A loud bang and a beam of light woke her the next day. When Nikki opened her eyes, she was in exactly the same position as she had been when sleep had claimed her, slouched agains the bars of her cell and Jack, sat upright with her legs crossed over one another at the knee. Jack of course was already awake, stood at the door of his cell, waiting.

"Take Sparrow." A man, around her own age in frills, tights and silly old wig ordered a group of his clones as he approached her cell. Nicolette didn't stir however and simply watched him through hooded eyes as he stopped and peered down it her with beady little dark eyes. "Come come now Wench. You have an appointment with the gallows." Silently, she stood and dusted the straw from her clothes. Her cell had been opened and the man entered along with two other. She surrendered, holding out her wrists to be tied with the rope he carried and rolled her eyes, though her chin was soon caught in a vice like grip.

It wasn't like Jack's caress. It was sharp, violent and bruising. "Shame really." The man leered, jutting his head forward as Nikki snarled and thrashed her head to one side trying to release herself.

Jack was watching closely from where he was being patiently held outside of her cell, fighting the urge to escape his guards grip and show their sticky master who he was dealing with.

Nic was perfectly capable of doing it on her own though. "Why you filthy little-" The man released her and stumbled back, wiping the spit from his face as Nicolette grinned. "Take her!" Upon his demand she was roughly dragged from her cell, leading the way for Jack. She had waited so long to commit a bit of honest taunting, especially with the men, she had spent so long at sea with a keeping husband that she forgot how good it felt.

After she was dragged up to the stand, the man seemed to take great please in being the one to place the noose around her neck. He even greeted her kindly as he walked away to his watching perch. "Rot in hell, pirate."

"You never could help yourself could you?" Jack peered at her from the corner of his eye, smirking approvingly. Nicolette simply smiled, her eyes squinting with the new sunlight.

There were a lot of people, good turn out. At least her last moments were going to be remembered, and then most likely quickly forgot, by a few dozen well to do strangers. Through the suns glare she could make out the feathered fancy hats of the women…and some of the men, and their little fancy friend Elizabeth. She cleaned up very nice didn't she?

Then the drums started and her heart started to thump. Funny, how ones mind could find a distraction in such a time.

"Jack Sparrow, be it known that you have…"

"Captain, Captain Jack Sparrow."

"…for your wilful commission of crimes against the crown. Said crimes being numerous in quantity and sinister in nature, the most egregious of these to be cited herewith – piracy, smuggling. impersonating an officer of the Spanish Royal Navy, impersonating a cleric of the Church of England…"

"Ah, yes." Jack glanced to his left hoping to meet the appreciating, wonderful look from Nic but all he was met with was her worried expression and the executioners glare.

"…sailing under false colours, arson, kidnapping, looting, poaching, brigandage, pilfering, depravity, depredation, and general lawlessness." He had really kept himself busy over the past ten years hadn't he? Nic was positive hers would not be as long or as…odd.

"Nicolette Violante Barker. Be it known that you…" She rolled her eyes at the announcement of her full name. How had anyone even come to know that? It wasn't that she didn't like it, it was just…well there was once a time very few people knew her second name, and she had liked it that way, when it had been said only by those she liked. "Said crimes too, being numerous in quantity and sinister in nature, the most egregious of these to be cited herewith - piracy, smuggling, sailing under false colours, arson, kidnapping, looting, poaching, depravity, damage, deception, prostitution and general lawlessness.

It took a moment, and the pen the penny seemed to drop. "Wa- Pardon?" Nic whipped her head around to try and see the festering pig of a man who had dared to read that out and accuse her of such a thing, however the noose becoming tighter around her neck as she took a stepped soon stopped her.

Jack, of course, found the little addition to her list very amusing and immediately broke out into a grin. "''Tis a noble profession love."

If the noose wasn't about to send him to hell Jack was sure the look he go from Nicolette would be enough to do the job. "I am not-"

"Shut it, Harlot." The executioner stepped in, silencing Nic with a sharp back handed slap.

"Eh!" Jack's bark was lost though and then, he realised, unneeded as with a swift kick of her unshackled leg the man easily twice Nikki's size was rolling on the ground whimpering. "Oh."

Nic flipped the hair out of her face as best as she could what with the noose around her neck and her hands tied at her front and smirked graciously down at the hooded man.

The reader, surely baffled, spluttered as he unfurled his scroll and turned his eyes from the scene. "Right…And for these crimes you have been sentenced to be, on this day, hung by the neck until dead. May God have mercy on your souls."

The executioner had recovered, although Nic had assured them a very definite death and one with no haste it seemed given the speed he walked to the lever.

The drums started to beat quicker.

Both of the Pirates heads snapped towards the lever, praying that with some luck it wouldn't work. It would break, the nooses would snap and they would run free. They could pray.

The final drum roll commenced, matching the pace of Nicolette's heart. She could pray.

"Move!"

The drums had drowned out the crowds groans from a disturbance and there was also a slight chance Nicolette had succumbed to being a coward and closed her eyes as the floors beneath them collapsed.

She couldn't breathe. Of course she couldn't breathe. The short drop was not enough to kill her, just enough to cause a painful jolt to her neck, winding her and forcing her to loose the last of her breath.

Hanging by her neck, Nic fought to bring her hands up to relieve some of the pain but the more she tried, the more she swung and the more pressure was applied to her wind pipe causing the squeaks and gasps to become high pitched and ugly.

"Nic!" The sound of her name being called alerted her and she fought to open her eyes, frowning when she did before the pain caused them to fall shut again.

She had caught a glimpse of Jack's feet being supported by a sword. He was safe, he wasn't hanging, but he was calling her name.

"Nic."

Nicolette would never be able to recall what came first, her body hitting the dirt like a sack of bricks, her lungs fighting to take a clean breath of air or Jack appearing over her like an angel.

"Is this hell?"

"Move it." Only a man would expect her to get up so quick after coming that near to death. Nikki sat up, confused as to what had happened but watched as Jack cut his wrist ties on the sword. "You coming or not love?"

Hearing the kerfuffle go on above them and then seeing the noose which had been holding her off the ground only a few moments ago, Nicolette made the quick decision that her breathing could recover after she put some distance between herself and said death.

She took Jack's offered hand with both of hers and copied his actions, cutting her bonds and shaking the ropes to the ground.

As Nicolette turned to run, she caught Jack's eye and was able to catch up to him in time to catch the other end of the rope he threw her, catching themselves half a dozen sailors.

Bystanders would think that they once worked well together or that this had all been a well choreographed plan, but this was just the way things worked out when she was with Jack, he always seemed to know what step she would take and what would be the best thing for him to do to compliment it.

Nic punched a guard who got a little too close to comfort and managed to disarm a final one by hitting him in the face with his own sword handle…but then by the time she turned, the accomplished smirk drained from her face as she realised her and Jack, and Will were surrounded. She wasn't quite sure what Will had done, if he could get anything done from behind that hat…

They circled, back to back with one another as swords brushed their chins and bayonets hovered too close for comfort.

"I thought we might have to endure some manner of ill-conceived escape attempt but not from you." Jack spun around, peeking over Will's shoulder as the Commodore joined them. Nic was more concerned on keeping a watch over their backs.

"On our return to Port Royal , I granted you clemency. And this is how you thank me? By throwing in your lot with them? They're pirates!"

"And Jack's a good man." Nicolette slumped, her eyes practically rolling to the back of her head as Jack nudged her and winked, pointing to himself proudly and mouthing 'That's me'. What was she a spare part? Granted she hadn't entirely been of help to the annoying brat of a boy but…still…she could be good. "If all I have achieved here is that the hangman will earn three pairs of boots instead of two, so be it. At least my conscience will be clear."

"You forget your place, Turner."

"It's right here…between you and Jack." Again, Nic's jaw slackened and she chewed on her cheek with eyes narrowed on Will, swearing if he was ever to need help again and it fell on her she would stick her pistol where the sun don't shine.

"As is mine." She was quick to add Elizabeth to her growing list too.

"Elizabeth! Lower your weapons. For goodness' sake put them down!" Slowly, yet still hesitantly, the men listened and the weapons were lowered, finally giving herself and Jack some room to breathe.

"So this is where your heart truly lies, then?"

"It is." Sad really, that look the Commodore got in his eyes was a one she had seen before, it was a man who had lost a great treasure. Having to watch said treasure share a look so intimate with another man too must have hurt, she had seen that same hurt too before, in another's eyes.

Jack's hand grasping her wrist tightly caught her attention but when she looked to him he was already distracted enough by something else, something good judging by his smile.

"Well! I'm actually feeling rather good about this." He managed to saunter over to the Govenor without being held back. "I think we've all arrived at a very special place, eh? Spiritually…Ecumenically…Grammatically?" He then turned to a disgusted Commodore. "I want you to know that I was rooting for you, mate. Know that. Elizabeth…" Both woman frowned as Jack's face softened. "…it would never have worked between us, darling. I'm sorry." The girls face then mirrored one another in confusion, and partly disgust on Nic's half…the girl was way too prim and proper for him. "Will …nice hat."

Jack then took a leap forward, grabbing Nikki's hand once again and pulling her towards the edge of the battlement. This couldn't be good.

She tried to pull back and separate from Jack but when she saw how close the soldiers were and how eagerly they were pointing sharp things at her, she quickly jumped up onto the battlement wall by Jack's side. She could pray.

"Friends! This is the day that you will always remember as the day that-" He lost of balance, of course as he did so Jack tried to steady himself by grasping onto Nicolette which then ended up in them both falling.

Surprise hit her harder than the water did when she realised all of her limbs were in tact and her flesh had not been shredded by the rocks. In fact she was so released that upon resurfacing, Nic bust out into laughter, shaking the hair from her face as she tried to stay afloat.

This was the first time she had entered the sea in 10 years almost. The way the salt stung her eyes a little and the feeling of weightlessness was euphoric.

"What do you think you are doing?" She cried out, still laughing as Jack came up beside her tossing his dreadlocks and clearing his face so she could see his grin. "You're mad!"

Her accusation was confirmed a moment later when his hands circled her waist under the water and she was pulled into his embrace, close enough for Jack to plant a firm yet soft kiss on her lips.

Her sensed were overloaded. She had forgot what it had felt like to..to be held, and kissed. To be kissed by him.

"Just like old times, eh love?" Jack winked at her and then loosened his grip to begin swimming away. Was he planning on swimming from the navy to Tortuga?

"Sail ho!"

Suddenly it became very obvious what had put Jack in such a good mood as Black Sails ports skyline.

She floated, stunned for a moment. This amount of good fortune had not come to her in a very long time, possibly ever. Watching those dark sails come from behind the cliffs like some black beast was hypnotic. If it had not of been for Jack's taunting being shouted at her, she may have forgot that she weren't dreaming.

Nic took hold of one of the two robes thrown overboard to collect them, biting her lip to keep the grin at bay when she was hoisted up along side Jack. They seemed to swirl around each other, the ropes entwining until they got closer and closer and then fell together, soaked, onto the Pearl's deck.

The crew ran to them, swarming mostly around Jack.

"I thought you were supposed to keep to the Code." He scowled playfully at an older man who hovered over them.

"We figured they were more actual…guidelines." The men grinned at one another as the elder held out a hand to help his Captain from the ground.

A greying man then handed him his hat and as Nicolette pulled herself up from the ground, the pretty woman she recognised when when she had held them all tied up together on the Pearl came to Jack's side and draped Jack's coat over his shoulders.

"Captain Sparrow…the Black Pearl is yours."

A mere week ago Nic would have threw any man overboard who said Jack Sparrow would be behind the Pearl as he was now. But he looked so natural. Barbossa had never belonged behind the Pearl, there were so many times she had thought that and pushed it aside telling herself it was traitorous, but it was true. Jack was the Pearls captain. And his crew obviously agreed from the way they smiled at him, something Jack didn't appreciate.

"On deck, you scabrous dogs! Man the braces! Let down and haul to run free."

Nic smirked as the crew jumped and scarpered in every direction trying to look busy. Half went down below deck and the others ran to prep the sails. It felt odd for Nic to not be calling out the commands and going to oversea duties, but she was a little grateful that it was someone else's job. She wasn't going to complain for being able to finally feel the sea breeze on her face…or listen to Jack's charming songs as she followed him, climbing up to the quarterdeck.

"…And really bad eggs…drink up, me 'earties, yo ho."