Passage to St. Kitts

Chapter 1

Disclaimer - These characters do not belong to me, and I am not making any money at this.

**Author's Note** This story is a sequel to my earlier story, Show Me the Horizon. It's darker in spots than the previous one, prompting the R rating. Please let me know how you like it!

Will stepped into his blacksmith's shop and shut the door behind him with a sigh of relief. "Good morning to you, Mr. Turner." Drawled a voice from inside.

Will's head snapped around, but he relaxed again almost instantly. "Jack! I'd heard your ship came in last night, but I was at a party at Lord Smithfield's house and couldn't come down."

Jack and Will exchanged a rough, masculine hug and stepped back. "A party at Lord Smithfield's? Aren't you getting fancy? And look at that rig you're wearing? My, my!"

Will flushed and started unbuttoning the fine, gold laced blue coat he was wearing. "My father-in-law insists that I dress 'appropriately'. Unfortunately, his idea of appropriate and mine differ a bit. I mean, for God's sake, I'm a blacksmith! I can't wear this sort of thing when I'm working." He stripped off the coat and hung it in a corner of the shop, then started unbuttoning the waistcoat. "But it saves time to give in, and then change when I get here."

Jack settled back in a chair. "So how is your esteemed father-in-law?"

Will rolled his eyes. "I'm seriously considering moving to one of the other islands. He's driving me crazy. If I'm lucky I can slip out of the house before he gets up, but he's an early riser, unfortunately."

Jack chuckled unsympathetically. "And Elizabeth?"

Will hung up the waistcoat next to the frock coat and stripped the fine linen shirt off over his head. Picking up a rough homespun shirt, he dropped it on, his voice muffled until he stuck his head through the neck hole. "She does her best to keep the peace, but it's an uphill battle. Believe it or not, I'm actually fond of the man. He's very knowledgeable about politics and economics, and if I can keep him on those topics, he's fascinating to talk to. When he starts heading into propriety and appropriate behavior, though, I'm sunk. You wouldn't believe the arguments we've had about whether or not I should wear a wig." He sat down on a stool and took off the gold buckled shoes, held one up and looked at it distastefully. "You know, these shoes cost more than my entire wardrobe did before I married Elizabeth. There's something wrong with that!" He ducked behind a screen. A moment later the blue breeches appeared over the top and a brown homespun pair disappeared. Will emerged carrying a pair of worn boots, which he stamped into. "There. Much better." He glanced at Jack, who lounged at ease with a tankard. "I see you've found the rum."

"Please!" said Jack with mock indignation. "It's ale! A bit too early in the morning for rum, mores the pity."

"Ah, so Gwen is with you this trip." Guessed Will accurately. "Is she still sleeping?"

"Aye," said Jack with a self-satisfied smirk. "I kept her up rather late last night."

Will raised an eyebrow "Braggart."

"Well I am Captain Jack Sparrow after all." Said Jack with a smug, contented grin.

"Are you two going to make it legal at some point?"

"I'm working up to it. Takes some getting used to just being in a long- term relationship. It's never happened to me before."

Will grinned his own smug, contented grin. "Has some compensations, though, doesn't it."

"That it does." Agreed Jack with a reminiscent smile. "By the by, Will, I showed the sword you made me to one or two gents, and they're wanting to have you make swords for them as well." He reached for his scabbard, which was slung over the back of his chair, drew his sword and handed it to Will.

Will turned the sword in his hand. It was a beautiful weapon; folded steel blade, superbly balanced. The hilt was wrapped with black leather, criss- crossed with gold filigree. Decorative brass work gleamed on the guard and crosspieces and a large black pearl was mounted on the pommel. Will tilted the sword this way and that, and watched the light play along the blade. He looked cautiously at Jack. "You're not joking, are you?"

"Not a bit!" answered Jack cheerfully. "One of the gents in question is a privateer captain who sails in and out of Basseterre. The other is a sugarcane planter nearby. I've got the specifications Captain Lawrence requested, but the planter would like to meet you himself. What say you to a trip to St. Kitts?"

"St. Kitts?" asked Will. He handed the sword back to Jack and sat back looking a little thunderstruck. "I've wanted to start specializing in blades, rather than spend all my time doing farm implements and horseshoes." A wide smile started to spread over his face. "Maybe it's time."

"Aye, maybe it's time." Jack got to his feet and shrugged himself into his coat. "Well, I've got to get myself up to the fort. Commodore Norrington expects me to drop in when I'm in port and I hate to disappoint him. Then I have to see to the disposition of our cargo." He slung his sword belt over his shoulder.

"What do you have this time?" asked Will.

"Silks and wines for the most part." Said Jack picking up his hat. "We ran into a tidy little French merchantman down by St. Lucia, delivering luxury goods from Europe. I picked out a few things for Elizabeth special. I'll bring them back here tonight." Jack made a point of picking out gifts for the Turners from his plunder.

"Everyone in good health, I trust?" asked Will, meaning the Black Pearl's crew.

"Aye, we've been lucky. And having Gwen to see to the injured after any battle has been a boon." He paused by the door. "Shall I be passing your compliments on to Norrington?" he said sarcastically.

"Thank you, but no." replied Will, rolling his eyes again. Jack laughed and departed.

--

Don Bartolome de Salazar sat at his desk writing a letter when the tap came at his door. "Come!" he called. A young girl of about twenty years old entered and dropped a swift, graceful curtsy. "You sent for me, sir?"

Don Bartolome sat back and studied her. The girl was beautiful, there was no question of that. Her glossy black hair was coiled on top of her head, her slender figure clothed in deep blue brocade. Her best feature was perhaps her eyes, which were a lovely blue. However, her eyes when they rested on him were almost always cold and remote. "Antonia. It pleases me to tell you that I have just had a letter from Senor Rodrigo Valera. He has requested your hand in marriage. Therefore you will travel to his plantation on Hispaniola, outside of Santo Domingo where you will be wed." He paused, waiting for a response. There was none forthcoming from the girl. He continued. "You will sail in four days. Senor Valera's younger brother and his wife have arrived and will accompany you to Hispaniola to be sure you arrive safely. Senor Tomas Valera will act as your guardian until the wedding."

After a short pause, Antonia spoke. "Very well, sir. Will that be all?" Without waiting for a response, she curtsied again and swept from the room.