A/N: Welcome! At Story's End...:)
This is the very last chapter with a very long and annoying A/N, but since I usually kept my A/Ns very short and unprepossessing, I thought you wouldn't mind if I went wild with the last one lol
I can't believe that this day has come! Hands up who actually believed that this story would ever end? lol It's been 9 months and 3 weeks! It's funny, because it's more or less the time span of the story:)
The most important part of this A/N is the Thank You Note (it's below, you can't see it yet haha). I wanted to thank all my AMAZING readers for their constant, unchanging, wonderful support throughout this story! Thank you so much! There would be no story without you!
I would like to thank especially those of you who were not only reading this story, but also reviewing it. Where would I be without all your fantastic reviews? This story truly & really would not exist without you! Thank you so much for being such amazing, wonderful readers! Thank you for all the great reviews, for undeservedly beautiful words of praise, for telling me what you thought about the story, for constructive criticism, for commenting on the plot. I loved every review that I received (alright, perhaps with the exception of a couple of anon. flames lol) and I will treasure each of your wonderful reviews forever! I always felt so happy knowing that you were reading this story, and that you cared for it enough to leave reviews which made me not only joyously write this story for almost a year, but also constantly be in a wonderful, happy mood no matter what was happening in my real life. And that really means a lot. It actually means more than a lot. And I will be forever grateful for this:)
HWMB? Fun Facts:)
1) Originally the story was going to have more or less 15 chapters...
2) The only part of the plot planned ahead of time was... Will showing up... at some point. I'm serious.
3) Virtual rum goes to anybody who could tell me what was so special about chapter 38??? Why did it get... 55 reviews?! -faints-
4) The bracelet from the dream in chapter 8 had originally no connection with the bracelet that appeared much later in the story... (It's always useful to put dreams into a story. You never know when you might need them, and if you never use them again... well, then they can just remain... being... dreams! (I'm not sure if this is a very professional writing tip...;)
5) There is a vague line somewhere saying that Jack the Monkey has run away... I put that line there, because one day I suddenly remembered that I... forgot about Barbossa's pet altogether... and had to explain its absence... somehow... (I know, I know, HOW could I forget about the monkey lol)
Thank You Note:)
I would like to thank ALL of you who reviewed this story at least once! It's just a public addition to all personal review replies:) - a democratic list of all my AMAZING REVIEWERS in the alphabetical order. There is no bold or italics, but I'm sure that everybody who deserves an exceptionally big hug for reviewing most of the chapters knows that in her/his own pirate heart:)
I would like to thank very, very, very, very, very, very, very much:
2mishelle3, 4-is-lovely, AdhesivePrincess, ai-08, Aieska, Aleviel, Alex – obsessive pirate lover, Ally, Ally Kidman, AllyTCBK, AmandaKSparrow, amanda michelle, Ameli, Andra, angelofmusic22, angelXwithXbrownXeyes, Angiezrose, anna, annabelle, anonymous, Arraya, Arinna Black, A Sparrow's Freedom (aka The Caged Sparrow), A Sparrow's Soul, Barbossa's Beloved, bcbdrums, beautiful-mistakez, BellaCissa Black, B-emo-B, Bess-the-Landlord's-Daughter, blacklilac, blackpearl.fantasy, BlackRainWillFall, blugbu, brightlily, brolly501, bussytu34, captain-kat-sparrow, CaptainESavvy, Captain Ichabod Rainey, Captain Kris, Captain Lola Sparrow, Captain Lizzie Sparrow, Captain Uschi, CatGirl R and S Fan, catherine, Celebwen Telcontar, Chloe, cjlovee, CJS, clandestine.masquerade, cloe leo, CocoChanel555, crazibookwormi, Crystalyna du Starrvan, Danielle, DebbieSC, demon barber xx, Deppfreak, DeppnBloom, DesiringPirates, Ditte3, DOC3, Don'tJudgeMe616, Dreamer of Realms, earlymorningdove, Ectofralamazoo, elaine, Elenderai, Elisa, Elizabeth, El loopy, Emma Stargaze, Enessa, englishfreckle, EvilKath, Fabi Caribbean Blue Brazil, febitoria, FireHeart Alchemist, FluffyShrekGirl, freelke, FreeSpiritedOne, gardenlady1, Gater101, GeLiE, gerardlover123, GGLukeLorelai1, Ginabella59, Giver of Roses, Glitterfrost, godisawesome, Go Frankie Rock Out, grape soda queen, gurlwriter, hahaha:), -haleyXsparrow- (aka HoistTheColours), Hambah, Hanna28, hexxx thee purebloods, hArDy-BoYz-GiRl, hlp, homunculiruleall, hotbritt5000, howlongmustiwait, Icelands, iHEARTleyton, ikki, Inkspell12, jackiiexx, Jack.Sparrow.1245, Jack Sparrow Lover 158, Jack Sparrow's my man, JaxLass, Jengarola, Jennifer Lynn Weston, Jo, JumpingJackSparrow!, katana777, Katla, KayleeG, kcpiratey05, KissOfDeathJE, kitanya7, Kitten4, klcxthexpirate, Kontara, Lady of the Mirror, Lakritzwolf, LaVieBoheme87, LazyAssProcrastinator, leela1701, leena, lena, Leanne, lena-hearts-jack, Le.Reflet.de.Soleil, Lexicon, Lily Evanstar, LimeFlamingo, LivelyStevens, Lobsters forever, lostxatx7thxsea, Lucy Westerna, Lurker, LuvlyLena, Maiafay, Mandi, Marriella Bullet, maidenfairhair, marionoz, Marzi, McAlice92, Mclean M.D., MeganSparrow, Meghan, Mei, Meiling, Melissa, Mikitsu Silverquick, Milly, MiMiGallowicious, mipsywoo, Mirabelle456, Misao22, Mishelle, Mishelle23, MissDepp4eva, MoonlitInuko, moovieluvverjs, mrs. Cap'n jack sparrow, Mrs.CaptainJack, mrspatrickdempsey, Mrz. Sparrow Turner, MTVbabe11, natti, Ninja Pirate 25, Nisa93, o.OEvangelineO.o, Oceanana, orpsgod, Perfect Pirate Captain, Persia, Phantom Of The Feudal Era, piratefacehxc, PirateLove, Pirate.Rent-Head.Jedi Knight, piratelover2346, PiratePrincess29, Piratesfanatic, piratespleasure, Powerline, prettycherrystar16, primadonna001, Princetongirl8182, punkparty17, purplediamond7, QueenOfSparrabeth, Queen Tigeress, ra2ch3el4, Rachel452, ribbons undone., robin, RogueOnFire, Rory4, RumQueen, Sakura-mia-chan, Sarwenaletari Elanesse, Sassy Sparrow, sarah, savannah, shalomtatig, Shigures Editor, Silver Butterfly07, Simply Kiwi, siriushermionelover, Sleepy Lotus, socialitegirl, sparrabeth, Sparrow's Love, sparrowsxxswann, Steph H., Stickman-sam, stretchingthelimits (aka ichliebepie), sunkissed47, SuperCatOfDoom, Super-special-awesome Pirate, sweetn'sour, sylvia, tallah, tanith75, Tatablp, tatiana, TavyBeckettFan, teepirategirl, Tempo, Terrie, TheCloudEater, The Girl In The Wrong World, theminority, The-Pirate-Lass, The Pirate's Paw, The Practical Pirate, TheSwannsSparrow, Tikislona, twilight09, Undead Author, uniquechic, unknown person lol, Vee017, Vicster's Jar of Dirt, vidalys, wasaco, Wicked R, x-L e s l i e-x, XxIcexX, xxJE4everxx, Ygraine, Zippie, ZivaJade.
You are the best:)
I will miss you and your wonderful reviews!
But I hope to keep seeing you all around VOUN or some other stories in the future...
Thank you once again for following this story for 10 months! Thanks to you, it's been an unforgettable journey:)
And now... onto the last chapter:)
Disclaimer: Disney owns PotC. I own my storyline, a carriage, two doctors (well, three, if we count Philip - whatever his last name was?? - from IHFIY lol), the Inn's owner's wife (who laughed?!), Elizabeth's dresses, a floating wedding ring, the draught flag (anybody remembers that? haha), Will's drawing of a veranda, bottled Aqua de Vida, the bracelet, Maldream residents (although I could be persuaded to sell some of them...), Scarlett's grandmother, Rin Han, the 'singing' parrot, and... Blaxton:)
"...one hundred and fifty nine, one hundred and sixty..."
The sun shone through the thin curtains that fluttered in the mild wind coming from the outside through a half-open window. The window overlooked the docks, the calm sea, and the ships anchored at Shipwreck Island, the Black Pearl among them.
"...one hundred and sixty seven, one hundred and sixty eight..."
Elizabeth woke up, but did not want to open her eyes, feeling perfectly content with the sunlight on her face, Jack's chest pressed to her back, his arm brushing against hers, while he was...
"...one hundred and seventy three, one hundred and seventy four," muttered Jack under his breath.
What is he doing?! Elizabeth opened one eye, but unfortunately lying on her side and facing the window she could not see much.
"... one hundred and eighty eight, one hundred and eighty nine," continued Jack what seemed to be the most monotonous task, his voice however held a strange sense of fascination.
Elizabeth opened her other eye as well, and blinked, trying to figure out what Jack was doing, what was he counting?!
"...one hundred and ninety one, one hundred and ninety two..."
She kept very still, trying to keep her breathing steady. Out of the corner of her eye she could see Jack's elbow resting on her arm, and she could also feel his breath on the back of her head when he spoke...
"...one hundred and ninety nine, two hundred..."
Elizabeth thought that perhaps he would stop counting at that point, but number two hundred did not seem to be his goal. He continued, and she was growing more and more curious as to what was going on, when she suddenly felt Jack's fingertips on her hair. He was not stroking her hair, but she could feel his touch nonetheless; very light, almost imperceptible, as if, as if...
"...two hundred and five, two hundred and six..."
Biting her lip, she considered just flipping over onto her back, and coming face to face with him. But he was doing something with her hair, and an abrupt movement like that might ruin... whatever he was doing.
"...two hundred and thirteen, two hundred and-"
"Jack?" Elizabeth risked calling him in a soft, hesitant voice. He did not answer. "Jack?" she repeated, slightly puzzled.
To Elizabeth's bafflement he hushed her, apparently not very happy about the interruption.
"Jack. What are you doing?" asked Elizabeth, beginning to roll over onto her back.
"No!" Jack stopped her in mid-action, placing his hand on her shoulder. "Don't move, luv."
"Two hundred and fourteen..."
"Jack!" she exclaimed, not knowing what to think, half-amused, half-annoyed.
"...two hundred and fifteen..."
"...two hundred and sixteen..."
"...two hundred and seventeen..."
Elizabeth lost her patience, and in one swift movement rolled onto her back. Jack's eyes widened, and he froze above her with his hands lifted in the air, and a look of dismay on his face. "Lizzie," he said in a very unhappy voice.
"What were you doing?" asked Elizabeth looking up at him curiously.
Jack knitted his eyebrows. "Ye ruined me count, luv," he said with pout.
Elizabeth splayed her open palms on his bare chest, and slid them upwards. "What have you been counting?" She asked closing her hands over his shoulders, and pulling him down onto her.
Jack smiled at her impishly, and brushed his lips against hers. "Yer hair," he whispered, playfully parting her lips with his.
"What?" asked Elizabeth with a bright smile, her eyes sparkling with amusement.
He kissed her, and then drew back, sliding his hand into her hair, and sifting her golden brown strands through his fingers. "I was counting yer hair, 'Lizbeth," he repeated, propping his head on his elbow, and looking down at her with a smile.
Elizabeth threw back her head, and giggled, digging her head into the soft pillow. "Jack. You're absolutely-"
He cut her off with a kiss, his dreadlocks brushing over her collarbones, cold trinkets sending shivers up her spine every time they touched against her skin. They kissed until there was no air to breathe, and they had to pull away.
Jack rolled over onto his side, and pulled Elizabeth close to him, locking his arms around her. She snuggled her face into his chest, and wrapped her leg around his.
"Have I told ye already that ye're beautiful, luv?" asked Jack burying his face in her hair.
"Yes," answered Elizabeth, smiling into his chest.
"And brave?" He brushed her hair off her shoulder, and stroked her arm with the back of his hand.
"Yes," replied Elizabeth promptly.
Elizabeth giggled. "Aye," she said in a muffled voice, kissing his chest.
"And that I love you?"
She looked up at him, and cupped his face in her hands, smiling brightly. "Aye. You did mention that a few hours ago."
Jack widened his eyes at her in disbelief. "A few hours ago? That's unforgivably long time ago, luv" he smiled, and kissed her shoulder dragging his lips across her collarbones, and then lower.
"I think so too," agreed Elizabeth in a barely audible whisper, smiling, her eyelids falling heavily over her eyes. "Do continue," she added with a hint of amusement in her voice, trying to catch her breath. "Everywhere..."
He smiled against her breast. "Your wish is my command Your Maj- Wait!" He stopped abruptly, drew back, and looked at her with a glint of mischief in his eyes, and a trace of impishness in his smile.
Elizabeth reluctantly opened her eyes. "What?" She asked with a half-hearted frown, trying to pull him closer again, but he shook his head.
"No, no, no," Jack wiggled his finger at her, his lips stretching into a roguish smile. "Remember, luv? I'm the King," he said, pointing to himself with a complacent smile.
Elizabeth arched an eyebrow, and gave him a questioning look.
Jack threw himself onto his back, and interlaced his fingers behind his head. "Do continue, darlin'," he said in a purposefully husky, nonchalant voice, closing his eyes. Elizabeth quickly pulled herself up to a sitting position, and sat upright in bed, glaring at Jack as much as it was possible with her eyes laughing and a smile tugging on her lips. Jack shifted, and grimaced with pretended impatience. "Everywhere," he added with a smile.
Stifling a giggle Elizabeth leaned over him, kissed him on the lips, and then trailed soft kisses all over his chest, tracing all the bullet holes, scars, and tattoos with her lips.
"I like being the King," said Jack in a drowsy voice, "I think."
"You think?" exclaimed Elizabeth with mock-indignation.
"Aye, I-" Jack's eyes flew wide open, "I'm... sure," he whispered breathlessly.
After four days spent in Shipwreck Cove (which, according to Jack, was five days too many), the Black Pearl and the Empress left the pirate town behind, and headed for Tortuga where the belated wedding party was going to take place (even though Teague had proposed to throw the party at the Cove, but Elizabeth had not even had to look at Jack to imagine the expression in his eyes at that proposal...).
Jack stood at the helm smiling happily at the retreating figure of the Gold Teliza (he had not actually believed that Teague would have really changed the name of his ship, but to his utter dismay, one morning when he had gone to the docks he had come across a bunch of pirates indeed putting on the new lettering).
A happy smile, however, disappeared from his face when he saw his father's ship's sails being unfurled.
"How many days will it take us to sail to Tortuga?" asked Elizabeth appearing on Jack's side, and ducking under his arm to stand between him and the helm.
"Lizzie, ye did not invite him, did ye?" asked Jack ignoring her question (although he did not fail to wrap his arm around her waist, and pull her closer against him), his eyes fixed on the Gold Teliza.
Elizabeth blinked, and turned around, following Jack's gaze. "Well," she said, leaning against his chest. "I did mention-" Jack groaned, "out of politeness," she added quickly with a chuckle. "I had to, we had to!"
"No, we did not!" protested Jack propping his chin on her shoulder.
Elizabeth turned her head, and kissed the side of his nose. "I will be holding your hand throughout the party, I promise," she said with a sweet smile.
Jack twitched his nose, and glanced at her out of the corner of his eye. "That might be acceptable. But..."
"But what?" asked Elizabeth, brushing her lips against his cheek.
"But what will ye be looking at, luv?" inquired Jack in a mildly interested tone of voice, his hand playing with the rim of her shirt.
Elizabeth pursed her lips, putting a thoughtful expression on her face. "I don't know...," she snuggled closer against him. "You?" she offered after a longer pause, looking at him expectantly.
Jack reduced his inward amused grin to an outward benevolent smile. "Aye. Good answer. And I'd be hoping for ye to keep to yer word, queeny-luv."
Elizabeth smiled, and pressed her lips to his ear. "But you do know that it has to work both ways," she whispered alluringly.
Jack squinted into the distance. "Let's make it a bet, then," he said shifting his eyes to her. She bit her lip, and raised her eyebrows. "Whoever looks away first..." he smiled roguishly, leaned toward her, and whispered the rest of the sentence into her ear. Elizabeth laughed.
The interiors of the Feisty Fairy, the fanciest tavern in Tortuga, were changed and decorated in virtually no time. Within a day the place was turned into the most beautiful, enchanting room full of flowers and colorful decorations. White and blue tablecloths were spread over the tables, and silver tableware, which seemed to consist of strangely different pieces, glittered in the dim light of lanterns and candles.
The neatness of the place, however, was ruined and forgotten as soon as all the guests, friends, and strangers started coming to the Feisty Fairy, and the celebrations officially began.
Just like she promised, Elizabeth laced her hand through Jack's arms, and no matter what was happening around, and whoever was speaking to her, she kept her eyes fixed on Jack, and so did he, and soon people gave up on engaging in any conversations with them, leaving them to themselves (which was bound to happen anyway, because after several minutes of greetings, joyful hollering, and happy matrimony wishes, as well as several rounds of rum and other vile drinks, nobody seemed to neither care nor remember what was exactly the reason for the celebration, concentrating on pure enjoyment of the moment.
"I hope that at least now you do regret kicking your father," said Elizabeth reaching for her mug of rum, which was not easy considering that she had only one hand at her disposal, and could not avert her eyes from Jack, and the mug sat somewhere on the table where she could not really see it.
Jack grimaced, trying to locate his own rum with his left hand. "I saw him then for the very first time in my life. I walked into the kitchen, and saw a stranger kissing me mum. What was I supposed to do? What would you do?" Jack blindly tapped his hand on the table, until he finally touched upon his mug.
"I would ask him who he was," answered Elizabeth closing her hand around her rum.
"I did ask him who he was," said Jack defensively, cautiously lifting his drink. "After I kicked him."
With a smile, Elizabeth slowly brought her mug to her lips. "But you have to admit that it was rather nice of him to offer taking care of Blaxton tonight."
Jack twitched his nose. "Aye," he muttered reluctantly. "Good thing the wee one is immortal, or else he would certainly die from boredom listening to ol' cap'n Teague playin' his guitar."
Elizabeth giggled. "I actually would like to hear him play," she said teasingly, putting away her rum, her eyes locked with Jack's.
Jack narrowed his eyes. "I don't think-"
A pair swirling around the room in a rather chaotic dance, accidentally bumped into the table, which in turn bumped into Jack, who dropped his mug. Without thinking, he followed the lost rum with his eyes.
"I won! I won!" exclaimed Elizabeth, clapping her hands. Jack darted his startled gaze to her. "You looked away!" she said happily.
Jack groaned, and rolled his eyes. "Bloody rum," he muttered with a pout. "Always gets me in trouble. Especially when it's gone," he added with a sigh.
Elizabeth paced around the cabin, her lustrous taffeta dress fanning around her. She kept biting her lip, and giggling under her breath.
"Oh," she whispered at last impatiently, and headed for the door.
Quickly walking through the corridor, and stopped in front of the galley's door, cautiously pressing her ear to the wooden surface. She heard a quiet, jingling noise, and some mutterings, the only recognizable word that she could differentiate being "bugger". Putting her hand over her mouth in order to stifle a chuckle, she noiselessly pushed the door open, and crept across the dining cabin to the cooking quarters.
The door stood ajar, so she soundlessly leaped to the door frame, and peered inside.
Jack stood in the middle of the cabin, his shirt sleeves rolled up, his dreadlocks sprinkled with flour, his hands full of amorphous dough which seemed glued to his palms, despite his efforts to shape something out of disobedient ingredients.
Elizabeth watched him for a moment before clearing her throat, and knocking loudly on the door. Jack looked up.
"I came to see how is my wedding cake doing?" Elizabeth walked in with a smile.
"It's not doing anything," muttered Jack, glaring at the dough.
Elizabeth giggled, and walked over to him. "And how is my husband doing?" She asked, blowing the flour off Jack's dreadlocks.
Jack shot her a very sad look. She smiled, threw her arms around his neck, and kissed him. "Alright. I will help you," she said with sigh.
"I don't think ye cook any better, luv," said Jack sceptically.
Elizabeth widened her eyes at him. "Oh, and here is where you are very, very wrong," she said smiling inwardly at the memory of all the cooking lessons which she had had with Mrs. Roggson and Giselle in Maldream.
"Am I?" asked Jack, amused, still sceptical about the idea.
"Yes, you are," repeated Elizabeth in a firm voice, rolling up her sleeves.
A small table was set on the main deck under the dark night Caribbean sky. The Black Pearl rocked on the calm sea, among millions of stars reflected in the black water around the ship, and it seemed as if the ocean was made out of infinite strings of black pearls and white diamonds interlaced together, glimmering in the darkness.
Jack and Elizabeth sat at the table across from each other, eating their wedding cake, which - Jack had to admit it - indeed proved that Elizabeth had picked up certain culinary skills. They ate and talked, recounting once again everything that had happened, adding the previously untold details, reminding each other about small events, laughing at the past, desanctifying the pain, moving on...
The Black Pearl left Tortuga seven days later, parting ways, at least for a few weeks, with the Empress and the Gold Teliza.
Jack stood at the helm watching the sunrise, and the bright horizon stretching before him.
"Do we have a heading?" asked Elizabeth, lacing her arm through his, and tucking a few strands of her hair behind her ear, curling up her toes, feeling the soothing warmth of the wooden deck under her bare feet, her nightgown fluttering lightly in the mild wind.
Jack looked at her, and smiled, wrapping his arm around her, and pulling her close. "I didn't want to wake you, Lizzie," he said, pressing his lips to the side of her face, and moving her to stand in front of him at the helm.
Elizabeth stepped up to stand on his boots, and rested the back of her head against his shoulder.
"Aye," said Jack with a smile, nestling his face in her neck. "We do have a heading."
"Without the compass?" asked Elizabeth, smiling sadly at the memory of Jack telling her how he had accidentally, and unfortunately literally, broke the compass.
"Without?" Jack brushed his lips against her neck. "I still have it," he said with a roguish smile.
Elizabeth tilted her head to the side, and looked at him questioningly. "How come?" she asked, slowly drawing her hand across his face.
"It's right here," whispered Jack into her ear, turning her around, and placing his hand over her heart.
Elizabeth smiled, and kissed him. "Mine is here," she said splaying her open palm over his heart.
"And where a double heading can lead us, I wonder?" whispered Jack, cupping her face in his hands, and pressing his lips to hers.
"Into the horizon," said Elizabeth quietly, looking into his eyes with a smile in her eyes, on her lips; in her.
Jack smiled, locking his eyes with hers, the lustrous darkness of his eyes reflecting the sunlit sea and her own eyes boring into his. He brushed his lips against hers, and in a low, sable, light-conjuring voice corrected:
"Into our horizon."