Author: Corri PM
Post AWE, strange things are happening aboard the Pearl, and Hector Barbossa needs to find a way to make things right on his ship.Rated: Fiction K+ - English - Hector B. - Words: 1,230 - Reviews: 8 - Favs: 7 - Published: 01-02-09 - Status: Complete - id: 4763988
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Disclaimer: Pirates? Not mine.
Word Count: 1,144
Author's Note: Written as part of the Secret Santa exchange over at the blackpearlsails yahoogroup for mpstigers, who wanted "anyone and anything." Given the opportunity to write anything I wanted, what did I come up with? A story with no Navy, and no Jack (well, no corporeal Jack, at least...)
Hector Barbossa scowled at the apple in his hand. Not, mind you, that he had anything against the piece of fruit, for it was as red and as perfect as any he could have wished for. More correctly, one might have said that his dark glare was intended for the pirate who stood before him.
"Say what ye just said to me one more time," he said in a soft, dangerous tone that would make most men say anything other than what they had just said.
"They seen him again, Sir," Ragetti said in a tremulous whisper that indicated that he had seen the apparition as well. There was no need to ask who the "him" was.
Ten years ago, Barbossa would have let the spindly-legged fool have the full brunt of his ire, but he was older now. Wiser. "And where did they see him this time, pray tell?" he asked.
"The man on watch seen him in the rigging last night, all ghostly like and climbing about near that sheet what came loose, and Pintel seen him sitting in one of the boats, just smiling as big as you please, and I… I seen him standing by the helmsman, hand resting on the wheel." Ragetti gulped. "And he winked in my direction when he saw me staring."
"Now," Barbossa said calmly, "this would all be very interesting were it not for one very important detail. Jack Sparrow's no more dead than I am, and if he is, then neither I nor anyone on this ship has aught to do with it."
"Normally I'd agree with you, Sir, but…" he lowered his voice still further. "But some of us are thinking that maybe Jack's up and died of a broken heart, losing the Pearl again and all."
"Bah," the Pearl's current captain waved his free hand in annoyance. "Jack's no sentimental fool." He considered his statement for a moment, then added, "At least not the kind that would go to the lengths of dying of it."
Ragetti looked about to protest, but Barbossa cut him off. "I'll have no more of this foolishness on my ship," he said. "We left Jack Sparrow behind at the pier in Tortuga, whole of mind and body, and if any of you louts let your sore, guilty consciences conjure up visions of his avenging ghost, then that is your affair, not mine."
Ragetti nodded obediently and exited the cabin without a word, but Barbossa knew that he had not been convinced.
The first time Jack Sparrow's "ghost" had made an appearance, the Pearl had been at sea for less than a day, and the specter hadn't missed a day since. He seemed to appear to the most horribly superstitious of sailors, as if he knew which men would be vulnerable. He was seen prancing about the sight of accidents and other misfortunes before they happened, and yet in the weeks they had been at sea, Barbossa had never laid eyes on him once. He had to admit that it would be like Jack to show his face to every living soul on the ship but the one he most wished to torment.
He might even have been worried if he had not lived through these events before. The shade of a man who should not yet be dead, the petty accidents, the frightened sailors… it was all exactly as it had been in the weeks after he had left Jack Sparrow on a deserted spit of land and sailed away to claim the treasure of the Isla de Muerta for himself. Then, too, the crew had seen Jack everywhere, and only when Barbossa had sent Bootstrap over the side with a canon chained to each leg had the whispers stopped.
If events were indeed repeating themselves, Barbossa knew who was to blame. He checked to make sure the door to his cabin was locked—no use in looking the madman to the crew—and he put his hand against the heavy beam that ran down the middle of the window at the stern.
"There's no use pouting, m'girl," he said. "I nabbed you out from under him, fair and square."
There was no response but the gentle creaking of the timbers as the ship cut through a calm sea.
"Besides," he continued, "it's a paltry bit of fame that Jack Sparrow's brought to the legend of the Black Pearl. You might remember who was captain here when folk began to speak the name with an awed hush."
The Pearl mounted a short wave and dipped gracefully beneath his feet, and he knew that she did remember. The candles on his dining table burned a little brighter now, and he felt as if he could feel the pulse of all the life on the ship through the wood under his hand.
"That's it now," he whispered, and stroked the beam much as one might comfort an injured animal. "I know you're fond of clever Jack, but I might humbly suggest that I can be clever too…" Going to his desk, he untied a purse of silver coins lifted from a corpulent Spaniard at the point of a sword. He upended the bag, and the coins spread across the wooden floor, spinning and flashing in the firelight. "It was I that filled your hold with treasure, I who risked my own life's blood to win it." Though he knew that last part had not been exactly true for all of the years the curse had held, it sounded fine when he said it, and the Pearl did not seem to mind.
"So let's not have any more of these tricks, then," he said. "Besides, the prize we're bound for now will write your name large in the history books for a thousand years to come. Think of it, the Black Pearl, the ship that carried her crew to the Fountain of Youth." Again, he did not think it fit to mention that the most important part of the map that was to lead them to the fountain was no longer in his possession, and again, the Pearl did not seem to know or care. In fact, she seemed pleased. If there was one thing the temperamental ship had in common with her favorite captain, it was vanity.
"A truce, then?" Barbossa asked. "You stop frightening my crew with Jack's shade, and together, we'll bring you such fame that even the Argo would burn with jealousy."
She seemed to like that very much indeed. Above, he could hear the head of the watch calling for more sail to catch the wind that was springing up, and the rush of the water against her sides churned with a certain merry urgency.
Barbossa smiled to himself. He wasn't Jack, to be sure, but he still knew how to win a lady's heart.