Disclaimers: Potc isn't mine nor are the characters belonging to this franchise.
Thank you to all my readers, you are awesome, and I love you!
Lawrence never resumed her work this day; she spent the rest of the afternoon telling James about that had happened since she had first set foot on the Pearl. James was impressed by how much she had seen and lived until then. In her twenty-two, twenty-three years, she had lived far more things than he had in thirty-two. He knew things would never be as they were before, but he would try all he could to her heart back; now that he had found her, he swore he would never to let her go again, and only once he had gained back his former position, he would propose to her, for he reckoned he loved her more than ever, pirate or not.
They spent the next days talking to each other if they had a task to do together or when they didn't have anything else to do, as in old times. Their change of behaviour was the occasion of a countless number of jokes from the members of the crew, including Jack Elizabeth, but neither of them cared much about it; they were mostly glad to have found each other again, if not from where they had left off, at least from the time when they were close friends, and on top of that, now they were on even ground as neither of them was the superior of the other.
As they were talking about the new changes that had happened in the other colonies as well, James suddenly touched her forehead with the tip of his fingers, and let his thumb slide over all the length of her face. Lawrence looked at him with wide eyes, startled, stopping in the middle of her sentence, her cheeks getting redder.
'You-you had a bit of tar on your face…' he said, smiling.
'It must have been the ropes…'
'Probably yes. But I suppose that now you've spread it all over my face, haven't you?'
James voluntarily looked away, his eyes glistening with malice.
Lawrence laughed, punching gently in the arm.
'You are such a child, James!'
She slid her fingers on a rope nearby, smearing them with tar. She looked at him and frowned.
'Now, that is cheating!'
'What is?' James asked, surprised by such a statement.
'I can't even put some tar all over your face because of your beard… It wouldn't be as noticeable as on bare cheeks.'
James pretended to look contrite. 'Oh, I'm sorry that you don't like my beard, I rather like it myself.'
'I do like your beard!' Lawrence exclaimed before blushing even more when she realised she may have sounded a bit too enthusiastic.
'You do?' James smiled, knowing how embarrassed she felt but taking advantage of the situation as any friend would in such circumstances.
'I mean… It is a good improvement.'
'That, and the absence of that wig that you hated so, am I right?' His smile reached his eyes, making them shine even brighter than before. She so loved to see him this happy; in this moment, she wished she could kiss him but she wasn't sure of his reaction. They had talked about everything but their last moments on board of the Dauntless. Lawrence laughed, surprised that he remembered this detail.
'You are absolutely right!'
One day, they finally saw the island where the chest of Davy Jones was supposed to be hidden. Lawrence having been on watch duty the previous night, she was still asleep when they arrived.
'I'm coming with you!' James said to Jack, Elizabeth, Pintel and Ragetti as they were all ready to set sails with the boat that would lead them to the island.
'Why? We don't need you yet… And you wouldn't leave Lawrence behind!' Jack said, narrowing his eyes and clutching to his jar of dirt.
'She needs to sleep, and I don't want to miss an opportunity of proving your failure, Sparrow. This chest doesn't exist, and I want to be there to see your face and tell you that I told you so!'
Jack grunted, saying words that no one clearly understood.
James jumped into the boat then the small company rowed towards the island.
A few hours later, Lawrence woke up and tried to find James on the deck.
'Mr. Gibbs… Have you seen James? And… where is Jack, and Elizabeth?' she began to look everywhere, worried by the absence of her friends.
'Ah, yes err… They went to the island without you, I fear. They wanted to let you sleep, and besides, they should be long now, it's been almost three hours!'
'Three hours? They should be here by now! Where are they? I'm going after them!' she said, going to her quarters to take her sword. When she came back, she looked at the only boat left on board of the Pearl with the intention of using it to reach them.
'Can't let you go, Rush. I'm sorry.'
'What? But why? Anything could have happened to them! And look, why is there another boat on the island if they only used one?'
'Ah yes, that's Will Turner's! I don't know how he did this, but the boy came out of nowhere and there he was, on the island.'
'Oh I'm glad then, Elizabeth must be so thrilled! Although I do find this strange indeed, this sudden appearance…'
'Look over there!' screamed Marty, pointing at the island.
Lawrence turned back and saw more shapes than the ones supposed to belong to her friends, they were being pursued by other pirates!
'Gibbs, we must do something now, we must help them!' she said, fear in her eyes.
'No, look they're getting back into the boat it seems!'
'Yes… expect from one. Where is the telescope?'
'Jack has it on him…'
Lawrence hit her fist on the rails out of anger.
'Let them be ok, let them be ok, let them be ok.'
The whole crew of the Pearl looked with attention at the scene that unfolded before their eyes and in which they could do nothing.
Gibbs saw that the person Lawrence was looking the most for wasn't present in the boat that was getting closer and closer; he was relieved that she hadn't found out yet, but it was only a matter of minutes now.
'Why don't you find some blankets for them? I'm sure they are drenched to the bone and we wouldn't want any of them to be sick.'
'We don't have any blankets yet!' Lawrence said, warily.
'Then go find something that would work instead. I think we have some old sails in the magazine, or some chests in the hold.'
'But we don't-'
'Talking won't make them easier to find! They will be on board and won't have anything to dry themselves because of all this talk!'
'Alright, alright, I'm coming' she exclaimed, surprised by Gibbs urgent tone.
'What is it with imperatively getting dry, so suddenly? We've came back on board completely wet more than once and never complained about it… But I won't argue with Gibbs, he must know what he's doing.'
She looked everywhere in the hold, chests after chests, and there were many, but nothing, she couldn't find any old sail or cloth that would work as such. The magazine proved to be as empty. She faintly heard commotion upstairs. 'They're back! Oh, damn with those sails, they will do as we always do, that is to say, without anything to dry themselves, and Gibbs can find them itself those sails!'
She climbed up the several flights of stairs as quickly as she could. The first face she saw was Will, it had been quite a time since she had last seen him and she was glad to see that he was well, expect for a few scratches, and at last with Elizabeth, who had lost her jacket apparently. She kept scanning the new comers, looking for injuries. Pintel and Ragetti seemed perfectly fine, as did Jack, who had lost his jar of dirt, and…
'James? Where's James?' she asked, worry betraying her voices.
Jack turned to her then looked away and gave a few orders to get the ship sailing at this precise moment and not wait another minute; Elizabeth winced; Will looked at her, uneasy.
'No. No you can't t-' Lawrence rushed to the direction of the rails but Will held her by the arms. She tried to free herself from him but he was holding her too tightly.
'I need to find him!' Tears were already flowing down her cheeks. 'This can't be happening. Not now. Not again. How many times do I have to lose him?'
'You can't…' Elizabeth intervened.
'It's too dangerous' Will added. 'There are too many pirates. We've been attacked by the crew of Davy Jones; and you know that we can't kill them…'
'But he's going to die! Why wasn't he with you in the first place?'
'He-he, I'm sorry Lawrence. He betrayed us, I tried to kill me to have the key… That's why it took us so long. Then we got attacked…'
'And he stayed to save us, Will!' Elizabeth said. 'He sacrificed himself to save us all…'
She turned her head towards the source of the shout. 'Is it madness already?' She could have sworn she had heard James' voice but he wasn't there.
'Lawrence!' she heard again, this time with more urgency.
All had turned their heads in the direction of the sea, as surprised if not shock, as she was.
Still crying, she ran to the rails and there she saw him; James was calling out her name from a boat.
'James, you're alive! I-I why don't you come on board?'
'I'll explain to you later. Just be quick!'
'What? But… are you mad? What is happening James? Just come!'
'Please, hurry, I don't want to leave without you, but I will do it anyway if you choose to stay on the Pearl…'
'James, I don't understand…'
'Please…' His voice betrayed his emotions; something wasn't right, at all; but between the Pearl and James, the choice was easily made.
Lawrence turned to Elizabeth and kissed her cheek in a hurry then look at her and Will, taking both their hands.
'Best of luck, my friends… Jack!' she shouted to him so that he could hear her from the helm. 'Thank you, for-for everything!' She quickly scanned the crew of the Black Pearl. 'I shall miss you all my friends. I hope to see you all one day!'
She looked at them once more, one last time at Jack who had taken his hat off to wave her goodbye, and then she jumped into the sea.
The water was dreadfully cold, but at least she wouldn't have much distance to swim. When she reached the boat, James helped her in and wrapped her in his shabby Navy jacket from which a strange leather book fell, which caused Laurence to look at it suspiciously.
'I promise, we'll talk about all this later, but first, we must put as much distance as we can between us, the Flying Dutchman, and the Black Pearl. Can you row?'
'Of course, I'm drenched, not armless!'
And so they rowed for a few hours, without stopping, encouraging the other in turn to continue. They eventually arrived on the shores of Eastern Hispaniola; as soon as they lead their boat to the land, they threw themselves on the sand and lied on their back, eyes closed, and arms spread, both feeling exhausted. After a while, straightened herself up, still sitting on the sand, and looked at James. She was so relieved to see him alive; she really had feared the worst had happened, again. James opened his eyes when he heard her sniffing; when he saw her face, he sat in the same position, his brow furrowed.
'What is it Lawrence?'
She smiled through her tears, shaking her head.
'It's just that I love you so much. I thought I had lost you once again…'
James opened his mouth in surprise, he moved closer to her and cupped her face in his hands, looking straight into her eyes.
'I promise to never leave you again, Lawrence; I promise.'
He kissed her gently on the lips, still holding her face. Lawrence returned his kiss instantly, pouring in all the pain she had felt since their last one. James gently pushed her down on the sand, using the weight of his chest, never breaking their connection, and took advantage of her start when she hit the ground to deepen the kiss even more. His hands hungrily roamed all over her body, hers gripped at his shirt.
'Oi, mate! You're going to stifle her!' a gravelly voice said from behind them.
They pulled back, out of breath and surprised by such an interruption. An old man walked past them, laughing.
Lawrence also laughed at the situation. She turned to look at James, feeling so euphoric and overwhelmed with joy. She took his hand and kissed him once more.
'Come on' she said rising up to her feet, his hand still in hers, 'let's find out where we are!'
James couldn't stop smiling, this time they would have all the time in the world for themselves; and no hurricane to stop them.
They asked the man where they were and learned they had arrived in Buena Esperanza, a small village near Santo-Domingo; they both took this as a good sign. They knew there would be ships to carry them anywhere from Santo-Domingo or they could just stay in this place a while longer; after all, nothing was waiting for them anywhere else.
'This is a good place for a new beginning' Lawrence said, holding James hand and looking at him, eyes filled with unconditional love and boundless hope.
Here we are then, last chapter of this story...
Thank you so so so much to all of you my faithful readers you have encouraged me by your views, follows, favouriting, and comments/private mails.
Without you, I'm not sure this story would have lasted more than a few chapters, but you helped me go through with what I had imagined; you helped me push myself further by your encouragements and kindness (even the casual readers who have stopped long ago, well I guess they won't read this message but anyway...).
I am truly touched by the attention you've given this story, especially since it was the first time I had ever written something that lenghty in English (well, I've never written that much in my native language now that I come to think of it), AND since I have never, not even once, re-read any chapter, so I know there must be a lot of mistakes (eh, I wrote those chapters at crazy hours!). I promise, one day I will reread it and make some ameliorations, one day.
There may be a sequel to this story in a more or less distant future, who knows... Keep a weathered eye on the horizons, mates!