Aye, But We're Loved

by Melody Wilde

"We're beggars and blighters and ne'er-do-well cads, Drink up me hearties, yo ho, Aye, but we're loved by our mommies and dads, Drink up..."

Elizabeth's voice trailed away into silence, and she stumbled to a halt. "Oh God," she murmured, staring out past the fire into the vast darkness of the ocean beyond. She wasn't nearly as drunk as she had been pretending to be, and the words of the song had suddenly hit home.

"What's wrong, luv?" Jack's dancing circle around the fire had brought him to stand, swaying, by her side.

"It's..." Her voice broke. "My father. I just realized that I may never see him again."

"Is that all? 'Course you'll see him." He tapped a finger to the side of his nose. "We'll be off this island and you'll be home in no time. And someday..." He leaned closer, tilting his head toward hers as if to impart a great secret. "Someday when you're a boring old married lady, you'll look out your window at the sea and curse your boring life and wish you were back on this island with Captain Jack Sparrow and a bottle or three of rum." He reached out a hand, tilted her bottle toward her lips, and sang, "Drink up me hearty, yo ho!"

A part of her knew that what he said was true, and that made her angry. She shoved his hand away and flopped to the sand.

"I love my father!" she said defiantly.

"Never said you didn't, luv." He flopped beside her and folded his legs, making himself comfortable.

"He did his best after Mother died. He tried to raise me as a lady. Oh God! What would he say if he could see me now-sitting half-naked on a beach beside a pirate and drinking rum?"

She raised her arm to throw the bottle, but he caught her wrist. "'old on now. Just because there's plenty doesn't mean you should be wasteful. Besides..." He set the bottle safely away from her, then looked meaningfully down her length. "Takin' your shoes and stockings off don't make you half-naked." He lifted a leg and wriggled his own bare foot. "Now if you'd like to *really* be half-naked, we could-"

She slapped him.

He rubbed his jaw. "Did I deserve that?" he muttered to himself. He shifted slightly, out of her reach, and raised an eyebrow. "Who are you angry with, darlin'? Me for being a pirate or yourself for likin' it?"

Knowing he was right again didn't improve her temper. "What about you, Captain? Didn't you love your parents? Do you think *they* would be proud of the pirate you've become?"

There was a quick flash of something in his eyes-something she'd never dreamed could exist in this man-but it was gone before she could be sure she'd seen it. He laughed lazily and waved a hand at the ocean. "My parents? They were King Neptune and the most beautiful of his mermaids. I had no choice but to take to the sea."

Her anger faded and a giggle escaped against her will. "You're lying, Jack."


"Was your father a pirate too?"

"No more than yours."

"My father isn't a pirate! He's the governor of Port-oh. I see." She giggled again. "Was he a sailor then? A member of the Royal Navy?"

"As far as I know, he never got nearer the water than his bath, and that not too often." He upended the bottle again.

"Then what did he do?"

"Got me these, for one." He leaned closer and pulled a corner of his lip aside to give her a better look at some of his impressive gold teeth. "I had the gold put in with my first earnings."

"He was a surgeon?"

He shook his head. "No, darlin'. He was a bully who hated his scrawny little son."

"I don't..." But then she did, and her eyes went wide with shock. "Are you saying your father...?"

"Knocked some teeth out trying to knock some manhood into me? That's right, luv."

Her breath caught. "That's not...that's not possible."

"Ah well..." He patted himself suggestively. "It may've worked. I don't know if it was him that was responsible for the manhood, but I 'aven't had any complaints." He stopped, thought, rubbed his jaw again. "Not *too* many complaints. Not about *that* anyway."

She refused to respond to his attempted change of subject. "But, Jack...fathers don't treat their children that way."

"Prob'ly fathers like yours don't."

"My father would kill anyone who tried to hurt me."

"And one what was only saving your life too," he pointed out.

"He was wrong about that."

"Not too grateful either, but still..." He handed her bottle back, raising a warning finger. "Don't try to throw it away this time. Yo ho, yo ho-"

"Jack..." She lay a hand over his lips to silence him, then jerked it away with a frown when he gave her a roguish smile and tilted his head to kiss her palm. "Your father...beat you?"

"Among other things."


"You've led a sheltered life, luv. I almost envy you it." He gave a huge exaggerated sigh. "'e was the kind of man what didn't need no reason."


"My da was a big man. Strong. He hated it that I took after me mother-on the small side."

"But you're..." She suddenly realized that he *was* a shorter man than some; somehow she'd never noticed it before. "You're Captain Jack Sparrow."

"Now I am, but back then I was just little Jackie-" He broke off and looked away. "No more of this. Past is past. I went to sea to get away from him, and I've done well enough for m'self...except for these little inconveniences with Barbossa."

"What about your mother?"

He shook his head. She waited, then, when he remained silent, she began softly, "My mother died when I was three. Sometimes...sometimes I can barely remember her. Just a soft voice, singing to me. A hat she used to wear, with a bird and feathers. The scent of roses. But she loved me. I remember that. Jack...didn't your mother love you? Didn't she try to stop him from hurting you?"

"My mother..." He swallowed hard and his dark eyes suddenly seemed to focus on something out in the night, far far away. "She loved me, even though she'd damn near died giving birth to me. She taught me to read and taught me math and music and tried to make me something better than the life we lived. And Da hated her for it-said she was good for nothing but giving him a useless skinny little bookworm of a son and beat us both every time he caught us at lessons. But she kept on." He slowly took another drink from his bottle. "She told me she was a grand lady once, but she threw it all away to run off with a handsome devil who told her he loved her. He had her whoring for him by the time I was six, and would've had me doing the same if I hadn't run away. Let that be a lesson to you, Miss Swann. Don't follow your heart when it comes to love and decidin' who to marry-follow your head. "

She caught her breath, and he looked back at her. He must've seen the glint of tears in her eyes because he became angry for the first time she'd known him.

"Don't you be pitying me," he snapped.

"I'm not," she lied quickly. "How could I possibly pity Captain Jack Sparrow? Besides..." She allowed herself to give an unladylike snort and raised her eyebrows archly. "I strongly suspect that you're lying to me again, good sir-telling me a sad tale in the hopes that I'll feel sorry for you and fall into your wicked clutches."

His lazy smile came back. "Ah. Found me out, did you, luv? Didn't work, though?"

"No, but it was a noble effort." She inclined her head toward him in salute. "I *will* agree to sing some more. And dance with you. And maybe..." It was her turn to lean over and tilt the bottle to his lips. It was far too easy to lean a bit more and brush a quick kiss against his cheek. "Maybe have a bit more run. Drink up, me hearty, yo ho."

He gave her a wink and did.