Disclaimer:  Pirates of the Caribbean belongs to Disney HOWEVER I own Jack Sparrow….**evil and insane laughter follows**…just kidding (sigh)

Author's Thanks!:  This one goes out to my two roomies, Diane and Colleen, who have stuck by me with this story's plotline, which they had to sit and listen to for over two hours straight.  They have also helped greatly with the editing process because I happen to not be the greatest at speeling… lol :P 

**POOF!!** Hey guys, I'm back!  So sorry for the almost half year wait for the next chapter. Cursed Souls went through a MAJOR revamping and I am much more impressed with the way it'll be heading in the future, plus a lot of holes in the plotline were fixed and such (yay).  Also I managed to change the chapters to get my much needed angst in the story and the smut to happen sooner lol.  Oh by the way I will probably have to change this story over to adultfanfiction.net as soon as the interesting parts appear, I'll let you know when I do.  Also I want to recommend two fabulous PotC stories that I found on the adultfanfiction.net website.  The first is called "The Haunting Place" and I couldn't tear my eyes away from it (seriously, I didn't sleep for three days) and the other one is called "Jack's Cure" which is pure smut, plain and simple, but so deliciously written it'll have you going for cold showers with each chapter.  Anyway there's my two cents, bye!

Pirates of the Caribbean:  Cursed Souls

["Well," Jack said clapping his hands together, "I think it's past time we got ourselves a drink, don't you?"]

Like the obedient pirate she was, Brianna followed Jack as he merrily strolled off down the street, arms swinging at his side and chin held up high. 

There hadn't been many things that Brianna had done, before her great journey out onto the sea as a pirate, and going to a bar was one of them.  From the stories that her father had brought home with him after those long nights out, they sounded as a rather decent place where one could wet their tongue and laze about with friends.  However she suspected that wherever Jack was taking her would be far from those little setups back in Port Charles, where the more elite class went to enjoy their free time.

Jack led her through numerous alleyways, every so often flinging his jeweled hands this was and that, pointing out the many places he had graced with his presence.  "And that's where darling Scarlett resides with her lovely ladies of the evening.  If ye ever be gettin' lonely an' need some fashionable company for a night and a few coins, I recommend headin' there," the captain looked back at her flashing a golden grin, "Course, there's also that other place down on the east side of town…what was its name again," one sooty finger tapped his chin, "Ah yes, Red Dog.  Not my preference really.  The gels there are a bit easier goin' on the purse but ye pay in looks.  Oh and that there's the smithy…" 

Brianna listened keenly as Jack prattled on about the town, almost as if it was a large mansion of his and he was showing her the rooms…which to her, looked as if they needed a good cleaning.  A few bodies littered the streets, either passed out already from the influence of the bottle or just taking a rest before heading off for more nightly fun.  Ladies in vivid reds and purples lounged seductively against railings and building corners, hoping to attract a customer who was heavy handed with the coins.  Upon spotting the well known pirate captain, a few of the lasses excitedly whispered amongst themselves, giving him lusty once-over's, their eyes coming to rest on the front of his pants.  One such brunette eyed Bri and gave her a suggestive wink to which Brianna hastily replied with a small wave before darting up to Jack's side out of the line of sight.  The man was still going on and on, probably not even caring if his cabin boy's attention was focused elsewhere. 

Sure does love to hear himself talk…       

"Ah, here we be!"  Brianna looked up as Jack stopped in the middle of one of the streets.  A heavy wooden door lay before them with a sign at its side reading the Faithful Bride.  A large statue of a woman holding a bouquet topped it off supposedly representing said bride, complete with massive mounds of carved wooden bosoms and pout lips.  Jack swung the door open with flourish and stepped inside, Brianna following closely behind him. 

The tavern was lit by fat wax candles, giving the air a very smoky yellow essence, and the patrons that laughed and drank away among the scattered tables were all just as dirty and foul mouthed as her fellow crew mates.  The perfect company in Jack's opinion most likely.  She noticed Pintel and Ragetti off in one of the corners, their table already laden with finished pints of ale.  The older man motioned Jack over as he caught sight of him and shouted at the barkeep for another round. 

"Here Cap'n, saved ye a seat incase ye dropped in!" he laughed heartily, kicking out a vacant chair opposite his.  Jack plopped down in it with a welcoming sigh and smiled happily as their drink order arrived. 

"Oh oh, 'ere Notch, come sit by me!" giggled Ragetti, his eyes--err--eye, wildly glancing around the room, face plastered with a perpetual grin.  He scooted over on the bench to allow her some of the seat and she accepted one of the mugs that was passed to her from the serving wench.  The drink tasted like piss…well, not that she had ever drank piss but was pretty sure that if she had it would resemble what was in her cup… but swallowed it down, knowing that she would have to learn to like the stuff sooner or later seeing as the pirates enjoyed it every chance they got. 

It wasn't more than a few minutes before their table had become the "it" place to be for the tavern ladies, who giggled and flirted shamelessly with Jack as he paid each of them with lewd comments and generous smacks on the bottoms.  Pintel and Ragetti enjoyed the attention along with Jack while Bri tried to make it as if she was as well… all the while trying to avoid bumping or touching the gaping flesh that the women's dresses tried in vain to hold.  A cuff on her shoulder made her glance up to see Bootstrap had joined them.  He gave her a dashing smile,

"How's it going gents?  Havin' a good ol' time?"

"Sit your ass down mate and join us!" Jack sang out happily from behind a girl who had taken up residence on his lap and was pressing herself wantonly against him. 

"I see the Captain is having fun, how 'bout you blokes?" Bill sat in a backwards chair and crossed his arms over its back. 

"As always, mate," Pintel pouted as he peered down in his empty mug.

Brianna rapped the table bringing their attention to her, "I'll get the next round," she waved over at the serving girl, "Another set of pints over here, love!  And hurry that lovely ass of yours!"  The girl quickly complied much to Brianna's delight, giggling at the mark directed at her backside.  I should've gone into acting, Brianna thought smugly. 

The men clapped her on the back in appreciation and Jack grinned at her from across the table, "So kind of ye' lad to be spending what little amount ye got from our last plunder and all," he moved the woman around on his lap, arranging the ruffles of her dress, which were currently swamping him.  The wench purred as the Captain's lap hit a sensitive spot between her legs and she rotated her pelvis against his, earning herself an amused growl from Jack.  Brianna hid her face in her mug, hoping that the flush in her cheeks would be mistaken for the effects of the rum.  Hearing talk about sexual encounters was easily handled by this point…seeing them, however, was another matter.

"Well, what else would I be spending it on, Cap'n, besides the arms at my sides and the ale in my hand?" she garbled through the alcohol.  Her pistol didn't cost much when it came to powder, irons, and a good flint and the sword that now hung from her scabbard only needed a good grinding stone for sharpening, and they were plenty aboard the Pearl.

Jack bounced the girl in his laps with his legs, "Why one of these lovely creatures o' course."

"Women, spirits, arms, and the sea," murmured Bill, raising his mug in a toast, "The possessions of a pirate."

"Here, here!" cheered Ragetti, he and Pintel joining Bootstrap's mug in the air.

Pintel belched and pointed at Bri.  "That's wha' you been needin' lad…shhh girl and all," he slurred, pulling a nearby wench closer to him.  "They gots all this fine stuff ya' can hold, feelsh good," to enforce the comment he made a grab at the woman's large chest, which earned him a playful slap and giggle.

The girl in Jack's lap leaned forward, her bosom practically spilling out of her dress over the table.  "I know who'd be good for you, sir, Belle over there," she pointed a dainty finger, "likes 'em young."

Uh oh…

"Think you earned that title, lad," Bootstrap commented, looking around the tavern, "you have to be the smallest chap here tonight."  His eyes suddenly caught sight of a blonde a few tables over.  "Jasmine love, get over here and let me greet you properly!" he called out in his baritone voice. 

Jasmine, one of the younger serving girls, turned at his call and her faced spread into a gigantic smile as she saw who was addressing her.  "Bootstrap!" she squealed before flouncing over to their table and pressing her lips to his in a greedy kiss.  They remained that way for a good two minutes before coming up for air.  "I didn't realize ye' were back in town, ye scoundrel!"  Her hair swung about her pale face in a halo of gold, "I've missed ye' something terrible," one finger dipped along Bill's cheek and toyed with the short hair of his goatee. 

"Ah, my divine Jasmine, I couldn't part from you for any lengthy period of time," he spouted the words with such tenderness, one of his hands making circles on her bare arm. 

Without pausing in his work Jack rolled his eyes. 

"Oh I can't stay too long tho', Bill, the ale don't give out itself.  But don't forget to come visit me after hours, eh?" her hand traveled lower to give him a generous squeeze through his trousers, "Same place as always."

"Wouldn't miss it, my flaxen beaut'."

"And since I ain't seen you in a while, I might just have Anna with me to join us," the teasing in her voice pretty much informed them that Anna was a sure bet and Bootstrap's night would only get more interesting as it went on.   Sweet merciful heaven it was amazing to Brianna that any of these gents actually made it out of the tavern intact, what with all the two legged lust walking about.  The pair cooed for a bit longer before Jasmine walked back to the bar for more orders and Bill turned to Brianna, giving her a satisfied grin. 

"I think my schedule just got set for this evenin' wouldn't you say?"

"Oh, aye," she agreed, hoping her voice sounded enthusiastic, "Give those two girls," she cuffed the air with one fist, "a good go, eh?"

Bill chuckled and nodded, swearing that he'd do his absolute best on the two, which just in turn ended up causing the whole table to start roaring with laughter and she couldn't help but feel it was mostly towards her.  Glad to be of service for your amusement, mates.  She gave a small cheer with her mug just to show good humor before attaching her lips to it in hopes of washing away her embarrassment in a flood of rum.  Abruptly Bri was interrupted by two very warm and soft globes pressing into her shoulders.  Eyebrows knotted, she turned to find herself face to flesh with a set of bosoms. 

Two in one day, I should start keeping tabs

"Belle!  That there's the youngin' I want'd ya' to know about," squealed the girl from her position on Jack. 

"Ooo a fresh one at that, Mary; ye sure know how I likes 'em," the set of breasts belonged to a thin pretty brunette with a long face and dark doe eyes, "Might I join ye' gents in a drink?"  With her full lips in a pout, it would've had to be a cold day in hell for the men to turn down her request.  Brianna scooted over as Belle sat down between her and Ragetti, whose dirty hand immediately began inching towards the girl's thigh.  Bri wasn't too thrilled about the latest company, seeing as the girl latched onto her arm and was pressing herself up against it, batting those long black lashes of hers.  It was a good thing that the others had their attention directed elsewhere or they might have seen their cabin boy flinch as Belle's mouth contacted with his neck.  The girl mewed softly against her skin causing miniature vibrations to travel up her throat, which would've made a man's parts stand at attention, but because she was no man, Brianna started feeling very ill.

"So what's your name, me wee sir?" Belle mumbled as her lips traveled up to Bri's jaw line. 

She tried to keep her voice from squeaking as the wench's teeth nipped at her earlobe, "Notch."

"Master Notch, eh?" hands still moving along Bri's arm and around her shoulder, "You be a pirate then on Jack's belov'd Pearl?"

"That's Captain Jack, love!" the referenced man called out from across the table before refocusing his attentions on Mary. 

Belle's one hand moved to the front of her corset and began loosening the threads, revealing even more cleavage.  "Ye like the view?" she murmured noticing that Notch's eyes had suddenly focused to her chest, "I may be a youngin' like ye but I gots what counts."

Brianna coughed, looking up from the gaping flesh, "Those are very nice…use them much?"  A vain attempt at conversation but then again, never had this situation occurred so she was not that knowledgeable regarding what one would talk about when the topic involved breasts.  However it was probably not the smartest thing to say, she soon realized, as Mary resumed tracing patterns on Bri's shirt, this time the movements heading southwards. 

"All the time," Belle purred.

Alarms sounded in Brianna's head as that talented nimble hand worked its way ever closer to her lap, searching for a certain bulge that would definitely, definitely not be there.

Brianna's own hand shot out and gripped Belle's tightly, stilling her actions before they discovered her little (well it probably wouldn't be little, but big, if she were truly a gent…no sense in selling herself short) secret.  "Ahh, just a wee minute there, love," she kept her voice down, trying to avoid attracting the attention of any fellow crew members.

Belle frowned, puckering her lips confused, "What's the matter?"  Never before had her administrations been rejected and she felt wounded at the young patron's words as well as a slight bristling to her pride.  She was damn good at what she did even though it wasn't the most respectable job for a woman, but it did put food on her plate and a roof over her head, "Don' you like what I'm doin'?"

Seeing the worry in the girl's face Brianna quickly grasped her hands between her own, mainly to keep them from wandering some more but also in attempts to soothe the distressed lass, "Oh no no no, that's not it at all, love.  It's just," she nodded downwards and lowered her voice, "I picked up a pretty downright nasty rash recently," a good lie…gross but good, "and I didn't think you'd be wanting me to pass it to you, since all and all, it'd be a damnable shame to put you out of commission for the next few weeks or so, eh?"

Immediately Belle scooted back a bit, "Oh…well no, I guess not."

The chit however still looked disappointed so Bri continued, "So sorry, love, I wasn't minding the fling, just that this rash hurts something terrible.  But," she took out two coins and placed them in the crevice between the corseted breasts, mindful to not actually touch them with her fingers, "this is for your troubles."

Belle's frown immediately disappeared upon feeling the metal of the coins and another big grin split her face; more gold was a very good thing.

Noticing a certain comrade sitting alone behind the wench Brianna's mind clicked with another idea, "If you would be so kind as to keep the rest of my friends entertained this evening, it'd please me much.  In particular that one fellow behind ye," she leaned in closer to the girl, "His name be Ragetti and he is much more the pirate than I am, I'm still like a newborn babe involving that occupation seeing as how I just joined the crew a few weeks ago.  He though has been killin' and plunderin' for years."

"Really?" Belle's interest was tweaked and she stole a glace at the pirate, "Ooo, he looks real dangerous, he gots only one eye," she whispered.  Knowing full well that her talents wouldn't be bringing her any more coin from the boy, Belle decided to test the waters elsewhere.  She gave a friendly rub on Notch's shoulder, "I hope ye get better soon and when ye do be sure to let me know."  She gave one last suggestive wink before turning to her new pursuit leaving Bri alone and glad of it. 

This time had been easy but the next might prove more difficult and if she planned on hiding her female identity from others she should come up with a plan… and perhaps even a contingency plan at that.  Brianna swirled her rum around and took a sip and suddenly noticed Bill watching her, with a quirked brow, over the brim of her mug.  It was clear that he was wondering just why she had cast away a beauty like Belle.  She swallowed and cleared her throat, "Rash."

"Ahh," Bill mused, nodding his head in understanding, "Ouch."

"Aye."

A few silent moments passed between them.

"There's a doctor up on the hill that could help you with that, lad," Bill offered.

Brianna nodded slowly, her lie causing her more awkward embarrassment than she had wanted, "Good to know."

Bootstrap turned back to his drink while she tried to drown herself in hers. 

It wasn't long before Brianna had to admit she was quite drunk and not just the slurring hiccupping drunk, but the completely head over heels, doesn't know up from down, falling over drunk.  She knew it was probably a good time to stop since her eyes seemed to keep crossing on their own accord and Bootstrap had to keep repeating things to her three times before she finally understood what he was saying.  Fatigue had set in a few drinks prior and now even the dirty floor looked as pleasing as a down-filled mattress and it was tempting her to curl up amid the benches and puddles of rum and sleep the rest of the night away.  That, however, wouldn't look or feel too great come the morning so Brianna kept her focus on her comrade, who also at the moment was just as bit as drunk as she. 

"You… you are a great pirate," she stabbed a finger in Bill's direction, her hand wobbling in the air. 

Bill breathed in deeply and nodded his head, "Aye, that I am."

"And the Captain… he'ez a great Captain, right, Captain?" she turned and looked back in Jack's direction for a confirmation but saw that Jack had disappeared.  "Where did he (hiccup) go?"

"Lad, the Captain has been gone for over an hour and you just noticed?" Bill snorted with laughter, which oddly Brianna had found to be rather pleasing over the past while.  She propped one elbow on the table and rested her chin against her palm and tried her best to look annoyed,

"Course I knew!  Wha', you think I'm too drunk to not notice somethin' like… like that?"  Her other hand waved about in the air in no distinct pattern and Bill had to lean back to avoid getting smacked by it.

"Drunk? I'm amazed you haven't succumbed to alcohol poisionin' yet!" 

She blinked a few times in thought, "Yes, I have to admit that I have possibly had a fair share of the rum tonight but then again I am lucky," she slurred placing one hand on her chest, "as you have so commented before, and thus wouldn't have subjected me to such a fate."

"So you're sayin' that your bein' lucky is a protection against the drink's effects?"

"Yes."

"And yet you're drunk," he stated.

She paused with her hand still raised,  "…yes," she slowly replied after a moment.

"But you just said that your being lucky made the effects of the rum not work on you as it would on a normal fellow therefore you couldn't possibly become drunk and yet you obviously are, even more so than me might I add."

There was a long silence between the two, Brianna staring at Bootstrap and Bootstrap staring right back at her, both with baffled expressions on their faces.

"You're confusing me," she finally admitted.

"As you are me… how'd we start this conversation anyway?" he scratched at his goatee in thought, "Rum certainly effects the memory I must say, and so in that case, before I forget…" he reached down into his breast pocket and flipped a small object onto the table in front of her, "this is for you, lad.  Call it a gift if ya want but it is more so a little trinket to help you on your way to becomin' a full pirate, or at least get you looking more like one.  I swear you still look as if you lived in a mansion full of people to kiss your arse!" he commented loudly.  "Us pirates are a more distinguished group from the rest of the wankers in this world and so they must look the part, from the tips of their hat feathers down to the very buckles on their boots, which if you hadn't figured out yet, is the source of my name."

"Aye, I did figure," she told him and picked up the golden hoop and examined it more closely, "so that's why you're giving me an earring?" 

"Yep.  I got my first one as soon as I joined the Pearl's crew, my first beginnings as a pirate and I didn't stop with just the one," he pointed at the other hoop in his ear, "Got another here o' course as well as others that aren't accustomed to daylight."

Bri felt her eyes drop, wondering just where else he was referring to and could feel a slight blush begin to creep up her neck as the possibilities arose in her mind. 

Bootstrap, however, didn't take notice in her discomfort and called out to a passing wench to bring him a hot pin, some rags, and a cork.  "Seein' as you've consumed a lot of rum tonight, this shouldn't hurt and bit."  He stood up, thanked the woman who handed him the items he had requested and took position beside Bri.  "Now, you have two ears in which this can take up residence however there's a little sayin' that states the left ear is right, while the right ear is wrong when in reference to this procedure."

"Wrong for what?"

"Well, the left ear supposedly represents a fellow's attractions towards the very delightful and opposite sex, while the right ear stands for his attractions to the same sex, which in my opinion can also be a very interesting experience.  I was just wonderin' though if you were the sort of bloke to take offense to the latter, seein' as many of them rich folks more often than not, do," Bootstrap informed her as he began to heat the end of the pin in the flame of a nearby candle. 

"Oh…," she thought over his statement, adding the new colorful insight of his sexual experiences to the already long list that had accumulated in her head, "I think then, in my case, that I would prefer to have it in my left ear, not that I'm against others that choose the right ear mind you," she added quickly.

"Left ear it is," he grinned cheerfully, "Tilt you head then and don't worry a bit, I happen to be very skilled at this task," he reassured, placing the piece of cork behind Brianna's lobe.  She didn't make a sound or flinch back as the pin seared through her flesh and it was over before she knew it.  Bootstrap threaded the earring through the newly made hole and stood back to view his handiwork.  "See, told you I was good."

"Yeah you did," she nudged the alien feeling ring and pulled back her hand to see the tips of her fingers stained with blood.  "I'm guessing this lets up?" she asked hopefully, to which Bill nodded.  "Well that's always a good thing to know," she felt a yawn coming on and decided that it was about time to call it a night seeing as how she was about to pass out from all the rum and there was a trickle of blood running down her neck.  Bill wasn't fazed by her decision when she told him, while stifling another yawn, and he informed her that he also should be off seeing as how he still had a certain agenda to keep.  He bid her adieu with that exuberant salute of his and left the tavern in search of the lovely Jasmine. 

Brianna somehow managed to get a small dingy room for the night for an ungodly price from the man that ran the tavern and with unsteady legs, climbed the short staircase and making her way to a room at the far end of the hall, promptly locking the door as soon as it shut behind her.  She flopped down on the single bed with a grateful sigh, her legs splayed out behind her in a non-ladylike fashion.  The past few hours had taken their toll and it wasn't long before she was drifting off into a pleasant, and much needed, slumber.

* * *

She was swabbing the deck, just another day on the Pearl.  The sky was bright and there wasn't a cloud in sight.  The water sparkled as playful dolphins leaped out of the ocean's coolness, trailing along behind them in the wake of the ship.  The crew was in high spirits, everyone smiling with happiness.  Brianna twirled around with her mop making cute spirals of liquid over the deck and Ragetti was off to one side with Pintel, skipping about as they went around doing their daily chores.  She could see Barbosa at the Pearl's helm, whistling a tune while sipping on a fruity alcoholic beverage decorated with a tiny umbrella and Jack emerged from his quarters, shirtless, rum in hand, and grinning like a bloody idiot.

"Ahh what a day!" he called out cheerfully.  The crew giggled with glee, some of them coming to stand on deck before Jack.  The pirate Captain clapped his hands together, "I think this calls for a song, eh?!"

Brianna watched as the men got into a line formation and suddenly she could hear music start up… from where she didn't know.

Jack took his place at the front of the group and started clapping in rhythm and struck a manly pose,

"Where can you find pleasure,

search the world for treasure,

learn science technologyyyyy?"

He pivoted about,

 

"Where can you begiiin to

make your dreams all come true,

on the land or on the seeeeaaa," he sang out in his falsetto voice, while the crew all danced around behind him.

 "Where can you learn to fly,

play in sports or skin dive,

study oceanographyyyy?"

Ragetti and Pintel did cartwheels while Bo'sun helped Barbossa into a flip,

"Sign up for the big band,

Or sit in the grand stand,

When your team and others meeeet!"

The crew can-canned along with Jack's singing.

Crew:  "IN THE NAVY!"

Jack:  "You can sail the seven seaas!"

Crew:  "IN THE NAVY"

Jack:  "Yes, you can put your mind at ease!"

Crew:  "IN THE NAVY!"

Jack:  "Come on now people, make a stand!"

Crew:  "IN THE NAVY!"

Jack:  "Can't you see we need a hand?!"

Crew:  "IN THE NAVY… IN THE NAVY!"

"Ahhhhh!"  Bri cried, jerking out of her sleep, staring wide eyed up at the ceiling.  Her room at the tavern was still dark with the fading night and the only sounds that could be heard were the roosters beginning to crow outside in the town of Tortuga.  What the hell had that been?  Her head throbbed as she slowly sat up on the mattress, her temples screaming against the movement trying to make her lie back down.  So this is what vast amounts of rum do to people in the morning, she thought with a grimace.

It took ten agony filled minutes of getting out of bed and arranging her boy's attire to make sure it still looked convincing, before she headed down the rickety stairs of the inn and groggily out into the town's square.  The first streaks of sunlight were creeping over the morning sky as she ambled over to the currently unoccupied well and splashed some water against her skin.  The cool liquid felt good as it dripped down her neck, eliminating any last remains of sleep and she rinsed out her mouth and spat the water onto the ground.  Her ear still ached from last night's little piercing adventure but at least the hangover was beginning to dissipate and she gave a little prayer of thanks; there was nothing worse than having to work while your brain tried to strangle itself inside your head.  Judging by the rise of the sun on the horizon, Brianna guessed it was around six.  The crew of the Pearl would likely be up and beginning their duties and since it wasn't a smart idea to keep them waiting, she quickly jogged down to the docks. 

Jack was already there, standing like a bloody king on top of a crate, yelling out orders to the men, who scurried about to do his bidding.  The new sails and wooden planks for the repairs on the Peal had already been bought and were currently being loaded onto the longboats to be taken onboard.  Bri was soon hurried along with the sails to the ship and put to work on the thick black canvas under the supervision of Hawksmoor, the Pearl's carpenter.  Brianna found that she was fairly skilled in the job, her stitching was tiny and tight, the many sewing lessons her mother had stuck her in surfacing in her work.  Every few seams, she chewed along the finished stitches as she had been shown to do, softening the thread, making it more durable in order to stand its own against the ocean's strong winds.  Hawksmoor checked in every so often and nodded his approval of her work before going back to nailing planks. 

With her deft, nimble fingers, Brianna made short work of the sails and finished before high noon.  Her jaw ached and her hands were smeared with smudges of blood after many pricks from the needle she had used; however a few minutes under the salty sea water cleaned the cuts up and dulled the pain to a mild numb so she could return to assisting the crew. 

She was about to help Pintel with loading cannonballs into the boats when Jack suddenly appeared at her side.  "'Ere Notch, I've got a new job for you; if you'll be so kind as to follow me," he bid come hither with his fingers, the invitation more of an order than a request.  Brianna glanced at Pintel and raised a brow but the older man just shrugged and took the cannonball from her grasp, nodding his head in Jack's direction, motioning that she'd better move it.  Jack was already halfway back up to the town, not even bothering to see if she was behind him or not.

"Aye Cap'n?" Bri asked as she finally caught up to his long strides.

"Does the name, Cortez, ring any bells with you?" Jack cocked his head to the side, sliding a look over to her.

"Aye, he was that Spaniard leader those years back," she blinked at him, stuffing her hands into her jacket pockets, "Killed all those people, made himself rich off of their blood."

 "That's the guy.  Fascinatin' stories behind him, all full of slaughter, lust, and treasure.  Man was a pirate at heart, methinks," they turned a corner and headed out of the town along an old dirt road, "Ever since I began hearing those tales back when I was a young lad I've been searching out ol' Cortez's great fortune for myself.  Got me hands on a lot of it too, I did."

"Do you still have it?"

Jack looked down at her with a quirk of his brow.  "I'm a pirate lad, treasure doesn't last long in our pockets.  Just long enough to make it to port and then it gets spent on all the amusin' things in life, eh?" he pointed out, a smile curving on his face.  "Where would the fun be if ye kept all them gold coins somewhere and never spent them?"

"True," she agreed, remembering the fun last night.

"But I do have some of Cortez's more personal pieces stashed away and that, young Notch, is where you come in."

"I do?" 

Jack noticed the puzzled look that crossed over the lad's face and he took out something from his coat pocket and flashed it before Notch's eyes. 

"This 'ere is one of fifteen gold coins from a collection that Cortez prized.  Got them when he conquered Mexico and took these off the emperor himself before setting the man on fire in front of his family," he rolled the piece between long fingers, the sunlight catching the edging, "I came upon these a year ago and took them as a part of me cut from the loot.  Anyway, to keep things short, got here to Tortuga a few months back and was carryin' a few of them with me in me jacket and a bloody pickpocket managed to get a hold of 'em."  He paused in thought staring off into the distance, "Would've caught the bastard as soon as he'd done it, but all those bottles of rum I'd had earlier on--you know how it is--so instead I managed to chase him down here but he tossed me coins off into the bushes just before I grabbed hold of him.  Sooo," he drawled, coming to a stop beside some shrubbery, "to answer those questions of yours that are floatin' about in yer head, I need you to fetch them."  Jack pushed a few brambles aside to reveal a rock face with a large crevice where it met the ground. 

Brianna swung her gaze from his face to the black hole in the stone.  "Down there?"

"Yep."

She strained her neck, looking down and down into the blackness.  "I don't see any coins."

"Ahh, that's because we got 'ere a few minutes early, you see," Jack propped himself up against the rock wall and looked up into the sky, "Just wait."

They stood there in silence as the minutes passed, Bri shifting from one foot to the other and Jack tapping out the tune of a jig against one leg, until the light had crept over the ground and eventually down into the hole's darkness as the sun angled over them in the sky.  Jack ginned and nodded his head in the direction of the crevice, "See, tons of light for you, now off to!" he shooed.  Brianna clicked her tongue as she peered again into the cleft, which couldn't have been more then three feet wide and substantially got narrower and narrower the further it descended.  Down below she spied the coin purse caught on a small ledge.  She sighed and got down on her knees, turning about so she could shimmy down feet first.  There was no point in trying to get out of this job, Jack was her Captain after all and disobeying his orders wouldn't be very good behavior of her.

The stone was sharp against her already sore hands as she slid into the crevice, as well as cold and damp, making her trek slippery.  Jack watched, sitting back on his heels and fiddled with the rings on his fingers.  Truth was he hadn't had time to get another person Notch's size to retrieve the coins after the thief had thrown them down there since the English brigade had been breathing down his back and in the end it came down to a matter of priorities; a quick exit or the English noose.  Jack, of course, chose the speedy escape aboard the Pearl and left his coins where they were with the plan to retrieve them another and less stressful day.  So it was rather a good convenience that the lad had shown up on his ship, for he prized those pieces of Cortez's treasure and had been itching to have them back in his hands.  Once he had the coins returned in to their rightful owner, him of course, he could finally continue with his search of the remaining treasure that had belonged to Cortez.  The last thing on the list was a chest of eight hundred and eighty two gold pieces.  Rumor was that it had been offered to the Spaniard by the Aztec's in hopes that he would call off his armies and end the slaughter of their people.  The plan didn't work, Cortez's lust for gold and blood could not be sated and so the Aztec's pleaded for their gods to place a curse upon the chest so that whoever took even a single piece from it would be forever damned. 

Now a story such as this one might deter the average person from seeking out the cursed chest, but he was Captain Jack Sparrow after all.  It would take more then heathen curses, lore, and myths to stop him from acquiring the pile of gold that was ripe for his plundering.  All that stood in his way now were those damnable papers of his!  He was positive at least one of them would mention the location of the island where the treasure was hidden; the locals having named it Isla de Muerta; the Island of Death.

Muffled profanity brought Jack's attention back to his young cabin boy, who was currently stuffed quite snuggly down the crevice. 

"How goes it, Notch?" he asked.  Another curse answered him as he saw the boy's grasp slip on the wet rock.

"Just fine, Captain!" Brianna replied cheerfully through clenched teeth, her palms aching something fierce.  With one hand gripped on an outcrop, she leaned to the side, the fingers of her other hand just within reach of the bloody coin purse.  Her foot though lost its holding and she slid downwards only to stop as the space around her closed in, jamming her in the crevice.  The only good news was that she had managed to grab a hold of the purse during the fall and now clung onto it tightly while trying to find a suitable outcrop or anything that could help her climb upwards.  The possibilities were limited and Brianna felt a wave of panic begin to form; she had never liked closed in spaces to begin with.  "Uhh Captain!" she called out, perhaps Jack would be able to assist her in this predicament. 

"Yes, Notch?" Jack had been watching her from above with some mild amusement and he tsk-ed at the position she was in, "You seem to have made yourself quite comfortable down there!" he sang out with a flash of golden teeth. 

Comfortable?!  Stuffed into a crack with cold water soaking your clothes and rock biting into every conceivable place was NOT her idea of being comfortable!  Brianna growled to herself and tried again to grab onto something but to no avail.  "Would you perhaps help me out here," she finally asked.

"Do ye have the coins?"

"Aye."

"Toss them up 'ere then," Jack reached out a hand into the darkness and Brianna hefted up the sack with a grunt before once again resuming her cling on the stone with both hands.  Jack easily caught the coins and much to Brianna's shock, moved away from the crevice!

"Ummm Captain?!"

"Yes?" Jack replied from his sitting position on a nearby rock, currently inspecting his beloved coins, making sure they were all there and accounted for.  They were, and he happily added the ones from his pocket to the purse and placed everything into his jacket for safekeeping.  Seeing though that his cabin boy had not yet joined him up on the surface he frowned and swaggered back over to the hole and peered down into it, "What's takin' ye so long?" 

She stared up at him with a perplexed look; shouldn't that answer be obvious?  "I'm stuck in here, that's what's takin' so long!"  The man seemed daft at times and it was quite apparent at this moment since he continued to squat there while absentmindedly twirling one of his thumb rings.  "Could you perhaps help me out?  Maybe get a piece of rope or a vine or something?!"

Jack frowned and stated matter-a-factly, "Ye're not stuck."

"Yes I am!" she argued, trying to keep her voice low and boy-like but it was hard with her mounting hysteria.

"No, ye're not," he repeated, this time with more assurance, "Ye got down there by yerself and thus are able to just as easily get yerself back up here.  As a pirate you've got to realize that ye can't depend on others all the time."

"You've made this into a lesson?!" she gaped up at him.

"You could call it that, yes."  There was no denying the pleased look that was etched upon his face and Brianna realized that it would be left up to her and her alone to find a way to get out of the crevice.  It didn't help however, to have the pirate's code repeating itself over and over in her head at the moment. 

Luck seemed to come her way as Brianna finally found a grasp above her and she exhaled as much as possible to allow her body some space between the walls of rock.  Her muscles were beginning to go stiff and it was a challenge to hull herself up inch by inch.  As her body became free she felt like cheering, Jack once again proven to her that she had been wrong and he had been right… but then again, what else was new?  Slowly and steadily Bri climbed up, savouring the warm sunlight as it grew stronger with each foot.  One more good surge forward would get her back out into the open air but suddenly she felt her foot begin slip, the rest of her body beginning to descend back down into the ground, and Bri braced for the searing pain that would follow.  However a warm strong hand found hers, preventing her from that fate,

"Much as I'd like to sit 'ere all day while ye 'ave ye're fun in this crevice, I'm afraid that we must be off to the Pearl, the wind is blowin' and the ocean is callin' for us to go," Jack grinned down at her.  In one smooth motion he had her out into the daylight and free of that horrid confining place and it was so relieving that she felt the sudden urge to kiss the dirt of the pathway they stood upon. 

Jack dusted off his pant legs, "Don't bother wi' the thanks, boy, didn't do nothin' worth mentionin'," he grunted behind her.

"Oh, uhh, sorry Cap'n … thank you for your help just now" Brianna mumbled.

"What are ye apologizin' for?" he waved his arms about in the air, casting her a confused look, edging on frustration, and ended up holding a pair of fingers in front of her nose, "Lesson number two, grow a backbone, eh?" Jack spun on his heel and headed back in the direction of Tortuga, a lighthearted sea chant spouting off his lips.  Brianna heaved a sigh and rolled her eyes skyward.  His haphazard behavior would take some getting used to, that was for sure.

She followed after him, glad that in a few hours they would be back out at sea where the horizon stretched on forever and the sunlight was an endless warmth.  Brianna could already see the Pearl's crew prepping the ship for departure as they neared the docks, her new black sails were ready to go and would be a glorious sight once in full sail in the Caribbean wind. 

Jack had stopped next to the longboat that would bring the remaining crew back to his beloved ship as soon as the last couple pieces of cargo had been loaded, Brianna at his side in case of any last minute orders and waited.  Ragetti passed by them with an armload of sacs and gave a customary nod to Jack along with the "Cap'n" salute before turning his attentions on Brianna, "That Belle from last night was one 'ell of a round!" he laughed loudly with a vulgar motion of his hips to emphasize his point, "Just wanna thank ye for passing 'er me way, oh and hope ye get over that rash!" he called out behind him as he walked away. 

Suddenly that hole in the ground didn't seem so bad…

Bri turned to see Jack staring at her.  He blinked and puckered his lips in thought, "Ye know there's a place up on the hill that could help ye out with that…"

Bri rolled her eyes, it would be a LONG time before they got over this one!

***THERE!  Done finally!  This chapter was a major pain in the BUTT, I kept deleting and adding and having to go over it again and again before I finally got it the way I wanted, even though I'm still not one hundred percent satisfied.  Oh well, what can ye do? :D