Title: A Heart's Ransom

Rating: T

Shipping: Jack/Elizabeth

This takes place a few years after AWE. This was typed on a very odd new keyboard, so please don't be too harsh on typos, but if you point them out, I will fix them.

The day dawned bright and clear

The day dawned bright and clear. Birds were singing, children were laughing, and Elizabeth Turner was oblivious to it all. Because as she lay in her bed, she was remembering the very vivid dream she had just awoken from, and pondering the irony that she should have this particular dream on this particular day. Today was her third wedding anniversary, and last night she had relived the day of her wedding- both the good and bad parts- in perfect detail. It made the pain of being separated from Will just as sharp as it had been that first day. Anniversaries had always been hard for her. While there were little things every day that reminded her of her situation- her son's smile (so much like his father's!), the stares from the local women, most of whom thought they knew exactly what kind of a woman she was ( a baby and no father in sight, claiming he was out to sea, indeed. Well even sailors get holidays, don't they?)- But it was on her anniversaries that she was most painfully reminded of what she'd lost. She never felt so trapped, so claustrophobic, as she did now. It's like she's surrounded on all sides and wouldn't be able to breathe again until she was breathing the salty sea air, with water all around her and nothing but a few planks of wood between her and the sea. She missed the sea so much she could practically taste the salt in the air.

Shaking her head to clear it of the intoxicating images, she rose from bed to begin her day. It was not the first time she had longed for the sea, nor would it be the last. She's learned it was best to cut off the day dreams before they could even start. Still, she knew there was no way she would be able to stay around the house today, not when the walls were closing in on her. She decided to ask Annie, the girl who lived just down the road, to watch her son while she went into town for the day.

"Momma no!" the little boy cried as his mother tried to walk out the door. Elizabeth bent down and untangled him from her skirts.

"Dylan, you want to be a big boy, right?" she asked kindly. The teary eyed two-year-old nodded.

"Then you have to let Mommy go into town for a little bit, okay? Annie is going to be right here with you while I'm gone, and I'll be home when you wake up from your nap. Maybe if your good, I'll bring you back some candy," she bribed. His little face perked up at the word candy, and he quickly gave his mother a hug and kiss and ran over to stand with Annie, who'd been waiting in the hall.

"Thank you, Annie. I promise I'll be back before dinner," she said. Annie nodded, and she and Dylan waved goodbye.

The walk into town was not very long,-just a few miles- but Elizabeth would have preferred for it to go on for a few more hours. She felt the lightest she had in weeks. She hadn't even realized how down she'd been feeling lately, how confined. It was almost like when she'd started where corsets again. But now her step was as light as her mood, and she quickly arrived in the little town.

The town didn't have much; just a pub and an open marked. The market was always fun to visit, though. It was filled with little homemade things, interesting trinkets from incoming ships, and it always seemed to have a least one little surprise. She found some charming fabric that she could use to make herself some new skirts; hers had become rather ragged over time. She had lunch at the pub, and then found some candy for Dylan. So with her bags in hand, and a considerably lighter heart, she started for home, pondering what type of skirt she would make with the new fabric. She thought she might have enough to make Dylan a new shirt also. He was growing so fast, and looking more like Will every day. He'd be so happy; she had found him his favorite candy.

She rounded the last corner and her house came into sight. Hmm, that's odd. Why is the front door open? Annie's usually more careful then that. Something prickled in the back of her mind, but she ignored it. It wasn't until she was in the front hall that she noticed what seemed off. It was too quite, the house felt empty. Elizabeth quickly set down the bags.

"Dylan? Annie? Where are you?" she called, walking from room to room. There was no sign of them. She entered the kitchen and stopped. She could see an arm stretched out on the kitchen floor, whom ever it belonged to was obscured by the kitchen table. She rushed over to find Annie sprawled across the floor, a large purple bruise across her face. She knelt down quickly to see if she was alive. She was relieved for a second when she saw that she was breathing, before she realized that her son was nowhere to be found. Panic crashed over her like a wave. She shook Annie, trying to wake her up.

"Annie, Annie, you have to wake up!" she called.

"Huh… what hap- Oh no! Mrs. Turner, Dylan, they got Dylan! You have-" Annie said quickly as she regained consciousness. Elizabeth cut her off.

"Who took Dylan, Annie?" she asked frantically, cutting her off.

"I don't know, mum. It was two big blokes. They knocked on the door, and they had a dog with them. They wanted to know if it was ours, and I told them no, and the next thing I know, their pushing their way into the house, looking for Dylan. He was in the kitchen, and I ran in there to try to stop them, and that's the last thing I remember. I'm so sorry, mum, it's all my fault!" she cried.

"No, no, there was nothing you could have done," she said distractedly. Someone had taken her son, her little boy. But why? What could they possibly want?

"Mum, look! On the table. I think they left a note." Elizabeth saw it too, and grabbed for it quickly. It was indeed a note, written on an old piece of parchment in an untidy scrawl.

Mrs. Turner

We have your son.

If you ever want to see him again alive, you will deliver to us the Dead Man's Chest and its contents. Go to the Faithful Bride on Tortuga and talk to the bartender. There you will receive further instructions. You have one month. We'll be waiting.

So, what do you think? Is it worth continuing?

And for anyone wondering about the kid's name, it is fully explained in a later chapter. As for not calling him some form of William,I just wanted to be different.