pinkharlequinnsunglasses&snarlytanglesofhair (witchbabyweetz) wrote in piratechallenge,

Challenge # 8 - Tale of a Heart

Title: Tale of a Heart
Author: witchbabyweetz
Pairing/Characters: Bootstrap Bill
Word Count: 900+
Rating: PG for one use of the word “damn.” Shocking, I know.
Genre: Love and history, luv.
Summary: How Bootstrap Bill came to be the man we (sort of) know.
Disclaimer: Disney created these amazing characters, but now they take up their own lives in our minds.
Spoilers: Some vague references to Dead Man’s Chest.
Warnings: See rating ;)
Notes: This was written at the very last minute. Hopefully it doesn’t read that way because I loved it as I wrote it.
Special Thanks: To all of you lovely people for writing and reading and pirate loving!

Davy Jones was not the only pirate who ever hid his heart away. Another man had long done such a thing, albeit not quite as extravagantly. He simply kept it inside and never let it show through. It worked well enough for most of his life, but then something changed, as things often do. Bootstrap Bill fell in love.

He never thought it could happen, not to him. He had been spurned once and scarred deeply, and he had thought that was that, but no. No, as it turned out, Bill’s heart was still beating, and he could feel its insistent tattoo throb throughout his body as his eyes swept across the small face. The eyes that stared back into his revealed to him a light and life he had not seen in quite some time. The beauty inherent there was so strong it almost scared him. Bill choked back a sob and swallowed down even more deeply his heart, his head in his hands as his wife walked away.

Life went on because it had to. Bill sailed the world, and he encountered more fantastical experiences than most men ever will. He tasted every dish, drank every wine, amassed mountains of gold, and had his fair share of beautiful women. It was a pirate’s life, indeed, and drink up Bill did because it was all that could do to keep his heart warm. The rum built a small fire, not enough to put a spark in his step or a light in his eye, but it kept him going and it threw to the shadows it cast any haunting memories of a time when his heart had burned differently.

When a man named Jack Sparrow approached him in Tortuga and offered him a job upon his ship, Bill left his previous post and followed the man onto the Black Pearl. There was no particular reason to, but there was no reason not to, and as Bill had lived by such a creed for so many years, he saw no reason to stray from it now. Yet when they approached the ship, there was something about it that made Bill’s heart skip a beat momentarily. Captain Jack clapped his hand on the older man’s back with a knowing smile, gazing at the ship himself with the look of a mother beholding her child. Bill knew then that Jack was a good man, and for the first time in a long while, he was glad of something; he was glad to sail under him, and Jack was glad to have him.

Truth be told, Jack was glad to have anyone, as long as that meant that the Pearl could cast anchor and Jack could be free, captain of his own crew, but most importantly, his own destiny. He liked Bill well enough, though, and for a handful of days both men felt more alive than they had felt in years. Just as quickly as this change had come, a change came again. Not everyone on the Pearl took to Jack as well as Bill did, and the former captain found himself marooned on an island, bereft of his ship and fairly sure that his heart had stopped beating. Days later Bill’s most certainly did; the same crew that had abandoned their captain shot their shipmate out of a cannon. In fact, the very moment that a group of rum smugglers happened upon a suddenly delighted and livelier Jack, a group of monstrous men laid hands on his friend and made away with him to a different sort of ship entirely. It was called The Flying Dutchman, and there Bill met something that was once a man, and it had a heart that beat even more painfully than his own did. Davy Jones gave Bill a choice: death, the end of all of his pain and strife, or life, a twisted life with him and his unearthly crew. Something in Bill’s heart gave one last insistent tick, and he made his choice.

And when years later a young man was brought roughly onto the ship, Bill looked into the lad’s eyes and knew why. Why his heart had once leapt, and what his eyes had once held with the rarest form of rapture: his child, his William, his reason for living. He had thought he would never see him again, he had thought that his wife had taken away his only joy forever, but here he was. He was so beautiful. But as Bill saw what was to become of the boy, he choked back a sob and swallowed down even more deeply his heart, his head in his hands as they led Will away.

His heart had begun to beat once again. He could tell by how badly it was hurting, and he felt just as helpless as before, standing there watching, swimming in fear and self-loathing. He should have done something, all of those years ago. Bill knew that he had to do something now, but he didn’t know what, and that damned thing in his chest was thumping so loud he couldn’t think at all, and he just wanted to push it down and shut it out. Still he managed a small croak that sounded something like “my son” or “my love,” and an even smaller voice inside him whispered that once again, change had come. Bill could change, he could change it all, and he swore on every beat his heart had left that he would.

Bill Turner swore with all of the love he had hidden away in him that he would save his son.
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