Disclaimer: PotC does not belong to me.
A/N: Thank you so much for patiently waiting for that last chapter, and thank you for all of the wonderful reviews.
"Begging your pardon, Mum," Sarah said hesitantly, taking in her mistress' appearance. "But, if you wear black to Mr. Sparrow's hanging, people will talk."
Ana's eyebrow rose. She glared at her maid's reflection in the mirror. "In case it escaped your notice, the fine people of Kingston have talked about me ever since I was born, and they don't say anything particularly nice as it is," she said as she continued to pin up her long locks of jet black hair.
"Yes, Mum," Sarah answered, nodding and backing out of the room.
"Besides," Ana went on, to herself. "Someone should mourn his passing." The woman in the mirror ceased her fevered movement. Her lip began to quiver, and her eyes moistened. Clenching her jaw, Ana willed her tears not to fall. She would not cry in the square. She would not be weak. She would stand in the crowd and find his face. She would hold his gaze to the last. She would be his strength, should his own fail him.
"Do not cry," Ana whispered, squeezing her eyes shut. "Please, God, do not let me cry." Her hand sought out the tiger's eye pendant that hung from a silver chain around her neck. She had long since stopped wearing the cross given to her at her first communion. Over a year had passed since she stopped wearing her wedding band. But this small token from a pirate she would wear always. Gripping the small stone tighter, Ana took a shaky breath. She would remember that pirate always.
"Do not cry," she said again. Not now. After he was gone, then, she could cry. She could weep for days, but not now. Now, she must remain unwavering. Taking a steadier breath, Ana closed her eyes, steeling herself against what she would see in the town's square. The good citizen's of Kingston would cheer on the evil pirate's demise. They would call for blood. Another deep breath. Ana opened her eyes and stared at the woman in the mirror, clad in black. She stared at Anamaria Tarret. Shaking her head, she said a silent goodbye, for, today, that woman would stay inside of the looking glass. Today, she was not Doctor Tarret's daughter. She was not Admiral Tarret's sister. She certainly was not Christopher Laffley's widow. Today, she was Jack Sparrow's lady. Today, she would take a pirate's fear, doubt and pain. She would give him strength. Today, he needed her, and she would not fail him. She was not going to look away. She would hold him in her eyes until he could no longer see. She would hold him in her heart until her own life was over.
"Excuse me, Mum," Sarah's voice broke into Ana's resolve. "Someone's here to see you, from the fort."
Resuming the task of pinning on her hat, Ana said, "Send him up."
Moments later, a marine, whom Ana recognized as the same man who had been so unkind yesterday, tentatively stepped into the bedroom. "Good morrow, Miss," he greeted.
"What do you want?" she asked, not caring to be polite.
Lowering his head somewhat, the marine wavered slightly under the harsh glare of Ana's reflection. "Actually," he said. "I'm looking for the Admiral. He isn't at home, so I thought to seek him here."
Ana turned slowly to face the marine, who's head was still bowed. Her lips parted as her heart leaped into her throat. Without a second's hesitation, she ran out to the balcony. Her eyes scanned the harbor, darting from the Dauntless, to the Interceptor, to the empty space where Loyalty should have been. Her face broke into a broad smile and tears pricked at the corners of her eyes.
"Miss?" the marine said, stepping onto the balcony.
"I'm sorry, Sir," Ana said, hardly able to contain her emotions. "The Admiral is gone."
Realizing he was drawing the attention of the pirate crew, but simply not caring, Prescott Tarret, former Rear Admiral of the King's Navy, paced up and down the starboard side of Loyalty's quarterdeck, hands firmly clasped behind his back. When he had been her Captain, Prescott had spent many mornings walking up and down weighing the problems and tasks of the day to come. In those days, he would contemplate an impending battle or land excursion. He would debate whether or not the crew needed more drilling at the sails or the guns. On this day, however, he thought of none of those things. On this morning, he thought of Annie. Two days ago, he had left Kingston without so much as saying goodbye to the only family he had left. Would she be happy that he had freed Sparrow? Would she be angry with him for leaving? He thought of Bridget, traveling alone across the Atlantic bound for England. He found himself wondering if his wife would remarry, or if she would even miss him. He thought of Findley, of the boy who had wanted only to follow in his big brother's footsteps. "What would you think of me, now?" he mumbled under his breath.
"Talkin' to yourself is the first sign of madness, ye know," Jack Sparrow's voice interrupted his musings.
"Well," Prescott halted and gazed out to the sea. "You would be the authority on that, not I."
Sparrow chuckled softly as he came to stand next to Prescott. Behind the two men, Tortuga's harbor loomed overhead. The ship was alive with the sounds of the men letting loose the anchor and preparing the Captain's gig. Prescott, however, did not want to see the busy port. Instead he stared in the direction of Kingston, the only home he had known for the past twenty odd years. The city that he would be unwelcome in until the day he died, and even then, he doubted he would ever return.
"I still find it 'ard to believe," Sparrow said absently. "What she did."
"Well, what is it they say? Hell hath no fury . . . " Prescott said. "He had lied to her one too many times. And, of course, he did shoot you."
The pirate scoffed. "It had nothing t'do with me."
"You're a fool if you believe that, Sparrow. What she did had everything to do with you."
"What about me?"
"Why give up your whole life for a pirate?"
Again, Prescott heard shame in Sparrow's voice. The man seemed so unaccustomed to kindness, that Prescott found himself wondering if anyone had ever extended him the smallest courtesy. Leaning on the railing, Prescott sighed. "I already told you. I gave you my word and – "
"And who would 'ave slighted you for breaking your word t' a condemned criminal?" Sparrow's words were angry and a shadow descended over his eyes. "I would 'ave been sent to the gallows and you would 'ave been the hero."
"Like Laffley?" Prescott turned on the pirate. "After all I've done, you have a lot of damn gall to think I would act in the same way he did. I made you a promise. I have only broken one promise in this life and I do not intend to break another . . . ever."
"You said that once already."
"Well, apparently, you didn't listen."
Sparrow turned, leaning on the railing and stared intently at Prescott. "What was the one promise?"
Prescott's grip tightened around the rail so that the skin over his knuckles turned white. The small gold cross he wore suddenly became heavy. The metal burned his chest. Of all the questions the pirate could ask, why did he have to ask that? "It isn't your concern," Prescott said, his voice suddenly choked and soft. Letting his eyes fall shut, he could still see Findley's face, stained with blood. He could still feel his brother's body, shivering violently with the pain and then still in death. He had promised his mother, on her deathbed, that he would look after her youngest son. Findley was dead. He failed. He had broken his promise.
The pirate crossed his arms and tilted his head to one side, thoughtfully. "My mother died in my arms," he said, so quietly that Prescott had to meet Sparrow's eyes to be sure that he heard the man's words. "I was twelve, and I'd just been made a midshipman. She made me promise her that I would stay safe so that I'd make post captain someday," the pirate paused and looked to the sea. "Suppose we all make promises that we can't keep."
"Yer gig's ready, Capt'n," Mr. Daniels shouted from the maindeck.
Sparrow's expression changed abruptly. The face of a man who feared disappointing his mother, was replaced by the mask of the imperturbable Captain Jack. Bowing gallantly, the pirate gestured for Prescott to head towards the smaller boat. "Since we're both in such cheerful moods, now," he said. "I prescribe a night of medicinal beverage in this fine town."
Prescott smiled half-heartedly. "Rum cures all that ails you, eh?"
"Aye, Scotty, it does. An' you'll have to get used to that, after all you're a pirate now!" Sparrow announced as he climbed into the gig. "You'll have to learn t' think like a pirate if you want all of this t' be yours someday," he said indicating the Loyalty.
Sitting next to the colorful pirate, Prescott's eyebrow rose. "You forget, Jackie, all of this already is mine. That's my ship."
"Aye, mate, she's mine," Prescott insisted, perfectly mimicking the manner in which Jack spoke. "The King gave her to me, so Loyalty is mine."
"You're Admiral now, Dauntless is yours, not Loyalty," Jack countered. "Besides I commandeered her last year when I visited your lovely town, so, she's mine."
"If it ended there, I'd be inclined to agree with you. However, an Admiral in the West Indies does have charge over all of the ships in the area, Loyalty included, and I commandeered her just three days ago. Without me, you'd be swinging from a rope and would not be able to be Captain of anything. So, she's mine." Prescott leaned back in the gig, smiling triumphantly.
Sparrow's eyes narrowed, apparently considering Prescott's words. "Are you a gambling man, Scotty?"
Prescott shook his head. "Only with my life, never my ship."
"Your life and your career, evidently," Sparrow corrected.
"No. I did not gamble with my career, I simply pissed it all away to keep my word to a pirate. Which, come to think of it, seems to warrant getting my ship back, don't you agree?"
"I do not agree. Said pirate would never have been indebted to you if not for you and your troublemaking sister."
"I saved you from the noose, from drowning in the ocean, and from East India Trading pirates. That more than warrants a ship, my ship."
"As I recall, I saved you from the East India pirates," Sparrow paused as the gig came to shore. "You would have been pinned to the wall by Mr. Craft's blade if I hadn't knocked him out of the way."
"Alright, I'll give you that one," Prescott agreed, climbing onto the dock.
"If you'll give me back my ship."
"You could be the cabin boy, if you want?" Sparrow said, casting Prescott a lewd glance.
"You'd like that," Prescott shot back.
"Well, well, Jack Sparrow," a decidedly feminine voice broke into their argument. "You've brought back somethin' I've been missin."
Jack and Prescott exchanged glances as an alluring redhead sauntered down to greet them. "Scarlet," Jack said. "May I present my good friend, Scotty."
The lady smiled broadly, as Prescott planted a kiss on her extended hand. "Scotty," she purred. "So glad your back. I was hopin' I'd get to see more of you," she said letting her eyes trail up and down the length of his body.
One corner of Prescott's mouth turned up into a grin. "Aye, my dear. I think you'll be seeing a lot more of me."
A/N: Alright, before I'm flogged, keyhauled or any other manner of awful things. I realize that Jack and Ana did not ride off into the sunset together. That fact may anger some of you. First, however, I would like to say that from what little screentime they get in the movie, we can derive that they have a somewhat "complicated" relationship, to put it nicely. I think happily ever after is a ways down the road yet for these two. Also, this is only the ending of this particular story. I already have plans for another that will follow this one. So, if you give me a bit of time to get my ideas together, I promise that Jack, Ana, and Scotty will all be back for more. That said, thank you so very much to everyone who reviewed each and every chapter of this story faithfully. There were alot of them, and I cannot say how much I appreciated your devotion and feedback. Also, thank you to everyone who read and left comments along the way.
Now, please don't go without reviewing this chapter and letting me know how you liked the ending and the story as a whole. -Ariana/Holliday1081