I know I was only going to include Jack, Elizabeth, and Teague as canon characters with some OCs but ever since AWE I've been fascinated by the relationship between Elizabeth and Hector. I think there's grudging respect there, like a mentor would have for his charge, an enjoyment in her accomplishments and an amusement in her simple blunders like that of an older brother or cousin. I see him as someone she can get advice from, but someone she has to keep herself together in front of. f he were an older brother or cousin she would feel uncomfortable being vulnerable in front of him because she wants to be seen as a equal. Someone she can turn to but not someone to rely on. A paradox that describes them nicely. I've taken out the OC in the character list and replaced it with him. Maybe you'll see more of him in his natural element, instead of gravely injured and slightly desperate. In this scene he is definitely OOC but I think your ship coming to life and forcing you to chop your own leg off would do that to anyone. But so Elizabeth. I have an idea of what's happening to her in this chapter, but I've left it largely unexplored both in the chapter and in my own mind. Maybe I will write something else to see why she is so bitter here, maybe I won't. I hope you like it. if you have any ideas about what should be happening to her behind the scenes, let me hear your suggestions. As always, read and review.

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She sat complacently. Not moving, scarcely breathing not to mention unblinking, but she lounged, like a big cat in the sun after a long day of successful hunting. Her likeness of a lioness was not a hard parallel to draw. Her skin bronzed to a dusky caramel and her hair bleached a bright blonde. She looked every bit the exotic beauty with her aristocratic nose and seething, tumultuous brown eyes.

But her hard expression and the fire that blazed in those endless depths called eyes belied her act. She was not the carefree, easy-going woman she tried to emulate. But she had never been that. He knew that better than most. Not as well as some, but he'd been stabbed with merely a butter knife, so he figured he had to be at least second on the list.

"Yer Majesty," he inclined shakily, trying to keep his wobbling to a minimum. Truthfully, he still wasn't recovered, but she a demanded an audience with him, telling anyone who would listen he needed to appear to explain himself.

"What came to be of the Pearl?" she asked him icily as she looked away from him, bouncing her foot lazily while it dangled over the arm of her chair.

Straight to business then. No pleasantries. He wanted to mention it but as he failed to answer with haste she returned her gaze to glare menacingly at him. With the heat of her gaze, he understood Jack Sparrow's fear with more sympathy than he ever wanted to gain and smartly decided against being his usual self altogether.

"Well!?" she barked in a voice that was only barely similar to the one he recognized. This was deep and sharp and gruff. He was ashamed to say he jumped a little.

"Blackbeard stole 'er out from under me," he told her, his words nervously tumbling out on top of themselves, all rushing to meet her approval so that their speaker didn't end up shot or stabbed.

She stared at him, long and hard. He could hear the wind outside and the smallest creek in the entirety of the immense building from the very centre in the deafening silence that followed. He thought he would fall over long before she answered, but mercifully, she gave him a small dip of her head that barely counted as a nod. She had accepted his answer. For some reason, he felt like crying in relief. Never in his life, not in the most terrifying of situations, had he ever felt like crying, in relief or otherwise. This woman...no wonder Jack loved her so much. She was incredibly special.

"And I see, instead of going down with your ship and crew like a respectable man, you abandoned her and your crew to a fate worse than death. To save your own miserable hide. After you had the audacity to steal her out from under Jack. Again."

"Blackbeard is-"

"Need I remind you," she interrupted him, her volume raising, her posture straightening and her hand stealthily acquiring a pistol from somewhere hidden on her person, "I am well within my rights to shoot you, as an act of piracy against a fellow Lord is almost a complete Violation of the Code, on the grounds of mutiny, which is not a respected practice, no matter how often practiced, and the fact that you are plainly disrespectful to your reigning King?"

He straightened involuntarily as best he could without falling on his newly carved leg.

"No ma'am," he hissed, his own venom coming through his tone as his pride rankled at her dressing down.

She arched an eyebrow, relaxing slowly back into her slack posture without a word, though obviously satisfied despite his defiance. He couldn't fathom why, but he took the opportunity nonetheless.

"We were outnumbered and unawares. Unable to combat magic we didn't know existed. But I'm the master of me fate. Not Blackbeard. I took matters into my own hand. I would live or die by my hand alone and if it was live, I would kill the bastard for the Pearl. Revenge is the only thing fitting for a ship such as she."

Suddenly the King's face softened. Not so much as she was showing emotion. No, she was too tough for that. But enough for his keen eye to notice. In a sudden flurry of movement, her legs went over the arm of her chair and she spun to face forward, slipping gracefully down the three steps to the floor, where she came to stand so close to him, he could hear her breathing.

She peered into his face, intently, searching for something; he didn't know what. He wasn't sure he wanted to.

"Do you really wish to see him dead?"

He snarled.

"More than you care to know," he promised her dangerously, in a voice as low as hers.

She stood firmly, eyes roving over his face, no twitch of fear in her body. She was not scared of him. Hadn't really ever been. Scared of what he turned into in the moonlight maybe, but never scared of him as a man. She had never been scared of any man. Maybe she was overconfident, maybe too trusting, but never had she been scared of a man. Men were mortal. And men she slayed without remorse.

"You did do some damage to his crew, and his ship, which is more than any other Captain has been able to say," she told him as she stepped back and sauntered with thudding boots toward a table covered in maps that he hadn't glanced at since coming in. He had been too focused on the lioness who's cave he had been entering with his life. He hoped to leave with it to.

"Recently," she continued, business-like, "He has enlisted some new crew members. One of them just happened to be a contact of mine. A young man named Simon Caldwell who-"

"A mere boy?" he interrupted, incredulous.

"A sixteen year-old," she continued tersely, steel in her voice, and a hand clenched over the butt of an unseen pistol, "Who has yet to be suspected of anything because of his age might I add, was recruited as a cabin boy...by Blackbeard's newly discovered daughter."

Barbossa growled.

"So that's who was doing all the yellin' in Spanish. Didn't know she was his bitch pup. Now I really wish my last shot had rang true and struck his precious murderess dead centre between her vicious eyes."

Elizabeth rolled her eyes and gestured flippantly with her hand.

"Yes, yes, you want your revenge, we've covered this. What I have to tell you in actually important, so listen closely."

She pointed to the map.

"The boy found a way to send word and as of right now, they're somewhere near London, looking for someone who can lead them to the Fountain of Youth. Apparently one of Blackbeard's all-seeing officers has predicted his death. The Spanish are also looking for it. So guess who is the third party in this chase?"

"The King's Navy." She nodded.

"Precisely. I care not about the Fountain. But I want Blackbeard dead. He's violated so much of the Code, Teague wants to grind him up while he's still breathin' and feed him to the stray dogs, and then throw the stray dogs shit into the ocean for the fish. So guess what you're going to do, if you truly want him dead?"

Barbossa looked at her in complete shock.

"Surely you aren't daft enough to think that I-"

"There's a Navy recruiting ship going to be passing not three days from here, in a week's time," she ploughed on, heedless of his protests, "We're going to take you out there, chuck you in the ocean, blow up a Navy brig we've captured and you're on your way to merry old England after surviving two pirate attacks. The one that took your leg, and the one that left you for dead in the ocean. That should get you a huge promotion, especially if you tell them the first attack was Captain Jack Sparrow, and the second was Blackbeard himself. And with your experience, if demonstrated correctly, you should get first jump at being Captain, or at least First Officer on the ship destined to sail for the Fountain of Youth."

"Destined?" he asked her gruffly. He didn't like the sound of that.

She shrugged nonchalantly, even though her face told him she was withholding details.

"Paraphrasing."

He wanted to ask 'Paraphrasing who?' but figured that would get him nowhere. He glanced at the map.

"Any idea where to start looking for the Fountain?" She shrugged again.

"Last I heard from Jack, he was heading to Florida. Stopped here to barter a small boat and then he was off. I don't suppose he actually found it because then I surely would've heard it straight from him, but I'm sure he came close. Heard some tales that told of backward flowing water, and water going from ground to sky. Started by him no doubt."

Barbossa thought of their grand plan, taking place over months instead of hours, mostly theory, and set in motion by a sixteen year-old boy. But this was more information than he'd had hours ago. Hell this was more information than he'd had twenty minutes ago, and more than he probably would've had days from now. He turned to look at her gravely.

"I'll do it."

She gave him that baring of teeth that was more like a lioness threatening you to back away than a welcoming smile. He shivered.

"I knew you would."

She clapped him on the back, and with his new leg, he pitched forward slightly, off balance. She laughed at him and her laugh echoed in his ears until she left the hall. Her laugh sounded nothing like it had before. Though he'd had no occasion to hear her laugh, he knew this was not what it sounded like before.

But before what exactly?

He wondered who this lioness was, and what exactly he was getting himself into.