A/N: Yep, I know, it took me a while...but as this is the final chapter I thought I'd better take my time on it. There are lots of different points of view in this chapter so I've seperated it into sections to hopefully make it nice and clear :)

Thank you to everyone who reviewed, I appreciate you all being so patient with me!

Chapter 26: Flying free

Jack was still recovering from the initial moment of shock when he heard the unmistakeable sound of a mother realising her worst nightmare. Elizabeth had followed Jack as quickly as her pregnancy would allow and now she was staring at the place she had last seen her son. If Will had not been right behind her she might have collapsed. Her hand went to press against her pounding heart and she looked at the only person that could possibly have an explanation, but Jack's face was just as horrified as hers.

"Jack?" That was Will, his own shock making his voice hollow and frightened.

"I didn' know this was going to happen," said Jack immediately on the defensive, "I would never 'ave…Sylvia…"

"Tom is our son, Jack," Elizabeth said quietly. Jack fell silent. His head was spinning. He had never imagined that bringing Sylvia here would put her in more danger, and if he had suspected for a moment that he would endanger Tom…

"I'll get him back…" Jack began but he broke off and turned towards a noise that was coming from a bush right behind him. Will and Elizabeth listened too. Something was making the branches of the bush rustle and it sure wasn't the wind. Jack walked silently towards the bush determined not to let whatever it was escape. He could see leaves shaking as something or someone made them move from deep inside the plant. Jack removed his pistol and pointed it at the heart of the greenery. The rustling stopped and Jack knew he had been seen.

"I'll be counting t' three," he said in a cold voice, his pistol held menacingly before him. There was a shrill wimper and suddenly the branches parted.

"Please don't shoot me Uncle Jack!" Jack almost dropped his gun in surprise. Tom had just crawled out of the foliage and, apart from a few scratches from sharp branches, he was completely unharmed. A strangled cry came from near Jack's ear. Elizabeth rushed forwards and enveloped her son with tears streaming down her face. Will was a split second behind her and soon they were a family united in pure relief. As pleased as Jack was that Tom was alright he could not forget, not even for a second, that Sylvia was not in the opposite situation. She had been kidnapped and he needed to know who by. Tom, after hugging both his parents for several seconds, was now trying to push them away so that he could speak. Elizabeth wiped her tears away and stood up; Will was quick to position himself protectively beside her.

"They took her, Uncle Jack!" Tom cried suddenly his eyes wide with fear, "There was a man who put his hand over her mouth but I think she bit him, and she screamed."

"We heard her," said Jack grimly. He crouched down so he was at Tom's level.

"Did you get a good look at the people who did this?" Tom looked troubled and his lip began to tremble.

"It's alright, I won't be cross," Jack said quickly, "It's more important that you're safe."

"Of course it is," said Elizabeth who had placed her hand on her son's shoulder, her own were still shaking. Jack got the horrible feeling that time was slipping away. He was wasting time here when Sylvia was in trouble somewhere. Whoever had taken her, and he had a strong suspicion who it was, would need to get her somewhere quickly and what better place to take her than a ship ready to sail?

"Jack?" Will was looking at Jack as if trying to read his thoughts.

"What's the quickest way to the dock?" Jack asked. Will gave Elizabeth half a glance before answering.

"I'll show you."

Guilt was eating away at Norrington like a maggot at the core of an apple. It was stupid; he hadn't even liked Jack! But still he felt like he had betrayed him. It had been the maniacal glint in Captain Nathan Spencer's bloodshot eyes that had made Norrington regret letting Jack's probable location be known, and he had not believed Nathan's assurances that there would be no disturbance at the Turner house. He didn't like this business one bit, the sooner it was over and done with the better. He had been planning to go for a walk even before he heard the sound of someone struggling, but as he was already on his feet he was able to get to the scene in moments. There was a man with his hand over a woman's mouth, and he was pushing her along in front of him. She seemed to be having difficulty walking; her movements were stiff and painful as if she was hurt in some way. Norrington did not have to think twice before interfering. He had just stepped forwards when a third person arrived on the scene. Norrington recognised Nathan at once. Nathan had seen him too but his gaze was drawn back to the woman who was still struggling against the man holding her.

"Commodore Norrington, may I introduce my wife?" The captive woman went rigid at the sound of Nathan's voice and Norrington thought he knew how she felt. His own muscles didn't seem to want to work.

"Your wife, Captain Spencer?"

"Yes," said Nathan with a horrible smile, "Sylvia, my dear, do say hello to the man who helped me find you once again." The look on Sylvia Spencer's face made Norrington want to disappear. He had thought the situation a strange one but this was nothing short of terrible. It took him several seconds before he could command the use of his tongue once again.

"I…I was under the impression your wife was dead."

"Well, so was I, Commodore," said Nathan an insane happiness spreading over his features, "But happily she is alive and well. Thank you very much for your assistance in this matter, now…"

"And Sparrow?" Norrington asked abruptly. He did not fail to notice the effect the name had upon Mrs Spencer. She was looking at him with terrified eyes.

"I have left that matter up to you, Commodore," said Nathan coldly, "I trust you will not let him slip through the net after this dreadful affair." Sylvia's body relaxed ever so slightly in relief, Nathan had not found Jack.

"Now, we really must be off," said Nathan looking once more at his wife, "We don't want a repeat performance, do we?" He began to turn around and Sylvia tried to break her captor's grip again but he held her too tightly.

"Captain Spencer," said Norrington loudly, "I really must ask why your wife is being held seemingly against her will." He saw the way Sylvia shot him a hopeful look. Nathan had stopped walking but he still had his back to him.

"My wife needn't concern you any more, Commodore. Your job is over." Bristling from this dismissal Norrington stepped closer.

"May I remind you, Captain Spencer, that I am in charge here." The man holding Sylvia looked nervously at Nathan who reluctantly turned round.

"If you must know, Commodore, my wife believes she is in love with the pirate who kidnapped her. He has no doubt promised her a great many things which he cannot possibly deliver and she, like the fool she is, has believed every word. I'll be damned before I let my wife make the biggest mistake of her life and be nothing more than a pirate's whore until he grows tired of her." Sylvia now had angry tears streaming down her face. She was no longer fighting but Norrington thought that was because she had exhausted herself rather than any type of resignation on her part. Nathan was looking dangerous but Norrington knew he could not just walk away.

"I really must insist that you let her go, Captain Spencer. She is entitled to her say in this." Norrington rather thought that if he had been able to see Sylvia's mouth she would have been giving him a grateful smile. Perhaps he should have spent less time looking at Sylvia and concentrated on her husband, for when he looked back at Nathan he found that he was facing a pistol. It was too late, and Norrington knew it, but still he reached for his own weapon. His hand had barely closed around it when Nathan's pistol went off. The force of the bullet entering his flesh knocked Norrington right off his feet. He didn't hear Sylvia's muffled screaming, nor did he see the satisfied look on Nathan's face. All he remembered was someone saying, "Get her to the ship immediately" before he passed out completely.

Will's eyes slid over to Jack for the twentieth time before he decided to speak.

"Did you really kidnap her, Jack?" Jack stopped dead. Just as Will had feared, he did not look pleased.

"No," he said firmly, "But I did help her escape from her husband, and if kidnapping had been t' only option I would 'ave done it without question, but you might want t' consider the circumstances before you…"

"I didn't mean to accuse you," said Will swiftly. They continued walking but this time Jack started to speak.

"I met her a long time ago, before she was married." He stressed quickly. "She was on her father's ship but he did not approve. Can't think why." He smiled very slightly. "Anyway, her father, the high and mighty Lord Ryecroft, decided to disappear, taking Sylvia with him. Not much I could do about that. I didn't think I'd ever see her again, and I certainly wasn't expecting t' save her without knowing it was her and end up being…"

"You…what?" said Will who had got lost somewhere around the saving her part. Jack rolled his eyes and continued regardless.

"Having met up with her again I was then confronted with the unpleasant news that she was married. This would have proved less of a problem had I been fit enough to set sail."

"Why weren't you? What happened? Did I miss something?" Will said his brow creasing up. Jack turned to him, exasperated.

"Will, lad, when someone's telling you a story it's common courtesy to listen, savvy? Where was I? Ah yes, Captain Spencer." A look of dark hatred shone in his eyes as he said the name. "He shot Sylvia himself when he found out. That's why we came here and apparently he followed us." Jack's hand was caressing his pistol. "I won't let him take her again." Will suddenly realised he was devoid of weapons of any kind.

"Jack, if we're going to be fighting people…"

"I never asked you to fight anyone," said Jack, "This is between me and…what kind of a name is Nathan anyway?" Despite the seriousness of the situation Will burst out laughing. Only Jack Sparrow could have come out with that at such a time. His laughter was cut short by the sound of a gun shot.

Will and Jack hurried in the direction they presumed the shot to have come from. Neither of them spoke, they didn't even look at each other but Will could tell Jack was running over the worst case scenario in his mind and Jack could tell Will was giving thanks that Elizabeth and Tom were safe at home. All thoughts were wiped from their minds however when they came across a figure lying on the ground, bleeding.

"It's Commodore Norrington," said Will unnecessarily. Jack, who had not felt the urge to state the obvious, had already knelt down by the injured man's side. There was blood soaking through his shirt from a wound just underneath the shoulder but he was still breathing.

"He's in a bad way, Jack. What do we do?" asked Will who seemed to be uncharacteristically jumpy. It was not the sight of blood that was unnerving him, but he had not been expecting the sight of the one man he had thought they might have been able to rely on lying on the cobbled stone. Commodore Norrington was the law, he was in charge. Will looked at him as Jack examined the wound. He certainly wasn't in charge at the moment.

As Jack's fingertips became stained with the Commodore's blood Norrington gave a low moan and his eyes opened. Jack, who had not been expecting this, jumped backwards. Norrington fought to stay on the right side of consciousness as he recognised the man beside him.

"Jack," he croaked.

"Aye?" said Jack uncertainly. He was half expecting Norrington to try and arrest him.

"Jack, I'm sorry." Norrington coughed and Will removed his jacket to place under the elder man's head. Jack was frowning.

"What do you mean yer sorry?" he said. Will looked up.

"Jack, I really don't think he's in a fit state to be answering your…"

"Shut up, Will," said Jack sharply. Norrington was trying to speak again.

"I…I didn't know." Norrington was so hard to hear Jack was forced to get right down to his level. "He told me she was dead. I didn't know."

"Where did he take her?" Jack demanded. Will looked thoroughly confused. He opened his mouth to ask Jack what Norrington was talking about but Jack silenced him with a look.

"His ship," said Norrington as his eyes began to close again, "He took her to his ship." His head fell back against Will's rolled up jacket and lolled slightly to one side. If it hadn't been for the slight rising and falling of his bloodied chest, Jack could have believed that he was dead.

"I don' have much time," said Jack standing up.

"Do you need me to come with you?" Will asked. He was prepared to do so, but it was all too clear who needed Will's help more.

"No," said Jack, "You stay with him." He turned to go but Will's voice stopped him.

"Be careful, Jack." Jack took a deep breath before he turned round and said, in his usual flamboyant fashion.

"Ye needn't worry about me, lad. I'm Captain Jack Sparrow." And with that he took off in the direction of the ships and, hopefully, his Sylvia.

After Jack left, Will managed to attract the attention of a young boy who had proceeded to run for help. A doctor arrived closely followed by Gillette and several other marines.

"What happened?" Gillette demanded. To everyone's surprise it was Norrington that spoke.

"Jack Sparrow…"

"Sparrow did this!" Gillette said, "I'll have him…"

"No!" said Will quickly. He would have told Gillette what had happened himself but Norrington had started to speak again.

"Arrest Captain Spencer…let Jack go free…"

"What?" said Gillette.

"You heard him," said Will, "He's still in charge here." Gillette could not argue with this. Norrington gave a pained groan as the doctor pressed down on his wound.

"But why would the Commodore want Captain Spencer arrested?" Gillette asked. Will's answer was a simple one.

"Because Captain Spencer shot him."

Sylvia was dragged onto the Pride of the Sea, a ship she had believed she would never have to set eyes on again. The man who had plucked her from the garden at the Turner house only let her go when she was inside Nathan's cabin. He gave her a rough push into the room which was too much for her injured leg. She hit the wooden floor hard.

"I thought I told you to be gentle with her," said an angry voice which Sylvia recognised as her estranged husband's.

"Sorry, Captain."

"See to it that we depart within the next five minutes," said Nathan who sounded less angry now, more satisfied. Sylvia preyed this satisfaction was premature. She heard the sounds of one man walking away from the room, and another walking into it. It was the man who was walking towards her that scared her the most.

Nathan closed the door behind him and revelled in the finality of the sound. He saw his wife cringe on the floor.

"What's the matter my dear?" he asked, "Did you really believe there would be a happy ever after without me? I could have given you anything." He swallowed hard. "I could have given you anything Sylvia!" He grabbed her by the arm and swung her round so she was facing him. He saw there were tears on her face. The muscles in her wrist were tense in his grip. She looked like a wild animal, her eyes bright with fear and a strength even she did not know she possessed. For a moment Nathan considered her untameable but only for a moment. All spirits, no matter how strong, could be broken. When he spoke Sylvia heard the Nathan she had married but there was more arrogance now, more self belief plus something entirely new, insanity.

"You will learn to be my wife, Sylvia. Not the excuse for a wife you were before, a real wife, a good wife. You will learn to obey everything I say, to laugh when I want you to, to smile when I tell you to. You will learn to forget about a time when you could do as you pleased, decisions will no longer concern you. I will decide what you wear, what you say, who you see. You will learn to love me, Sylvia."

Sylvia's throat had gone dry. Nathan was not looking at her; he was looking over the top of her head to his vision of perfection. A vision of a wife who was no more than a puppet with strings he could pull, a wife whose happiness had ceased to be important so long ago it might as well not have existed to start with. She knew what she had to do.

"I will never love you!" The vision shattered as Nathan looked into her eyes. Sylvia saw what Nathan was about to do before he even moved his hand and she gasped even before contact was made. Her head swam from his blow and she tried to pull away from him but his grip was iron around her wrist. Nathan let forth a cry of anger and prepared to hit her again, a feeling of absolute power flooding through his whole body. It was then he had an idea. His fist unclenched unconsciously as the idea spread through his brain. Sylvia, who had braced herself for another attack, fearfully opened her eyes. To her surprise she saw that Nathan was smiling.

"Children," he said softly and apparently to himself, "That's the answer." And all of a sudden it clicked in Sylvia's mind too. She tore her wrist out of his grip and used her nails to claw his face. There was no way he was going to touch her again without a fight.

Jack could see the Pride of Sea plain as day. The temptation to board it was almost overwhelming but Nathan had placed various members of his crew all over the place and all of them had pistols. Worse still, they were casting off the ropes that tied the Pride to the dock. If Jack didn't do something soon the ship would be out in open water. He thought about running to the Pearl but he knew he wouldn't make it in time. Sylvia's only chance seemed to be some kind of distraction. As Jack searched for something, anything to use he saw someone else put their plan into action. Someone he would never have expected to get involved at all.
AnaMaria had been wandering Port Royal like a lost soul. Cast from Jack's crew she had no idea what she was going to do. She had just been about to take her chances and buy herself a room for the night in an inconspicuous inn when she had seen the woman who had caused all her troubles. AnaMaria watched a man force a struggling Sylvia to walk before him. She followed at a distance sure that she would see Jack appear to make the rescue but he didn't. Sylvia was bundled towards the Pride of the Sea and AnaMaria suddenly realised that if she didn't act Jack might well lose Sylvia forever. The strength of her response surprised her, there was no love lost between Sylvia and herself but the thought of Jack's unhappiness made her pull the brim of her hat further down over her face and start towards the ships, looking for one which was being carelessly guarded. It didn't take long for her to find what she was looking for.
Nathan put his hand to his face. Sylvia's nails had peeled off trails of skin; he could feel his face burning. She was watching him now, waiting for his response. He could hear her breathing. Why couldn't she just love him?

"Captain, there's a problem!" Nathan stood up.

"Just get us out of here," he said. It didn't matter what was wrong as long as they were away from the pirate.

"That's the problem Captain, we can't go anywhere."

Nathan tore up the steps to the deck and then along until he could see what his first mate had tried to tell him. He had refused to believe it until he saw it with his own eyes. Well, now he was seeing it. There was a ship blocking their way out of the port. It was of medium size, probably a fishing vessel. Perhaps the person in charge was an inexperienced sailor and didn't realise they were in the way of the Pride. Unlikely, but Nathan still considered it plausible.

"Get them out of the way," he said in a deliberately calm voice.

"We've tried, sir, but she is insisting that…"

"She?" Nathan asked sharply.

"Yes, sir. The person in charge is a woman." It was then he saw her. She had stepped out from behind the mast. Most definitely a woman, she was a beautiful creature with long flowing black hair and dark skin. But Nathan saw none of that. All he saw was a pirate.

Sylvia forced herself to her feet. There was pain rippling through her pelvis but she tried to ignore it as she made her way to the door. It was locked, of course. She pounded her fists against the wood and called out for help but no one came. She continued to try and attract attention; it was either that or sink to the floor defeated. When the door was pulled open Sylvia was so shocked she fell forwards right into someone's arms. Her first instinct was to struggle.

"Yer not supposed t' be fighting me luv." Sylvia looked up and met the eyes of the love of her life.

"Jack…" She collapsed onto him sobbing. "How did you get here? How did you find me?"

"All that matters is that I'm here," said Jack as he held a now trembling Sylvia. The truth was so unexpected that Jack doubted whether Sylvia would have believed him anyway. He certainly had not expected AnaMaria to stop the Pride from moving out to sea, not after what she had done to Sylvia and what he had done to her in return.

"We've got t' go luv."

"You're not going anywhere." Sylvia's heart sank. Over Jack's shoulder she saw the man who had kidnapped her. Jack gave a very pronounced sigh, span round and shot the man straight in the chest. Sylvia gasped in horror as the man's eyes glazed over and he fell forwards, landing with a great thump. Jack surveyed his handiwork with something close to satisfaction.

"Now we really have to go," he said. He lifted Sylvia up and tried to remember the way out.

The marines had gathered around the Pride. Nathan had noticed them and an ominous feeling was chilling his blood. He began to think that maybe it had not been the smartest move to shoot the Commodore. He turned his attention back to the little boat. If that pirate wench wasn't in his way he could be away and free in no time. The plan had been so simple, how could so many things be getting in the way! It was then he realised that he could no longer see the pirate. She had been standing right by the mast and now she was gone. The crew around Nathan were exchanging anxious looks; none of them knew what was going on anymore. They did not attempt to stand in the way of the marines as they began to board the ship.

"Captain Nathan Spencer." Nathan turned round to face a pale faced marine. "You are under arrest for the attempted murder of Commodore Norrington." He continued to speak, but Nathan was no longer listening. He had seen someone come up from below. Someone he had hoped he would never have to see again.

"Sparrow!" Jack turned instinctively. He knew instantly that he had made a mistake. Nathan's eyes were fire as he seized his last chance to end the life of the man who had effectively ended his. Jack would never have been able to move fast enough to get out of the way with Sylvia in his arms. But the bullet never reached him. Someone stepped in the way. As marines descended on Nathan, Jack's rescuer fell to the deck. Jack almost dropped Sylvia; indeed she might have fallen if a marine had not been right behind her ready to catch her. He sunk to the floor beside AnaMaria whose eyelids were fluttering. Her hand was resting on the wound Nathan's bullet had made in her chest. It was bad, and she knew it.

"Why did ye do that Ana?" Jack asked, "Why?" Upon hearing Jack's voice AnaMaria opened her dark eyes and looked upon the face of the man she had loved without really knowing it for so long.

"Because you're Captain Jack Sparrow," she said. She lifted up one hand and ran it the length of Jack's face. A small smile turned her lips upwards as her eyes closed and her life faded away. It was some time before Jack realised someone was watching him. He looked up and saw Gillette standing there.

"I suppose ye'll be arresting me now," he said without a hint of fear or concern.

"No, actually," said Gillette who looked like he would rather have done just that, "I am under orders to allow you and your crew safe passage out of Port Royal." He looked at the still form of AnaMaria. "Mrs Spencer has been taken back to Mr Turner's house," he informed Jack and without another word he turned and walked away.

AnaMaria was buried at sea as a fully reinstated member of the Black Pearl's crew. A week later Nathan Spencer, stripped of his Captain title, was hung by the neck at the Port Royal gallows. Sylvia and Elizabeth refused to watch but Will and Jack witnessed it in silence. Jack's presence was tolerated only because Commodore Norrington, who was recovering slowly at home, had insisted he was to be granted clemency for as long as he remained in Port Royal. But Jack could tell he was close to overstaying his welcome, and he had no desire for anything else to happen because of him.

"Do you have to leave Uncle Jack?" Tom asked tearfully the next morning.

"Aye lad, I do."

"But you'll be back?"

"Oh, he'll be back," said Elizabeth putting her hand on her son's shoulder, "With more wild stories too I expect." Jack grinned.

"Elizabeth, luv, you know me too well." Sylvia walked up to them, she was still limping but every day she felt an improvement. She slipped her hand into Jack's. It was time to go. Elizabeth, Will and Tom waved goodbye to the unlikely couple before closing the front door. Tom ran upstairs to his bedroom; he would spend the rest of the day sulking because Jack was gone.

"Just another week in the life of a pirate," said Elizabeth. She sounded exhausted. Will smiled.

"At least it's a happy ending." And with that he kissed his wife deeply on the lips.

Sylvia could hardly believe what had happened to her in the last few weeks. In fact, trying to remember it all was making her head ache so she stopped trying. The sunshine was warm on her face and she drank it in. Ever since Nathan's death she had felt lighter somehow. It felt like a giant corset that had been wrapped around her life had been split apart. Jack was humming something under his breath beside her as they walked in the direction of the Pearl.

"Will you teach me to be a real pirate, Jack?" Sylvia asked as they turned a corner by a large moss covered rock. Jack stopped humming. He turned to Sylvia.

"Ye'll be learning from the best," he said with an infectious smile.

"Thank you," said Sylvia quietly and she squeezed Jack's hand. Nothing was going to come between them now. As they walked it did not seem like Sylvia had recently been fighting for her life, nor did it feel like they had ever been apart.

"I love you, Jack."

"Love you too, wench."


"Nautical term."

The Pearl came into view. Its black sails were billowing magnificently in the breeze, Sylvia was sure she had never seen a more handsome looking ship. The Black Pearl was going to be her passport to adventure, her home, and her freedom. Finally, she was going to be allowed to fly free.

A/N: So ends my very first fan-novel! ;) I don't have a sequel planned, in fact I don't have any more fanfiction planned. I'll be taking a break from it for a while, but I'm sure I'll be enticed back by some idea sooner or later :D!

Thank you to everyone who has taken the time to read this story! And thank you for all those wonderful reviews. This story has been a lot of fun to write but it wouldn't have been half as much fun without you guys!