Title: "Funny Old World"

Author: Ivytree

Rating: PG-13

Disclaimer: (Almost) all characters belong to Joss Whedon, UPN, Mutant Enemy, the Walt Disney Company, Terry Rossio and Ted Elliot, Jerry Bruckheimer, Gore Verbinski, etc. And, of course, James Marsters and Johnny Depp.

Feedback: Please!

Summary: A Caribbean adventure with two poets.

Setting: Post "Chosen" —and post "yo-ho."

"Funny Old World" Part One



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"'Ave another, mate. Plenty for everyone."

"Thansh. I mean, thanks," Spike said, extending a hand for the bottle with an uncoordinated lurch. "Don't mind if I do." He took a long pull of the best (and the strongest) rum he'd ever tasted, and gasped at the burnt sugar sting. Rum wasn't his favorite tipple, as a rule, but this was something special. And he needed refreshment. After all, it wasn't every day he dropped out of the Ether—or wherever the blazing Hades it was he'd been—straight onto the glimmering sands of a palm-studded tropical island. It was a situation he wouldn't hesitate to describe as a bit nerve-wracking.

"So," he said, defeated in an attempt to push himself upright by the soft white sand shifting beneath his hands, "Wash—I mean, what's all this stuff doing here, anyway? I mean, on a desert island. This is a desert island, right?"

"'S'right, matey. We're marooned, that's what we are," a husky voice replied. It had been nighttime when Spike tumbled onto the beach, and the moon was just peeping over the horizon. After taking a moment to gain his bearings, he had made a short reconnoiter and discovered a solitary, rather outlandishly dressed figure snoozing under a palm tree. A rum-flagon was clutched in the stranger's fist, and beside him was a cache of several more bottles, which he seemed happy to share upon awakening.

Now Spike watched with admiration as his companion, stretched bonelessly on the sand at full length, poured a stream of rum straight down his throat without a cough or gurgle. Now, that was professional drinking. "Used to be smugglers…" he continued, waving a slack arm "…all 'round here. They left hogsheads, barrels, bottles—gallons of the stuff."

"Yeah, but that must have been..." Spike rubbed his forehead, which was beginning to tingle with unaccustomed warmth. "I mean to say, that must have been quite a while ago. No ruff, rug, run…" he halted, concentrated, and continued, enunciating precisely, "…RUM smugglers now."

The island's only other occupant appeared to take a certain amount of umbrage at this statement, and wriggled up onto his elbows. "What d'you mean, no rum strugglers, I mean, smugglers, now? Why the 'ell not, eh? Everyone likes rum. 'S'human nature."

"Yeah, very true, but it's perfectly legal, right? No need to smuggle. Just pop into a boozer or a grog shop, hand over the hard-earned, and Bob's yer uncle."

"What? Isn't the 'umble working man's grog cruelly taxed by avaricious bigwigs?"

"Not so much, no."

His new friend stared at him with unblinking, kohl-rimmed dark eyes. "Well, that's one for the books. Never thought they'd give that up." Swaying slightly, he appeared to think it over. "What's good contraband, then? Must be some way to make money outthinking the King's navy."

"King's navy?" Now it was Spike's turn to stare. "Not much of a navy now, mate. And it's a queen, y'know, not a king, nowadays. 'Least, it was the last time I checked."

"Queen?" His comrade sat up too fast, and wobbled precariously. "Queen who, when she's at 'ome? It's not that dozy Anne, is it?"

"Elizabeth."

There was a pause. "I thought we 'ad one of those. Didn't we?"

"Well, so we did. This one's Queen Elizabeth the Second. Seems like a decent enough old girl. Not so strong on persecuting the lower orders." Suddenly Spike began to feel quite homesick. The only solution to that seemed to be to have another drink.

"Fancy that, now." The pirate—even in his own rather confused condition, Spike was able to deduce that his new pal was a pirate—scratched a stubbled cheek. Turning his smoky gaze on Spike, he continued, "Lemme ask you something, if it's not a liberty—just how long was I asleep under that tree, before you arrived so sudden-like?"

Spike reached for the bottle again. He had a feeling that answering that question would present a knotty problem for both of them. "Well, when I left this world, if that's the word…"

"I'm not quite sure I follow you there, matey—'left this world'?"

"I died, didn't I? For the second time, I might add. Turned to ash. Poof!" He illustrated his recent demise with a dramatic gesture. "Or, it was more like 'whoosh,' actually. A remarkably loud 'whoosh.' With elaborate flame effects, price no object."

"For the 'second time'?" Eyes narrowing, the pirate poked Spike hard in the chest with a slender, beringed, and very dirty index finger.

"Ow!" Spike protested.

"You're not dead now, though, are you? 'Cause 'ouch,' and that, definitely means you're not dead, you can take my word for it."

"Think not?" Spike said hopefully. "I was beginning to wonder."

"No. I 'ave been, in my time, y'know. Been a ghost, anyway, for a bit. I'll admit, it's interesting, at first; but then it gets very, very dull. First of all, you can't get drunk when you're a ghost—or eat, or dally, or feel the sun or the sea or the wind, or even get a decent bit of kip."

Spike shuddered, and took another pull at the bottle. He'd never heard a better description of hell. "Not bloody worth it, is it?"

"Well, I wouldn't say so." The pirate drank, too. "'S'worse than prison. In fact, it's the only thing worse than prison."

"So, anyway, we're not dead. That's one thing in our favor, I s'pose."

"And if we're not dead—and don't want to be—what we've got to do is get off this bloody island, pronto. Because I don't know if you noticed it, but this place is entirely barren, apart from a palm or two."

"Right." Spike rubbed his hands over his face. "How do we do that, exactly? Keeping in mind that I have no idea where we are."

"We're on one of the southernmost Grenadine Islands, in the Caribbean Sea." The pirate squinted at the moonlit horizon. "I'm not precisely sure which one, to be honest."

"Really?" Spike looked around at the pristine beach, gently waving palms, and gloriously star-spangled night sky. "Been all over the world, but I've never been here before. Nice. Except for the total lack of food, water, or shelter, I mean." Now that he thought of it, shelter was getting to be a pretty important consideration, since it wouldn't be long before dawn broke. He wondered if this was a good time to mention that he was a vampire. He was just opening his mouth to speak—after just one more swallow of rum—when his companion's spirits-hoarsened voice sounded again.

"What's your name, matey, if it's not too bold a question?"

"Spike."

"Captain Jack Sparrow, at your service…" here a disconcerting, gold-embellished grin crossed the pirate's face "…for the moment, at any rate." With a rather grand gesture, he extended a grubby hand, and Spike clasped it with his own. "I'm happy to make your acquaintance. Just 'Spike,' is it?"

Spike cleared his throat. "Well, at one time I went by 'William the Bloody,' but nowadays it's plain Spike. Bit more modern, you know? No frills."

"'William the Bloody'? I don't think I've heard of you." For some reason, this fact seemed to afford Captain Jack some satisfaction. "Pirate?"

"Not exactly." Well, it's now or never, Spike thought. "Vampire."

"Oh, of course—vampire." Quick amusement lit the captain's eyes. "Pull the other one, mate, it's got bells on."

"No, really. Look." Spike struggled to focus enough to assume his vamp-face, but it kept slipping away. Drat that rum. "Wait a minute, just wait one minute," he grumbled. On the other hand, maybe another drink would help. He took a long pull at the bottle, emptying it, in fact, and tried to think of something annoying, like Xander, or Riley, or Wood… or Angel. Aha! He turned triumphantly to his companion. "There! Now look!"

Captain Jack recoiled as swiftly a cobra's strike in reverse; but after a taut, still moment, he leaned forward again, gazing intently at Spike's fangs and ridges. Spike actually saw his own eyes, glinting gold, reflected in the pirate's black ones.

"Blow me down," Jack murmured. "So you are."

"And I'm not exactly looking forward to the lovely tropical sunrise I understand you feature in these parts."

Jack staggered to his feet and beckoned with an uncoordinated arm. "Follow me," he said.





TBC