Title: King's Men

Author: Smenzer

Pairing: None really, Will/Elizabeth mentioned

Characters: Elizabeth, Barbossa, Groves, Gillette, Jack, Gibbs, Scrum, etc

Spoiler Warnings: This is post-OST so please watch the movie first!

Disclaimer: the characters are not mine. They belong to Disney.

Elizabeth Turner tied her small single person sailboat up at the pier of the small tropical island, her thin but strong hands expertly tying a secure knot. The boat may not befit the Pirate King that she was but it served her very well whenever she got the urge to visit the somewhat distant island where normal folk lived and worked. The island was the closest one to Shipwreck Cove that held a settlement and that is why she visited it and not another. Here she could walk among normal folk and do some shopping or sit in one of the local bars and enjoy a home cooked meal, a meal that was not made by pirates. Shipwreck City was great, but sometimes she grew tired of it and wanted to get away for a few days. It sort of reminded her of her days at Port Royal, when she would sneak off to see Will at the blacksmith shop and she ate the simple fare of the common man. The streets were the same mix of dirt and cobblestones, the buildings the same simple construction.

Of course, it may have something to do with the fact that Shipwreck City was boring beyond belief! The Pirate Lords had left ages ago and only a handful of pirates had remained behind. They were loyal to her, of course, and very welcoming, but each day was just like the day before. There was constant squabbling over bottles of rum and who had brought in the greatest treasure or who could boast the best, tell the wildest tall tale. The stories had entertained her at first but now she had heard them all about three dozen times. And they were still talking of how they had defeated Lord Beckett, even though only the crew of the Pearl had actually engaged in that battle.

Satisfied her boat was secure; she walked up the sloping path to the town proper. To her delight, the streets were busy with people going about their daily errands. Horse drawn carriages rattled past and scrawny barefooted children scampered around, not bothered in the slightest by the tropical heat. It had been about two months since she had been here last and she looked forward to her visit with anticipation, even if she knew nothing exciting would actually happen. The island's close proximity to Shipwreck Cove pretty much protected it from trouble of all sorts and the pirates left them alone. It almost seemed to her as if the island's population didn't even know that Shipwreck existed or that pirates lived there.

Pausing a moment, she tried to decide where to go first. The last time she had been here she had discovered a small bakery down a winding side street that had sold the most exquisite bakery, including cream puffs. Her father had always loved cream puffs and had bought them on special occasions and eating one now reminded her of him. Deciding to go there first, she headed off in the correct direction. Her father's death still hurt, even after all of the time that had passed. The treat would be bitter-sweet as it drudged up both good and bad memories, but it was worth it. At least she could feel close to him then, even if it was just in her own mind.

The street she had started down narrowed, the walls of the surrounding buildings closing in on either side. It was like an alley almost with the stone and wood structures rising two stories above her head. The pirate in her noted this and filed it away, but it didn't concern her. The town was peaceful and nothing ever happened here. Of course, it would be a bad place to be if something did happen… Should she backtrack and use a different street? Shaking her head at her utter foolishness, Elizabeth continued on her way, dreaming of the cream puffs.

Sudden screams broke into her thoughts.

Instantly her hand went to her cutlass, her strong fingers wrapping around the hilt. On alert, she scanned both directions but couldn't see very far at all due to the crooked and twisting path the street took. All of the doors along it were firmly shut and not a single soul was in sight. The screams repeated and she heard the loud tinkle of breaking glass. Then the sound of rapid footfalls came to her ears, as if someone was running down the street in her direction.

Making up her mind to go see what was going on, she raced in what she hoped was the proper direction. Perhaps someone needed help…

A man clearly out of breath stumbled down the alley towards her, his white shirt soaked in red blood. A cloth bundle was gripped in one hand as he paused to lean on the nearest building for support. He gasped for air and raised his eyes to her. His eyes were the most startling blue she had ever seen and they seemed to stare right into her soul. It was the most odd and unnerving feeling ever and she wasn't sure why she even felt that way. Even Davy Jones hadn't made her feel like that. Yet this dying man did.

"Please, help me…" he croaked as he took another uncertain step forward. The screaming and the sounds of a fierce battle continued in the background, possibly from the next street over. There was the retort of pistols and other loud, strange sounds. The ground beneath her feet shook and the scent of smoke carried to her nose.

Elizabeth wasted no time and ran up to him. "Of course! We must get you to a doctor…"

"No, my life isn't important." He said as he weakly shoved the cloth bundle into her hands. "Don't let them get this. They're evil and will use it for no good. Promise me you'll protect it."

"Yes, of course…." Elizabeth replied, shocked as she wrapped her arms around the small bundle and pressed it to her chest. It wasn't very heavy at all, a purse of coins would weigh more. "But a doctor…"

"No, go now! Before they see you, hurry!" He collapsed to the hard packed dirt, gasping for a final breath. And then he was gone, his eyes staring out lifelessly without seeing.

Turning around, she fled the narrow alley and ran back to her sailboat, untying it in record time. The town was burning now, dark acrid clouds of smoke rising into the brilliant blue sky. The smoke stung her eyes and she was grateful once she was safe back on the open sea. Whoever had attacked the town, it hadn't been pirates and it certainly wasn't the Navy, either. Who else was there? The EITC maybe or the Spanish? But as hard as she looked through her spyglass back the way she had come, she saw no tall masts of ships. This troubled her greatly and she turned her attention to the small blood stained bundle. What could possibly be so important that a man would die protecting it to only shove it off onto a total stranger? She sensed this might be an extremely rare item, something akin to the Heart of Davy Jones, an item people would fight and kill over.

And now it was hers.

Just like her husband's heart was.

Once again she looked behind her sailboat, half expecting to see ships pursuing her. The white sails of her ship would be very noticeable against the dark sea and anyone with half a brain would be able to spot her easily. Whoever was after the mysterious item might figure out where it had gone and that made her uneasy. Her heart pounded in her chest as she scanned the still empty waters behind her and then wasted no time setting the sails to bear away as quickly as the wind could carry her. Her little ship flew over the waves making record time and soon the towering rock walls of Shipwreck Island came into sight.

She carefully set the bundle on her lap and stared at it for a long moment. Curiosity bit at her and she slowly peeled back the layers of folded cloth. Whatever she had been expecting inside, it was not what she found. It was just an old brown glove and two black bracelets. Maybe the bracelets were worth something, as they were smooth and shiny and appeared to be carved from some exotic stone. Strange white symbols circled the matching set of bracelets, the symbols eerily glowing against the inky blackness of the smooth rock. The symbols were strange to her, perhaps some foreign script but appeared graceful and curved perfectly. They at least looked expensive. But the glove, why had it been included?

It was no white gentleman's glove, which was certain just by glancing at it. It was brown and looked kind of dingy, as if it had been dropped into the dirt. It was large, clearly sized for a man's hand. Was it leather? Elizabeth was uncertain and reached out to pick it up so she could study it better. Her fingers closed around it and she was amazed at how incredibly light it was! It almost seemed to have no weight to it, but that made no sense. Turning it over, she was startled to see a brilliant green gem sparkling on the glove as part of it. The jewel was sewed into the back of the hand area somehow…

"But why sew a jewel onto this old glove?" She asked the empty sea around her, not expecting an answer.

And then the glove started to dissolve into a pale brown mist!

Elizabeth's mouth dropped open in utter shock and she tried to clutch at it with both hands, as if that could save it somehow. But the mist was insubstantial, like smoke and it was impossible to grab it. The green jewel leaped up into the air by itself somehow and made a direct beeline for the back of her right hand. It struck her hand with enough force to sting painfully and then her skin started to burn. Tears leaked from her eyes at the unexpected pain as the odd green gem started to sink into her skin. The Pirate King clawed at it with her other hand, trying to stop it from sinking in, but it was useless. It sunk in part way and then stopped, the pain slowly starting to fade.

"Great, just great…" She remarked dryly as she stared at the new decoration embedded in her flesh. "Now I know why it had been wrapped up, but what is it and what's it for?"

She still had no idea.

Maybe Captain Teague would know. He had just recently come back from a trip to London, where he had said he had seen his son, Captain Jack Sparrow. Apparently Jack had been signing up a crew to go look for the Fountain of Youth. Elizabeth smiled at the idea, which to her seemed a bit of a fairytale. Did Jack really believe it even existed? But it was clear the glove was magic just like the fabled fountain, except the glove was real.

Well, there was nothing else to do but get inside the safety of Shipwreck Cove and she tacked to do just that. She passed into the secret entrance and waved to the pirates that guarded it, serious expressions on their rough faces. She wasted no time and made right for the main city that was cobbled together out of various old ships. She allowed a breath of relief escape her lips, as finally she felt safe. Shipwreck was a fortress and impossible to invade. It was located in the center of an old volcano and to the casual eye it was just a mountain rising from the sea. Little did unsuspecting people think the steep walls of the ancient volcano hid the secret pirate headquarters.

As she was tying her boat at the dock she always used, a strange red light streaked by overhead, as if a falling star had passed by in the daylight. She paused in her work and gaped upward at it, an uneasy feeling growing in the pit of her stomach. In all of her years she had never seen anything like it and she now felt it was an ill omen. Wasting no time, she ran to go find Captain Teague.

"No, never seen anything like it…" Captain Teague replied as he reclined in the large throne-like chair at the back of the meeting room, which was his preferred place to drink rum. "It's magic all right though. Jackie is more experienced chasing after such items than I am, but I'll see if I can find any reference to it in our records. Pirates love legends about odd stuff like that."

At his words, her hope sunk. She hadn't realized on how much she had been hoping that Captain Teague would know the item's identity. And how to get the jewel out of her skin. Just knowing it was there made her feel weird and vulnerable. And walking around among pirates with a shiny bauble in one's skin wasn't the brightest idea. Sooner or later, one might get tempted to take it and if they couldn't get it out, well, they just might take her entire hand. The only thing stopping them now was the fact that she was their King.

"Cheer up." Teague advised her. "It's not the end of the world. Something very rare and valuable just fell into your hands. Maybe that jewel there is a key to something, a greater prize…"

"A key?"

"A key doesn't have to look like a key. It could look like anything, a rock even. The really old tombs used to do that. Just thought of that now for some reason…" Teague shrugged and took another swallow of rum. "But I'm betting them black bracelets go with that shiny green stone, a set if you will. And those squiggly lines on them look like some old writing maybe or sigils. You know, old runes. Maybe you should put them on and see if they do anything."

Elizabeth was uncertain what a sigil or a rune was, as her studies as the Governor's daughter had not taught her such things. She wetted her dry lips and was about to ask when a loud explosion shook the room they were in. Her eyes widened in utter shock. How in the blazes had someone gotten inside Shipwreck Cove? It was supposed to be impossible!

"Ye best escape now." Teague advised as he quickly rose to his feet, pulling out his sword and pistol. "These unknown people are very determined to get them items and that's not good. Take the secret exit I showed you and you should be safe. A ship is waiting there."

"Thank you, Captain Teague. Be safe!" She touched his hand briefly and then hurried out of the room into a smoke filled hallway. A quick side trip and she had Will's heart in its special chest. Then she used the secret exit Teague had told her about. The pirates were strong and had a huge stockpile of nasty weapons to use on anyone stupid enough to attack them. It would make the perfect diversion for her escape. Sitting in Shipwreck Cove would not get her the answers to the new riddles that had dropped into her lap. No, she needed to go out into the world for that. And she would start by searching for Captain Jack Sparrow. How she would get to Tortuga she did not know, as she didn't really know how to navigate or plot a proper course, but try she would. Fate willing, she would get there in one piece.

TWO MONTHS LATER

Captain Hector Barbossa stood on the deck of his new ship; the Queen Anne's Revenge and couldn't help grinning. The ship was everything he had dreamed it was and more. That and the magic sword more than made up for the hairy leg he had lost to Blackbeard. Never had he felt as intensely satisfied as when he had run his poisoned sword blade through Blackbeard's body, killing the notorious pirate. The man had attacked him unjustly, taking the Pearl and kidnapping his crew. Worst, he had ignored the rules of Parley. Of course, he had made a name for himself, too. Captain Hector Barbossa, the pirate that had killed Blackbeard. It had a nice ring to it. Jack wasn't the only one who could be famous.

Barbossa eyed the crew with narrowed blue eyes, seeing everything at once. The crew he had inherited from Blackbeard was the usual assortment of rough men that called themselves pirates. They were the deckhands, the cannon crews, the ones that climbed up into the rigging. They were dressed in torn and stained shirts, sported messy hair, etc. In other words, it was what he was used to. They didn't care who was Captain of their ship and held no loyalty to Blackbeard, who had apparently treated them cruelly. The crew was busy now, their faces cheerful after hearing that their new destination would be Tortuga. They looked forward to the upcoming vacation of rum, brothels and all of the other pleasures that the pirate island offered those with coin. And by giving them this, Barbossa knew he had won them over partly. Trust, that would come later, but the fact that he had beat Blackbeard went a long way too.

But Blackbeard's officers had been a different story. He would be a fool to accept them as his own, as they would be loyal to their former Captain. Besides the point was moot, as all of the zombie officers had died at the Fountain of Youth. He was glad of the fact, as the unnatural creatures only reminded him of his long cursed years among the undead.

Luckily, his own officers had survived the battle at the Fountain of Youth – not that they hadn't tried to get themselves killed and at first he had thought that they had succeeded. They had both fallen and had been lying still, but he had remembered to check if they were still breathing. Normally pirates didn't care about their fallen comrades, but with his leg paining him the way it was he needed someone to help him run the ship and the Revenge was a huge ship. And he had had no idea if any of Blackbeard's deck crew were up for the jobs, that is, qualified to supervise and be his first mate. And so he had had the pirates carry his two unconscious Royal Navy officers back to the ship and take them below.

And that was when he discovered that Blackbeard had no doctor on his ship, as he preferred the voodoo zombie thing. Why heal people if you can just turn them into undying loyal zombies? Or steal more crewmembers from other ships, just as he had attacked the Pearl and made the ship's rigging come alive only to attack them. Men were easy to replace most of the time.

And his own doctor had been killed in the battle with Blackbeard's crew. The British Navy did like their doctors…

Luckily, his officers injuries were not life threatening. Second Officer Andrew Gillette had been hit in the back with a sword, his layers of uniform partly deflecting the blow. But the cut across his back was nasty and had bled a lot. With no doctor, Barbossa had been forced to stitch the wound up himself. Well, that wasn't anything new. He was a pirate and as such had stitched up plenty of wounds. It should heal well but will leave a scar.

And as for his First Officer, that had been sheer stupidity waving the British flag at the Spanish and claiming the Fountain of Youth as English property. He had been practically begging to be shot, so it's no surprise that some Spaniard had shot him. The lead shot had been partly deflected by one of the metal buttons on his uniform and then had hit the chest bone, the sternum. The force of it slamming into him had been enough to knock him unconscious and send him tumbling with his precious flag. He had thought Theodore Groves smarter than to do something so utterly foolish, but apparently a rash streak ran through him. Perhaps with some guidance it could be channeled into something more useful.

Barbossa spun around on his good leg and made for the stairs, his crutch firmly in his armpit to help support him. After trekking through the thick jungle, his stump was paining him more than usual. Jungles were not just made for people with bad legs, not with their thick vines that tried to trip one. Still, all in all he was well pleased with the results and it was well worth the pain he was suffering now. He carefully made his way down into the innards of his ship and into the room where his two injured officers were. By now they should be awake.

And to his pleasure they were.

"Gents, we have a new ship." Captain Barbossa informed them with a wicked smile. "The Queen Anne's Revenge. I claimed this ship from Blackbeard, after I won our duel. Now that be enough of sleeping. Up with the lot of ye and go attend yer duties."

"Aye, Sir." Groves and Gillette replied at the same time. They both rose to their feet, Gillette grimacing as his movement pulled on the stitches that ran across his back.

"Don't go pulling them stitches out, Lt. Gillette." Captain Barbossa warned him. "Watching the crew doesn't require any fancy moves. There naught be a doctor on board, just so you know and I won't be stitching ye up again."

Gillette's eyes grew wide at the fact that the captain had stitched him himself. "I'll be careful, Sir. And thank you."

Barbossa turned around and made his way back up towards the main deck, his two officers trailing behind him. Climbing the stairs was a slow process with the peg and the crutch, but he soon reached the outside air, which started to whip his scraggly brown hair about his face. The breeze was refreshing and he soon felt slightly better as he made his way towards the table and chair he had the men set up on the aft deck for him, the Captain's cabin right behind him. Upon it sat fine dinnerware that he had liberated from Blackbeard's cabin: a teacup and saucer, a teapot and a plate for his fruit. He sat down with a sigh of relief and propped his peg up onto a handy railing, as that seemed to make his leg feel better as raising it above heart level helped take the swelling down. And even thought it had been many months since he had lost his leg, the leg still had not made a total recovery at the location where it had been chopped.

"Captain," Lieutenant Commander Groves said as he stood near the Captain's table with his hands behind his back. He had pulled his powdered wig out of his pocket where he had stuffed it earlier during the jungle trek and now it was on his head again along with his gold-trimmed tricorn. "May I acquire as to our destination?"

"Tortuga, Lieutenant, we're going to Tortuga."

"But Sir, with all due respect, Tortuga is a pirate port."

"That as it may be, we be needing supplies and a doctor." Barbossa reached for a piece of fruit that had been found in the ship's galley, frowning at said fruit as it was a peach. Mangoes and peaches was all that had been found. He preferred apples and there were no green apples on board. "And as a former Pirate Lord, need I remind you I know Tortuga and can get some nice bargains there. Surely there be nothing wrong with that, err?"

Barbossa cleverly did not mention the fact that he had torn up the Letters of Marque from King George II and fully intended to go back to pirating. His two Navy men would find out soon enough. Perhaps they would make good pirates. Still, the table with the plate of fruit would remind them of the ill fated Providence and set them somewhat at ease.

"No, I suppose not, Sir." Groves replied although he looked doubtful.

"A man can find anything in Tortuga." Captain Barbossa grimaced at the peach, as it had been rotten inside from the insistent heat, and flung it violently over the side of the ship into the ocean. "And the first order of business when we get there is acquiring bushels of green apples."

"Yes, Sir."

Barbossa started the process of skinning a mango with his dagger. "I know a shop there that imports them from the far north, as that is where apples grow best."

The ship was traveling incredibly fast thanks to the magical wind he had put into the sails with his new sword and he knew that soon they would be there. He could practically see the wonders already: the free-flowing rum, the warmth of big-bosomed girls and all of those green apples. Raising his eyes from the sticky fruit he was peeling, he gazed at his first officer. "Have ye never been there?"

"No, Sir. The Royal Navy does not dock there." Groves replied firmly. He had also noted the state of the new crew they had: rough looking fellows that reminded him of pirates. But the crew of the HMS Providence were dead except for the three of them. He just hoped that the new crew would follow orders. Of course, the new ship seemed in a somewhat questionable state to him as well. While the deck was firm enough, the red sails were tattered and had numerous holes in them. But oddly enough, the ship was skimming the waves at a fast speed – it didn't exactly make sense. And the dreadful colors on the sails, maroon and black haphazardly mixed together depending on how the light fell from above, it was like looking at a gaping wound or dried blood.

"Well, we be fixin' that soon enough." Barbossa took a bite of the mango, juice dripping down his chin into his beard. "And ye need not worry about ye crew. Pirates are not the unruly lot yer Royal Navy thinks they are. If we were, we would never have won the battle at the Maelstrom. We have our own rules called the Code. They'll work hard enough."

"I had been wondering about the crew…" Groves admitted as he glanced towards the main deck where the crew was. They seemed to be busy enough and to know what they were doing. His best friend, Gillette, had taken up a position near the wooden railing just a few feet away so he could observe the crew.

"Land Ho!" a voice ringed out from above.

"I can taste them apples already…" Barbossa said as he lowered his peg to the deck and stood, leaning heavily on his crutch. "Bring the ship to the dock and lower the gang plank. Then we're going ashore."

The Revenge was soon parked at an empty pier and the crew lowered the gangplank. Groves and Gillette looked uncertainly at each other about this new venture into pirate ports, but they followed their Captain down the deck towards the gangplank. They could already hear the raucous shouts coming from Tortuga and smell the rum on the breeze. The buildings looked rundown, as if a stiff wind would knock them over and the people didn't appear in any better shape. Countless numbers were lazing about in drunken stupors and that was just what they saw from the deck of the ship. The innards of Tortuga were no doubt worst.

"I can just feel today is our lucky day…" Captain Barbossa was commenting as he hurried towards the waiting plank. He reached it and stepped onto the thick, sturdy board and was halfway down it, Groves and Gillette dutifully right behind him, when he came to a sudden stop.

"Captain Barbossa!" A loud voice called firmly.

"Why, if it isn't Mrs. Turner!" A wide grin spread across Barbossa's pockmarked face. "Fancy meetin' ye here. Out enjoying yerself, are we?"

"Where's Jack?"

"How would I know? Last I saw he was at the Fountain of Youth … somewhere. Ye know better than me how he is, traveling around on sea turtles and all. He could be anywhere by now. What is it ye be wanting with Jack?"

"Is this your ship?" Elizabeth asked him, her brown eyes going up to the Revenge. She could see it was a frigate and fully rigged as a battleship, something she could use at the moment. The presence of Norrington's two lieutenants, Gillette and Groves, right behind Barbossa confused her for a moment but she allowed her eyes to dart past them up to the ship itself. The damaged sails reminded her of the Pearl when it had been under the curse of the Aztec coins and gave the ship an eerie presence. She figured Barbossa probably loved it, especially since the dark red color was like old dried blood.

"Why, yes it is! I just got it, actually. I'll give ye a tour later if ye like."

"We need to leave. Now." Elizabeth said as she squeezed her way past Barbossa on the gangplank and came upon the two lieutenants who were both surprised to see her. She saw recognition light their eyes as they realized who she was: the late Governor's daughter and the former fiancé of their late commanding officer. Too many of the people she knew and cared about were dying lately and she was glad to see that someone she knew from her old home was still alive.

Barbossa turned around, leaning on his crutch heavily. "Listen, Missy, I just got here and I not be leaving so soon. It be my ship."

"King!" Elizabeth cried at him, smirking.

Barbossa grimaced and grumbled under his breath. "That Jack… I'll kill him when I see him for voting you King! He's spoiled you, carting you all over on the Pearl. And now cuz he naught have a ship, ye be doing it to me!"

"Oh, by the way, somebody destroyed Shipwreck City." Elizabeth told him. "I thought you might want to know…."

With her statement dropped, Elizabeth squeezed past Gillette and Groves as she counted to three inside her head. She knew that by the time she reached "three" Barbossa would be running after her.

A roar came out of Barbossa's lips and he surged back up the gangplank after her, his two lieutenants just barely managing to jump out of his way. "That be impossible! Nothing can destroy Shipwreck! It's a fortress!"

"Well, I barely got out of there alive!" Elizabeth told him as she hurried inside the relative safety of the Captain's cabin. She didn't know who might be watching or who might have followed her. She had tried to throw off her pursuers by wearing one of the elaborate outfits from Sao Feng, hoping they wouldn't recognize her. So far it seemed to be working, as no one had attacked her here. "I had to take the secret exit, the one that Teague showed me. The people attacking were using some odd weapons, something I'm not familiar with. It certainly wasn't cannons and they got inside somehow…"

"That not be good…" Barbossa frowned at the unexpected news as he followed her into the cabin, his officers following him. "When did this happen?"

"About two months ago…" Elizabeth replied. "I barely made it here. It all looks the same out there."

"That's because ye never learned to navigate." Barbossa narrowed his eyes. "How did ye find Tortuga if ye can't navigate? Shipwreck isn't exactly next door…"

"I trusted the sea to take me in the right direction and it did." Elizabeth hefted the chest onto the table in Barbossa's cabin and set it down carefully, staring at it. "I suppose this helped a bit…"

Barbossa was silent for a moment, eyeing the chest. He knew very well what was in it and he didn't want to think about it. Not only was she the Pirate King, but she was married to the Captain of the Flying Dutchman. Jones had often referred to himself as the sea and Barbossa figured that Will was the sea now. And as a pirate, he needed the sea on his side, not against him. That meant he had better help Elizabeth with whatever mess she had stepped into this time. "Aye, I reckon it did help. Always good having the sea on yer side."

The room was silent for a moment.

"Tell ya what, Missy. I need to go buy some supplies and then we can leave, go do whatever needs doing."

"Thank you, Captain Barbossa."

"Ye be welcome to my cabin, of course, until we have one fixed up for ye. There should be some unused rooms on this ship." Barbossa turned around and headed for the door, his wooden peg and crutch thumping loudly on the floor. Looking at Gillette, he issued his orders. "Stay with the ship. Make sure the crew loads the supplies when it arrives and stores it away securely."

Gillette looked relieved he wouldn't have to go see the unknown horrors of Tortuga. "Yes, Sir."

"Come along, Lt. Groves." Barbossa thumped loudly towards the gangplank and walked down it, this time no unexpected guests showing up to stop him. He had a mental list of what they needed to buy and to it he added more gunpowder and cannon balls. Apparently something big was brewing and his gut told him the extra weapons would be needed before long. Maybe Jack often skimped on buying needed supplies but he didn't. Only a fool went out to see under stocked on the necessary equipment. And then there was the exotic powder mixture that was added to the oil for the Greek Fire. Where in blazes would he find that stuff? Perhaps Blackbeard had left the formula scrawled somewhere in his quarters. He would be sure to look for it later.

Drunken people laughed as they guzzled rum and leaned crookedly on each other. Girls with painted faces and low necklined gowns advertised their wares, calling out to them. Barbossa noted the shocked expression on his first officer's face at the brash displays and grinned. "There be no finer place than Tortuga. A man with coin in his purse is never unwelcome here."

"I beg to differ, Sir." Groves glanced around nervously at the unwashed masses that milled about everywhere, almost everyone with a pistol tucked in their belts or a sword at their sides. He suspected even the women were secretly armed, as that's how pirates were. He felt distinctively out of place in his Royal Navy uniform that was impeccably clean and the neat wig with its curled ponytail going down his back. He half suspected the pirates to come rushing out at him with swords swinging, but oddly enough they didn't even spare him a glance. Surely the Royal Navy couldn't just stroll through Tortuga, could they? Maybe they could. Or was the fact he was with Barbossa, known former pirate, staying their hands? Then again, perhaps everyone was too drunk to notice his out of place clothing.

"This be a pirate port as ye know, not some Lord's estate back in England. They be but humble pirates. One can't expect them to act like gentlemen." Barbossa turned a corner and sighed in relief as he saw the store that sold his favorite apples. "I suspect ye heard Mrs. Turner saying she was King and ye be wondering about that. She's our Pirate King."

"The pirates have a king?" Groves asked, curiosity in his voice. He had always secretly admired Jack Sparrow and the incredible things he did. He didn't know exactly how Jack did them though and often tried to figure it out. It was well known that Jack went on many incredible adventures and finally he had gotten to go on one himself, to find the Fountain. But then he had been knocked out and he didn't know how the whole thing had ended. He had asked Andrew but he hadn't known, either. He would have to ask the Captain later…

"Aye, that we do."

"We, Sir?" He questioned, noticing the slip in his Captain's words. And this wasn't the first time that Barbossa had referred to himself as a pirate, either. He feared that the man was going back to his old habits and then what would he do? And with the new crew being Blackbeard's and used to piracy, well, he and Andrew were clearly out numbered. And then there was the fact that Barbossa was wearing his old hat again, the one with the big ostrich feathers on it. Where had his Royal Navy Admiral bicorne gone? The old hat looked funny with the fine embroidered clothing.

"Aye, she's our King and you'll respect her as such." Barbossa thought back on his past adventures with Elizabeth. "And she be taken to giving orders as well. Ye best follow them."

Groves stopped and openly gawked at the older man in surprise. "Are you serious? She's a civilian and has no command experience!"

"That's what ye think. Who do ye think led the battle at the Maelstrom?" Barbossa paused as well and studied his young officer with narrowed eyes. He was rash but not a coward. He had proved that at the Fountain of Youth. "Tell me, can ye take orders from a pirate?"

"Are we going pirating?" Groves countered, wanting to know the truth. The thought of going pirating made his stomach feel funny, as if there were a bunch of insects crawling around in there. He was frightened and concerned that the captain might say yes. It is what pirates did, after all, was it not? They robbed and murdered others for their own pleasure and profit, uncaring who they hurt in the process. And just because he admired Jack's cleverness, that didn't mean he wanted to be a pirate himself.

"Nay. We're going after whoever destroyed Shipwreck Cove I would think. From the looks of it, Mrs. Turner has stepped into another mess and has brought it to us. Likely there's treasure involved." Barbossa opened the door to the shop and stepped inside, noting that his young officer was still following him. He also noted that he hadn't answered the question and the Pirate Lord decided that he would give the younger man time to consider an answer. It wouldn't be easy, switching from one to the other. Yes, sailors often flunked from the Navy and became pirates but then they often had some other problem as well, like Gibbs' love for the bottle. And young Turner, he was obsessed with treasure; the pretty type that walked about on long legs and had flashing eyes. Perhaps if he could think of a harmless reason for his young lieutenant to obey pirates…

"Ah, Captain Barbossa!" the scruffy man running the shop said in greeting as he saw him come in, a wide smiling revealing golden teeth among the tartar-coated ones. "Back for more green apples are ye? I just got a shipment in the other day."

"That I am." Barbossa nodded.

The man took in Barbossa's embroidered outfit of blue and gold, whistling. "Looks like you're doing very well these days. What'ca do, rob some stuffy admiral or Lord?"

"Something like that…" Barbossa slammed a small purse of coins onto the table before him. "I need me green apples plus victuals for the crew so I can head back out. Have it sent to the Revenge."

The man's dark eyes grew wide at the ship's name.

Barbossa leaned forward, grinning with widened eyes. "The Queen Anne's Revenge is mine. Ye need not worry about Blackbeard anymore … ran him through with my sword I did."

"I be glad for that." The grocer replied with clear relief in his voice. "He wasn't right with the Code."

"Don't I know it." Barbossa glanced down at his wooden peg. "Had to chop off me own leg to escape the maniac."

The other man grimaced.

With that said, Barbossa turned and left the little grocery shop. Once outside, he paused as he waited for Groves to join him. "What about saving a fare maiden? Surely ye can't find no fault with that, err?"

Groves blinked in surprise, the question unexpected. Saving people certainly was not against the Royal Navy rules, but then why did it feel like a trick question? Of course, he never should have been in this position in the first place. What madness at the Admiralty put a known Pirate Lord in charge of the HMS Providence? One could get hung from associating with pirates, yet they put one in charge! Nor could he abandon his post as that was desertion. And the captain's word was law. "No, I don't see anything wrong with saving a maiden."

"Good," the Captain smiled at him. "I knew we could come to an accord. "

TBC...