Disclaimer: I do not own anything you recognize. I just like to play with Ja-- the characters ;)
AN: A very big thank you to my beta Anamaria Sparrow, who somehow managed to beta this long thing :)
A Grand Total of Three Days
Captain Jack Sparrow tried desperately to fall asleep. Tonight it was just one of those nights that sleep didn't seem to come. He heard the comfortable sounds of the sea and the Pearl around him, but still that didn't help a thing. He had that feeling again. That feeling that told him that something was going terribly wrong. Jack turned to his other side again and sighed. He hated it when that happened. The thing he probably hated most was that there was nothing that he could do to stop it, to make the feeling go away. If the feeling was there, there was no escape. His mind drifted away, thinking of all the things that could possibly happen.
Was it this crew? He picked them up in a place called Port Maison, not the place where he normally picked up his crew. But he had had no choice this time. The crew that had been with him from the moment he had turned to piracy had decided that finally, after almost 7 years, it was time to get on the dry land and do something with the money they had earned during their years of being a pirate. Jack and his crew were notorious among other pirates, especially since they were... well different. Jack had only been a young lad when fate decided he should become the captain of a ship, a ship that, at that time sailed under the name of the Orchid. His crew at that time had all been honest sailors, doing their very best to bring back some money to their wives and offspring. Back then they had decided that they only wanted to commit one act of piracy and then would go back home. Seven years had past since then and now finally the crew had decided to start a new and honest life somewhere in the Caribbean. Everybody had gone away, except of his best friend and at that time first mate: William 'Bootstrap Bill' Turner. William had wanted to go back to the depressing lands of England, back to his wife and most important back to his little lad, young Will Turner. Jack had picked up a new crew and made Barbossa his new first mate after William had decided to step back from that role. Barbossa had seemed to be the best candidate at that time, especially since he seemed to be the only one with some sense, but now Jack wasn't so sure anymore. There was something wrong with the older man, but Jack couldn't actually put his finger on it.
This new crew was also totally different from the old. This one wanted to see, smell and even taste blood. This one wanted to kill. And that was totally against the principles of Captain Jack Sparrow. He preferred to avoid any sort of kills or hurting at all, only when there was nothing else to do he would raise his own gun or sword and kill somebody. A grand totally of 3 kills were standing behind his name right now and he still regretted every single one of them.
Jack heard a strange sound outside and sat straight up in his bed. Then he shook his head and made ready to get back on the deck. If he couldn't sleep at all and figure out what this feeling was about he might as well take over control of his ship again. He put on his boots and took his jacket and hat from a chair putting them on. A moment he hesitated for the special compass that doesn't point north, lying on a small table next to his bed, but than he put that one on his belt as well, next to his cutlass. His pistol was already dangling at the other side of his belt. Again he heard the strange sound. To him it seemed like his entire crew was awake, while they were trying to do their best not to be heard. What was going on? Then there was an almost polite knock on the door of his cabin.
"Jack?" Barbossa. What for the devil was that man doing in the middle of the night knocking on his door?
With a swing Jack opened his door, mouth open to comment about the late hour of knocking when he's suddenly looking at the shining barrels of several guns and a number swords pointing at his chest and throat.
"Jack," Barbossa smiled friendly at him. "If ye would be so kind."
For once Jack was lost for words, but then realization hit him. This was what that feeling was trying to say to him! This was the horrible thing that was going to happen to him! The feeling seemed to applaud for his realization and then made a place for a new feeling: nervousness together with some fear. Then he was pushed forward and forced to follow his first mate towards the main deck. Barbossa turned around.
"Captain Jack Sparrow, if ye don't mind mate," Jack muttered before he could even stop himself. His new crew laughed and even Barbossa, a normally rather humorless person, laughed out loud.
"Aye, Jack... haven't ye realized it yet? Ye'r no captain anymore. We have taken over this ship."
One of the pirates winked at him; Pintell, if Jack remembered his name right, and then elbows his friend next to him, Ragetti, the idiot with the wooden eye. Ragetti sniffled something and than took a step forward so he's standing next to Jack. With a grin he took Jack's pistol out of his belt, before the ex-pirate captain could even do anything about it. Jack was simply too shocked by what was happening all around him.
"Because ye've always been such a good captain to us," the crew around the two howled with laugher, but for Jack it seems like it was only him and Barbossa, his mutinous first mate, "we decided to give ye a lil present to show yer our appreciation." Taking good care that he was in the middle of the attention Barbossa waved with one hand to a small stroke of land behind him. "We've decided to make ye governor of yer own lil island. Congratulations, Jack." Barbossa smirked, but Jack was still not able to speak at all. He's eyes flew in panic over the gathered people around him. Where was Will? Had he turned against him as well?
Right on that moment he saw William Turner, fighting his way through the pirates until he was next to Jack, grasping his arm in sympathy. Their eyes locked and they came to an agreement almost instantly, using their bond of special friendship to understand each other. William took a step away and did nothing. Jack sighed. He could not fight them; not even with the help of his best friend. So it was no use sacrificing his friend to Davy Jones Locker for nothing. His friend had things to live for; he had a wife and a son. Jack had nothing. Not anymore. His Pearl was going to be taken away from him and then he had only his freedom left. But freedom on a small island in the middle of the ocean was not exactly what he thought it would be.
But the feeling was back. The feeling that something bad was going to happen. What can be worse than this? Then he turned in shock back to his friend William and in that quick moment that their eyes lock he saw something that almost made his knees buckle. Bootstrap Bill Turner was about to do something incredibly stupid. Now more than ever he tried to send messages with his eyes, but William looked away and Jack lowered his head. Everything was going wrong.
"Now, Jack... I hope ye can swim, mate. Cause we have no intention to accompany you to yer little island, since we have a treasure to commandeer!" The pirates yelled and started to push Jack forward and then he noticed something that he hasn't seen in years. In fact, he has never seen it before, only heard off it. The plank. They were going to let him walk the plank! He didn't even know he had such a thing on the Pearl in the first place.
"Off you go, Jack," Barbossa whispered in his ear, clearly enjoying the moment. Within seconds Jack found himself on the beginning of the plank, turning around to face the group of pirates in front of him.
"I've always liked you people," but as soon as these words had left his mouth he realized how weak they sounded. He did not like these people. In fact, he had been planning to change crews in Tortuga. His eyes found Bootstraps' for one more time and then he turned, ready to walk the dreaded plank.
"Hold on, Jack, I've almost forgot something," then his pistol is pushed back in his hands by Ragetti. "There's a pistol fer ye with one shot, ye know wha' that means, right?"
Jack closed his eyes. Of course he knew what that means! One moment an insane plan flashed through his mind, by turning around and emptying the pistol in Barbossa's chest, but then it disappeared. That would not help, not on this moment. Then Jack took a deep breath and he jumped, the sound of drunken screaming was the last thing he hears until he disappeared under the surface.
Jack reached 'his' island when the sun slowly peeks over the Caribbean Sea. He turned and saw his Pearl sailing away, heading for the Isla de Muerta and the treasure hidden in there. During his little swim all emotions seemed to have been washed away by the sea. Jack simply felt blank, not able to feel anything at all. He just watched. He had no idea how long he was standing there, until his middle in the waters, watching until the Pearl has long disappeared and the sun was high in the sky. He had only noticed one thing. Something dark slowly drifting in his direction. Suddenly aware that he was, in fact, standing still for an awful long time he dived and swam with powerful strokes to the dark object in the sea.
A case. More important his case, the case he kept in his cabin and where he had all the stuff in that meant anything for him. The case that he had had since his very first travel on sea. Without a doubt Bootstrap had sent it after him. Now Jack could only hope that Barbossa wouldn't mind.
Exhausted, Jack dropped down in the warm sand of the little island, the case lying just out of the reach of the sea. Slowly he stripped off his jacket and his boots. Then after a moment of hesitation he also took off his shirt to dry it in the warm sun. Jack didn't actually enjoy sitting with a bare chest like this, knowing the scars that showed up then, but he figured that there weren't actually a lot of people around who would get shocked by the sight of it.
Then he lowered himself and finally fell asleep.
With a groan Jack woke up again and franticly looked around. God, had he hoped that it was only a bad dream! A dream he could tell later to his good friend Bootstrap during a game of cards or a couple of drinks. But it was real. Too real.
Jack quickly noticed that he had slept for a long time. The sun was already starting to go down again and his clothing had dried. He quickly put on his shirt again, leaving the jacket and boots for the moment. Then he remembered the pistol. He stared at it for a moment, holding the object that he never wanted to use if he could avoid it. Then he took out the bullet and looked at that little object. He still remembered the two that entered his body once. His crew had then protected him and taken him back to his ship, the only place where he could fully heal. Samuel, one of his old crewmembers, had taken the bullets out and nursed him back to health. He still had the two bullets, in a little box made out of wood. The gunpowder has gone a little bit wet, but Jack noticed soon enough that the pistol still should work.
So that meant he could still shoot himself with it when the time came.
As soon as this thought becomes clearer in his head he threw his gun away as far as possible, suddenly raging with anger.
He was Captain Jack Sparrow, for crying out loud! And he was going to get his Pearl back, she belonged to him like fish belonged to the sea and the sun belonged to the moon! She was the reason he lived for! In anger he stood up and decided to take a look around on 'his' island. With long strides he toddles off, avoiding the pistol lying in the sand. Too soon he was back on a way too familiar place. His boots and jacket still lay in the sand and the case out of reach of the sea. Jack avoided looking at the pistol, although he caught his eyes going to it once in a while.
He then pulled the case further up on land and opened it. He himself didn't even recall what he had all put in there during all his journeys. The thing that lay on top was a small booklet with a cover that was once dark brown, but now faded into an orange color by the sun. His log. He had learned how to write at a young age, something that was rather special in his neighborhood. He remembered how little kids had teased him with the fact that he could write, once throwing him into the dirt when he hadn't paid attention. But he had been happy with it. He opened the log and read the first page. The first page that started with the first trip he ever made on a ship.
I've decided that I'm going to write in this log. My father hasn't taught me writing for nothing! Strange things happen to me, Jack Sparrow. Sparrow is not my real last name. It's the name they gave in the prison, where I have spent the last two years of my not so long live. 17 I am now. According to most still a lad, but I know how to get around.
Two days ago the inspector himself called me. Of course he started of with some random questions, but I was immediately suspicious; I might be in prison, but I'm not completely ignorant from the world outside!
"Sparrow," he said, "How long are you here now?"
"More than two years now, inspector," I replied. You learn very soon that you should always be polite to your superiors.
"I see, more than two years," he repeated, "In about a year your punishment is over, but I must say that I doubt you will stay away very long, kid. You just don't seem to be able to see the difference between good and bad. It's our assignment to show you that difference, but there are always some among the lot who need a different treatment."
He looked at me as if he wanted to look right through me, but I didn't show a sign.
"I want to make you a proposal, Sparrow. You can sign on for duty on a merchant navy ship that is going to set sail for India. You will find out that on board discipline is really needed, but that can't hurt you. This will let you slowly go back into the civilized world. Remember that not everybody gets this chance. You should consider yourself lucky."
What did this man think, that I was poor and stupid? I really needed to do my best not to laugh. Lucky! Sure... especially when you considered that the merchant navy had a desperate need for crewmembers 'cause lot of people died along the way. I'm sure they paid this inspector a good sum of money if he could deliver them some healthy young men. But I liked this idea. My dad had sailed as well, although he had disappeared on the sea. Being a member of a crew was a dangerous business and not many survived, but I just knew that I couldn't survive much longer between the walls of the prison. I longed for real fresh air, for a sign of freedom. And so I said yes.
"Any questions, Sparrow?" the inspector asked, no longer interested in me.
"Good boy. You can go, Sparrow."
Of course I was right. I wasn't the only 'lucky' person who got this 'chance'. A day later about 10 healthy young men showed up and we were taken to our new place of living: the Orchid. Still in prison we had all a large case to put our stuff in, but I haven't got much. Only some clothing, a bible from my mum and this booklet and some ink to write with. Like I said: my dad taught it to me, although nobody ever seemed to believe that a beggar like I could write.
What a ship the Orchid was! I've never seen anything as beautiful in my live! It was higher than I ever imagined it could be! Our cases were throw on the deck, and when I finally found mine again, the more experienced crew member had already taken the best places in the lower deck where we all sleep: in the middle of it. I could only manage to grab a spot near the mainmast together with someone I knew from out the prison: Jacob.
"What a mess," he said. And it was true. Between cannons and other stuff the crewmembers had put their stuff in their hammocks. People who hadn't got a spot to sleep yet, fell over the others and curses were filling the air.
"Get yerself another spot, yer piece of wreckage!" A large, dirty looking man was trying to push me from my place, but I was not very impressed. I've been living on the streets as long as I can remember, so I knew how to handle this. I tackled him and the man stumbled backwards.
"Wha's this? Big mouth, aye?" threatening the man started to come forward again.
I grabbed a large piece of rope from the ground, but before I could hit him another man grasped my arm from behind.
"I wouldn't do that if I were you, mate," a calm voice said. "Do you know what they do here with fighters? They get a serious whipping as warning for others. And you can pay for your doctor as well. Does that sound good to you?"
I dropped the rope and turned around to look into the face of a muscled man, with long brown hair and twinkling brown eyes.
"Get your hands of my arm!"
The man did so and with a big grin on his face he left. I looked around, but nobody seems to be interested anymore in taking away my spot.
"This sounds like fun," muttered Jacob, "Can't we just jump overboard and swim away?"
"If I would have a chance I would do it, but you will have a bullet in your head
before your body has touched the water."
Then we heard a lot of screaming and we are summoned to get on deck. The first mate, Melton, called out everyone's name and when he saw that the crew was complete he turned to the captain of the Orchid.
"Your crew, Captain."
The Captain, Fredericks, said nothing. He just lets his eyes flow over his crew.
"It's great," the Captain said with a flat voice and I had to agree. How on earth can we reach India with a bunch of idiots like that?
"We are going to make some real sailors out of you," the Captain started his speech. "Tomorrow you are no longer landlubbers, then I'll expect sailors around me! I demand obedience and who doesn't show that will be punished. Understood?"
Some murmurs from the crew. Then the Captain gave a sign to his first mate and he read aloud the punishments that were given on this ship. Murder is punished by throwing the murder overboard, alive and chained to the victim. What kind of sick system is this?
Soon I found out that I had first watch and the first hours of my 'freedom' I spent swabbing the main deck. The wind was getting stronger fast.
"We're leaving," said a voice next to me, "That was fast! Sometimes it takes days until the wind gets right."
When I looked up, I saw the same fellow who stopped me from fighting earlier that day. He gave me a huge grin.
"I'm William Turner, William for my friends and Bill for the idiots," he said. "This is my third travel."
"Oh," I replied while swabbing along. William was not taken back by this. He nodded with his head towards two small boats, which were sailing towards the dry land.
"Those are getting us fresh water," he said. "That's the last thing that needs to happen before we can take off. The sea is a bit rough. I hope you don't get seasick."
"I've got no idea."
"Well... we will find out soon enough," William said with a grin.
Barely an hour later, the wind was strong enough and the Captain and his first mate were starting to scream orders to us. Everybody ran through each other, were climbing in the rigging and screaming at each other. I couldn't help but stare at the dry land that was my home for 17 years, but that did not please the Captain.
"What do you think you are doing? This isn't meant to be fun! Get in the rigging before I kick you in it!"
I quickly grasped the ropes of the rigging and I looked up, seeing my fellow crewmembers so high up that I could barely see them.
"WELL!?! Lazy pig! What did I just tell you! UP I SAID!!!"
I felt the end of a whip hitting my leg, but I somehow managed to get myself up, climbing as quickly as I dare. The higher I got, the more the rigging moved through the wind. When I looked around me I only saw grey colors, the clouds and the waves. Even the sea gulls looked gray when they were screeching above my head.
"Hey matey! This way!"
When I looked up I saw far above me William.
"Don't look down!" he screamed at me. "It's not that bad! The first time is always worst!"
I took a deep breath and climbed further. Just when I thought that I couldn't continue any longer and was going to fall, a hand grasped me and pulled me up.
"Well done, mate! Now enjoy the view! Come on... look! A sailor who doesn't dare to look has got no use. You seemed to be made out of the right wood, matey! Look down at the other new ones."
This time I dared to look down. Three boys I didn't know yet where hanging in the rigging, not daring to go any higher. One boy was already crying his eyes out and I really felt sorry for the poor lad. The first mate, Melton, climbed after them and hit them as often as he could.
"The bastard!" I said.
"He doesn't easily make friends," William admitted, "But talking isn't helping anyway."
Then we both turned our attention back on the beautiful view.
"Sailing is wonderful," William said. "Up here it feels like you are flying yourself... don't you feel it?"
I certainly felt it. What an amazing feeling it was!
"What's your name, matey? I need to know my new best friends name."
I looked William in the eye to see if he was serious, but I saw soon enough that this wasn't some kind of joke.
"My name is Jack. Jack Sparrow."
"Well hello Jack! It's always good to have a mate among the crew. Now we better get down 'cause I think we soon get our food."
After a last look at the view I climbed down, not trying to think about what would happen if I would fall. We barely set our feet on deck or we heard a loud bell ringing. I soon found out that that means food.
A long line awaited us and I could barely see the cook, standing behind a large damping kettle.
"That's Long John," William said while nodding towards the cook. "Was my cook as well on my last travel. Terrible job, cook."
I took a closer look at this cook. He was very long and very skinny and he looked really... inconspicuous. He's bold headed and everything about him seems to be long and skinny as well: his arms, his legs, everything. He hadn't really gotten an easy job I soon found out, after hearing the comments he gets to hear when he gives out the food.
"I can't make anything better out of this," cried out Long John, a little bit desperate. "If you don't want it you can throw it back in the kettle."
"In your dreams, Needle! Then you will have a bit more... not that you can't use it." One of the men let his eyes fly over the skinny figure of the cook.
"I think you are going to give me a bit more," said a muscular man.
"I think you've had enough, Tom," said Long John bravely, but I could see in his eyes that he was everything except of brave.
"Give me more!" Tom threw Long John behind and came threateningly forward. On that moment I decided it was a good time to stretch my leg and Tom fell down, flat on his face.
"WHO DID THAT!" he roared.
"I did." I still don't know why, but the only thing Tom did was curse me to hell and back, but that's not something I haven't heard before.
"You dare," mumbled Long John when it was my time to get my food.
"Yes mate... it does look like you've just made yourself a friend for life," agreed William.
"You did," Long John looked at me for a moment before he continued. "If you can keep people like Tom away from me... you will get that bit more."
"We have an accord," I agreed with a grin. And, with a bowl more full than the others, I sat down in a corner together with William, who shared in my agreement.
Yes I think I made two good new friends on this ship.
While reading a smile had appeared on Jack's face. Life had been good in those days and he had made many friends, besides William and Long John. Long John had been part of his crew later as well. But now that was all gone. The only thing left to remember it was his diary. He turned to the last page in his diary.
We picked up a crew in Port Maison and there I left them all. All my friends from over the years to start a new life like always had been the plan, ever since we first became pirates. Only one lucky strike and we would stop. But piracy was more enjoyable than we all had thought when we started. Much more fun. And what can I be besides a pirate?
I was standing at the main deck when we left Port Maison, watching Long John and Samuel who were waving us goodbye. I was really going to miss them among the crew, although the cooking would probably improve now that Long John had stopped. But I look forward to visiting them again, although they all said that they weren't going to stay in Port Maison. I can understand that. It really is an ugly place.
"Captain?" I turned around and see William. Damn him! He seems to have some sort of sixth sense for the times when I needed him most.
"How are ye feeling, Jack?"
I grinned. He never was able to continue calling me captain, but I didn't mind. I'd rather have him seeing me as a friend than as his captain.
"I have no idea." That is the truth. I'm not sure what to think of this new chapter in my pirate's life just yet. I'm not entirely sure if I like this new crew either. I really think that some of them are hiding on my ship from things they have done. Ugly things like murder and rape.
"You will be fine, Jack. You are Captain Jack Sparrow above all!"
He was right. Like always. But I'm not sure what is going to happen if he leaves me as well. In fact, deep inside I hope he will change his mind. That he will stay among my crew forever. I wouldn't mind having his wife on board as well, and his lad. I've always liked young kids and we might be able to make a good pirate out of him.
That was the last thing he had written in it. Three days ago. And now he was here. With a sigh Jack closed his diary and took a look at what more was hidden in his case.
Ink and a feather to write with. A sextant and some maps from the area. A little wooden box with two bullets in it. Kohl. A trinket with two black stones on it. Drawings from the ocean, the Pearl and people Jack had met along the way. Another trinket, this time one with large circles in different colours. A wooden statue of a sparrow. Several books. A bible.
With a small smile Jack opened the bible to the title page. With curly letters a name was written in that: Caroline Smith. His mother. Then he lowered himself again with the bible lying on his chest looking at the darkening sky above him until he slowly fell asleep again, surrounded by the objects from the case.