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Title: Immortal Beloved: Consequences
Author: Soleil Compeau
Fandom: Pirates of the Caribbean
Pairing: Jack/OFC
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 Thirteen - R&R

Jack woke and opened his eyes. By the light coming through the windows he guessed it was midday, possibly high noon. Sarah was curled up next to him, legs tucked between his thighs, his hair gripped tightly in a fist. She always held on to his hair while she slept. The noise that woke him came again. Someone was knocking on the cabin door.

He winced as he disentangled himself from the bed and tried to sit up. His leg was screaming at him. Jack reached for the spare trousers at the end of the bed. "Come in!" he called, trying both to be heard and yet not wake his wife.

Bowen entered carefully holding a tray of food which he set on the large table. Jack could see a very nice cheese, bread with a small slab of sweet butter, and treacle tarts. And a fresh cask of rum.

"Good man!" he grinned, indicating he wanted it. Bowen broke the seal smartly and handed it to his captain who now reclined on one elbow.

A few gulps later and Jack's pain eased. As he got up and moved unsteadily to the table, Bowen looked almost tenderly at Sarah's peaceful face. The captain remembered suddenly that as a young man Bowen had played flute for Sarah to dance to. A delicate looking boy with a shy smile, always eager to be of use, volunteering for errands. Jack had thought him a puppy, adoring and sweet. But a few years later he'd turned pirate for Jack and never looked back. The woman in bed snored away, obliviously.

The expression of concern turned to one of amusement. "Does she always do that?"

"What? Sleep?" Busy with slicing bread and pouring two cups of rum.

"Snore like that."

"Oh." Jack had gotten used to it and barely heard it anymore. It was not loud but a very regular snuffling sound. "Yes. Always."

"You gave us a right scare, Captain. Glad to have you back among us." Bowen gave him a shy smile.

"I'm hard to kill, lad." Jack said casually. "And you know what they say. Can't keep a good man down!" Bowen made to leave and Jack stopped him. "A moment, son. One more thing I want you to fetch for me."

Left alone, he touched his fingers to his neck. Jack could still feel the whisper of the noose. Twice now he'd felt it tighten to a choking point, twice now someone who cared for him had released him from it. It was horrible, that rough tightening scrape. Never, never wanted to feel it again. Jack thought about the few moments when he'd thought he'd have to watch Sarah die. Began to squirm and shake, needed to get up and look at her in the bed, forcibly remind himself that they were alive.

She was going to wake soon. He could tell by the change in her breathing, the restless movements she was making. Very shortly she stretched, a delicious full body arch that raised her arms over her head and stretched her toes. Slowly she opened her eyes. He smiled in pure delight when she gazed at him sleepily. Sarah sat up, still favoring her injured arm, and moved to the table. "Oh, that looks good! I'm actually hungry for the first time in days!" she exclaimed.

Jack assisted her in dressing in breeches and one of his spare shirts. It was a sensual delight to slide the fabric, and his knuckles, along her creamy thighs, to brush against her soft belly in fastening the trousers. Warmth spread through them both as she raised her bare arms, raising her breasts up a bit, so he could ease the shirt over her head. Though he made no untowards gestures yet, his body awoke for her and he savored the slow waltz towards their union.

Sitting down to eat, he noted that she managed to hold her bread with the branded arm, albeit awkwardly, and and butter it. It made him fiercely proud that she was trying. When he'd been branded, it took him weeks to even try to use that hand, and that only because he was starving.

She noticed him staring at the brand. "It doesn't change anything Jack." she said flatly.

A long silence met those words. Then, "Changes nothing and everything, Sarah."

Resolutely she broke off a piece of cheese and chewed it before answering. "I'm still the same person. Still living with danger. Still loving you, and you've got a brand! Lived with it for how many years Jack?"

He sighed, waved his hand in dismissal. "Long enough so it's not something that I even see anymore. But, changes you still, Sarah. Not who you are inside but what they see, them what's out there. And that's what worries me." Jack's brow furrowed in his attempt to make her see.

Nonchalant shrug, meeting his eyes defiantly. "I was damned anyway because of associating with you, protecting you. I don't care what they see. I never did." They ate silently for a few minutes. Jack was upset. She didn't know him before the brand, only his telling of it. Didn't know the ruination of it, that it completey marked one as a non person.

Of course, after such a harrowing escape, she understood full well. Shortly she laid a hand on his across the table. "What I do care about is protecting our family! And we can do that well enough."

"I care, Sarah. I care what they see when they look at you, at the children, at our family. It's all a man has, now, isn't it?" Eloquent hands waved vaguely through the air. Trying to convey that she was his safe harbor and he couldn't bear that being taken away. Christ, hadn't his own branding cost him enough?

Sarah picked up on his anxiety. Soothingly she explained, "We'll call on Lord Salvador Escamilla to help us. You're a privateer now, Jack, the Spanish King owes it to you to protect you!" Her sea green eyes were earnest in their appeal. Did she think the solution so simple?

"Can't be trusting the protection of Kings, Sarah, love. Can only trust what's here." Leaned forward and put his hand on her heart. Felt it beating, a reminder of the life, the fragile life he'd feared would be lost. Cheated death once again, with her by his side for always. He must protect that. He had to.

She lovingly laid her hand over his and looked at him with eyes full of adoration. Like he was her hero. "Not trusting Kings. I trust in you, sweetheart. Always have. Protection of Kings? Ahh, something we can use!"

A knock and a call at the door interrupted them. Jack got up slowly, enjoying the laughter and light in her face. Bowen came in with a tray, holding a single large tureen, as if for soup. "There y'are Captain!" he said cheerfully, greeting Sarah with a large grin. "Still a bit hot, be careful with it."

Jack waited till he'd left before lifting off the lid. The sweet smell of chocolate wafted into the air enticingly. She arched a brow in the direction of his suddenly innocent face. "What's this? A bit of sweet dessert, or something more?"

"Something more? More than dessert? What more could there be, eh?" Jack poured a large dollop of rum into the steaming fragrant sweetness. Lifted a spoon and dipped out a goodly amount, holding it out to Sarah with that devilish grin.

She leaned forward, opened her mouth slowly over it and drew her lips back to suckle the chocolate off. She didn't take her eyes off Jack. He continued to feed her the delectable sweetness, not allowing her to control the spoon or the amounts at all. After a bit she became impatient and tried to grab the spoon from him, to feed herself or maybe even him. Jack did take some bites, but most of it went straight to her tongue.

She squirmed away the next time he raised a mouthful to her lips, jostling his arm. A dollop missed her mouth completely and dripped down her cheek and neck. "Jack, you spilled it!" she exclaimed. He was lunging across to her before she could even raise a hand to wipe the drip away. She shuddered in surprise when he licked it, a slow stroke across her jaw, down her throat.

Jack finished cleaning the chocolate from her skin and remained there, face pressed against her neck. Tenderly she laid her cheek on top of his head. Now she had a clear shot, and carefully, slowly, shifted her weight to lean across the table and grab the spoon Jack had left in the sweetstuff. He raised his head just as she snagged it. Still shirtless, ahhh such a perfect opportunity! He looked very startled as she dribbled a large amount of chocolate down his smooth chest.

The tension building slowly between them, that they'd been holding back, flared hotly. Sarah attacked his muscled chest with long licks, moaning softly at his taste. It took him far less time to strip her clothes off that it did for him to put them on. And she lost no time getting his trousers off. Fortuitously, there were two spoons. They played, eventually abandoning spoons to finger paint over each other's bodies. A large amount was dumped over Sarah's stomach and Jack needed to hold her wrists while he cleaned it. She was squirming and giggling, making him laugh as well, and blow raspberries on her ticklish skin.

Sarah eventually found herself sideways on Jack's lap, feeling his erection pressing into her hip. He leisurely suckled her nipples, using one hand to fondle whichever one was not currently in his mouth. Long hair nearly swept the floor from her head tilting back in carnal enjoyment. He moaned softly, sending hums through her breasts. And when she began to gasp and squirm with need, he dropped his hand down between her legs.

Jack turned her round so she snuggled plump cheeks into his thrusting heat, brushed hair aside to reach the side of her tender throat and bite it, soothe it with kisses, excite her into gooseflesh. Sarah watched his brown, long fingered hand stroke up and down over her vulva. Wet heat met those fingers, coated them, as he moved them over and finally into her. Sarah arched, groaning, shuddering as his teeth sank sharply into her skin and his mustache brushed just above. A thumb brushed light as a feather side to side over her nub. Another hand held her breasts, still caressing them. Breath came quick and hot in her ear, the only sign of his own desperation.

Sarah cupped a hand over his arm near his fingers, feeling the tiny movement of the muscles as he brought her to a crashing orgasm. He didn't let go of her immediately, but cupped with a palm right over her as she slowly came down, panting right with her. Boneless and sticky she lay draped over him, eyes closed, a little smile on her face. Jack eased her up off his lap, shifted aside, and set her back down. Settled himself comfortably on the floor before the chair which raised her eyebrow.

"What are you doing, Jack?"

"Got to taste that, luv. Warm and sweet, like nectar. Like a peach," as he draped her legs over his shoulders and parted her swollen lips with his fingers.

Sarah groaned even before he touched her with his tongue. Jack had made her come already, but seemed intent on feasting on her and doing it again. He seemed to be enjoying himself very much, not even caring that she was clutching at his hair. Eyes closed, lips caressing her and tongue swiping up and down thoroughly, Jack ignored his own insisting flesh and devoured her. She was extremely sensitive from the climax of just a few minutes ago. Jack put his tongue in just the perfect places, at just the right pressure, to spiral her quickly out of control.

"Need no chocolate to enhance this," he mumbled. Then enclosed her clitoris in those soft lips and suckled, a talented finger rubbing slowly inside her. The sweet bliss that washed over her was less intense but lasted longer than the first, and he stayed with her the entire time, tongue gently brushing and eyes peering intensely at her. When she exhaled slowly and let go of his hair, he stood up. "Do it to me, now!"

He grasped the edges of the table, wanting to stay on his feet for it. His legs got so weak, but he loved her kneeling before him. She'd press her breasts against his thighs, grab and squeeze his ass. When she swallowed him, when she drove him to the edge and used just a little bit of teeth on that throbbing vein, Jack's head would get so light he wondered if he would faint. Ah god, it was fucking fantastic.

Sarah gazed at her husband's face, slack with want. His cock stood hot and tight against his stomach, already slick with his secretions. Just for a moment she caressed his flat stomach with her fingertips. By god, already he was moaning and shuddering. She took his rigid organ into both hands, rubbing it all over, then directed it into her mouth. Sometimes Jack needed her to be gentle in the beginning. Not today, no, she immediately began working her mouth down, then back up, and down again for him.

Gripping the table hard, Jack moaned hungrily as surge after surge after surge swept over him. Every muscle in his body clenched in eager preparation. "Oh, I'm so close....oh fuck, oh jesusfuck.....please..." he babbled. "Ooooooooohhhh right....there.....yes.....uhhhhhhh!"

For a moment, a breathless struggling moment he hovered. Toes curling, head back, whole world focused on her warm moist mouth. Fingertips gently brushed the taut silky weight beneath his cock. Once, twice, three, and on the fourth gentle touch he exhaled roughly. Almost screaming as he released between her lips, hips bucking helplessly as she sucked harder. It was a deep, shuddering, intensely satisfying orgasm.

He found he couldn't release the table for several minutes. Sarah found a washrag and cleaned the remaining chocolate smears and other mess from their bodies. She brought him his clothes and at last he found stability enough to stand on his own feet. They helped each other into the clothing, sharing lingering kisses meanwhile.

"Suppose we ought to stick our heads out, find if we are needed," he remarked.

"No doubt we will have several hovering nursemaids following us solicitously, as soon as we make an appearance," she agreed.

They were lighthearted again. Freedom, food and carnal comfort restored their joy in life. But Jack's thoughts lingered on his fear, how he'd nearly lost her and lost himself. A fine plan it was, calling on Spanish protection, he could and would do that. But it wouldn't be enough. As they stepped out into the sunshine on the main deck, Jack continued to lay his own plans to protect what was his.

Chapter Fourteen - Jack makes changes

They returned to France to reunite with their oldest daughter, and found themselves under attack again, this time from concerned loved ones. "Mother! Father!" screamed Maria as she flung herself at her family, followed swiftly by a slightly more subdued Jackson, Becky, and Willy.

"What happened here?" she questioned. The bruises on Jack's face had not completely faded yet.

As the story unfolded, Maria's eyes went wide. She went between each parent snuggling safely in their arms, then stormed out to the garden. Elizabeth and Sarah went to her to find her pacing, shaking her fist vaguely towards the horizon and plotting unspeakable revenge against Lord Anderson. None of the children, as Jack still thought of them, could bear the sight of her brand. Anytime it was exposed, Teague, Maria, and Jackie would grow pale and hurry from the room.

After three days of this, Sarah finally became exasperated enough to rage, "What is this? I'm hideous now because I'm scarred?" A hand flung intself towards her husband. "He's got one, no one draws away from him!"

There was a short silence. Bill and William looked rather abashed. Elizabeth hugged her friend. Jack muttered, "Mine's not so fresh as yours, luv."

Turning, she fixed him with angry eyes and upthrust chin. "Then like you, I shall have to commit the sin it represents, perform the heinous acts, until it is dull and no one sees it anymore, as no one sees yours!" She swept away, flouncing in fine, angry form.

An hour later he brought her to the room they always slept in while visiting France. Her parent's room, in fact. Sitting staring out the window, he said slowly, "Time for changes love." He slowly began removing the remaining trinkets from his long hair, carefully setting them on his folded red scarf. "Not like I haven't disguised myself before." He unfasted and shook loose his braids. "Too well known this way."

Lifted the scissors next to him, and now he looked straight into her eyes. Closed his eyes and braced himself. Sarah covered her mouth with a hand, loath to cry out. That hair had teased her, tantalized her, been dragged slowly over her body. She'd had her hands in it, and her face, feeling the various textures and smelling it's wonderful tang of rum, salt and a vaguely fishy oil. She'd washed his hair, braided it, woven new buttons or beads into it. It was beautiful, thick and shiny and very much him.

Jack began to cut his hair, slowly. Thick locks fell forlornly to the floor. Now that his mind was made up to begin, he cut steadily, evenly. It was the dreads that gave him most trouble. There were several, dotted randomly over his head. Cutting them cleanly off would leave odd short patches in their place. Yet for many years, Sarah had taken good care of Jack. Made sure he was well fed, clean, happy. And for at least two years, he'd simply let it go, and had inches of new growth not yet integrated into dreads. It would take soaking them in a special kind of wax and much combing, but in several month's time, his dreads also would be gone.

Minutes passed in silence as he combed his fingers through it and made sure he'd gotten it all even. Now it framed his face unfettered, and hung to several inches below his shoulders. Sarah drew a shaky breath, unable to stop looking at him. Jack stared back at her as if daring her to say something. When he reached the scissors towards his chin, she softly cried a protest.

Instead of cutting off the dingles, he unbraided and removed the beads, trimmed it a bit. Now it was long, and quite curly. Stroking his mustache, Jack smiled ruefully. "Can't bear to give this up, somehow!"

"That's alright." Her voice came out steadily, thank goodness. "I rather like it. You've had it so long."

She moved slowly towards him, and now his eyes were unguarded and vulnerable. Sarah stroked a hand over his face. Jack leaned into the touch. She kissed him slowly and sweetly, before bending down to pick up an abandoned lock. The tiny braid that used to dangle beside his face wound several times around her finger, then was tenderly slipped into her pocket. He busied himself with placing his scarf, the danglies that represented treasured memories of his, and his Piece of Eight in the treasure box he'd brought her many years ago.

When the couple appeared at dinner that evening, every face boggled at him. Not only was his hair cut, but Jack had dressed himself in finer clothes. A dark blue pair of breeches, a crisp cream colored linen shirt, dark blue velvet waistcoat, and a cravat to match the shirt, tied perfectly. He'd donned such finery before, Jack cut quite a dashing figure when he chose, but most often preferred his more familiar clothing.

Bill was grinning inexplicably, Will was looking him up and down as if he didn't recognize him, and all the young ones were murmuring and nudging each other. "Daddy?" squeaked Jacqueline.

"!" Elizabeth fumbled breathlessly, frank admiration plain on her face.

"I'm a brand new man, am I not?" Jack answered grandly, holding Sarah's chair for her.

She paused on her way to sitting down, raised eyes to his. "No. Same man, same heart." Smiled when his lips brushed the top of her head.

"Uncle look soooo handsome! More than usual!" Becky gushed, then turned a deep shade of red and fumbled with her napkin while Jack chuckled softly.

Joshua was grey and frail these days. Carefully holding his young son, he took a seat and smiled gently. "You look fine, Captain. Ready to take on the world."

They set sail two days later. John Teague was quite content to share first mate duties with Snaky, and keep track of his sisters. They arrived at the Cove, and Jack swept off to find the Keeper of the Code. What he found instead was a surprise. Lily St. Rose, youngest daughter of Captain Teague, was guardian of the book now. "Where is he? I've business to attend to." Jack blustered.

Lily's dark eyes were hard. He remembered her as a wee girl, curly hair escaping her braids just as Jackie's did. "You'll have to do your business with me then, Jack Sparrow. He's gone, to the other side of the Lethe."

Color drained from his face. "What? how....but he's..."

Her eyes softened, she looked down and took a troubled breath. "Found a way to trick the gods, he did, and escaped his fate."

Jack was quiet a moment, pondering the various ways Teague had suffered an extended lifespan. He'd always bitterly envied his father for having achieved as if by accident such a state, when Jack himself labored for it constantly. Lily was tapping her foot, face expectant and once again set in cold lines. Best get on with it, I'm a busy woman, her stance proclaimed.

"I want something," he began in a wheedling tone.

"Always be wanting something Jack, but you've got to pay like everyone else."

"Ah darlin. Don't you remember how I used to dandle you on my knee? And take you pig-a-back to the tallest spires, so you could enjoy views few other Cove children could?" Jack's voice was tender, recalling happy times here and one of the few daughters born to his father and her winsome ways.

"Matters not Jack. You're a right jackdaw in borrowed plumes, but I see you plain! I'll not be letting you take advantage of family ties!"

"Course not. White sails, and resupply then, and I'll be on my way, not bothering you with any such notions of kin or memories of good times." His face became as hard as hers, and he rocked back on his heels.

"Times be not what they once were, as you should well know. Pirates are hounded, more die every day, precious few come anymore. Our stores are nothing like they used to be. Sailcloth be a luxury. What do you offer for it? And how much, you're refitting a ship I take it? The Black Pearl?" Arms crossed, mentally calculating what were left in the caverns.

"Ah, but I offer a trade, luv. Fair's fair, barter and all that, eh? For white sails to fit a Galleon of the line, I'll give back equal amount, of black sails."

A bit later, in his cups and a tipsy and much more relaxed sister in his wake, Jack staggered unsteadily to the docks. The deal was brokered, his beloved Pearl would turn white. Not her wood, that was darkest mahogany and he would not go so far as to mar her obsidian sides with paint. But a ship with white sails would not be challenged as the notorious Black Pearl as easily as one with her legendary black ones. And she had told him, that Teague had sailed for  the first time in many years. Then came back and sat down with her, holding a small flask full of some liquid, not whiskey is all she knew. Before her eyes, he drank it all, laughing with glee the whole time, and somehow made time catch up with him to end his miserable existence. 

Returned to his ship and family, to find one missing. Under their very noses, while each of them enjoyed a safe port, Maria Sparrow had signed on to a crew, and sailed away. Turned pirate, at the tender age of sixteen.

Chapter Fifteen - Sail No More

Sarah was belowdecks with John Teague. They could still hear Captain Sparrow above them, though he was beginning to wind down, mostly due to his throat being raw. Teague had provided a chair for his mother and was standing before her, arms crossed and a frown on his face. A very familiar frown.

Though his face was clean shaven he looked precisely like his father. Dark brown hair flowed free and curly from beneath his headscarf down to his shoulderblades. The reindeer shinbone, the only decoration he had, poked out at a slight angle depending on how he tipped his head. "I'll find her mother, I promise. I'll make sure she's safe," he said tersely.

Sarah realized his choice of words indicated that Maria might have no intention of returning home. "Did you know she was planning this?" She kept her voice low and soft so it wouldn't sound accusing, merely questioning.

Teague exhaled slowly. "I don't think it went so far as planning, no. More like an opportunity presented itself and she grabbed it. But something like this is what she's been wanting for a long time." He glanced upwards. "She's so very much like father."

When Jack discovered that his fiery princess had disappeared in such a manner, he'd erupted in a towering rage. Shouting at the top of his lungs, he'd sworn to tame his daughter once found, then praised her many virtues in the next breath. Against those who might harm her he swore punishments up to and including savage whippings, keelhauling, marooning, and removal of body parts by way of sharp instruments. Now, much later, the storm seemed to be winding down a bit.

"Teague, I know she's eager to embrace piracy and adventure, but she must also understand how important family is! Please...she simply must be found!" Tears threatened again, and spilled over her cheeks, the same tears that had stopped Jack's ranting at least briefly.

"I suspect I know which ship she found berth on," he replied thoughtfully. Four ships had departed around the time maria went missing, none going in the same direction. "She might've disguised herself as a boy with that short hair, but somehow I doubt it. Maria is proud of her distinct appearance and will likely flaunt it." What he did not add but which Sarah understood perfectly, was that Maria cared little for men except for the opportunities they provided for her.

"When you find her," Sarah began, clinging to hope. "Little bird, when you find my proud Maria, tell her she will always have a place with us. Tell her she can always turn to us and find safe harbor."

Teague returned to the Poseidon's Damnation. Jack and Sarah returned home. Almost immediately the townsfolk began calling and learned of the ordeal they'd been through.

"Dreadful, Senora Sparrow, simply awful!" A particularly corpulent woman with a fearsome bosum exclaimed as she sipped tea and stared avidly at Sarah's brand. It peeked from beneath the lace of her sleeve, partially seen but no less horrifying for that. "It's an ordeal no one should have to endure!" she went on. Her eyes flickered towards Jack who was quietly looking out the window at the mast of the white rigged ship.

"I agree Senora Avila," Sarah answered solemnly. She too followed the glance and looked at her husband.

That visit was followed later by one from Lord Escamilla whom Sarah had sent a message to as soon as she'd arrived home. He was clearly uncomfortable, perched on the very edge of his chair and refusing the cup of tea his hostess offered. "Protecting you from English punishment, yes yes of course! That's not only a military but a political matter. Particularly for a privateer who has, ahhh, put aside his former wordly ways and....served as Captain Sparrow has."

Jack hid his smirk behind his hand on the pretense of gravely stroking his mustache. But the next comment caused a frown which he revealed in full. "But the East India Trading Company is another matter entirely. They are very powerful." Holding his hat, the Lord stiffly rose to leave.

"Please!" Sarah rose also and leaned forward to stare at the gentleman. "We are citizens of Spain! We've raised our children here, in this village!"

Jack noticed a certain quality to the way the Spanish noble responded to her, and used it. Grasping her wounded arm, he pulled her forward until they were standing very close to the man. "Look!" he commanded.

Rolling back her sleeve, he thrust the brand right under Savaldor Escamilla's nose. "See it? They took red hot metal and pressed it into this soft flesh. Until smoke rose and she screamed in agony!" Jack found himself shaking in anger at the memory. "Tossed her into a cold stone cage and then put a rope around her neck, dropped the very platform she stood on! It's a miracle she survived!"

Sarah looked away as Jack began describing her torture. Then she looked back to see the drops of sweat on Salvador's forehead, the way his eyes darted back and forth. She parted her lips and moistened them with her tongue. "Not to mention what they did to me!" Jack went on a coldly controlled voice. "Took my Letters of Marque and disregarded them. Pugilized me until I bled and my face was unrecognizable. Tried to hang me!"

The Lord took a fine handkerchief out of his pocket and dabbed at his face. "Of course...horrible," he said in a hoarse voice. "I will do what I can of course. My very best." Eyes averted, he hurried out of the house.

Jack stomped around the room, unable to blow off his tension after recalling nearly losing her. She understood how he felt and thought she had the solution. Going to him, she took his hand and pressed it to her heaving bosum. He gave her a puzzled glance, his brain not yet connecting his need to protect her with a desire to bed her. When she trailed soft fingers over the hollow of his throat, comprehension bloomed.

A soft caress to the creamy tops of her breasts, then she pulled him closer and strained upwards to capture his mouth. His tongue filled her mouth and stroked hers as he backed her up slowly. Sarah's back met the wall, and seductive words were murmuured against her ear. "Senora Sparrow, so bold! And in the middle of the afternoon, no less."

Their hands teased through layers of cloth while kisses made no secret of intent. Greedily, she pushed her tongue into his mouth and repeatedly ran it over his teeth. Repeatedly, he nipped her tongue and took control again. The slide of lips, brush of mustache, warm panting breath all served to make their desire frantic. "Quiet," she whispered in a loud hiss, though he'd not yet made any noise. "Jackie will hear us!"

A sinful chuckle, and he bent low to raise her skirts and insiinuate his hand beneath them. Jack worked his way with patient and spine tingling strokes up her silk clad legs to the bare strip of skin at the top. She frantically unbuttoned his shirt as he worked and laid hot hands on his chest. "Gods, how you want me!" Jack shuddered as clever fingers brushed through her damp curls.

A low mewl answered him. He slid up her body, pinning her to the wall and working his fingers deeper. Sarah scratched at his chest with one hand, making him growl wantonly, and got into his breeches with the other. "I want you bare and spread open on me bed!" Urgently, as she cupped his heavy balls and stroked his upright manhood.

A buzzing sound penetrated through their cloud of lust. Someone was at the door. Jack groaned, thudding his head into the wall behind her. She panted harshly, trying to make sense of the sudden change and calm her racing heart. Her husband withdrew his hand and tried to settle her skirts.

Trying to smooth her hair, Sarah hurried towards the door as the bell was pulled a third time. There was not a thing she could do about her rosy cheeks and swollen lips. Jack meandered after her. She glanced at him as she swung open the door. He'd not bothered to close his shirt, unbuttoned nearly to his stomach, his cravat was nowhere in sight.

She suppressed a grin at his carnal appearance and turned forward to see her caller. "Amaryllis!" she exclaimed to the young woman apprenticed to her. "Is Leyla ready to birth?"

Amaryllis, a gawky young woman with spectacles perched on her nose and the third such apprentice Sarah had trained, seemed taken aback at the sight that greeted her. "N-no," she stammered. "I heard what happened and I wanted to see you! How be branded!"

She trailed unable, seemingly unable to take her eyes off of Jack. Sarah half turned and saw him grinning roguishly at the girl. As Sarah watched he tipped a saucy wink in her direction. Snorting a little in an effort to hold back bawdy laughter, she looked back to see the skilled understudy blush to the roots of her hair. "Would you like something to drink, Amaryllis?" she managed.

Her hands clasped and unclasped as she stared helplessly at Captain Sparrow's bare chest. "Yes thank you," she murmured as if in a trance.

As she walked forward, she blinked so rapidly her eyelashes swept the inside of her glasses. "You certainly look none the worse for wear for your ordeal." She finally managed to tear her eyes from the admittedly enchanting sight of aroused Jack. "My mother says you're so blessed to have not a single grey hair, for your years!"

The two females had a bit of a chuckle over that. Deep inside Sarah felt a frission of fear. A throw away remark from a guileless maid meant there was much more under the surface. Townsfolk were noticing her, and Jack's, slow aging. After an obligatory cup of tea, Amaryllis made her excuses and rushed off. Jack and Sarah were able to continue their previous congress, made sweeter by the interruption. A fortnight later, Lord Escammila returned.

"It would seem you're rather well known in these parts," he explained. "Many people have written me on your behalf, demanding that you be protected. There were some very disparaging remarks directed about the East India Company as well." His lips twitched upwards a bit as he went on to assure them that the King himself was using his influence to block their extradition.

"You can add to that my own solemn promise, bit." Jack pulled his wife close once they were alone again and laid his cheek on her hair. "I'll not sail again, and risk you. Or myself for that matter."

"Surely that isn't necessary," she protested.

"It is necessary!" he answered vehemently. "I almost saw you die, Sarah! You endured torture, pain and fear, because of me!" He took her shoulders and stared hard into her eyes. "I can't go through it again! I won't!"

She was startled by his powerful reaction and tried to soothe him. Jack would have none of it. "It's time I devoted myself more fully to you. Sweet Jesus, you've raised children, children sired by me, practically alone!" He strode around the room. "Should've given it up long ago. The chase, the thrill of danger, for what? Danger came too close this time."

Sarah held absolutely still as Jack declared, "I will not sail again."


Chapters 16-18


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April 2011

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