DISCLAIMER:This story is based on characters and situations created and owned by Disney. No money is being made and no copyright or trademark infringement is intended. Hopefully, Disney's many experienced lawyers will not decide to come after me for this, as I posses only a Gateway computer, some black eyeliner, and a stack of library books by Patrick O'Brien.
Posted by:Elspeth (AKA Elspethdixon).
Author's Notes:To my eternal shame, I have only seen this movie once, so if you find any mistakes, inconsistencies, or inaccuracies in characterization, please tell me.
Ships:Will/Elizabeth, Jack/Elizabeth, eventual Jack/Will, eventual Norrington/OC
Warning:This story contains killing, stealing, lots of angst, an OC, and a non-evil Norrington. It also contains drinking, swearing, a male/male relationship, and an eventual threesome. Sadly, it will not contain any hot, steamy sex scenes.
Chapter One: In Which the Golden Dolphin is Attacked on the High Seas.
Oh a sailor's life is a weary life
For he robs the girls of their delight
Causes them to weep, causes them to mourn
Loss of a true love, never to return
The Golden Dolphin had been a week away from docking in Port Royal when one of the sailors manning the topsails had spotted the other ship on the horizon, upwind of the little merchant vessel and closing the distance between them with an unnerving speed. The captain had ordered every shred of sail raised, until Mary Rose, standing nervously on deck near the entrance to the captain's staterooms could fairly hear the ship groaning with the strain.
All efforts to out race the other ship proved futile, and as the hours wore on she crept ever closer, like a lean, hungry wolf shadowing a lone deer. Watching those white sails and the black hull beneath them approach, Mary Rose found herself wishing fervently that she and Robert had delayed their departure another month, so that they might have sailed to the West Indies on a naval vessel, with an armed escort, instead of the inoffensive little Dolphin. Robert's uncle had warned them that piracy was rampant in these waters. Why, why hadn't they heeded him? Why had they rushed ahead, taken the earliest departing ship, regardless of its armament or strength?
"Robert," she asked her husband softly, as the captain shouted out orders to his crew, "that's a pirate ship, isn't it? Are we going to surrender?"
Of course not, darling." Despite of the strain of the moment, he still managed to summon up a smile for her. "We'll fight her. She'll not find us easy prey, whatever her villainous crew thinks. Captain Harding's got two eight pound carronades hidden on the lower deck, just waiting to open up on her when she gets close. And there's the nine pounders on deck as well."
Mary Rose nodded, pretending reassurance, but though she knew little enough about guns, she still suspected that whatever pieces of armament the pirate ship carried threw shot a lot heavier than any of the Dolphin's guns, hidden or not. As she stared towards the sinister-looking ship, a puff of smoke suddenly blossomed against the black hull, followed moments later by a shattering boom. A fountain of water exploded up from the sea mere yards away from their ship, the wash from the impact rocking her back and forth.
"They've got our range now!" one of the sailors yelled, while another, a grizzled fellow with the look of an old hand about him, stared back at the pursuing ship with horror on his face.
"I know them guns," he whispered. "God have mercy, it's the Black Pearl."
"Shut yer yap, old man," the master's mate snarled. "The Pearl's a myth. I'll not be having that sort of talk."
"She is, sir, so she is. Crewed by the damned, and captained by a man so evil Hell itself spit him back out." The sailor's eyes were wide ad white about the edges, and the men around him had begun muttering uneasily.
"Faster than any ship afloat…"
"They say her crew eat human flesh."
"… never takes prisoners."
"Silence!" the master's mate thundered. "If she's the Black Pearl, then why are her sails white? The Pearl has black sails; everyone knows that. There'll be no more of this talk."
Scarcely had he finished speaking when the entire side of the pirate ship opened fire in one long, rolling burst. She had come about while they spoke, making ready to fire, and the force of her broadside slammed into the Golden Dolphin, snapping spars and splintering the boards of the hull. Mary Rose screamed.
"Get her below," the captain snapped. "All women below!" he repeated. "Male passengers can stay on deck. You'll be issued cutlasses, if you want them."
The Dolphin's own guns opened up in answer to the pirate ship's broadside, sending a hail of smaller but still lethal shot toward her. A few balls fell short, and others whistled harmlessly through her rigging, but others found their mark. Still, she looked distressingly unaffected.
"Mary," Robert told her sharply, "go below. Get my pistols out of the chest and bring them here."
Mary Rose obeyed, glad beyond measure to leave that smoky, crowded deck, filled with the whistle of roundshot and the thick stink of gunpowder. As she reached the entrance to the lower deck, the enemy ship let loose another broadside, and heavy balls connected by short lengths of chain scythed into the Dolphin's rigging, leaving destruction in their wake.
Mary Rose ran along the corridor as fast as the strictures of her corset and gown and the violent lurching of the ship would allow. She half fell into their stateroom, bruising her hip against the corner of the bed, and fumbled desperately with the lock on Robert's chest, finally getting it open after what seemed an age to reveal his neatly folded coats and shirts, packed away back in England for after the long voyage. She yanked clothing out desperately, flinging it aside to lie in heaps on the floor, until she reached the leather case at the bottom of the chest, inside of which lay two pistols, manufactured especially for Robert by a firm in London.
As she made her way topside again, something struck the Dolphin a violent blow, causing the entire ship to shudder. Stunned and half-deafened, Mary Rose picked herself up off the floor and stumbled on deck into a scene from a nightmare.
The pirate ship lay directly along side them, shouting men with a variety of brutal-looking weapons in hand swarming over the side toward the Dolphin. They raced across plank laid atop the deck rails, and one man took a running start and leaped, black braids and faded red scarf streaming out behind him.
All around her was the sound of gunfire and the jarring clash of metal on metal. Mary Rose thrust the pistol case into Robert's hand and shrank back against the side of the forecastle, more terrified than she'd been in her entire life.
The deck shuddered as the gun crews below opened up with their little carronades, and the other ship lurched away slightly with the force of the impact. One of the boarding planks fell into the sea, the man atop it leaping desperately toward the Dolphin. The man who had jumped leaned out and caught him by the wrists, pulling him aboard, then laughed and slapped him on the back, before turning to charge the nearest gun crew, sword flashing silver in the sun. Moments later, it flashed red.
Robert fumbled with the pistols, loading them with hurried fingers, cursing under his breath. Over his words floated the screams of dying men, as the pirates cut their way through the Golden Dolphin's crew.
Pistol finally loaded, Robert lifted it, cocked it, and fired, straight at the pirate who'd so nearly fallen into the sea moments ago. The young man staggered back, a bright crimson splotch of blood appearing high on the right side of his chest. His face was a dark as the slaves Mary Rose had seen in the Bermudas, and it twisted as she watched into a grimace of pain.
The sound of the shot was still ringing in her ears when one of the other pirates turned and executed a single perfect lunge, beating Robert's borrowed cutlass aside as thought it were a feather and running him through front to back.
Mary Rose screamed as she saw the tip of the sword emerge from between Robert's shoulder blades. Her husband fell heavily to his knees, and the pirate planted one foot on his chest to tug the blade free. Robert convulsed, blood spilling out of his mouth to stain the lace beneath his chin, and collapsed to the deck, his blue eyes going blank and dull. Mary Rose screamed and kept on screaming.
Around her, the Dolphin's remaining crew members were putting up their cutlasses, surrendering to the victorious pirates as the Dolphin's Union Jack was lowered slowly from its place at the masthead. It seemed to float through the air as Mary watched, snapping and twisting in the eerie silence that had replaced the noise of battle.
The black-haired pirate who had stabbed Robert had his back to her now, bending over his fallen comrade. The dark-skinned pirate was making soft moaning noises through his clenched teeth, left hand pressed tight against spreading bloody stain at his collar.
"On your feet, love. Come on," her husband's killer urged the wounded man. "You can thank me later." Mary Rose felt a wild urge to grab those wild, beaded black locks and yank them as hard as she could. How dare he slaughter Robert and then ignore him like a, a swatted fly!
Robert! Mary Rose knelt down beside her fallen husband, warm blood seeping up through her skirt and petticoats. His chest was still beneath the bloodstained fabric of his waistcoat, and his blue eyes stared unblinking up at the hot tropical sun.
"You killed him!" she hissed, glaring venomously at the oblivious pirate. "Murderer!"
The man swung around to face her again, taking two swaying steps forward to where Robert lay against the wall of the forecastle. "I'd never have done it had he not picked up that pistol, m'Lady," he said, voice slurring and lilting over the words. So that was how pirates spoke, Mary Rose thought, with that little part of her mind that wasn't wailing in horror, like half-drunk actors proclaiming Shakespeare. "Those passengers as don't fight gets left alone. Now, be a brave lass and lets be havin' that jewelry." He gestured at her throat with the pistol, waving it expansively.
Mary Rose watched, hypnotized, as those deadly hands fluttered gracefully. The pistol grasped in one of them was cocked, ready to shoot. She was going to die there, shot by this horrible, murderous man, and the last thing she would see would be those mad, wild black eyes laughing at her as the gun went off. Mutely, she undid the clasp of her necklace with trembling hands, and slid the gold and pearl drops from her ears, placing them in one grimy, callused brown hand.
"An' the ring too, love." Another gesture.
Mary Rose closed her left hand into a fist around the gold ring, pulling her hand back against her chest. It was too much. It was all too much. "That's my wedding ring," she told him, voice shaking. "It was Robert's mother's. Robert gave it to me, he…" she blinked hard as tears welled up in her eyes. She would not cry in front of this monster. She would not. "Robert…"
The pirate took one lurching step back from her, still eyeing the ring. Something else had replaced the greed in those glittering dark eyes. "Keep it then, lass." He touched her hand lightly, almost caressing the tightly balled fingers. "Somethin' to remember me by."
Mary Rose looked up into those black-circled eyes and knew that she wouldn't need her wedding ring to remember this day. She would never forget, never. Not as long as her love for Robert and hatred for his killers still lived within her heart. "Curse you," she whispered. "Curse you, you black hearted bastard. Take your jewels and choke on them. Leave me in peace."
He turned away then, leaving her again to return to the dark-skinned pirate Robert had shot, whom he pulled upright and handed into the arms of a grizzled, heavyset man. The wounded pirate was a woman, Mary Rose realized, with a queer sense of shock. She found that she didn't much care. She hoped the unnatural creature died. She had lost her husband. Let the pirate who had murdered him lose his lover.
The rest of the pirates were looting the Golden Dolphin's hold, carrying chests, barrels, and bales of English wool and linen back to their ship. The Dolphin's captain was watching them, face torn with an anguish that looked more inspired by the scene in front of him than by the blood that dripped from his slashed sleeve.
"You should have struck your colors sooner, mate," the black-haired pirate told him, clapping him on the uninjured shoulder in an almost sympathetic manner. "Would have saved a lot of bloodshed." He shook his head. "You can always count on an honest man to be stupid." He doffed his hat at the man, bending forward in a graceful bow. "On behalf o' my crew, I thank you for the fine merchandise. We'll leave you to go about your business."
And they left. Just like that, they left.
Mary Rose took little note of their going, or of the slow movements of the Dolphin's remaining sailors clearing wreckage from the deck. There was a lot of it to clear, starting with the fallen mass of the mainmast, snapped off halfway up its length by the pirate ship's second broadside.
She bent over Robert's motionless body, absently brushing back the strands of brown hair that had fallen into his face. She looked up as a hand rested on her shoulder, to see the bloodstain visage of the captain looking down at her with pity.
"We'd only been married a year," she told him, eyes filling. "We were going to Jamaica to start a sugar plantation. His uncle is the governor there. We were going… We were…" her words trailed off into silence, and Mary Rose Swann lowered her face into the bloodstained silk and linen of her husband's waistcoat and wept.
Annamaria lay stretched out on the table of the captain's cabin, the bloody wound on her shoulder illuminated by two small oil lamps, which cast dancing, swaying shadows over the scene as they swung from the beams above. Gibbs, his bearded face creased with concentration, carefully sponged the blood off her dusky skin, revealing the wound beneath. She moaned softly as the rag made contact with her torn flesh, turning her head away.
Captain Jack Sparrow, watching the procedure from the corner of the room, took another swallow of rum from the bottle in his hand. He'd bitten the inside of his cheek when he had jumped across from the Pearl to the little merchantman, and the alcohol stung the inside of his mouth, burning fiercely in the cuts. He didn't care. Some things were worth a little pain.
Annamaria moaned again, as Gibbs laid bare the wound high on her chest. The bullet had glanced off her collarbone, snapping it in two, and the cleanly broken ends of bone were visible, glinting white in the warm light of the oil lamps.
Jack closed his eyes against a brief surge of dizziness, then opened them again to look suspiciously at the bottle in his hand. Still almost full. "You'll still be beautiful," he told Annamaria, as her dark eyes fixed on his. "Scars give a woman character."
"Bugger character," she gasped. "That's my sword arm. Holy God, Gibbs…"
Gibbs had placed his fingers on her shoulder and was slowly drawing the broken ends of her collarbone straight again. Annamaria screamed and passed out, and Jack looked away. He was not going to be sick. He was Captain Jack Sparrow, and the great Captain Jack Sparrow did not throw up over a little blood.
He drank another swallow of the rum, imagining that he could feel it's soothing warmth replacing the hollow ache in tired muscles, left empty now that the sparkling fire of adrenaline was draining away. It's her own fault she's injured, the rum told him comfortingly. None of it's on you. He drank some more and told it to shut up. Silently, of course. It wouldn't do to distract Gibbs.
"Where's-" Gibbs turned and caught sight of his captain. "Oh. Give me that." He reached out and Jack handed the still mostly full bottle of rum to him. He wet another rag in it and began dabbing Annamaria's shoulder again. She didn't moan this time. Her head was motionless against the wooden table, and her eyes were shut. "This ought to heal, I think," he added. "Most like we should put her arm in a sling once it's bandaged."
"Linen," Jack suggested. "Plenty of that to go around after today." He stood, reclaiming the rum bottle from Gibbs and placing a hand on the edge of the cabin's open door. "We're makin' for Port Royal."
Gibbs blinked. "Port Royal." It wasn't quite a question.
"Got to get those two guns fixed, and I know a blacksmith as will do it for cheap."
The merchantman's little carronades had done small good against the Pearl, but they had managed to pretty well mangle two of her guns, as well as a pair of the pirates manning them. The crew would draw lots over their belongings and share of the take tonight.
Jack went on deck, smiling an assurance at Hopkins when he asked anxiously after Annamaria. The deck planks rolled comfortingly beneath his feet as he made his way to the wheel, laying one hand along the top of it as he checked his compass, more out of habit than anything else. The needle pointed helpfully toward the Pearl's mainmast.
"Coming about three points," he yelled at Cotton and the other members of the watch. "Get up there and make sail."
The Pearl's boom swung regally across the deck as her tack changed, and Jack ducked absentmindedly. Three days to Jamaica, if this wind kept up, and then they could lie to on the east side of the island and send one of the ship's boats about to Port Royal.
There would be a blacksmith with a soft spot for pirates waiting there, and convincing him to get to work on the Pearl's guns shouldn't be too difficult. He might even be able to con the lad into doing it for free. The great Captain Jack Sparrow could be very persuasive.
"We'll set you to rights again, sweetheart," he murmured, stroking the edge of the wheel again. Will was probably every bit as good with cannon as he was with swords, though he probably didn't work on them so obsessively now that he had taken Jack's advice and gotten himself a girl. If he did, he was an idiot. Elizabeth Swann was much shapelier than even the most well-forged blade. Anyway, he was probably good with cannon too, and he'd have the two guns fixed in no time.
"Port Royal, and then Tortuga and a nice careening to clean your bottom, hm? You'd like that, wouldn't you, love?"
The Black Pearl picked up speed slightly, running before the wind, agreeing that yes, she would like that very much indeed.
"I knew you would. Now fly for me, sweetheart. Fly us home."
I can hear the objections flying into my inbox now. Hey, pirates aren't always nice people, even semi-decent extraordinarily sexy pirates. I promise, Jack will redeem himself. Eventually.
Next up, chapter two: In Which Elizabeth Obtains a New Pair of Earrings.
Stay tuned for less bloodshed and more flirting.