Disclaimer: I tried to lure Jack into my house with rum, but Disney got in my way, so he's not mine.

AN: This is it, the final chapter! Unfortunately, I won't be posting another Pirates story for a while, since I really need to finish a Willy Wonka story I started with a friend over a year ago and never completed. So I'm afraid I need to do that first, but I promise that once that's done, I'll post a new Jack/OC fic! I hope that you all had fun reading this story and will review! Thanks so much!

Chapter 19: A Pirate's Life For Me:

As a man and a pirate, Jack had kissed many women in his life, but none had made him feel like this. His heart fluttered in his chest, and his stomach felt as hot at the fiery curtain that burned nearby. Kaia was like soft, melting butter in his arms, and he felt that he rather liked it. Yes, he'd liked kissing other women, too, but Kaia…

'I was telling the truth earlier,' he thought while pulling back a little from their kiss. 'I doubt that I could stand watching her wither and die like the delicate flower that she is.'

Kaia's eyes were still closed, and Jack smirked at the dreamy look that she had as her arms wrapped around his neck. Her breathing was a bit fast, and he knew that it was the effect he had on her. With her hands touching the sensitive skin of his neck, Jack felt his whole body grow warm with an emotion he never thought he'd feel.

"I love you, darling," he whispered into Kaia's thick brown hair.

Her eyes flew open as she looked up at him in shock. He gave her a moment to recover herself, and was pleased with the words she spoke. "I love you, too, Jack," she murmured, smiling shyly before pressing her face to his chest with a contented sigh.

Jack shuddered at the feel of her warm breath caressing his skin through the thin material of his shirt. Honestly, if they didn't get out of this cave soon, he was going to end up doing something rather inappropriate to Kaia right here on the floor of this cave.

"Come on, luv," he said, regretfully pulling back from their embrace. "We need to go before Gibbs or someone decides to try and come for us."

Kaia nodded. "Lead on, Captain."

Jack took a deep breath and looked at the wall of fire. "How do we get past this thing?"

Of course, at that moment, the curtain opened before them and Jack hurriedly grabbed Kaia's hand and dragged her past the blazing flames before the fire spirit changed its mind. The fiery wall drew shut, and both he and his love were left to face the anxious Mr. Gibbs.

My heart was pounding with excitement. Jack loved me! Oh, goodness, I never felt so wonderful in my entire life! This warm, joyful feeling I felt in my heart was worth everything I had given up: the sea, my immortality, my tail, everything.

"Well? Was the venture successful, Cap'n?" asked Mr. Gibbs anxiously, his hands tightly grasping the seagull, who was glaring up at him in protest.

I swallowed, my hand clutching Jack's as I tried to think of some sort of excuse for why we didn't have the Fountain's water. Beside me, I heard Jack growl angrily, and looked over at him in surprise. He looked furious.

"Bloody thing's run dry! How the hell a God of Sea and Water lets an important fountain like that go dry is beyond me!" he snarled.

I opened my mouth to protest, but a squeeze of his hand stopped me. I then understood that he was making up this excuse to keep me from harm, should any of the crew be unhappy with our unsuccessful quest. It appeared to work, because Mr. Gibbs rolled his eyes and held the seagull out to me, apparently frustrated and relieved to see me. I reluctantly dropped Jack's hand and accepted my new friend.

"There you are, Miss Kaia," he said, backing slowly away once I had the gull firmly in hand. "Orders, Cap'n?"

Jack heaved a sigh and frowned as though in deep thought. "Kaia, I don't suppose you know of any hidden treasures that only mermaids would have knowledge about, do you?"

I was surprised at the question. "Well, there are some treasure hoards that I know about through mermaid gossip." Jack and Gibbs looked at me, waiting for me to continue. "According to others of my kind, these treasures have been lying around for quite a while, long enough that the original owners have probably died of old age or of other…circumstances."

Jack waved a hand in a circular motion, as though asking for more information. "And do you happen to know where these lovely bits of treasure happen to be located?"

"Um…yes?" I replied, timidly but honestly.

Both men looked at each other and grinned. "Care for another adventure involving shiny objects, Gibbs?" Jack asked.

"Aye, sir," the older man said with a mock salute. "Shall we go round up the men and head out to sea?"

"Aye, let's do that." Jack wrapped an arm around my waist. "I don't suppose that bird knows how to get the hell out of here, does she?"

Half an hour later, we were exiting the dark caves. I squinted as I stepped out into the bright sunshine. I'd have clapped a hand over them, but one currently held the seagull, and the other was latched securely in Jack's grip (he had taken possession of it the instant we began heading out). So I merely blinked away the spots that flashed before my eyes as I adjusted to being in sunlight again. The seagull was protesting in little screams, and I had to whisper softly for her to hush, which she did. Behind me, Gibbs muttered a few curses as he followed me and Jack into the open, but calmed down as the three other men joined us.

"Any luck?" asked Henry, reaching out to steady me as I was tried to adjust to being outside. Being the tall man that he was, I had to tilt my head back to smile at him in thanks.

Gibbs shook his head. "Damn thing's run dry," he said. "On the other hand, Kaia's got some treasure locations we can go pillage instead, and I'm in the mood to find something bright and sparkly that I can trade in towns."

The other men grinned in agreement and turned towards Jack. "Back to the ship, sir?" Petey asked, his rat-like nose twitching eagerly. "Probably got a long trip ahead, best if we got going."

Nodding, Jack turned and looked at me, then to the seagull still in my hands. "Uh, luv, you're going to have to let go of that thing sooner or later. She probably wants to head home soon."

I remained quiet for a moment as I looked down at the bird, who in turn gazed up at me with her little black eyes. "Can I keep her?"

Jack gaped at me. "On my ship?" he blurted out. "No, I don't think so! One bloody bird's enough; I don't need two of them making messes on my Pearl!"

The bird looked up at me, begging to go with me. She was eager to leave the island, and since she had several female chicks of her own that could take her place as Guides to the Fountain, there would be no trouble in her leaving. Besides, she rather liked me, and thought I was pleasant to talk to, for a human.

"Please?" I said, pouting slightly.

Jack's eyes stared at my lips for a moment. "Well…as long as she doesn't mess on the Pearl and she gets along with Cotton's parrot…"

Squealing, I tossed the bird into the air, sending her into flight as my arms wrapped around his neck. Jack promptly threw his arms around me and pulled me into a kiss, causing the others to clap and yell as I blushed. When we parted, the men were grinning and patting us both on the shoulders.

"It's about time," muttered Alex as he twirled a dagger between his scared fingers. "If the two of ye didn't get together on your own, some of us might have had to do it for you!"

I giggled as Jack snorted and pulled away, keeping one arm around my waist in order to hold me to his side. "Well, enough standing around like idiots," he said. "Lets get back to the Pearl and head out. The others probably want to know what's going on, and are going to be unhappy about us not being able to get the water."

"Aye, but the prospect of future treasures should lighten them up," Gibbs said.

We had an easy walk back to the beach, and when we were there, all of us stepped into the boat, and in moments, we were back on the Pearl. I feared the anger of the crew at our failure to procure the water, but just as Gibbs predicted, the men were quick to forgive, as long as there was the prospect of gold in their futures.

"So, Captain," Marty the Dwarf said with a knowing grin. "You look mighty cozy there with Miss Kaia."

My eyes widened as I realized that Jack had been holding my hand since he had helped me climb aboard. I tried pulling my hand away, but Jack would have none of it; in fact, he held on even tighter, going so far as to lift my hand to his lips and press a gentle kiss to it. I blushed as the men around me grinned.

"Gibbs, bring supper for two to my cabin," Jack ordered as he dragged me in that direction.

Once the door was shut behind us, I found myself pulled into a tight embrace, my cheek pressed against Jack's chest. Sighing, I wrapped my arms around his neck and savored the moment of being alone with him.

"Kaia, what do you know about human customs?" Jack asked in a soft voice, his face buried in my hair.

The question had me puzzled. "Not much," I replied. "Why do you ask?"

One of Jack's hands drifted up to my neck as the other stayed in the center of my back. "Do you know anything about marriage?"

"No," I said, trailing off. "What is it?"

He sighed into my hair and hugged me closer. "Marriage is when a man and a woman who love each other swear to be together forever, and promise to love, honor, and cherish the other until death parts them."

I smiled. "It sounds lovely."

"Oh, it is. However, only certain important persons can perform the ceremony, and as Captain of my own ship, I happen to be one of those people."

Pulling my head back, I looked up into his nervous brown eyes. "So you want to…um…what is it you want to do? Perform a marriage between us?"

Jack's eyes seemed to light up. "Exactly!" he said, grinning broadly. "The whole crew can witness it, and we'll be married before dark."

"Is the ceremony that short?" I asked. "If something is that important, shouldn't it take longer to perform?"

The ringed hand tangled in my hair broke free and began waving around. "Nah, the ceremony can be long and dull, or short and to the point. It all says the same thing in the end, and after both the man and his bride say 'I do,' they're married. Simple enough."

Well, we merfolk had no mating ceremony, just a single gesture in which a merman produces a lovely pearl necklace or a piece of beautiful treasure for the mermaid he desired for his own. A ceremony, performed by Jack and sworn to by the both of us sounded beautiful.

"Alright," I said, blushing as Jack leaned down and kissed me. His lips were so soft and gentle, it made me weak at the knees, and he had to hold me up to keep me from falling.

"After supper," Jack promised. "Then I'll have Gibbs come in and help you get ready."

"Get ready?" I asked, just as our meal was brought in by Mr. Gibbs himself. What did that mean?

I found out after our light dinner of stew, bread, and cheese. Our empty dishes were left in a pile on the table to be cleaned up later, and Jack had a quick, private word with his first mate before leaving me alone in the cabin with him.

"Alright, Kaia, let's get you ready," Gibbs said, grinning broadly. "Now, I'm no lady's maid, so we'll keep everything simple, aye?"

He quickly rummaged around the place and quickly produced the beautiful sea-colored gown that Jack had bought for me in Tortuga, the lace flowing beautifully over the shimmering material. "Here ye are! Put that on."

I dashed into the sleeping cabin and shut the door, flinging off my shirt, pants and weapons before slipping into the dress. It was my first time wearing it, but with a little help from the crystal around my neck, I was able to successfully put everything in its right place and look exactly as I ought to. The problem was the loose part at the back…

"Mr. Gibbs?" I called into the main cabin. "Could you ask Jack to come in here and help me with something?"

"I'm here, luv," Jack's voice replied just before he walked in, dismissing Mr. Gibbs as the older man left the two of us alone.

I grew nervous when he saw me standing there in the dress and stopped in his footsteps, his eyes looking me up and down, glimmering with admiration. "You look beautiful, luv."

Blushing, I looked down at the floor. "Thank you, Jack."

Work-roughened fingers laced up my gown, and I was surprised when I was whirled around and gentle lips met mine for the briefest of moments. "Let's get your hair ready," he whispered.

I was ordered into a chair and forced to sit quietly as Jack gently brushed my hair out, leaving it loose and flowing. He pressed an affectionate kiss to the top of my head and stood back, indicating that he was finished.

"Up we go, darling." Standing, I blushed as Jack held out his arm. "If it makes you feel better, I'm nervous, too."

It did make me feel better, but my hands still shook as I clutched the dress in one hand and gripped Jack's arm in another. He led me out of the cabin and straight into the waiting presence of the Pearl's crew, who all stood there with broad smiles and grins on their faces. I timidly returned their smiles and followed Jack up to the helm, the two of us taking a stance before the great wheel that Jack loved to hold so dearly.

Turning me to stand at an angle so that I was facing both him and the crew, Jack cleared his throat. Any sounds being made by the excited men was silenced immediately. I took a deep breath and tried to remain calm as Jack began to speak, though I nearly burst out laughing as he held my hand and turned his body so that he could face everyone on deck.

"My fellow pirates," Jack began, his voice carrying over the deck. "You are all gathered here to witness my marriage to this here lovely lady."

The men cheered, and Jack waved them to be quiet. "As you know, she gave up everything dear to her to help a couple in love, so I think it fitting that she find love in return, aye?" Another round of cheers and applause followed, and was hushed. "So, Kaia, darling, do you promise to love, honor, pillage and plunder with me until death does us part?"

I blinked; I highly doubted that these were the vows that I was supposed to swear to, but then, I was getting married to the pirate that was performing the ceremony, so I supposed that the answer was to remain the same as Jack had told me.

"I do," I clearly replied with a smile.

Jack smirked back at me in that unusual way of his. "And I most certainly promise to do everything in that vow I just heard you swear to," he said with a bow in my direction. "Now, I pronounce us pirate and his bonny wife, and will now kiss the newly-dubbed Mrs. Sparrow."

Gasping, I was pulled against Jack's body and bent back in to the most wonderful kiss. Lights flashed behind my closed eyes, and a wave of heat washed over me as Jack's lips proceeded to do wonderful things to mine. I heard the sounds of cheers, shouts, and pistols going off, but it was distant compared to the soft sigh Jack made as he regretfully broke our kiss, though still keeping me bent back as he looked into my eyes.

"Love you, Mrs. Sparrow," he whispered, warm breath softly caressing my mouth.

I grinned up at him and whispered back, "I love you, too, Captain Sparrow." He slowly pulled me up so that I was standing facing him, our lips hovering close but not touching.

"I hope you like your new title, because that's what the crew'll call you from now on," Jack murmured.

"Oy, Cap'n!" came a shout from the deck. "We need ye over here!"

My husband sighed and rolled his eyes. "They always were good at ruining a perfect moment," he grumbled. "Alright, luv, let's go see what's got the men so intent on taking me away from my lovely new wife."

That last part made me blush, so my cheeks were quite red as Jack dragged me along behind him down towards the deck. Quite a few of the men were crowded around a pair of water canteens held within Mr. Gibbs' hands.

"This had better be good," Jack declared with a touch of warning in his voice.

Gibbs nodded nervously. "Well, the men noticed that the canteens you'd emptied out on the island were rather heavy, sir," he said, holding them both out to Jack. "Didn't understand how, considering that we never put anything in them since you dumped them out."

Jack looked skeptical. "And how would you know that?"

"Because the only time I set them down was during the ceremony, but I swear they never left my sight," Gibbs explained. "When I picked them up, they were heavy as rocks!"

Reaching out, Jack accepted one of the canteens and opened it to take a small sniff. "Smells familiar," he slowly drawled.

Without another word, he tipped it over and out poured a stream of little gold coins the size of my littlest fingernail! The men all yelled and reached for the gleaming metal pieces before remembering themselves. Jack waited until the canteen he was holding was empty, then accepted the other and tipped that over as well. Soon there was a small pile of gold on the deck, and Jack was forced to remain where he was to divide the entire thing evenly among the men.

Since I would be useless when it came to counting money (I had yet to master the art of numbers and letters), I went to our cabin and pulled off the gown, as it was quite heavy and hot. However, I wasn't ready to change into pants and a shirt yet, so I pulled a sheet around me and sat in a chair, wondering what came next. What happened between a husband and wife after they were married?

I put a hand towards my neck, and received quite an education in what humans did after their wedding. Blushing furiously, I released the crystal and slid into bed just as Jack entered the main cabin, telling me exactly why he was late. Since the connecting door was partially open, I had no trouble hearing him.

"I'm guessing that Poseidon had something to do with this," he was saying as he stomped around the other room. "A pile of gold coins won't go very far with so many men, but it'll be enough to get them through a day or two ashore when we stop, which will be in a few days. They need some time to have a bit of fun, and I need to show you some of the finer things-"

He stopped short, because at that moment Jack walked into the room and saw me in bed, waiting for him. He was silent for the briefest time, and after that, there was no need for words between us.

It was late the next morning when I woke up beside the man I loved. Jack was still sleeping, but I had the sudden urge to slip out to the deck and look out towards the sea. I left my warm bed and husband, pulled on some clothes, and went outside, leaving the door open so that if Jack called for me, I would hear him.

The deck was silent and empty, for the crew had indulged heavily in the rum and ale last night, as I could tell by the noise they had made long into the evening. Thus, I had the entire ship and the sea to myself, for with the Pearl anchored, there wasn't even the need of a man at the helm.

Waves gently lapped at the sides of the ship, and as a soft breeze caressed my face, I closed my eyes and breathed deeply the salty tang of it. The entire ocean was open to me in a way it never had been while I was a mermaid, because I now had Jack here beside me to open up a whole new world of experiences and wonders. The crewmen were my family, and if fate was kind, perhaps Jack and I would be able to start one of a more intimate nature of our own.

Above me, my new seagull-friend was circling the ship, calling out greetings to me. The sails of the Pearl snapped lightly in the wind, and I could not imagine being anywhere else.

Yawning, the little girl settled into her bed and smiled. "Grandma, was that a real story?" she asked, snuggling down under her sheets.

The old woman smiled fondly down at her. "Of course it's a real story!" she said, closing the book in her lap and leaning forward to kiss her oldest grandchild. "I would never make up such a thing."

Again the child yawned. "Night, Nana," she whispered, right before drifting off to sleep.

Sighing, the old woman pressed a hand to her neck, the cool feel of the crystal lying there comfortingly familiar to her. "Good night, dearest."

Outside, the call of a gull was the only answer as she blew out the light and headed downstairs to join her husband, daughter, and son-in-law for a glass of rum.

AN: Well, that's it, the end! I hope that the ending was satisfactory, because I had nothing left in me to finish it. Please leave a review, and I hope to see you all when I post my next Pirates story in a few months (or sooner, depending on how fast I finish my Willy Wonka story). In the meantime, thanks so much for all of your reviews and support! Keep a sharp eye on my bio page for more info on upcoming stories, and I'll see you all again soon. Later!