Title: Mothers of the Caribbean: Will's Mother
Author: Soleil Compeau
Fandom: Pirates of the Caribbean
Pairing: Bill Turner/OC, Jack Sparrow
Rating: PG, squeaky clean
Summary: "When I was a lad in England, my mother raised me by herself. When she died, I came out here, looking for my father. My father, Bill Turner."
Maggie Tarentaul loved Bill Turner. That was pure and absolute truth. What she did not love was the sea. To Maggie, the sea was simply a means to an end. It was a way to get from one near place to another, far place. The sea was also wet, and where good, delicious fish came from. That was all.
It was not, for her, a wondrous, living thing of beauty that could enrapture your soul and dazzle your heart. And therein lay the beginnings of their problem.
Bill Turner loved Maggie Tarnetaul, another undeniable truth. She was for him a bit like the sea, beautiful and dazzling and enrapturing. And attainable as well, she agreed to wed him and make him a very happy man. Bill could barely believe his good fortune to have won such a woman. Not only was she beautiul, but sharply intelligent. One of the few women he knew that had learned to read, and in fact, she taught him to read his letters even better. Bill knew himself; a slow, stolid man who was easily content with his lot and dreamed of adventure. For now, Maggie was adventure enough.
Another thing Maggie did not love, was John 'Flying Bird' Teague. The young man Bill began bringing home to dinner after three voyages on a merchant ship was very charming, to be sure. She often laughed at his wit and smiled benignly in the face of his sly, almost innocent flirting with her. Still, her wariness of him was strong, knowing him to have learned sailing as a child, from his father - who just happened to be a legendary pirate. Oh, the scolding Bill endured over that! "The apple doesn't fall far from the tree," Maggie predicted darkly.
But the young man was so earnest, so sincere when he explained to anyone who would listen that he'd left his father's kind of life behind and intended to make his mother proud as a good man. Maggie accepted this, but watched him. Watched him warily, and found ways to question her husband about him when he went on two more voyages, serving on a crew with the lad.
How proud she was of Bill, finding a place with the East India Company! She did not trouble herself as to the lowliness of that place, a simple crewman. Bill might be slow, but he was hardworking and kind, so very kind. This was the quality she prized most in him. With her firm guidance to encourage him to work his way up, Maggie felt confident that Bill could secure their future.
Alas, it was John was worked his own way up, far faster than her sweet Bill. Along with being charming and quick witted, he was also pretty clearly ambitious. "There's talk of him being made officer afore too long," he told her in his thoughtful way.
"And what about you? How close to being right there with him are you, since you're not already?"
At her sharp tone he merely looked at her. Ashamed, Maggie dropped her eyes. She didn't like to hurt his pride, her darling man, no. Bill stroked her pregnant stomach gently. "I know you're all worked up because of the baby's coming. It's natural sweetheart.
"Anyway, the captain asked for crew commendations."
Maggie sat up straighter and stopped eating to stare at him. "You...put John forward, but not yourself, Bill?" She tried to keep her tone even.
He just shrugged and smiled a bit. "Jack deserves it. He-"
"It's what the men all call him. He's got something about him, Magsweets." The pet name was silly, nonetheless it never failed to make her melt. "Jack gets along with everybody, often he can get the men to pull together in the worst conditions. Lot of 'em would almost follow him over the cap'n. A man like that...well, there ain't many."
Setting aside his plate of food, Bill reached for her and gave her a slow wonderful kiss. They made lazy love, Bill being tenderly solicitous of her swollen belly, and fervently solicitous of her carnal needs.
Their son was born while he was away, serving under Officer John Teague. She showed him the baby, named after him, upon his return. Bill held the little bunting with real pleasure and spent hours scrutinizing the tiny features and playing with the wee fingers.
"Looks just like you, doesn't he?" Maggie was bursting with maternal pride, and more anxious than ever to build a bright tomorrow for her son.
"So he does. But Magsweets, I swear he glows with that same pretty sparkle you've got." Bill chuckled. "Imagine, a woman like you giving good looks to my plain old face."
Maggie went to him, stroked his hair, and whispered love words to him. Later that night, she murmured sweetly to him that perhaps it would be good for him to get experience on a different ship.
News came a few days later, and Bill wandered back from the wharf to tell her about it. John Flying Bird Teague had visited his mother, and returned with a beautiful ship. She was built along the lines of an East Indiaman, and Jack's captaincy was assured.
They sat watching William play in the dirt with a little shovel. "Please Bill! I mean nothing against your old friend Jack, but I want you to get some different experience, is all!"
"You wanted me to get promoted Maggie. Well, Jack's made me an officer. It's good isn't it?" Her poor husband's face was honestly perplexed.
Maggie sighed, wishing she could explain it to herself if not to Bill. "I've just got a terrible feeling, I don't know why."
"Well...we'll see," he murmured. Glancing at him, Maggie saw that he was gazing towards the harbor. Towards the sea, and he had a little smile on his lips. That was the day her heart began to break.
Young John came to the house the night before they were to sail aboard The Wicked Wench. Captain Jack Sparrow, as he now called himself. "Maggie love, what's this I hear about you disapproving of Bill and me running my fine ship together?" He took her hand and kissed it with a devilish quirk of his eyebrows.
Slightly exasperated, Maggie couldn't help a girlish giggle as she pulled her hand free. "None of that now, we all know you've the devil's luck in getting your way."
Jack looked absolutely delighted at this. "Can't help it Maggie. You've got me dazzled." He invaded her space. She could smell his thick long braids, sweet with the spices he regularly transported and salty with the ocean.
"You keep my man out of trouble, you hear me?" Her voice was shrill, and she stopped long enough to calm herself. William was sleeping in the next room, she didn't want to wake the toddler. "I want him to come back to me."
Jack smiled, wide and sincere. "A'course, Maggie my love! Safe and sound, I assure you. This is just a simple run, round the Cape is tricky, but me and your Bill are fine sailors." He tipped an extravagant wink at Bill, sitting silently at the kitchen table. "Picking up African cargo and delivering it to Port Royal, Jamaica. You'll get your man back, as sure as the sun rises in the east."
She believed him, God help her but she believed every word. Her husband was right. There was something about Jack. Even when you knew he was probably up to no good, you wanted to think he wasn't. And you wanted to follow him. Of course, Bill didn't return. And in time even a woman who didn't pay attention to sailor's gossip got to hearing about it. The cargo was dark skinned men, women, and children. The Captain of the Wicked Wench had set them free, and was caught, branded a pirate by his immediate supervisor in the Company, Cutler Beckett, and his ship burned to the waterline.
There was no news of Bill Turner, but Maggie could draw her own conclusions. The crew serving under Captain Sparrow could get a lighter punishment by claiming to have not aided their captain in his madness. But would Bill do that? Oh no! Not her loyal, kind, just a bit slow man, oh not him! He chose to follow Jack, and what's more, he chose the treacherous, unfaithful SEA!
Maggie took ill from severe grief. Neighbors heard her little son crying, and came and nursed her back to health. She recovered in time, but never fully. And in her delirium while sick, she imagined a perfect world wherein her wonderful Bill was still a proper merchant. And Jack Sparrow was just a midshipman who eventually transferred to another ship. Upon regaining her strength, Maggie vowed she would never speak Jack's name again, for William's sake.
She held on as long as she could, while raising her son to be as proper a gentleman as she could manage on her own. She taught him to read, taught him what numbers she herself knew, and carefully nurtured that noble streak of kindness he'd inherited from his father. She taught him that a real man defends those weaker than himself, and that love needed attention to make it grow and keep it strong. She taught him that women were to be treated with respect and care and reverence, and when he was eight, the cough returned.
No medicine could ease it this time, and before a year was over Maggie Turner was failing. Between struggles to breathe, she urged William to go to the Caribbean and find his father, believing once again in the merchant dream she'd once cherished. It wasn't Jack she blamed, really. Dying, she reasoned he was a son of a pirate after all, and couldn't escape his blood.
It never once occurred to her that pirate blood flowed in her young William's veins, as well.