The Pirates Booty
"Merlin, what on earth is he wearing?" James asked as grumpy Sirius approached with an amused looking Remus.
Harry could only shake his head in response from fear he would laugh and anger the man.
"So, Marlene believed you when you said you were going muggle fishing?" he questioned.
"Piss off," Sirius bit back as Remus doubled over in mirth. Clearly, the man had been holding it in for some time.
"No," the werewolf snorted, "as usual, he got caught out, but she insisted that is how he will be dressed for the duration of the trip. She's even used a Sticking Charm from her family grimoire to make sure he does," he added in a whisper.
James chuckled as he comforted the red-faced Sirius with a pat on the shoulder.
"The bloody itching powder isn't helping," he whined as he scratched furiously through the fabric.
"She got him good," James observed with a hint of pride evident in his tone.
The man was dressed in a tartan shirt complete with high-waisted rubber trousers that were held up by straps over his shoulder. The wellington boots themselves were rather unflattering, but it was the hat he wore that gave it the final humiliation. It was of a bucket style, adorned with various types of fishing hooks and lures.
Harry was about to offer a comment of his own when his attention was grabbed by something bright in his periphery. He turned only to be greeted by the sight of Albus Dumbledore, the final party of their group making his own way towards them across the dock. When Harry had told him of this particular venture, he had insisted on coming along. According to the man, he had enjoyed muggle literature about pirates as a boy and would like to be included. Seeing the aged headmaster at full twinkle, he couldn't deny him the request.
"Well, I wouldn't worry about it, Sirius. I think Dumbledore has you beat in absurdity of outfit."
"Bloody hell," James cursed as he too bore witness to the clothing choice on display.
The eccentricity of the man was in full swing with the bright orange Hawaiian shirt and matching shorts. This faux pas could be forgiven if it wasn't for the stereotypical pirate hat and eyepatch the man had elected to wear along with some leather sandals and horrifically clashing purple socks. In lieu of a parrot, Fawkes stood proudly on his shoulder, his red and orange hues only making the image more surreal.
"Ahoy there," he greeted as he arrived, faced with four bemused men. "I though it best I blend in. I wouldn't want to raise suspicion by wearing robes."
Harry could only shake his head at the man as he avoided staring at the knobbly knees on show.
"Might I compliment you on your own outfit?" the headmaster continued, speaking to Sirius. "I too have a similar hat. I find that it is useful for storing my sherbet lemons in when I go for a hike."
"Thanks, professor," Sirius replied dryly, glaring at James and Remus who were snickering at the odd pair.
"I believe we should prepare to set sail," Dumbledore announced. "It will take some hours to reach our destination."
"Err professor, we won't need to sail. We have a boat with a modern engine," Remus explained.
"I see," Dumbledore sighed disappointedly. "Perhaps we should board and be on our way."
"Would you like to drive?" Harry asked, eliciting frantic head shakes from the other three.
The man immediately brightened and with a spring in his step, he scrambled aboard the small boat Harry had hired for the occasion.
"Are you mad?" Sirius questioned. "You're trusting him to drive," he added pointing towards the man who seemed to be having a great time pretending to steer the vehicle.
"I trusted you to be the godfather of my daughter," Harry returned before pulling himself onto the boat.
"How is that the same thing?" Sirius grumbled as he followed the rest of them onto the boat.
Harry did the final checks to make sure everything was as it should be. As far as he knew, none of them aboard had any boating experience and that did not sit well with him. Despite this, he was keen to seek out this treasure. Even during his years of neglect at the hands of the Dursleys, he had heard of tales of wonder and intrigue about pirates.
He was pulled from his thoughts by Dumbledore calling for his attention.
"I don't seem to be able to get this to work," he sighed as he pushed and pulled at the various knobs and levers.
"That's because you need this," Harry replied, removing the key from his pocket and inserting it into the ignition. With a twist, the engine fired into life.
"Marvellous," Dumbledore declared clapping his hands together. "Shall we proceed."
"Maybe I should get us out of the dock, professor," Harry suggested warily. "We wouldn't want our excursion to be brought to an end before it has begun, would we?"
"I suppose not," Dumbledore agreed reluctantly, "go ahead, Harry."
Carefully, he navigated his way through the docks at a sedate pace having enjoyed his morning in North Carolina. It took some time to guide the large boat through, but when they were clear, he relinquished his seat to the older man who was positively trembling in anticipation. After watching him take the helm for a few moments, he joined the other three.
"What exactly are we looking for?" James asked.
"The lost treasure of Blackbeard," Harry informed them excitedly.
"What kind of name is Blackbeard?" Sirius interjected.
"He was a pirate who was killed during the early eighteenth century, not too far from here. His treasure has never been found so, I thought we'd take a look," Harry explained.
"There's more to it than that," Remus broke in, his skin sheening with sweat despite a full moon not being due for weeks. "From what the mutt has said, there's always more to it than that."
"There may or may not be a pirate curse to deal with," Harry shrugged. "That is why we're going by boat. We don't want to disturb the magic if we can help it?"
"And what is a pirate curse?" James queried with a frown.
"Probably just like any other curse," Harry replied dismissively.
"See, this is why I get so annoyed," Sirius huffed, "you're so bloody calm about everything and so far, it's been me that's been cursed and almost killed when we were in Egypt."
"Then why did you come this time?"
"Because you told me I had to."
"I'm sorry, I didn't realise I was your mother and that you have to do as you're told," Harry returned with a grin.
"No, that's Marlene," James added with a chuckle.
"That's it. If there isn't a damned pirate curse, you'll get one from me," Sirius declared, waving his wand around threateningly.
The effect of the threat was lost on the others. It was hard to feel threatened by someone wearing rubber trousers and a bucket hat. Nonetheless, Sirius continued to scowl at them for some time, promising each of them suffering in the near future.
Ignoring the man, Harry sat back and relaxed to enjoy his time of the sea, checking on Dumbledore occasionally to make sure the man was heading in the right direction.
"How're you feeling, Moony?" he asked the man who had become quieter than usual.
"I don't think the sea agrees with the wolf," he moaned in response. "It's making me feel quite sick."
"Don't worry," Harry chuckled, "It shouldn't take us too long to get there.
Remus nodded gratefully before putting his head in his hands.
"Harry," Dumbledore called, "I do believe we may be in trouble."
Harry frowned as the older man pointed to an oncoming storm cloud only a mile or so away.
"Turn around you crazy sod," Sirius pleaded as the sound of rumbling thunder could be heard followed by a bright flash of lighting.
"Keep going Captain Dumbledore," Harry urged, ignoring the yelping of the man coming from behind and enjoying the occasion. "That means we are on the right track."
"You're just as barmy as he is," Sirius accused, gesturing towards the headmaster who was grinning from ear to ear.
"No, it's what the book instructed," Harry replied loudly over the gathering wind. "If fortune favours you, a storm will take you to the treasure you seek."
"I'm getting sick of that book," Sirius growled.
"I'm getting sick of this boat," Remus added before leaning over the side to empty the contents of his stomach, the water now considerably less calm and the sky darkening rapidly.
"If I die, Harry, I'll bloody well be taking you with me," Sirius warned, "or I'll come back as a ghost and haunt you."
Harry braced himself against the wind as James and Sirius held on to each other. Remus clung to the railing as he continued to vomit, the motion of the boat worsening still as they entered the storm. Strangely, Dumbledore seemed to take it in his stride, whooping with the enthusiasm of a boy on a muggle rollercoaster, unfazed by the danger they faced.
The turbulent ride continued for several minutes, the only source of light courtesy of the forks of lightning that would flash sporadically. Harry began to sympathise with the werewolf when his stomach began to churn along with the sea, and he fought the urge to vomit.
"Hold on tight," the voice of Dumbledore sounded, barely over the din.
The boat suddenly crested an enormous wave and Harry caught a glimpse of the abyss below before he was surrounded by darkness.
He woke beneath the beaming sun, a wracking cough expelling the water from his lungs he had swallowed. Breathing heavily, he glanced around to find the others in a similar state, the only one who seemed remotely pleased with what they had endured being Dumbledore. The man was sodden wet, but the smile that adorned his face had not shifted.
"Merlin, what the hell happened?" Harry groaned as he pulled himself to his feet.
"I imagine that the storm acted as a gateway to where we find ourselves now," Dumbledore theorised, pointing to an island a short distance from the boat, that had against all odds, survived the ordeal it had been put through unscathed.
"The storm will lead you to the treasure you seek," Harry muttered. "Well, it looks like we were beaten here."
He nodded towards the large dock of the island that was filled with an array of different ships, none however having been constructed recently.
"Indeed," Dumbledore agreed. "Perhaps all is not lost, however."
"Did we make it?" Sirius questioned, his sodden hair plastered to his face, though his hat remained firmly on his head.
"Apparently," Harry answered with a frown. "How're you feeling, Moony?"
The man simply shook his head, the tinge of green on his skin still prevalent.
"Remind me to never accept another invitation to one of these," he moaned.
"I'm alright. It was fun apart from the almost dying part," he replied with a grin.
"How did I never realise how crazy you Potters are?" Sirius sighed. "I should have known it. Charlus married a bloody Black and then you did the same," he added to Harry.
"You married McKinnon," Harry returned. "Ah, you've come so far since that night in the common room when she tried to make you dance. That was some excellent spell work by the way, Remus."
"You!" Sirius growled accusingly; his ire being turned towards the werewolf.
"Oh, shut up, it was bloody years ago," Remus sighed.
"Maybe, we should make for land. It seems our presence is attracting quite the attention," Dumbledore advised, breaking up the back and forth between the two.
Harry turned his own gaze towards the land where a collection of oddly dressed people had gathered on the beach. From this far away he couldn't be certain, but it appeared that they were dressed as pirates.
"This can't be good," he muttered as Dumbledore steered the boat towards the only land in sight. As they came closer, it was apparent that the men on the shore where indeed dressed as pirates, each with a large curved blade drawn, ready to attack.
"Ahoy there," the headmaster greeted them cheerfully.
"Who are ya?" one of them men demanded.
"Just travellers looking for somewhere to take a rest," Dumbledore answered smoothly.
"Are ya stick carriers?"
"Stick carriers?" Harry questioned.
"Aye, the curse makers."
"Do you mean wizards?"
The man shrugged.
"The names be different but it's the same thing. Are you those that make the curses?"
"We can cast spells," Harry confirmed.
"Then ya be welcome," the man offered before sheathing his cutlass, his companions following suit. "Mind keep the sticks away. The island gets upset if they're used."
Harry nodded his agreement as he alighted followed cautiously by the others.
"Do you get many visitors here?"
The man shook his head.
"Last lot o' you that came through was before I was born, my father told me the story when I were a lad."
"What even is this place?"
"Ah, ya be on the final bastion of our kind. Our forebears were brought here when being on the sea became too dangerous. The English was killing us off quick and we needed somewhere safe. We've been here ever since."
"Where even are we?"
"Here be the Raider's Retreat. Those born here, live and die here. We don't get outsiders much, but they're always stick carriers when they do come. I'll take ye to the tavern, Old Davy will be able to tell ye more."
Harry nodded and followed the man, keeping an eye on the other pirates that had surrounded the small group, each with their hands on the handle of their blade.
They walked in silence for a while until they came upon a rather large village. The buildings were of wood for the most part. It was as though they had stepped back in time three hundred years into the past, though they weren't so modest. Each one was a few floors high and well maintained, whitewashed and treated to protect them from the elements.
"We live off the land and sea here. We don't have no use for gold or anything of the like. Our tavern is stocked, and we share what we have. The children be happy, and no one comes along to cause us no trouble."
"So, how long has the island been here…?"
"Shanks," the man introduced himself with a smile, a few of his teeth missing. "We've been here a while, some few hundred years I'd say. Best save them questions for Old Davy, he'll tell ye right."
"I will, thank you," Harry offered respectfully.
Shanks led them to one of the larger buildings on the edge of the village. It was much the same as the others but with the addition of a large sign sticking out of the wall just above the door.
"Welcome to The Anchor," Shanks announced as he pushed open the door.
Within was a large bar and a few dozen tables, all filled by mostly men. Some appeared to gambling, using dice, and others were conversing loudly above the raucous. What they all shared, however, was that they all appeared to be deep in their cups.
When those within the room became aware of their presence, it quietened, and they were stared at as though they were an attraction in a circus. It was uncomfortable for a few moments until Shanks cleared his throat.
"I found 'em drifting along the coast. I thought it best to bring them to Old Davy," he explained.
"Aye, you got it right, Shanks. Take 'em through to the table at the back. I'll be in soon," a hunched, old man instructed.
Harry couldn't be sure how old he was, but if he had to guess, he would say he was close to Dumbledore's age at least.
Dozens of pairs of eyes watched them as they were led away, some whispering as they passed, curious about the strangers that had arrived out of the blue and on to their shore.
"They'll warm up to ye when Davy see's ye alright," Shanks comforted. "Like I said, we don't get strangers much."
"Shouldn't you be more worried about us?" Sirius questioned.
The man laughed heartily as he directed them to an empty table and fetched a large pewter jug and several tankards from a sideboard.
"We've got nothin' worth stealin' and we aren't unprotected. There's things here that keep us safe," he finished knowingly as he began handing out drinks.
"Wards," Harry clarified, "Very old wards," he added with a frown. "Muggle repelling and proximity ones. Keep your wands away. I imagine they'll be as unpleasant as those around Grimmauld Place if you were to provoke them."
Sirius' eyes widened in horror at the thought.
"Well, we're not here to cause trouble," Harry assured the man. "We were looking for something. We didn't expect to find this."
"What were ye looking for?"
"Well, you've found it," another voice interjected.
Harry turned to find himself facing the old man that had instructed Shanks to bring them to this table. Though appearing to be ancient, his eyes were alight with intelligence and strength.
"This is Blackbeard's treasure?"
"Aye," the man clarified. "Old Teach paid a handsome price for this island and for a stick carrier to protect it. He wanted somewhere that our kind could live without fear of the British coming for us. So, aye, what you see around you is Blackbeard's treasure."
Harry snorted in a mixture of amusement and confusion.
"Wasn't Teach a bloodthirsty monster?"
Old Davy chuckled.
"Aye, that he was, but one who looked after his own. If it weren't for him, none of us would be here," he finished raising a cup and toasting towards a portrait of a large man with a beard as dark as night.
"So, there's no treasure?" Sirius groaned.
"Not a single doubloon," Old Davy answered. "If you don't believe me, you could always ask him yourself, he's only over there."
Harry turned towards where the man was pointing, surprised by a table occupied completely by a dozen or so ghosts that were watching them speculatively. One matched the man in the portrait, though his head was resting atop the table, the rest of his body in a chair a few feet away. Old Davy gave him a nod and the body stood, retrieved its' head and approached them whilst affixing it back in place.
"They're alright, Teach," the old man assured the ghost. "They were lookin' for ye treasure."
The pirate nodded. In life, he would have been quite the spectacle. He was strongly built and tall with it. The clothing he wore was reminiscent of the Bloody Baron back at the castle. Though it was transparent, the large quantities of blood that stained his clothing was still evident.
"I bet your death wasn't fun," Sirius commented.
The pirate glared at the man, but smirked.
"Five bullets and almost two-dozen strikes with a blade," he said proudly, gesturing towards his torso. "Even then, they had to take my head else I would have gotten up for more. Old Maynard didn't expect that."
"Sorry, but if you had the island, how were you found?" Remus broke in curiously.
"Aye, we were transporting more of us here when they caught us off guard. We acted as a distraction as the others got away. Took most of the swine with us though," he shouted and attempted to bang a fist onto the table. It passed straight through and he frowned. "So long as I'm here, the people will be safe."
"You bound yourself to the wards?" Harry questioned, surprised by the sacrifice offered.
Teach shook his head.
"Not me. The stick carrier did it. Said it would be the best protection."
Harry nodded his agreement. A life force to power wards was exceptional, but completely illegal. It had been outlawed almost everywhere the moment it had become public knowledge more than a thousand years ago.
"What was his name?" Harry probed, his own curiosity getting the better of him.
"Some chap that found me, erm, Black, I think," Teach answered.
James burst into laughter at the revelation as he leaned on Sirius who looked decidedly uncomfortable.
"We came hunting for a treasure you already have," James guffawed. "Oh, this is great."
"You have my gold?" Blackbeard asked.
"I guess so," he answered nervously. "My family name is Black. Was he English?"
"Aye," Teach answered with a nod. "Orion, that was his name."
Sirius swallowed deeply as the large ghost approached. It was all for naught however as the man removed his hat and offered him a deep bow.
"You are my guest of honour," he declared. "If it wasn't for Black, I wouldn't have been able to save so many. GET THIS MAN A DRINK," he demanded.
An uproarious cheer erupted within the room as Sirius was seized by a group of the living, held aloft and carried away with a look of shock.
"Don't worry," Teach called over to the rest of the group, "he'll be treated better than the king of England."
Harry could only shake his head in amusement. The treasure they had come for was not what they had found but something better in his eyes. Not only did pirates still exist, but he had gotten to meet the most prolific of them all.
He readily accepted a tankard of ale from a serving woman and took a sip, his throat quite parched from the trials of the day. He grimaced. He was never one for drinking much and whatever was n the cup was potent. Still, this would likely be a once in a lifetime opportunity and he planned on taking advantage of it.
"Just enjoy it, Remus," he urged. "Even Dumbledore is getting involved," he added with a nod towards the man.
"So, how did ye lose ya eye?" a man questioned the headmaster.
"Oh, no. I just put on the patch. It's a disguise," he explained, lifting the garment to show his fully intact organ.
The man looked at him in confusion for a moment before laughing loudly and slapping the table in mirth.
"I like ye, old fella. What's your name?"
"Albus," Dumbledore answered.
"What kinda name is that?" the pirate asked disapprovingly. "Ye look like a Jack, I'll call ye Jack," he declared.
"Very well," Dumbledore chuckled, seemingly happy with his new moniker.
"TO JACK," the pirate roared raising his tankard and eliciting a resounding echo from those within the tavern.
The merriment continued for some time and eventually began to wind down. Most were content to return to their groups and continue drinking, though Harry couldn't comprehend how many were still conscious. He sat at the bar with Remus and James whilst Dumbledore conversed with Blackbeard, the two seemingly getting along rather well.
"I have a ghost within my school that would like to meet you. He too is headless, well almost," Dumbledore slurred.
"How can one be nearly headless?" Teach demanded to know.
"Alas, I fear it was a rather poor execution," Dumbledore lamented. "It rather taunts him so."
"Hmm," Teach sighed thoughtfully. "Maybe I can finish the job for him."
"He would like that," Dumbledore chuckled.
"WHAT DID YOU CALL ME, BOY?" a loud voice questioned furiously.
Harry peered over the other side of the bar to see Sirius engaged in a game of cards with a group of pirates, the atmosphere between them seemingly having deteriorated quite rapidly.
"I said you're a bloody cheat," Sirius returned.
"Oh dear," Teach muttered. "We may longer practice piracy here, but we live by the code. This isn't going to end well."
The pirate, considerably larger than Sirius flung the table they were sat at aside and stalked towards him.
"Say it again," he hissed.
Sirius puffed himself up to his full height and still stood shorter than the other man. This, however, did not deter him from the path he had chosen and with all eyes on him, he became bolder.
"I said you're a filthy cheater," he reiterated, poking the man in the chest with each word.
In a split-second, all hell broke loose as tables and tankards flew across the room and a full-scale melee ensued. Even those that had seemingly been at peace were on their feet throwing fists around.
Old Davy simply shook his head at the chaos as though it were a common occurrence.
"It will all be forgotten about by tomorrow. Best get the lad out of here though whilst you can. Teach will take you to where you can leave the island."
Harry nodded gratefully as he, along with James and Remus waded into the fight, narrowly avoiding a chair that had been launched in their direction.
"BASTARD," James roared as he was the recipient of a poorly aimed punch.
He returned the gesture with one of his own, felling a nearby man that had not been the one to land the blow. Pulling him by the back of the shirt, Harry led him and Remus to where they had last seen Sirius. They found him squaring off with the same man that had started the brawl, both looking worse for wear. Sirius had a cut and swollen lip and his opponent's nose was bent in the wrong direction and dripping blood.
"Time to go, Padfoot," Harry announced as he pulled him towards the door.
"COWARD," the pirate roared as Sirius gave him a two-fingered salute on his way out of the tavern.
Teach and Dumbledore were both waiting for them having apparently avoided the unpleasantness still occurring within the bar.
"There's a back door," Teach explained.
Harry could only shake his head in response. Twice he himself had almost been punched dragging the others out through the front. Dumbledore appeared to be completely unconcerned by the turn of events and was humming merrily as he bounced on the balls of his feet.
"Come along, you can do that vanishing thing you do over here," Teach explained as he glided towards a large formation of rocks only a short walk away. "I wouldn't try to come back this way. The protections won't let you. The Carolina dock can be reached from here."
Harry nodded as he took a final look at the island they had spent the best part of the day on. His time here hadn't ended as he'd have liked nor expected, but he certainly would relish the experience.
With his final observations complete, he gave Blackbeard a final, respectful nod before disapparating and appearing on the dock they had departed from that very morning, not looking forward to having to explain to the boat owner that his vehicle had gone missing.
"Well, at least you didn't get cursed," he said to Sirius as the others arrived.
"No, that one was fun," Sirius replied with a grin, his lip still leaking blood. "Where are we going next?"
"I have no idea, maybe China, maybe somewhere else."
He truly hadn't decided. When he had come across the section about Blackbeard's treasure, he had read no further. Wherever he decided, he had no doubt that another adventure would await them. The three they had completed thus far was proof of that.
Another little short complete. The obsession with Blackbeard is mine. I read Treasure Island as a child and the History of Pirates when much older.
Anyway, m reon page has been revamped, updated and a breakdown of how I will run it is on there so do please check it out and subscribe to one of the tiers there if it is something you are interested in. (They're HP themed too). Of course, please do feel free to give feedback/suggestions also. I want this to be something you guys want to be a part of and enjoy. There will be a tonne of benefits such as DAILY UPDATES, early releases, exclusive content and giveaways with Discord roles etc, so please do have a look if only to advise me further.
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I am working on the epilogue of TGITG and it will be released ASAP. From there, I will be moving on to my Harry/Fleur story that has been in the works for over two years now so follow me for updates on that. HTBR will also be being worked on along with original stuff.
Anyway, I hope you enjoyed this. It was a lot of fun writing and I will have another with you very soon.