Betrayal, Ch. 1: The Second Time.

By Honorat

Rating: K+

Disclaimer: You should know better than to talk copyrights to a fanfic author when she's writing. 'S bad luck.

Summary: Why does Mr. Gibbs take Jack's ship at Isla de Muerta? First of a series of short fics addressing the motivations of the crew of the Interceptor.

Thank you geek mama for the beta read.

The Second Time

The second time was easier. At least that's what he tried to tell himself. Leaving Jack and taking his ship. Joshamee Gibbs took a hard swig on his flask. After all, hanging about with the Dauntless prowling these waters and spoiling for pirate blood was just bloody stupid. And Jack would be the first to tell him not to do anything stupid. According to the code, it was. Take what you can.

So they were taking the Black Pearl. Jack's Pearl. Cotton would be able to navigate the ship away from this cursed island. He'd already done it once with the Interceptor thanks to the close attention he'd paid to Jack's course on the way in. Even now, Anamaria and Cotton were at her helm, and the crew was weighing her anchors and trimming her sails. But they were doing so in unnatural silence. Voices that normally shouted and called and sang fell hushed upon Gibbs' ears, as though fearful that something might overhear. Most unnatural of all, not a man dared utter a curse. For this was a place where curses grew visible and walked among the living. The familiar activities seemed uncanny as the pirates darted uneasily about the decks of this alien ship.

Gibbs forced himself to do what he knew he'd been avoiding—to really look at the Black Pearl. She lurked beneath his feet like a brooding presence, black as hell and seething with curses and the ghosts of curses. This was a ship who had lost her luck, whose bad luck was fathomless. Like night and storm and fear incarnate the dark ship enveloped them in gaunt, shrouded arms. Her charcoal sails, ragged and nearly transparent, shattered the moonlight into eerie patterns on her decks. Not a man jack of them had been willing to touch those sails, and they hauled on the clews and sheets with uncharacteristic caution. Would those fragments of canvas even hold enough wind to sail? Gibbs had seen the Black Pearl flying under these very sails, making futile the escape attempts of the fleet little Interceptor. So he knew it was possible. But he didn't believe it.

Almost he hoped she wouldn't sail. Then they'd have to remain here, to wait for whatever would happen to Jack . . . to wait for the return of those deathless horrors that were the rightful crew of this decaying phantom of a ship. Somehow he could not believe that the curse would be lifted. Gibbs shuddered. He had faced the threat of death in numerous unsavoury ways—from the lash of the cat o'nines, to the hail of shot and shrapnel, to steel in his back in a dark alley, to fiery burning fever, even to starvation and thirst. But he could not face those accursed abominations again. Not even out of some misguided vestige of loyalty to Jack Sparrow, a pirate when all was said and done, and one who lived by the code and its consequences.

There was no hope for Jack, after all.

If it wasn't just like that daft loon to row off in a little dingy by his onesies to pit his mortal flesh against that lot of immortal monsters! He couldn't possibly pull it off. Not even with the help of one hellion of a governor's daughter in her own little dingy, just as daft as ever Jack was. Even if the man was Captain Jack Sparrow, there were limits. Although Gibbs had never known Jack to admit to limits. And a frightening number of limits had been known to admit to Jack. But this time the legendary captain had come up against something beyond this world—something supernatural and unconquerable. This time Jack would die for his temerity.

Gibbs fought the urge to look back at the Island of the Dead one last time when he issued the orders for the Pearl to come about before the wind and leave this doomed place. Jack knew the code, Gibbs told himself. Give nothing back.