It had changed over fifteen hands through the years, and this would be its last one. The golden-red evening sunlight hit the corner of it and the golden glinted brilliantly, the skull and crossbones thrown into sharp relief.
Thompson grinned viciously, showing a mouth of dirty and broken teeth, as he ran the dirty little street urchin through, and picked up the coin. How the scrawny guttersnipe had came across one of Cortez's legendary pieces, he did not know, and did not care. All that mattered now was returning this particular piece of gold. That was all that mattered now.
The skull-and-crossbones design on the auriferous coin shone brightly as it was held up to the moonlight. The arm holding it turned to bones and bits of rotting flesh as a cold knife slit across the palm and blood slowly collected in the hollow formed by the cupped hand. The red liquid was dripped onto the coin, blood collecting in the indentions on the medallion.
The holder roared and dropped the coin into a trunk full of like coins before stomping off through the jingling treasures to collect more. And the coin lay amongst its brothers, to be silent forever.
"Soo. It's cursed?" "Yes it's cursed!" "How do you know?" "You mean, other than the fact that it's right here, listed under the 'Extremely Dangerous!' part of Cursed Objects R Us website?" "Um. Yes?" "Well, LOOK AT IT! It just. looks cursed, y'know?" "So if it's cursed," ("It's cursed!") "Then what were you planning on doing with it?" "Give it to Chris Mack and hope to high heaven he gets cursed!" "Duh." "And if the curse comes down on you harder for trying to fob it off on someone.?" "Then I'll kill it!" "Right. Because that makes so much sense."
They gathered around the gold piece, staring at it. Well, John decided it would be a good idea to poke at it, and got a few whacks on the back of the head for it.
"So, are you sure this is one of those pieces that Ragetti dude was talkin' about?" Bobby asked.
"One way to find out!" John said, flicking his lighter open and sending out a wave of flame at the coin.
Those standing near him cursed and jumped back as the flame performed a boomerang and went back into John's face.
"Well. I guess it is, then."
They had found the coin during one mission, one of those 'protect from kidnapping' deals, off of their main suspect. Cross had scoffed loudly when Duncan had fallen out of his seat, yelling something about "Cursed!" He had then continued to lecture a shaking Duncan that there were no such things as curses. DD argued, more to save Duncan from Cross' speech than a real belief in curses.
Cross stood by his opinion up until the point that a pirate waltzed through the security and picked up the coin off the desk. Then he just stood there for an hour.
It has always been the purpose of Hufflepuffs to stand by the side, support the heroes sycophantically, and come up with conspiracy theories. So when Zacharias Smith came across a piece of cursed gold, the house of badgers hoarded it jealously, seeing it as a chance become something more than duffers.
So it was that when the skeleton of Ragetti, standing in the moonlight, came to reclaim that piece of gold, he had to traverse the maze that was the dungeons, before coming upon the sixth years.
"I'll take that."
They nodded mutely.
"See, it was cursed," Ernie informed Zacharias.
Living on the Hellmouth made you predisposed to believe in curse, Jonathan decided as he flipped a golden coin in the air. The skull-and-crossbones motif caught in the fading sunlight and its sudden glint blinded him momentarily.
"That would be. mine," a voice above him said, grabbing the coin. Jonathan opened his eyes again and squinted, picking out the outline of. a pirate? He squeaked loudly and scooted away. The pirate chuckled and moved away, and Jono sat down and wondered if the Hellmouth was also responsible for hallucinations.
Oh well. It was about time to meet Andrew and Warren.
"Are you sure this is cursed? It doesn't feel cursed." Cordelia said, flipping the coin into the air.
"Yes, I'm sure - Cordelia, stop that! - It's right here in Kyrnof's Compendium - Why are you biting it?!"
"To see if it's real gold." Cordy shrugged. "I saw it in a movie."
"Yes, well." Wesley removed his glasses and rubbed at his eyes. "Usually the coins in question aren't cursed to make people undead!"
"Like a vampire?" Angel asked from the depths of his brooding area.
"No, like a zombie," Wes said.
Cordy spat it out. "Why didn't you say that!"
Morgan was annoyed. "But it's MINE!" she yelled at the pirate.
"Actually, it's mine."
"No it isn't."
"Yes it is."
"No it isn't."
"Yes it- Listen, child - "
"I'm not a - "
"Yes you are. And I am a pirate, and I'll be taking that coin whether it's yours or not!"
"Oh." Morgan frowned, then brightened. "Can I be a pirate too?"
Ragetti groaned. "No, you can't. It's bad luck to have a woman on board."
The twelve-year-old watched him then growled. "I'll bite you!"
The moonlight filtered through the trees and hit him.
"Oh." She gave it to him.
"Wonder how much we can sell it for?" Pietro said, a greedy gleam in his eyes.
"Oh no you don't! Remember what happened with your last money-making scheme?" demanded Lance, glaring at his - well, let's just call him 'friend'.
"Yeah, yeah!" Todd said, hopping up and down. "Besides, yo, that whacked up Mesmiro dude said it was cursed!"
Pietro scoffed as he held the coin up to the light. "There's no such things as curses."
"Look, Pietro, it's still dangerous!" Lance said, swiping at it. Pietro pulled his arm back and glared at the other Brotherhood members - and pirate.
"Next up on 9 News at 10 o'clock, we have Adele Arakawa with Mark O'Connor, who says he has inherited a piece of cursed gold! Adele?"
Leevee stared at the TV. Cursed gold? And it's on the news? She shrugged.
"Thanks Bob. Now Mark, you say this is a family heirloom?"
"Um, yes. My great-great-great-great-great - "
"That's interesting," Adele said, cutting him off. "Now, what makes you say it's "cursed"?" She gave the camera a smile that read 'let's-pity-the-poor- boy-who-isn't-right-in-the-mind'.
"Because it is!"
The camera crew (and Adele) screamed and ran as the skeletal pirate grabbed his coin and stalked off.
Andrew waved it around wildly as Jonathan entered the Lair. "What is that, Andrew?"
"It's a coin, I found it in the graveyard!" he said excitedly. Jonathan came closer and looked at it.
"Oh, you've got to be joking!" Jonathan muttered upwards before taking his seat in the corner and watching the door resignedly.
The door opened, and in walked a pirate. Andrew stared.
"You again?" the pirate asked Jonathan, who mutely pointed at Andrew. "Ah. Well, I'll be taking that."
Andrew gave the coin to him and sent a questioning look at Jonathan as the pirate left.