The taste of good rum was a poor comfort when one was certain to die, but a comfort nonetheless. The taste burned its way down Jack's throat. He had let it chill in the sea for about half an hour before drinking it, best as he could tell. The rum had gotten warm from the sun, and while the water wasn't much cooler, it had its appeal. Lukewarm rum was better than no rum, but it certainly didn't taste the best. He was glad he had decided to let the cold of the water seep into it before he began to drink it.

Jack drained the bottle. He stripped off his clothes, splashing into the salty water and swimming as far out as he wanted. What did it matter if he drowned? He was certain to die anyway.

The captain's blood still boiled. Abandoned, left by his own crew. Viciously mutinied upon by those he had trusted. Jack scowled.

Left on an island, a bloody hot island, with not but a name and a shot. Pirates were supposed to give a bottle of rum to the poor soul as well, but Barbossa- Jack blatantly refused to refer to the scoundrel as captain – had neglected to see to that part of the code. Be as it was, Jack had lucked out. This particular island had a secret.

There was rum buried beneath the sand, and lots of it. The hell had turned to a heaven in that moment. "I may perish, Barbossa, but I will perish happily." Jack muttered, diving under the surface to get a break from the bright sun. His tanned skin was used to the harshness of the Caribbean sky, but he was beginning to feel the effects of the constant exposure.

The water was better the lower he went. The sky was vibrantly blue and cloudless, allowing long fingers of sunbeams to reach deep into the water. Jack could see almost as clearly as he could on land. He kept his breath in his lungs, pushing his body to remain under as long as possible. It was better down here, he decided. Here he was wrapped in the arms of his beloved, the only woman able to fully and completely rapture his heart- his mistress, the Sea.

Which, of course, only brought his thoughts back to his true love, the Pearl. Anger bubbled in his sore heart yet again. How dare Barbossa steal her from him? After all he had gone through? Jack had sold his soul for the Pearl. He had given everything to raise her from the depths. He should be enjoying the fruits of that labor, not that foul, yeasty, black hearted codfish.

Jack broke the surface, sucking air into his lungs. He faced the unending horizon, a blurry line between sea and sky. As the sun began to set on his second day cast away on Isle de Rum, as he had taken to calling it, he swore if he ever got off of that island, that shot would be a gift for Barbossa.

"A well-earned reward for all of your hard work." Jack growled, his voice deep and determined.

The stars were just beginning to pierce the eastern sky. Daylight would be ending soon. Jack knew he needed to start a fire. He had a bit more time, though, and so he stole another breath to head back down to the depths of the sea.

He swam effortlessly, almost elegantly. He could never remember a time he did not know how to swim like this. Jack half smiled as he recalled a time when someone had asked him how he swam so well. He had been young, a small pirate boy living in Shipwreck Cove. He had answered simply, "The mermaids taught me."

Jack himself wasn't sure if it was true or not, seeing as mermaids were not very kind to the legged kinds, nor did he have any memory of the encounter little him claimed to have. But, as he had learned many a morning after waking up next to a lass whose name he failed to recall and several bottles of rum beside the bed, just because he simply did not remember it did not mean it did not happen.

Jack moved easily in the water, his arms arcing and his legs kicking as if he was fluent in the tide's conversations, as if he was water itself. He always felt very at home in the ocean. It made sense, considering he lived on it. It brought peace to his mind, almost enough peace to wash away the insult his disloyal first mate had stung him with by this mutiny.

Jack's thoughts, a string of the foulest curse words blended with revenge plots for Mister Barbossa, were interrupted by a bright flash of something caught by the corner of his eye. Jack looked, but he could make nothing out in the darkening water. Perhaps it was the dying rays reflecting off of a fish. Whatever it was, it was long gone.

The captain surfaced. He had gone farther than he had meant to. The heavy sun dipped lower in the sky. Jack made for shore.

He let the last of the day's sun and heat dry his skin before he dressed again. Jack managed to make a small fire just before the last of the stars appeared, drinking in the welcome of the night with a fresh bottle of rum. This one hadn't needed chilling. He had brought it up straight from below.

Raising the bottle to the sky, he toasted the night. "To the Pearl," he said softly, his dark eyes sad. A long draught passed from the bottle to his mouth as he swallowed, drinking down his dinner.

It might have been the rum. He wasn't sure how old it was. It could be decades, for all he knew. Did rum go bad eventually? He wasn't sure how drunk he was. The firelight was bringing out hallucinations. Jack blinked. She was still there. He took another swig, swallowed hard, and stood up. She was still there. Jack was suddenly immensely grateful he had taken that swim. By the way her eyes roved over him, it was a stroke of luck that he was clean enough for this impeccable being.

He took in the sight of her slowly. She stood, silent, observing him as well. Her distrustful gaze swept over him, no doubt studying his wrinkled, dirty shirt gaping open at the chest, revealing scars, or his old, faded blue pants, cut off just below where his boots reached. His bandanna was still wet. It dripped into his dark brown hair. His face, he knew, was tan and clean- the heat, sweat, and swims would have removed all traces of the kohl he usually wore around his eyes. Still, despite the feeling creeping up his spine that he just was not enough to suit this royal princess from the water, Jack strangely felt she was studying him more out of curiosity than disdain. Something pricked at the back of his consciousness, and he wondered if she was studying him with the intent to devour him.

Don't be ridiculous, he reminded himself.

Jack couldn't take his eyes from her. She stood, powerful and commanding, her sun-tanned skin still dripping with sea water. Her hair was long, and it fell to her waist in dark brown tangles. She was tall, slender, deliciously long-legged. Her eyes were curious, hungry green hues that sat beautifully in her mesmerizing features. She seemed to cast a spell on him. Though the mysterious woman wore nothing other than the remnants the sea had left on her body, Jack could not tear his eyes from hers for more than the briefest of moments.

That was very much a first for him.

Jack could not see very far into the water, but he could tell there were no boats drifting nearby. "Where did you come from?"

She only smiled.

That smile sent chills dancing joyously up his spine. Ten thousand emotions struck him at once, all pleasant sensations.

"You swim very well." She had an accent Jack couldn't place, a lilt and dip to her melodic tones so elegantly enchanting he didn't want her to ever stop speaking. She could have read him the rules and regulations of the East India Trading Company. He wouldn't have cared. He only wanted to listen to that voice.

"Thank you." His own voice sounded so rough in comparison. He had never noticed that before.

She sat down near Jack, careful to not come too close to the fire. "I was watching you. I have never seen a mortal swim so well before. You move like the sea."

She hadn't broken eye contact. Her hair hung in front of her chest now, pooling in her lap, preserving her modesty. She sat with her legs together, bent to one side, almost as if they weren't legs at all. Her feet pointed out towards the sea at her back. Her skin looked incredibly soft. Jack wanted to find out just how soft it was.

"Would you like a drink?" Hallucination or not, Jack was not about to be less than hospitable to his beautiful female companion. He, however, had already decided he had already drank quite enough. Just the look in her jade eyes was enough to make even the best rum pale by far in comparison. She was intoxicating. He did not want to risk getting too drunk to remember what ever might be coming in the immediate future.


Only a syllable, and he felt the spell break. His expression creased into a frown. No hallucination of his would ever turn down a drink, no matter how lovely. "Are you certain, love?"

She answered, "It has a terrible effect on me. Awful headaches, terrible dehydration. So, no, I will not take a drink."

Jack's roaming eyes couldn't help but survey her body quickly once more. "What brings you here tonight, then, milady?"

Her teeth were a little too white and a little too sharp as her smile flashed. "Captain Jack Sparrow."

He stared. "Well, seein' as I was left here to die, I doubt I'll be able to do you much good, but what is it that you seek?"

"Left here to die?" she purred, wide eyed and innocent. "Why, whatever do you mean, Captain?"

"Mutiny." He spat. His anger brushed past thoughts that should have raised suspicion, thoughts of how and why she knew his name. "That-"

The beautiful face frowned. "Who would mutiny you? A captain who knows his way with the sea like you should never have a problem."

His shoulders sagged. "You would think that, love. You would think that. Now, the Pearl is gone. I have nothing left unless I get off of this bloody island and back to me ship."

"I could help you."

His attention snapped back to her. "How?"

"But, I won't."

Bloody witch, that's what she was. "Why not?" he challenged.

"You are one of them." She said simply, standing up to leave. "I would not help you even if I wanted to."

Jack growled, "Who are you?"

She stopped, looked over her shoulder, and laughed.

Jack set his rum down onto the sand. He pulled off his shirt. Firelight danced across taut muscle and tattoos, caressing scars with touches as gentle as a lover's. He chased after her into the black sea, now warmer than the air, diving after her without a second thought.

He kicked, propelling himself forward, but it was no use. He could hardly see in the black water. There! A flash of something! He followed it, lead only by the light of the stars. A second flash! He had a lock on it now. He reached-

And felt lips crashing down on his own, fiercely and passionately, hands pulling at him, a torso pressed against his. Something curled around his legs, dragging him down. He couldn't move. He couldn't breathe.

Jack was grateful he had left on his trousers. He reached into his pocket, yanking out a knife. He stabbed the thing that gripped him so tightly. Sharp pain cut into his lips, and it was gone. He made for the surface, leaping onto the land.

Insane thoughts raced through his mind. What was that? Was it her? What had trapped his legs? The dripping captain wanted answers, and he was not sure he was going to get any. The sea had calmed, the evidence of his struggle had vanished. Jack cursed.

His lip felt like something was sitting on it, dripping down his chin. Jack's tongue flicked out. He tasted blood. He wiped it away with the back of his hand, red smearing across his skin.

"Figure it out, Captain?"

He snapped back. "You."

But it wasn't. Was it? Jack was losing his mind.

She was waiting in the water, sitting waist deep, her hair flowing as if it had its own mind. Her sharp eyes still pierced through to his very heart. Her skin was still that alluring, sun-kissed color that he liked so much. But her long, lovely legs-

Green and scaly, her legs had become a thick, powerful, muscle of a tail that curled around her body.

"So that's the truth, then." Jack still wondered if the rum he had drank had been laced with something else, but the blood on his lip was too real to deny. He should have figured it out sooner. "You're a fish-woman."

"Mermaid." She corrected him, sitting serene as ever.

Jack finally realized why she had come. "Hector sent you to torture me to death, hmm? That's how you know me. That's how you know who I am." Each word carried more weight than the last.

"You men are so conceited. You think everything in the whole, wide ocean that happens revolves around you." She hissed. "No. I was out, hunting, and I came across you in the water. I liked you, Jack. You caught my attention. Let's see if you can keep it." She cast a less-than-interested glance at him. "If not, well, you won't be needing that pistol, will you?"

She couldn't possibly be thinking what he hoped she was thinking. Still, he had to at least try his luck. "Why didn't you just ask?" he said flirtatiously, his hand going to undo his trousers. He yelped, jumping back suddenly as something green and sticky slapped itself onto his hand. His questioning, unsteady gaze met her even one.

"No." she said. "That's the other problem with you men." She sighed, irritated. "Maybe I should just eat you. Rid the world of one more of your kind."

The green, seaweed like rope recoiled off of his hand and back to the mermaid. Jack had seen many strange things in his day, but nothing quite like that. He rubbed his hand, trying to rid it of the sensation that was both sticky and slimy. "Very… pleasant … gift you 'ave there, milady." Jack murmured, still staring at her with confusion.

"It comes in handy." She waved dismissively. "Also, Captain, call me Marina. I will not take kindly to being 'love', 'lass', or 'milady.' I am not yours to call such things, nor am I any man's. I belong to the sea, and you shall refer to me as such."

Jack breathed a tight sigh. "Marina." He wished she'd leave and let him drink the rest of his life away in peace. He hadn't had water in a day and a half at least. It was starting to take a toll on him. His patience wasn't going to last much longer, either.

She shot another round of green seaweed, stealing his knife from the hand that still clasped it. It flew into the sea, sinking with a splash. At his protests, she only hissed, "That infernal thing stays where I left it."

"You tried to down me." Jack reminded her, his agitation rising.

Marina shrugged. "You stabbed me. Now we're even."

No blood dripped from her side. Jack knew he had made contact with her, somewhere. Yet, there was no trace of it. She had seemingly healed instantaneously. It had to be a mermaid thing, he reasoned.

"Well, you're welcome to stay, but I'm going to be sitting here, by the fire, enjoying some of the last rum I'll get to drink, since you can't be bothered to help a dear old Captain – one who never did 'arm to you or your sisters, I might add – survive a mutiny." Jack plopped down in the sand. "Come to think of it, you're not welcome to stay, unless you're about to shrivel up and dry from the heat."

She chose not to dignify that with a response. "I want to ask you a question."

"Can't guarantee you'll get an answer." Jack pulled another long drink from the rum bottle that had returned to his hand. He missed water. Irony is being surrounded by the thing you need most, knowing it will kill you if you partake in it.

She shifted, but stayed in the water. "I want to challenge you."

His brow arched. "To wot?"

Her voice was like melted chocolate on a fresh apple slice. "I want to see if you can keep up with me." Her tail stretched out as she studied him. "You swim far better than the other mortals. We both know a mere man cannot beat a mermaid, but still… you have me curious. I would like to see what you can really do."

Jack stared at her blankly. "Why should I adhere to a challenge you are certain I cannot win?" he said flatly. "My 'kind,' as you put it so well, obviously cannot do half of what yours can. What makes you think I am any different?"

He hadn't realized he had gotten so close to her until he felt the water reach his knees. Jack cursed internally. He had been taken by her spell.

"You are already out here," she sang sweetly. "Why not have a little fun? Perhaps I will take you off of this island. Maybe I will even swim you back to the Pearl. Imagine Hector Barbossa when he sees you arrive with a mermaid."

Jack's eyes hazed over in delightful fantasy. "Won't that be a sight…" he murmured. His mind cleared, and his suspicion returned. "You already said you won't help me, lo- Marina."

"I can always change my mind." She lazily traced the surface with her finger. "You would have to really impress me, of course. And if you do not…"

Jack's eyes narrowed. The catch.

That hungry smile returned.

"I see. No, thank you, I think I'll take my chances with starvation and dehydration, then. A bit kinder way for a man to die, don't you think?" Jack's tight smile vanished as he began to walk back to the center of the little island, the little grassy knoll he had made his home.

Marina sighed. "I just want to see what you are capable of, Captain. But if that is too much for you…"

Jack didn't turn around.

"Then you are mine." She began to sing, lovely, alluring notes that caught the captain's fancy, bringing him to the shore. Stupid and love struck, Jack was waist deep before he shook himself loose. The stabbing pain brought on by a pointy rock invading his foot did the trick.

Jack weighed his options. He could fight, and lose, or he could just give up. He figured going for the pistol was out; she'd have that green gook on it in an instant. He'd have to think. There was a way out of this. He only had to seek it out.

"Are you coming, Captain?" she purred invitingly.

It would at least buy him a little time. "All right."

His pants were already drenched from standing waist deep in the water. He didn't bother to remove them. They wouldn't slow him down much.

Under the surface was an entirely different world at night. Jack could barely see. The cut on his lips stung. The salty water irritated it to no end. Jack pressed on.

What did she want? Speed? Distance? He would give her all of it. He felt a tap on his shoulder. Turning to see her grinning at him, her teeth as white as the moon, he felt chills find their way down his spine. He was at her mercy here.

She wanted to race. She took off, and he followed. He managed to keep pace with her well, until he realized she was only playing with him. She was gone before he could blink.

She was beautiful, though, he had to admit. Every inch of her seemed to have been inspired by statues of Greek goddesses. Her beauty certainly would rival Athena. Or Hera. Or whoever was the Greek god of beauty. Jack had never been very good with ancient religions. He could think of a few things he would rather be doing with her than racing.

She spun around, appearing behind him as if she had always been there. Jack waited for some kind of signal, but she gave no hint as to her intention. He let himself sink away from her, sliding deeper into the black water only to swim a few yards away. Surfacing for air, he wondered if he had managed to shake her. He had pulled a few complicated moves of his own on the way up. He could have sworn she looked impressed at least once.

There was a yank on his ankle, and he was gone again. He exhaled, clearing his nose from the water that had made itself at home there. Jack's eyes adjusted. Marina was right there.

He noticed her hair was streaming out behind her, taken by the current. Her body was fully exposed, and what a nice body it was. Jack knew it was part of her tactic, but suddenly, he couldn't care less. He was going to die, anyway. He may as well enjoy the ride.

Captain Jack took a chance. This time, he initiated. His lips found Marina's, his hands raced up her back. He felt her long, shimmering tail tighten around his legs as her hands climbed into his hair. Her scales were sharp. His legs were scraped. He hardly noticed, as he charmed the mermaid with kiss after kiss until she bit down on his already slit lip, getting his attention.

She pulled him to the surface. "I thought a mermaid's kiss saved a sailor from drowning." Jack smiled, water streaming down his face.

"Only if we want it to." She snapped. She threw him onto the beach. "You nearly passed, but your flesh won out."


"You stupid pirate!" Marina's fangs were visible. "So predictable. I was rooting for you, Jack. The test was nothing like you thought it would be. I wanted to see…"

Was that nerves? She was biting her lip. Jack's interest was sparked.

Instantly that hard, self – protecting look was back on her face. "You failed." She said simply.

Jack had had more than enough. He gathered his nerves, deciding his fate mattered not. If he died, it would be on his own terms. Not this mermaid's. Not Hector's. His own.

"In case you hadn't bloody noticed, I'm not staying out here to keep meself happy and safe." He said. "I was marooned. Mutinied. Abandoned on this god-forsaken spit of island in the middle of this whole bloody ocean. Been nearly two days living off rum alone. And then! You pop up, lookin' like a vision from Heaven. So, I start questioning things. 'Am I hallucinating?' I say. 'Is it the rum?' But no, you're real as day, and instead of a heavenly angel, you act like a devil from hell, promising me release and a return to my Pearl. You can understand my frustration, savvy? So I failed your bloody test. Eat me. It would be kinder than anything else you could put me through."

Out of the water came a fury like Jack had never seen. Her entire being shook with an emotion he could not determine. Jack was quickly starting to consider begging for mercy as her fangs lengthened and her mouth went to his neck.

Like vampires, was his panicky last thought.

She bit him gently, not even breaking the skin. "I favor you too much to kill you, for the moment at least." She said softly, looking up at him with liquid eyes. "I am not a cruel mermaid. My sister, Tamara, is always telling me to be more like her. Braver. Smarter. Faster. To her, you are all nothing more than vermin to be destroyed. She wants me to learn her ways. One of our other sisters, Syrena… we worry about her. She is different. The last to hunt, the last to eat. She has a soft spot for people she thinks are good. I think Tamara fears I am the same." Marina bit her lip. "I shouldn't be telling you any of this."

"Why didn't you kill me?" Jack asked softly. His brows knit together in wonder. "Merely because of your favor?"

"That," she admitted, "and I do not like to take life without reason. Even when I feed, I do not just take anyone." She looked up at him earnestly. "You complied with my demands. I thought I could use the opportunity to work on myself, to be more like Tamara, but I could not bring myself to do it."

Jack could see the hard, watchful look had fallen from her face. Here was a more pure, honest expression. Her walls had fallen. She had failed her own test. He was relieved. He would make it to see another sunrise, even if it would be his last. Unless rain came, he wasn't sure he could last another day in this heat. He needed to get off of Isle de Rum.

"Will you bring me back to my ship?"

She leaped back, as defensive as if he had struck her. "If I help you, I will be killed."

"If you don't, I will die." Jack replied.

She may have dropped her guard completely, but she was still resolute. Nothing could resolve her determination. "It is bad enough that I am still here, speaking with you." She said, casting a hasty glance toward the sea.

"But if you were here, dining on my corpse…"

"That would be acceptable."

A macabre curiosity came over him. "Are the legends true? Do you separate flesh from bone?"

She smiled. "Sometimes. Sometimes we just take your heart."

Jack was getting tired. It had been a long night, and the moon was not yet even half way across the sky. His body was worn from fighting off death. He knew if he did not get off of Isle de Rum by midday, he would die.

An idea came to his mind.

"How about the other legends? The one where you can sing sailors to you? Wot if you did that for dear ol' Jack, savvy? Bring a ship 'ere, let me climb on, and then break the spell. Would they kill you for that?"


His face fell. "Oh."

"I am sorry, Jack. I never should have come."

"I am glad you did."

"Are you?"

"Bad company is better than no company, love." He flashed a gold toothed grin. She didn't bother to correct him, to tell him to call her by her proper name. He watched her out of the corner of his eye. With that hardness gone, she was even more beautiful. He took her hand and kissed it before his lips found their way to her neck.


"I thought you liked me." came the reply from against her skin. He kept peppering her skin, soft as he imagined it would be, with gentle kisses.

"Very much." Marina admitted. "Today was not the first time I had seen you. Your swimming caught my eye, but you managed to catch my affections." Not her heart. Marina was too careful for that. Affections, yes, she gave those away once in a great while, but never did she let her heart go.

"Will they kill you for this as well?"

"Only if I didn't take you to a watery grave during the process."

"I say we take our chances."

Then she showed that she agreed by catching his mouth with her own in a sweetly passionate kiss.

The morning sun had not shown itself yet when Jack's tired brown eyes opened. He heard someone speaking, someone on the other side of the island. He sat up, listening. Someone else was here!

Jack dressed, climbing quietly away from Marina. She still slept peacefully, angelic even. He stole a glance at her as he hurried away. He could see a ship through the trees. It was small, but it was a ship. Jack shouted, and they answered.

Rum runners. He had been drinking their rum all along. He flashed them a grin like he didn't even know it had been there. "Mates. Can y' help me out?"

They stared at his sun-bleached clothes. "You're a pirate."

"And you're a rum runner. Now that we know each other's occupations, let's talk business, shall we?" Jack wanted to waste no time. "Can you take me aboard your fine vessel?"

The shorter man piped up. "Are you the only one?"

"Yes." Jack nodded. "Please. I need to get ashore. To Tortuga, if you can swing it. If not, just drop me off at the nearest port, and I'll make my own way." His parched eyes stared thirstily at the canteen hanging from the neck of the heavier man. "Might I have a bit?"

The heavy man straightened up. "Looks like you've already had more than your fair share, friend." He said. "We need payment for that. You drank an entire case."

"Did not!" Jack protested.

The man merely pointed to a telltale cluster of bottles.

"No payment, no ride." The leader said sternly.

Jack had nothing. Nothing but a pistol with one shot, and that was marked for another man. He thought quickly, trying to think of how he could manage a way onto that boat.

"What do you have to barter?" they slender one prompted. "You must have something of value."

His compass. But, he could never give that up. Especially not after it had shown him there was rum on this island. He was going to keep that faithful instrument until the day he died.

Jack's mind raced. There was one thing of value on this island. That was certain.

"Gentlemen," he asked, a broad grin on his confident face. "Have you ever seen a mermaid?"

Marina woke up to darkness. She woke slowly, as if coming up from the very bottom of the heart of the sea. Her mind was foggy. "Jack?"

She didn't know where she was. She was in cold, stale water. She tried to stretch and found walls on every side of her. Panic seized her heart.

She was captured!

She couldn't remember how she got here. The last thing she knew, she was on the island with Jack. She remembered waking up to a stabbing pain in her arm, but after that, her memory was blank. That pirate! She should have drowned him when she had the chance.

She thrashed, trying to break the box open. The wood held. Marina wrenched her body, causing the box to slide across the ship's floor. She scratched, scratched until she found a rotten spot, and dug. The wood had already been softened by the water. Once she found a soft spot, it was easy. The wood shattered in her strong hands. She pushed back the boards. Water poured out, pooling on the floor.

She was free.

Marina shot up a 'thank you' to whomever was listening that she was not under heavy guarding. They must have still thought she was sedated. She began to sing, pulling the crew under her spell. Love struck, they obeyed her every order as she searched for Jack. To her frustration, he was already gone. The most a crewman would tell her was that he was left in some place called Tortuga. "He paid very well for his ride." The man said. "Very well! Very well indeed! Quite a beauty he gave us! I wasn't even sure they existed until-"

She dropped him onto the deck. She had no use for babbling idiots like that. Marina wondered if her spell just brought out the worst in humans. Maybe Tamara had been right all along.

She loved having the entire ship at her command. She considered staying a while, just because she could, and ordering these fools into White Cap Bay to meet their doom. It wasn't them she was mad at, though, not really. Only one name was worth indulging on revenge.

Captain Jack Sparrow.

Marina dove off of the deck, followed by more than a few sailors. She was long gone before they even hit the water.

She sang into the sea. Her words carried, and she knew they would find their way to the pirate who had betrayed her. Her curse would be brought by the proudest waves. He would forget all about her. He had to. He did not deserve the privilege of remembering all that had happened between them. He did not deserve the gift of remembering her.

Years passed. Marina had nearly forgotten about the man who had traded her to sailors. If the attack had not happened, she might have forgotten him altogether.

Yet, there he was. He had just leaped out of their tower in White Cap Bay, setting it aflame. Fire licked the sky, casting shadows across the war that had broken out over the water. These men had come intending to kill her and her sisters. She had killed a few, but not enough.

And here was Jack, in the water, at her mercy. He had aged a bit, yes, but he was still the same man. Marina wanted to drown him. She wanted to drag him beneath the surface, making sure he never saw the sun again. He was before her, waiting, careful, watching.

Jack knew this face. It appeared in his dreams, sometimes, always linked to Rum Runner's Isle. He had always figured it was some kind of vivid dream remembered again, induced by heat and rum he had consumed during his three day stay on that island. He had never guessed she would be real. His kohl-traced eyes widened as his mouth opened to say something.

Marina slapped the shock right off of his features.

"Wot the bloody-"

"The island." She hissed, before disappearing under the surface, taking him with her twenty feet or so. She dragged him deep enough to scare him before she released him, making sure she nipped at his neck on his way up. She was gone before he broke the surface.

She smirked, satisfied. That would taunt him for a long time to come. The vanished memories would be a cruel haunting for the man. It would be enough for now. If she ever changed her mind, she would be able to track him down and easily finish the job.

Marina didn't regret her decision. She had a war to win. A home to defend. She hurried back to the fight, taking down pirates as quickly as they could fire at her.

Sometimes the best revenge was in letting her enemy live.