Chapter Eight: I'll be Here

A/N: Oh my goodness.... I thought Jackfan2 was going to come after me for a second... LOL! If you haven't read her review, then you have no idea what I'm talking about, but she was very firm in her beliefs that I should keep Jack alive. What say the rest of you?

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"What do we owe to this visit, Commodore Norrington?" Anderson called, feeling slightly safer since Jack had passed out. He'd be dead very soon and this would be done with.

Norrington came towards the platform. "I've come to request Captain Jack Sparrow be released into the custody of Port Royal."

"Have you now?"

"I have."

"And if I say no?"

"I have documentation that we have every right to take him. Please release him from that rope. If he is to hang it will be in Port Royal." By this time Norrington had stepped up onto the platform. "Now, sir, before I have to take you in for a certain merchant vessel I know was taken by your men not two weeks ago."

Anderson paled.

"Now, sir."

Anderson reached out and sliced his sword through the ropes, his mind running the whole time on how to get himself out of this mess. Did Norrington know about the ship two weeks ago, or was he bluffing? How much else did he know?

Jack fell to the platform with a sickening thud and lay there, his breathing coming in gulps as he tried to refill his lungs that had been oxygen deprived the last few moments. Even as his body tried to bring air into his lungs, his eyes remained closed.

Norrington continued to glare at Anderson. "Now please release Mr. Turner as he is a subject of the crown and Miss Ana Maria and Mr. Gibbs because they are under the same truce that has saved their captain today."

"What truce is this?" Anderson growled. "Making deals with pirates now, are we, Commodore?"

"Only when it benefits Port Royal, in which this did."

"So you'd make a truce with anyone if it benefited Port Royal?"

"Not you."

Anderson's eyes widened. "You said if I cut the rope that you'd – "

"I said nothing of the sort. I said if you did not release him into my custody that I would take you in."

Ana Maria, who had struggled away from her captors during their fascination with what was happening with Anderson, ran up and climbed up to the platform. Jack had stopped gasping for air as much as he had been before and his first mate carefully reached over to him and moved some of his unruly hair from his face. He was far too pale for his normally tanned features and his breathing, while it wasn't gasping, was still unsteady. His neck was bruising all ready where the rope had tightened against him. "Jack?" she whispered, almost afraid to wake him, if he would wake.

Jack gave a small groan, but showed no other real signs of life. Ana Maria pushed back the tears that threatened. Her tears were rare and she would NOT be seen crying in front of these people here. She hadn't cried when they had forced the red hot brand onto her skin and she would not cry now. She did pull her captain into her arms and hold him, trying to focus on what Norrington was saying.

"You are under arrest for the pirating of the merchant vessel out of Port Royal two weeks ago. You have a right to a trial as a citizen of the crown. I suggest you come quietly."

"And yet you'll let him off scott-free," Anderson growled, pointing toward Jack's limp form.

"He has a truce with Port Royal that is none of your concern." Several of Norrington's men came to take Anderson, who looked shocked at the happenings of the day.

Anderson shook his head. This couldn't be happening. He was supposed to be off for the treasure now. A rich man. Possibly an immortal man. Why was this happening? Sparrow was supposed to be dead and he was supposed to live. No....

"He hasn't woken yet," Ana Maria hollered at Norrington. "He needs help!"

"His Pearl is docked over that way. I'd suggest you get him back to Port Royal and see a doctor there." Norrington raised an eyebrow at her. "Have some faith in your captain, Miss Ana Maria."

Ana watched him walk away as Will and Gibbs approached. "Get him on the Pearl," she ordered.

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"Has he still not woken?" Will asked as he peeked into the captain's quarters.

Ana Maria shook her head. "He's been dreaming, mumbling, but not waking."

Will nodded. "He'll be all right, Ana."

"I know."

The blacksmith stood silent for a moment. "Ana, you should get some rest. I'll sit up with him, if you'd like."

"No."

"You can't just run yourself ragged. He'll be angry with you."

"Let 'im be angry."

Will sighed heavily. He had noticed when the Black Pearl had left the last time out of Port Royal that her captain and first mate were a tad bit closer than usual. Norrington had said something about walking in on Jack and Ana when he boarded the Crimson Wave weeks before. Now Ana had become even more protective of her captain than usual. The blacksmith wasn't sure he'd ever seen this side of the lady pirate. The side that desperately needed her captain. Her love. Though she'd never admit that aloud.

Ana noticed Will leaving but said nothing. She only leaned in and placed a light kiss on Jack's forehead where his bandana usually resided. "I love you, Jack. Please don't leave me, luv.... I promised I'd stay with you, and I will. That first night when we picked you up from Port Royal, I promised, and I won't go back on it."

Jack groaned as his eyes opened slowly, meeting Ana's. "Ana.... Yer cryin', luv.... Wha' 'appened? You all right? 'ey didn' 'urt ye more, did they? I'll-"

"Hush, you daft fool," she mumbled, not holding back tears any longer. "They didn't hurt me anymore.... I was just worried about you."

"Me? I'm fine, luv."

"You wouldn' wake up."

"'m sorry...." Jack cocked his head to the side slightly, mind slowly remembering what had happened in the past day or two. The last thing he remembered was the stool going out from under him and the feeling of suffocating. "'ow's yer arm, luv?"

"It's fine."

"Sure?"

"Aye."

"You really won' leave me?"

Ana made a face and wiped her tears away. "Jack, you idiot, don' make me promise things twice. 'Course I won' leave you, you jus' better do the same."

"Tha's a fine promise indeed, luv. I think one I should keep."

She grinned at him and leaned in, kissing him. He grinned against her and pulled her into the bed, deepening the kiss. It had taken them a while to get to the point that they belonged, but sometimes the best things were worth waiting for. "I love you."

Ana pulled away. That had been the first time since the Crimson Wave that Jack had come out and said those words to her, and the first time he wasn't responding to her. They were sincere, she hoped. "Jack?"

"Yes, luv?"

"You know how much weight that word holds, don' you?" she asked slowly. "Is'not a word to throw around lightly."

"I know, luv."

"So you really mean it?"

Jack stopped. She was right, it wasn't a word to simply throw around. That's why he found himself being slapped every time he went to Tortuga. He threw the term love around far too much, but with Ana Maria, it was real. "Aye, luv, I mean it with everythin' in me."

She smiled. "That's all I needed to know."

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Jack stretched as he stepped onto the deck. Port Royal was in sight and the end of this adventure was coming to a close. The next one would surface soon enough, he was sure, but for now it was nice to simply stand on the deck of his ship, his Pearl, stretch, and let the water spray in his face.

"You sure you don't need to see a doctor, Jack?"

"You worry too much, lad," Jack told Will as he gave him a lopsided grin. "Jus' a little hangin'."

"Oh just."

Jack continued to grin as he ran a hand through his freshly braided hair. The beads clanked together, free of the bandana that usually held them together. "Thank you, Will," he said after a long silence.

"For what?"

"Coming after me."

Will smiled. "Jack, we're friends. Friends help one another."

"Is that wha' they do?" the pirate wondered aloud. "I never knew that."

At first Will thought he was being sarcastic, but he quickly came to realizing he was simply being truthful, a small feat in itself of course.

"'m surprised 'Lizabeth didn' come 'long as well, lad. She's usually right in the middle of everything."

Will grinned. "Someone had to keep your mother from having a fit."

Jack cocked his head. "She cared?"

"She cares more than you'll believe."

"Perhaps...."

"Jack, there's another reason Elizabeth didn't come, but it's very secret. Even her father doesn't know, and we don't know for sure, but....."

A grin spread across the captain's face and his eyes held amusement. "Someone couldn' wait 'till the wedding night, eh? Glad to know yer not a eunuch, kid."

"JACK!"

Jack blinked. "Wha? You are?"

"No!"

"Well good! 'm sure 'Lizabeth was glad to find that out."

"I'm not having this conversation..." Will groaned.

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"Will!" Elizabeth squealed – for lack of a better word – when she saw her husband. She wrapped her arms around his neck and kissed him.

"Do I get tha' treatment as well since I was the one everyone was after?" Jack asked with a wide, gold-toothed grin.

"Not from me you won't," Elizabeth said with a smile. "But I will give you a hug. It's good to see you safe, Jack." She did hug him, a bit to his surprise.

"So I 'ear Will couldn' wait for the night 'e was 'spose to, eh?" Jack whispered into her ear.

She pulled back and slapped him. "JACK SPARROW!"

"Tha's cap'n, luv," he said with a grin. "Why does everyone forget tha'?"

"Because they know they'll get a rise outa ya, Jack," Ana Maria said from behind.

Jack grinned. "All right, if tha's all."

Ana grinned kissed him. "I love you," she whispered.

"Love you too, Ana. Always."

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A/N: Tha's it for this story! For the unspoken part of the story, Anderson hangs for his crimes and Elizabeth is going to have a boy. ::grins:: I just don't know what I'm going to name him. Any suggestions, because he'll be in the next story. I've got at least two more chapter stories planned out for this series. I might have more as time goes on. So if you have suggestions for naming Elizabeth and Will's son, let me know, savvy?

Thanks very much to everyone who's been reviewing through out this series! I really appreciate it! Makes me want to write more! And also thanks to everyone at the Black Pearl Scrolls! I just joined and everyone's so nice!!

JackFan2: ::hides:: ::pokes head out carefully:: I didn' kill 'im! Like I promised! And I updated today! Wohoo! Yay! Go me! I wouldn' wan' ya babblin' like an idiot, savvy? :) Thanks for readin' and 'ope to see ya back reviewing in the next one!

Kungfuchick: ::big hug:: You and LaVieSansAmour are probably my most faithful reviewers! My greatest thanks to you! S'okay 'bout the review! FF.net is picky, we all know that lol. Hope to see you reviewing the next when it comes out!

LaVieSansAmour: I know I haven't gotten a review yet from you, but I just wanted to give you a hug too! ::hugs:: Thanks for keepin' up with the story and reviewing so much! I'm sorry I hung Jack... sort of... well, no, I'm not, but I still didn't kill him! So it's all good :) Hope I didn't cause too much stress over it though!