Word Count: approx. 1,800
Rating: PG to PG-13 depending on how you look at it, I suppose
Summary: Jack remembers Singapore
Disclaimer: Nothing you recognize belongs to me. I'm not making money off of this.
Spoilers: Through DMC
Warnings: Terrible mistreatment of typing in dialect. I tried.
Notes: Any and all historical/geographical information was gotten from either Wikipedia or my own brain, so don't trust the supposed facts much further than you could throw the Interceptor, savvy?
"Not breathin!" the navy man yelled. Mull...berry? Or was it the Murtlock one? Didn't matter. Bugger bugger bugger. They'd blame him for her being dead, Jack was sure of it. They'd make up some story about how he, a notorious pirate, had murdered this gentle lady, even though his original intent had indeed been to rescue her from the terrible fate of drowning and therefore spending eternity in Davy Jones' watery locker.
"Move!" Jack bellowed, falling to his knees on the rough wood of the docks. Ah, bloody corset. Nuisances, that's what they were, and while most women didn't take too kindly to using a knife to get them off (though that was the quickest and most efficient way, as Jack well knew), he had no other choice right now. His dagger was in his hand in an instant and he sliced through the laces at the front, freeing her rib cage from its constrictions. Then he flung the pink thingummy at wotsisname while the lady turned her head and choked up sea water, her long hair in twisted, knotted ropes across her parchment-pale face, nipples straining in a most un-ladylike manner through both shift and bodice. Dear God but that was distracting, but only for a second.
"Never woulda thought o' that," the fat navy man muttered, clearly bewildered but unable to look away from the lady's chest. Most like he'd never seen one this close before, Jack thought.
"Clearly you've never been to Singapore," the pirate sneered, sheathing his dagger.
Singapore. Mud and rain and more mud, bloody hell the mud. Of course, Jack had spent most of his time in the Lion City in the less salubrious districts, so the mud was to be expected. Except for all the Asian people and Asian language and Asian dress and Asian buildings, it was a lot like Tortuga. Except more... Eastern. Whores and taverns (of a sort) and pirates, oh, yes, plenty of pirates.
A few of them had tossed a woman into the sea after she proved to be less than willing to accommodate their physical desires. Jack had watched the struggle with some interest from the shadows of a doorway of a house of ill repute, and saw that not only was the woman a fierce fighter with her nails and teeth and knees, but her skin was dark and speckled like flecks of mud on dirt-brown satin, and her hair was more wild than his own (which was saying something). Eventually, though, she lost the fight due to it being three against one, and her being half the size of the smallest of them, and, squalling like a cat on fire, she tumbled over the side of the dock into the dank, dark water.
The men swaggered off down the street in search of easier prey, and Jack was about to go in and return to his pipe, but there was no sound behind him of water sluicing off strong, brown limbs, no noise of heavy wet cloth falling to the wood. He turned. Nothing, still. Rolling his eyes, he stalked to the end of the dock, knelt down, fished around with one arm up to his elbow, and grabbed a handful of something that thankfully turned out to be a tangle of matted black hair. He yanked, but there was no scream. By tugging alternately at her dress and her arms, Jack finally got the woman up on the dock, sprawled out and perfectly still. "Bugger," he whispered. He shook her by the shoulder, looked around. No one was paying the slightest bit of attention to them, and no surprise. "C'mon c'mon c'mon," he muttered, shaking her harder.
He could leave. He could just stand up, walk back into that opium den, and never give this woman another thought.
Then her hand moved, fingers fluttering against his thigh. A thought struck him. Her corset! It was bright red and overly-frilled, peeping out the top of her dress as was the usual with her sort. Carefully, hands only shaking a little, Jack drew out his dagger and sliced down her middle, tearing through gown, corset, and shift.
The woman's eyes flew open, the whites rusted to yellow and lined in red, the centers blacker than the maw of a nightmare beastie. She sucked in a great breath, deeper than Jack thought it should be possible for a woman--or indeed a human--to draw, then immediately muttered a string of words that raised the hair on the back of Jack's neck while her hand stretched toward the sky.
Only when she dropped her hand did Jack realize no sound had existed while she spoke. The clatter of a cart, the splash of the ocean against the dock's supports, the shouting further inland, all returned the moment her palm stretched out against the wood beneath her. He shivered and shrank back.
"Jyack Sparra," the woman said slowly, her mouth stretching and curving upward into a smile as she looked up at him. There was a thin line of red all down her chest and stomach where his dagger had cut her, and a good bit of skin exposed on either side of it too, but she didn't seem to notice.
"Ah." He closed his mouth, finally, and swallowed. "That'd be me." He gave a little, jerky nod, knowing better than to ask how she knew.
"You saved me life," she grinned. She sat up languidly, like a cat, no, like a panther.
"Twas nothing, me fine lady." He stood up and extended his hand to pull her to her feet, but she rose on her own strength. Still she smiled at him, her teeth blackened in between and around the gums. "Err..." He leaned a little back from that view, but plowed on. "However, if ye might happen t' have a spare coin about yer person to repay the lad what saved ya...." He bowed, front leg straight, toes pointed, back stiff but eyes on her all the while, one grubby hand held out palm-up.... just in case.
"Jyack Sparra deserves more dan a petty coy-un!" she exclaimed. Her gown gaped open at the front, teasing him with a hint of twin curves of cocoa-coloured breasts, but he stood from his bow, forcing his eyes up to her oddly freckled face. "Here." She reached for his hand and placed in it a small wooden box, carved and painted, from what folds or pockets of her dress he didn't know.
Jack flicked it open. His expression fell when he discovered that no jewel lay within. It was a compass. A compass that didn't point north. North was over his left shoulder, he knew it like he knew the sun would rise in the morning. The compass pointed to his right, directly out to sea.
"Ah. Thank ye kindly, madam," he said with another nod, his nose wrinkled a little in faint disgust. He flipped the box closed and tucked it away inside his sash, though he would probably toss the useless thing into the sea as soon as he was out of sight. "I'll just, ah... be on me--"
"Captain Jyack Sparra," the woman bellowed, stopping him in his tracks. "I am Dalma!" She said it like someone might say "I am queen!" He blinked. She grinned wider. "You may call me Tia. Auntie, to you, boy."
"Well I'm ever so flattered and grateful, Tia Dalma, but you oughtta know I'm not actually a captain." His eyes flicked out over the ocean, then back to her. "Yet," he added, with a smug little smirk, like he had every intention of becoming one the very next day.
"Yet," she agreed, nodding slyly. "You folla dat compass, Jyack," she said, nodding at the lump in his sash, "and it carry you to da ting you most desire. To a ship." Her eyes were wide and bloodshot. "To freedom, Jyack."
"Freedom," he found himself whispering, looking off into the distance. His palms tingled and itched, longing to hold the tugging spokes of the wheel of a ship. His ship.
When he came back to himself, the woman--Tia Dalma--was swaying closer to him. "Jyack," she whispered.
"Um. Yes?" His voice was a little higher-pitched than usual. She smelled spicy. A feather in her hair fluttered like snow against a mountain.
"You come back for me, Jyack. You folla dat compass to yer ship, an' you sail right back here an' take me wid you. Ya hear? An' it will be well worth yer while."
"Tis awful bad luck to have a woman on board," Jack said, taking half a step back.
"It would be worse luck not to," she bit out, her jaw set and eyes blazing, her chin raised.
Ah, so it was to be like that, then? "Ah, hm. Well. What do you plan on doin, then, once yer on me ship?"
"I need a new home, Jyack Sparra. All I ask is dat ye set me down in da place."
"You know where it is already, then, this new home?"
"Aye," she nodded, "dat I do."
"No, Jyack." She reached up and caressed his cheek with the hot flat of her palm. A drop of water fell from her sleeve and hit Jack's chest. "You don't see much. But I do." She patted his cheek. "Now you go bring me dat ship," she smiled, then turned on her heel and sauntered away.
"Tia!" he called. "Wait!"
She stopped, turned slowly to face him. He noticed for the first time that her feet were totally bare. Still she stood unashamed of her near-nakedness, with the way her gown was split and hung heavy with water. "Yes?" she asked, tilting her head.
"How... What did you do to those pirates?" he blurted, thinking of the eerie words she uttered upon regaining consciousness. "The ones what were botherin' ya?"
She grinned like a great, black cat in the jungle. "Dey won't be botherin' no woman no more," she said slow, then turned again and went off into the night.
No, the pasty white British man next to him had most assuredly never been to Singapore. Jack was about to snap at him with some other comeback when a glint of gold on the boards next to the lady's head caught his eye. He reached down and pulled it up close with his grimy hand. A flashing, grinning gold skull on a chain. "Where did you get that?" he asked, wide-eyed as she stared up at him, panting.
Suddenly a dozen navy-issued boots were pounding the dock around him, and a dozen swords and bayonets were aimed at his chest. "On your feet," barked the voice in command, and the lady scrambled up, taking the cursed Aztec gold with her. One step closer to his beloved Pearl, Jack knew without a doubt. That thought in mind, he stood up slowly, obediently. He'd been patient for nigh on ten years. He could wait a bit longer til Barbossa and his (supposedly) skeleton crew showed up here in bonny old Port Royal to claim another piece of the treasure. And he didn't think he'd have to wait very long.
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