This story takes off from where the other one left off but you don't have to have read or enjoyed the other one to read and hopefully enjoy this one.  Completely different stuff here, mate!

I have discovered that speed posting isn't such a good thing for my writing, and so it will take somewhat longer between chapters, at least a few days while I check what I've done and try to make it honest. 

Ten is an end, and also a beginning.  Perhaps it is going beyond what is needed for completion and perhaps leading to destruction.

Ten Days, an epilogue/prologue.   

Time heals, but memory is like an itch; the more you scratch at it the more irritating it becomes.  You may not even remember it's there at first but then something, a smell, a touch, a trifle, something touches that spot reserved for that special itch and reminds you of it all over again. 

Ana Maria stood on the deck of the Black Pearl with some very itchy thoughts. 

"I didn't expect you to stay." 

The words came without warning from just behind her left ear.  His breath felt warm against the side of her neck and sent shivers running along her spine; Ana Maria felt hard pressed not to lean into the body standing directly behind her.  "Don't you sleep?"

"Not if I can help it." 

Under the cover of night, Ana Maria felt safe talking like this.  This way she did not have to avoid looking Jack in they eye for fear that he might see something there that she preferred stay hidden.  He would try to help her if he knew how, and so she guarded her emotions to the point of denying their existence all together. 

"It's not like I have anywhere else to be."

He didn't answer, instead he stood beside her and leaned back against the railing and offered her some of his rum.  She accepted and took the bottle.

"I owe you a ship."  He leaned backwards far enough that Ana Maria worried he might fall over, and he stared up at the stars.  "We'll do a little sightseeing in Port Royal after dropping off our passengers."

He referred to Will and Elizabeth currently sleeping in Jack's cabin.  After watching the rest of the Crooked Leg Tavern burn prettily to the ground in Passion's Cove and offering nothing in the way of explanations, Jack insisted on taking them back to Port Royal.  As Ana recalled, the discussion went something like, "It's cramped, but the two of you should find it roomy enough." After which the young lovers looked at each other far too timidly and needed further encouragement to seclude themselves in the only private area of the ship. 

What more encouragement they needed to actually get them down there, Ana didn't know, but she did know that Jack supplied the cabin with plenty of rum before shutting them in.  This apparently was his way of saying thank-you.

It didn't appear to bother Jack to lose his cabin for the night; he barely slept there anyhow.  Too closed in and stuffy, he called it.  Ana didn't doubt it, most sailors she knew of slept on the deck of their ships when weather allowed. 

So far there'd been not a peep or groan or anything remotely interesting coming from Jack's cabin turned honeymoon suite.  Kind of disappointing actually.  Not that Ana wanted to listen to that sort of thing, she just felt kind of sorry for the kids.  They seemed to love each other in some strangely tortured innocent teenager way, but when was the last time she saw something like that make a lasting effect?  Or rather a lasting happy effect? 

By her own way of thinking they should have just gotten to whole tension thing out of the way at the beginning.  It would be all the easier to go on from there once their heads were cleared of a little of that raging lust…

She felt Jack shift slightly as a star sped across the sky. 

Okay, this was a different thing all together.  She and Jack had none of that kind of tension.  (She could smell him when he stood this close, the same scent she identified with the sea after leaving behind the shore line, a salty heady smell that…)  Ana moved sideways a step away from where Jack teetered precariously over the railing.  She and Jack were older and more experienced; they knew enough of what came after the first few exciting moments to know better then to try going there together.  Though the beginning may seem sweet, it was sure to turn sour with time. 

"Once we find something suitable to your tastes, then we can go about the fun part of…" Jack's voice drifted off without finishing the sentence.  "Aye, there we go.  Do you hear that?" 

Ana listened, and she heard nothing over the waves against the ship at first, but then… there.  A rhythmic creaking of planks.

"I was beginning to wonder if the boy may be a eunuch after all." 

the morning after

As the sun peeked warily over the horizon and she assumed everyone else remained sleeping, Elizabeth sat on deck and stared out over the water.  Who could she possibly hope to talk to here?  For that matter, who could she speak to at home?  Her father? (hahahaha)  Not blood likely, and it wasn't like her life was brimming over with female friends.  This wasn't even one of those things she could tell a friend even if she did have one she felt close enough to tell things too. 

She made love with Will and they fell asleep in each other's arms.  Last night everything felt so unreal that she didn't think about consequences.  She had sex on a pirate ship, in a pirate captain's bed!  That thought hadn't occurred to her last night either.  Jacks bed, god only knows how many times Jack did… it… with some strumpet on that very same bed.  Not that it was much of a bed, more like a padded mat laid over a wood shelf, but the purpose remained the same. 

Last night she could only imagine a glorious life ahead of her, a happy fairy tale life of a loving husband and babies, now in the grimly reasonable light of coming day she felt like jumping off the plank. 

Ana watched the girl and couldn't help but feel sorry for her.  Ah, to be so young and stupid again.  She knelt beside the girl and placed a hand on her shoulder.  "Jack wanted me to let you know, we're taking a slight detour."

"Why?"

"Do you see the change in the water? And the sky at the horizen?"

"It's red." 

"There is a saying: "Red sky at night, sailor's delight; Red sky in morning, sailors take warning". We have a storm coming, and there's not going to be enough time to take you back to Port Royal."

As usual, here is my request for reviews. 

-Rat.