Obligatory Disclaimer: I don't own POTC, or any of the characters, rights and privileges that go with it. I'm just borrowing Jack. Okay, and the Black Pearl, too. Sort of. However, both Andrea and the plot are my brainchildren. This is my first POTC fic, as well as my first fic posted here. So reading and reviewing are good, happy things, and will let me know whether or not I should continue this tale...
A/N: Story reposted in its entirety on November 27, 2004 to fix wonky formatting and spelling errors. I was finally able to keep my computer running long enough (without crashing, or having severe hard drive failure) to install Microsoft Word and actually use it. Hurrah! No more icky Wordpad for this writer!
An another note, one of the absolutely most helpful reviews I had was from Blue Autumn Sky, who pointed out that the romances in this fic were rather rushed. That happens when your Muse is impatient 'wink', but I've taken that into consideration and have made a decision: When my InuYasha fanfic, "An American Werewolf in Sengoku Jidai" is complete, I will return to this story and rework it so that the romances have more time to develop. Think Summer of 2005 as a tentative date for this.
then, enjoy! And thank you to all of my readers and reviewers –
you guys are the reason I love writing!
Chapter One: Sanctuary
Andrea couldn't believe her luck. When she had decided that she needed to get away in order to finish her book, she had hoped only to find a quiet seaside house. With her limited budget that should have meant nothing grander than a two-room shack, hopefully with running water and electricity.
What she found herself moving into for the next two months was nothing short of a small palace.
Granted, it was a bit run-down. According to its owner, no one had rented the house for almost two years and any prospective renters had left before a tour could be completed.
"It needs some work." Daniel Norton had told Andrea. "Some tender, loving care that I don't have time to give it. To be honest, the house has been in my family for generations, but I think the time has finally come to sell it. And I can't do that with it in its current state."
And so they had come to an accord: Norton would rent Andrea the house for an extremely reasonable rate in exchange for her fixing it up a bit.
It had taken Andrea a little over an hour to move in the things she needed to make herself at home. That's not difficult when your most important possessions are your computer and your cat, and not necessarily in that order. She spent most of her first day trying to keep Rum from losing himself in the house, and waiting for Norton to drop by with the house's keys.
She'd discovered fairly quickly that most of the doors had locks, and few of them would open with the key to the front door. This was made particularly apparent when Rum locked himself in a broom closet and Andrea had to make quick use of a screwdriver to get the curious cat out.
As Andrea waited for Norton, she followed Rum around the house. It was huge, by her standards - three stories that didn't include the small basement or the Widow's Walk on the roof. Andrea was surprised to find a small staircase hidden in the back of the kitchen, and then kicked herself when she realized that it led directly to the third floor. When Norton had given her a quick tour of the house, he'd told her that the old servants' quarters were on that floor. She was also hoping to question him about some oddities in the house that she'd noticed on the first floor, not the least of which was an old ship's wheel that had been carefully incorporated into the living room's wall.
Norton showed up several hours later than promised, without apology or excuse, just before sunset. He would have left just as abruptly as he had come, but Andrea questioned him about the wheel in the house. Norton just shrugged, with one hand already on his truck door.
"The ancestor of mine who built the place was an admiral in the British Navy. According to my grandfather, this admiral had spent most of his career tracking down a single pirate ship. After fifteen years of chasing her, the scent went cold, and the admiral thought that the ship's captain must have finally left the Caribbean. Now, notice that I said 'Caribbean', and that we are currently in good ol' New England. About a year after the pirates stopped hitting the Caribbean colonies, my ancestor was told that an unknown ship was plaguing the North American coast, raiding sea-side colonies and waylaying ships bound to those colonies. Now, this ancestor of mine got a hunch that he knew who the 'new' pirates were, and on that hunch he led a small fleet of British warships up the Eastern Coast. They ambushed the pirate ship as its crew was sacking the town that's just up the road here, and my ancestor killed her captain. The ship's crew were jailed and then hung, and as my ancestor was a 'Waste not, want not' sort of person, he had the pirates' ship torn apart and most of it reused to build the first floor of this house. He never lived here himself, but his younger son was happy to take up residence."
Norton paused as a chill breeze blew past him. "Now, this house has been built on to and remodeled many times over the course of the last two hundred and fifty years, but I know for a fact that that wheel is from the original ship."
Norton made it clear that he'd finished his tale by hopping into his truck. He gave Andrea a wave, and then sped out of the driveway just as the sun sank below the horizon. Andrea shivered as another cold wind blew in from the sea, and turned to go back into the house. Rum was making a nuisance of himself by twining around her ankles, meowing for his dinner.
Andrea tripped once or twice on her way back to the door, and the second time she could have sworn that she'd seen a flash in one of the windows. "Probably just the moonlight." she told herself, even though the moon was far from full and had yet to show its face even though the sun had set.
Andrea took her time feeding Rum, and then left the happy cat to munch while she finished hooking up her computer. Her book was saved as a file on one of her discs, and now that everything was hooked up properly it was time for her to get back to work. She warmed up some pizza for herself while the computer booted, and caught herself humming an odd little tune. She stopped, then laughed when she realized that the tune was from a Disneyworld ride.
"Must be all the talk about pirates, Rum." The cat continued to bury his face in his bowl. There was food hidden in the corners, he just knew it, and Andrea laughed as the cat licked his bowl with such force that it skidded across the kitchen floor.
She stopped laughing when the bowl suddenly stopped dead at the kitchen's doorway. Rum sprang away from it, growling and hissing, with every hair on his little body standing stiffly to attention.
There was nothing there but the floor. Andrea began to walk toward the bowl to see if it had snagged on something when Rum suddenly relaxed and began washing himself.
"Silly kitty. Don't like your bowl having a mind of its own, do you?" Andrea reached down to pick up the metal bowl before gasping and yanking her hand away. The bowl was freezing! Around where her fingertips had touched it, frost began to form before quickly melting in the warm air of the house.
"What on Earth..." Andrea muttered, and then she shrugged. 'Probably just some fluke of ancient house heating.' she reasoned to herself. "If I'm not careful, my food will end up like that, eh Rum?" The cat ignored her to continue cleaning his hind leg.
Andrea shrugged again, grabbed her plate back from the counter, and continued into the living room. For just a moment, she shivered, and then reminded herself that the house had a modern furnace and that tomorrow she was just going to have to make sure that it was working properly. She made her way through the maze of empty computer boxes on the living room floor, and then groaned when she saw her computer's screen.
"No! Aww, man! Not now!" she grumbled. The Blue Screen of Death ignored her entreaties, and continued to give her its message that it was running Scandisk and that she should restart her system. "Grr...damn Windows! Why didn't I let Rod install Linux?" she grumbled to herself.
She did everything she could over the next hour before calling it quits when she couldn't figure out why her computer's OS wasn't loading properly. Her pizza sat in a cold, congealed mess on its plate, and it felt fear as Rum began to stalk it.
Andrea let out a final "Grrr!" of frustration before manually shutting down her computer and grabbing the plate from underneath Rum's nose. She was oblivious to the cat's glare as she took a big bite, then frowned and set the plate down as she tried not to spit the cold food back out.
"Well, m'dear Rum, I do believe it's time for bed. Damn piece of junk! I'm going to have to call Rod in the morning and have him talk me through this."
Andrea sighed. She'd come to the coast to get away from her writing problems, not to have more crop up. She'd had her computer-inclined friend thoroughly inspect the computer before she'd left home, but Andrea thought something must have happened to it while on the road.
She slowly rose from her computer chair, made her way out of the living room towards her bedroom, and hit the light switch on her way out.
She was completely oblivious to the wispy white form that hovered briefly over her computer. Rum followed obediently on her heels, and when she turned it was to see what the cat was growling at.
"Rum, knock it off, there's nothing there." she scolded. The cat looked at her with several thousand years of feline superiority behind his eyes. 'Yes,' those eyes seemed to say, 'there is.' Andrea rolled her own eyes and continued on her way.
The cat turned once more and hissed at the fog the human couldn't seem to see. A low laugh rolled across the room, and Rum turned and followed his human. Whatever it was in the living room would not get to Andrea without going through Rum first.
A/N: Yes, the "pirate ship" in question is the Black Pearl. Yes, there is a ghost in the house, and right now I think that that ghost is Jack Sparrow. But don't hold me to that.