Title: Four Felonious Crimes and a Misdemesnor
Summary: A pirate commits felonies like a school boy commits sums to memory. Getting caught is inevitable, and having a heroine handy to save the day is just good practice.
Disclaimer: This is a work of fanfiction for which the author receives no compensation.
Four Felonious Crimes and a Misdemesnor
I. Piracy Is Non-Clergyable
The wriggling maggots crawling atop his meager portion of porridge were enough to convince him that the French reputation for haute cuisine was overrated and that he was not particularly hungry after all. "Tell the chef de cuisine this it not fit for man or beast," he called after the man who had tossed him the plate. "The roux is thin and the pastry dry." No matter: being a few pounds lighter when the noose tightened around his neck would not make much of a difference. He could go hungry for a few days more.
He slumped back against the humid wall of the gaol, his shackled hands limp at his side. In murum strictum was so very tedious. He had never thought that he would long for the freedom of a nice English gaol, but these bloody mestizos playing at being Frenchmen had him doing just that.
The chances had never been good that he would escape this fate. It was bound to be either death by the sword, sea, or a dance with Jack Ketch, and he had always known that piracy was a non-clergyable offense. It would do no good to masquerade as a clergyman one last time even though he looked rather smart in robes—or so the ladies had seemed to think.
Someone would have to sweep in and save him in a grand gesture of heroics if he was to survive this sentence. If he was waiting for Elizabeth Turner to turn up, he might be waiting until after Judgment Day, however. The last time he had seen her, he was pulling away from the island on which he had deposited her and her boy. After he had offered her a life of piracy and freedom upon the seas. After she had rejected his offer of a home upon the Pearl. Her eyes had seemed to say 'yes,' but…
Will wouldn't want Jamie to be a pirate.
"Bugger Will," Jack muttered in the darkness of his dank cell. That eunuch was still getting his way even though he was ferrying the dead for a living with his thump, thump stashed away in a trunk somewhere.
Instead, Elizabeth and the tot waited on an island with enough swag to keep them for at least a year or two. There had been nothing to do but captain the Black Pearl without the benefit of her company until his compass refused to cooperate and he was drawn back to her shores for another attempt at friendly persuasion. That is, there had been no other plan until he found himself rotting behind bars on the island of Martinique.
Having given up trying to slip his shackles long ago, he now frittered the hours away by coming up with insulting nicknames for his gaolers—most of which were lost upon the uncultured sots, unknowledgeable in the English language as they were—and singing dirges and ditties to pass the time.
And waiting for rescue, for escape seemed unlikely.
Perhaps it was best that Lizzie and the child had not been aboard that day. What they had thought was a lumbering merchant vessel had turned out to be a privateer cruising the waters for gullible pirates such as those aboard the Pearl to approach and board it. Jack turned his head and spit onto the rotting grub in disgust—pirating was pirating whether licensed or not. To some the lettre de course carried by the arrogant bastard corsair dignified the slaughter of Jack's shipmates as patriotic and honorable, the sinking of his Pearl respectable. At least the unskilled, worthless cheat's hands would never caress his Pearl's wheel. Better a watery grave for her than she be abused by someone as unseemly as to use cowardly ruses to capture fellow pirates. He wondered what his father's Codex would say about that.
He had not even had the chance to turn tail and flee: his usual method of staying alive. The only thing that had saved him from being run through like the others was his worth—the bounty on his head seemingly had no ceiling, perpetually climbing over the years. The rest of the crew, however, were all dead: their blood had slicked the boards of the deceptive vessel until he had fallen to his knees amidst the fighting, been seized as he continued to try to slash at those that closed around him, and been bound. Every last one of them was dead and he found that taking some of the Frenchmen along with them to the Locker had been little consolation. Some of those pirates had been men he had sailed with for no more than a handful of months, others he had known for years. All dead. The prize—Captain Jack Sparrow—had been shackled so as to be brought to French colonial shores for justice.
All dead save Elizabeth, who was presumably safe and blissfully unaware of his situation upon the speck of land where he had left her, and therefore, had not chanced to share their fate. If he had gotten his way, she would have been aboard the Pearl that day, and the idea of a rope around her slender, white neck did not sit well—almost as poorly as the idea of one around his own less well scrubbed one.
He could picture her alive, laughing or frowning, digging her feet into the powdery sand on that damnable island with the sun shining on her unbound hair and the smell of the sea clinging to her skin, and it brought him a strange kind of tranquility even in the rank confines of his cell. It would be too dramatic to whisper her name, but he found it on the tip of his tongue. A tongue he would most certainly use to lave and nibble her unbroken neck, tasting that pale skin if he was ever given the chance again.
Her presence on that island at very least left someone in this world who might take it into her mind to save him, selfish creature that he was.
It was unlikely, but Elizabeth Turner had saved him once before.