Categories > Movies > Pirates of the Caribbean


by RapunzelK 0 reviews

A crew member of the 'Flying Dutchman's' thoughts about losing one captain and gaining another. Oneshot.

Category: Pirates of the Caribbean - Rating: PG - Genres: Angst - Characters: Bootstrap Bill,Will - Warnings: [!!!] - Published: 2007-08-15 - Updated: 2007-08-15 - 1343 words - Complete

"Captain Turner," he said politely, shaking hands with the fair young man, the words strange and alien on his lips. For the first time, the Dutchman no longer felt like home. The new young captain nodded and smiled amiably. If nothing else, he seemed a pleasant man, as sunny in spirit as Captain Jones had been morose. Perhaps it was the difference a faithful sweetheart made?

"And what’s your name, Lad?" he asked.

"Toban, Sir. Jeshua Toban. Most everyone just calls me 'Jeshi'," Jeshua replied, briefly reflecting that he was more entitled to call Captain Turner "lad" than the other way around.

"Pleased to meet you," Turner answered. "You were Captain Jones’s Quartermaster?"

"Yes, Sir."

"You seem a bit young."

Jeshua grinned, the expression still full of youthful impishness despite his many years. "I was young, just sixteen when I signed on."

"How long have you been on board?"

Jeshua had to stop and think about that, his eyebrows meeting as he struggled to work the cipher in his head. Having no education save the Captain’s recent tutelage, he’d never been terribly good with figures, particularly ones he couldn’t see.

"Jeshua’s been here longer than any of us, haven’t you lad?" Bootstrap put in, stepping up to stand beside him. To think the man was Turner’s father… It made Jeshua’s already aching head hurt just a little bit more.

"That’s true, Sir, very true. Been crewing the Dutchman near one hundred sixty years if I’ve reckoned properly."

Turner’s eyes appeared to be trying to escape his head. "One hundred sixty years?" he echoed, aghast. "But why? Would Jones not let you go free?"

"No Sir, not at all!" Jeshua protested, scandalized.

"He chose to stay," Bootstrap’s voice was soft and quiet. Turner paused and looked at his father. No longer covered in coral and sea creatures, the older man was smiling, lips closed with the corners turned up and kindness in his yellowed eyes. "He chose to stay with his captain just as I’ve chosen to stay with mine."

Understanding kindled in Turner’s dark eyes and he turned to face the youthful Quartermaster once more.

"You loved him." It wasn’t really a question, though the confusion was evident.

"Aye, Sir," Jeshua nodded, fighting the noose-like feeling in his throat. "He were like a father to me, me own havin’ drowned and all."

"A father?" he repeated, attempting and failing not to look horrified. Jeshua did his best to stomp his indignation down. The Captain had been in a rare temper these recent months, what with the difficulty concerning Sparrow, and the bloody East India Trading Company trying to buy or bludgeon everything in sight, and then of course there was poor Spot… Swallowing hard, Jeshua explained with as steady a voice as he could manage.

"Yes, Sir. I were awful sick when our ship run aground an’ not much more than a boy. He had no reason to take me on, only he asked if I would crew and I said that I would and that was the end of it. I was his cabin boy the first hundred years or so. After I asked to stay, he made me his Quartermaster, me bein’ the most senior member of the crew. In a manner of speakin’, anyway." It wasn’t the most coherent reply, but he had managed to hold his voice even for the whole of the oration.

"I see…" Turner contemplated the deck for a moment, turning over the information in his head. At length, he looked up and met Jeshua’s waiting brown eyes. “You’ve served more than your allotted time aboard this ship, Mr. Toban; you are free to go, unless, of course, you would rather stay. In which case, you are welcome to remain aboard as Quartermaster for as long as you like. The choice is yours.”

Mr. Toban… The title sounded strange in his ears, almost as strange as "Captain Turner". The Captain alone had used his full Christian name and that had seemed to Jeshua the height of formality. He nodded dumbly, unable to force more than a cracked “Thank you, Sir…” past the knot in his throat. Bootstrap and Turner had gone a bit blurry and his breath had become thick in his lungs. Lowering his head, Jeshua tried in vain to collect himself. A hand, warm and heavy, came to rest on his shoulder.

"It’s all right, boy," Bootstrap told him gently. "It’s all right. Don’t be ashamed to mourn your captain."

Sniffing vainly, Jeshua scrubbed at his tears with the back of one hand but it was no use. The drops had begun to fall and there seemed to be no stopping the squall now that it had started.

"You’re dismissed," said Turner, his father’s gentleness in his voice. For the first time, Jeshua thought he could honestly come to like the man after a fashion. Perhaps there was something of the Captain in him after all… Nodding shortly, Jeshua turned and left, thankful for the dignity of dismissal. Mourning the Captain was one thing, doing so in front of Turner and the rest of the crew was quite another. While Turner went down the line, shaking hands with crewmen and offering them their freedom should they choose it (the man just didn’t understand the concept), Jeshua stole away to find himself some quiet.

Solitude on a ship, even one so large as the Dutchman, was difficult to come by. Still, there were places to be had to oneself if you knew where to look, and Jeshua had long ago discovered them all. Heading toward the bow of the ship, he climbed over the railing and swung himself down over the side without a second thought. Her Ladyship waited for him with open arms. Only when the Captain was in a foul temper, or wanted to frighten and intimidate, did the ship take on her ghostly guise and the figurehead transform into a skeletal Grim Reaper, scythe in hand. Now, however, the ship was sparkling and pristine, not a flake of paint loose or a barnacle hugging the hull, and the golden-haired siren looked out at the waiting sea from under the bowsprit, arms outstretched. She was unusual in that she held out her arms to the waiting sea, most figureheads were carved with their limbs either close to their body and that of the ship or without any at all. The siren, however, held her arms out, as if awaiting the embrace of her lover. Jeshua wasn’t any such thing, but climbed down toward her nonetheless. She was only slightly larger than life, nine feet long from the crest of her spread, swan-white wings to the tip of her emerald tail. Her arms were set just a little too widely apart for Jeshua to hook his knees and shoulders and make a hammock of himself between them. Instead he settled on the upper portion of her right arm, put his own around her neck and leaned his head on her shoulder as if she were his long-dead mother. The sea spray was cold, but it would disguise his falling tears. Giving himself over to his grief, he soaked the siren’s shoulder in warmer salt water.

Captain, oh my Captain… he sobbed inside his head and felt the ship echo his cry. She too was bereft. No matter how kind or upright a man Turner might be, their master was gone forever; port made at last in the Fiddler’s Green. Even safe in the ship’s wooden arms, she no longer felt familiar with a stranger at her helm. Over half the crew was made up of men who had not been there when Jeshua signed on. Only the old Quartermaster, Maccus, had been his senior then, and he had long since gone on to the Green himself. Perhaps it was time he moved on as well.
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