Chapter Eight: The Past is the Past

Jack looked down at himself, checking for blood that he was sure would be staining his shirt. He didn't feel like he'd been shot, but of course shock might have set in. His eyes met Douglass Pratt's for a moment as he cocked his head in slight confusion. Blood stained the other man's coat.

Ana Maria became visible when Pratt dropped to the floor. Her eyes met Jack's and she gave him a thin smile.

"I thought I ordered you to go with Will," her captain said, attempting to hide a small smile of his own.

"Can't let you have all the fun," she answered as she dropped her pistol to her side.

Emily Pratt stood in horror as she stared at her brother's dead body. She turned her eyes to Jack and then to Ana. "You... you killed him."

"'e was about to shoot my captain," Ana said lowly.

Tears streamed down the other girl's face. "But... but...."

"Miss Pratt, while I am sorry for your loss, as the situation stands, I must ask you to return to England," Commodore Norrington, who no one had really even realized was there, said from behind Jack and Richard.

"But... She killed my brother!" Emily protested. "Aren't you going to hang her?!"

"Self defense, luv," Jack said with a grin. "Or defense of someone else, as it were."

"He would have hung by the end of this," Richard said slowly. "Your brother had a loose tongue when he'd had too much ale. The reason they let Ana Maria go was because they were going to arrest Douglass on the charges of several thefts that would have led them to the murders he's committed over the years."

"You're getting off easy," Norrington said as he eyed her. "I have good reason to believe that you were probably an accomplice with him over the years."

Emily stared in horror for a minute and then took off out the door and down the streets of Port Royal. Norrington turned to look at the people in the room. Will stood with his shoulders squared and looking at the dead man on the floor, as if expecting him to stand again and come after them. Ana Maria was moving toward her captain who looked on the verge of passing out, but he still held a confident grin on his features.

"Where's Marie?" Richard asked.

"She, Elizabeth and the children are back at my home," Will answered. "They're safe."

Richard nodded. "As we should all be now. Both safe and back at the house."

Jack turned two glazed brown eyes towards his stepfather and opened his mouth to say something, but the words never came out. Instead he pitched forward suddenly and felt Richard catch him rather awkwardly. He groaned as everything faded to black.

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Jack slowly tugged his jacket over his sore body. Even after a good week of rest he still felt sore and tired. He groaned slightly as he sank to the bed.

"We don't have to heave now," Ana said from the door.

The pirate looked over at her. "Aye, we do, luv. 'm ready to get outa 'ere."

Ana nodded as she wrapped her arms around him. "I love you, you know that, right?"

Jack gave her a thin smile as he pulled her onto the bed beside him. He leaned over her and kissed her. "I know."

"Good, so don't ever order me away again," the dark haired woman growled. "I swear, Jack Sparrow, if you'd 'ave died when I wasn't there, I'd've gone to 'ell to drag yer sorry soul back!"

Jack chuckled as he kissed her again. "'m not leavin' ye any time soon, luv. Count on it."

"I will," she mumbled as she buried her face in his shirt.

The sound of someone clearing their throat at the doorway made the couple jump and all eyes turned to Richard Bruckworth who stood there, looking very uncomfortable. "Very sorry to... interrupt," he mumbled. "But might I have a moment with Jack to discuss some things?"

Ana eyed him warily and Jack nodded, standing. "Why don' ye scurry off to the Pearl an' I'll be 'long in a minute, eh?"

Richard moved aside to allow Ana Maria to pass and then closed the door quietly. He watched his stepson sit back down on the bed, exhaustion beneath the fa├žade he kept up so often. He waited just a moment more before moving to sit beside him. "I suppose we might have some sort of truce after all these years," he said after a long while.

"Perhaps."

Richard shifted. "Marie wanted to let me to let you know that you and Ana Maria are always welcomed at our house if you stop off in London any time."

Jack did not respond as he ran his hand through his hair and then looked up at the elder man. "I don' 'ate ya, ye know," he said at last, receiving a strange look from his stepfather. "I did. If I'd run across you at a different time than I did in a different way, I'd 'ave killed ya, but I didn'." Jack took a long breath, feeling his hands shaking. "I dunno wha' strings ye pulled to 'elp us back there, but I owe ye more'n I'd ever like to."

Richard shook his head. "Repayment for a life that I helped take years ago."

Jack nodded. "Then we're equal."

"Not really, but we're getting that way."

Jack nodded again, not meeting the elder man's eyes. "I need to catch up with Ana. She'll think I passed out or somethin'." He stood and looked back again. "Thank you."

Richard stood and reached out a hand that Jack grasped. The two men shook hands and left the room. The past was the past and there was little they could do to change that fact. Good men die and evil men live, but sometimes, just sometimes, evil men can find the tiny bit of good within themselves. Jack smiled at this. After all, if Will thought that he could be a good man, surely Richard had some hope. He had married Marie, hadn't he?

"Jack?"

Jack looked around to see Ana standing there. "Yeah, luv?"

"Ready?"

"More'n you know."

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A/N: Sorry it took so long! I've been buys/tired. I've got a couple more ideas but I might give my brain a rest for a few days. I should be working on a fic that Anna Maxwell and I are writing called "Time and Time Again". If anyone likes Gundam Wing, you should go check it out! :) It's over 400 pages long now! Wohoo! Oh, I saw yet another Johnny Depp movie. (I've been catching up on all these movies I didn't know about b/c I didn't really watch anything with Johnny Depp in it until PotC) I saw Once Upon a Time in Mexico. Weeeeiiiiiird movie.... Not sure if I liked it or not. Just can't really make up my mind.

Kungfuchick: Ah! Poor you! A cliffhanger before camp. I'm sorry. But I'm sure you'll be having so much fun that it won't matter, ne? Have fun!

LaVieSansAmour: You named pretty much everyone in the room that we knew was there EXCEPT the person that got shot.... Lol! Oh well! I had one person cheering FOR me to shoot Jack, but I thought "Nah... I'd probably kill him at this point..." I'm glad you liked that one line, and I'm glad I left it in. I came very very close to taking it out completely. You slept this entire time? Oops.... ::grins::

JackFan2: Ah yes, hates everyone, I'm convinced. Eating reviews now... what next? Lol Oh well. Cliffer to end all cliffers, eh? Hehe.... Glad ye liked it, mate!!

Savvy-Rum-Drinker: Oh, I'm a huge torture fan too. One can always tell my favorite character b/c he gets the crud beaten out of him. (typically a him, I don't tend to beat up too much on girl characters) And while I'm trying to semi redeem Richard, he wouldn't go as far as to step into a bullet for Jack. He's trying to get better, but c'mon, it's Richard. Lol. :) I'm thinking about doin' a li'll oneshot that's going to get Jack pretty hurt. Hope you'll read it when it comes out.

KittyKat: Douglass Pratt got shot! :) Sorry for the delay! I feel bad about it... I'm usually very good at getting at least a chapter out a day, but it's been at least two days that I haven't. So sorry!

Thanks very much, everyone! See ya next story!