Disclaimer: I don't have permission to be using any of these characters. I don't have permission to be messing around with the canon. And yet here I am, writing…
Author's note (3/7/09): I'm a sporadic updater. I know. You can go ahead and tar and feather me if you'd like. Virtually, of course. Please don't literally do so. Sorry for the long break between chapters—I was a little disappointed in the number of reviews I got for the last chapter. I love having my ego stroked, as those of you who actually read these notes are aware. So stroke my ego and say I did a good job. Or point out my weaknesses. Just say something, please. I'm sure the translations into Spanish are rubbish. If you know better ones, please let me know and I'll change 'em. There are still at least sixteen chapters 'fore I finally get to the end—or, rather, the beginning of the third movie. Encouragement is appreciated.
Chapter Twenty-Nine: The Spaniard
"I preferred France," Jack muttered to himself as he trailed along behind Teague like a dog. "Honestly. I understood more o' what they said there. Me an' Spanish are like…well, smoke an' stones. Don' really stay together well. Can't speak Spanish decently—always put a French accent on me words. D' you think it's offensive t' a Spaniard t' hear a man speak Spanish wiv a French accent?"
Teague didn't bother answering Jack's question as he walked near the docks of Coruña. He seemed to be in a good mood since Chevalle agreed to sign his little piece of paper, but Jack never got to see any of that good mood. Only his mother did, which was hardly fair. Jack thought he deserved a little bit of thanks for speaking in French and not causing some huge scene that would embarrass the pirate…but he didn't get anything more than a nod. Skippy got more than nods. He sometimes got pats on the back. Jack felt like the older sibling who was taken for granted anymore. He hated feeling this way. After all, he was twenty-eight…it was embarrassing. He was old enough to have several partially grown children himself, but he still felt like a child. Teague was never pleased with anything he did. And would probably never be happy.
"So are we anywhere near where we're going?" Jack asked hopefully as Teague paused near some warehouses. "Not tha' I'm complaining. It's jus' cold." Winter was approaching.
"Nearly there," Teague said with his normal indifference. Why was Jack clamoring for attention from him, anyway? Jack thought it was stupid, and yet he found himself doing that every chance he had to. Perhaps it was just because Teague was one of those really intense pirate captains. One of the ones who knew practically everything about piracy. Jack was fairly sure that his father was older than he looked. He knew far too much about the sea to have only been alive fifty or so years. Plus he looked to be only about fifteen years older than Jack. Rosalyn, on the other hand, almost looked old enough to be Jack's grandmother. She seemed to be on the last few gasps of life before old age snuffed her out. Which wasn't too odd—Jack had lived longer than many men did. It just bothered Jack how quickly she'd been deteriorating lately. If Teague wasn't so blasted nice to his mother and a pirate lord, he would probably just leave with her in tow and forget about his debt to his father. However, he wanted Rosalyn to enjoy the end of her life. And he wanted to be named Teague's successor. No one could live forever, right? Which meant that he could be the next pirate lord of whatever Teague was the pirate lord over. Jack wished he could learn more about pirate lords…but the natives didn't know either, so he couldn't get information from them. Only Teague knew what they were about. And he had a habit of answering in monosyllabic words.
"Good. Nearly there is good. I hope it doesn' snow. I don' like snow. Never have. Actually, I've never actually been in the snow. But I assume I don' like it, for this cold is…well, I wish I 'ad more layers, tha's for certain." He followed Teague down the pathway to the house, stamping his feet in an attempt to keep them warm.
Teague glared at him until the mutterings died away in all but Jack's mind. Jack wished he had the courage to say something rather rude to his father, but he knew that was like slapping a sleeping snake and expecting it not to bite when it woke up. Teague couldn't stand people questioning his authority. One of the cannibals had crossed Teague three weeks ago. He had chopped the man into little bits and then dragged the cannibal's head tied to a line behind the ship for a day and a half. Jack would rather keep his body in one piece when he met his end.
Teague knocked on the door in a specific pattern. Jack hoped his father could speak Spanish, for Jack had no idea how to say the secret code about the sea being periwinkle blue. It had been hard enough to translate into French. It wasn't often Jack had to think about different shades of blue in a foreign language. Had he been able to, he would've looked up how to say it aboard his father's ship, but Teague kept no printed words on board. Jack really missed the Black Pearl. He had a fairly good library to peruse during long voyages at sea. Barbossa, the mutinous codpiece, had probably lit them all on fire to spite Jack.
The door opened about an inch, and a pair of dark brown eyes peered out at both Teague and Jack. "¿Dónde está usted de?" the owner of the eyes asked.
"El mar," Teague replied. Jack couldn't believe how simple their little code was. He didn't need to know Spanish to know that the man behind the door had asked Teague where he was from, and Teague had replied the ocean. It was the exact same question they'd been asked in France.
The door opened up and the owner of the voice and eyes, a stocky man with an underbite severe enough that his mustache was mostly in his mouth, motioned them forward. "Who are you here to see?" His English was surprisingly good, for he spoke with hardly any accent at all.
Teague stepped inside. Jack followed once there was space to do so. He was fairly certain that Teague didn't need him along this time. He had the sneaking suspicion that Teague knew their host. Which was problematic—Jack wasn't sure how many chances he would have to get to see what his father was up to with these pirate lords. He still wasn't sure if they were lords over the sea or over specific ports. If that was the case, they would be making a lot of visits. While Jack enjoyed seeing new parts of the world, he didn't want to spend the rest of his adult life indentured to Captain Edward Teague. This particular room was quite interesting—it had the look and feel of a room that had been lived in by men who chewed tobacco, drank alcohol, and had fun smoking for decades. Some of the tobacco stains on the floor had probably been there for years—as had the blood stains on the rug that had once been a lovely green and was now brown. It almost reminded him of Captain Odell's cabin before he'd died.
"Captain Villanueva," Teague said simply.
Their host frowned slightly, walking over to a chair that was probably crawling in lice. "There is a problem with that, señor," he said, glancing at the floor.
"Wha's the problem?"
"Capitán Villanueva was arrested this morning." The man looked up and motioned toward some of the broken chairs and tables. Jack had thought they went quite well with the décor personally, but apparently they were some sign of a scuffle. "He is due to be hung at dawn tomorrow."
"Did 'e leave anythin' behind wiv you?" Teague asked anxiously, apparently not caring that Eduardo Villanueva was about to be hung.
"No, señor," their host reported, looking baffled by the question. "Was he expecting you?"
"Yes." Teague glanced over at his son. "I need you t' break him out of prison."
Jack was completely taken aback by this request. "Me?" he asked, clearly dumbfounded.
"Aye." Jack didn't like the look in Teague's brown eyes. He'd seen that look in his father's eyes right before he'd attacked the cannibal. Was this a suicide mission? Jack didn't want to die. He had too many mysteries to figure out—namely what a pirate lord was and what sort of status it afforded.
"Why don't you want t' do it yerself? It'd be a glorious act for Edward Teague." He hoped that by appealing to Teague's immense pride he could weasel his way out of this. Jack almost wished he'd been asked to stay behind on the boat, like Skippy. As much as he wanted to please his father, he didn't want to end up hanged alongside Villanueva.
"Captain," Teague corrected sternly.
"For Captain Edward Teague, then," Jack hastily amended.
Teague appeared to be considering that for a moment, and then finally shook his head. "You'll do it. If you die, then I'll do it." He smiled slightly at Jack, apparently amused with the look of panic visible in Jack's eyes now.
"Mum'll kill you if I die." Jack was clearly just grasping at the wind in an attempt to get out of this dangerous mission.
Teague shrugged. "Risk I'm willin' t' take. 'Sides, the infamous Jack Sparrow needs a few more misdeeds un'er his belt than I do. Now go, boy."
Resigned, Jack wiped the look of worry off his face as he bit back the impulse to correct his father with his proper title. He didn't need to be teased further by Teague. His father couldn't stand cowards, either. Jack actually had a list of things Teague couldn't stand he kept in order to prevent himself from meeting Old Hob too soon. It was significantly larger than things Teague liked, of which Jack also kept a list. It was good to be aware of other people with power and a love of chopping things up or off. "I'll need a disguise, first."
Teague apparently had no suggestions, for he started chewing on his fingernails. Jack was about to ask if he had any ideas when the Spaniard spoke up. "I can help you with that, señor." He was now standing, looking quite eager. He likely cared a lot about Villanueva, and was probably embarrassed he hadn't been around to defend the captain when the navy had struck.
"Really?" Jack had almost forgotten there was another man in the room.
"Si. I have a brother who is in the navy who was once about your size. If we were to pay him enough, he would give his old suit to us. You should be able to sneak in dressed as a soldier."
"I don' 'ave any pieces o' eight, though." Jack glanced at Teague. When he noticed the older man was looking at the Spaniard, he glared at his father. He'd done back-breaking work for a few months, now, and still didn't get paid.
"That is no problem. Capitán Villanueva will not mind if we borrow some of his money, so long as you pay him back."
Jack grinned. Villanueva would never know he'd 'borrowed' the money in the first place. Perhaps he could pocket some extra so that he could have fun the next time they stopped by a port with a brothel. "Alright then. Le's go find this brother of yours."
"So, does saving a man from hanging count as a good deed?" Jack asked curiously. "You never told me before."
Pearl glanced at Jack. "Well, yes and no."
"Yes and no?"
"It's all a matter of your intentions while doing so."
"So would this be a yes or a no, then?"
"A bit of both."
"I'd wager it's mos'ly a yes. I mean, I din' even know the man. Very altruistic o' me t' consider going."
"True. But you were doing so just to sate your curiosity, right? You didn't actually care if he lived or died."
"Well, 'e is a pirate. An' perhaps did deserve to die."
"So is it good or bad?"
"Jack, a lot of things are grey."
"Like this one?"
Jack sighed. He'd lived in a world of grey that bordered on black through most of his life. Which probably meant he would end up stuck here for eternity because he wouldn't pass this test or whatever it was Pearl was putting him through. While Pearl was good company, this reviewing his life thing was getting to be rather tedious. He would much rather be getting to know the human form of his ship better.
It was nice having a translator. Jack hardly had to do anything while talking to the Spaniard's brother. The man had the same underbite his brother did, but was clean shaven. He was about the same height as Jack, but was nowhere near to the right size. Jack probably weighed about eighty or ninety pounds less than the rotund naval officer and was rather skeptical the man would have anything that actually fit, but was astounded when his escort came out of a room holding a suit that looked almost custom-tailored for him. The shoulders were a tad broad, and there was a little extra room in the trousers, but the dark navy blue uniform trimmed in red did fit. He felt a lot like a poof wearing it, but so long as no one bothered talking to him, he was quite sure he could sneak in undetected.
"Is there anything else, Señor Sparrow?"
"Nah. This should about do it," Jack said with a pleased smile. He bowed halfway to the corpulent man. "Gracias." That one word nearly exhausted his Spanish vocabulary.
The officer simply nodded. He didn't look entirely pleased to be selling his memorabilia from days gone by. Jack strongly suspected his window of opportunity to get Villanueva out depended on how long it took this man to decide he wanted the uniform back. Having no desire to be hung while impersonating an officer in the Armada Española, Jack decided it was prudent for him to get moving. He straightened the bicorn hat carefully atop his head. It masked his unusual hair adornments fairly well. Jack didn't think his tangled hair would be too out of place at the prison. And if it was, well, at least he wouldn't owe his father any more money when it was all said and done. Jack nodded back, and then followed his new Spaniard friend across town to the prison.
The prison had been built first as primarily just a barracks for soldiers, so the military minds had made some modifications to make it more suitable for holding scallywags and thieves. The reinforcements didn't look very neat, but would likely hold in the case of a full-scale invasion. Jack walked right through the front door of the building as two junior officers saluted him. He walked stiffly in an attempt to keep from losing his pants and to appear as though he thought very highly of himself. Jack had noticed a trend in people who had an awful lot of pride—they generally seemed to walk as though they truthfully did have something rammed up their backside. Jack had previously surmised that it was more an attempt to keep their chin parallel to the floor. Whatever the reason, he seemed to be doing it right. No one stopped him as he made his way down to where the worst criminals were being kept—which, invariably, happened to be the cells with the most protection. He was amazed. Jack was fairly certain he was walking as though he were a little tipsy. The pirate could scarcely tell when he was walking in a straight line on land or not.
Eduardo Villanueva was inside of a cell that was likely custom-tailored to him, as this particular town had been his base of operations for a while. Three of the walls were made of stones mortared together that would take several poundings from a cannonball to smash in. The bars that comprised the fourth were not only vertical, but also horizontal as though to keep the stocky Spaniard from slinking through the gap. Four armed guards stood nearby, idly watching Jack as he approached before straightening and then saluting. Jack's informant had said nothing about armed guards. For the briefest of seconds, he was tempted to simply keep walking as though he were doing a simple inspection of the facilities, but he knew that Teague would never forgive him if he let one of the pirate lords die. If he didn't have such a strong desire to impress his father, he would simply let the short man rot in his cell until his hanging in the morning. Competition in the pirating world was stiff. It seemed a little on the stupid side to be helping the competition out of jail.
He paused near one of the soldiers busy scratching an itch inside of his nose blocked by mucus and motioned for him to leave. Jack was hoping that body language would help him through the rest of this crazy venture. So long as they thought he spoke Spanish and was a superior officer, he could get away with this. Just like there were quiet men in the world of piracy, there had to be quiet military men, right? Jack almost wished he'd spent more time near the military. Almost. He couldn't stand how proper they always acted as though they thought the world actually cared what they wore or said or did.
The soldier snapped to attention and saluted Jack, looking embarrassed that he'd been caught with a finger up his nose. He garbled off something that sounded vaguely familiar, so Jack nodded and motioned for the man to leave again, carefully arranging his eyebrows to look stern. One of his compatriots said Villanueva's name (or perhaps he was talking about a new town, Jack couldn't tell) and then nodded toward the keys on the wall opposite Villanueva's cell. Part of the pirate lord's punishment seemed to be that he was forced to see how close freedom truly was. Jack nodded again, gesturing quite wildly this time that he wanted them to leave. He put on his best angry face, glaring at the four men until they finally scampered off with their guns in tow.
Villanueva, who had been sitting when Jack first arrived, stood up. He went over to the bars and grasped them with his hands, a few whiskers of his black mustache poking through. "You look like you have not aged a day, Capitán Teague."
"Sparrow, actually," Jack said warily. He'd never been mistaken by anyone as his father. Perhaps Villanueva had known Teague since he himself had been young. The Spaniard's beard had the unmistakable salt and pepper look of a man who was getting on in years. Even his eyebrows were turning grey. Oddly, his mustache was completely untouched by the indicator of age.
"Sparrow?" Villanueva repeated, his eyes narrowing. "Where is Capitán Teague?"
"Waitin' for you, as it turns out." Jack turned and walked over to where the keys to the block of cells rested. He carefully picked the heavy ring up and walked back to the cell. "Sent me. Has business wiv you about the Code."
Villanueva's dark eyes narrowed slightly. Jack was fairly positive the man didn't think he could trust this stranger. "How do I know you did not kill Capitán Teague?"
"Well, I'd wager you'd jus' have t' trust I din'." Jack said with a shrug of his shoulders as he selected a key at random. He tried sticking it into the lock. It didn't fit.
Villanueva's eyes narrowed further. They almost seemed to be closed, and Jack didn't think the man could see much at all through them. "Are you sent by that francés estúpido Chevalle?"
"Do I sound French?" Jack asked exasperatedly as he inserted another key into the lock. It didn't fit either. It would've been nice if the jailers had labeled the keys or something. How was it they could tell what key went where, anyway?
"Not particularly. But I find many people do not speak the way one assumes they should. Perhaps you are his nephew from England."
"Which is why you mistook me for Captain Teague," he said, amused, as he tried a third key. Fortunately, there were only nine keys on this particular ring, and it seemed the soldiers were taking advantage of their break, for Jack could hear no footsteps headed toward Villanueva's cell.
Villanueva was silent for a moment, carefully scrutinizing Jack again. Apparently he seemed appeased by the resemblance of Jack and Teague. "How were you planning to get me out?"
Jack realized he hadn't actually thought that far ahead. He hadn't expected to make it this far without being discovered, frankly. "I figured a good dash for it would work."
"That was your plan?"
"Pretty much." Jack smiled at the look on Villanueva's face.
"You are nothing like Capitán Teague," the man spat as Jack finally found the right key.
"I would almost rather stay in prison."
Jack shrugged slightly. "Teague wouldn't be happy about that. If 'e's not happy, then things ge' miserable aboard the Queen Anne's Revenge. I'd rather keep things happy." He twisted the key. The tumblers unlocked. "Give me your 'ands," he said, finally deciding on how it was they were going to escape the prison.
"I'm going t' take you to an early execution, of course."
Villanueva looked tempted to grab Jack's pistol and use it to defend himself until he realized that Jack merely wanted the other officers and soldiers to think that was what was about to happen. "Oh," he said, thrusting his arms out like a child eager to play pirates and redcoats.
Jack grabbed some manacles hanging from a nearby wall and put them over the Spaniard's wrists. He didn't tighten them to give the man an easier time to slip out of them if necessary, but it still looked believable to the outside observer. "Are any of your men here?"
"Si. But they are not worth the risk."
"Very well." Jack grabbed Villanueva's arm. "You might need t' do the talking for me."
"You don't speak Spanish?"
Jack heard a long string of words from Villanueva at that tidbit. He was fairly certain he'd just been insulted, but that didn't matter. Teague would be pleased enough by this rescue to let Jack listen in on his business, right? "Put something over my head."
"To keep the soldiers from seeing my lips move, you idiot."
"Ah." Jack glanced around in the newly vacated cell for a few seconds. There really hadn't been much in there. Would he one day meet the same sort of fate? He shook his head slightly and started scanning the rest of the area. There was a burlap bag leaning against the wall. Inside was a potato that had started to grow. Jack tossed it aside and then put the bag over Villanueva's head. It made Villanueva's dirty ruffled cotton shirt look pure white. "Alright."
"Let's go." Jack grabbed Villanueva's arm again and started escorting him back toward the front entrance, pleased that he wasn't the one who had to smell moldy potatoes.
The hood seemed entirely unnecessary, for no one questioned where Jack was going, until they reached the front of the prison. The two officers pointed their guns at Jack. One was glaring at him in a manner similar to how one would at a dog who had just stained the new rug. "Where are you going?" he spat, in English.
"¿Qué?" Jack mouthed. He could've figured that one out for himself—it was similar to the French expression for what.
"Where are you going?" the soldier repeated, blinking slightly. They had been told that someone had been speaking English in the back of the prison by one of the armed guards.
"Yo no comprendo inglés. Somos españoles. Hable español." This was almost fun. Jack had often wondered what it would be like to be a puppet. Now he had some idea as to how they had to feel while mouthing words the puppet master spoke. Of course, he knew that puppets probably didn't feel anything, but some of them seemed to.
The soldier apologized hastily and then asked Jack where he was going. Jack wasn't sure what Villanueva said, but apparently the soldiers bought it. Both lowered their weapons and motioned for him to go. Not wanting to end up discovered, Jack pushed Villanueva forward. Once he was fairly certain the soldiers couldn't see them any longer, Jack pulled the sack off Villanueva's head. His graying hair was now covered in dirt. "What did you tell them I was doing?"
"Making me show you where I buried the treasure," the Spaniard answered, disdainfully brushing at some of the dirt on his shoulders. "I said they would get a part in the treasure if they let me go without question. Greed works wonders on all men."
"Tha' it does," Jack agreed. He pulled the hat off his head. "Captain Teague would like a word wiv you. He's back wiv your bos'un."
"I never actually asked him 'is name. Nice fellow, though."
"He owes me a fortune."
Jack smiled slightly at that. "Ah." Hopefully Ortega wouldn't place the debt squarely on Jack's shoulders for the uniform. He was fairly certain Ortega would, however. His brother had not sold what Jack was now wearing cheap. "Well, we should move along."
Jack followed Villanueva back to the building. He couldn't remember the layout of Coruña. Though he was normally quite good with directions, it was cloudy overhead and he couldn't make sense of what direction was what without landmarks he knew. It was about a fifteen minute walk which was blissfully quiet. Villanueva seemed a man of few words. Jack didn't particularly want to talk—he was too busy wondering how it was Villanueva had mistaken him for Teague.
"Eduardo!" Teague said while showing rare excitement as the pirate lord went in through the door proudly. "Good t' see you, mate."
"Edward," Villanueva said distantly. "Why did you send someone else in? What if he had failed?"
"Jackie's sprung me from jail. Figgered he'd do the same for you." Teague shrugged slightly. "I need t' talk t' you. Abou' the Court." He glanced at Jack. "Oi, boy—you look ridiculous. Take those off an' bring me an' Eduardo some decent rum, savvy?"
Jack glared at his father. Apparently he wasn't going to hear this conversation either. He really should've just let Villanueva hang. "Rum. I can handle that." Determined to spite his father in any way he could without actually ending up in little pieces, Jack decided he would drink half the rum and then water it down. His father would never be able to tell the difference. It would serve the man right.