A/N: You'll recognize that this takes place in the Pirates of May universe, ARAT specifically. This was a chapter that I had written a while back that doesn't quite fit with the flow of the story, and I have been debating about posting it as a one-shot vs part of the narrative.
Well, the challenge by Sirenofthestorm this week took care of that dilemma. The prompt she offered was nautical jargon used as innuendo, which you'll find this chapter fits. Loosely inspired by the scene from A Knight's Tale where the gang helps William write the letter to Jocelyn.
I apologize for jumping the gun, but I couldn't resist. I hope you'll forgive me for a sneak peak of things to come in ARAT!
When I came out on deck that morning, I was greeted immediately by Pintel and Ragetti, who both smirked and sniggered a bit after wishing me 'good morning', and I frowned at what might have prompted such a response from them until I came across Turk and Gibbs together.
"Don't mind them, lass," Gibbs said, jerking his head toward the two misfit pirates. "Jus' bein' childish, as usual."
"About what?" I asked naively.
Gibbs looked a tiny bit uncomfortable suddenly. "Erm, about..."
I took his meaning and blushed, knowing that he referred to the fact that I'd been caught in a compromising moment with Barbossa, but that didn't stop Turk from adding his two shillings.
"And the ol' peacock fretted that yeh might not be inclined," Turk laughed. "Guess he didn't need to go to such trouble, eh, Gibbs?" He nudged the other older pirate and they shared a knowing grin.
"What trouble? What are you two talking about?" I asked, curious as to what they meant.
The two pirates shared another look that said they weren't sure if they should say anything or not, but at last both shrugged and Gibbs spoke up again.
"Yeh see, May," he said, taking to calling me the name the rest of the pirates were quickly adopting again, "Barbossa might be one o' the fiercest pirates to sail the Spanish Main, an' he might be one of the deadliest swordsmen in the Caribbean, but well, honestly, he needed a little help in the area of...well, erm..."
"Romance," Turk finished for him, unable to completely keep from smirking.
Gibbs nodded in agreement with Turk, and continued on. "Not his strongest point...jus' ask Ragetti."
"Ask me, what?" Ragetti chimed in, clearly having been eavesdropping along with Pintel.
"'Bout the cap'n and romance," Gibbs replied.
Ragetti smiled and rolled his eyes a little, which is a bit disconcerting to watch if you aren't ready for it, as the wooden eye goes in the opposite direction from the real one. "Not 'is strongest point 'tall," he said, and I tried not to smile too broadly while I waited for an explanation.
"Tell May, here, how we had to help 'im out," Gibbs added, while Turk nodded next to him.
"Well," Ragetti began, after a quick glance about the deck to make sure it was only our little group that would be in hearing range, "'e was on the quarterdeck the night b'fore you was to go into town, an it were obvious som'thin' was on 'is mind when I went to take me watch."
Ragetti then continued on with an explanation of how he had shared a few words with his captain, and upon realizing that something was vexing Barbossa, actually managed to ask him what it was. At first Barbossa had waved him off dismissively, snarling softly that it was nothing, but after thinking things over for a minute longer, decided that perhaps he would employ his gunner's help after all.
"'E told me what 'e wanted," Ragetti continued. "Said 'e was lookin' to plan a romantic evenin' for you, but 'e didn't have th' foggiest where to start."
"Not really a big surprise, after the whole Calypso thing," he added knowingly.
"The whole Calypso thing?" I asked, not really understanding what he was referring to. While I certainly had been informed of the bargain Barbossa had made with Tia Dalma and what had transpired the day of the maelstrom, I wasn't sure just what Ragetti meant.
Ragetti suddenly seemed reluctant to inform me about what he'd spoken of, and it was Pintel that picked up the story.
"It was when 'e went to release 'er," he said, reiterating part of the tale I'd heard from Barbossa the night I'd had too much rum. "Bein' a Pirate Lord an' on decent terms wiv Calypso, 'e knew all 'bout 'ow to go 'bout releasin' 'er...'cept fer one thing...the incantation had to be spoke as if sayin' it to a lover."
The implications of Pintel's words were not lost on me. "Oh, dear," I said softly, beginning to imagine what must have transpired.
"'Tweren't pretty," Gibbs said, picking up the tale, "Barbossa speakin' the incantation..."
Turk sniggered at that point, and I admit I was having all I could do to keep a straight face as I shared a look with him.
Gibbs smiled a bit himself. "Let's jus' say 'twere a good thing Master Ragetti understood what was called fer."
"So," Ragetti said, picking the story back up, "when 'e needed help wiv 'is plans, 'e knew I was prob'ly a good one ta help."
Turk chimed in at that point. "And yeh know, darlin', that once I knew what was goin' on with Barbossa askin fer Ragetti's help, I had to put me own two shillin's in."
"You mean you had to take the opportunity to tease him mercilessly about it," I said, knowing well that Turk would never pass up an opportunity like that.
Turk grinned and shrugged.
"Yeah, well, Pint, 'ere decided to come along ta help," Ragetti continued, "and once, me 'n Pint 'n Turk met wiv the cap'n in 'is cabin, Gibbs joined us once 'e came in ta report 'bout supplies an' caught wind of what we was doin'..."
Barbossa sat at the head of the table, across from Turk, Ragetti, Pintel and Gibbs, while Jack perched on his shoulder and surveyed the meeting. He looked around at the faces that were focused on him, and heaved a heavy sigh.
"So, now you understand the dilemma I face," he said, after having reluctantly explained to them how he wanted to ensure that the first night he spent with Madeline again would be a memorable and romantic one, at least for her sake.
"'Fraid yer losin' yer touch with the ladies now, Barbossa?" Turk asked, clearly not opposed to harassing his best friend in front of the others present. The other three shared looks that distinctly said they thought Turk to have a death wish.
Barbossa simply waved him off. "Not at all, Master Turk," he said with a wry grin, "but ye know well how important this be."
"Yeah," Turk replied, taking a sip of from the mug of rum in front of him, "I'd say after twelve years without, gettin' laid would be pretty important."
"That is not what I meant, and yeh know it!" Barbossa replied. "Fer twelve years I've done naught but try to break the curse, and then fulfill me half of a bargain I'd never have made if I had a choice. The Powers That Be have seen fit to grant me a second chance with a finer woman than I have a right to expect to be with, and I'll not be throwin' that chance away lightly."
Nonplussed after the scolding, Turk spoke up again. "Then yer sayin' that gettin' laid isn't important?"
"Well...no," Barbossa replied reluctantly, causing the others to chuckle.
Turk let up. "What is it we can do to help, Cap'n?" he asked, addressing his old friend sincerely.
Barbossa sighed reluctantly again. "I need a way to make the Black Pearl more suitable to a romantic evenin'."
Gibbs and Pintel quickly looked away from each other's brief gaze, knowing they'd not last long enough to make it to the door if either one cracked a smile.
"We could decorate 'er with flowers," Turk suggested, gesturing with his mug.
Barbossa shot him a dirty look.
"What? I'm bein' serious," Turk replied in earnest. "Women love flowers."
"And what would people think of the notorious Black Pearl and her captain if they were to see her draped in pansies and daisies in the harbor, Master Turk?" Barbossa asked caustically.
"Perhaps jus' the cabin, then?" Gibbs chimed in, adding his two shillings and rescuing Turk.
Barbossa looked thoughtful for a moment. "Aye, perhaps that might work."
Pintel, not wanting to be left out, added his own thoughts. "That would be downrigh' lovely...maybe spread a trail of delicate red rose petals along the floor to the...What?" he asked, seeing the way the other four pirates were looking at him.
"The rose petals may be a little much, Master Pintel," Barbossa replied, beginning to wish he'd never said anything. "'Tis a bit cliché, is it not?"
"If yeh say so," Pintel replied, having no idea what cliché meant.
"I don't think ya should 'ave 'er aboard the Pearl," Ragetti said after a moment of thought, and the others turned to look at him. "Jus' my way of thinkin'...s' not much privacy on a ship. A lady might be more comfortable wivout a bunch of pirates around."
Barbossa nodded, thinking Ragetti's idea had some merit.
"Yeh could get a room in Port Calais," Turk suggested.
"Aye, that's just the thing!" Gibbs added enthusiastically. "There be plenty of rooms over the taverns. Maybe taker 'er in fer a drink or two and..."
"And what?" Barbossa asked, cutting him off. "Get her drunk and carry her upstairs an' have me way with her like some common strumpet? Oh, that be very romantic, Master Gibbs."
Gibbs smiled sheepishly.
"Not a very original idea," Barbossa continued to scold, "and one I likely could have managed by meself."
"Wouldn't be the first time," Turk added wryly, taking another swig of rum.
Barbossa nodded in acknowledgement. "Aye, that be true," he said with a smirk.
"Yeh could keep it as yer backup plan," Turk said wryly, earning himself a dirty look from Barbossa.
Ragetti spoke up again. "Turk's right 'bout gettin' a room, but it needs ta be a fancy place."
Barbossa met Turk's gaze and they spoke up simultaneously. "The Last Port," they both said, speaking of the upscale well-known inn in Port Calais.
"Aye, 'tis reputed to be where the gov'nor stays when he's in town," Gibbs said, reinforcing the idea.
"That's what you need," Ragetti confirmed. "She'd love a fancy place like that."
A knock sounded on the cabin door, and Cotton entered with his parrot on his shoulder, looking surprised to see the group gathered at the table as he came to let Barbossa know that the watch had changed and all was well.
"You still need flowers for 'er...an' a bottle of wine," Ragetti went on, thinking out loud despite the fact that Cotton had entered.
"Raaauuuch! Saucy wench!" the bird yelled from his master's shoulder, and a horrified look crossed Cotton's face as it continued. "Haul her keel!"
"Shut the door, yeh daft ol' bugger!" Gibbs scolded Cotton, springing from his seat to shut the door to the cabin. He knew Barbossa wanted to keep the planning session under wraps at least for the moment. "Sit down," he ordered Cotton, who reluctantly took a seat and glanced around the gathered pirates.
"Ye'd be sayin', Master Ragetti?" Babossa asked.
"You still need flowers...if'n I was you, I'd 'ave the same ones as you sent 'er before delivered to the room."
Pintel nodded in agreement. "Wiv all th' lavender and the pink roses...that'll be sure ta melt 'er heart," he said sweetly, causing the others to give him odd looks. "What?" he asked, defensive at the looks he was getting.
"Coral pink," Ragetti corrected him. "Coral pink for passion, an' 'cause that were the color of the rose you put in 'er hair, ain't that right, Cap'n?"
"Aye," Barbossa replied quietly, impressed that Ragetti would remember such a small but significant detail. "She'd like that."
"Raaaauuch! Hoist yer topsail!" the macaw cried out loud, causing Cotton to look horrified again at the bird's suggestion.
"That might be rushin' things just a bit," Barbossa replied drolly to the bird's comment. "Now, what is it ye'd be sayin' about wine, Ragetti?"
"It's better than havin' rum. She'll be more impressed if you have a fancy bottle of wine, too," Ragetti went on. "A real fancy one."
Barbossa smiled wryly. "Yer not opposed to spendin' a bit of me gold in this endeavor, are ye?"
Ragetti smiled. "She's worf it, ain't she?"
"Aye, that she is, lad," Barbossa replied. "Of course it doesn't hurt that Captain Flint be fundin' this little evenin'." All the pirates laughed, knowing that Barbossa's share from the raid on the Essex had been a considerable amount of gold. "'Tis only right that he pays fer me takin' her off his hands all those years ago."
"What else?" Gibbs asked, trying to continue the brainstorming.
"Yeh'll need one of them rooms with a fireplace in it," Turk added, gaining a look of approval from Ragetti.
"Yeah," Pintel added brightly, "and one o' them bearskin rugs on the floor." He took on a devious look. "Heh. Might be jus' the thing...you an' 'er and the fire and that fur...put 'er in the mood to get all naked and primitive...What?" he stopped when he saw the odd looks the others were all giving him again.
"Master Pintel, I'm tryin' to sweep the lady off her feet, not drag her by the hair back to me cave," Barbossa replied.
"Right," Pintel said quickly, "sorry."
"Candles," Ragetti said, from where he'd been lost in thought during Pintel's moment of getting sidetracked.
"What?" they all asked.
"Candlelight," Ragetti repeated. "It's very romantic."
"So, we add a pair of candles?" Gibbs asked, after sharing a look with Cotton.
Ragetti shook his head. "No lamps or lanterns in the room...nothin' but dozens of candles flickerin' soft light all 'round the room. That'll set a mood, I figure."
Barbossa glanced at Turk, who was giving him a questioning look about where the awkward one-eyed gunner was coming up with the romantic ideas, and he shrugged a little, having no idea himself, but thankful that he was doing so. "Ye must know that be sheer brilliance," he said to Ragetti.
"Yeah, I know," Ragetti said with a grin. "Ladies love the candle thing."
"Hoist yer colors!" the parrot shouted gleefully. "Raaauuuch! Hoist yer colors!"
"Mayhap not just yet," Barbossa replied to the bird, where Cotton had clamped a hand quickly over its beak.
"Whatever you do," Ragetti then said, "make sure that you tell 'er 'ow pretty she is...maybe buy her a dress...no! I have it!" he exclaimed, causing the others to listen with anticipation.
Ragetti went on to explain about how he thought it would be romantic to have a lacy dress and perfume ready ahead of time, and to leave a note with them.
"Aye, that's a smart idea," Turk said, impressed with Ragetti's ideas so far. He glanced at Barbossa. "I know a place in town where yeh can get just the thing."
"So, I leave them in a separate room fer her to change into with a note," Barbossa mused, "and then what?"
The bird made exaggerated smooching noises across the table, causing Cotton to sink lower in his chair, as Barbossa rolled his eyes at the macaw.
"Nah, you need som'thin' else," Ragetti said, lost in thought again. "The peasday rusty ants."
Pintel, Cotton and Turk shared a questioning look and Gibbs spoke up. "And where exactly is it that we'd find these peasday rusty ants?"
Barbossa smirked a little. "I think what Master Ragetti means is the 'pièce de resistance'," he replied.
He got four blank looks from Turk, Cotton, Pintel and Gibbs.
"He means a final touch that outdoes the rest," Barbossa explained.
"Ah, yeh mean a deal-closer," Turk replied knowingly, sharing a wink with Pintel.
Barbossa smirked. "In essence, yes."
"Rawk! Raaauuuch! Bury yer treasure!" the parrot screamed gleefully, as Cotton just buried his face in his hands, not willing to be responsible for his pet's comments.
"Aye, we're tryin' to get to that point!" Barbossa snapped at the bird. "But we're not there jus' yet!"
"You need a present," Ragetti suddenly added.
"A present?" Barbossa asked. "What sort of present? I jus' left her a dress and perfume."
Ragetti shrugged, and the others wracked their brains.
"Rum?" asked Gibbs, and Ragetti shot him a stern look.
"A ring?" Turk suggested, chuckling to himself a bit at the reproachful look that Barbossa shot him at the insinuation, while Ragetti shook his head again at Turk's suggestion.
"Jam?" Pintel suggested, once again earning himself strange looks from around the table. "What?" he asked, upon seeing the looks he was getting. "Yeh don' like jam tart?"
"I think the only tart Barbossa's interested in at the moment is May," Turk said quietly, knowing he was the only one who could get away with such a comment in Barbossa's presence.
"Raaaawwwwk! Bed the wench!" the bird yelled helpfully, cutting off the retort Barbossa was about to offer Turk.
"It should be som'thin' simple...I know!" Ragetti said brightly. When all eyes were on him expectantly, he spoke. "Leave 'er a single rose on the bed."
'That's not very impressive," Pintel scolded him, about to continue.
"It be perfect," Barbossa replied. "Ragetti, yer a lot smarter than ye look, lad."
"Wouldn't be all that hard to do." Pintel chuckled, earning himself an elbow in the ribs from Ragetti.
"So, it's settled," Turk said. "The Last Port can likely arrange the flowers and wine, so all we need to do is find the dress."
"No offense, Cap'n, but you 'n Turk are going to look awful silly in a dress shop," Gibbs said.
"That's why Masters Pintel and Ragetti will be fetchin' what it is we need from there," Barbossa said, causing Pintel to scowl. "Master Gibbs, you and Cotton will fetch the bottle of perfume, and Turk and I will speak to the innkeeper."
"Oh, and one final thing, gents," he said, as the group all rose to head out on their respective missions, "any of ye say a word to the rest of the crew 'bout this matter, and I'll have yeh danglin' from the yards by yer own entrails."
"Off you go," he said pleasantly, "we have a mission to accomplish, and quickly."
"Rawk! Batten her hatches!" the parrot yelled, as Cotton tried to quickly dart out of the cabin before the bird could open its beak again. It unfortunately could still be heard on deck outside the cabin yelling at where Cotton had run across Madeline.
"Salty wench! Raaaauuch! Prepare to be boarded!"