A modern girl in a 19th century world (robes_of_earth) wrote in piratechallenge,
A modern girl in a 19th century world
robes_of_earth
piratechallenge

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Challenge nine

Title: A Black Heart of Gold

Author: Penny-Elizabeth Neil

Pairing/Characters: Barbossa/Elizabeth (It won’t go away!!)

Word Count: 1974 (the longest one yet!)

Rating: erm- NC17 (violence, blood)

Genre: Prolly a bit angsty in places-

Summary: On the way to the cave, Elizabeth tries to jump ship with the coin and the crew are out for retribution.

Disclaimer: As much as it pains me, Barbossa is not mine, and I must take him back to Disneyland when I am done playing with him. * pouts *

Spoilers: none to my believing. (surely we’ve all seen CotBP???)

Warnings: blood is spilled. And oh yeah- written at 4:30am. * rubs eyes *

Notes: I was trying to communicate that Barbossa has become something of a different man since the curse took hold of him- more dishonourable in action, though he fights with it he realises that he has become something more dangerous. It was also while figuring out who to write about (and what a shock, I chose Hector) that I realised almost everyone in the film has lost everything at some stage. Go figure.

Oh yeah, and please let me know if it’s too bleeding heart- I don’t want to go down that road of the ‘aw he’s not as bad as he seems’ road that a lot of Snape fic travels.

Special Thanks: Geoff. You breathe spirit into the old sea dog.



Barbossa drew his bottom lip up under his teeth and bit down. His eyes narrowed, his hands clenched and his brow creased- he didn’t want to do it. There were some things that even a cad as he shied from- things that impugned the honour of a man, made him seem unreasonable or unrelenting. That wasn’t his style. He maybe a pirate, but he wasn’t a desperate man at odds with survival. He just did what served him best. These days of woe however had lately given him a bleaker turn of mind.

Since the curse had taken hold he felt his decency slipping away, and his mind evolving into that of another person. His methods had become more ruthless; his plans more and more against the code- whether it be considered guidelines or rules. He was a pirate, that much was true, and the greed of the gold often drew him to sudden acts that were less than ideal in method.

He’d never deny that he wasn’t a filthy brigand, a dirty double-crosser or even a backstabbing wretch (Jacks’ words came floating back to him). Although he thought the term ‘black-hearted hell-hound of deception’ had been a bit much, Barbossa considered himself despite it all a gentleman of sorts- a privateer of his own employment, establishing himself in a time when the swing of the sword was the mark of you. So when a whipping was demanded of the girl who tried to jump ship (and thus condemn the crew to a life of desire without end) he knew that his duty as a Captain out-weighed his personal rule of conduct.

Besides, her blood was needed for his own salvation as much as the crew. He couldn’t pretend to care for them- it didn’t make much difference to him if they stayed cursed or not. No, it was his power they needed to see, an emphasis to the fact that he was in charge of them- a ruler, not an equal. Her welfare wasn’t a concern either- why should he bother about the skin of a silly maid from the Governor’s house? Shouldn’t her blood be the only thing of interest to him?

The majority of his care in the decision was (he suspected) because of her sex. She was the first real woman he’d come close to in a good long while. The whores of Tortuga were women in terms of their physical form, but their actions were purely in order of business. The dead love they gave was equal to the dead nothing Barbossa felt when he visited them. Feeling no warmth of touch or the sensation in a stroke had meant that the only joy derived from a woman’s intimate company had soon been the enjoyment of watching her as she made love to him. But there was no joy in watching a whore in her business.

He glanced at Elizabeth briefly. The crew had tied and gagged her, but before they had gone any further Barbossa had taken her into his cabin. He’d told the crew that he would enjoy deliberating over her punishment there, but the truth was he was only avoiding dishing out violence against a woman-especially a young girl like this. She was now sitting on the bed, struggling against her ropes and trying to shake loose the scarf around her mouth. She stared at him with poison in her eyes.

“Ye force me to go against me own honour.” He said, looking back out the window.

Elizabeth made a noise of outrage and struggled harder against her ropes. Barbossa crossed the room, lifting his sword from and levelling it gently at her head. She shrank back with a muffled squeal, closing her eyes tight, but Barbossa only laughed and slid the blade with expert hand between her hair and the scarf, slitting the fabric. He dragged it aside with the point of the sword.

“It’s been too long since I heard the fair tones of a woman’s voice- seems a shame to keep ye from speakin’.”

“I beg your pardon?” she said. “But what honour? Look, either meat out some vulgar retribution for what I did or lock me in the hold till we reach the island, but don’t go pretending you care about my welfare.” She ended the statement in a snide tone, as if mocking him.

“Don’t assume I’ve no honour because of me profession, and don’t mistake m’deliberation over the judgment as an unwillingness to call what ye did a crime, Miss Turner.” Barbossa said, striding back to the window. “Ye tried to remove yerself from this ship- and in so doin’ endangered what we sail for this very moment.”

She glared at him and launched into a tirade of invective, so much so that he wondered what kind of men happened across her path to teach her such vulgarities. He smiled at her broadly and searched the horizon- intending it to give the impression he wasn’t paying her mind, but really he desperately hoped to see the black mouth of the caves opening up to meet them, and thus avoid the whole incident completely.

Barbossa enjoyed her reel of verbal abuse- the novelty of the honeyed voice of the fairer sex (even if it was dipped in bitter hate). It had been so long since he’d heard the gentle tune of a lady’s voice, let alone a civilised tone. Not too much to ask was it, for an old sea dog who has unfairly been stripped of all contentment, to have a glint of pleasant conversation?

“An accord of sorts then-“ she said, breaking into his thoughts. Obviously she had decided the insults weren’t working and was resorting to bargains. “What do you want? Hm? Gold? Property? A title?”

Barbossa sighed. “I’ve either no need fer those things or I ‘ave enough of it already.” He said, waving a hand over the treasure laying carelessly about the room.

“Well what then!?” she yelled. Barbossa cast a quick eye up and down her form- Elizabeth caught it, interpreting his visual admiration of a woman’s body as some sort of request. She glared at him open-mouthed.

“Never! I’d rather have my throat slit!” she said, striding across the room and working at her ropes again. Barbossa laughed.

“Don’t assume I’m that easily bargained with. Though yer lovely- a bit on the skinny side, but pretty in the face- I fear that the crew would not quite see me beddin’ ye as fit punishment for yer crime. I was merely admiring yer female form.”

“Well kindly keep your admirations to yourself.” She replied acidly.

Barbossa leaned against the windowsill and folded his arms. “I’m a man of appreciatin’ the finer things of life Miss Turner- that’s what makes this curse so ill fated. Some days’re so heavy with the wantin’ I could throw meself in the drink, if I thought it’d be a rest to it.”

Elizabeth regarded him for a moment but said nothing.

“If I were just a simple bugger like that bunch of mouldy lackeys out there I’d be less inclined to turn to these desperate measures to free myself. I’m not a rough man by rights- the gold has twisted me…”

“Surely you don’t expect me to feel any sort of sympathy or understanding for you here..?” She huffed.

“Sympathy and understanding are of different matter- and I’m requestin’ neither from ye.”

“Well good news- seeing as how you plan to spill my blood over a chest of cursed gold, I must ask to be pardoned if I don’t keep a soft spot for your situation.”

“There’s nothing so dangerous as man who’s lost everything.” Barbossa said abruptly, eyeing her. “And every undead soul on this ship is such a man. I’d count me blessings if I were you, Missy. If I were one o’ those out there, you’d a’ been strung up long before now, and worse done to ye besides- so be thankful my old honour still impedes m’newly acquired cruel and dangerous ways.”

They both fell silent- Elizabeth working at her ropes absently and Barbossa staring out the window, wondering if the man he had become would leave with the curse, or if the blackness in his heart would haunt him like some twisted afterglow -long after the blood had been re-payed.

His thoughts were stirred by the arrival of the towering black Bosun in the doorway.

“Captain, the crew demand punishment, what is your decision?”

Barbossa turned from the window, casting his eye over Elizabeth. She stared back at him, not expecting anything less than cruelty but pleading silently all the same.

“Three strokes o’ the cat,” he said gruffly, striding over to her and releasing her ropes. “And we’ll keep ‘er in the brig for the rest o’ the journey. Clearly the comfort o’ the Captain’s quarters has done nothin’ to resign her to the situation. And I’ll be takin’ the bodice of that dress, Miss Turner- I don’t want it sliced.”

Elizabeth squared her jaw and fixed him with a dark look- slowly and with deliberate movements that accentuated her form, she unhooked the front gently and pulled the bodice away from her, thrusting her chest out as if relieved at the breathing space now given to her. Barbossa watched, a hungry look glinting in his eye. She slammed the garment into his arms.

Barbossa smiled and held the warm fabric up to his face, breathing in deeply. “Crime sooner or later is accompanied by punishment, Miss Turner. The crime is often inaccurate in it’s calling- somethin’ we here aboard the Pearl know alot about- but if any man can see a crime, he’ll see to it there’s justice to be observed as well.”

He handed her over to the Bosun, and she went quietly, looking back at him. Out on deck, the crew could be heard baying for blood.

“What’s it to be Capt’n?” someone shouted. “Can we ‘ave her for fun?”

“Three lashes of th’ cat she gets-“ he called over them, striding out behind the Bosun. “Her crime was brief and rather feeble, so the punishment be th’ same.”

There were murmurs of protest, but the captain waved his hand angrily. “If any man here thinks a better punishment- shout it out.” No one replied. Captain Barbossa grunted. “There’ll be chance enough to spill her blood when we reach the caves. Bosun- do your duty.”

He watched as the Bosun tied her to the main mast and sliced the back of her shirt open with a small knife. Around him the crew gathered, almost slathering at the mouth for the event. They were always a bloodthirsty lot, Barbossa thought, folding his arms as the curse dampened the feelings of chivalrous behaviour stirring in him.

The whip landed with a crack, and the marble-white skin on Elizabeth’s back split in a hair-line cut, blood seeping out and mixing with the sea spray raining down on them. She bit her lip and swallowed a scream- Cortez kept Barbossa from the satisfaction of rum and women, but she wanted more than anything to keep from Barbossa the satisfaction of cruelty. Had she known what it was for him to inflict such a thing, she might have screamed herself hoarse.

The Bosun raised his canon black arms and swung the whip again, Elizabeth holding her breath against it. On the next swing though, her pride could not keep her silent, and she let forth a terrible scream so piercing that a few of the crewmembers momentarily flinched.

“Three lashes, that’s enough.” Barbossa growled, holding up a hand against the Bosun and circling to meet Elizabeth’s tear-streaked face. She kept her eyes on the wet boards of the deck- not wanting to look at him. When the cracked leather of the tips of his boots appeared under her gaze, she shut her eyes against it. Barbossa’s rough hand touched her chin gently, and tilted her face back. He looked down on her, an almost kind expression on his face.

“She’s learned ‘er lesson, haven’t ye missy?” he purred, unlocking the iron cuffs.

She jerked her chin away from his touch. “You could never teach me anything,” she replied, her tone acidic. Barbossa grinned. “Well now I don’ know about that.” He said, straitening up and looking around the crew as an audience. “I’ve taught several women an interestin’ thing or two in my time.” The crew laughed heartily, and Barbossa came closer, eyes flashing and teeth bared in a grin. He lowered his voice to a whisper. “There are things ye could teach me too, I’ll wager, and ye’ll share ‘em in good time- mark me on that one, Princess.”

He motioned for her to be taken away, and as he watched them go, the Bosun dragging her along with a pace almost too much for her to keep up with, Barbossa wondered vaguely just how much more treacherous he would become before this curse was out, and how much bitterness would soak his heart in the aftermath.
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