Chapter 22

Authors Note: I think that this will be the last chapter of this story. I hate to leave these characters behind, but I already have another Pirates of the Caribbean fanfic in the making with, of course, Jack as one of the main characters.

"Welcome aboard the Black Pearl, James." Jack said with quiet pride. He was finally home, he wanted most of all to swing up onto the Crows nest and shout his happiness to the world. Unfortunately the crew would think him daft and-

- he climbed the ropes agile as ever and once in the crows nest,

"Drink up me 'hearties, yo ho!" he shouted to the horizon. The burdens lifted from his soul as he felt the ocean rolling beneath him. He found it's rhythm instantly, it had never left him even when he was ashore.

Catching a free piece of rope he swung gracefully down to the deck again and eyed the ship's wheel lovingly. Everything was as he left it, a quick peek into his room reassured him of that. One look at Norrington and he knew that the former Commodore must think him insane.

There was a look on his face, astonishment and worry, it made Jack laugh aloud. The crew watched him placidly, they were used to Jack's enthusiasm after being away from his ship for too long.

Jack knew that they would always come back for him. It was part of a new 'code' they'd revised over the past couple of years. Needless to say, it saved quite a few men from the gallows and Jack time from replacing his crew. The only rules were to follow your instincts and never leave any man behind unless on point of death. They were clear to follow and, in his opinion, a lot better than the old code.

At his command the crew took over and the ship came to life again. The mended black sails billowed out spectacularly against the blue cloudless sky and he could smell the salt in the wind. Anamaria was showing James around the Pearl and soon she would have him at ease with the layout and workload. Jack was sad to be leaving Port Royale if only for the Turners' staying, but there was nothing he could say that would convince Will to change his mind.

~"Must you be leaving so soon, Jack?" Elizabeth asked sadly. "You'll always have a place here with us, both of you."

"Much appreciated, but its high time we left. The Pearl's an open target sitting out in the open sea the way 'tis."

"Take care, Jack." Will shook hands with the pirate and suddenly grinned, "And please, no live souvenirs from the islands. The bird was a bit much for this house to handle."

"Didn't like the bird? Cotton never had a problem with them. Better than monkeys they are, filthy, mangy, creatures, the lot of them." Elizabeth laughed and gave him his half finished bottle of rum.

"Wouldn't want to leave that here would you."

"Yes, I smuggled that in, but tamed man that Will is, he refused to reminisce with me yesterday. A bloody shame if you ask me, coulda had him sailing the Pearl today." Jack grinned mischievously, but he took the bottle back and carefully put it within the folds of his vest.

"No more sending bottles of that vile drink either." She put her arm through Will's, "Think I didn't notice, did you."

"Well, er. . ." Will turned a slight shade of red

"We'll be seeing you. Watch for the next merchant vessel come in from the East." Jack interrupted before the lad could say anything else.

"And Elizabeth, take care of your babe." Anamaria added softly.

"How did you know?" Elizabeth gasped.

"My eyes never deceive me." Anamaria smiled tenderly, "Whether it be a he or she, they have fine, loving parents and that's no lie either. Take care of them William Turner."

"I shall." Will answered firmly a soft look came to his eyes as he looked at his wife in new light.~

Yes, the Turners' would have their hands full come the new year and Jack would make sure to send a little extra next time he set port. What they would name their new child he didn't know, didn't think it was the right time to ask considering the way the couple looked at one another.

"Captain?" Gibbs asked hesitantly.

"Aye?" Jack noticed the slight flush to the mans face and red that was creeping up his throat even as they spoke.

"Think you we could set port in Tortuga next?" he cleared his throat and stared out at the ocean.

"At least once a month, we do, what's caught your fancy in Tortuga?"

"Not much. Just figured the men could use a break from all the work and there's plenty to be found on the island. . ."

"Only one thing you've got to worry about now and that's. . . do you love the girl or not?" Jack interrupted, it was always fun to tease Gibbs but this matter was obviously important and Jack didn't want to go fooling around with love.

"More of a woman than just a regular girl. . ." a slightly distant look came into Gibbs' eyes.

"Answer the question, man. Are you willin' to risk life and limb for this woman or not?"

"I would die for her." The response made Jack grin in memory. He'd heard the same phrase from William Turner and look at he and Elizabeth now.

"Then show her, Gibbs."

"Aye, but. . ."

"No buts about it. If she's as good to keep you lollygaggin' around my ship in a daze she's worth it. I'll be haltin' at Tortuga next and a quarter of our ships' swag is yours to take should she accept. Stay or come back aboard, 'tis your decision and no others." Jack turned to leave Gibbs to his thoughts.

"Jack? Thanks, always could count on you. Even as a lad you were smarter than your years."

"No problem, mate." Jack smiled, "but come near the sails of my ship half-dreaming again and I'll make you walk the plank meself, savvy?"

"Aye, aye, Captain." Gibbs went back to work and Jack returned to the ship's upper deck.

"Oy, Gibbs? What be fair lady's name?" Jack couldn't resist.

"Giselle." Gibbs replied. That made Jack hide a smile and nod appreciatively. He remembered Giselle well enough. A blonde, high-spirited woman she was and make no mistake. Both she and Scarlett ran ranks on Tortuga.

Gibbs would have a time and a half should he convince the beauty to accept his proposal. Jack had no doubts that he would, while Giselle was a beautiful woman she was also warm and kind. Took a special type of man to see it but if any man could it would be Gibbs.

Everything was back to normal again, the Commodore would be properly introduced to Tortuga and he was back on his ship. Fair weather until late tomorrow at the earliest and a good brisk wind would carry them fast toward Tortuga.

"Good to be home, aye Captain?" Anamaria smiled as she stood by the edge of the ships rail.

"What makes it home isn't the wood or the sails or the wheel. What makes it home, Anamaria, is that you're here with me."

"And how much have you had to drink, Jack?" but she was only slightly serious. His eyes were deep with emotion and there was no tell tale sign of drink clouding his mind.

"None although I might need to be getting some soon." He put his arms around her shoulders but kept her still so that he could still see her eyes. "Have I yet told you-" he looked around daring anyone to interrupt him. Three times he'd tried to say it and curse to the depths anyone who came between it now.

Anamaria leaned in and kissed him with everything that they both wanted to say. A cheer rose up from the crew but neither of them noticed.

"I love you, Anamaria." He whispered hoarsely when they surfaced for air.

"And me you, Jack Sparrow." She smiled softly.

"See, and it's now we'll be getting that rum."

"But-"

"Right through these doors-" he smiled wickedly and then on impulse picked her up by the waist, carried her through the doors and slammed them behind him.

Norrington went up to the ships wheel and took over for the Captain while he was otherwise engaged. Dressed in a dark blue shirt, tan pants, a pistol and sword at his waist he looked every inch a pirate.

"Yo ho, yo ho, a pirate's life for me." He smiled broadly as he sang it. "And on to Tortuga we go."

Authors Note: If you remember Giselle and Scarlett from Pirates of the Caribbean? They are the one woman in a red dress who smacks Jack, and then the second woman who Jack mistakes for Giselle. I figured that would be a nice turn of plot and it'll give Gibbs a story. Norrington has a good future ahead of him and Anamaria and Jack. . . that's self-explanatory. Didn't want their scene to be all mushy and whatnot so that's how I decided to go. Hope you enjoyed the story and for the last line of Norrington's I can't help but think that the final song for Pirates of the Caribbean fits really well there. I blame if entirely on the soundtrack I'm listening to now.

Authors Note 2: PREQUEL to this story coming soon. Typing it up tomorrow night and enjoy!!! Thanks for reading. Comments are always appreciated and thanks especially to: Jackfan2, Yakkorat, Kingleby, AhiFlame, J.L Dexter, and all the rest of you who've left me comments. THANKS!!!