Havana, as it turned out, was a bustling city of over fifty thousand inhabitants, one of the largest cities in the Americas. When they pulled the Expeditious into Havana's harbour, there were large merchants vessels coming and going in quick succession. They found a small dock for their little sloop, and Captain Sparrow gave everyone four days' leave before meeting back at the Expeditious to sail onward to Florida.
Now, on their first full night in Havana, Elizabeth sat opposite Jack in a Spanish tavern - a real tavern, not some raucous pirate hangout - and she feasted upon stewed seafood with saffron and other spices. She drank the mulled red wine that had been brought to her, and she said to Jack,
"I am eager to see Harcourt make his way to the slaves' freedom colony in Florida, Jack."
"As am I." He spooned stew into his mouth, moaned with delight at the taste, and then said, "They really do cook well, these Spaniards."
Elizabeth ignored him and continued. "After we've gotten Harcourt to safety, I think we should try to find the Black Pearl."
Jack set his spoon down and stared at Elizabeth. He shook his head a little and said,
"If Norrington finds us, love, he'll have us both hanged, and I will not see you hang."
Elizabeth pinched her lips tightly. "There is still a minuscule chance that Will is alive. And you need your ship back, and the crew you left upon it… Captain Sparrow. So I think we ought to find the Black Pearl, Jack."
Jack chomped his lip and drummed his ringed fingers on the wooden table. He shook his head again and mused,
"It's too dangerous, love, to take you back into the Caribbean so soon. I'd have to leave you in Florida, or -"
"No. I'm coming with you." Elizabeth reached for Jack's hand, and she felt his fingers twitch beneath hers. He eyed her oddly, but she barreled on, "Wherever we go now, Jack, we go together. Savvy?"
He smirked broadly at her use of his catchphrase, and he finally nodded slowly.
"Right then, my pirate lass. We'll venture back into dangerous waters again in search of your blacksmith and my crew and, perhaps most importantly, my ship. And if we should come across dear old Commodore Norrington… well, he shall have to make very good sport out of hanging us both. Have we a bargain, Miss Swann?"
"Aye, Captain." She held his hand fast as a fiddle struck up in the corner of the tavern.
They spent that night in the inn above the tavern where they'd eaten dinner. The bed was remarkably comfortable compared with the berth aboard the Expeditious. Elizabeth lay on her back and practically sank into the pillows as she sighed deeply. She'd had a bed like this at the Governor's Mansion in Jamaica. It was one of the only things she missed.
"You didn't seem to mind sleeping on sand on the island," considered Jack, as though he'd read her mind. He crawled into bed with her, and Elizabeth giggled just a little bit as he curled her against him. She told him,
"I didn't mind sleeping on sand because I was with you. The nights I was alone, it was more than a little uncomfortable."
They were quiet then, and Elizabeth knew he was remembering their time on the island the same way she was. He was remembering barracuda smoked over a large fire. He was remembering rainy nights spent with the two of them crammed into her little shelter. She was thinking of her first time being entered by a man, on the beach with Jack. She was thinking of his fingers twisting inside of her as he kissed her.
"Jack." She stared at him and cursed the fact that she had her monthlies. Why did she have to be bleeding during their private time on shore leave? She huffed and held his face, and she whispered, "I fell in love with you there. On that island."
"I would make you proper," Jack replied, and Elizabeth snorted a little scoff.
"What, am I improper?"
He tipped his forehead against hers, shut his eyes, and said quietly, "I would marry you, Elizabeth."
Suddenly she couldn't speak. She couldn't breathe. She just gulped hard and held his face, and when she pulled back from him, trying to ascertain whether or not he was serious, he blinked open his kohl-lined eyes.
"If we wind up swinging from gallows because we go searching for the Pearl," he said, "I'd rather swing as your husband. If you'd be good enough to allow such a thing, eh? I'm not the first to propose, I do realise, but -"
"Jack." Elizabeth kissed him then for all she was worth. She smashed her mouth against his and pushed her tongue between his lips. She pulled away after a very long while and finally panted, "Yes, Jack. I'll marry you."
"Before we leave Havana," Jack insisted. "I should like it to be done quickly if we mean to begin breaking all manner of laws again, Lizzie."
She buried her face into the crook of his neck and squeezed her eyes shut, grinning like a madwoman at the thought of marrying Jack Sparrow, and she began to hum.
Yo-Ho. Yo-Ho. A pirate's life for me.
Author's Note: Sorry for the abrupt ending, but with Christmas, New Year's, another vacation, etc. around the corner, I figured I'd go ahead and let this one be. However, I'm not opposed to the idea of writing a sequel wherein they get married, take Harcourt to Florida, and search for Will and the Black Pearl. So keep your eyes peeled, because that sequel may eventually get written.
Thanks so very much for reading and reviewing this fic. If you know my writing, you'll know this falls into the "romp" category of stories, which are always fun to write. Thanks again. Drink up, me hearties! Yo-Ho!