Disclaimer:  Hmmmmm.  . . . what do I own?  Oh yeah, absolutely nothing.

"Love should end with hope."

~Kate, A Knight's Tale

Sui Generis

Chapter 14: Leave Me Waiting

            Lor Adams turned over in her sleep, the thin sheets clinging to her body.  The cool breeze blowing in through the window played with her short, red hair.  Her eyes opened slowly to the dark room, blinking slowly to adjust to the black shadows.  She was disoriented at first, unsure as to where she was.  Then recognition struck her.

It had been two months since she and Jack had been granted clemency so that they could heal.  The only condition was that they were to leave as soon as they were better.  She closed her eyes again, turning back onto her back.  She opened her eyes, staring up at the dark ceiling, lost in thought.

She felt a slight surge of happiness in her heart as her thoughts turned to the Sui Generis.  She had woken up on her ship as they were following the Black Pearl, heading back towards Port Royal.  Skids had been by her side, changing the bandage on her left arm.  He had jumped when she had called his name in a weak and strained voice.

He had told her of everything that had happened during her absence.  He had told her of how he and Jack Sparrow had discussed their first meeting in the tavern in Tortuga.  He ended his tale when he told her how they fought off the rest of Skinner's crew and saved the two children, who he had stayed with until their parents arrived to reclaim them.

"And Jack?" she had asked.

"Alive, Captain," he had replied.

Lor vaguely remembered falling back asleep after Skids told his tale.  The next thing she knew, she was in the small guest room, soft sheets surrounding her, while white bandages covered her body.  Now, some of the bandages had been removed from her lesser wounds.  The only bandages that remained were the ones that covered her left arm, the skinned and burned flesh on her right shoulder, and the one covering the sword wound on her left hand.

Drowsiness hit her as her thoughts turned to Jack.  He had protected her, cared for her in the few weeks that they had been shipmates.  The last thought she had before sleep claimed her was of the moment when Jack saved her from the rocks and had watched over her until she woke.

A dark figure entered the room silently, shutting the door noiselessly behind him.  The figure walked forward slowly so as not to make any noise on the wooden floorboards.  He stopped at the small bed, staring down at the sleeping form of a woman.  He watched as her mouth opened slightly, allowing a small puff of air to escape.

His hands hovered over her hair, making sure not to touch her.  He did his best not to wake her, brushing his fingertips along her cheeks, the tips of his fingertips barely touching her skin.  He stopped at her lips, unwilling to touch them.  Instead, he leaned over her slightly, lacing his fingers lightly with hers.  He leaned over her further.

Lor was jolted awake by soft lips brushing against hers.  She opened her eyes slowly to stare up at a shadowy form standing above her.  Her eyes opened wide as she attempted to move away.  A strong hand pressed down on her good shoulder, stopping her from moving.  "Easy, love," a voice whispered.

"Jack?"

"Aye."

She squinted into the darkness.  "You kissed me," she whispered.

"Aye, love," he replied.  "I did."

Lor looked up into his dark eyes as they glinted in the moonlight.  "You're leaving," she said, more of a statement then a question.

Jack trailed his fingers down her cheek again, his fingers stopping once again at her lips.  "Aye, love.  You have yer ship back an' yer crew."

Lor's eyes flicked away from his.  Her heart sank low at his words.  He was going to leave her.  She felt him start to stand up, his fingers leaving her lips.  Her left hand held onto the fingers that were laced between hers.  She looked up at him, her eyes wide.  "Jack?"

"Eh?"

"Stay," she whispered, pulling him down closer to her by tugging at his shirt.  She touched his lips with hers slightly, and then pulled back.  "Just one night, love," she said again, kissing him once more.

Lor felt his free hand move underneath her head, lacing his fingers through her hair as he kissed her back.

Jack pulled the sleeping form of Lor closer to him, his arms entwined around her waist.  He buried his nose into her hair, inhaling the subtle scent of her.  Never, in all his years as a pirate, had he ever felt this way about a woman.  Nor had he ever stayed this long.  Normally, at least with the women in Tortuga, it was a brief thrill and then it was over.  But now . . .  now he actually felt like he wanted to stay.

He shifted position slightly, laying his head gently on top of hers.  He squeezed her again, eliciting a low sigh from her.  Her arms wrapped around his, laying on top of his bare arms, her hands grabbing hold of his.  "Lor?" he whispered into her ear.  When he received no response, he kissed the tip of her ear and whispered, "You are my horizon."

Lor woke slowly as a slight chill overcame her.  The absence of the two arms around her that had held her all night caused her to clutch the sheets around her.  She tightened her right hand into a fist, holding the sheets tightly.  Her eyes opened quickly as she felt a hard object around her finger.  Around her right forefinger was the small gold ring that Jack had given her sixteen years before.  The ring now fit comfortably around her finger, nestled lightly at the base of her finger above her knuckle.

She smiled slightly as she gazed down at Jack's imparting gift.  She had hoped that Jack would have stayed until she woke up, but another part of her knew this had been for the best.  This had been the easiest way to say goodbye.

A soft knock on the door caused Lor to look up.  "Just a moment," she called.  She sat up slowly in the bed, and then swung her legs over the edge.  She reached down, moving gently so as not to pull at her healing wounds.  She grabbed her breeches from the floor, pulling them on and then grabbed her shirt off of the chair by the bed.  Pulling it on, she called out.  "Come in."

The door opened slowly to reveal Elizabeth, one hand on the door knob, the other holding a small envelope.  "Good morning," she said, smiling weakly.

Lor looked up from buttoning up her vest.  "Mornin'."

"Did you sleep well?"

Lor grinned and then laughed as she caught the look on Elizabeth's face.  "Need you ask?"

Elizabeth laughed as well.  "No.  Not really," she said, the smile slipping away from her face.  She held out the hand that held the envelope.  "I was asked to give you this.  He said he did not want to wake you."

Lor took the envelope from her slowly and sat back down on the bed.  "Thank you."

"I'm sorry, Lor, he should have said goodbye."

Lor shook her head.  "No.  It's easier this way."

"But it hurts more," Elizabeth replied.  When she received no answer, she sighed.  "I will leave you to read it then.  Breakfast is cooking in the kitchen.  Come eat when you are ready."

Lor nodded silently, merely staring down at the pure white envelope.  When Elizabeth was almost through the doorway, Lor stopped her.  "Elizabeth?"

She turned around slightly to look at the hunched over form of Lor.  "Yes?"

"Thank you."

"For what?"

"Everything," was Lor's simple reply.

Elizabeth smiled.  "You're welcome," she replied, leaving Lor to her thoughts.

Lor stared down at the envelope in her hands.  She was almost afraid to open it, afraid that all it was going to say was goodbye.  And yet, she was almost eager to open it as well.  They had said little the night before, speaking only through the way they moved and touched.

With a deep breath, she lifted the flap of the envelope and pulled out the small slip of paper that lay inside it.  Scrawled on the paper in Jack's messy handwriting were words of encouragement and goodbye.

'Lor,

Someday, somehow, I'm gonna make it all right, but not right now.  I promise that even though it is hard right now, it will get better.  You have your ship, your crew, your family.  And most importantly, you have your freedom.  What more could you ask for in life?  Remember, love, that not all treasure is silver and gold.  Sometimes, you must look into the darkening sunset to find what you are truly looking for.  Until we meet again,

Captain Jack Sparrow."

Lor gave a small smile, tears forming in her eyes.  "Oh for Gods sake!  Yer a pirate captain!" she said, blinking the tears back.  She stood up slowly, tucking the small paper into one of her vest pockets, and then left the room, her boots striking the hard wooden floors, her fingers playing with the small gold ring that encircled her finger.

Lor stood on the small, sandy beach, the waves lapping up over her boots, staring out at the Sui Generis anchored off shore.  A small row boat, filled with two men, made its way towards her.

"The children wish to say goodbye," a male voice said behind her.

She turned around slowly, her eyes taking in the group of four people standing behind her.  The two children bolted from beside their mother and ran up to her.  Lor knelt down and enveloped the two children in her arms.  "This isn't goodbye," she said and let them go.  Alex and Emily looked up at her, tears in their eyes.  She reached into one of her pockets slowly and withdrew two, small, wooden medallions tied to two pieces of black rope.

She put the two roped around the children's necks, allowing the medallions to drop to their chests.  "Those are pirate medallions," she whispered.  "Given to each one of me crew, so take care of 'em.  Don't lose 'em, or break 'em.  It's considered bad luck, ya know."

The two children grinned wildly as they looked down at their medallions.  During the two months that she had been forced to stay in bed, she had carved their names into the back of each one.  Alex and Emily hugged her once again and then ran back up to their parents.

Will was the next to come up to her.  He wore a small smile, a hint of sadness hidden in it.  Lor smiled at him.  "Perk up, love.  At least your pirate troubles are over."

"At least for the moment," he replied.  "Jack will return within a year's time."

"And another grand adventure will await you, no doubt.   I hope you enjoy it mate."

"And what about you?  Will you return?"

"Perhaps.  I don't know when, but I will.  Right now, I want nothing but to feel the wind blowing through my hair as I stand at the helm of my ship."

Will laughed.  "I'm sure you do.  We will look for you Lor, just as we do with Jack," he looked behind him at his wife and children, and then back at Lor.  "I think I should go and take my children off of Elizabeth's hands so that she can say goodbye."

Lor smiled and nodded.  "Please go," she said and then watched as he started to walk away.  "Will?" she called.

He turned around to look at her.  "Yes?"

Lor cocked her head to one side slightly.  "Yer a lot like him you know."

"Who?"

"Yer father," she replied.  "He talked about you."

Will smiled again.  "Thank you."

Lor watched as he bent down to scoop up his son, lifting him up to sit on his shoulders.  "He's a good father," Elizabeth said, walking up to her.  "He doesn't let his work take over his life."

"He reminds me of mine."

"Yes, well, he'll have another child to take care of soon."

Lor's head jerked over in Elizabeth's direction.  "What?"

"It's just a hunch."

Lor smiled.  "Does Will know?"

"No.  I don't want to tell him until I know for sure."

"Congratulations in advance then.  Perhaps I'll meet the new baby when next I come."

"Perhaps."

The sound of a boat making ground behind them caused Lor to look back over her shoulder.  Skids and Conroy jumped out of the boat, pulling the small craft further up on the beach.  She nodded to them and then turned back to Elizabeth.  "I thank you for your hospitality, Elizabeth.  I wish I could stay longer, but, well, I think I like my freedom."

Elizabeth laughed.  "I understand.  You're healed, that's all I care about.  But you must come back to visit.  You will always have a place here."

"I will.  And now, I think I should go.  My men are waiting, as is my ship."

Elizabeth nodded, and then drew Lor into a light hug.  "Take care, and good luck."

"I will.  Take care as well, Elizabeth," Lor drew back from the embrace and then walked slowly towards the small row boat with a final wave over her shoulder.

Lor stood at the helm of her ship, her hands trailing over the wheel.  She smile crossed her face.  She had her ship, her crew, and what's more, just as Jack had said, she had her freedom.  Conroy walked up the steps to where she stood and stopped next to her.  "Where to Captain?"

Lor lifted her chin up to expose her face to the bright sun.  She inhaled deeply, taking in the salty air.  "Tortuga, I think, Mr. Conroy.  Tortuga."

"Aye Captain," he replied and then walked back down the stairs, issuing orders to her crew.

She looked out over her ship, watching as her men hurried to do as they were told.  Her thoughts turned to her father and a prayer that he had taught her when she was younger.  A prayer that he had always told her would protect her and anyone she was with.  Now, she was hoping he was right.  "Calling all angels," she whispered.  "Walk me through this world, don't leave me alone."

She turned her head a little, glancing back at the retreating port.  She would be back.  One way or another, she would return.

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