Shades of Grey
Disclaimer: See chapter one.
A/N:Thank you so much to my very amazing reviewers. You guys rock.
Now I know I've kept to only two prespectives as of the end of this chapter but I've done it for a reason. We will be getting to other characters later on I promise. The chapters will be getting bigger too. I tend to make the first couple of chapters smaller to try and ease people in. After that its chaos ahoy!
Again thank you so much to my great reviewers. You guys rock.
Also I've been asked about the pairing. I'm not telling. I love Jack and Liz together but I love Will and Liz too so I'm not giving up the pairing yet. If you want to give your opinion I will take it into consideration in all honesty I never start a story without having spent days and or weeks going over the movie(s) with a fine tooth comb and spending hours in front of the computer doing research. I've already put in over 30 hours of work on research alone for this story. Yeah I'm pathetic and a geek....sue me. I like to get things right the first time if I can.
Ok I've blathered enough. I need to go feed the balrog bunny before I go to bed.
REMEMBER TO REVIEW PLEASE!
2. Shades of Grey
“I survived that trouble so likewise may I survive this one.”
-Old English Writing.
The tavern was like all taverns in Tortuga, full of chaos, foul smells and drunks. But none of that bothered Buffy in the least at the moment. After years of getting smelly demon goo on her and then years more living among pirates she'd become blissfully immune even with a heightened sense of smell. Currently she was leaning on a wooden support beam about ten feet from where Gibbs had taken up residence while Will leaned on her beam's counterpart. Her senses were on high alert which meant that she could hear a pin drop among the madness of the bar, a nice little trick that let her know exactly where Jack was at all times in case he attempted to pull one of his usual escapes. Especially not with a ship in the stakes and two very innocent lives looking to be in the balance.
And that was what it was really. While she had no problems killing people any more, she had a real problem killing innocent people and that was exactly what Will was and most likely his Miss Swann as well. Her morality was well into the grey zone now and that what how she liked it. She had her own sense of morals and justice and as far as she could tell it didn't fall into either the good or evil category. She seriously doubted her 'friends' from her youth would approve of her new moral compass but she honestly didn't care. If she wanted to survive she had to adapt and adapt she had. She wasn't stupid by any meas and she had leared young to adapt, to survive and if that meant not being as unreletingly moral as she had been when she was young so be it.
For Buffy, pretending to be the ditsy blonde had always worked well, made people underestimate her. But unfortunately Jack wasn't that easily fooled after their first meeting, and she could only blame herself for that. Later meetings had only proven more that she wasn't stupid and one of those meetings had been such that it had left Buffy with the urge to shoot Jack or dump him in Nassau port tied up after he took the whole credit for sacking it without a shot. And Jack knowing that she wasn't a complete idiot, along with quite a few things she wished he didn't know, would cause her problems. Jack didn't forget things and neither did she, and one of those things just happened to be exactly what Bill Turner looked like and the more accurate tellings of the curse that had claimed the crew of the Black Pearl. Jack had his own motives for this little rescue mission, of that fact Buffy had absolutely no illusions, and while she had no problems with Jack getting back his ship. She did have a problem with him getting Bill's very innocent looking son killed in the process, she had truly liked the man and that was rare enough for her that she wouldn't allow his only son to suffer the same fate she knew he had. Death far before his time.
Of course she had her own reasons for going on this little adventure, she was by no means good any longer, and she wanted the ship promised her. And she would get it, no matter what Jack tried to do to get out of it. Hearing Jack make his way over from the bar she smiled faintly, she probably was going to regret this little adventure but at least it would be something she was used to if the storied were true. It had been twelve years since she'd done anything even remotely slayer like and it wasn't as if she'd have to worry about dying. She still hated being immortal but she couldn't change it, Tia Dalma had been very clear on that. Still, finding entertaining things to do until she could go back to Sunnydale and wring Willow's neck in two hundred and eighty three years was a real challenge and if Buffy knew anything about being around Jack Sparrow, it was that he was never boring. Her four previous encounters with him had proven that and she was certain that had she not been immortal, she wouldn't have survived one of them.
“Keep a sharp eye.” she heard Jack tell Will as he passed him to sit with Gibbs. Will looked very uncomfortable and at least to Buffy wound very tightly. She had the sudden urge to laugh at him, something about him reminded her faintly of Xander back in high school and she found herself thinking that she probably should play nice with him. In order to keep Jack from getting him killed, she'd need Will to trust her and quite frankly he was sort of cute. In a very 'cute but not in a million years' sort of way. Buffy kept her eyes roaming the room, keeping an eye on the course of several fights while listening in on Jack and Gibbs talking.
“Jack, it's a fool's errand. Why, you know better than me the tales of the Black Pearl.” Gibbs began.
“That's why I know what Barbossa is up to. All I need is a crew.” Jack replied.
“From what I hear tell of Captain Barbossa, he's not a man to suffer fools, nor strike a bargain with one.” Gibbs told jack and Buffy found she had to agree. Barbossa was not a man to be messed with if a person could help it. She didn't have to worry about him killing her himself but the man had no qualms about doing things that even Jack wouldn't do if it was to his advantage.
“Well, then I'd say it's a very good thing I'm not a fool then, eh?” Jack countered and Buffy held her 'hmmph' in check. Letting Jack know she could hear him wasn't to her advantage and with Jack, you always needed an advantage
“Prove me wrong. What makes ye think Barbossa will give up his ship to you?”
“Let's just say it's a matter of leverage, eh?” Jack commented and Buffy saw Will turn his head and look at Jack out of the corner of her eye. Which meant that he was listening in too. But out of this conversation he had a lot more to learn than she did. Buffy didn't know whether to pleased or not that Will now knew something was up. His knowing would either make it easier or harder for her to keep him alive, depending on how stupid he decided to be. Noticing the very disgusting tavern bawd that had come up on Will Buffy made a decision, if Will knew the score now then she would need to be on good terms with him. Pulling herself off from leaning on the beam she sauntered slowly over to Will and wrapped an arm around him with a slow smirk as she felt Will tense. Looking the bawd directly in the eyes she only said one word.
The bawd began to back away instantly, in two weeks Buffy had become well known to the inhabitants of Tortuga, the stories making her seem like something she was't and this woman obviously knew better to cross her. After she had gotten a few feet away she turned to face Will who had a look on his face that was a cross between fear and gratitude. “No ulterior motives, Mr. Turner, just thought you might not want to be carried off into the night and corrupted.” she told him with a smile as she removed her arm from around his waist. She noted with approval that he caught on to her deliberate use of his last name, which he had not told her. But he didn't comment, something that impressed her quite a bit. Will Turner might be naive but apparently he wasn't stupid. And a quick study was more likely to do well in his present company.
“You helped me for no reason. Are you not a pirate?” he asked her, his brow furrowed as though attemptig to understand her and place her in his views accordingly.
“Among many other things.” she told him evasively. No one but Teague and Tia Dalma knew all her secrets and she wasn't about to tell them to anyone else. There were just too many risks involved it it got out that she was a slayer. Too much potential for the Council to hunt her and since she hated the Council she wasn't about to let them hear anything or even get close enough to lay hands on her.
Turning her attention back to Jack and Gibbs she caught the last of their conversation as she exchanged a look with Will.
“Is he, now? "Leverage," says you. "I think I feel a change in the wind," says I. I'll find us a crew. There's bound to be some sailors on this rock crazy as you.”
“One can only hope. Take what you can...” Jack began and Buffy heard the thunk of two mugs coming together.”...Give nothing back.” Gibbs finished and Buffy found herself almost wishing she hadn't come to Tortuga.
The sun was bright as Will followed Jack down the docks to meet the crew that Gibbs had gathered. Buffy was still absent from their gathering and Will found himself wondering where she had gone. She had disappeared just before dawn without saying a word and after Jack had spent several long minutes swearing profusely under his breath and cursing her for stealing one of his affects.
“Feast your eyes, Captain. All of them, faithful hands before the mast, every man worth his salt. And crazy to boot.” Gibbs told them as they walked down the line of men on the docks. Not one of them looked to be a proper sailor and more than half looked as though they had neither the brains not physical strength to be at sea.
“So this is your able-bodied crew?” Will commented to Jack as they paused, his sarcastic tone unable to be fully checked. Jack didn't comment but continued on, Will keeping up despite the fact that he had more than his fair share of doubt about a great many things. Jack came to a stop again after several paces before a man with a parrot and addressed him.
“Cotton, sir.” Gibbs supplied.
“Mr. Cotton... do you have the courage and fortitude to follow orders and stay true in the face of danger and almost certain death? Mr. Cotton ! Answer, man!” Jack said as he came closer to the man's face.
“He's a mute, sir. Poor devil had his tongue cut out, so he trained the parrot to talk for him. No one's yet figured how.” Gibbs told them as Mr. Cotton opened his mouth to reveal a stump of a tongue that made both himself and Jack grimace.
“Mr. Cotton 's... parrot. Same question.” Jack addressed the bird after a slight pause.
“Wind in the sails! Wind in the sails!” called the parrot.
“Mostly, we figure, that means "yes."” supplied Gibbs and Will found himself wanting to repeat Buffy's words from the night before.
“O'course it does.” replied Jack before turning his head. “Satisfied?” he asked Will, who countered his look and swept his eyes over the crew, as it was, quickly.
“Well, you've proved they're mad.” Will commented.
“And what's the benefit for us?” broke in a voice down the line of sailors. Jack tilted his head and approached the sailor carefully. Will followed Jack as he reached the sailor and appeared to be trying to look under the large hat the sailor wore. After a moment Jack pulled off the hat to reveal a woman who looked very angry.
“Anamaria.” Jack greeted but was cut short by a slap so hard it turned Jack's face entirely to face Will who gave the pirate a look.
“I suppose you didn't deserve that one either.” Will asked Jack wondering what he had done this time to deserve a woman's wrath. At least this one hadn't knocked him out like Buffy had.
“No, that one I deserved too.” Jacked admitted. Will shifted his gaze to the very angry Anamaria, “You stole my boat!”
“Actually...” Jack began but was cut short once again by a slap that was just as hard as the first one, and caused Jack's head to whip around.
“Borrowed. Borrowed without permission. But with every intention of bringing it back to you.” Jack said trying to appease her as he turned around again. Anamaria raised her finger to point in Jack's face and drew in a deep breath to yell once more when a voice cut though the air, a voice full of amusement and not a little bit of satisfaction.
“Getting smacked around some more Jack?” commented Buffy and she strolled down the dock to them as though she had not a care in the world. She looked as though she'd just had a bath and her clothes cleaned and Will was surprised at how impressive she looked considering she was a pirate herself. Jack looked dirty and worn compered to her but Will guessed it was female vanity that kept her from looking as dirty and unkempt as every other pirate he had seen. She wore black pants and boots with a white shirt and deep blue vest and coat over it. A sash of green around her waist as well as the weapons he had seen her with before. She really did look tiny in men's clothes and yet they seemed to suit her, the way she moved wasn't like anything he'd ever seen a lady move. Reminding him of flowing water or a cat stalking its prey. In the sunlight insted of the half light of the street or the tavern Will could see her better and now more than last night, he realized how much she truly did resemble Elizabeth in features, though that seemed to be their only resemblance. She was very tanned but unlike Gibbs or Jack, she didn't look weathered, mearly sundrenched.
“You're not needed for this.” Jack commented, his earlier ire still very apparent. Will wondered what eactly Buffy had taken from Jack to make him so irritated.
“You're right. I'm really not but I'm here anyway.” Buffy commented with a smile as she turned to Will and gave him a nod. Will returned it, all the while still not quite sure what to make of her but intent on finding out. “Anamaria” greeted Buffy with a smile to the other woman.
“Captain Summers.” Anamaria greeted with respect, giving her a slight nod. Apparently, Anamaria had more respect for Buffy than she did for Jack and it reminded Will of how Gibbs had first listened to her when she knocked Jack out and then how the bawd had backed away from him the night before. Buffy Summers was obviously more than she seemed and Will had a feeling he would need to know before he trusted her.
“Jack's promised me the ship. Want to join me? Could be profitable.” Buffy offered Anamaria. After a pause Anamaria answered.
“Come on.” Buffy told the other woman and they both began to make their way down the dock. Anamaria grabbing her hat roughly from Jack and then suddenly a small black object came flying through the air from Buffy to Jack who caught it after nearly falling over himself to do so. Neither one looked back and Will found himself at a complete loss as the rest of the crew that Gibbs had gathered began to follow the two women. Standing next to Jack Will couldn't help himself from voicing a question.
“How did she do that?”
“I really have no idea.” replied Jack in a low voice, sounding as mystified as Will felt. Neither one though was allowed to continue to stare at the specticle before them as Gibbs came forward to address Jack.
“Its frightful bad luck to bring a woman aboard sir. Buffy is one thing but two of them.” Gibbs said, sounding worried.
“It'd be far worse not to let Buffy have her way.” replied Jack before he moved away, attempting to assert his control on the situation once more and failing.
“Why is that?” Will asked Gibbs, walking beside him down the dock to catch up with the others.
“Not a lot to be known about Buffy Summers before Captain Teague gave her his boat and crew. Some say that that she's his daughter, lost at sea as a child and returned to claim what was hers. But what is known is that she is one of the best pirates to sail the seas. Some say that she is the daughter of the sea goddess Calypso herself to inspire such devotion from any true sailor.” Gibbs replied, as though he was telling some great story. They were not even yet close to the edge of the dock as Gibbs told his tale. Will spotted Buffy and Anamaria in a boat already out on the water a small way before Gibbs had stopped to take a breath and was surprised to see both women rowing.
“Yes master Gibbs, they do. They also say that I can't be killed, I'm eight feet tall, and that I'm the goddess Calypso come back to seek vengeance.” Buffy called out to them both with a mocking tone that clearly indicated that it all was mere gossip. Will felt himself start as her words hit them. Despite his slight embarrassment he met her eyes across the distance and they locked and Will found himself being drawn into eyes that matched the sea, a blue green depth that could swallow a man whole. Eyes that, despite being full of laughter, seemed much older than she looked. Pirate's eyes. Hearing Gibbs cough next to him Will turned to face the older man, one question on his mind among so many others, quite a number of them about the tiny sun streaked pirate who had barreled into his world.
“How did she hear us?”
The day had started out well enough for Buffy considering that she had somehow managed to find herself in a situation that involved Jack Sparrow again after promising herself she wouldn't after the last time only weeks before. One part of her hoped that the brand on Jack's arm was still hurting from the branding but the other part of knew that Jack had gotten it because he had done something good for once and wished he had never had to experience that pain. But there was nothing for it and she had other concerns at the moment as the rain poured down on them from above. Jack was pushing the ship like a man possessed and since Buffy wouldn't take command until the ship was hers, all she could do was hang on for the ride as she wasn't a member of the crew so to speak. That didn't stop her from helping though. Sliding despite her slayer powers across the deck as a wave crashed over the side of the ship, Buffy slammed into Will who had also gone sliding. Though he had because he obviously didn't have his sea legs yet. Picking herself up and then putting out her hand for Will they both grabbed one of the lose lines and moved over to tie them off next to where Gibbs was doing the same.
“How can we sail to an island that nobody can find with a compass that doesn't work?” Will asked Gibbs as he tied off his line. Finishing her own Buffy held onto the line to keep herself steady without having to fight for it.
“Aye, the compass doesn't point north but we're not trying to find north, are we?” Gibbs answered evasively and Buffy wondered when Will had seen Jack's precious compass up close. Buffy of course knew what it was and what it did but she didn't want the thing. Her greatest wish couldn't be given her any more and she didn't need Jack's compass to tell her that. Though she could, would and had stolen it from him earlier in the day to keep him from leaving without her. Though when he had tried to complain about it she had just told him that she had “borrowed without permission” as he liked to put it so often. A counter attack that had left Jack sputtering and Buffy had left, walking off with a spring in her step. Irritating Jack was an art form and she had learned how to do it well. It was easier than fighting with him at least, the man didn't seem to have a real temper, at least not one a slayer considered a real one. Seeing Gibbs move off to join Jack at the wheel Buffy let go of the line she was holding and began to follow, grabbing Will by the sleeve and pulling him along with her.
“Come on. I'm not letting you out of my sight in this. You'll end up overboard.” she called out to him.
“I'm bigger than you are.” he commented wryly but held on to her arm anyway as she trudged across the deck. His comment caused her to puff up a bit and shoot him a look. She still had issues with being so small and she hated it when people brought it up.
“I liked your dad so I'm not going to hurt you for that one but if I hear one more short joke I will.” she told him, half serious half joking. She wouldn't do any real damage but she'd drop him on his butt if he made another comment.
“You knew my father?” he asked her and Buffy stopped moving, staying with one leg already up the stairs as she turned to face Will. She remembered his father very well, he had been a good friend to her and the fact that Will reminded her so much of him had to be the reason that she found herself so willing to end up in this mess to keep him alive.
“Years ago. He was a nice man. Taught me how to curse in Gaelic. You look a lot like he did.” she told him, her voice sounding sad no matter how hard she tried to control it. Most pirates didn't survive the first five years, making it necessary to not get too attached, but Buffy found that she still did and it still always hurt. Even if it was only faintly.
“Was he truly a pirate?” Will asked her and Buffy fought back the urge to smile, she'd figured something else out now. Will was having problems coming to terms with the fact that his father was a pirate. Not that she blamed him too much but she'd stopped seeing in black and white before she had faced off against Glory and died. “Yeah he was. But you don't understand. We can be good people and still be pirates, Will. The world isn't just divided into good and evil. Maybe one day you'll understand that.” she told him before turning back around and making her way up the rest of the stairs. She didn't even bother to check to see if he was following her as she came up to where Gibbs was addressing Jack.
“We should drop canvas, sir.”
“She can hold a bit longer.” Jack countered, a gleam in his eyes that Buffy had seen only once before and had seriously hoped to never see again.
“Jack, If you sink this ship too I swear by all that is holy I can and will shoot you.” she warned him. Jack just looked over to her and smiled broadly before answering.“You have nothing to worry about love. Have I ever let you down?”
“Repeatedly.” Buffy told him point blank, completely serious.
“What's in your head that's put you in such a fine mood, Captain?” Gibbs asked, obviously trying to prevent any type of argument between herself and Jack. Though anyone with sense knew that verbally it would always come out at a draw.
“We're catching up.” Jack told them, the gleam in his eyes that Buffy hated getting brighter as the lightning flashed in them.
“If you end up cursed Jack I am not helping fix it this time.”