Hi! Okay it has been a silly amount of time since my last update and I apologize! *hangs head in shame* but hopefully you'll like this one :)

Thank you to everyone who's reviewed and added this to their favorites and as ever pleeeeaaaasssseeee tell me what you think of my story and how i can improve :) Enjoy!

Chapter 25

"Jim?" Scarlet woke from a fretful dream calling out to him and in an instant he was there, his eyes fiercely protective as he smoothed her hair.

"What is it?" He asked, studying her face.

I love you, she thought but for some reason could not say it aloud, instead she smiled up at him. "I think I was dreaming, don't worry." She assured him.

"How do you feel?" He asked, drawing up a chair next to her bed and placing a cool hand on her brow. "Your fever's gone down!"

"I feel a lot better." She said softly and it was true, "You've been so wonderful." Her voice went even quieter as she sincerely thanked him with her eyes. He had sacrificed his own health and well-being to take care of her those last few days when she had been too ill to move.

"Shh." He gently stroked her cheek and then kissed her forehead lightly. "I'm just glad you're feeling more yourself. I've missed you." He admitted with a rueful smile.

Scarlet laughed, "I've missed me too."

Jim chuckled, "Do you want something to eat?"

Scarlet shook her head firmly, "I want to go outside." She said decidedly, she felt quite well enough after all and she was sick of being cooped up in the cabin.

"I don't know..."Jim looked unsure but her mind was made up and as he watched uneasily she swung her feet out of bed and stood up, she was a little shaky but otherwise perfectly fine. Jim gave an admiring whistle through his teeth, amazed at her spirit.

"See I'm okay!" She said a bit breathlessly, holding her arms up and only wincing slightly at the dull pain in her shoulder. She took a step, "Fine!" She laughed and then proceeded to give a little skip.

Jim shook his head but joined in her laughter, standing up in order to support her to the door but he soon realized that she really was better, she hardly needed his help at all. Slowly he opened the door and Scarlet smiled exultantly as she was bathed in the sunlight she'd missed so much, it seemed to make her hair sparkle like gold threads...Jim had to shake himself to stop looking at her. Then she turned and grinned as she clasped her arms around his neck and he deposited a light kiss to the tip of her nose.

"Do you think you're up to walking back to the stockade or shall I run and get Doctor Livesy?" Jim asked, wrapping his arms round her waist and pulling her closer.

"I think the walk would do me more good than anything the doctor could give me." She said firmly, "Besides it...it would give us a chance to talk." She added, looking up at him seriously – she had been ill for so long she hadn't been able to ask if he was okay, after all he had killed a man. Jim could see the concern in her beautiful eyes and sighed.

"I'm okay, or I will be when I know you're better." He said and it was mostly true. Since she had been so ill he had had a constant ache in his head from worrying and an almost empty feeling that had disappeared the minute she'd opened her eyes. He needed her, more than he'd realized before.

Without her he'd felt like his lifeline had been cut.

Scarlet nodded although she wasn't altogether convinced, but she threaded her fingers through his all the same and tugged on his hand. "Come on then!"

Jim laughed and they set off hand in hand towards the stockade. The walk was long and hard and the rise and swell of birdsong made them jump more than once, both on edge – waiting for the dreaded sight of the pirate camp – but they were content to talk. Both found they'd missed the other and even though neither had done much in the few days that illness had separated them there seemed a world of things to talk about.

Eventually there came a gap in the conversation and Scarlett peeked at Jim from under her hair, wondering if she dared bring up the subject of Israel Hands, but before she could venture a remark Jim caught her gaze and sighed.

"You're worrying, I can tell." He said, stopping and crossing his arms until she stopped walking too.

"Well...you haven't spoken about – you know, what happened and -" She started, struggling to find a tactful way of saying well bloody hell you killed a man!

Jim nodded and ran a hand through his messy hair. "I'm okay, honestly. I did feel bad – worse than I've ever felt to be quite honest." He grimaced, "I kept seeing his face just before I shot him, it was so clear that it felt like he was right there and real and I was killing him all over again."

Lottie reached out and took his hand in both of hers and then brought it to her lips, resting her lips on his knuckles. At her touch Jim smiled and then continued,

"But then gradually, while you were so ill, I realized something: I couldn't have done anything else." Gently he raised her head so she was looking at him, "He was going to kill you and if killing him was what had to be done to stop him then...how could that be wrong? I would sit by you whilst you slept and tossed and turned and everything else was a blur apart from you and...if you weren't here then -" He couldn't continue, the words choked in his throat and he turned around abruptly so she wouldn't have to see him so undone. Scarlett however was having none of it and she wove her way in front of him and threw her arms round him with such passion that he lifted her off the ground and she clung to him, wrapping her legs round him as well, her face buried in his shoulder and tears coursing down her cheeks.

"You were right to! You had to!" She said fiercely and Jim held her tighter, his cheek nestled against her soft hair.

"I've never known anyone better than you James Hawkins." Scarlett sobbed, kissing the length of his neck.

Her words were like a salve to Jim's ravaged heart and all of a sudden he couldn't see for tears, but he blinked them back determinedly. Scarlett had no such qualms, sobbing with luxurious abandon as she clung to him, feeling for the first time the entirety of her feelings for this boy and letting them wash over her.

He set her down but they didn't move an inch away from each other, continuing their fevered embrace until he pulled away and fixed her with an intense gaze.

"Come with me to England, marry me for God's sake! Hang what anyone says I love you!" He said vehemently, tangling his fingers in her hair. Scarlett laughed breathlessly but had no doubt of what her answer would be – she was in too deep now, she would do anything it took; become a housewife, a mother, a dutiful, obedient wife – anything to be with him.

"Yes." Was her snatched answer in the moment before their lips met and molded to each others familiar shape, passion and love taking them over until nothing remained but the two of them and the promises they had made to each other.