A/N: I haven't felt so completely compelled to write something in a long time. Just a short little thing about Jack's last thoughts as he dove into the belly of the beast. As usual, this comes with a listening recommendation, in this case "The Way of the Sword" from Last Samurai.

The captain always goes down with his ship.

Captain Jack Sparrow lifted his eyes slowly from his left hand, still throbbing in pain from having to squeeze it through the shackle cuff that had affixed him to the main mast. Before his eyes, the massive, tentacled arms of the kraken rose higher and higher above the deck of his ship, tangling themselves in the rigging, entwining around the masts. At the tips alone, each arm was as wide as he was.

But he wasn't looking at the ship-crushing appendages of Davey Jones' pet beast. He was staring between the writhing masses of flesh and slime, toward the longboat retreating steadily away from the beast, the ruined ship, and the man marked for death.

At least they made it away… he thought dryly.

He had long since noticed the absence of the sun's heat on his back. And he knew why that was. Slowly, Jack Sparrow turned to face his Reaper. He held his head up high, and stared the beast in the face. Well, the mouth, really, if you wanted to get technical about it.

A smirk twitched the right corner of his mouth once, then twice, before blossoming into his trademark grin upon the third try. His hand didn't seem to hurt that much anymore.

"Hello, beastie."

Clearly, the vicious kraken was not pleased that it had been greeted in such a calm, demeaning manner. It expected panic, it expected futile and senseless pleas for mercy, it expected hatred. It did not expect to find a doomed man smiling at his imminent demise.

The beast opened its fearsome maw, only to reveal a second set of 'teeth' within. Those opened as well, with yet another set hiding behind them. As that set of teeth swirled open, Jack decided that he would sooner stab himself with his own cutlass than watch the kraken open four distinct sets of jaws.

But nay, as the third set of teeth swirled open, Jack Sparrow found himself staring down the gullet of the kraken. The thing's mouth alone was big enough to swallow him whole without wasting an entire bite. But then again, that was clearly what it intended to do.

The monster roared savagely then, blasting Jack with a reeking wave of hot, fetid air. The thing's rotted breath was one thing, but coming with it was a longboat's worth of slime, mucus, and God-only-knew-what-else. That vile, slimy collection of what apparently passed for the creature's saliva hit him in full, coating the pirate captain from head to toe in an on-again, off-again, semi-transparent second skin.

Thank God his mouth had been closed when that had happened. He did not fancy the concept of downing a mouthful of that creature's regurgitations. Reaching up his right hand, he grimaced as he attempted to wipe away the pile of sludge over his mouth. He only partially succeeded.

"Not that bad," he muttered, flicking his hand in an attempt to clear the slime from it.

As he did so, he noticed something new strewn amongst the debris on the deck resulting from the last two encounters with the kraken. His beloved hat. For just a moment, his smile became genuine as he bent down to pick up the hat. Habitually dusting off the hat, he lifted it up and settled it back atop his head, ensuring that the main point of the three-cornered hat was over his forehead.

So this is how I meet my end, eh? he thought to himself, keeping his eyes focused on the open maw of the beast, and ignoring the massive tentacles that slid across the deck on either side of him, securing the creature's hold on his ship. I suppose it's not necessarily a bad way to go, since, by very nature, every possible death out at sea is not a pretty death. But at least it's out at sea, and not hanging from the wrong end of a rope.

With steady, determined hands, he reached to his left hip and slid his cutlass out from its scabbard. Before him, the kraken began to act as well, slowly dragging itself up out of the water even further, inching across the deck toward him, its mouth gaping open, a gateway to the other world.

He swung his blade far behind him in his right arm, turning his body in that direction as he did so. And as he turned, as he began to step forward to meet his fate, he cast one last glance over his shoulder to the retreating longboat, carrying his crew, his friends. He could no longer recognize individual people, all he saw was a mass of colors between the tentacles grasping, finger-like, at the hull and deck of his ship.

Godspeed, gents. May the winds always blow at your backs.

He turned back to face the kraken, feeling the resistance in his arm muscles as he began to strike. One step, two steps. When his left boot came down for his third step, it came down not on hardwood deck, but on several teeth of his conqueror.

Elizabeth, you poor girl. You needn't have done what you did. It was never my intent to again leave the Black Pearl. She's my ship; I bargained to raise her from the depths, and I'll see her down to the depths myself.

The first row of teeth were all around him now, and he drove his cutlass forward, stabbing it deep into the slimy flesh of the beast's jaws. It let out an ungodly squeal and twitched violently, the convulsion nearly tossing Jack down its throat. But he steadied himself, withdrew his blade, and stepped forward again, using the second set of teeth as a stepping stone deeper toward his fate.

Will, you savvy pirate, you. You'd better take care of Elizabeth, and cherish her. She's put herself through all kinds of hell to find you, so if you don't make her happy, I'll commandeer Davey Jones' ship myself and hunt you down, boy.

Before him, the walls of flesh making up the greater part of the kraken's maw sealed shut, as though the creature was having second thoughts about consuming him. Well, couldn't have that. Not after he'd already made it this far into the beast.

He drew his arm back across his body and slashed out, cutting a deep gash into the soft inner flesh of the kraken's maw. Thick red blood immediately splattered out onto him, but he pressed forward, bracing his weight against the third row of teeth and kicking at the wall of flesh until it finally irised open for him.

That's right, you ugly little beastie. I'm going to sting all the bloody way down.

Behind him, the rows of teeth were beginning to snap themselves shut. The die, as the saying went, had been cast. Before him, nothing remained except the innards of the kraken, his own personal hell until whatever it was, be it digestive acids, lack of oxygen, or crushing pressure, killed him.

As he held his sword out in front of him and dove forward as if into the crystal clear Caribbean waters, he smiled.

Congratulations, Davey. You will always remember this as the day that you finally caught Captain Jack Sparrow.