AN: Must stop listening to Disney songs.

Either way, this little ditty, one of my all-times faves, struck me as being Jet's song…it's a prequel / character sketch of sorts to my larger story, Rough Seas.

I don't own the Avatar characters.

A Captain Born

"Riff-raff, street rat. I don't buy that.
If only they'd look closer…

Would they see a poor boy?
No siree.

They'd find out there's so much more to me…"

- One Jump Ahead (Reprise), Aladdin

The salty air swirled around him, overwhelming his senses, and caused him to pause. In the recent past, the only thing he could remember was the distinct olfactory sense of smoke, charred wood, and the burned remains of his family…

He readily welcomed the change the briny water brought.

"Watch where you're going!"

Narrowly dodging a hulking brute of a man, ten year old Jet realized that he was literally dead on his feet, and sat down heavily on the ancient wooden dock. The last week had been such a blur, he had no idea how he had found his way to the coast. He hadn't stopped to sleep, to eat… If he stopped then reality would crash down on him and he would have to face the unspeakable horror of what had happened.

But now…

It was if a cloud had been lifted and he had walked the grief out of his system. He felt empty and hollow, but also determined to live and seek revenge for his departed family. He had made it all the way to the sea, and that had to count for something, right? It was as good as place as any to start over. There was nothing for him elsewhere…no relatives he could stay with…no extended family to take him in, but maybe it was better that way.

Here, he was just another orphan, another mouth to feed, and that angered him. He didn't want to be indebted to anyone…whatever gains he got in this life, he wanted them to be on his own, without anyone's help. He was young, sure, but he could work, he could learn a trade. He wasn't born into wealth, but that didn't mean he could make it happen for himself.

Looking at his choppy reflection, he saw the reflection of his tigerhead swords in the water and pulled them off of his back.

Although he had almost seriously burned his hands in the process, he had managed to retrieve his father's swords from the wreckage that had been his home before running into the woods and beginning his trek here. His father had only just started training him the basic forms, but someday, he would be a master…

Between the anger, pain, frustration and sadness, he vowed he would never let someone take advantage or catch him unaware again. Movement on a nearby boat, the Black Pearl, caught his attention. He looked up to the top of the mast and noticed the ship had no country flag to mark it. Instead, it had a tattered piece of cloth, with a background as black as pitch and a set of skull and bones crossing it.

A man at the wheel flipped a glittering coin in Jet's direction, who caught it, asking, "What's this for?"

"You look like you need it more than me, laddie."

Suddenly recognizing that the man was a pirate, and the money was most likely stolen, it occurred to Jet that, in addition to the Fire Nation soldiers, an honest living also had a part in killing his parents. The Captain of this ship didn't have to answer to anyone, he was free to go where he pleased, to take whichever lives he wanted...

Summoning what little strength he had left, Jet called out, "You need any crew?"

The man in the worn tricorn hat appraised him, and dark eyes sparkling, called down, "If just so happens we do."

Jet hauled himself up and quickly scooted on board, already picturing himself armed to the teeth and attacking the Southern Raiders. His vision was cut short when a mop and bucket were shoved into his hands, and the instructions, "Start with the latrine" were uttered.

He had to start somewhere.

AN: My universe, my rules, why shouldn't the Black Pearl exist here…?