A Jack origin fic, hopefully unlike anything anyone else has written yet. Originally I had an idea for making this into a longer story but it became incompatible with the information revealed in AWE so I scrapped it. I do not own Jack or PotC.

It was, above all else, an extremely pitiful sight.

The boy could not have been more than twelve; more likely he was nine or ten. Yet the clothing he wore was a rag that a much larger man had cast off. Not only was it dirty and ridden with tears, but it hung so loosely on his thin, starved frame that it hardly served any practical purpose, save modesty, and that was almost useless.

He sat in the corner of what appeared to be a small room, but was actually a closet. Some cruel person had ripped out whatever shelving had been there, and fastened large metal pegs into the wood, from which spun lengths of strong iron chain, ending in claw-like manacles. Said manacles had then been fastened securely around the boy's wrists and ankles. These were now torn and bloody, from past struggles.

Now, the boy no longer struggled. Now, the blood came from other wounds.

Dark eyes did not see. They stared off into a space far away from this one, one which was happy, and light, and free. Especially free.

Parched mouth cracked, suddenly, into the ghost of a grin, as a wonderful reality suddenly changed from a possibility to a certainty.

"I'm going to die."

The words, only the tiniest whispers, echoed around him. They were, in a sense, comforting. He had something to hold on to, something to mark the passing of time. An event that would happen. An event that would change what had been happening. Something, perhaps, he could even look forward to.

"I'm going to die."

He thought about it some more, and then realized that there were certain things one was expected to do in this sort of occasion. Last wishes, or whatever. Final forgiveness.

Forgiveness. He could give that a go.

He summoned up memories. It was very difficult, but he did it. Memories of the important people in his life.

Might as well start off with the parents. I forgive you, Mum. You never did anything wrong in your life, but you always said sorry. I forgive you.

Not you, Dad. You don't give a damn whether I forgive you or not, so I won't. At least you'll never have to tell me off for touching your damn book again.

He thought for a moment, and decided he didn't remember any of his siblings well enough to count them as individuals. He hoped they'd turn out well. Good luck and all that.

Ed, next, then. I forgive you, Ed. You taught me the most useful skills in the world. Really came in handy. You were always honest and patient, except around Meg. Well, what can you expect. Hope you're not dangling by a rope yet, Ed. Good luck to you.

And that, he thought, was the last person he could forgive. No sympathies for anyone else. And, if Captain George didn't go down to the deepest circle of Hell, he would personally drag the man down there and lock him up. Unless he was already the devil he made out to be.

He thought very hard. Could that really be it? Ten years in this world and only those few people to show for it?

One more, he realized. One more.

"Lady Luck," he whispered, a harsh murmur. "I forgive you."

He could almost hear a voice, drifting through his mind. "YOU forgive ME, little child? Little, mortal, dying child?"

He shook his head. He must be going mad. Oh, well. Better make the best of it. "A lot of people blame you for their problems. Bloody bad luck, they say. Well, I forgive you. Not your fault I'm in this mess."

He heard laughter, light, airy, and carefree. "So you give me forgiveness? Perhaps I should give you something in return. How much is the worth of your forgiveness?"

"Not much," he admitted. "Since I'm going to die."

"What if you were to live?" The voice was much stronger now, and he could definitely hear it, right there, in his ear.

He considered the question. "Then I'd ask you for a bargain, Lady Luck."

"You border on the insolent. First you presume that I need your forgiveness, and now you try to bargain with me."

He would have shrugged. His tone suggested it, anyway. "You asked me what my forgiveness is worth. I'd say it's worth you hearing me out." When the voice did not respond, he continued. "I'd propose this: I'll never blame you, not for anything bad that ever happens to me, and I'll give you credit for everything good."

The voice seemed interested. "And what would I do in return for this favor?"

He smiled a very small smile. "Help me get a little more good than bad."

"You're asking me to favor you?" There was a pause. "You do not understand what you are bargaining with, little mortal."

"I'm willing to take that chance, milady."

"And if I agreed, what would you do? Would you take more daring chances and risk your life, because you knew you had my favor?"

"I would be who I've always been," he replied, soft and direct without answering her. "I would be myself. I would pursue the life I want to live, as I have always done." His words were the more honest and true that he ever had or ever would again speak. They drew sympathy from the listener that no one had ever drawn before. "I would be free."

There was a long silence, and he noticed a hint of darkness creeping around the edges of his vision. That was it. Death, come to claim him. Perhaps that was who he had been talking to, all along. Death and luck were, after all, very closely intertwined.

And, just before he moved to the realm of the unconscious, he heard the voice again. "I stand beside you, as long as you by me, Jack Sparrow."

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