It Would Never Work

Orithain and Rina

December 2004

Disclaimers: You donít actually think we believe theyíre ours, do you? Weíre not delusional. ;) We donít make any money from this, just have fun.

Screams and the clash of swords woke Elizabeth from a sound sleep, and at first she thought she was still dreaming. This could not be happening again, not twice in a single lifetime, in a single year! But no, once again there were pirates rampaging through the governor of Port Royalís mansion, although at least this time she was fairly sure they would not turn out to be grim specters under a ghastly spell.

She sat up in her bed, clutching the covers to her chin for a moment before she swung her feet to the floor and reached beneath the bed for the sword Will had made for her, a gift for her last birthday. It was also the last gift heíd given her as not long afterward heíd succumbed to a fever that swept the island. So now Elizabethís father was again campaigning for her to marry Commodore Norrington. Suddenly the pirates didnít look so terrible to her.

"Donít be hurtiní anyone, savvy?" Captain Jack Sparrow bellowed as he bounded up the stairs, ducking as a footman blasted a shot at him before being knocked unconscious by one of his crew. "Take what you want, but donít harm them."

He knew the crew thought him daft for this command, but Jack didnít care; it wasnít the first time and it wouldnít be the last folk had thought him mad. Tucking his pistol in his belt, he pushed open doors, looking through rooms until he found the one he wanted. "Now, Elizabeth, whatís this I hear about you planning to wed the Commodore?"

Elizabeth stood in her bed chamber, sword in hand, dressed only in her nightclothes, and she gaped at Jack. "You attacked Port Royal and invaded the governorís mansion to ask me about my marital plans?" she all but shrieked.

Jack leaned against the wall and smiled. "We havenít done a thing to Port Royal, sweet Elizabeth. If ye donít believe me, ye can look out yer window and see."

"Oh, so laying waste to the governorís residence is acceptable? Jack!" She shook her head, laying the sword aside since she knew she wasnít going to use it on Jack. "Why are you here?"

He stayed where he was. "To keep ye from making a huge mistake."

Her eyebrows rose. "And you think you know better than I what I should decide for the rest of my life?"

"If by that you mean trying to get over Willís loss by marrying the Commodore, then yes I do. Now pack yer things, or Iíll take you the way ye are."

"I beg your pardon!" Elizabeth drew herself up to her full height and glared at him. "Iíll go nowhere with you, Jack Sparrow!"

Jack shook his head and strode to Elizabethís wardrobe, flinging open the doors and beginning to toss clothes onto her bed. "Iím not giving you much choice in it, savvy? Either you can come with your things or without, but you are coming, Elizabeth."

"I refuse to be kidnapped by pirates again!" Elizabeth snatched up the pitcher from her dressing table and hurled it at his head.

"Elizabeth!" Jack yelped, ducking so that the pitcher smashed against the wall over his head. "Itís not as if you donít know me..."

"Is that supposed to make it better?" she raged, heaving the wash basin after it. "How is this supposed to help me?"

"Itís bloody well going to help you by keeping you from burying yourself as surely as if it was you they lowered into the ground!" Seeing that sheíd run out of missiles, Jack darted forward, catching Elizabethís wrists in his hands. "Now listen to me and listen good, Miss Swann; yer coming along to the Pearl, understand?"

"No!" She kicked at him, yelping when she bruised her bare toes on his shins. "Let me go, you bloody pirate! Norrington may be as appealing as a dead cod, but at least heís offering me marriage, not disgrace!"

"And whoís saying youíll be disgraced?" Jack asked, looking amused.

That absurd question stopped her struggles to free herself, and Elizabeth gave him a look that clearly questioned his sanity. "My reputation will be in tatters after being taken by pirates, especially you! I could never marry after that even if I wanted to!"

"Ahh, so you admit you donít want to marry the dead cod," Jack murmured, loosening his hold on Elizabethís wrists.

"Of course I donít want to marry him! Iíd rather marry..." she struggled for a name, "you!"

Jack burst into laughter at that before shrugging. "Well, itís quite sudden, but all right, if thatís what it takes to save my dear friend Will from rolliní in his grave."

"What?" Elizabeth shrieked. "No!" She took advantage of his now lax grip to haul back and slap his face.

Jack winced and worked his jaw. "Canít please you women," he sighed, shaking his head and hoisting Elizabeth up to his shoulder. "And that being the case, I suppose I shouldnít try."

"Put me down!" Elizabeth yelled, kicking her feet and pummeling his back with her fists. "Right this instant, Jack Sparrow!"

"Gibbs!" Jack bellowed as he carried Elizabeth out of her bedroom, ignoring the flailing limbs and minor injuries she dealt him. "Gather Miss Swannís things; sheís to be joininí us."

"Let go of me! And remove your hand from my... person this instant!" Not getting any response, Elizabeth growled and sank her teeth into his back.

"Mother of..." Jack bit back the curse, reached up, smacking Elizabethís backside sharply. "None of that, love, unless itís what you like, of course..."

"Youíre mad!" Elizabeth wailed. "Stop this, Jack, please," she begged. A thought suddenly struck her, and she stilled. "What have you done with my father?"

"Donít fret; heís locked safely in the wine cellar." Jackís tone was injured at the idea that Elizabeth thought he might have hurt her father.

Elizabeth groaned, certain that her father would end up drowning his sorrows in the wine. Of course, the way heíd been pressuring her to marry Norrington, she couldnít feel sorry for the headache he was going to have the next morning. "And what exactly do you intend to do with me?" She couldnít believe she was having a conversation while thrown over a manís shoulder, but sheíd come to realize that anything was possible where Jack was concerned.

Jack flashed a grin back over his shoulder as he carried Elizabeth out of the mansion. "Yeíve always had a liking for pirates, sweet Elizabeth, so itís time ye become one."

Her jaw dropped, and it was a moment before she managed to say, "You truly are mad. Iím the governorís daughter, Jack! I canít become a pirate!"

"Now why would that be? Are ye sayin the ideaís not to yer liking?"

"No!" she shrieked. "My father would be disgraced! Not that I should care," she added sullenly and not entirely truthfully. She did love her father and knew he wanted the best for her; they simply disagreed on what that might be. "Why are you doing this, Jack?" she asked wearily.

Sighing and muttering to himself, Jack stopped and set Elizabeth down on the roadway. "Because ye deserve better than what yer settliní for. Because Will was my friend and," he quirked a grin, "because yer a saucy wench."

She blinked at him in surprise, not having expected an honest answer. "Oh." She stared down at her bare feet for a long moment, then looked up again. "Very well. If my choices are honorable misery or disgraced happiness, I choose disgrace."

"Ah, now thereís a lass," Jack beamed, scooping Elizabeth back onto his shoulder and carrying her toward the beach where the longboats were waiting. "Have I mentioned youíll be shariní my cabin?"

"What?!" Elizabeth shrieked and began pummeling him again.

Having listened to Elizabethís shrieks and curses for the whole of the trip down to the beach, Jack gladly handed her over to Anamaria at one of the boats. "See that Miss Swann arrives in my cabin in one piece," he chuckled, rubbing his face where the young woman had slapped him again.

"Iíll make sure no woman ever has reason to slap you again!" Elizabeth screeched.

Anamariaís eyebrows rose, and she chuckled softly. "Sure you donít want me to dunk her in the water to cool her off, Captain Sparrow?"

Jack shrugged. "It might help, and it certainly wouldnít hurt the view in the least... it would remind me of the first time I set eyes on sweet Elizabeth."

Elizabethís eyes widened, and she struggled wildly, but a moment later Anamaria had motioned to one of the crewmen, and Elizabeth found herself carried out into the water and dropped in. She came up sputtering and cursing them in terms no lady of breeding should have known.

"Much better," Jack praised before glancing back over his shoulder. "And here comes Gibbs with your things, so I believe weíre off to the Pearl before Norringtonís men decide to look this way and investigate." Leaving the sodden and fuming Elizabeth in the first boat, Jack boarded the second, climbing aboard without getting even the sole of his boot wet.

Once aboard the Pearl, Elizabeth tried to move aside, but Anamaria had a very large young crewman drag her to Jackís cabin, sputtering all the way. The young man pushed her inside, then glanced over at the captain. "Ought to cut her tongue out, capín." He shrugged and left.

"Nay, that would serve no purpose at all," Jack murmured, rummaging through the trunk that had been placed by the door and pulling out a dressing gown. "Perhaps youíd feel more comfortable if you changed?"

"Are you going to give me privacy to do so?"

"Do ye intend to jump out the windows and swim to shore if I do?"

Elizabeth refused to dignify that with an answer, simply glaring at him, spine rigidly straight.

Jack reached for a bottle of rum on the desk against the wall and took a drink, returning her stare impassively.

"Fine!" Her cheeks crimson with anger and embarrassment, Elizabeth yanked the ribbon at her neckline loose and peeled the wet, clinging lawn free, letting it fall to the floor. Nude, she stalked across the cabin, refusing to look at Jack, and snatched up the dressing gown heíd placed on the bed, quickly belting it around herself.

Somewhat surprised that Elizabeth had taken him up on his challenge, Jack was nonetheless pleased and only took another drink as she dressed again. "Honest question, love; can you say youíve had such a time in the last six months?"

She glared at him, but she had to admit, "No. Iíve been utterly miserable and sinking deeper and deeper into apathy since Will died."

Nodding, he stepped closer, holding out the bottle. "So can ye truly hate me for taking you away?"

"No," she sighed, taking the bottle and tossing back a swallow, remembering the last time sheíd done so, the night they were marooned on the island. "But you didnít have to be quite so... piratical."

He chuckled and held out his hand for the bottle. "And just how was I supposed to take ye then? I somehow doubt either your father or the Commodore would let me waltz in and ask politely."

"I doubt you know how to ask politely!" Elizabeth retorted. She sank down onto the edge of the bed, watching him. "Why do you care what happens to me?"

Jack squatted down alongside the bed, deciding that mentioning that this position gave him quite the view up Elizabethís thigh would only get him slapped again. "Because I like ye, lass. Ye would have done fine with Will, but with Norrington? Fah, itíd be like taking the Pearl and stripping her of her sails; sheíd still be a ship, but sheíd lose her spirit."

"You and Will seem to have been the only ones who thought I needed spirit," Elizabeth sighed, reclaiming the bottle and taking another swig of the rum. "Is it so wrong to want more than to be some manís wife with no interests outside the nursery?"

"Not at all," Jack answered, eyeing the diminishing level of his rum with some concern. "And thatís why I wasnít about to leave you there to wither and die." He nodded sagely as he spoke. "It wouldía been a crime worse than piracy."

"Commodore Norrington would deny that there is anything worse than piracy," Elizabeth laughed bitterly. "And I would have thought that you would deny that piracy was a crime. However, all of that still leaves me here, barely clothed, on your bed. All in all, not an admirable place to be if I have any concern for my reputation."

"Sweet Elizabeth, your reputation survived being kidnapped on this same ship once before as well as spending the night with myself on a deserted island; whatís this compared to that?"

"No one knows that I spent a night alone with you on an island. And last time the Commodore and my father were quick to scotch any rumors. I rather doubt that will be the case this time. Also, last time I had innocence to aid my indignation. I doubt that will be truth either."

Jack dropped to his knees and rested his elbows in the rumpled linen of his bed. "Are ye meaning that about yer innocence or yer indignation, Iím wonderiní."

Elizabeth stared down into the dark eyes. "Both."

"Both?" Jack could feel the change sweep through the Pearl as she left the shallower waters near Port Royal and made for the open sea and freedom. "So yer meaning to lose them, are ye?"

"Are you telling me Iíd have a choice?" Elizabeth arched an eyebrow at him, finally admitting to herself that she was enjoying this. Her father and Norrington and everyone else in Port Royal treated her as if she didnít have a thought in her head, but this kind of verbal sparring delighted her.

Jackís expression turned wounded. "Of course you do, love. Were ye thinkiní..." He shook his head and sighed before reaching for the rum. "Iíll admit to having tumbled my share of wenches, but one thing theyíve all had in common was they were all willing."

"So if Iím not willing, youíre going to give up your cabin to me?" Elizabeth scoffed gently, wondering why she was arguing when she wanted this.

"Not a chance, love," he chuckled. "But shariní a cabin or even a bed doesnít have to lead to anythiní else, savvy?"

"And if I were to want it to?"

Dark eyebrows rose under the faded red fabric of the scarf Jack wore tied around his head. "If you were wantiní it to, who am I to refuse a lady?"

Elizabeth laughed softly. "If Iím to have the name, I should have the pleasure as well, donít you think?" A tiny part of her was shocked at her boldness, but she was tired of being a lady. Jack had freed her from the constraints of the world sheíd grown up in, and she found she wanted to take advantage of it.

She slowly raised her hands to place them on Jackís shoulders, staring into his eyes as she blushed. "Thank you," she said quietly, smiling slightly.

Jack grinned, his gold teeth flashing in the dim light provided by the lamps. "Shouldnít ye be waitiní until weíre done to be thankiní me?" he asked before leaning in to kiss her, his tongue sweeping out to explore her mouth with exacting boldness.

Elizabeth moaned into the kiss, then laughed when he sat back on his heels again. "I was thanking you for rescuing me from my life. I donít know yet if Iíll have anything else to thank you for," she teased, smiling.

"Ye have my word on it that ye will," Jack murmured, shrugging out of his coat and letting his pistol and cutlass fall to the floor.

"Scoot over there, love," he ordered before climbing onto the bed next to her. "Iím not the type that just jumps on a lass and sets to ruttiní, savvy?"

"Iím pleased to hear it," Elizabeth replied, trying to sound brave and worldly despite her nerves just then. She shifted back against the wall of the cabin, brown eyes wide as she looked at Jack, who was still fully dressed, right down to his boots. She remembered the very little experience sheíd had with Will, and she tentatively began unbuttoning Jackís shirt, watching him for his reaction.

Jackís eyes slipped half-closed, and he gave a throaty purr as he felt the backs of Elizabethís fingers brush against his chest. "Yeíve a fair hand at this, sweet Elizabeth," he murmured, reaching up with one hand to tangle his fingers in her hair and down with the other to kick off his boots.

"I mastered buttons some time ago," Elizabeth replied, shivering as he used the hand in her hair to draw her closer. She felt his now bare feet tangle with hers, and a deeper shudder wracked her. It seemed so intimate. She pushed his shirt from his shoulders, and her fingers lightly traced patterns on the bronzed skin of his chest.

"So I see." Saying that, Jack kissed her again, coaxing her tongue into his own mouth and playing with the ties that held her dressing gown closed, slowly easing them loose and the heavy fabric they held together apart to slide his hand over Elizabethís bare stomach, her skin satiny smooth beneath his rough palm.

She shied when he spread her robe open, but his calloused hand on her skin felt good, made her feel warm, and she slowly relaxed again, her own fingers exploring his torso. She discovered that Jackís nipples were much more sensitive than Willís had been, making him jump when she scratched at them, and she smiled, enjoying her power over the pirate. She lay in his arms, tasting him, and Elizabeth pressed closer, the only thing between them now the thin fabric of his tight trousers.

Slowly rolling her back to the bed so that he lay between her legs, Jack lifted his head to look down into Elizabethís eyes, smiling when he saw nervousness but no fear. "So, youíll be allowiní me my liberties then?" he asked, nuzzling her throat before sinking lower to lick and suck at her breasts.

"I think I may even demand them," she moaned, her back arching and her fingers clutching at the thick locks of his hair. "Oh Jack!" She spread her legs wider, gasping as he settled against her, making her feel so much and want more.

He swirled his tongue around her tight nipple before looking up and nodding. "I love my women demanding, love, so do as ye please." Rocking his hips downward, he returned to feasting on her body, moving ever lower.

Elizabeth was eager, but her few stolen moments with Will had not prepared her for this, and she was uncertain what to do. "What... is allowed?" she murmured, biting her lip to hold back a whimper as Jack nipped at her flat belly.

Jack looked up again, his dark eyes glinting. "Why, anything and everything, sweet Elizabeth. Do as ye will and damn the rest." He laved at her navel, running his hands up and down the outside of her thighs, feeling them clench and shiver like the Pearlís rigging under a strong wind.

Totally overwhelmed, Elizabeth could only lie beneath him, her hands stroking whatever parts of him she could reach. She promised herself that she would learn to pleasure Jack so she could drive him mad as he was doing to her, but this time she could only accept the pleasure he was teaching her to feel. "Oh please," she whispered again, her back arching as he dragged his tongue over the skin just above her curls.

"Mmm, Elizabeth, ye smell as sweet as ye taste," Jack whispered, nuzzling his face against the soft hair at the apex of her thighs and blowing on it. He shifted his hands to her hips and gently spread her folds, finding and licking at the tight nub that would give her so much pleasure.

Elizabeth shrieked aloud, her hips thrusting up uncontrollably at the incredible bolt of pleasure. She didnít care if the entire crew heard her and knew what they were doing; she only wanted it to continue and to share the pleasure with Jack. "Jack, please," she moaned, tugging on his hair. "Tell me what to do for you."

"Fer now, let me keep doiní what Iím doiní," Jack murmured, kissing the juncture of her thigh and hip. "Later on Iíll show ye what I like, and I promise youíll like it too."

She could only moan, twisting beneath him, her body growing tighter. Sheíd felt this before, with Will, at least the start of it, but theyíd never dared more than the most fleeting touches with fingertips and quick kisses. What Jack was doing... It was astonishing. But Jack was still wearing his trousers, and that wasnít right. "Jack, you too," she whispered, blushing as she tugged plaintively at his waistband.

Jack grumbled, plainly not liking being dragged away from what he was doing. "Me too, what, love?"

It took her a couple of tries before she managed to say, "Naked." She flicked a finger at his pants. "Youíre rather overdressed, Jack."

"Ah." That said, Jack sat up and yanked off his trousers. "Happy now?" he asked, giving a roguish grin before settling between Elizabethís thighs again.

"Yes." Elizabeth squirmed about, trying to see more than the glimpse of him sheíd had, then she gasped and moaned as her movements made them slide together.

"Good. Very good," he answered before taking up where heíd left off, namely, bringing her to her first climax of the evening.

Jackís tongue followed where his fingers had been, and Elizabethís eyes widened in shock. Sheíd never even imagined such a thing. Before she could decide whether to push him away, however, her body spasmed, and instead she clutched him closer, whimpering.

Jack made a very masculine sound of pride and sucked at Elizabethís pearl, two of his fingers rubbing at the entrance and slipping inside a bit before retreating.

She cried out, a near wail of shocked pleasure, and her hips thrust upward, forcing his finger deeper inside until it hit the barrier and she gasped again. "Jack?" She shifted restlessly, uncomfortable again and a bit nervous.

"Yes, Elizabeth?" he asked, licking his lips as he crawled back up her length to share a kiss with her.

He tasted different, a little salty, and Elizabeth blushed crimson when she realized she was tasting herself on his lips. Despite her embarrassment, the discovery made her limbs heavy with pleasure, and she squirmed. Which drew her attention back to the fingers still inside her. "I... It hurts a little," she whispered, chewing her lip.

"Aye, not much I can do about that except tell you the pain will be brief." Jack pulled his fingers from her nether regions and licked at them.

She watched him, wide-eyed, her fingers curled over his shoulders and her legs still spread wide with him between them. "Then do it," she said suddenly. "And show me the pleasure that comes after."

"As you wish, mílady," Jack murmured, dipping his head again to kiss her and reaching back to grasp her legs and urge them up around his hips. That done, he reared back, looking down into Elizabethís eyes, and thrust forward, tearing through her maidenhead in one quick move.

She bit back a cry, her nails digging viciously into his shoulders until the pain passed, then she pulled her hands away with a gasp of dismay. "Jack! Oh, Iím sorry!" It felt very odd to have him inside her, full and stretched and a bit uncomfortable, but she smiled, trying to pretend she liked it. And then he moved, and she didnít have to pretend any more as heat flared to life deep inside her. "Ohhh."

"Donít be sorry fer markiní my back, love," he murmured, rocking back and forth, keeping his strokes shallow until she grew used to him. "The stripes from yer catís nails are much more welcome than those Iíve felt from a catís tail."

"What a life you lead," Elizabeth half-laughed, slowly beginning to move, to match Jackís languid rhythm. "Dear God, I never imagined..." Her hands moved over his back, stroking him, then daringly moved down to touch his flexing buttocks.

"A lot better than that dead cod, Norrington could do, savvy?" Jack asked, smirking down at her and deepening his thrusts as he felt her respond.

Her nose wrinkled. "How can you even think of him just now?" She tightened her legs around him, drawing him into her a bit more forcefully, and her eyes widened as she made a sound of pleasure.

Jack let loose a whoop of laughter and kissed Elizabeth hungrily, tangling his hands in her hair as they moved together. "A very good point, love," he whispered, his body tightening as he felt her clench down around him.

She thrust up demandingly, moaning into Jackís mouth as she felt the pleasure begin to build again, somehow sharper than before. Her fingers curved over his buttocks, drawing him to her, and her nails bit into the resilient muscle.

"Itís like the sea," he rasped, driving deeper into her softness, whispering the words against her ear. "Let it flow through you, love. Let yourself be free."

Her eyes fixed on his as she groaned, then closed as the pleasure burst through her. She gasped his name as she clung to him, shaking with the spasms of joy as he continued to move inside her.

The feel of the tremors stroking his cock caused Jack to groan, and he buried his head in the crook of Elizabethís neck, riding out her climax before his own roared over him like a hurricane. Finally able to breathe again, he pushed up onto his elbows and gazed down at her, flashing a gold-toothed smile. "So?"

She stared up at him silently for a moment, waiting till he started to frown before she grinned and said simply, "Thank you."

"Saucy wench," he chuckled, releasing her hair to tap her on the chin. "Yeíve got the makings of a fine pirate."

She frowned slightly. "Will... will I stay here with you?" If Jack said she was to bunk with the crew, she didnít know what she would do. She couldnít do this with anyone else, but she had no right to expect Jack to be faithful to her.

He cocked his head, frowning slightly. "I said as much before ye tried to beat me bloody on the shore."

"But for how long?" she asked, raising her eyes to meet his. "I... this..." She gestured, indicating them. "I know I have no claim on you, Jack. So what am I to do when someone else is sharing your bed?" She was surprised by the pain that thought brought her.

"Elizabeth, love," Jack laughed, shaking his head and feeling her wriggle beneath him when his beaded hair tickled her nose, "ask any of the crew how many Iíve had in my bed since theyíve known me. I take my pleasure while on land, not on the Pearl - until now. There be no claims for either of us, but there wonít be shariní either."

"Oh." She smiled slowly. "Good then." She nodded sharply. "So I can look forward to this every night weíre at sea? I may never want to land."

"We have to do that every so often, ye know, and what ye can be looking forward to the rest of this night is sleep, savvy?" Jack rolled to his back, bringing Elizabeth alongside him so that she lay against his chest. "Pillaginí a governorís mansion is hard work, lass."

"The only thing I noticed you pillaging was me," Elizabeth retorted, but her eyes were already closing. She was exhausted after the eventful night, and the rocking of the sea was soothing. She never heard whatever Jack might have replied.

Morning found Jack at his favorite place on the earth; the Black Pearlís helm. The day was bright and there was no sign of pursuit on the horizon, and, all in all, his mood couldnít be finer.

Elizabeth stalked out onto the deck, ignoring the whispers and some not-so-quiet comments as she headed straight for Jack. Reaching him, she slapped him, then spun on her heel and stormed back to the cabin where sheíd awoken alone after giving herself to the pirate the night before.

"Donít go denying you deserved that, Capín," Anamaria chuckled as she watched Jack rub his face. "Leaviní a lady to wake up alone is never a good idea."

Jack winced and pulled his battered leather hat off his head, smacking it against his thigh. "Well, hell," he muttered, glaring around until the crewís laughter stopped.

"Get to work, you lot!" he growled, striding toward the cabin to see what in the blazes heíd done wrong.

Elizabeth gave him a glacial stare when he stepped inside the cabin, and she turned her back, ignoring him after that.

"Now, Elizabeth, I didnít think youíd be wantiní to get up with the sun this morniní, seeing as weíd just gotten to sleep," Jack said warily, making sure to stay out of slapping range.

"Oh, so you thought that after giving up my virginity, I would prefer to wake up alone? I see." Her tone was even colder than her gaze.

"Well, I can see how that would be disconcertiní..."

"But not enough to stay or even to wake me to say you were leaving. Well, youíve made your feelings quite clear, Jack." She went to sit down, wincing slightly as she did.

Jack reached for his rum and took a healthy drink. "The hell I have. If yer wanting my apology, fine, ye have it, but if ye be wantiní declarations of undying love and all that rot, ye should know me better than that; I think yer a fine woman, Elizabeth, and Iím all fer ye, and I wasnít meaniní on hurtiní yer feelinís this morning, but..." Jack shook his head helplessly and took another drink. "Ye knew who I was when ye bedded down with me, love. I canít change that."

"No more do I expect it, nor can I change who I am. I do not expect your love, Jack. I know I lost any chance at that when Will died and took my heart with him. However, I did expect to be treated better than a slattern." She raised her chin, trying not to let him see how hurt sheíd been.

Wondering idly if there was enough rum in all the Caribbean to get him through this, Jack drained the bottle and tossed it away. "If I was treatiní you like a slattern, youíd know it," he commented. "Ye want to be wakiní up with me, fine, go back to bed, Elizabeth, and Iíll try to make it up to ye."

She sighed wearily. "I donít know what you expect of me, Jack, nor what to expect of you," she admitted. "I know the different degrees of curtsy to make to every possible degree of nobility, the proper form of address for foreign dignitaries, but no one ever told me how to be a pirateís mistress." She squared her shoulders and stood up, moving back to the bed.

"Will you come to bed with me?" If that was the only place they could communicate just now, so be it. Perhaps when they came to know each other better, things would grow easier. She hoped so because she did care for Jack, aggravating pirate though he was.

Breathing a sigh of relief that she seemed to be over her anger, Jack nodded and stripped off his boots and shirt, eyeing Elizabethís expression warily before shucking off his trousers as well. "I could be sayiní the same of you, you know," he commented, settling onto the bed and holding out a hand for Elizabeth to join him. "Yer quite different than the women Iíve bedded before." He gave a small smile. "Fer one, yer not asking me fer yer payment the moment weíre done."

Elizabethís hand moved, but she restrained herself, gritting her teeth. "One warning, Jack. Compare me to a doxy again and Iíll slap your head clean off!" She gripped his hair and pulled him into a kiss, thinking that they did much better when speech was not involved.

Deciding he was much safer with this route, Jack slid a hand around the back of Elizabethís neck, gentling the kiss until it was a featherlight tease and she was relaxing against him.

"Mmm." She sighed happily, arms curling around his neck as she settled onto the bed at his side, half atop him with one thigh lightly lying across his growing erection.

"And what can I do for ye this morning, sweet Elizabeth?" Jack whispered, trailing kisses along her jaw until he could lip her earlobe. "Nothiní too strenuous as Iím guessiní yer a bit sore still."

"You, er, kissed me last night and said youíd show me how to do that for you," she whispered, blushing so hard she thought she burst into flames.

"Well, yes, I did, but..." Comprehension dawned, and Jack grinned crookedly. "That I did. He stroked a hand down Elizabethís back, feeling her shiver beneath the fabric of her dressing gown. "The first thing Iíll warn ye is keep yer teeth covered, savvy?"

"My teeth?" Elizabeth looked blank then her eyes widened as she understood. "Oh! Yes, I see." She reached down to untie her robe, amazed at her own boldness, but she was finding she liked the freedom she found in Jackís bed.

Remembering how Jack had kissed and nibbled on her, she copied what he had done, pleased when her open-mouthed kisses made him tremble.

"I think Iíll be makiní sure Iím wakiní ye before leavin every morniní from now on," Jack panted, stroking his hands over Elizabethís back and shivering when her heavy hair slid over his skin.

"Good," she purred against the indentation of his navel, nipping at the taut flesh before gradually working her way lower again. She hesitated, then took a deep breath and pressed a kiss to the tip of his shaft.

Jack groaned and tried to keep still though he wasnít quite successful at it, not being used to curbing his impulses. "That you are, love," he murmured, pushing up onto his elbows in order to watch his own seduction.

Elizabeth tentatively touched her tongue to him, finding the taste odd but not unpleasant. She licked him, then remembering Jackís comment about teeth, opened her mouth wider and took the end inside, sucking gently.

Keeping to himself the comment that Elizabeth was already better at this than some of the whores heíd known, Jack let his eyes fall half closed, enjoying her explorations and growing boldness.

Initially startled by a small spurt of moisture, Elizabeth quickly realized it signaled Jackís enjoyment, and she spent a very pleasurable few minutes trying to coax more out. Her fingers explored him curiously as she did, learning the shapes and textures of him, and she rubbed his sac, remembering how Will had liked that the one time sheíd tried it.

"Ah, love, youíre doing grand," Jack murmured, reaching out and stroking her cheek, Elizabethís combination of innocence and carnality making him grow harder.

She made a soft sound of agreement, enjoying what she was doing and loving every sign of Jackís pleasure. Carefully, she lowered her head, taking a bit more of him into her mouth, and she started to suckle on him, wanting to taste more of him.

Jack groaned and arched upward, his hips moving in small circles. "Careful," he murmured, "or ye might get a surprise there."

It took a moment for Elizabeth to understand what he meant, but when she did, she didnít care. She liked the taste of him, and more could only be better. She murmured wordlessly, letting him know sheíd heard him, but instead of pulling back, she took more of him into her mouth, only stopping when she started to gag.

"Brazen wench," Jack muttered fondly, his head falling back on his shoulders as he closed his eyes. His control began to slip as Elizabeth grew surer of herself, and he tensed, groaning out her name before his climax overcame him.

Elizabeth tried to swallow it all, but she was taken by surprise, and a little bit trickled from the corner of her mouth. She kept him in her mouth until he twitched away from her, then sat up and smiled smugly down at him, licking her lips and wiping her face with the back of her hand. "You were right. I did like that."

Jack pulled Elizabeth toward him, kissing her hungrily before pulling back to lick his own seed from her face. "Well, then weíll have to do it often. What about you, though, sweet Elizabeth? What might I do for you?"

She laughed. "Youíre asking me? My experience, Jack, is somewhat limited, as you ought to recall." She lay against him, smiling despite the dull ache of arousal deep inside her.

He chuckled in response and ran his hands over her back. "Well, yeíve taken away one of my options quite skillfully, though I have other means at my disposal." He trailed his fingers over her sides and up to cup her breasts.

"I am confident that youíll find a way." She moaned as he fondled her breasts, back arching to press the rigid tips into his palms. One leg rose to stretch across his, and she began to rub against his hip.

"And Iíll do me best to live up to yer confidence." Jack raised a leg, pressing his thigh against her moist cleft as he rubbed his thumbs over her nipples. "I am Captain Jack Sparrow after all."

"So you are." Her fingers kneaded his upper arms, and she whimpered faintly. The tension inside her was twisting tighter, and she didnít know what to do about it. She rocked harder against him, twisting as she did, and she gasped as her nipples caught and pulled against his fingers.

"There ye go, love," Jack murmured, watching Elizabeth squirm atop him. "Ride it out, and yeíll find what yer looking for."

She stared at him blankly, almost blindly, her body moving without her conscious will. "J-just this?" she almost whimpered, her body tense as she sought her release. Her wetness smeared Jackís thigh, and she slid easily against him, her body clenching and releasing as the sensations flowed through her.

"Mmm, thatís it," Jack nodded, flexing his thigh muscles against her and groaning as he felt her grow wetter.

"Oh!" Elizabeth gasped and rocked faster, her nails digging into Jackís arms, then she stiffened and thrust hard against him as she came, her body pulsing in his embrace. She still felt empty, but she relaxed, the wild need satiated for the moment.

Once he felt Elizabeth collapse against him, Jack smiled and wound his arms around her waist again. "So, was that good morning more to yer liking?"

"Definitely," Elizabeth murmured, nuzzling contentedly against him. "Of course, a simple Ďgood morning, Iím going nowí would have worked too, but this was much nicer."

Jack nodded sagely. "Iíll try to remember that in the future."

"Iíd appreciate it. My hand hurts," Elizabeth replied, hiding her smile against his shoulder.

"And you think my face doesnít?" Jack asked, arching his eyebrows. "Iím not one who enjoys pain, love, no matter what you hear."

"Then perhaps you ought to stop giving people reason to hit you."

"Iíve never..." Jack began before catching sight of the glint in Elizabethís eye and shrugging. "Iím a pirate, love; I only do what comes naturally to me." He kissed her soundly and rolled them both to the side. "Which in this case is getting up on deck so the crew doesnít decide they can run the Pearl without me."

Elizabeth nodded. "I think Iíll sleep a bit more. Iím still tired." She watched Jack dress. "Wonít the crew resent me being here?" she asked quietly. "Is there nothing I can do?"

"Iíd say ye just did somethiní," Jack chuckled. "As fer what ye can do, Iíll send Anamaria in; yer about the same size, so she might have some pants and shirts to fit ye. Weíll start ye out small, and see where ye fit in."

Elizabeth simply nodded again, promising herself to speak to Anamaria about it. She refused to become nothing more than the captainís whore; her pride wouldnít allow it. "Iím sure weíll work something out."

"That we will, lass," Jack smiled, offering a bow before backing toward the door. "Now, get some rest; yeíve had a busy night and day."

She murmured something, already half asleep again.

The sound of the door opening woke Elizabeth out of a sound sleep, and she sat bolt upright, clutching the covers to her chest. "Oh, Anamaria. You startled me." She saw the bundle the other woman held. "Clothes?" she asked hopefully.

"Aye, Jack thought you might be liking them more than what you came aboard with." Anamaria walked closer and handed them over before stepping back to study Elizabeth, her hands on her hips.

"What?" Elizabeth had grown to like the other woman during their brief acquaintance the previous year, but she was uncomfortable being studied like that while naked in Jackís bed.

"Have you thought about what youíre doing?" the dark-complected woman asked, chuckling when Elizabethís eyes widened. "Oh, I donít mean shariní Jackís bed, youíre welcome to it and him; I just meant have you thought about the outcome?"

"The outcome? Well, I realize that I cannot ever go back to Port Royal, if thatís what you mean. Iím ruined now, not that I care."

Anamaria shook her head and smiled. "Thatís not quite what I meant, Elizabeth. Youíre a woman sleeping with a man; I believe you know what the general outcome of such a situation is?"

Elizabeth stared blankly before her eyes widened as she realized what Anamaria meant. "Oh! I had not thought..." she trailed off in confusion. "I would not bring a bastard into the world," she whispered unhappily, "but..."

"But you donít have any idea as to how to prevent it from happening." At Elizabethís unhappy nod, Anamaria smiled and held out a stoppered gourd. "Drink this every morning with your breakfast; itís my grandmotherís recipe, and sheís a voudoun priestess."

Hesitantly, Elizabeth took the gourd. Sheíd heard some of the tales about the native witches, and they made her uneasy, but she knew Anamaria took her pleasure as she would, and sheíd never had a child. Taking a deep breath, she unstoppered the gourd and raised it to her lips, swallowing it down despite the vile taste.

"Will you teach me how to make more?"

"Considering I donít want little ones running around the Pearl, most definitely."

"Thank you." Elizabeth was relieved by the solution to a problem she hadnít even considered. "Iíve no desire to raise a babe on a pirate ship."

Anamaria nodded. "And Iím sure Jack hasnít given it a thought; men never do. You want a word of advice: if youíre going to be staying aboard the Pearl, youíll have to be ten times the sailor as any of them just to make them admit you have a right to be here."

"Will you help me? Jack seems to think that sharing his bed is enough, but thatís not what I want. I want to make my own place here as you have. Iíll not be nothing more than a bedwarmer."

"Aye, I will, and Iíll let you know Iím glad to hear it. So then, if you want to learn, youíd best get up and dressed so you can start on your lessons."

Elizabeth waited, but it became clear that Anamaria had no intention of leaving to allow her to arise in privacy. She hesitated, then flung back the covers and rose to her feet, reaching for the clothes Anamaria held out to her. She dressed quickly, flags of color burning in her cheeks, then followed the other woman to the deck. "Where shall we begin?"

Jack eyed the two women as Anamaria showed Elizabeth around the Pearl and got her started on some minor tasks. He wasnít sure about this, but he also wasnít about to tell the young woman she couldnít be part of the crew; heíd been hit enough, thank you!

Elizabeth noticed Jack watching her, and she was pleased when he didnít object to her activities. Not that learning to repair lines was particularly exciting but at least she felt that she was contributing something. She wouldnít have minded fewer blisters, however. She winced as she eyed her palms, knowing that their ladylike softness would soon be replaced by calluses.

She glanced up at Jack, wondering if she was allowed to go up to him now that she was part of the crew, or at least trying to be. Sheíd noticed that there was a hierarchy of sorts, and she had no idea how she fit in.

Finishing his discussing with Gibbs, Jack dropped down from the quarterdeck, ambling up to where Elizabeth was working. "Anamaria tells me ye have the makings of a fine sailor," he announced, picking up one of the ropes and nodding approvingly at the clumsy, but sound, splicing.

"I didnít want the crew to resent me being here and not pulling my own weight," she admitted, rising to her feet and stretching her back, which was sore after bending over the ropes for so long. "And I would go mad if I could do nothing but sit in your cabin all day."

Jack smiled wryly. "Not yer idea of freedom, eh? Thatís square with me; Iíll not complain about ye wanting to learn yer way around the Pearl, and an extra hand is always welcome." Saying that, he examined Elizabethís blistered and bleeding palms. "Though weíd best clean yours up before ye eat, or ye wonít be able to hold a spoon."

She eyed them wryly. "Iím not sure it will make a difference, as much as they already hurt, but if you think it will help." She shivered slightly as he held her hands, her body softening even as she told herself sternly that he was simply looking at her injuries.

"If yeíll allow me the pleasure, Iíll tend to yer hands," Jack offered. "Might not do as good a job as yer William did, but Iíve a fair hand at it meself."

"I would be grateful." Elizabeth stared at his bent head as he inspected her palms, and she had to remind herself that allowing herself to become attached to Jack could only lead to much greater pain. Enjoy what you have, my girl. Donít look for more than he can offer. "You have a soothing touch when you wish," she finally said.

He looked up and flashed a grin that showed all his gold teeth. "I thought you might have learned that earlier, love." After cleaning her abrasions, he wrapped the worst of them in a clean rag and stood again. "Now then, after the meal, I want ye to look over the maps with Gibbs; if ye do any more to those hands, ye wonít be good fer anything fer a week."

"I donít want special treatment," Elizabeth warned though she didnít argue further. She didnít want to cripple herself, nor did she want to make it impossible for any more lessons.

"Like it or not, yeíll get some at least," Jack warned, taking her arm and helping her to her feet. "Or do ye think I take every new crewmember on the Pearl to my bed?"

"Aside from that," Elizabeth blushed, settling against his side as they walked, finding that their steps meshed easily. "And I should hope you donít, or it will get very crowded in there."

Jack snickered and nodded toward the bow where one of the newer crewmen was coiling rope. "Youíve seen Perkins, love; what do you think?"

Elizabeth glanced over and wrinkled her nose. "I think Iíd rather sleep with Cotton and his parrot."

"Hmmm, didnít realize ye were into that sort of thing, my sweet," Jack murmured.

"What sort of thing?" she asked blankly, curious now. She was distracted by the rumbling of her stomach, reminding her that she hadnít eaten the morning, thanks to first her anger with Jack and then other things.

Jack snickered and leaned closer to Elizabethís ear. "Why, animals, love," he whispered, dancing back out of the way when she rounded on him. "Now, now, letís get some food in ye before ye blow away."

Elizabeth stared at him, mouth hanging open. He couldnít mean... No, surely he was jesting. But she still eyed him warily, trying to imagine how it could possibly work.

"Sweet Bess, youíre the one who brought Cottonís parrot into the discussion, arenít ye?" Jack asked innocently, ducking his head as they went belowdecks.

"I didnít mean that!" she exclaimed. "Never mind," she added hastily as she saw him open his mouth to reply. "Whatís for lunch?" she asked, trying to change the subject.

Jack glanced at the food set out on the rough plank table and grinned. "Looks to be things from yer fatherís kitchen," he smirked, clambering over the bench to take a seat along with the crew and looking back, waiting for Elizabeth to join them. "Itís not often we see fresh meat at sea, nor fresh bread, so eat up, love."

"And just how long do you stay at sea?" Elizabeth asked curiously, tearing into a leg of squab hungrily. Her fatherís cook knew just how she liked it, and she was glad not to have missed the meal, even if she was enjoying it under vastly different circumstances than originally planned.

"That depends." Jack shrugged, ripping a loaf of bread in half and biting down into the soft center. "If the weatherís fair and pickings are good, we can stay out for weeks. If itís otherwise or the Pearl needs repairs, we make for anchorage."

"Pickings," Elizabeth repeated, putting down her food, her appetite suddenly gone. Sheíd managed to forget that part, how Jack and his crew made their living by preying on other ships, stealing and killing. She swallowed hard. "I donít suppose youíd be willing to stick to French and Spanish ships?" Anything but English vessels.

Jack frowned and rubbed at his chin. "Well now, thatís hard to do, ye know. For a pirate to pass by a ripe plum goes against his nature, savvy?"

"Privateers survive, and they donít attack ships of their own country," Elizabeth said desperately, aware of a sick feeling as she contemplated being aboard the Pearl while Jack attacked fellow Englishmen and women.

Raising a glass of pilfered wine to his lips, Jack studied the girl for long moments. "Well now, I donít seem to recall yer father or the Commodore clamoriní ta give us a marque, do ye?"

"My father would if you would honor it," she replied instantly. "Well, after he calms down," she added, honesty forcing her to admit that he was likely to be somewhat ruffled by the previous nightís activities.

Jack shook his head and laughed. "Love, after what I did last night, the only thing yer fatherís going to be wanting from me is a stretched neck after he has my bollocks cut off."

"Er, yes, for now. But heíll calm down eventually. Iíll write to him, explain that you didnít kidnap me... exactly," she added with a wry look at Jack. "Once I make him understand that heíd be doing it for me..." She shrugged. "Iím his only child and all he has left of my mother."

"Ye can try, Bess," Jack answered, highly doubting Governor Swann would agree to any such thing but deciding that letting Elizabeth have her dreams could cause no harm. "Just donít be disappointed when naught comes of it."

"Promise me that if he does accept, so will you."

"Elizabeth..." Jack said, wincing at the very thought of pursuing an honest trade. "Thatís quite the thing to ask."

"Iím not asking you to stop being a pirateóIím not that big a fool," Elizabeth replied, trying to ignore the interested gazes of the Pearlís crew. "Only to leave English ships be. Iíll cheer you on in attacking Spanish or French ships. And just think, the English navy would no longer attack you."

"If yer father agrees, and mind you, girl, thatís a mighty large if, Iíll consider it."

Elizabeth smiled the smile of a woman who knows how to get a man to give her what she wants, and Anamaria ducked her head to hide a grin. The rest of the crew frowned slightly, but Elizabethís argument swayed them. They would still have plenty of treasure ships to attack, and immunity from the Royal Navy was no small thing. If the wench could manage it, the crew would go along.

"Thank you," she murmured, taking a mouthful of her rum.

Jack grumbled an unintelligible answer and went back to his eating, knowing sheíd gotten the best of him but unsure as to how it had happened.

Elizabeth smiled again and waited till Jack seemed to be slowing down in his eating before speaking again. "After that meal and in this heat, Iím very tired. I think a nap would be nice. What do you think, Jack?"

"Iíll join ye if the captain wonít," one of the crewmen called out.

Jack turned slowly and looked at the young cur. "I think yer throatís going to be joininí my knife if I hear another word from ye," he said matter-of-factly as the sailors sitting between them drew back so as to be out of the way if things got ugly.

The young sailorís eyes widened, and his mouth opened and closed a few times without anything coming out. Heíd seen many women with the captain in the few months heíd sailed on the Pearl, and he hadnít realized that there was anything special about this one. Though come to think of it, the captain had gone out of his way to get her, and she was on the Pearl, which none of the others had been. "Sorry," he managed sullenly. "Dinít mean nuttiní by it."

"Jack," Elizabeth said softly. "Youíre the only one I was inviting." Her hand fell to her sword, now hanging from a belt around her waist, and her eyes warned the crewman that she was willing to use it.

"I know that, Bess," he answered, watching the young sailor through narrowed eyes for a moment longer before nodding and taking up his goblet again, his expression once more affable as he looked back at Elizabeth. "And now everyone else does too. As fer that nap, Iíll settle ye in, but sadly I wonít be able to join ye."

"That wonít be nearly as pleasant. Perhaps I wonít bother then." She smiled suddenly. "You could teach me to steer the Pearl."

"Yer looking a might ragged, love," Jack commented that evening as he watched Elizabeth collapse onto the bed without removing so much as her shoes.

"You do this every day?" she groaned. "I thought you kidnapped me because you wanted me in your bed, not to kill me. I have aches where I didnít know I could ache."

Jack leaned against the table and shook his head. "Yer the one who wanted to be pulliní yer weight, sweet Bess. Ye canít blame me fer those particular aches."

"Yes, I can. Itís your ship, youíre here, and youíre a man. Itís your fault."

"I think not," Jack answered in an offended tone.

She raised her head to grin at him. "Convince me otherwise."

"Will I be heariní that my convinciní gave ye more aches?"

"I think it might work some of them out." She sat up on the bed, smiling at him invitingly. "If you think youíre up to it, that is."

"Oh, I am," he chuckled, pushing up off the table and undoing his sash from around his waist. "The question is if ye are."

Elizabeth watched avidly, licking her lips as each bit of Jackís flesh was bared. "Iím feeling better by the moment," she murmured, tugging her shirt free of the snug pants Anamaria had given her and pulling it over her head.

"Are ye now?" Jack asked, smirking as he shed the rest of his clothes and moved closer to lend a hand in getting Elizabeth out of hers, though his helping was more in the form of exploring her exposed flesh.

"Itís simply miraculous how much better I feel." Elizabeth rose onto her knees, arms going around Jackís neck to rub against him, her mound settling against his erection and making her gasp.

Jack chuckled low in his throat and tumbled them both back onto the bed, ending up on his back with Elizabeth lying on top of him. "Glad to hear it, love," he murmured, stroking his hands over her back and down to her ass as he nibbled at her jaw.

"Oh Jack, I want you so much I ache," Elizabeth gasped, rocking against him. "Please, I want you inside me," she demanded, blushing at her own bold words but too eager for him to care. And she knew that Jack would not mind; he would enjoy her demand.

"So take me, sweet Bess," he sighed, rocking up against her and resting his hands on her thighs, urging her to spread her legs and ride him.

Elizabethís eyes widened as she stared down at him in confusion. "But... how?" she asked helplessly, never having considered anything other than Jack atop her. She was already writhing against him, moaning as they rubbed against one another.

Striving not to chuckle at her naivete even as he was aroused by it, Jack settled Elizabethís legs around his before shifting his hands to her waist. "Sit up, love. Yeíll find weíll fit well together this way as well."

Somewhat shocked, Elizabeth did as he bade her, whimpering when his rigid shaft settled against the part of her that was aching for him. She didnít need his hands on her hips urging her to understand what to do next, rising to her knees and sinking back down onto him, filling herself with him.

She cried out, her back arching and her head falling back as he went deep inside her this way. Without conscious volition, her hips began to move, riding him so that his shaft slid in and out of her grasping body.

"Aye, thatís it," Jack praised, arching up to meet her downward motion as he slid his hands up her body to cup and play with her breasts.

"Jack!" Her nails bit into his shoulders as her splayed hands clenched, like a kitten kneading a featherbed in pleasure. She rocked against him, finding the movements that pleasured them most, tiny whines of delight falling from her lips with every breath.

He made a questioning noise, doubting that Elizabeth wanted an answer, and kept moving, dropping one hand between her thighs to play with her pearl and sitting up as much as he was able to kiss her.

Elizabeth shrieked into the kiss as Jackís movement and knowing fingers made her explode with pleasure, which only made her want more. She moved frantically, hips thrusting against his, her body slick and tight around him.

Jack groaned as Elizabeth clenched around him but rode out her climax, wanting to feel more of the same before he spent.

She kissed him hungrily, tongues tangling together in first one mouth then the other as they tried to consume one another. Their bodies thrashed together, raw and desperate, and Elizabeth didnít care who heard her cries as she took him inside herself.

Growling under his breath, Jack tightened his arms around Elizabeth and rolled them both over so that he was atop her and plunging deeply into her heat. He felt her tense and pulled back to watch the ripple of emotion that passed over her face as she came again, and this time, he joined her.

Elizabeth lay beneath Jack, arms and legs loosely wrapped around him, sweaty, sore, and panting, and sheíd never felt better in her life. She laughed softly. "Had I known what I was missing, I would never have gone back to Port Royal last year."

Jack chuckled and licked at the damp skin of Elizabethís neck. "Iím beginning to think I should have taken both of ye over the side when I went," he murmured.

Elizabeth was silent for a moment, thinking that Will would still be alive if he had, but she wouldnít be here with Jack. Sheíd lost one lover and gained another. "I donít think Will would have wanted that. He wanted respectability, Jack, far more than I ever did. I suppose we both wanted to change our lives." She closed her eyes, then opened them again to smile wryly. "I certainly seem to have my wish." Tired, she let her legs fall flat, though she remained motionless aside from that, enjoying the sensation of Jack inside her and not wanting to lose him yet.

"Aye, that ye have," Jack said, rising up on his elbows to look down at her. "And if I had done that, I donít believe Iíd have been enjoyiní this kind of companyówith either of ye."

"Most likely not," she agreed. "I miss Will terribly, but I cannot regret ending up here with you." She raised a hand to cup his cheek, her fingertips brushing the beads and dice braided into his hair. "Though my father will likely never recover from the shock when he finds out I remain with you of my own volition."

"Iím sure heíll think I beat you senseless to make you decide that," Jack mused, rolling to his back and bringing Elizabeth with him. "I suppose Iíd have to correct him and tell him that youíre the one who hits me."

"Iíd be happy to demonstrate if you like."

Jack chuckled and shook his head. "Thank ye, no sweet Bess. As I told ye, Iím not one for pain."

Elizabeth smiled down at him. "I hardly think my father would enjoy a demonstration of the pleasure we find together," she said wryly before sighing. "I have no idea how Iím going to explain all this to him."

"Iíve no idea myself, love," Jack shrugged. "Nothing we can do about it now; get some sleep, and ye can think about it tomorrow."

Jack was right that there was nothing to be done, so Elizabeth laid her head on his chest and closed her eyes, falling asleep almost immediately.

Waking the next morning Elizabeth was momentarily disoriented by the fact that her featherbed seemed to have grown harder and was shifting beneath her; then she realized that she was lying on top of Jack Sparrow, and she smiled. She raised her head to look at him, a finger lightly tracing his lips.

"Hmm?" Jack opened one eye and smiled lazily. "Morniní, love. Feeliní better today?"

"I like waking up this way," Elizabeth murmured, kissing him lightly. "Itís much more pleasant than a maid flinging open the curtains to let the sun in."

"Iíll have to take yer word on that, Bess," he chuckled, "never having had the experience myself."

"I do not recommend it. Iíd much rather wake you this way..." she trailed off suggestively as she kissed him again, then began laying a trail of kisses down his neck and over his chest, licking and biting as she explored him languidly.

Jack groaned and closed his eyes, reaching up and threading his fingers through Elizabethís loose hair. "Iím all for that."

Elizabeth chuckled. "I rather thought you might be." She concentrated on the hardened nubs of his nipples, enjoying the gasps and tightening grip on her hair as she tried to bring him the same pleasure he gave her.

"Ye know me well, lass," he rasped, arching up against her teasing mouth and loosening one hand from her hair to pluck at her nipples, bringing them to equally tight peaks as his own.

She gasped and hesitated as Jack turned the tables on her, then attacked his body with renewed determination. Her mouth fastened onto one nipple, teeth biting down to just this side of pain, and she suckled strongly. Her hands, only slightly sore thanks to the rest the previous afternoon, glided over him, fingers gliding lightly over his ribs as she sought to find out if the infamous Captain Jack Sparrow was ticklish.

"Bess, what are ye..." Jack managed to get out before he began squirming, trying to get away from her marauding fingers, helpless laughter spilling from his lips as she continued her assault.

Elizabeth grinned smugly as Jack laughed and squirmed, enjoying the playful moment. "So, the infamous Captain Sparrow is ticklish, is he? I wonder what people would think of that?" she teased.

"And just whoíd be telliní them that?" Jack panted, torn between shielding his ribs and catching hold of Elizabethís hands.

"And why wouldnít I?" Elizabeth laughed as she watched him. "It might be amusing."

"Fer who?" Jack asked, finally managing to catch Elizabethís hands and get them away from his ribs.

"Why, for me, of course." Elizabeth smiled down at him as he restrained her. "Youíre going to have to let go of me eventually, you know."

"So ye can go back to tickliní me? I think not, sweet Bess."

"So weíre going to stay in this bed for the rest of our lives?" Pale brown eyebrows rose. "I think your crew might object to feeding us and having to empty the chamber pot." Since her hands were held immobile, she lightly stroked along the outside of his calf with one foot. "How can I convince you to let me go?"

Jack twisted, rolling them both over so that he was atop Elizabeth, her wrists still held firmly in his grasp. "Well, ye could moan all pretty like; that might help." Elizabeth tugged tentatively at his grasp, discovering that her helplessness to his strength aroused her. She could feel herself growing moist, and her legs parted to let Jack settle between them. The feel of him against her did make her moan, and she tried to press closer.

"Mmmm, very nice," he murmured, rocking against her, his erection sliding against her cleft and his chest brushing against the tips of her breasts. "Still not convinced, though."

She whimpered as she writhed beneath him, her arms stretched over her head as Jack held her captive. She thrust upward, trying to take him inside herself, but he pulled back every time she moved. "Jack, please," she panted.

"No more tickliní me?" he asked, still rubbing against her, his own muscles tight with tension.

"It was an accident... at first!"

"Now why arenít I believiní that, love?" Jack chuckled, canting his hips to slide just the head of his cock between her wet folds and into her.

"I have n-no idea," she gasped, moaning as he teased her and refused to go farther. "It was. How was I supposed to know that the infamous Captain Jack Sparrow was ticklish?" She tried to thrust upward, but Jack anticipated her move and drew back so he was still just barely within her. "Jack, stop teasing!" she wailed, fists clenched tightly and her body trembling with arousal.

"Of course, Bess," he grinned, thrusting forward until he was fully seated in her body. "All ye had to do was ask, ye know."

She glared at him even as she gasped with relief as he filled her. "Bloody pirate," she grumbled, moving beneath him, unconsciously tugging at his grasp on her wrists. Being so helpless was arousing her still more, and she moaned as he moved slightly within her. "More," she demanded.

Jack laughed aloud before lowering his head to claim Elizabethís mouth with his own, rocking their bodies together as he did so. "That I am, love," he husked, once they could breathe again, "and would ye have me any other way?"

She chuckled faintly. "I cannot even imagine you any other way," she admitted, her legs rising to wrap around his waist. She moaned as his next stroke took him deeper inside her, and she licked at his lips hungrily.

Jack purred in agreement and raised Elizabethís arms higher over her head, drawing her breasts taut beneath his appreciative gaze as he rocked into her, each stroke sweeter than the last.

Elizabeth cried out as her body convulsed in pleasure and Jack never paused in his movements, not letting her calm before driving her toward another peak. She raised her head to capture his mouth with her own, feeding on him voraciously as he taught her more of what her body could feel.

The tremors in the silken flesh surrounding his cock made Jack shudder as well, and he groaned his arousal into Elizabethís mouth as she kissed him. Finally tearing his lips away, he dipped his head lower to nip and suckle at the inviting mounds of her breasts.

"Jack!" Her back arched, offering her breasts to him as his teeth scraped a sensitized nipple, making her shiver. She felt his mouth on her, his hands restraining her, his cock inside her, his body covering her; she felt consumed by him, and she never wanted it to stop.

Jack murmured an unintelligible response as his lips skated across Elizabethís chest to latch onto her other nipple, her shudders beneath him bringing him nearer to his climax with each thrust.

Her legs rose higher around him as she tried to open herself still more to his possession, gasping as she neared another climax. "Oh God, yes!" she gasped, her fists tightly clenched where he held them above her head.

Holding out until he felt Elizabeth clench around him again, Jack bellowed out his climax into the soft skin of her chest, his hips rocking in short arcs as he lifted his head to find and explore her mouth one final time.

Elizabeth whimpered into the devouring kiss, her body still trembling with aftershocks of pleasure. Once Jack let her breathe again, she started to giggle. "Now isnít that a better way to wake up than alone?"

Jack released his hold on Elizabethís wrists and felt her arms wrap around his back. "Aye, that it is, love, though I could have done without the tickling."

"Well, itís nice to know that you have a weakness," Elizabeth teased, hands stroking his back as she held him close.

"Besides rum and the Pearl?" he asked, grinning.

"I think you have rum in your veins instead of blood," Elizabeth laughed. "But this is something I can use," she added mischievously.

"Use how?" Jack asked, looking confused.

"Well, rum and your ship are no use to me when I want you to do something, but tickling..." She trailed off with a grin.

"Elizabeth! Ye wouldnít!" Jack said, looking shocked.

Her wicked laugh was all the answer she gave him.

"Fah! Wimmen!" Jack snorted, giving her a kiss before rolling off the bed and to his feet, rummaging around for his clothes.

She started to snuggle back into the covers before realizing that if she wanted to be part of the crew, she had to work the same hours. With a heartfelt groan, she sat up, pushing tangled honey-brown hair out of her face. "What should I do today?" she asked around a massive yawn.

"Ask Gibbs when ye get on deck," Jack answered, pulling on his clothes. "Iím sure heíll find a way to keep ye busy." Bending, he kissed Elizabeth again and started out of the cabin.

Elizabeth watched the delectable sight of Jackís behind in the tight trousers he favored until he was out of sight before finally getting out of bed and dressing as well.

On deck, it seemed as if the entire crew was milling about, and it took her a few moments to find Gibbs and even longer to work her way to his side. "Iíd like to know what I can do to help," she announced.

Gibbs eyes her narrowly, then nodded at a bucket and scrub brush near the mast. "The deck needs washiní, Miss... Bess."

Momentarily taken aback, Elizabeth realized that if she expected to be part of this crew, she had to be a little more like them. And if calling her Bess would do that, she had no objection. She did, however, groan as she eyed the seemingly vast expanse of the Black Pearlís deck. "Aye, sir," she said ruefully.

Gibbs chuckled. "Save your sir-ing for the captain, lass. Now get to work."

With a final woeful glance at her hands, which she felt sure would never again resemble soft, ladylike appendages, Elizabeth went to collect the bucket filled with water and harsh lye soap and a scrub brush. "Suddenly Norrington doesnít look so bad," she muttered under her breath.

"Hmm, what cha writiní there, Bess?" Jack asked, leaning over her shoulder to look down at the paper she was filling with neatly written lines.

"A letter to my father. Iím sure heís beside himself with worry over me, and I really must let him know that Iím well. And I need to test the waters of his feelings toward you. It wonít be easy convincing him to give you letters of marque, but Iím sure I can manage it eventually."

"Mmm," Jack answered noncommittally, dropping to the bed and crossing his arms behind his head as he studied the young woman. "I wish ye all the luck in the world, love. So, what are ye telling him?"

"That Iím well and miss him. That I wish I hadnít had to leave, but it was a better choice for me than Norrington. That you saved me from misery. And... no," she decided, "I think thatís all for this letter. Father canít be pushed. Iíll have to lead up to the subject of you and me staying with you gradually."

"Probably fer the best," he nodded. "Weíll be putting into port at Tortuga in a few days; we can find someone to take it to Port Royal from there."

"Tortuga?" Elizabeth looked up from her letter. "Will we be staying there long?" She yearned for a bed that didnít rock and a long, leisurely bath in water that wasnít salt.

Jack shrugged. "A few days most likely; need to stock up on supplies and shot." He reached for the bottle of rum near the bed and took a drink. "Mind ye, Bess, ye shouldnít go wanderiní about there by yourself."

"íBy...í" She stopped abruptly and stared down at her letter again. "I see."

"Do ye?" Jack asked.

"It would seem so. Donít worry, Jack, I wonít bother you." Elizabeth squared her shoulders and raised her head to meet his gaze impassively.

Jack sat up and stared at her, frowning. "And just what do ye mean by that, love?" he asked.

Now Elizabeth hesitated, suddenly uncertain. "But, you said... I thought you meant us to go our separate ways in Tortuga?"

"So ye could slap me more? No thank ye, Bess," he chuckled. "I was telliní ye that to warn ye about goiní off on yer own is all."

"Oh." She smiled again. "In that case Iím going to need to talk to Anamaria. I need to know what to wear!"

"What to..." Jack shook his head, perplexed but deciding it wasnít worth asking about. "Aye, you go do that, love."

"I hope I have something appropriate. All my clothes are probably too stuffy," Elizabeth was mumbling as she made for the cabin door.

Jack took another swig of rum, chuckling and shaking his head, wondering just how heíd gotten into such a fix but not minding.

Elizabeth stood at the rail beside Jack, eager to climb down to the dinghy and experience Tortuga firsthand. Ever since Will had told her about his brief visit, sheíd been dying to see it, and now she was about to. She tugged at the neckline of the shift she was wearing for a shirt, wondering if sheíd been right to let Anamaria talk her into wearing this immodest costume. But shift and single skirt without petticoats or stays was much cooler, she had to admit. And sheíd enjoyed the look in Jackís eyes when heíd seen her.

"Are we ready to go?" she asked impatiently, clutching Jackís arm.

Having made sure there was a skeleton crew left on board to watch over the Pearl, Jack nodded, cocking his hat at a rakish angle on his head. "That we are, Bess." He clambered over the railing and dropped down the rope ladder to the small boat, holding it steady for Elizabeth to follow him down.

Elizabeth followed him down, then scowled when she realized why heíd gone first. "You were looking up my skirt!"

"Now would I do that, love?" he asked, smirking.

"Yes!" She tried to glare but burst into laughter instead. "At least you made sure you were the only one below me."

"Aye, there is that," Jack murmured, waiting for Gibbs to join them before taking the oars and rowing for shore, heartily singing the song Elizabeth had taught him on the island as he rowed.

Laughing, Elizabeth joined in, and Gibbs applauded as they reached the dock. "Why thank you, kind sir," she said with a smile, managing to give the impression of a curtsy despite being seated in a boat. She looked around eagerly as Jack helped her out, and she held his hand tightly as she drank in the colorful port.

"Take care, Bess," Gibbs called out as he tied the small craft to the dock.

"Ahh, but whatís the fun in that?" Jack asked, smirking as he looked over his shoulder before facing front again. "Welcome to Tortuga, love. What are ye up for?"

"Everything. I want to see it all," Elizabeth replied excitedly. Then she eyed a woman who was stalking toward them with blood in her eye. "Does any woman ever greet you without slapping you?"

"Scarlet..." Jack winced, already anticipating the resounding slap she dealt him.

"And whoís this?" the redhead snapped.

Elizabethís eyebrows rose. "Bess," she replied, having decided to use that name with her new companions. Elizabeth sounded too ladylike for her new life. "And Iíll thank you to keep your hands to yourself."

"Best you tell that to Jack," the older woman sniffed, sneering at them in a way that had Jack cringing again.

"Now, ladies, thereís no need to fuss," he began.

"Certainly not," Elizabeth replied, releasing his hand to take a possessive grip on his arm. "Thereís no reason to remain here any longer either. You promised to show me Tortuga, Jack."

Still keeping one eye on Scarlet, Jack nodded. "Right then, off we go, Bess. First thing we should do is to see if we can find someone to post that letter."

Elizabeth nodded, ignoring Scarlet utterly. "And then perhaps something to eat? Iím very tired of shipís fare."

Jack nodded as they walked away. "Need to stock up on me rum as well..."

Elizabeth rolled her eyes. "You know, Jack, it is not truly necessary to drink oneís own weight in rum each day."

"It isnít, but itís damn enjoyable."

"I can see that Iím going to have to work harder to show you that other things can be more pleasurable."

Jack chuckled. "Funny, thought I was the one who showed you that."

"Apparently you need reminding of it."

"Going to take me up against an alley wall?" Jack didnít sound all too adverse to it.

"Well, I donít think that would work well as I donít have the anatomy to take you," Elizabeth chuckled, "but the reverse sounds like fun." She could hardly believe that she was saying such a thing, but the moment Jack suggested it, she wanted to do it.

"Just because ye canít take me doesnít mean ye canít be in control... Savvy?" Jack asked, grinning when he saw the light in Elizabethís dark eyes and knew his suggestion had touched a chord within her.

She remembered the night Jack had taught her to ride him, and she bit her lip as she felt the moisture gathering at her center. "Where?" she rasped, lust-widened eyes fixed on him hungrily.

"Thatís somethiní that ye canít plan, love." Jack pulled his hand from Elizabethís and slid his arm around her waist, giving her backside a pat as he did so. "Yeíll know when the time and the place are right."

Elizabeth shivered. "Iíd say the time is right now," she half-moaned, pressing against him, uncaring of who might be watching.

"And here I thought ye were worried about lettiní yer father know ye were all right."

That gave her pause, and she looked around as if hoping to see a line of volunteers to carry her correspondence. "Oh, very well, we shall find a ship sailing for Port Royal first and hand over my letter. And then you, Captain Jack Sparrow, will make good on your promises."

"Well, Bess?" Jack asked much later in the day as he helped her readjust her shift and smooth down her skirts. "What do ye think of my promises now?"

"I think I like the way you fulfill them." She brushed her light brown hair out of her eyes and smiled at Jack. "Though Iíve still not seen anything of Tortuga."

"And is that my fault?" Jack asked innocently. "Truth be told, love, thereís not much to see if yer not fer drinkiní or whoriní."

She frowned darkly at the final word. "Then take me to a pub. Anamaria told me of grog, which sounds more palatable than rum. Iíd like to try it."

"But Bess..." Jack began before deciding that saying that she looked a bit too much like a lass whoíd been freshly tumbled to go to a tavern would just get him slapped again. He tucked himself back in his pants and smoothed his mustache. "Best get ye some food as well so ye donít pass out on me."

Before she could reply, her stomach rumbled, and they both laughed. "But stay close, Jack. Iím curious, not an idiot. Iím well aware of what would happen to me on my own... especially since I look particularly approachable just now," she added wryly.

"I, ah, thought it best not to mention that," Jack answered sheepishly, sliding his arm around her again as they walked out of the alley and toward a tavern. "One word of warniní, Bess; donít go slappiní every man ye hear talkiní rough."

"If I did that, Iíd have been tossed over the side of the Pearl on the first day!" Elizabeth laughed, leaning into him slightly as they walked. "Iíll only hit the ones who touch."

"Now then, thatís fine." They walked along the rutted street, Jack splashing through puddles, Elizabeth stepping around them, and arrived at one of the taverns. Jack pulled open the door, holding it open for Elizabeth and giving her a cocky bow. "After you, mílady."

She gave a small curtsy before stepping through the doorway, blinking as her eyes adapted to the dim interior. When she saw all the eyes fixed upon her, she wanted to shrink behind Jack but instead raised her chin, squared her shoulders, and marched resolutely toward a vacant table.

Swaggering along behind Elizabeth, Jack returned the calls of greeting, laughing off the few who cursed him as of being no consequence. He settled down at the table Elizabeth had found and waved over a barmaid. "Rum fer myself and grog fer the lady," he ordered.

She sniffed. "Lady is it?" and flounced away.

Elizabeth blinked. "And to think I thought I only needed to change my clothes to fit in," she murmured.

"Donít mind her, love," Jack smiled, tipping his chair back against the wall and crossing his arms behind his head but keeping an eye on the room, noting those who seemed a bit too interested in Elizabeth.

She shrugged slightly, taking in the shadowy room with its exposed beams and nearly overpowering scent of rum, ale, and roast pig, which apparently was the dayís offering for food. "No, I wonít. Iíd just like to find someone who accepts me rather than expecting me to be something else," she sighed. "Other than you, that is."

"Give it time, love," Jack counseled. "Ye were a lady longer than yeíve been a pirate wench."

"Iím neither. Iím... me." She shrugged helplessly. "Part lady, part wench, part I donít know what yet. And youíre the only person who seems to understand that and be willing to let me find out." She eyed him. "Why is that, Jack?"

He shrugged. "Dunno rightly, love. People see what they want to, or maybe what they expect to, and donít bother to look beyond it." He paused and grinned. "Why do ye think Iíve gotten away as many times as I have?"

She smiled. "I see your point." She looked up as the barmaid slammed their mugs onto the table. Waiting till the buxom blonde flounced away after Jack paid her, Elizabeth took a tentative sip of her grog, then smiled delightedly. "This is wonderful!"

Jack shook his head and drank his own rum. "Seems a waste to be wateriní it down like that if ye ask me."

"I didnít," Elizabeth retorted, taking another swallow. "I like it much better this way." She leaned over the table and kissed him, blushing slightly at her own brazenness. "See? Doesnít that taste good?"

"You or the drink?" Jack asked, enjoying the view down Elizabethís top as she bent over.

"Well, I meant the drink but..." She got and moved around the table to settle herself in his lap, blushing more strongly, but she had decided that if she was going to be a pirateís woman, she was going to take what she wanted. And she wanted Jack. She liked touching him and having him touch her, and she knew he liked it when she acted boldly.

Jack laughed aloud as Elizabeth settled herself in his lap, and he slid an arm around her waist, pulling her fully against his groin. "Thatís fine by me, love," he murmured, nuzzling her neck before taking another drink from his mug. "One night Iím going to have to have rum-flavored Bess; that would be fine."

"Rum-flavored..." She blushed, but the idea intrigued her even if she couldnít imagine quite how Jack planned to manage it. "You are a rogue, Jack Sparrow," she murmured, stealing his rum long enough to take a mouthful, then turning her head to kiss him, letting the fiery liquid spill from her mouth to his.

After swallowing the liquor and delving into Elizabethís mouth to search for the last remaining tastes of it, Jack pulled back, looking content. "That I am, sweet Bess; would you have me any other way?" As he spoke, he patted her backside, smirking as she squirmed.

Elizabeth jumped, startled, but she realized that she liked it. "I think I might have you any way at all, Jack Sparrow. But I rather like you just the way you are."

"Glad to hear it, love," he grinned, leaving his hand against her hip and reaching for the plate when the serving maid brought them their food. "And itís a right feast weíre having."

"Pirate bounty," Elizabeth laughed, helping herself to a turkey leg and offering it to Jack after taking a bite. A tiny part of her was surprised at her willingness to sit on a manís lap in public and calmly eat while he fondled her, but the biggest part, the part that was a pirateís wench, simply enjoyed herself.

"The best kind there is," Jack agreed, feeding her a tidbit and being fed in return until most of the food was gone. "Thatís better now, love. A full stomach always does wonders."

"And food is so much better for that than rum," Elizabeth pointed out smugly.

Jack stared at Elizabeth as if sheíd gone mad. "What are ye sayiní, woman?"

She rolled her eyes. "Donít worry, Jack, Iím not trying to make you give up the Ďdemon rum.í I know better. But I donít mind distracting you."

"Mmm, and how are ye planniní on doiní that now, sweet Bess?"

Elizabeth smiled. And squirmed.

Jack sat up straighter and wiped his fingers on his pant leg. "Well then, I think itís time I showed you a bit more of Tortuga, love."

Startled, Elizabeth twisted around to stare at him. "I thought we might make use of one of those rooms upstairs... you know, with the beds that donít move and are wide enough for us?"

"And are you complaininí about my bed on the Pearl?"

"Simply pointing out that more space is more comfortable."

Jack nodded slowly and smoothed his mustache. "Well, if itís more space yer wantiní, Iíve a thought to somewhere else we could go. Mind you, love, the beds upstairs are a might over-used."

Her nose wrinkled as she thought about that. "Perhaps I havenít given the Pearl a fair chance."

Struggling to hide a snicker, Jack nodded again. "But if itís a steady bed yer after, we can find one. Just for the night though, Iím not likiní leaviní the Pearl for too long." He slapped Elizabeth on the rump and stood after she did.

Jumping again, Elizabeth eyed him, then smacked him the same way. "I think I should be jealous of that ship."

Jack shrugged, not bothering to deny his connection to his ship.

Elizabeth laughed softly. "Itís fortunate that I know I can give you something she canít."

"True, she canít cook," Jack dead-panned.

Eyes narrowing, Elizabeth looked at him. "That might be all you get if youíre not careful."

"Elizabeth!" Jack protested, going wide-eyed. "You wouldnít do such a thing... would you?"

She burst into laughter. "Much as I hate to admit it, no. For Iíd be punishing myself as much as you."

"Glad you see it that way, love." Jack tossed a few coins on the table and guided Elizabeth through the packed room toward the door, keeping a wary eye out for anyone who decided to get grabby.

They had nearly reached the exit when Elizabeth cried out as someone pinched her bottom and yanked on her skirts, tumbling her into a smelly lap. Shrieking angrily, she tried to fend the man off, only managing to twist her face aside so his slobbering kiss landed on her cheek rather than her mouth.

"I wouldnít be doiní that if I were you. Savvy?" Jack asked, his voice as hard as the pistol he now had pressed against the sailorís temple. "If your hand moved, that might make my finger twitch, and, well, these fine people might find their meal spoiled."

Eyes wide, the brown-haired pirate raised his hands well away from the wench who scrambled from his lap. "Here now, no call for that. Was just haviní a bit oí fun."

Pressed tightly to Jackís side, his free arm around her shoulders, Elizabeth snapped, "I certainly wasnít! I suggest you ask in future. And stay away from me!" She shuddered with revulsion, even as a small part of her was relieved to find that she had been repulsed. At least she could be certain that it was Jack she was attracted to and not that she was a wanton.

"Remember that," Jack said, "or youíll be answeriní to me." That said, he tucked his pistol back into his sash and slid his arm around Elizabethís waist, escorting her from the tavern and into the night air.

"And who was he?" the pirate asked, being newly come to Tortuga.

The chorus of laughter was audible outside as the others explained to the newcomer that heíd just met and annoyed Captain Jack Sparrow of the Black Pearl.

"Well, that was most unpleasant," Elizabeth observed, pressing closer to Jackís warmth as the slight chill of the night air struck her. "But thank you for rescuing me from him."

"My pleasure, love," Jack smirked, bowing without moving his arm from around Elizabethís waist. "Now then, I believe we were looking for some accommodations..."

"Ship at ten oíclock, Capín," Gibbs bellowed, and Jack looked up from his compass, a truly evil grin spreading over his features. "Let her run, man," he answered, raising a spyglass to his eye and nodding at the colors the vessel was bearing. "Ready the cannons and the boarding lines; itís time to earn our keep."

Coming up onto the deck as Jack had let her sleep in that morning after keeping her up half the night, much to her enjoyment, Elizabeth sleepily rubbed her eyes only to freeze as she saw the distant ship. "Dear God," she whispered, paling. Sheíd known this day had to come, but somehow sheíd kept hoping that something would prevent it.

She moved to Jackís side, eyes fixed on the blot on the horizon. "What flag does she fly?"

"Donít fret, sweet Bess," Jack chuckled, handing over the glass. "Sheís Spanish. I take it we have your permission to board her?" The last was asked with a bit of wry cynicism.

"Would it have made a difference if Iíd said no?" Elizabeth replied with equal cynicism. "But to answer your question, Iíve no objection to looting the Spaniards. In fact, I applaud it." She raised her chin defiantly.

"A woman after my own heart," Jack nodded approvingly, stowing away the spyglass and his compass for the battle to come. "All right, lads, you know what to do. Strike the colors when weíre in range, man the cannons and the hooks, and prepare to board!"

Elizabeth swallowed hard, wiping her sweaty palms on her thighs before grasping the hilt of the sword she wore at her waist, praying fervently that Anamariaís lessons would keep her alive. Then she glanced at Jack, and another prayer winged heavenward as she realized how much he had come to mean to her. "Where should I be?" she asked, proud that her voice didnít tremble.

Jack narrowed his eyes without taking them from their fast-approaching prey. "Stay close to Gibbs, love. Heíll be able to keep an eye on you." That said, he turned his head and smiled before kissing her. "Take care, Bess; Iíve no desire to gain one treasure only to lose another."

That drew a smile from her despite the circumstances. "I think thatís the nicest thing youíve ever said to me, Jack." She kissed him quickly. "Be careful, for Iíve no wish to lose you either."

Idly scratching at the dried blood on his cheek, Jack grinned maniacally as the Pearl sailed away from the Spanish vessel. It had been a fine fight, with only a few injuries to speak of in his crew, and now... Now for the finest part of being a pirateóthe plunder. Assured of no pursuit, Jack barked a few last remaining orders and went to his cabin, his fingers already itching to delve through the chests and barrels theyíd liberated from the other ship.

Elizabeth glanced up as the cabin door opened, not pausing in her concerted effort to wash the blood spatters from her arms and face. Though she hadnít had to kill anyone herself, Gibbs had, and she bore the testimony. "Jack." Sheíd checked on him before coming below, needing to be certain he was unharmed, so her only reaction now was a wrinkled nose at the blood liberally bedecking him.

"Bess," he grinned, breaking off from his path to the chests to move toward the young woman, intent on assuaging another kind of hungeróat least for the moment.

"Ugh!" She threw the cloth at him, hitting him in the face with it. "Donít even think of coming near me till you bathe!"

Jackís eyebrows arched upward, and he tossed the cloth to the side. "Bathe?

But why?"

"Because youíre filthy and you smell!" Elizabeth made a face at him. "And I donít want blood on the sheets, so wash."

"Now, Bess, yer not sayiní yer denying me, are ye?"

"How many different ways must I say it? Iíll have nothing to do with you in that state, Jack Sparrow!" Wisely, she backed away, keeping the table between them.

Looking decidedly put out, Jack reached for a bottle of rum instead, slugging back a good portion of it and keeping hold of it as he dropped into a chair, grumbling to himself.

"Youíd better like that chair because you are not getting into our bed without cleaning up."

Jack turned his head to stare at Elizabeth. "What was that, Bess?"

She returned his stare. "Well, I suppose technically it is your bed, so I should say you wonít be getting into it with me in that condition!" She glared. "Iím sure Anamaria has room for me."

His dark eyes narrowed, and he turned back to the loot on the table. "If thatís what yer of a mind to do."

Her jaw dropped, and she gaped at him. Then she snatched up a candlestick and hurled it at him with a shriek of rage. "Are you telling me that your filth means more to you than I do?!"

Cursing as the candlestick caught him on the eyebrow, splitting it open, Jack sprang from the chair, fresh blood spilling down his face. He stalked toward Elizabeth, trapping her in the corner of the room. "And yer saying the same thing, or did ye not bother to think of it that way."

Elizabeth snarled and lunged for him, fingers curled into claws as she yelled curses at him. "You black-hearted bastard, you do think of me as no different than your filthy trollops!"

Jack ducked this attack and caught Elizabethís wrists in his hands to save himself a clawing. "I think of ye as my woman," Jack roared, thrusting his face close to hers, his eyes wild and half-mad. "And as a pirate, I get to take whatís mine." As he said this, he pinned her back against the wall, letting her feel his arousal.

She squirmed and kicked at him ineffectively. "And do I have no say in how we come together? Is it so much to ask you to clean the lifeís blood of victims from your body before you come to my bed?" She bit at him when he leaned closer.

He stopped at that and lifted his chin, looking down at Elizabeth through narrowed eyes. "Pirate life not much to yer liking now, is it?" he asked, letting go of Elizabethís wrists and backing away in one smooth movement.

"I..." It was her turn to raise her chin proudly. "You knew what I was when you stole me away, Jack Sparrow! I have done my best to fit in, to be what you wanted, and yes, Iíve enjoyed much of it! But why must I make all the changes? Why canít you do even this for me?" Anger was the cause the tears welling up in her eyes that she refused to let fall, nothing else, she promised herself.

"Because, Bess," Jack said, turning to leave and looking back at her over his shoulder, "ye ordered me to it instead of asking me."

Her eyes widening, Elizabeth stared at him, realizing that he was right. She was just so used to fighting for whatever she wanted that it had never occurred to her. Seeing that he was about to leave, she said, "Iím sorry," in a small voice.

Jack gave a small smile. "So am I, love," he murmured. "Iíll leave ye now seeing as Iím not fit company."

"Would you stay? Please?" she asked quietly. "And wash?" she added in a more normal tone.

"That depends." Jack turned, chuckling at Elizabethís perplexed look. "If yer going ta be tendiní this slice ye gave me." He ran his hand over his brow and his finger came away wet with blood.

She smiled sheepishly. "It would only be fair." She started to lean closer to kiss him, then shook her head. "Iím sorry, I canít, not with all that blood on you," she said helplessly.

Jackís expression shut down slightly, and he nodded. "Itís all right, love." He dropped back into the chair and pulled the scarf from his head to mop at his face. "Would ye mind bringing me a bowl and rag?"

Elizabethís shoulders slumped as she saw the look in his eyes before he looked away. She brought him the basin and cloth sheíd been using when he came in and knelt down at his side. "Maybe you should have Ďfreedí someone else," she said quietly, staring fixedly at his chest. "I donít know if I can be what you want."

He reached out a hand and tilted her chin so that she was looking at him. "Iíd have to say the same of myself. I canít be yer Will, Bess; itís not in me nature or me temperament."

She shook her head emphatically, sure of this if nothing else. "I donít want you to be Will, Jack. Itís you I want. I just... some parts of your life..." she shrugged helplessly.

Jack nodded and lifted the cloth from the water, wringing it out and wincing as he dabbed at his eyebrow. "Not quite what ye thought theyíd be, eh?"

"Actually, exactly that Iíd have thought theyíd be if Iíd allowed myself to think about it," Elizabeth sighed. Now that he was cleaned up somewhat, she rose up on her knees and took the rag from him, tending the wound sheíd caused.

"But ye didnítóow!--allow yerself to think of it before."

"No," she sighed. "I suppose I hoped that if I ignored it, it wouldnít happen. I want this, us, to work, Jack, but I donít know how. I canít be like you."

"Thatís because thereís only one Captain Jack Sparrow," Jack smiled, though the expression was fleeting. "I donít want ye to be me, love. I want ye to be yerself."

Elizabeth paused, a faint smile on her lips, "Do you know, I think youíre the only person in my life whoís ever said that to me and meant it. Even Will wanted me to be more ladylike."

Jack reached out and rubbed Elizabethís cheek with his thumb. "Canít say I mind the fact that yer a lady, sweet Bess, but I like the wench in ye and whatever other parts there are just fine."

Elizabeth started to speak only to bite off her words when she realized sheíd almost said she loved him... and she still wasnít entirely sure that she did, no matter how much she enjoyed being with him. Instead, she smiled sensually and said, "I like you in me."

Tossing the wet rag negligently into the wash basin, Jack pulled Elizabeth off the floor and into his lap. "Easy enough to arrange, that is, love."

"Have I mentioned how much I like your habit of taking what you want?" She spread her legs so she was straddling his lap, her center pressed against the bulge in his pants.

Jack opened his mouth to answer but decided that reminding Elizabeth she hadnít liked it quite so well only a short while ago would only have her hissing at him again. "Itís one of me favorite pastimes," he murmured, sliding one hand under her skirt and the other into her hair to pull her in for a kiss.

She whimpered into his mouth as his fingers slid inside her, making her back arch as she pressed down to take them deeper.

"So," Jack murmured, brushing his lips over the long lines of her neck, "am I clean enough to take to bed with ye now, love?" As he spoke, he twisted his fingers, rubbing his thumb over her pearl and feeling the fresh wetness soak her nether curls.

"Y-yes," Elizabeth panted, biting her lips to stop herself from begging. "Now, Jack," she demanded, fingers clenching in the long locks of his hair as she rode his fingers.

With a low grunt, Jack shifted the hold of both his hands to Elizabethís hips and stood, lifting her as well. He carried her to the bed and set her down, pausing only to undo his own breeches before joining her, rucking up her skirt to drive inward, groaning deep in his chest as he did so.

"Jack!" Elizabethís fingers tugged her bodice down, freeing her breasts, and she cupped them in her hands, raising and offering them to Jack, a sultry smile curving her lips. Her legs wound around his waist, opening her even more to his claiming thrusts.

"Thatís Captain Jack, sweet Bess," he chuckled before lowering his mouth to sup at her offered breasts, rolling the taut nipples between tongue and teeth one after another.

"Arrogant swine," she gasped, releasing one breast to curve the arm around Jackís back, nails digging into the supple muscles. "Oh God, yes!" she whimpered, writhing beneath him.

Jack drove deeper into Elizabethís pliant body, growling at the sensation of her pleasure. "Which is it, love?" he panted, managing a cocky grin at her perplexed look. "Arrogant swine or God, though God might be an arrogant swine fer all we know."

"Arrogant swine with delusions of godhood," she shot back, meeting his every thrust. "Damn it, Jack, shut up and just... you know." She still couldnít bring herself to use his very vulgar terms for what they were doing, not even while he was buried balls-deep in her.

"Fuck ye?" Jack asked, his grin growing when she flushed and nodded. "My pleasure, love, and yours as well." That said, he caught her nipple in his mouth again, sucking on it in time with his thrusts.

Both hands now clawing at Jackís back, Elizabeth increased the speed of her movements, the tension tightening in her core. "Jack, please, oh God..." she gasped.

Biting lightly on the distended peak of Elizabethís nipple, Jack drove forward, his own pleasure cresting as he felt her start to shake under him. "Now, Bess," he murmured against her damp flesh.

She shrieked as her climax burst through her, indifferent to whether the crew could hear her. All she felt, all she knew was Jack inside her and the pleasure overwhelming her, and she arched up hard, body clenching around the shaft filling her.

Jack bellowed out his own climax, then kissed Elizabeth hungrily, taking her mouth until they were both in need of air. "Ahh, Bess," he murmured, lifting his head and pushing back a damp lock of hair from her forehead. "Ye are a true treasure."

"As are you, Captain Jack Sparrow," she replied softly, smiling up at him. It was at moments like this that she knew that she could love him, and it frightened her, but she would not give up a moment of her new life.

"And a smart woman ye are for appreciatiní me as such," he grinned, wincing when the movement caused the cut on his eyebrow to open again.

Sighing, she sat up, pushing him up perforce as well. "Letís get you bandaged before you bleed all over me."

"Love in its finest form," Jack chuckled, kissing Elizabeth soundly before rolling off her and sitting up.

Her eyebrows rose. "Iíd just rather not have the bed linens all bloody."

"Iím at your disposal," he said grandly.

"Jackanapes." She rolled out of bed to get the bandages and basin, then came back and pressed the cotton pad to his head, trying to slow the bleeding before continuing.

Jack sighed. "Itís better than getting hit, I suppose."

"I can still go sleep in Anamariaís cabin," she warned. "And leave you to take care of this yourself."

"But then youíd miss out on what I plan on doing with some of that booty we brought onboard..." he said, smiling sensually. "Thereís a pearl necklace in particular Iíve got me eye on."

"What on earth..." She trailed off, choosing discretion. She was sure she would enjoy whatever Jack had in mind and equally sure that she would be incredibly embarrassed if he described it to her. "Sit still so I can take care of this." She set the pad aside and carefully dabbed at the blood around the wound with a dampened rag, cleaning him up again before bandaging his head.

"Iíve a letter for ye, love," Jack called, swinging agilely onto the Pearl from the longboat and tossing a small packet to Elizabeth before leaning back over the side to assist in bringing up the supplies theyíd bartered for in Tortuga. "Tíwas left at the Harbor Rest."

"A letter?" Startled, Elizabeth stared at him. "Who would be sending me a letter? For that matter, who even knows Iím on the Pearl?" She automatically reached down to help bring the supplies up even as she uttered the confused questions.

Jack paused and looked at her significantly. "Well, ye did write yer father three months ago... Perhaps he returned a missive to where it came from."

"It had been so long that I thought he would never reply, that he had disowned me," Elizabeth admitted quietly. "I... I will read it once we are done here," she decided, putting it off as long as possible, realizing that she was afraid that her father truly was disowning her.

"If thatís what ye think is best," Jack said wisely, having learned that trying to force Elizabeth to do something she wasnít ready for was as dangerous as facing the wrong end of the Pearlís cannon.

As she worked, Elizabeth couldnít help darting glances at Jack, knowing it was entirely possible that heíd already read her letter. Finally she couldnít put it off any longer, and she turned toward their cabin, intent on pouring herself a glass of port before reading it herself.

After making sure the goods were stored securely, Jack headed toward the cabin, a small cask of rum under his arm. He cocked an ear to the door but couldnít hear anything inside. "Hell and damnation," he muttered to himself before pushing open the door.

Elizabeth looked up from her intent concentration on the still wrapped packet in the center of the table when Jack walked in. "Iím afraid to open it," she whispered. "So long as I donít know, I can pretend my father still loves me, but this..." She gestured helplessly.

Jack sighed and walked over behind the chair, setting his cask down and leaning in to look over Elizabethís shoulder as he wrapped his arms around her. "Iíd be offeriní ta read it for ye, love, but I doubt I could make out half the words."

She closed her eyes and leaned back into Jackís embrace for a moment. "Thank you," she said simply as she opened them again and reached for the packet, opening it with fingers that trembled slightly.

Not making any attempt to hide the contents from Jack, she skimmed through it quickly, then reread it more slowly. "He... forgives me. He doesnít like my choice, but he accepts it. Oh Jack!" She took a deep breath, trembling on the brink of tears. "And he is willing to give you letters of marque if you agree not to prey on English ships!"

"Ruininí all me fun," Jack muttered, though his tone was tender as were his arms around her.

"I wouldnít have to worry so much about you," she cajoled.

"Missiní out on fat barges, loaded to the gunnels..." he continued to grumble.

"Capturing Spanish treasure ships and not being chased by the English navy," she retorted. "And Iím sure I could find some way to make it up to you."

He grinned slowly. "Oh really? And what way would that be, love? Tyiní me up with me scarves and haviní yer way with me?"

"Entirely possible. Or perhaps letting you tie me up. Or both." She turned in his arms so she was kneeling on the chair and linked her own arms around his neck. "Please, Jack?"

"Fine, fine," Jack said, giving the answer he knew heíd always been planning on giving. "Just donít go expectiní me to get any more respectable, understand?"

She kissed him fiercely, delighted with his response. "I wouldnít have it any other way. I rather like you as a pirateóor privateer."

Jack smiled and kissed her back. "And I rather like you as me woman."

END

  since 02-03-07

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