DISCLAIMER: 'Pirates of the Caribbean' does not belong to me. It belongs to a mouse. A cartoon mouse. A cartoon mouse who doesn't even wear a shirt. And no, I'm not at all bitter. J

So please don't sue, because I'm a poor student who has no money anyway.

Pirates of the Caribbean: The Heir of Cortez

Chapter 1

Captain Jack Sparrow staggered slightly as he strode onto the main deck of the Black Pearl, squinting in vague surprise against the brilliant afternoon sun. However, this was immediately forgotten as he noticed the vessel pulled up on the port side of his Pearl, not to mention the fact that the majority of his crew seemed to be aboard the other ship. Yanking his hat down firmly to shield himself against the blazing sun, he made his way to the side of the Black Pearl, his forehead creasing thoughtfully – the other ship looked oddly familiar.

'Cap'n!'

Gibbs hurried over from where a roughly-hewn gangplank had been set up between the two ships. Jack arched a questioning eyebrow as his third-in-command joined him at the railing.

'We woulda woken ye,' Gibbs replied hastily in response to Jack's unvoiced inquiry, 'but she ran up a flag `o truce, and they ain't putting up no resistance, so there didn't seem much point in disturbing ye, `specially after last night. '

Jack's lips twitched at Gibbs' reference to the previous, rum-filled night, but he didn't reply, his bleary eyes slipping over the scene before him. His own crew members were rounding up the sailors of the other ship, who seemed hardy enough but, despite an obvious air of surliness, were offering no opposition, just as Gibbs had said.

Jack's gaze stuttered to a halt on an older man who stood apart from the crowd of prisoners huddled near the mast. He was of average height, but wiry, and his greying hair was pulled back into a neat ponytail at the nape of his neck. He was obviously not a common sailor, a fact betrayed by his simple, civilian dress and the dignified way he was composing himself despite the relative chaos about him.  

Jack straightened abruptly.

'What's her name?' he demanded, sweeping the ship from stern to bow with an inquisitive, almost anxious, eye.

From the pristine sails to the scrubbed wooden decks, it appeared that the captain of the ship took pride in keeping his vessel in good order, despite its small size. At least ten years old, the sloop had obviously been built with careful precision, the finest materials and the idea that a ships greatest asset is her speed. Compared to the Pearl, she wasn't the least bit impressive, but the quick scan of the sloop made Jack frown darkly.

'Cap'n?' Gibbs asked confusedly. 'You mean the ship? Oh, the Blue Dragon, or some queer name like it.'

Jack turned sharply, grabbing Gibbs by the vest and lowering his voice.

'Not the Blue Diamond?' he asked urgently, not waiting for a reply as he released Gibbs, brushing  past and hurriedly clambering across the gangplank connecting the two ships.

Gibbs frowned, all the more bewildered by his Captain's even stranger-than-usual behaviour (which, considering this was Captain Jack Sparrow, was saying something), but nonetheless followed precariously, finally answering as they reached the deck of the other ship.

'Aye, that be `er name.'    

An unreadable expression flashed across Jack's face before he turned heel and crossed to the prisoners. He ignored the cheerful salutations and catcalls tossed by his own crew and the dark glares from the other, directly approaching the elderly man who had caught his eye. His jaw was tightly set as he peered into the man's face, which, despite the ravages of time and weather, held an air of keen intelligence. The old man, upon realising that he was under the scrutiny of the most feared pirate in the Spanish Main, smiled almost gently.

Jack leaned in close, a vaguely feverish gleam in his eyes.

'Dominic?' he asked in an undertone. There was a yell from the quarterdeck, but he disregarded it, intent on the old man's response.

'Of course, Senor Jack,' he replied in a gravelly Spanish accent. He dipped his head slightly but his hazel eyes never left Jack's face. 'We have been looking for you.'

Jack leaned his head back, regarding the older man through half-closed eyes.

'We?'

Dominic didn't respond, but nodded in the direction of the quarterdeck, where there was a renewed bout of shouting; Jack followed his gaze.

It seemed that not everyone onboard the Blue Diamond was surrendering compliantly. As Jack watched, Anamaria and Bates were cornering a young woman near the helm while Thomas stood nearby, holding back an older man who appeared to be the captain of the vessel. Jack stared dumbfounded as the young woman turned, and he saw her properly.

Her face had a noble bearing, accented by dark eyes which were flashing angrily and framed by curling tendrils of charcoal hair that had escaped the plait falling down her back. There was a bright flash as the sun caught the long knife wielded by the woman, which she slashed forward threateningly with practiced skill, ignoring Anamaria's shouted threats and the entreaties of the Diamond's captain.

Jack saw Anamaria and Bates exchange a quick glance, and knew what was to come, but decided to wait, as always, for the opportune moment to intervene. Abruptly, he turned back to Dominic, half-opening his mouth as he heard the accompanying shouts of anger and dismay as his two crew members moved in on the young woman.

'Is that…is she…?'

He cut himself off, leaving the question hanging heavily in the salty air. Dominic darted another peek towards the quarterdeck as the shouts reached a crescendo, concern etched across his craggy features.

In a manoeuvre that Bates and Anamaria had used more times than they could count, Bates had faked an attack, drawing the woman's attention away from Anamaria long enough for the Pearl's first mate to strike with lightning reflexes. Wresting the knife out of her hand, Anamaria had barely been keeping the angry woman at bay when Bates had grabbed the woman from behind, manhandling her none-too-gently away from his shipmate, ignoring her angry shrieks and attempts to kick him through her long, cumbersome skirt.

Dominic finally met Jack's eyes, proud resolution in his gaze.

'Si,' he replied softly. Jack hissed out a breath, his mouth set in a straight line as he spun back towards the quarterdeck.

The captain had capitulated quietly, but the young woman was still struggling violently despite the hopelessness of her situation, spitting a string of violent curses in fluent Spanish.

'What the bloody hell's she yelling about?' Bates asked of no one in particular, easily containing his prisoner's thrashing about as he dragged her down the stairs leading to the main deck.

'She was telling you to get your grubby hands off her,' Jack offered evenly, stepping forward as the pair reached the main deck. 'And then she made some rather colourful comments, questioning your lineage.' He gave a small, wolfish smile, exhibiting his gold-capped teeth.

The young woman started at the sound of Jack's voice, her rant breaking off mid-sentence as her head snapped around. Her delicate features clouded over with dark emotion as she looked him up and down through shrewd eyes, recognition in her expression. He approached her almost cautiously, studying her face just as intently, and they stood silently before each other for a long moment, Bates looking on dumbly.

Suddenly, the woman shrugged out of her captor's lagging grip, closing the short distance between her and Jack in a flash.

'Traitor,' she sneered in unaccented English, spitting fully into Jack's face.

'Alandra!' Dominic exclaimed in an admonishing tone, having observed the scene in watchful silence. Jack himself stood speechless, wiping the spittle off with his sleeve as the defiant young woman was wrenched backward by a furious Bates.

A number of the crew of the Pearl swore loudly, outraged that their captain had been so blatantly insulted, and drew stealthily nearer, several yanking out various weapons, while the sailors from the Diamond tensed, but could do nothing but look-on helplessly. Bates, however, was clearly embarrassed that a prisoner in his charge had temporarily escaped, and attacked his Captain, no less. Raising a threatening hand, he prepared to punish her ruthlessly for her impertinence, but instead of shying away, she raised her chin proudly, still glowering at Jack.

'Leave her alone,' Jack ordered quickly, intervening before Bates could strike the blow.

The Pearl's crew looked scandalised, not to mention disappointed, while Bates simply stared at Jack, astonished.

'But Cap'n,' he argued indignantly, '`ow can you just let some `arlot get away with that?'

Jack sauntered closer to the pair, his clear gaze never wavering from the woman's smouldering eyes.

'Because, Mr. Bates,' he stated calmly, 'this particular "harlot" happens to be my baby sister.'

***

A/N: Thanks, as always, to my beta, Lalia Gariv.

Also, if you read and enjoyed this, please leave a review. Questions, criticisms and suggestions are always welcome! J