What happened the night of Jack Sparrow's marooning? Ideas of Jack's history and weirdness, Bill's angst, Barbossa's thoughts abound.
Something was very terribly wrong.
Pulling on his boots, Jack stood and murmured, "Easy, girl," running his fingers over the dark boards in a soothing caress. Or he hoped it was. He was feeling less than comforted himself. It got no better as the door to the captain's quarters squeaked open just wide enough to allow a rail-thin figure through, and Bill squeezed his way into the room.
"What in hell's name d'ye do, Jack?" He demanded, pressing his back against the door as if there were already a hundred fists pounding against it. His eyes were wide so that the whites shone brightly around the irises, even in the dim light.
Jack felt relief for a few brief seconds before Bill's words sunk in. "What d'you mean? What's going on out there?"
He glanced nervously at the door, and finally a word from Pearl made it through the desperate whispers.
"Mutiny," she was saying. "Mutiny."
Jack could feel all the blood draining from his face, and he looked at Bill. "They're not-- We're nearly there!"
"What did y'say?" Bill demanded again, not listening anymore, just needing to know what it was that was doing this exactly, "Jack, what'd ye do? Barbossa's got 'em bayin' for y'blood and tellin' 'em we're almost there ain't gonna mean a piss in the ocean!"
"Barbossa?" Oh. Jack fumbled a bit for a few moments, looking for his effects. Anything to distract himself for just a moment. "I just... I told him where the island was."
He should have listened to her. He should have thrown the bastard out and kept those maps hidden away.
"Oh, dammit, Jack!" Bill growled, still his voice was devoid of any real anger, just a desperate sort of loss. "Why'd you go and do a thing like that?"
The taller pirate stepped away from the door and slumped against the wall, looking dead already.
"It seemed fair!" Jack tried, desperately, to explain. "He was talking about fair shares and how I only ever talked to you and trust and--" He broke off and shook his head, shrugging into his jacket.
"Don't look like that, Bill. I can talk my way out of this; I always could. Besides, who'd captain my Pearl if not me?"
"Oh, for your sake, Jack Sparrow, I hope that be true," Bill replied dully, running a hand back through his hair and letting it fall down to his side.
"'course it's true." Jack patted on his hand, pressed his palm against Pearl for strength and looked at the door. "But... just in case. You've been a good friend, Bill. Maybe even the best."
So saying, and with a brief, sad smile at Bootstrap, Jack grabbed the handle and pulled the door open, stepping outside to face his crew.
"G'luck to ye, mate. You've been a good one, yourself," Bootstrap muttered back, slumping down the wall a bit.
The crew stood waiting, weapons drawn, all facing their captain in his doorway with a bit of shock, as though they'd expected to break down the door to get him.
"Oy, Jack, ye best come along quietly now," said a voice from the back, and an agreeable grumble came from the crowd.
"Cap'n Barbossa wants t'have a talk with ye."
"Cap'n?" Jack asked cheerfully, though he felt his heart drop to his feet. "Found himself a ship, has he? How lovely. All right, I'll talk to him."
He flailed his hands in what he hoped was a calming gesture. "Put down your cutters and bangers, lads; let's handle this thing like civilised fellow, eh? Someone might get their eye poked out, and then where would we be?" He blinked and made a vaguely apologetic gesture in Ragetti's direction. "No offense, of course."
Looking, momentarily, like a kicked puppy, Ragetti then sneered and drew his sword up a bit higher.
"We won' be puttin 'em down," the Bo'sun intoned, his voice as broad and dark as he was, clamping a hand around Jack's wrist, easily dragging him forward through the parting crew. "An you will be comin' wit' us."
Jack squeaked and stumbled along after the large man, not that he had much choice either way. He glanced around worriedly to see if someone - anyone at all - in his crew was still on his side. When he spotted them, he wished he hadn't.
Pearl was humming, even under the thrum of feet on her boards, but it was not a happy sound. She was about as terrified as he was.
Yanking his former captain around and up the stairs, Bo'sun forced him to a halt a good few feet away from Barbossa, who stood leaning quite comfortable against the helm.
"Jack! How good of ye t'join us..." He purred, eliciting a few laughs from the crew.
Managing to catch his balance before he found himself in an even less dignified situation, Jack smiled tightly at his - now former, apparently - first mate. "Always a pleasure, Hector. How can I help you, I wonder? It seems to be urgent."
"Well! Seems t'me that we've gotten a little tired of waiting, aye, lads?" He looked out at the crew who gave a resounding shout of affirmation. "And now, what with the Isla de Muerta being so close, I don't see how we could be needin' t'wait anymore, no, Jack? And what with you bein' the reason for said timing, I can't see why, well... we'd need you."
Oh. Jack curled his hand around the rudder for strength; Pearl was saying things about Barbossa that were definitely not lady-like. "Well. To start with, I'm the captain and this is my ship, although--" He raised his voice to be heard over the shouting pirates. "Although I am open to negotiation!"
He glanced down at the waiting crew, then grinned at Barbossa. "No one knows her as well as I do. If you want to try to sail her, by all means; I could be your first mate. We could switch, even!"
The grin faded slightly.
"Or not. You could stay captain, sure enough."
"Jack," Barbossa drawled his name fondly, that broad and wicked feline smile coming to his lips, "Ye really think we'd be needin' ye around? What with all the waitin' ye put us through? Trust me, Jack, I know the Black Pearl well enough t'care for her, and I know she don't be needin' you to still sail."
Hector stepped forward and, in the most frightening gesture he could manage, placed a hand on the handle of his sword. "We don't need you, Jack."
"But we're nearly there now, aren't we? If it's my part of the treasure you be wanting, it's yours." Jack was clutching her so hard his knuckles were turning white, in an attempt to not back down. "She's happier with me aboard. You know that; you were here with the last crew."
He couldn't leave her. Not in their hands. "If not first mate, then I'm sure I can make myself useful elsewise. I worked my way up, same as you; I've got all the skills needed."
"No, no, no... You see, Jack, I've been 'ere with ye since the beginin', right?" Barbossa's fingers tickled along the ornate handle of his sword. "I know the way ye are, and there's no talkin' your way outta' this one..."
He stepped forward, Bo'sun tightening his hold on Jack's arm as he did. The new captain unsheathed his sword and used it to point out over the dark sea at a small spot of white and dark green. "I know how t'keep ye from using your pretty lil' tongue now, Jack."
Jack hissed in pain, flinching away from Barbossa's sword slightly, before looking along the blade. It seemed they wouldn't even have the decency to kill him themselves. He swallowed and turned a sallow smile at the other pirate.
"Cut my tongue out, then, if it worries you. I can swab decks as a mute just as well. I-I--" Can't leave her. Jack's voice turned directly pleading; he doubted he had any other options as it stood. "Anything. I'll do anything to stay."
"Not good enough, Jack," Barbossa clucked his tongue, taking a few steps forward with Bo'sun following, dragging his former captain along.
"This be much better, trust me on this one."
The new pirate captain chuckled low and dark, walking down the stairs towards a prepared plank that lay flat out over the water.
Jack didn't think he had more blood in his face to drain, but it managed at the sight of the plank. Pearl went silent suddenly, only her heartbeat resounding through his feet as he was forced down the stairs. Everyone was silent, in fact; Jack looked at them, a wall of scowls and mocking grins.
And then Jack heard the single most terrifying sound of his entire life. Very quietly, nearly lost beneath the rush of the waves, Pearl was crying.
"C'mon, then, Jack. No sense in delaying the inevitable," Barbossa chuckled, taking his sword up to encourage him a bit. "Ye remember the good rules of ol' Cap'n Casper, mmn? No secrets kept from a'one of us..."
"I remember," Jack said dully. He blinked, remembering something else as well. "Don't you owe me something, cap'n? Marooning has rules of its own, doesn't it?" He had no intention of shooting himself, but he wanted the gun from the man he would use it on. Jack didnt know how just yet, but he'd find a way.
"One pistol; one shot." One dead Barbossa. Jack knew he was glaring, and that was probably a bad move, but Pearl's weeping did that to him.
"Why, I do believe ye have a point there, Jack!" Barbossa laughed, reaching to his hip and drawing out his own pistol. Emptying all but one piece of shot and a little powder into a bag, he wrapped the hammer carefully in the strings of the bag, dangling it. "Now, then, if ye want it, ye'll have to go get it, Jack."
With that, he drew back his arm and slung the small package out into the water.
Jack stepped onto the plank, looking down for long enough to note where the pistol disappeared, then turned back to smile at Barbossa. "We'll meet again." He glanced around, trying to find Bill, to somehow say goodbye, but it seemed Bootstrap was still in his cabin. Jack hoped he'd be all right.
It took only a split second to say all that he needed to say to Pearl - anything more and he would have never moved at all - and with that, captain Jack Sparrow walked the plank as he would any other length of wood and dived in.