A/N: For all of you who insisted on more, and for The Fictionist who offered a deal too good to turn down. Have some more pirate adventures y'all.
I seem to be unable to write short stories, just so you know this chapter won't give you any more closure than the one before. Maybe even less so. I consider the first chapter as a stand-alone oneshot and the following is basically a few more self-indulgent scenes.
With that in mind I hope you enjoy :)
Harry drifted in and out of awareness for an undiscernible time that felt like eternity. His body was too weak to move and his mind too weak to hold on to consciousness.
At first he was trembling from hypothermia but soon the icy cold gave way to fever. One of his few clear thoughts was that he never wanted to wake again because everything hurt. His throat was pure anguish and his dried skin was shedding painfully.
He barely registered someone tending to him. He only noticed their presence by the cool touch of the newly wet cloth on his forehead. It provided some small relief, but was exchanged only sporadically to his disappointment.
The first time they had tried to force him to drink something Harry had been convinced he would drown for good, far too weak to gulp it down. After that he was left to suckle feebly on a damp rag and Harry was reluctantly impressed by the crude competence of his care.
When he finally managed to open his eyes and registered the world as more than a feverish fog of pain, he was alone.
Even though he knew he had woken up before, this was the first time his thoughts came to him clearly and he managed to regain control over his body. His fever must have broken, allowing some physical and mental strength to return.
But he was absolutely exhausted. He almost let his eyes fall shut again and snuggled deeper into his blanket when he noticed the faint rocking of the bunk he was resting on. He jolted awake more clearly, remembering ships, storms and strange pirates.
The cabin he was in was small for anyone used to life on land, but for a ship it was quite spacious. The fact that he was lying on a soft cot and not in a hammock cramped between dozens of others was another sign that this was as luxurious a setting as you could get on a ship.
He stood up sluggishly, relieved when it felt alright to stand. In the next instant the ship buckled and Harry promptly lost his balance, tumbling to the floor. He sighed, convinced that the sea now had a personal vendetta against him since he escaped her so narrowly.
Determined to find out where he was he pushed himself back to his feet and left the cabin.
The ship really was beautiful. It was longer than the one Harry had booked passage on, but slimmer, giving it a less inert and more elegant feel. The three masts stood tall and proud above his head, not one crack or splinter in the smooth wood. The deck was scrubbed clean and all the ropes were neatly stacked away. Not a single thing was out of place, the scarce space optimized perfectly.
Harry appeared to be on the quarter deck, his tiny room adjacent to what must have been the captain's cabin.
He wondered again whether the man that had killed and saved him was the captain. Judging from his claim that Voldemort was both his and the ship's name it would make sense.
Making his way to the deck's railing he surveyed the spacious main deck. The sea wasn't unruly, but they were making good speed, the sails full of wind. The sun was hidden behind thick clouds, but they were white and unthreatening.
All the crew members - pirates, he reminded himself - he could see were busy, many of them running along the riggings with the astonishing acrobatics of experienced sailors. Some were tending to the ropes, or scrubbing the floor and barrels, boxes and sacks were constantly being heaved across the deck to be used or stored in the hold. Organized shouting served as means for communication. If Harry had learnt one thing while on sea it was that there were always things to do on a ship.
He made his way down the ladder and strolled warily along the main deck, the wooden planks surprisingly smooth under his bare feet.
He stopped at the ship's waist and looked out at the sea. There was no land in sight, again he was drifting without knowledge of his destination in the vast ocean. But this time the journey came with a lot more head wind.
He got a few curious glances but otherwise was ignored which suited him just fine. He was considering going up to the forecastle deck when his wobbly legs already started to protest and he leaned against the railing to steady himself.
"What are you doing out of bed?"
The man, Voldemort, was descending from the quarter deck, his eyes fixed on Harry. The way he strolled along the main deck left no doubt in Harry's mind - he was the captain, this ship and everything on it belonged to him.
This was the man that could strike so much fear in people's hearts, this was the man that plundered and killed for no reason, this was the man terrorizing the world's oceans. It was almost a bit disappointing.
One expected a monster, but got only a human instead.
How does one treat a pirate captain? Smart people would probably say respect was essential.
"Trying to undo the damage of your inadequate care," Harry answered, never having claimed to be a smart man.
Voldemort paused but before he could retaliate Harry went on. "I don't know how long I was just lying there but my limbs need to move to re-establish proper circulation. Some idiot bandaged my whole skin without any kind of cooling balm when all it needs is to breathe."
Voldemort's eyebrows rose haughtily. "Well, my apologies for my inadequate attempt to save your life, I'm not usually in the business of keeping people alive."
"The first step is not killing them."
"I'll keep it in mind," Voldemort chuckled. "If you don't care for our inexperienced company, the exit is right there."
He pointed nonchalantly over the railing to the sea that flew past under the ship.
Harry scowled at his smug expression. Voldemort knew Harry was trapped here in the middle of the ocean with nowhere to.
Harry had known the pirate ship was the only thing between him and certain death from the moment he realized where he was. And while that thought made him uneasy he had pretty much accepted his fate, as always.
The man's pure arrogance and completely unrepentant attitude however, put Harry on edge instantly.
His thoughts might still have been a bit confused, his state of mind probably not what most people would have considered sane, but in that moment Harry refused to let the other win.
Under the perplexed eyes of the pirate captain, Harry stepped over the railing and dropped into the sea without any regrets.
Several minutes, one complicated sailing manoeuvre and a lot of shouting later, Harry stood dripping wet in front of the pissed captain.
"What is it with you and your self-destructive tendencies?"
Harry trembled mutely in front of him, his wet clothes ice cold in the wind.
"I saved you," Voldemort said, then obviously felt the need to emphasize further. "You would be dead without me. Your life is mine."
"Actually without you I would still be on board the trading ship and making my way to America."
Voldemort's eyes narrowed dangerously. "I don't think you realize the situation you're in-…"
"Where are we going by the way?" Harry interrupted unbothered, shaking his dripping hair to get rid of some water. "I always wondered whether places like Nassau actually existed. Is it really full of pirates?"
Voldemort's brows twitched irritated. "I saved you for your expertise, not to answer your questions."
"You're a physician are you not? They are always convenient to have nearby. You will examine all my men and bring them into top form."
"Oh, okay," Harry said relieved, but the man didn't seem to hear him.
"And should you refuse to cooperate you will wish the sea had claimed you, because mercy will be the last thing on my min-…" Voldemort stopped, tilting his head suspiciously. "Okay?"
"Well yes, treating people is what I do. Why didn't you just ask?"
Voldemort looked at him oddly. Harry returned his stare silently.
"Go back to bed. You need to get out of these clothes."
What a weird man.
"But captain," one of the pirates standing nearby spoke up, leering at Harry. "I've got this terrible swelling right here and I don't think it can wait."
While several others around them snickered, he pointed unmistakably between his legs.
Harry just looked at him blankly. "It looks like it could be an edema, it's quite bad. I suggest to cut it off immediately, if someone could hand me a knife?"
The pirates jeered and the man grinned unashamedly.
"No knife for you silly child," Voldemort said, sending his crew a look that got them back to work. "I fear you would cut your wrists open."
"I'm not suicidal."
Voldemort chuckled in disbelief. "Your sudden urges to take a bath are quite extreme then."
"I like the ocean," Harry protested sheepishly.
He always had. A love he had inherited from his mother. Even when they would have been able to afford a better house she stayed in their small apartment by the docks. The splashing of waves on rocks, the screeches of seagulls and the salty smell of the sea were the things Harry thought of when he remembered home.
If he hadn't become so interested in medicine he would have definitely become a sailor. He would have set sail anyways, maybe on the exact same vessel he had been on.
How strange to think that he might have ended up where he was now, no matter what his previous choices were.
"You almost died in it," Voldemort pointed out.
How strange to think he could have met that man even if he had lived a completely different life.
Harry glared at him. "That was your fault."
"Go back to bed," the captain repeated. "I want a full check-up of my crew and you are far too weak to be of any use right now."
Harry huffed but made his way back to his cabin. When he passed Voldemort he spotted the red line still prominent on his cheekbone. Nothing too serious, but the cut should have healed fully by now.
"I told you it would get infected."
Harry slept the rest of the day and it was dark when he woke up again.
He already felt a lot better. He was able to drink a whole glass of water and his throat stopped scratching him. His only concern was his growing hunger. Now that all the more urgent needs had been taken care of his stomach reminded him that he also hadn't eaten anything in a considerable time.
He stumbled out of his pitch black cabin.
Night at sea was disconcerting to him. When the moon wasn't strong enough or hidden behind clouds like tonight, it felt like the ship glided through pure darkness. The whole world became reduced to the sparsely illuminated deck.
Many of the pirates were gathered on the main deck, lanterns providing the only source of light. Food and drink was lying around, laughter filled the air. It didn't look much different than the evenings Harry had seen on the trading ship, except maybe a bit rowdier.
At least three men were engaged in a brawl while others cheered them on. Card games lay abandoned as the players accused each other loudly of cheating, which seemed to give them far more satisfaction than the actual game. The captain was nowhere to be seen.
"Are you the one that wanted to cut Rosier's dick of? I'm a fan."
Harry turned and to his surprise saw a woman sitting on one of the large barrels, her dark curly hair fluttering wildly in the wind.
The trading ship he had been on had a quite open-minded crew, allowing women on board if they were just passengers. Most other sailors still believed the sea would somehow take offense at the female presence and drown them all.
"Uhm, I'm Harry," he said cautiously. "I didn't know there were female pirates."
"Women aren't allowed on ships."
"Err, so you..?"
"Obviously I'm not a woman."
He blinked confused, looking at her tattered dress that only barely concealed her cleavage.
Obviously she was.
"Rum? Ale?" she asked jovially, procuring several bottles from behind her. "I heard you almost froze in the sea, nothing like a good drink to warm you up again eh?"
"Drowning was the more immediate concern."
"Drowning!" she laughed loudly as if he'd just told her a fantastic joke.
"Thanks for the alcohol, but uhm, I'd really prefer some food right now."
"Food!" she snickered, for some reason even more amused. When she saw his blank face she frowned and became serious. "You want food? Like… to eat?"
He looked at her confused. "What do you usually do with food?"
Her jaw momentarily dropped as she stared at him incredulously, then a huge grin split her face. "Food! Why of course, you need food don't you? I mean you almost drowned! Ha!"
She seemed absolutely delighted. Hopping down from her barrel, she stormed off and started to enthusiastically pile up food in front of him. She brought him everything from pickled apples to dried meat and watched excitedly as he ate.
Harry opted for a reddish soup that was cold but edible and hopefully wouldn't upset his neglected stomach too much.
The woman, who introduced herself as Bellatrix, happily kept him company, only stopping to talk when she was gulping down her rum.
All in all his situation didn't seem too bad. He had no idea where he was going, but the horrible tales he had heard hadn't come true so far. The crew was rough but they left him alone.
Glancing around at the relaxed atmosphere of the pirates it was hard to reconcile them with the murderers he knew them to be.
Maybe that's why an uneasy feeling never quite left his gut completely. They behaved normally enough, yet something seemed off, something he couldn't quite place.
And it wasn't until several days later that he finally realized what it was. No matter what time of day, no matter how much food was piled up in front of them.
He was the only one eating.
"You're not allowed to work."
Harry sighed and wrung out the rag he was using to scrub the deck. The sun was burning down on them and Harry had to squint his eyes when he looked up at Voldemort.
"I'm cleaning your ship, what's wrong with that?"
"You haven't fully recovered yet."
"I'm not going to get stronger sitting around will I?"
He let the rag soak in new water and wanted to start scrubbing again when Voldemort snatched it out of his hand.
"I'm the captain and I say you're still far too weak for physical work."
Harry scowled at him, unimpressed. "I'm the doctor and I say I'm fine."
Harry rolled his eyes and stood up, stifling a groan of relief when he stretched his knees.
"What do you care if I drop dead? Afraid I'm better at killing myself than you were?"
Voldemort discarded the rag aimlessly and fixed his intense stare on Harry. One of his hands reached out towards his head and Harry flinched when it softly cupped his cheek.
"You fought for a stranger's life so desperately," Voldemort murmured. "But when it comes to yours you just don't seem to care much. Why is that?"
"I'm still alive, so I'd say my strategy is more successful than you think."
The pirate regarded him for a little while longer, then suddenly grabbed his waist and hoisted him up on the railing. Harry tried not to think about the fact how effortlessly the man could pick him up.
"Jump," Voldemort said, eyes still fixed on him curiously.
The railing was wide enough to stand on, but they were sailing at a considerable speed and the waves made the ship rock unpredictably. Harry swayed unsteadily, Voldemort's lax grip the only thing that stabilized him somewhat.
He twisted his head to look down at the beautifully glistering sea below him and his heart rate accelerated. Beautiful, but deadly.
"You have a problem when I overexert myself and now you're telling me to kill myself?" he asked drily.
Harry didn't know why Voldemort had fished him out of the ocean after trying to kill him several times. But he did know the captain hadn't just nursed him back to health to try again. If he wanted to kill Harry, he would have been dead by now.
The man was studying him as if he was an interesting puzzle. "You did a few days ago."
"And you saved me. Again. Why?" Harry asked, extending his arms to balance himself out on the thin wood.
"You intrigue me," Voldemort answered simply. "Why did you jump?"
Harry mulled over his cryptic answer and decided two could play the game. "It was the last thing you expected me to do."
"Do you like to surprise people?"
"Did it work?"
"Do you always answer questions with another question?"
The pirate's lips slowly spread into a smile. Harry, once again struck with the unreality of the situation, gave him a small grin of his own, which seemed to amuse the man even more.
"How did you come to be a physician?" Voldemort asked instead.
"My mother died," Harry answered honestly. "How did you become a pirate?"
Voldemort smirked wryly. "My mother died."
Harry raised his eyebrows. Talk about different coping mechanisms.
"Well it's good you didn't become a doctor. You'd scare your patients to death."
Voldemort tilted his head. "Am I scaring you?"
"I'm hard to scare off."
"Does that intrigue you?" Harry asked, remembering Voldemort's answer from before.
"Very," the captain said pleased. "The fear of death is essential to life. If you take it away there's nothing left to fear, nothing left to stop you. So many stories and myths dedicated to immortality, the absolute power. And here you are, mortal and weak, but unafraid still."
Harry stared down at him, acutely aware that a gentle push from Voldemort was all that would be needed to send him tumbling to his wet grave.
"Are you afraid?" Harry asked quietly.
Voldemort flashed him a sharp smile. "Not anymore."
Those two words were easily the most unsettling thing Harry had ever heard.
Voldemort tugged him down from the railing and Harry let out a small breath.
"Come," the captain ordered. "Have lunch with me."
Harry scowled at the presumptuous command but trotted behind him obediently, his own walk still much wobblier compared to the pirate, despite the weeks he had spent on sea already.
He had assumed they would go to the main deck where the crew took their meals - or well, didn't, as far as Harry could tell - but Voldemort led him straight to the captain's quarters.
It was a lot bigger than Harry's tiny cabin and even had high windows of glass that took up an entire side of the room and gave it a lot more light than you usually saw below deck.
Harry looked around curiously, examining the various books, maps and trinkets while Voldemort rolled up a few charts from his table and arranged the food until it looked like a table for two in a fancy restaurant.
Very fancy actually. And was that fresh pork?
"Uhm," Harry made uncertainly, looking behind himself to the door to assure himself that they hadn't just left the ship.
Voldemort sat down gracefully, poured himself a lavish glass of wine and glanced at him over the rim. "Sit."
Harry did so warily. He waited for the other to start filling his plate, but the captain merely continued sipping his wine, ignoring the food completely.
When he noticed that Harry made no move to start eating he quirked an eyebrow and gestured lazily to the table. "Eat."
"I ate before."
Harry blinked at him. "You invited me to lunch and already ate?"
"Yes," Voldemort shrugged. "Now eat."
Not knowing what else to do Harry filled his plate and began to eat, still mindful about the quantity he put in his body.
He could hear the waves gently lapping at the ship, the creaking of the wood all around them, the crew scurrying around on the deck. It would have been peaceful and relaxing, if not for the unnerving silence that stretched between them.
Harry cleared his throat. "So… You let me rest, give me food, try to stop me from working…"
"It's called being a gracious host."
"You're a pirate," he pointed out.
Harry sighed. "What do you want with me?"
"I told you that before."
"I've looked at your crew. Some were a bit banged up, others maybe a bit sickly, but there's nothing more for me to do."
Voldemort shrugged. "They will be injured again."
Harry bit his lips anxiously. They would only be injured when they took another ship and their prey dared to fight back.
"Why did you do it?" Harry asked softly. "It was the middle of a terrible storm, you didn't even take anything with you. Why did you just board a random ship and kill everyone?"
Voldemort was concentrating on his wine, swirling the red liquid artfully in the glass. "You make the assumption it was random."
"I…it-… It wasn't?"
"I thought it was."
"And then I met you."
Harry's fork clattered on the table. "W-what?"
Voldemort's eyes shifted back to Harry. "I didn't know until after I saw you again of course, drifting in the middle of the Atlantic."
"I don't understand."
"You see, a storm like this on high seas is enough to drown whole crews on their ships. Do you know how long you were out there?"
Harry remained silent.
"Almost two weeks. With literally nothing."
"I had a plank…" Harry protested weakly.
"And no water."
The captain set his glass down and leaned forward on the table. "What are you, Harry?"
He remembered walking into the ocean when he was so small the gentlest of waves could knock him over. He remembered a town in frenzy because they thought he had drowned. He remembered his mother telling him he had stayed under the surface for over ten minutes.
Harry gulped and lifted his eyes to meet Voldemort's. "What are you?"
The pirate smiled.
"Ship ahoy!" came a yell from outside. "Ship on larboard!"
"Finally," Voldemort said, standing up and checking his swords and pistols. "Don't do anything stupid now, silly child."
Ignoring his words, Harry got up and followed him outside.
The ship to their left was obviously better equipped for combat than the vessel Harry had been on. Still, it seemed as if it was doing it's hardest to outrun them. Their efforts were fruitless, the Voldemort rapidly closing the distance between them.
Commands were being shouted, cannons were being prepared, sleeping crew members were being woken from the hold.
The weather could not have been more different from the last time Harry had seen the pirates in action. The sky and the ocean were almost of the same, brilliant blue. The sunny day somehow made the bloodthirsty jeers and explosions from the cannons even more absurd.
Why were they doing it?
The ship lost the race and was soon overrun by the pirate horde, though the crew was fighting back viciously.
Determined, Harry balanced himself on one of the planks thrown over the gap of the ships and crossed over.
Without the storm, the bloodbath around him was a lot clearer.
The nearest man on the ground was bleeding heavily from his stomach and Harry quickly kneeled next to him, examining the wound.
"You were shot, the bullet is lodged too deep to take out now. I need you to press onto the wound," he said to the groaning man and took his hand to guide it to the wound.
Voldemort appeared out of nowhere, looming over him. "What are you doing, silly child? He's not one of us."
"How should I know that?"
"He's wearing a uniform."
"Oh," Harry said. He hadn't noticed.
Before he could do anything Voldemort swiftly cut the man's throat. Harry looked up at him, shell-shocked.
"Don't look at me like that."
Harry's features twisted into a scowl. How could he take a life so easily? How could he not feel the least bit of hesitation in ending an existence forever?
"Anger? Hmm, yes, that's better," Voldemort said, looking down at him pensively.
He dragged Harry roughly to his feet. "Look after my men, or I will bind you to one of the masts and make you listen to the screams."
So Harry did.
It was wrong, but the right thing to do.
He holed himself up after that, only leaving his cabin when Voldemort dragged him to his quarters for meals.
They talked. A lot. And the more they talked, the more obvious it became that neither of them understood the other. Too different were their world views, their ambitions and morals on the opposite sides of one spectrum.
And yet they didn't stop talking, without arguing. There was a fascination there, in glimpsing the other's motives, gauging the other's reactions. A satisfaction in seeing the other contemplate himself.
They talked, knowing that the other would never concede, probing at each other's minds nonetheless.
And if they grew tired of picking each other apart, Voldemort would tell him about ports and lands from the other side of the world. The captain had lived and seen everything it seemed, and Harry listened with single-minded attention, for there was nowhere else to go for him.
At least, there hadn't been anywhere to go before.
"Uhm, what is that?" he asked, standing at the railings of the main deck, looking straight ahead.
Voldemort chuckled. "That solid stretch of brown and green is what they call land, I've heard."
The port in front of them looked lively, but very different from where Harry came from. The pirates had taken their flag down and replaced it with an English one, which Harry assumed meant that this wasn't one of the world's famous pirate havens.
"You're letting me go?" Harry asked dumbfounded.
"Pure self-interest I assure you," Voldemort said. "I have a feeling that keeping you at sea without your consent would prove detrimental to my ship."
Harry frowned. "Why?"
"Do you have parents?"
He shrugged. "Everyone has parents."
"I bet you've only ever met one of them."
"What is that supposed to mean?"
Voldemort didn't answer and simply nudged him towards the plank that connected them to the quay.
"Run along now, Harry. If you stay on land from now on you might have a chance at a normal life. Try not to kill yourself."
Harry took a few hesitant steps away from the ship. But he stopped soon and turned back around.
"What if I gave my consent? What if I want to come with you?"
Voldemort was leaning onto the railing, watching him. "Don't be silly, little one. You hate everything I stand for."
"I don't care," Harry murmured, looking down at the quay, oddly unmoving beneath his feet.
"You would be the worst pirate ever. I think you would give riches away instead of taking them."
Harry looked back up at the captain. "If I come with you…will you explain? Everything?"
Voldemort tilted his head in consideration. "I will."
Harry took another look around the abundant green of the vegetation on the land, then turned back around and started walking up the plank.
Voldemort watched his decision with interest. "You're far too curious for your own good."
"Natural curiosity and zero regard for my own life, remember?"
Voldemort hummed. "What a simple minded creature you are."
"You almost make it sound like a compliment."
Harry stopped at the highest point of the plank. One step more and he would be back on deck. His eyes locked with Voldemort's.
"Last chance, Harry. If you stay I won't let you go ever again. And ever can be a very long time."
Harry took a step.
"Just like that?" Voldemort asked amused.
"Just like that," Harry shrugged. "Also, I want to go to china, their medicine is very advanced in some aspects."
"This is my ship."
"Of course," Harry said and the captain huffed appeased. Harry smiled. "Now tell it to go to china."
A/N: *stubbornly refuses to lift the 'complete' status*
Unbeknownst to Harry there were actually many female pirates, and female pirate captains! There are books and stuff, these ladies were quite badass.
(I tried to include more characters, but next to Harry and Tom only Bella managed to squirm in. Oops.)