Disclaimer: I don't own anything from Pirates of the Caribbean, not the characters, not the plot, nothing at all, alright? Fine, now that we got this straight .. *winks*

Why it is bad luck to have a woman aboard

Chapter 1:

I sat there, my head propped up on my hand lazily, watching him with an odd fascination while he told his story. Actually I was not as much fascinated by what he said as I was by the highly astonishing fact that he was still actually capable of talking after tossing back those sheer endless amounts of rum. He gesticulated excessively while he continued telling his story, chuckling childishly here and there at jokes I didn't get - I guess they must have passed me by, because I was still sober - then he downed his next mug of rum (by that time I had stopped counting) and noisily smashed it with a loud clatter down on the table so that the last remaining drops spilled over the rim like a tiny cascading waterfall.

He stopped talking and stared at me. I briefly wondered what it was he wanted from me. It was almost morning and I was tired. Who would have thought that this would take so long? There was hardly anybody left in this rundown, dang little tavern - well, except for a few passed out drunks and of course, the owner and a waitress who was looking at us impatiently as if she was begging us with her eyes to finally leave, but after all we were paying customers and so she couldn't throw us out on the street -at least not yet.

"Hey, Liz, another one," I called out almost sounding a tiny bit annoyed, finally remembering why he was looking at me so strangely, more so than usual at least. "Let's hope it's the last one," I added under my breath when she came to our table. Said waitress nodded and rolled her eyes. She headed for the bar and returned after a few seconds from the bar with a refilled mug for my drinking buddy. To be honest he was doing the drinking and I was waiting for him to finally pass out, but enough with the details. God, why didn't I hit him over the head with a club? In any case it would have been a lot quicker than this and also more satisfactory.

"Sooo, did I......did I tell ya about the time I met that terrible little strumpet? Brought me nothin' but bad luck.......," he slurred at me squinting together his coal rimmed eyes as if he was putting an extra hard effort into making out my face. "Do I know ya, mate?" he asked while the mug hovered indecisively in front of his lips.

"Aye, you do," I answered truthfully and he tossed back a huge mouth full of rum in approval of my answer, not bothering to ask for my name or anything else. Drunks were so delightfully unsuspecting. I crossed my arms over me chest and leaned back in my chair, which made a loud creaking noise as I did so. "But pray continue!" I said. At least this could turn out to be interesting if not entertaining.

"I was jus' setting me sails to leave Port Royal.." "As if..," I thought. He was happy his crew hadn't sailed off leaving him to the gallows. "......when I noticed her on board of me ship.....must 'ave decided to come as a blind passenger or somethin'. Should 'ave drowned her like a rat, right when I first laid me eyes on her," he said in between two enormous gulps. "Anyways...."


Captain Jack Sparrow was standing at the stir of his ship, the Black Pearl. His ship.......those words repeated over and over in his head while a huge grin spread over his face. Maybe those two lovebirds back in Port Royal had finally found each other, but he, on the other hand, was finally reunited with his one true love. He whistled a happy tune to himself while his lively brown eyes scanned the blue horizon ahead.

His first mate came up to him and slapped him on the shoulder comradely. A newly acquired silver ring was shimmering on his huge and bulgy hand in the sunlight. It was a fine piece of craftsmanship and that was perhaps the reason why he had acted right according to the code when he first laid his eyes on it. Take everything, give nothing back. The rest of the crew was on deck scurrying here and there busily. Wherever you looked you could see nothing but content and happy faces. Well, at least on deck. Down at the cargo, in the dark bowls of the ship where all sorts of plunder was stored, there was one person who didn't look happy at all. In fact she was fuming.

It was the most ridiculous thing - a shame really. If anybody from her guild ever found out, she would be everybody's laughingstock for weeks or probably even longer. A thief, robbed by a pirate. She was not even that bad a thief, to begin with. Thievery was in itself a form of art, she had been told as a child and with the passing of the years she had come the agree with that statement. Like an actor a good thief had to be able to play many roles. One day she would pretend to be a well-educated lady from Bristol sauntering with her little white umbrella over the market place, the next a drunk wench lurking in a dark alley. Actually she was quite good at what she was doing, she was what you would call a natural, but that night at the docks could undoubtedly be labelled as special circumstances, which made the whole incident a little less shameful, at least she thought so, but not less infuriating.

She was just walking home from a hard day of work, her pockets filled with all sorts of objects of value: tiny trinkets she had managed to steal from extremely fat and also extremely rich looking ladies at noon, while they fanned themselves, busy with watching expensive dresses - the latest fashion straight from London - that were by tons to tiny for them, a golden watch she had taken from some stiff lipped British gentleman, followed by a few gold coins and a beautifully made silver ring, her favourite piece. She had chosen the way through the docks, because the smell of the sea soothed her and she liked watching the ships that lay there, gently rocking back and forth on the water and also because no respectable citizen would ever cross her path in this part of town at this ungodly hour.

She briefly cast a glance towards the sea, just out of habit, just because she always did when she passed by, but than froze in tracks. Through the mist that hovered over the calm silvery surface of the sea she saw a ship approach. The first thought that crossed her mind was: not again! She felt fear creep up inside of her, not for her life, but for her gold. If that was that god damned ghost ship that had passed through Port Royal a couple of weeks ago, her chances on getting away with fruits of her labour were bordering on zero.

She rolled her eyes exasperatedly. This was so annoying; also it was bad for business. People around here had grown cautious for a while, barely leaving there houses. Now that it was finally wearing off those bastards had to return. Of course! How could it be otherwise? God, sometimes life really sucked!

Well, now she had two options: stay and watch what would happen next or run away like a headless chicken. She chose the first one and hid behind a few stashed up cargo boxes. As the ship came closer she could make out the crew much more clearly. They were moving on deck, running here and there busy as bees, preparing to take berth. The ship came closer and closer and with every second she could make out new details. This definitely wasn't the old Pearl. On the upside those guys didn't turn into rotting corpses when they stepped into the moonlight, as she noticed by closely examining everything, but on the downside they were still pirates and so the guild's most important rule applied: Never trust another thief, especially not a pirate. Nevertheless her curiosity compelled her to stay just a little bit longer (the guild's rule number two: never miss out a good opportunity to rob another thief) and that was the mistake that let to her downfall.

What on earth were those pirates doing there at this time a night? For one, they were probably not really welcome in Port Royal given the recent pirate raids, hence the sneakiness. They were probably just stashing up supplies and suddenly the whole matter became less interesting, now that she had found out what this was all about. After a few minutes of watching the ship land and the sailor's leave their vessel, she finally decided to head home. Sadly enough she chose just the wrong moment, because she crashed into something soft and solid when she slipped out of her hideout. Luckily her reflexes immediately set in; a thief never forgets to steal even when surprised.

"Sorry, lass," said a deep male voice. A strong and rough hand helped her up, "Next time watch were yer going, aye?" She muttered something under her breath and quickly scurried away. On her way home the young woman smiled to herself, while her finger's played with a golden crucifix she had just pick pocketed. She was just about to put it into the tiny bag that hung from her belt and held the other things she had stolen in the course of this day, when she noticed it was gone. Damn! Never trust a pirate!

Gibbs opened the small brown bag he had managed to sneak from the young lass with a content grin. He whistled through his teeth while he went through its contents. Damn! Who would have known? The young lass was a thief. A good one - he had to give her that, but also inexperienced. After rummaging for a while through the bag he found a plain silver ring at its bottom. There were no engraftments on it, it was perfectly polished without any scratches on it. He starred at it in fascination while it lay in his palm, shimmering in a bluish gleam in the moonlight. Somehow it seemed to call to him and he slipped it on his finger without giving it a second thought.

The young thief, in the meantime, was fuming with rage. Not only had she been robbed, but now she couldn't pay her debts to the guild anymore. Every thief in Port Royal had to give half of his loot to the elders. Last time, the Black Pearl arrived she hadn't been able to pay her tribute. The guild was forgiving, the guild was her family, but fail twice and your brothers and sisters wouldn't hesitate to slit your throat. So she really had no other choice. If she stayed she was as good as dead. There was only one option left. She had to get back her loot somehow. The young thief shook her head angrily and erupted in a series of curses that would have even made the roughest sailor blush.

"Well," she thought grimly, "I guess that means I'm going on a little sailing trip." She cringed her nose in disapproval - after all a day's worth of hard work had just been lost over her own stupidity. The young woman turned on her heels and sneaked back to the docks. Those blasted Pirates!

So that was why she was now cowering behind some boxes. Not that she was particularly unhappy hiding behind this particular boxes, as they were all filled with gold statues and jewels. Maybe this trip would pay off after all. She smiled to herself and unconsciously reached for her pockets that were now stuffed with gold and close to bursting. If she managed to sneak from the ship undetected this would be the greatest robbery in the history of the guild. Her - stealing form the crew of the Black Pearl - who would have know!

Nevertheless it still bugged her enormously that she had been outwitted by that fat pirate. The frown returned to her face, but she quickly chased those thoughts away. All that mattered now was getting away with her treasures without being noticed. She figured that by now the sun was up. It was hard to tell in the grey twilight of the cargo deck. So she would wait until night. She had to find out where this journey was going. If she was lucky they would stop at the next port to spent their newly acquired riches on wrenches and rum and she would be able to leave. Stupid pirates! The likes of them had no sense of business. Gold always ran through their fingers like water.

She spent the day with waiting and stretching her tired limbs from time to time. Finally when the activity on deck had considerably diminished, as she could tell from the peaceful calmness that had engulfed the ship by nightfall, she decided that it was time to leave her hideout. Her feet hurried soundlessly over the wooden planks. Out of the storage room, and upstairs. Always staying in the shadows, her senses keen, her movements fluid from years of practise. She stopped. She was almost on deck. This would turn out to be the most difficult part of her escape. One wrong move and she would be detected. Carefully she set one foot on deck, half expecting somebody to cry out any second, but nothing happened. One steps, two steps, even three. The young woman let out a breath she didn't know she was holding. Then suddenly she felt a sharp and cold blade pressed to her throat. It glittered in the moonlight dangerously and her eyes became huge as saucers at the sight of it. A pair of strong arms had taken hold of her and kept her from running away.

"Well, well, what do we have 'ere. A blind passenger..on me ship...," a male voice whispered into her ear. His breath smelled of rum.

She was roughly turned around so that she came face to face with the pirate that had captured her, the deadly knife never leaving her throat. The man's eyes scrutinized her curiously. The young woman - barely recognizable as such - wore men's cloth, a simple brown trouser, a dirty shirt that could have once been white - at least by a lucky guess. Her hair was hidden completely under a black bandana. She could probably be quite attractive once you threw her into a bathtub and scrubbed all the dirt off her.

She yelped as his hands reached out unexpectedly to search her for weapons. He found two dagger, one in each of her knee high boots and two handful of gold - to be precisely the gold she had stolen from him. He threw her weapons overboard with a quick movement of his hand and she wistfully followed their flight with her eyes.

"Isn't that a surprise. The littl' bird is a thief," the knife was pressed a little bit harder against her throat. This was not good! "Give me one reason not to kill ya right away," he hissed.

"Parley?" she asked with a shaking voice. Her vis-à-vis didn't budge an inch. "I thought everybody had the right to parley," she protested. "After all even you have to follow the code."

He rolled his eyes. Somehow she had the impression that the word 'parley' didn't seem to sit to well with him. "Yes, so what is it ya won't te talk about with the captain?"

She gathered her wits. Everything depended on her next answer. "Well, for one that he can't blame me for trying. As I can tell from spending all day hiding on his cargo deck, he would have done exactly the same. He sure never skips an opportunity to pillage and plunder, doesn't he? After all we are all thieves....he will understand." She managed to fake a confidant grin. She looked at him expectantly. "Are you going to bring me to your captain now?"

Somehow the whole conversation seemed to amuse him immensely as he shook his head and laughed. "Already talking te 'im."

"Oh," was all she managed to get out.

"But don't ya worry...Ya'll live. Today's a happy day: escaped the gallows, set sails for Tortuga on me very own ship. The Pearl is finally mine. So that means I'm in a good mood, which also means I won't kill ya," he said with a lopsided grin on his face. He removed the dagger from her throat and stepped back slowly. She suddenly felt much better. The young woman looked at him expectantly while she rubbed her throat. His blade had not left a single scratch, but it seemed to her as if she could still feel the cold steel pressed against her throat, even though it was now gone.

"Now where are me manners?..I usually present meself to a woman before I ask her to undress herself. Captain Jack Sparrow," he said tipping his three-sided hat casually.

"What?!" She gaped for air, half doing a double take. Maybe her ears had played a trick on her. He couldn't be serious.

But judging from the exasperate expression on his face he was. "Are we going to stand 'ere all night or are ya going to get started sometime?"

"Listen I may be a thief, but even I have some sense of honour!" she answered him, her irritation apparent in her voice.

"Of course, ya do," somehow his response sounded a tad bit ironic. "And as ya are such an honourable person ya are surely going to agree that it is only right and proper I check ya haven't taken anything else, savvy? Look I hate to disappoint ya, but ya aren't exactly me type - so no worries. Would ya please strip now, so we can get this over with?"

She blushed beet red, but nevertheless he had a point. Her finger were shaking while she undressed. This was so degrading.

"I'm sorry, lass, but ya tried to steal from me and we both now that a thief can't be trusted," Jack said with a hint of sympathy in his voice.

After a few seconds she had stripped down to her skivvies and was shaking because of the cold night breeze.

"That one as well," he said indicating the bandana with the tip of his knife.

She hesitate. Normally she only took it off when she was alone. Her life was a hard one. Better be mistaken for a boy, then being recognize as a woman and maybe get raped or worse. With a fast movement she removed the bandana before she could think about it too long and change her mind. A wave of jet black hair cascaded down her shoulders.

Jack quickly gathered up the clothes and searched them, barely paying any attention to the half naked woman standing before him. When it came to his plunder everything else lost importance. He found a few golden rings, some chains and silver coins. "I suppose ya just took those for the way, now didn't ya? Aren't we stealthy?"

She shrugged with her shoulder, "I'm a hard working girl."

"What's yer name?"

"Valentina," she said avoiding to look at him. The whole situation was beyond embarrassing.

"Here," he threw her his coat so that she could cover herself. Walking around in your skivvies at night on a ship full of pirates was not a good idea, even Jack knew that.

"Don't I get my clothes back?" Valentina asked while she slipped on the coat. It was much too big for her and it smelled of the sea and, of course, rum.

"Nay," he answered and picked up said clothes, rugs would also fit the description quite nicely, just to throw them overboard with a non-challent gesture as if it was the most natural thing on earth.

"What on earth are you doing? Have you gone completely insane?" Valentina exclaimed and ran up to the railing just to watch her clothes float away on the waves of the ocean.

"On the contrary, I just don't fancy having lice on me ship. Now come on let's get ya something to wear."

Valentina was seldom dumbfound, but faced with such insolence - and she could have sworn that this was the most insolent behaviour she had ever come across in her life - all that she could do was just stand there with her mouth agape.