ilcuoreardendo: (my everything)
[personal profile] ilcuoreardendo
Title: "Sea Change"
Characters/Pairing: Davy Jones & Elizabeth Swann
Rating: R-ish
Genre: AU (Touching on all three movies, but veering off to the left.)
Author's Notes: This piece uses the prompts from [livejournal.com profile] 1sentence (though this isn't an official entry). I started this piece over two years ago and finally came back to it and—within a number of months, admittedly—finished the blasted thing. General plot spoilers if you haven't seen all three movies. Comments welcome. Any errors are mine alone.


#19 – Wind

The winds change direction and the Dutchman slows as its sails fill; looking down into the depths of the sea, the captain knows that somewhere, in the warmth of the Caribbean, a longing heart has fallen into the ocean.


#03 – Soft

Jones finds the dress wrapped ‘round the base of the mast when they surface; it is silk and lace, of the finest quality, something he’s not seen nor felt in more years than he cares to count; alone in his cabin, he lifts the sodden cloth to his cold cheek, imagines the smell of lavender clinging to warm skin.


#32 – Confusion

She hears the blistering crack of wood as the Kraken takes the Pearl and feels the longboat being pulled down, down, down into the whirlpool created by the sinking ship, splintering and casting the crew to the depths; she comes up on a piece of drift wood, clinging to it for dear life and looking for Gibbs, for Will, for anyone, but there is no one and nothing until the water a few feet from her bursts open and releases the Dutchman onto the surface of the sea.



#08 – Happiness

She starts to rush forward when Will scrambles up on the Dutchman’s deck, followed by the rest of the much downsized crew, but Davy Jones’ form shadows her movement; she holds her body and her face in check when he turns to gauge her reaction to the men—to one man, in particular.


#21 – Life

“What would ye give, Miss Swann,” Jones asks, beard curling thoughtfully, “for yer lover’s life?”


#13 – Death

“Truly tied, Master Turner,” Davy Jones says as the terms are battered and bargained, “her freedom depends upon your success and survival—should you fail to retrieve what belongs to me or lose your life in this venture, your swan will spend an eternity on this ship.”


#02 – Kiss

She thinks better of it, thinks again, and does it anyway, darting forward to press a quick kiss to Will’s lips and finds herself jerked back when the forefinger of Jones’s sea changed hand twine sinuously around her waist.


#35 – Bonds

Cold wraps around her throat—a choker of pearl she will note later when she examines it in a piece of broken mirror, the image of sea flowers etched along the sides—and snaps closed; when she runs her fingers over the smooth curve of it she feels no gap, nor catch, nor clasp…no way to release herself.


#38 – Gift

“A gift from the sea,” Jones says, watching the way her fingers move over the choker, and stepping toward her, a stalking rhythm with his cane and the chitinous leg, “you’ll be glad to have it when this ship submerges.”


#48 – Waves

When the ship begins its descent beneath the waves, she grabs the closest thing to her and that just happens to be the captain’s arm; detail notwithstanding, she doesn’t loosen her hold until she realizes that, though the water is far above her head, she is breathing as easily as on dry land.



#33 – Fear

Two nights, perhaps three into her stay on the Dutchman, she watches Jones stiffen at the helm, back pulling straight and head tilting to the side as though listening to a silent command; when he calls out orders to change course, she thinks she detects a tremor of rage in his voice, and when he places his hand back on the wheel, his fingers curl around it so hard the wood creaks and threatens to splinter.


#36 – Market

Cutler Becket boards the Dutchman and, surveys the ship’s deck and crew with a proprietary eye; a curt nod to his men—who then move in two pairs to bring aboard a small wooden chest on which they train their muskets—and Beckett looks to the captain and says “This ship is hereby claimed for his Majesty’s Royal Navy.”



#42 – Clouds

Becket has made advances before—improper, unwelcome—and she sees the look in his eyes that says he’s about to do it once again but before he gets the chance, she strides to Jones’s side, plants her feet, straightens her spine and watches as Beckett’s eyes shutter and his face darkens as though a cloud has obscured the sun.


#39 – Smile

Elizabeth has seen Jones smile several times and none of them have been pleasant and neither is the one that he casts at Cutler Beckett now as she stands at the captain’s side; watching the swell of Beckett’s throat as he swallows down his unease at Jones’s expression is almost enough to make up for her own discomfort.


#27 – Blood

Koleniko’s blade sends Beckett reeling into the waves—too late, she thinks, watching Will falter—and she rushes to Will’s side; his fingers, cool and slick with blood, leave faint impressions on her wrists as the light goes out of his eyes.


#37 – Technology

Around her neck, the choker pulses, tightens, shoots a chill through her body, causing her spine to bow, her hand to clench around Will’s unmoving fingers, and it feels for one moment as though her insides are on her outside, burning raw; when she comes back to herself, the choker is lying on the ship’s deck and a large hand rests on her shoulder, one tentacle, in the role of a finger, sliding over her jaw.


#31 – Home

“Welcome to the Dutchman, Miss Swann,” he says, and his voice is neither mocking nor cruel as she might have expected, but hallow and hollowed with the timbre of centuries, and it drives her to her knees.



#46 – Sun

The sun still rises the morning after she loses Will, burning through a cascade of water as the Dutchman emerges from the depths of the ocean, setting the eastern horizon aflame.


#16 – Weakness

In the months that have passed, there is one thing she has come to appreciate about the time the Dutchman spends underwater: no one can see her tears.


#40 – Innocence

From a floundering passenger ship, the crew takes the only survivors: three women; Elizabeth has never considered the procedures the Dutchman might have for women on a ship—she is, as far as she knows, the only woman ever to be part of the crew—and she is not prepared for Clanker, hauling one of the women aboard, to turn to her with a rictus grin and ask if she’d like to share in his spoils.


#47 – Moon

Long days give way to equally long nights, but she finds some solace in the bright moon, remembering the many places from which she has watched moon rises—her bedroom window in Port Royal, in Will’s arms the night before their ill-fated wedding, on the deck of the Pearl as Barbossa and Jack stood at the helm.



#20 – Freedom

Early on, she most enjoys those moments when she feels sand crumble beneath her boots, but it’s only when years have passed and she sees the captain taking a stroll around the small island they’ve commandeered for the day—sees him, when he thinks no one is around to see him, tilt his face toward the sunlight and open his mouth to breathe in the scent of the freshwater springs—that she thinks she doesn’t know the touch of prison after all.


#06 – Rain

She doesn’t remember the last time she bathed and this warm summer rain is nowhere near the equal of a steaming bath but she removes her hat, loosens her hair, and tilts her head back to let the water stream over her face, washing away the filth; were she facing the bow of the ship, she would see the captain coming toward her, would grow wary of the glint in his eyes as he takes in her tangling hair, the patterns the rain makes on her skin.



#34 – Lightning/Thunder

Her first time in the crow’s nest and her first violent ocean storm coincide and lucky for her she’s already dead or undead because a bolt of lightning strikes the mast before the ship can submerge and she’s thrown from the nest to the deck, landing at the captain’s feet; undead or not, she hears a pistol-burst crack and feels pain shoot through her shoulder.


#43 – Sky

“I’ve always been under the impression,” the captain says, sitting her upright and motioning for Ratlin—who, in addition to his regular duties, apparently acts as a rather effective medic—“that swans could, in point of fact, fly.”


#11 – Name

Edward Kierney, of the now sunken ship Nimue, is the latest member of the Dutchman crew and he reminds Elizabeth so much of Will that it's painful to look at him, but look she does when he introduces himself to her—the single anomaly among a crew of sea-changed men—and, just before the crack of the boatswain’s whip and his order to “Get back to work,” she sees Edward’s eyes widen when she gives him her name.


#10 – Ears

In 12 years, Edward says, she has become a legend, her name cropping up alongside Jack Sparrow’s in stories told in ports throughout the Caribbean; but, he finishes, much like Jack and the sea turtles, he’d thought she was merely another tall tale.


#01 – Comfort

Every evening, she seeks Edward out, revels in his presence, in the human warmth not yet lost to the chill of the sea, and she sees the way Jones watches them—the narrowed eyes and grim set mouth—but she ignores the dread feeling she gets in her belly, until the morning Edward doesn’t turn up on deck.


#22 – Jealousy

It’s months before the captain informs her that she may, if she chooses, see to her lover in the brig; when she steps into the dark of the cage, she finds an amalgam of ship and man, the portions of Edward’s body not consumed by the brig’s wall are coated with barnacles, starfish, slick sea grasses; his eyes are closed, shuttered by vibrant sea anemones and he does not stir when she calls him.


#17 – Tears

She stays in the brig after the ship submerges, brushing away the school of brightly colored fish that have begun nibbling at the cracks and crevices of Edward’s body; her other hand, she raises to her face and from the corner of her eye draws, not a tear, but a single, perfect pearl the color of bleached bone.


#30 – Star

When she was a little girl, she used to watch the sky for falling stars and make a wish; now, beneath the waves, she watches for sea stars falling from the mouths of fast swimming predators and makes more wishes than she ever had in all her years on land, for wishes are all she has.


#28 – Sickness

Lying on the bunk in her quarters, she shivers without cold; her voice is lost, her throat burns with rising bile and still she tries to shy from the shrewd and excising gaze of the captain, whose bulk seems to fill the small room, as he leans in and whispers in a voice that carries not sympathy but, perhaps, a hint of understanding, “The Change is upon you, Miss Swann.”


#45 – Hell

As a child, the idea of hell—stinking sulfur and scorching flame—had disturbed Elizabeth and kept her awake at night; as an adult, she knows hell and it is dark, smells of sea life and rotting wood, tastes of brine, burrows under her skin, arctic cold, and into her veins and makes the thought of hellfire seem like heaven.


#04 – Pain

She wakes one morning, after the ship has risen above the waves, to find a starfish embedded in her temple, and it's minutes before she can bring herself to touch it—finds it coarse and unmoving—and the shudder that runs through her isn't from the minute pulse of pain in her head, but the realization of how much time must have passed since she set foot on this ship.


#29 – Melody

Like a siren call, the low thrum of music draws her from her cold bed and Elizabeth finds herself outside the captain’s cabin, leaning against the wall, listening; this, she thinks, is the sound of guilt and sorrow and regret, intermingled.


#24 – Taste

She doesn’t think that she needs to eat anymore, though she still feels the echo of hunger, still longs for the taste of food—be it the finest tender duck drizzled with honey and spices or the sweetness of a ripe apple—and she has heard murmurings among the crewmen which hint that her desire for foods, beyond what sea creatures they bring onboard and cook (if she’s lucky) over smoldering coals, is shared.


#05 – Potatoes

Whenever they have a moment on dry land, Elizabeth scavenges, not for anything so mundane as baubles or even clothing (unless she’s in need), but for edible treats and on this particular occasion she finds wild potatoes and onion, a veritable array of leaves and grasses for seasoning; the savory, earthy flavor of the stew she manages to concoct—something she never would have eaten in her life before—tastes like ambrosia after months of undercooked fish.


#25 – Devotion

The morning he finds her outside his cabin—where she’d been lulled to sleep by his playing—her occupation on the ship changes; in addition to her normal duties (which seem to be ragtag as it is) she is now to act as the captain’s assistant, running messages or items, mending breeches or coats, and preparing meals.


#18 – Speed

Even after years of listening to his orders, she still jumps when Jones issues a command—she’ll never forget the one and only time, not long after she came aboard, she hadn’t moved fast enough…the lash marks had taken weeks to fade—and as she brings a glass of the recently acquired sherry to his post at the helm, she thinks he enjoys the sight of her answering his personal requests.


#15 – Touch

In those moments between salvages, when the only thing they face is open sea, when he seems less guarded, she finds her curiosity overwhelmed and asks about his particular transformation and he regards her coolly before one tentacle ripples outward, beckoning; the flesh is smooth and cool, strangely soft, and a sucker pulls at the skin of her wrist as the tentacle winds itself around her arm.


#44 – Heaven

She comes to cherish her time spent in the crow’s nest, particularly on evenings like this, when the sun has sank into the sea, extinguishing itself in an array of reds and golds that light up the width and breadth of the clouds and make it seem possible that heaven is just over the edge of the horizon.


#50 – Supernova

Jimmy Legs is the first to vanish from the deck of the Dutchman; one moment his whip is stinging across the backs of the crew and the next he is swallowed in a blaze of light that makes night as bright as day and burns the eyes of all who stand as witnesses.


#41 – Completion

From her post near the helm, Elizabeth watches Jones’ expression turn from surprise to curiosity to contempt in a matter of moments before he calls out the name of a replacement boatswain and leaves the deck; Elizabeth hears him murmur something about the passing of years.


#07 – Chocolate

They scavenge the ships they come across—picking them clean as a carcass—and on one of them she finds a bar of chocolate, remembers a life, years and years ago, where silky sweetness melted on her tongue, and pockets the treat.


#12 – Sensual

The captain has never tasted chocolate before, so she breaks off two squares, hands him one and places the other on her outstretched tongue and savors the thick, sweet taste as it melts; when she opens her eyes, he is staring at her mouth.


#23 – Hands

He envelops her, tentacles roving over the backs of her hands, the little suckers pinching and pulling her close and—beneath it all—she finds the very human column of a neck and listens to the gasp that echoes her discovery.


#09 – Telephone

Penrod—exceptionally bad at Liar’s Dice—has had decades upon decades added to his service and in his excess time he’s amassed quite a collection of baubles, the pride of which is a singular item that Elizabeth loves, recently taken from one of the many small ships that now sail and sink on these waters; a device, the size of her fist, that opens and closes like a clamshell and, on rare occasions, plays strange, trilling music.


#49 – Hair

Jones plays with her hair sometimes and it’s very much a subconscious gesture; in those moments when it’s just the two of them in his cabin, he seated at his pipe organ or the slowly decaying wood that serves as his desk, and she nearby—because that’s where he likes her—reading or mending some article of clothing, she will feel one of the mostly-human fingers on his right hand catch a strand of hair, curl it, and release.


#14 – Sex

Some day, he will look at her with an unspoken question in his eyes, mouth quirking above the sinuous twists of his beard, and she will answer—yes—because it’s been so many years since she’s been held….and there are so many more stretching in front of her….and she will, by this time, have grown used to the cold touch of the sea.


#26 – Forever

Sunset and she’s in the crow’s nest looking out over the vast expanse of waves, listening to the grunts and calls of the small crew, only two—Penrod and Maccus—of whom were here when she boarded, and counting the decades she’s been on this ship, wondering if her time here is truly without end.




~End
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