Again disclaimer- I(Rae) own nothing but an overgrown cat. Syrup has three and a hyperactive dog.

Chapter 4 Only Jack

"Ye can't really b' thinkin' o' keepin' her aboard…" drawled Barbossa's indignant voice once more.

"Las' I recall, I was the Captain," Jack replied pointedly, stopping in his tracks long enough to shake a grubby, bejeweled finger at his first mate, "and no one 'as come up with a way t' keep one from thinkin' anythin'."

"Aye, Cap'n. 'T hasn't been discovered yet." Barbossa frowned in grudging submission; he would know that better than anyone.

"Course I'm right. And 'ow are we supposed t' find out what happened if we kill th' only survivors, eh?" The older man's irritated look revealed deep-seated condemnation of the younger's cocky attitude.

Sending him a sidelong glance and lopsided grin, Jack challenged, "Tell me I'm wrong then, mate."

Barbossa grunted as he rolled his eyes. How in the world this boy had come to possess such a fine ship and had acquired enough knowledge to keep her afloat was utterly beyond him; no wonder they had so many enemies! His attention focused back on the captain as said leader graciously reiterated his position of correctness.

"Thought so." He smugly and needlessly stated, setting a Cheshire cat-like grin upon his crewman as he produced a bottle of rum, suggestively nodding it in the man's direction. Grunting once more, Barbossa accepted, taking a large swig of the dark liquid.

"Nevermind it all, Hector," Barbossa choked on his drink here as Jack casually continued his speech, "s' long as she doesn't do anythin' too stupid – like burn th' rum – I don't see 'er as much of a threat anymore. Besides…" Jack leaned forward to grab the bottle back, Barbossa relinquishing the drink to wipe his mouth on a dirty sleeve, "from what ye' told me about the brig, I can work 'er."

Barbossa smirked knowingly, a lewd look that caused Jack to sputter against the swill he'd taken.

"Work eh?"

"She's a pris'ner, mate." He eyed his first-mate dubiously, "that be as bad as…" he fumbled for words, twirling his hand pensively, "I don't know, but it would definitely be bad."


"Yes, well…" Jack once more struggled with the truth of Barbossa's words, "That's not how I want t' get me reputation," another swig, "Not yet anyway."

One side of Barbossa's face twisted up in disbelief at the impish smirk that had overtaken his superior's lips. He wondered often about Jack and he had ample right to; the boy had all but dropped out of the sky. Being under the command of Jack Sparrow had left him aggravated and even more convinced that Captain Jack Sparrow wasn't fit to lead his own self out of a paper bag.

The thundering shot of a cannon echoed loudly in the immediate area and Jack looked off to the side of the ship. Of course not paying any mind to the crewmember directly in front of his feet, scrubbing the deck. Continuing to walk whilst staring off into the distance he promptly tripped over the man, who sat bewildered that his captain had not acknowledged him. Jack rolled into a somersault, and swiftly stood up, turning back to face his first-mate and the crew that had witnessed his fumble, officially ending the tense moment between first-mate and superior along with Barbossa's hearty laugh, and a wincing crew. Dusting himself off, Jack slowly straightened himself, furrowing his brow as he cast a shaky, disappointed glance at the dripping remnant of the bottle-neck clenched in his hand.

Across the deck another commotion caught his short attention. Bootstrap, all around not looking very much like his normal gentle self, stood over the galley threshold holding another crewmember by the scruff of the neck. Jack frowned deeply, again failing to look his age- whatever that was. His first mate didn't look any better, in fact quite disgruntled at the approaching commotion.

"Do I e'en wan' t' know?" he asked aloud.

" 'Course ye do mate" Jack replied automatically. "If somevin's got 'ol Bill worked up, it mus' be" here he grandly gesticulated grasping at an object in the air, "well, somevin" he finished simply, looking at Barbossa with a 'clearly discernable' expression. Barbossa sneered as his captain walked toward the wrestling men. If it involved Bootstrap, odds were it had to do with the nonexistent morals of pirates. Groaning under his breath, he followed his superior's lead.

"An' wha' seems t' be th' problem mates?" Jack asked even as Bootstrap struggled to maintain a hold on the man.

"The resident surgeon 'fuses to treat the pris'ners, sir" Bootstrap supplied disgusted, tightening his grip around the dirty man's collar.

" 'E's off 'is rocker cap'n!" the man screeched glaring at his captor. "Why shoulds I bandage them up for?" Bootstrap's lips creased together even more. The captain noticed his friend's insistence upon the matter. He had no choice but to take Bootstrap's side. The man sulked when he didn't get what he wanted, and made for a horrible drinking partner.

"It disposes you that much to fix the tots up?" Jack questioned the man, who stared blankly at him in response.

"Methinks, ye mean 'indisposes' cap'n" Barbossa offered from his place behind Jack, hands tucked at his back, eyes scanning the water. Jack was silent a moment as his mildly inebriated, and entirely overworked brain fought to comprehend his first-mate's meaning.

"Ah yes!" he corrected himself, "So doing so would entirely inconvinience you?" he again asked the surgeon.

"Well, I was headin' t' get meself a drink, when 'is barmy cur decided I had t' patch up thems below" he explained with a nod in Bootstrap's direction. Jack nodded his head emphatically with every word the man spoke.

"What say you t' havin' two victuals today, ifin ye help out our lil' friends in th' brig" Jack proposed.

The man immediately loosened himself from the death-grip upon his person.

"Fer 'at now, I don' mind, but 'm not goin' wheres near that wench."

"No worries then," Jack waved the man dismisively, "I need t' talk wit' 'er anyway. The surgeon inclined his head slightly and proceeded below deck. Bootstrap glanced at Jack reproachfully.

" 'E should've been willin' t' do tha' nonetheless" he said in an undertone.

"Probably, but let's not forget that most 'o the men 'ere haven' been shown any type of kindness as we were mate" Jack's voice dropped as he stood beside his long-time companion. He glanced at Barbossa still standing stoically, gazing out to sea.

"Pirates mate" Jack heartily clapped Bootstrap on the back, " no' exactly the British navy, eh?" he laughed walking back to Barbossa, while Bootstrap returned to his previous station.

"I highl' doubt e'en the navy 'ould be daft enough to take on a coupla' foreigners beneath the Spanish crown, Jack" Barbossa stated plainly, still gazing out at the sea.

"See anythin' warrantin' attention, ay?" he asked the stolid man, ignoring the insult for the time being.

"Th' wreckage of a once efficient trading vessel, wouldn' say merchant, no' enough embroidery" he smirked at the younger man, who in turn mimicked the action. "An' land 's still close t' a league off…"

"So we're lookin' fer another ship in close proximity-"

"Countin' tha' we coul' hear it fire it's cannon" he eyed Jack pointedly. Jack nodded in thought.

"Get the guns loaded, weigh anchor, and have the men prepared for an attack" he stated decisively, without mirth. "I want to know exactly what's going on here."

"Aye sir." Jack didn't acknowledge the affirmative. There would be a lot of rum to pay if his orders were not followed. He began making his way to the steps, trailing the earlier crewmate, humming to himself.

"Tall and tan and lovely, the girl from Ipanema..."