Yet another story in my series of interconnected Pirates fanfics. I haven't written in quite a while, so for those not familiar with my work, know that:

-all of my stories are connected (except for the ones based on Les Miserables - just ignore them).

-I update at least once daily.

-I love getting reviews.

If you'd like to read Jack and Meryl's backstory together, the chronology is A Profitable Affair, then Swordplay, and Meryl figures breifly in The Rain Can't Hurt Me Now.

Happy reading.

Chapter One:

Jack entered the dingy cabin where Meryl was lying, sopping wet and nearly motionless. A reddish-purple bruise strected across her forehead, starting immediately below her hairline and stretching almost to her left eye. Her lips were turning purple from the chill the ocean had given her. He bent down over her still form and began to reverently untie the lacing of her bodice.

"Got to get you out of these wet clothes, darling." He informed his unconcious companion, while lifting her soaked skirt up over her head.

Meryl leaned forward, groaned, and opened her eyes.

"Mmm... wha...?"

"I said your clothes are cold and soaking." Jack waited for the inevitable sharp tongue that was to come. "You need to take them off."

She looked up at him, an unreadable expression on her face.

"Is everything alright?" The captian asked.

Meryl opened her mouth to say something, jerked even further forward, gasped, and then vomited.

Jack leapt out of the way, just managing to spare his boots. He crumpled the wet dress up and threw it into a corner. "Look what you've done, luv. Didn't I tell you? Aye, what did I tell you? 'Don't you go and be a hero, Meryl.' This is what you're getting, bloody good idea you had. Climbing the mast in that state?"

She looked up at him, still spitting the vile taste from her mouth. "Who are you?"

"What?" Jack frowned. "Meryl, darling, is everything alright?"

"What's going on?" She leaned forward hurriedly and heaved a bit more, wincing all the while.

Jack crossed the room and grabbed a musty wool blanket from his chair. Meryl's naked, shivering form was beginning to make him cold. He draped the old raggedy cloth around her and lifted her head up.

"Meryl Volleys," his dark, kohl-lined eyes peirced hers, "is something wrong?"

Meryl recoiled slowly, confusion spreading across her face. "Why am I here? How did I get here?"

Jack's jaw dropped ever so slighly. She's lost her mind, this one has.

It was a foolish venture - he'd told her so. Climbing the mast in that kind of storm - and after a night of drinks, no less. One false step and she'd have been lost to the violent sea underneath.

He could still feel his heart flip-flopping from the sight of his old friend slipping from the beam, falling to the deck below and dashing her head as she did so.

I warned her. I did.

But Meryl wouldn't listen. She'd never listened, but now, after Bart's death, she was a woman without purpose. Throwing herself into harms way was, he conceded, still a step above her old attempts to end her own life. But however it happened - by her own sword or the swell of the sea - Jack knew he could not bear to lose her.

Meryl and Jack's lives were entwined in a very peculiar way. He'd been drawn to her since she first came into his life that long-past night in Tortuga. A streetwalker with wit and wanderlust, Meryl joined Jack's men without much hesitation. Their love affair had been secretive and breif. Her affair with the infamous Black Bart Roberts had been equally breif, though much more public, and, he noted to himself, had done much greater justice to the element of love.

And then all too quickly, she lost him. After that, the fire in Meryl went out.

"What the bloody hell is going on?" She cut into his thoughts abruptly. "Where am I, how did I get here, and where's Padre?"

Jack's brow furrowed. "Meryl, you're on me ship. You tried to reign the sails back in, remember? I told you not to, but no-one listens to old Jack anymore, do they? You took a little tumble off the mast."

She sniffled a little, and Jack noticed that she was trembling. "Old... old Jack?"

"Aye," he gestured to himself. "I'm Jack. Jack. Jesus, Meryl, what's snapped in your mind?"

"I want to know where Padre is." She demanded, drawing the scratchy wool blanket close around her.

"Padre... as in that bloke putting you up before you stopped spreading your legs for money?" Jack turned away and began to rummage for something in a worn old trunk. "Meryl luv, you left that place a long time ago."

"But I..." she hiccoughed. "I did?"

Jack produced a bottle of amber-coloured liquid from deep inside the trunk. "Aye, you did." He sauntered across the room and dropped down beside his shivering crewlady, placing the bottle gingerly beside them. "Meryl, do you really not remember me?"

She shook her head.

A few strands of that intoxicatingly wavy hair fell over her eyes as he gazed into them, bewildered. Jack brushed them back with a calloused, weather-worn hand. "Me? Jack Sparrow?"


"And Emmaleanna?"

Again, she shook her head.

"Liam? Anamaria?" He paused. "Morgan?"

"I'm sure I don't." She said, her voice laced with insecurity.

"Well..." Jack hesitated, wondering for a fleeting moment whether she was just having him on. "Surely you remember Roberts?"

Meryl blinked. "Who?" Her voice was hollow.

Cold, Jack thought. Honest.

It was the honesty that frightened him. She truly did not remember the man who's passing had broken her spirit. The man who had replaced him.

"Oh Meryl..." Jack murmured.

She cocked her head to one side. "What?"

"It's just..." He couldn't explain to her how happy he was that she didn't remember Bart Roberts - not without risking the return of those tortured memories. "I missed you. That's all."

Meryl let out a strange, half-giggle. "Mr. Sparrow, I told you, I'm sure I don't know you. If we've met before..."

"-Meryl." Jack leaned in close to her, brushing one rough pirate hand over the back of her neck.

She looked at him intently. "We have met, haven't we?" He nodded hopefully as she spoke. "I just... can't remember when. Or how I came to be here, but we... we are friends." Her voice was becoming gradually more certain.

He leaned his head in closer to hers. Their noses brushed.

"I remember those eyes," Meryl murmured.

They sat like that for a long moment, breathing each other's breath.

Jack's heart soared. The courtesan-sailor-con-artist-witty-wanderer-woman he'd met was coming alive again.

Her fire's back.

First story in a few years, I'd love a review.