AN: Seems like this would be an important day in Jet's life…
Do not own the characters.
He was out to make a conquest
Didn't care what harm was done
Just as long as he won
She was just another conquest
Didn't care whose heart was broke
Love to him was a joke,
'til he looked into her eyes.
And then in the strange way things happen…
The roles were reversed from that day
The hunted became the huntress,
The hunter became the prey."
- Conquest, The White Stripes
"How old ye be?" The Captain asked one balmy day in the summer. The crew had gone ashore, freed for a two day leave from the Black Pearl. Their last haul had been hugely profitable – they had stolen cargo intended for Ozai himself – and everyone was in a mood to celebrate.
The scrawny lad who had joined the crew was rapidly growing into a fine young man. His shoulders had broadened, his face tanned, his hair grown shaggy, and although he was without facial hair like many of his mates, for a fourteen-year-old, he was well on his way to fitting to the mould of 'pirate.' Motivated (or consumed, it was often difficult to tell) by his absolute hatred for the Fire Nation, he had risen swiftly from the ranks of kitchen boy and general lackey to something more. Jet was quick, intelligent, and his mind absorbed everything he saw. Like quicksilver, he adapted. Although he had no skills as a bender, he was fast becoming dangerous with the twin blades he favored.
Unsure where this particular conversation was going to lead, the young man scratched his head, and finally answered, "Sixteen."
The Captain, who knew better, let a smile filter over his lips and said, "More than time for you to become a man."
Wary, Jet boasted, "I'm man enough."
The Captain laughed hysterically, wiped his eyes, and clapped the young gent on the back, "After tonight, you will be."
Jet was familiar enough with the Hideaway – they had stopped regularly since he had joined the crew. He was also more than aware of how 'relations' between men and women worked. In the long hours at sea, it was a very favourite pastime of the crew to discuss – in sometimes excruciating detail – various adventures and unbelievable exploits with the opposite sex. Although he took the teasing and jibes regarding his own lack of experience – he was curious.
Together, the pair walked down the gangplank, past the 'usual' taverns, and towards another establishment – one the young buccaneer had usually avoided, until now.
Jet was suddenly nervous, but didn't dare let the Captain see. The image of the pirate was a confident one, and he wasn't about to let anyone know he was anything but that.
"First one's on me," said the Captain good-naturedly and half pushed, half shoved an awkward Jet through the front door. In the darkened room, a number of the 'lovelies' (as the Captain was known to identify them) instantly crowded the popular corsair. He usually brought treasures from the Fire Nation and was somewhat generous with his riches.
The Captain's keen eyes searched the room for a suitable choice for his young crew member. Coming up with a particular ginger headed lass, he casually motioned for her to join them.
As she sauntered over, her wares pleasantly on display, Jet began having desperate second thoughts, and he tried to swallow…to act normal…to breathe. His mouth had gone completely dry and if questioned, he wasn't sure he'd be able to answer what his name was. He briefly pictured himself running back to the ship, but curiosity got the better of him and he decided to see this endeavor through.
It didn't take much to remind him that each day he lived was one his family did not. He owed it to them to make each moment count…some days were more difficult than others…but today, however…his mouth quirked in a salacious smile. He had a feeling today was going to be one of the easy ones.
"Hello, what do we have here?" the redhead purred.
"Just Jet?" She playfully twirled a lock of her distinctively colored hair around a pale white finger.
He gulped, and realized it was undoubtedly easier to fight one-hundred armed Fire Nation soldiers than converse with an actual woman. How did the Captain make it look so effortless? He finally found his voice and answered, "Th-that's right."
"And what brings you to the Hideaway today, Just Jet?" She continued weaving a spell over him, tracing a finger over his left bicep and placing herself comfortably in his lap.
The Captain, who had backed away and was watching his young protégé from the bar, stepped forward. Sensing young Jet was drowning, he answered on behalf of the half-terrified boy. Sweeping his hand dramatically, he leapt onto a nearby table and said with a flourish, "Do you not know, the boy has searched far and wide, across many lands and seas simply to find a maiden to bestow this perfect gift on? Nay, not any woman, but the most beautiful girl in all the world?"
From one of his many pockets, he pulled out a perfect daisy-rose and presented it, humbly, to the open-mouthed young woman. She looked shyly at Jet and said, "Thank you."
Taking him by the hand, she winked over her shoulder at a smirking pirate Captain, and led one very unsuspecting young man upstairs.
Many hours later, a very satiated crew member came down the staircase, a content smile on his face, and a new feature twitching at the corner of his mouth. He languidly slid up to the bar and asked in a serious tone, "Can we stay here forever?"
The collected crew laughed, but Jet failed to see the humor. This place was heaven on earth. Why would anyone voluntarily leave? The Fire Nation had wiped out any belief he had in common magic or optimism, but over the hours of the afternoon he had regained a small amount of what he lost. Far away from the ship, from the danger…
One of the watchmen clapped him on the back and said, "We're shipping out now, lad. Don't worry, we'll be back before you know it."
And thus began a young scoundrel's love affair with women.
AN: I am totally procrastinating right now…