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Good Business

Chapter 1: Good Business

by NiennaNir

"I'm going to kill them both," The Captain declared through clenched teeth, rubbing his forehead with the heel of his hand.

"Begging your pardon, sir, but you can't kill them." The first mate gripped the aft lines, stretching his tired muscles. He gazed down on the lower deck where the two passengers in question were snarling at each other like a pair of feral cats.

"I was under the impression that this was my ship, Mr. Turner," the Captain answered with a dark scowl. "My ship and my crew, and my curse to sail these waters for ten years without setting foot on land." Bootstrap Bill Turner made to answer but his captain cut him off.

"A curse, I might add, I would not be under if he had not tried to hang me," the captain continued, waving his hand at one of the passengers "and he had not stabbed me through the heart!" he finished jabbing an angry finger at the second passenger.

"William, lad," Bootstrap chuckled, gripping his captain's shoulder affectionately. "You can't be killing them because they're already dead."

"There is absolutely no justice in the world," Captain Will Turner observed through narrowed eyes.

"Aye, that's the rub of it," Bootstrap agreed, taking the helm from his son and Captain. "If there were such a thing as justice you would be back home with your dear Elizabeth."

"Ten years," Will sighed miserably as he leaned against the rail.

"Try not to think on it lad," Bootstrap advised, drawing in a deep breath of salt air with a smile, appearing almost oblivious to the hissing and spitting on the deck below them. "We'll ferry these lot to the afterlife and your problems will be solved. Passengers are a lot easier to deal with when you don't have any history with them."

"Couldn't I just pitch them over the side?" Will asked, his brow crinkling as he considered this course of action.

"They'd just be floating along beside us," bootstrap shrugged. "making all the more racket for being cold and wet."

"The dead shouldn't have any right to complain about cold and wet," Will stated with conviction. "And if there was ever a soul in this world who should be denied the right to complain about anything it must surely be one of those two. The locker is too good for them."

"Which begs the question," Bootstrap said with a pensive frown. "Seeing as this is your ship now would it be your locker as well... and how in the world will I ever get used to saying ‘Send you to Will Turner's locker'?"

"You needn't bother," his son replied. "It suits him and he's free to keep it as far as I'm concerned."

"Aye, I have to say, Davy Jones' locker seems all the more terrifying a place for knowing that you'll soon be more than likely to bump into Davy Jones himself there."

"All I can hope is that he will be as miserable there as he has made others," Will stated, glaring at the passengers.

"You shouldn't judge Jones too harshly, lad" Bootstrap said, shaking his head. "He was a good man once, and a fine captain before love turned him into a mad man."

"I was talking about Beckett," Will answered with a glower.

"He is a right foul arse that one," Bootstrap agreed, nodding. "I almost think Jones could behave himself for the length of this voyage if he weren't being provoked."

"Where's that evil little cut throat Mercer got off too?" the captain asked presently, leaning over the aft deck rail a bit farther for a better look.

"He's been cowering behind the rum since Jones came aboard," Bootstrap answered with an easy shrug.

"Not quite so full of himself without his knives is he?" Will asked smugly, smirking as his father shook his head.

"He's a bloody coward," the first mate smiled. The voices on the main deck rose in pitch and Will's eyes narrowed to menacing slits as he turned his gaze back to their pair of troublesome passengers.

"I've had enough," he declared, descending the steps.

"I expect we could always keelhaul them," Bootstrap mused, "we have a fair wind for it."

"It was not my incompetence that placed us in this predicament," Cutler Beckett snapped, his lips curling at the weathered sea dog who leaned over the rail of the ship as if attempting to ignore his existence.

"No," the bedraggled, bearded figure countered venomously in his lilting brogue. "As I recall it was your insatiable greed and your unyielding dishonesty."

"Are you impugning my honor?" Beckett spat out.

"What honor?" Davy Jones, demanded rounding on the former head of the East India Trading Company. His face crinkled in a distasteful glower beneath his scraggly beard. With all traces of his former curse lifted he was no longer such a fearsome figure, he looked weary and worn though there was still a hint of madness behind his eyes.

"A fine one you are for making an assessment," Beckett scoffed. "It is a wonder you can die at all, I would have expected all the rum you've consumed to have pickled you."

"And I would have expected you were intelligent enough to have some understanding of the precariousness of your situation," Captain Will Turner stated, folding his arms over his chest as he faced the pair. "Clearly I was mistaken."

"You can spare me your trifling attempts at intimidation," Beckett answered disdainfully. Jones, on the other hand, looked somewhat more uncomfortable.

"Perhaps I should clarify things for you," Will stated in a patient, if somewhat clipped tone. "I shall be on this ship, my ship, for the next ten years, unable to make shore because of the two of you. And you will be on my ship until we reach the afterlife. It would be in your best interests not to test my patience."

"You're ship, Captain," Beckett said the words with a fair measure of contempt. "Is little more than a garbage scow. And I categorically refuse to feign gratefulness for such appalling conditions."

"You're a liar and a cheat," Jones stated with a touch of outrage. "But I would have thought that you might at least have show some respect for the captain who pulled you from the sea."

"Dead is dead," Beckett answered scornfully. "I fail to see how his penchant for charitable actions improves my situation."

"I could toss you over the rail and you might have a better perspective," Jones snapped, taking a halting step toward him.

"You don't frighten me," Beckett stated unflinchingly.

"Then clearly you don't realize that you're the reason we're both here," Jones countered.

"Perhaps I haven't made myself clear," Will's voice was tinged with anger as he placed a hand against each of their chests, prying them apart. "This is my ship, and I have had quite enough of your childish bickering."

"As if that is any concern of mine," Beckett sneered, removing Will's hand from his coat as if it were a dead animal. The captain of the Flying Dutchman's eyes narrowed and with catlike grace his arm shot out, snatching Beckett by the front of his coat and shoving him back hard against the rail.

"It was your lust for power that cost me everything," Will hissed.

"It was just good business," Beckett answered derisively.

"So is keeping order aboard my ship." the Captain stated.

"You were of no concern to me when I was alive." Beckett replied mockingly, "What could you possibly do to me now that I'm dead?" Will's eyes narrowed as a thin smile curled his lips.

"Try me."

_______________


"It's a fair wind we have today, Captain," Bootstrap stated happily as he angled the rudder.

"Aye that it is," Will answered with a faint smile, reclining back against the rigging as the wind ruffled his hair.

"It's often a fair wind in these waters," Davy Jones stated, leaning against the rail as he gazed off into the setting sun. "Gets a bit boring after a while to be honest." He looked up at the Captain as if he wished to say more but somehow couldn't. Will avoided his gaze, instead drawing in a deep breath.

"Bosun!" he shouted, gaining the attention of the crewman on the middle deck. "Haul up the line!" The Bosun gave an eager nod and set to his task.

"I was just starting to enjoy the quiet," Bootstrap sighed, shaking his head. Will hid his amusement and turned his attention back to where the crew was hauling up the line. There was a loud thump of something hitting the side of the ship and then a string of loud and rather shrill curses. The Bosun reached over the rail and pulled up a dripping mass, heaving it onto the deck.

"You loathsome, foul, inebriated..." Cutler Beckett sputtered, shaking the water from his scratched and bruised face. His hands were tied with a rope that lay coiled on the deck and his feet with another that still dangled over the rail into the sea. There were barnacles in his now matted hair and a small star fish stuck to his neck. Seaweed dangled from the buttons on his coat and he let out a rasping cough, spitting salt water onto the deck.

"He hasn't learned a thing!" Will stated to the Bosun as if this were the happiest news he had heard all day. "Toss him back in!" Beckett let out a high pitched shriek as the Bosun lifted him off of the deck and tossed him back into the sea with a loud splash. He tied off the line and then made his way to the other side of the deck to check the line from that side.

"Fine day for a keelhauling," Bootstrap observed happily.

"Aye," the captain agreed.

"I should tell you something," Davy Jones said, lowering his voice. Will looked at him with a frown. He still didn't trust Jones, but his father had been right. He was a much easier man to manage when he wasn't being antagonized.

"There's nothing between us," Will stated, turing his gaze to the horizon. "You did what was right by you. I would be a fool to expect anything else."

"No, it's not that," Jones answered quickly. "You don't trust me and I can't say as I like you and that isn't about to change. There's something you should know about the curse."

"What about it?" Will asked, genuinely intrigued.

"All curses can be broken," Jones answered. "If the love you leave behind remains faithful the curse is lifted. You can make land as you please, you're even free to leave the Dutchman to another Captain."

"Then you..." Will's voice trailed off as Jones nodded.

"She wasn't there when I returned," He sighed miserably. "Ten years is a long time."

"Elizabeth will be there," Will said with conviction.

"Aye, I think she will." Jones answered.

"Captain," Bootstrap called from his place at the helm. Will glanced over his shoulder to find his father nodding in the direction of the starboard rail. The Bosun met his gaze eagerly and the captain felt a wicked smile curl his lips.

"Bosun, let go the port line and let him drag along the bottom a bit!" He struggled to contain his laughter as Jones broke into a raspy chuckle and the Bosun gleefully darted to the other side of the deck to loose the line. Will let out a somewhat more contented sigh, breathing in the salt air.

"Very fine day," he murmured to himself.