Title: Strange-but-Wonderful

Rating: PG -will go up later, I promise J

Pairing: J/OC, maybe a little W/E

A/N: Alright guys, here goes nothing! This is my first ever fanfic, though I've been a reader for a looonnnggg time. I know that I have an original female character, but I will do my best to try to keep her from being too much of a Mary-Sue. I didn't describe her much in this chapter, because this one is set a point much farther into the plot, but I promise that she isn't perfectly beautiful and thin and saves the day. In fact, I'm planning on making her a bit of a spoiled, self-righteous brat, so hang with me ! After this chapter, the rest of the story will go in sequence, so I'm sorry if this confuses anybody. Please, I beg you, please review at the end of this story. I desperately crave feedback and need to know if this worth continuing or not. Also, I don't have a beta, so if you find spelling or grammar errors, please email me the corrections, if you're so inclined. Anyway, thanks for reading and remember to review!!!

--Bubbletoes

She watched as he haphazardly shoved items into a canvas knapsack, gathering together all of his worldly possessions. Articles of clothing, a spare knife, and some ancient maps, all of them unearthed from drawers and cabinets and being unceremoniously stored away. His movements were hurried, a bit frantic actually, and the constant flickering of his eyes spoke of uncertainty. The natural grace that he so casually wore was gone, replaced by fumbling fingers and a short, jerky stride. It was the first time that Emaline had ever seen him nervous, and it unsettled her a great deal. She longed to calm him, to go over and put her arms around him, stroking his chest and cooing softly in his ear. But she knew she hadn't the courage, and so did not dare.

"Jack," she called softly, cursing her cowardice. He didn't seem to hear her, for he continued to pack without so much as glance in her direction.

"Jack, love,"--louder this time-- "please, will you stop for a moment?" Jack turned to look at her, his face expectant. Emaline searched his eyes for a moment, hating how the dark charcoal pencil, which normally gave him an air of mystery and danger, glared unpleasantly against his unsure face. It was indeed strange to have him look like this, so uncertain; he should have mirth and mischief in his eyes and a pirate's smile splitting his face. Guilt pressed its ugly weight down upon her, and Emaline felt her heart contract.

"You do not have to marry me, you know," she blurted. " I am well aware what your freedom means to you, and would not dare to presume to take it from you. Therefore, I beg you consider yourself released from any obligation you feel to me, either because you took me to your bed or because you know how deeply I care for you. Rest assured, I would bear you no ill will were you to break this off," Emaline's voice softened to barely a whisper and she cast her eyes to the floor. "Your happiness is more important to me than anything, and I could not bear to be your burden."

It was silent for a moment, and then a great rumble of laughter filled the cabin. Jack had his head thrown back, and his entire body shook with his laugh, a laugh that only a true pirate could have. Eyes filled with tears, Emaline looked at him with shock. He was laughing at her? Had his entire proposal been a joke, or was this simply a bad dream? She did not know, but prayed with all her heart it was the latter, and that she would soon wake up, wrapped safely in the real Jack's arms. After a moment, the laughter subsided, and Jack looked at her quizzically.

"What on God's green earth made you think I didn't want to marry you? Do you think I'm such a scalawag that I would even consider asking you to marry me if I didn't mean it? Believe me, lass, I am just as aware of what freedom means to me as you are, and nothing but the very deepest love would induce me to take an action that would jeopardize it. Namely, marrying you. I may joke about a lot of things, Emma, but I thought you could at least discern when I'm being serious."

Emaline's shock quickly turned to anger and she fired back at him. "How was I supposed to know? First, you propose to me in front of at least ten British officers who were trying to take over your ship and take me away in the process. I accept you, then you tell the officers that the both of us will journey back to England with them, and proceed to turn the Black Pearl over to Mr. Jefferys, telling him to act as captain until you manage to return. This ship is your life, Jack, and you would sooner become a eunuch than turn it over, even to a man you trust! And if that was not enough, we come back to your cabin to gather your belongings, and you act more nervous, uncertain, and upset than I have ever seen you be, and quite frankly, ever thought you could be. So, I ask that you excuse me for so wrongfully construing your behavior as an indication that you were having doubts about marrying me, or that you were even seriously considering it in the first place!" She drew a deep breath, and dared him to laugh at her again, and judging by the look of his face, it seemed quite probable that he would.

Setting his jaw to keep from laughing, Jack walked over to Emaline and pulled her into his arms. His eyes sparkled for a moment as he glanced at her; face flushed from yelling and her hair a wavy mess. He watched with interest as her emotions played across her face, anger and forgiveness both battling to come out on top. Before she could choose, Jack brought his hand to her face, and softly caressed her cheek.

" I'm sorry, love," he said sincerely. "A right bastard, I am. Should have known you'd pick up my bad mood and think something was wrong. You were right, I am a bit nervous, but it's nothing important. I still want to marry you."

For the second time that day, Emaline was shocked beyond words. It was all she could do to snuggle closer into Jack' shoulder and try to show him that she forgave him without having to speak. An apology? From Capt. Jack Sparrow? Her mind was reeling, unable to absorb it all. But it had happened. A few months ago, Ms. Emaline Darcy would have said that such a thing was completely impossible, that Satan was more likely go ice-skating in Hell than Jack Sparrow give a sincere apology. Yet then again, that Ms. Darcy would have said the same to herself and the notorious pirate Jack Sparrow having a relationship at all, much less being engaged to be married Emma smiled into Jack's shirt, thinking of how the whole strange-but-wonderful mess had happened in the first placeā€¦.