* * *
When he entered the cabin, it was as if a drop-spindle had been set to spinning in the room. The lines of fate, so rarely discernible even to her, sprung to vibrant, terrible life. All of them wrapped around the young man, spinning ordinary men into heroes, weaving a net of destiny.
"You-" Tia Dalma stepped away from Jack Sparrow, and she knew the young man's name with the first step in his direction, when her own fate leapt in to join all the others. "You have a touch of destiny about you, William Turner."
Her nose stung with the phantom-smell of burning seaweed, and she looked into his eyes and saw Port Royale drown, him smiling with shark-teeth, the Sea clasp the infant Turner to her bosom, his father with starfish and barnacles parting from his skin, and a caged woman as beautiful and dangerous as a swan. Sea-beloved, so many possibilities in the web tied to the sea.
Her hand hovered near his arm, not quite daring to touch him. Would she feel flesh or water if she brushed his skin? What did Swann feel when she kissed him? Did she taste sea-salt and conch in his mouth?
The sea was a jealous lover. Swann was caged, yes, but that had led him to Tia Dalma's home. Tia Dalma was sun-blooded, and the sea would hate her far more than any bird-woman. Especially because of the heart already wrapped with her chains.
"You know me?"
Better than you yourself, William Turner. Long ago and far away, she had kept such a man with her for eight years and bore him three children. But even her charms could not keep a man from his destiny, and he had sailed away with her blessings, to the depths of Hell so that he might learn how to win his wife back.
"You want to know me." She leaned in closer, and the sea fan spread out before her. Sea-beloved, indeed, for not even Jack Sparrow's future-fan revealed itself as a coral. Every branch led to the farthest shore, one way or another.
Sea-beloved and sea-damned. Few sailed back from that dark land, but...
But there were some branches that let him go there alive and return the same.
"There'll be no knowing around here! We've come for your help and we're not leaving without it." Jack Sparrow's hand on her shoulder sent the sea fan breaking into pieces, and she turned away from the young man almost gladly. It hurt, getting caught up in fates again, being spun counter to her will. The destiny he made for others was a net, but what would he catch with it?
Or would the net break under its weight and sink into the deeps, pulling him down with it?
"I thought I knew you," Jack Sparrow muttered.
She did not correct the pirate at all.