Aftermath By: L'Morgan

Disclaimer: I guess I really do need to remind you all that anything and everything related to Pirates of the Caribbean, their characters and settings are all the property of Disney - Disney - Disney - nobody - but -Disney ---- I-just-borrowing-to-play-with-and-giving-back. Only Disney can make money on anything to do with Pirates of the Caribbean. NOT ME!

************************* Summary: The last story chapter: Chapter 26 / Epilogue: New Horizons

Commodore Norrington stood on the deck of the Black Pearl resplendent in his full military uniform, wig and hat and regalia and considered the pirate who stood before him. Complete with bandana and beads, coat, hat, and kohl around his eyes, the boots, sash, compass, cutlass, and pistols, assorted rings and a gold chain around his neck - the man looked like he'd stepped right out of the pages of one of Elizabeth's books. Only now he knew there was much more to this pirate than a list of ships he'd taken and towns he'd sacked. Much, much more. Depth and breadth and character traits he never dreamed of; even likes and dislikes, strengths and weaknesses, and even a few frailties that branded him as human as all the rest. He didn't hold back the smile that came to his features. Not this time.

The pirate watched as Will and another sailor brought up a rather large travel trunk and two more followed behind them bearing bundles of assorted shapes and sizes. He arched an eyebrow rather disagreeably. Elizabeth Turner herself next came waltzing up the gangway as comfortable as if taking a stroll in the park. She paused to look around, and then saw them and came over. Without hesitation she embraced the pirate captain in a lingering hug and kissed him on the cheek and then hugged him again more briefly before she let go to instead take his arm.

"I know you're not overjoyed with the idea of taking us to see my cousin for the holidays Jack - but it's awfully sweet of you to do it anyway." She said gratefully and he arched an eyebrow at her sharply.

"I don't think the word 'sweet' is what comes to mind when people think of me Missy," he said darkly and she grinned and leaned forward and kissed him again on the cheek.

"That's only because they don't know who you are Captain. Your reputation leaves volumes more unsaid than it tells. Besides, William will be eternally grateful for your making it possible for him to still visit that master swordsmith as Mr. Brown had arranged for him before the earthquake, as will I. With any luck at all, he may leave here an apprentice and return a tradesman in his own right. You know what that means to him - and to me. So yes, I don't care what anyone else thinks, I know you're just being sweet." She said and started off after the trunk, then paused and looked back.

"Don't worry, I won't tell anyone. And I'm certain William has managed to hide away a couple of bottles for you in that trunk that he'll swear I know nothing about. My father said you favor 'Captain Morgan's Red Rum'? I won't ask how he would happen to know such a thing though." She said and now the pirate captain chuckled with a rather knowing look.

"Ah - no lass, I wouldn't have any idea how a fine gentlemen such as he would happen to know such a thing!" he agreed and she gave him a very fondly reproving look and followed where the trunk had gone. Norrington considered the pirate and tilted his head with an appraising look and Jack raised an eyebrow at him.

"Now, if you say I'm sweet; you sir will be going for a swim, right over that rail," he said gruffly and Norrington grinned broadly.

"Wouldn't dream of it Captain. Wouldn't dream of it." He said and then looked around the deck and then back at the pirate.

"If there's anything you think you might need -," he started, then paused at the pirates surprised look and half shrugged. "Autumn storms can be rough there along the coast of North America Jack. The weather can be severe. I don't know if you're used to those waters this time of year, but they get to be a lot worse than they look coming up on you." He warned in a concerned tone and the pirate gave him a reassuring smile and nod.

"A lot of my boys come from the colonies Commodore. Most of them men who found that scratch farming just wouldn't work for them, or men who managed to get over there, but then have no way to get back to England when they find its not working out for them. I normally drop them off that want to spend the holiday at home and those that want to go all the way back to England, well, that just depends." He said and the one frowned mildly at him and stepped forward more, using his hands as he pulled the pirate's coat closed more.

"Well you make sure that damp weather doesn't give you any problems. I am definitely expecting you to come back so I can chase you around a few islands here and there on occasion. Does a military officer good every now and then to find out that maybe he doesn't know all he thought he did about a man. We need you to come back Sparrow. So be careful if that's where you go. No more bullet collections, please." He said as he met the man's gaze earnestly, then stepped back and the pirate tilted his head somewhat.

"Actually, that's not my plan at the moment. That one can be a rough crossing that time of year. May visit in New York for a bit.. Depending on the weather." He said and Norrington smiled more and nodded.

"If you find you need something along the way, I imagine.." He started, and left off, and Jack smiled mildly at the military man's uneasy silence.

He gestured back towards his cabin. "You and I mate, we know about how long that pardon will be valid for." He said with a tilt to his head.

'As long as it takes you to come across the first merchant ship out there? I do hope you will see that your passengers - " Norrington started and the pirate nodded with a mild smile.

"Are tucked safely far below where they cannot possibly be considered to be involved?" he asked and Norrington considered him, then nodded and the pirate copied his motion.

"They will be Commodore. I'll not have the name of William Turner the Second found in any log of names of my crew should the worst ever happen. I owe that lad's father something precious and he's got far too good of a start in a respectable trade to let him throw it away to become such as me." He said and the military man gave him a grateful look.

"But you can't just promise me you won't - do anything?" he said and the pirate shrugged.

"I could, but it would be a blatant lie. I'll say the words if you insist, but I won't give that promise and mean it. We're pirates Commodore. My boys have been cooped up here for over a month now. We both know what that means. The best I can tell you is that there are a couple of French merchants that will be near our pathway in the next couple of weeks. The boys don't care if it's British, Dutch, French, Spanish or whatever when we stop them. All that interests them is what's in the hold. We've had some very good takings earlier on in the season before we came here. Nobody be hurtin' for coin I can say. Since they don't mind, well, I'll see if we can find a nice pretty French ship or two to play with." He said and Norrington considered him and then smiled mildly.

"You know you're almost as much as a privateer, in every way but on paper." He said and the pirate raised a finger in objection.

"Not quite Commodore, ye can take my word for that. How about you? You shot Reynolds I do believe? Does that make you a criminal?" he observed and the Commodore looked serious as he shook his head.

"He was threatening the Governor.. And, well - you." He said and the pirate gave him a skeptical look.

'Oh please now Commodore! Don't even try to tell me that -" he started and the military man cut him off abruptly.

"He was about to do the one thing I never heard even the pirate Jack Sparrow ever accused of, and that was to kill a man in cold blood. Not to mention one that wasn't even violently resisting. And - well Jack, since Governor Swan HAD given you a full pardon, yes, your murder would indeed have been a crime." He said and the pirate chuckled lowly with an amused look as he rubbed at the back of his neck with a rather rueful smile.

"Well that's certainly an unusual way of looking at the whole situation." He conceded and Norrington smiled mildly.

"It's true Captain. The Governor has sent a copy of that pardon on to London, the very day after Reynolds was dealt with. You and all of your crew, at the moment anyway, have a clean slate. Nobody can touch them - until you do something else you can be convicted for anyway. Isn't that worth something Jack? What about your men? Would it mean something to them to be able to have that chance to start over?" he asked and the pirate gave him a serious look as he chewed on the corner of his lower lip for a moment.

"Aye, it might mean something to some of them. I hadn't considered that to be honest with ye," he said and the military man half smiled and shrugged.

"Something to think about then perhaps?" he suggested and the pirate nodded in silence for a moment.

Jack looked over to see the young midshipman Evans hurrying up the gangplank and over to the Commodore, looking rather breathless. The young man stared at Jack with a fascinated gaze and a rather large smile on his face. Norrington cleared his throat and the young man started and turned to him, offering out the bundle wrapped in plain paper that he carried.

At the Commodore's nod, the young man offered the bundle to Jack, who at first leaned back with a suddenly wary look.

"It won't hurt you man. It's a British flag." Norrington said as he took it and unwrapped it for him. The pirate looked rather skeptical.

"I don't think -" he started and the military man smiled as he shook it out lengthwise and then stepped forward and suddenly draped it over the pirates shoulder before he could react.

"If you want to come into Port Royal and visit any of our common - acquaintances - fly this on your standard, so we don't mistake you for somebody else." He said lowly, eyes meeting the pirates.

Jack gently fingered a part of the cloth caressingly as he sighed softly.

"Commodore, you're putting way to much stock in what's' been going on the last few weeks here," he said a bit uneasily. Norrington smiled as he looked down, adjusting the cloth so it hung straight over the pirates shoulder.

"Put it to good use Jack. If all you've told me about King William is true, I can't imagine he'd be upset at the French knowing exactly who took their ship. It's not a marque. No one is asking you to sign anything or accept any paper or turn over any of what you take. You know the power of 'creating an impression' probably better than anyone I've ever met. And when you do come to visit here - please, do fly it. I might not always be here and I can just imagine some overzealous idiot of mine decided to use you for target practice." He said and Jack smiled broadly.

"Such as our dear Mr. Gillette?" he asked and Norrington actually blushed a bit, and then gave him a concerned look.

"Marcus Bellamy said you have laid claim to Gillette. One of the others insinuated that that means you would sink him to the bottom when you come across him. I know he's annoyed you Jack, but still. He is an officer of mine." He said and the pirate nodded.

"One you seriously need to sit down and have a heart to heart talk with Commodore. He just about never came back from the night he snuck aboard Marcus's ship. Saxon had left the room when Gillette was ushered in and returned just in time to hear the young idiot make his proclamation. John pulled his gun, drew back the hammer, Gillette heard that and fainted dead away - hit the table and then the floor and I said no, wait, that one is mine Saxon - don't you dare do that here and now." He said and the military man half winced and Jack shrugged.

"You have to admit, he is something of a nuisance Commodore. I'll give him every chance I can to leave me alone, but if he won't lay off, well, I can't guarantee the man's future forever. Not with his talent of antagonizing the wrong people. Saxon has definitely taken a disliking to the fool and the Leewards are his waters out there. Marcus probably won't kill him if he finds him in the Virgins, but I wouldn't make a habit of sending him out to pester him either, if you know what I mean. There's plenty of other pirates he can chase around without getting those particular ones out after his blood. We both know the lad is just a bit overzealous about his occupation. No reason to let it get him killed though," He said and the Commodore smiled broadly.

"Saxon in the Leewards, Bellamy in the Virgins, you I assume in the Bahamas?" he asked and the pirate smiled rather smugly.

"That information is already in your files, I can assure you Commodore." He said and the military man nodded with an amused look.

Jack sighed mildly. "But in all seriousness - keep Gillette out of the Leewards. He has an enemy out there and Saxon can be a downright ruthless son of a bitch when it comes to something like that. No need to go getting the lad killed before he has a chance to outgrow his impetuous nature." He said rather silkily and Evans had to stifle his near laugh. Jack smiled at him as the younger man resumed his wide grin and study of the pirate.

'You lad, you be wantin' t' come with us?" he invited and the ones' eyes widened and he looked shocked and the Norrington scowled at the pirate before him. Jack laughed softly.

"Just playin' Commodore. Just playin'. Today anyway." He said with a wink at the young officer and turned when Gibbs came up to him as William and Elizabeth returned to the deck and now her father came up and looked around with a rather delighted look.

"Jack - what the devil. " Gibbs started with a disapproving tone as he considered all of the current 'visitors' aboard the ship and the pirate smiled as he handed him the flag.

"I know Gibbs, I know. Be patient. Here, let the boys run that up the topmast." He said and the older man looked very much amused.

"They're tryin' t'make a respectable man outta ye Captain," he said and the pirate laughed sincerely.

"Get off with ye, ye black hearted scoundrel.. Besmirching the intentions of such as the good Commodore -" he said and the older sailor grinned widely as he took the flag off towards the center of the ship.

The pirate looked up, as did the others, to see the black jolly roger moving upwards, and just below it the union jack. Norrington choked and the pirate grinned at him cheerfully as the set of flags came to settle at the very top of the highest mast and quickly caught in the gentle breeze.

"That's not exactly what I had in mind," the military man said dryly and the pirate seemed well pleased.

"No, but it suits me just fine." He countered as the Governor came over to them, followed by the two young people.

"Captain Sparrow - I thank you for agreeing to take Elizabeth and William to the colonies, but -" he said and looked up at the flags and the pirate smiled easily at him.

"Relax Gove'nor.. They'll reach where they're goin' safe and sound without a black mark against their name. We're well supplied for just about anything short of childbirth, and I doubt yer daughter is going to be doing that in the next six weeks or so. She's got a bit longer then that before she'll be presenting ye with any bundles of joy," He said with an appraising look at the young woman who blushed and gave her husband a startled look.

"Jack! William - did you tell him?" she asked and the young man quickly shook his head and blushed mildly as he arched an eyebrow at the pirate who gave him an innocent look.

Jack rolled his eyes and seemed amused. "Lad, ye got to quit blushin' like that. I believe it's a bit expected that ye be producing offspring?" he observed and the blacksmith blushed more.

"How did you know? I'm sure I didn't tell you. I was afraid you wouldn't let her come if I told you!" he said and the pirate gave him a mockingly hurt look.

"Me? Lad, ye should know me better than that by now." He said with one hand against his heart, and the younger still looked rather mystified.

"How did you know then?" Elizabeth asked and he smiled secretively.

"Professional secret darlin' - can't tell ye unless yer a member of the Brethren." He said with a wink as Gibbs came back to him again, now carrying the large black leather bound book with him.

"Ready to call the crew to station sir? " he asked and the pirate looked over at AnaMaria and then nodded. She blew a sharp high pitched whistle and said noise caused sailors of all kinds to appear out of all sorts of places to hurry into a line that stretched from the quarterdeck all the way almost up to them.

"How many short Mr. Gibbs?" he asked as he turned to the line of men.

"Only one sir." Gibbs said and Jack raised an eyebrow and looked about to ask, then seemed to think better of it as he started slowly down the line with a wary look, the others following a short distance behind.

They watched as the pirate continued down the line, stopping to smile at Mr. Cotton

"Yer not gonna be tryin' to bite me this time now, are ye, Mr. Bird?" he asked warily of it as he went to pet it.

The parrot made a swift move at him and the pirate snatched his hand back with an alarmed look and then narrowed his eyes as he gave it a stern look.

"Oh he's a nice bird, ye see now Capt'n?" Mr. Gibbs told him as he reached up and the parrot let him scratch its head.

"You are a pretty thing - but you really need to learn some manners!" Jack told the bird with a pointed finger at it, and Cotton's smiled broadly at him.

Jack moved further down the row until he came to the next to the last man, who was wearing a large hat, but stood a few inches taller than the pirate. Jack's eyes grew wide with alarm as he backed away a step.

"Oh Great Neptune's' Seven Seas - no! Have you lost your mind Gibbs?" he reacted with loudly as the one took off his hat to reveal the good Doctor Cook smiling broadly at him.

"I'm coming with you Jack." The doctor said cheerfully.

"No you're not!" the pirate shot back quickly.

"Oh yes I am. You're not leaving this bay without me." He said and the pirate frowned deeply.

"Like Hell! Yer a blasted pest man! You'd BE the death of me. What? Are you trying to kill me? You're staying here. Commodore, would you please remove this man from my ship?" he said sternly.

Norrington didn't move. Jack looked at him to find the military man looking highly amused.

"Well I suppose I can always toss 'im overboard once we clear the bay." Jack muttered darkly to himself and Gibbs frowned.

"Ye can't be doin' that sir. He is a signed on 'workin' passenger, along with the Turners. Ye said so the other night." He said and Jack whirled with an incredulous look.

"When? I did no such thing! THAT I would remember!" he protested vehemently.

"Aye, you did sir. I was there." The older sailor said as he offered the open book and Jack looked at the entry on the page and shook his head.

"There is no way I would have done that. No way this side of hell! When was this?" he demanded and the doctor cleared his throat.

"The other night - Captain. Remember those nice bottles of rum we brought over to you? The Commodore and myself - when we came celebrate your impending return to the open seas? You were perfectly agreeable to the idea. Said you'd search my belongings for any trace of laudanum though, but I agreed to that. You did agree it would be wise for Elizabeth to have me along." He said and now both Will and she did double takes at them all.

"This man is NOT coming with me," the pirate growled.

"Jack - you don't have a ship's surgeon, and you really should. You said you'd agree for the sake of the crew after he offered to see to such things in payment for his passage. I don't need to tell you that was a very wise decision on your part," the Commodore placated and the pirate glared at all of them in general.

"But - but - but . HIM?" he asked and the Commodore chuckled and nodded.

"I remember that bottle. Wait - what did you put IN that bottle?" he asked and the doctor gave him an innocent look.

"Nothing Jack - you were the one to uncork it!" he said and the pirate looked definitely not happy as he scowled at Gibbs.

"And you of course just stood by while I signed the biggest nuisance in the entire Caribbean on as a working passenger? You didn't think it at all unusual that I would be in that state after only one bottle of rum?" he asked and Gibbs frowned as if he was trying to remember.

"I believe it was somewhere between the fourth and fifth bottles actually sir. They each brought ye' at least a couple. Gets a little foggy there for me too. But it was kind of ye' t' share!" he said cheerfully and the pirate hissed as he stalked back along the line of crew members, gesturing as if muttering to himself and not very cheerfully - no, not at all happily.

"Jack!" Will hissed softly at him as he came by and the pirate stopped, one hand in mid air. He nodded and the younger stepped up to him and looked back towards the doctor.

"You're the Captain, Jack - I don't care who he is. Let him come. He'll get bored and be ready to come home by the time we get back." He said and the pirate considered him warily, then glared back at the others and turned back.

"Ut-oh, here he comes, Doc." Gibbs muttered in an aside and the man gave him a wink as he otherwise failed to react. The pirate thundered up to him, whirling and pawing at the man's chest as he pushed close.

"I hope you realize that I am the Captain of this ship and I'll tolerate no interference in my business? You see to the boys and you stay away from me!" he demanded aggressively and the doctor nodded, staring straight ahead, not meeting his eyes and not backing away

"Aye sir... as long as you don't need taking care of anyway." He said firmly adding the last and not even flinching as the pirate glared at him stormily. The pirate backed off, one hand to his chin and stroking the braids of his beard as he half turned away.

Suddenly Jack whirled and in a second was back in his face.

"That includes when we are in ports, my rum, my personal affairs, and my business dealings - none of it. And I want your word on it. And if you don't mean it, then don't give it t' me man. You betray me and so help me god I'll be sure you're the finest fish food they've ever had in these waters! And don't you think for a second that I won't." he hissed scathingly and harsh.

The doctor relaxed some, not seeming at all disturbed by the pirate still being right up in his face. He smiled reassuring at the man.

"My name is Edmund, Capt'n Jack. Edmund. And I can swear by all I hold holy that I'm not here to hurt you, or keep you from doing what you want. There are a lot more men on this crew besides just you. I got to know a few of them while we were all passengers with you. No, that's not why I'm here though. But I'm not going to do anything to hurt you." He said gently.

The pirate considered him seriously, searchingly, but not backing off at all.

"But can I trust you?" the pirate demanded in deadly earnest. The doctor met his gaze steadily and unphased.

"How about this? I won't lie to you Captain. I won't tell you that I'll never do anything you don't like. I won't promise you that maybe we won't argue over what you're able to do or when - when the situation arises. BUT - I can and you will always have my absolute promise that anything I do is only going to be for welfare and health of every man on this ship - that includes you - but it won't be limited to you. I can tie knots in stitches, so I figure somebody can show me how tie a decent sailor's knot. I can be an extra pair of hands anyplace you're willing to put me to work. and I'll do my best to everyone on this ship healthy and safe. How's that?" he asked, and the pirate backed down, now an uncertain look to his eyes.

The doctor watched him with a kind look, and then smiled mildly.

"Jack -" he said and the pirate looked at him and the man smiled mildly.

"You know I won't hurt you .. And I think you know inside that you can trust me. Don't worry - you don't plan on getting hurt or sick tomorrow, do you?" he asked and the pirate gave him a little bit less of a wary look, and then he frowned at Gibbs.

"What did he bring with him?" he demanded and Gibbs thought for a moment then shrugged.

'Normal doctoring type stuff Jack. He had a whole chest full of little bottles and tins of powders and leaves and stuff. Thread, some really nasty looking items I've seen other doctors have as well though. Lot more of the bottles and powders than things to be cutting off parts of a man I'd say," he reported and the pirate shuddered somewhat.

The doctor frowned at him. "Jack - anytime there's anything that needs to be amputated, believe me, we'll be talking about it and with whoever the patient is. You have your limits, and I have mine. That's one of them. I'm a physician - surgery is a last resort to save a man's life, not a quick and easy answer," he told the man and the pirate considered him with a still wary look.

"What about the animals?" he asked and the doctor blinked a few times, and then chuckled softly.

"Well I've never had much to do with them.. But you have what, a few chickens and a goat? Doesn't sound exactly like a whole farmyard to me. I think I can manage to look after a few hens and a goat - if that is what you're asking of me?" he said and the pirate nodded, still a bit suspicious seeming as he stalked back to the man.

"Did you bring any of that laudanum with you? Cinchona bark? Leeches?" he demanded rather sternly and the doctor raised an eyebrow at him mildly.

"No, I don't take to the traditional practice of bleeding people Captain. It's been many a year since I've applied a leech to anyone. Laudanum, yes I brought some. Two small vials. Mr. Gibbs has them at the moment. As for cinchona bark, I have some. Who aboard the ship has malaria? They all seem pretty healthy to me." He said as he looked down the line at the others and Gibbs sighed.

"Not new cases - didn't get any this year being in Port Royal for all this time. More for those that got it long ago and have it come back on them now and again. How bad it gets or how often depends on where ye got it the first time, it seems like." He whispered and the doctor considered the captain a little warily as the man stood with one hand parked on his hip, giving him a very suspicious look again.

"Should I take a guess that one of them is HIM?" the doctor asked of Gibbs and the one made a face of dismay and shrugged as he rubbed at an ear as if uncomfortable at the question, then he sighed.

"Well, yeah, ye' might say Jack's one of em - but he ain't the only one of us by any means. Kind of an occupational hazard, ye might say Doc. Kinda comes with the territory?" He remarked very lowly, quickly adding the last part as the pirate narrowed his eyes at the both of them.

"It's been years since the Pearl had a doctor of any kind on board - not that it has never happened before. But - there will be one rule that pertains to you and to you alone sir... When and wherever we run into a situation that I suspect might warrant the need for caution - YOU sir will go exactly where I tell you, for as long as I tell you to remain there and you will not move from that spot no matter what you see or hear." The pirate said almost coldly as he came up close before him, staring intently and the doctor nodded agreeably.

"I don't care if there is virtual bloodbath going on around you, above you, below you or who is involved in it. If you so much as move a foot from where I put you, I will see you dropped on the first piece of solid land I come to afterwards, no matter how godforsaken it be, if it's the last thing I ever do. I don't care if everyone is dying in agony just an inch outside of your reach - you will NOT move from where I put you - not for my sake, not for anyone's sake. Do I make myself utterly clear?" he asked in a very intense manner and the doctor considered him for a moment and then nodded.

"That'll be a hard one to follow - but yes, I understand. Maybe some day you'll tell me what makes you insist on such a rule, but even if you don't, I understand the conditions." He said and the pirate considered him.

"Lets' just say that the last ship's physician forgot, at a rather bad moment in time and I swore there'd never be another moment like that on this ship ever - and you are NOT going to change that record. I'll drop you on the most godforsaken spot of land in these waters and leave you there before I'll go through that again." He said very vehemently and the doctor nodded with a sympathetic look.

He looked over at Gibbs to find the older sailor looking rather sorrowful himself as he stared at the deck.

"All right Captain, I understand well enough. I'll do as you say." He agreed and the man still considered him warily, then looked over at Gibbs and down at the line of crew.

"How many souls Mr. Gibbs?" he asked and the older man smiled.

"54 sir, counting all aboard." He said and the pirate nodded and frowned at the doctor as he paced off some distance, seeming quite unhappy, then back again. He nodded at Gibbs, who instantly grinned as if delighted as the pirate turned again and strode back towards the other end of the line, muttering to himself about some 'big mistake he was surely making'. Commodore Norrington let out a breath he didn't realize he'd been holding and looked at Mr. Gibbs.

"Well, I think he took that pretty well! Don't you gentlemen?" Gibbs asked lightly and left after the pirate when they didn't say anything back and AnaMaria dismissed the line.

"I thought he was going to crawl right down your throat." Norrington said with a frown and the doctor chuckled as if amused as they moved to the railing.

"He was just making sure I know which one of us is the boss. Relax Commodore - I'll be fine." He said and the one sighed

"Or you'll be - fish food?" he added and the doctor laughed mildly.

"Jack Sparrow is far too honorable of a man to ever harm a hair on my head Commodore. I'd have to really turn on him in a big way to get him to do that. Don't worry, he'll come around. We knew he wouldn't just up and happily agree - that's why we brought him all those lovely bottles, as I recall. Actually I expected much worse." He said and the Commodore nodded with a low chuckle.

"So did I to tell you the truth. He must like you." He agreed simply and the doctor chuckled lowly.

~ * * ~

AnaMaria watched as the Governor bid his daughter and son-in-law goodbye for what had to be at least the fourth time. Anyone would think they were leaving, never to return! Like there was any way that anyone could keep Jack Sparrow out of the Caribbean? What were they carryin' on about?!

She turned and wandered back towards the quarter deck, noticing the various crew members doing their assigned tasks with wide grins and eager hands. Yes, it was indeed time they got back to sea. Everyone seemed eager and glad. She looked over at the figure at the helm, clad in his long coat and hat as he stood surveying the deck before him. She made her way up to the quarter deck and came up beside him, considering him carefully, judgingly.

He felt her gaze and gave her a glance with an easy smile. "Feels go to be movin' on, don't it?" he asked cheerfully and she nodded.

"Are you ready to Jack?" she asked a little softly with a hand lightly to his back. He gave her a mild smile and half shrugged.

"Yeah, I think so. Feels a little strange though. I'm not used to knowin' so many people in a town as we do here now. Much less have 'em acting like they been. Half the things I tried to buy in the last two weeks, they wouldn't even accept my money for." He said and she grinned and shrugged, lifting his hat and standing on tip toe and then replacing it securely.

"Nope, no halo yet Jack." She teased and he chuckled.

"So what do ye feel like doin' Capt'n, once we get out to sea? Do we have a short term destination?" she asked and he smiled.

"Well, the boys want to do some raidin' I'm sure. And I have an idea of where we might run across a nice ship or two. But I think we need a few days with no land in sight.. Get our 'passengers' used to ship routines, especially that pest." He said and she laughed and pat him on the back and then pointed down the deck where the doctor was helping to coil a rope and he nodded with a surprised look.

"Oh good. Good start at least." He observed and she moved up closer as she considered him.

"Well I feel better havin' him on board. You know as well as I do that autumn weather where we're goin can be kinda iffy. Some of the boys are bound to get sick. They always do." She aid and he nodded.

"That's why he's here I guess." He agreed reluctantly and she seemed amused.

"Give the man a chance Jack - he likes ye, and he wants to come or he wouldn't have even suggested it. He likes the crew I know as well. Seems to know almost everyone's name even. Not much left for the man in Port Royal really. Miss Elizabeth, well now I haven't seen a woman need a doctor present quite so early on in her carryin', but ye never know. It probably is better he's along." She told him and he nodded and then sighed deeply and smiled at her.

"Ye can stop now AnaMaria, I won't throw the fellow overboard less he gives me good cause. I just don't want him interfering - or getting himself so involved in what we do that he CAN'T ever go back to a town and set up his office and practice his trade again. I won't have that be on our account," he told her and she nodded agreeably as Gibbs came up to them.

"Captain - all's ready sir. All we're waitin' for is yer order to cast off and set sail." He told him and the one nodded.

"Stand ready then man." He told him authoritatively and the older sailor moved off with a delighted look. Jack motioned Ana to the wheel, and moved to the railing where he looked down to see the Governor and Commodore and several others all watching the gangplank being pulled up and the railing replaced.

"Governor Swan, Commodore - it's time we be on our way." He said, removing his hat to place it over his heart as he said the words, then he replaced it on his head.

"Thank you Captain Sparrow - for everything you've done." The Governor said, and Jack brought his hands together in his little half bow of thanks in return and then grinned as the ship began to drift away from them.

"Take care, you scourge of the Caribbean." Norrington said from the makeshift dock. The pirate laughed.

"You as well, illustrious pirate hunter of Port Royal." He said, and Norrington smiled sincerely then gave a very smart and formal military salute.

"Fair wind in your sails, Captain" he called, giving the first part of an old traditional military blessing.

He was surprised when Captain Jack Sparrow, pirate at large and reputed scourge of the Caribbean, snapped to attention, and returned his salute in perfect military form. " and smooth seas ahead to you, Commodore" he said, returning the second half of the blessing.

Commodore Norrington stared up at him in surprise, and the pirate gave him a very deliberate gold tinted smile, and slow wink as he took up a mug from a crate near the wheel, then headed suddenly up the deck barking orders in a deep tone, and the men aboard sprang into action.

Once again, their last sight of the pirate was with the setting sun behind him just reaching the sea. He reclaimed the helm of his ship and lifted a mug in salute to those he left behind; then with a large grin, Captain Jack Sparrow turned the wheel of the ship so the sails caught with a snap, carrying them quickly forward and off towards the beckoning horizon ..

THE END......
...... OR IS IT?

Thank you more than you can ever imagine to those who read and reviewed this story as it proceeded, step by slow step from its start to its finish. Even if you only sent me one review, you helped to make it what it became! This has been more fun than you can imagine - I think it may be addictive even! I have a historical notes section I'll be posting onto the story next, but no, its' not a part OF the story unless you wonder which parts of Aftermath came from what historical pieces! As for the next one.. Weelllllll

Legends By: L'Morgan

Chapter 1: Evening Tide

Summary: From the Caribbean to Colonial America, our favorite pirates encounter legends, myths, and monsters on their latest adventure. Only unfortunately these ones are quite real - or are they? Rated PG-13 (mild J/A, W/E)

Disclaimer: Only Disney owns or can make money on anything to do with Pirates of the Caribbean. I-just-borrowing-to-play-with-for-personal- entertainment-and-giving-back. Can I be any clearer?

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Doctor Cook entered the cabin near the front of the ship. Once this had been a storage room, but when he had come aboard, the ship's Captain had assigned him this as his quarters. After the boxes and crates had been removed, it had only been a matter of persuading the spiders and occasional mouse to relocate. At first, he had strongly suspected his assignment of quarters was the pirate captain's not-so-subtle form of discouraging him from staying on the ship. But if Jack Sparrow thought it was that easy to get him to head home early, then he had yet to learn a few things about Doctor Edmund Cook!

He sat down at the cherry wood writing desk beside the wall that faced the door, and lit the gleaming brass lantern. From one of the many desk drawers, he took out quill and ink and the large red leather covered book that served as his personal journal. Not that he thought anyone would ever read it, but he enjoyed recording life aboard the notorious pirate ship, the Black Pearl. He glanced at the wall beside him and frowned, then considered the calendar page. Lord's Stars, was it the almost the end of September already?

It certainly hadn't seemed that long since he had first suggested he serve as the acting 'ship's physician' to earn his passage! It's not like he was a 20 something year old student barely out of medical school - no, he would be 52 here next spring. He was not the oldest man aboard the infamous ship, but he suspected he might just about be the oldest' beginning sailor' in the entire history of ocean travel. So, how did he come to be here? Well, pull up a chair some dark and stormy night and perhaps the good doctor will tell you a little story - but not here and now.

'September 21st .. it being the year of our Lord, 1692 and the very first day of Autumn,' he added to the top page of the journal and then sat staring at it for a long moment. He smiled to himself, thinking about the last 3 weeks of their journey. There had been a few detours - but that was probably to be expected when you traveled with pirates....

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So? What do you think? If I continue with this story, it does hook right onto the end of Aftermath, but hopefully could be read as a 'stand alone' as well by a brand new reader. It wouldn't have updates quite so often, or so long, not with it being the season of the year it is now.

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For those of you looking for a really good story to read, if you haven't found these yet, go to the author's directory and look them up - it's MORE than well worth the trouble!

'jackfan2' has a wonderful Jack and Ana story that will just have you on the edge of your chair - and it's still being written! ((bites nails))

'Rat' has stories in her list that will keep you mesmerized, I swear. Do NOT start one of these in the morning when you should be getting ready to go to work - believe me, I know!

'Starzangel' works under her author's information! Her latest one may be short, but oh I enjoyed it much. Here is an author that proves over and over that it doesn't need to be long to be good!

'EstelWolfe' has one of the best stories going in 'To Love and Protect' - and it's even part of a series that is guaranteed to make a good night's reading!

So - enjoy the stories, and I hope to see you again soon!

LMorgan1688@yahoo.com