A/N: What madness drove me into writing this? The idea just popped inside my head and I had the story worked out one morning and realized if I do not move it out of my head and on the screen there is a chance I will never write it. Then came issue of chapters, will I have enough ideas, how will I workout timeline etc... but it kept piling one after another and I thought... sweet heavens this is gonna be a marathon. For those who find references, well good for you. Let me know what you think of the premise.

Loud thundering sound was heard and ship tilted from side to side, making captain accidentally move the quill over the parchment, ruining entire document. He was exhausted, head felt like thousand cannons decided to go all out at once, leaving him deprived of a much needed sleep. He closed his eyes, moving head from side to side to relieve himself from the pain that was slowly appearing on his neck. Cabin was not big but well lit from the morning sun, desk was in the mess with papers stacked and turned, half on wooden surface half on floor. The roar was heard again, three times one after another, sounded like cannons, his cannons. He stood up and took his navy blue coat, buttoning it up right to the collar. There is no room for him to look like a slob in front of the crew, he sets an example. Hat? No need for that now. He walked out of his cabin and closed doors behind and in that instant he lifted his hand to block out the morning sun that casted its full glory into his eyes. He took deep breath, closing eyes for a moment before opening them up again, the fierce piercing gaze was there now… one that separated him from the rest of his crew, one that made him opponent that few dared to face.

"Mister Dragneel!" he shouted as he walked down the wooden stairs, at the bottom pink haired young man saluted, wearing large, baggy white pants, belt made out of ragged cloth and bandana, ripped enough to show his wild, messy hair and for the shirt there was nothing but a black west. On his hip, hanging on the leather strap was his cutlass which he dubbed "Igneel", a magical sword that could summon fire at wielder's command even if submerged into the deepest parts of the sea… one would argue that he was the best image of a pirate. "Sound the bell, all hands on deck!" Captain ordered and Natsu obeyed, within no more than ten seconds since the sound of bell, ship became crowded. He walked by to port side, approaching rather large black man, skin covered in scars, wearing slightly torn green trousers and brown leather boots. Hanging on his belt was a dagger which he dubbed "Musica" yet another magical item that is known for extending itself to the size of wielder's strength and its owner was said to be able to make it large enough to cut mast in half. This particularly large man was the master gunner of the ship.

"Mister Lily, report!" Captain said standing beside. Lily turned and saluted.

"No good Cap'n, most of the cannons are busted, we are left with three working ones, I could probably salvage some and make two more."

"Make three more." Captain ordered leaving no room to argue before he moved to starboard side, people were running around him, busy as they tried to keep ship floating. There he found his quartermaster, large man in with blonde hair and remarkably neat clothes, similar to one that captain wore, white shirt, navy blue coat that he didn't button up but instead just wore over his shoulders… One could say he was standing out from the rest of the crew.

"Mister Dreyar, casualties?" He said and Laxus saluted and followed captain as he was moving to the stem of ship.

"Four men lost, including Simon and Ben. Rest of the crew is good, as good as it can be." He smirked but continued as captain made no effort to comment on it. "Morale is bad though… We've been sailin' for weeks, they need some rest and fresh food."

"Noted." Captain added before looking over the board and down at the ram. It was heavily damaged. Metal plating has been blown away, dangerously close to creating a hole in the hull. He wasn't pleased. "Where is miss McGarden?"

"Probably down with Gajeel." Laxus shrugged a bit.

"Mister Dragneel!" Captain shouted, loud and Natsu ran over to him "We are sitting ducks as it stands. I want you on nest before I finish this sentence!"

"Again? Captain…" Natsu groaned, looking up at the nest and down at him. Third time in a row this would be and Natsu was not the kind of guy who felt at ease standing so high.

"I am not asking mister Dragneel. I finished sentence a while ago and you are still here." Captain turned and looked at Natsu who took the hint… never question the captain and start climbing.

Captain turned and moved below deck, the skirmish has made quite the mess, few holes from the cannon fire, at least ten cannons either broke, melted or smashed beyond repair. His eyes wandered, trying to at least get some idea on overall damage but that was secondary task, first one was to spot two people he needed to see… and he saw them. Standing at far end was carpenter who was cutting plank that was to cover the hole, beside him was ship's 'reader'.

"Miss McGarden!" Captain shouted, moving toward the pair "I remember your job being to follow our position in this wretched world."

"Y…yes sir!" She quickly straightened up and saluted, nervously. Levy McGarden was the ship's reader, a unique position reserved for those who can read maps and determine position based on stars, sun and moon. Far from the fact that captain was bad at this but what made Levy stand above the rest was her magical item called "gale-glasses" an incredibly rare pair that allowed her to instantly find even the slightest hints and hidden messages on any map, letter or other written documents and even beyond that... she could see position of stars even in broad daylight and even read the weather and anticipate changes and upcoming storms. A highly prized artifact that takes decades to master... but not Levy, she only needed several years to utilize them to their full capacity.

"Well?" Captain asked.

"Right away!" she moved quickly by him, running up on the deck, leaving carpenter to sigh.

"Mister Redfox I believe you know my policy on ship romances." Captain turned to look at Gajeel. Remarkably large man that wore black sleeveless shirt and matching pants, riddled with nails and chains. He was in charge of general repairs on the ship and what made him such great carpenter was his hammer. Similar in nature to Lily's Musica, it had the ability to extend itself from being pocket size right up to two meters in length with head easily reaching 30 kilos. With it he could hammer a nail with a single strike where others would take no less than five. Fast and efficient, captain always kept him up and running… well much to Gajeel's annoyance.

"It wasn't like tha' cap'n" he grunted, picking up the plank and placing it on the hole, measuring to see if it would fit. "She was just keepin' me company."

"She can keep you company when we find port, right now I'm trying to keep my boat floating. How long until you finish repairs?"

"At this rate? Probably a day… maybe day an' a half."

"You have six hours."

"Six hours?" Gajeel looked at him with wide eyes, almost swallowing one of the nails he kept between his lips "Tha' is bloody impossible!"

"Well if you keep trying to flirt with my reader it will be. Six hours!" Captain turned, leaving Gajeel to grunt yet again in annoyance but it was not kind word and holding hand that kept this ship running. Captain climbed up and looked around, there was water as far as eye can see and only toward port side there was some resemblance of a land, volcanic but it was good start.

"Mister Fullbuster!" He shouted loud and half naked sailor approached, saluting. Though he usually was dressed similarly to Natsu the tendency for him to lose clothes during worst of times was not something that made captain chuckle, but he was one of the rare who could easily keep his cool regardless of situation. That being said he didn't earn his place on ship just because he could think straight, no, it was his particular choice of weapons which included two daggers, hanging on each side of his belt and both were capable of instantly freezing whatever they cut. Of course for him to freeze entire man he would need to keep the blade up against him for longer time, but there was no doubt that in close combat he was dangerous opponent. His regular work was boatswain which was something he never had difficulty doing but he felt that his responsibility was about to increase.

"We lost mister Volt, which means you'll be taking over his responsibilities of ship's logistics. Make a list of what we have, what we are lacking and deliver by noon."

"Yes, sir!" Gray responded, slightly annoyed as he heard particular yell coming from above.

"Why does he get to do that and I have to be stuck on this cursed place?!" Natsu yelled, holding tight onto the wooden fence of crow's nest, feeling nausea slowly reaching him.

"Because I don't screw up at my work, that's why!" Gray's 'cool' was severely shaken, a thing only Natsu knew how to do.

"Mister Fullbuter, list! Mister Dragneel! I don't remember telling you to laze around! Eyes on horizon!" Capyain shouted looking up.

"Oh come on it's not like they are gonna sneak up on us! There is no ship in sight!" He yelled, yelping as he almost fell over from the nest.

"I take it that you have forgotten our encounter with H.M.S. Thunderbolt last month?"

"No sir…" Natsu yelled in less annoyed tone.

"Then eyes on horizon!" He waved head and moved to his cabin. As he entered Levy was already there, studying the map. He unbuttoned first two buttons on his coat and moved to other side of the desk, she already had her glasses on and looking between map and several papers including one lacrima that projected a small screen.

"What do you have?" he asked, moving finger in his collar to loosen it up. At that moment, he heard doors knock and open, it was Laxus who nodded at him and closed doors behind him as he entered. He approached the desk and stood beside Levy.

At this point I believe it is good time to tell you a little bit about the land. The world of Earthland, divided into large nations, is a world filled with magic, coming from every stone, every grass, every river and forest and it was humans who mastered the art of wielding magic through the items they call mediums. These mediums are vary, ranging from ones used for mundane life to specialized complex lacrima crystals used for irrigation, repairs, travel, tools of war and in some cases even healing… the use of these is as endless as magic itself. Those who can create these magical items are called magi-smiths and their job is to collect and imbue it into these objects to be used for daily life but some smiths are far beyond the skill needed for simple crafting and they are able to create powerful items called 'artifacts'. These items are unique and rare and can utilize magical essence to create powerful spells. Of course, not every artifact is same, some are more useful as instrument to find hidden objects, see for hundreds of kilometers as if it was just before them, some are far more practical like ones that could alter the wind and clouds. Ship's reader Levy McGarden is an excellent example of such items. Other artifacts are made as offensive weapons that can tear through hull of any ship in an instant. Obtaining one of these artifacts is without a doubt an exceptionally difficult task and many collectors will pay large sum of jewels for them… But should one decide to keep it and utilize it to its full capacity, it can make a legend out of a man.

At the very center of this world is the kingdom of Fiore, a large peninsula that is known for its imperial navy that rivaled one of Minstrel. This kingdom is ruled by King Toma E. Fiore but the true power lies in his Grand Council of Twelve. This council is divided into three subcouncils. Council of Land is in charge of improving cities and countryside alike, finding ways to utilize magic and increase efficiency of farming, fishing and construction. Second is Council of Gold, a council that overlooks finance of every city, town and village, they are in charge of issuing jewels and ensuring that its value never becomes too strong or too weak. Final is the Council of War, composed of two generals and two admirals of highest rank, it is their job to protect the land from any kind of threat, foreign or domestic.

The system, though perfect in theory, was far from it and there were always flaws that would upset the balance in the land… and every land has its dark side. This would be the "freedom-seekers" how they called themselves but in reality, they were going by the different name. Pirates. Individuals and groups that wanted better life for themselves. Some were drawn by the freedom to sail the seas, others by the promise of fortune and some… well let's just say some became disillusioned with what they thought was going on. One of them was currently in his cabin looking over the large parchment.

"We are at least 300 kilometers from Haregon." Levy said, still looking at map. "From what I can tell we are here…" she pointed on map and both men looked, her finger was pressed on the start volcanic island chain, not populated due to it being impossible to maintain any settlement… Volcano was active and from time to time it would erupt and produce titanic amounts of ash… it made land fertile but not popular spot to settle.

"We can dock in Iris." Laxus moved finger, pointing beyond the chain of islands. "it's closer, we can get supplies, repair the ship and move on."

"I will not land in king's port unless I absolutely have to…" Captain added.

"Well we are then out of options…" Laxus sighed scratching back of his head.

"Not if we- "captain started but was interrupted by abrupt open of his door.

"Captain you have to see this!" Natsu shouted from the top of his lungs, giving good scare to Levy while Laxus pinched bridge of his nose. Captain on the other hand was struggling, on one hand he knew he was able sailor, on the other there was sweet temptation to throw him overboard. Man had no sense of decency or understanding the term of "chain of command".

"Natsu if you barge in like that one more time I swear I will throw you to the sharks that I will personally import for that occasion!" Captain shouted, feeling twitch in his left eye. "And why are you not on nest?!"

"Oh, was I interrupting?" He looked confused as Levy smiled nervously and Laxus threw his head back.

"No point in arguing anymore." Captain made his way outside of the cabin, followed closely by Natsu who extended his hand and in it was a single lacrima crystal. He took it from Natsu and gently pressed top of it, letting a small screen-like hologram appear. His eyes widened at what he saw, having names and images of himself and his crew, listed one under another and beside each name was a number.

"Well our lives just got a bit more interesting." Captain said, smirking a bit. "We are now officially kingdom's annoyance."

"What is it, captain?" quartermaster approached, standing by him and looking at the crystal's screen.

"Bounty, or rather warrant for our capture. Reward is 100 000 jewels for capturing me and 50 000 for each of you. Dead or alive for you, and as for me… alive only. Congratulations gentlemen." Captain said.

24 hours prior to these events in capital city of Crocus...

Hall was long, built to make people understand the gravity of place they were in. Floor and walls made out of marble, painted by finest of artists in land and at the end of it laid heavy doors of solid wood. It was a silent place, hall at very least, but that silence was interrupted by two pair of feet that clicked with each step. Both of the owners of these lovely feet had their uniforms on, coats colored with finest royal blue color, black trousers and leather boots reaching up to knees while on hands they had white gloves. With quick steps they reached the door and knocked twice before entering. They found themselves in the main office of the Council of War. Pair saluted and approached to the rather large brown wooden table. Four chairs had four councilors at far end of this table. From left to right there was Councilor Leiji, Councilor Crawford, Councilor Doma and Councilor Org. Their faces were not pleased but then again their job was not to be pleased.

Councilor Crawford was firs to speak "Captain Erza Scarlet and quartermaster Lucy Heartfilia of the H.M.S. Titania."

"Reporting for duty!" Erza said in strict, sound tone.

"Our reports say that your ship has been docked for two months, is this report correct?" Leiji asked.

"Two months, one week and four days." Erza continued.

"Your own records are flawless as well." Doma said in louder tone. "You rose quickly to the rank of Captain and of course no one can deny the success of Titania."

"Thank you, sir!" Erza still kept her rigid pose, she had plenty of questions to ask but it was not for her to do so. Lucy in the meantime kept her stance and said nothing, if Erza's place is to not ask questions then she had even less right to do so.

"One might argue that you are strongest candidate to take over the seat of admiral, once admiral Zen retires of course which should be in two years, assuming he doesn't fall in line of duty." Doma continued.

Erza knew this of course, her 'competition' was composed of captains that got ships based on their noble status. Right amount of jewels slipped in right pocket can do much to secure one's promotion… In Erza's case there was no one to pay for her nor to secure promotion, her status was achieved by her deeds alone, swift and brutal execution of plans and unrivaled strategies... She is without a doubt one among most respected officers in Royal Navy and no one dared to question her abilities.

"Of course, kingdom always needs loyal and capable officers taking the helm behind our navy. There might be something we can do to… hmmm… push you up a bit and ensure your promotion."

This got Erza suspicious, she never had help before and suddenly Council of War is taking an interest in her? Lucy's eyebrows rose up as she was listening this.

"We are assigning you and your crew to a special task, one suitable to your skills. You are to find, capture or sink the ship named Dark Fairy and take its captain as prisoner. The crew will be left to your decision."

"You are assigning Titania to go chase some pirate?" Erza questioned, there was defiance and annoyance in her tone. Not largest but it was certainly finest ship of the line, heavily modified through years of Erza's command, sacrificing some of the firepower for speed and maneuverability … there was none like it and in right hands it was nearly unsinkable. This ship, that was the spear-point of His Majesty's Navy, was to chase down a lowlife? Erza sure as hell considered this to be an insult to Titania.

"Not just any pirate." Org pushed paper slowly on the wooden surface of the table and tapped twice with finger on it. Lucy went around the table and took the paper before returning to Erza. "That man."

"Admiral Jellal Fernandes…" Lucy spoke out loud but was interrupted by councilor Doma "Former admiral…" Lucy nodded and continued " 'Former' admiral Jellal Fernandes, drafted at age of fourteen, rose to Captain position at age of eighteen, held helm at H.M.S. Oathkeeper for seven years, decorated with three Stars of Courage, two Golden Thunders, three Ruby Crosses, four… oh my…" Lucy looked up at Council completely shocked "Four decorations from his Majesty the King himself …" Council merely nodded "Rose to rank of admiral at age of twenty two, forty six naval naval battles, forty six victories, veteran of the Red Reef war, sole surviving ship at battle of Echydna rock… We are hunting down a hero?"

"Legend is better term. Keep reading." Erza said, keeping her steel gaze forward as she listened.

"Defected thirteen months ago with several high ranking officers of his ship. Currently operating with new crew on ship named Dark Fairy, brig class ship, eighteen cannons, consists no less than twenty crew members. Twelve raids in last five months, merchant cogs, broken supply lines, sunk four Royal Navy ships, three brigs and heavily damaged one man-o-war?" Lucy gasped as list went on about this man "He took over man-o-war with a brig?"

"H.M.S. Thunderbolt. Boarded the ship under the cover of fog… it was over before they knew what hit them. Half crew members dead, rest were left in sufficient state to sail the ship back to port… not before he raided every compartment. You will find extensive document about him prepared and sent to your ship, Captain Scarlet. Your job is to take him and bring him back. As for his crew… as mentioned it is entirely up to your decision." Crawford spoke in soft words, smiling at captain and quartermaster. The pair just saluted and left the room, making quick pace back through same long hall.

"This is no easy task… I never expected Admiral Fernandes to defect…" Lucy spoke, following Erza's pace.

"You know him?"

"I know of him. He was naval hero, said to be one to wield Heaven's Rapier, artifact of immense power that is said to be able to bring down the skies... in his service he only had to draw it twice from scabbard. He achieved total victory against all odds..."

"That was when he was admiral, now he is nothing more than a pirate." Erza said in calm voice "What is the status Titania's crew?"

"Ten honorable discharges, forty-eight transfers. We have forty from original crew, ready to sail."

"Find ten more and we'll set sail by the end of week."

"Ummm… Captain?" Lucy looked at her with wide eyes, shocked. "We will go with just fifty?"

"This will not be difficult task to accomplish."

"Yeah but haven't you heard what he did during his service in Royal Navy? Plus that sword of his… I am not sure if it's wise to charge against him unless we are in full effect."

"He was best because he commanded the best, H.M.S. Oathkeeper is exceptional ship of the line but it is nothing compared to Titania. As for his artifact, have you forgotten one of mine?" Erza patted handle of her cutlass that was hanging by her belt.

"Of course not Captain!" Lucy spoke in higher tone, more respectful as they continued to walk down the hall.

"Why are you the only one to be brought alive and we get to be dead?" Natsu asked, lifting his eyebrow.

"Because they want everyone to see him hang." Gray answered Natsu's questions even though it was directed to captain.

"Well, we will have fun month…" Jellal spoke as he watched lacrima, a few more moments and he switched it off. "We are going to be popular target for bounty hunters… and we need more guns."

"Orders, captain?" Laxus asked.

"We sail for Haregon, only port that won't hang us on the sight and we need decent repairs and supplies." Jellal crossed arms and began calculating, he was silent and since he was silent, everyone else was silent as well. "We don't have much choice, mister Dreyar, helm is yours."

"Aye aye sir!" Laxus saluted with a grin "Alright lads, all hands on deck, man on your stations! Full sails, get all cannons to port side! Mister Lily, on the double with the salvage, mister Dragneel on the nest, mister Redfox, make those repairs as we move, get five more men to help you get water out of the hull!"

Jellal moved up the stairs and looked at the deck one more time. Damn pirates, he smiled for himself every single one of them. As he entered his cabin and closed, there was a long sigh... he was finally alone. Fingers reached up and unbuttoned his coat that he hanged on the wooden wall behind his desk before sitting down on his chair. The pain in the neck returned and he felt his exhaustion was catching up faster than he thought it would. Maybe if he closes eyes for five minutes ship won't blow up.

A/N: I had this temptation to make this a one shot, you know, pirate captain, royal navy captain, battle and gaze at eachother, Jellal and Erza, Lucy and Natsu, maybe few more if I fit their backstories well... You know how it goes, love at first sight but then I thought... Naaaaah I am gonna pit them against each other to the point wanting to spill guts. They are gonna try that you can count on it... BUT... not gonna spoil it for you. I am extremely excited about writing this story and by all means wait for next chapter to see what happens, which, judging by my motivation lately, you won't have to wait long.

Small side note and I am gonna be hated for this, if you wonder how I envisioned Panther Lily as human... Adewale from Black Flag. I will say no more.