Chapter 6 : The Map
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Disclaimer: I do not own anything you recognize in this story.
This fic was inspired by Disney’s “Pirates of the Caribbean”, and Ruby89’s “Deep breath.”
A/N: I HAVE REWRITTEN THE SECOND PART OF CHAPTER FIVE, SO PLEASE READ THAT BEFORE READING THIS OR YOU WILL BE SLIGHTLY CONFUSED.
The man standing in front of her was Captain Prongs.
A million profanities went through Lily’s mind as she took a hurried step backwards from James, or Captain Prongs…or whoever he was. “It can’t be you,” she whispered.
“What do you mean, it can’t be me?” asked James, furrowing his eyebrows. He took a step closer to her, tilting up her chin to get a better look at her face. “Have we met before?”
“No!” Lily squeaked. “How could we have met before? I would have recognized you; you would have recognized me! It’s not like people walk around in strange disguises in broad daylight!” She knew she was rambling incoherently, but the suspicious look in James’ eyes was enough to effectively shut down the filter that usually held back the deluge of incomprehensible words.
James leaned in once more, his eyes carefully scanning her profile. Lily felt herself desperately wishing her features were more ordinary. Her bright red hair and green eyes were rare enough for James to draw the wrong conclusions. She prayed that the dress and feminine allure were enough to throw him off her scent, but he was a keen man with a penetrating mind.
“My apologies,” he finally said, after the longest minute Lily had ever lived through. “You just look like someone…someone I know.”
“Do you like this person?” She asked, half out of curiosity and half out of an attempt to resume the flirtation.
His gaze snapped back to hers and bore deeply into it as if he was trying to read her very soul.
He shrugged, “I don’t know. Not really my type of bloke.”
“I remind you of a man?” Lily asked indignantly, putting her hands on her hips to emphasize the point.
James grinned. “A very, very pretty man,” he mocked.
Lily clutched her chest where her heart was furiously beating. “You wound me,” she claimed.
He chuckled, drawing her closer and leaning his forehead against hers. “It was wonderful meeting you, Lily,” he said, “And I’d love nothing more than to see you again the next time my ship docks.”
“Prongs!” Lily and James both whipped around. Lily’s eyes widened in horror at the appearance of the sandy-haired man.
Moony walked up to them, a curious expression on his face. He squinted his eyes at Lily, looking taken aback. “Evan?” he asked, looking back and forth at her and James as if searching for an explanation.
Lily clamped her eyes shut, desperately wishing for the Earth to simply swallow her up right now. There was no way James was going to let her live through this, not after she’d made a complete arse out of him. Even with her eyes shut, she could feel the thick tension in the air. The harsh silence beat down on her ears as all of her other senses were heightened. James had pushed her away at Moony’s words, but he was still close enough for her to feel the heat of his body radiating off, although now it was in fury rather than sexual charisma.
“Evan?” he snarled. Lily flinched at his words, imagining the cruel lines of his face and the accusatory stare in his beautiful eyes.
“Look at me!”
Her eyes flew open and all of the explanations that had been on the edge of her tongue simply evaporated. She stood in her place, watching the fire in his eyes grow with each passing second.
When he spoke, the chill of his voice scared her more than anything he had ever said or done to her before. “I don’t know which surprises me more, that Evan is a woman or that Lily pretended to be a man.”
“James, I never meant to—”
“What? Lie to me? I bet you were having a bloody good laugh at me the whole fucking day!”
“No,” Lily insisted, “I didn’t know!”
“Bull shit!” he snapped. “And what’s more, you snuck onto my ship, sabotaged my crew—”
“I didn’t sabotage—”
“And you weren’t even going to bother telling me about any of it!”
The angry silence that followed was punctuated with their heavy breathing. Lily was so full of various emotions that she could not decide which one to express first. She was furious at James for thinking she had intentionally led him on and she was irritated with herself for not realizing who he was. But more than anything, she was ruing the day she made the decision to sneak onto a ship and had ended up on The Order. Nothing but trouble had resulted from that choice. Lily wondered what Alice would say if she knew what Lily had gotten herself into now.
“Prongs,” Moony had taken it upon himself to interrupt their strained standoff. “We’d best get back onto the ship before the crew gets rowdy.”
James looked like he’d much rather hash it out with Lily at the moment, but after a quick glance at the swiftly setting sun, he acquiesced. Turning to Lily, he left her with one last comment, “If I ever see one hair of yours anywhere near my ship, I’ll—”
“You wouldn’t do anything to a lady!” Lily snapped.
James sneered, “Yeah, well you’re not exactly a lady, are you?” His eyes swept over her in a way that made Lily burn red despite the severity of the moment. When he looked at her like that, she suddenly became aware of every inch of bare skin on her body and how it ached to be touched by a man, a man like him.
She simply glared at him, raising her chin in defiance. He stalked away towards his ship while Moony lingered, giving her the once over as well. It didn’t induce the same torrent of ice and fire on her body.
“I don’t know who you are,” he began slowly, “But I would advise you to stay away from the ship…or any pirates for that matter. We’re not known for our decency.”
“I lived among you for six months,” Lily said. “You aren’t the monsters you’re made out to be.”
He smiled mirthlessly at her, “Some of us are. More likely than not, a pirate’s on the sea because he’s running away from demons on land.”
“We all have troubles,” said Lily, not quite understanding what the man was getting at.
“But some are more perilous than others,” he said. “Take care of yourself Ev—whoever you are.” He nodded at her before hurrying off after James. Lily watched them go, her mind intrigued by Moony’s parting words. Suddenly, she realized that she was carrying something. In one hand, she held the bread that she had brought, perhaps she could drop it off at Alice’s, but in the other was the bag that James had stolen from Charles. It was the bag that belonged to the mysterious Flamel, the bag that had aroused such a passionate response in James when he saw it. It was a bag that he probably really wanted.
Can you say leverage?
With a wry grin, she made her decision.
“Anchors aweigh! Set the flags and make good to clear port!”
Trying her best to remain surreptitious, Lily kept her head low, her eyes furtively glancing up from underneath the cap she was wearing as a part of her newest disguise. There was too much commotion going on for James to notice that she had returned to the ship, or for anyone to notice that Evan was acting more peculiar than usual.
For one heart-wrenching second, Moony had sent her a pointed look before opening his mouth to shout something to the captain. Luckily, he had shut his mouth before words could leave it, but Lily could sense his obvious unease at her presence.
As she lurked on the deck, she noticed that a large crowd had congregated on the deck. She hesitated, considering for a moment, joining them, establishing her presence. It couldn’t hurt for there to be a few witnesses that she had returned to the ship, just in case James killed her before she had a chance to speak. She sincerely hoped it wouldn’t come to that, but the two of them could rile up in a second. She had seen his temper and knew the depths of her own, and no matter how you worked it, they weren’t a safe combination.
However, the longer she lingered on the deck, the more time James had to spot her and possibly reveal her. While they were still docked, he had the opportunity to throw her back onto land and he’d more than likely do so unless she offered him something in return. Her lips unconsciously slid into a smirk; James would be forced to let her stay onboard once she’d had her say.
So, taking care to avoid the crowd, Lily made her way below deck. Quickly checking to make sure the cabin was empty, she slid into her destination, hastily shutting the door behind her.
The first thing she noticed was the strong smell of wood and man. The cabin absolutely reeked of his scent and Lily had an inexplicable feeling of being caressed by the warm air. Even if she hadn’t known, upon entering, there would have been no doubt in her mind that this was James’ room.
It was cleaner that the rest of the ship and there were rat traps all along the walls. Curious about how they stayed in place when the ship rocked, she nudged one with her foot. It didn’t move. Kneeling down, she put her nose near the trap and sniffed. The scent of glue filled her nose and she reeled back at its strength. Well, that would explain it.
Standing up, she walked over to a table where various pieces of parchment lay along with a few quills and empty bottles of ink. A small painting of a young woman caught her eye and she picked it up. It was encased in a leather frame that looked to have once been in excellent condition. Staring at the painting, Lily ascertained that the woman could be considered pretty by some, although she didn’t find anything particularly attractive about her. All of her features were subdued and gentle. Her hair was a pale brown and it fell lifelessly to her shoulders. Her face was small, but happy, and her gown appeared to be made richly. The one redeeming feature of the entire painting, in Lily’s opinion, were the woman’s eyes. The looked alert and strong, despite the apparently weakness in the rest of her.
Who was this woman?
She ended up waiting in that little cabin-room for hours. Every time she heard the creak of wood, she would jump, feeling that nervous adrenaline run through her. Lily’s body would clench in anticipation every time she could hear footsteps coming down the stairs, but still James did not come. In other circumstances, she might have doubted that the room was truly his, but it so honestly reflected his personality that she couldn’t even fathom that she could be wrong. There were hordes of maps and other navigational tools, as well as an interesting (and expansive) collection of swords, knives, and guns. Lily had been expecting a fair bit more of treasure, but there was nothing valuable lying around, at least nothing she could see.
When she finished exploring to her satisfaction, she sat down on the bed. The mattress was hard and the pillow measly, but it was a good sight better than her previous sleeping arrangement. The hammocks she and the rest of the sailors used swung with the swaying of the ship, and Lily had more than once actually fallen out of hers when the ship encountered a particularly vicious wave.
She stretched out on James’ bed. Although she had slept rather well the night before, her eyelids grew heavy and she couldn’t stifle a large yawn. The room grew warm and hazy around her.
Lily dreamed that she was surrounded by clouds. They were puffy and soft, and they somehow held up her weight. Is this heaven? she thought. But her thoughts were soon diverted because there was something she needed to find. She couldn’t articulate what it was, but it was something of vital importance. Intent on finding it, she began to bounce from cloud to cloud. It was lovely to be bouncing through the clouds, though the happy haze was tinged with urgency as she searched intently through the white puffs.
Suddenly, she thought she saw it up ahead. She bounced more frantically, stretching her arms out…it was right there…
But then the clouds closed in on her. They were suffocating her, preventing her from reaching what she wanted most. It was right…over…there…
Lily woke up with a start, coughing. She was disoriented to find that she was not in the land of clouds, but rather in a dark room with a dark figure leaning over imposingly. “What are you doing here?” it growled.
She scrambled up, recognizing James’ voice. “I came to…uh…I have…er…a prepo—a proposition…” she trailed off foolishly, “For you.”
The cabin was utterly devoid of light, so all she could see were the whites of his eyes as he looked into hers. She imagined them to be tired and confused; she hadn’t meant for him to see her like this for the first time. She had planned to be composed and in control. She was going to give him an offer he couldn’t refused. Now, she just looked like a lovesick girl pathetically trailing her lover.
Regaining command of her facilities as she rubbed the sleep out of her eyes, she spoke in a firmer voice, “Light a candle, it’s bloody dark in here.”
He wordlessly complied, pulling a match out of a drawer and lighting a candle on the bedside table. As he blew out the match and tossed it, Lily found that he looked even more imposing in the candle light as the shadows dancing across his face. She also saw that there appeared to be dark circles under his eyes and stubble running across his jaw. Unable to resist, she rose up on her knees and ran her fingers across his unshaven chin and gently traced the dark line of his goatee. As his eyes closed, she ran her hand up into his dark hair and pressed her lips against his.
His reaction was instantaneous. His hands wrapped around her, drawing her closer to the inviting warmth of his body. She sighed happily, lolling her head back, as he nipped, licked, and kissed his way down her neck and across her throat. Every nerve on fire, Lily shivered as he spoke, his breath lingering and brushing against the hollow at the base of her neck. “It was foolish of you to come back,” he whispered.
She gasped, “I still have your bag.”
They continued to move against each other, shamelessly exploring what they were unable to do early in the day. Lily had never felt such ecstasy as she found herself arching into James’ hands and talented mouth. His body was calling to her and she found herself powerless, and unwilling, to defy the call.
“What’s in it?” she asked, holding on to the last sane piece of her mind.
“A map,” he answered before abruptly pulling away. He snarled, practically throwing her away from him. Wincing as her body collided with the wooden wall, Lily glanced up confused. What had just happened?
“Fucking whore,” he snapped. “Did you get what you came on for?”
Lily sighed, covering her face with her hands. “No,” she whispered emotionally. She looked at him straight in the eye; she wanted him to trust her. “I wanted to offer you something.”
“Yeah, I got the offer—”
“No!” she interrupted. “I meant, I came to offer you the contents of the bag in return for your allowing me to remain on the ship.”
James studied her carefully, and Lily was gratified to see that he studied her not as a woman for mounting, but as a merchant might study a deal or stock.
“What’s stopping me from simply taking the bag and then throwing you overboard?” he asked. Lily tried to get a look at his face to see if he was being seriously or merely joking, but he remained firmly in the shadows.
“I’ve gone through the bag already,” she admitted. “The map was the only thing that looked like it had any significance; the rest was just pirate rubbish, knives and compasses, and so on.”
She paused to let the information sink in and couldn’t help smirking when he scoffed in disbelief. “So,” she continued, “I’ve hidden it. Without me, you won’t know where to go nor will you have any sort of access to the map. And—” she said hastily, as he made a menacing move towards her, “It’s not hidden on my person, so you can’t use your”—she paused on the word and said it with relish—“physical advantage.”
If she had expected James to reply angrily, she was surprised to see that he remained thoughtful.
“I knew there was something strange about you,” he mused. Lily didn’t understand how this was relevant, but she let him go on, sensing that it would lead to his answer. “Every time I was near you I—” he broke off. Stepping into the light, she could see that there was a sardonic smile playing on his lips, though his eyes remained serious. “You may stay on certain conditions.”
She suppressed a cry of triumph. “And they are…?” she prompted.
He didn’t respond, content to let his eyes slowly roaming her kneeling body, they lingered on her eyes, her lips, her breasts, and below her navel, slowly drinking the sight of her in. “I’ll let you know,” he muttered huskily. Lily felt her body heat up in response to his perusal…and his arousal. The feeling was heady and it took a lot of restraint to stop herself from falling into his arms and ravishing him. But this was a business transaction and she had to act as such.
She smiled at him, and made her way over to the edge of the bed. Placing her hand on his shoulder, she leaned on him for support as he placed his hand on her lower back to guide her. When she straightened up, she was standing with her back pressed against James’ chest, his arm wrapped securely around her waist. She could feel his breath; it sent the tendrils of hair on the back of her neck dancing, which tickled. Being this close to him was nearest thing she’d ever felt to heaven (and possibly the nearest she’d ever get). The only thing that reminded her it wasn’t was the intolerable heat of his body, the heat of their closeness.
“I’ve just thought of one,” James whispered against her dewy skin.
“One what?” Lily asked stupidly. The sensation of James’ body pressed up against hers had made her mind go utterly blank in bliss.
He chuckled lowly, the sound causing her will and strength to melt away. If James had not been holding her up, she would have simply slid to the floor in lust. “One condition,” he explained. Lily did not reply, but rather leaned her head back onto his shoulder, sighing pleasurably.
“If I hear about you…” he whispered, “And any…another member of the crew…” He trailed off, his free hand gently playing with a loose strand of her hair.
It took a while for the words to be translated in her head, but in time, Lily understood what he was saying. “I won’t,” she said firmly. Knowing tonight could go no further, she pulled away, however reluctantly, and made her way to the door. “Don’t worry,” she continued with a smirk, “I’m all yours.”
She slipped out of the little room and shut the door, leaning back on it for a moment to soak up what had happened. Her heart was still beating at an absurd pace and she was starting to feel a little clammy all over, courtesy of the beads of perspiration that glittered across her skin. Deciding, she was far too aroused to go to sleep, she went up the stairs onto the deck.
The cool night air swept through her hair and clothes, but its salty smell and feel no longer repulsed her as it used to. Rather, it was comforting and refreshing. The stars shone happily in the sky as the nearly-full moon illuminated the entire ship. Lily could see Fabian and Gideon playing cards on the other end; they were probably on watch for the next few hours. She considered greeting them to measure their surprise at her sudden reappearance, but she preferred to wait until the morning. It’d probably be easier to let James deal with creating a story instead of taking the heat herself.
Retreating to a well-lit corner, Lily drew out, with much wiggling, Flamel’s map from her bodice. She had lied to James to head off any attempts on his part to retrieve it. She lowered herself onto her stomach and smoothed out the map on the deck. It was very old, the edges torn and yellow at some parts. At the top, in a fancy script were the words, ‘The Marauder’s Map: Way to the Philospher’s Stone.’ Lily had no idea who the Marauders were nor what the Philosopher’s Stone was.
Curiosity getting the best of her, she studied the map closely. She would have to know it in the days and weeks to come. She found a tiny island marked ‘Frenado’ in the lower right-hand corner. With her finger, she slowly traced the route, frequently checking the longitude and latitudes, until she entered territory she wasn’t familiar with. Her lips formed the names of the strange locations. ‘Isla de Cantantes’ and ‘Caverna Serpiente’ were two that she understood, ‘Island of Singers’ and ‘Snake Cave,’ but there were numerous other places with foreign names that she couldn’t pronounce.
In addition, some of the places on the map were in the wrong position. Having sailed most of the Caribbean islands, Lily had a basic understanding of the area and its relation to the main land, to America. However, right where the coast of Florida should be, the map showed an island called ‘Isla de Muerta.’ But there was no such island there, Lily was sure of it.
However, the weirdest thing about the map was that parts of it were moving. She had no idea how it was done, but while most of the map’s features were still, some of them were floating across the page, and yet, when she reached out to touch them, her fingers only met parchment and ink. Her first instinct was that it was some sort of devilry. When you put ink on parchment, once they were dry, the marks stayed in one place. Yet, despite blinking several times and pinching herself to ensure she was not dreaming, these dots were moving.
Right next to Frenado, there were numerous black dots, one of which was attached to the words ‘The Order of the Phoenix.’ Searching the other names, Lily read, ‘HMS The Queen Anne,’ ‘The Blackguard,’ and ‘The Summer Breeze.’ Could these all be the names of ships that sailed these waters? Quickly, she scanned the names next to the other moving dots. Indeed, all were names of ships.
Lily was in absolute disbelief. Apparently, this map was…magical. The idea seemed crazy, but James had wanted it so badly that there had to have been something special about it, and she had just figured it out. The map could tell where all the ships in the Caribbean were at any given time. It was the ultimate pirate accessory. With this, a pirate ship could avoid attack by the royal navy for…forever. The idea was mind-blowing.
With renewed respect, Lily again perused the map and the journey they would have to take to reach the large X, which she assumed was where the treasure, or the supposed Philosopher’s Stone lay.
In the morning, she would tell James to head due northwest.
A/N: Hehe, hey guys! *throws herself on the ground* I AM SO SO SO SO SO SORRY FOR TAKING SO LONG! I've been sorta going through a lot of development as a writer and a person and I couldn't figure out what to do with this story.
But, I took some advice from Timothy Hallinan who has this great site and a little, is it a guide?, to writing a novel and he emphasized that a story is what the characters do. So I went back and wrote out little character maps for Lily and James. Just writing about their parents gave me plot ideas, so I went back to the drawing board and now have a totally new idea of what's going to happen, in case you didn't notice.
So thank you to everyone who's stuck with me in the past 10 months...my heart goes out to you all and this chapter is dedicated to each and every one of you.
Please let me know how you think this chapter is...is it as good as the others? Does it feel weird? I know it's a little shorter than usual, but this was where it needed to end.
P.S. I forgot a thank you! A HUGE thank you to SilverShadow04 for nominating my story for 'Best AU' for the Dobbys...although I wasn't a finalist, the gesture was massively appreciated. I think I did a jig when I saw that :)
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