Friends and Consequences

It was shortly after Christmas in Port Royal. Will Turner stared out in the fading light through the large veranda window at the whitecaps on the dark ocean. He didn't know why that this night, his memories called out to him. Why he felt compelled to think about his past.

Life here was so different then the first few cold and snowy Christmases he had known in jolly old England before he traveled here to seek his father. Now that seemed almost like a dream then the reality of the paradise he had known for almost twenty years. Will smiled in his thoughts. Paradise was what one made, and he had worked long and hard for his, and would always be grateful.

It seemed so long ago when he had built this house for his new bride Elizabeth upon the land her father, the Governor had given them as a wedding present. Every year he added a bit more in between running his blacksmith shop, as having a family made more room a bit necessary. Through his long hours and diligent work, he had been able to make a thriving business, and support his wife where even her skeptical father had been impressed.

The fragrant breeze was warm, inundated with the scents of the prolific flowers that not only grew naturally all around, but the many varieties that his wife loved to cultivate. Trust Elizabeth not to be a woman who sat around the house playing high tea all the time. The palm trees shook softly in the light wind, background music to the sweet sounds of nightbirds, frogs and insects as they filled the early evening with their song.

A pair of arms affectionately encircled his waist, and he felt the familiar form of his love press her body close to his. Will smiled for real now, and ran his hands lovingly back and forth over the smooth skin of Elizabeth's forearms. He turned gently in her grasp to face her, wrapping his arms back around her.

Her rich brown eyes still sparkled with the willful enthusiasm that had attracted him in the first place back when had first opened his eyes to see the young girl who promised to watch over him. Her delicate curves were more round and womanly now, but that is what time and three children did to one's self. Yet the years and the results of their love had not diminished the passion he felt for her.

"The children are asleep," Elizabeth murmured with a sly grin.

Will chuckled, tenderly running a finger down her slightly tanned cheek. "Give them a few more minutes. You know how Justin times his thirst."

Elizabeth laughed back. "Yes, I suppose you're right. So," she leaned up and softly kissed him,"What were thinking about, here, all alone, so deep in thought that you did not hear me come in?"

"Well there is that new busty French barmaid in the tavern..." Will started, and seeing the eyebrow on her face rise, quickly added," and how she could never compare to you."

"Oh, I'm sure that is exactly what you were thinking," she smartly replied with an air of playful indignation.

"Actually," Will said more seriously," I was thinking about Jack. Well, it started with Jack and led to many different things, but it all centered around him."

"Jack," Elizabeth echoed almost sorrowfully. "I wonder what that old curmudgeon is up to. He hasn't ever missed a Christmas with us before. I hope nothing..." and she trailed off.

Will cupped the side of her face, his fingers brushing through the stray wisps of her hair. "I am sure he just got waylaid. We both know our beloved Commodore Norrington would sing until dawn if he been able to get his hands on him, or had heard anything about Jack's ill fortune. And I have heard nothing in the rumor mills or from the incoming sailors."

Elizabeth sighed and pulled away. "We all know how reliable stories about the infamous Jack Sparrow can be. Dear Lord most of the world thinks the man is invincible and immortal."

"Weeellllll," Will drawled out," he was for a short while there on the Isla."

"Tsk! That's beside the point, Mr. Turner. Most of the world doesn't KNOW about that." Her hands wrung in unconscious worry. "Still, I can't help but wonder..."

Will grabbed Elizabeth and crushed her against him, a devilish gleam in his eyes. "Jack will be Jack and we will know when he is ready, Mrs. Turner, so whilst I love him dearly," he softly said before kissing her firmly," it is not he I wish to think more about right at this moment any more." And he kissed her again.

Just as her body began to melt into his, a sharp and loud knock resounded through the lower level. The lover's both startled, and Williams browns furrowed. "Who could that be this late in the evening?" he muttered as he released Elizabeth and went to the heavy wooden door.

Elizabeth could not see on the other side from where she stood, but she heard Will's sudden intake of breath, and then his loud exclamation. "Dear Lord! Mr. Gibbs! What in heaven...?"

"Can we come in boy?" She heard the gruff familiar voice of the old sailor, Jack's Bo'sun on the Black Pearl.

"Yes. Yes. This way. Please."

"William?" She nervously started saying as the door swung wide. Mr. Gibbs staggered through holding up another man in a long dark cloak with the hood up. The lines on the old man's face were deeper and more weathered then the last time they saw him, but the stout strong man still commanded the presence he needed in his position on the ship.

William grabbed the mysterious figure on the other side and helped drag him through and into the adjoining room and onto a settee. As he was laid down, the heavy woolen hood fell back, and the unconscious face of Jack Sparrow appeared.

"Jack?!" Elizabeth cried, and rushed forward. "Mr. Gibbs! Is he injured?"

As she got within an arms distance, the strong odor of liquor answered her question before Gibbs could respond completely. "No, Miss Swann..." he started. "Errr... Mrs. Turner. He's jus' a tad indisposed at the moment."

Will held out his hand and took the sailor's in a firm handshake. "It's good to see you again, but I am a bit confused. Your demeanor suggests something more then Jack just needing a place to sleep off his fun."

Mr. Gibbs sighed, removing the small cap he liked to wear and wringing it uneasily in his hands. "I did that to Jack. Twasnt his fun this time. I had to find a way to get him over here, and a few bottles of rum later I could get him near anywhere."

"What?" The couple said in stunned unison.

"Do ye have something to help me quench my thirst first though," Gibbs hesitantly asked, and murmured, "Help make this a bit easier for me to tell ya all."

Without a word, William poured a small shot of brandy from a decorative glass decanter and handed it to him. The old man downed it in a second and wiped his mouth with an exaggerated motion, stalling for time. "Now Mr. Gibbs, what is the meaning of all this?"

"I need a favor from ye good folks," the deep voice almost trembled in apprehension. "This is more then should be asked of anybody, but thar aint no one else I can think of that I could ever ask this from..." He paused, contemplating the next thing he would say, despite the number of times he had run this conversation through his head. "I guess the best thing to do is start at the beginning. Over the past year, Jack's been changin'. It's been slow, almost unnoticeable with his propensity for eccentrics. I noticed him becoming a bit odd and off centered..."

"Like one could tell that with Jack? The man is the epitome of odd and off centered." William burst out a bit dubiously.

"Aye, I know...But recently, it's been more drastic, more pronounced. Jack did things that even Jack would never do. Talking to himself. Talking to people that weren't thar. That, and he been losin his touch, his way. Waters that Jack should know like the back of his hand suddenly became unfamiliar and he's almost run us aground. He's forgotten several times how to work the ropes, or just couldn't work the ropes, like his strength just left him. He's been dropping his bottles and tankards more times then I can believe be coincidence. On several occasions I caught him scouring the ship for little people and then not the other day I had to wrestle him to the ground as he readied to shoot one of the crew claimin' he be one of Barbossa's men come back. He's losing the little bit o' sanity he has left. He's sick."

"We can have a doctor fetched immediately Joshamee," Elizabeth said.

Waving his hand at the pair, he continued, "No need, milady. That be whar we jus' come from. He has this new fangled thing called syphilis."

Will cocked his head. "Syphilis? I don't think I have heard of it."

"I would doubt you had, boy. So the good doctor tells me it's an illness of soldiers and frequent takers of various womanly establishments, if ye get my meaning," he carefully stated, giving Elizabeth a sideways glance.

Hands on her hips, Elizabeth sighed. "So his love of women has finally caught up to old Jack? No surprise. How do we cure it? If its money, I am sure William and I can help..."

"That's the problem, young missy. The doctor says thar aint no cure. In fact, Jack is dying, and it's only going to get worse."

Elizabeth weakly clutched at Will's arm, who was barely able to get out, "Dying?" through his numb lips.

Gibbs nodded. "They say he won't last out the coming year. That he probably won't even see the height of summer." The man wearily sat down on a nearby chair. "I don't know what to be doin'. I can't be having a mad Captain, even madder then the original Jack, running the Pearl. But the Pearl is his life. On the other hand, the crew is getting mighty upset o'er the whole thing, and the last thing I want is poor Jack having to face another mutiny next time he does something risking us. Taint fair."

"No, it isn't," Will softly said, staring over at the limp figure on the furniture. "What is it that you need from us?"

"Someplace where Jack can spend the rest of his days."

"Here?" Elizabeth had finally found her voice.

"Aye. Here, with people he loves, as much as that crazy old bat could love anyone. Jack needs ye. You've seen the hospitals. You know what they'll do to him. He needs someone. Other then meself and AnaMaria, you two have been the bestest and longest friends the Captain ever had and could ever dream of. I know he thought highly of ye, more then anyone in the world, if it makes any difference in yer decision."

Will caught Elizabeth's gaze, and they stared silently at one another for a good long time, Gibbs glancing back and forth between them, until Elizabeth gave her husband a barely noticeable nod. Will turned to Jack's mate and solemnly said," Jack saved both our lives a long time ago. This is the least we could do for him. Now tell us everything the doctor said that we might have to expect."

Gibbs closed his eyes momentarily in relief. "Ye had best sit down then thar mates, because this is gonna take a while..."

Elizabeth quietly creeped into the bedroom to check on the fireplace before retiring to her own room for the night...that is until the screams of pain from Jack tore through the house and awoke her like it had every night for the past few weeks. His agony had only grown worse as each day passed. Most days he spent strung out on laudanum.

She glanced over at the pirate, asleep in the large bed. He was but a shadow of the man she had first met so many years ago. In the past few months Jack's illness had rapidly advanced, tearing the life out of the old pirate, leaving him a gaunt and broken shell. They had been forced to shave his head down a few weeks prior for sake of vermin and hygiene. The day she had to cut off his long beaded locks and shave his face and scalp, she had cried.

After Gibbs had left Jack in their hands that fateful night four months previous, it had been a series of trials and tribulations to take care of him. With his mental faculties mostly gone, Jack spent a lot of his time in delusions, which helped at first.

William had Jack convinced that this was part of a secret ploy to infiltrate something and gather treasure. Since Jack had lost sense of time, Will would just have to reiterate the "plan" every couple days to sate the anxious seafarer.

**"Will! Come here." The tousled head of the pirate popped into the large room where the family was eating."

"What Jack?" Will asked, without looking up from the letter he was reading, knowing what was coming.

"Not here Will. Not in front of the strangers." Most days he tended to have spells where he forgot who most people were. He always seemed to remember Will though.

"These are the crew in disguise Jack."

"Oh." Jack blinked, and pushed the strand of grey streaked hair back from his face. "Good disguises there maties! I almost didn't recognize you AnaMaria!" he looked straight at Will's wife.

Elizabeth sighed, and poured some more tea from the delicate ceramic pot into her cup. Her oldest son Edward glanced up at her and smiled comfortingly. It had taken a bit to get him to understand that the doting 'uncle' he grown to love was ill, and it was nothing against them that he couldn't remember. It was part of the sickness. The younger children thankfully thought nothing more then their uncle was a funny old man who loved to play pretend all the time.

Jack sauntered in and sat down at the empty spot. "So Will, why did you call me here again? And why are we in disguise?"

"You called me Jack, and you arranged to plunder a secret shipment of jewels that you heard about, but we have to infiltrate a rich merchant's house. You don't want anyone to get hurt, and we don't know exactly when it will be, but it will be more then a king's ransom. We have to be here and be ready." Will looked Jack straight in the eye now, this conversation commonplace, and the information the Captain needed all set and pat in a readied answer.

"Excellent! If you hear of anything, let me know immediately so I can devise the next part of my plan. Now, pass those eggs this way AnaMaria."**

This game had lasted for a few weeks, until Jack's dementia became more wild and uncontrollable. Jack had lost all sense of self, and had begun to lose his sense of balance and coordination. He was unable to grasp things many times, the items just slipping from his fingers, and many days his joints swelled to the point of incapacitation. Most times he did not even recognize Will anymore.

After several frightening incidents when he was more mobile, the last one involving the roof and their youngest toddler daughter, they determined he was a danger not only to himself but others. At that point they were forced to lock him in room they had modified in the attic, with no windows and only the one door. The bed had restraints on it, and Will actually installed leg chains into the wall.

It practically killed Elizabeth to lock him away, but if they gave him to the doctor's he would just be locked away anyway, but in squalor and with people he did not know and who did not care. At least here he would be cared for.

Jack's antics on the roof unfortunately had gained attention, and rumor of it had leaked back to the Fort. The complexity of the situation became even worse when Commodore Norrington showed up at their door later that evening.

**Wearily Will and Elizabeth sat down at the table after fighting with Jack most of the day to get him settled in the small room. A sharp knock at the door startled them both, and Will jumped up to answer it.

Elizabeth heard her husband's surprised voice. "Commodore? What a surprise. What brings you out here this time of night?" She rose and quickly made her way into the main hall where the two men stood. They both looked over to her.

Norrington gave her a small bow and promptly removed his hat as she entered the foyer. "I had strange reports this afternoon, of a disturbance at your house. A strange man, on your roof, carrying your little girl. I felt obligated to investigate this myself, since the description of the man left me most intrigued. Long unkempt hair, under a red bandana, with strings of beads and baubles. I said to myself, that sounds like our old friend Jack Sparrow, but then I said to myself that there was no way that two upstanding citizens such as yourselves would be harboring that pirate in their home like that, allowing him to carrying their beloved child about on their roof. Would they?"

Will and Elizabeth stared at each other long and hard. Finally Elizabeth turned towards the Commodore. "Please, it's not what you think, Commodore."

The prim British officer raised an eyebrow and sighed. "Then perhaps you can help enlighten me on what I should be thinking. Sparrow is still a pirate and still a wanted fugitive."

Three was a long moment of uneasy silence. "Jack's dying, sir." Will finally said resignedly. "The doctors have not given him much longer to live."

"Dying? What do you mean? And why is he here then?"

"They call it Syphilis. I call it hell. He had gone mad, and for true mad. His eyes are going blind, and he can barely move anymore. We wanted him to be able to live out his last days with people who cared." Will stared past the other man to his wife.

"Syphilis or not, Sparrow is a criminal and I have a duty. Are you asking me to forego that duty?"

Closing her eyes for a moment, Elizabeth breathed deeply and gently set a hand upon the red sleeve of the Commodore. "James," she murmured, using the unprecedented familiarity, shocking both him and her husband, "Come and see. Please." He nodded and set his hat upon a small table.

She led Norrington up the small dark stair to the little room, Will trailing close behind. The door creaked as it opened, and a small oil lamp illuminated the tiny room. The pirate lay asleep in a laudanum induced stupor on the bed, but even still, one could see the start of the deformities in his limbs, especially his fingers.

Elizabeth motioned towards him. "This isn't the Jack Sparrow you are after Commodore. This isn't the Jack Sparrow you knew. This is some poor lunatic locked away in the home of people he used to call friends, waiting to die. He doesn't even remember who he is most of the time, or who we are." She turned towards her long time friend and courter, boldly grabbing his jacket. "Please. What sense is it to be hanging him now? Let him die free. He never wanted anything more then that. Not really. It does you no indisposition to look the other way. If you ever really loved me," she pleaded," then please, grant me this one boon."

Scuffing his feet on the floor, Norrington looked away, contemplating the small flame from the lamp for a long time. "It would almost seem more merciful for him to hang, then this," they finally heard him softly say. Sighing loudly, he looked once more upon the figure on the bed. "I was mistaken it seems. This cant be Captain Jack Sparrow. God have mercy on his soul."*****

"Elizabeth? Is that you?"

The woman almost jumped out of skin for a moment at the sound of the voice. She turned, and Jack was weakly looking in her direction from the bed. A hand flew to her mouth. Jack hadn't recognized her since shortly after his arrival. How he knew now was beyond her, since she knew that his eyesight had mostly failed over the past few weeks.


"Yes Jack," she was able to choke out, and rushed over to his side. "It's me."

"Good," he groaned. "I think me had a bit too much there o' the rum. I don't feel too good. Strange."

"Rum?" Elizabeth repeated in confusion.

"Aye, the rum girl, from the runners. Bloody hell is it cold tonight." Jack tried to sit up, failing until Elizabeth scooted in behind him and eased him up. "Did ye let the fire go out while ole' Jack was sleepin'? Ye should be tossing some more o' that driftwood there on the embers, get the bonfire blazing again. It's too dark."

Blinking, memories of a night long ago on a beach came flooding back to her. A sound at the door barely caught her attention, and she saw Will silently come in, a concerned look on his features. She shook her head softly at him.

"Yes Jack. I will in a moment." She comfortingly said. Jack leaned back, his frail body nestling against hers. Despite his seeming lucidity, she realized he was reliving and seeing that time they were marooned on the island. He wasn't here in the present. He was there in the past.

A smile spread across Jack's face, his trademark gold glinting in the soft firelight. "Now this is the life. Drinking rum, on the beach with a beautiful woman. What man could ask for more then that?" He grimaced then, and added,"Well except for this hangover. Don't usually get those. Didn't think I 'ad drunk quite that much."

He looked up towards her face, seeing nothing but seeing something. "Speaking of drink there, you had enough rum yet for that kind of talk?"

Elizabeth smiled despite herself. "No Jack, not yet."

"Good," he sighed, "because I don't feel up to much right now, and I would have hate to have wasted an opportune moment." The pirate was quiet for a moment, and Elizabeth wondered if he had drifted back to sleep, until he said,"You are quite the woman, Miss Swann. I see what Bootstrap's son saw in you. I don't know if I should be telling ye this now, with the lad being held by Barbossa and all, and us 'ere trapped on this island, but dear William loves you very much. That's why he went out whole hog to rescue his bonny lass. Not just out of you being the Gov'ners daughter and all that."

Elizabeth saw Will blush and she chuckled. "Yes Jack. I know. And I love him too."

"I hope ye realize I tried to save him there at the end, and almost had it too, until the daft boy pulled that stunt there with Barbossa on the Pearl." Jack paused in thought. "But I have to admit, he had guts to do that. I like that in him. Guts and glory. Needs a bit more on the thought process, but all in all, I like him. He's a real man. He's fair and honorable, and not that fake stuff you see in the elitist nobility... Sorry, no insult intended there."

"None taken, Jack. I know what you mean."

"Good." Jack had subtly whether through conscious action or unconscious comfort, maneuvered his way until his head was nestled between her breasts.

"I wish we could save him."

"We will Jack, don't worry."

"At least I wont give the Commodore the satisfaction of watching me swing I suppose, if we don't find a way off this spit o land." He murmured, and then quickly added, "But I'm sure we will...somehow."

"I have no fear the great Captain Jack Sparrow will come up with something. He is the mot fearsome pirate in the Caribbean you know."

"The entire ocean, the entire world, luv!" Jack started to laugh, but a coughing fit sent his body racking for a good while, and he didn't talk for a while after it stopped. "It sure is cold tonight for a tropical island," he said with a shiver.

Elizabeth held the old pirate closer, pulling the blankets up around him. His breathing was a lot more shallow and ragged then she would have liked. Jack's emaciated frame seemed so frail at that moment.

"'Lizbet?" he weakly said.

"Yes Jack?"

His voice seemed distant. "Remember that song. The one you taught me earlier. The one with really bad eggs? I..I am sure tis the rum and all, but I can't seem t' remember all the words, and I really liked that one. Could we sing it together again? Just once more. Ye know I want to teach it to me crew when I get the Pearl back."

Licking her lips, Elizabeth fought back a strange feeling that was growing in her gut. "Sure Jack. We can sing it." Her hands slowly stroked the short tufts of peppered hair that had started to regrow on his head.

"Oh, and promise me one thing?"

"If I can Jack."

"Don't know why I get this funny feeling, but promise me that ye won't touch the rum?"

Elizabeth chuckled behind tears that had started to moisten her eyes. "I promise I won't touch the rum Jack."

"Now 'ow did that ole ditty go again, luv?"

Slowly she began to sing, and the pirate Captains weak voice joined her.

i Yo Ho, Yo Ho, a pirate's life for me! We pillage, we plunder we rifle and loot Drink up me hearties, yo ho! We kidnap and ravage and don't give a hoot Drink up me hearties, yo ho! i/

She studied the pirate's weary and strained features as they sang, and saw something in his open and blank eyes. Elizabeth shot her eyes up to Will's, who had silently stood and watched the whole thing. His sight was trained on Jack, and she knew he saw what she did.

The tears that had threatened welled up even further, yet she forced herself to keep singing. Her hands began to stroke his head more urgently.

iYo Ho, Yo Ho, a pirate's life for me! We extort, we pilfer we filch and sack Drink up me hearties, yo ho! Maraud and embezzle and even high-jack Drink up me hearties yo ho! i/

The cracked, singsong voice of her dear friend faltered. Elizabeth ignored it... and kept singing, even though tears began to flow down her cheeks and choke her. She refused to look down.

iYo Ho, Yo Ho, a pirate's life for me! We kindle and char inflame and ignite Drink up me hearties, yo ho! /I

Jack's words faded and stopped. The pirate's one exposed hand slipped slowly off the covers and slid down to his side. Will's lips trembled as he watched the scene before him. No words were needed when Elizabeth saw his hands rise and cover his face, his shoulders shaking, and he turned away.

She sobbed openly now, and yet forced herself to continue to end, grasping the limp head tightly now against her bosom.

iWe burn up the city we're really a fright Drink up me hearties, yo ho! We're rascals, scoundrels villains, and knaves Drink up me hearties yo ho! We're devils and black sheep - REALLY BAD EGGS Drink up me hearties yo ho!

Yo Ho, Yo Ho, a pirate's life for me! We're beggars and blighters and ne'er do-well cads Drink up me hearties, yo ho! Aye, but we're loved by our mommies and dads Drink up me hearties, yo ho!/i

The sun rose slowly over the island, and Elizabeth sat silently in the chair next to the bed, her eyes still swollen and red from hours of crying. A linen sheet covered the bed and the large form on top of it. Will sat between her legs, his head resting in her lap.

There was a soft knock on the door and Will startled. It cracked open and their maidservant peeked in. "I know its not a good time, but the Commodore is here to see you. He insists it be now."

"The Commodore?" Elizabeth said in mild bewilderment, her voice gravely and tired.

The tall, red uniformed form of the Royal Officer appeared in the door. Norrington appraised the room, his gaze sweeping over the bed and the bedraggled couple.

Elizabeth jumped up, fire in her eyes. "The news flew like fire I gather. Couldn't you wait? You had to be the vulture for the Crown? You had to run and see if he was really dead?" She stomped over and grabbed the sheet, pulling it off the body of Jack Sparrow. His skin was grey and almost inhuman now. His limbs were twisted from the weeks of debilitating pain. But for the first time in a long time, the look on Jack's face showed peace and contentment. 'Is this what you wanted to see? The great Captain finally dead? Or are you just upset that you couldn't do it yourself," she shrilly screamed.

"Elizabeth!" Will gently tried to lead her away from the corpse on the bed. She fell into his arms sobbing again.

Norrington shifted uncomfortably, his hands clutching the feathered felt hat he had removed when he entered the house. He looked at the floor for a moment and then back up at the two. "Yes and no, Mrs. Turner. I heard only when I arrived that Jack had... passed on. But I had figured something was up when a scout ship had spotted the Black Pearl sailing in towards Port Royal under the white flag. I felt it my duty to come and inform you that it should be here within a few hours."

"I.. I had sent message to them a couple weeks back," Will stated, "When Jack's condition took a turn for the worse. I had figured his friends there would have wanted to know. And take him home."

Norrington nodded. "I understand." He was silent for another moment, and turned to the housemaid. "Won't you please get Mrs. Turner cleaned up and ready for outing." Then he turned to Will and Elizabeth who were staring at him quite strangely. "Did the Captain come with his personal effects?"

"What... what do you mean?" Elizabeth stammered.

"The clothing of his station," the Commodore's face was still the mask of non emotion. Elizabeth blinked, and then it dawned on her what he wanted. She went to a small cedar trunk at the foot of the bed, and opened it. Slowly she withdrew Jack's clothing; breeches, shirt, vest, Captain's jacket, and his trademark red bandana and weathered leather hat.

For a moment she stood there, cradling the garments, then slowly handed them to the Commodore. The officer called out behind him. "Groves. Gillette." The two long time aides and officers to the Commodore appeared stone-faced and pale in the entrance.

"I don't understand why you are here, Commodore? Staying I mean," Will asked, obviously confused.

Norrington looked at Will. "Things need to be done, and you will need help. Shall we get the Captain ready for his final voyage, Mr. Turner?"

It was a few hours later when a rather large band of persons slowly made their way through the streets of Port Royal. On a simple stretcher of sheets wrapped around two long poles lay the body of a man, smartly outfitted except for a strange red cloth on his head and out of place old hat. Three Officers of the Royal Navy and one regular citizen that some recognized as a local blacksmith carried the poles on their shoulders. The blacksmith's wife, the Governor's daughter, carrying a toddler, dressed in a crisp black dress, her face hidden with a black veil, led two more children right behind.

Citizens of the town stopped and watched, many removing their hats as the odd parade wound its way through the streets, drummers and all. The man must have been someone important, for a full regiment of Royal Navy Marines led and followed in procession towards the docks

At the dock, Will and Elizabeth could see the Pearl anchored in the harbor. A white flag flew uncharacteristically from is mast. A longboat with the familiar face of Gibbs and AnaMaria slowly rowed its way across the water. They bumped against the wood and one of the rowers quickly tied it off.

Gibbs climbed from the boat, while AnaMaria stayed sitting in it, not once looking up at the crowd on the pier. Will could see the old salt fight for composure as he stared at the body of his longtime friend and Captain.

"Thank you Will," he finally forced out. "Commodore."

"Where will you take him exactly, Mr.Gibbs?" Will asked.

Gibbs sniffed and ran a hand over his eyes briefly. "Dun'know yet. The Captain will let me know, somehow. He always had this thing about opportune moments, y' know. Was it.. Did he...?" The old man faltered.

Will nodded. "Yes. It was peaceful."

Gibbs nodded forcefully. "Good. He couldn't ask fer much more than what ye gave him." He stiffly walked over and took Will's spot on the pole, leading the other carriers to the boat, where they carefully lowered the body on the sheets into the waiting arms of the other crew members.

Ana stared at the body of her Captain, and then carefully removed his hat, and wrapped the loose edges of the sheet around the corpse to cover it. She climbed up, and slowly went over to Will, cradling the leather in her hands. The pretty mulatto woman, age not having seemed to have taken its toll on her, unexpectedly handed the old hat to the blacksmith. "'Ere Will, "she said with much difficulty, "Ole Jack, 'e wouldha wanted ye to have dis. Ye would be one of te few who 'e would know would treat it as 'e wouldha."

Will nodded and with shaking hands took it, holding it close.

Gibbs and Ana silently got back in the longboat, and with only the shushing of oars, started their journey back to the Black Pearl. Will Turner gathered Elizabeth into his arms and led her home.

Groves turned to the Marines in the precession. "Soldiers, rank lines of three." The soldiers formed three lines on the pier, firearms on their shoulders. "Present arms!" The guns pointed to the sky. "Prepare to fire. On my mark. Fire. Fire. Fire."

At each cried fire, one row of soldiers discharged their weapon over the open water, till all three had done so.

Gillette looked at the silent Commodore as the small boat with the white bundle moved further and further way. "Jack Sparrow was a pirate, sir. I don't understand. Wont the ranks get a bit peeved that we did this for a pirate?"

Taking a deep breath, James Norrington continued to look straight ahead, but replied," That wasn't any pirate, Lt. That was Captain Jack Sparrow. Best damn pirate that ever lived. A worthy opponent and a good man. And they won't find out, now, will they?"