Just a little one-shot drabble idea knocking around in my head that turned into a one-shot not-so-drabbly fic. Crits and reviews welcome, but certainly not expected. Rating for mild language (and if any thirteen-year-old hasn't heard worse than what I use here show 'em to me and I'll knock some sense into his/her head, as he/she clearly has a very faulty memory.) It may or may not be considered slightly slash-y, depending on your prospective – I wrote it with neither particular category in mind.

And, yes, I know it's really terrible of me to start something new when I'm already working on a fic. Bad self. Bad bad bad bad self! *slaps self repeatedly*

There. All better now. At least it's only a one-shot, and I shall resume writing For Freedom immediately. On a side note, ch. 7 of FF is proving absolute HELL to write. I have already scrapped it twice. Please God let me not have to do it a third time – I want it finished as much as everyone else – maybe even more. Trust me.

Luckily, I got the soundtrack today (*does little insane happy psychopath dance*), so hopefully that will prove adequate inspiration. Hopefully *crosses fingers*

*************

Call him mad, if you will – call him daft, stupid, weak, foolish, drunkard, crude, ignorant or utterly reprehensible.  A Bad Man.  An absolute Scurvy Blighter and a Threat to Common Decency everywhere.  Call him … whatever the hell you like, really.  It's doubtful he'll care.

And that's Captain Jack to you, landlubber.

But no matter what they call him, no matter what they whisper amongst their friends or shout into the streets, they all have one thing to say about him at least – though some don't know they have it to say, and others won't let it be pried out from betwixt their lips for the Crown Jewels and their worst enemy's crown jewels on a stick.

Mad as 'ell 'e is, an' tha's t' truth, but 'e's a sure devil for revenge 'e is, tha' Cap'n Jack.

And they were completely right.  Jack made a point of enforcing the fact that everything anyone had ever heard about him was pure, unadulterated fact.  Even that one with the bucket, the Spanish whore, and the flamingo, which he hadn't actually known about until someone asked him if it was true.  'Course it was – but a bit of hard luck he'd missed it.  It sounded like more fun than the time he'd just barely missed a dance with ol' Jack Ketch due to the help of a one-legged mute, a saucepan, and a strategically placed piece of cheese.  Damn shame he hadn't been there for that one either.  Still, the revenge bit was one place where they were actually completely right – he was one for his revenge, that Jack Sparrow.

He'd gotten his first taste of it at the tender age of ten, when he beheld an entire gang of bandits writhing as they convulsed on the ground, trying to scream and unable to thanks to the poison he'd poured into the open keg of rum.  They weren't laughing anymore, not as they had been laughing while they raped his mother, and slit her throat in such a way as for it to take a very long time before she died, heedless of the little boy and his baby sister that huddled, ice-white and bone-terrified, in the loft just above them.

At fourteen, when he was the navigator of the Bloody Jackal, taken on for his uncannily accurate sense of direction with no need of a compass, and largely ignored for the still-gangly limbs and smooth chin, he'd had revenge.  When the Jackal had ambushed a ship of the British Navy, a slightly older Jack had been very surprised to find the two redcoats who had beaten his sister to death two years ago were aboard – and very, very pleased to make their deaths as agonizingly painful as could be reasonably allowed.  The rest of the Jackal's crew had never really looked at him the same after that, though.

Again he had his revenge, at seventeen this time, killing the nobleman who'd had him ambushed and held down by his private guards while he raped a then-sixteen Jack.  Arranging it so the guards at fault would take every last bit of the blame had been pure genius if he did say so himself, mixed with a healthy bit of luck (as were most things he did).

Twenty-three: bankrupting and completely destroying the reputation of that smug, self-satisfied merchant who'd borne false witness against him (in one of the few cases when he actually hadn't done it, even.)  Jack still smiled faintly when he remembered that – living proof that sometimes there were things far, far more satisfying than killing people.

Twenty-five: getting back at that stupid blighter who'd gotten him into the Cranberry Incident (which was still a guarantied death warrant, signed and delivered by one Captain Jack Sparrow to whoever was fool enough to mention it).  That had been another occasion where revenge was best served on a platter of public humiliation, with a heaping side dish of disgrace and a nice little bit of scandal served as a garnish.  And, in this particular case, parsley.  Quite a lot of parsley, actually.

Twenty-five again (busy year, that): setting fire to the house of that pathetic excuse of filth on the bootsoles of humanity who ran a backdoor child-brothel – with his own children as some of the "entertainment."  Not so much revenge that time (well, not actually personal revenge – more a general sort of principle thing), but still highly satisfying.  Especially the look on the townspeople's faces when they found out about that tiny little detail.  He had had to leave town before he could actually see what happened to dear old Ronnie Wellston and his "customers", but judging from the stories he heard, the absence of Captain Jack Sparrow had hardly deterred these people from coming up with a suitable form of chastisement.  As loathe as Jack was to admit it, he would have never have thought of that little bit with the rock and the string – and the ginger-beer trick was simply inspired.

And now … thirty-seven, and this close to revenge for the longest wait he'd ever had.  Barbossa would pay, oh yes he would, and the Pearl would be his, and he could stop carrying such a bloody great hole in his heart that was so damned hard to cover up with a swaying walk and a slurred voice that spoke maybe one word of reason for every forty of gutter accent and twisting, irrational thought.  Just a few more weeks … a month or two at most and he could be whole again, could be free again, this time for good.

Jack smiled as he downed the last of his rum with Gibbs, knowing that his Pearl was only just outside of grasp, a smile that, had the mug not been in the way, would have been immediately recognized by anything that is prey as one of the last things they would ever see.  He glanced over at the Turner lad, now trying to – politely – fend off not one, but two boisterous, drunken whores, both quite intent of getting what he was equally intent not to give.  A good lad, was ol' Bootstrap's son, just as Bootstrap himself had been a good man, and a bright lad, but still, for all intents and purposes, just a lad, and just about as world-wise as a fish born and raised in a glass bowl it had never once left.  He was lucky, was that Will (not Bill, definitely not a Bill, for all he and Bootstrap looked alike) that, even with that pretty face of his, it was only the women who were dead set on getting into those pants of his, and not the men.  Poor lad'd probably faint from shock, he was so sheltered.

Jack chuckled at the image that produced, earning an odd look from Gibbs and no doubt further confirming his reputation of madness with the man.  All for the better, really; people tended not to give a madman too much credit, which was only their loss when they found that Captain Jack Sparrow had slipped their grasp again.

Another look to young William Turner, he of the incongruously clean countenance and oh-so-innocent eyes, and the smile took on entire worlds of new meaning.

He's a man for his vengeance he is, that Mad Jack Sparrow, aye, and he'll get it too.

But who's to say he can't have a bit of fun in the meanwhile?