Disclaimer: I do not own, I just like to play with the characters

A very big thank you to my beta ld

Of Ships and Tricks

Captain Jack Sparrow hates this island. The only good thing about it is that it's not his island, but another piece of rock somewhere in the ocean. A seriously large piece of rock as well, which is a very good thing at the moment.

"I don't know wot yer planning to do, but I don't really trust it," mutters Jacob, member of the old Pearl crew.

"Well, mate," Jack waves with his hands into the direction that they just came from, "then you just go back. Send me a card to tell how that turns out," Jack flashes his grin. "I ain't gonna keep ye here if ye don' like it."  

Between the dark shapes of the trees they can still vaguely see the Salty Dog, a ship that they had commandeered only 3 days ago, and for once decided to keep. Normally Jack would take over a ship on sea, take away most of its supplies, but leave just enough for the crew to get back to the nearest port. But, as told already, not this time. This time Will Turner, son of Bootstrap, had informed him about the fact that he still owned Anamaria a ship. And that she looked very much in love with the Salty Dog. And so they had left the crew in the nearest port and taken their ship, with Anamaria as her captain.

"If we keep on walking we'll get to the sea again … it's not an island for nothing, savvy?"

Anamaria stares at the bay and curses. "May the devil get those bastards! They'll burn my ship!"

"Would you rather be shot or hanged, then!?" Martin, mostly called Marty by the crew because of his short size, snaps.

"Ships can be replaced, luv," Jack places his hand in sympathy on Ana's shoulder. "Let's get away from here."

Everybody is acting paranoid: hearing things that are not there, terrified that the pirate hunters are right behind them. Normal sounds of the forest make them look up or cause hands to fly to pistols or cutlasses.  Only a couple of hours ago everything still seemed fine, everybody on the Pearl was loudly singing the pirate song and Anamaria was standing proudly at the helm of her ship. Then one set of sails showed up at the horizon. Then another, and another. Three ships were sailing towards them, proudly showing their British flags. Jack had left the Pearl to talk their future course out with Ana when they saw the ships appear over the horizon. Soon they recognized one as the HMS Veronica, which was owned by one of the most feared pirate hunters in the Caribbean. 

"Bloody hell," Jack muttered as the ships came closer and closer. "Any ideas, luv?"

Ana could only shake her head in shock. "Well, then, ye just have te trust me."

"WILLIAM!" Jack suddenly roared over the water to Will, who was standing on the deck of the Pearl. Soon Jack's plan was explained and both ships sailed away, in opposite directions. 

"Bloody hell! Ye should think those idiots would sail after the Pearl…" Jack muttered when he saw the 3 ships going after the Salty Dog. "She's the faster ship!" Jack almost sounded disappointed that they picked out 'only' the Salty Dog and not his pride.

"Any new ideas, Jack?" Ana asked, slightly panicked. She had never been so near a pirate hunter before and she didn't really like this new experience.

"Set sail to that island, luv. Go to the bay."

"But ---"

"Just do it!"

And Ana had done it. She sailed to the bay and then they quickly left the ship, taking as many supplies with them as they could carry. Knowing the British Navy, they would probably wait outside the bay for a little while, afraid for a trap, before taking a look themselves. That gave them some time to disappear on the island, in the huge forest that covered it almost entirely. Bushes slam into their face as they disappear deeper and deeper into the forest; they fall over stumps and lianas and curses fill the air.

Marty stops so suddenly that two men behind him walk right into him. 

"What is it?" they yell, irritated and a bit afraid, although they would never admit it.

"T-two eyes," Marty points, terrified, to a couple of bushes on his left. "Two eyes were watching me! Now they're gone." 

The men sigh impatiently, but they also take a good look around to make absolutely sure that there are no eyes watching them at all. 

"I think we better continue when it's light again. What say you, Cap'n?" Jacob says.

"We canna see a thing and we might fall off a cliff… or walk right into a river."

"That wouldna be so terrible. I'm more afraid of those godforsaken animals!" whispers somebody in the dark. 

"And what do ye think'll swim in the rivers 'ere, Roland? Ever 'eard of alligators? Afore ye can even think ye walked into a driving piece of wood, ye've lost yer legs."

"Gentlemen… let's call it a day, savvy?" Jack quickly moves in between Jacob and Roland, before bad things start to happen. "We'll just wait fer the first light of day afore we continue again." With that Jack literally drops to the ground, more because of a stump he tripped over than because he actually wanted to sit down. 

Watches are set and soon everybody finds a place to lay down, in the hope of getting a couple of hours sleep. It is a rather restless group that wakes up the next morning.

"I 'aven't slept at all," grumbles Edward, "What a noise! Can't these goddamn animals shut up!"

 One by one everybody gets on his feet again, except for Sammy.

"Aye, Marty! Get up! We ain't gonna carry ye!" Jacob yells roughly.

With huge eyes Marty stares at his leg. "A- a snake!" Marty stammers. "Good Lord, A bloody SNAKE!"  Jacob, who is about to kick Marty awake, freezes in his movement. A heavy snake has nestled himself happily on Marty 's leg, a forked tongue showing once in a while. The snake becomes aware of the sudden consternation around him and rises a bit from the ground. Marty almost faints in fear. 

"Stay still, mate," Jack says, calm on the outside, but pulling his hair out in frustration on the inside. "And you. Don't. Move." Carefully Jack sneaks up towards the snake from behind, but than Jacob says: "No bother, Cap."  With that he pulls his pistol and fires, shooting the snake right in the head. Marty yells a girlish scream.

"Calm, mate. Look," Jacob picks up the dead snake, "'e's no more. He's dead."

Shaking, Marty gets to his feet. " Jacob, yer my best friend!"

"Tha' wasn't without danger," says Edward skeptically.

"I'm not afraid of such a wee snake," Jacob says bravely.

"I mean for Marty. Ye could've shot 'im."

"Aye, I could. But I didn't, savvy? Now, how about some grub?"

They chew on what food they have, but none of the men (or woman) is sitting very comfortably, and soon they leave. With stiff limbs they try to find their way again in the thick forest, but the heavy packs are not cooperating. Jacob falls down over a low liana and when Marty tries to pull him on his feet again he feels something wet under his hands and he squeals again.

"A snake! A snake!"

"Ye idiot!" Jacob grumbles, but he has colored a couple of shades paler. "As if ye wouldn't know if ye touched a bloody snake!"

"I hate this forest," Marty says sadly. "Let's go back."

"Come on, ye lads, " Jack interrupts, "the only way back is to the pirate hunters. Is tha' what ye want?" Silence stretches when none of the pirates answers Jack, who almost automatically has taken over command from Anamaria again. "Let's continue." What the men don't know is what Jack keeps repeating over and over again in his head: 'I hate this bloody island.'

The forest is full of life. Strange, ape-like animals with black and white spots and yellow eyes are observing the odd group. Reptiles are running away from their feet. Colorful birds are flying high above their heads. It's still early, but it's already hot and the day goes by slowly. The heavy packing is getting heavier with each step they take and the men are soon swimming in their own sweat.

Roland steps in an anthill and curses so richly that Jack mutters "I didn't know 'alf of those curses," in some amazement and respect.

Jack keeps his compass in his left hand and his cutlass in his right, trying to cut his way through the thick forest. Anamaria walks right behind him. It's already past midday when they spy a river through the trees. The men have a hard time stopping themselves from yelling out loud, they are so glad to see water again. Suspiciously they first take a look around before they finally step into the cool water.

"It's nice here," Jack says happily as he takes a better look around. "And I smell flowers." Beautiful orchids are growing on the river back. Soon one of them has found its way into Anamaria's hair.

"Haven't we got anything nice to eat?" Roland says sarcastic.

"Fruit all over the place, mate," Jack says," Though ye won't get me out of the water real soon."

"Me neither," chants Edward happily. "Let's stay here. It's paradise!"

"Yeah… tha's what the cannibals think, too," Jack says with a wink and Edward sits up again, while the others roar with laughter.

"I wonder if those blasted pirate hunters are on this island as well," Ana says to Jack.

"I don't think so, luv. They don't want their costumes te get dirty," Jack flashes a grin. "I think they'll wait 'til we show up again."

"What are we going to do, Jack?"

"Captain, luv, Captain. We are going te keep a sharp eye. They canna watch te entire coastline. And we still 'ave the Pearl."  Jack swims to the other riverbank and gets on the land again. Then he knocks on the nearest tree.

"Good wood," he mutters.

"Captain Jack Sparrow, what are ye thinkin'?" Anamaria curiously asks. She knows that glint in his eyes very well. It's his 'I have a cunning plan' glint, and most of the time, that means he's about to do something crazy.

"Well, luv. I am only using the brains me mum gifted me with. We can make a raft. Than we don't need to walk. This bloody river needs te bring us to the ocean once more."

Then Jack turns to his crew, who are spattering themselves with water. "Listen, ye lazy scoundrels. We are going to make a raft!"

The entire day the men had been busy cursing their heavy packs, but now they are happy they brought it along. Soon all the material is ready. Even as professional sailors, it still takes them a day to make a good raft, large enough for them all, and another day to make two smaller ones for all the packs. But then they have fun with it. At night they sleep on it and by day they fly over the river. During their journey the men continue to point out odd plants or animals they have never seen or tell each other odd stories.

After a couple of days, they have lost every idea of time. It's always steaming hot, and over the placid surface of the river a lot of mosquitoes keeps themselves entertained with the crew of the Salty Dog. Once in a while they meet an alligator on their way, but these animals don't bother them. Jack keeps looking at his compass and on a moment he decides they can better continue further on foot.

"It can't be far anymore," Marty says hopefully. "We already bin away fer ages!"

"I think we 'aven't really took the shortest way either, mate," Jack answers, "but at least its quicker than walking."

With a tiny feeling of regret they leave the rafts on the riverbank and continue their travel on foot, soon falling back into cursing and tripping over stumps.

"If that Will Turner doesn't keep to the deal, I'm going to kill 'im," Roland grumbles.

"He will," Jack says calmly. Roland gives him a dark look.

A couple of days filled with strange fruit and lots of mosquito bites later Jack suddenly stops. "Listen!"

They all listen very carefully and there it is: the lovely sound of the ocean.

"We made it!" They all continue with new hope, taking out their frustrations from the past days on the stumps and lianas.

"Finally. This godforsaken jungle is getting' on me nerves," Jack mutters. He really hates this bloody island!

"Let's stay quiet, all. We don't know if te hunters are waiting on us."

More quietly than Jack could have hoped for, they continue and then they see it. Still vaguely, but it's unmistakable. The Black Pearl. Complete with Will Turner, Mr. Cotton, parrot and Mr. Gibbs all three sitting on the beach obviously waiting for them.

Yelling, the rest of the crew now run towards the three men (and bird) on the beach.

Only Jack and Anamaria stay a bit behind.

"Ye still owe me a ship, Jack," Ana says with a small smile.

"I know, luv. Until than ye can stay on the Pearl. And in me cabin if ye like," he flashes his grin again.

"Jack Sparrow!" Ana says, but she laughs along with it and soon Jack even forgets to correct Ana about his name.