Half-Life

Chapter 13

Ana crossed back toward Jack's cabin with a plate of warm food fresh from the galley. Now her regrets of their struggle with Nigel were being replaced by a regret far more pertinent to the time: she had dozed off and left Jack to wake alone. She could only guess how horrible that would have been had she been treated the same. Guilt gnawed at her conscience as she opened the cabin door, plastered a small smile on her face, and entered to face her captain.

After closing the door Ana realized that Jack was no longer awake, but dozing peacefully as he had been less than an hour ago. She shook her head to herself with a wry smile and silently walked to his bedside. How much sleep could a man need? It was true that, through the cleverness—or stupidity—of Gibbs and Thomas, Jack had been coaxed into a full day of uninterrupted rest, but no one had expected the pirate captain to stay asleep for days after the fact. It had led Ana to much worry, especially considering the relative speed with which her wound was healing compared to Jack's slow-healing wounds.

With an inward sigh Ana sank carefully to sit on the edge of Jack's mattress, setting the tray on her lap. Despite her attempt at subtlety Jack woke with a start, but relaxed when he met her gaze with his own tired one.

"'ello, luv. Back 'lready?"

Ana smiled at the gentle mocking tone in his voice that she had come to love. "Yep, and I've got your dinner," she announced quietly, "eat up, cap'n."

Jack quirked his head at her and, with great effort, propped himself up against the pillows. Ana forced herself to remain still lest he take offence at her helpful intentions. Once he was settled Ana handed him the tray and rose to get them both a drink. When she returned Jack had already made a decent headway on the food and accepted the drink with a grateful smile.

After he took a long gulp, Jack paused as if in thought, then caught Ana's gaze with his intense dark one. "Ana,"

"Yes?"

"I truly am sorry. Nigel was my father and therefore what he did reflects on me."

"Jack, I-"

"Don't leave. Please." Ana was speechless. He thought she would leave?!

Finally, she found her voice. "I'm here to stay, Jack." To accentuate her point she leaned down and placed a gentle kiss on his uninjured cheek.

FIN

a/n: Happy birthday Cap'n Julie! It was so short that it didn't matter, lol.