(A/N: Please if you have any interest in this story and the crazy 3 yr journey it's been to get it even this far… check out the A/N at the end of this chapter. Thanks!!)

Chapter 7: A Pirates Life for Me

(part 2)

A little while later, Sahara entered the second room Jack had rented and flopped lazily onto the small bed. Her skirts flounced up around her as she fell and she cursed her costuming for the eighteenth time that night. The room was fairly silent, which surprised Sahara. She hadn't expected much insulation from the sounds of the drunken bar patrons downstairs.

She knew the moment of peace would soon be disturbed by Ryan and the pirate captain that were to share her quarters. They were currently in the process of checking on the room Gibbs and Will would be sharing next door. Though she'd probably miss some choice pirate scheming by leaving, Sahara had commandeered the room key from Jack, feeling more fatigued than she knew she should. It wasn't like Hades hadn't given her a break earlier. As she began contemplating the long term effects of this work on her mental health, the door opened.

Sahara lifted her head to see Jack standing in the door frame grinning mischievously. "Finally I get some time alone with my wench." Groaning, Sahara sat up and sent the pirate a pointed look. His smile instantly fell. "You're no fun at all. Why'd I even bother buying you?"

"Not my fault. You should have done more thorough research before jumping into such a big purchase. Gotta stay away from the wenches with a destiny."

Jack smiled again closing the door and making his way over to the bed. "I'll keep that in mind next time I'm in the market." He sat down next to Sahara, absentmindedly resting a hand on her knee.

"Where's Ryan?"

"Bringing up him again? I don't get what you see in Cooper."

Sahara over at the pirate in confusion. "Aren't you two friends?"

"I suppose so," Jack contemplated. "It's just he's a good man. And though I've only known you for a bit, I didn't think you'd go for those types. From what I've heard you've been cavorting with pirates and gypsies and disgraced soldiers."

"But Ryan's been along for most of that."

Jack stared off, his mind more than likely wondering miles away. "Which also seems strange. Usually he only comes to places like this to escape."

"Escape what?"

Jack suddenly turned back to Sahara, "How much do you really know about him?"

"Not a whole lot." She admitted.

Jack's features softened, "Maybe it's best it not come from me."

Before Sahara could protest, the bedroom door opened again. This time it was Ryan who looked between Jack and Sahara in confusion. "Did I interrupt something?" he asked.

"Not at all," Jack said jumping to his feet and hurrying over to Ryan. He threw an arm around the newcomer. "We were just about to discuss sleeping arrangements."

Sahara looked around the room seeing only the bed she sat on and a lumpy brown chair in the far corner. "How's that suppose to work?"

"Well, as gentlemen we must let you have the actual bed, Miss Dalbek." Sahara smiled at the chivalry even if it was coming somewhat backhandedly from a pirate. She decided not to fight him on it.

"Will you two be sharing the chair?" Sahara asked. Both men shot her a dirty look, "Or is it rock, paper, scissors for the better spot."

Ryan looked at Jack, "That might not be a bad idea."

Three matches later, Sahara handed Ryan the extra comforter from the bed. He placed it on the floor and grumbled as Jack smiled triumphantly from the chair.

Later that night, Sahara wondered if she had made the right choice after all. The bed was unforgivingly hard and was probably a good match for the wooden floor. She flopped over on her side and opened her eyes for a moment; before she closed them a silhouette came into view. As her eyes focused she realized it was Ryan. He was leaning heavily against the frame of the window staring off into space. Just as Sahara thought to get up and say something to him, she heard Jack from the dark corner of the room. "What's got you up at an hour like this Cooper?"

Ryan shook his head as if pulling himself back into the present, "What do you mean?" he asked. "You're up."

"Yes, but you're the one staring out the window," Jack rationalized as he sauntered over to the window. "Therefore, you've got something on your mind"

"I don't know what to tell you Jack." Ryan said, turning back to the window.

There was a brief silence before Jack spoke again, "Is it the girl?"

"Sahara?" Jack nodded. "Why would you say that?"

"Because every bloke I come across lately seems to be all torn up over some lass. It's bloody annoying!" The pirate threw his arms up in frustration, then crossed them over his chest. "Though, this girl, this girl I like. Not sure I've seen you taken with one like that before."

"I'm not taken with anyone." Ryan sighed, running a hand through his hair. It rebelled, falling shaggily across his face again. "And what do you mean 'one like that'?"

"Cooper, the only girls I've ever seen you with are those court dandies you bring along to parties."

"I bring those girls along to those parties to quite my parents and nothing more."

"Then what's with this one?" Jack asked pointing in Sahara's direction. "She'd exciting and new so you're all hung up on her?"

"They sent me to help her," Ryan said. There was anger in his voice but it seemed to be masking something more important. "Nothing more."

"Well that's good," Jack said, leaning against the wall, "I was going to tell you to lay off her."

"Why's that?"

"How quickly you've forgotten she's mine, mate!"

Ryan snorted, "You only bought her because you knew I wanted her."

"Now see, there's the thing," Jack said stepping closer to Ryan and placing a hand on his shoulder. "Did you do it to save her or did you do it simply because you wanted her?"

Sahara strained to listen through the silence, sure she'd missed Ryan's response. He turned staring straight at her with unreadable features. Sahara stared back hoping her corner was dark enough that she wouldn't be seen. "I'm can't answer that question, Jack." He finally said turning back to the pirate.

Jack smiled, teeth gleaming in the moon light. "That right there's the answer isn't it?"

Ryan sighed again, "Whatever you say."

The men continued conversing a little while longer about subjects that didn't interest Sahara nearly as much. She felt guilty for hearing information she shouldn't have been privy to, but she couldn't help dwelling on the words until sleep finally took over her mind again.

"Rise and shine, love." Sahara groaned as the pirate's voice entered her only half conscious mind. She had wondered if one of these times she would awaken to find that nothing she had gone through had really happened. The wake up call from the pirate captain didn't seem to be conducive with that theory.

Sahara raised her head, groggily trying to focus on Jack's face. "What time is it?" she asked.

"What's that matter? We need to get going. Get up! Up, up up." He declared standing up and raising his hands several times.

Eyebrow raised at the enthusiastic pirate, Sahara rolled back over grumbling "Five more minutes."

"None of that." Jack said, physically grabbing her and pulling her into a sitting position. "You need to change and get downstairs"

"Change?" Sahara asked, puzzled. She was still garbed in the bodice and skirt she had been adorned in by whatever force provided her wardrobe.

Jack looked at her pointedly, "Look, darling, you're not quite sea worthy in all that boning and those flouncey skirts. So I thought if you're going to be a pirate, you might want to look the part." He grabbed a small wad of clothing from the end of the bed and tossed it at Sahara.

Looking at the bundle, Sahara couldn't shake the image of the "Dreaded Captain Jack Sparrow" going clothing shopping. "Thank you Jack."

"Don't thank me," he insisted. "Was your dear Ryan's idea." The image in Sahara's mind became ten times funnier. "Now hurry up."

It was Sahara's turn to give the pirate a pointed look. "You need to leave."

"But you're my wench."


"Fine then," Jack said heading toward the door with a slight pout on his face. Sahara pushed aside the covers and followed him. Once the door shut she quickly locked it.

"Touché, love." She heard the pirate say and she couldn't help smiling to herself.

Sahara made her way downstairs a few moments later, feeling far more comfortable and eager to start the day. The outfit was simpler than anything she'd worn recently; a beige shirt, black pants and a tight fitting burgundy vest. Sahara felt like a pirate from the red bandana to the black leather boots. She hadn't realized just how much she really enjoyed pants until that very moment. The thought of burning the skirts and dresses that kept being provided for her briefly passed through her mind as she headed down into the bar.

Ryan sat at a table a few feet away from her. Leaning back lazily in his chair he stared off through the window overlooking the main drag of Tortuga. Sahara had never seen him quite so relaxed. His thoughtful stare reminded the conversation she had been silent witness to the night before.

Did you do it to save her or did you do it simply because you wanted her?—Jack's question ran through her mind again. Sahara shook her head as if to loosen the words. It wasn't her place to answer or to even know for that matter.

Clearing her throat pointedly, she pulled Ryan from his thoughts. He stood from the table, his brown eyes flicking quickly from her head to her toe. "Everything fit all right?" he asked. Sahara nodded. "You look good, I mean the cloths do. You look like a pirate."

Sahara knew she was blushing, "Thank you. Where's Jack?" She asked changing the subject.

"Gibbs took him and Will down to the docks to meet the crew he managed to collect."

"Those mad enough to sail to an island of death with a heat stroked, rum soaked, half-mad captain?"

"Basically." Ryan admitted, making his way toward the door of the tavern.

Sahara followed him, "Is it sad that we didn't even really have to be convinced to go along with this?"

"Just think of it as we'll fit in that much better" he smiled opening the door for her.

With a roll of her eyes Sahara said, "That doesn't make me feel better."

Sahara still didn't feel any better when they boarded the Interceptor. The crew might have been faithful and hard working but they were also as haggard and crazy as she assumed they would be. She couldn't help being conscious of the eyes that watched her as she and Ryan made their way across the deck. There were murmurs of bad omens surrounding having a woman on board-- let alone two-- and of the key blade and an island that couldn't be found. Sahara shook off the eyes deciding to focus on the tasks she was assigned as part of the crew. She was surprised to find she seemed to acquire the necessary stamina to work a hard as the rest of the pirates. Sahara decided not to question it, assuming it had something to do with the key blade.

Soon after, The Interceptor cast off on its way to rendezvous with the pirates of the Black Pearl. Jack took the helm at first but once they reached open waters he handed it over to Anna Maria. Sahara looked up from the line she had tied off to see the grinning face of the captain. "Might I have a word, love?" Knowing she didn't really have a choice in the matter, Sahara followed Jack into his cabin.

"Those cloths suit you much better." He said as he closed the door behind Sahara.

Sahara smiled, "Well, apparently, you have good taste, Mr. Sparrow."

"That I do…" he grinned. "Now, on to business. Not sure you were quite filled in on the situation at hand."

Sahara shook her head taking a seat as Jack did the same. She tried to pull her mind away from the rocking of the boat afraid of getting seasick. Jack's plan was an excellent distraction. Meanwhile, she could figure out how to make sure the pirate didn't trick her or abuse her powers. "Once we reach the Isla De Muerta, you and Mr. Turner will be accompanying me to meet with Barbossa and try to strike an accord. We'll get William's girl back, dispose of the pirates and take all the shiny bits we want."

"What about Ryan?"

"He'll be fine here; he can watch the ship." Now Sahara was sure no one else had been told this plan. Ryan would never stand for sitting on the sidelines and not doing his job of protecting her.

"And what accord do you hope to strike with Barbossa? He's not just going to give us Elizabeth."

"That he won't, unless he realizes that we have the one who can truly break his curse."

Sahara gave him a pointed look, "So you're sacrificing Will?"

Jack held out a hand to stop her, "Not necessarily. But we do have leverage if it comes to that."

"All right," Sahara said with a sigh. She didn't know why Jack was entrusting her with the plan. She didn't like what could potentially befall herself and the others. Finally she added, "But Ryan comes with us."

Jack's eyebrow rose as a knowing smirk crossed his features, "Whatever makes you happy, darling. But you'll have to do one more thing for me." He stood from his chair, walking toward the far end of the cabin.

"And that would be?" As Sahara tried to question the pirate he opened the cabin's window. Salt water filled Sahara's nose.

"I know you've got all sorts of powers and what not with that key of yours." Jack said as he stared off at the ocean, "Think you could make this little boat of ours go any faster?"

He turned back to Sahara with a grin. Sahara stood, flashing her own smile. "Ship." She said simply, unsheathing the key blade and heading for the window.

Sahara pointed the key out over the sea and closed her eyes. The wind outside howled loudly and Sahara stumbled backwards into Jack. "Thank, love."

Suddenly there was a knock at the cabin door and it was thrown open. Gibbs stood in the doorway, worry written across his features. "Captain, we've picked up some good winds but it looks as though a storms heading straight for us."

There was a devilish glint to Jack's eyes as he looked from Sahara back to Gibbs, "Full speed ahead, Mr. Gibbs."

(A/N: I know I've apologized to you all about 600 times now for how long this story has taken me… so let's go for time 601. What sucks is that I know exactly where it's going. I have the end of this story, a sequel, and even a short story prequel all planned out it's just a matter of getting it all typed up. The other issue is I need to re-write the early chapters for anything I'm doing later to make sense.

So basically what I'm trying to say is I'm putting this story on hiatus for a bit. I'm going back and re-writing all the early chapters. In a week or so I'm probably going to delete everything except for chapt 1 (cause it's the only one I've edited) and just kinda start over. That way you can re-read it and know what the hecks going on and how things all tie together. Sorry, folks, it's the only way I can see this thing making sense.

All right, that is all. I still appreciate reviews and such. Catch ya later :-D