When Elizabeth was younger, her mother had told her stories every night before bed. Stories of adventures, treasures, and exotic places that seemed so far away they couldn't be real. She waited each night to hear the story, for the gallant hero to come rescue his fair maiden from the clutches of the enemy. Her favorite stories had always been the ones with pirates though. Even as she grew into a young woman and no longer received the bed time stories, instead having to sit through long lectures of propriety and the pompous discussions of those who approached her at balls, she would imagine her hero coming to rescue her. A small smile touched her lips as she remembered how she would picture him as a handsome rogue pirate with a good heart.
To be perfectly honest, she had thought Jack and Will to be a little off the first time she had met each one. Will had been so polite to her, his concern resting on her and not with himself. Jack had been more than willing to recount to her the stories of pirates on the Spanish Main where other men would laugh her off and tell her that she shouldn't be concerning herself with such things. Neither one was at all like the high society men she was so used to and she liked it that way.
"You never told me your real name." Elizabeth said as they marched along the passageway. Jack had been quiet for some time now and she suspected that it had to do with the fact that she had used up his rum supply. Hardly a thing to be angry about, yet there he was pouting like a little boy. The silence had become almost overwhelming, so she decided to make conversation.
"Captain Jack Sparrow." He responded after a few moments of silence, debating on whether or not to talk to the rum burner. Elizabeth stopped and stared at him, making the light stop moving as well. Jack paused and glanced back at her. "What?"
"The Jack Sparrow?" She asked in a hushed voice, remembering the few tales she had heard. "You vanished from under the eyes of seven agents of the East India Company. You sacked Nassau Port without even firing a shot." She breathed. Jack looked a little more relaxed under the sudden onslaught of praise.
"Aye, that's me." He responded. "Can we keep moving before Barbossa's crew finally catches up and puts an end to us all?" He waved a hand at the darkness behind them. Elizabeth nodded and quickly started walking again, still in awe that she was in the presence of one of the most famous pirates in the Caribbean. As soon as that thought passed, however, a new one took it's place and her suspicion rose.
"Captain Sparrow, if you're a pirate, then what were you doing in Port Royal?" She stopped again, forcing Jack to stop as well. "Why didn't anyone see your ship for that matter?" Jack turned to face her, an irritated expression on his face.
"Look, the quick of it is that Captain Barbossa stole my ship." Jack told her, moving so that they were face to face. "Mutinied me on an island to die after taking the bearings of how to find this little old island that we're lost on." He pointed downwards. "So I needed a little bit of a bargaining chip and who could argue with one of the most valuable treasures known." He slipped the necklace out of the pouch at his waist. Elizabeth's first reaction was to slap him.
"You stole that from me?" Elizabeth growled angrily, pointing at him unintentionally with the torch. Jack had to hop backwards to avoid the flame.
"Pirate." He responded. "And I'd do anything to get the Pearl back." In one fluid motion, he snatched the torch from her. "Now, are you coming or are you going to stand there and stare angrily at me?" He asked before turning on his heel and marching down the passageway. Elizabeth growled deep in her throat and followed after him.
"What's so important about a ship anyways? If you can steal my necklace, you can steal another ship for your purposes." Elizabeth muttered. Jack held up a finger.
"The Pearl is not just any ship, love. It's freedom, it's an old friend, and its a lover. I've been with that ship so many years that I would trust her at anytime over another man. She never lies to me and takes me where I want to be, away from the constricting rule of society. She's not just some ship, as you put it. She's a lot more than that. It's hard to explain." She noticed how Jack's voice became serious as he talked about the Pearl. She couldn't think of a response to make to that statement and let it linger in the silence between them. They walked on quietly for a while.
Once again, the silence grew overpowering and Elizabeth felt compelled to break it. "We're devils and black sheep and really bad eggs. Drink up me 'earties yo ho! Yo ho yo ho a pirate's life for me..." Jack stopped and turned to look at her.
"Where did you learn that?" He asked her. She glanced at him once before looking down at the ground.
"I made it up." She said quietly. "When I was a young girl." Jack stared at her for a moment longer, a calculating expression on his face.
"Is there more to it?" Elizabeth nodded. "Teach me."
A while later, Jack and Elizabeth had forgotten the grievances they had against each other and were linked arm and arm, singing 'A Pirates Life for Me' and swaying to the music. It was the most lighthearted either one had felt in days and it felt great. So it was no surprise when Jack accidentally stepped off the ledge and fell into the water below, taking Elizabeth with him. They both emerged, sputtering and wiping the wet hair from their faces.
"I think I know where we are..." Jack said hesitantly as he glanced around. It had gone dark again as the torch had died in the water, but there was still a reasonable amount of light shed from onwards down the cavern. Jack swam to the edge of the rock where the waterway turned the corner and glanced around, a grin appearing on his face as he saw the boats pulled up on shore. He motioned for Elizabeth to follow him and swam for the boats. She paused for a moment before following after.
Jack scrambled up on shore and quickly darted between the boats, grabbing the oars and throwing them into the boat that he and Will had rowed into the cavern in. He motioned for Elizabeth to get in, but she paused.
"What about Will?" She asked quietly.
"We're goin' to need more men. I've got a crew waiting outside." Jack hissed at her. "Now get in." Elizabeth looked reluctantly at the boat for a moment before finally getting in. Jack pushed the boat away from shore and got in, picking up the oars and starting the all too familiar rowing rhythm from before.
Elizabeth quietly clung to the pole that held the lantern, staring at the slowly disappearing shore. "How can you just leave him there?" She asked quietly.
"I'm not leaving him there." Jack snapped over his shoulder at her. "I'm not bloody stupid enough to go after him against Barbossa's bloody crew all by me onesies either." He turned back around, listening to the fall and the rise of the paddles in the water. "He's probably still just as lost as we were anyways. That gives us time."
Elizabeth fell quiet again and this time stayed quiet as they continued on. The only other conversation came from when Jack announced that he saw the mouth of the cave and that it was night. She wondered briefly how much time had gone by since she had been kidnapped. It seemed like weeks, but couldn't be more than a few days at most.
"Jack, I..." Anything Elizabeth was about to say was lost as they came out into the open. There was a series of clicks and Jack glanced around to see that he was surrounded on both sides. In front of him, the Dauntless was sitting beside the Interceptor. Soldiers trained their rifles at him, crouching on the rocks. On his right, Commodore Norrington stood behind his men, a small smile on his face.
"Good evening, Captain Sparrow." He said and nodded politely to Elizabeth. "We've been extremely worried about you, Miss Swann. Your father will be quite happy to hear that you're safe. Men, see that Captain Sparrow is shackled and taken to the Dauntless."
"Wait!" Jack stood up in the boat, nearly sending him and Elizabeth into the water. "Commodore, I think we may be able to work out a deal here." He protested. Elizabeth glanced up at him, a small frown on her face, wondering just what it was the pirate was up to now.
"A deal?" Norrington raised an eyebrow. "I don't make deals with the likes of your kind, Sparrow." He said and turned to head back down to his boat as a few of the soldiers clambered down to their own to head out to Jack and Elizabeth's boat.
"First of all, it's Captain, Captain Jack Sparrow. Second of all, not even if it means capturing the crew that attacked Port Royal?" Jack called loudly to him. Norrington paused, his back to Jack. He stayed there for a moment before glancing over his shoulder to Jack.
In the dark, it was hard to see who had shoved him this time. He thought he'd been prepared for it, but instead he stumbled forward and hit the dirt on his knees. A foot came through the darkness and made contact with his ribs. The air left him in a hurry and he curled up in a ball to protect his stomach from another attack.
"What do ya think you're doing?" In the dim light given off by the torch, Will saw the skinny pirate step up, wooden eye moving uselessly in the eye socket. The fire also illuminated the few others in the group, giving him a good look at who he was up against. Too many to fight back. He instead stayed down, focusing on trying to find a way out.
"He said he was to be brought back alive, not unharmed." Pintel hissed at Ragetti, a vicious gleam in his eyes. "We could say he tried to run and we had to teach him a lesson." He glanced down at Will. "Got a problem with this one."
"Because of Bootstrap?" Will's breath caught in his throat at the mention of his father.
"Aye, because of Bootstrap." A rough hand curled in Will's hair and yanked him to his feet with a sharp tug. He pushed himself up as quickly as he could to avoid hair being ripped from his scalp. "Because of your father, boy." He nearly spit the word at the young thief. "Sent a piece of that cursed treasure to you and left us all cursed. Then again, we didn't find out we needed his blood to lift the curse until after." There was a moment of silence behind him, the pirates digesting this bit of ironic information.
"That's not it at all." Pintel's grip tightened in Will's hair as he spoke. "Perhaps you're just jealous because my father was a better man than you." He smiled slightly. "Because you aren't half the man he was."
"Shut him up." One of the other pirates groaned. "We don't need to be hearin' him blatherin' on about bein' a good man." Someone's hand lashed out and made contact with his cheek, the force behind the blow enough to make his head turn.
"Enough!" At the sound of the bosun's deep voice, the pirates froze in a mixture of fear and respect for authority. "We take him back to Barbossa so we can be rid of this curse." The bosun grabbed Will's arm, dragging him down the corridor again. There was a slight murmuring of the pirates behind him, but they soon followed after, the pathway echoing with their voices making plans for what they would do when the curse was lifted.
It had been Cotton who had first spotted the Navy ship. He'd ran down from the quarterdeck, waving his arms as his parrot squawked away on his shoulder. When Marty had found a good position on the rail and sighted the ship through the spyscope, it was still just barely visible in the fog. Enough time for them to make one last plan.
It was simple enough. There was a code to follow. Anyone who fell behind was left behind. They'd waited long enough for Jack, Will, Gibbs, and Anamaria. Taking the remaining boats, they'd paddled across the bay, leaving the empty ship for the Navy to find. However, they were quite surprised to find another bay parallel to the one they'd been in. There was a ship in the bay, and not just any ship.
He was going to die, throat torn open and bleeding on cursed gold. Before him, men stared, nearly drooling in their lust to be freed of the curse. Barbossa stared at him, a cruel, calculating look on his face, the knife in his hand glinting in the torch light. He nodded slightly to the man behind Will, who forced the thief's head down over the chest and presented his neck as a clean target. He couldn't struggled. Even if he knocked his captor away, there would still be Barbossa to face and the rest of the crew who wouldn't be sated until his life blood was spilled on that damn gold.
The cold blade pressed against his throat and he couldn't help but swallow. He closed his eyes and forced himself to think back. If he was going to die now, he'd die remembering the better part of his life. Spending time with his father when he was younger, traveling with Jack, and meeting Elizabeth. It was a pity he wouldn't be able to get to truly know her.
His chin raised as much as his captor would allow it. He wasn't going out without his pride. He hoped it would've been old age or dying in a battle, but as long as he had his pride. The blade moved again and he was ready...
"Wait! Stop! Hold on a second!" Eyes opened wide in shock as he recognized that voice. It wasn't possible for both eyes and ears to deceive him. Jack was pushing his way through the crowd, waving his arms. "You don't want to be doin' that, mate."
An irritated look replaced the murderous one on Barbossa's face. "And tell me why I don't want to be doin' this?" The blade never moved from Will's throat, but it moved no farther either.
"You don't want to be doin' that because the navy is outside waiting for you." Jack said as he made his way to the front of the crowd and scrambled up the pile of gold. Whispers rushed through the crowd as they heard this news. Barbossa looked unsure of how to respond, until Jack grinned. "But I know how to fix that little problem."
"Oh?" Barbossa stared at him, releasing the pressure on the knife against Will's neck. His captor yanked him upright again. "Why don't you tell me this plan of yours." He stated.
Jack held up a finger. "Wait a moment, mate. I don't do these kinds of things for free." The other pirate nearly snarled in response, but kept his temper in check.
"Just what is it you want, Jack Sparrow?" He asked, trying to remain calm.
"If I do this, you'll have two new ships on your hands. Think about it, Barbossa. Your own bloody fleet!" He waved his hands in the air to emphasize the enormity of the situation. "They'll no longer call you Captain Barbossa, but Commodore Barbossa!"
There was a kindling look of greed in Barbossa's eyes. "Go on."
"Take the Dauntless, pride of the Navy, for your flagship as it is the grandest of the ships. But that leaves the Pearl without a hand to guide her. Name me her Captain and I'll cut you in on ten percent and I'll fly under your colors." He grinned as he waited for Barbossa's reaction.
"Fifty. Fifty percent of your plunder." Barbossa grunted.
"Fifteen." Jack responded.
"Twenty five and I'll find you a wonderful hat to go with your new title. What say you to that?" He held out his hand. Barbossa stared at it for a moment before reaching out to take Jack's hand. He paused right as he was about to take it.
"What about the whelp?" He nodded towards Will.
"I'm not a whelp!" The younger man protested before Jack slapped a hand over his mouth so all that was left was muffled protesting.
"Just bleed him a little, don't kill him, allow me to take him on as a crew member." He saw the waning look in Barbossa's eyes. "Or you could just kill him. Doesn't make a difference to me either way." Jack could feel the horrified gaze resting on him, but didn't turn to face him. Instead he removed his hand.
"Is this it? Was that all I was? A bargaining chip you carried around so you could get your ship back when the time came?" Will responded angrily. Jack finally glanced over at him.
"Yeah." Jack said offhandedly. Barbossa took Jack's hand in his, shaking it firmly. Jack took it as a sign that they had reached their accord and turned to the crew before him. "All hands to the boats!"
Barbossa stood behind him, an evil smirk on his face. "What he means is take a walk!" He shouted. Jack glanced over his shoulder.
"No boats." Jack turned to watch the men filter out of the cave.
"Oh bloody hell..." He stumbled down the gold pile, wanting to get away from his mutinous first mate before he killed the man. It wouldn't do him any good now and he knew he had to wait for the opportune moment, but impatience was getting the best of him.
The pirate holding Will dragged him away from the chest to make sure he didn't bleed on the coins before the battle was done. The young man's eyes never left the one he thought to be a friend, but had betrayed him in the end. Jack could feel the heated stare and prayed that Will didn't do something stupid, like try to escape.
Barbossa had made himself comfortable, watching Jack as well. "You're a hard man to figure out, Jack. Here I thought I'd done so and then you offer me this accord." His smile was cold.
Jack tossed aside the ugly statue he'd been gazing at. "Me? I'm dishonest, and a dishonest man you can always trust to be dishonest... Honestly. It's the honest ones you want to watch out for, because you can never predict when they're going to do something incredibly… stupid." Before Barbossa's crew could react, the thief had a sword and Jack had knocked two men into the water and came straight for Barbossa. He barely had time to unsheathe his own blade before Jack brought his down, metal clanging. Barbossa pushed him back, snarling.
"You're off the edge of the map, mate. Here there be monsters!" He shoved Jack backwards. The pirate stumbled, but caught his balance again just in time to meet Barbossa's blade.
Will knew the timing had to be just right. He turned at the last moment and felt the cutlass slide through the ropes, the end of the blade nicking his wrist. He spun on the pirate, pushing him away and hopping up on the bigger island of treasure. Two more pirates headed for him and he let his rage loose. One fist lashed out, colliding with the cheekbone of one of his attackers and driving him away. "All right, who's bloody next?"
Jack had led Barbossa up a narrow pathway against the wall of the cave, drawing him through patches of moonlight and making it look as if he were losing ground. The final act to the play was when he managed to find an opening and jabbed the blade into Barbossa's stomach. The other pirate sighed in resignation and jammed his own into Jack's stomach.
Jack couldn't help the sound he'd made, but he hadn't expected it to feel like that. Stumbling backwards, the moonlight fell over him. His flesh melted away to reveal bones, clothing hung in tatters around him. Barbossa's mouth dropped open slightly, wondering just what had happened. Jack grinned and played the golden coin between his fingers. It was amazing what you could take when you sweet talked someone just the right way.
"Couldn't resist mate." Barbossa hissed and charged forward. Jack pulled the blade from his stomach and clocked the angry pirate on the head, sending him tumbling backwards. Unfortunately, Barbossa had gotten a good hold on Jack's ankle and sent them both tumbling back down the winding pathway onto the treasure mounds again.
Jack struggled to his feet and swung his sword. Barbossa parried the blow and dodged forward with one of his own, forcing Jack to back up. Again they went blow for blow, back and forth, each pirate standing his ground until Jack got tired of playing fair and kicked Barbossa in the shin. The pirate toppled backwards onto a pile of gold, staring up at him.
"You know, this would be easier if you just said 'I surrender'." Jack suggested. Barbossa snarled and lunged at him again. Apparently he hadn't liked that suggestion very much.
The sword whistled over Will's head and he ducked beneath it. The pirate cursed and stabbed at his stomach. Will jumped aside and it slid into the skeletal pirate that had been standing behind him. That pirate grew angry and also took a swipe at him. Will just barely dodged it before it lodged in the stomach of the first pirate. He glanced between them. "I think you two could use a little help." He said and shrugged. "Too bad you'll never get it." The two pirates looked at each other and then switched their grasps on the blades, taking hold of the hilts in their own stomachs and pulling them out, turning to stare at Will. "Right, make sure they truly are stuck next time and then taunt..." He took off running, the two pirates in heavy pursuit.
Barbossa had grown sick of fighting. With two immortals, it would get them nowhere. He maneuvered the fight so that two of his crew had a clear view of Jack's back. With an almost imperceptible nod of his head, he gave them permission to fire. It wouldn't kill him, but it would give Barbossa enough time to find something to bind him until he could.
The two men never got the chance. One cried out as a sword went through his back, the point coming out his front. "Haven't you heard it's not nice to shoot someone in the back?" Anamaria asked sweetly in his ear before planting her foot in the small of his back and kicking him off her blade. He fell forward into the water and got to his feet. She smirked and swung the blade, neatly cutting his head from his body. The smile died, however, when the head dropped into the water and the pirate started groping for it.
An arm dropped into the water not too far from it and she turned just in time to see Gibbs being knocked to the ground by the other pirate with his stub of an arm. She lashed out with her foot again, kicking him away. Jack glanced over his shoulder for a moment, distracted. All she had time to do was nod to him before he had to turn back to Barbossa.
The pirate captain noticed the two newcomers as well. He allowed Jack to push him away, to think he had the upper hand. As soon as he had done so, Barbossa pulled out his pistol and aimed it at Anamaria, finger tightening on the trigger. Jack saw the movement as well and drew the blade across his hand, dropping the coin into his open palm.
"William!" He bellowed. The young man turned to face him as Jack pointed towards the chest. Will nodded and ran for the chest. At the last moment, the pistol changed directions. Jack moved just as Barbossa pulled the trigger, slamming into him. Will caught the golden coin as Jack pulled his pistol as well, taking aim at Barbossa. Two pistol shots rang out through the caverns. Will collapsed halfway up the mound of gold as Barbossa looked down at the bloodless hole in his chest.
"I can't die! You wasted your shot!" Barbossa said in a mocking tone, sneering at Jack. "You idiot."
"He's not an idiot." Will shouted from behind him, leaning against the chest. One hand was clasped over the wound on his leg, the other held just above the chest. He stared at Barbossa for a moment, utter hatred in his eyes before opening his hand and letting the two coins drop into the chest.
Barbossa looked down again and pulled open his coat to see red staining his shirt. A look of shock was on his face when he glanced up at Jack again. "You..." It was the only word out of his mouth before he fell backwards onto the mound, staring lifelessly up at the ceiling. Jack slowly tucked the pistol back into his sash, staring at Barbossa's body.
It was done and over with. He'd taken his revenge on the man who had taken his ship from him, turned the crew against him, sent his trusted friend to the depth, and made Jack's life a miserable hell for the past ten years. He didn't feel a moment's regret about what he'd done. He walked by the body up the hill to the chest, where Anamaria and Gibbs were fussing over the wound on Will's leg.
"It's only a flesh wound." The thief complained and tried to wave them away.
"A flesh wound? There's a hole!" Gibbs protested.
"It went through flesh, didn't it?" Will said shortly and tried to get to his feet. Immediately Jack was there, slipping an arm under his shoulder to steady him. Will glanced over at him before returning his gaze ahead again. "I thought you were really going to let him bleed me." He said.
"I wouldn't have let him bleed you. Ten years we've been traveling together, me showing you everything I know, and you think I was going to let him kill you? If that had been my plan, I wouldn't have wasted the time on you." He replied as he sat him down in the boat and climbed in. Gibbs and Anamaria climbed in after him. Jack and Gibbs picked up the oars and started rowing for the entrance. A quiet hush fell over them, no one wanting to see it broken. After a few moments, Jack finally spoke up.
"Where's the rest of the crew?" He asked.
"On the ship." Anamaria said. "We couldn't leave you just yet, so Gibbs and I came to see what your fate had been and got lost. We found the two of you just in time."
"Aye, just in time..." Jack replied, a hint of sarcasm in his voice. Ana glanced over at him, frowning slightly.
"What is that tone for?" She asked as they approached the entrance into the cave. She jumped as she heard rifles being loaded and aimed and turned to see the Navy training their guns on them.
Jack leaned forward, resting his head in his hands. "All for naught..." He said quietly.