Chapter 13, Stay

Having fought together numerous times before, Jack reacted to the warning without a second's hesitation and ducked.  In doing so, the fist meant for his head caught only his hat, sending it flying.  In response, Ana sent a fist flying towards the face of the would-be attacker. 

She missed as the man leaned backward to dodge, but Jack did not.  Still low to the ground and facing the wrong direction, Jack jabbed his elbow back and connected solidly with the attacker's gut.  Next the pirate stood as he spun and connected his knee to the now doubled over attacker's nose, snapping his head back.

This signalled the beginning of what was to become the evening's entertainment. 

Another man holding a chair ran forwards and swung it at Jack's back, connecting with the pirates back the chair shattered, sending pieces of wood everywhere. The pirate, in turn, swiped out his foot and caught his assailant off balance, sending him crashing to the ground moments later.  Another man grabbed Ana's arm, dragging her to the side, and for his trouble, he received a glass smashed in his face.

The other patrons of the tavern, not wanting to miss the fun, quickly chose a side and joined the melee. 

Apparently, the against-Jack side looked like more fun, and the bulk of the tavern zeroed in on the goal of beating the pirate to a pulp.  Ana fought at his side, and together they managed to fend off the worst of it until being backed up in the far corner.  Jack ducked as a bottle smashed into the wall behind him. 

No one seemed to notice or care that the woman they were supposedly protecting from the evil pirate, fought against her numerous defenders. 

It had been a good fight, but the for-Jack side was steadily dwindling and the outcome wasn't looking good.  As the crowd steadily pushed forwards, there was nowhere left for the pirates to retreat.  Jack's priority shifted to moving the focus of the fight away from Ana.  Losing the fight wasn't his first choice of outcomes, but he knew, as he'd been in this kind of situation before, it'd be no worse than-

That thought ended abruptly as a fist smashed Jack squarely in the face.  Little pinpricks of light danced before his eyes as he shook his head to clear them. 

Knowing he'd lose eventually didn't mean he'd stop fighting now, in fact, it only meant he'd fight all the harder.  Jack pushed away from the wall and dove forwards into the mass and- another fist on its way towards Jack's face suddenly stopped and flew backwards. 

That was odd. 

"Knew we'd find you mixed in trouble Cap'n." 

Gibbs!  Never did the man's voice sound sweater than it did now, and Jack couldn't suppress a relieved grin.  "Funny 'ol world, innit?"  Now that he looked, he could see other crewmembers from the Black Pearl joining the fight too.  So maybe the for-Jack side might have more a chance than he'd originally thought.

"Uh, Cap'n see'n as you an' Ana have done your part, you and the lass may want t' make for the longboat at the dock.  Let us finish this, been real boring with ye gone.  We'll be there shortly."  Gibbs said, and then promptly received a clod on the top of his head.  Turning, unfazed by the blow, Gibbs picked the attacker up by his shirt and threw him backwards, where the impact of his body obliterated a table.

With the tide of the fight turning, the prospect of missing out on the rest of brawl didn't look so appealing.  Besides, Jack still had a hat to reclaim, didn't he?  There they stood, Captain and First Mate, bruised and bloodied, and looking on at the fight continuing around them with an appreciative gaze.  They wouldn't miss the end of this fight for all the gold in the Spanish armada.

Ah, but it was good to be back in the thick of things again. 

~

"Ya didn 'ave t'stay for the end of it Cap'n.  We'd 'ave done fine on our own."  Gibbs muttered again on their way to the docks. 

Aye, but I seem to recall my orders were to take The Pearl to Perry's Cove for repairs, yet here ya'be in Tortuga. Mind explain'n that one t'me?"  Jack grumbled.  In truth, it was getting hard to hide his pleasure of how things did turn out. 

"The appearance of yer orange boat tipped us off to trouble brewin'."  Gibbs looked to Ana, because clearly everyone knew the boat had been her scheme.  "When she came up on us and we saw she lacked her rightful owners, we figured it'd be a good idea t'investigate." 

"What'd you do with the thieves?"  Ana asked. 

"Treadin' water last I saw of 'em."  Gibbs responded proudly, and Ana seemed content with that. 

Upon reaching the docks a familiarly scornful chortle greeted them.  The old man sat in the exact same spot he'd been in before, pointing at Jack while chuckling merrily. 

"I knew I'd be seeing the likes of you again!"  The old man hollered as he watched the pirate and his crew approach.

Jack tipped his hat in salute to the old bastard before he and his little party of pirates climbed into the long boat and started back towards the Black Pearl.  Nearing his ship, the familiar sounds of the creaks and sails were music to Jack's ears.  Vacations be damned, much as he appreciated the alone time with Ana, there was nothing better than coming home to his own ship. 

By the time they were on board the Pearl, all the bruises and cuts that seemed nothing but trifles earlier, were beginning to be felt.  After a brief, "Glad t'ave ya back, Cap'n." From the crew, Jack retreated to his cabin. 

With Ana following close behind. 

He considered winning one battle out of two so far to be a good sign.  This coming confrontation with Ana Maria would be a battle unto it's self, and would prove a much harder victory to come by.  Ana Maria might be on board the Pearl now, but by no means did he fool himself into believing this was how things would remain.  Perhaps that would be for the best.

"You're bleedin."  She stomped to a nearby cabinet and withdrew a bottle of rum and clean white cloths, as she had done so many times in the past. She spilled the contents of the rum on one of the cloths.

"An so'r you."  Jack answered.  He stepped up close to her and gently ran a finger along a bruise starting to form on her cheek.  "What're yer plans now?"

That's up t'you." She said as she handed him the rum soaked cloth.

He sat down at the table and gingerly dabbing the cloth to his bloodied lip.  "An' that just brings us to t'same point we were at b'fore." He winced as the cloth barely touched his lip.

"Oh here, let me." She sighed in exasperation and stepped up to take the cloth from him.

"Y'don't trust me Ana, how long b'fore I drive ye off again?" Wincing as the rum stung his cut.

"I do trust you.  I'd not sail with a Cap'n I don't trust."

"As a captain."  He repeated.  "But how'bout otherwise?"

"You mean do I trust you 'em other times I'm under ya."  She stated bluntly.

Wincing at the crass statement, Jack moved on..."I drugged yer tea."

"I been thinkin' on that.  The tea was Graziella's idea, not yours.  The mix was hers, not yours.  So no, I don't think ye meant to drug me, but that don't mean I'm fool enough not to know you planed on ditching me while you chased down Merrill."  She paused a moment to let that sink in properly, just so he'd know he'd not be getting away with anything. 

"And yes, I'm angry with you about that."  She glared at him a moment before her eyes softened.  "But, I trust you.  I trust ya t'do what ya think to be best.  I trust ya to do good by your ship, and by me.  What I don't trust, is fer ya t'be good to your self.  That's why I worry Jack."  As he sat there, she stepped forward to stand between his knees and placed one hand on his shoulder, the other on his face.  "I promised ya I'd stay.  But I'd break that promise without hesitation if it were only an obligation I felt."

Jack nodded and asked "And yer feeln's now?"

She shook her head, no.  "It's your turn t'be honest.  Tell me you want me to stay, and  I will. Your turn now to trust me"

"Stay."  He said in a choked whisper as he pulled her down to him and gently enveloped her in a kiss. 

And they lived happily ever after, the end!

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