. "Pirate" that was all he said then, looking into her eyes. He wasn't hating her. Why wasn't he hating her?
Very often Elisabeth wanted to tell Will about what she had done, but every time she stopped herself from that. "He won't understand," she kept telling herself, "he would never have done anything like that. He won't trust me anymore. What if he thinks that I will be able to leave him to die for my own sake?"
But sometimes the burden would get unbearable. One of those times was now. Elisabeth understood that she won't be able to rest, so she sat up and listened. According to the snore, everybody was asleep. She quietly got out of her hammock and crept up the stairs leading to the deck.
The rain was pouring down in a curtain. Elisabeth shuddered under the cold streams of water, but didn't go back. The waves constantly hit the boards of their ship and rolled away with a roar. Elisabeth listened to them for a moment, and then walked on. In the dimness of the torches she could see only blurred shapes of what surrounded her, and she nearly stumbled over one of the opened barrels already almost filled up with the rain water. The look-outs were nowhere to be seen. Elisabeth blinked, making the water drip down from her lashes. Though rain was cold, it was refreshing, and it took away the tidiness from her body. But it couldn't take away the tidiness from her soul.
Unconsciously, Elisabeth walked up another block of stairs leading to the quarterdeck. She stood there for a second, looking at the black sea around the ship. Unshed tears were felling her up.
Suddenly, the door behind her flew open.
"What the 'ell 're ye doin' 'ere? Ye should be down on yer post!" Barbossa's grumpy voice sounded from behind her.
Elisabeth turned when he spoke. The captain's harsh words added to her mood and she couldn't hold herself longer. She wept. The despair and loneliness of half a year time flowed out of her, making her shudder in tears.
"Miss Swan?" Barbossa sounded confused.
Elisabeth was weeping with no answer.
"Oh, stop it, lass," the captain's voice softened. His steps were barely heard in the pouring rain as he went out of his cabin and came up to Elisabeth. "It didn't mean to hurt ye".
She continued crying.
"Why in all th' blazes 're ye standing 'ere in th' rain? Ye come in and calm down right now," Barbossa took Elisabeth gently by the arm and led her in. She didn't resist because she was in too much pain to do it. Barbossa slammed the door shut and pointed to a chair near the only table in the cabin.
"Take a seat".
Elisabeth dropped down, ashamed of her weakness, but still unable to stop herself from crying. She quietened a bit only when a goblet was put down on the table.
"Ye need to drink th' rum, lass, if ye want not to drop ill. It be not poisoned, nothin' to be afraid of," Barbossa said.
Elisabeth was so surprised not hearing the common mockery in his voice that she stopped weeping and looked up at him. He certainly was sleeping before she came up to the quarterdeck, because he was having only his trousers and jackboots on. Yet he had his usual green bandana on as well, and his loose hair was even in a more mess than usually. Elisabeth glanced in respectful wonder at the many battle-scars on his chest and stomach, until her gaze unwillingly stopped on one of them, right above his heart. Barbossa's gaze followed hers, and then the captain smirked. Elisabeth looked swiftly away, ashamed of staring at him.
"Ye see resurrection didn't get me whole again," Barbossa said in irony, but then got serious again. "Ye drink th' rum."
He turned away and went towards his bed. Elisabeth felt a cold chill when she saw white, long lash-scars and then two scars that were exactly at the same places on his back as were their twins on his chest.
Barbossa fetched his shirt and while putting it on walked up to a cupboard and took out another goblet.
Elisabeth then thought that she should still drink her rum. She suddenly remembered herself drinking it with Jack on that god-for-saken island and couldn't hold back the tears again.
"What happened, miss Swan?" Barbossa asked quietly, putting something warm round her shoulders. "Ye could not be cryin' because of me words again, so what be it?
"I… I…" Elisabeth choked on her words. With all her will she made herself stop weeping, looked Barbossa in the eye and then was shocked by realization that the warmth around her was the captain's coat.
"Thank you," she whispered, wrapping herself up but still shivering from the cold.
"'d like me hat?" Barbossa sneered. "Don't 've lice, nothin' to worry 'bout. That's what I keep th' monkey for".
Elisabeth faintly smiled.
"So," the captain continued, taking his seat opposite her and pouring some rum into his own goblet, "what 'appened?"
Elisabeth dropped her gaze to her portion of rum. Then she took her goblet and drank the alcohol in one swing, rum sending fire down her throat.
"'o taught ye drinkin' rum like that?" Barbossa raised his brows in interest, obviously astonished.
"I left Jack to die," Elisabeth suddenly said. She seemed very calm, but inside she was horrified of what she has just done. Has she gone mad? She tolled her secret to whom? To Barbossa who she didn't truly know. To Barbossa who was her enemy in the past. To a man who mutinied Jack and left him and her to die on an island. To a man who would have killed Will, if hadn't been stopped. What if he blackjacked her now with the truth she told him? What if…
"I know," was a simple answer.
"You… You know?" she whispered in disbelief.
"I do," he repeated.
"... How?" Elisabeth asked, still refusing to admit the spoken words.
"She knows too?" Elisabeth felt even more horrified. How could that be possible? How did they get the truth? Who can know except Tia Dalma and Barbossa? Can the crew know? Can Will… No, no, he can't. They all can't. She would have understood that.
"But how?" Elisabeth timidly glanced Barbossa in the eye, afraid to find there anger and blame. But, impossible, she, all of a sudden, found there sorrow and understanding.
"Tia Dalma sees many thin's, Miss Swan," Barbossa replied. "And she shares some with me".
"You're not angry?" Elisabeth whispered, barely having the courage to continue looking into his eyes.
"Angry 'bout what?" Barbossa shrugged. " 'bout leavin' to die th' one who killed me?"
"I'm so sorry for what I have done…" Elisabeth buried her face in her hands. "I don't know what to do…"
She looked at Barbossa again. He smiled, obviously trying to encourage her.
Elisabeth wasn't understanding anything. Where was the usual captain's sarcasm on everything, his irony, where was his coldness and apartness from everyone? Sitting opposite her was a man whom she never knew and has seen now for the first time.
"We'll save 'im. Ye'll 'ave yer conscience back to 'er normal state very soon," Barbossa said, pouring himself another portion of rum. " 'D like more?"
"Yes," and as the captain poured the rum into her goblet, she decided to ask the question she had wanted to know the answer for since the moment she had left Jack to die.
"Why didn't he blame me?"
Barbossa put the bottle back on the table. He chewed on his lip and shrugged once more.
"Because 'e'd 've done th' same to ye?"
"No, he would not," but deep inside Elisabeth knew it was the truth. The truth she had always known but had always refused to accept.
"Aye, 'e would. 'e 'as always saved 'is pelt by th' price of th' others'," Barbossa made a big gulp and continued. " 'e'd done it twice with yer William. Once 'e'd've changed 'is life for th' Black Pearl, th' second – 'e gave 'im to Davy Jones instead of 'imself. And a number of sailors'd 've followed Turner's fate. 'e'd done 'is with me. For two times, I think. 'owever, I gave 'im no chance of doing it for th' third time. But 'e be a cunnin' fox, proved even more than I be."
"You mean on Isla-de-Muerta?" Elisabeth has truly calmed down now and got very interested in what Barbossa was saying. She was eager to know what the captain thought about the small bit of the past when they met and had been enemies.
"Aye," was Barbossa's short answer.
"That…" Elisabeth felt herself blush, but continued speaking, hoping that in the dim light of the candles her face is not seen clear. "That scar… is it from Jack's bullet?"
"Which of 'em?" taunted Barbossa, making her blush even more so she fell silent for a moment, readying an answer.
"Aye, it be it," the captain got sorry for her and ended the confusion.
Elisabeth was still silent. She remembered the moment when Jack and Will lifted the curse, her relief that it was all over, that Will was safe. And her sorrow for Barbossa when she saw blood sipping through his shirt. She remembered his last words filled with joy turning into grief as he realized he was dying. She remembered the apple he never got to taste again, falling from his hand.
"I'm sorry for your death," she said quietly.
"Why be that?" Barbossa asked in a surprised tone.
"You never did wrong to me".
"Well, I scared the 'ell out of ye for twice or thrice. And I acted as I'd cut Turner's throat open".
"Acted – that's the word," Elisabeth narrowed her eyes cunningly.
"I needed Jack to tell me of 'is intentions. But anyhow, I marooned both of ye and left ye to die".
"Why wait? Why not kill us on board?" Elisabeth raised her brow sure that she caught him.
Barbossa thought for a brief second.
"We could definitely feel no pleasure from that," he managed to think an answer.
"Oh, I see," Elisabeth smiled slyly. "Then why marooning us on the same island, knowing Jack had already gotten away from there once?
"You couldn't have not understood we could have done the same again?"
"Not that fast as ye managed to".
'He surrendered!' Elisabeth thought in triumph.
"So you knew?" she asked.
"About th' contrabandists' 'iding place? Sure I did," Barbossa smirked and added. "Jack always thinks 'e be th' only one to know things around".
Elisabeth took a sip of her rum.
"I heard from Will that you didn't know the route to Isla-de-Muerta when Jack did".
Barbossa shook his head.
"He didn't know either. Jack got an old Spanish map from one of the ships we plundered. I asked 'im to show it…"
"And then you decided you didn't need him any longer…" interrupted Elisabeth.
"That's what we decided together with the crew!" cut down the captain.
"'e ran away from almost each skirmish during th' three years I 'ad been sailing with 'im, and 'e thought only about 'imself".
"Isn't it what every pirate does? Thinks only about himself?" Elisabeth questioned him.
"Every pirate but not every captain," Barbossa sounded serious in contrary to Elisabeth's voice.
Silence fell in the cabin.
"So… you did nothing unfair to Jack after all, then?" Elisabeth said at last.
"I'd 've killed 'im if 'e 'adn't 'ad the wit to steal one of those bloody medallions," Barbossa ended his rum in another gulp. "And I killed the father of yer Turner, Miss Swan. I be not a kind innocent creature, there be no reason to make me that."
"Yet Will never told me why you had done this," Elisabeth frowned.
"Bill sailed to Isla-de-Muerta after th' mutiny, got 'is gold and got 'is curse, then after revealing th' curse was no ghost tale, 'e sent one of th' coins to 'is child from Tortuga, saying 'e 'ad always been for Jack and th' curse be what we earned. I got furious and sent 'im to blazes with a canon-ball around 'is leg," Barbossa's usual sneer appeared when he said the following words. "I guess 'e wasn't eager to cut 'is leg off so that's how 'e ended".
"But he wasn't able to die down there for ten years!" said Elisabeth, horrified with the sudden thought.
"I didn't know it then, as I didn't know anythin' else about the curse except that we should gain the coins together and bring 'em back – that was all that Tia Dalma told us for that moment. But if Bill 'adn't got found by Jones 'e'd 've certainly been dead now. Of course if 'e 'adn't thought up an idea of 'ow to get rid of the canon-ball in a ten-year time or simply 'adn't taken a walk to the shore with it. He could've managed that in ten years".
"So he could have been alive?" Elisabeth was surprised because she had never thought of that before.
"He certainly could if ha hadn't acted as a damned fool, as a weaky and as a coward," Barbossa answered in a solid tone.
Silence fell once more. Barbossa got up, walked to the cupboard and got something out. Elisabeth saw what it was. A green apple.
"Apple?" Barbossa smiled innocently, turning back to her.
"Poisoned?" Elisabeth grinned back.
"No sense in killin' ye, miss Swan. Not now, nor after. Apple?"
Barbossa got out another one, sat back to the table and placed an apple in front of Elisabeth. She took it and bit hard into it's fresh flesh.
"Where do you get them?" She asked chewing hard.
"In ports, o' course," answered Barbossa after biting into his.
"Wouldn't eat 'em, if they were not".
They sat in silence one more.
"What about the red dress?" Elisabeth questioned, breaking the silence.
"What about the red dress?" Barbossa re-asked, surely seeing what she was talking about, but refusing to show it.
"What happened to it's previous owner?"
"Never seen 'er, lass. We got th' chest from a French galleon," he shrugged, but then nodded in understanding "We didn't kill 'er, nor rape 'er an' throw 'er o'erboard, Miss Swan".
"You menaced you'd make me dine with the crew…" Elisabeth started.
"Naked, aye, I remember quite well," Barbossa laughed.
"What for? To make me dine with you?"
"Sure. So that ye'd listen to me story".
"That's it," nodded Elisabeth "Because I thought it was not that any of you could…" She stopped.
"Go on," encouraged Barbossa.
"Not that any of you could… rape me".
"Well, I certainly could now," Barbossa stood up and walked to her seeming interested, but not menacing. "What would ye do? Scream an' call for Mr. Turner?"
"I'd run you through," Elisabeth's sword flashed before Barbossa's eyes and came to rest it's tip on his chest.
"Ye know 'ow to 'andle a sword, lass?" without any movement asked the captain. "I've thought ye just wore it for a fancier outlook".
"Will taught me fighting".
"'e did, eh?" Barbossa was silent for a while, frowning at his thoughts. "That we should see. In th' morning. Agreed?"
"You want me to fight you tomorrow?" Elisabeth stared at him in surprise.
"Nay, not me! Gibbs, Ragetti, Pintel, Cotton, our hired crew – anyone you like. Not Will, though. 'e'll be easy on you".
"Fine," fire of confidence blazed in Elisabeth's eyes. She didn't know why, but she felt that Barbossa's opinion on her fighting skills would be valuable to her. Perhaps, because he was the greatest swords-man she had ever seen in a battle.
"Still want to run me through, Miss Swan?" Barbossa's voice tore her from the thoughts. She glanced back at him. The captain was eyeing the tip of her sword.
"Almost forgotten th' feeling in a ten-year time," he smiled in what seemed bitter irony.
"You had gotten run through?" Elisabeth asked firstly in disbelief, but then mentioned to herself those double-scars of his that she had seen.
"Aye, in a melee on shore," nodded Barbossa, "when we're goin' to get a key to an armory from th' hands of th' English. Jack 'ad a plan which I remember not now. I remember just things messin' up and us 'aving to fight off th' bloody red-coats. I fought back to back with Jack – it was me first year with 'im. Then 'e still seemed a good man to be".
"Jack is a good man…" Elisabeth protested, but Barbossa cut her off.
"Jack be arrogant an' self-thinkin'. We killed many foes, lass. I just finished one more when I got a cutlass through me from the back.
"But Jack?.." started Elisabeth, and once again was interrupted.
"Jack saw th' key in somebody's 'ands an' ran off to get it without bothering to tell me," Barbossa sneered ruefully. "That was the first time I thought I contacted with a wrong man".
"What did he say to you afterwards?"
"Never said 'e was sorry, o'course. But got 'is key"
"And I got three months in bed and a double-scar remindin' me never to trust me life to Jack again," shrugged Barbossa as if the things he was talking about were not important to him.
"But that be long ago. Almost forgotten 'ow one feels being menaced with a sword"
"Should I hold it a bit longer to refresh the memory?" Elisabeth smirked.
"Only if it pleases ye".
"Stop taunting me all the time!"
"Or what? Tell me, I be eager to know".
"I have my sword on you, don't you forget, captain Barbossa," she said in a tampered menacing voice.
"I have the power to kill you".
"Nay, this memory I don't want to refresh," Barbossa' smile faded.
Elisabeth put her sword into its scabbard in a second, understanding that she shouldn't have said that.
"It's fine," Barbossa said, stepping backwards and taking his seat again. "Ye did nothing wrong".
Elisabeth stirred in unease to ask the question she wanted to, but then overcame herself and inquired in a barely heard voice.
"Did all your crew die then, except for Pintel and Ragetti?"
"'ey'd been lucky to escape," Barbossa said, and with a pause continued grimly. "Damn it, lass, I wish 'ey were 'ere with me. Cobb an' Jacoby an' Twigg an' Andreas an' our Bo'sun, who never had a name, an' Koehler… Especially Koehler. 'e was a worthy lad".
"So why are you on sail to save Jack after all?" Elisabeth asked.
"I owe me life to Tia Dalma. She wants to save 'im, cause she needs 'im," Barbossa answered gloomily.
"Why does she need him?"
"That be a long story, Miss Swan, and the night is already short. Ye should take some rest," was the reply.
"I want to hear it, captain, please," Elisabeth was really interested and she didn't want to leave, understanding that this might be the only time when she could get to know the real captain Barbossa, not the mask he hid his true feelings behind.
"Well, if ye be determined to 'ear it…"
And so Elisabeth sat there, listening in growing wonder to the tale of the sea goddess Calypso, of captain Sao-Feng's Charts, of the Brethren Court and the Nine Pieces of Eight, about Davy Jones's story of love and suffer.
Dawn has already set outside the cabin's windows when Barbossa fell silent.
"So that's it," said Elisabeth, who felt slightly lost after all the amount of knowledge. "But how for haven's sake are we going to get those Charts?"
"Oh, I 'ave a plan for this," smirked the captain. "But I can not tell ye till I tell the crew the story ye just heard"
"You're going to tell them?"
"Why should I not?" Barbossa scowled, "They have the right to know. They be part of the operation. I be not Jack to keep secrets".
Elisabeth opened her mouth to say something in protect for Jack, but then suddenly somebody knocked on the door.
"Captain Barbossa?" Will's voice called from the outside.
Elisabeth was thrown into fever. She glanced helplessly at Barbossa, silently begging not to tell Will she was here. Barbossa nodded.
"What do ye want, lad?" he said loudly.
"Do you happen to know where Elisabeth is?"
Elisabeth wanted to fall through the deck into the sea. What would Will think if he finds her here? She blushed from a foul thought that occurred to her.
At the moment Barbossa stood up and while walking to the door pointed his finger to the empty space between the cupboard and the wall which could not be seen from the entrance. Elisabeth jumped up and quickly hid behind it. Barbossa opened the door.
"Good morning, captain," Will's voice sounded.
"Morning, mister Turner. Nay, I'm not supposed to know where ye lost your precious lass".
Elisabeth smiled to herself, noticing Barbossa's usual mockery intonation back.
"I don't know if she slept at all, because a hammock is not a bed and…" Will continued.
"What do ye want from me, boy?" Barbossa grumbled. "To go runnin' all o'er th' ship like a madman searchin' for 'er? Ye better go down to the 'old and search for 'er there yerself. Luck".
With these words Barbossa closed the door right in front of Will's nose. Few seconds passed and his steps sounded away.
Elisabeth emerged from her shelter.
"Thank you," she said - still in fear that Will will come back in any moment.
"Welcome," Barbossa replied. "Ye better go now. Unnoticed. But ye ought to get a bit wet so that Will'd believe ye came down right from the top of the mast itself".
"Right," Elisabeth nodded.
She took off Barbossa's coat and gently held it to him.
"Thanks for getting me warm".
Barbossa took the coat from her without a reply. Elisabeth walked up to the door.
"Stop there, Miss Swan, if ye want not to get into th' eyes of th' look-outs on yer emerge from me cabin," Barbossa warned, smiling slyly.
Elisabeth stopped. Barbossa came up to her, opened the door and shouted out:
"Hey, ye, bloomin' cockroaches! Aye, exactly ye! Mister Turner'd lost 'is girl. Go an' help 'im find 'er!"
Barbossa blocked Elisabeth's way with his arm as she tried to walk out. He held it up for a few moments then turned to her.
"They're gone. Be quick. Cotton be at the helm, but 'is parrot be not there. And 'e be busy with the course, so 'e might not see ye".
Elisabeth slipped past him through the doorway, but suddenly turned and all of a sudden she asked:
"Captain Barbossa, what was it that you saw, when you were dead?"
Barbossa sighed. Then answered quietly:
"I do not remember well. The only I know be that I felt nothin' physically. For once again. Go. They'll be up soon. Don't forget about th' fencin' an' get some sleep".
The door shut closed in front of her.