Chapter 19 - Parting of Ways

"I didn't believe it, when ye said 'ow she got here...I didn't think it was possible", Gibbs was almost as white as Louise, his superstitious old story was actually true.

"What? What's 'appening?", Jack was trying to shake the answer out of him but Gibbs remained frozen mumbling about it being real.

He suddenly stopped and looked Jack dead in the eyes unnervingly, "she's going back".

"Back where?" he knew the answer before he even finished the question but the situation had started to take over.

"Back to her own time".

Jack leapt back over to Louise and held her in his arms, she seemed to be fading, not just the colour from her cheeks but everything about her. Her hair was thinner, it was like watching her waste away. Within a few moments she became next to nothing, like a ghostly figure of the person who was once there, Jack tried to hold onto her, making small grabs at her arms, shoulders, but to no avail. Before he knew it she was gone, he sat there for what seemed like a lifetime still in the position of holding her, as if preserving the space where she had been.

There was silence throughout the cavern as the whole crew had watched it unfold.

Ana eventually placed a hand on Jacks shoulder bringing him back to the world around them. He looked up at her from the floor like he was seeing her for the first time, she smiled sympathetically and he just had a faraway thoughtful look about him.

"Back to the pearl?" she asked quietly, yet it still echoed throughout the rocky walls.

He sighed considering his options, "aye, the pearl".

Louise realised the feeling of warmth, her eyes remained closed but about her she could hear voices as a hand reached out for her.

"Lu don't tell me you slept through that?", that didn't sound like Jack she thought.

The voices continued, "oh my god she's bleeding".

"Get some help quickly", almost instantly she was being vigorously shaken, "Lu wake up".

Louise opened her eyes and took in the world around her. She was sitting in a cinema chair, credits were rolling on the screen, in front of her were the panicked faces of her friends. This was not the black pearl.

"Where's Jack?" she's asked not allowing herself to believe it.

Shelly obviously ignoring her strange question replied with, "it's okay we're here, we're getting help, you'll be fine".

Louise sat upright and the consequences of multiple cuts took it's toll, she would have almost believed the whole time on the pearl was a dream had she not been sitting in pirate clothes, bleeding with Jack's sash around her neck.

"Where is he?" she insisted, she didn't care how or why anything had happened she just wanted Jack. She was pushed back down into the chair by someone in a cinema uniform, apparently a first aider who took one look at her cuts and decided they were in over their head. Louise heard the word 'ambulance' mentioned.

He wasn't here, and she wasn't there, she felt sick and not just because of the injuries. In fact she was trying to ignore the blood and bruises, none of it mattered all she was focused on was him and why she had been forced to leave him. Eventually she was hauled to the hospital where a doctor examined her cuts with dismay, the fact that the only explanation she gave for them was a venomous glaze over her eyes while she spat the name "Greer" made it slightly suspicious. They became even more curious upon discovering her gunshot wound. However to Louise it had all gone by in a haze, her mind spent the entire time trying to calculate what had happened. She asked herself over and over again, what was the last thing she remembered? All she came up with was Jack's voice as he said "it's all going to be alright".

As she lay in a clean hospital bed, covered in bandages and stitches she remembered his voice, how safe she had felt as he said it. A tear rolled down her cheek and she reached for a tissue only finding her mangled, blood soaked clothes and his sash. Grabbing it like it was the rarest item on earth she buried her face into it, just trying to wish herself back. Unfortunately life was not that simple.

2 years pass

Louise sat on the underground heading for Liverpool street. She was on her way to a meeting about her latest work and so was dressed conservatively in a grey pinstripe skirt, White blouse and black heels. She had somehow moved onwards with her life in the last 2 years, at least on the outside. On the outside she had grown up, finished university and hoped onto the career ladder.

On the inside she still thought of Jack almost everyday. Little things would remind her of him, or she'd see someone who looks like him, all it took was a holiday to the beach to remind her of him, the pearl, and everyone on it. However in a lot of ways Louise had returned to normality after a while, she even got back her sense of humor eventually but still there was something dull behind her facade. Like something, some piece of her was missing, only her closest friends had noticed but they rarely mentioned it. Louise had never attempted to explain what had happened and nor did she feel she needed to.

They wouldn't have understood anyway. Nobody understood. How could they?

There wasn't exactly a way to deal with this, or make it better. Of course Louise knew this not through lack of trying. She had spent so much time researching every archaic curse, ritual and even magic trying to find a reason for what had happened. She wanted closure, but in the back of her mind she knew she was really looking for a way back. Louise had given up on this route a few months ago, it was getting to the point where she knew more superstitious sailor stories than Gibbs and still she hadn't found anything useful. Through the fabric of her skirt she let her hand rest on the old scar, a reminder, a souvenir, something to keep her sane and remind her it was all real. The train pulled in at Liverpool Street and Louise jumped up to exit, the mass of people around her pushed and shoved their way off, not a care for anyone but themselves, she just followed, forever consumed with more important thoughts. As she walked out of the train though it struck her that Liverpool Street underground station wasn't this bright, or...sandy?

--Authors Notes--

It's finished. That feels weird to type, but it is. Or at least it is for now, notice the question mark, a rhetorical question in Louise's mind but for us it means only one thing. That I'm continuing this as a series :) I actually had written a few chapters for the next one before writing this, well I say chapters it's more like a mass of writing I need to work on a little bit but I just had a kind of rush of ideas. So although I said it would be a few weeks before I started the new one I hope you won't hold it against me if I make it maybe a week, possibly even this weekend if I get some free time, which I think I will. I'm really excited about the next story. There will be a lot more Jack/Louise because well I think what we saw in this one was leading to something but they never quite got there but obviously it's been two years so it'll be interesting to see at first. Also a new adventure, which is always good.

Before I go I just wanted to one last time thank everyone who read the story and enjoyed it enough to review. It really has been great writing this and it's been even greater talking to people who have enjoyed it. If you want to review still that's great and I'll as ever try to reply. Hopefully I'll see you all on the next story, working title: 'I Never Moved On'.