Disclaimer: Don't own POTC, nor any characters nor ships.

AN: Aye, just something I thought of in chorus class. Again, doesn't go along with any of my current stories, but a mighty good chance that it'll be part of a larger story because there are lots of questions you may have that will remain unanswered until I feel good and ready to weave it all together. I hope Jack wasn't too OOC.  Prepare to be confused! I like to call it: dramatic fluff. You judge.

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Place in the Stars

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Jack rolled over, clutching his covers to his chin and cradling an empty rum bottle to his chest protectively. He squeezed his eyes closed as he tried to return to sleep, but constant thoughts plagued his mind and would not let him rest.

Suddenly the pirate was yanked from his rum and sleep state as something caught his ears. He strained to hear against the faint lullaby of the ocean. There it was again: a soft wailing, hushed briefly only before rising in constant pitch again.

Groaning, he flipped over angrily, burying his face in the pillow to muffle the noise, muttering something about bloody crying. Wait….crying?

Jack's eyes snapped open and he rubbed at them sleepily, scrubbing his face with his hands. Depositing the rum bottle on the chilled floorboards, he threw back the covers and padded to the door, pushing it open silently to creep out into the moonlight that was bathing the Pearl's deck.

It was a warm tropical night and the air was warm and thick except for a light breeze which danced through the Pearl's furled sails as she floated, moored in a little inlet. Jack felt a little shiver shoot through him, glancing down to realize he had not bothered to don a shirt in his stupor.

Painstakingly, the pirate surveyed the finely polished deck, noting with satisfaction that all seemed still and everyone hand asleep, save for one.

He watched as she slowly swayed into view, rocking lightly in an exaggerated motion similar to the small waves lapping against the bow. Frowning briefly, she slowly shifted what she was holding. A faint smile crossing his lips, he crossed his bare arms against his chest as he watched her attempt to take on the strangest challenge a pirate could ask for. She had draped a heavy blanket over her arms and bundle protectively to ward off the slight chill of the wind and now she adjusted it, perching herself carefully on a crudely produced bench.

As he waited, he caught a strand of a gently sung African melody he knew she had picked up in their past adventures, rich with culture and history. She sighed as the wailing began to increase again, bouncing her cargo carefully.

Changing tactics, she rose and began to pace again in a deliberate circle about the helm in her swaying step, seeming to the captain as if she had done this many times before this night. Every so often she would raise her face to look at the stars in the faint light they gave, the moon darting in and out behind the thick few clouds that plagued the night, seeming to gauge the time.

From where he stood, Jack peered into the shadows playing across her face, seeing the tired expression lining her eyes and deep crease above her brow. As she shifted again, he realized her muscles must be fatigued.

The pirate crept up along the railing close to her, wrapping his arms around her from behind, one hand supporting the whimpering child in her arms. He pressed his chin into the crook of her shoulder, examining the folds of the blanket.

Every muscle in Anamaria's body tensed against him in surprise and unwelcome. "I apologize for wakin' ye," she told him rigidly, as if she was not really sorry at all.

"I couldn't just sleep when ye were awake," Jack told her with an ironic smile, pushing back the blankets with one hand while keeping the other clasped around her waist in support. "Does this bugger ever sleep?"

"Sometimes," Ana sighed, not looking at him and focusing on her bundle, "Only when I'm awake and workin', it seems."

"She hungry?" Jack inquired, peering down at the round brown eyes that blinked back at him benignly as the girl stopped crying briefly to stare at him inquisitively.

"Shouldn't be," Ana answered sharply, bouncing the baby lightly as she broke away from his arms and began to pace again, "I've only fed her less than an hour ago."

"How long have ye been awake?" Jack demanded suddenly with narrowed eyes, stepping around her to look into her features.

She frowned, avoiding his gaze as she stroked the child's cheek with a fingertip, answering with an annoyed scowl a cantankerous snap. "What's it to ye?"

Jack blew out a breath in frustration, carefully taking the child from her despite her mother's angry protests. Her question gave him his answer: too long. "How many times do I hafta tell ye to wake me or another crewmember? Ye shouldn't need to do this alone."

Ana smiled dryly, her eyes frowning up at him, "Ah yes, I'm sure I could trust the men with her and they'd be just overjoyed at bein' wakened at all hours o' the night."

"Me, then."

Ana adjusted the blanket carefully and smiled humorlessly at the baby situated in Jack's arms, not meeting his solemn eyes as she bit her cheek to keep in a sharp retort.  "Aye, but I don't need t'worry the captain with not his problems."

"It isn't a problem, Ana, it's a child."

She wouldn't meet his gaze, nibbling on her lip anxiously as the baby began to whimper again. She stretched out her hand and stroked the child's dark head. "Aye," she muttered in agreement again, "my child."

Jack frowned, inspecting her troubled and hard countenance. Rocking the bundle, he glanced up at the stars. As he squinted, each one melded together to teach the sea-hardened pirate what was truly important.

Anamaria's form was etched into the stars. Every line of her body, every curve of her face, and every part of what made her so truly real and remarkable was visible above him…and before him.

It was now that Jack came to realization, one that he realized with a shooting pain that he should have figured out a long time ago.  With his newfound revelation and the warmth that it spread through him, Jack began to hum tranquilly, a genuine smile curving across his lips as his sea-weathered face softened

"Ana," he asked slowly, tilting his head to study the delicate child in his arms. He offered her his pinky, and with perfect little fingers, the nails in tiny crescents like the moon above him she reached out to him. "Ana, what do ye believe in?"

Ana slowly tried to relax her painfully tight shoulder muscles, leaning back on the railing as she watched Jack take over her duties in rocking her child. She tipped her head back, letting the breeze dance through her dark tangled locks as she studied the tiny diamond studs imbedded in the perfect sky. "I believe in the stars," she began thoughtfully, "And that the ones we love are watching us." She sighed, drumming her fingers on the smooth wooden rail, "There's a God…some supreme being watching over us, causin' the miracles that sometimes we can see, and sometimes we can't."

Jack watched her through warm eyes, feeling the baby tilt her head and go still in hearing Ana's soft voice; in the moment, the coarseness of years at sea and labor were not quite as harsh to the ear.

"Why?" she suddenly demanded, switching her dark gaze back from the heavens to his tanned face, snapping back onto her usually guarded manner.

Jack shrugged carelessly, swiveling his torso to relax the child and hopefully bring her closer to sleep. He stepped closer to the pirate woman, bending his head so their eyes were locked at a straight angle. "Do ye want to know what I believe in?" he asked her seriously, as if daring her to refuse.

Ana frowned sharply, almost allowing herself to brush by him and escape into the night. She knew this tone, a dangerous one, she was sure. A philosophical Jack Sparrow would be the death of her, Ana thought briefly, or the breaking of her heart. She wasn't sure which one was worse. "No," she spat, eyes narrowed in warning.

"I believe in the moon," he began, thankfully breaking the eye contact and spinning gracefully around to lean against the rail beside her, the bundle of carefully wrapped blankets nestled against his chest. "I believe in the sun, and the sea, and that each day the sun'll rise and wind will blow t'bring me where I need t'go."

He turned his head to gaze at her profile still staring stubbornly ahead into the dimness. "I believe in friendship, and loyalty an' somethin' watchin' over everythin' that I care about. And what I believe in most o'all…"

Ana shook her head frantically, eyes squeezed closed and ready to clap her hands over her ears.  Jack detangled his finger from the child's clutches, brushing back the curtain of dark that had fallen to shield Anamaria's face.

"Love," he whispered roughly, "Love is ye. I believe in ye."

The pirate woman snapped her head around, defiant, glittering eyes clashing with tender, and impish ones. As he caressed her with his rarely solemn eyes, begging her to trust him, he felt her resolve begin to soften. Feeling that his best chance was to snatch her away before she could have a chance to debate with herself, he decided to play his cards, offering a prayer to the heavens that he wasn't too late.

Jack looped his free arm around Ana's shoulders, leading her to his cabin.

"What are ye doin'?" she demanded harshly, staring at him as if he had lost his senses, her defenses snapping suddenly back into place, "Me cabin's the other way."

Jack glanced down at her, stopping mid-stride. His arm slid off her shoulders and cupped her face tenderly. "I'm puttin' me girls to bed."

"Are ye now? In yer cabin?" Ana shot back. It was more of a challenge than question. Her only defense to his tenderness? A sharp edge.

"Nay," he shook his head, beads clinking in gentle harmony, "In our cabin."

Ana gaped at him, her anger lost in shock, mouth opening and closing several times as she struggled to form words. "Jack—that's sweet an' all, but ye don't have to take pity on me an' Lara. We can sure manage." She added convincingly.

 "Isn't pity, love. I don't care about all that. I don't care about anythin' that's happened to ye and I was wrong to tell ye such awful things as I did when ye first told me about her. Right now," Jack told her, his weathered thumb caressing her face as his gaze drifted between the pirate woman and her child before him, "All I care about is singin' me loves a lullaby."

Feeling tears prick at her eyes and she squeezed them shut, filled with guilt and the wish to change the past. She held herself stiff against him, swallowing hard. "I'm so sorry," she whispered, hot liquid cascading from her eyes.

Roughly, Jack wiped them away. "It's not yer fault," he whispered sternly, "Don't ever think it is. All the bad that's gone wrong, all the awful wrong that's been done to ye, it stops here. See this," he tilted his chin to the child, "This is good. The bad changes into good. It's over now. I'm here, Lara's here. It's how it's supposed to be."

Ana shook her head, eyes squeezed closed, unable to respond. It wasn't right. He shouldn't be forgiving her, not after all the horrible things that had happened and the words that had been said. "I can't let ye," she snapped finally, "It's not fair to ye."

"Hang being fair!" Jack growled. Lara began to wail again. Jack lowered his head and whispered something to her, swaying gently. The child fell silent, staring up at the pirate with wide, fascinated dark eyes.

 "Hang it, Ana," Jack repeated more calmly in a lower, more intense voice. "This is what I want. If ye don't want it, fine. But me, don't tell me what I want. Just because she don't have me blood, don't mean she can't be me child!"

Ana sucked in a long breath, chewing painfully on her lip. He couldn't possibly mean it…could he? She dared to meet his eyes, feeling like all the strength and fire she had built up as a woman in her years at sea had faded in the past months. There were times where she could have fought back. Now she couldn't…didn't even want to, truth be known.

Jack's arm fell open to her, inviting her into his embrace, burning eyes pleading with her to accept.

Ana stared at his outstretched arm a moment, the seconds ticking by. Finally she choked back a sob and flung herself into his waiting arm, her only caution not to jostle her baby. She finally smiled… their baby.

Jack closed his dark eyes, bowing his head between his two fine lasses. His two loves. He kissed each of their heads, holding them for a long time. Finally Ana composed herself, drawing back to meet his eyes with something of her old spark.

"Come on, ye mangy pirate," she quipped, dashing the salt tracks from her face, a faint grin tracing across her lips, "I'm tired an' I think ye promised me a bed."

"I wouldn't talk about bein' mangy, love. Tomorrow we're takin' a bath, we are."

The pirate woman rolled her eyes at this as he began to usher her again towards the cabin.  Reaching it, he motioned with a flourish for Ana to climb into bed, which she did, sighing gratefully. He carefully handed her the baby before scooting in beside her, drawing the blankets to waist-length over them.

Both studying Lara, the baby gave an enormous yawn and rubbed its tiny balled fists into its eyes, nestling down into Ana's chest. Jack propped his head up with an elbow as he lay on his side, one hand resting lightly on the bundle of blankets above the baby's back.

Jack smiled tenderly at Ana, watching the two struggle against the powers of sleep. Very softly, he began to sing his family the promised lullaby.

"The breeze was fresh, the ship was in stays,
Each breaker hush'd, the shore a haze,
When Jack, no more on duty call'd
His true love's tokens over haul'd;
The broken gold, the braided hair,
The tender motto, writ so fair,
Upon his 'bacco box he views,
'Ana' the poet, love the muse,

If you loves I as I loves you,
No pair so happy as we two"

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AN:

Actually reads: " Nancy the poet, love the muse",


Words from: www.acronet.net

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Hope you all enjoyed it.

~Night Rose