She was cold, she was wet and she couldn’t even indulge in a good slouch because she still had on that infernal corset.
It had been two days since the Andromeda had abandoned her to the pirates. Two days since she’d been shoved into this dank and unforgiving cell. She really couldn’t complain all that much she supposed. She’d been fed and watered regularly, the blankets she’d been given were only slightly mildewed and almost completely without holes. Quite frankly she’d expected worse from pirates. Then again she’d never expected to find herself held captive by them either.
She was pulled out of her thoughts as the sound of footsteps descending the stairs resounded around the brig. Taking a huff of a breath, she pulled herself up using the bars as leverage. She was never wearing a corset again that’s for sure. She looked up as a pair of feet came into view, expecting to see Cotton carrying a plate of cold gruel and stale bread for her morning meal as usual. She’d actually come to think quite fondly of the pirate, despite her situation. He always sat with her as she ate and nodded along as she prattled. She had a tendency to do that when she was nervous. There was something in his manner and the way he hand-fed his bird the crusts of her bread that she passed back through the bars that spoke of a gentleness. Anyone else in her situation, she knew, would probably balk at viewing one of her keepers in such a way. Then again, anyone else hadn’t seen the inside of Voldemort’s dungeons the way she had.
She would have shivered at the unwanted memory but for her surprise at seeing that her visitor was not Cotton at all but Captain Sparrow himself. Ginny stood up a little straighter as Sparrow stepped off the last step and headed towards her cell.
“Well good morning there love, sleep well?”
Ginny’s glare in response to the question didn’t seem to phase Sparrow one bit as he stopped in front of her cell door and spun a set of keys expertly around his ringed fingers. The demonstration was not lost on Ginny as she looked from Sparrows face, to the keys and back again.
“Just thought I’d come down here and have a nice chat seeing as we didn’t get the chance when last we met.”
“Yes you were too busy trying to throw me overboard,” Ginny said, crossing her arms over her chest and striking that formidable Weasley pose she’d seen on her mum from time to time.
“Only out of the goodness of my heart love.”
Ginny snorted but Sparrow didn’t miss a beat.
“Well, first thing’s first young miss. What’s your name?”
Ginny hesitated at first but really couldn’t think of any reason why she shouldn’t answer.
“Well Miss Weasley, it’s a pleasure to make your acquaintance,” Sparrow said, with a hand over his heart. Ginny felt like snorting again.
“I am Captain Jack Sparrow, and you find yourself aboard my ship-”
“The Black Pearl,” Ginny finished for him, her eyes widening.
“I see you’ve heard of us then,” Jack said with a spark of pride in his voice.
Ginny felt like she’d swallowed her tongue. Heard of him? Heard of him! Merlin’s beard she was aboard the Black Pearl! Standing in front of her was one of the most well-known Pirates of the Caribbean. She hadn’t been able to avoid his name while researching the back alley’s and magic undergrounds of the area – Jack Sparrow had ties to almost all of the significant magical happenings that had taken place in the Caribbean over the years. Why hadn’t she made the connection?
Ginny stared at the pirate open mouthed for a few more moments before she noticed the more she did so the more smug he seemed to become. All at once Ginny snapped her mouth closed and returned to her scowling. So he was famous. Obviously didn’t stop him from being a total prat.
“Did you come down here just to irritate me or did you have something worthwhile to impart?”
Sparrow smirked at her.
“Actually love I was hoping you could impart some knowledge to me,” he said stepping closer to the bars.
Ginny took a step back as he reached behind him and pulled out a dagger. Her heart started playing the bongos with her lungs at the sight of the blade before she recognized it. It was the dagger Elisabeth had given her – the one Will had made.
“Where did you get this?”
Ginny didn’t think she’d ever heard Sparrow so serious. His voice was stoked with a low growl that made her belly clench and her fists ball as she looked from the dagger to his face. She was thankful, when her voice came, it belied no weakness.
“It was a gift. I was told it would protect me.”
Sparrow held her eyes for a few moments after she’d finished speaking. Ginny couldn’t help but think he was weighing the truth of her words. Finally he looked down at the dagger in his hands and Ginny could have sworn she heard a growled curse just before he stuffed it back behind him.
Ginny took another hurried step back as Sparrow suddenly approached the door, pulling out the keys again as he went. A moment later the door was swung open and there was nothing but air between them. Ginny couldn’t help the nervous swallow. Sparrow, for his part seemed to have regained his flippant air and looked to be taking much amusement from her reaction.
“It seems Miss Weasley, you have two choices. One, you can stay here, locked in a cage while Cotton brings you scraps. Or two, you can come above with me, have a bite to eat with the rest of me crew and then get to work on those trunks you didn’t get the time to open.”
Ginny just blinked at him.
“So which will it be?”
It was about then that Ginny’s stomach growled. Something other than cold gruel was looking like heaven right about now. And with any luck, Sparrow might even let her go through her trunk and change out of this damnable corset. Her mind set, Ginny took a few tentative steps towards the door. Sparrow clapped his hands together, making her jump slightly.
“Lovely. If you’ll follow me.”
Ginny didn’t really see that she had a choice. She followed.
It wasn’t often that the entire crew was together in one room but when it happened the results were always the same. Absolute and utter chaos. Mealtimes were no exception. Shouting and laughter ricocheted around the mess as a crew of hungry pirates feasted quite well on the spoils of their latest raid.
Ginny looked around the area with a deer in headlights look about her. Amazingly it only took Jack one whistle to gain everyone’s attention.
“Miss Weasley has deigned to join us for breakfast. Let us make her feel welcome.”
Ginny smiled thinly as she was stared at by the room full of pirates before Sparrow pushed her into the fray. All of a sudden Ginny felt like she was back in Hogwarts, making her way down the lunch tables, watching everyone close the gaps between them so she couldn’t try to take a seat next to them. Then, quite suddenly, she was being pulled down to sit. She looked up and caught a face full of feathers as Cotton’s parrot turned around on his shoulder to look down at her. Ginny smiled her thanks as Cotton handed her an apple.
Looking around the table Ginny was surprised at the variety and freshness of the food offered. The apple in her hand for instance didn’t have a mark on it. Her eyes widened then in realization and she very nearly laughed. It was true, fresh food was hard to come by on the open sea. The stash of magically preserved fruit and veggies the pirates had found on the Andromeda must have been a welcome find.
It gave Ginny a perverse kind of satisfaction to know that while a bunch of pirates were feasting like kings, her treacherous classmates would have to put up with emergency rations that made Hagrid’s cakes look like scones dipped in honey.
Speaking of scones…
Ginny reached toward the plate piled high with the balls of fluffy dough only to have her hand knocked out of the way as another beat her to it. Ginny glared at Ana-maria as the she-pirate brought the scone to her lips and threw her a haughty look. So it was going to be like that was it? Well Ginny could play this game. She’d grown up eating with a family of nine after all.
Jack watched with no little amusement as their new guest dived into the food. Etiquette and manners took a flying leap as she fought with the best of them for all the finest scraps on the table. If Jack didn’t know better he’d say she’d done this before.
It was all very strange really. Trunks that wouldn’t open, food that didn’t rot and now a lady that got along better with Pirates than Elisabeth Swann. Not to mention that said lady had on her possession the only two initials in the world that could have saved her from a dunking by his hand.
Under the table Jack fingered the blade of the Lady’s dagger. Bloody Will Turner.
Jack knew that if he’d thrown the girl overboard, chances are, once he’d made himself scarce her own ship would have fished her out. But there was always the chance that they wouldn’t have. The slimy cads had already thrown her to the dogs by taking off without her. It was that chance that made him stow her below. Two initials had made it a chance he wasn’t particularly willing to take.
Unfortunately this now left him with a Nob on board and very little clue of what to do with her.
He watched as the lady and Ana-maria engaged in a very uncouth tug-of-war across the table with a carrot and couldn’t stifle a grin. Ah well, if nothing else it would give the next few days at sea some entertainment.
Ginny didn’t think she’d ever been so happy to see a pair of trousers. She almost sighed when she pulled them up over her legs and buttoned them over her blessedly corset-free waist. Truth be told, she’d found it a little surprising how easy it was to convince Sparrow to give her her things and allow her to change. One mention of the corset seemed to do it. If anything the pirate seemed more against them than she was – something about them getting him into a lot of trouble once if she’d heard his mutterings correctly.
Ginny pulled a shirt over her head and took stock of her appearance. She’d made a conscious effort to appear as un-modern as possible in a pair of baggy brown cargo pants and a poofy white dress shirt she’d stolen from Charlie when she was twelve to use as a nightie. The overall effect sort of worked. In any case it was the best she had. Taking a deep breath, she stowed her trunk under some crates and then emerged into the open of the hold. It was the most private place she’d been able to find to change.
A rickety staircase later saw her out on the deck in the early morning sun. At first she was blinded and she had to shield her eyes before they became used to the change in light. When they finally did part of Ginny wished they hadn’t. People were staring. She hated being started at. Steeling herself, she made her way across the deck to where the school trunks had been laid out for her. Jack Sparrow was waiting.
“Well love, don’t you look fetching,” he said with a pointed head to toe gaze. Ginny wanted to slap the grin right off his smug face but instead she smiled sweetly at him.
“I’m sorry, I had to improvise – I didn’t plan on being kidnapped by pirates this week. Perhaps I should go put on a bit more eye-liner?”
If anything Sparrow’s amusement seemed to grow.
“I wouldn’t worry love, too much kohl would just hide those beautiful eyes o’ yours.”
Ginny blinked. Was that a complement? It sounded like a complement but this was Jack Sparrow. Before she had the chance to work it out the damnable pirate was swaggering away in that way he had.
“I trust you know yer task Miss Gin. Enjoy!”
Ginny scowled after him. Miss Gin. The bloody menace had given her a nickname. He’d given her a nickname and said her eyes were beautiful. Ginny huffed and turned to the trunks. Damn him, couldn’t he just have one theme and stick to it? She kind of thought she had him figured until he’d come out with that thing about her eyes. It probably wouldn’t have been so bad except his mentioning her eyes kinda made her focus stray towards his. She’d never admit it of course but Jack Sparrow had very pretty eyes.