Disclaimer: Nope, don't own Pirates of the Caribbean. Someday, if Disney decides to sell him for a very small amount, I will, but for now, the great Captain Jack, etc., are not mine.
AN: Here it is, my new Pirates story! I hope that people will like it, since it will have all of the usual action, adventure, and plot twists. Oh, and thanks to the weird twisted mass that is my brain and creativity, it's a completely alternate universe (AU), so things are going to pick up after Curse of the Black Pearl ends. I'm also totally changing things around a bunch of things from the films, so please don't hate me for inaccuracies (though I know some people might hate me anyway). Well, I hope you all enjoy this first chapter, and please review to let me know what you think. Thanks!
Chapter 1: Old Friends:
Sashaying down the dock, Captain Jack Sparrow saw who he was looking for and saluted the old harbormaster. A few steps closer and Jack flipped him a silver coin, the usual amount that would get a false name for both him and the Pearl listed in the record books. The old man nodded, smiled knowingly, and tucked the coin into his pocket before scribbling something down inside his book.
Grinning, Jack headed straight for the back alleys of the bustling port town and made his way up towards the hill where the wealthy and noble were housed. If he were canvassing the place for a raid, he'd visit that part of town at night, but this was a completely different sort of business all together. Besides, Charles would never forgive him if he raided his house.
'Besides, it's against the rules for me to rob such a good friend,' he thought, tipping his hat flirtatiously at a passing maid, who giggled and smiled back before going about her business. 'And even if I did rob Charles, he'd have the Navy on me faster than I could blink.'
Charles Elliot, wealthy merchant and almost-nobleman, lived in the bustling harbor town of Portsmouth, England, with his wife and child. Well, there might be more children now, since the last time Jack had visited him was fifteen years ago, but that visit had been more than enough for Jack.
Of course, his history with Mr. Elliot went back further than those fifteen years…
The two men had first met twenty-five years ago, when Jack was between jobs at sea and had had too many drinks at an English tavern. Kindly and sympathetic, Charles Elliot, a jolly red-headed fellow determined to make a name for himself as a merchant, had been passing by the alley in which a drunken Jack had been involved in a tavern brawl, and was loosing rather quickly. Jack didn't remember what had happened after the young man showed up, but somehow Charles had managed to knock out all three sailors and drag the still-drunk pirate up to his rented room above a bookstore, where he tended Jack's wounds and tried to sober him up in the process.
After waking the next day with a hangover the size Europe, Jack introduced himself over a meager breakfast of bread and ale, the only things Charles could afford at the time, and got to know his host. As they ate, Charles confessed that he was the disgraced son of a wealthy merchant family. Six months ago, his father had cut him off after discovering his son's secret engagement to a poor serving girl working at his family's house. Without money to provide for a future wife and family, Charles was unable to marry his love, and despite being clever and rather smart, he was struggling to find work.
"No doubt my father's doing," he muttered, shoving a piece of bread into his mouth. "Probably thinks that if I don't make myself a living, I'll come crawling back, begging to be let back into the house and his good will."
The thing Charles wanted most was to show his father that he was as good a merchant as those in his family, and to make enough money to marry his betrothed and get them out of their rotten situation.
That, of course, opened the door of opportunity for Jack.
Already well-known in the pirate dives of town, Jack Sparrow, up-and-coming pirate extraordinaire, had formed many connections with those who needed to get rid of certain "objects" they had acquired from pirates and thieves, and no idea how to do so. Though he was reluctant to admit it, Charles still had friends who needed the unique treasures and gems that came from looted ships, fresh from the Caribbean and Americas. With all of Europe begging for new oddities from the strange New World, a very good financial connection could be made right then and there in Charles Elliot's run-down kitchen.
At first, Charles was reluctant. He was an honest man, and dealing with pirates and thieves (other than Jack) just didn't seem right to him. However, he was desperate and in love, so he agreed to do a few things for a few people that Jack named, if only for a 'trial run.'
Using his friends in the trades business, Charles took the treasures that Jack's connections gave him, and sold them to his fellow merchants at a terribly high price, which he divided between himself and the trinket providers. More than half of the money went into the hands of men from the shady side of town, but the rest was kept by Charles, who quickly saved up enough to start his own business and marry his beloved in about a month.
Since his new trade business was still slightly dependent on pirates, thieves and black market goods, Charles had to keep that a secret from his wife, who, being a good woman of firm beliefs, would not approve of it. Though most of the shipments were legitimate, black market goods always brought great profit to those involved, and since money was needed, Mr. Elliot kept at it, promising himself that the moment he was rich enough, he would stop.
Three years after his first meeting with Jack, Charles was able to keep his oath of forsaking the illegal part of his trade. Jack, who had been traveling the seas during this time, finally decided to call on the debt that Charles now owed him. After all, it was thanks to Jack and his suggestions that Charles was now very rich and very much respected in town, and now Jack wanted what was rightfully his. True, Charles had saved Jack from a thorough beating before, but considering how high Charles now was in the world, it was only fair to give his friend something in return for all he had done for Charles and the new Mrs. Elliot.
In the end, what Jack wanted was relatively minor: a glowing letter of introduction and recommendation to the East India Trading Company. It was an odd request, but one which Charles Elliot happily granted in his eagerness to write off his debt and help his friend. They were square, and now life could move forward for the merchant with no cloud hanging over his head.
The next time Charles and his pirate friend met, it was fifteen years ago, over seven years after they'd last seen each other, and Jack was feeling as though he was on top of the world.
Against many odds, he was captain of his own ship, and had already embarked on dozens of adventures. It had been a hard journey, one filled with the fury of the East India Trading Company, the branding of him as a pirate, and the loss of his first and most beloved ship, the Wicked Wench. Jack, however, had made it past all that relatively unscathed.
Thanks to Jack's cleverness, the Wench was back and whole, revived from the bottom of the sea thanks to the tremendous powers of the goddess Calypso. It had been a matter of convincing the nine Pirate Lords of the Seas to release the captive sea goddess, but the nine lords freed her from her human bonds once Jack had extracted a sacred vow from her, a promise never to turn her powers loose on any pirate ship without just cause. To thank him for his help in freeing her, Calypso rewarded Jack with his resurrected ship, which she had raised from the depths of the sea for him, completely devoid of damage from when it had been sunk by the Trading Company. In honor of the sea goddess, Jack had renamed it The Black Pearl, after her favorite gemstone.
With a ship of his own, a crew at his beck-and-call and nothing to do, Jack had decided to take a jaunt back to Europe, where he stopped at Portsmouth to see how his mate Charles was doing. When he discovered where the man now lived, Jack was impressed.
In the time that had passed, Mr. and Mrs. Elliot had become the toast of the town, and were far richer than they had been before. In fact, they were almost nobility, and were simply waiting for a minor title to befall on them from the King, which was being considered very closely, thanks to a few expensive gifts that Charles had sent up to the royal palace in London.
Figuring that a little reunion was in order, Jack obtained directions to the Elliot mansion and carefully made his way up there, using his pirate skills to slip inside when no one was looking. He found Charles alone in his office, sitting by the fire and enjoying a glass of brandy as he relaxed in his chair. Hearing the sound of heavy boots on the floor, Charles had whirled around in his seat, grey eyes widening in delight at the sight of his friend.
Pouring Jack a glass of the expensive drink, Charles talked about everything that had happened since they'd last talked seven years before. The business had blossomed tremendously, much to his joy and that of his wife, and the two of them now had a five-year-old daughter named Joanna, who was the light of their lives.
Glad that his friend was doing so well, Jack told of his own adventures at sea and around the world, sometimes over embellishing the odd detail or two, but staying relatively close to the truth. The men talked so long that they ran out of brandy and Charles, not wanting to call the servants and have them find a pirate in the house, went to go fetch some more, leaving Jack to enjoy the quiet of the house.
It wasn't long after the door closed behind Charles that it quickly slipped open again, revealing, much to Jack's surprise, a little girl in a frilly white nightgown whom he could only guess to be Joanna Elliot. She was a pretty little thing, with wide brown eyes and long brown hair that clearly came from her mother. The dimples on her cheeks were obvious, even when she wasn't smiling (just as now). The sight of her was a surprise, causing Jack to stand up abruptly from his chair beside the fire.
It was clear that the sight of a strange man in her father's study at night had startled the child, and in a bold move, she ran forward and kicked him soundly in the leg, causing him hop up and down on one foot, clutching his injured leg and muttering curses. It hadn't hurt, really, given that the girl was wearing soft slippers, but she'd hit a sensitive spot on his calf, and Jack really didn't like pain (though he could certainly bear it if he had to).
Thankfully, Charles chose that moment to arrive, and upon seeing his child glaring up at his wincing guest, Charles picked up the little girl and began explaining things very carefully to her. He told her that this was an old friend of his, Captain Jack Sparrow, and that he was a good man, so she mustn't kick him or hurt him because Papa didn't want her too.
"But he's a pirate!" she'd said, turning to look at the odd ensemble Jack wore. Honestly, if the tricorn hat, dirty shirt, fraying coat and numerous trinkets in his hair didn't scream the word 'pirate,' the letter P on his wrist would have been proof enough of his identity.
The child looked up at her father. "Mama says that pirates are horrible men who kill people and steal. Why do you have a pirate friend when they are so bad?"
Charles smiled at her as only a doting father would. "Not all pirates are bad, my sweet," he told her. "And Jack is a very good man. He helped make enough money so that I could marry Mama, buy a house to live in, buy nice clothes to wear, and delicious food to eat every day. Does that sound like something a bad man would do?"
Joanna said she didn't think so, but it was quite obvious she didn't like having a pirate inside the house, so Charles had to force her into promising never to tell anyone that Jack had been there. He told her that Papa would be very sad if his friend were arrested and taken away, and that it would break his heart to see Jack die.
Unable to bear the thought of making her father unhappy, Joanna promised to keep quiet on the matter, if only for her Papa's sake. She returned to bed, leaving the two men to themselves once more to talk.
"That's quite the little vixen you've got there," Jack commented as he took a sip of brandy. "She'll cause you plenty of headaches and interesting situations as she grows up."
Charles laughed. "That's true, but it's something I look forward to. I honestly can't imagine life without her. Honestly, it'd be so dull around her with out my little Joanna running around and causing trouble."
It was dawn by the time their visit ended. Jack departed with a pocket full of coins to spend on himself and his crew in town, and Charles was left with a jewel-encrusted snuff box that Jack had raided on a ship before arriving for his visit.
It was the last time they would see each other for many years.
Heading up the hill, Jack shook his head and slipped past the guards at the front gate by going over a side wall. The plants growing up the stone barrier were a lot thicker now, but then, it had been more than a decade since he'd last been here, so it was to be expected that a few things had changed.
'The lack of security seems to have remained the same,' he thought, quietly landing behind a clump of trees in the garden.
Not that he was complaining, since it meant not having to fight his way into or out of the house. However, Jack was secretly praying that the lady of the house and her daughter were not home. Jack had never met Mrs. Elliot, but knew that since she detested anyone involved in anything illegal, it'd be best to avoid her at all costs.
Jack rolled his eyes. 'Clearly the young lady Elliot takes after her Mum in that respect.'
Then again, pirates did usually have a bad reputation amongst the well-to-do, so he shouldn't be surprised that Mrs. Elliot had told her daughter to always fear and despise lawbreakers like himself. You can't blame a child for taking on the likes and dislikes of their parents, so Jack merely tried to hope that Charles had somehow managed to change Joanna's mind over the past few years.
In the meantime, he would try and keep his legs out of reach. After all, getting kicked is no fun, no matter what kind of shoes the kicker is wearing!
A quick canvas of the garden revealed no one about, so, keeping to the wall, Jack made his way to the side of the house where Charles's office. When he was sure the coast was clear, he ran across the span of green grass separating him from the house and peeked inside. Finding it empty of occupants, he carefully slid a thin knife into the crack of the door, lifted the latch, and turned the knobs. The doors swung silently open, allowing him to slip inside without being spotted.
As the clock on the desk struck noon, Jack knew all he had to do now was wait for another opportune moment to present itself.
AN: A short chapter, but the next one will be longer, I promise! Please review! Thanks.