Categories > Movies > Pirates of the Caribbean

In For A Pence

by Person 1 review

On the very first stop of their journey Barbossa drags Elizabeth into a type of trouble she'd never quite imagined. Spoiler-free for AWE.

Category: Pirates of the Caribbean - Rating: G - Genres: Action/Adventure - Characters: Elizabeth, Other - Warnings: [!] - Published: 2007-06-02 - Updated: 2007-06-02 - 2254 words - Complete

Elizabeth just knew as soon as she heard the angry shouts and sound of running feet coming in her direction that one of her comrades had caused the commotion, for all that they'd all agreed when they reached the port that it would be best not to raise any trouble so soon into their journey. What she hadn't expected when she turned to see what was happening was Barbossa as the one being chased. He was surprisingly quick on his feet for a man with a limp, and in his arms he was carrying...

Elizabeth groaned, closing her eyes for a long moment. "Jesus preserve me from the obsessions of men," she whispered, the prayer more fervent than any other she'd made in her life, than ran to meet him. "Please, Barbossa," she said as she fell in step with him, "please tell me that you paid for those apples and they're chasing you for some other crime."

He flashed her a smirk before ducking into an alley so quickly that Elizabeth ran straight past it before she'd realized what he was doing and had to double back. "Seeking to make a liar of me, are you, Miss Swann?" he asked as she rejoined him. "Do you recollect what it was I said I'd be doing as soon as the curse was lifted?"

She sighed, remembering. "You said you would eat a bushel of apples. But, in case it's escaped your notice, it's a little late to call this the first thing you've done since your resurrection."

His face twisted at the term, not a surprise as she knew he disliked his return from the dead called by a term referring to something he'd made clear he thought of as religious codswallop, but he knew as well as she did that it was neither the time nor the place to argue about semantics so he just answered her question instead. "In case you weren't noticin', Tia Dalma's shack was sadly lackin' of more than one or two pieces of fruit at a time."

Elizabeth forced herself to run faster when she thought she heard the people behind them getting closer. "If you'd wanted them so badly, you could have asked me to buy them for you! I'd have done so gladly if I'd known we'd be avoiding this by doing so. What sort of pirate gets caught stealing apples?"

"The funny thing about a bushel of apples, Miss Swann, is that it's a fair sight larger than your average valuable trinket, meanin' it becomes much more difficult to steal without getting spotted. Though I'd be willin' to wager they'd be quicker to give up the chase if they weren't needing to import them from so far." He gave her a sidelong glance as they turned onto another narrow street. "To be turning your question back on ye, what sort of pirate would I be if I'd gone to a member of me crew asking if they could kindly be giving me pocket money? Even one as new to our trade as you should know this portion of the pirate code; take what you can..."

"...Give nothing back," she finished for him. For a pirate, it was a perfectly legitimate argument. She looked hard at the basket of apples for a moment, then at the area surrounding them. They were managing to stay a few minutes ahead of their pursuers, but by that point all the twists and turns they'd taken to try slipping away had lead to them running in the opposite direction of the docks, and she had a feeling that it would be difficult to loop back around without getting caught. ...At least if they kept running in the standard way.

For a moment she thought about how it might have been possible to convince the people chasing Barbossa that she was one of them who had tried talking him into surrendering instead of grabbing him when she got close because as a 'weak' woman she didn't think she'd be able to stop him. Most of the men she'd met in her life would easily believe such a story, not even wondering for a moment how someone so supposedly feeble could out pace all of them for so long. But, she decided, in for a pence was in for a pound. It was time to remove any doubt from their minds that she was on Barbossa's side; it wasn't as though she really cared what people who would take her as a useless lady thought anyway. "This way!" she suddenly exclaimed, grabbing his arm without a thought and dragging him into another alley.

He stopped short a few feet into the alleyway, looking up at the wall sealing off the other end. "Oh, wondrous fine planning, Miss Swann. Did it occur to ye for a moment that it may be a wise thing to look where we'd be going?"

"Of course it did, which is why I chose to come this way." Not hesitating for instant she pulled herself onto the lowest branch of the tree the houses on either side of them had been built beside, immensely grateful that at least Barbossa had decided to have this fit of lunacy in a city so swelteringly hot that its people were unwilling to give up any plant life that could provide even an inch of shade if they could help it. "Give me your blasted apples, quickly." When he looked loathe to let go of them (understandable, she supposed, given just how long he'd been waiting to get them) she grit her teeth and glared down at him. "Barbossa! We don't have time to argue about this, so unless you think you can climb while carrying them hand them to me."

He finally gave in and passed the basket up, then began pulling himself into the tree after them. "You'd better be having a plan here, Miss Swann."

"Of a sort." She grabbed his wrist to help hoist him up then handed back the apples and quickly dragged herself to the next branch. They climbed in silence after that, the basket getting passed back and forth between them, both realizing that they had to move too quickly to be slowed down by speech.

The people who'd been chasing them were just spilling into the alley when they reached the branch almost level with the rooftop closet to them. Ever so carefully Elizabeth inched out along it, ignoring the shouts below, until she was close enough to take the bushel from Barbossa and shove it onto the building before practically throwing herself after it. She turned to watch as Barbossa followed after her. He hesitated for a moment when she drew two of her pistols, but, she had to admit, one thing that he had never lacked was courage and it was only a moment before he began moving again even with the possibility that she was planning to shoot him while he was helpless.

Almost to the roof his weak leg landed wrong on the branch and began to go out from under him. Elizabeth lunged forward, hanging almost half off the building, to grab him and hold him steady. His hands wrapped around her upper arms as he got his balance back. In that position, his mouth was so close that his breath stirred her hair when he said, "Thank ye for that, Miss Swann. I was not relishing the thought of returning to the other side so soon," but even at such a close call his voice was steady and unafraid, and Elizabeth mentally reappraised her opinion of him; he wasn't just not lacking in courage, he was absolutely fearless. At least appearance-wise.

And she was a little amazed at herself as well, she thought as she helped him the rest of the way onto the roof, that she hadn't even for a moment considered letting him fall. After all that he'd done to her, to Will, and even to Jack she should have every right to hate him, but it seemed there was no part of her that wanted him dead.

But she didn't let her face or voice betray those thoughts as she picked up her guns and aimed them downward. "Find the direction the ship's in and be ready to run," she said, then fired her shots from each pistol into the joint where the branch they'd just crossed met the tree, neatly perforating it. At the sound of the shots the men who'd been starting to climb the lower branches flung themselves to the ground, which suited her purposes just fine. While they were waiting for her next attempt at shooting them, she sat on the edge of the roof, held onto it tightly, and slammed both of her legs down into the branch.

At the first strike it began to crack around where the bullets had pierced it, and when she lifted her feet to hit it again Barbossa's hands landed on her shoulders to hold her firmly in place. "Consider this your payback for helpin' me," he said when she glanced up at him. "If I'm any judge, you'll be topplin' right over the edge if you put much more of your weight into breakin' that branch without anything to hold you firm."

She inclined her head slightly and said "Thank you" before turning her attention back to the branch. Two more hard strikes with more strength behind them than she would have been able to use without Barbossa holding her and with a sound as loud as another gunshot the branch fell against the tree trunk, only held in its place by a thin strip of bark and a splintered and twisted portion of the wood. There was no way now that anyone could use that tree to reach them, and none of the others nearby had branches arranged in a way that would let anyone reach the rooftops easily. She supposed that it was the god who protected fools who had arranged the area they were in so neatly to their advantage; Barbossa so rarely fell under its jurisdiction, so far as she'd seen, that it must have leapt on its chance now that his desire for apples had gotten the better of him.

"I thought ye were wantin' to get moving," Barbossa said, picking up his bushel and turning in the direction where the masts of ships were visible.

"So I was!" She flung herself to her feet and darted across the roof, leaping across the gap to the next building before Barbossa had even begun to follow. She turned to smirk at him when she landed. "What's wrong, Captain?" she asked, "I thought you were trying to tell me you were ready to go."

Barbossa grunted and followed her, landing not quite as gracefully as she had, and asked, "Has anyone ever warned young Turner that it's an outright vixen he's seekin' to marry?"

"Oh, I'm sure he's learned that at some point," she replied, and then they were both off, leaping from roof to roof.

It was a very Jack-like plan, she reflected with a pang of guilt. She didn't know if the roofs would stay close enough together for them to move like this all the way to the docks, nor did she know if there'd be a way for them to get down aside from jumping and praying for the best once they got at far as they could go, but all that really mattered was to get to the high ground and keep moving. As long as The Enemies stayed below them there was no way they'd be able to catch up; she and Barbossa could take a straight path to the ship while the men on the ground were forced to wind their ways through the streets to follow. Even if they stopped to get a ladder they wouldn't be a threat, because by the time they managed to find one they'd be far too far behind to reach them.

With nothing left to worry about (until they reached the point where they couldn't continue, at least), Elizabeth found the ridiculousness of the situation suddenly striking her. Here she was, a governor's daughter, darting across the top of a city she'd never even heard of before they'd landed there, being pursued for the lowest form of piracy she'd ever heard of.

And, she realized with something almost like shock, she could continue doing it forever and be utterly happy. This was being a pirate/, not a hero with a task that happened to coincide with piracy, or a girl kidnapped by them, or a hapless person whose own government had turned against them and left them with few choices of where to turn. It wasn't the romantic swashbuckling adventures she'd dreamed of as a girl, but at the same time it was everything she'd ever wanted, and it was /real and hers, even if she hadn't committed the theft that set it into motion herself. Almost without realizing it, she found herself laughing aloud at the exhilaration of it all.

Barbossa glanced back at her at the sound, and his lips twisted into something that was more a smile than a smirk. "Ah," he said, "I can tell by the look on your face that now ye be thinkin' like a /pirate/."

His words just made her laugh harder, and from then on they continued on unspeaking the rest of the way to the ship.
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