Chapter Three: Bad Rain

Cold was the first thing he remembered. A numbing cold that bit deep in his bones. On its heels came the need to fill his starving lungs with oxygen. His first breath was a desperate gasp, like finally bursting through the ocean surface after diving too deep.

The air was the finest banquet, a seven-course meal with all the entrees, side dishes, and trimmings. He had never tasted anything so fine, so sweet.

He exhaled and sucked in another breath, this one slower, deeper… Steadier. His eyes took in his cavernous surroundings with quick, furtive glances. This place was as familiar to him as his own…

The thought stopped with the abruptness of a lightening strike in a dead calm sea as the last few moments came back to him.

He had taken aim on Elizabeth, she was a fine looking lass, but tricksom and cunning and full of fine morals. A year at sea with nothing but her wits to see her through the day would learn her right quick.

A report rang out, only he hadn't fired.

Sparrow. The thought was a worm borrowing through his brain. What would it take to kill the man? "Ten years you carry that pistol and now you waste your shot?" Sarcasm was heavy in his voice, but he didn't understand why Sparrow would use it now. No matter what he personally thought of Sparrow, Jack wasn't stupid. In fact he was exceedingly… not smart, but creatively brilliant.

His own style was hammer something until he finally smashed it to pieces. Jack was far more apt to arrive at a vestal virgins home, explain to her mother and father his less then honorable intentions and depart with aforementioned virgin, not just with the father's blessing, but with his wife as well.

"He didn't waste it," Will Turner's voice resonated within the cavern. It was hard, but full of brash swagger and morality.

It was a voice that reminded him far too much of Turner's father, good old Boot Strap Bill Turner, when he tried to call him down for his mutiny. That was when he decided to send good old Boot Strap to the depths. He was going to enjoy slitting the whelp's throat when all was said and done. It would be one of his greatest pleasures.

He turned, looking up at the carved chest that sat atop the rock outcropping. Blood glistened off the stone blade, Turner's left fist hovered over the medallion filled chest. There was a look of supreme satisfaction etched into the young man's face.

Realization dawned on him as Turner's fist opened, spilling out the blood covered medallions. He felt wetness and tore at his coat.

He felt.

For the first time in a decade he felt something.

His white shirt darkened with blood.

Forgotten warmth quickly fled his body. The cold seeped in, his body felt like artic ice. "I feel cold." There was surprise in his voice. Of all the experiences he thought he would have once the curse was lifted, dieing was not among them.

That was exactly what happened. He died. He didn't remember being dead, but he remembered dieing. He remembered waking.

And…

He felt the warmth, the life flow back into his body, seep into his limbs.

…he remembered the green apple he had been holding throughout his fight with Sparrow.

Shifting his position, he sat up slightly, leaning on one elbow. The apple had rolled a short distance down the gentle slope.

He took in the familiar cavern, the dregs of immeasurable wealth lay scattered about him. Himself, Sparrow, several others before them, had amassed the fortune, raiding coastlines and pillaging the high seas and depositing their ill gotten loot within this cave.

The Aztec gold had been here when Sparrow first brought him here. As far as he knew it had always been here.

He suspected Cortez himself put it here and then had the Island enscrolled so nobody would be able to find it again. After living the curse for nearly half a score of years he could well imagine going to such lengths to ensure it was lost forever.

How it was found again remained a mystery that Sparrow, either didn't know, or wasn't telling. All he knew, learnt when he had been Jack's trusted second, was that the gold was there and the legend of it. The legend of the Aztec gold and Cortez's greed. The same legend he told Elisabeth when he thought she had been Turner's child.

He hadn't believed it then, but his folly, in some ways, had been his greatest boon. Near a decade he plundered the seas with impunity. The wealth gathered around him made him one of the richest men in the world and best of all, he no longer had to divvy it up with an entire crew of black hearted cutthroats.

It was his and his alone.

So long as he could remove it before Sparrow.

The thought of Sparrow returning to the Isle only to find it had been looted clean put a genuinely cruel smile on his face. It stayed there for a moment and then vanished as if it never had been.

They had left him for dead, only that wasn't quite right. He had been dead so they left him. Only now he wasn't dead.

He wondered if the curse had actually been lifted or not. Small lumps and jagged ridges jutted out of the floor, poking at him through his clothes. The air was thick and damp, which was something he never noticed before.

Still there was only one thing that would satisfy him. He reached over and plucked the apple off the cavern floor. It was hard, yet pliant, its skin was mostly smooth but there were little nicks and bumps in the surface. His fingers moved slowly, mesmerized by the rich texture, memorizing the contours. A soft, orgasmic groan filled the air. His face was a mask of pure rapture.

It was everything he had dreamed it would be and so much more, a slow all consuming burn that quickly overwhelmed his entire being, drowned out his sense of self. It was being made love to by an expert of pure sensual passion, skilled in torturing with slow pleasure.

Unable, unwilling to contain himself any longer, he lunged forward, biting through the skin, sinking his teeth into the wet meat buried under. Juices spilled out, sliding down his chin, dripping to the cavern floor. His teeth gnashed the meat to a juicy pulp.

Nothing had ever tasted so sweet before, his mouth was alive with flavors. Every bite was an explosion of long forgotten sensations.

In less time then he thought possible the apple was gone, devoured, core and all. He licked the juices from his fingers. It left him feeling oddly satiated, yet craving so much more.

He pushed the disquieting feelings aside. There was much that needed to be done.

Less then half an hour was all it had taken to verify that he was, in fact, quite alone. That fact proved what he already knew, they had left him for dead.

A sudden thought dawned on him, if everyone thought him dead then this would be the perfect opportunity for him to completely reinvent himself. Oddly though, or maybe not so oddly, the idea didn't appeal to him.

He was Caption Barbossa. Scourge of the seven seas, feared throughout the known world. The price on his head was more then all the gold in China. When someone killed him, by all the gods were they going to pay for their impudence.

That, was an idea that appealed to him very much. Soothing that would make the hardest heart laugh and cry by turns. The brave and self-sacrificing William Turner, the lovely Elizabeth the girl was perhaps as crafty as Sparrow.

His smile turned vicious at the thought of the man. Nothing in this world would bring him more pleasure then watching him die. Slowly, by inches if possible, at his hands. Drawing out Sparrows suffering.

There were any number of row boats filling the island's small cavern harbor. This time they all even had their oars. He loaded one boat up with as much loot as he thought it could hold, then added a bit more. After rigging up a make shaft mast and rudder he set off.

There was no food on the island, there had never been any reason for them to store provisions. At least not anything that could be eaten.

Time on the boat had no meaning. There was day and night. Dark and light. He spent most of the voyage in a weak, starvation induced daze. He would dose, never reaching true sleep, deep hunger kept him from it.

No matter how often he wished for it, death wouldn't take him. His body refused to die, that was his body refused to die before he shot himself through the heart.

Then he died just fine.

And he woke up some interment time later, it could have been minutes it could have been days, there was no way for him to tell.

His hunger wasn't gone, but it was less. For a time it was less, but all too soon it grew again.

If he was a cannibal, he supposed things would have been just fine; a bit of arm at midday, a slice of leg for supper, and if he got hungry during the night, he could satisfy himself with some finger snacks.

He didn't follow the practice, but he was sorely tempted. More so then he ever thought he would be, but he was Catholic, and while it had been a good many years since he attended Sunday service, without pilfering the poor box or emptying the clarity plate, his beliefs still held firm.

Eventually he made landfall along the African coast. He managed to catch himself dinner, find himself a source of fresh water. After several days getting fat off the land he made his way down the coast to Cape Town. The port had grown significantly since the last time he had put in there a dozen years before.

With the small amount of treasure he managed to liberate he set himself up quite nicely. The name Barbossa was too well known in this part of the world, Russell Gordon served him well enough.

It was on his second night in the Dutch port that he finally found out what he was, why he didn't die. Didn't stay dead at any rate.

He would never forget the experience.

He had been living quite large on his wealth. There wasn't anything in the town he couldn't have and he was taking full advantage, food, wine… women. The best that there was and more of it then any man had a right to.

It was the most exhilarating, terrifying… His entire body felt alive. It hummed. His head felt too small, it was bursting with… He didn't know… It was about to explode.

Then he saw him. A tall fellow, with straight golden brown hair. He had the face of a walrus, with red puffed out cheeks a heavy mustache and eyebrows that drooped dangerously low. His teeth seemed too large for his distorted face. His body appeared too small for his face, or his face was too large for his body.

It was hard to tell which.

As quickly as it began it ended.

Or almost ended.

He was still aware of the man. Intimately aware of him, like he was somehow inside him, inside his head.

It was intrusive.

Barbossa didn't like it.

He remained lounged in the plush crescent shape sofa, his hand resting under, cupping the succulent backside of a young slave girl he purchased the previous day. Her head rested against the pale skin of his chest, it was a striking contrast. She was quite talented for such a tender age, well schooled in giving pleasure.

Even so, she wasn't capable of pacing him. Three hours and she was worn out, while he was fresh as the dew on a cool spring morning. He felt energized despite his weekend of debauchery.

"New to the game and thinks he's cock roster in the hen house." The man's accent was heavy, but Barbossa couldn't place it.

"You seem to have me at a minor disadvantage matey," Barbossa's reply sounded anything but ill at ease.

The man smiled, a lusty grin that lit up his ruddy complexion. "No need to worry, not yet anyway."

Curiosity etched its way into Barbossa's brow. He sat up a little straighter, found himself giving the man a trifle more attention. "You know something?"

The man picked up a decanter, sloshed the contents around gently before filling a goblet with the dark fluid. Lifting the silver chalice he said, "A great many things," before taking a long pull of the robust liquor. His answer was slow, cryptic. It was full of hidden meanings.

Barbossa slapped the girl's naked ass with force rousing her from a restful slumber. She didn't move quite fast enough to suit Barbossa as he shoved her. She landed on the thickly carpeted floor with little protest. "Go, tidy my room," he ordered. Adding a not too ungentle nudge with his bare foot to get her moving.

The stranger watched the girl go with barely contained lust in his eyes. Her ebony skin glistened in flickering candlelight as she gingerly made her way across the cluttered floor. "When an elder discovers one like you, it's customary for them to explain the rules."

"The rules?"

"I know a place we can talk privately. Safely,"

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

"Immortal," Barbossa whispered in quiet disbelief. They were standing in the center of the graveyard Franklin Bordon had brought Barbossa to. His gaze hardened as he took the man's measure, truly seeing him for the first time. "So long as we keep our heads?"

"Holy ground is our only sanctuary," Bordon inserted once again.

"Where we can't kill one another," Barbossa said, confirming that he had indeed been listening. "Why tell me this? You could have taken my head whenever you wanted?"

"What honor would be gained in that?" He sounded scandalous, as if someone said he enjoyed the feel of a man's callused hands on his naked flesh.

"What honor indeed?" Barbossa replied. A generous smile suddenly split his face. He stepped forward extending his right hand, "Then I am surely in your dept."

Bordon took the offered hand, his own smile made his face appear almost open. "You won't be saying that next time we meet."

Barbossa squeezed hard, his pistol nestled gently under Gordon's right arm. His smile remained friendly as he said, "Good thing we'll never meet again."

For a heartbeat shock lit Bordon's face before it turned to a mask of rage. "You can't…"

The rapport rang out in the darkness.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

The DC-10, Future Glory, bucked slightly as it hit a rough patch of turbulence. Lightening flashed in the high altitude. Rain pelted the metallic hide of the aircraft. Wind pushed them this way then that way without much rhyme or reason. It wasn't the worst storm he has ever flown through, but it was bad enough. Future Glory wasn't the most expensive plane in his fleet, but it was his personal favorite, it had character and like Han Solo, he had won it in a card game.

Her presence drew nearer breaking Barbossa out of his memories. That he felt it at all was a surprise to him. At times it vanished almost completely, no more significant then a mouse hiding in the shadows. Other times it was a lion, great and prideful, luxuriating in its power, chaffing, straining against its chains.

Barbossa found it strange. He found her strange, wished he had never accepted her deal, not that he ever planned on honoring their agreement. She would fetch quite a price even if his plan had to be altered slightly since their relationship had changed.

The girl was smart and intuitive. She had a sense of things that he had rarely seen before. A few psychics he's encountered over the years, the truly sensitive ones. A couple of witches, powerful witches at that.

And a couple of anomalies, all girls, all about the same age as Kela. He didn't remember any of them possessing her uncanny self-possession.

She had a way of staring at people, like there was nothing else in the world except for you or like you didn't exist. It was hard to tell between the two, if there was a difference.

Kela entered the cabin silently, there was no door. She had removed it shortly after boarding the aircraft, shortly after Barbossa had tried to betray her. It was a good thing she hadn't trusted him, had stayed on her toes around him.

Barbossa didn't like her, the fact she had thwarted his attempt, defeated him in combat with ease did little to endear her to him. Not that she cared what he thought of her.

"How long?" It wasn't a question, so much as a demand for information.

"Not much longer lassie," he told her. His client hadn't been happy about the change in plans, but they were extremely interested in his cargo.

How he hated dealing with telepaths.

Communicating with one was like having snakes slithering around under his skin, not that he had anything against snakes. Some of his closest friends, not that he had many, would be considered, sort of reptilian by most people's standards.

You never knew what secrets they were sifting through, what part of your past they were rummaging around in.

Once this was over he would have to change all his passwords and security codes. He did the same after every telepathic conversation, although he wasn't sure what good it ever did him. For all he knew they could still be in his head.

Kela didn't like the answer. She found it wasn't an answer. He was so smug, as if he were still in control. "When?" Her voice was even harder then before, hardened steel frozen in a lake of ice.

Barbossa grimaced. He was going to make sure she paid. "Two hours."