It had all begun on that fateful Summer day. The damn Summer Solstice. Jack would always remember that day. And for good reason too...
Summer Solstice, Approximately 1708, Somewhere near Whe Xing, China...
It was a bright red sunset, the likes of which hadn't been seen in decades, and the locals were beginning to get superstitious. Well, more superstitious than usual, anyway. The silk folds were shimmering golden and red in front of him, but they were forcing what he wanted just out of his reach... If only he could stretch just a bit more...Ah! he had it!
"OI! You boy, did you just... YOU!" Jack began to run, dodging between stalls and shop carts. The smells of fish, probably salmon, and spices, such as cinnamon and cardamom, filled the air around him, and his empty stomach ached even more than usual. See, it wasn't that he wasn't used to being hungry. That was normal for him. It was simply that after stealing scraps off a ship for so long, his hunger made so much food hard to withstand. "HEY! THEIF! CATCH THAT BOY!" Jack stretched his legs just the tiniest bit longer than usual, swiftly jumping over a crate of silk thread, and onto a cart's silk canopy. He ran as fast as he possibly could, the bread in his arms weighing him down. He heard a clink that was all-too-familiar, and he turned. The shopkeeper had taken a scimitar from a guard, and was now pursuing him as hard as Jack was running. he eventually saw the edge of all the canopies he had been jumping on and over. He breathed out in relief, but then realized in a second that the canopy was ending. Ending. Nowhere to run. But then, he saw it. A cart! He jumped, landing perfectly, and ran toward the end of the cart. He jumped off, tumbling over and over through the sandy road. He felt the dirt sifting through his clothes and his dark hair, but the bread remained safely clutched in his arms. He had won. "HEY THEIF!" Or not.
"Darnit! Where..." Then he realized where he was, and an unusually handsome smile for a eight-year-old spread across his face. The docks. He ran, tan sand still clinging to his black clothes. The small grains of stone dripped from his small running form as he ran hard towards the majestic ships drifting like cranes over the unnaturally blue water. He saw a particularly small ship, all black. It wasn't even a particular ship, more like a large dinghy. But on it's side, painstakingly painted, were the two words in silver paint that took away his breath. The Black Pearl. That small dinghy changed his life, because from that moment on, those three words would help shape his course. "...The Black Pearl..." He whispered, forgetting for a moment that his parents left him behind, that he was so low as to steal things, that he was being chased. All he knew was that those words were very important to him.
"Hey!" He snapped out of it, seeing a small, but very pretty, girl staring at him from the Black pearl. "If I let you hide, will you please share some of that bread?" She asked quietly. He almost said No, but... Something just made him nod. She smiled, so dazzlingly that he blinked, and said: "Okay. Go under that seat, and they won't see you." She very quickly hoisted down the small ribbed black sail. "Morning Fa Zhi-San. Did someone steal something?" She asked of the bread-seller.
"Yes! Some rascal has stolen the largest loaf of bread that I have! Some rice seed as well!" The seller continued running as she guided her ship slowly down the long river.
"Well, that's quite an achievement, you know." She smiled and helped him out from under the seat. "Not many can steal from him and live. Nice." Jack smiled at the praise. No one had said anything nice to him for... He didn't remember how long. "What's your name? Where are you from?"
"I-I'm Jack. Jack Sparrow. I'm from... I don't actually know..." He raised an eyebrow, thinking hard.
"Sparrow, eh?" She pulled a long bamboo oar through the sunset-streaked water. He was astounded at how beautiful she was. "I'm Isabelle. Isabelle Dieret. See, I once knew a man named Sparrow. No good came to him. He never learned to fly, you see. Always sailed the seas instead." She smiled sadly, and began to sing a melody that would flow through his mind for years to come.
"The king and his men,
Stole the Queen from her bed,
And bound her in her Bones,
The seas be ours,
And by the powers,
Where we will, we'll roam.
Yo Ho, haul together,
Hoist the colours high,
Heave Ho, Theives and Beggars,
Never Shall We Die!
Some men have died,
And some are alive,
And others sail on the sea,
With the keys to the cage...
And the Devil to pay,
We lay to Fiddler's Green!
The Bell has been raised,
From it's watery grave...
Do you hear its sepulchral tone?
We are a call to all,
Pay heed the squall,
And turn your sail toward home!
Yo Ho haul, together,
Hoist the colours high Heave Ho, Theives and Beggars,
Never Shall We Die..." She sighed, leaning on her oar slightly harder than necessary. "Sad, isn't it, how adults never seem to be able to work things out between themselves." She looked over at him, but realized he was sound asleep. "Ah, well. You get some rest while you can, Sparrow." She smiled, ever rowing down the river. "You sleep. You just sleep..."
"Iz! Iz! Are you back? What do you ha- Who is this squinch-maggot?" A tall boy, maybe ten or eleven, walked out of a small house on the end of a hand-made dock. He had short tan hair that twisted in places, and his eyes were wary and sharp. He had a long nose with several freckles dotting it, and he had a rather harsh air about him.
"Hector! He's not a maggot!" Isabelle dragged the oar skillfully along the riverbottom and when the dinghy had halted, she jumped out and tied it up. "His name is Jack Sparrow, he's maybe around eight, nine at the most. Stole from that greedy bread-seller, Fa-Zhi." She straightened up and whacked Hector over his head with an oar. "And survived."
"Ouch! Iz! What was that for?" He turned and flicked Jack on the nose, waking him up immediately. "And you! Why are you free-riding?"
"Mmhfhph? What!" Jack sat up immediately, and Hector tugged him out by the ear. "OUCH! Hey! What are you doing?" Jack tugged away and almost hid behind Isabelle "Hi." He said, holding out a hand. "Here's the bread." He held out the entire loaf of bread. Isabelle looked down at the bread incredulously.
"Waaaaiiit... I only asked you for half." She swiveled around and pushed Hector into the small house and turned back around. "So why are you trying to give me the whole thing? Hm?" She made him want to tell the truth, somehow.
"Welll, you saved me, then you let me sleep, and you didn't try to kill me, so, it only makes sense that I owe you more." He shuffled his feet. "Take it." She seemed to be contemplating taking it, her red cheongsam fluttering slightly in the wind.
"Fine." Isabelle took it, but made a 'come' gesture, and he followed her inside. "Hector, where's Caroline? Oh, Sonia, take that outside." As Jack walked inside and down a staircase, he realized that there was a whole underground town, with a ton of children like themselves running and living in it.
"Wow!" He gasped, amazed at the sight of this place.
" Well, Jack Sparrow, welcome..." She spread her arms wide." To the Underground." She then walked a few steps before banging hard on a bamboo door. "HECTOR..." She was profoundly annoyed with this 'Hector'.
"Um, Miss Di, Hector is at the West Run. OH! Who's this? A new arrival?" A girl, who looked around seven, asked, a strand of light brown hair falling across her smudged cheek.
"Hey, I was looking for you Caroline. Help Jack find a room somewhere. Jack, this is Caroline Leese. Caroline, this is Jack Sparrow. Now, Care, if Sonia asks, I'm looking for Hector and George." Then Isabelle ran off, and Caroline stuck out a stained hand to Jack, smiling sweetly.
"Hi. I'm Caroline, but you can call me Care. Hey, you look like a sailor, y'know." She led him to a large wooden door and knocked two times. "So you'll like it here. This is one of the few places where you can see the ocean." She went up a staircase, Jack following, and she ran through two rooms, climbed onto a bench under a window, and pointed out. "See?" And see he did. For one of the first times in his life, Jack was amazed by something. It was the most fabulous view of anything he had ever seen. "Yeah." She laughed. "Isn't it beautiful? See, you've been living in the fog zone. The fog zone has no clarity, no air. Here, we're free." She patted him on the back. He liked this girl. He gazed back out the window at the dazzling mountain range, the ocean, the tall fronds of bamboo, the long winding river as a barrier between the hills. And he smiled.
"I-Is this my room?" He asked hopefully. "It's beautiful."
"Nope." His hope fell. "This is Isabelle's room. Yours will be next door." She led him through, and he saw that the view was just as amazing as Isabelle's. "Wow. I don't get to see most people's rooms." She stared out distantly, her grey-green eyes shining. "It's just as nice as hers." She turned around. "Sorry, I forgot, It's my shift for cooking duty. D'you wanna help?" He nodded shyly. "Aw, don't be shy. Come on. It's fun." Then he stopped.
"I-I'm sorry." She turned back around. "I-I, I don't belong here. I don't even know why I came. I'll just be trouble. I'll, I'll leave." At this she laughed.
"Silly!" She smacked the top of his head softly. "We're all trouble here. You're probably just used to being alone. But here, we stick together, we help each other. You'll fit in. We've all felt that way. See, Isabelle helped all of us. She finds people who need this place, and she helps 'em. You'll stay. We all leave at some point, but we've all always come back." He smiled.
"Yeah. Yeah, I'll stay. Got nowhere else to go." Jack followed Caroline that day, but once he learned the roads and the maps, it soon became she who followed him.
Twenty years Later...
"BARMAID!" The drunken catcalls of drunken men echoed hollowly throughout Tortuga, but somehow Jack Sparrow wasn't joining those men. It might have been because he had only just woken up from a dream about his past.
"Mr. Gibbs, how many drinks does that make?" Jack asked him impatiently, twirling his hat on his index finger and pretending he had been awake the whole time.
"Erm, including those four... Fourteen bottles, Sir." Mr. Gibbs answered, looking rather off-handedly pleased with himself.
"Why is it you are looking so off-handedly pleased with yourself?" Mr. Gibbs flinched. Jack was still inspecting a ring on his right hand.
"Well... Sir, we was thinkin', the crew and me, we was thinkin', if we was to run-" Mr. Gibbs proposed.
"No, because then, Jones' beastie would eat, me, the ship, the crew, and, MOST IMPORTANTLY, ME. SAVVY?" Jack said forcibly.
"Good." Jack took his hat and shoved it low over his eyes, leaning back against a tall pillar as he did. "Jones' isn't goin' to give me up." He muttered.
"I've lost my job because of you. A pirate. Do you want to hear my story?" Suddenly, the very drunk man, who looked oddly familiar, was lying knocked out on the ground, and a young girl with spring green eyes and straight brown hair was standing behind him with a satisfied look on her cute face and a broken rum bottle in her hand.
" Ello, Jack. You're a Captain now, from what I hear."
"Caroline?" Jack asked, raising his hat an inch along with his eyebrow.
"Aye, Captain. Me too." And so Jack saw the one thing he hoped never to again. Sonia Cullder and Caroline Leese banding together. Two expert fighters, both extremely and to an amazing degree, pissed off at him.
"Well, shit." Jack said before running haphazardly out the door and up to his ship.
Four Hours Later...
"SOnia, Caroline, where's the Captain?" Jack asked shakily.
"Well..." Sonia glanced over at her friend, her silver eyes rolling slowly back to Jack.
"See, Jack, That's why we wanted to talk to you." Caroline looked down and swallowed. "She's gone, isn't she?" Jack looked down this time, almost crying, though nobody saw.
"Yes." He said.
End Chapter 1
So? Can you see the fluff? Can you? REVIEW! PLEASE! The Captain is actually Isabelle, in case my too-subtle foreshadowing didn't tell you that. And BTW, Jack and Barbossa have known each other since Isabelle brought him to The Underground, and during this last part, he was aboard the Pearl. More and more of the past will be revealed, as will the future. This also doesn't take place during DMC, it's actually before CoTBP. A picture of Caroline can be found on my Deviantart profile, which I can send you the link to if you ask for it. So far, I'm going to attempt to draw more, but it may not work... PLEASE REVIEW!