DISCLAIMER: I think we all know the truth. But for those who want to know, here it is: I do not claim ownership of anything you recognize. They belong to whom they belong and those people know who they are. Savvy?
Summary: For years Jack has kept his darkest secret close beside him. However, he is forced to tell Ana the truth when a mysterious figure confronts Jack and claims to know the answers Jack seeks. J/A. Rating for some violence.
A/n: Thanks to Jackfan2 for betaing this first chapter and telling me it was good when I wanted to toss it. Yer a great friend and cap'n, mate!
"Jack, are ye comin'?" Gibbs inquired as he watched his captain turn not toward the gang plank but toward his cabin. The quartermaster's curiosity was sparked; why was Jack avoiding a trip into Tortuga?
"Aye." Jack replied simply whilst continuing to his closed cabin door in his over-exaggerated swagger.
"Need me hat." Jack turned fluidly on his heel to face the group of crew and indicated his vacant head. Indeed, his hat was absent.
Gibbs shook his head; only Jack would care so much about his effects to refuse a venture simply to retrieve such simple items. Ana rolled her eyes in irritation; Jack had ordered her to accompany him into Tortuga this evening and now he was holding everything up! Jack threw his crew a golden grin, which only added to Ana's vexation, and turned back to his cabin.
"Alright Cap'n, we'll meet ye on th' dock." Gibbs said quickly as he began ushering the remaining crew off the ship's deck and literally dragging Ana along lest she do something drastic to get Jack going.
Jack nodded and flitted a hand carelessly in a form of wave before he disappeared into his cabin. The group of crewmembers collected on the dock and milled around in wait, but not quite patiently. Smiles and excited banter were in order as the crew barely contained their eager anticipation for the night's festivities. They happily discussed and laughed as they conversed about the things they'd do and places they'd go on their shore-leave. Many talked of a favorite strumpet or two, and Gibbs listened and even joined in as most looked forward to drinking their fill and getting pointlessly drunk for as long as possible. But, as time ebbed by with no sign of their captain, the happy anticipation became agitated and borderline mutinous. In those minutes the crew continued to grow ever more restless and finally Gibbs dismissed them, leaving him and Ana alone to wait for their eccentric captain.
"What do ye suppose is keepin' 'im?" Gibbs muttered as he turned a questioning gaze on Ana. A pleading look appeared in his eyes but was tempered by 'don't rile the woman by making her think she needs to keep track of their captain'. He silently implored her to check on their commander.
"Wha'?" she asked sharply the instant she felt his gaze on her. When the quartermaster didn't answer she crossed her arms stubbornly over her chest. "I ain't goin' t' get him." Gibbs' insistent stare was silently urging her to check on Jack but she truly didn't want to.
Finally her resistance broke.
With an irritated sigh Ana stormed back up the gang plank and across the deck to Jack's closed cabin door. The first knock was polite, but curt. No answer. Then came the more insistent pounding, after which she placed her fists on her hips and waited for an answer.
"Jack!" she called out.
Still no answer.
Rolling her eyes to herself she placed a tentative hand on the knob, turned it and poked her head inside. "Jack?" she said again and peered around the cabin. With an indignant 'harrumph' she stepped inside, letting the door fall shut behind her.
"Jack?" she called and visually scanned the room. Seeing no sign of the pirate captain, concern began to prick at her conscience even while her anger was kicked up a notch. Cautiously, she stepped further into the room with an alert stance tensing her entire body and instinctively her hand went to the hilt of her cutlass. "Ja-aaaacckkkk!!" Ana's call turned into a squeal of surprise as a weight rammed her from behind and pinned her to the floor. In her efforts she closed her eyes as she writhed wildly trying to free her fists and legs with which she could defend herself but who—or what—ever was holding her seemed to know which way she would twist before she moved.
"Gotcha luv, relax,"
Ana froze at the familiar voice. In seconds she recognized the voice and her eyes flew open. Just as quickly, they narrowed to mere slits as anger flared in their depths. The anger was directed at one man alone and that man was currently straddling her with a sloppy grin plastered on his face. "Jack! I thought ye were…" she stopped herself and her expression grew darker as realization dawned. "Bloody pirate!!"
"A bit paranoid are we luv?" Jack asked with a playful grin, still pinning her effortlessly. Ana's fiery glare did nothing to faze the pirate captain and he leaned in closer to her ear. "How about we skip Tortuga fer th' night? Stay here…t'gether."
"'m not paranoid," Ana growled dangerously as she cast her glance away from his tomcat-like grin. Just as she anticipated, she felt him relax his grip and she seized her opportune moment. With a mighty heave she surged upward. The end result was him lying slightly stunned about a foot away. Ana moved swiftly and delivered a sharp slap to his face. "Don' try tha' again."
Jack quickly set to rubbing his sore cheek but managed to grin shamelessly none the less. His expression soon made Ana's anger ebb and she smiled back.
"Eight ball in th' corner pocket." A burly man leaned forward with a cue stick in hand. Bits of his grungy brown hair that had escaped the leather tie hung limply around his face. In concentration he ran his thick tongue over dry, cracked lips and drew the stick back between grungy fingers. Eyes narrowed, he was just about to tap the ball…
"Ye sure 'bout that mate?"
With a growl of irritation the man pushed himself away from the pool table and glared at the dark man leaning casually on his pool stick. A golden grin illuminated the pirate's face and his kohl-rimmed eyes danced with amusement but the flickering candlelight hid the fact from his opponent.
"Wha' now?" the large man huffed. He was beginning to get fed up with this overly-confident jester's constant interruptions which he could swear were meant only to irritate him. If that was the case, it was working and the sailor had not the mind to hide it.
Jack pushed his advantage for he knew that if he unraveled this simpleton he'd be able to win the game without a hitch. Additionally, it was quite entertaining. "Which corner?"
"Th' one on th' other side o' th' table, tha's which."
The dark pirate's grin seemed to fade which made the heftier sailor think he had won the discussion. Unfortunately for him, that was not the case.
"Y'know it all depends on how you look at it, mate. I mean, think about it! There's four sides t' th' table an' all are th' same. For all I know, you plan to shoot into all four corner pockets at once which is quite improbable if not impossible-"
The hefty man's face darkened considerably and he adjusted his posture in an attempt to look more threatening to the blathering pirate. "Y'mind lettin' me take my shot?"
"Can't rightly do tha' mate unless ye let us all know just which pocket ye're shootin' for. Myself, I'm a might confused. Is it tha' one, tha' one, tha' one, or tha' other one?" Jack's hands were moving at a mile a minute as they wove their hypnotizing pattern and indicated each pocket when Jack spoke of it.
"Wha's new, ye bloody drunk? Ye're always confused."
Jack paused and lifted a finger as a fresh grin slowly lit his face. "Tha's Captain Sparrow, savvy?"
"Sparrow? Jack Sparrow?" Jack's eyes darkened in irritation and he prepared to correct the bystander who had so rudely disregarded his title but didn't get the chance as the speaker continued. "Someone were 'ere lookin' fer ye."
Jack's amber eyes sparked with a hint of interest and his previous thoughts of correcting the man vanished. "Really? Tha's interesting."
"'e's sittin' o'er there." The man pointed a slim finger to the darkest corner of the tavern where a single man was sitting and nursing a bottle of rum.
"Ah." Jack nodded. Turning his attentions back to the table he lowered his cue stick and, after eyeing the angle carefully, he shot at the eight ball which banked twice before landing in the pocket the other sailor had vaguely indicated beforehand. "Looks like I win, mate." With a brief wink he tossed his pool stick onto the table and strode across the tavern to where the cloaked figure sat, ignoring the gaping stares he felt at his back. Sinking into the chair across from the figure Jack propped his feet up on the table. "'ello mate. You wanted t' talk?"
"Indeed. But not here."
Jack's eyebrow rose in silent question though he was sure the other couldn't see the gesture as the cloaked man's head was tilted down. "Where then?"
"The docks in one hour. Trust me, it's worth your while to show up." The figure stood up and turned smartly on his heel. The heavy cloak flowed about him as he left the tavern.
Jack watched the figure leave with a curious stare and then allowed his gaze to slide down to the abandoned mug. As he slipped into his silent musings and the usual smirk faded to a frown, his eyes grew unfocused. "Tha's interesting," Jack whispered to himself absently.