It was their eleventh night there when things changed.
Beckett, Elizabeth and William were all sitting around a scarred table near the back of a pub called the Greasy Panther. Beckett had to wonder at the names of pubs and inns at this place, really, he did. Anyhow, Elizabeth cradled William to her and occasionally helped herself to a peanut from a small tin container on the table, and Beckett had just had his second encounter with rum.
He didn't enjoy it any more then he had the first time, and left it unfinished.
"Why are those women staring at you?" Elizabeth asked, raising an eyebrow.
"They are entranced by my good looks," Beckett rolled his eyes and shrugged, "How am I supposed to know?" Towards the front of the bar, three women—who looked to be prostitutes—were stood together in a clump, their eyes fixed on their table, though they would occasionally pretend otherwise.
"Did you do something stupid while you were up there?" Elizabeth asked suspiciously. He had gone to get his rum—he'd been less then a minute gone—but she could safely bet that he had done something idiotic.
"Psht, no. I don't do stupid things," Beckett said airily. Elizabeth laughed out loud at this one, for a long time. Beckett frowned slightly as her laughs died out.
"Come on, you must have done something strange," Elizabeth said, as the women all exchanged a quick, hushed conversation, and then began making their way across the room. Beckett rolled his eyes, though he looked slightly wary of the three ladies of the night. He did not want any more run-ins with demented women, thank you very much.
"I just bought my rum and paid," he shrugged, "And what a waste of money it was, too."
"Waste of money? Oh, you didn't pay with a guinea, did you?" Elizabeth turned and gave him a long-suffering, almost pitying look. Beckett didn't deny it. "You idiot," Elizabeth said softly, "Don't draw attention to ourselves, I said—and now everyone in the entire pub thinks you're rich, and throwing your money away!"
"It's just a guinea," Beckett wrinkled his nose, "I thought it would draw more attention to ourselves to ask for change."
"You told the barman to keep the change?" Elizabeth shook her head in exasperation, "Good God, Beckett, you're an idiot!" Most people find Old English money confusing. However, Beckett and Elizabeth—who used Old English money—did not find it confusing. That was a good thing, I suppose, or they would have been in a bit of trouble. The thing about the guinea is—though it's worth roughly the same as one pound (it was one pound and one shilling, to be exact), it was thought of as... a 'gentlemanly' form of money. Rich people traded with guineas; it was almost like a type of coin reserved for 'artistes'.
So, obviously, Beckett had plenty of them. What would be the point in using 'normal' money, after all? However, they may draw a bit of attention in a place like Tortuga... the three prostitutes reached their table, and stood, fiddling with the tops of their corsets and preening in general.
"Hey, big spender," one of them said in a cockney accent. Elizabeth resisted the urge to roll her eyes once more. Whores—always after the money, she thought.
"Are you talking to me?" Beckett asked, incredulously. All three nodded.
"Are you two together?" Another of the prostitutes slid her eyes somewhat disdainfully towards Elizabeth, as if she were an unwanted guest. Elizabeth resented this.
"Yes," Elizabeth snapped, "Get lost."
"Ooh, touchy," the prostitutes all smirked at each other, and one of them winked roughly at Beckett, "We'll be sein' ya, boy," the prostitute who had spoken before drawled, and after pausing to glance around the table (undoubtedly for any more signs of money), walked away. Beckett's expression could only be described as 'please don't hurt me', until he covered it up with an indifferent cough.
"That was oddly reminiscent of being ambushed," Beckett said, watching them stalk away.
"Yes, yes," Elizabeth said, watching Beckett closely. She'd been hoping that he would go the colour of an overripe tomato, but he failed to—he simply looked indifferent, though he'd seemed almost scared of them beforehand; or at least freaked out by them, to use modern dialect. "I don't want to see you bringing back prostitutes to the inn," she wagged a finger, "It'll be a bad influence on William!"
"Eugh," Beckett wrinkled his nose, "As if I'd want to run the risk of catching a disease off of one of the members of Tortuga's Whore Club; of which there are many, many members..."
"Do you just automatically assume that everyone you come across here has some sort of terrible infection?" Elizabeth asked, in a slightly amused tone.
"Of course," Beckett said, pulling his sleeve straight, "Most of them do."
And then, someone very familiar strode in the door. Elizabeth opened her mouth, closed it again, and then finally opened it once she had made her mind up. She jumped to her feet.
"Hey, Jack!" she called out. This was a bad idea—soon, almost everyone had turned towards the infamous Captain. He quickly tip-toed across to Elizabeth (he didn't, however, fool anyone; everyone was staring at him as he moved as quietly as he could) and shot her a disapproving look.
"Don't you know I owe everyone 'ere money, Lizzie?" he asked imploringly, gesturing wildly around him, "I don't need you shouting out my name for all to hear."
Cutler Beckett had sank downwards in his seat and appeared to be trying very hard to not be spotted.
It didn't work.
"Beckett?" Jack asked, whistling, "Did you know there's a ten-thousand guinea price tag on your 'ead?" (Yes. Leonard also dealt in guineas.)
"Yes, thank you," Beckett said, mock-pleasantly.
"There are a lot of people 'ere who would hand you over in an instant," Jack raised an eyebrow. Beckett strongly suspected that Jack was one of those people. He looked to Elizabeth, who was still holding William. "What're you doing still 'anging about with him, eh?"
"It's complicated," Elizabeth shrugged, "What're you doing in Tortuga, Jack?"
"Do you even need to ask?" Beckett muttered from his seat.
"I," Jack paused to shoot a somewhat dubious look at Beckett, "Am taking a well-deserved break."
"Oh?" Elizabeth leaned back against the table; she had stood up to call out to Jack, and was not sat yet. Beckett was now in an ordinary position, sitting up in his seat with his eyebrows drawn downwards. Jack stood in front of Elizabeth, a bottle of rum that he had swiped off of a table held aloft in one hand. "Should I ask?"
"Depends," Jack shrugged, and grinned slightly, "Feel up for an adventure?" He began mentally going through the pros and cons of having Elizabeth with him. Hmm...
"Life's been enough of an adventure as it is," Elizabeth said with an exhausted laugh, "I'm looking for a way to contact Tai Huang. Have you heard of his whereabouts?" Jack paused for a moment, putting a finger to his chin as he thought.
"Nope," he finally said brightly, which was not strictly truthful (see: a lie) and then pulled up a chair and sat down, opposite to Beckett, who looked faintly distasteful, but said nothing. Elizabeth sat down too.
"How've things been?" Elizabeth asked in a conversational tone. She wasn't sure how to ask if there was any way to hitch a lift with him. "Do you have a boat?"
"A dinghy, yes," Jack said, equally conversationally, though he—like Elizabeth—was thinking up of many ways to use it to his advantage, should Elizabeth decide to come with him. Then again, there was William, who may be a disadvantage. His dinghy wouldn't do; he'd have to pinch a slightly bigger ship; but with some well-placed help from Elizabeth (and perhaps even, blegh, Beckett), that should be fine, shouldn't it?
What he needed, really, was a ship and a crew. That would be very much appreciated, to get what he wanted; which at the moment, of course, was the Aqua de Vida. Which had turned out to be a bit of a puzzler, so far. Elizabeth—ex-Pirate King, with a Pirate Lord who owed her one—would probably be able to get him a ship and a crew very easily. Not only that, but she could help him with the search. Hmm...
"I see," Elizabeth said, lightly. Beckett looked from Jack to Elizabeth, and then back to Jack again, rather slyly. Suddenly, he seemed to realize where this was going.
"Oh, no," he murmured.
It was no Black Pearl. Certainly, it was bigger then his previous dinghy, but that didn't say too much. Jack, Elizabeth and Beckett all looked at the smallish sloop, with varying expressions on their faces. Elizabeth looked doubtful. Jack looked proud. Beckett looked bored. William wasn't looking at the smallish sloop, so doesn't really count in that list. He had his face in Elizabeth's shoulder, and was gurgling to himself.
It was a small boat; however, it was still, in essence, a dinghy. It had a small below-deck area where items could be stored, which was always nice. An improvement, at least. The sails were larger, and there was a lot more space. Space for, say, four or even (good heavens!) five people. Thick hide tarpaulin to fend the weather off should it get too bad (which was doubtful, as it was early June; how time flies!) and, of course, the much-needed bottles of rum.
"Jack," Elizabeth said slowly, "You aren't considering sailing to Singapore in this, are you?"
"No, not to Singapore—to the Singaporeans! They're not so far away, just off the coast of eastern Cuba; a mere skip across some open seas!" Jack waved his arm, in the way he often did when he was mildly amplifying (see: exaggerating) something.
"And this will hold us all?" Elizabeth asked, looking doubtful.
"Us all?" Beckett demanded, "I'm not going anywhere."
"Weren't you the one wanting to get away from Tortuga, with all of the scary witch-women?" Elizabeth asked, in a teasing tone. Beckett scowled, and Jack shot Elizabeth an enquiring look. Elizabeth simply shook her head.
"Well, I don't think I'd be that unhappy to leave our dear friend Cutler behind... would you?" Jack raised his eyebrows at Elizabeth. She looked from Beckett to Jack, and then sighed, grabbing Jack with her free arm and dragging him a little to the side. Beckett pursed his lips, but didn't follow, simply watched a group of ragged boys run past.
"Beckett... isn't... well, Jack," Elizabeth said, quietly.
"Well, I know that," Jack put his hands on his hips, and seemed to realize that Elizabeth wasn't joking. "And?" he enquired, in a more serious tone, "Does it matter? Do you want to help him?" This was followed by a most impressive eyebrow-waggle.
"I want him to come with us," Elizabeth said, carefully, "He saved my life, in a way," she thought back to the burning barn, "He did his best," she finally shrugged.
"Oh, and that's going to convince me, is it?" Jack smiled easily, "I suppose we could always use an extra pair of hands, but... oy!" His point hadn't been that 'they could always use an extra pair of hands but oy'. He had said 'oy' because Beckett had stepped onto the newly extensively borrowed (see: stolen) boat and seemed intent to cut the sails to pieces. Which never did help a ship to sail.
Elizabeth watched, slightly concerned, as Jack proceeded to knock Beckett out with a plank that he picked up from the harbour beneath them, much to the amusement of the same gaggle of boys who were now kicking a tin can around on the harbour (remember them now). He turned to Elizabeth, and shrugged. I wonder if Beckett knows that it's the work of only half an hour or so to patch up a small sail? she wondered, a touch worriedly.
"We're going to be doing this the hard way, methinks," Jack grinned, throwing the unconscious Beckett into the dinghy in an unceremonious heap. Elizabeth looked from Jack to Beckett, and then sighed. Wasn't this journey going to be fun?
"You be nice to Beckett," Elizabeth warned Jack, "Or you are not getting a ship!" Jack seemed slightly put out by this, but nodded, and gave her one if his quick smiles.
"I'll treat him as me own brother," he said, "Good as gold... I swear."
Beckett was not very happy.
I suppose it would be easy to work that out from the way that he was glaring at Jack from his place on board the small sloop, which was currently speeding through the ocean. Or perhaps 'speeding' was the wrong word. Still; they should arrive at the very eastern edge of Cuba in a day... or maybe two.
To be honest, Beckett could see reason in them tying him up, as he was very likely to throw a hissy fit and try to destroy the boat again. As you do. He had had the best of intentions at heart. Anyway... he could see reason in them tying him up, yes.
However, no matter how hard he thought about it, he could not come up with a single reason why they had found it necessary to gag him as well. He let this be known through a fairly ferocious glare, aimed at Jack most of the time, but occasionally he looked towards Elizabeth, with the same, wounded, 'how could you?' quality to it that he had used against her once before. Elizabeth smiled, somewhat apologetically.
"If you wont come peacefully, we're going to have to force you," Elizabeth sighed, patting him on the head, "Don't worry, once we're with Tai Huang and my allies, I can find a physician to see to you, and we'll think of something to do." She found it much easier to speak kindly to Cutler Beckett when he could not reply. And patronizing him was cruelly enjoyable.
For the last time, I am not insane! Beckett thought, angrily, and feeling very misunderstood indeed. Elizabeth was joking, surely? She must be, he concluded, she must be joking. This is all a big mistake—I'm a bit shaky for a couple of days, and Elizabeth jumps to conclusions! Silly cow...
As Jack began to drum on the edge of the boat—probably just to annoy Beckett—and Elizabeth started feeding baby William with scoops of apple sauce once more, and Beckett simply glared at them all with pure poison from his bound-and-gagged position, the story draws to a conclusion. This storyline has ran out; as the Runaways was about Beckett and Elizabeth's life as outlaws. And that is about to end; it's about to turn into a story about their lives as pirates. However unwillingly.
A trilogy? Oh, please, no.
Jack Sparrow, Cutler Beckett, Elizabeth Swann and William Turner Junior in a dinghy? Well, if that doesn't make for jolly good times, just what does? But, well—that's another story.
NB: ...SURPRISE! -dodges flying kitchen utensils-
Alright, alright, look--the original plot I had planned for Runaways is just much too long to fit into one story. I don't want a never-ending-story scenario with an 80-chapter whopper of a fanfic clogging up the boards. So I'm finishing this one here, and the next one--which is already in the making, by the way, and the plot is complete--will be put up as another story.
Also, sorry for my crapness with updates. Christmas is an impossibly busy time of year, isn't it? Gah! Anyhow, so this is where Runaways ends. Keeping with the theme, the third story in our installment (noooo! I promise it'll be the last one, I promise!) will be called The Adventurers, and will be up soon.