Author's Note: Big hugs and huzzahs to ponysteph15, MarinJayde, Deathly Nightshade, Lisa, a-boy-named-sue, Sarah, CrimsonDreamer19, SparrowsVixon, ilovejacksparrow121, baby blue eyes10, MorgauseNokami, Syphonus, Jamsey, Vixter, Black Wolf-Dog, orlyluv, ohmigosh and Mesixy! I can't believe I last updated in October. Time flies, I suppose. Well, we are nearing the end of Jack's and Belle's adventures. This will be the last chapter. I'm sorry if it seems rushed, and I will truly miss writing about Belle Blake! I really want to finish this before the third installment of Pirates so I can gather new story ideas and start fresh. I hope everyone loves Pirates 3. I bought the soundtrack today, and it is amazing. Very epic. Anywho, I hope you enjoy Chapter 24!
Belle was feeling too entirely at ease despite her current situation. Her father's legacy belonged to her and her alone, yet a very large, psychotic man stood in her path to true happiness. Perhaps it had all been a mistake. Perhaps she should have stayed back at home, just wishing for the tides to turn.
Hoisting herself over the side of the Pearl, the crew stared on, silently questioning her.
Silently wondering if she was fit for battle.
She didn't even have to say anything; they knew the answer already. But she felt it was her duty to inform them, "It did not go as well as I had hoped."
Anamaria walked up to her and slung an arm around her shoulder. "Then it's best we start preparin' for a fight, aye?"
Belle didn't want to answer. She wanted to abandon this cause if it meant saving the lives of crew members. She didn't want the Black Pearl to be damaged just because her past was in shreds, hanging in tact by a tiny thread of hope and the lust for revenge.
"Captain Thomas Hernandez killed my father for his riches," Belle began quietly. "He branded me all those years ago, in hope that I'd come back to him. We cannot let him win. We have to stand up for all that is true and for the freedoms we cherish. He is the enemy of all that is honest. He is an enemy of piracy."
"Piracy itself is not an honest profession," Anamaria pointed out, hugging her close for comfort. The men nodded in agreement. "But he is indeed an evil man. It is our duty to keep these waters safe."
"Even if we ourselves make the ocean a perilous thing to travel?" Jack asked with a grin, stepping out of the crowd and into sight. He was fully clothed now, with all weapons placed in their holsters and belts.
Belle began, "Jack, for crissakes, I told you to stay…"
"None of that now," he scolded, turning on her. "I understand what you're sayin', luv, and I appreciate you considering us an honest and courageous crew."
"I've always thought that, Jack."
"Hah! Right when you stepped onto the Pearl, you had us all pegged as savages."
Belle knew that something wasn't right with that statement. Examining him closely as he stared down at her in amusement, she finally gasped, "You are SUCH A LIAR, SPARROW!"
"Whatever do you mean?" He blinked innocently. "Me, lying? Never."
"You remember that day! That means…"
He grinned devilishly. "Perhaps it just came to mind?"
Belle couldn't control herself. She delivered the biggest slap imaginable to the side of his face, causing him to stagger backwards from the force. The crew stared on in astonishment, slowly catching on to what was happening.
Jack Sparrow never had amnesia.
"I know something else that comes to mind," Jack said, recollecting himself from the blow.
Belle couldn't find words as she glared daggers at him. She was absolutely FURIOUS. How DARE he put her in such a compromising position? How DARE he mess with her emotions like that?
"I also remember a darlin' gel telling me she's in love wit' me," he finished giddily, clasping his hands together like he wanted to clap them.
"Uh, Captain?" Gibbs stammered, interrupting the showdown.
"What?!" Belle and Jack cried simultaneously. Then they both stared at each other in confusion.
"The Rising Sun is drifting up to our starboard side. They're preparin' the guns."
"Lower the anchor on the right side. On the starboard side!" Elizabeth Swann cried, strands of her brown hair separating in the wind.
"It certainly has the element of surprise," a rugged-looking man replied, staring up at a skeptical Anamaria.
"You're daft, lady! You both are!"
Belle shook her head, trying to clear her mind of these swarming visions. Now was not the time to get wrapped up in the past!
"Lower the anchor on the right side. On the starboard side!" Belle could hear herself saying.
Anamaria stared at her, trying to place the phrase she had heard before.
"Elizabeth Swann?" Belle offered.
"How do you remember that?" Anamaria asked, looking a bit squeamish, "You weren't even there!"
"Ugh," Belle groaned, "I don't know. Let's just do this. Let's surprise them. We can take that opportunity to catch them off-guard."
"Uh, lass…" Gibbs said urgently, "They're right on our tail."
"DROP THE ANCHOR!" Belle shouted, "Prepare your weapons! Bring out the guns!"
As everyone was running around her in that moment, she felt it all go in slow motion. She felt the breeze tickling her chin, caressing her nape. Belle watched as gulls cawed and effortlessly glided past the main mast.
An arm slid around her waist and she glanced up into Jack's grave expression. Belle felt trapped under a spell, somehow. It was just her and Jack. Everyone around her was a blur.
"This is it, Belle Blake," he said quickly. "This marks the end o' your adventures." He finished the remark with a violent tug on her shirt, capturing her mouth with his. It was swift, rough, urgent…by the time Jack Sparrow walked away with his sword unsheathed, Belle was still recovering from the passionate shock of it all.
The Pearl gave a hefty jerk once the anchor hit the sandy ocean bottom. Belle, as a result, fell on her bottom. Anamaria grabbed at her hand and pulled her up, saying rapidly, "I'd get your cutlass out if I were you."
Belle did so, shivering as the weight of the blade blended with the weight of her hand. Staring out at the beautiful Rising Sun, she could see Captain Hernandez standing smugly on the main deck, staring right back at her.
"We're waiting for your signal of surrender, Miss Blake." Hernandez's voice rang out amidst the bustle.
"Well, that moment's never going to come, Captain," Belle shouted back sweetly. "Why not just willingly hand over the prize? It would save you a lot of humiliation."
He angrily turned to his men and roared, "FIRE!"
The cannon blasts were deafening. The Pearl shrieked and groaned in despair as the cannon balls flew through her beautiful siding and shattered a few windows. An instant pang of remorse swept through Belle. But if this was what needed to be done to win, so be it.
The Rising Sun was much bigger than the Pearl, and its cannons delivered a dozen shocking blows. Once the smoke cleared, Belle knew it was time to retaliate as the other crew struggled to reload.
Anamaria shouted the signal, and again, another blast seemed to shake the ships and the surrounding sea. Gunshots rang out as both crews began to take aim at each other.
Grabbing a loaded musket, Belle licked the sweat that formed from the top of her lip and took aim. Without thinking, she aimed and took a man's life.
Wildly taking in the scenery around her as she hurried to reload the gunpowder, she noticed Jack gallantly walking up to the side of the Pearl as bullets whizzed by him. He aimed his pistol expertly and shot. It hit his target right in the forehead; the man crumpled, fell and was immediately swallowed by the waves.
Two men were injured on their side, one fatally. Deep crimson blood seeped through the cracks of the floorboards.
The Rising Sun crew didn't have good aim, but Belle would bet they were experts when it came to swordplay.
"Gibbs!" she shouted, and the man yelped in response. "We have to fend off their grapple hooks! We can't allow them to board!"
As if on cue, grapple hooks flew over the side of the ship, digging into the wooden sides and getting tangled in netting. Hernandez's crew began to pull the two ships closer.
Belle began struggling with the hooks, but it was no use. They were embedded into the side. The tension of the ropes wouldn't allow her to break them free by hand.
"We need an axe!" Belle screamed, "Now!"
The deafening crack she heard next stunned her. Another round of cannon fire from the Rising Sun plowed into the side of the Pearl. This time, the blow was unmistakably critical.
There were five of Hernandez's men left. And Hernandez looked furious because of it. He wanted Belle to pay with her own blood.
She gripped her sword tightly as the large men jumped over the side of the Pearl, swords bared. Shouting erupted, and the sounds of clanging blades mixed into the chaos.
Jack was busy fighting off a man that had to be almost seven feet tall. Gibbs was struggling to keep the upper hand in his fight. Anamaria shot another enemy crewmember in the chest with her musket.
When Belle snapped back to her own situation, she realized Captain Hernandez was heading straight for her, grinning lewdly. Shoving her sword out in front of her, her hand began trembling on the hilt. Hernandez took notice of this and laughed.
"Silly girl." One forceful swing of his blade had her backed up against the mast. "You really think you can outfight me? You're naïve. Fragile." He smacked her sword out of her hand to make his point. Placing a large hand around her throat, he squeezed, choking the life out of her.
As she strangled and struggled, he placed his blade at her heart. "You should have walked away from this, Miss Blake. Here you are, looking for your heart's desires when I'm about to take your heart away from you.
The tip of his sword cut into her chest, causing her to cry out in pain.
"Is it worth it? This excitement in exchange for your pitiful life?" he questioned coldly.
"I don't know," she gasped, extracting a dagger from her breeches and suddenly shoving it into his own heart. "You tell me."
Hernandez didn't even see it coming. He gaped for a few seconds in disbelief before falling face-first onto the deck.
Jack ran up to her, looking entirely too grim.
"What's wrong?" Belle glimpsed around just in time to see the last enemy crewmember killed. Massaging her throat, she cried, "We won! You should be ecstatic!"
"The Pearl," he began heavily, "She's…I don't think she'll make it."
And that's when she felt it. The weight underneath her feet. The ship was taking on an abundance of water from her cannon wounds.
Belle said angrily, "Dammit, Jack. Stop talking like that! What's wrong with you?"
"Go see for yourself, Belle. The lower deck is almost completely under water," Gibbs said, rushing up from below deck. He was completely drenched from the waist down. Mr. Cotton, Anamaria and Marty followed suit.
"We're a mile from Ridgeway Cove," Belle replied frantically, "Can't we…"
"We won't make it," Anamaria answered softly. "We're stuck where we are."
"Grab some buckets!" Belle ordered, on the edge of tears. She didn't want to lose The Black Pearl. It would be all her fault. The beautiful ship would be confined to the bottom of the ocean forever. She made an attempt to run past Jack but he grabbed her arm.
"Dammit, Belle, we're saying it's hopeless. Get that through your thick skull," he shouted.
Sorrow radiated off of the silent crew. Jack shouted again and angrily slammed his hand into the mast, causing it to bleed.
"Board The Rising Sun," he finally said, misery lacing his tone. "Everyone. That's an order."
It had been two dreadful hours. Two hours of watching The Black Pearl slowly sink to the depths. The crow's nest was all that remained in sight.
The crew just stood there, leaning over the side, watching, keeping vigil. Captain Jack Sparrow seemed defeated where he stood quietly. An eerie calm surrounded him.
Belle finally understood something that she had never truly grasped before. The Pearl was one of Jack's only true loves. And here he was, watching that love disappear. He must have been heartbroken.
It wasn't a hard decision to make. In fact, it was downright simple.
Belle slowly walked up to Jack, trying not to brutally startle him out of his reverie.
He spoke first. "I appreciate you acceptin' us onto your fine vessel."
"Yes. You are right. It's rightfully mine now. I should be happy, right?"
"Delighted." He didn't appear very excited for her. And who could blame him? "You got everything you wanted, luv. Congratulations."
"But I'm not happy." She peered up at him. "Is that horrible of me?"
Jack suddenly struck like a venomous cobra. "You are a hard bitch to please, Captain Blake. And here I gave up me ship to retrieve yours, and you refuse to find satisfaction in that." He stood a mere inch from her, growling, "You better run off before I lose control and strike you."
"BELLE. Respect me wishes. I don't want to see your face for the rest of this voyage."
She stepped closer to him as if to challenge his authority. His hand immediately rose, clenching and unclenching, just inches from her flushed cheek.
"Jack, I love you."
"What a fine way to show it," he laughed bitterly, turning away from her.
"You gave me something worth more than any material possession in this world. You gave me strength and determination. You gave me an adventure." She paused, almost choking as a result of her overloaded emotions. "You sacrificed so much for me. I understand that to the fullest extent."
He looked into her pleading eyes, hesitant.
"Jack. Captain. I want you to accept my gift. Please, accept The Rising Sun as your own."
Jack's face grew slack. "You don't know what you're sayin', Belle," he murmured. "Your whole journey was for this. You wanted to continue your father's lifestyle."
"And I'm willing to give that up. Like I said, you gave me an adventure. I am truly happy with that alone. Well…" She wavered.
"What is it?" he questioned gently.
"And I fell in love with a rogue. That's enough adventure for me," she added shyly.
Jack Sparrow suddenly pulled the emotional woman into his arms, pressing her into his chest. "Belle," his voice was muffled by her hair, "Thank you." His squeezing embrace did not weaken.
"So…my roguish charm is enough to satisfy you, eh?" he suddenly asked, smiling.
"Pssh. Don't let it get to your head, Sparrow. I also think that I'm needed much more at home with my father."
"Port Royal it is, then?"
"That's your call, Captain." She brushed a kiss onto his whiskered chin.
"Ah, yes. That's fine. We have a wedding to attend, if I remember correctly." Turning, Jack slid smoothly back into his element and began shouting orders at his crew. "Make yourselves at home, ye scabberous dogs! Step to! We've got a wedding to ravage!"
Two weeks later…
"Really, Jack. We are completely missing the wedding!" Belle squealed as the dashing pirate picked her up and carried her over the balcony railing, "And we are trespassing on their property! The Swann mansion is probably swarming with guards."
Jack scoffed, "Then I wouldn't be making so much noise, then! They will be back here for the reception in an hour or two. We'll see them then."
Belle held in laughter as Jack concentrated on picking the locks. With a tiny click, Jack satisfyingly grabbed her hand and led her inside a very large, extravagantly-furnished bedroom. The large, mahogany bed with red silk sheets seemed to pulse with sensuality.
"And how did you know where this room was?" Belle questioned with raised eyebrows, folding her arms.
"Miss Swann, er, Mrs. Turner, let me under her skirts once."
"Jack!" Belle cried indignantly, "That wasn't a very smart thing to reveal now that you want a peek under my skirts.
"I was only fibbing," he said with a roll of his eyes, "I broke in and ravished the maid instead."
"You're incorrigible," she groaned as he closed and locked the doors. Before she could say anything else, his lips touched hers, his hands were everywhere at once…
He picked her up once more and set her down on the edge of the bed, immediately lifting her skirts to her hips. Belle let out a soft moan when his ringed fingers brushed the insides of her thighs, spreading her legs with his hands.
"Say you love me," he demanded, biting at her throat.
"I love you," she gasped.
"When I leave Port Royal tomorrow, remember that I'll come back for you," he whispered. "Tell me you trust me."
"Jack," he demanded, "Say it."
She opened her eyes, taking in his stormy, lust-filled expression as he began to slowly make love to her.
"Jack, I trust you." She clutched his shoulders, taking in the feeling of him being so close. She was desperate to be even closer, desperate with this unyielding desire.
"Forever." Captain Jack Sparrow murmured.
That's the end! It's so bittersweet for me since I started this fic around the time The Curse of the Black Pearl came out. Lots of memories here. Thanks to Katie for her help with this chapter. Review, please, and tell me what you think!