Title: The Great Kidnap Caper (2 ?)
Disclaimer: For too long I've been addicted to fanfiction and unable to quit. Too long I've been writing PotC stories and haven't made any money.
Summary: The Black Pearl has the Rosalind at her mercy. Our heroine attempts to barter for her children's lives with the terrifying pirate Captain Jack Sparrow. Contains Jack and Small Children and therefore a beverage alert is in effect. Among other things, this story will eventually contain the epic battle between Jack Sparrow and Mrs. Fitzbrace-Pennythump. This is comedy, folks. Many OC's but none of them will be falling in love with Jack. Prequel to "Crossing the Bar." No spoilers at all.
Thanks to geekmama for her wonderful beta work.
Ellen stared at the pirate captain in bewilderment.
He straightened, set his hat crookedly back on his head, and looked at her expectantly.
What did this strange man want? She began her offer again, "You can do whatever you wa . . ."
"No, no, no," Captain Sparrow interrupted her. "We can't start negotiating until we've been introduced. What's your name, girl?"
"I am not a girl," Ellen protested weakly.
The pirate looked her up and down in a manner most insulting, and she blushed furiously. "You look like a girl to me," he insisted. "Do you have a name, or do I have to make one up? How does Hepzibah sound?"
"It's Ellen," she admitted, too hen-witted to question the propriety of giving a pirate her Christian name. "Ellen McBride."
"Ah!" he said. "Means 'courage'."
He knew that?
"Well, Miss McBride, that would make you the daughter of the captain of this fine vessel, eh?"
"Surely you jest," she scolded him and then shut her mouth tightly. How had she dared?
"Mother?" he hazarded, a smirk playing around the corners of his mouth. "Maiden aunt? Second cousin of his uncle's son-in-law?"
"I'm his wife," she snapped, then clapped her hand over her mouth. What had gotten into her? Unfortunately this released Aemelia from the stranglehold her mother had on her. The child squirmed away. Ellen gave a gasp and tried to recapture her. But Aemelia was having none of that. She caromed right into the pirate captain's high boots.
Ellen cried out as the pirate reached down and swept her daughter up in his arms. "Don't hurt her!" she gasped. Her grip tightened on Bobbie as he attempted to go to his sister's rescue.
"His wife!" Captain Sparrow said ignoring her distress. "Delighted to make your acquaintance, Mistress McBride." He turned to the red-faced, slimy-nosed little girl he was holding now. "And who might you be, young lady?"
Her daughter paid no attention to the question, having caught sight of the many enchantingly colourful and jangly things dangling in the pirate's hair. She latched one grubby fist onto the longest strand of beads with its elaborate silver ornament on the end and tugged.
"Ouch!" Captain Sparrow exclaimed indignantly. "Watch what you're doing there you little varmint. Those are attached to me head!"
Ellen forgot to breathe. Oh don't let her make him angry, she prayed frantically.
"You leave my sister alone, you bad man!" Bobbie shouted from his maternal prison.
Did both her children have death wishes?
"I'm sorry!" she pleaded. "They're just children. They don't understand."
"Oh, I think this young man understands very well," the pirate disagreed, wincing as Aemelia took a firmer grip on his hair. "What's your name, lad?"
"Bobbie," said her son sullenly.
"Well, Bobbie," Captain Sparrow said between twisting his face as Ellen's daughter twisted his hair. "You are absolutely right. Pirates are bad men. (Ow! Drat it!) Though I have it on the best authority that I am a good man. And in a few years you most certainly should call out any one of the scallywags who manhandles your sister. (Blast! Have a care with me scalp, you little savage!) But you're going to need a few more inches in height before you should be thinking about crossing blades with a pirate. Savvy?"
Bobbie scowled at him. Aemelia shook her new toy and then crowed with laughter at the sparkling sound. The pirate captain sucked in his breath. "Owwwwwww! I've got a first mate you should meet, you little hellion."
With his free hand, he attempted to detach the little girl's fingers from his hair. Aemelia set up a howl that had him trying to clap one hand to both ears.
Aemelia had a voice like a bosun, Robert always said. Ellen could sympathize with the look of agony on the pirate captain's face. His hasty submission and the return of her toy restored his tormenter to a sunnier and quieter temper
"You see, Bobbie," Captain Sparrow continued, shaking his head as though his ears were ringing. "I think it would be more sporting of you to get your sister to leave me alone. Women," he said confidingly. "Bless their little hearts, I do love 'em. But . . .," he craned his neck, trying to put some slack in his hair, ". . . they do—cling—so."
Bobbie looked confused. Ellen breathed a little. The pirate hadn't lost his temper—yet.
Then Captain Sparrow tried to address the little limpet who had attached herself to him. "Now, young missy, perhaps we can come to some sort of agreement. I let you play with my baubles. And you do it without trying to pull them off me head. Do we have an accord?"
Aemelia stared solemnly at the leather-covered hand he was holding out to her.
"Not an accord?" Sparrow asked, setting his index finger on his chin and looking thoughtful. "How about if I let you sit on my shoulders?"
A small smile curved her lips. She held out the hand not clutching the beads.
The pirate shook her tiny paw. "Agreed," he said. He moved as though to toss her up, then stopped, pondering.
"Really, a gentleman would never mention this, but I'm not much of a gentleman. Your face is a mess. Truly disgusting. A lady should not appear before a gentleman—with whose hair she is going to play—with muck running out of her nose. It just ain't seemly. And you might make him sick."
Aemelia stared at this strange adult.
"It so happens, I have just the thing for that." He reached awkwardly across his body and pulled a large green handkerchief out of one deep pocket.
Ellen watched in amazement as the pirate captain cleaned her daughter's face. He didn't act like a monster of depravity. He didn't talk like one. When was he going to turn into the evil captain of the Black Pearl? Was he the kind of man who could charm his victims and then kill them remorselessly?
He covered the small nose with the cloth. "Now blow," he instructed.
For a wonder, Aemelia did.
Captain Sparrow eyed the used handkerchief dubiously. He made an expression of distaste and gingerly replaced the cloth in his pocket. "I'm probably going to regret this," he remarked.
He peered at Aemelia's face. "Much better," he approved. "Up you go!" And he swung her onto his shoulders where she perched with a leg on either side of his neck and knocked his hat off onto the floor.
"Oh!" Ellen exclaimed. "No, Aemelia!"
But the pirate merely looked pained and explained, "The hat goes on top. Not on the floor."
Aemelia increased her death grip on his hair.
"Hey! Now ease off with the hair-pulling, all right? I won't drop you."
What kind of pirate was he?
Ellen was shaking from nervous tension. She didn't care what kind of pirate he was. She just wanted her daughter away from him. She wanted him off their ship. She wanted Robert. And it didn't look like she was going to get any of those things.
"If you'd be so kind?" Captain Sparrow was asking her.
What? Oh. He was gesturing at the hat. Cautiously, Ellen crouched and picked up the hat between her thumb and forefinger. Gingerly, she held it out towards the pirate. He took it from her, frowned for a minute in puzzlement and then set it on Aemelia's head where it brushed the beams of the ceiling and drooped absurdly over the little girl's curls.
Ellen opened her mouth to protest. Lice! Her baby was wearing a pirate's hat! Who knew what had been living in that man's hair? For all she knew there could be full-grown mice in that mess. Then she hauled herself back under control. What was she thinking? Her child's life was endangered! What did it matter if Aemelia required a fine-toothed comb later, just so long as she was well and alive to need one. Don't antagonize him, she reminded herself breathlessly.
Having settled Aemelia on his shoulders to their mutual satisfaction, Captain Sparrow turned his attention to her mother. "Mistress McBride, you've been trying to say something to me ever since we met, but you keep getting interrupted. Now, what is it you want?"
Ellen looked up into the pirate's dark, enigmatic eyes. She was still terrified, but she had to do anything possible to save Aemelia and Bobbie. "I want to negotiate a trade, Captain Sparrow." She was ashamed that her voice shook. "I'll do anything you want, if you will just spare my children." She couldn't interpret the change in his expression, and a little half-sob escaped her. "Please," she begged again, hugging Bobbie and looking longingly at Aemelia.
Captain Sparrow frowned at her as though she were a lock for which he didn't have the key. "Young woman, what are you so afraid of? Have I given you any reason to think I'm a murderous bastard who cuts the throats of infants and rapes their mothers?"
"Your ship," she whispered. "It's the Black Pearl."
"Yes she is," he agreed. "What has that got to do with . . . Oh. . . . I understand."
"She offers no quarter." Ellen bowed her head. "No survivors."
"Cheer up, love," Captain Sparrow encouraged, lifting her chin with rough fingers. Ellen shrank away fearfully. "That was under her previous captain. I'm her new captain. Well actually, I'm her old captain. I recently got her back. Shot Barbossa, the bloody-minded bastard, myself. Things are just a bit different now."
Ellen could scarcely comprehend what she was hearing. She stared at the pirate with watery, astonished eyes.
He explained patiently, "You're safe, love. The wee kidlets are safe, too. At least if this one stops trying to tear out my hair. I've no need for your blood or anything else you'd be offering."
"But you're going to steal all our goods and our supplies."
"That is somewhat true. And if you're a wise girl, you'll go through this cabin yourself for any valuables you'll be donating, and save my admittedly clumsy men from pawing through all your unmentionables and breakables. Matelot, there, will supervise, but as long as you're doing a good job, he won't interfere."
Ellen glared at him with hot, angry eyes, relief and rage warring inside her.
"I never said I wasn't a scoundrel, too." He shrugged. "Let's just say I'm more willing to negotiate on the leaving no survivors part of this business."
A sudden commotion on the quarterdeck interrupted them. "He's getting away!" someone yelled. "Stop him!" Footsteps pounded.
Captain Sparrow spun to face the door, his sword in his hand, although Ellen hadn't even seen him draw it.
Suddenly a man vaulted over the companionway railing, booted feet slamming into the unsuspecting Matelot and sending him to the ground with a thud. The man rolled swiftly to his feet into the cabin, sword waving wildly, but a swift parry from Captain Sparrow sent his weapon clattering into a corner. Then the pirate was backing him into the bulkhead.
"Daddy!" cried Bobbie.
"Robert!" Ellen gasped.
"Ellen! Are you all right?" Robert shouted.
"Captain McBride." Sparrow grinned. "How nice of you to drop in."
The pirate captain had her daughter sitting on his shoulders and his sword at her husband's throat. Ellen thought she might just have hysterics. "Ellen" did not mean "courage"; it meant "going to go stark, raving mad."