Happy holidays, cruisedirector! - Christmas Wishes [PotC]
Fandom: Pirates of the Caribbean
Characters: Elizabeth, Jack, OMC
Summary: Four years after that One Day…
Elizabeth had been settled in England for nigh on three years when Jack showed up at her cottage door, just before dawn.
It was Christmas morning.
"What's all this?" He flapped a hand about, indicating the holly, pine boughs, and bright red bows that adorned her tiny drawing room. When she didn't answer he turned to her, blandly enquiring.
She gave herself a mental shake—too strange and somehow terrible to see him again, to see him here. Terrible, and wonderful. "It's Christmas, Jack." She felt color staining her cheeks and purposefully lifted a brow, saying wryly, "You do remember what Christmas is?"
His eyes twinkled. "'Course I do. Peace on earth, good will to men an' all that. Very unpiratical."
She shook her head, her blush fading. "What do you want?"
It was his turn to lift a brow. "You, of course."
The hand flapped again, at her this time. "Not that way. Necessarily." His eyes scanned her form, evidently mentally disrobing her. "Though you've filled out nicely since I saw you last, which is all to the good. I might be persuaded…."
She found herself rolling her eyes (quite refusing to acknowledge the inner glow his regard engendered) and told him, "You haven't changed a bit."
His eyes rose to hers and he gave a crooked smile. "No. Not much. Got any coffee? It was brisk out there. How can you abide England in winter?"
She laughed, for she'd often thought the same. "Come into the kitchen. You can get the fire going again while I make the coffee."
He followed her into the kitchen and they worked in silence, awkward and companionable. Then, when they were seated at the kitchen table, hands absorbing warmth from their respective cups, Elizabeth spoke. "The truth, Jack. Why are you here?"
An odd expression flitted over his face. "Truth? What do you expect me to say? That I've missed you? That I'm better with you than without you? That I can't forgive you, but my bloody magical compass hasn't worked properly in years because of you?"
She was gaping again. His tone was dramatic, flippant, but…
Then he shifted in his chair and chuckled. "Truth is… Teague sent me. Says you need to come back to the Cove. There's business that calls for the attention of a Pirate King, your Nibs."
It was her turn to laugh. "But that's absurd. There wasn't one for years before I came along, and you've done very well without me these last three."
"We have? But Lizzie, Teague's dying."
She was struck to the heart. Teague, not immortal? "What?"
"He's dying. Sent me to tell you, and ask you to come."
"I'm sorry!" she said, and it was quite sincere: she'd lived at the Cove for two months after the Battle of the Maelstrom and had become very attached to the old Keeper of the Code, and he to her. It was he who'd sent her back to England when her circumstances—
Jack turned swiftly in his seat and gave a slight gasp of surprise, but Elizabeth ignored this and rose with a smile to greet her little son, standing in the doorway, his feet bare on the flags. "Darling, you'll catch your death! Come in, I want you to meet someone." She went to him swiftly—her darling, indeed, a sturdy three-year-old, and every inch a Turner. He put up his arms and she lifted him.
Jack had risen, and gave them a slight bow as they turned to him. "William Turner, I presume?" he inquired, comically pat.
But her son, ever precocious, said, "William John, but they call me Jackie."
It was Captain Sparrow's turn to gape.
Elizabeth, aware that her color was rising again, sat down at the table with Jackie on her lap, and made a small fuss over wrapping his cold feet and legs beneath her robe. Finally she looked up to face her guest's self-satisfied smirk.
"Oh, really?" Jack purred.
"You did save Will's life."
Jack shrugged slightly. "In a manner of speaking."
"Yes." She swallowed, and cleared her throat. "So now you see… why I can't come with you."
Both Jacks spoke at once.
Elizabeth said to her son, "Hush, darling," and to Jack, "Because I have more regard for my son's wellbeing than to risk taking him to an infamous stronghold of—"
"Pirates?" Jackie burst out. "Is it Shipwreck Cove, Mama? Is it?"
He was squirming with excitement, gripping the collar of her dressing gown, and across the table Jack was grinning. "You've told him all about it, I see."
"Not all," she said, flushing.
"Oh, can't we go, Mama?"
"Yes," Jack said, "can't you? To grant an old man's dying wish?"
"Jackie," Elizabeth said, severely, "sit still or I shall put you down whether your feet freeze or not!"
Jackie made an effort to obey, but said, pouting, "I want to go on a boat."
"Ship," Jack corrected. "And of course you do. It's in your blood, lad." Then his gaze bore into Elizabeth's. "And in your mother's."
Elizabeth closed her eyes for a moment. How had her life been turned upside down again, in the space of an hour? On Christmas Day?
But it didn't have to be.
"No," she said, firmly, opening her eyes again and glaring. "We're staying here, where it's safe."
"Noooo!" Jackie howled.
And it was Jack's turn to pout.
To distract them both, Elizabeth said to her son, "Jackie, it's Christmas! Don't you want to open—" And then she hesitated, remembering.
But Jackie suddenly remembered, too. "My present?" The little boy wiped his eyes with the heel of his hand.
"Or perhaps we should wait," Elizabeth suggested tentatively, but with a sinking heart.
"No!" Jackie struggled to get off her lap. "I'll get it!"
He jumped down and ran into the drawing room to fetch the ribbon-tied box Elizabeth had decorated with such care and brought it back to the kitchen table.
Jack was eyeing Elizabeth curiously. She frowned at him and shook her head, but when Jackie opened the box and drew out his gift with a cry of joy, Jack gave a shout of laughter and she had to smile.
It was a hat.
A really big one—for a three-year-old, at least. It was beautifully made, very like to the one Will had worn when he'd rescued Jack from hanging so long ago, with a fine white feather that curved clear over the wide brim.
Jackie, a beatific smile on his face, put it on carefully, looked up at his mother, and said, "Now we have to go."
Elizabeth's brows rose, but then Jack chimed in.
"Aye. Now you have to go."
Elizabeth looked from one to the other, both of them expectant… and sure. She threw up her hands. "Yes. I suppose we do."