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Tortuga wasn't the place for anyone respectable, but that was not the only reason Jack kept Hermione away. No, the other reason was because he needed to be away from her. He needed to drink away his thoughts of her, to forget how much he wanted her. Maybe Scarlet or Giselle would be willing to help him forget the beautiful, curly-headed, amber-eyed witch…woman! That's what he had meant. Gibbs was making him believe in such foolishness.

 

"I'm telling ya cap'n, the lass is not normal. Mark my words, she is trouble. She's weaving some kind of sorcery."

 

Jack rolled his eyes as they made their way through the crowd of people that filled up the pub, drinks in hand as they looked for a table. Once seated Jack downed his first tankard and motioned for a serving wench.

 

"Something has you vexed, Jack. Whatever it is I'm sure I can make you forget," said the serving wench…what was her name? Jack couldn't remember, but as she sat in his lap and kissed along his neck he really couldn't care less. Perhaps she would be conducive to forgetfulness. With her tousled blond locks, pouty red lips and ample bosom encased in a tight red corset, she was a sex dream on legs. If she couldn't bring him release there was nothing for it.

 

Jack downed the second tankard the wench had brought him, and after telling Gibbs to pay he followed the woman up a set of stairs at the back of the pub and into a small room with only a bed and a bureau set inside. Once they were inside, the woman set about trying to remove Jack's clothes. She had his shirt off, and when her hands and lips touched his bare chest, Jack suddenly began to feel ill. Nothing about being in this room felt right. Jack pushed her away and took his shirt off the bed, and pulled it over his head.

 

"What’s the matter, Jack?" Her voice was meant to sound seductive, Jack knew, but she only sounded cheap and desperate. Hermione's natural tone when she said his name was seductive enough. Jack shook his head, trying to clear her voice inside his mind. He grabbed the wench and crashed his mouth onto hers, causing her to moan and rub her body up against his. This only made him feel even worse than he had before. Jack shoved the wench away, but she came closer again, latching onto his neck with her teeth. He grabbed onto her arms tightly and pushed her away and onto the bed. The girl smiled seductively at him and motioned for him to join her, but she was left disappointed when he rushed from the room. 

 

 

 

 

As Jack made his way down the stairs he became angrier each step he took. What was wrong with him? When he had thought of Hermione back on The Pearl and the sound of her voice as she said his name, he had become aroused. But when the woman above had touched him, he became disgusted and went cold, which wasn't right in any way.

 

He made his way toward the table where Gibbs should have been, but the man was nowhere inside. Jack made his way through the crowd and toward the front door, sidestepping grabby female hands on his way. He received at least five offers of pleasurable pursuits before he could make his way outside.

 

Gibbs found him and relayed the information that the man they had come to meet was nowhere to be found. Apparently he had become bored with waiting, but had left a message that if Jack really wanted the item in question he would find a way to England. It seemed Hermione just might get her way after all. Jack went back into the pub and proceeded to drink himself into a stupor.


 




 

Hermione sat upon Jack's bed reading a book she had found in the bottom of the wardrobe when the door slammed inward and a soused Jack came stumbling in. She set the book down next to her open and upside down so as to save her place before she calmly climbed from the bed. She stood before him and smiled sadly as she looked him up and down. He pointed a finger in her face as he wobbled unsteadily on his feet. "All your fault, it is. Every bit of it."

 

Hermione's brows furrowed curiously. "What is my fault, Jack?"

 

"Don't say my name," he yelled. "That's what caused all of my troubles." He stumbled closer and grabbed her upper arms, shaking her. "All your fault, all of it."

 

Hermione pulled away and took a few steps back. For the first time in his presence she felt a little frightened. "I don't know what you are talking about, Jack."

 

"I was fine until you. My whole life was set before me and I was happy and free to do whatever I wan… wanted. Nobody tol Cap'n Jack what to… to do. No! Nobody." His words were slurred and most of what he said was said so quietly she didn't hear.

 

"Jack, I am sorry, but I have no idea what you just said."

 

Jack shuffled forward and grabbed her arm, pulling her over to the bed. He stood there next to it, leaning forward a bit as he whispered. "I couldn't do it. I had her right there, ready to…" He placed a finger against his lips and made a shh noise, placing his lips against Hermione's. At first she was repulsed by the smell of the rum he had ingested, but when he began to nibble on her bottom lip a rush of desire flooded her senses. She gasped and Jack took that moment to slip his tongue into her mouth, his tongue gently tangling with hers. The spicy taste of the rum did not take away from the passion of his kiss, causing Hermione's head to spin and her knees to go weak. Just when she thought her legs would give out, Jack pulled away and Hermione stood there, her breath labored and her heart hammering in her chest.

 

Jack looked back at her, his own breathing labored. "Thas what's your fault," he said in a slur before falling onto the bed unconscious.

 

Hermione sat down heavily next to Jack, her hand reaching out to remove his hat and hang it on the bedpost. "Oh, Jack. I don't know what to do with you." She stood back up and removed his boots before pushing on his legs to try and scoot him over to the side of the bed, so that she would have room to lie down. Once he was in place, she went over to the wardrobe and pulled out the nightgown she had been wearing and changed. She found a lightweight blanket and carried it back to the bed, covering Jack with it before climbing onto the bed and cuddling as close to Jack as she could.

 

As she began to drift to sleep, all she could think about was how that kiss had just complicated things more.  

 

 

 

 

The next morning, Jack awoke with a pounding in his head, groaning as he turned over. He cracked open his eyes and saw a blurry face next to his on the pillow. At first he was afraid it was the serving wench from the pub, but as his vision cleared, he felt relieved to see the familiar loveliness of Hermione's face. However, his relief was short-lived when he started to remember the night before.

 

He jumped out of the bed and moaned when his stomach began to churn and threaten to expel all the rum he had drank the night before. His spinning head did not help these matters in the least. Jack went down on his knees and laid his head on the edge of his bed, his arms resting on either side. He felt fingers thread through his hair, the nails gently scraping along his scalp. Hermione’s touch was soothing and he felt his mind drift past the confusion and into bliss. It only lasted a few moments before he felt her shift on the bed.

 

Jack lifted his head and blearily looked up at her. She had sat up and scooted until her back was against the headboard and was now giving him a wry smile. This confirmed that he had not imagined what happened last night. "Feeling terrible today Jack after drinking yourself silly?"

 

"You have no idea, love. My stomach is rolling around like the sea after a hurricane."

 

"Serves you right, I must say. You must have drank the pub dry. It would certainly explain your behavior and why you kissed me."

 

Jack groaned again and fell face down back on the bed. He muttered something that was too muffled by the bedclothes to make any sense of. "What was that, Jack?" Hermione asked. She leaned down to listen in case he said it again muffled and came nose to nose with him. Their eyes locked and Jack had the urge to kiss her again, just to make sure that what he had felt before was not imagined. He would have given into the impulse if she had not sat back again.

 

"I said, I am sorry for that. It won't happen again, I assure you."

 

"Oh," was her simple response and he was sure there had been disappointment in that one word, but by the look on her face it could only have been anger. "I trust you will keep your word?"

 

"Don't worry, love. I will never throw myself at you, drunk or sober again." He smirked inwardly when he saw what was clearly disappointment in her eyes. She of course masked it quickly, but he caught it just the same.

 

"So, did you accomplish your business in Tortuga?"

 

Jack stood from the floor and looked down on her with a frown. "No, in fact, I have news that should please you. It seems I will have to find my way to England, to conclude my business."

 

Hermione jumped up from the bed and stood toe to toe with him. Her earlier confusion and anger dissipating to be replaced with excitement, as she stood on tiptoe to place a kiss on his cheek and throw her arms around his neck. The feeling of her in his arms was nothing like the feeling of the woman from last night. Jack wanted Hermione to stay there forever, but all too soon she let go and stepped away. She turned her back on him and he somehow knew she was just as affected by him as he was of her. "I need to change, Jack, would you mind stepping out?"

 

"Not at all, love. I have to check on my crew anyway." He left the cabin intent on checking The Pearl's progress and to get away from the temptation she presented.

 

 

 

Once Jack was gone, Hermione allowed herself a moment to lie on the bed and think over the night before and Jack's reaction this morning to what had happened. Apparently it was simply the alcohol that had made him kiss her. He had not meant it in any way romantically. But then again, before they had reached Tortuga he had meant to kiss her. Hadn't he?

 

She groaned and rolled onto her side, pulling a pillow in front of her, hugging it tightly. This whole thing with Jack was confusing and upsetting all at once. On one hand she wanted him to want her, but on the other, it would cause problems that she didn't need. Add to that fact that she didn't deserve anything nice to happen in her life, not after what had happened during the war and what she had done to Ron. A tear slipped free and ran slowly down her cheek before being absorbed into the cloth of the pillow.

 

She deserved to be miserable and lonely. In her mind misery was penance for the pain and heartache she had caused. That and the hate she knew Harry and Ron and all the Weasleys had for her. She let go of a sob and cried into the pillow, allowing all the hurt to wash away with the tears, if only to be able to go on around Jack like nothing was amiss. There was no way she wanted him to ever know what an evil, terrible person she was. If he knew what she had done, he would probably let her off at the next port they came to and she would have no way to get to England safely.

 

After she had cried all she could, she got up and changed into the lavender dress Jack had given her. It was dirty and it had a tear in the skirt, but it was all she had. She grabbed the brush that had been set in the wardrobe along with the book she had found and ran it through her tangled curls. When she replaced it back inside, she noticed a glimmer of something hidden in the corner. She reached out and plucked the object out between pointer finger and thumb. When she lifted it up to eye level she gasped at the stunning ring she held. It, along with the gown, dress and brush suddenly made more sense to her. Jack must have had a wife or maybe he still did.

 

 

 

 

 

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