Settling the Debt
Fandom: PoTC Rating: G Pairing: none Full Header Proprietary Rights - 9
“Gibbs! Take the helm!”
Gibbs broke away from Anamaria with a startled, guilty look, and hurried over to the great wheel.
Jack relinquished the Pearl too willingly, and stormed below decks to his cabin. Refusing to name it “fleeing” did not change the fact that it was what he was doing. Well, so what if he was? He refused to stay and participate in this little travesty. What the hell did she think she was playing at, anyway, leaving them like this? She belonged on the Pearl. She belonged with him. She bloody well knew it and she was leaving anyway! He threw himself down at his desk, picked up a ledger, opened it and began thumbing through, unseeing. He threw the ledger across the desk and jumped up again, began pacing around the cabin. “Owe her a ship, bloody hell, she’s got the Pearl, what ship could compete, best damn first mate I’ve ever had and now what, where’s that leave me if she’s off on her own? But no, never mind ol’ Jack, who cares about him, right? Long as she’s got hers, why trouble herself about me own fortunes? What’s loyalty and friendship and--” Jack broke off abruptly at a knock on his cabin door. He froze, not wanting to make a sound, even though everyone had seen him enter the cabin.
“Jack! I know you’re in there, you fool. Let me in.”
Not a chance in hell, lady. Not going to give you the satisfaction--he stood, silent, fuming, waiting for her to leave.
“Jack,” softer this time, and wasn’t that a different, dangerous tone in Anamaria’s normally raucous voice, “if you don’t let me in, how will you talk me into stayin’?”
Hellfire. Even as he told himself it wasn’t worth the bother, he found his hand on the latch, and the door flew inward almost of its own accord. Still, he didn’t say anything, just went back to his pacing. Let her cave first, then. He’d not be begging her to stay. Man’s got to have pride, got to maintain a certain… ah, shit. He never was good at women. “Well?” Bit more hostile than he’d intended, but so what? He was going first.
“Well, what?” What the devil was she playing at? There was no cause for her to get snippy with him, he hadn’t done anything!
“Well, what have you got to say for yourself? What are you playing at? Where the hell do you imagine you’re going?”
Anamaria wheeled about on her boot heel, and the two squared off like mirror images of frustration and rage. “Jack, I came in here to say goodbye, and give you a chance to speak your piece. I didn’t come in here to stroke your ego and feel sorry for you. What are you so angry about, anyway? You knew I‘d be leaving when I got me own ship.” She paused, but got no reaction. Her eyes narrowed and she carefully took aim, and struck where she thought it might hit him. “Or are you just pissed that I never gave you a turn?”
Stung, Jack reared back, then mustered a disdainful sneer. “Must be joking. It’d be like fucking me own self. Is that what this is, Anamaria? You’ve wanted so long, so badly to be a man, are ye finally turning yourself into me? You’ve got the hair, the effects, the brash swagger and brag, and now you’ve got your ship and you’re off to live my life, is that it?” The slap was not unexpected, but it was no less painful for the anticipation. When his vision cleared, he saw her walking away, away from him, away from the Pearl, away forever. “Ana, love, I’m sorry, don’t--please wait?” She wasn’t stopping, not turning, and he opened his mouth to fling more venom at her when the Pearl shifted in the still water, issuing a deep, creaking groan.
Anamaria froze. “What in the blue hell was that?”
Jack smiled sadly. “That, m’dear, was the Pearl, adding in her own two cents and sayin’ what ol’ Jack’s too stubborn and stupid to say.”
Anamaria glared at him as though she suspected some sort of vile trick. Which, he reflected, she probably did. Which, he thought further, was probably entirely justified. “And what would that be, Jack? I don’t speak her language as you do.”
It was easier with the Pearl whispering in his ear, telling him what to say. Still not easy, by any stretch, to swallow his pride and admit he needed her, but easier, nonetheless. “She’s telling you to stay because you’re the best first mate she’s ever sailed under, because your hands on her are near as light as mine own, and because, woman or no, you’re the only one on this ship with the balls to tell me I’ve gone mad and am about to get us all killed. She’s telling you to stay because the Pearl’s a part of you now, and you’re a part of her, and you’ll be miserable elsewhere, damnit.”
Anamaria frowned, then nodded curtly. “Alright. I’ll stay. For now.”
Jack gaped at her as though she were speaking in tongues. “That bloody easy?”
She smiled at him, and there was a strange softness about her eyes. Maybe she‘d take pity on a broken man who needed someone, anyone to trust. “Was it so easy for you? I meant to make it harder.”
He scowled at her, though his heart felt lighter than it had in some time. “And what of the debt I owe you? What of your ship?”
A feral grin flashed over Anamaria‘s smooth face, the very twin of Jack‘s own predatory smile. “We’ll work it out in trade.”
“Trade? Now, I told you, I’m not interested in--”
She interrupted, voice brimming with impatience. “It’s not your arse I’m looking at, Jack, it’s your ship. I expect to be given command of the Pearl from time to time.”
“You must be mad, woman! I’m not--there’s no--that’s…” Jack spluttered and trailed off. The more he thought about it, the less obscene it sounded. “Don’t be askin’ me to call you Captain.”
Anamaria rolled her eyes as she walked out the door. “Change of plans!” he heard her shout, and Mr. Gibbs gave an answering “Huzzah!”
“I can’t help but feel I’ll live to regret this,” Jack murmured. No answer from the Pearl. Was she mad at him? Bloody hell. He never was good with women, even when they weren’t, technically, women at all.
Author's Notes: A few weeks ago, I was thinking about the fact that I've
read what could be considered an unhealthy amount of PotC fanfic. A good
portion of that has included Anamaria at least as a minor character. Some of
it even includes her as a main character, though I confess I haven't read
any X/Anamaria ships. However. I have yet to come across any fic in
which she gets her damn boat (disregarding the occasional AU). Well, the
muses thought about it, and I decided to write a fic in which she gets
the boat. Obviously, it didn't happen. What can we conclude from this? There
must be a reason why she never gets her boat. I, however, will be damned if
I know what that reason is.
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