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Eyes of Tortuga

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"Maybe I'd be better on my own
No one ever seems to understand me
It's easier for me to be alone
But there's still a piece of me that feels so empty

I've been all over the world
I've seen a million different places
But through the crowds and all the faces
I'm still out there looking for you"

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The Faithful Bride was busy tonight. Her eyes scanned the tables, over the miserable drunken sods and brilliantly painted whores hanging off their strong, bold sailors or weasel-faced pirate companions. She shoved off a leering middle-aged pirate, his belly making his filthy shirt too tight and a drunken smile betraying that he had overfilled his liquor quota for the evening. Drinking deeply, Ana set down her now empty rum tumbler among its similar many brothers.

She sighed, feeling the wonderful haziness begin to lull her mind into oblivion. Eyes catching on a bright whore perched on the countertop, Ana thoughtfully contemplated the girl. The girl was young, looking maybe a few years younger than herself, and yet she had lost the innocent sparkle to her green eyes. Her golden dress if closely inspected was stained by many a drink or mud stain, fitting too tight to her scrawny frame and her breasts protruding too much at the top than natural. Ana watched as the girl tipped her blond head back and giggled madly at something the bartender had said, letting him run his fingers over her fuchsia cheekbones.

Grinning ruefully, feeling contentness fill her with the drink, the pirate woman glanced down at her own garb. Her shabby but clean shift and black britches complete with sturdy boots and a purple sash. Ana fingered the sash lovingly, realizing suddenly that it was one of the few feminine things she owned and one of the few pieces of loot she had indulged herself to keep. Silk it was, taken off a merchant vessel off the coast of Brazil.

Ana squeezed her eyes shut against the bombardment of memories that suddenly were catapulted at her, hands going to rub at her painful temples. She remembered the day she had found this article, remembered all too well.

It had been a bright day at sea, only the fountain of clouds on the horizon casting an ominous hue on the day. The Pearl had sidled alongside the little ship, and the terrified sailors had surrendered immediately, even running up a flag of truce before a shot was fired. She scoffed lightly, rubbing the material through her fingers. Aye, and then Jack had told the crew to take their fill as long as no man were harmed, then set the vessel on its way. Aye...Jack...

The pirate grimaced, not liking where this session of heavy thought was headed. She looked frantically around for another serving wench to demand another tray of rum. No, she shook her head frantically, not rum.

Ana let her head fall to the table with a sickening clunk, murmuring desolately, "Anythin' but rum..."

She heard the tavern door swing open and the cheer go up from the Bride's patrons, and she halfheartedly raised an empty tankard in salute, not caring who it was. Intent on studying the series of nicks and burns into the dark wood table, she fought to keep her fuzzy mind from wandering into unwanted areas.

Smiling mildly, she traced the abused area with her fingertips, quickly becoming fascinated with her jagged, short fingernails. Ana glanced up to survey the crowd once more, not sure exactly what she was looking for. She was watching the crowd, that was sure. From her corner table in the shadows she was quite able to do as she pleased in that respect with looking like she wanted a fight. There was a story here, always something behind the face and the desire for the drink or the spirited behavior. Aye, in each one of these faces, the weathered and old to the painted whores and street urchins, there was a story.

Her eyes rested on the blond whore again, finding that the girl's back was to her. She watched as the girl threw her head back, deft hands removing the three cornered hat of the person who was currently standing between her legs. Ana's eyes squinted, a voice screaming through her fog-filled mind. "I know that hat!" the alert portion of her brain yelled, while the drink drawled, "At least someone's gettin' 'er jollies tonight."

She squeezed her eyes closed only to open them again and find that the scene that she had so dreamed and so dreaded was indeed a reality. He was here, damn him to hell. Of all places for her to go, of all the pubs on this rock, why did they have to end up in the same one?

Ana's unwilling gaze drifted to him again, watching as he whispered something in the blond whore's ear and she giggled madly in a flurry of fabric, lifting her red-stained nails to stroke his scruffy cheek. Again, Anamaria glanced down at her own nails and garb, asking herself for what seemed like the millionth time if maybe, just maybe, he would love her differently if she was beautiful, a lady.

Tough luck if he would.

Ana straightened her back and smacked her head against her hand, attempting to sober herself. She made every muscle go rigid and her face expressionless as she snagged a serving wench and her two tankards of rum, draining one instantly.

"Well if it ain't little Anamaria 'erself, queen o'the Carribbean," a teasing good-humored voice sounded near her ear. "Where's yer king?"

Ana spun around in her chair, almost toppling it over in the process, hand going to her dagger in alarm. "Jones," she acknowledged in somewhat annoyance as she recognized the sailor, seating herself back down again.

"How about some cards?" Jones said with a smirk, "Ye know ye can't resist some gambling, can ye?"

Ana's face was expressionless and she did not look at him, eyes flickering back to where Jack was still laughing with his whore, thinking wryly that it was surprising he hadn't gotten her up to a room yet. The thought made her suddenly catch her breath in pain, but she shrugged it off soon enough, hoping Jones didn't notice anything amiss. Too late.

He clamped a hand on Ana's shoulder, following her gaze, "Aha," he said with a dramatic sigh, "That's it then. Come on; come have a hand with us. Make ye feel better, t'be sure."

Ana sighed and let herself be pulled to her feet to a somewhat centrally located table, thankfully on the other side of the tavern. The group of rowdy-looking man all acknowledged her gruffly, and she sat, letting herself be dealt a hand for poker. She let her face go slack as she concentrated on her cards. Spades, hearts, red, black...

Ana threw down her hand triumphantly, a goofy smile gracing her face. A full house. She reached for the pile at the center, when her hand was suddenly slapped away by a blade. Ana's eyes shot to the intruder, recognizing one of the players she had beaten, a nasty look twisting his grimy face.

"Ye cheated," he growled menacingly, flicking up his sword.

Ana gritted her teeth, her hand going to her own sword. "I don't," she managed to say, rising unsteadily to her feet, "cheat." Her hand met air where her blade should be. Bloody hell, someone had lifted her cutlass. She went to her next best weapon with a sinking heart, grabbing her dirk from her belt.

From the shadows, a dark-stained hand snaked out and grabbed the accuser's wrist, a condescending finger flicking in his face, "That's not very nice," the interceptor drawled.

Ana almost choked as the voice tingled through her, leaving a wave of uninvited warmth spreading through her. She glared at him angrily as he shoved off the man who had threatened her, unbeknownst to her slipping a small pouch of gold into the man's hand.

"Anamaria," her 'rescuer' greeted her cordially, seating himself at the now vacated table and propping his feet up nonchalantly on its surface, lifting a tankard of abandoned rum to his lips.

"Jack Sparrow," she ground out, sitting back down. Her spine was rigidly pressed against the spindly chair backing and every muscle was poised and ready to spring.

"How 'bout some cards, love?" Jack proposed with a gold tinted grin, eyes regarding her with old intensity.

"I don't play with cheaters," Ana shot at him, herding her winnings carefully into her small money pouch.

"Come on, love, I won't cheat," Jack wheedled enticingly, snatching a new pack of cards from the table's surface and waving them at her to prove his point.

"Where's yer whore?" Ana asked deliberately, skirting his question. She folded her hands patiently in her lap, stormy eyes locked defiantly with his.

"Sophie?" Jack asked, waving his hand away as if it were no consequence, "Ah, she went off with some French bloke. Said she'd be back later, though," he added with a trademark smirk.

Ana pushed her chair back and leapt to her feet. "Then I'd best leave ye to it," she snapped, pushing her way through the mass of bodies towards the door.

"No, stop!" Jack yelled frantically after her, clambering to his feet and hurrying after her, finally spotting her in the alleyway outside of the tavern.

She suddenly fell to her knees, not seeming to realize his presence and bent her head over a large barrel, her stomach heaving with the mixture of no food and too many rounds of drink. Ana emptied the contents of her stomach miserably, continuing to heave after it was long empty. She barely recognized gentle hands twist her long hair back from her shoulders and a calloused thumb caress her cheekbone.

Finally she straightened up and wiped her mouth with the back of her hand uncomfortably and washed her mouth out with water, suddenly noticing Jack crouched beside her, watching with concerned eyes. Her eyes hardened at the sight while her stomach churned still, and she fought the urge to curl up on the cold, unfriendly stones and wait for the agony to pass.

"Come on," Jack muttered, carefully pulling her to her feet.

She dug her heels in, muttering protests about how she could handle herself and to just leave her the hell be.

Jack shook his head stubborn, his iron hand supporting her weight as they stumbled along towards the docks. "Can't just leave ye here," he explained breathlessly, "Can't be responsible for what happens to ye here, after all it's probably me own fault ye drunk yerself into such a state."

Ana felt too awful to notice his arrogance, through her haziness looking up to realize the Black Pearl was glaring down at her in disappointment. She rolled her eyes. Of all the things to see her in such a state, why did her ship have to be one of them?

He led her into the place that she recognized foggily as his cabin, stripping her of her boots and weapons and laying her on the narrow bunk. She heard him rummaging around in his closet until he exclaimed something triumphantly, returning with a shabby but useable wool blanket, carefully spreading it over her. He then perched beside her on his bed, brushing her hair from her damp forehead.

She stared up at him, already feeling much less sick. "I'm sorry," he mumbled finally, chewing on one fingernail idly as if he really didn't want her to hear his own words.

Her eyes widened comically, almost believing him. "What's this? Ye apologizin'? Never 'eard this before. I'm the one who's drunk meself into such a sorry state."

"Aye," he agreed readily, regarding her thoughtfully with his dark-lined eyes, "But ye see, I'm the one who lead ye into it."

"And how would ye know that?" Ana demanded indignantly, the importance of his apology distinctly diminished by his reasoning and inflated ego.

"I don't," he admitted, watching her reaction with clear eyes and a thoughtfully expression, "But I know that because I did what I did, ye were might upset with me." He saw her expression darken and mouth open in protest and quickly offered reassurance, "An' rightfully so."

"Aye," Ana agreed with narrowed eyes, tucking her blanket protectively under her chin under his steady gaze. She let her eyes droop closed and sighed, settling back into the stolen feather mattress.

"An' I didn't mean what I said," she heard him whisper roughly somewhere above her as his beads clinked in a soft chorus. Ana's lids flew open and she met his eyes, teeth sinking into her lip self-consciously. "Yer not a hindrance to the crew, an' by far not some prissy woman who's bad luck to us all," he went on in one of his rare sincere moments, reaching down to curl his fingers under her jaw.

Fighting back a pleased smile, Ana steeled herself, "I'm sorry," she murmured, "I had no right to say what I did, an' if ye want t'keelhaul me, ye have every right to. Yer not a daft sod, and I sure don't wish ye dead..." she pondered this a moment then amended herself, "...most o' the time."

"I don't think I'll be keelhaulin' ye yet, woman," Jack told her with a gold-toothed grin, "I can think o'better things to do with me time, plus it would be a shame to waste such fine skin..." his lips descended on her nose, "An'eyes..." he continued with a playful smile, "...and lips." He gently brushed his lips over her dry ones, fingers trailing where his lips left off. "Sleep," he urged finally, moving to rise from the bunk.

"An' where are ye goin'?" she demanded sleepily, fingers catching his wrist.

"Apparently no where," Jack murmured as she drew him down on top of the blanket to rest beside her, the full length of her body pressed against his as he sprawled out his arm lazily to keep her form against him.

Ana smiled as she felt herself drift off into the oblivion of sleep. Aye, it was true. Each person had a story behind the face, and aboard this ship after the evening and the fights and words and good times before it, they had just completed a page.

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Disclaimer: No owny Pirates of the Carribbean or any of the characters or places. However, Jones and the blond whore are mine and so is the plotless plot, huzzah. Lyrics belong to Michelle Branch, "Where are you now"

Missy Mouse: No, unfortunately I didn't know Ana's surname and Santagio is just something I came up with. I'm sorry, I can't help you there. You're welcome to use it if you want though, You're putting her in a fic, yay!*grins* Sorry for the inconvenience if anyone was confused.

AN: Sorry for the interruption, folks. Doesn't really follow my storylines or what I have planned for my favorite pirate pair, but just something that I wanted to get out. Ta!

~Night Rose