Title: Should Have Gone To Alaska
Author: Jedi Buttercup
Disclaimer: The words are mine; the worlds are not.
Summary: The captain's tentacle beard started to writhe in a completely nauseating dance, a strange gurgling sound emerging from it that Cordelia was horrified to realize was a chuckle. 1400 words.
Spoilers: Season 2/3-ish for B:tVS; AU after DMC for Pirates
Notes: For earcmacfithil, who prompted me with, "The crew of the Black Pearl failed to lift their curse and the ship is still plying the waters of the Caribbean in the late 20th century. They take Cordelia as a hostage." I kind of failed on which ship, but the results were still recipient approved. =)
Cordy screamed as the fishy-looking guy gripped her shoulder in his pincer hand, bracing her feet on the slippery deck of the ship that had loomed up on her while she was jet skiing, and threw herself backward, trying to scrabble away.
"Just- just get your claws off me, you jerk!" she spat as she finally slipped his grip, and turned to swat the hand away as he grabbed for her again. "Where the hell is a Slayer when you really need one?"
Claw-guy wasn't the only guy on the deck, though; something else slimy loomed up behind her as she backed toward the rail, wrapping a long, sinuous arm around her. Too sinuous: she shuddered as it twisted around her in a loop, tickling her skin with little suction cups as it pulled her tight against the crewmember it belonged to. What the hell were these guys?
"You speak of a Slayer," a commanding, measured voice drawled, trailed by a thump-dragging sort of noise from further up the deck. Cordelia shuddered again as the crewmember holding her turned her to face the speaker, and shrieked as she got a good look at what had to be the captain of the vessel.
He was wearing what looked like a barnacle-encrusted tricorne and a heavy, naval style coat, nicer than anything she'd seen on the sailor-crustaceans to that point. But that was about as much resemblance as he bore to any human captain she'd ever seen. One of his hands bore a claw, like the first guy that had grabbed her, and so did one of his legs; the other had had a long, squiggly tentacle in place of a forefinger, and his face was so covered in more tentacles that they looked like a beard. One that twitched in all directions without any hint of a breeze. He didn't have a nose, either; just a pair of deep-set, glaring eyes above the smooth spot where a nose should be.
"Do you fear death, then?" he continued, the words phrased with an unusual emphasis.
"Of course I'm afraid of dying," she yelled back at him, still struggling against her captor. "I'm not an idiot. But I'm not just going to bare my neck to whatever demon wants a taste of me this time! Who the hell are you, anyway? What do you want with me?"
The squid-faced captain paused in his staggered walk across the deck; he didn't have eyebrows, either, but the smooth ridges above his eyes rose in a suggestion of surprise. "You are neither dead nor dying," he said, as if that confused him- which, what the hell kind of crew was he running? Then he threw a narrow-eyed glance at the third crewmember on deck, the one whose face partially bulged with spikes like he'd had an accident with a seafood dinner and ended up with half a puffer fish stuffed in his cheek.
The crewmember ducked his head and shuffled a step back, as if the mere presence of the other guy cowed him. "Her little boat capsized, and she was cast in the water," it said, in a croaking voice, as though to excuse its actions.
"Is this- is this because I fell off my jet ski?" Cordelia shrieked. "What, is that supposed to count as a shipwreck or something? Who the hell do you think you are, Davy Jones?"
The captain's eyes flew even wider, if that was possible- and then his tentacle beard started to writhe in a completely nauseating dance, a strange gurgling sound emerging from it that she was horrified to realize was a chuckle. "So you've heard of me then, have you?" he said.
A bolt of paralyzing fear shot through Cordy as she realized he was being dead serious; she really, seriously, truly was looking at the demon of the seas. She should have known better than to go on a Caribbean cruise with her parents; Xander had been right, as little as she liked to admit it. For a resident of the Hellmouth, going anywhere near the Bermuda Triangle had been just asking for trouble. But the fear only lasted a moment; she'd helped squish a demon assassin known for making Watchers pee their pants, she could totally handle one cephalopoid guy. Uh, and his crew.
Her legs trembled a little, but she stiffened her spine and tilted her chin up in response. "Yeah, I've heard of you. But you know who else I've heard of? Buffy Summers. She's the Slayer I mentioned earlier, as in Slayer of things that go bump in the night. She's killed more demons than you have on this ship in a month. So if you want to keep on sailing around and snatching innocent vacationers out of the water like a creeper, you'd better let me go right now, or she'll be after you next."
That unsettling, liquid chuckle came again, and Jones paced closer, mismatched footsteps sounding loudly on the wet wood. He reached out with his claw to tip her chin up even further, turning her head to the side to inspect her profile, then dropped it. "I've never heard of this- Slayer. But if she exists, she's welcome to try. Others have done so before her. All have failed."
He stepped back and pointed melodramatically toward another crewmember as he made that pronouncement: a slumped figure half-stuck in one wall of the fore cabin, torso and head still sticking out in her direction. It lifted its head at Jones' gesture, giving her a desolate look; it had a relatively human face, with a tuft of braided dark hair growing from its chin, a do-rag over its scalp that wouldn't have been out of place on the streets of LA, and surprisingly soulful dark eyes. But whatever soul it had wasn't peaceful- it was screaming. A visceral horror gripped Cordelia again, and she shuddered in her guard's grip as it opened its mouth and spoke.
"Part of the crew, part of the ship," it mumbled, sounding as though it were speaking through a mouthful of oatmeal. "Part of the ship, part of the crew... hunnerd years before the mast, a thousand years for bad behavior..."
It twitched its mouth up in a ludicrous attempt at a leer- at her!- then went still again, face tilting down to hang limply from still-imprisoned shoulders.
Cordelia swallowed, switching her attention back to Jones. "What do you even want from me?" she asked, plaintively. "If it's treasure, I don't have any on me. Look at me, I'm only wearing a swimsuit, who gets taken hostage in a swimsuit!" She paused, gulping a deep breath to calm her nerves. "But my parents- they have money! They're on the cruise ship; if you'll just let me have my jet ski back, I'll- I'll-"
She faltered to a stop as Jones shook his head again, unable to think of anything else she could possibly offer. She hadn't read much about the area's legends, or any of the famous pirates from the past- and why should she have? She was supposed to have been on vacation! And the terror factor of being kidnapped by fish people wasn't helping her mental processes at all.
"It's not treasure we desire," Jones said, leaning close again until his tentacles tickled against her face. "It's souls."
"You want my soul?" she said faintly, turning her face away from Jones' fetid breath. "God, don't any of you bad guys have original lines?"
"Yours will do," he replied with a nod. "Or you may trade it for two others. Yes; that will suffice. Deliver two souls by sunset, and you will be free. Do not... and the next time you set foot over water, you will find yourself right next to Mr. Sparrow." He gestured toward the guy stuck in the wall again for emphasis.
God, she wished her parents had listened to her about taking the cruise to Alaska instead of warmer waters; but it was far too late for what-if's. There was only one thing Cordelia could do, and that was nod, agree, and take the deal until she could get far, far away from her captors and call Giles for advice.
And if worse came to worst... she shuddered again, and started wondering what the hell she was supposed to tell her parents.
"All right, I'll do it," she said.