A/N: I don't write about Barbossa enough and I need to rectify that. So here's a little something I wrote while I was procrastinating other projects. Enjoy :)
By Our Blood
"We shouldna done it. We damned ourselves for our greed."
Moonlight filtered through the windows of the captain's cabin, casting stripes of blue-ish light onto the rug. The table sat in shadow and that was where Barbossa stayed. The glint of Aztec gold dangled from his fingers.
His crew was dangerously close to mutiny. He would have scoffed at the irony had it happened to anyone else. He'd betrayed Jack Sparrow for the treasure. Now his crew would betray him because they'd found it. Nevermind it would do them no good. An equal share of the curse they all had and that wouldn't end with Barbossa's leave. They would squabble and fight because none of them had the means to weather this storm.
Bootstrap had been the first but he wouldn't be the last.
"Killing ourselves over gold. Is this what we've become?" Bootstrap spat as Koehler and Twigg pulled him to the railing. He struggled but they held him fast. The twin cannonballs rolled and clanked against each other, the chain binding them wrapped about Bootstrap's ankle.
Barbossa approached him with a sneer on his lips. "It's not exactly killin' ye when ye can't die."
"Then when does it end?" Bootstrap refused to be cowed. "Jack trusted you. The crew…they trusted you. For how long?"
Barbossa punched him in the gut. Bootstrap folded but stayed on his feet. Taking a step closer, Barbossa placed a hand on Bootstrap's shoulder, his tight grip a warning. "Forgetting yer place is what got ye into this predicament, Master Turner. Trust in anyone," he said, "is a mistake."
He backed off and raised his voice. "Gents, if ye will."
A nasty grin spread across Koehler's face as he shoved Bootstrap against the railing.
"They'll turn on you," Bootstrap said as Twigg hoisted the cannonballs over the side. "The curse will take its toll."
The chain went taut. Bootstrap was yanked off his feet. He slammed into the deck and then slipped off and out of sight. A splash followed.
Barbossa kept his features carefully schooled but blood trickled from his palms where his nails bit deep.
He was losing his hold on them. He'd promised to lift the curse. Oh, he'd used all manner of fancy words to sway them, to buy them time. They'd gone after the coins. They'd slit throats and drawn blood but it wasn't enough. It would never be enough.
"By our blood." His first mate, a man with no name save the role he served. Bo'sun. "By our blood the curse is lifted. Yours. Mine. And by Bootstrap's blood, now damned beyond our reach. By your hand."
"Ye dare challenge me command?" Barbossa growled. "If not fer me, ye'd be swingin' from the gallows. The lot of you!" he roared to the gathered pirates. "The gold is a-gatherin' and the curse will be lifted. On me honor." He lowered his voice. "And the blood." Drawing a knife, he cut a clean line across his own palm and closed his hand on the coin he had taken. Stained red, he let it fall. It clinked against the bottom of the chest, the first of eight-hundred-and-eighty-two.
Even if they found all the coins, they would not find all the blood. And the crew knew exactly who to blame.
They were on their way back to Isla de Muerta right now with two of the coins. Slow progress. Bo'sun was riling up the men. And every wash of moonlight reminded them what he had led them to.
It was only a matter of time before they acted.
Barbossa would have to act first.
Standing, he took a reflexive swig of rum. It tasted like nothing. The apples too, which had always been his favorite, were like ash and remained at his table, untouched.
Anger boiled up in him. He would not be betrayed. Every rotten cur would get the depths if that's what was needed to maintain order and the curse would be lifted, but not by the likes of Bo'sun.
Just thinking of the man drew out his rage and he hurled the medallion across the cabin. It bounced off the wall and landed in a pool of moonlight. Its gold sheen was beautiful. He remembered the shine of all of them piled in the chest, tantalizing. He'd scooped them in his hands and they trickled through his fingers like water.
He wanted nothing more to do with them.
The scar on his palm was still visible, faintly puckered flesh a constant reminder of his sacrifice.
He stomped over to where the coin had landed, reached for it, and stopped. Moonlight bathed a hand of bones bleached white, sinew and strips of eroded leather visible beneath the tatters of his sleeve. The price he had paid for his greed.
"The curse will take its toll."
Barbossa snatched up the coin and stormed out of the cabin. He made sure to keep the coin close where a living heart had once used to beat.