A/N: Thank you so much for all the wonderful reviews! :)

Disclaimer: PotC belong to Disney.

Chapter 3

"It's a fair deal, Lizzie," said Jack convincingly, slightly surprised by the morose expression that appeared on Elizabeth's face.

"I thought we were going to find the Black Pearl first," said Elizabeth chewing on her bottom lip. "We're so close-"

"I know." Jack shook his head with a grimace. "But because of certain-"

"Unforeseeable circumstances," cut in Elizabeth, shooting him a pointed look. Then she sighed, and put her head in her hands.

Cautiously, without taking his eyes off them, Gibbs began to move toward the door.

"So we're going to spend the next half a year or more sailing across freezing waters to some frozen island that we don't even know if it exists," said Elizabeth quietly, staring at the floor, and Jack tried to trace irritation in her voice, but surprisingly there was none. She simply seemed saddened by the news.

"I can lend you my coat, luv," said Jack, smirking, but the expression on Elizabeth's face did not brighten. "It wasn't me who placed the Fountain of Youth there," he added with a small pout, not really knowing what to think of Elizabeth's suddenly extremely practical attitude.

On the one hand, his heart skipped more than one beat at the idea that she might not care about immortality all that much, that perhaps the Fountain of Youth was not, after all, what had prompted her to go with him... Then again, she could be simply tired, therefore capricious - the direct relation he had discovered some time ago when after one of the most severe storms they had endured, she had refused to sleep in his bed unless the pillows would have been replaced with more fluffy ones, a request difficult to fulfill in the middle of the sea.

Jack cleared his throat and bent on one knee beside the bed. Surely, she was not afraid of another unpredictable journey. It was not like her to be afraid, not at all, and yet he thought he saw a glimpse of apprehension in her eyes when she looked at him.

"Lizzie-luv, our chances of retrieving the Black Pearl after finding the Fountain are much-"

"One would think you care more about the immortality than about the Pearl," she cut in, and even as she was saying it she knew it was not right, accusing him of such a thing. He had given up immortality before, and for something certainly much less dear to him than his ship...

Jack stared at her in slight confusion, on the verge of asking her if for her the Pearl was more important than immortality, for her words, oddly, seemed to indicate it. "I care about opportune moments, and now is the opportune moment to find the Fountain, not the Pearl."

He abstractedly wondered what she would say if he told her that he wanted to find the Fountain for her, and for her alone; that he had felt a strange relief wash over him when he had wrapped Will's fingers around the dagger and the heart of Davy Jones was pierced by somebody else's hand, not his.

"Well, if that's how it is, I have to..." Elizabeth quickly ran the tip of her tongue along her dry lips, "I have to leave. I'm not going."

Jack blinked.

"I'll see how..." Gibbs rubbed his forehead, "is everything going," he smiled strenuously, and left the cabin in a hurry, quickly closing the door behind him.

Jack hardly noticed the exit. "What do you mean?" he asked with a frown, looking at her sitting on the very edge of the bed, dangling her legs, crossing and uncrossing her feet like an unfairly scolded child. "'Lizbeth?"

She felt her heart clench at the way he had said her name. She would miss that. She would miss his voice, strange as it was, of all the things she suddenly thought she would miss his voice most. "I mean that I can't sail to the Fountain of Youth. I can't risk such a long and unpredictable journey."

Her voice was surprisingly stubborn, and he looked at her, trying to figure out what was going on. The Pirate King could not possibly be afraid of a bit of cold, snow and a few icebergs, could she? For a split second he wanted to tease her about it, but she looked so pale and so sincerely troubled that he instantly abandoned the idea.

"Are you going to tell me why?" It was always a risky endeavor, asking her questions. But there was something in the way her shoulders were hunched, in the way she was biting her lip, that made her look vulnerable, and it was impossible not to ask her why.

He glanced at his hat that she was wearing. She could not be upset with him if she was wearing his hat, his ring... He thought about draping his coat around her shoulders, but the gesture would have seemed so out of place...

"I just can't go. That's all," she said blankly, ridiculously stalling for time, even though she knew it made absolutely no sense postponing what she had to say for another couple of sentences.

But she just did not know how to say it. She was torn between expecting the worst and the best, dozens of possible scenarios running through her head. In one moment she was certain he would find the situation amusing, in the other she thought he would be upset; then she was quite sure he would be happy, and a second later she just knew he would tell her to go away. In her imagination, she worked out most bizarre versions of his reaction, suspecting that none of them was truly probable, and yet she just could not help imagining his exact words, the exact way in which he would smile? frown? laugh? grimace? And the more she tried to predict his reaction, the more nervous she was becoming.

"This is most certainly not all." There was such a familiarly soothing hint of humor in his voice, that after a moment of hesitation she looked up, and smiled faintly at the sight of his face so close to her; his face that she knew by heart, every line, every wrinkle unforgettable, immortal under her touch.

She wondered if she should tell him that she always thought him beautiful... Would she have a chance to tell him? He felt a wave of cold dread at the thought that he might just coolly ask her to disappear from his life. It would be so unlike him, but for the past several days she just could not think straight anymore. Happiness, fear, hope, sense of guilt toward Will - all her feelings entwined together, so impossibly, mercilessly complicated.

"You're right," she whispered exasperatedly and closed her eyes for a moment before swiftly rising to her feet, a glint of defiance flashing in her eyes. "I need to tell you something."

Jack stood up and turned to her, and she felt a twinge of painful hope at the suddenly solemn expression on his face.

Jack inhaled, very slowly. She wanted to leave because she was tired of him. She was tired of ship-less treasure hunting. She missed... She was annoyed. Bored. She did not want to wake up with his face in her hair anymore. All these thoughts were cold and strange and ridiculous in the context of their conversation just an hour ago. He knew they were, and yet...

"Shall we sit down?" He had intended to sound merely a bit nonchalant, but the question came out almost ironic.

Elizabeth gritted her teeth. "I've been trying to tell you for several days, but I just- there was just- I mean there wasn't-"

His hands were hanging limply on his sides, and she bizarrely recalled those few minutes they had spent on the Pearl togetherbefore the Kraken had taken it down... and for a moment, overwhelmed by the memory she could not even understand why they were now speaking to each other, why he had ever come back for her to Shipwreck Cove, why he had wanted her to accompany him on his journey to the Fountain of Youth, and how could he even stand her touch?...

"I see." He looked at her evenly, and she inhaled deeply, slowly opening her mouth to speak.

All the phrases seemed wrong or awkward or both, and she did not feel lighthearted enough to attempt a humorous announcement.

"I'll be having our baby," she said quietly, her throat tightening, and she could almost feel her face drain, very slowly, of all color.


The deck was strangely empty, and Gibbs thought it a bad sign, especially right before leaving port. People who were absent were always up to no good, and he also wondered if there was more to Jack's deal with Olivier Armacanto's that he had let on when telling him and Elizabeth about it.

Gibbs shook his head with a small smile. There was an epic tale about to begin. Somehow, he had never pictured Jack as a father... He did not doubt Jack would make... an exceptional father, he had just never thought about it, they had never talked about it, the subject was virtually non-existent, until now.

Walking across the deck, Gibbs heard a murmur of whispers and began slowly make his way toward it. The only thing worse than the absence of people were people speaking in low voices.

He turned around the corner and stopped dead in his tracks.

Perhaps having a gun pressed to one's forehead could compete for the leading position among bad things, after all...


Jack stared at her in absolute silence, and for a brief moment Elizabeth thought that he had stopped breathing altogether. In all her predictions she had missed the possibility of silence, of no reaction at all, and she stood staring back at him, feeling anxiety build up in her chest, draping over her heart a heavy veil of disappointment.

She looked extremely sad and distressed - that was Jack's first, immediate impression that had nearly preceded her words, and as soon as she had said them, he felt as if he had known all along.

Carefully, gently, making sure the abstract exhilaration that fluttered in his mind would not show through the tone of his voice, he said:

"It's not the end of the world, Lizzie."

She exhaled rapidly, trying to gather enough strength to shake off the thin layer of dismay, almost hearing a handful of her pale, twinkling dreams shattering to the ground like dead stars.

"No it's not," she said hoarsely, with a nervous sneer and sudden energy, glaring at him with glassy eyes.

He did not know what to say to console her, for she looked like she definitely needed consolation. A strange urge to say something that could make her feel better muffled all his other thoughts. He tried not to think about possibilities, about sunlight, tiny hands, and laughter, about bonds stronger than any vows. She was so clearly unhappy... and there was nothing he could say to make her feel what she did not feel.

"What are you going to do?" he asked in a low, slightly strained voice, not knowing what to ask to brush that look of misery off her face. Perhaps letting her know, assuring her that she had everything under control would make her feel better? He did not want her to feel trapped. Maybe if she did not feel trapped, she would not leave, and maybe if she would not leave, he could convince her to stay and keep the baby. A baby. The baby. The word was so odd and at the same so... celestial that he could hardly concentrate on trying to sound calm. His baby, her baby, their baby. All the ships and dead people were suddenly erased from his mind, nothing seemed to matter, nothing could matter, nothing had enough power to compete with the idea of Their Baby. And it was not merely an idea, it was real.

If only, in exchange for their safety, he would not have promised the Black Pearl to Armacanto... Because any other ship did not deserve having Their Baby learning to walk on its deck.

Elizabeth's hands curled up into fists and she wanted to scream – scream so loud that everything around her would break and fall apart. What was she going to do!?

"Oh don't trouble yourself over that," she whispered through her clenched teeth, shaking, her voice pulling Jack out of his reverie. "I'm sorry I even bothered telling you about it!" Her voice cracked when she attempted to shout, and his heartbeat increased from fast to frantic. "How stupid of me," she sneered bitterly, tears welling up in her eyes, and rolling down her cheeks before she managed to angrily wipe them off her face with her hands.

"Lizzie-" he took a step forward, eyebrows furrowed in confusion. He tried to make sense of her words, but a part of his mind was still preoccupied with worrying that learning to walk on deck was not as safe as it seemed. What with the constant swaying of the ship, and there were also splinters to consider!...

"Don't!" Elizabeth stepped back, extending her hand to stop him from walking toward her, the expression on her face changing from vulnerable to determined. "And if you think about asking me to give it away, don't even try. This is my baby, my baby!" she repeated the word, and the more times she repeated it, the less frightening it seemed. It was actually strangely exhilarating, that idea of responsibility, and it gave her so much strength that in that moment, for several seconds, she felt she could effortlessly raise a dozen of children on her own. "I'm going to have this baby whether you like it- or not- so don't even try-" she was sobbing now, her voice was falling and raising with every syllable, and Jack stared at her in bewilderment, having never seen her in such a state before.

"Elizabeth!" he shouted incredulously, finally beginning to comprehend what it was that she seemed to be thinking.

She fell silent and just glared at him, single tears flowing down her face, and the sight made his heart clench.

He leaped forward and grabbed her by the shoulders. "Do you think I could- Is that what you think? Is that what you think of me?"

Instinctively, she made an attempt to snatch herself free, but when he tightened his grip sliding his hands to her arms she just looked at him, blinking back the tears.

"And what should I think?" she asked angrily, forgetting all about her resolve to stay calm and reasonable. It would not make sense to be reasonable. She would tell him the truth, and let him stomp on it and throw it away. At least she would really know everything about him then. "I'm telling you about something so wonderful, and you're telling me that it's not the end of the world!"

"And what could I possibly say hearing something so wonderful uttered in the most devastated tone you've ever used!?" he retorted, and trailed off at the sudden realization of what he had actually said – and what she had said.

Wonderful.

Elizabeth froze. "What did you say?" she asked after a pause, so quietly that the words were almost soundless.

He let his eyes roam around her face for a moment, before he slid his hands up to her shoulders and then to her neck, cupping her face in his palms and inching his face to hers. "I said..."

"So why?..." asked Elizabeth quickly, quietly, having an impression that the world around them suddenly grew very quiet.

"I thought you weren't happy about it," said Jack gloomily.

Elizabeth widened her eyes at him. "Why? I was just... I didn't know what you would say. I just... didn't... I just don't know whom I am to you. You've never even said..." she stopped in mid-sentence and looked away.

"I thought you didn't want to hear it," said Jack, propping her chin with his hand, their lips almost touching.

Elizabeth shook her head, smiling brokenly. "I wanted to hear it every day," she whispered, slowly, clearly, breathlessly. "Why do you think I agreed to go with you?"

He leaned down, kissed the tears off her face, and then drew back a few inches, closed his eyes. "To find the Fountain," he said calmly in a soft voice. "To live forever?..." He paused. "For him."

Elizabeth looked at him in astonishment. During those two years it had never crossed her mind that he could have doubted her feelings, that he could have wondered whose face she was seeing under her closed eyelids.

She cupped his face in her hands and he opened his eyes. "Jack Sparrow. You're positively the most..." she sighed in exasperation, and a hesitant, roguish smile began to surface on his face, but it was gone and replaced with a pout as soon as she finished her sentence, "stupid man I've ever met!"


"We've left port."

"I know." Armacanto did not look up from the maps on his table, but only smiled very faintly to himself. "Is there anything else?" He had expected silence, but she spoke.

"It seems to be." Verde closed the door with her foot and briskly walked toward his desk. "I think the Black Pearl should be mine."

The straightforwardness of the statement caused him to actually shift his eyes to her. "Yours?"

"Yes. I heard your conversation-"

"Eavesdropping is a false friend, keep that in mind," he cut in, watching her warily but with thoughtful amusement that she found quite unnerving.

Verde gave him a small, sour smile, and he noticed that her manner was too carelessly nonchalant all of a sudden. He wanted to tell her that, but changed his mind. He had given her enough lessons in the past two years and perhaps it was high time to stop. She clearly learned whatever she had wanted to learn.

"I will," she paused, and stopped in front of his desk. "You promised me the Pearl. We were supposed to hunt her down together. I just can't see where is Jack Sparrow's place in that scheme. You have the map-" she glanced at the parchment on the desk and Armacanto slowly pressed his open palm to it, watching her eyes narrow.

"Tell me, Verde," Armacanto sat back in his chair, a thick line appearing on his forehead and she wondered for the hundredth time why he had never tried to find the Fountain of Youth before. "Do you want to live forever?"

She snorted. "You know I don't like spending too much time on dreaming. I'll start thinking about it when and if we find the Fountain," she said, squinting.

He regarded her for a moment in silence. "This is not a matter of choice. It's a flaw of character. You either have it or you don't. That was my question."

She smiled, and leaned over the table. "If you think of immortality so poorly why do you seek it?"

Armacanto laughed dryly and she bit her lip, keeping a half-hearted smile on her face. "Do I?" he raised his black and silver eyebrows, studying her face in the candlelight.

Verde leaned back with a sigh. "I'm tired of this. I don't know what you're planning, I don't know what you want, I don't know anything." She looked away.

"Do you remember your mother?"

The question was so unrelated to the conversation – to all the conversations they had ever had – that she looked back at him in both surprise and mild trepidation. "I do. Is that a clue of some kind?"

"I don't," he said grimly, ignoring the irony in her voice. "The memory is gone," he added very quietly, staring into the distance with unseeing eyes.

"We can't remember everything," she said with a hint of impatience in her voice, glancing at the window.

"Oh, but we are what we remember. If you forgot everything, you wouldn't know who you are."

"Nobody forgets everything," she said, looking back at him. "And even if... I don't think that would make such a terrible difference. If you forgot everything, you wouldn't remember who you are. Merely that."

"Merely? Wouldn't you get tired of discovering who you are every day, if you remembered nothing? And does it really matter that I know I must have had a mother if I can't remember her face? Would you like to be an old man with no memories?" He paused, and looked at her for a moment before rephrasing his question. "Would you like to be an old woman with no memories... forever?"

"You're in a foul mood tonight, Olivier. You should rest."

For a moment she thought he had not heard her, because he just looked at her, but then he smiled wryly, and rose to his feet. "Rest. Is this a new name for it?" he asked, looking at her with glimmering eyes, struggling to recall that day - so vague now, so lost – that day when he had realized he loved her. Perhaps he still did. Perhaps he should know that he did, feel that he did even if he could not remember it. But there was a strange connection between memory and everything else that he was only beginning to grasp, hoping to grasp before it would fade away along with everything else.

Was it a revenge? His decision to show Jack Sparrow the real map. A sense of satisfaction at the idea that he would not have to be the only one? Was it the idea of sheer, cruel pleasure coming from the suffering of others that had made him take them on board? Would it please him to meet Jack Sparrow or that Pirate King of his one day when their memories would have been running away from them at such a rate that they could hardly remember each other's names? Would the destruction of love give him pleasure because when he had fallen in love for the very first time he was already losing his memories so fast that he knew that soon he would forget her as well, her green eyes, her name, her-

"A new name for what?" Verde wrinkled her forehead.

Armacanto snorted humorlessly. "Betrayal, darling. Mutiny. Did you really think I wouldn't guess?"


He pressed his lips to her ear, and she wrapped her arms around his neck, smiling and crying, tears so hot she thought they might burn her skin.

He whispered the words into her ear again, hugging her close. "I thought you knew, Lizzie. I really thought you knew."

"I thought you knew," Elizabeth said through her tears.

"Knew what?" asked Jack, lifting his eyebrows, and drawing back a little to see her face.

Elizabeth blinked and then laughed briefly, kissing his lips before pressing hers to his ear and saying the same words he had just said.

He buried his face into her hair and smiled.

Elizabeth pressed her cheek to his dreadlocks with a sigh. "Say it again."

"I already said it three times."

"Jack!" Elizabeth hit him playfully on the shoulder, and rested her forehead against his.

"You know you have to make up for two years of not saying it," she said with a small pout.

Jack smirked. "I'm very good at making up, luv."

"Oh, I know," said Elizabeth with an amused smile, outlining his mouth with small kisses.

He cupped her face with his hands and looked at her for a moment before kissing her on the lips, very lightly at first, and then so feverishly that the cabin began to spin... literally.

"Jack!" Elizabeth held on to him in order not to fall when the ship lurched violently, a hiss of cannon fire breaking the late night silence. "What was that?"

"Stay here, Lizzie," said Jack, trying to sit her down on the bed, but she snatched herself free.

"I'm going with you. And I would thank you for not giving orders to the Pirate King," she added with a hint of pretended haughtiness in her voice, before he had a chance to start persuading her.

Jack rolled his eyes. "You need to start treating your electors' advice with more reverence, luv," he said taking her by the hand, and pulling her toward the door.


"Jack!" Gibbs could not stop himself from shouting, even though he received a rather hard blow to his ribs for speaking up.

"Easy," Verde glared at the man who shrugged in response.

Jack and Elizabeth stopped at the sight of Gibbs being held by two crew members whom they had not seen before.

"Oh," said Jack, forcing a smile, while Elizabeth slowly placed her hand on the handle of her sword, glancing at the dark silhouette of the ship floating on the right side of Armacanto's vessel.

In the light of sparkling colors that suddenly lit up the sky she could see the crew on the other ship, and it was also then that she realized it was not the canon fire they had heard earlier, but merely fireworks.

Gibbs looked at the sky, and sighed at the realization of what the girl had meant when she had said they should have waited for the right constellation of stars.

Verde smiled briefly and walked up to Jack and Elizabeth.

"I'd say something about trees and apples, but I suspect you might detest this particular comparison, no matter how accurate it would've been," said Jack, squinting.

"That would've been indeed a not very well thought out thing to say," replied Verde, extending her hand. "And now, could I have your map?"

Jack raised his eyebrows.

"I already have his," added Verde, lifting the parchment for them to see.

Jack looked at the piece of paper with his eyes narrowed.

"Our map doesn't differ from this one, dearie. Why would you need two maps that look exactly the same?" asked Jack amusedly, although Elizabeth could feel his hand tighten around hers, something she had learnt meant he was not simply speaking, but weaving a trap or an escape with his words.

"They are the same, but it doesn't mean I don't need them both. I'm very sorry, Jack, but I'd rather reach the Fountain of Youth on my own, only with my crew, and without any star-crossed lovers wandering around," said Verde, glancing at Elizabeth. "I don't need any dreary ships attacking mine, if you get my meaning," she added in an exaggeratedly low voice, looking back at Jack who narrowed his eyes at her. "However, I don't intend to set you on fire or send you afloat either."

"How kind of you," cut in Elizabeth, and Jack lightly squeezed her hand.

"It is kind of me," Verde agreed, smirking slightly. "Especially that I'm also going to let you sail away on this very ship," she said glancing around. "I like mine much better," she said, looking over her shoulder on the ship swaying on the waves next to Armacanto's ship. "All I want is your map."

"There just has to be something more," said Jack with a smile that Elizabeth found suspiciously amused, a familiar glimpse of mischief flickering in his eyes.

Verde snorted. "If you had a moment I'd appreciate if you could finally deliver my father... some place from which he will not come back. I have no time for this... now," she smiled sweetishly.

"That's it?" asked Elizabeth suspiciously.

"Consider it your lucky day," said Verde, hitting the parchment in her hand against her open palm. "I've always liked fairy tales, and you make such a credible one."

"Here you go," said Jack cheerfully, pulling the map from under his coat, and handing it to Verde.

Elizabeth shifted her wide-open eyes to him, but kept herself from saying anything because of her hand clasped tightly in his, his fingers drumming against the back of her hand in a curiously happy way.

"Thank you," Verde took the map from him, unfurled both parchments, and after brief scrutiny rolled them back up. "Very good," she smiled. "Do you want to keep anybody?"

"Well, we might keep that... shaggy yet... shrewdly looking sailor over there," said Jack matter-of-factly, pointing to Gibbs who arched an eyebrow. "And perhaps your captain-"

"This is something you'd have to negotiate with sharks," Verde interrupted him with a wry smile, and Jack's smile faltered a bit at the bitter memory of his own, a strange sense of compassion washing over him as he briefly considered the insignificance of the difference between death and being marooned, one being only the variation of another.


"Jack-"

"Shhh."

"Jack!"

"Shhh!"

Elizabeth groaned, crossing her arms over her chest.

Gibbs ran his hand across his forehead, watching Jack rummage through Armacanto's desk.

"I do think there are more important matters to attend now than drawers inspection. We've been left on this ship, and I highly doubt we can take it anywhere by ourselves. I don't know why you didn't want to keep any other crew members. Just three more and we could at least-" Elizabeth stopped to catch her breath, but before she continued, Jack pulled something out of Armacanto's desk's drawer, grinning mischievously.

"What was the one thing everybody knew about old Olivier, Mister Gibbs?" asked Jack, narrowing his eyes at them.

Gibbs' brows furrowed in consideration. "That he was cruel? Merciless? Greedy?" Gibbs continued guessing, but Jack kept shaking his head in denial.

"That he didn't trust women," Jack announced at last, squinting.

Elizabeth raised an eyebrow. "He must not have not trusted them enough," she said sceptically.

Jack smiled. "Enough is a matter of perspective, luv. And in this case, enough is more than enough as far as we are concerned," he said, spreading the parchment on the desk, and Elizabeth was about to retort, but her breath caught at the sight.

Gibbs blinked, and slowly walked toward the desk. "What is that?"

"The map," said Jack with a complacent smile. "The map leading to the Fountain of Youth."


The ship had been taken back to port, and the three of them decided to stay on board for the night, and start looking for crew members on the next day.

The night was stormy, and Elizabeth watched the waves leap against the hull with growing insistence, the moon casting thin, shimmering lines over the black water surface. So many times she had looked at the moon, but it was only now that it occurred to her for the first time that perhaps it was the moon that was looking at her, unchanged medallion of light, a witness to her dreams and her fears, moments of hope and of dread, and she wondered what did the moon think about her?... about both: a lake of broken promises and an ocean of love in which she was drowning every day.

"There were nights when I thought you were a ghost..." Jack's hand slid into her hair, and he sifted the strands through his fingers, smiling at the way in which moonlight fell over them, glimmering shadow of silver skimming over her locks, and he remembered all at once how cold and wet they had felt against the backs of his fingers when he had hold the shackles around her neck; how warm in the firelight; how dry in the sunlight...

She smiled faintly, still looking at the sea. "When?" She had wanted to ask a different question, but somehow the simplicity of his gesture freed her from an inner urge to banter.

"During that year before we met again. Every time when there was too much rum," he added with a smirk.

"Or too little," amended Elizabeth turning to him very swiftly.

His hand lingered in the air for a moment before it glided down her cheek and rested on her shoulder. "Or too little," he agreed, and adjusted his hat on her head.

"I'm not giving it back," said Elizabeth, squinting.

Jack narrowed his eyes at her in return, and then shrugged his coat of his shoulders and draped it around her.

"Are you going to give me all your clothes?" asked Elizabeth smilingly, sliding her hands over his shoulders.

"There is very little left of me, Lizzie, that does not belong to you," he said in a low, serious voice, and Elizabeth bit her lip, and exhaled slowly.

"Jack..."

He pulled her into an embrace and kissed her.

"I feel the same," she whispered, when they pulled apart, and Jack looked at her with an unreadable expression on his face.

"Do you feel trapped... with me?" he asked after a pause, and Elizabeth widened her eyes at him.

"Of course not!" she exclaimed incredulously, cupping his face in her hands. "Can't we be free and together? Do you feel trapped because-"

Jack smiled, and leaned over her shoulder. " Because..." he lowered his voice and whispered the rest of the sentence into her ear.

Elizabeth closed her eyes and laughed under her breath. "Yes. Because of that."

"No." He drew back, and looked at her intently. "No, I don't."

"Forgive me, Jack. Would you forgive me for everything?"

"Lizzie, Lizzie. Could I have given my hat, my ring and my coat to somebody against whom I hold a grudge?"

"I won your hat!" protested Elizabeth, but then she trailed off and narrowed her eyes at him. "You've lost it on purpose, didn't you?"

"What?" asked Jack in a high-pitched tone of voice, shaking his head. "No, no. Lizzie-"

"And you lost your ring on purpose too!" Elizabeth slid out of his embrace and stormed off toward the stairs leading below, trying very hard not to laugh, while Jack tried to catch up with her.

Gibbs stopped in his tracks on his way toward them, and after a moment of hesitation decided to try talking to Jack later. There was one thing that worried him slightly, and he wanted to mention it... Because it had just occurred to him that even though he had witnessed Olivier Armacanto's body being thrown into the water by Verde's men, the Flying Dutchman had never surfaced to pick up the man's soul...


"Can you hear them?"

"Whom, luv?"

Elizabeth snorted, snuggling her cheek against his skin. "Not whom. What."

"What?"

"Them. The waves. Here, in the cabin. Can you hear them and see them?"

Jack wrinkled his forehead, glanced around as much as it was possible without moving his head, and then carefully turned his head to look at Elizabeth. "I'm afraid my eyesight is not as good as it used to be," he said tightening his embrace around her.

"Jack!" Elizabeth lightly kicked his leg with her foot. "Not now. Before. When... I mean... when we... when..." she shrugged in annoyance, and pursed her lips. "Never mind."

"No, by all means do continue, luv. That's extremely interesting- Oi!" he winced, when Elizabeth's foot collided with his shin again.

"If you will be like that, I'll name our baby Teague," she said, biting her lip to keep from chuckling.

"Oi!" Jack repeated with deliberate dread in his voice, but then wrinkled his forehead and looked at her in pretended confusion. "How could you name a girl Teague?"

"How do you know it's going to be a girl?" Elizabeth looked up at him, laughing.

Jack placed his hand under his head and for a moment looked at the ceiling, before deciding to speak. "I had a dream."

Elizabeth propped herself on her elbow and narrowed her eyes at him. "You had a dream."

"Aye."

"About what?" she prompted when he fell silent once again.

Jack cleared his throat, and then turned onto his side to look at her. "About you and our three daughters," he said in a low voice, and grinned impishly at the startled look on her face.

She was about to ask him about the dream's details, but then she remembered that they had not slept since she had told him the news. "When did you have that dream?" she asked looking at him intently, and he twitched his nose, and began sifting her hair through his fingers.

"When I was trying to find a way to make sure..." he trailed off, not sure if it was a good idea to admit that much, after all.

Elizabeth pressed a quick kiss to his shoulder and looked at him expectantly.

"To make sure you wouldn't leave," he finished unsmilingly.

"Leave?" Elizabeth took one of his trinkets in her hand, and ran her thumb over it. "What do you mean?" she asked with a frown.

A small smile that she remembered from that one and only time when he had refused her a kiss appeared on his face. "I've never wanted ten years with you, Lizzie. I've wanted all your years."

"Once we find the Fountain of Youth you're going to regret having that wish," she said solemnly and he smiled.

"I'll give it a second thought," said Jack, squinting, and catching Elizabeth's hand before it landed on his cheek. "And now go to sleep, luv. If we're going to go with your plan, and find the Pearl first, we have to set sail as soon as possible, and to do that we have to start looking for a crew early tomorrow-"

"Alright, alright," Elizabeth silenced him with a wave of her hand, and snuggled her face into his chest. "Good night."

"Oi."

She opened one eye. "What is it now?"

"You forgot to kiss me."

"That's what you said an hour ago."

"It's not my fault that you keep forgetting, luv," said Jack with a lop-sided smile and kissed her.


"Jack, are you quite certain that-"

"Mister Gibbs. Are questioning your Captain's... ideas?"

"No." Gibbs shook his head with a sigh.

"Good." Jack regarded the red-painted name that glimmered in the early morning sun with a smile. "I assure you that Bloody Lizzie is the best name for this ship."

The End