He hated running away, but sometimes the situation called for it when there was no other way out. This was one of those situations. He stumbled through the trees, the blast of cool Caribbean air keeping him awake. He couldn't fall now. He couldn't. The tree line ended, opening up into the beach, washed in moonlight. Pausing for a moment, he looked around but saw nothing. What had they done with his crew? With Anamaria? With William? The answer couldn't be found, and he could hear them coming behind him. He took off again, hand pressed firmly to his side. He could feel the warm blood seeping between his fingers, but shook off the despairing feeling. He was Captain Jack Sparrow, and it took a lot more than one bullet to stop him. The sand slid beneath his feet as he ran down the beach, looking for anywhere that he could take a moment and recuperate. Just a few moments, to close his…no, not to close his eyes. He knew what it was. If he closed his eyes, he'd drift off to sleep and never wake up. Faced with eternal sleep, he kept moving, but it wouldn't last long. He needed to stop, and to catch his breath. Voices came from down the beach, catching sight of his footprints.
Captain Jonas Smythe had seemed like a respectable person, which was why Jack had trusted him in the first place. But trust had been, and always would be, his downfall. That was why Barbossa had so easily turned most of the crew against him, and deserted him on the island to die, taking his beloved Pearl. He trusted very few, and those were the few that deserved it. Bill, Ana, Gibbs, Elizabeth, Will; all of them at one time or another had proven that he was right to trust them. But still, he trusted to easily. When Captain Smythe had come to him with an offer to split the treasure of St. Croix, Jack had been cautious. But a few rounds later, the man had made a good case of it, and Jack agreed that his crew would help Smythe find the buried treasure for fifty percent of the profit. They'd shook on it. You never break a deal that you shake on, didn't matter if you were an honest man or a pirate. You never broke the promise sealed with a handshake. When they'd found the treasure and taken care of any British ships in the vicinity, Smythe's crew had turned on Jack's. He'd fought with them, but they were no match for Smythe's well trained crew, and fell quickly. Ordering the remainder of his crew to run, he'd waited until they'd gotten into the trees safely, before running himself. But he couldn't see where the others had gone, and he couldn't call out for them, give his position to the enemy, so he had just run.
Jack turned as he ran; looking to see if they'd caught sight of him yet. His breathing was ragged as he tried to hold himself together, to get away. Only a few more feet and maybe he could find a place to hide. If he could only keep going that long. His foot caught on something, and he stumbled. Too weak to right himself, he fell to the sand. His face landed on the rough grains, and for the moment, all he wanted to do was stay there. Let them come. I'm not runnin' anymore. I'm too tired. His eyes shut in exhaustion. He lay like that for a moment, before drawing in a determined breath, moving his arms underneath him to pull himself up again. There was no way in any circle of hell that he would allow Smythe and his crew to take him that easily. He pushed himself to his knees, then turned to extricate himself from what had made him fall. He wished he hadn't. The son of his best friend laid at his feet, on his stomach. The blood had quit running in little rivulets in the sand a while ago, Will's face pale in the silvery moonlight. They'd gotten him. His heart sank. If he was dead, there was no hope for the rest of his crew, for Gibbs, for Ana. Any resistance that he'd gained again left him, leaving him weak. He crawled a few feet away, shaking. This wasn't supposed to happen to him. He was the immortal Jack Sparrow, a man of legend in the Caribbean.
"This wasn't your fight to win." Jack's breathing nearly stopped at the voice. He paused a moment, before looking up at the speaker. She was a dark woman, her hair wrapped up in a handkerchief. Her face was lined from years in the sun, but there were laugh lines as well, and her expression as she looked down at him was gentle.
"Who are you?" He said firmly, trying to get to his feet. He still had to run. They'd get him if he didn't. This woman could sit here gibbering all she wanted, but he had to leave. He managed to stand upright, moving past her. "I'd recommend running. There's a lot of angry pirates coming this way." He threw over his shoulder.
She put her hands on her hips, watching him and his attempt to run. "Son, there's nothing left for you to do except lay down and die." She said, marching after him.
"What if I don't want to?" Jack snapped back at her, still moving. This was great, now some loony woman was trying to keep him from getting away.
"You are a stubborn one, boy. You don't get that this fight is already lost. If they catch you, you will die. You've lost this fight, this time. But it wasn't your time to win, either." Jack's knees collapsed, and he fell onto the sand, keeping himself propped up on one hand. The blood was flowing less freely now. He knew why that was. He could feel his heart starting to slow. The irony of it all struck him. He was going to die on a God forsaken island anyway. It was fitting, in a sick and twisted way. He took a deep breath, beginning to accept that death would take him this night. The woman walked in front of him, and he opened his eyes, looking up at her.
"Lass, let me die in peace." He groaned, as she crossed her arms.
"I'll let you die in peace, Jack Sparrow. But not until after I'm done helping you." She knelt in front of him, taking his face in her arms. He may have been dying, but he still objected to being poked and prodded by strange women who even more mysteriously knew his name. He reached up to slap her hands away, but something compelled him not to. Instead, he just stared into her eyes. "You made him angry. The bastard son of a pirate and a voodoo priestess he is, and you chose to fight against him when no others have. That is both brave and stupid of you, Captain Sparrow." If he hadn't been so drained, Jack would have laughed in her face. Instead, he just glared. She gave him a dark look back, before continuing on. "He is the son of powerful magic, whether you believe in it or not, Captain. By making him angry, you've doomed not only yourself, but those of your bloodline. I know about him. Your son." Jack tried to pull away from her, this becoming too much for him. He just wanted to peacefully fall asleep, and leave before they got here. That way, Jack Sparrow died on his own terms, not theirs, and certainly not with this insane woman. He was terrified of her. She knew things she shouldn't. Like the nameless infant boy he'd left with the family in God knew what port. He didn't want children.
"Leave me be, wench. Let me die on me own terms before they get here." He snapped bitterly at her. Instead, her hands moved up to his temples.
"Your descendants are in great danger, and that's why this is not your time to fight the battle. I'm giving you a gift, to fight him. The boy didn't fight me, and neither will you." She shut her eyes, hands rubbing his temples. He wanted to yell at her, tell her to leave him be, suddenly wondering if she had been the one to kill Will, when he felt the shiver race through him, and the chanting abruptly stopped. She let go of him, getting to her feet. "You'll know when the time is right." She told him, turning around and walking down the beach. "You'll know when the time is right." Jack fell back on the sand, drained beyond recovery. Somewhere down the beach, men started yelling back and forth between themselves. They were getting closer. He closed his eyes, taking a shaky breath. His heart beat slowed down, and he noticed that he couldn't feel a thing, growing numb. Almost like falling asleep, his head turned to the side, a peaceful expression on his face.
When Smythe's men got there, they found that Captain Jack Sparrow had made another of his incredible escapes. He'd escaped death at their hands to find his peace.
The only response that came from the sheet covered lump on the bed was an unintelligible grunt. Danny rolled his eyes, leaning down and shaking the lump harder. This time he did wake someone up, but it wasn't the person he needed up. Nina pushed herself up on her elbows, looking over at Danny, then down at Mike. She slapped a hand on what she assumed was his shoulder.
"Mike, get your ass out of bed." She told him. "If Danny's standing in our bedroom in the middle of the night, you can sure as hell it isn't idle chatter." She said. Mike reluctantly pulled the covers back from his head, looking up at Danny.
"The fence broke. Five of the horses escaped." Danny told him, looking impatient. "And all the hands went home already. I need help to go get them all." Mike let out a frustrated curse, running his hands through his sun lightened brown hair, before swinging his legs out of bed. This is what he hated about owning a ranch in the Caribbean. The numerous storms weakened the wood more than it would anywhere else, and these incidents were becoming too common for their own good. He pulled on his jeans and boots, then slung on his jean jacket.
"Let's go." He muttered, waving at the door. "Wait." He lunged for the chair. "Can't go anywhere without my hat." He said, placing the time worn Stetson on his head. The two of them went downstairs and out the back door, making sure not to slam it behind them to wake the others in the house up. The sun hadn't even begun to rise yet, and a chilly wind was blowing off the ocean. Mike followed Danny into the barn where the young man had already saddled their horses. Chico, Danny's horse, came as he heard the whistle from his owner. Long John Silver, however, refused to come, no matter how much Mike whistled. Stamping his foot in frustration, Mike finally had to go retrieve him, mounting up. He caught up with Danny at the doorway, both of them giving their horses a nudge in the ribs. As they galloped out through the fields, Mike scanned for the break in the fence, where the horses had gotten loose. He soon enough found it, and his mood darkened considerably as he pulled Silver up when they got close. In the light of Danny's flashlight, he could see that the wood had not fallen apart because it had rotted through, like he thought before. The cut was clean, most likely done with a saw. He swore, looking around.
"Second time this month." Danny said. "Someone sure hates you." Mike shot him a dirty look. "Let's just go get the damn horses. I have to be up in three hours for chores anyway." He muttered, giving Silver another nudge and taking off down the pathway through the trees. A few moments later, both men made their way out onto the beach. Three of the horses could be seen at various spots on the beach. Danny clucked his tongue, riding past Mike to go round them up.
"Yeah, I'll just go…look…for the others…and all…" Mike trailed off, as Danny went by him. He turned Silver around, giving him a nudge and galloping off down the stretch of beach. He kept an eye open for the remaining two horses. Of course they would like it down here. They loved running through the surf during the group trail rides. When he'd first told Nina his idea, a ranch in the Caribbean, she'd laughed at him. But two years later, she'd pretty much had to swallow that laughter. The idea had been taken to remarkably well, people enjoying the Caribbean resort atmosphere combined with that of a ranch. He blew out a breath, wondering where the other two horses could have gone.
He'd been so intent on finding the two horses, that when Silver suddenly panicked, he was caught off guard. The horse reared in the air, and he grasped for the reins. "Whoa, whoa!" He said, trying to get the horse to calm down, but he'd have none of it. Silver reared again, this time dislodging Mike and sending him flying to the ground. He landed hard, the air leaving his lungs as something dug into his back. He groaned, rolling over and laying on the sand, trying to regain his breath. Danny was calling towards him, riding over. Mike tried to warn him, but soon enough, Danny was lying in the sand a few feet away, although he'd had a better landing of it. Mike finally was able to breathe normally, and he sat up, rubbing his chin. He'd bitten into his lip when he fell, and there was a little bit of blood mixed in with the stubble on his chin. Cursing, he got to his feet, rubbing the aching spot on his back.
"What the hell was that all about?" Danny said, shaking the sand from his dark, unruly locks and grabbing his hat again. "Something had to have spooked them." Mike was staring at the sand beside him, and he turned to look as well. Beneath the wet sand, bleached bones were beginning to show, the sand eroded away by the tides over the years. He crouched down, his hand hovering over a dark spot nearby. He hesitated a moment, before digging around it. Moments later, Mike was sitting beside him, both of them looking over the old wooden compass.
"I'll be damned." Mike said, and he laughed. "I think we might have found something valuable. Maybe it worth getting up for." He flipped open the lid, water leaking out of it. An odd feeling came over him in that moment and he quickly snapped it shut. Danny frowned, looking over at him.
"Something wrong?" He asked. Mike shook his head. "No, I just…wanted to save this until someone who knows about this kind of thing looks over it first. Might be a pirate's." Danny raised an eyebrow skeptically.
"I'd be on it. Found by the ocean, buried for some years. This little thing has got to be pirate, or my name isn't Michael Sparrow."