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Ruth Tamson

[1836/1837][EN] Kamikaze

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They looked rich. She didn't know why that was the first thing she noticed about them, but they did. Her...father wore a suit. His face was shaven, his hair was combed. Her mother looked fashionable, as far as she knew anything about fashion anyway. Jack was still wearing the clothes she'd worn this morning, which were her trousers and her shirt. She wore her brown hat, the only thing she had left from her youth. Her mother, her mother, hugged her immediately, called her Nymph and commented on her height. How she had grown up. Jack didn't know how to react at first. She wasn't quite used to being hugged, at least not like this. Not...motherly. She assumed this was motherly, because honestly she didn't know. They were glad, her father said. Happy. It was unbelievable, he said, but they wanted to meet you. And Jack didn't know how to react to that. She wanted to be as happy as they were. She wanted to be glad too, but up until moments ago she hadn't even known they existed. She had never known there was another pair of parents out there, believing her to be dead. 

 

Her mother called her Nymph and it felt...unreal. She was Jack. She had always been Jack. Nymph didn't sound like her. It sounded like a completely different person. Like a girl who could have clean shaven parents who hugged and kissed her and hoped for her to be real. She wanted to tell them that it wasn't true. That it wasn't her and they had to find someone else. But all the stories matched up. The dates matched up. The woman who was supposed to be her mother even had red hair. Like her. So carefully, gingerly, slowly, she hugged the woman back. "I'm glad to meet you too." She said, not knowing how true that was. She should be happy, she eventually decided. They were her parents. "This is... a shock. I never knew. I didn't think that I could be..." Kidnapped. She smiled awkwardly at them. "I just wish you could meet me in a better state." She said apologetically. Compared to them she looked like an animal. She didn't get it. They knew who she was, the auror had said as much, and yet they hugged her like that didn't matter. Of course it mattered. Why wouldn't it? She'd been in prison. But then again, she'd always forgiven her father... William too. Because they were related. Because she thought they were related. Maybe that was just how it worked. Some biological thing that told families to always forgive each other. She didn't know anything about biology, though. She couldn't even write.

 

"I'm happy to see you." Maybe she meant it. Maybe if she wanted to mean it, she did. But what was she supposed to say now? What was she supposed to ask them? "Could you... tell me things. About who you are? And my family?"

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Her accent was weird, they would have to change that. She needed to learn how to take care of her hair, her skin and her nails. She needed proper clothes, a skirt for godness' sake, maybe even a corset. She needed to learn how to stand up straight, how to do a curtsy, how to articulate. He didn't know the state of her teeth, but it couldn't be good. She probably would have scars, somewhere. 

 

"Please, sit," he said, taking out his seat for her. "Can we get some tea for her?" he asked an auror, because from now on, he would make the decisions for her.

 

"My name is Chiron Waterford, this is my wife, Circe." Where to begin, where to begin... "You have a brother, Phoenix Waterford. He's at Hogwarts currently, we hadn't contacted him... it'll be a big shock for him, you'll understand." Because from now on, Chiron would decide what she understood. "We trade in tea, which is why we were in Jamaica when you were born. We... thought you died there. We were told you died there. We never had any reason to think otherwise..." And if it were up to them, they still wouldn't have had any reason. 

 

"We were as shocked as you are, we only heard a few hours go," Circe continued his story. "But I'm so glad!" Meanwhile, she inspected Jack's hands. And didn't look too pleased. 

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She had a brother.

 

A brother.

 

His name was Phoenix. Nymph and Phoenix. Phoenix and Nymph. Was he older or younger? In any case those names were weird. 

 

He didn't know. Oh Merlin, he didn't know. They'd have to tell him. He'd feel the same as her, probably. Confused and shocked and unsure.

 

Of course, he wasn't a pirate, so that was different. He even went to school.

 

School... These were people who went to school. She'd never even been inside of a school. She'd never met a teacher. Jack could barely read and not write. Would they know?

 

Oh god, she was going to be a disappointment, wasn't she? They looked like people who would at least have some expectations. They were rich. Jack couldn't meet any of them.

 

They were rich. She was from a rich family. At least it looked like that. A housekeeper took her from her rich parents and gave her to a pirate. Did she live inside a fairy tale?

 

Her entire life... Everything she knew... Everything she thought was her reality... It was gone. All gone. 

 

God...

 

There were so many thoughts, so many things she had to think about and what she wanted more than anything right now was time. She needed to go home, go to bed and ignore the world for a while. Even if it was a day, she needed time. But her parents, her parents, two people, a mother and a father, they were here. They were here and they were hugging her and telling her how glad they were. Because she was their daughter and they'd thought she was dead and she couldn't walk away from that. She couldn't tell them she didn't want it. Any of it. The more Jack looked at them, her parents, the more she thought that maybe, if they wanted to, she could try to be Nymph. Bad as that name was. 

 

"I'm sorry." She said, not knowing what else to say. "I wish I knew. I would have contacted you sooner. I was told to find my family here in England, but I didn't know who they were and now..." She made a helpless gesture. What would happen now? Would they visit her? Would she let them? Did she have a choice?

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She was sorry. Well, whoop-ty-fucking-do. Not sorry enough to make some, you know, decent life choices, of course, but they'd fix that. They'd have to fix that. She wasn't going to stay with them long, Chiron was already considering some other options, but she was going to be their daughter for the rest of their life. 

 

"You couldn't have known," Circe said, because she had always been better at pretending to be the warm person in the family. "We're just so grateful that we know it now." 

"And we have the rest of our life now," Chiron nodded. "We'll arrange for your stuff to be moved right away." They always had a spare bedroom anyway. "Where do you currently live?" 

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"Wait, move my stuff?"

 

They weren't suggesting... She'd only known who they were for less than half a day. Before today she hadn't even known they existed, she couldn't just move in with them, right? That wasn't how this was supposed to go. Granted, she didn't know how things were supposed to go, but surely this should all go a lot slower than they were suggesting right now. Jack was wondering if they'd visit, if they'd send her letters and if she could try to learn how to write so she could send letters back. She wasn't planning to immediately move in with them and assume her new identity as Nymph Waterford. Because she wasn't Nymph Waterford. She was Jack Killigrew, for better or for worse. Maybe they were her parents, but she never knew that. She didn't want them to feel like she didn't want them. Like she wouldn't love them, because maybe in time she would. But for now she didn't know who they were. And Jack didn't much like strangers.

 

"I'm sorry." She said, meaning it more than anything she'd ever said. "But that's moving very fast. I don't know you yet. And you don't know me. Shouldn't we first try to get to know each other? Before... you know. I still need to get used to everything. I'm sure you do too and my... my brother doesn't even know I exist yet. Shouldn't we wait?"

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Chiron hated people who had their own opinion. It was just so bothersome. He wanted, no, needed, to get this over with as quickly as possible and dragging that out because Miss Pirate here had decided she needed some more time was ridiculous. She was a pirate, for god's sake. People would judge her, and by extension the Waterfords, more than enough, and especially more if she stayed in whatever hellhole she lived.

 

Plus, they would be expected to give her money and he wasn't going to throw that at her like this.

 

"I hope you understand," Circe said softly, still holding her 'daughter' 's hands. "We've been away from you for so long, and we heard such dreadful things about your life... We wouldn't know you'd be okay, that you'd be alive, if you weren't with us." 

Thank goodness for his wife and her excellent acting skills. 

"I know it might seem fast," added Chiron, "And we'll give you all the space you need, we have a big house with more than enough space." 

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They were worried. She should understand that, but it wasn't something she was familiar with. Not in this way. Sure, during her time in England there had been people who expressed enough care to be worried about her, but none of those people were her family. These people... Her parents... They wanted to know she was okay. The woman, her mother, was holding her hands. She spoke softly and worriedly and what she said made sense. They had thought her dead and if she left now, they wouldn't know if it might one day come true. If she went with them, they could keep an eye on her. But there was no reason to worry. Not really. She could hold her own. Jack had been independent for a long time. Sure, she'd gone through hell and back, but she was all the more strong for it. No matter what happened, she'd find a way out and she wanted her parents to know that.

 

"I have a job." She said in what she hoped was a reassuring tone. "It's with one of the aurors. He has a farm in Ireland and I work there. I have a house. It's not much, but it's home. I'm safe. I've been safe for a while. There's nothing to worry about, because I can defend myself. I can handle it." Because she could, right? Then why did that last part come out less than reassuringly? Maybe she was thinking of the fact that there were days missing from her memory. Or the feelings of overwhelming fear that sometimes overtook her. The memories that kept coming back to haunt her when she was alone. She could handle it, because she should. Because this was the life that she chose and she had to pay for it and if that meant that she wouldn't always feel like she had a grip on things, then that was a small price to pay. Except today she found out...that that wasn't true. She hadn't chosen this. If she hadn't been kidnapped, she would have grown up with her parents. She would have learned how to read, how to write pretty, how to sing and play instruments, how to dance. She would have gone to school, she would have made friends her own age. Nymph Waterford would maybe have wondered about becoming a pirate as some children wondered about becoming knights or daring adventurers. Because they didn't know what that was like. Nymph wouldn't know. Nymph wouldn't choose. But Jack never had a choice. She never did.

 

"I don't want you to worry."

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She had a job, on a farm.

 

Oh yes, Chiron could imagine how that conversation would go:

So, what happened to that daughter of yours?

Well, she wanted to stay on the farm.

A farm? How peculiar.

They would giggle, not even bothering to keep the laughter behind his back and it would be justified, because Chiron Waterford couldn't even control his own daughter.

 

"Well, we want you to have your own choice, of course..." Chiron said, but he placed his hand on Circe's shoulder and gave it a little squeeze.

 

She promptly turned away her face, muttered an apology, and forced some impressive tears in her eyes.

 

"It's alright, darling," Chiron comforted his wife. "It's all going to be alright." 

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She cried. Oh no no, she cried. Jack couldn't stand crying. She had always been weak to it. Especially if it was her fault. Instantly she wanted to make the woman feel better. To tell her she didn't mean it, anything to make it stop. Maybe that was a weakness, but she'd already caused so much hurt and she didn't want to be the cause of any more. And would it be so bad? Would it really be so bad to go with parents who were very obviously happy to see her. Parents, real actual parents. A mother and a father. They had a house. It was big enough for her. They had a son at school. They looked clean and neat and like they had their life together perfectly. Their voices were soft and caring. Wasn't this what she had been dreaming about as a little girl? To be found by a couple like this, who would love her and care for her and give her what she needed. Was she really going to throw that away? Why? Because she wasn't used to the idea? She wasn't used to anything, she should, ironically, be used to that by now.

 

She'd met her mother minutes ago and she'd already made her cry.

 

What sort of a monster was she?

 

"I mean..." She sighed, not knowing how to proceed. Not knowing if this was the right choice or if she was making a mistake. "If you want me to. I just need time to get used to the idea, but if you have the space... I want to get to know you and maybe... maybe living with you would be a good thing then." Yes. That was her conclusion. She wasn't sure about it, but this was it. "I... I'd love to."

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What a dumb girl. Chiron was already disappointed. Of course he had known she would be dumb, a pirate and a maid can't exactly breed a genius, Phoenix was proof enough of that, but this was so easy. Oh well, at least she would come home with them, they could see what they could do with the girl then.

 

"Shall we, then?" he asked. Yes, it was fast, but damnit, he wanted this over with before Circe's tears could dry. "We'll send someone for your stuff." He wanted to get away from the watching eyes of the aurors, he wanted to talk to his wife in private and he wanted the pirate girl to have a proper bath, because she smell. "And we'll get Phoenix home for dinner tonight, so you can meet your brother." 

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That was that then. She'd been here for such a short time and her entire life was uprooted and moved somewhere else. She didn't even know where they lived, what kind of house it was. They didn't even know where she lived. These people were as foreign to her as she was to them and now through the magical powers of blood, she was going to live with them. She was going to move in with them. Because her mother had cried. Was she really, truly, 100% sure that wasn't a terrible mistake? No. No she wasn't and she never would be, but what else was she supposed to do? Jack liked to think of herself as being independent. She liked to pretend she was, but she knew that in the end she had never made her own choices. She didn't choose to become a pirate, she didn't choose to get caught, or to be sent to England or be haunted by her memories or find her family or anything. Everything just happened to her. She didn't make them happen. And all because of a single choice one person made 24 years ago. What was she to do? Nothing. Go with what was given to her, like always. Go on with her life, no matter how much it changed. She'd gone through bigger, more unpleasant changes so she'd get through this too.

 

Besides, she had a lot to feel grateful for. These people didn't know her, but knew she was a pirate and they still wanted her to live with them. They were placing their trust in her. The least she could do was show that that trust wasn't misplaced.

 

"Let's go."

 


 

THE END

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