*** BEFORE YOU READ ***
This is a Pirate AU that is the direct creation from novel Kidnapped By The Pirates by Keira Andrews.
Everything in this belongs to the original author and I have been given permission to use her novel as long as it isn't for sale (which it obviously isn't). For those of you that need the proof of that permission: click here.
I love the novel SO much and wanted to add Stucky elements into it so I hope you guys like it too.
Monster of the Sea
If pirates were to be the bloody, savage end of James Buchanan Barnes, he wished they’d get on with it because this endless waiting on pins and needles wasn't doing his health much favors.
Stress hadn't left him once since stepping foot on this ship and every yell of the crew, every sharp flap of the sails, every loud stomp on the wooden deck had him bolting up and craning his neck to peer along the sea line, feeling his stomach sink and heart race at the possibility of seeing black sails. On the lookout for those cursed pirates. The savage, villanous monsters who lurked the tides of the ocean.
In England, back at home, he’d heard the countless tales of the dastardly pirates and their horrendous, sinful deeds. His cousins had retold horror stories of prisoners tortured, body parts hacked off and sent to families for ransoms, even public beheadings that would be put on for show on various shores of innocent beach cities, turning the waves red. People spoke as if the ocean was littered with them, but the voyage had been mile after mile of…nothing. Absolutely nothing.
Bucky shook his head at his foolishness. It's not that he actually wanted the pirates to attack their ship and massacre them, but this endless waiting was certainly going to be the death of him. He was going to die from sheer boredom before any pirates caught sight of them and gutted them like fish. He'd been trapped on this vessel for what felt like weeks, standing on the decks and watching the sun rise up, then fall, only to rise back up hours later on endless repeat. Over and over. There was only so much wave watching that he could do, and apart from the pod of dolphins they had spotted not that far off the coast from their departure harbor, sea life was quiet. Uneventful. But according to the working crew, this was perfect conditions.
The windswept deck was damp beneath his shoes and it only prompted thoughts of the soft, luscious green grass of home that he would feel between his toes, tickling the bottoms of his feet when he ran. What he wouldn’t give for the freedom to run across the fields of Shelbington Estate once more and feel the wind rushing in his ears, the world and everyone in it nonexsistant in his chosen peace. But no, he was confined by an endless, restless sea taunting him with a wildness he's never known.
It seemed almost unforbidden, like the waters were telling him that he didn't belong there. Given the way the crew members skirted around him, not even glancing for a second time in his direction, he knew he probably seemed ridiculous standing there. In his awful loafers and stocking, the too-thick trousers that were fastened at his knees, the stiff dress shirt tucked into them and the waist coat above that. He felt silly, really, and he wanted nothing more than to strip down and feel the breeze just like the rest of the crew were allowed to do. What he wouldn't give for the chance to rip his waistcoat off and throw it into the waves, then his shoes, and these awful, awful stockings. But then what would that make him seem like? An ungrateful brat, is what. Some of these men didn't even own a pair of shoes and here he was ready to toss them into the abyss beneath them.
Bucky exhaled and gripped the railing, longing for solid, unmoving ground beneath his feet. He didn't want to be here. He longed for dirt beneath his nails, scratches on his palms from the coarse tree bark as he climbed and explored. He wanted his muscles aching from hours of exercise, not from being hauled up on this ship. He had half the mind to run laps around the ship but he wouldn't dare get in the way of the crew, not while his life depended on their navigation. Plus, he'd asked the captain that first week if he could at least explore the ship-- maybe climb the mast or riggings-- but the man had flatly refused and gone on a tangent about how he was being paid to ensure the safety of the Barnes children first and foremost. Bucky hadn't asked again.
He wiped sea spray from his eyes as a large wave pooled against the ship's side. He knows he's being foolish yet again. He's being childish, as his father always said. Running and swimming and climbing trees was worth nothing in his world, being nothing more than adolescent behavior he was supposed to have outgrown years ago. Men did not climb trees or swim for hours, and they certainly didn’t run for the sheer pleasure of it the way he had at Shelbington. Men, like his father, and uncle, and cousins, were to be strong, smart, and business-like in a world ruled by wealth and the power of a name.
Of course, Shelbington was no longer the place he belonged. A place he couldn't call his home. The estate wasn't theirs anymore. Instead, it was sold off by his father to pay off their debts, so even if he did somehow make his way back home one day, he would never see that yard, that freedom, again. It all would be home to another family.
No, for the foreseeable future, home would be Brookstein Isle, a new colony his father desperately wanted to see flourish and had spent months doing so. George Barnes had found his fortunes in England, lost them too, and as an appointed governor in the New World, Bucky's father had the one thing he loved most dearly: power. Without the Crown breathing down his back, power was something his father had lots of now. He had a colony of his own, the power to do whatever he pleased with it, including appointing Bucky his future bride that lived there.
Sharon Carter stood to inherit quite a fortune, and for the colony— and George — to thrive, alliances had to be made. So Bucky would do the only useful thing he could and marry. It's what men did. It's what his father demanded.
That didn't mean the panic hadn't been clawing at his insides ever since he found out about the arrangement. From the moment he woke up, to the moment he closed his eyes, it was all he thought about. No more being a 'child'. And marriage was the way to banish any of these pointless desires of freedom.
In the dark, there was no one to see how his face crumbled. Curse his father. Curse this boat. Curse this unending feeling of emptiness that plagued at his mind.
Bucky dragged his fingers through his hair, feeling how it curled at the ends in the dampness of the air. He tucked a lock behind his ear and could already picture his father's face when he would catch sight of it. It had been his little act of rebellion to let it grow much longer than most gentlemen would dare. He certainly wouldn’t be wearing those dreaded wigs, either, if he could help it. In his eighteen years, he'd managed to so far even though he'd gotten punished more times that he'd like to admit because of it.
His eyes took to the sky, mesmerized, not for the first time, the vastness of what being out on the ocean presented him with. There were clouds in the sky that hid the stars and the small crescent of the moon but the blanket of night stretched on as far as the eye could see, endless and free, everything he wished he could experience for himself. As a particular strong gust of wind slithered along the deck, Bucky shivered in the late September night chill, cursing himself for not wearing his jacket too. But that was just excessive. And much to pompous to be brought out among this crowd. He already stood out like a sore thumb, and wearing that would only make them sneer and think he was trying to belittle him with his family's fake facade of wealth that outsiders knew nothing about.
At least the wind was no longer the bitter cold of the mid-Atlantic as they neared the West Indies. His jacket had stayed on then, but after that first day of sunny, almost blistering hot rays of sunlight, it had him taking it off and shoving it into his chest in his cabin. So now he stood, careful to stay out of the crew's way, and watched on silently as they bustled about. Just an hour back, the captain had announced they had a fortnite left of their voyage as long as the weather stayed good and nothing went array. The possibility of anything going wrong had seemed strong at first and it still does, if he were being honest, but he couldn't possibly understand how the men survived this lifestyle being trapped on this ship day after day. Then again, he wasn't doing anything. Not like the crew. These were hardworking men who worked hard as the shifts rotated, getting only hours to sleep before it was time for them to complete their duty once more. Perhaps if he was given the chance to move like them, he wouldn't have the urge to jump ship.
Staring out at the nothingness, Bucky stopped his restless shifting and squinted. The weak light of the moon had peeked through the clouds and for a moment, Bucky thought he spotted a strange kind of movement. Something that broke the reflection in the water in the distance. But as he continued looking, the night once again swallowed everything in its pass and it was pitch black darkness once again.
Perhaps it had been a giant oceanic creature breaching the surface— a whale or giant squid, or some kind of mysterious monster.
Bucky chuckled. Just days ago, Becca had read from her book of fables and clearly his imagination was running wild. Just like the waters around him. The book, not suprisingly, was a gift from her husband-- something that their father wouldn't be too happy to see. Becca has always had a thrill for adventurous tales rather than the books young, proper ladies were supposed to read. He was so thankful that it was her he was traveling with and not Elizabeth because while he loved both of his sisters, Elizabeth was prim through and through. She would have been mortified to see the cabin they were sleeping in, let alone the conditions of this ship that had certainly seen better days. The cabin that Bucky and Becca shared was large but it was nothing compared to their life back home. None of this was. At least they had privacy, though, because he had seen the crew's sleeping quarters and that had been simply abysmal, even to his standards. He should be back in their cabin, sleeping, but he hadn't been able to shake the feeling of needing to move, feeling suffocated.
Just like the thought of Brookstein Isle. Knowing he'd be there soon made him restless. He knows what fate awaits him. He'd be forced to work for his father or at some other respectable job appointed to him, like Rebecca’s husband, John Proctor. Unlike Bucky, Becca had been given a choice. John was thirty and not as wealthy as their father would have liked but the two of them had fallen in love and waited until both of their fathers gave their blessings and agreed upon the marriage. Bucky didn't even know what Sharon looked like, let alone her age.
The only hope that he had was that John seemed happy enough to do Father’s bidding. It meant he had left for Brookstein Isle many months ago, not knowing Becca had been with child at the time, but when George Barnes made a demand, it was followed. So while John left to the New World months before they did, Bucky and Becca stayed back and sold off the estate and the valuable items that they could part with. Bucky wasn't naive enough to know that the only reason Becca had stayed with him was because their father had no trust in Bucky to know where to begin with the estate. It was a subtle dig, but for once, Bucky hadn't cared. The thought of traveling solo was worse than anything else.
Even the thought of having nothing when he had considered refusing to board this ship, didn't seem as bad. If he didn't follow up on his duty, he'd be disowned and it would leave him worse off than these crew members. So of coarse he did was he was ordered to do. That, and he wouldn't dare leave Becca all on her own. Although... with how easy their journey had been, he knows he could have stayed behind. Either way, he was on this ship and it was done. Not only was he going to the New World, but to his new life as well. He’d accepted years ago that he was less-minded, and although he knew he should be grateful for the wealthy life that awaited him at Brookstein Isle, he dreaded knowing he would truly be under his father’s thumb once more.
It had been heaven having his father overseas for years. He supposed he should feel remorse for such negative thoughts, but there was… so much else to consume his guilt.
So, so much.
Suddenly a loud cry from the lookout's nest rang into the air. "Sails!"
The shout had Bucky's heart stopping and he was lost for a second, not understanding what that meant, but then the entire crew ran out from the belowdecks, pulling on various pieces of clothes and shoes, some with so much fear in their eyes that Bucky's blood went cold at the sight. Desperately, he narrowed his eyes at the watery horizon, turning his head from side to side, looking but finding nothing. Then, one of the men pointed into the distance and Bucky squinted and then he saw it-- the hulk of a ship appearing before his very eyes. With a sickening twist of his stomach, he realized he had truly spotted a monster, and it was upon them.
Bucky sprinted down to the cabin, throwing the door open and shoving himself inside. The loud bang of the door closing behind him had Rebecca jumping up from the bed. The terror in her eyes was instant and she pressed a hand to her round belly as she threw on her night coat. “What is it? What's happened?”
Frantically, Bucky shook his head. “I-I think it’s pirates.” He could hardly believe the words as he said them. Certainly this was a dream-- a nightmare gone horribly wrong. There he was complaining of his boredom only for pirates to appear moments later. This was his fault. He was a fool. A stupid, stupid fool. And now they were to be gutted. Killed because heaven wanted to answer his wishes.
The blood drained from Rebecca’s face. “Pirates?”
"What else could it be? They shouted sails! The ship was heading straight for us!" He dropped down to his knees and began rummaging in his trunk. He pulled his dagger from the sheath, grimacing at how foreign it was to him. What was he to do with it if it truly was pirates? He couldn't protect himself with this, let along Becca and her unborn child.
"It could be another ship," she said instead, but even to Bucky's ears it didn't sound confident. "Maybe they're in distress. They may need help. Did you see a flag? It has to be--"
The loud thunder of the crew’s footsteps shook the ceiling and had her mouth snapping shut. Slowly, he rose back to his feet and shuffled backward until he met her, both of them meeting the door head on. "I couldn't see a flag," he whispered. "The crew wouldn't have thrown themselves into action if there wasn't something to be afraid about."
"Pirates would be bold enough to board a Crown's ship?" Her hands clutched at his arm and surely she felt him shaking. The dagger that he held out in front of them was vibrating in his grasp.
"Pirates do as they please," he said, keeping his voice low and trying to peer up through the floorboards as if he could catch a glimpse of what was sure to greet them soon enough.
Footsteps pounded and thumps reverberated, tense voices shouting commands that were too distant to make out clearly. Apart from that, however, it was quiet. Almost deathly so. Not even yells of pain from the crew or screeches of life being snuffed out.
“There are no gunshots," Becca whispered. "There must be too many. They aren't fighting.”
He didn't know what was worse-- the fact that there was no fighting to attempt for their freedom or that they were outnumbered so severely that no one dared to move a muscle. The realization made Bucky swallow heavily before he spun around, hoping to find something to bar the door with. He reached down to test the weight of his trunk but Becca was stopping him, shaking her head. “They aren’t heavy enough. Besides, it will only anger them. It’s no use. If they are coming, we must face them head on. Maybe we can buy them off.”
"With what money?" he hissed. He felt his frustration rise but closed his eyes in regret, whispering an apology seconds later. None of this was Rebecca's fault. She was trying to help, he knew, but still. They both knew that neither of them carried anything valuable with them. It had all been shipped away months ago to their father.
Suddenly there were pounding footsteps and shouts that made the hair on Bucky's arms stand on end, making his throat go dry. “Get behind me.” He stepped in front of her and raised the dagger up, pointing it at the door. Perhaps the pirates would pass them by. Perhaps they’d steal the cargo and be done with it. Perhaps—
The door exploded open, almost flying off its hinges, and Bucky barely held in his yelp. His heart pounded so loudly that he was certain the two invaders before him could hear. They were both big, scary looking, and their beady gaze raked them up and down with a leer that made Bucky's breath turn shallow.
“You ever fuck a bitch with a babe?”
Bucky’s stomach dropped. How did they know? Becca was hidden behind him and she was also covered in her night coat. The longer the men stared at them, the stronger something so fearful clawed at his heart and insides, making his knuckles go bone-white as he gripped the handle of the dagger. “You will not lay a finger on my sister.”
Ignoring him, the other man smiled, showing crooked teeth. "Has to be good and juicy, I'd say."
Behind him, Becca dug her fingers into Bucky’s shoulder. Heart in his throat, he raised the dagger even higher, pointing it directly at the men.
The two blinked at Bucky, then each other, before bursting into laughter. Then, the two put on mock faces of fright before the one with the crooked teeth raised a hand to his waist, brandishing the dull metal of a pistol. “Oh no, we’re done for, Fisk!”
But then, the air changed. Like it all got swooped out in one heavy tug. Loud footfalls echoed in the corridor, bold and commanding, and they were getting closer. The two men snapped straight up into position and stepped aside as another man entered into the cabin. This man was tall enough to have to duck as he entered and as he stepped through, his shoulders almost brushed the frame. Then, he looked up and sharp, piercing eyes swept the cabin.
This man wore black from head to gold-tipped toes. An open-collared shirt covered his large chest, with trousers tucked into knee-high boots, and a long leather coat that flared out behind him. A pistol was tucked into his belt, and a long sword glinted at his hip. Gold gleamed on the belt buckle, matching the small square earring in his left ear, rings on his fingers, and the tips of those black boots. The ends of a blue sash dangled over his hip, the only splash of color aside from the gold. He had to be twice Bucky’s age, his face tanned with a scar cutting across his left temple. His hair seemed to be a dark golden shade that was loose and free around his ears, a surprise since Bucky had expected all pirates to have long, unruly hair like the uncivilized animals that they were. His trimmed beard shadowed his strong jaw. In the low light, the color of his narrowed eyes was impossible to see, but Bucky imagined they must be as black as the pirate’s soul.
He might have been the very devil himself. Yet, Bucky knew exactly what he was looking at. This man, was the Captain. The Pirate King who had come to slay.
Bucky’s palm sweated around the handle of the dagger, and he hated the tremors in his outstretched arm. How he wishes he was big and strong like this man. Because this man could do damage. He wasn't weak like Bucky. When Bucky opened his mouth, his throat was painfully dry. “We— we don’t have anything of value. We're just passangers.”
Another man stepped into the cabin. This time, it was one that Bucky recognized-- Rumlow, one of the Proud Victoria’s young crew. The Pirate King glanced to him for confirmation. Rumlow nodded. “It’s true. Only clothes and trinkets in their trunks.” He sniffed dismissively, black eyes glancing in Bucky's direction. “There’s nothing hidden anywhere in here we could find since we left London.”
Bucky had thought better of the crew, but now saw how naive he’d been. It must have been Rumlow who had informed the pirates that Rebecca was with child. “You're a coward, Rumlow. A disgrace to the country.”
Rumlow snorted. “As soon as I got a good look at the flag, I knew we were done for. Everyone knows the Captain of Flying Eagle will gut you once you’re in his talons. I ain’t dying for cargo I don’t give a fuck about or for a captain who treats us like shit.”
“Your destination is Brookstein Isle?” The Captain demanded, his tone low and calm. Now, those sharp eyes were on Bucky, waiting and watching. Like a predator watching its prey.
“Yes,” Bucky answered. “It’s a new colony. We'll be joining our family there.”
Rumlow nodded again even though the Captain didn't address him. “We were hired to drop them off with their father. The old man’s the governor or some shit.”
Suddenly, Captain seemed to jolt, but a moment later the ripple had vanished and he was still again, fearsome and dispassionate. Bucky thought he must have imagined the hiccup. Yet there was no denying the gleam that entered the captain’s devilish eyes, and dread sliced through Bucky's gut. The Captain loomed closer. "Your name, boy," he demanded, in the same commanding manner.
Heart hammering, all Bucky could manage was, “Uh…”
“These one’s are called Barnes,” Rumlow said for him instead.
“Barnes,” the Captain repeated, barely a whisper now. “As in George Barnes?”
Fingers going numb around the dagger, Bucky nodded. There was no sense denying it. “He's our father.”
“You’re the son George Barnes killed his wife to have?” The captain’s focus sent chills down Bucky’s spine.
How the captain knew that, Bucky couldn't begin to ponder. But hearing the words made him wince, and Becca's nails dug deeper into his shoulder. He nodded. His mother had never even held him before the rest of her life drained away. Rebecca had been but six when he was born but she'd understood what had happened and eventually told Bucky once he could too.
The captain’s eyes glinted once more and it was seeing that danger that made Bucky take in what he stood up against. The man was enormous. Bucky was tall enough, five feet and eight inches or so, but this man towered well over six feet. It was all Bucky could do to hold his ground and not stagger back against Rebecca, or even hide behind her like he had done for the majority of his life.
When the Captain gazed down at them, there was a fierceness in his eyes that left Bucky frozen solid. “Your father is a liar. A man who has done vile, unforgivable things. A coward who deserves nothing but the guillotine." Bucky swallowed hard, hand shaking. He didn't have much love for his father, but who was a pirate to talk of vileness? Rumlow himself said this man was feared, a man who gutted poor, innocent souls just because he could. “Your father cheated me. He was tasked with justice and fairness. Instead he conspired to steal from me. He branded me a pirate when I was a privateer for the Queen.”
“Aren’t they the same thing?” Bucky blurted out, not being able to help himself any longer. If he was to die, he'd die standing strong. As the Captain’s nostrils flared, Rebecca dug her nails into Bucky’s shoulder again, harder as if silently demanding for him to shut up. He could feel the bruises forming. Possibly even the blood drawing.
“No, they fucking aren't,” the pirate gritted out. “Privateers are licensed. Legal. Privateers follow rules. Laws. Just as your father was supposed to as a judge in the Court of Admiralty in Jamaica. Your father tried to strip me and my men of everything we’d worked and suffered for. We escaped him, but in the years that have followed, he has never paid the price.”
Dread consumed Bucky fully now. His father’s greed would once again bring suffering. If not for George’s mounting debts, Bucky and Rebecca would still be safe at home, waiting until she had her baby before making this journey. Shelbington wouldn’t have had to be sold at all, and now they faced God knew what at the mercy of pirates. Bile rose in his throat at the thought of any harm coming to his sister, of her screams echoing in the air, of his too. In that moment, he hated his father more than ever. “I…” He racked his brain for something—anything—to say, something that would get them out of this mess. His dagger shook, and he licked his dry lips. “I’m sorry," he said, honest because he understood the sting of betrayal by his father more than anyone. If he was going to fix this, it would be with honestly.
But a slow, intimidating smile curled on the Captain's lips. "Yes. You will be."