oh shoot, i forget what i need up here ... *dragon thinking - could take a while*

title: The Wager
fandom: Pirates of the Carribbean (which develops extra letters occasionally g)
disclaimer: not for profit. just for giggles and grins and entertainment of the non

remunerative sort.
pairings: not exactly
rating: g-ish
synopsis: Captain Sparrow helps rescue a damsel in distress ... *snerk*
betas: nope, no siamese fighting fish involved in this production g

The Wager 1/1

"Sail ho!" came the call from the mainmast crow's nest.

"All hands on deck!" came the bellow of the Captain, a rakishly good looking sort in an assortment of garments that had seen better days. His dark eyes scanned the horizen for the sail. "Colors?" he barked the query to the lookout.

" Union Jack!"

English, hey? "Run out the guns!"

The deck below became a bee hive of activity as the shutters were lifted and the canons loaded and run forward for use. The raking fire of nine canons would be used to devastating effect on the ship they were nearing. Captain Jack Sparrow, a fierce grin on his chiseled face, handled the ship's wheel as he would a beautiful woman. Truth be told, that was what the Black Pearl was to Jack, his life mate. As they drew near the lookout shouted again.

"Striking colors! They're runnin' up a white flag!"

Jack's eyebrows rose. That was easy. His eyebrows came down again. Too easy. Was this a trap to catch Captain Jack Sparrow? He eyed the other ship uneasily. No. The shutters on the sides were still down. There were no canon mouths gaping black and deadly. What was this fool of a captain playing at?

With a muttered oath, he nodded. "Prepare to board, ye scurvy dogs!" he yelled. "And be damned careful when ye do," he muttered.

His second in command, a lovely mulatto girl called Anna Marie, cast a worried look at her captain and then at the other ship. There was something wrong about all this, but she'd trust in Mad Jack's luck to bring them through. Her higher voice cut through the noise of the men on deck, seconding Jack's orders as they pulled along side the smaller ship. Grapples were swung out and caught the other ship fast, biting into the railing with
iron claws. The men leaped and swung across to find no resistance at all.

Jack joined his men, landing lightly and swaggering forward to meet the foolish captain of this little barque. He stopped as he realized the man standing to the fore of the crew was a good bit taller than he was. He looked up into a pair of amused looking green eyes. Alarm bells were going off in his head, he ignored them. "Good of ye to surrender," he greeted the man.

"I'm hardly in a position to fight and win against a legend," came the reply. The man's voice was strong, educated and touched with the amusement Jack was beginning to find annoying. "I am addressing Captain Jack Sparrow, am I not?"

Some instinct caused Jack to make the man a sweeping, proper bow. Clapping his hat back on his head, he raised an eyebrow in query. "You seem to know me. And who would ye be?"

"Oliver Green, owner of this yacht and temporary captain."

"Temp'rary?"

Oliver laughed at that. "My fool of a Captain managed to fall overboard two days ago in the middle watches of the night. Not sure exactly what he was doing on deck and so close to the rails, but there it is. With some familiarity with charts and stars, I'm continuing the voyage. I'd hoped to find a new captain when we make landfall."

"And instead ye met me," Jack said with a grin.

"As you say. Are you a lucky man, Captain?"

If the abrupt change of topic phased Jack, he didn't show it. "I'm Captain Jack Sparrow," he said by way of answer.

"Excellent. Then I have a wager for you."

Jack took a look around, including his men, before looking up into those calm green eyes again. He could feel control of the situation slipping from his grasp, although he wasn't exactly certain how it was happening. "What sort of wager?"

"My ship, her cargo and her crew ..."

"I already have ye, your ship and crew."

"… against our freedom to continue on our voyage."

Jack tried not to look puzzled. "I win, I keep what I already have."

"Lose and we get to go free, to continue our mission."

He latched onto the last word. "Mission? What mission?" If this was a disguised military ship ...

"Rescue and succor of a young lady seduced from her home by the promises of a practiced villain," Oliver supplied in a dry voice. There was a flicker of anger and steel under the culture.

Jack considered. "Better wager," he countered. "Ye win, I loan ye a captain to help out wi' ye're sailing. When ye've gone home again, the captain gets the ship." He did, after all, still owe his second in command a ship to replace the one he'd stol -er - borrowed from her without leave.

"Bargain? Lend me your captain, and you'll have the ship and cargo when my mission is over."

Jack thought it over. While they had the ship, there was still a sturdy looking crew to overcome should the surrender not stand. A fight could damage the smaller ship to the point it sank and that would leave him without the ability to give it to Anna Marie. The girl was a fine captain in her own right and deserved her own ship, not to mention his vow to replace the one he'd ... borrowed.

"Just where are ye bound?"

"Tortugas."

That got a laugh from the pirate crew.

"Tortugas? Ye intend to sail this ship into Tortugas harbor?"

"Yes."

"He's crazier than the cap'n," someone muttered. Someone else shushed the mutterer.

Jack looked Oliver up and down, taking in the fine cloth of the man's coat and breeches, the embroidery of his waistcoat and the fine linen shirt beneath. "Dressed like that?" He could not keep the derision from his voice.

"Probably not," Oliver agreed.

"Done. Anna Marie!" Jack barked.

The girl came forward, cutlass and gun in hand. "Aye, Cap'n."

"Take the helm. We sail to Tortugas."

She blinked at Jack in surprise, but forbore to argue. "Aye, Cap'n," she agreed, sheathing her sword and tucking the pistol into her sash. She strode across the deck to the wheel. The wheelman faced her down for a moment, then yielded. "Tortugas!"

As Tortugas was several days sail away, and the Black Pearl wasn't engaged in other business, Jack sailed along with the Maid d'Orleans. He wasn't certain naming a ship after the ill fated Jean d'Arc was a wonderful idea, but the smaller vessel seemed a good one. If he was surprised when Oliver invited him to dinner, he didn't show it. He let Oliver do most of the talking.

"Who, exactly, is this wench you feel obliged to rescue? Your daughter?"

Oliver shook his head. "Daughter of a friend of mine. Considerable heiress. When her parents died, I took on her guardianship. Why I didn't think a headstrong fifteen year old girl wouldn't be a problem, I have no idea. I don't think her parents ever denied her anything."

"Ah. And the villain?"

"A wild young man calling himself the Vicomte de Ville. There are so many French titles, who checked?"

"And ye be thinking they went to Tortugas?"

"I know they did. And I know he abandoned her there when he found he could not get his hands on her fortune."

"Ah. Should have made certain of the fortune before he ran off with her," Jack said sagely.

"Indeed he should. Might have saved us all a lot of trouble."

"Fortune tied up?"

Oliver grinned at that and nodded. "She can't touch more than a small quarterly allowance until she turns 25. Then it's hers, free and clear. Not her husband's, hers."

"Ah. Is that wise?"

"I think so. If she's fool enough to turn it over to someone else's control, that's her problem. Until she reaches her majority, she's my problem."

"Her and her brat," Jack gave his opinion.

Oliver sighed. He was hoping the young man had not left the girl with child. "I am hoping not. She's very young."

"Aye. And the younger the wench, the more likely the problems ... Ye'll be having a little one callin' ye 'granfer' before ye know it." Jack took another swig of rum and regarded the larger man with bright dark eyes. "Of course, ye might just forget her on Tortugas ..." Anger flashed across Oliver's face. "Ah, take things seriously, do ye? Good man. Now, when we get to Tortugas, ye might let me do the talkin'. Be faster findin' the wench than if ye go in flashin' gelt."

"Probably. I suspect the best idea would be to let the Pearl go in while we anchor off shore a ways. Captain Jack Sparrow is known and wouldn't be as suspect should he ask about a new wench in the town."

It crossed Jack's mind that Oliver had somehow planned all of this, luring in the Black Pearl and her crew. He shrugged off the thought. It wasn't possible. There was no way anyone could have known the Pearl was in these waters right now. Was there?

Tortugas. By day it had the look of a squalid mushroom of a town. The buildings were ramshackle, wall tilting here and there, windows staring glassless out into the warm sunlight of the Caribbean. Oliver, changed into a subdued outfit, accompanied Jack and some of his crew into the town. The place smelled of rum, cheap perfume, cooking and dung, both animal and human. It being noon, the town was quiet, still sleeping off the rowdy work of the night before. Jack headed for the largest tavern in the town for a drink and what news he could he was more than willing to partake of the delights of the ladies of the island, or anywhere else, he preferred his women willing soiled doves. There were those, however, who preferred their conquests frightened or fighting, or a combination of the two. Here he might find word of any new girls who were of a different caliber than most of the women on the island.

It took several hours and a lot of rum, but he finally got word of a young couple out on the north edge of the settlement. He led Oliver out to the tumble down shack indicated. As they approached, there were the sounds of a battle inside the hovel. Things crashed and broke inside, a woman's voice raised in anger shrieking words neither of the men outside had used lately. Two sets of dark eyebrows rose in curiosity.

Oliver stepped forward, his lean frame almost taller than the doorway. The door flew open and a disheveled young man ran out, narrowly avoiding a collision with Oliver. "Pardon," the young man gasped as he flailed to keep his balance. His shirt, once very fine, was dirty and torn. The vest, so very fine, was in similar sad shape, as were the rest of his clothes. "Je ... " The young man's eyes widened as he recognized Oliver. "M'sieur Vert ... Green," he gasped. "Vous ... Mais ... 'Ow? 'Ow did you find us?"

"I have a number of contacts in strange places, M'sieur Vicomte."

The younger man sagged. His joie de vivre seemed to have left him. "Je ... I am so sorry, M'sieur Green. I ... 'Ow do you say? I am let my passion get the better of my judgement ... I ... "

"You!" A stout young woman in the remains of fashionable clothes came storming out of the door, the broken remains of a broom handle in her hands which she brandished at all of them. "How dare you!" she shrieked. "And you!" she turned on Oliver. "You never told me! All my money! All of it! I hate you! I hate all of you!" She turned on her heel and slammed back into the hovel. The thump of the door closing sent showers of dirt and
plaster raining down both inside and out. The shrieks turned into wails of discontent.

Oliver started to laugh. A glance at Jack enjoined him to share the joke with him. A chuckle shook the pirate before the laughter bubbled up inside him as well. The young Vicomte stared at the two Englishmen as though they had gone mad. By the time they were gasping for breath, Oliver and Jack were leaning on each other as though they were old cronies.

"God, don't get me started again," Jack begged. "That's your protected English rose, is it?" He jerked his head toward the hut to indicate the woman inside.

"Did I mention my friend was a well to do iron monger?" Oliver asked with a reluctant chuckle.

"Ah. That would explain a few things."

The door flung open again. The girl stood there looking belligerent for a moment, then burst into tears and hurled herself at Oliver. He managed to catch her without being knocked down and held her while she muttered and wailed into his chest. After a bit, she settled down, muttering brokenly about the unfairness of life in general and parents who didn't trust their daughters in particular.

In the mean time, Jack had stepped over to the lad to have a word. "Not exactly what ye had in mind?"

"Non. I mean ... Elle est belle. Elle est doucement. Mais ... La petite is not used to ... to ... "

"Not havin' money?"

"Oui."

"And just exactly what did ye think ye were doin'?" Jack was amused by the apparent sincerity of the young man. He reminded him, not of a younger Jack Sparrow, but of a friend who had married his long time love not so long ago.

"I ... Merde. I do not know."

"Still love her."

The young man looked over at the weeping girl and with a resigned sigh, nodded. Not all her tantrums and shrewish behavior over the last few weeks had cooled his feelings for her. "Je sais. She is not, 'ow you say, a great beauty. She has ... life, character, she has ... there is more to her than water colors and the latest fashion, non?"

"Ah. Lad. Ye be in love, all right." Jack sauntered back over to Oliver. "Ye'd best be lettin' the two of them wed."

"What?"

"Yon whelp has it bad."

"Katy," Oliver addressed the top of the girl's head.

"What?" came the mulish reply.

"Look at me." She looked up, her nose pink, her eyes rimmed in red from weeping. She sniffed, but looked defiant as well. "You still want him?"

Her eyes teared up, her lower lip trembled. She nodded. "I'm sorry, I was wrong to run away like that. But ... But ten years ... Indeed, 'tis too long to wait."

He looked over at the boy. "You still want the wench?"

"M'sieur Green, I am told ... no .. I 'ave told you before, I very much care for Mistress Katherine."

"Tortugas?"

"It was ... I ... I was born here," he admitted, his face reddening with embarrassment. "Ma mere ... she was ... "

"Ah. Not a lady, I take it."

The boy's head came up. "She was a woman of fire, of spirit and of ... of ... courage. She made certain mon pere knew who I was and when she died he took me to him."

"But he is not, I think, a Duc."

"Non. Not a Duc." A smile hovered about the boy's mouth. "I am the base born son of a Bourbon. I am educated, both at school and in the proper life, although I will never be publicly acknowledged. And I wish very much that Mistress Katherine and I will not share the fate of my parents."

"But you are both very young to make that decision. A bargain. We will return to England. You will find something to occupy you while you and Katy learn more about each other ..." Oliver held up a hand to forestall the boy's objections. "If after a year you and the girl are of the same mind, as I shall not be denying you access to her company, we will discuss proper nuptuals and settlements. Agreed?" He held out his hand to the young man.

With a determined nod, the Vicomte took the outstretched hand and shook it. "I accept."

Katy looked from Oliver to her beau and back. "And if I do not?" she demanded.

"I'd accept, love," Jack advised. "It's that or a convent," he told her off handedly. "I mean, gals too hot at hand to keep home, always go to convents. Dreadfully dull, there. Not fun. No eunuchs, of course ... " He stopped suddenly as he realized he was rambling in directions that might not be advisable. "Well. I think we've reached a good place here." He met the trio of gazes watching him curiously. He was going to have to do something
about the laughter in Oliver's. "All right and tight," he finished with a grin. "And just how are you planning on getting back to England?" he asked Oliver softly.

"Are you a gambling man?"

Fin