Author's note: Thanks for all the comments throughout this story. I've enjoyed writing Anamaria, and hope you've enjoyed reading her! Happy New Year.
Thankfully for all the crew of the Rosemary, there were no more encounters with pirates during the rest of the voyage to Barbados. They were battered by two nasty storms, but Harvey kept his cool and the ship came out on the other side with only minor damage. There was an anxious morning for Anamaria and Sparrow when a Royal Navy ship appeared on the horizon, but her course was different to the Rosemary's and the two vessels only exchanged cordial signals from afar.
Finally, on a bright Caribbean morning, the ship came into harbour and dropped her anchor. Anamaria looked out at the palm trees on shore, gently bending in the sea breeze, and found herself smiling in pleasure.
Captain Harvey gave his crew two days' shore leave once the ship had been put in order, but Sparrow and Anamaria went to find him in his cabin once they had packed their few belongings together. Sparrow wanted to find a boat that would take them the short journey to Tortuga, and he wanted to do it as soon as possible.
Behind his table, Harvey was thoughtfully counting coins. They saw that he had indeed kept a sizeable amount safe from the pirates. He looked up and nodded in a friendly fashion.
"I had a feeling I would be honoured with a visit from you two," he said, making a note of the coins he had counted and pushing the paper aside. "I imagine you'll be leaving Rosemary behind?"
"If you're willing," said Sparrow. "There's bound to be men you can take on in town. Our homes, such as we have, are here - or hereabouts."
"I think it would be better for us all, indeed," Harvey agreed. "I do not wish to keep men on if they do not wish it, and I have no doubt you would prefer to disappear. You have both served the ship well, and I thank you."
He counted out money for both of them; a fair wage for the time they had spent aboard. They pocketed it with thanks.
"I'll spread the word," said Sparrow, "that the Rosemary not be harmed. Try and give you a clear run home."
Harvey raised an unbelieving eyebrow. "And will anyone listen to you, Mr Swift?"
Jack Sparrow nodded.
"Well, I do hope so," said Harvey, clearly doubtful. "Should I in turn learn not to fear your vessel?"
"She was sunk," Sparrow said. "She lies on the sea floor, and half her men with her." He rose from his seat, and Anamaria followed suit. Sparrow took off his hat and swept Captain Harvey an elaborate, flamboyant bow. Dropping the Yorkshire accent he had affected for the last weeks, he said: "Instead of fearing me vessel, cap'n, just remember that you've a friend in Captain Jack Sparrow." He threw Anamaria a look, and added, for good measure, "savvy?"
He clapped on his hat and before Harvey could react, disappeared out of the cabin. Anamaria touched her hand to her own hat and followed Sparrow quickly. He threw her her bag of things and swaggered down the gangplank on to Caribbean soil.
Neither of them said anything until they were ensconced in a tavern with the first mugs of grog. Then Anamaria, determined to discover what had caused her friend's strange mood, folded her arms and faced him.
"Jack, have you gone crazy, at last?"
"Mad? Me?" He laughed, and she thought that perhaps he had. "Love, Harvey's a gentleman. He won't give us up."
"How do you know that?" she asked. "How can you be so sure?"
He swigged down a mouthful of grog, sighed at the taste, and put down the mug.
"Why did you come for me?" he said. The question threw Anamaria, being so utterly at a tangent from what she had asked him.
"Je … I … I didn't want you dead," she said. It was an obvious answer, perhaps, but an honest one.
"But what did you reckon I'd do, once you'd rescued me?" Sparrow pursued. His hand danced in the air. "Settle down like one o' those old drunkards in Tortuga, reminiscing all me life about the days when I was the terror of the Main?"
Anamaria frowned at him. "You do that anyway."
"But I still am the - a - terror of the seas," Sparrow said, confidently. "Else Norrington wouldn't have bothered coming after the Pearl. I'll do the story-telling, but I'll also go and add to the tales."
"I did not think about afterwards," Anamaria said. She was going to continue, but caught a look from Sparrow that suggested he knew very well what she would say next. Rather than giving him the satisfaction of hearing it, she closed her mouth and picked up her mug.
Sparrow finished his drink. "Let's think about afterwards when we're in Tortuga," he said. "First, there's passage to find."
They soon found a boat heading towards Hispaniola which would be able to drop them off on Tortuga, in exchange for a few coins. It was leaving that very evening, and with a good wind behind them the vessel made swift progress. Only a week after arriving in Barbados, Anamaria found herself looking up at the hill above Tortuga town where her little hut stood.
The boat hove to a short distance out from land, and the two passengers were ferried ashore. Sparrow hefted his bag on to his shoulder, and breathed in deeply.
"Ah, Tortuga!" he said, with a sigh of satisfaction. "Celebrat'ry drink?"
After a short pause, Anamaria agreed with a nod.
They chose the 'Faithful Bride', which even in mid-afternoon was busy with pirates, sailors and other Tortugan society. Anamaria was surprised to find they made it to the bar, and had ordered ale and fish stew for two, before anyone took notice of their arrival.
"Surely that's Anamaria, under that hat?" a voice said from beside her. She turned, and found a man smiling at her.
"John Briggs," she returned, nodding at the man who had ferried her to Port Royal, months ago now, when the news of Jack Sparrow's capture had first come to Tortuga.
"Aye, Briggs 'tis," Briggs agreed. "Well, folk never thought as we'd see you again. Reckoned you'd been hanged alongside poor old Cap'n Sparrow, we did."
Sparrow turned, and favoured Briggs with his best gilded grin. "Reckoned wrong, didn't you, Mr Briggs?"
Briggs peered at Sparrow, obviously puzzled as to his identity. Shaking his head, Sparrow looked at Anamaria. "Soon as me hair gets long enough, I'm putting those beads back in."
"Cap'n Sparrow?" said Briggs. "Jack Sparrow?"
"Are there two of me?" Sparrow returned.
"But you're … aren't you dead?" Briggs said, miming being hanged. "They were taking you to Newgate. How'd you …" He tailed off, and shook his head in disbelief. "Well, I never did."
Sparrow clapped him on the shoulder. "They didn't hang me," he said.
Briggs suddenly burst into laughter.
"If this ain't a turn-up for the books!" he said, and clambering up on a table called for silence. "Look who's back, ladies and gents," he said. "Admiral Norrington reckoned he'd finished him off, but the man's got more lives'n a cat. It's Jack Sparrow!"
And he hauled Sparrow up on the table beside him, to cheers and applause from the assembled company, and calls for the full tale of capture and escape.
Left alone and unnoticed, Anamaria drained her ale, left her stew, and headed out of the tavern. As the sun painted the horizon the red of blood, she climbed up behind the town, and came at last to her home. She noted with pleasure that someone - probably her nephew Zac - had been to keep the vegetation from growing too wild, and inside the hut was neat and tidy. With a sigh, Anamaria deposited her bag on the floor and sat down on the low bed to take off her boots.
She had changed from her worn sailor clothes into a simple top and bright skirt, and was thoughtfully combing out hair stiff with salt spray when someone knocked at the door. Leaving the comb on the bed, she went to open it.
Jack Sparrow met her gaze with serious dark eyes.
"They'll be drinkin' till dawn, and beyond," he said.
"So why are you not there with them?" Anamaria asked.
He moved past her into the hut, and waited until she had closed the door and was leaning against it. "Because I never properly thanked you," he said. "You could have sat here, mourned me, mourned the Pearl …"
"What makes you think I'd have mourned you?" she said, avoiding his look and going to fetch her comb again.
"I know you," Sparrow returned. "And you know me. I reckon you're one of the few who actually does. I'm glad of it." He took off his hat, and threw it neatly on to a peg hammered into the wall. "So, I came to thank you for comin' to rescue me," he continued. "Life won't be the same without the old Pearl, but I reckon it's still worth living. I hadn't realised that until you turned up in Newgate."
Anamaria, much to her discomfort, found herself blushing a little under Sparrow's scrutiny. She took a hank of hair in one hand and pulled the comb through it. "I am glad," she said, simply.
Sparrow laughed, took three strides forward, and kissed her. It was a hard, serious kiss. After the first second of shock, Anamaria gave in and let him do it.
He pulled away, hands resting on her shoulders, and smiled.
"Should have done that years ago," he said.
Anamaria returned the smile. "Maybe you should," she agreed, and allowed him to lean forward to kiss her again. Getting Jack Sparrow out of Newgate Gaol was one thing. But, it seemed, escaping from him was not going to be an option.