Chapter 33

It had been three day since she'd given in to Jack's seduction and each day that had passed seemed better than the last. Robert found himself left in charge of the ship towards the end of the night, he certainly didn't mind and watching Jack and Ana together made him happy. Happy that the two seemed so content and more than grateful for they'd finally stopped fighting and sniping at one another.

The sun was fading in the sky, the sea was calm, it was Jack's favorite time of night. He had liked watching the sun rise and fall from his place among the ropes all those years ago. Jack had felt at peace then thinking his fate secure, sailing for the rest of his life on a grand ship with many more days left to see the world. He found the view to be just as spectacular from behind the wheel, but a part of him would always miss the wind in his hair from miles above the deck. There was a comfort in the danger of trusting a few ropes and the thin fabric of the sails to hold his weight and not sending him falling to his death. A freedom that he'd been unable to find anywhere else.

"Captain," Robert called, "Port-au-Prince approaches."

"Excellent," Jack replied not altering their course, "looks to be rather busy, just as we'd hoped."

He deftly maneuvered the ship to an opening near the docks. They were hardly noticed in the flurry of activity. Animals were unloaded, men carrying crates walked to and from other docked ships, arguments, bartering, and prices could be heard near all of the ships. Jack pulled Ana out of the way as a man went hurtling from the dock into the awaiting ocean. A satisfied bucaneer shrugged at them saying something about having been cheated.

"Jack," Robert whispered pointing at a signpost holding ships' names and ranking officals.

"We'll be quick, mate," Jack, too, had noticed the wanted poster with his name on it. "Call me Smith while we're here to be safe."

Port-au-Prince was not what he'd remembered it to be. The Navy had taken hold of this island as well, it seemed, for there were a lot of blue and red uniforms standing about watching the proceedings suspiciously.

"Heading to the tavern," Ana inquired. She had seen the posters, but they posed no real threat. The picture was drawn badly, Jack could have stood in front of it without anyone recongnizing him.

"Aye, the tavern," Robert was looking forward to a game of cards and a fresh tankard of rum.

"You go, I'll meet up with the two of you there," Jack wanted to have the ship repaired before indulging his want of alcohol. If they were forced to make a quick escape he wanted to be sure the ship was in good condition to aid in their escape.

"Aye, aye, Captain," Robert grinned, "I'll not turn down the prospect of having Anamaria to myself for a bit."

"And a civil thought you'd best be keeping in your head," Ana allowed him to escort her down the dock, "else I'll be giving you a smack for your trouble."

As he passed the signpost another poster on the back caught his attention. Wanted: for piracy, general lawlessness, aiding and abetting the criminal Jack Sparrow, treason, and unlawful trade. He saw Robert's name under another badly drawn picture along with another sketch drawing of a woman. The poster offered no name for which Jack was grateful. How had the news gotten to the Navy so quickly?

Jack made his way through the crowds staying away from the uniformed officers while protecting his pockets from cutpurses. His business with the shipwright was concluded swiftly, Jack knew that the ample sum he'd offered would induce the man to complete the repairs quickly and efficiently.

He was able to purchase dried meat, grain, kegs of rum and other rations in record time.

"Aye, did you hear word of the ghost ship? The Pearl or whatever she's called?"

Jack paused in the hollow between the tavern and a neighboring buiding. A quick peek through the window allowed him to see Ana and Robert partaking in a game of dice, the two sailors sitting nearest to the window didn't see him.

"The Black Pearl, she's called, 'sposed to be the fastest ship in the Caribbean. Had the Navy trailing after them for nigh on nine years now. Can't be caught."

"D'you think she's really cursed?"

"Foolish talk, its the black sails is what it is," the man drank deep from his tankard, "and their bloody Captain. Barbossa, a cruel man, to be sure, kills anyone who crosses their path."

"And am I to hear right? They're off to Port Royale now on some treasure hunt or what have you?"

"Aye, I pity the fools stationed on that godforsaken island. Ain't going to be much left when Barbossa's through with them, I'd warrant."

"The Navy after them for nine years and they sail right into them," the sailor laughed, "going to be a battle to the death if those bastards can die."

Jack had heard all he'd needed to hear. Their destination would be Port Royale. He had some reckoning to do with Barbossa and a ship to win back. The Black Pearl was his, named and honorably given, she'd chosen him and Barbossa would rue the day he'd separated Jack from what was rightfully his.

"Oy, Smith," Robert raised his tankard in greeting, "Ana's damn gone and won herself another boat."

"'s only 'cause you passed on that round, Rob, she could'a been yours had you not been tarrying with that lass."

Jack saw the flash of red uniform out of the corner of his eye. Had the officer made the correlation? Jack had no intention of staying to find out.

"Time t'go, mates," Jack said jovially throwing coins on to the table.

"What's the rush, Captain," Robert asked, "you haven't had any rum yet."

"There are two other wanted posters," Jack said, "and a Navyman ran out of here as if the hounds of hell were licking at his heels."

"Two others," Ana repeated, "were they any better than yours? Will we be recognized?"

"Nothing to worry about, love," Jack replied leading them through alley-ways toward the docks. "Where is this boat you've won?"

Ana paused scanning the waterside, "there," she pointed, "its a little thing, no bigger than the last one, but I'll have a fleet if luck stays by my side."

"Well, well, if it isn't Jack Sparrow."

Jack winced, the man's voice had been loud enough to alert the entire island.

"Do I know you, mate?" Jack looked to the one who had called his name. The fool had better have a good reason for endangering them all.

"Name's Mac and I'll have what's owed whether you remember me or not."

"Go, get the ship ready to leave. I'll be there shortly," Jack watched as Anamaria ran around the corner to their ship.

"Any further orders, Captain?" Robert asked watching Ana disappear anxiously.

"If I'm not back by first nightfall... keep to the code."

"I won't leave you behind."

"You will do as your Captain commads," Jack replied firmly. "You will take over as Captain of my ship and get Ana back to Tortuga if it comes down to it. Get a crew together and await my orders. I'll meet up with you there."

"So Captain now, is it?" the man sneered, "fancy title or not, you still owe me four pounds."

"Here, take it," Jack snarled, "and you'd best pray I never meet you again."

Robert had disappeared, the ship should have been repaired by now. All was ready for them to leave, all he had to do was extricate himelf from this situation and make his way, unnoticed, to the docks.

"If you hadn't run off in the beginning I'd not be dogging your trail now."

"Leave," Jack unsheathed his sword, "or I'll be having that four pounds back."

The man had raised an alarm, threatened them all with a hanging, for four pounds. Jack could have carved the man's heart out on the spot.

Unfortunately, "Jack Sparrow, you are hereby under arrest for crimes against the Crown and Emperor. Drop your weapon."

"I don't think so, mate," Jack took quick stock of the three Navy men who stood at the ready.

"Your crimes are punishable by death, however, our orders are to detain you, not kill you. I can rescind that command if you don't drop your weapon at once," the officer barked. Jack smiled, he had heard worse from men ranking higher than this whelp.

Jack shoved Mac toward the three Navy men before running down the nearest alleyway. He knew that the three men would have alerted more of the Navy to their cause. What was he going to do? Jack paused for breath having found his way back to the tavern. He waited in the alley listening for the inevitable.

He saw the layout of the tavern in his mind. There would be the front door, back door, and two windows in which to make his escape. Jack heard the harmonized footfalls, how predictable he grinned, they were going for the front door.

He proceeded down the alley cautiously ready to alter his plan if need be. The Navy was tearing the tavern apart combing its walls from the kitchen to the upstairs rooms. Jack looked toward the sky, the sun was just sinking below the horizon. He didn't have very much time left.

"I'll give you eight pounds for your robe, mate," Jack pulled a clergyman into the shadows formed from two houses.

"I'm a man of the chuch!"

"So think of the repairs as could be made with the money, savvy?"


Jack took a deep breath before using the butt of his pistol to render the man unconscious. He quickly relieved the man of his religious cloak and garb while propping him up to make it seem as if he were resting from a long day of prayer. He wrapped the cloak securely around his body concealing most of his nautical effects. The scrap of cloth they used as a hat hid his bandanna and trinkets laced in his hair. He placed his hat securely under his arm.

Jack walked slowly though he wanted to run through the streets to his ship. The clergy hardly ever ran, he remembered, they walked quietly and somberly as if always pondering the sins of life and the glory of death.

"Oy, there!"

Jack didn't stop walking, he forced himself to keep to the steady maddening pace though he heard footsteps behind him.

"You there, Father. Find yourself a safe haven, there's a dangerous criminal out and about."

"Bless you," Jack made his voice deeper while bowing low to hide his face. He was relieved to see the officer walk away having delivered his message.

The docks were in sight, he couldn't see his ship anywhere. He felt his heart drop, surely Robert wouldn't have left already. Darkness had just fallen, the ship should still be here. Unless... Jack felt a surge of fury race through him, had the Navy chased them, as well? Robert wouldn't have been able to wait, if that were the case.

'If any man falls behind, he's left behind,' the pirate code slithered through his mind mocking him and his hope.

He should have known, things had been going too well. A ship, Anamaria, finally finding some semblance of happiness. It never lasted long, all the lessons he'd learned pointed to that. He searched the docks for a ship he'd be able to man himself. There was no time to find a crew and booking passage was too much of a threat. He didn't know which ships were friendly and he had no intention of walking onboard to be handed over to the Navy.

Jack's gaze fell on a small boat, almost a dinghy, though it was wider and had a set of sails that looked to be in good condition. Was that Ana's boat? Did it matter? The boat was there for the taking, it wouldn't be capable of a long voyage, but he didn't plan on being on the ocean for long.

Why had he suggested Tortuga, Jack cursed himself, the island was where they'd started. The small boat, dignified as she was, wouldn't make it halfway to Tortuga. He didnt have the supplies to enable such a journey to begin with, all of the things he'd purchased had been sent to the other ship.

"Damn and blast," Jack hissed making his way to the boat. He'd have to stop at another port, find a new ship to board, maybe hire a few men as crew.

He thanked the fates for high tide, he'd be able to make his escape quickly with the ocean's help. Jack untied the boat from where it was anchored to the docks while partially submerged in the water. He'd not be visible from shore.

With one last look around, half expecting to see Robert and Ana waiting for him in some distant location, he sighed knowing the thought was futile. They were probably a quarter of the way to St. Marc by now.

Better off that way, Jack thought regretfully, if he could make himself known on some small port the wanted posters for them might be discontinued. They'd make it to Tortuga before him, Jack winced thinking of how angry Anamaria would be when he arrived.

There was no help for it, he'd done as he thought was best. He was Captain, charged with taking care of his crew and ship. Robert would follow his orders, though Jack didn't envy him for having to deal with Ana's wrath on the way.

As he hoisted himself up the side his foot slipped against the wood sending him careening to the bottom of the boat. His hair caught on one of the wooden planks, Jack wrenched himself free and sat up blinking water from his eyes. Putting a hand to his head to ease the pain he was surprised to feel that the feathers were gone.

He searched the ocean for them half-heartedly knowing the waves would have dragged them under. It would be difficult enough to keep the boat from capsizing, what hope did a few feathers have? Jack got to his feet to adjust the sails for maximum speed with the wind. The moonlight flashed across the bottom of his boat, he smiled seeing a very familiar friend.

A bottle of rum had been stashed under one of the seats. The voyage was looking brighter, rum would lift any man's spirits. Jack could picture his map clearly,the nearest port would be Port Royale. He uncorked the bottle of rum and drank deeply from its contents.

The Pearl would be at Port Royale within the next few days, and with the Pearl would be Barbossa and his damned, hell-bound crew. Jack toasted the moonlight, he'd have his ship back, Gibbs would join him if he were still around. They would need more men, but Jack had full confidence in Gibbs' penchant for persuasion. If any man could find them a crew in Port Royale, it would be him.

It was time for a change, Jack Sparrow was in charge of his own destiny. He had to put Ana out of his mind, for the moment, at any rate. He'd made a promise to the Black Pearl, one he had every intention of keeping. The thought didn't sit well with him, but when he pulled into Tortuga with the Black Pearl she'd no doubt forgive him. Hopefully.

His mother was dead, at peace, he needed to let her be. She had looked out for him as he'd grown up, but he was grown up enough, she could rest knowing the lessons she'd wanted him to learn wouldn't be forgotten. Brahm, too, had passed. Painfully, he hoped.

Kyra had a good life ahead of her, she was secure and safe with Dalver in her spacious house. It was time he embrace piracy fully and lose some of his youthful morals, none of them had gotten him very far. He'd never forget the women who'd helped him, Eaylin and Jeria, Anamaria, too, but he had no intention of adding any to the list. He'd avenge Bootstrap William Turner's death, regain control of his ship, dispatch those who had mutinied against him, set the odds straight.

"Take what you can," he said taking another drink of rum. They wanted a pirate, he'd give them a pirate. None would dare stand against Captain Jack Sparrow, he'd be feared and known throughout all of the ocean. It was time to embrace his destiny, Port Royale, home of the Navy, seemed a perfect place to start.

Authors Note: I don't know if I like this ending. I'm not really feeling the finality, so to speak. It sets things up as I wanted them to be, Jack on Ana's boat, headed to Port Royale where the first movie starts. There's closure for him what with Brahm dead, his mother put to rest, Kyra safe. He and Ana had his moment, it would explain why she was in Tortuga, why she was so irate, why she demanded a boat to make up for the one (two) that Jack had taken. She'd have changed, no longer the 'innocent' tavern-maid of this story, she'd be vengeful and mistrusting. Hard lessons to learn, but it was a hard time for anyone, right?

Jack, I think, has grown up from the beginning of this story. He slowly lost some of the... naivety he had at the start. He'll always have a fond place in his heart for women. He did jump in to save Elizabeth from drowning and though he held a pistol to her head he wouldn't have used it. He said it himself, "I saved your life, you saved mine."

What he becomes in Pirates 2 and 3 aren't through any plotting of mine, the movies got darker and darker and so did he. He never, still, does any real harm to the women. At the end of Pirates 3 he saves Elizabeth onboard the Dutchman though she left him to die.

Thanks to everyone for reading! I'll probably revise this ending soon, once I think of a better one. :D

The End.