New London Port
Disclaimer: As always, only the plot is mine. The rest belongs to big scary corporations that could make me diasappear.
That being said... on to the story.
Somewhere in the Caribbean
Through the battle that raged Buffy sought him out; desperately scanning the chaos strewn deck for a glimpse of his sun-bleached hair, straining to hear the sound of his voice. One of Darla’s men came at her; fangs bared, cutlass in hand. The Slayer ducked and came up under the vampire’s arm, burying her stake in his heart and moving on before he crumbled into dust. Then, she spotted him, locked in battle with Angelus.
Buffy’s heart jolted in her chest as she ran across the blood, dust, and body strewn deck toward the two men. Then a blade found flesh, biting deep and twisting cruelly before Angelus yanked it free and smiled triumphantly at his bleeding opponent.
New London Port
Several months earlier
William stood next to his father, trying his best to ignore the intense heat of the Caribbean sun, and watched with ill-concealed disgust as the pirate captain and crew were led to the gallows. Ugly business, executions, especially when one of those bound for the noose was a woman. The blonde captain glared defiantly at the gathered crowd before settling her blue gaze on the man responsible for her imminent fate. Known as Ripper by the pirates of most countries, the governor was as ruthless in his pursuit of them as they were in the search for treasure, if not more. Very few of the upstanding citizens of New London Port knew of the man’s involvement in the capture and executions of many of the pirates they read about in their newspapers.
William met the woman’s eyes briefly until her gaze found another, someone in the gathered crowd, and gave a barely perceptible shake of her head. William frowned at that before scanning the crowd for the one she was communicating with. He was so intent on his search through the sea of hats and bonnets that he never heard the two men approach, and jumped in surprise when one of them spoke.
“Governor, we have some news,” Commodore Riley Finn announced.
Left-tenant Alexander Harris regarded William with a derisive sneer that quickly turned to an expression of polite interest when Governor Giles turned his attention to them.
“Very good,” the Governor said, then turned to his son. “William, would you mind leaving us? We have some business to discuss.”
William fought to keep his face neutral, twenty-four years old and he was still shooed away like a child. Suddenly he caught some movement out of the corner of his eye. A man, moving at a brisk pace through the crowd and away from the gallows... He quickly turned his attention back to his father and nodded amiably.
“Of course,” he agreed, never taking his eyes off of the man. “If you’ll excuse me, gentlemen.”
He quickly followed after the man, unsure of why he felt he must keep this stranger in sight, but well aware of the odd sense that something important was about to take place.
Dawn Summers crouched behind a group of barrels, trying to stay hidden and watch the proceedings at the same time. She shouldn’t have snuck aboard, she’d known that even as she had done it, but it was too late now. Dawn was miles from home with no way to get back, her mother and the crew were about to be hanged, and she had no idea if her sister would arrive in time to save any of them. She quickly swiped at the tear that trickled down her cheek and snuck a peek at the platform again.
Joyce Summers stood tall and proud before the morbid crowd of onlookers as a ridiculous list of crimes she had never committed was read. The crew followed her example, silent and stoic and... not all there. Someone was missing. Dawn scanned the faces of the crew again; certain that she’d overlooked him, then spotted him, her mother’s first mate. Not on the gallows but moving through the crown toward her... and he was being followed. Judging by the way he was dressed, the stranger was one of the upper class citizens of the port and could probably have the red-coated soldiers after them before Dawn could blink.
The first mate passed so close to her hiding place, that Dawn could reach out and touch his coat if she wanted to, but, it would also alert the follower of her presence, which was something she didn’t want. Then, the drums started and Dawn’s heart jumped into her throat.
“Clem,” she whimpered.
William’s heartbeat kicked up a few notches as the man he followed suddenly turned. He ducked into a nearby alley, certain that he’d been caught, and waited, barely breathing, for the man to show himself. Several minutes passed and nothing happened. Letting out the breath he’d been unaware he’d been holding, William peered around the corner in time to see the man reach into a group of barrels and pull out a young man.
No, not a boy, a young woman, wearing breeches of all things, with her hair tucked up under a large hat. William had never seen a female attired so, except for one, the pirate captain. Surely this girl was no pirate and even if she was, the strange man had no right to accost her. She had been too far back among the barrels to have stolen his purse and William would not allow any woman to come to harm if he could help it. He stepped into the street, the demand that the strange man release the girl rising to his lips, when the ever-present drums stopped and the gallows dropped, a cheer rising from the crowd that almost, but not quite, drowned out the young woman’s anguished cry of “Mother!”
Clem hugged Dawn tightly, comforting her and keeping her from running to her mother’s side and giving herself away. The captain had entrusted the safety of her youngest to the loose-skinned demon and Clem would uphold that promise to his dying breath. Joyce had been his captain, his friend and confidant; maybe she could have been more, but now he’d never know. Now he could only keep her children safe (or as much as the eldest would allow him), mourn her death, and kill the man who had taken her life.