Disclaimer: Pirates of the Caribbean, all characters, places, and related terms belong to Walt Disney Pictures.

Dedicated: Christmas present for Annika.


Treasure

"Not all treasure is silver and gold, mate."

Captain Jack Sparrow, of the Black Pearl, snapped his book shut. The darn thing could not hold his interest. Instead, his mind was dwelling on treasure, that thing that all pirates held in the highest regard.

Treasure: gold, silver, gems, silks, rum. Yet not all treasure was safe. Treasure could be forbidden, accursed, like the gold that had been the downfall of the previous crew of the Black Pearl. The most dangerous treasure to possess, though, was not of gold and jewels; rarely had it been desired or gained.

"She's safe, just like I promised."

There existed hair of brown honey, yet turned to gold when the sunlight caught it at the right angle. Eyes that, when soft and wide, were like fine copper. The moonlight made skin white, like the purest stone. Lips were like the great ruby.

"Welcome to the Caribbean, love."

"Blast!" Jack tossed his book uncharitably away, gaining a grain of satisfaction when it landed heavily on the floor. With swagger he rose from his chair, the trinkets in his braids clicking against one another. On his way out of his cabin, he grabbed the compass from the table.

"But why is the rum gone?"

A sneer tugging on his lips, the vexed captain stormed about the deck. Weary, members of his crew did their best to stay out of his way. This was the third day of their captain's strange behavior; none was sure quite what to make of it.

Climbing up to the crow's nest, Jack stared down at the foam the Black Pearl left in her wake as she sailed on.

No one messed with Captain Jack Sparrow's rum and got away with it – least of all a woman! Yet that was exactly what…Ms. Swann… had done. She had burned all his precious rum to make a smoke signal.

Unconsciously Jack's sneer softened a bit. She had drunk and burned his rum. Not only that, she had taught him that pirate song while they were stranded. She had helped fight the pirates in the cave. She had saved his life, though -- in her own words -- he was despicable. And he'd saved hers. Living in society that was prim and proper, she had not shrunk back in terror at the adventure she had found herself in, snatched away from Port Royal and in the company of a cursed pirate crew. She possessed a spirit that adapted to the freedom and adventure discovered in the Caribbean.

"I saved your life, you saved mine, we're square."

A spirit of that sort should not be found in a governor's daughter. One of that sort belonged on the high seas, in a pirate. Pirate. Jack's lips curled.

"Peas in a pod."

Shaking his head Jack took his compass from his pocket. The treasure he desired most now was a good rum, an excellent bottle of rum. Absently he flipped open the top of the compass.

"Blast!"

The shout floated clearly down to the crew. Uneasily they all took a moment to peer upward. Aye, their captain was very vexed.

THE END