Aftermath By: L'Morgan

Disclaimer: I guess I really do need to remind you all that anything and everything related to Pirates of the Caribbean, their characters and settings are all the property of Disney - Disney - Disney - nobody - but -Disney ---- I-just-borrowing-to-play-with-and-giving-back. Only Disney can make money on anything to do with Pirates of the Caribbean. NOT ME!

We all know that if I didn't state that here, you would think I owned and was making a mint of money off all the cool Pirates stuff - right? Hummmm - hey folks, you know what? I think I 'just might' own a bridge in Brooklyn - would you like a price quote? World famous even! It's really cheap, I promise you, honestly!

Email: LMorgan1688@yahoo.com R&R! Constructive criticisms and help keeping characters IN character loved. If not your type of story, please move on to something else? And yes, I have taken a few liberties with history, but hopefully not so much that it's not fun!

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Summary: Jack Sparrow once observed that apparently one good deed could be enough to condemn a man. After the earthquake destroys Port Royal, what part does a well known pirate figure in the aftermath? Action/Adventure/Angst PG-15 for violence and disaster setting. Mild W/E pairing, J/A pairings.

Chapter 1 When the World Falls Apart.

Smoke from the out-of-control fires and dust still hung heavily in the air over what was left of the port. Two large vessels in the harbor leaned sharply into each other, having been slammed into each other during the earth's sudden upheaval. Nothing still afloat was larger than a small fishing vessel. The Port Royal British Fleet had been tied up securely in the harbor, and thus were the victims of the upheaval and resulting tidal waves. Luckily none had actually sunk, but nothing would be leaving under its own power until extensive repairs were made.

Everywhere one looked there was rubble, mud, debris, and the unmistakable stench of death and decay. Most eerie though was the silence. Past was the weeping and wailing, the screams of the dying. Now there was the quiet hum of the survivors, intent on eking out what little could be salvaged from the ruins of the town.

Commodore Norrington found it hard to believe the sun dared to rise. This, the third day after the disaster, the shock had begun to wear off and a deep resentment had taken its' place. How could God above allow such a tragedy? The death of so many innocents? Leave them so defenseless? His jaw clenched at the thought.

By now word of the disaster had spread. Within days Port Royal would become the biggest target for looting and chaos in the entire Northern Hemisphere - and of course the region was already infested with more predators and pirates than a dog had fleas. Except for the Marines and sailors from the ships and the cannons high on the fort top, they would be defenseless against whoever or whatever chose to come see what was left for the taking from the paralyzed city.

~ ** ~

William and Elizabeth were both smeared with soot and grime as they stood outside in the center Courtyard of the fort. The Governor's house had survived the earthquakes intact, but the blacksmith's shop was now under 50 to 100 feet of water, along with the rest of the mile or so of land that had once been the dock and central town area.

The biggest concerns now were the securing of shelter, food, clean water, and building materials. Nearly all of the businesses central to the functioning of Port Royal had been located near the docks - which meant only the fish could now frequent those establishments. The dock itself would have to be rebuilt before ships bringing relief could unload - and those were at least 3 months time away. It would take that long for the news to be carried back to England and supplies to be sent out.

Already the price for lumber from areas located elsewhere on the island had increased 10 fold. The militia was far too busy with emergency issues to bother with shopkeepers now intent as making as much profit as they could from the event. It was enough to make Elizabeth feel sick to her stomach.

Like everyone else, they had helped rescue those who could be dug from the rubble - helped the injured, even helped extract some of those who had paid the ultimate price. William's mentor, Mr. Brown and his beloved wife had been among those unfortunates. While Will had been lugging beams and stone the last few days, Elizabeth had been well occupied with the large number of sudden orphans that had been gathered together at the church. The small number of priests had been quickly overwhelmed between the need for burials and the 5 dozen orphans they had suddenly found themselves the wards of.

This was practically the first time husband and wife had seen each other for more than a few minutes since the disaster had struck. Just the sight of each other gave them cause again to rejoice just in the fact that they were both safe and well, as was the rest of the Governor's household. Neither of them had hardly seen the Governor himself at all since - the man was constantly buzzing from one place to another in meetings and conferences with all kinds of assorted higher ups that had doings with the once prosperous port city.

~ ** ~

Less than 3 miles offshore, the very large galley with it's huge black sails slipped efficiently through the waves. At her helm stood a dark woman of average height and slender build. She stood clad in the common britches and loose fitting linen shirt of her occupation, and her face bore a look of serious contemplation. The entire crew of the ship had had much to contemplate in the last 72 hours. They had been peacefully on their way past the island and heading for the Windward Passage when several huge waves had caught them from behind.

Instantly the ship's Captain had turned rudder to send them back - and it wasn't long before they had encountered the first swept-out-to-sea wreckage of the disaster. AnaMaria was no newcomer to the sight of death. Being a pirate, that was an occupational hazard she had been eye to eye with more than once. But seeing the bodies of men, women, and children had been sobering for them all. Or perhaps it was the ones they came upon that still lived, or that had found wreckage to cling to gave them all such pause for thought. In the time since, they had managed to collect quite a number of survivors who had been washed away and somehow managed not to drown.

153 of them to be exact.

To say the ship was crowded was an understatement as deep as the sea herself. The crew hadn't so much as grumbled a word when asked by the Captain to lend their beds to the castaways. In fact, for the last 3 days the vessel had taken on more the air of being a blessed haven for the forlorn and lost, rather than the infamous pirate vessel she was.

More than one of the crew had been drawn into talking to the survivors, commiserating on their losses. Nights had become a time of telling legends and sea stories and sharing shanties, and more than one inexperienced hand could now tie a decent Bowman's knot. It had been a way to keep from thinking of the other things they had found floating in the water, as well as what they could imagine must await them in the town itself.

AnaMaria gave a wry smile. It was no secret really that Captain Jack Sparrow of the Black Pearl was not exactly the most ruthless, bloodletting pirate in the world, but this was definitely outside even his normal definitions of 'being helpful' when it would be of profit to them. So far not a single one of the castaways had been relieved of so much as one ring or necklace. Nor had anyone been 'used' the way that could be expected upon most pirate ships.

But the Black Pearl was not most pirate ships, and her captain was fairly unique among pirates. Of that Ana had no doubts whatsoever as she watched said captain on the deck below. He had been squatting beside a 35ish or so year old woman who sat with a young boy in her lap. The boy was not her own, but it looked as if perhaps the lad would not be having to see the inside of an orphanage after all. Both of them were smiling warmly at the pirate Captain as he rose, gave the boy's head a friendly tousle, and left them to come up to the fantail deck where Ana stood at the helm.

"You're serious about us taking them right into Port Royal, aren't you Captain?" she asked unhappily and he nodded with a mild smile that revealed a flash of gold from a capped incisor.

"We can't exactly put them back in the water where we found them, now can we." He countered with a vague gesture out at the ocean and she frowned at him.

"No, but it would be nice if we didn't have to go sailing right into the arms of that British Commodore who is so fond of trying to hang you. He'd just as soon hang the lot of us as soon as look at us and you know it Jack." She observed darkly and he nodded as he stared out over the crowded deck, one eyebrow arched sharply and fingers running down the length of the braided tips of his beard as he thought.

"Well - no we won't just go sailing in as if it were a picnic in the park luv. Hopefully the man is a bit distracted at the moment." He said, leaving off to shift his gaze to stare at the sea with a vaguely worried look as he chewed on his lower lip and she sighed silently.

"I'm sure they're alright Jack" she said very lowly, so only he could hear, and he glanced back at her for barely a second, then turned back to studying the view. How like the pirate captain to be concerned if his 'friends' in Port Royal were safe. Friends he had made on a rather unlikely and nearly impossible adventure a few years back. Friends he hadn't seen since although she knew he had received a letter or two from the town. Regular mail service wasn't exactly a benefit of serving on a pirate ship, not even for it's captain.

Did a few letters over a few years time even constitute a claim to friendship? That was the real question in her mind. That Commodore was awfully set on stretching Jack's neck and would just love to include the entire crew of the Pearl in on the fun as well. She liked her neck just fine as it was, thank you very much.

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