Captain Sparrow recruits a younger Bootstrap Bill, but first he must contend with the formidable Mrs. Turner.
Standing at the door, insolently warm smile and sparkling dark eyes in place, was captain Jack Sparrow. Finding himself faced with a lady, he quickly swept his tricorne off and bowed elegantly at the waist.
"Begging your thousand pardons, madame, but would this fine and fair house just 'appen to be the Turner residence, home of one, ah," he reached into his pocket and drew out a crumbled piece of paper, squnting at a line of letters, "William Turner?"
Mrs. Truner gave an odd quirk of her brow, settling her demure face into one of suspicion. "Indeed it is, sir. Come in, please," she stepped back with a bow of her head, inviting him in with the gesture but keeping him in the threshold with a stern eye.
"Bill, dearest, there's a...?" She glanced up at her new guest for a name.
Jack started in, but caught her eye and stayed where he was, his smile flickering slightly. "Captain Jack Sparrow, madame. I met your husband yesterday." He couldn't keep from fidgeting with his hat. This woman's glare could outdo even his mother's. He tried, "None the less, I am far more pleased to meet his wife; he must be a very lucky man, indeed."
"Captain?" Maggie Turner said, catching along the drift already. Bill had been out late and come home sloppy; it meant he wouldn't have been in the best of judgment, of course. She quirked her eyes, placing her hands on her hips warily. "Privateer, are ye?" She looked him over, tongue caught between her teeth. Jack got the distinct feeling that correcting her with 'pirate' was probably a bad idea, so he ammended it to a sheepish reply.
"A mere merchant sailor, madame. Nothing more." God, it was like being caught stealing apples all over again.
Bill looked up from his child, out from the kitchen and towards the entryway hall. He picked little Will from off his knee and settled him to the ground. Will squeaked, keeping a hold on one of the ships, blinking up at his father and then trying to see the stranger at the door. "Maggie, who's it then?" Bill called, taking Will's hand and taking tiny steps on down the hall. "C'mon, Will..."
Will giggled, clutching at Bill's hand and offering up the wooden toy to him. "Ship!"
Eyeing the beads in his hair and the gold on his teeth, Maggie nodded, though she seemed neither agreeable, nor happy with his response. "Aye. A merchant, then, Mr. Sparrow..."
"Aye. Nothing but an honest captain, I assure you." Sweet mercy, it was like when his aunt Jane had found out about the missing cookies. Jack nearly slapped himself to snap out of it, and his face lit up in a relieved grin when Bill showed himself. "Ah, there you are, Mr. Turner. All sober again, I imagine?"
"Aye, boy! A ship's what that is, William!" he chuckled, patting his son's head and looking up to see who it was.
His face paled a bit. Oh, he'd definitely had too much to drink the night before, if he'd gone and told that old charmer where it was he lived. Little Will noticed his father looking a tad bit on the wretched side of things, and looked at the man causing it. He was weird, and obviously Will's mother Did Not Like him. Well, then; Will certainly wouldn't be sharing any ships with him. The boy's small features fixed in a scowl.
Swinging the tyke up onto his hip, Bill gave a bit of a stunted nod and avoided his wife's glance at all costs. It was not bound to be a good thing should he catch it.
"Feelin' better, yes. And you, Captain Sparrow?"
Maggie pursed her lips ever so slightly, redirecting her ire towards her husband. She put a friendlier hand on Jack's elbow for a moment. "If Bill invited you, you're a guest, Captain Sparrow. Come in, I'll fix you up some tea."
"Oh, yes, I'm, er... capitol," Jack replied with a weak smile, then blinked at Maggie. "You're too kind, Mrs. Turner; thank you." Grateful to be free of her wrath for the moment, he stepped inside carefully, glancing nervously at the child on Bill's hip. He'd never been good with children, not even when he was one. "And this must be your son, then. What a stout young lad he'll grow up to be, I'm sure."
Will scowled at the strange man more fiercely. He glinted. Deciding to air his dissatisfaction at the situation, the boy pointed accusingly and loudly proclaimed, "Girly hair!"
"Oy, now, Will, that's not kind!" Bill shushed his son with a pat on the hand, clearing his throat to hide the little bit of a chuckle that escaped him none the less. "Captain Sparrow's very respectable man."
"Is he, then?" Maggie glanced back at them both, leveling her husband with a deadly glare before disappearing back into the kitchen and starting up the kettle.
When she was gone, Bill gave Jack a helpless smile, half hiding little William's ears with a broad hand. "Sorry for the bit of trouble. She don't much mind me workin' for the privateers an' the merchants, but if ye don't be havin' some sorta' papers, she gets a bit... well."
Will pouted and squirmed. No fair; he wanted to hear what his father was saying. No doubt it was something profoundly interesting, like when he had explained the difference between a boat and a ship.
"I do have papers," Jack said, nodding a bit too eagerly. Anything to keep that woman happy, he decided, or he might just find himself in a corner for a few minutes of shame, purely by instinct. He dragged the crumbled piece of paper, dotted with unsteady signatures, out of his pocket and held it up.
"See? Right there, that's where you signed."
Oh, hell, Bill groaned internally, eyes widening at seeing his signature--albeit, sloppily inebriated--at the bottom of the paper,/ I was/ stunningly/ drunk.../ Outwardly, he sighed. Jack blinked as it dawned on him that Turner might have meant something else.
"Oh, those papers. No, don't have those. Forgot them back at the ship, to be sure."
"Aye, back at the ship then. Just stick t'that one, mate, and we should be jus' fine," he said, dropping his hand from his squirming child and grinning. "See, William? This is Captain Jack Sparrow. Very respectable privateer, mmn? "
Will stuck his tongue out peevishly, then blinked up at his father widely. He wasn't familiar with the word which meant - joy! - another explanation. "P'ivatear?"
"Merchant sailor," Jack corrected lamely, glancing nervously in the direction where Maggie had gone. Privateering was fine in the eyes of the law, but well, one did need papers for that, and as Bill had so skillfully insinuated, Jack didn't have them. Best to just stick to one story. "And my hair is not girly," he said, remembering the boy's previous statement.
"Aye, then, merchant sailor," Bill gave him a look over and bit back a laugh. This Jack was no more a merchant than he was the Duke of Clouchester. He shifted Will towards the pirate and grinned. "Privateer's a man who boards commands enemy ships in the service of the King, Will, m'boy. An' that's what your ol' dad does. But Jack here, has his own ship. Mmmn? What'cha think of that?"
He led the three of them over to the table as Maggie returned to set it up with cream and sugar, keeping a wary eye on Jack.Will's eyes grew wide at the thought. A real ship? With sails and everything? He gained a small sliver of respect for the stranger, though he still, like his mother, had reservations. "Ship?" he asked hopefully, showing his small toy.
Jack smiled nervously at Maggie, keeping his hat close just to be safe. "Eh? Oh, aye, and what a ship. Three-masted galleon, she is, and a right beauty." He blinked and stopped himself before he really got going. Generally it wasn't somehing he thought about, but that woman; yipe.
"The Black Pearl. S'her name."
"Aye, don't that sound lovely, dove?" Bill looked at his wife with a big grin, hoping to convince her with at least that much. Pinching his son's cheek, he grinned broadly. "Some solid work for a while on a grand ship, merchantry an' trading? Sound good to you, William?"
"Mm-hm!" Will agreed readily, beaming up at his father. A real ship. Wow. He had no idea what a 'galleon' actually was, but it sure sounded impressive and the glinty fellow seemed very happy about it.
Maggie sighed and nodded, seeming to concede entirely against her will, "Would be good for ye to get out the house for a long bit, rather'n those little crossings of the Channel... Some real work." She glanced up at Jack, that suspicious look returning once more, fists sliding to settle on her waist.
"Now, then, Mr. Sparrow, how long's it that y'be keeping my husband?"
Jack had to force himself not to take a nervous step back. "Oh, er, half a year, maybe a full one. We'll just be on a quick trip to the Caribbean, is all. Fixing up to bring home some fine goods for, er, bonny old England." He smiled, then hurriedly. "It pays well, and he'll be home before you know it; you needn't worry 'bout a thing, Mrs. Turner."
"See, dove? No need to worry! A year, not much more at most," Bill nodded, slumping back in his chair and toying with the tiny wooden ship, feeling moderately satisfied in his safety.
Maggie Turner leaned across the table as she set down Jack's cup, her dark brown eyes tumultuous with unspoken threats. "A year an' no more, then, I can see. Honest work, Mr. Sparrow, aye? None of this pirating business, nothin' not backed by the crown its self, or... well, God save your soul, because I will not."
Oh, hell. Jack felt, and looked, like a cornered animal at that. He chuckled weakly, trying a disarming smile. "Of course, Mrs. Turner. I'm an honest sailor, me; always have been and always will be. Used to sail with the Company, aye? Respectable's me middle name." He took the cup carefully, glancing down at it, mostly to escape her look. He had no doubt she meant it, either.
Ah. His mother was Not Pleased again, and any sympathy Will might have felt flew straight out the door. Obviously this stranger was of the bad kind, where mummy would shake her head and cluck her tongue, sending looks that made people duck.
"Now, Maggie," Bill cleared his throat, looking up from his own cup, "The man's given you his word, dove, no need to be so..." He looked up to catch her eyes burning as she returned to the kitchen, the kettle starting to whistle.
"You'll have to forgive me this," he set out again, stroking Will's hair as a calmative, "I didn't exactly get to tell her what it was I was out to last night, and... oh, I'd utterly forgotten I'd signed any contract. When is it you leave for the Caribbean, then?"
Jack watched her leave warily, then blinked back at Bill, watching the scowling child with some concern. "Er, well, as soon as possible, frankly." Even in England, authorities would know of a black ship with black sails, and he was eager to leave before the redcoats caught wind and got him in a world of hurt. No need to add that little detail, though. "I get paid more, the sooner the job is done, y'see. If all goes well, we'll be leaving with the tide tomorrow, but it may be longer."
"Tomorrow?! Bloody hell!" he exclaimed, completely forgetting about his child in his lap still. "Oh, Maggie'll be murderin' me before that, mate..." He ran a hand down his long face in horror, speaking out loud now purely for therapuetic reasons. "Well, best t'get away as soon as possible then."
Will blinked owlishly up at his father. He was sure at least one of those had been a bad word.
Jack jumped a little, glancing nervously in the direction of the kitchen. "Oh. Er, if you don't be wanting to spend the last night with your wifey, you can sleep aboard the Pearl, certainly. I just thought that, well, you'd like to say goodbye." And avoid her coming to kill them all, he added mentally.
"No, no, it's not your fault, it's me own, o'course," Bill sighed heavily. "Sorry t'put ye through all the trouble of this. She really is a good woman, she jus' don' want lil' Will to have a pirate for his father."
"And he won't, will he?" Maggie asked companionably, an overly sharp smile on her lips as she brought in a tea pot and served them all a spot.
Jack jumped a bit and laughed nervously, scooting back in his chair. "Now that's fully up to Will's father. He certainly won't be one aboard my Pearl."
"Piwate?" Will said, wrinkling his nose and kicking his legs. He was just learning new words by the bucket load today, wasn't he?
"Yes, ducky, pirates. They're no good, are they, Captain Sparrow?" Bill grinned into his cup, sliding Jack a wink before he set it back down again. "Vicious and cruel bast-..."
"Language, Bill," Maggie cleared her throat, threw back her tea, sashayed her way to her husband, and gathered up little William. "I think you've filled the boy with enough on that... I'll leave ye menfolk to talk about your honest business."
"No good at all," Jack agreed readily. "You'd do well to keep away from them, lad; can't trust them for anything." And, well, you couldn't; Jack and his colleagues generally took pride in that fact.
Will blinked and pouted. He wanted to learn more words, since he was so good at it. To prove it, he smiled up at his mother and repeated carefully, "Bloo'y 'ell!"
Jack choked on his tea.
Bill bit his lip to stay inconspiciously silent, somehow proud of his boy deep down inside. Still, it withered a bit to see the glare Maggie tossed back at Jack.
"Now, then, darling-of-my-eye, that's a very naughty word, and you're never t'say it again," she clucked warningly.
Jack tried very hard to shrink into his chair while at the same time trying to silently point to the real culprit. It didn't work one bit. Instead he decided to focus very hard on his tea. Will pouted harder, turning wide, brown eyes on his mother.
"Well!" Bill bit his lip to keep in the laughter until he could only hear his wife's tutting of their son from a bit away. "It's certainly been a pleasure, Captain." He chortled, offering his hand. "I suppose it's tomorrow I'll be seein' you, then?"