Pirates of the Caribbean – The Secret of Hell Water

** Author note** Ahoy mateys!  I'd like to warn ye that this story is entirely a work of fiction thought up by me after seeing the movie three times.  I love it and haven't been able to get the idea of a fic out of my head.  And seeing as it's already been over a week and a half since the movie opened and I'm STILL thinking about it, I figure I'd better write something down before I drive myself nuts.   I have no idea if it's any good and I have no idea if I'll finish it (but I would like to).  But that does depend on your feedback.  If people seem to like the story it will keep me writing it! This is a story about Jack Sparrow and it takes place a few years after the movies ending point.  I think of it as another adventure in the colorful life of this buccaneer we've all grown so fond of.  It'll have an element of magic and mystery like that of the movie, but with a different sort of twist.  I'm trying my best to keep Jack as in character as possible in this fic.  He's a hard one to pin though because he's so unpredictable. Anyways, the genre is adventure and romance.  It's currently rated PG-13 but may go up to R if I feel so inclined. (Jack is quite the colorful character after all!) Will Turner and Elizabeth will probably show up in later chapters too, because I love them too much to write them out of the story.)

Chapter 1- The Flaming Gull

The night was dark, but far from stormy in the small port town of North Harbor.  The ships sat quietly in the harbors ocean inlet and barely a cloud was in the sky to obscure the light of the pale moon.  Its reflection sparkled on the glassy surface of the water, a faint breeze stirred, and that was the only relief given from the stifling heat of the hot mid-summer night.  The people in the town below forgot their exhaustion from their daytime work down at the bars and taverns beside the docks.  It was one seedy tavern however, where most of the night's ruckus was emanating.  The sign above the door of this tavern read "The Flaming Gull."  And above those red letters was a fair representation of a gull with a smoking pistol crossed with a sword in relief behind it.

  Inside the bar was all manner of drunken sailors and scallywags.  And there were more than a few flustered barmaids that scurried from one end of the common room to the other doing their best to keep food and drink from spilling off their trays as the rowdy men threw jaunty remarks at them punctuated with generous slaps on the behind.  The sounds of their drunken wolf whistles sent the young women scurrying into the kitchen with bright red faces.

 A pretty barmaid with golden hair twisted into a braid which fell thick down the length of her back leaned over a small corner table where four scruffy looking seamen had just taken their seats.  She wiped it hastily clean of its last visitor.  She was petite, well curved, with a tight bodice that displayed a generous amount of cleavage (as was the style).  Her clothing was ordinary and unadorned; her top skirt was pinned up at one side to display an off-white petticoat, which was stained with wine, ale, rum, tobacco, vomit, and everything else to be found in a tavern of this character.

"What'll you have?" She said low and roughly, her tone contrasted with her voice, which naturally seemed high and musical.

"Rum for the four of us, if ye please." Said a tall dark haired main with a mouthful of glittering gold and silver teeth.  The coal smudged on his lower eyelids lent intensity to his dark brown eyes that made it difficult for any man (or woman) to look away.  His handsomely chiseled face was framed with high, sharp cheekbones.  He had a dirty red scarf wrapped around his forehead that had seen better days.  His hair was a messy assortment of braids and dreadlocks, decorated with all manner of strange odds and ends, from coins and medallions dangling from braided or beaded ends, to a long sliver of bone that was entwined in a small ponytail that fell down the right side of his head free of the bandana. He had a swaggering, wild and unusual look about him that made people glance twice, as if they were not sure if he was real or imagination.

His comrades joined in agreement of his order and slapped their open palms on the table with hearty shouts of "Aye! Rum! Aye!"

She nodded and hastily went to fill their order.  The man with the metallic smile followed her with his eyes.  She seemed to have a tough time getting past some drunken louts, one of which wrapped a burly arm around her waist and almost managed to get her to sit on his knee before she extricated herself and staggered back to the kitchen.

"There be a fine wench, if ever I saw one." Said one of the scruffy sailors after the Barmaid left.  He sat beside the tall dark haired man.  He had a short kerchief tied around his neck, and a round face and thinning gray hair.

"Aye, Mr. Gibbs…. " Said the tall, handsome man with the metallic smile.  He turned his dark brown eyes from the girl to his comrades.  "Did you notice how she staggers about? I noticed as soon as I set foot in here. She's a woman that's not used to walking on dry land."

" That wench… I've heard tales of her, aye." Said another one of his comrades.

"You have? Tell us Duncan!" Gibbs and the fourth fellow spoke in near unison.  Jack leaned in to listen over the drunken ruckus that came from the table adjacent to them.

"I heard tell from me matey, Johnson, who was ashore the day they found her.  It was about two months ago I s'pose.  She had ne'er a shred of decent clothing about her when they found her wandering the docks, wrapped in a torn up old sail, she said she didn't know where she came from… that she didn't remember.  She said 'er name was Emma, and not knowing what to do wi' her, the Port Governor set her up to live 'ere, Ol' Tom Need took her in, and she lives and works as a Bar Wench for him 'ere at "The Flaming Gull."

"Tom Need?" Said Mr. Gibbs, and snorted.  "The man's not the sort to be taking in strays out of charity! I feel sorry for the girl!"

"The man probably runs her ragged." Said the forth man.

"Aye Crimp. I do agree with ye."  Duncan nodded. " But it's not our place to be criticisizin' now! Seeing as we're all men o' –how should I put it—'dishonorable character!'"   They all had a hearty laugh at this, and were glad to see that Emma had finally brought them their drinks.  She sloshed the full glasses of Rum on the table and quickly took off again with a tray full of ale for another table.  But she didn't go more than a few steps before one of the drunks nearby gave her a terrific slap on the bum and sent her and her tray sprawling across the floor.  Ale spilled everywhere and the men laughed uproariously. 

Emma did her best to be nonchalant as she collected her tray and the empty mugs. She ignored the vulgar remarks that were flying across the room at her.  She had grown used to that.  What she wasn't expecting however was a large hand clamping down on her shoulder.  She whirled around to see the dark haired man with the red bandana and beaded hair looking down at her with a hint of concern in his eyes.

" You know… you're really not cut out for this barmaid stuff… I can tell." He said conversationally as he helped her to stand up.  She looked up at him dumbstruck.  No scallywag had ever offered even a kind word towards her since she came to live at North Harbor. This man was the first.  "Next time a man tries to slap you on the arse, I'd give him a good punch in the nose.  That'll sober him up quick. And he's getting' no less than he deserves."

"Th-Thank you very much." She stammered, trying hard not to stare. Then frowned slightly.  "But I can take care of myself… I don't need any advice!"

"Aye, sure ye don't, to be sure." He gave her a crooked smile and then turned back to his comrades who were all watching him with knowing grins on their faces.

She couldn't tell if his last comment was meant as sarcasm or not, but decided it wasn't important.  Without another glance, she went off to the kitchens; with the picture of his smile in her head and thinking to herself that he was quite nice looking despite the crazy glint in his eyes.

She went back to refill her mugs, when another one of the barmaids quickly brushed next to her, waiting her turn for the tap.

"Emma, don't be getting too familiar with that black pirate now!" She said hastily, for they were not supposed to talk during working hours.

"Pirate!" Said Emma quickly, "Him with the red handkerchief and the jewelry in his hair? He can't be!"

"He is! And not just any pirate… He's Captain Jack Sparrow!"

Emma almost dropped her tray in surprise at the name.  She'd heard it mentioned many times since her arrival at North Harbor, and always with a backward glance.  "Are you sure?"

"I am!" Her friend moved over to the tap to fill her empty mugs.

Emma glanced about quickly to make sure there was no sign of Tom, and hastily whispered, "I thought he was banned from these shores."

" All pirates are, to be sure!" She said. " And they'll stay clear unless they come in with canon's all afire! They want to keep their necks!  But not Jack Sparrow, he bribes the port captain annually to put up anchor in the bay once every four months for his business venture."

"Business?"

"Smuggling, of course!"

"Oh…"

 " And I wouldn't cross him for all the gold in the kings treasury!  The only reason he hasn't plundered this town is because of the smuggling operation, which runs out of here every summer.   He needs it to get the guns and weaponry needed for his black-hearted pillaging of the other coasts and ships! Why… they say that he took the fastest ship in the Caribbean, 'The Black Pearl,' out of the hands of the devil himself! He's commandeered ships without needing to fire so much as a single shot… why- they say he tamed the creatures of the wild sea, to ride their backs while he was marooned on a deserted island 15 years ago!"

Emma look of amazement turned to one of skepticism as her friend named off Captain Jack Sparrow's unbelievable feats.  But there was one thing that was for certain; he was THE Captain Jack Sparrow… a pirate… and JUST the invincible, indestructible person she had been searching for!

"HEY!" Came a yell from an adjacent room that sent the two girls running. "NO CHATTER! BACK TO WORK OR IT'LL BE TAKEN OUT OF YER PAY!" A short man with a red nose and an unruly head of gray hair burst from the money room, spittle flying from his mouth.  His big, meaty hands were drawn into fists and he pounded on the table to make his point.

Emma wasted no time in getting back to work, and at the same time, putting herself front and center of Jack Sparrows view.  She gave them drinks on the house (out of her own purse, for Tom Need would never give anything for free).  She worked tirelessly, not giving Tom any reason to harangue her.  And by the time he'd retired and her shift had ended, Jack and his friends were pretty well sauced.  Her work had ended for the night, like the other barmaids, and many joined in with the festivities, drinking and dancing and singing. She sat down at Jack's table and was greeted warmly by the drunken pirates.  Jack and his friends had started a rousing song of "Yo Ho A Pirates Life for Me!" and they sang at the top of their lungs, pounding on the tabletop and stamping their boots to the rhythm.

"I love that song!" She said raucously as it ended. She took a long swig of ale and slammed the mug on the counter.  " You all are pirates, aren't you?"

"Aye!! But you'd best be forgetting that by the morning if ye know what's good for ye!" Said the mates, and they all laughed and pounded their mugs on the table.

" What's the best part of being a pirate?" She asked.

" Why, there's no best part!" said Jack Sparrow.  He jumped on her question and she hung onto his every word.  It occurred to her, that to the other men at the table she must look like some lovesick little strumpet.  But in her alcoholic giddiness, she didn't much care.  She focused her attention back on Jack's intense charcoal gaze as he spread his hands out and swung his arms in a wide arc. " It's ALL of it! It's freedom, adventure, doing what you want, with no rules or expectations upon you except by those you choose to live by! It's the life aboard The Black Pearl!"

To this, there was a chorus of "AYE ME HEARTY! TO THE PEARL!" and they clanged their mugs together, ale spilled onto the table and they all had a hearty drink.

" I would like to be a pirate!" Emma said loudly.  And they all choked on their ale, and roared with laughter.

" You may be a pretty thing indeed, and I've no doubt you're great in the sack." Said Jack Sparrow, swaying slightly with his crooked smile that made Emma's heart beat a trifle faster. " But you're no pirate!"

"AYE!" The men agreed whole-heartedly. "Not a pirate!" And they slammed mugs together yet again and drank.

"Yes I can be! I can be a pirate."  Emma said these words with such conviction, and looked at Jack so intensely, that it had a sobering effect on him.  Somewhere in his foggy, alcohol induced brain a little warning signal was going off.  There is more to this woman than meets the eye. Something about her still bothered him. And he remembered what it was about her that had caught his eye. It was the way in which she walked after she'd taken their first order.  He was certain she was not used to walking on solid land, but it wasn't necessarily the legs of a sailor that she had either, which made her sway about on dry land as if she was still on board a ship.  He couldn't put his finger on it.  She smelled like the sea.  It was such a pleasing fragrance to his nostrils, and her eyes were the color of the oceans depths.  They were not the eyes of a silly girl filled with fancies, which was common of girls her age. (Which, he guessed must be around nineteen or twenty)  It struck him that she seemed to have a great deal in common with the ocean.  Calm on the surface, but there was always something lurking underneath to be weary of.  He found it fascinating.  However, this train of thought was suddenly interrupted as Mr. Gibbs spoke, sounding equally as sober as Jack now felt.

" Woman…" said Mr. Gibbs. "It's bad luck to bring a woman on board!"

Duncan and Crimp nodded emphatically.  They hadn't been as affected by her as Jack had.

" I don't know what old wives tales you've been hearing about us, love…" Interjected Jack Sparrow wearily.  He'd decided rather than to tease her, he would be square with her. "But we're not good people. We're despicable characters, buccaneers and scallywags. We're not ones to obey the laws of the land.  We're dishonest, untrustworthy, and would kill you without a second thought if it were in our best interest, savvy?"

The men agreed with Jack, with shouts of "Arr!" and "To be Sure!!"

The girl's gaze was fixated on Jacks coal-dark eyes, he gave her a roguish grin and gestured to his comrades, swaying in his seat as he did so.  "We care about two things in this world, and only two!  Money, and ourselves!"

Jacks three comrades toasted to this and downed the rest of their ale, slamming the mugs on the wooden table so loud it echoed in the small room.  The conversation in the tavern seemed to have sobered along with them, and Sailors were staggering out into the summer night or lay passed out under tables.

Emma was trying desperately to think of a counter to Jack's argument.  But, her thoughts were interrupted by the scrape of the benches on the ground as they began to rise from their seats.

Jack staggered to his feet, then, he tipped his triangular hat to her slightly.  " So I'm sure with this new view, you'll be changing your mind about joining my ship.  And I shall bid you good night, Love… Fare ye well."

 Emma watched the four pirates stagger out of the tavern, thinking "Not likely!"

However, She couldn't blame them for refusing.  After all- what had she shown them? That she would allow herself to be bullied by a lot of drunken sailors. She was mad at herself for letting them see such a lack of spirit on her part to stand up for herself.  It was so unlike her usual spirit.  But it was only herself that knew that.   Of course they didn't think she had what it took to live among them!  But they had no idea who she was.  And there was one thing she was sure of; she wouldn't give up until she had a place aboard the Black Pearl!

She clenched the fabric of her skirt in tight fists, and left the tavern in pursuit of Captain Jack Sparrow and his disreputable crew.