Greetings! This is the 2nd fan fiction I've ever written, and I am hoping some of you nice people who are addicted to this movie as I am will be kind enough to R & R it for me. As always, I don't own Disney or any of the Characters from Pirates of the Caribbean, just the ones I make up in my sad, sick widdle brain...Enjoy!

Birds of a Feather

Chapter One……An Invitation From The Black Pearl……

Aboard the Goliath……

"Linnie, when are we going home?"

The sweet singsong voice of her charge interrupted Linnet's thoughts as they stood leaning on the railing along the bow of the ship, watching with amazement as a pod of dolphins frolicked and danced in the wash below. Being the same question for 40th time since their voyage began grated on Linnet's nerves, but her reply was patient as it always was when speaking with the young woman at her side.

Sighing softly, she turned her head to look at the girl that she had cared for and looked after for the past 8 years. The salty breeze blew wispy tendrils of the girls white-blond hair around her head, giving her an almost angelic halo in the afternoon sunlight. The girl could hardly be called a girl anymore, as she was graced with a woman's curves and stood less than an inch shorter than Linnet's own 5'6 frame .In fact, they could have shared wardrobes if their social positions had been the same. It was only after spending time in her company that most new acquaintances were made aware of the true innocence behind those crystalline blue eyes.

" Miranda, do you remember when your Papa died, and your Uncle Henry came to Havenwood?" At the girl's sorrowful look and nod, Linnet continued. " Well, your uncle inherited the title and all the property it entailed, as well as guardianship over you. He has decided that you are of an age to become a wife and mother, " At this point in her commentary, Linnet's voice hardened slightly as she continued. "So we are going to the island I showed you on your globe, where we will go to your new home." Linnet remembered vividly the angry words she had exchanged with his Lordship about his decision regarding his ward. Despite her pleas and protests, Henry Everton, the new Earl of Cheltingham, had been determined to use his niece to fill his rapidly depleted family coffers. He had made arrangements with an untitled but wealthy merchant in Port Royal who was more than willing to take Miranda off his hands sight unseen in exchange for a considerable sum. Despite his advancing years, the wealthy man had felt that 20,000 gold crowns a small price to pay in exchange for a noblewoman from a well known family on which to get his heirs. What he would do when they arrived and discovered what he had received for his part of the bargain weighed heavily on Linnet's mind as well.

" I hope that my husband will have a carriage….I do so miss the carriage rides we took around the park. Do you think I will have fun being a wife? Aunt Beryl's face looked awfully pinched, so I don't think she likes being married. I like babies though, so that won't be so bad." Miranda stretched her arms out and began spinning herself round and round humming tunelessly before stopping abruptly, a look of excitement lighting her eyes. "I know! I'll have you help me pick out a baby, Linnie! Mama picked out the wrong baby and then she died, so I want you to pick the right baby so I won't die too….Papa didn't like having me around after Mama died….." The girl's high pitched voice trailed off as she turned her attention back to the dolphins leaping in the waves below.

Linnet turned her head to take a calming breath before replying, blinking rapidly to dispel the tears that had formed at her charges innocent chatter. "Your papa didn't like being around anyone after your Mama passed away, dearling. His heart was broken, and finally he decided he couldn't live without your Mama anymore, so he went to live with her in Heaven."

Miranda looked over at her teacher and companion with sudden fear. "You won't leave me like Papa did, will you Linnie? If you leave me, who will help me with my drawing and letters and tell me stories and…..." Seeing that her charge was about to become hysterical, Linnet grasped her by the shoulders and pulled her into a comforting hug. "Of course I won't leave you, sweeting. Your Linnie will be with you as long as you need me to be." The girl keened softly, blessedly unaware of the look of grief and sorrow that crossed her caretaker's face as she rocked the young girl back and forth as they clung together on the deck of The Goliath. She only hoped that the girl's future husband would allow her to keep that promise.

Linnet had only been 17 when her own parent's death and dire financial straits had forced her to seek asylum with her mother's distant cousins in London. She had been a huge help to the household who had been dealing with the sudden death of Miranda's mother in childbirth, and had become her 9 year old 3rd cousin's closest companion and teacher. She had nursed the girl through the horrific fever which had nearly taken her life 2 years later, a fever that left her forever filled with childlike wonder. Now at 26, she was restless, and had been relieved when Henry Everton grudgingly allowed her to accompany his niece on her journey. Truth to tell, he had been eyeing her in a much too familiar way since he had arrived at the manor, and she had become uncomfortable being under the same roof with him, despite his wife's sharp watch.

Brushing the tears away from the angelic face, she took Miranda's arm in hers and began to guide her across the ship's waist and quarterdeck towards the short hallway leading to their cabin. "Come along , now….it's time to wash up for tea, and then I'll tell you a story like I promised you." Miranda's face brightened with excitement. "A pirate story!" Linnet smiled and nodded, which caused the young woman to giggle happily as she skipped along beside her companion. Several of their fellow passengers who were also enjoying a stroll in the Caribbean breeze looked askance and exchanged comments about the pair as they made their way the two as they made their way across the shifting deck. Just as they reached the portal entrance, they heard a cry from far above, two words that had no meaning to them at that moment, but would soon change everything.

"Sail Ho!"


Aboard the Pearl……

The sun was inching its way toward the horizon when the Captain of The Black Pearl caught sight of its latest prey. Through his spyglass, Captain Jack Sparrow was delighted to see that it was a three masted East Indiaman, flying British colors. Impressively large but notoriously slow to maneuver, the ship they were following was riding low in the water, a sure sign that she was heavily loaded with cargo. "Hmmmmmmmm….a nice fat goose just waiting to be plucked, and I know just the pirate to do the plucking." he thought to himself. Grinning widely and snapping the spyglass shut, he turned to his motley looking crew, who were awaiting his orders. "Give 'er all the sails she'll hold, mates, and prepare to board. If the wind holds, we can take her and still make it to Tortuga before sundown, with plenty o'swag for winin', dicin' wenchin' and other depraved and sundry forms of nefarious entertainment." The crew gave an enthusiastic shout and hurried about the deck, preparing their vessel for the upcoming battle.

The Black Pearl's Captain walked, or rather staggered, towards the wheel, arms crossed at the waist, one hand cupping an elbow, the other stroking the beads woven into the braids on his chin. "With the exception of the wenchin' on your part, unless that particular activity puts the wind in your sails as it does mine." He spoke low and with great amusement, addressing his helmsman, or in this case, helms woman Anamarie, the crew's only female member and the only one besides himself and Mr. Cotton that was trusted to take the helm of The Black Pearl, growled low and favored her captain with a heated glare as she adjusted their course to intercept the prize. Jack merely chuckled and continued, a gleam in his kohl-lined eyes. "I'll take that as a no, and it's right glad I am to know you have no particular fondness for tarts. I've a notorious sweet tooth, and being the greedy, black-hearted pilfering pirate that I am, I hate to share."

She rolled her eyes as her leader resumed his almost incessant humming of the pirate ditty given to him by the Governor of Port Royal's daughter on a previous adventure. Grasping the railing one handed, he nimbly leaped to the lower deck and addressed the men preparing the cannons. "As soon as we're in range, let's send them a little invitation to become better acquainted, savvy?"


Aboard the Goliath……

"Sail's Ho!"

The shouted alert seemed to have an instant affect on Linnet's fellow passengers and crew. For a moment it seemed that time stood still, and then there was a flurry of activity. Wondering about this sudden change, she resisted Miranda's tugging on her arm and motioned the girl to hush. Glancing to the deck just above her head, she saw the captain and his 1st mate with their backs to her observing the approaching ship intently, and was startled to hear the mate offer up a paint blistering oath. She couldn't hear the entire conversation between the two ship's officers, but she distinctly heard the words "Black Sails"…"The Pearl" and …"Damnable Pirates", which were more than enough to start her trembling in her slippers.

Hurrying to the rail, she leaned over and spotted a puff of smoke rising from the rapidly approaching vessels with its ominous black sails just as a warning shot sent spray across "The Goliath's bow, followed a moment later by the "whump" of the cannon's echo. Realizing the danger of the situation, she quickly grasped Miranda by the arm and headed to the cabin with the confused girl in tow.

Closing the door and locking it behind them, Linnet strode over to the wide berth against the wall and immediately pulled the feather mattress out of the bed's wooden box, speaking to her charge as calmly as she could given the circumstances. "Miranda, how would you like to play a game?" When Miranda clapped her hands in delight, Linnet lifted the concealed door in the base of the bed, revealing the long, narrow compartment she had been told would be there by the ship's steward. "What we are going to play is a special game of hide and seek. You wanted to hear about pirates, and so some real pirates are going to come on board the ship and play with us. What I need you to do is hide in here so they can't find you," Linnet put her finger to her lips to motion her companion to be silent, "and you must promise me to be very, very quiet and not make a sound until they leave." Miranda's eyes were as big as saucers, and she copied Linnet's gesture, nodding in agreement and giggling, unaware that the game she was about to play could mean life or death for them both.

"Can I take Ella with me to keep me company? It's so dark…." The young woman asked as she climbed over the box-like bed frame and stepped into at the narrow space, suddenly hesitant. Linnet hastily handed her the doll and made her lie down, reminding her once again of the need for quiet. "Now don't make a sound until I tell you, dearest, and if you're good, I'll bring out that tin of your favorite butter cookies for tea." Miranda started to squeal, but immediately clapped her hand over her mouth, but couldn't prevent the excitement from shining in her eyes. Then Linnet closed the little hidden door and tugged the thick feather mattress back over the compartment, praying that the marauders about to board the ship wouldn't tear it to pieces in search of loot.

She could hear the boom of the cannons as The Goliath exchanged fire with the pirate vessel, and felt the ship shudder as she took a hard blow. Glancing out the narrow porthole could see the black ship was pulling along side in preparation to board them. Having done her best to protect the one dearest to her heart, she looked around the small cabin, her thoughts finally turning to her own safety.

"Now all I need is a place to hide………" She knew that the cabinets and their clothing trunks would most likely be searched, as would the privy closet. After a few moment spend in thought, she grinned at her own cleverness as she began removing the laces of her modest but stylish dress with its cumbersome bell skirt……