A/N: so...Here's a brand new story following our favorite pair on a crazy adventure. It takes place after OST and is moderately AU. I hope you enjoy. Any feedback is greatly appreciated :)
It was a cool February evening in Shipwreck Cove. A gentle breeze filled the great hall where Pirate King, Captain Elizabeth Turner was looking over some charts and other documents. These days that was where you could usually find her. She always stayed up late into the night keeping her mind from straying onto topics she'd rather not spend her time dwelling on. This night in particular she was anxiously awaiting the return of Captain Teague who she had sent to Tortuga for some supplies and, she hoped, any information of Jack Sparrow's whereabouts. When Jack had left for Tortuga six months previous, he was only supposed to be gone a fortnight, and she was beginning to fear the worst.
Jack had been a welcome presence in her life since the battle with the East India Company. The first few weeks after Will had left her were difficult to say the least. There were several days she refused to get out of bed, take any meals, or speak to anyone other than Teague. Teague being a man of few words, and having little to no experience dealing with such things, grew frustrated not knowing how exactly to help the poor girl. So he sent a letter to Jack begging him to come to Shipwreck Cove to "deal with the somber wench". So Jack came, and in no uncertain terms told her stop whimpering and behave like the pirate he knew her to be and quite literally dragged her from her bed. From that point on, he came back periodically to the cove bringing gifts and stories, and on a few occasions she would leave with him and sail to wherever the wind happened to call to him. The unpleasant past between them was set aside at last, and they were friends once again. Something Elizabeth needed more than anything else in the world.
She regained her sea legs rather quickly and began sailing on her own, and found purpose taking care of Shipwreck Cove and all of its inhabitants. The people there adored her. Most of them were wives and children of pirates who were constantly at sea, the rest were pirates too old to sail. She kept the city well stocked and secure and brought in various goods and spices from all over the world. News of the pirate haven eventually caught like wild fire, and pirates from all over the globe began moving their families or themselves into the already crowded city.
Elizabeth didn't have the heart to turn anyone away, so she made even greater efforts to bring in food and supplies. Jack helped with that as well, even after Barbossa stole the pearl. But when Jack asked her to sail with him to find the fountain of youth, she had to decline. She wouldn't abandon her people she had told him. She did, however, ask him for a favor. She handed him a sealed letter. He flashed a knowing smile at her and said "of course". He told her he was going to sail to Tortuga to find a ship and a crew and return to the cove before he began his voyage, but he never returned. A part of her thought that he may have been cross with her for not going with him, but the longer he was away and as the usual whisperings of his adventures decreased, her heart grew heavy and her sleep was often restless.
So she continued her work, keeping track of the weather patterns, the seasons, their supplies, ship maintenance, imports and exports, and population. And when she could no longer stomach the tediousness of her tasks, she took to reading the many books that adorned the shelves of the cove. Tonight, however, her obsession lent itself toward the fortifying of shipwreck cove through the coming months.
Captain Teague pulled into the harbor near twilight. Seeing all of the candles lit in the great hall, he smirked to himself. He left the docking of his ship to the crew and made his way down the gangplank. His wobbly gait strode into the great hall with no manner of gracefulness at all, slamming the door open with him. Elizabeth never lifted her head.
"Why am I not surprised to find you here at such a late hour?" He quibbled.
"Sleep has become a precious commodity to which I am not entitled" She responded, head still in her paperwork.
"I come bearing gifts"
"I hope you come with a bounty. What with the ever increasing population, I fear we wont have enough supplies to last us through hurricane season." She muttered.
"Shipwreck cove survived for nigh on a half of a century before you took the reins, a little drizzle wouldn't do her in" Added a familiar voice.
Elizabeth's head perked up with excitement. "Jack!" She sprung from her seat and into his arms. Jack stumbled back slightly at the unexpected vaulting. "You're alive!" She observed excitedly, putting him at arms length and looking him over. "We thought you were dead." She added softly.
"Trust me, love. It takes a talented soul to send Captain Jack Sparrow to the afterlife" He smirked and gave her a wink.
Elizabeth gave him a look he knew all to well, most often when he succeeded in agitating her.
"It's good to see you, Jack" she said and returned to her spot at the table amongst all of her things. "So where have you been? I expect there is a good story at hand" she mused.
"Aye, that there is." He said, joining her at the table. Teague pulled out a bottle of rum from a cupboard and poured three glasses. "I found the fountain of youth."
Elizabeth looked up from the table at him in disbelief, she then looked to Teague for confirmation. He nodded. "Well clearly you didn't drink from it. You look rather worse for wear" She joked.
Teague coughed up his rum at the offended look that crossed his son's face.
"Well, it was no easy feat. I had to face the royal navy, Barbossa, Blackbeard, and his treacherous mutinous daughter." He retorted defensively.
"I'm sure her treacherous mutiny had nothing whatsoever to do with you." she said dryly.
"I'm offended you would say such a thing?" he asked.
"You're not wrong" chimed in Teague. He and Elizabeth both started to snicker.
"Shut it, the both of you. I didn't come here to be criticized" Jack took a rather large gulp of rum.
"Why did you come, then? Or a more pertinent question, why didn't you return here before you left for the fountain?" she asked rather pointedly.
"Complications arose, ensued, were overcome." he brushed her question away. "I have returned now, isn't that what matters?"
"No doubt because you need something?" she bit back, trying to maintain an air of seriousness.
"Now, now, Lizzie. No need to be cross." He Paused. "But! There is a matter that has me rather perplexed that I could use your help with. Both of you, actually."
This intrigued Elizabeth. it wasn't everyday that Jack Sparrow openly admitted to needing help, especially not from his father. Jack pulled from a satchel a glass bottle. Inside was a black ship with a likeness that of the Black Pearl. It appeared to be sailing through a dark and grueling storm. It was unlike anything she had ever seen before.
"Is that?" She asked.
Teague took the bottle from Jack's hands and inspected it thoroughly.
"It is" Said Jack
"But how? I don't understand." Elizabeth was perplexed herself.
"This is Blackbeard's work" Teague had grumbled.
"But you faced Blackbeard, didn't you? Could he not bring the pearl back?"
"We did defeat Blackbeard, and Barbossa took over the Queen Anne's Revenge, but this kind of voodoo was beyond either of our comprehending, and Blackbeard was less than willing to help as he gasped his final breaths."
"One would think you would extract vital information before you sent the man to his death." Elizabeth argued.
"There wasn't exactly time. It was a life or death sort of situation. So, what do you know of it?" He asked looking at Teague.
"Not much I'm afraid. A shame Tia Dalma is of no use to any of us anymore." Teague added with a strange look on his face.
"Wait" Elizabeth chirped, "I think I read about something similar to this not too long ago. Perhaps Calypso can still provide some assistance." She got up from the table excitedly.
"You can finally put all that reading to good use for something other than badgering me with incessant chatter." Teague teased her
"Mind your tongue, old man. I'd hate to remove it. I'd just gotten used to your delightful mirth." She teased back sarcastically.
Jack looked between the two, wondering what exactly he was witnessing. It had been quite a while since he'd seen Teague crack a smirk, let alone a smile.
"Come on, Gentlemen. No time like the present." Elizabeth urged for them to follow her.
"These bones are old and have traveled a long way. I think I will retire for the night." Teague grunted. "Why don't you try and get some sleep? Those books will still be there in the morning." He suggested.
"You know I can't help myself." She smiled and Teague nodded after her before heading toward his quarters at the back of the hall.
"I swear that man has spoken more words to you today than he's spoken to me in my entire life." Jack joked but clearly a little befuddled.
The two walked up the spiral staircase that led to Elizabeth's quarters.
"I'm very grateful for him. He's been like a father to me. Unconventional, sure, but fatherly all the same. I think he may be trying make up for some of the mistakes he made with you" She quipped back at him.
Elizabeth's room was rather untidy compared to her usually well kept habits. Books and papers were strewn about the entire sitting area. Candles littered the room, burned most of the way down, and empty rum bottles cluttered her side table. The room smelled of cinder and pipe tobacco. Clearly Elizabeth had been indulging in Teague's bad habits as well as neglecting the upkeep of things, Jack thought to himself. Curious. As they entered, she hurriedly attempted to clear some of the clutter off of the table throwing most of it onto her bed. Jack looked after her laughing to himself as she haphazardly managed her things.
"What happened in here?" Jack asked with a chuckle.
"Sorry, I wasn't exactly expecting company" She responded. "and I've been a little preoccupied."
"I can see that" He added still chuckling.
"Oh yes, and you keep your things so neat and tidy. I've seen the way you live, Jack Sparrow, so I will have no judgements from you." She said, walking toward him and jabbing a finger into his chest before returning to the task at hand.
"No judgements here, love, it's just unexpected." He paused. "I…uh...have something for you.." His voice softened. Elizabeth's back stiffened slightly and she turned to him with waiting eyes. Jack handed her a letter, seal unbroken. Taking it in her hands, she sat down across from him never taking her eyes off of the letter.
"How was he? I mean…How did he seem?" She asked, afraid of how he would answer.
"He's different now. Harder. The burden of death heavy on his shoulders, but he is well."
"And you gave him the letter?"
"How did he…react?"
"Why don't you just open the letter?"
"I"m afraid of what it might say." she kept her eyes on the letter "Will and I didn't exactly have a fairytale romance, but he deserves so much more than the fate he was given. He's been through hell for me, and I'm afraid of what it will do to him." She sat staring at the letter for what seemed like an eternity. "Of all the decisions I've had to make, this was the most difficult...and selfish."
Jack understood. Though he preferred they didn't speak of it.
When Jack first started making his regular visits, Elizabeth had discovered she was pregnant. She told no one. She was unsure, herself, how she felt about it. It warmed her heart to know she would give Will a child, give him something to look forward to, but at the same time she wasn't necessarily ready to be a mother, to give up her life at sea. Two months into one of their voyages to Singapore, she had gotten ill and lost the child. At that point she had no choice but to tell Jack of her condition. She nearly died before they were able to find a doctor. It had rattled Jack to no end, and for a long time he was mad at her for not telling him sooner.
But none carried the burden heavier than Elizabeth.
She would bare no more children, and for a long time she felt incredibly guilty for, once again, choosing her life over another's. Pirate. Her heart ached for Will. She never wanted to disappoint him, but time and time again his expectations of her were too high. She could never be the perfect woman that he imagined her to be. And, in turn, he would never be the husband she could count on. In her time of need, he was not there for her, and would not be there for nearly a decade. She realized then more than ever that she was on her own. Then she changed. She no longer let her emotions get the better of her. She grew stronger, fought harder, and found purpose.
It wasn't long after that she decided that she would no longer bear a guilty burden. Not for Will, not for Jack, not for anyone. So, she wrote Will a letter absolving their vows. Not because she didn't love him, or because she loved someone else, merely because she wanted to be free, wanted a clean slate. Selfish, perhaps, but it was what she needed: to erase the last of an unpleasant past.
Elizabeth continued to stare at the piece of parchment.
"Just read it, love." He encouraged her. "He might surprise you"
She opened the letter and read it to herself. She felt a lump begin to grow at the back of her throat and tears threatened to spill from her eyes, but she choked back her sobs, folded the letter and placed it in one of the drawers in her desk. "Well, that's that then." She stated. "Back to the matter at hand" she headed back to the bookshelf and pulled down more books.
"Are you alright?"
"Fine." She said quickly. "So it's either in one of these" She said indicating a stack of books blocking Jack's view of her, "or one of these" She said, pointing to another stack off to the side.
"You don't have to put on a face for me, you know?" He knew she hated to cry in front of him, but they'd become close enough, Jack had no issue providing some semblance of comfort to her.
Elizabeth stopped what she was doing and looked at him. "Really, I'm fine. I promise." Her voice was sincere, but her eyes held the sadness of something ending. Jack nodded and continued to peruse the selection in front of him.
"You've read all of these in my absence?" he asked in awe.
"I haven't been sleeping much"
"I'd say not. This isn't exactly light reading" he said amused.
"If you want your ship back, I'd suggest you get reading, Captain."
"As you command, Lizzie."
"That's King Swann, thank you very much" She chided.
"Apologies, your majesty" He amended, and they both buried their noses in books for the remainder of the evening.
It was nearly dawn and they were still combing through book after book. Jack rubbed his face in frustration, trying to keep himself awake. Elizabeth was as alert as ever, determined to find something to point them in the right direction. Not even a yawn escaped her. Sensing that she wasn't about to quit anytime soon, Jack finally threw his hands up in the air.
"That's it. I can't look at another word. Let's call it for today, Lizzie. A man needs sleep." he pleaded.
"Hold on a moment. I think I've found it." She continued reading. "Yes, here…oh…" she stopped abruptly, her face twisting into a strange expression of amusement and concern.
"What does it say?" Jack asked eagerly
"You wouldn't believe me if I told you." She said shaking her head.
"There's a chest." she said, stifling a chuckle.
Jack looked at her dead pan for a few seconds. "You're right, I don't believe you. Give it here." He said gesturing for the book. He ran his finger over the words. "Imagine that. There is a chest. You'd think someone would come up with an alternate method of storage."
"It doesn't say where to find the chest, though. Only that it exists."
"Well there's only one place to acquire information of that which cannot be found…"
"We've to go to the tavern?" Elizabeth questioned with as little enthusiasm as possible.
"We've to go to the tavern" He repeated. "But first, I need to sleep. You should too. We'll need our minds sharp." She nodded. He stood and moved to leave, stopping himself in the doorway. He turned to her. "Are you sure you're all right?"
"Jack, I told you I'm fine. If anything, I'm relieved. There's no need to fuss over me." She walked toward him placing her hand on the door.
"Very well. I'll meet you downstairs at sundown." He looked at her suspiciously as he moved into the hallway.
"Sundown." She agreed and attempted to close the door behind him, but he quickly stuck his head back in her room.
"What did the letter say?" he peered in with agonizing curiosity.
"Goodnight, Jack." She said brusquely and pushed him out, shutting the door in his face.
"We'll talk about it later then." He voiced through the closed door before he turned and walked toward his own room.
Elizabeth shook her head and smiled as she made her way to the bed. She lay there for sometime, but rest never came for her. She got back up and went over to her desk. She took Will's letter from the drawer and unfolded it once again, reading its contents.
I'm so terribly sorry for all that you've gone through. No one regrets more than I, my absence from your world. Sometimes I feel it is punishment for my actions over the past year. You should know that I don't blame you at all for the loss of our child. Perhaps it just wasn't meant to be. And perhaps you're right, maybe we weren't meant to be either. I will never stop loving you, Elizabeth, and I will still entrust my heart to you, but I will not keep you from your freedom. I will not force you to wait. Consider our vows absolved.
I hope you find what you're looking for.
All of my love,
Elizabeth folded the letter and put it back in her desk. This time she let the tears flow freely as she placed her head in her hands. She mourned the last piece of her old self. The governor's daughter was dead at last. Trying to gather herself, she took a deep pull from a bottle of rum. Keeping her head propped on the desk with her elbow, she stared out of the window at the gulls as they flew by, hoping beyond hope that she made the right decision. Sleep had claimed her soon after.
She woke abruptly when she heard a rather loud rapping on the door. Wiping the sleep from her eyes and trying to remember where she was, she looked around, noticing it was well after sunset.
The knocking continued, this time followed by a voice. "Lizzie. Lizzie, are you there?"
"Um…" She looked around frantically trying to find a cleaner shirt and a brush for her hair "Come in, I'm nearly ready"
Jack hesitantly opened the door and, peering in, watched her race about the room like a chicken with its head cut off.
"Did you just wake up?" he snickered.
She stopped what she was doing and looked at him, affronted by his accusations. However true they happened to be. "NO! I was just reading and lost track of time"
"Reading, hm? I imagine that's hard to do with your eyes closed."
She scoffed as she went behind her changing screen to put on a clean shirt. "You don't know as much as you perceive yourself to know."
"Perhaps not, but I'd been knocking for a good five minutes before you answered me." He chuckled.
"Fine, I was asleep. Happy?" She said throwing her soiled shirt at him as she rounded the other side of the screen.
"It's alright, love. There's no shame in sleeping and from what I understand you don't do very much of it. You don't have to come to the tavern."
"I'm going. It's been rather dull around here lately."
"Excellent, well finish up and meet me downstairs." He said walking toward the door. "Oh, and Elizabeth?"
"Yes?" She answered impatiently
"You've got a bit of ink on your face?" He said, tapping the right side of his cheek before heading out into the hallway.
Elizabeth grabbed some linen and went to her wash basin to remove the ink, grumbling to herself all the while about how infuriating Jack could be. Once she was satisfied, she sat on the edge of her bed and took stock of her surroundings. Frustrated with herself, she located her hat and left to meet Jack.
There was only one Tavern on the Island of Shipwreck, and to be sure, it was a wild and dingy place. Pirates and whores filled the building wall to wall. Music was playing, people were dancing, yelling and occasionally fighting. Elizabeth could barely hear herself think as they walked through the front doors. It was similar to Tortuga, but this being a pirate haven exclusively, the men by and large were more hardened and looked very terrifying to Elizabeth. Jack held her arm protectively as they walked in. Within moments nearly every head turned in the direction of the twosome. After a brief moment of silence, they were soon greeted with raucous cheers, claps on the back, and mugs raised in the air. Elizabeth found it rather amusing. She was certain they knew who Jack was, but she was skeptical that they had recognized their King. Elizabeth hardly ever ventured to this side of town.
They reached the bar and asked for Thomas. He was an old friend of Jack's from when they were children growing up on the island, or at least that's what Jack had said. Elizabeth didn't know too much of Jack's childhood. When pressed, Jack only gave her vague responses to this question or that, and it seemed Teague didn't know much of Jack's childhood either, having been out to sea for most of his life. She hoped that Thomas would shed a little light on the mysterious Jack Sparrow.
Thomas emerged from the back store room, a tall lanky man with shaggy auburn hair, and a cheery disposition. Worn, but he had a handsome quality to him. "Jack Sparrow. As I live and breathe. I don't believe my eyes." He said as he grasped Jack's outstretched hand. Jack laughed a hearty laugh. "To what do I owe the pleasure?" he continued.
"I was hoping you could point us in the direction of someone with any information regarding Blackbeard." He said with his voice low.
Thomas shifted nervously and scanned the pub for prying eyes and ears. "Well, only one man I know here, besides you, with any personal experience. He's behind the pillar with the red head on his lap. Sailed on his crew, so I've heard." he nodded his head in the direction of the man.
Jack leaned to his right to peer around the pillar and his face contorted. "You're pulling my leg, Thomas."
"Sadly, I'm not. But what do you need to know about Blackbeard anyway? I heard he was dead."
"True enough, but his magical sword lost its luster when he died, I'm afraid, and I need some answers."
"It must be serious if you're even considering talking to him."
"Who is he?" Asked Elizabeth.
"A dreadful man with an insatiable appetite for women. There are things I've heard tell that he does in the bedroom that are not for the faint at heart. Prone to insane bouts of rage, he is violent, often times without reason. He's a cutthroat and a scalawag that makes even Barbossa squeamish." Jack answered her. Elizabeth blanched at the thought "And he's not very fond of me either."
"Shocking." Elizabeth retorted.
"And who is this fine creature you've brought with ye?" Thomas asked hoping to change the subject, and grabbing Elizabeth's hand, placed a chaste kiss on her knuckles.
Elizabeth blushed. "This is Captain Elizabeth Swann, your Pirate King." Jack introduced her proudly.
"Is she now?" Thomas asked with a smile.
"Yes, but we wish to keep that information hushed for now." Elizabeth added.
"Of course. Discretion is my specialty. Isn't that right, Jack?" Thomas gave Jack a knowing smirk. Jack looked at him with an icy glare that begged for Thomas not to utter another word.
"Thomas Muldoon, at your service" He bowed toward Elizabeth, and her cheeks reddened again. Jack rolled his eyes at the display. "Why on earth have you cast in your lot with the likes of Ol' Jack here?"
"Jack and I are also old friends, though, not as old as you. I've graciously offered to help him in his quest, and lend him my expertise" Elizabeth smirked.
"Any what expertise is that, pray tell?" Thomas leaned on the bar, raising his eyebrows with insinuation that made Jack a little uncomfortable.
"Elizabeth is rather deadly with a weapon." Jack interrupted. "I wouldn't get too close, mate."
Elizabeth huffed at Jack.
"I've heard she's deadly with more than just a weapon." Thomas looked at Jack as if he knew everything that had happened between them.
Elizabeth squinted her eyes at Jack before leaning over the bar toward Thomas. "One day, you'll have to tell me stories about this one. Seeing as how he likes to share my stories more than his own, seems only fair."
"No." Jack chimed in.
"You're welcome in here anytime, your majesty." Thomas said leaning in further.
"No" Interrupted Jack.
"Call me Elizabeth."
"No, no, no." Jack waved his hands in front of them. "You will not be telling her of any stories of any kind having anything to do with me, Savvy? and you…" he turned on Elizabeth "under no circumstances will you be coming in here all by your onesies."
"Jack, don't be ridiculous. I'm perfectly capable of handling myself." She muttered softly to him.
"I'm sure you are, but not with this lot. These are dangerous men, Lizzie. Ruthless, unyielding…"
Elizabeth cut him off "If I didn't know any better, I would think you were worrying about me, Jack."
"Yes, well…" he paused, concentrating hard at a spot on the bar.
She cut him off again, placing a hand on his forearm. "I'll behave."
Thomas cut in, "If I may, the man you seek looks to be on the move."
"Alright, let's get to it then." Chimed in Elizabeth.
"Hold it." Jack stated rather firmly.
"What?" Elizabeth asked, confused.
"You don't just waltz up to a man like that demanding answers."
"No? Then how are we supposed get them from him?"
He leaned in to whisper in her ear. "You get him drunk first"
Elizabeth chuckled to herself, saying "Very well, lead the way captain. It was a pleasure meeting you Thomas." Elizabeth turned back toward him.
"Like wise" He gave her a wink.
Linking his arm with hers, Jack pulled her away from the bar and led them to the table. "Follow my lead" he whispered in her ear.
Bernard Forrester was a portly man, but he was broad, muscular, and easily six feet in height. The top of his head was balding, and his teeth, the ones that remained anyway, were gnarled and yellow. He fiercely gripped the red headed woman by the waist. A grip so tight, it would surely leave bruises. The young girl didn't seemed phased by him, however. Maybe out of fear of the things Jack mentioned earlier, or maybe she was just used to this kind of clientele. Either way, it made Elizabeth uneasy. Bernard looked as if he were going to have his way with her right there as they approached his table, but Jack yelled his name so loudly that everything around them nearly came to a screeching halt. Elizabeth stayed a bit behind Jack as he stepped forward.
"Bernard! My dear man, what brings you back to the cove after so many years?" Bernard paused in his ministrations and looked toward Jack.
"I'm here quite often, in fact. It is you who has become like a shadow in the night. I heard you were dead. I even had a celebratory drink in you honor." Bernard whispered to his lady and she scurried to the stairs leading up to the bedrooms.
"I was, but now I'm not. Isn't that great?" Jack asked with open arms.
"What do you want, Sparrow?" Bernard asked impatiently, looking in the direction to which the wench had just run off.
"What do I want? I want to buy you a drink?"
"A drink?" he asked suspiciously.
"Yes, a drink. I thought maybe it was time to burry the hatchet as it were."
"How about I burry a hatchet into your skull?" Bernard pushed his chair back violently, looking as if he were about to round on Jack. Elizabeth quickly pushed herself forward, lacing her arm through Jack's.
"Jack, aren't you going to introduce me to your friend" she asked, hoping her presence would soften Bernard a bit, or at least distract him from crushing Jack's head.
Jack turned his head toward her and smiled. "Ah yes. Bernard, I'd like you to meet my wife."
"Your wife?" Bernard bellowed, laughing hysterically.
"Your wife?!" Whispered Elizabeth through gritted teeth.
"Yes, my wife. Unless you wish to spend the evening in his bed?" He whispered back.
"Hell has surely frozen over. I never thought in a million years Jack Sparrow would settle on just one wench." Bernard grunted, still laughing.
"Bernard, I give you Elizabeth Sparrow." Jack said displaying her proudly, as if she were in fact his wife. The gesture made Elizabeth blush slightly.
"She is a pretty thing" He said sizing her up and down. "You should send her up to me when you've finished with her for the evening."
Elizabeth shivered. Bernard was practically salivating over her.
"Sorry to say, but she's all mine. Now, how about that drink?" asked Jack.
"What the hell? Why not?" Bernard sat down in his former seat and gestured for the other two to join him.
Jack signaled for the bar maid to bring them several large tankards of rum and a plate of bread.
"So where'd ye find this one, Sparrow?"
"Like an angel, she fell out of the sky and into me arms" Elizabeth stomach fluttered at his answer. No one had ever spoken so poetically of her before. Certainly not James with his militaristic brevity, and Will always seemed at a loss for words. Not that Jack was being serious, but still, the sentiment was pleasing to her.
"An angel, eh? Probably more of a devil in the bedroom though, aye?" Bernard elbowed Jack in the side.
Jack laughed uncomfortably. "More a devil than you know." he said as he took a large gulp from his mug. Elizabeth kicked him beneath the table.
"How do you two know each other?" Elizabeth asked, trying to quickly change the subject.
"This blighter owes me money." Bernard boasted as he, too, took a pull from his own mug.
"Seems to be a common problem with my husband." She smiled sweetly at him, and Jack gave her a scowl. "Allow me to settle his debt" She said as she opened her vest. Jack began to pale as she untied the laces of her shirt, revealing the barest amount of cleavage. From the inside of her shirt she pulled out a drawstring pouch and opened it. "A pound should suffice, I think." She said, laying a coin on the table in front of Bernard who was eyeing her hungrily as she moved.
Jack stared at her mouth agape. Elizabeth, again, smiled sweetly, and placed the pouch back into her shirt, returning her vest to it's original state. She so enjoyed watching Jack squirm. He detested not being in control almost as much as she did. It was a dangerous game the two of them played, always trying to out do the other. Most unwise in the presence of a man as disreputable as Bernard Forrester, but Elizabeth had missed it greatly.
"More than suffice, I'd say" Jack croaked, still in shock. "I only owed him a few shillings" he murmured to himself.
Bernard lifted the coin and inspected it, ensuring it's authenticity. "Consider the debt settled, Sparrow." He said placing the coin into his pocket. "Don't let go of this one. She keeps you honest. Just might save your life one day."
"Or send me to an early grave." He muttered. She kicked him again.
"How about another round? I've just recently come into a bit of coin." Bernard suggested.
"Why not?" Jack exclaimed and he drained his mug. "You better catch up too, darling, before that next round arrives" Jack said smugly as he flagged down the barmaid again. "Hate to see all that coin go to waste" He said meaningfully.
"Of course, dear" She said shooting him daggers. Elizabeth's head already began to feel fuzzy. She didn't think she'd survive a second, but when it came, she drank it. She would not be outdone.
The night dragged on and the drinks kept coming. By this time, Elizabeth and Bernard, both, were well and truly pissed. They had all become boisterous and full of laughter, sharing an odd story here or there. Elizabeth had even asked Jack to dance. It was an uptempo song and they galloped through the tavern, in time, laughing all the while. When they sat down, Jack ordered another round. Elizabeth out of breath said she couldn't possibly have another, but as the mug was set in front of her, she gulped the entire thing down in one go.
"Someone should really tell that fiddle player to stop torturing the cats." She slurred, setting down her mug.
"Do you fiddle, Mrs. Sparrow?" Bernard asked.
"I have dabbled with the violin a time or two" She said with false modesty.
"You have?" Jack asked sincerely. "I didn't know that.
"There are quite a few things you don't know about me, my dear husband."
"Why don't you show him a thing or two?" Bernard suggested with a sour smile as he leered at her from his seat.
"I think I shall!" She exclaimed as she stood up from the table.
Jack grabbed her hand gently before she went off, "Darlin, do think that's wise?"
"I am more than capable of handling myself" She pulled her hand away, nearly falling onto the table behind her, but she quickly caught herself and flashed Jack a large smile as she headed toward the musicians.
Bernard kept his eyes trained on her buttocks as he watched her go. It took everything in Jack's power, in that moment, to keep himself from punching Bernard square in the face.
Elizabeth had sauntered over to where the musicians were playing and sidled up behind the fiddle player. Reaching around the front of him, she plucked the violin and bow from his hands and began to play.
She wins, Jack thought to himself as he watched her fingers move deftly up and down the neck of the fiddle, and ever so gracefully move the bow back and forth over the strings, faster and faster.
Elizabeth was perfectly at ease behind the instrument, though her faced scrunched up in concentration as she tried to keep up with the tempo of the song. She was entrancing. Jack was having a difficult time prying his eyes away from her. Soon, his throat grew dry and his breathing quickened as he watched her fingers continue to dance. She really was quite good.
All of the tavern's patrons began to clap and cheer, and more and more people danced throughout the place.
"That's quite a woman you've found there, Jack." Bernard slurred, shaking him out of his trance.
"She never ceases to amaze me" he said, still staring at her across the room before turning his attention back to Bernard.
"So what is it that you're really after, Jack?" Bernard asked.
"I don't know what you mean?" Jack asked affronted.
"Don't you? Dangling that pretty girl in front of me. Buttering me up with rum. I have something you want. Out with it." Bernard demanded
"Very well, I was hoping to get a bit of information from you." Jack muttered.
"Oh?" Bernard asked gruffly.
Jack's voice got low and he moved closer to Bernard. "I need information about Blackbeard."
"What about him? He's dead." Bernard brushed him off quickly.
"You think I don't know that? I was there. I killed him." Jack said trying to sound more imposing than he felt in that moment.
"So, what do you need to know?" Bernard asked impatiently.
"Do you know anything about the magic with which he was bestowed?" Jack asked eagerly.
"I imagine I know the same as you. The sword controls the ship, the man controls the sword." He said into his mug. "But I'd be careful with The Revenge. Her allegiance to Blackbeard was very strong. I've seen many a men try to harness that power over the years, none of them successful."
"Well, fortunately for me I don't have The Queen Anne's Revenge, but I was wondering more about the bottles of ships he keeps in his quarters."
"Were you unlucky enough to lose your ship in that manner?" Bernard laughed "Sorry to say, I don't have the answer to that question. Far as any of us know, there isn't any coming back from that."
"That is unfortunate, indeed." Jack said picking at the wood of their table with his knife. "But I wonder if maybe you're not telling me everything."
"You dare call me a liar?!" Bernard growled, growing angry.
"Tell me, how is it that you've crossed paths with Old Captain Teach?" Jack said, his knife twirling in his hand.
"I sailed under him for a time, I did. But that was a long time ago, and I don't know nothing more than I've already told you." he said taking another drink from his mug.
"So you don't know anything about a chest?" he inquired further, getting a bit heated.
"I'm telling you, I don't know anything more! Stop harrassing me. Besides, the only thing that comes from meddling with magic is more trouble, and in the case of Blackbeard, usually death…"
"I just need a location." Jack slammed the knife into the table, frustrated by the man's evasiveness.
"I can't help ye, Jack. But cheer up. What's a ship in comparison to that shining beauty?" Bernard pointed to Elizabeth as she finished the song. The crowd cheered and she took a grand bow. When she handed the violin back to the man she took it from, the crowd began to yell for her to play more.
"Perhaps another evening!" She yelled exuberantly and made her way back to the table where she was received with applause from both Jack and Bernard.
"You put on quite the show, love. I must say I'm impressed" Jack said putting an arm around her as she sat down.
"I was just getting warmed up." she laughed, leaning into him.
"I'd love to see what else she could do with those fingers." Bernard spat.
"Another round before we're off?" Jack interrupted, trying to keep himself from shooting Bernard.
"I'll take mine to go. I have a pretty redhead waiting for me upstairs." Bernard had said. "Though not as pretty as your lass" He added with a wink.
The bar maid came around one last time. Jack bid Bernard a good evening and sneered at him after he had left. "No help at all" he muttered. When he looked back toward Elizabeth, she had her head in her arms, passed out cold on the table. "You'll have to learn how to hold your drink better, darling." He moved to pick her up, when a deep voice came from behind Jack.
"Leave her." the voice had said in an accent Jack couldn't quite place.
"Excuse me?" Jack turned around and a giant, dark skinned man with several tattoos and piercings moved toward him.
"I said leave her. I know of the chest you seek." The man said "Sit." He motioned for Jack to sit.
Jack took his seat hesitantly, keeping Elizabeth in his line of sight.
"Drink." The man gestured toward the mug, and Jack ordered a drink for his mysterious friend.