Author's Note: This is fantasy based on Johnny Depp's character Captain Jack Sparrow from the film *Pirates of the Caribbean.* It contains a tiny spoiler for the sequel, 2006's *Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest.* Any discrepancies, I'm fully at fault for.
Also, there are references to Gabrielle-Angelique de Bourbon. About 90% of her character is fiction, the product of my own mind. Some of the information is true and can be found on the Internet.
If you are a French history scholar or a *PoTC* fan with more knowledge than me, please excuse my artistic license.
My name is Angel Sparrow. I am 24 years old. But I have a story that starts a little differently.
My name was Gabrielle-Angelique de Bourbon. I was the first daughter of Henri IV, monarch of all France and Catherine-Henriette de Balzac d'Entrauges, marquise de Verneuil. I was wrecked at sea en route to meet my fiance Bernard de La Valette, duc d'Epernon on November 2, 1727. I thought my life would be lost. But, I survived to meet the greatest love of my life.
My first memory of our meeting is very vivid. I was wet through, my clothes sodden and heavy. My limbs were constricted, but he cradled me away from the wet sand. The sun was so bright, it made a halo around his head. My eyelids felt sewn shut, but was able to blink up at him. His long hair ticked my tight flesh. I tried to ask him what his name was, but instead I retched seawater. I'm sure it wasn't the most impressive display, but he lifted me and carried me towards a line of trees and shade. I blacked out as soon as I was able to make out the bark of a palm tree.
Three days later, I was lucid and nourished. I was even able to walk and talk without choking on salt and seawater. He told me that I'd come in and out of conciousness. I don't remember... I was just pleased to be alive. But, this story is not about my present health. It is about the love of my life. I shall tell you of our first true exchange.
* * *
"Well, my darling, my name is Jack," he said. He paused and continued with a grin, "Captain Jack Sparrow, actually, but I feel that we're beyond such formality. And your name, luv?" He spoke a rather slurred, drugged English, but I could tell from his clear brown eyes that he was perfectly sober. He was taller than I, but not towering and from what I could see of his exposed chest, leanly muscled. I was not intimidated by him, only shy. I knew he'd probably seen most of me because I was wearing clothing that was not my own.
I lowered my gaze and touched the worn linen shirt and breeches tied about my waist with a bit of ragged red sash, "Gabrielle-Angelique de Bourbon," I said absently in heavily-accented English. The French syllables dropped roughly from my tongue like long-forgotten notes of a moldy old song.
"Well, luv, that's quite a mouthful. I think Angel suits you well. And bourbon definitely suits me," he said with a laugh. It was a warm and liquid sound that made some of shyness fall off like bits of rusted armor. I smiled up at him and he rewarded me another grin. "Angel it is then. Your smile shines on me like heaven never will," he dropped into a rather graceful bow that would have looked silly on another courtier of his equal size.
"So, Angel, what brings you to my fine little nest?"
I sat back and contemplated my surroundings. We were situated in a copse of trees small enough to feel secure, yet large enough to give the impression of comfort. I was sitting in a hammock of course fabric, perhaps a sail, and secured between two sturdy palms with an assortment of leather thongs and woven palm fronds. Jack was standing before me in the only open area, floored with layers of old palm fronds. Instead of a moldy smell, the air was fragrant with oleander and hibiscus. There was an odd assortment of artifacts that look like they had been pulled from the sea like myself. "Nest" was an accurate description.
Jack himself was an odd assorment of garments. He wore grey breeches and a loose white linen shirt like mine. He also had a grey waistcoat and black leather boots, not unlike those that a Musketeer in an old portait in my home wore. Strewn across a large stump in the corner was a leather buckled sash, with a sword and buckler, as well as a pistol belt. He had ocher-brown colored eyes that were lined with smudgy Kohl. He had a black mustache and black beard that was twisted into locks and sporting beads. In his long black hair, which was also twisted together in loose locks, he had more beads and a red sash. Realization dawned on me as the last of my lethargy departed. Captain indeed. Despite being my rescuer, I knew I was in the presence of a pirate. A pirate who I suspected had seen my bare flesh.
I stood, suddenly very steady. I rose to my full height, a rather unintimidating five feet tall. I was surprised that Jack still stood nearly a foot taller than I. Still I lifted my chin, the aristocratic blood in my veins boiling. "I demand to know what you plan on doing with me and where I am," I said, glad that my voice did not quaver.
Jack smiled, his lips pulling back slowly. His eyes never left mine. "I don't know how you're used to doing things, Angel, but you are in my home and you answer the questions I ask first."
I swallowed hard before answering, "Sir, it is ungentlemanly to speak to me that way! Do you know who I am?!" My face felt warm, and I was even ashamed of my behavior, but I intended to retain my honor.
"Oh, luv, you must be confused. No one has ever accused me of being a gentleman. And furthermore, you are on a tiny island of which *we* are the only inhabitants and," his warm, casual voice suddenly turned cold, "You are no one more than who you choose to be," he turned his back after the last and started rummaging through a small chest on the floor.
"Well, if you're the captain of a ship, why are you on this island? Where is you ship?"
He turned toward me with another one of those slow grins, "Darling, I believe I asked you a question first."
I sat back in the hammock to quickly and roacked back to hit my head on the tree behind me. At my cry, Jack came to my side with a bottle of a brown liquid that smelled of cinnamon, cloves, and vanilla. "Luv, what's wrong? I didn't mean to startle you."
I smiled wearily and rubbed the back of my head. I was beginning to think Jack was crazy. He had more mood swings in our fifteen minute conversation than my mother did when she was confined to her room for the vapors. "I'm sorry. I was just suddenly frightened by your appearance and proximity. And, the knowledge that you've seen... well..." I stopped speaking as my face grew red.
Jack backed off, still holding the bottle. "Well, luv, I know I'm no refined gentleman like you're used to. But, I promise I didn't look at anything inappropriately. Well, not more than I absolutely had to."
I smiled again and then gestured to the bottle, "What's that?"
"Uh-uh, darling, I asked you a question first," Jack took a seat on an overturned barrel that bore the letters XXX before proceeding, "How do I know that I shoudn't fear you... for all I know, you could be an infamous French murderer," he paused again and considered before continuing, "Or have an infamous French murdered for a husband. What brought you here?"
"Well, I was sailing to America to meet with my fiance who was investing in a merchant who takes sugar from the West Indies to the Colonies. Once Bernard saw how beautiful the Caribbean was, he sent for me and my half-brother, Alexandre, to visit him."
"Well, that was thoughtful of him," Jack quipped sardonically. "So, you're engaged. What's this gentleman like?" Jack made the word gentleman sound suspiciouly like the way I speak of spiders.
"I hardly know him. He is ten years my senior and was a general of an infantry. He had a reputation for being overly bold with my father, but my father liked him well enough when he was alive, so we were chosen to marry when I was only seven years old," I snorted my distaste, "I'm not as important as my brother or my older half-sisters, so I was lucky not to married to some country lord, I suppose."
"Well, it doesn't look as though you'll have to marry anyone now, luv. What did he look like?"
"Chubby, balding, and bland. He fairly simpered for a kiss of my hand. Honestly, now that I know I shall never have to lay eyes on him again, I can say that he disgusted me," Jack's grin made me giggle. "Was that the answer you were looking for?"
"My dear, I wasn't looking for anything except the truth. And I certainly believe any man would simper over you for a kiss of... of, well, any part of your anatomy."
I blushed a deep crimson. Looking down at myself now, I didn't think I was very fine, but I knew from the sideways glances of gentlemen at court and the jealous whispers from the ladies, I was different from the other girls at court. I had long blonde hair, which was a rarity in the French court. It fell into natural waves that required constant upkeep to fit with the tightly curled style in Paris. I was short, even for a woman, but gracefully curved. My waist was small, but fashion kept me continually in a corset. My skin was fair and I still felt the burn of the sun on it, but it didn't pain me as it might have. When I sat there talking to Jack, in my borrowed attire without a corset and my hair tumbling natural down my back, I felt exquisite, but not beautiful. I changed the subject back to him, "And had I told you he was tall, handsome, and charming, what would you have had to say?"
He stood again, graceful depite his swaggering way of walking, "We would have commandeered a vessel and set sail to find him immediately so that I could cut out his scurvy heart and win you from him in one fell swoop," he made a grand show of brandishing a sword and fell again into a low bow before me. I clapped despite myself. I felt as though I was feeling the effects of what I suspected was contained in his bottle though I'd never imbibed the substance before. He sat again, facing me casually "Please, m'lady, continue."
"Yes, where was I? Oh, well our ship was blown off course by a mighty hurricane. Soon, we were being engulfed by the sea. The last memory I had before now was being torn away from Alexandre's grasp by the whirling waters."
"And your father... he would be...?" Jack said with a raised eyebrow.
"Oh yes. The very same. But, as I mentioned, I was a barely legitimatized second daughter to a fourth wife. The only reason any of us were titled was so that we could be married."
"You have a title?"
"Yes, I am Gabrielle-Angelique de Bourbon, Mademoiselle de Verneuil," I paused grandly and Jack laughed, "It's nothing so impressive as captain of a ship. And speaking of... where is your ship?"
Jack ignored my question completely and moved on again with one of his own, "I've never been to France before, luv. Tell me, what is it like?"
"Oh, Jack, you are speaking out of turn. I answered your question. Now... answer mine. Where is your ship," my voice dripped with honey, yet I felt he was hiding something.
Instead of ignoring me again, he looked at me almost sadly, "Oh, Angel. My jewel of the sea. I feel that you are the soul of my lost ship. You see, my dear, I was the captain of a great and beautiful ship. The Black Pearl."
"The Black Pearl? That's rather sinister."
"Well, how else would you have a ship that flies the Jolly Roger?" Jack winked. "But, she was beautiful. A galleon... that's a warship. She is an English ship, rather than Spanish as are so many in this waters. She was heavy, but she was sleek and fast. And, luv, she had black sails. The scourge of the Caribbean," he sighed again, looking up at the canopy of palm branches above us. It was beginning to get dark. I shivered.
"Perhaps we should build a fire. I don't want all my hard work nursing you to go to waste. Do you think you can come outside?" Jack asked, concern flashing over his reflective brown eyes.
I nodded and we moved out of the tree to the beach. The sun was so low, it look like it was dunking itself into the sea. The water was cerulean, the very color of a sapphire my mother once wore. Violets and oranges mixed along the horizon and behind me I saw the stars begin to twinkle in the azure sky. I had to catch my breath at the beauty of the sight. Jack must have heard my exhalation, for he put his arm around me and looked down at me with concern. "Are you okay? Should I take you back in?"
"No," I laughed, "It's just very beautiful. I was overwhelmed for a moment."
He smiled and guided me to a fallen palm to sit on. I sunk down into the soft, cool sand and rested my back on the log and he laughed. "You look as though you belong here already." He didn't speak again until the fire was roaring and chasing the chill from my fingers and toes. As I gazed into the fire, Jack set the bottle next to me.
"It's rum, my dear. You should have a taste. It's quite good for you."
Normally I would have balked. I'd never taken anything stronger than wine and I do remember some regretable run-ins with that. But, I was so content that I lifted the bottle to my lips and sipped the spicy concoction. I nearly gagged.
Jack laughed at me again. "That was a little cruel!" I pouted at him.
"I told you to have a taste, not a gulp, luv," he laughed again. It was so easy sitting there with him, that I forgot to be angry.
"So, you should continue your story. Where is The Black Pearl now?"
"Ah, The Pearl. Right. Well... have you ever heard of the Kraken?"
"Yes. It's a fictional sea monster used to scare young boys at court," I looked up at his face and saw the look in his eye, "Oh, Jack, you're not going to try to tell me it's real, are you?" I laughed.
"Oh, Angel, darling. It's no laughing matter. Not only is it real, but I defeated it on my own after it ate me and my ship."
I laughed harder and took another taste of the rum. I was careful not to gulp and it did have a pleasing taste and it warmed me from my lips to my belly. "It ate you? Jack, please. You boys always like to tell big fish stories."
He laughed along with me, "You can believe whatever you want to believe, but I never tell anything short of the truth."
I giggled at him. "You asked me about my home," I began and Jack nodded, taking his own taste of rum. "Well, Paris is beautiful. It is, however, filled with riotous men and wicked women who clamor for the king's favor. Court life is shameful and a mockery of the past glory. And when men and women aren't stabbing each other in the back to kiss the ring of Louis XV, they are cheating with one another in the hallways while their respective husbands and wives do the same to them. It's awful. I prefer the quiet of Rouen to the north."
"Well, lovely, you have all the quiet you care for at your feet," Jack said. He was sitting very near to me, the bottle of rum between us.
The salty scent of his skin mixed with the floral aroma in the air. We both reached for the bottle at once and our hands brushed. He looked at me and I at him.
"What were you doing while all of this debauchery swirled around you, Angel? Did you live up to your namesake, Gabriel?" he asked me boldly.
Unflinching, I stared back at him, "Yes, Captain Sparrow, I did. I took no part in the crimes of my family." I was shocked at the creeping coldnes that coated my words. But, Jack did not seem to care.
"Good, very good," he said smoothly, with the same slurred and cavalier drawl and that slow grin.
I was suddenly very aware that he was caressing my palm. It was so light, I had hardly noticed. But the touch was so delicate, I shivered. He took this as a sign that I was cold and pulled me gently closer until the softness of my left thigh was aligned with the hardness of his right. He settled an arm around my shoulders a and let his hand dangle down. His fingertips were scant inches from my breast and my heart suddenly picked up an excited tempo. I had never been this near to man who wasn't a member of my family. "Jack..." I began, my voice almost a whisper.
"No, Angel. Don't say a word. Let's just enjoy the sound of the ocean."
I barely heard the ocean over the roar of my heart in my ears. I laid my head to his chest and listen to the steady pulse of his heartbeat. I silently cursed him for being so calm. Before I know it, he was carrying my into the nest in the trees. My arms wrapped immediately around his neck. I knew from the way his neck didn't bunch and cord, I was so slight a weight to him, he hardly noticed me there. I, however, was aware of every point of contact between our bodies. He laid me in the hammock and looked down into my eyes and barely whispered, "You fell asleep."
Before I could think I pulled him down to me and met his slightly parted lips with my own. It was an entirely new sensation for me. Of course, some of the other girls and I at court had practiced kissing our hands and even one another so that we'd be ready once the time came, but this was completely unexpected. His lips were full and met my own with a delicate force. He turned his head so it was not an awkward angle and we fit togehter like a glove. His tongue fluttered against my bottom lip and I opened to him. He pulled away before I could fully appreciate the sensation that was beginning to creep through me.
"Angel," his voice sounded ragged on my name, as though he'd run a far distance, "Angel, please. You're going to make me do something you'll regret."
"Why would I regret it, Jack. I'm not foolish enough to believe I will regain my old life... and really I don't want it after I've tasted just the little slice of the Caribbean this island has to offer," I swallowed and stared him hard in the eye and at the same time, stroked the hard length of his thigh from knee to hip. He barely hid his groan of pleasure. "I promise you, Jack, I won't demand anything of you. I want this. I want it right now."
Before he could fight me any further, I pulled him down into the hammock and sitauted myself in his lap, facing him with one of my legs on either side of his. Even the sensation of him between my clothed legs sent a shiver through me. His hands went immediately to my waist and slid my borrowed linen out of the breeches. He didn't lift it over my head as I expected, but rather just ran his hands over the length of my bare back. I shuddered under his hands and leaned forward for another kiss.
As our lips met, I pulled his waistcoat open and helped him out it. Next came his shirt. I pulled back to look at him and indeed he was magnificent to see. His chest, though not broad, was well-muscled as I had suspected and thoroughly tan. I ran my palms over his midsection, then up over his chest and across his shoulders, and finally down his arms. On his right forearm, he bore a tattoo of a sparrow flying in front of a sunset and a scar in he shape of a P. I traced both with my index finger and looked up him. He was watching me and he smiled so beguilingly, I had to kiss him again.
"Alright, luv, enough of torturing me," and with that his slipped my top over my head and gazed my bare breasts. He sighed his satisfaction, smiled at me, and quipped, "Everytime I look, it's like the first time."
I giggled and he slid me off of his lap into the hammock. The breeze over my bare skin made my nipples stiffen. Finally, with one last long glance into my eyes, he dropped his lips to my chest and laved and nibbled at my right breast. I moaned as soon as the softness of his lips met my skin and help his face closer to me. He put his hands on the other and playfully pulled at the rosy peak until I shuddered and begged for more. He rose up above me and untied the sash holding my breeches on. They slid down over my thighs, calfs, and toes until they were pooled on the floor with the other discarded clothing.