Disclaimer: I do not own any of the characters in this story.

Authors Notes: This is the third part of the trilogy which started with Touch of Light and continued with Only in Dreams. I would suggest that you read both of those first before reading this one. This is a Buffy/Pirates of the Caribbean crossover fic.

That Lost Peace

He knew this day would come.

He had spent his life next to Death's door, reveling in the risks he had taken, and constantly testing the limits of his mortality. That is the way of a pirate's life – taking risks, moving from one adventure to the next, laughing in the face of Death as it is alluded once again. Yet, it is the curse of the pirate's life to die the death that awaited him. The wish of any pirate for his or her death would be to go out fighting; to die from the thrust of a sword in the heat of battle. The fear of all pirates is death by hanging.

The site was familiar; he had been in this situation before, in this very place in fact. This time, though, this time there would be no savior leaping through the crowd to save him. There would be no ship in the harbor, waiting to take him away. No, death was imminent.

Jack Sparrow would die this day.

He stood there on the gallows, hands tied, just as the last time. He heard without listening the crimes in which he had committed; this time, though, he could not chuckle as he had last time. Though he did not want to die this way, death was no longer anything to fear. It was a new adventure, a new risk. There was nothing left for him in this life – his crew was dead, his ship sunk. The only people left were Will and Elizabeth – both of whom were watching the events unfold in sorrow.

Movement caught his eyes and he glanced up to see the executioner moving towards him slowly. Jack sighed as the noose was put snugly around his neck, knowing that his last few moments on Earth were at hand.

If only I could get one last glimpse of the ocean, he thought wistfully. I will miss her the most. I will miss that feeling of freedom, of adventure, the most.

He turned his gaze once more to Will and Elizabeth, his own sorrow reflecting at never seeing them again – they had become friends of sorts over the years. He had even been around to awe their oldest boy about his stories of piracy. Now, though, he would never see any of them again. And he would miss them terribly.

"Will Turner," he called, his voice strong, not showing any of the fear that he felt. "You would have made a good pirate. Just like your father."

Will nodded to him, his eyes shining as he supported his wife with an arm around her waist. Jack turned to her and smirked, winking one last time. Both knew that, though the comments and expressions may seem inappropriate at such a time, this was Jack's way of saying goodbye. Elizabeth sniffed as tears slipped down her cheeks, though she made no move to wipe them away. She grabbed Will's free hand, squeezing it gently to comfort him.

Jack tore his eyes away from them, not wanting them to stare in his eyes as his life was ripped away. Instead, he closed his eyes and reveled in his many memories he had made over the years; from the joy of captaining his first chip, to the peace he got from watching the ocean, to the many friends and crewmates that had come and gone over the years. And, as he heard the scratching of wood from beneath him, he thought of her.

The trapdoor opened beneath him and he fell. His last coherent thought was of her golden hair, shining brightly in the setting sun.

------

Though she had died twice, she still was not expecting the third to come so soon.

The last times she had died, the last times she had seen her life flash helplessly before her eyes, was because of some great prophecy or to save the world from a crazy goddess. While both were dire situations, both gave her a choice. She had chosen to listen to the prophecy and face the Master, though she knew that she would die. She had chosen to jump into the portal to save Dawn and the world, though she knew the energy would kill her.

This time, though, she did not have that luxury.

It was an ordinary patrol on the Cleveland Hellmouth, taking some of the newly activated Slayers with her. She herself had not been a large part of the fight; instead, she had watched out for the young girls, helping them if they were not yet skilled enough or used to their power enough to fight against the vampires. Willow and Kennedy had been with her; Kennedy doing the same as she and Willow using her magic to guide the girls into using the power she had given them. None of them had ever expected the night to turn out as it had.

They were at their last cemetery of the night for, as in Sunnydale, Cleveland had its fair share of cemeteries. Buffy was not as familiar with these as she had been with Sunnydale, though she adapted as only a Slayer could – she used her senses to track vampires

How she had missed the one, she would never know. Maybe her inner exhaustion of fighting day after day had finally caught up to her. Maybe she wanted to find the peace she had experienced before. Maybe she was just having an off day. Whatever the case, she had made a mistake. She had been fighting a vampire, one that had been ready to snack on a new Slayer, when another had come and knocked the stake out of her hands. The other vampire, the one she had been originally fighting, had taken advantage of her momentary lapse of attention and punched her, knocking her through a gravestone and onto the ground. As she scrambled back to her feet, her stake – her own stake – had been thrust into her chest.

The world seemed to slow as the vampire stared at her, grinning with fangs outstretched before turning to dust. Strong arms - Kennedy's - grabbed her as she slowly began to sink to the ground, the life slowly draining out of her. She could see Willow's panic stricken face, could see her lips moving, but could not hear a word she was saying.

Images of her friends, her family, her life passed through her mind, just as the times before. All of her memories crammed together, running into each other, blurring together until she could not distinguish one from the other. Regret that she would not get to say goodbye passed through her before disappearing as her life slipped away.

"Willow," Buffy whispered, her voice weak as blood drained from her wound. "Tell them…..I…I'll miss them…I love…"

Her voice drifted away as the life left her body. As the last bit of life disappeared, her only thought was of him.

------

Light enveloped her, caressing her, warming her. A peaceful smile crossed her face as she relished that feeling – oh, how she had missed it. Ever since Willow's spell had brought her back to Sunnydale, she had missed the feeling of peace, of the peace she had found before being ripped away to a harsh, cold world. To have that feeling returned to her…she could not even express how it made her feel.

As the light covered and warmed her, she became more aware of her surroundings. As in her dreams, the ones that had come after the defeat of The First Evil, she could feel the gentle rocking, the light touch of wind on her body. Instead of just the feelings of peace and restfulness and the all encompassing light that she had remembered after first being resurrected, her dreams had changed after the collapse of Sunnydale. They had shown her more images, given her more sensations. The mental block that had caused her to forget all of those memories when she had first been resurrected had been pushed away, to reveal all the events that had occurred during her death in Sunnydale.

Buffy opened her eyes, squinting slightly as the full glare of the light shone down on her. As her eyes slowly adjusted to the light she realized that she was on a boat. A large ship, in fact, from the looks of it, with its towering masts and stretching bow. Black sails blew gently in the wind – memories came flooding back to her at the site of those sails. They were familiar to her. She had been on this ship before. She glanced around the rest of the ship, recognizing more from her memories. Suddenly, someone spoke from behind her, interrupting her from her thoughts.

"And how did you come to be here, luv," the raspy voice questioned. She spun around indignantly to face the speaker, ready to give him hell for calling her 'luv.' Yet, the words died on her lips as she faced him, recognizing him instantly. The dusky eyes, the bandanna, the beads intertwined in his hair. Recognition shown on his face as well, along with shock, suspicion, and hope.

"Jack?" she whispered, the final memories that had been hidden being the block becoming unlocked instantly as soon as saw him. She knew him; she knew his name, knew who he was instantly. "Oh god, is it…"

He was silent for a moment, speechless for the first time in his life. Never could he have imagined seeing her again, hearing her talk again. He had given up that hope long ago. Yet, here she was, standing in front of him, her eyes staring into his, her hair shimmering in the sunlight just as he remembered. He stalked forward without even realizing it, his hand reaching out to gently caress her face, proving to him that yes, she was real.

"Never thought I'd see you again," he said quietly. She did not reply, merely stared at him as her memories washed over her. As she stared at him, tears begin to flow down her cheeks.

"Oh Jack," she said as she leaned forward, touching her lips with his. As their lips met, there was nothing but them; no thoughts, no feelings other than that moment – there was only joy at being reunited, hope that they could stay together for as long as they chose. Finally, the two broke apart, both gasping for breath but lips curving into smiles as they stared at each other. As they leaned in for another kiss, a loud voice broke them apart.

"Are you two going to snog for the rest of the day or are we actually going to get somewhere?"

The two jumped apart, startled at the sound, for neither had realized that anyone else was around. They glanced around in stunned silence as Jack's crew stood on the ship, smirking down at them, some even laughing at the expense of their captain. They watched in stunned silence as crew members seemed to appear out of nowhere. But as the laughter grew as more people appeared, Jack turned away from Buffy and mock glared at his crew.

"Enough of that, you scurvy dogs!" he yelled out. "Let's be off with this ship. It's time for an adventure."

The crew cheered and went to their positions. Jack watched them in satisfaction before swaggering to the wheel, Buffy following close behind. He turned to her, asking, "What about you luv? Ready for adventure?"

She smiled brightly at him, taking his hand in hers. "I'm game. Now that you've found you're crew, I'm ready to find my friends and family."

As the ship began to slowly sail through the waves, both Jack and Buffy were filled with a sense of peace neither had gotten in life. A peace that they could control their own destinies and a peace that they would never be betrayed or hurt. They were ready for the adventure that lay in store for them, both brimming with hope for whatever the future might bring.