It's here, this is it the final chapter. This is a bittersweet moment for me, to know that after all this time the end is here. This story feels like an old friend to me, and I am quite sad to be leaving it behind now. I do hope that those of you that have read this piece all of the way through have enjoyed it, and aren't disappointed with the path that I chose to take. I also thank you for sticking with me as I have had such a busy time in the last few months that updates haven't always been as regular as I would have liked. Anyway I am going to post my individual thanks at the bottom of this chapter along with a teaser for the sequel, however the posting of the sequel will depend on how many reviews I get for this story! (See I may be grateful but I am still not above a bit of blackmail!) Please leave your review as I have put my heart and soul into this story for a very long time and am very proud with how it has turned out and at the length I have managed to produce, so please leave me some comments!!
Jack stood at the railing for a long time after the navy man had left his side. This ship was his home, the one place where he had felt truly alive, yet now it was a place of death- sure a pirate ship was inevitably going to be the place where people fell to the deaths, that is part of the life of a pirate, but they should be falling for gold that is their purpose, not because of petty revenge. He sighed to himself, and his head swam in dizziness that he had been fighting for hours. He could feel hi legs sagging from beneath him, and just as he was about to hit the deck like a sack of potatoes a pair o strong arms grabbed him from behind and gently pulled him up so that he had a firm grip on the railings in front of him. Jack blinked severally times in order to try to settle his vision into double rather than treble, and found his watery gaze locked firmly on Will Turner.
"'ello Whelp" he greeted his voice laced with emotion that he kept hidden on his blank face. Will sighed and rubbed a hand over his tired face.
"Jack, why are you doing this to yourself?" Will asked the man beside him, his voice clearly showing his concern for his friend. Jack shot a puzzled look at the young man stood next to him. "This isn't your fault, Harry was a mad man, his own daughter has taken your side for god sake" he hissed, his frustration sounding like anger as he spoke to the Captain. Jack sighed at his words and Will took a moment to calm himself down. "I'm sorry Jack, but if even Commodore Norrington agrees that this was not your doing after only hearing the bare minimum of the facts, don't you think that maybe you should give yourself a bit of a break too?" Will asked the older man, and with a last glance at his favourite pirate Will turned and walked away leaving an exhausted pirate to ponder his words. As soon as the blacksmith had left him alone jack allowed his weary head to drop until it rested on his bandaged arm, he ignored the pain that tore through his damaged chest at the moment and for the first time allowed himself to concentrate on the pain that tore through his heart as he allowed himself to shed the tears he had been holding back. He cried for Cotton, he cried for his fallen crew, he cried for Emma and Victoria Birch. He even cried for the man that Harry Birch was long before all this had happened. But most importantly of all this time he cried for Jack Sparrow, he cried for his loss and his pain, and allowed the release to wash over the deck of his Pearl, until he had no emotion left to show.
Elizabeth sighed as she finally felt the bunk beneath her weary body. She was exhausted the last months had taken their toll on the young lady, yet there was nowhere else that she would have been throughout that time, Jack had needed them whether he knew it or not or whether he would admit or not he had needed his friends and she was only too glad to have been able to be there. Even if she only helped for a moment in her mind that was enough. She knew that she loved Jack Sparrow, oh not in a romantic way more in an elder brother kind of way but in some ways that was far better. With his mischievous grin, twinkling eyes and roughish manner Jack was a pleasure to be around, and he deserved so much better than he had been dealt by fate in the last while. Now here they were docked in Port Royal and she knew in her head that it was time for them t leave, time for her and Will to tie the knot and settle down in marriage, perhaps have a family of their own. She truly did want that but somehow in her heart she was dreading leaving Jack, she was afraid that she would never see him again, although she knew that he valued their friendship as much as they valued his she couldn't help but worry. A pirate made many enemies in life, especially one as notorious as Captain Sparrow, and she honestly didn't believe that his heart could take it if he faced another trial like Harry Birch. She yawned to herself, she really was exhausted, so exhausted in fact that her eyes began to drift shut and she was a sleep before she even knew it.
Will sighed with relief as he witnessed as Jack finally succumbed to the much needed emotional release- it was long overdue after all. He stayed discreetly in the background and only moved forward when he saw Jack slump down onto the deck. He approached quietly knowing that Jack would not be keen to know that Will had witnessed his semi-breakdown. However he needn't have worried as Jack was in a deep slumber on the deck his emotional breakdown obviously using up what little energy he had remaining. The young blacksmith sighed in relief, and with a huge push of effort he pulled the pirate into his arms and gently carried him back to the Captain's cabin, noting even then that the Captain weighed far less than he ought to. Carefully he removed his friend's boots and eased his friend's slight frame into a more comfortable position on the bed, then pulled the blankets up around the still form, then with a slight back glance he left the pirate to his dreams, which would hopefully be better than the reality of late.
Jack woke up as the sun was rising in the sky, his mind clearer than he had been for days. He sighed to himself and stretched as far as his battered body would allow, and then carefully swung his legs out of bed and got to his feet, deliberately not even trying to think of who had put him to bed like a child the night before. He shook his head to himself, no he truly wouldn't think about that. He pulled his clean breeches on and struggled into a white shirt, then stooped to pull his boots on, in his heart he knew it was time, after all when you fell off a horse you were supposed to get straight back on again, well it was time for him to get back on. He leant forward and took hold on his beloved sword; he stared at it for a moment, as a hundred memories fought to rise to the surface, memories of men killed by that sword and memories of those saved by it. He sighed once more determined not to allow himself to fall into doom again. Without another thought he placed the sword at his hip and strapped it securely into place, then reached for his pistol and tucked that into the red band around his middle as well. He walked slowly across the room to his table and looked down at the items upon it, at one time his most prized possessions, now just things to him, yet as much as they seemed insignificant to him now he couldn't bring himself to stop caring. With a grin that was reminiscent of the old Captain Jack he took hold of his red bandana that had seen more battles than most pirates, and placed it over his braided hair. When that was in its position he once more turned his attention towards the table and took his tri-cornered hat, placing that over the top of his bandana. With one more backward glance he took the final item and stared at it for a moment, memories of betrayal and loss overtook his soul, then just as quickly a feeling of warmth entered his very being. He flipped open the lid and grinned down at the open item.
"Now just to get rid of the Whelp and Lizzie" he muttered to himself, then turned on his heal and walked out onto the deck. Elizabeth looked up in surprise at the appearance of her friend who looked a million times better than the last time she had seen him.
"Hello Jack, what are you doing?" she asked him, her tone as friendly as ever towards him. He cocked an eyebrow at her, and she was surprised to read the mirth in his eyes.
"I tell ye what 'm doing Lizzie, I am kicking ye and the whelp off of me ship" jack told her, and she grinned back at him. She could have cried in relief, Jack was acting like Jack!
"It'll be my pleasure Captain Sparrow" she responded, and then she moved towards him, stood up on tiptoes and planted a soft kiss on his forehead.
"We've missed you Captain Sparrow" she told him, and then went to collect her things. Jack chuckled in shock at her action, yet relieved that at last things were getting back to normal.
Some hours later Will and Elizabeth were finally ready to bid their friend farewell, although their concern was evident in their hesitancy to leave. They had already had a firm talk with their friend outlining in no uncertain terms that he was to contact them whenever he needed them, he had of course laughed it off but both of them knew that he appreciated it. So here they were the three friends were stood on the side of the dock of Port Royal not quite ready to say goodbye, but knowing that they had to.
"Well then I best be off, got ships to plunder and all that" Jack told them, his eyes glistening. The two youngsters smiled at him, showing a fondness that Jack couldn't remember having aimed at him for years.
"Yes, but do keep in touch Jack, I don't want to be worried for you" Elizabeth told him, gently squeezing his bandaged arm as she did so.
"Aye I will pet, but you ain't got no need to worry about old Jack, just remember I am Captain Jack Sparrow, scurge of the Caribbean" Jack told her, and Elizabeth had to laugh.
"Where will you go?" Will asked his friend softly, he had always hated goodbyes.
"I dunno Will'am. Wherever the sea takes me" Jack replied.
"But how will we know how to find you?" Elizabeth asked dismay over her face.
"Same way as ever, I will be out at sea. Just remember we're under the same sky" Jack replied and with a wink he turned on his heel and strode back to his beloved ship. He nodded once at Gibbs and within no time they were sailing away.
"When do you think we will see him again?" Elizabeth asked his fiancé stood beside her.
"At our wedding of course!" Will responded and Elizabeth giggled in delight which in itself was unusual for the ordinarily prim and proper young lady, but somehow it seemed right at that moment. The two stood beside the docks until the Pearl was little more that a dot on the horizon then together they turned and walked away, their hearts light and their minds making plans for the future.
Jack sighed to himself as he stood at the helm, that was it he had said goodbye, now back to business. He plunged his hand into his compass and once more took hold of the last item from his desk flicking open the lid and starring at his compass that didn't point north- but never failed to show him his horizon. Captain Jack Sparrow was back.
Sob sob! That is truly it guys! The end finit! Many thanks to everybody who has managed to get his far I truly appreciate it guys!
Grey Sky Morning- Teaser
"Jack she ain't holding!" Ana yelled desperately at her Captain who was currently hanging fast on the helm of his beloved ship, trying to prevent the whole thing from crumbling until the ferocity of the sea.
"She'll hold!" he yelled back "she'll hold" he muttered to himself, he knew his Pearl better than any person and he was sure that she would not let him down.
"Bloody well tie yourself on you stubborn fool!" Ana yelled at him once more and a chuckle escaped him at her words, only she could get away with it. Unfortunately his chuckle soon turned into a gasp and then a cough as the water pounded on his helpless form- until finally he was plunged into darkness.
Anyway there's the teaser for the sequel!
Many thanks goes especially to JackFan2 for all of her beta reader for me! Thank you!!!