Title: Immortal Beloved: Consequences
Author: Soleil Compeau
Fandom: Pirates of the Caribbean
Rating: NC17 for sex, violence, and death
Disclaimer: Jack Sparrow and other POTC characters are not mine to use for profit in any way whatsoever. I do this out of love, and for entertainment purposes only. Sarah Margita is my exclusive creation, and no one but I have rights to her.
Summary: Jack lived a life of adventure and peril, until his death. Then he was resurrected, and had a chance at a different sort of life, one no less exciting.
Author's Notes: Please remember that in this time period, the average life span was something like fifty years. You were considered quite long lived in your sixties. Also, disease was rampant, with common illnesses being cancer, severe influenza, consumption, malaria, smallpox, and syphillis. A lot of women also died in childbirth. Jack and Sarah are remarkably healthy people, particularly for pirates.
Chapter Ten - Sarah's Trial
Jack carefully explored his nose with his fingers after the swelling subsided a bit. The protuberance was not broken after all, a fact for which he felt immense relief. He was inordinately proud of his face, in all his narrow escapes it had never been scarred.
The fantasy talk of adventures and philosophy and books yet unread halted. There was mostly silence now, for a day and a half he endured it. Sarah did not relax her grip on her wounded wrist. When meals were brought, she was unable to eat until she haltingly pulled her hand free. And since her flesh was trying to knit together, she tore open the skin again, and Jack saw that it bled.
The fourth time it happened, Jack scratched his head and glanced at the Company man who'd brought the food to her. He supposed it was ridiculous to ask for healing for a woman accused of piracy. Next, he glanced at the guard who held his weapon steady and true at Jack's face while he ate. "Don't suppose you could bring some bandages and clean water for her?" he suggested, careful not to move his hands in any sudden, threatening ways. "She's a woman after all. Not used to this damp dinginess."
A thoughtful glance was cast at Sarah, who was pale and trembling. As usual, she did not eat more than a few bites before the nausea overtook her and she pushed her plate away. The men took the plates and Jack, craning his neck, saw them conversing quietly as they walked away. Well, he could only hope his suggestions would be heeded.
"Come here luv. Want to see your arm." She was on the verge of slumping back down and grabbing it again. "Sarah, leave off! Come here!" His voice was rough, to get through her stupor.
She crawled to the bars and he strained, stretching the chains until he could reach out. As he feared, a slick layer of pus coated the P shaped burn and it was red and raised up from the skin around it. "You've got to let the air get at it Sarah. Won't heal otherwise."
For answer, she siezed hold of his own wrists and traced a finger under the manacles, where his skin was abraded. They were still torn and bloody from his repeated struggles to free himself. "Don't worry Jack," she whispered. "'Are not two Sparrows sold for a copper coin? And not one of them falls to the ground apart from your Father's will.'"
Considerably startled, he could only stare into her brightly shining eyes, see the soft curve of her lips in a smile. He felt the gentleness of her finger stroking his sore skin. She sought to comfort him, to find hope, as he always did! But in such a fashion! Did she really think a god would swoop down and free them? Jack retorted with, "Going religious on me? That's not what was originally promised in our bargain of marr-i-age. You wed me under false pretenses."
Sarah's hands slipped away from his, just as a clumping pair of boots announced a return of guards. Fresh water in a basin, and bandages, were given to her, to try to tend to her wound.
He slipped loose of the manacles, suppressing a cry of triumph. Not free yet, there was still his ankle and neck chains to deal with. If he could just find a pin or something, maybe one of the many trinkets in his hair, that had worked for him once before. Plunging a hand into his braids, he rummaged until he found what he wanted. A jeweled hairpin, from a lady who'd helped him celebrate the return of his Pearl long years ago. Working as quickly as possible, he jimmied the lock on the hateful iron encircling his neck. Ah, there. A tiny click, and it fell open. He worked on the ankle chains next, knowing time was short. He struggled, frantically, as a door above thumped open. Too late.
He dropped the hairpin and assumed his normal position, leaning against the wall. It didn't matter. Within moments the guards realized something was wrong. With a narrowed expression, one stepped close and studied the casual gaze of the captive pirate. 'Please, don't see, don't see what I did!' But he did. Stepping back, the guard pulled out his weapon and moved to the cell opposite his own, where a tiny woman sat watching everything. No! No, he moaned desperately. It didn't matter. The pistol was placed close to her head, and the bullet slammed inside. She crumpled unmoving to the cell floor.
Jack struggled awake, choking on his scream. Raised his imprisoned hands to wipe sweat from his face and eyes. Sarah was sitting up, gazing at him. "Are you all right?" she asked. He could only nod. "You were dreaming again."
He pulled his knees up close to this chest and laid his cheek on them. "Same dream, three times running. Can't be helped."
She looked away. "You try to escape, and they shoot me," she muttered moodily.
"All it means is, we can't escape while we're still at sea. We need to look for our chance while they're moving us to the jail."
"You're afraid," only the love in the look she was giving him took the sting out of those words. "You're afraid you will escape and I won't."
Jack could not speak. He thought wildly of the verse she'd quoted before, about sparrows. He thought of one in particular. Psalm 102, verse 7. 'I lie awake, lonely as a solitary sparrow on the roof.'
A thump, a long grinding noise, echoed through the bulkheads around them. It was the sound of anchors dropping. They were making port. All hopes he had of escaping during transport were dashed. Jack and Sarah were moved seperately, she went first. He watched in dismay as two guards escorted her away. It seemed a long time indeed before the same guards returned, to place him, ankles and wrists and neck still bound, to a fully loaded boat.
Jack had lived too long, escaped too many times. They were doing all they could to bring him to what was called justice. Perhaps he deserved it, he reflected as he was marched under charged bayonet to a cell next to Sarah's. In truth, he'd done so many bad things, perhaps the fates had decided he'd had goodness and a decent happy life long enough. Very well.
Jack continued to brood. Sarah said nothing. Free of the chains now, he went to the corner nearest her and spoke urgently to her. "When they take you to trial, don't speak Sarah. Don't try to justify anything they accuse you of. You can't win, they will only wear you down with arguments until you're exhausted. Please darling, just don't speak. Tis better that way."
"I'll try Jack." It was all she said. They sat huddled on the corners of their cells, waiting, feeling much but unable to voice it. It wasn't very long before the guards came to take her to her trial.
She was escorted into a bare room with wooden benches, and given a seat next to a complete stranger. Two others were in the room, one obviously a judge by his imposing white wig. Sarah felt lost and comppletely out of her element. She folded her hands in her lap and stiffened her posture, recalling her childhood lessons of etiquette.
The judge spoke without looking at her. "State your name please."
"I'm called Sarah."
"Ms. Sarah, you stand accused of piracy and harboring or associating with a known pirate. What do you answer to this charge?"
"Who do you say that I am?"
"I'll ask questions ma'am, you answer them. Now then," the judge adjusted a few papers on his desk, and then stared at her intently. "You match the description of a woman reported missing by her family, a Miss Sarah Deverleigh. It was believed she was kidnapped by a pirate, later she and said pirate attacked her betrothed, Robert Downing. They also went on to commit piracy on several ships, apparently she wholly embraced the sinful lifestyle of theft and cowardice."
He regarded her again. "You have the black hair and green eyes, but this was more than twenty years ago. You don't look old enough."
The man next to her stirred and spoke up for the first time. "Black hair and green eyes could describe a fair amount of females. Are we certain this is the correct one? Perhaps the resembelance is due to this woman being the daughter of Miss Deverleigh? It was reported that she bore bastard babies."
The man sitting at the next bench cleared his throat and fussed with some papers. "The fact of the children was reported by a Commodore Richard Beckett, of the Royal English Navy. He removed the children in question from the home and tried to foster them." The man cleared his throat and looked at the judge. "The Commodore's home was later attacked by pirates and Beckett was murdered."
The judge leaned down and looked at her gravely. "Is it true? Are you the daughter of a pirate and this Miss Deverleigh?"
"I am the daughter of a barrister and a midwife," she answered evenly and truthfully.
"What are their names?" She hesitated, decided not to speak. He went on implacably. "Will you say nothing? If you are indeed the daughter of Sarah Deverleigh and not the woman herself, it could save you from these very serious charges. One can't exactly help one's parentage, after all."
Sarah managed to keep her composure with difficulty. It was bizarre to her that these men could speak so casually and horribly of her happy marriage and birth of her children. They saw it their own way, how could she possibly explain? It didn't matter that Jack wanted desperately to live and so commited the acts of piracy he was already branded for. It didn't matter that she loved him, didn't want him to die and so protected him. The law was implacable, blind, and fell across every living being.
"I am who you say that I am." She responded clearly.
The judge, recognizing the Biblical reference, shook his head in disgust. Crisply he sentenced her. "Sarah, I find you guilty of piracy, association with a known pirate, and murder. You will be hanged, on the morrow, by the neck until dead. May God have mercy on your soul." The banging of the gavel was a hollow thump in her heart.
Chapter Eleven - Close Call
Numb, she didn't pay much attention to anything as she was taken back to her cell in the jail. As she went past Jack's cage, she glanced into it to see him stretched out near the rear wall, hat over his face. He didn't move a muscle. Sarah turned in a restless circle in the center of the straw covered floor.
"Well, I'm not only pirate, but murderer as well," she remarked. No response from her husband came.
Jack tensed all over when he heard that. Tried to hide it, tried to act nonchalant as long as stranger's eyes were on him. His mind raced, trying different possibilities, exploring different scenarios. In all of them, he found his freedom, but when he tried to help Sarah, she was killed. Panic threatened to choke him. Come on, you can do better than that, he told himself angrily. But what if...what if you try to help her, screw yourself up, and you both get killed? An insidious voice kept insisting.
Tears ran down her face, and she struggled to keep her sobs quiet. Jack was not making a sound, was not responding to her at all. She visualized him, lying at the back of his cell as if he were merely napping. What was he doing? Plotting escape in one of his harebrained yet brilliant schemes? Weeping in despair over being caged and sentenced?
Sarah sank down on the floor, curling into a miserable little ball. Fear for her young ones welled up in her. Teague was trying to rescue them, she knew. What if he was killed doing so, just on the cusp of his prime years in life? Mary, innocently visiting with the Turners, what would she think when her parents never came back for her? Will and Elizabeth would try to find news, and would learn what happened. Two less pirates in the world, and another notch on the belt of law and order. Jackie, so young, still needed a great deal of mothering, and fathering as well. Would she be safe? Who would take care of her?
As if thoughts of her had summoned delusions, Sarah heard her youngest daughter's voice. "Mama. Mama!" It was insistent, calling to her of a soft, repeated phrase. "Mama!"
Startled, Sarah glanced round and looked up at a glimpse of movement at the tiny window high up on the back wall. Faintly she could hear Jack moving around next to her. She reached up to the gleeful and smug face of Jackie, who was peering in, features barely visible in the dusk, striped by shadows from the bars. "Pet! You should not be here, you'll be caught!"
"Nah!" replied the little slip smugly. "It's dark, none can see me, cause I keep to the shadows, and move quiet as a mouse! Listen! This is what Teague and I are doing.."
For several minutes the females whispered together. Sarah straining up on her tiptoes to the window. Jack had realized what was happening and was anxiously albeit quietly trying to get her attention. Finally, Sarah sent Jackie scuttling a few sideways steps like a silent crab, to speak to him.
Being taller, Jack was able to reach through the tiny slots in the window and caress her cheek. They spoke for a much briefer period of time. The plan was simple, mad, fraught with peril. If the slightest thing should go astray...Jack felt hope leap up in him. It could be done. They just might live through this.
"Go on," he murmured when they were done. "Back to Teague with you. And Jackie, if anything goes wrong..." He stopped and licked his lips. "Don't watch, get yourself away. Get to the Turners, they'll take good care of you. Don't you watch us hang."
"No Papa, I won't." Jackie's voice was strong and sure. "There'll be no hangings here."
After she was gone, still a cautious hope existed in the jail. Jack laughed softly, bouncing lightly on the balls of his feet. Full of energy now, he paced a few times, grinning at the walls. A sound made him turn. "Bringing us our last meals," Sarah explained quietly.
For it, Sarah had requested a meal he'd eaten before with her. Jack found it ironic that she'd chosen food eaten on Dia de los Santos Inocentes, or Day of the Innocents. It was a day children went about playing pranks and jokes on the entire village. He gladly consumed the morcilla sausages, cheese, and clumsily prepared mantecados cakes which were not nearly as delicious as the ones she made.
When their plates were taken, the two men paused a moment and sneered at Jack. "Is he really Jack Sparrow?" One asked.
"No doubt of it. Doesn't look as I imagined though. Face not quite so brutish as I'd imagined it. Not so tall, either." Jack stared back, impassive. The knowing tone went on, turning cruel. "He'll finally pay for all his crimes. First though, that women he had with him'll swing. He'll have to watch it while he waits his turn."
Jack gasped in horror, turning his head to hide the impact these words had on him. The guards moved past to leer at Sarah, who'd heard every word. She gazed at them with steel in her eyes and a soft smile playing about her lips. So young, the pair of men treating cruelty as a game. "You look to be about my son's age," she addressed the younger, who'd asked if it was indeed the legendary pirate caught. "Be sure and tell your mother you love her before you go to bed tonight."
Two faces blanched. Motherhood was a powerful motivator for the most staunch and bloodthirsty pirate, and Sarah had invoked it's power in two who were much less hardened. The men hurried off without another word. The impact was left though. The gloom they'd only just barely chased off returned heavily. There was still hope, still a plan, but now it was far away. Resting on the prow and figurehead of a graceful ship they could not reach.
She sat in the front corner of her prison once again, and reached through the iron. "Jack?" Her voice was tremulous. "Please....I'm scared." The admission came slowly, haltingly.
His reaction was instant, the need in her voice driving him. He scrambled over near her, sitting on the floor and stretching his own arm out until he clasped her fingers. "It's alright love, I'm here."
They dozed off on the hard floor, heads supported by the brick wall. Uncaring that they were slowly growing stiff with it. Once, he jerked awake to discover her hand had slipped from his grasp. Quickly he seized hold of her, and she woke with a trembling cry. "Jack," she whispered.
"It's not really death you fear, you know."
"I do though. Sarah, I do fear it!" Though only their hands were touching, it's just as if they are lying in bed after making love, drowsy and content. Naked and touching every part of each other.
"No. Someone who loves life as you do, loves the risk and the challenge, doesn't truly fear death. Or not enough to let it stop you tasting everything there is. Else you would lock yourself up, hide, to keep from dying. No, it's the punishment you think will follow that you truly fear."
Jack concentrated on breathing, on the warmth of her skin, on the little flutter of her heart he could feel in her wrist. The physical was comforting. The metaphysical was more difficult to master, less inclined to respond to his pretty words and persuasive manner. More inclined to surprise him in unpleasant ways. Sarah knew him though, and kept talking.
"There's no Locker anymore Jack. It was a construct of Davy Jones."
He jerked in surprise at the mention of that name. The meaning of what she'd said penetrated. "William Turner's Locker then? A kinder, gentler place where the worst punishment is practicing knitting three hours a day?"
She ignored his sarcasm, knowing it to be merely a defense mechanism. "I asked Will about it once, about what it was like to Ferry souls. He explained that he was merely an instrument, delivering souls to judgement. No more Locker. No more punishment by an angry, thwarted demon."
Jack breathed faster. His arm was close to numb from being bent around a corner. Eyes closed, he whispered, "I don't want to die Sarah. And I don't want you to die. Simple, really." They stayed huddled close together until the dawn appointment came.
Sarah felt Jack's sharp gaze on her as they were walked slowly, hands bound, to the gallows. His were behind his back, she knew, hers were bound before her and fastened to her waist. Suddenly, within sight of the dreadful pole, she collapsed to her knees, weeping in anguish. Her head bent nearly to her lap as she rocked in grief. Jack clenched his teeth, blinking his eyes rapidly and studying a passing cloud in seeming unconcern.
The hangman reached for her, and she looked up, eyes puffy and red. Without compassion he led her up the steps and positioned her head near the rope. Dispassionately, her crimes were read. Sarah was calm now, looking blankly ahead, but Jack suffered turmoil like nothing he had before. It was the ropes. The way the hangman's knots were tied told the exact manner of her death.
Jack had seen hangings before. Knew there were two ways, approximately, to swing. A quick snap ending in a broken neck was what every condemmed man hoped for. But sometimes the hempen jig was danced a long time. A slow strangling with no hope of air, slowly kicking your last as people watched and scattered crumbs beneath your feet to entice the birds from plucking your eyes. It was the latter that awaited his wife.
As the noose was placed around her neck, he knew she turned to look at him, in case it was for the last time, though he could not meet her eyes. Jack was trembling, sweating. How long would it be? How long before he broke, watching her suffer, and begged them to cut her down? The lever pulled, she dropped, and quicker than his eyes could even track her hands came up to pull the killing rope from round her neck. Sarah landed light as a cat on the ground beneath the gallows.
She spared two seconds for a quick glance around. Ah yes. A long dagger, buried in the sand just near the supporting poles. Jack would have need of it. Hastily she cast off the rope she had untied with her teeth moments ago and sprang forward, running as fast as she could manage.
Chapter Twelve - Never Leave You Behind
Every eye followed her, stunned by the suddenness and unexpectedness of her escape. It seemed impossible, like a dream. Suddenly, a bellowing voice caused Jack's head to swivel towards the noise. Lord Anderson, purple faced with rage, was pointing at the fleeing woman and bellowing loudly. "Get her! Every man, after her! I want that trollop found NOW!"
The Chairman looked at the still captive pirate. "Hang him! Don't wait, do it now!"
The surprise was a great benefit to Sarah. It gave her several seconds head start, as was the mood of the crowd who today were not inclined to move swiftly out of the way of pursuing soldiers. Perhaps it displeased the citizens of Port Royal to hang a married couple. A face came into a focus, a familiar dark skinned, black eyed face. Startled, she slowed. "Move!" Paul whispered urgently, drawing his hooded cloak more firmly around him.
She cleared the grounds quickly and went to the prearranged, secluded spot. Just in time, for Jackie was unable to keep Ifrit calm any longer. Despite sugar cubes, she was tossing her head and rolling her eyes.
Sarah grabbed the reins. Jackie held out the pistol loaded with a single shot, and extra shot and powder. "Beautiful job darling! No one checked again for anything hidden near the gallows, the weapon is still there! Now hide! Run to the rendevouz as soon as you can!" Mounting swiftly, Sarah kicked Ifrit. Ifrit half reared and galloped away, straight back to the fort.
Rough hands pushed him into place. A second noose was put up and went round his neck. Jack stared at the last place he'd seen Sarah. Great relief welled inside him. She would live. As long as she ran fast enough, she would live. The fleeting thought, wistful, that he wanted to live as well came to him. The sound of the drums seemed to echo weirdly, until he realized it was hoofbeats.
Three figures in long robes with hoods pulled low over their brows tensed. Sarah came into sight, heart pounding, pistol at the ready. It was deathly important she aim true, this moment of all moments. Closer, closer, and people were beginning to realize the sounds were not quite right. The drums ended. The lever pulled, Jack dropped, and she fired.
The strands parted 'neath the hot metal just as the rope began to choke Jack. He too landed gracefully on his feet. It took him only a moment to see the blade there for his use and use it, awkwardly behind his back, to cut his way free. He ran, found his way blocked, and dodged instinctively. Barreled his way through the crowd, shoving people aside. Shouts and cries were not important. Only one sound was, and he followed the drumming noise blindly.
For her part, Sarah drove Ifrit ruthlessly through the crowd. Most scattered, but determined soldiers tried to block her. One unfortunate popped up so close to her Ifrit reared and savagely struck out with her hooves, clearing her own path. Paul, Eddie, and Ragetti tossed their robes aside and drew swords to protect their captain's passage.
Lord Anderson ordered at the top of his lungs, "Find some horses! After them! And don't hesitate to fire!"
Now the citizens who'd turned out to see a hanging really did scatter at those words. Jack reached Sarah's side, but he hesitated. She held Ifrit tight. "Jack Sparrow, get on this horse or they will kill you!" she shrieked. Jack tried to jump up, Ifrit sidled sideways with her ears flat back. Sarah grabbed hold of him and tried to haul him up.
"Ow! Ow!" This effort was costing a great deal of Sarah's strength. Her brand was screaming and burning. Jack balanced awkwardly, clutching at her waist. While he was struggling for his seat, a man dodged past Sarah's kicking foot and took hold of the bridle. Ifrit suffered no hand on her but her mistress, and with a warning snort pawed the air. Then gave a mighty kick and the man went limp as he sprawled on the ground.
With a sudden bound the mare was off and galloping. Jack yelled in fright, bouncing uncomfortably, eyes squeezed shut and hoping like hell Sarah would steer well. The proud Arabian had her head now, and her lady bent low over her neck chanting encouragement in her ear. Ifrit raced, the extra weight not bothering her at all, raced as she'd been bred to. Flashing past the people, wind whipping her mane, open paths just before her.....only a few steps away.
Sarah saw the route her mare was taking and laughed in the face of danger. "Hold tight to me Jack!" she cried wildly, and Jack's arms were like steel round her waist. He buried her face in her neck as Ifrit's muscles bunched. The line of soldiers, crouched and preparing to fire, never had a clear shot. All they saw was a horse like a demon god bearing down on them, heard a wild whinny, and thrashing hooves made a breeze past their heads as she leaped clean over them.
The thud when they landed jarred Sarah and made Jack's teeth snap together. The chase was draining her energy and bringing pain to every nerve ending in her body. Jack felt it in her body slumping against him. The horse they rode ran wild with no direction, bit firmly in her teeth.
"Where do we go! Sarah! Where's Jackie!" he yelled, trying to bring her out of it.
"Rendevous," she managed. "This...way." Tugging the reins, she directed Ifrit slightly to her left. The docks approached rapidly. Only the water made Ifrit stop running. She was covered in a white lather and blowing frantically.
Jack slid off the horse's back, cursing and staggering weakly. His balls felt as if they'd been squeezed harder than he liked, his spine oddly compressed. Sarah was lolling, he tried to lower her gently as she whimpered in pain. Sudden footsteps made him jerk, but it was only his mates he saw. "Into the boat, Captain! You've got to!" Ragetti yelled.
Jackie suddenly appeared almost as if from nowhere and leaped nimbly into a boat, holding it steady. Sarah was breathing shallowly. When Jack lifted her bodily into his arms and tried to step off the dock, she suddenly writhed. "Ifrit! I won't leave without her!"
"She'll swim!" Jack got into the boat, the men followed and took up oars while the captain carefully propped his wife into a sitting position.
The mare whinnied and tossed her head several times. The sound of the guards came nearer. Sarah called her horse weakly, and after a few times Ifrit jumped off the dock and swam towards the boat, ears laid back in displeasure. Around the curve of the large sheltering rock jutting out from the harbor of Port Royal, and there was the Pearl, straining against her kedge anchor. She looked so welcoming and so like home, Jack's eyes became moist.
"They're readying the fort cannons, sir," Paul reported tersely.
Little Tom was ready for them, hooking the boat as they came alongside. "Bloody hell, how do we get her aboard!" he exclaimed, waving at the horse.
Jackie scampered up the side of the ship, followed by Eddie and Ragetti. "Lower the sling!" called Jack. When it came into sight, he looked at Paul. "Get her aboard for me, please," nodding at Sarah. Then dove neatly into the water.
Grabbing hold of the sling, he swam closer to the Arabian. "Easy now," he soothed her, just as he had when she was a foal and he'd found her aboard a slaver. Dove down on one side of her, deep down to avoid the thrashing hooves, and came up on her other side. He realized he needed to fasten it tighter so she wouldn't slip, and came closer.
Ifrit whinnied in nervous fear. Jack felt a hoof suddenly strike his left thigh with an explosion of terrible pain, then his leg went numb. "Fucking equine!" he yelled in a pain reaction. He steadied himself on her arching neck as she whinnied softly and actually nuzzled him in contrite affection. "I know girl," he muttered. "Only trying to stay afloat. I know." He buried his face in her neck for a moment to get his bearings.
When she began to rise in the air, he swam awkwardly to climb aboard, only to find Paul struggling with a limp Sarah. "She fainted when you went into the water," he apologized. "Sort of went rigid and whimpered your name, then went limp as a rag doll."
"I'm here," he murmured to her. Sarah's eyelids fluttered.
"Get aboard! Quick!" It was Teague, reaching down to provide a hand up. Loud booms from the fort confirmed his words. Between Teague up top and Jack and Paul below, they got a weak Sarah aboard and safe. "Head for open water!" bawled Teague, striding back to the wheel.
Dripping wet, balancing carefully on his good leg, Jack watched as Sarah coughed weakly and seemed to become a bit stronger. She walked carefully to him as they sailed faster and faster, and hugged him tight around his waist. They'd made it. They were alive and safe on the Black Pearl.
Jack had wanted to take over. Teague glanced at his father, then his mother, before looking pointedly ahead where he was steering. "Got it covered Captain sir. Go and tend to her, and let her tend to you, eh?"
Limping the few steps to the cabin, supporting and being supported by Sarah, he felt relief. Though he felt himself capable of taking command, it eased a great burden to know he would be able to rest first. Getting older, he reflected wryly. Once inside, they collapsed into the well known chairs. His leg was swelling terribly and still numb, was nonetheless beginning to throb at the impact point. Sarah sliced his breeches open and peeled the soaking fabric away from his flesh. Revealed was a great purple lump with a perfect blood red circle in the middle.
"It'll heal," he grabbed her arm. "Need to look at you, bit." Pulling up her sleeve and unrolling the bandages revealed a partially scabbed, infected wound. Jack gazed at it in silence a moment, a pitying gaze. Dreadful she should suffer a fate like this. "Needs tending to darling. And only one thing I know of works best when things get like this."
She sighed in resignation. "Just do it Jack."
"I know. Get it over with."
Biting his lip, he grabbed the bottle of rum near to hand and unstoppered it. Quickly, before he could lose his nerve, he gripped her elbow and poured a generous dollop over the brand. Sarah hissed, tried to yank her arm back. It burned, almost worse then when she'd been branded to begin with. The sharp fierce pain went deeper, into her very bones, and spread up her arm, down her fingers. She fell to her knees, shrieking.
Jack stared dismally over her head, jaw working. She trembled, taking in shallow breaths, then suddenly reared up and punched him, square in the chin. His head snapped back, and he blinked, surprised. Then laughed a deep rolling laugh. She would be just fine.
After a few minutes, she allowed him to touch her again. Carefully, they sat on the side of the bed, eased into it. Oh, the blessed familiarity of these blankets, these surroundings! Dark within the cocoon of his cabin, they lay holding each other, fully able to touch for the first time in days of imprisonment, and were able to sleep deeply.