Author's Note: 'Ello poppet. Er... reader. : I'm gonna be writing this story with my friend DA. Did you hear that? This story is a collaboration with another author. Therefore, I disclaim every odd-numbered chapter, starting with this first one, though we will work together on most of them. Note that this story is going to go into many genres. Romance, adventure, suspense, a little bit of fantasy, mystery, action, and Jack Sparrow. I think he should get his own genre, don't you:D And please read the rest of the technical stuff before starting. Otherwise, enjoy our collaboration.

Your writers, SC and DA.

Rating: T (PG-13) for a little bit of violence, a few adult themes, and mild language. And lots and lots of pirates. :D

Disclaimer: Neither I nor DA own Pirates of the Caribbean, its characters, the song played by Davy Jones' locket which will be used in this story, or anything else that Disney thought up. (Because, I mean, if we owned Jack Sparrow... :D (If we owned Jack Sparrow, we probably woulnd't be here. Not that we don't love you - DA))

Chapter 1: Pebbles

Port-Au-Prince of Haiti always bustled with activity that dusk could not diminish. The chatter and the crowds left the marketplaces that slowly began to clear, and moved instead to the taverns and bars. Night was slowly taking the town's reigns from the lavish Caribbean sun and driving it into a whirlwind of flamboyant festives, rum, and, of course, the ladies.

A young woman of about twenty gathered up unsold fish into her basket and turned to face the ocean. The sun's light gently colored the sea and skies in gold hues, making the salty water look like precious molten metal. Magnificent purples and oranges lined the clouds around the sun's resting place. The last rays of sunlight settled on the mountains, the town below already immersed in dots of oil lamps. She chuckled as the cool ocean-scented wind from the gulf brushed her cheek, played with stray strands of her dark brown hair, and carried her name to her ears.

"…– Cherise –… "

Wait, her name?

She turned, but found no one who might've been addressing her. Nobody was looking her way, nor was nearby. The closest groups of people were either rather conscious early drunks near the taverns, or the ones self-nominated to be drunk later, and with those purposes heading into taverns. The marketplace was already empty, and save for the retreating sun, dark.

Frowning, she picked up the basket and turned to leave. The occurrence forgotten, a smile graced her lips as she thought of her father's delight when she'd give him the earnings. Then she would prepare the dinner and they'd sit together, maybe even on the beach to watch the first stars, and he'd tell her stories about ocean gods and sea nymphs. She would close her eyes and see it all clearly, as if she were really there in their company, dancing and playing with the nymphs, perhaps even being one of them. And the ocean god would watch over them all, and there'd be no worries as to what the next day will bring. It would be an adventure, thrilling and captivating, and she would give it her all, always. And he would tell her of pirates, the sea as their treasure and their curse. Cherise found those stories very exciting, despite her father's rather unfavorable attitude towards them.

But she would open her eyes and see herself on the beach, and throw the ocean a silly smile. She was in her place, a pebble in the creek, exactly where the water carried it. And water, so vast and deep, seemed wise in its actions. After all, it was giving them all life, bringing them the trade and the food, and the grandiose sunsets and sunrises every day. That was her life, and she accepted it with both humility and pride.

And that all would've been well and good, had she not turned and found herself staring at someone's chest, clad in cotton and leather-strapped.

"'Ello dearie!"

She turned her face upward to look at the man. Her eyes widened at his odd appearance – kohl-rimmed eyes, a sneaky grin that revealed a couple of gold teeth (what happened so that they'd be replacing the real ones?), hair hopelessly, and perhaps, intentionally, tangled with an unfathomably arbitrary choice of trinkets (as if he raided a grandmere's chest…) – and really, speaking of raiding and unorthodox appearances, topped off with a pistol and a cutlass…

Cherise turned on her heels, and keeping her horrified countenance, hurried to leave. How could his kind even dare venture to the port with the militia concentrated here in such numbers?

Another man barred her way, also a pirate, she noted, but less…flashily attired.

"Captain Jack Sparrow at your service, Miss, and I assure you that this is a matter of utmost delicacy and unprecedented importance," the first pirate said, accentuating random words with the gesticulations of his other arm, the first already gripping her forearm, "with which we ought to deal in the most rapid manner before impeding doom in the form of guns, rapiers, nooses and distasteful hats might come upon us, so I'd appreciate if your most valued reason, mind, and body would grace us with your presence on the ship."

Cherise stared at him for a while, before giving him a squinted death glare. "…What?"

He sighed in annoyance, tilting his head to the side. Snapping his eyes back to her, he explained, "You." He pointed at her. Then he made a walking gesture with two fingers. "Walk. Ship." Here he bent his torso and straightening, flamboyantly extended his arm with the hand slightly cupped. "Shoooo!" He grinned, clearly expecting complete understanding in return for his efforts. Cherise raised her brow and tried to free herself from the maniac.

The pirate behind her started jittering impatiently. "Cap'tain, I dun reckon we've got time to negotiate in any sort! She'd go and cause a commotion!"

"Ah!" The "Cap'tain" raised his index finger and matter-of-factly exclaimed, his dark eyes looking somewhere past her. "Too late." At that, Cherise tore her eyes away from him for just a second, and the last sounds she heard before her mind dove into darkness were the sounds of many approaching feet and someone's regretful protest.

Some time later – she couldn't quite place how much later – she woke and found herself in a dark place. She felt that she was lying on something, perhaps even a bed, for it was soft; she also felt that wherever she was, it was rocking. Like a ship.

Did I fall asleep on my father's boat? If so, how did I get here? I don't remember going home…

...Ow.

The throbbing pain on her head reminded her very well about the events that took place that evening.

"Oh no! No!"

She quickly rolled over to her side and then noticed a small window. Right before she tumbled off the bed, that is, henceforth also noting the location of the floor. She scrambled to get up in the dark, and finally managed to do so, stumbling to the window. Her hopes weren't confirmed, for Cherise saw no land outside, just the vast waters and the stars sprinkling the sky. The thoughts of this boat being definitely not the preferred location of the evening, her father going frantic by now, and the man, who was responsible for the aforementioned inconveniences, still walking and even breathing jittered in her mind. She heard her heartbeat quicken. Oh God, where was she? Why have they taken her? What could she do? …Fight?

Cherise growled, kicked out, and indeed hit a wall. After a few more times, she moved along the wall with her fists to disperse her anger, hoping for a solution to reward her distraught efforts. Frenetically pounding on anything that would get in the way of her hands in the gloom, Cherise felt a couple of uncontrollable distraught sobs escape her throat.

Finally, she felt her hands go numb, and she slid down, her nails leaving a few trails on the wall of the dark cabin. What to do? She couldn't just waltz out of there. Well, she could, it just wouldn't be the wisest choice she would be making in her soon-to-be-short life. What if they were waiting right outside? They were pirates. Take what you can, give nothing back, right? And she couldn't very well just get home. Her skills at maintaining and navigating such vessels were just a tad below a directionless voyage. Or, well, a successful one.

Truly, she was a small speck on Earth, a little pebble amidst rushing water.

Cherise shakily felt her way to the bed and slumped onto it. Her fingers found a pillow, it seemed to her, and she buried her face into it and futilely struggled not to cry. Would the water carry her to her place, yet again? Tired and frustrated, she soon gave in to uneasy sleep.

Just let the morning bring what it will…

The Black Pearl's sails filled with wind.