Me Treasure - 3/6
Fandom: PotC: Pirates of the Caribbean
Category: Angst, Romance
Series/Sequel: 2. Sequel to "Stranded"
Summary: Jack and Norrington are far from safe
Warning: M/M, Slash
Disclaimers: I don´t own them. Nobody is capable of owning them.
Feedback: Yes, please. It´s my treasure.
Beta: Monika, Ysolde
Released: May 2004
Word Count: 2.693
The following morning they arrived, a feverish excitement spread out on deck as the crew prepared the ship for berth.
James and Jack were watching the hatch, expecting someone to come for them at any moment.
Playfully, Jack winked at him. "Exciting, eh?"
Oh yes, it was, but James didn´t admit it.
Jack grinned knowingly. "Savvy, luv."
James´ sharp reply was swallowed up by the sudden noise, floating in through the opening hatch.
"We´re here. Move," Red-eyes snarled.
They clambered the stairs, quickly enjoying breathing fresh air again.
Wellington was already on deck, keeping a sharp eye on the crew, who hurried around eagerly.
Suddenly, everyone stood still. There was a dead silence. One of the crew members, an older man, pointed at Jack and started stammering: "Captain, that´s...that´s...."
Not the slightest bit concerned, Wellington shifted his attention to the prisoners.
Confused, James observed himself and the pirate as well. What? At once, Jack´s naked arm caught his eye. Dear God! The tattoo! The brand on Jack´s exposed flesh was standing out like a signature.
Sleekly, Wellington glided forward, taking the pirate´s arm. "So, it´s Jack Sparrow, is it?"
"Captain Jack Sparrow," the pirate corrected him, smiling confidently.
James sighed quietly. Couldn´t he drop that? Just once? No. Not him.
Wellington grinned humourlessly. "Did you believe you could hide your true identity from me?"
"I already did, didn´t I?" Jack stated loud-mouthed.
"Being Jack Sparrow doesn´t change your destiny. You will go to the market," Wellington countered.
"But, Captain," the man, who had outed Jack, disagreed, "it isn´t good to have Jack Sparrow as enemy. There are stories about him...."
"What?" Wellington interrupted him coldly. "What could he possibly do to us?"
Jack gave the answer himself. "Ye know mate, I´ve fought the dead themselves and won."
Wellington laughed dryly. "Don´t flatter yourself."
"It´s true, Captain," Ramon interfered. "It´s told that Captain Barbossa and his crew were cursed men, they walked around, the living dead. Sparrow lifted the curse, and killed Barbossa."
Obviously unimpressed, Wellington smirked at Jack. "You think, because you have some reputation, I´ll let both of you go?"
A sly smile changed the pirate´s expression completely. "No, mate, just me. I don´t care about some British sailor, who wants me dead. Almost succeeded once by sending me to the gallows."
James flinched. He felt a sting in his heart, as if a dagger had hit him. Sharp and painful. But he kept his mouth shut.
Wellington didn´t buy Jack´s story. "You´re claiming your friend is a man of her Majesty´s Navy? I don´t believe you."
"I swear it´s true. Ye can keep him. Do whatever ye want with him. Set me free and I´ll promise ye´ll never see me again. The British are everyone´s enemy, savvy?"
Wellington stared in Jack´s eyes.
James held his breath.
The whole crew stood frozen, even the ship didn´t make a sound.
Finally, the slave trader turned to Red-eyes. "Release him."
With a grim face, mumbling something under his breath, Red-eyes followed the order.
Free of the chains, Jack rubbed his wrists and ankles, sighing relieved. "Ah, freedom, ain´t nothing more important. Thanks mate."
James couldn´t believe this was happening. How did this pirate always get by? Obviously, he was able to escape everything and everyone.
"Go now, before I change my mind," Wellington muttered, sulkily.
"Aye, Captain. I´m as good as gone." Without one bit of a glance in James´ direction, he started walking.
James, however, couldn´t stop himself from watching the pirate, his eyes were burning so brightly they could have burnt holes in Sparrow´s shirt.
With half of his breeches and shirt, a blood-clotted bandage around his right leg, Jack Sparrow shuffled down the plank, leading from the ship to the wall of the harbour.
He didn´t look dangerous, not in the slightest, James realized, feeling torn between bitterness and rage.
Wellington vocalised his thoughts. "Look at the famous Captain Jack Sparrow. Isn´t he as fearsome as a scarecrow?"
Roaring laughter lifted the silence from the ship and his crew.
James didn´t laugh, his insides were bubbling, but not with laughter.
Jack kept limping down the plank, not minding them, leaving without pausing. He even started singing cheerfully. "Yo ho, yo ho, a pirate´s life for me. We kindle and char and inflame and ignite. Drink up me ´earties yo ho!"
James´ mouth became dry, as dry as the sand on the island, Jack and he had been stranded on. Hadn´t their time there meant anything to the pirate? The days, the nights, the... Why should it mean anything to him? Did it mean something to me? And when the answer finally was yes, did I tell him? No, of course not. Now, I´m alone. My enemy is leaving me without any regret. But regret is what I´m feeling right now. Miserable, he pressed his lips together.
Suddenly he got startled by Wellington, who was breathing into his ear, almost touching it. "I told you, you made the wrong choice. Now it´s too late."
Disgusted by Wellington´s closeness, it took all of James´ strength to stop himself from hitting him.
Wellington stayed put, ordering: "Ramon, you and Red-eyes will bring our treasure here..." his fingers glided over James´ cheek, "...to our place in town. Keep him there, I´ll meet you later." Finally, the slimy fingers let go of him and Wellington walked away.
Ramon grabbed James´ irons, pulling him forward, while Red-eyes joined his left side, mumbling: "Told you one day you´d be without your pirate-slut."
A shudder ran through James´ body, but keeping his head up, he started walking down the path. What now? he asked himself. What shall I do? Without a weapon, clapped in irons, no cunning pirate at my side, Sparrow had left without even looking back. Well, in the end he proved I was right about him. The only one Jack Sparrow cares about is himself.
Dragged forward by Ramon, James noticed the busy streets. He didn´t know this town, but he was somehow sure, he knew this island. But how?
Many people were staring at him: men, women and children with faces in all shades of brown. Fragments of many languages were storming his ears, countless smells pestered his scent. Everywhere, people were buying or selling something: food, gold, spices, clothes in all colours, carpets, weapons, water and ... rum.
That thought stung, Sparrow will be soon lying somewhere, drinking himself senseless. That thought left him feeling devastated, James slowed down and Red-eyes ran into him, giving him a hard push. James stumbled forward, barely staying on his feet; nevertheless Red-eyes punched his back again. Pain rushed through him, and James swore bitterly.
"Move, cutie," Red-eyes mocked.
"Leave him alone!" Ramon shouted.
Surprisingly, Red-eyes did.
James wondered. Ramon was smaller and a lot less muscle-packed.
They continued their way along the streets, until they stopped by a tavern. They entered, and James was hit by an overwhelming stench of rum and unwashed bodies. Again, he was reminded of Sparrow.
Quickly, Ramon led him to the back, into a small corridor, to a door, where the paint was peeling off. He pulled out a key, opened it and ordered James to step into a little room with nothing in it. Probably a storeroom.
Red-eyes pushed him to the ground. "Enjoy your last hour of freedom," he laughed. "Come on, Ramon. Let´s get something to drink. I´m parched."
"Aye, I´ll be there in a minute."
"You want to have some fun with our cutie? You think the captain will like that?"
Smirking, Ramon threw him a couple of coins. "Here, buy us some of the best."
Satisfied by the invitation, Red-eyes shrugged. "You must know what you´re doing, but you´re playing with fire, mate." He closed the door behind him.
Immediately, Ramon shoved a hand into his breeches, fumbling around.
Infuriated, James hissed: "I refused the advances of your bloody captain. I´m certainly not...."
With the friendliest grin, Ramon continued rummaging through his breeches. "Not what I have in mind, mate. I know, ye´re Jack´s boy."
At a loss, James watched the search, not moving a muscle.
Finally, Ramon took James´ hand, laying something in its palm.
A ring, one that James was slightly familiar with. It had a green sparkling stone, as green as his own eyes. It was Sparrow´s ring. No, Jack´s, his inner voice corrected stubbornly. "Where did you get this?"
"From Jack, where do ye think?"
"It´s a sign, ye can trust me, to hold ye back from trying anything stupid. Making ye wait for the opportune moment, so to speak when Jack is coming to get ye. Savvy?"
James was speechless.
Ramon moved to the door. "I have to go."
"But why...why are you helping me?"
"Jack is an old friend, and he fancies ye."
"You´re wrong," James gasped. "We hate each other."
Amused, Ramon winked at him. "Aye. Stick to that thought, even though it´s obvious ye two have fallen for each other."
Blushing, James mumbled: "We are worlds apart."
"Ye´re lucky, he fancies ye. I meself never had a chance, that allowed me to choose badly." Seeing James´ perplexed face, he leered. "Which reminds me, I have to go now. If me love finds me here, with ye alone, he...." The rest was muted by the closing door.
Alone, James was still adjusting to the news. Jack is coming to get me. He is coming for me. I can´t believe it. Why should I believe a slave trader? He is scum. But, there is the ring, clenched in my fist. Maybe, it was stolen from Jack. But when? Leaning against the wall, holding the ring tightly in his fist, an irrational calmness seized him. Irrational, because he hadn´t any proof Ramon had told him the truth. Irrational, because even if it was the truth and Jack was coming to get him, then what? Irrational for many more reasons, but he hasn´t been reasonable for quite some time, has he? Holding Jack´s ring firmly, like it was the safe anchor in his storm of stirring feelings, he decided, he was willing to wait for that opportune moment. Yes, he was willing to put trust into his enemy - the pirate.
Less than one hour later, his captors were back, Wellington was with them. "Now, my dear friend, the time has come. Soon your life will change completely."
Silently, James got to his feet.
Noticing his clenched fists, Wellington was amused. "Oh, I see we´re angry. Maybe, you want to fight me?"
"No," James told him calmly.
"Fine. Ramon, show him the way."
Leaving the rum-drunken sailors behind, they entered the world of narrow and dark alleys. Feeling the ring burning in his fist, James reconsidered. What was it, Ramon said? Wait for the opportune moment. When will it be? I´m cuffed, surrounded by three men, and certainly we´ll reach the market place soon. What the hell is Sparrow´s plan, anyway? He isn´t that tall nor as muscle-packed as this scum Red-eyes, who is right behind me. What does he expect from me? With every step he took, James became a bit more discouraged. Suddenly, a muffled cry behind him. Startled from his numbness, he heard a sharp command: "Let him go, ye bastard."
Released from Ramon´s grip in an instant, James whirled around, confronted with the most surprising scene.
Wellington captured, his head pulled back by the hair, a dagger held closely to his throat. So close, you could already see a fine line of blood marking the white skin. Wellington´s face was a grimace, his eyes full of naked fear.
"Jack." Only a breath on James´ lips, hardly loud enough to get anyone´s attention.
The pirate caught it anyway. "Aye. Come over here and get behind me."
Red-eyes made a move, probably to block his way, and Jack hissed: "Let him go, or I´ll cut yer captain´s throat."
Wellington wriggled in Jack´s grip, the knife cut deeper into the skin. The first drops of blood dripped. Wellington cried out.
Jack grinned, merciless. "Ye want me to? I swear, I´ll do it. With pleasure."
Safe from Red-eyes, who looked quite mad but helpless, James got behind Jack. "Don´t kill him," he pleaded.
"Eh? This scum wanted to sell ye as a slave. Don´t ye want him dead?"
"I don´t want you to slash his throat."
Jack hesitated. "I don´t savvy."
James smiled cheerless. "I know. You´ve got the keys?"
"No. He´ll have them with him. Search his pockets." Wellington stirred, and Jack pushed the dagger a bit deeper, making the slave trader whine. "Ye´re whining, more than he did with every stroke ye gave him ye bloody bastard."
Concerned by Jack´s cold tone, James searched Wellington´s pockets as fast as possible, and was lucky. With the key, he freed himself quickly, then he cuffed Red-eyes and Ramon together to the iron bars of a window. With the second chain, he cuffed Wellington as well. "It´s done, Sparrow. Let him go."
Holding him still tightly, Jack scribed Wellington´s skin a little more.
Time slowed as James feared the pirate would cut the slave trader´s throat, spilling all his blood on the dirty street. Realizing Sparrow´s icy rage, James froze. That was something he had never seen nor expected on Jack.
Finally, Jack let Wellington go. The dagger vanished in his clothes.
Relieved and panting, Wellington leaned against the bars he was chained to. Next to a furious Red-eyes and a pale-looking Ramon.
"Why did you come back?" Wellington asked bewildered. "He´s your enemy. You said yourself, he wanted to kill you."
Jack grinned. "Aye, he tried."
"So why?" Wellington shouted.
A dead silence followed. Four men were staring at Jack, James as well as the slave traders.
Nonchalantly, the pirate shrugged. "Nobody steals me treasure, savvy?" Leaving them to figure that out alone, Jack turned to James. "Let´s get out of here."
Tongue-tied, James nodded and followed him, only now noticing, Jack was wearing a new pair of breeches and a shirt as well.
After they had turned a few corners, Jack stopped by a barrel, where he pulled out a hidden bale. He opened it and threw James a shirt. "Here, for ye."
James put it on. "What else is in there?"
"Water and some bread."
"No rum?" James cocked an eyebrow.
Jack laughed, and patted a bottle attached to his sash. "Aye. A small amount to please meself."
"I reckon you stole all that?"
"Aye. What do ye think?"
James sighed. "Just asking."
For a moment, the pirate surveyed him. Then, he offered him the bottle. "Drink. We have to hurry."
Surprised, James accepted. The burning rum flowed down his throat as invigorating as adrenaline.
Jack took the bottle back and, not minding to wipe the opening, he drank himself. "I´m sure Wellington has his men everywhere here in town. It´s better to leave at once." Still limping slightly, Jack took the lead.
James followed, lightly rubbing his swollen and hurting wrists. He felt pretty much amused by the course his life had taken in the last few days. It is funny, isn´t it. A pirate saved me, twice. He did come back for me. Only for me. Why? You know why. No, I don´t. Yes, you do. He called me his treasure. I´m not sure this is really a good thing, being marked as "treasure". Whatever Jack´s intentions are, I don´t know if I like them. Slowing down, James´ hand touched the ring - Jack´s ring - hidden in his breeches. The pirate hadn´t asked for it. Not yet. Absorbed in thoughts, he fetched the ring and put it on his right index finger. It was a perfect fit.
"James," Jack called. "Are ye coming?"
Aware, he had fallen back; James quickened his pace, following the pirate to, well, wherever he was heading to.