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A Birthday Fleet

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Swordplay is a damn sight more enjoyable when it’s for show or sport, thinks Jack Sparrow, amidst a bout that’s for something very much more valuable than even the most impressive exhibition or high-stakes wager.
 
It’s his life Jack’s fighting for at the moment, and he does set the greatest store by that most unique of commodities. 
 
Trick of it is, this Frenchman seems to feel quite the same way regarding his own existence, and even though Jack is completely, unreservedly certain that his own life’s worth a good deal more than Monsieur’s here (if in no other respect, then in the financial, since your average French merchant is in hock up to his pungent armpits, and Jack’s what you might call independently wealthy), Monsieur can be pardoned for disagreeing.
 
That’s magnanimous, that pardon is, but it’s as far as the magnanimity will go, because Jack manifestly refuses to die in such ignominious fashion.  He refuses to be cut down by any old Frenchman in the middle of the ocean where no one’ll see his terminal blaze of glory, being as his crew are busy fighting their own battles with the foolish French sailors who couldn’t just surrender to the terror of the Black Pearl like smart men who knew what was good for them.
 
The most worrisome aspect of that horrifically anonymous scenario is that it’s looking rather alarmingly possible just now, what with Jean or Pierre or François or whoever here actually being disturbingly good with a blade.
 
Jack’s sword arm is already bleeding heavily from a gash across the shoulder, and the pain of swinging it up again and again is reminding him of various times he’s had various foreign objects removed from his person without recourse to æther, laudanum, or—horrors—rum. Blocking the slashing French blade is even worse. And Luc-Marie isn’t nearly so battle-interferingly scratched.
 
Fuck. Ow. Bloody buggering fiery hell.
 
There goes Jack’s sword, clattering off across the deck. Utterly beyond reach. Which may as well translate to There goes Jack’s life, really, because there’s nothing else even vaguely weapon-like to hand, nary a line to swing away on, and Louis-Auguste-Michel-Fucking-Bastard is looming over Jack’s head and raising his sword in a distinctly adieu sort of way.  
 
And there, looming up behind Jack’s executioner is one of his mates to assist. Jack hopes they’ll kill him cleanly before any mutilation might occur. But this blond looks ferally vicious, and Jack doesn’t hold out much hope that–
 
Huh. That’s interesting.
 
Phillipe-Étienne-Take-That-You-Poxed-Whoreson falls open-mouth-astonished to the gory deck, stone dead. 
 
The unexpectedly life-saving blond spits on the corpse he’s just made and jerks his blade out of its entrails. “Bet you wouldn’t recommend locking me in your brig now, would you, you snail-sucking, cheese-chewing, Leroy-loving, baguette-for-brains Frog?” he snarls (rather creatively).
 
Then he turns to offer Jack a hand to his feet and a sunny, sanguine grin.
 
“Name’s Jack Shaftoe,” he says. “Pleased to meet you. And save your life. Though not in that order.”