Passage to St. Kitts

**Author's Note** This is the final chapter of this one, mostly tying up loose ends. My romantic soul keeps trying to pair everyone off! There's always trouble in paradise, however, which is a tale for the next sequel, which will probably be complete enough to start posting in a few weeks. Many thanks to Eledhwen, Erin, Anaknusan, Mia Sanders, Yessina, Poppy Brook and Whosegotyou. I very much appreciate the comments!

Chapter 18

Will and Elizabeth stood on the main deck, looking out over the dark sea. "I've been thinking about our life together," Will said. "I've come to some conclusions."

"That sounds serious," said Elizabeth.

"Since we've been on this ship, I've been more relaxed and happy than I've been in a long time. I don't want to go back to the way we've been before."

"What do you mean?" she asked, apprehensively.

"It's time for us to move out of the Governor's house. I can't live there anymore, Elizabeth. As much as I respect your father, I can't live with him. I can't breathe surrounded by butlers, servants and all the trappings of 'proper behavior'. There's too much of my father in me. I need freedom."

"You don't want to sign on as a crewmember of the Pearl, do you?"

"Not permanently. I still want to be a blacksmith. I still want to make swords. I though perhaps I'd sign on for two or three voyages a year, and spend the rest of the time making swords. I'll take on an apprentice to learn the business and do the basic work, and to keep the shop open when I'm gone." He looked at Elizabeth. Unlike the elaborate gowns she wore in Port Royal, aboard ship she wore a simple linen dress without a corset. She hadn't bothered with a hat for days, and her thick dark blond hair had acquired new golden highlights in the tropical sun. She looked utterly unlike the cool, proper lady she was in Jamaica. He went on. "Jack is going to give me a crew's share in the loot taken from the Aldonza. Between that, perhaps another ship or two before we return to Port Royal, and whatever I can charge the men in St. Kitts for the custom swords, I'm hoping we can afford our own house."

"It looks like you have it all planned," Elizabeth said. "Will, I know you've been unhappy living at Father's house. I was wondering what to do about it long before we set out for St. Kitts. This life you've described, will that make you happy?"

"I think so. It's a good compromise. Will it make you happy?"

"Will, if all I wanted was wealth and position, I'd have married Norrington or one of the other aristocrats of Jamaica. I want you. I want to be with you." She continued. "If we're compromising then, I'd like to use my own money to furnish the house and to hire one or two servants."

"Elizabeth," he began, but she cut him off.

"It's my money, Will, and I want to use it for our home. Buy the house with money you'll earn on this voyage, and let me use mine to make it the home we want. Besides," she continued dryly, "I never learned to cook."

"No butlers," Will said firmly.

"No butlers," she agreed. Smiling, she ran her hand down his neck. "So, you really will be a pirate!"

"A privateer," he corrected with a smile, bending his head to kiss her.


The next day dawned bright and sunny. The wind held and the Pearl slipped effortlessly through the waves toward St. Thomas. Joseph found Will at the bow. "Good morning, sir." he said, coming up beside him on the rail.

"Good morning," Will replied.

"Sir," began Joseph, "You told me a while back that when I found the place I wanted to be, I was to let you know. I'm letting you know."

Will looked at him. "You want to be a sailor, then?"

"I want to be here," he said simply. "The sea, the sun, the stars, and.. the company."

Will raised his eyebrow. "I knew you were sweet on Annamaria, Joseph. What does she say?"

A small smile appeared on Joseph's face. "I have reason to believe she'd be pleased if I remained aboard the Black Pearl."

Will was slightly shocked at that little smile. He saw a similar one often in his shaving mirror after a night spent in Elizabeth's arms. But Annamaria? He shook his head slightly. The thought of her voluntarily involved with a man would take some getting used to. "Have you spoken to the Captain yet?"

Joseph shook his head. "I wanted to talk to you first. No sense in signing on as crew if I wasn't free to do so."

"Well, I'm sure there's some sort of legality to deal with. I imagine I'll have to write some sort of document and have it witnessed. I'll talk to a magistrate when we make port. But as of now, Joseph, consider yourself a free man." Will smiled.


Jack stood at the helm and looked toward shore. St. Thomas was still just a smudge on the horizon, but it would grow larger before long. He'd had an interesting conversation a little while ago with Joseph, and came out of it with a new crewmember. That man was a find. Still fairly green as a sailor, true, but he was learning rapidly. He wasn't particularly skilled at climbing the rigging, but jobs that required strength and power might have been made for him. He was a decent swordsman considering that he was essentially still a beginner. He was honest and honorable, polite and easy to get along with. The rest of the Pearl's crew seemed to like him a good deal. Jack shook his head. The man had been surprised when he'd learned that he was due a crew's share of the loot from the Aldonza, and nearly speechless when he'd found out how much that was. And Annamaria. The girl was glowing today. If nothing else, it was worth having Joseph aboard if he could keep Annamaria in that kind of a mood.

"Captain Sparrow," said a voice nearby. Jack blinked and looked around. Commodore Norrington ascended to the quarterdeck. It was still odd to see the Commodore out of uniform, but at least he was shaved and decently dressed. Captain Natalez had been of similar size and build, so Norrington had helped himself to some of the Captain's clothes. The black breeches and gray coat suited Norrington well enough. Natalez hadn't worn a wig, however, so Norrington's own dark hair showed beneath the plain black tricorn hat. "I've been meaning to speak with you about a ransom for Miss de Salazar."

"Aye," replied Jack. "Annamaria said you'd take care of it?"

"Yes, if you'll tell me the amount."

"Sure I shouldn't ask it of Governor Swann? Seeing as how she's his niece and all."

"Since he doesn't as yet know of her existence, I don't think asking him for money would be suitable."

Jack shrugged. "Suit yourself," and named an amount.

Norrington nodded. "Reasonable enough. May I pay you when you next come into Port Royal? "

Jack sighed. "I suppose. You'll be staying in St. Thomas then?"

"My plans are uncertain; I'll need to speak to Gillette if he's still there. If not, I'll take passage on the next ship back to Jamaica."

"Oh, by the way, mate. I consider that rescuing the noble crew of the Defender will be the Crown's share of this voyage."

Norrington glared at Jack. "Somehow I'm not surprised."


They stayed in St. Thomas for five days. Commodore Norrington came to see them off. Both Antonia and Elizabeth had written to Governor Swann, and Norrington promised to deliver the letters as soon as he was able. After he'd taken leave of everyone aboard the Pearl, Antonia walked with him toward the boat that was waiting to take him back to shore. "Thank you, James, for everything you've done for me," she said as they stopped by the rail.

"I don't know when I'll see you again, Antonia," he replied. "But I will be waiting for you in Port Royal."

"Farewell then, Commodore," she said, holding out her hand.

Norrington took her hand and kissed it. "Farewell, Miss de Salazar."

"Swann," she said. "If you are sure that Governor Swann will recognize me as his niece, then from now on I will be 'Miss Swann'."

"From now on?" He repeated. "It is my hope, Miss Swann, that you will be willing to change your name again, someday." He leaned forward and kissed her gently on the lips. "Do not forget me."

"You needn't fear that," she replied. "I could not forget you." She stayed by the rail and watched him row away.


Gwen sat on the deck near the bow where she and Jack had made love the night he'd proposed. She looked down at her hands in her lap, and once again admired the ring on her left hand. The gold band was set with a black pearl surrounded by small diamonds. It had only been on her finger for two days and she'd yet to be used to it. She closed her eyes and breathed in the salty scent of the sea. "Mrs. Sparrow?" said a familiar voice close by. She opened her eyes to see her husband standing before her. Her 'husband'. That would take a LOT of getting used to.

"Is your watch over already?" She asked. "I've lost track of time."

"Aye," he said sitting down beside her. "Next stop, St. Kitts." He put his arm around her shoulders. "Too bad it's broad daylight out here."

"Jack, you're impossible."

"No darling, just improbable."

The End.