A/N: Thank you so much for all the amazing reviews!!! :)
Have All Your Dreams Come True in the New Year!!!!!!! :):):)
Disclaimer: PotC belong to Disney.
"Hurry up, we're late already," Governor Swann glanced at the clock in the corridor and then shifted his eyes to the stairs, smiling slightly.
He had not seen them in almost a year, and yet they did not seem to change at all. Since their arrival three days before, they were inseparable, holding hands at all times, which was not as stunning in itself as the fact that they seemed only half-aware of that habit. He wondered if in five, ten years they would be still doing it, and for some reason he did not consider it impossible.
"It's Jack's fault," said Elizabeth, pursing her lips, and shooting Jack a falsely upset look. "He was trying to refuse to wear a wig."
"Well said, luv," muttered Jack with a small pout. "I was trying to refuse."
Elizabeth bit back a smile, pressing a quick kiss to his cheek. "But I persuaded you not to refuse, aye?"
"More like refused to accept my refusal," insisted Jack, glancing up at his wigged head with a frown on his face.
"You look absolutely dashing," said Elizabeth shaking her head with theatrical conviction. "Doesn't he, father?" she asked smilingly, turning to the Governor, who tried to keep a serious look on his face, even though there was something irresistibly comical about Jack- about Captain Jack Sparrow wearing a wig.
But they could not very well allow Jack to attend one of London winter balls displaying his dreadlocks, could they? It was risky enough to have Jack and Elizabeth come to London at all, but since that particular ball was going to be more like a small social gathering than a ball, the Governor thought it possible to get through it without compromising the appearances that he had managed to build and keep in the past year.
After leaving Port Royal almost a year ago, he had decided to come back to England, despite Elizabeth's attempts to convince him to stay aboard the Black Pearl. He had learnt to like (and maybe even more, although he was reluctant to admit it) that ship, the feeling of wind on his face during the day and the most beautiful moments of stargazing at night. However, he could not have imagined himself living permanently on a ship, at sea.
He had returned to England where he had been, to his surprise, greeted by the news about Beckett's death along with many stories about fantastic sums of money that had been defrauded by him, documents signed by the king that he had used for the purposes unapproved by the king, and other astounding pieces of information. The Governor's sudden appearance had been most warmly welcomed, and he had quickly recognized how opportune the moment was, and eagerly provided all the information he had had, recounting what he had known and witnessed as far as Beckett's wrongdoings were concerned.
He had regained his position faster that he would have ever expected possible, and was even offered the governorship again, but refused to take it, deciding to stay in London instead. He had not wanted to travel so far away again, especially now, when he would have had to travel alone, and living alone in another foreign place was not something that he had been looking forward to.
He had hardly believed his luck - everything was not only going smoothly, but actually working out better than he would have ever hoped for it to work.
Somehow everybody had accepted quite easily news of Elizabeth's marriage, even though it had taken Governor Swann some time and a fair amount of patience to explain why she had married neither James Norrington, nor even a young blacksmith.
He was half-surprised, half-ashamed by his newly discovered ability to lie, although he had tried to convince himself that it had been absolutely, inevitably necessary to lie in such circumstances... Having not too many options, he had chosen to announce that Elizabeth had married a rich English merchant who had spent half of his life in Spain and travelled all around the world. He had kept telling himself that at least the "all around the world" part was true... And not only that, but a romantic, unexpected, deep affection as well. The scenario had sounded credible enough to be accepted after mere three months of lively discussions and surreptitious, but not very ardent, criticism.
The Governor had managed to forward a letter to Elizabeth (as she had told him to do), and to his surprise he received a response within a month. It had become a habit for him to write a letter once in a month, and Elizabeth was always prompt to respond. He was yet to figure how it was possible to receive such quick responses (or any response at all, for that matter) for letters left on a sill in an abandoned building in one of the grimmest parts of the city, with a coin on top of them; but he had decided not to question that communication method as long as it was effective.
He had also written to James Norrington, assuring him that his return to England would have been most welcome after Beckett's unlawful deeds had been revealed. But the answer that he had receiver baffled him. Not only James had not wanted to return, but he had also expressed his deep conviction that he could not have possibly betrayed the trust that was put in him. Apparently, he had found his place in the world, and Governor Swann had thought that perhaps it was for the best, as because of that James would have undoubtedly kept an eye on Jack and Elizabeth, being probably the most sensible person near them.
As for Elizabeth's letters, they were always filled with such joy and enthusiasm that the Governor could not help shaking his head in amazement while reading them. Also, in each of her letters Elizabeth had tried to convince him to sail with her and Jack on the Black Pearl if only for a while, but he had kept declining as well as promising that he would have visited them as soon as everything would have settled down a bit more. He had also expressed his wish to have them visit him.
Finally, after a year they both had decided that it was a good moment and high time to start visiting each other, and it had been settled that Jack and Elizabeth would have come to London first, and then in few months they would have picked the Governor up from a convenient port, and he would have sailed with them for a month or two.
He had been looking forward to their visit, as it was the longest time ever for which he had not seen his daughter. The house had seemed so empty, and for the first months he had felt like when his wife Evellyne had died... He had tried to make himself think that everything was in order, that Elizabeth was alive and most importantly happy, and his only reason to worry at the moment was her and her husband's safety, something that he had to accept was never to be taken for granted, considering the life that they had chosen to live.
And now that they were there, he was most happy to see them being as happy as he had remembered them: there was still the same light and love in their eyes every time they looked at or talked about each other.
Elizabeth had brought her father many presents, souvenirs from all the places she and Jack had been to during the past year, hours of stories. She had colorful rings on all of her fingers - and brightest of smiles.
"It's just a few hours, Jack," Elizabeth turned away from the carriage window, and narrowed her eyes at Jack.
Jack adjusted his wig for a hundredth time, staring stubbornly at his unusually clean hands, trying to find some consolation in the fact that he had at least managed to keep his rings.
"I'll take it off your head myself as soon as we get into the carriage after the ball," added Elizabeth in a playfully serious voice, biting back a smile, and lacing her hand through Jack's arm.
Jack shifted his eyes to her, a small pout still on his face. Elizabeth cradled his face in her hands, and laughed. He looked at her sadly for a moment, but then quickly turned his head right and left kissing her palms, and then taking her hands off his face, kissed her hands again, and kept them in his for the remaining part of their trip.
Governor Swann looked at them from the opposite seat, smiling to himself.
The place was overwhelmingly beautiful, because it was, among other things, calm. He could not quite embrace its quiescence just yet, could barely comprehend his presence there, but he could feel the calm emanating from everywhere around him, warm light encompassing him at every moment.
He did not think he deserved to be there. He did not think he could do well what he had been told to do. He was not sure he was the right person... Could one simple act be worth such a chance?
One simple act... Because what could be simpler, indeed? At that moment he had thought it was the most obvious decision – and maybe that was the point, that was what he had had to understand – what he ultimately had discovered.
He had had to go through darkness of death, of falsely appealing chance at immortality to at last come here, to the place where souls were waiting to begin their lives.
There was light all around him, and when he looked up he could see clouds in all the colors of a rainbow.
"May I have a dance?" A man bowed slightly, smiling at Elizabeth.
She smiled back, but her answer was cut off before she had even started answering.
"No," Jack pulled her closer to him, smiling at the man complacently.
The man looked at Jack with raised eyebrows, then shifted his gaze to Elizabeth who bit her lip, trying to keep herself from rolling her eyes.
The mad waited a moment yet, half-expecting the answer to be a joke, but since there was nothing more that either of them said, he bowed again, and walked off.
Elizabeth curtsied, and as soon as the man was gone turned to Jack.
"Jack, this is ridiculous!" she whispered through clenched teeth. "You've got to stop doing it. It's the fourth person, and you promised-"
"To love and to cherish," Jack interrupted her, lifting his finger. "Forsaking all others, which, may I remind you, luv, work both ways," he said seriously, wiggling his eyebrows.
"I don't think the part about forsaking refers to dancing," said Elizabeth, squinting.
Jack tilted his head backwards, opening his arms. "You can always dance with me," he said joyfully.
Elizabeth sighed. "I have you on a daily basis. I really don't think I needed to travel all the way to England to dance with you," she said with false irritation, thrusting up her chin.
Jack's eyes widened significantly, and Elizabeth laughed despite her efforts not to. Jack smiled, and leaned toward her. "I love you," he whispered in her ear, and she tilted her head to the side resting her cheek on his shoulder.
"Hello," Victor smiled hesitantly, slowly sitting down on a bench next to two small children whose dark eyes turned to him.
"Are we going yet?" asked the girl, straightening up, her eyes lighting up.
"No, not yet," Victor shook his head, and the girl pursed her lips with a sigh. "But soon," he added and she smiled.
"We're waiting here for soooooo long," she complained, shaking her head, her black locks dancing around her head as she did so.
"We just came here," corrected the boy with a twitch of his nose, but the girl poked him with her elbow, and he fell silent, pouting at her.
"What are your names?" asked Victor, amused by the looks on their faces, still not feeling confident about what he was doing. Those two children were two first souls that he was going to carry through the tunnel of light onto the Earth, and he thought that he should at least appear as if he knew what he was doing, so they would not be afraid. Although they did not seem to be afraid at all.
"Shouldn't you tell us?" observed the girl resolutely.
Victor swallowed, and smiled, trying to cover up his embarrassment. "That's right," he said, opening a notebook that he had forgotten he was holding, and nervously searching through the pages.
"Are you... new here?" asked the girl, narrowing her eyes at him, and giving her twin brother a questioning look when this time he had poked her in the side.
"Actually... yes," admitted Victor. "Oh, here it is!" he announced happily, locating the information. "Evellyne and Ellery," he said, smiling at them, and then looked at the page again, and froze at the sight of their last name.
"My name is longer!" said Evellyne, clapping her hands.
"Is life difficult?" asked the boy, changing the not very interesting in his opinion subject, and looking at Victor questioningly.
Victor looked up, shaking himself off his reverie, for a moment just looking at the children thoughtfully, his smile returning.
"Do I have a second name?" inquired the girl, silencing her brother with a wave of her hand.
"Do you get to do lots of things when you live?" continued the boy, waving his hand at his sister in return. She shot him a stern look, but he did not seem to care. "Is it true that we won't remember this moment once we're born?" he asked interestedly, his eyes shining with curiosity.
"What's my last name?" asked the girl in a loud voice. "They all have to match in sound," she explained, and Victor chuckled.
The boy rolled his eyes. "These are just names!" he sighed, covering his face with his hands.
The girl crossed her arms over her chest. "If they sound wrong, I'm not going anywhere."
Victor listened to the exchange with an amused smile, wondering if it was a mere accident, or something more that he had been given that particular pair of souls to escort to life first...
If there even was such a thing as accident.
Evellyne and Ellery continued their discussion, and Victor looked at them, astounded by how perfectly they resembled both of their parents at once.
He smiled at the thought that if it was not for him, those children would not have been sitting there right now, and something about that realization made him not only feel the light around him, but feel the light emanating from within his own heart, and he smiled thinking that he had never felt more alive.
"What's your name?" asked the girl, breaking into his thoughts.
"Victor," he replied with a smile.
"That's a good name for an angel," said the girl decidedly after a moment of consideration.
"Mr. and Mrs. Worraps, please sit here."
Jack and Elizabeth moved toward the assigned seats.
"I really don't know how my father could have come up with such a name," whispered Elizabeth into Jack's ear, smiling artificially at the people around them.
"I think he was trying to keep to the truth as close as possible," Jack whispered back with a smirk.
"It doesn't even sound English. Or Spanish for that matter," muttered Elizabeth, wrinkling her nose.
"I'll make it work, don't worry, luv," Jack helped Elizabeth to sit down, and kissed her hand before sitting down himself, continuing to astound everybody present, and even Elizabeth herself with his behaviour. Apparently, he knew and remembered more about the etiquette than she, and not only that. He had also treated her almost exactly the same as he had when they were alone, doing all the little gestures that she liked so much, and that was something she had not expected him to do in public. Although she was not entirely sure if it was the best idea, after all, as she kept catching envious looks of other married women at the ball whose husbands did not appear even half as fond of their wives.
After a couple of hours of talking, dancing, and eating, and after several tales that Jack could not resist spinning, telling his enthralled audience fantastic tales about his parents, about the dangers that he had encountered in his exotic travels, his secret dealings with the royalty of England and Spain (although, of course, he could not reveal the details, and Elizabeth had to laugh at the implication that seemed to cling to all the listeners that Jack was not a mere merchant, but an English spy with a very special, secret mission, assigned to him by the king himself), the gathering was separated into two groups, one of men, and one of women. Men went to enjoy drinks and a game of cards by the fireplace, while women went off to share news about themselves as well as all the available gossip.
Elizabeth smiled to herself while following the women, thinking of Jack's tales, and how the more vague and amazing they had been becoming, the more intently everybody was listening to them, and at some point Elizabeth had realized that even her father was listening to Jack with great interest, even though he must have been well aware of the doubtful truthfulness of his stories.
Elizabeth sat down with her cup of tea, and prepared herself for a dreadfully boring evening. The discussion began by her married friends enumerating their more and less serious problems that they had with their husbands and households, and she found herself trying to find something fitting to say, but somehow she could not think of anything... Was Jack never home? The Black Pearl was their home, so he was at home all the time. Was he home too much? There was no such a thing like too much of Jack Sparrow. Was he not listening to her? He always listened. Was he requiring too much of her? He did not require anything – he waited for her to say what she wanted to do. Was he disregarding her wishes? He was actually guessing them in advance.
The only objection that she could find was his habit of waking her up in the middle of the night to-
She laughed, almost dropping her teacup. The conversation trailed off, and everybody looked at her. Elizabeth blinked, and then quickly started to cough, trying to cover up her laughter.
"Women are hard to understand, wouldn't you agree, Mr. Worraps?"
Jack looked at his cards with a thoughtful expression on his face, wondering if he should not let somebody else win, for a change. "No, I don't think they are," he said, picking one of his cards, and placing it face down on the table.
The man who had asked the question raised his eyebrows. Governor Swann took a sip of his drink.
"Unless they speak a foreign language which you happen not to know," added Jack, and almost all the men gathered around the table chuckled.
"So you always understand what it is that your wife means, Mr. Worraps?" insisted the man, and Jack looked at him from above his cards speculatively, a small smile flitting across his face.
"If I don't, I ask. It rather works," replied Jack, keeping his eyes at the man, while changing the order of the cards that he was holding in his hand.
"Oh, that's not a rule," somebody else observed good-humoredly. "I keep asking my wife why she's having severe headaches all the time." A few men laughed. "She's yet to answer me this question."
"The answer is easy," Jack smiled slightly, choosing a new card from the deck. "The lack of fresh air. You need to open all the windows in your house daily. No headache can survive that," he said matter-of-factly, studying his cards, while several men laughed, several smiled, among them the man who had spoken, even though he was not quite certain if Jack was making fun of him or really trying to give him a helpful advice without understanding his question too well.
"You do just that, I understand," said the man, looking at Jack intensely.
"I would," Jack shifted his eyes from his cards to him. "But fortunately neither my wife nor me suffers from headaches," he said with a disarming smile, and wanted to add something more, but decided that in the Governor's presence what he had already said was enough, so he returned his attention to the card, leaving the man with a half-annoyed, half-embarrassed look on his face.
"How about you, Elizabeth?"
Elizabeth looked up from her teacup. "Me?" She had hoped they had already forgotten she was in the room, as she had not spoken much.
"Yes," a girl smiled. "What do you do when you want your husband to leave you alone?"
Elizabeth quickly scanned the faces around her, all eyes fixed on her. "Well," she carefully placed her cup on the plate. "I never do, actually," she admitted after a pause, deciding that making up some false excuses would not do.
"You never do anything?" inquired another girl, a bit confused by the answer.
"No," Elizabeth cleared her throat. "I never want him to leave me alone."
The room fell silent, except for the clock that struck ten. "Oh," Elizabeth quickly rose to her feet, grateful for the pretext. "I'll be right back," she said, heading for the door.
"I'll be right back," announced Jack with a smile, staggering to his feet as soon as the clock struck ten, and walking out of the room.
The Governor followed him with his gaze, noticing that it was the fourth time when Jack had left the room. He seemed to be leaving for a few minutes every half an hour, and the Governor finally found it rather puzzling.
Excusing himself, he rose to his feet as well to follow Jack, and see why - whenever the clock struck a half or full hour - he was disappearing for a while.
He walked across the corridor at the end of which he saw Jack, who opened a door and went into one of the rooms. After a moment, the Governor was right in front of the same door, and slowly raised his hand, carefully pushing the door open without much difficulty.
Jack was standing in the middle of a rather large room, but before the Governor decided to either enter or exit, the door on the opposite side of the room opened, and... Elizabeth half-ran inside, Jack smiling at the sight of her.
"I'm dying there," complained Elizabeth with a pout, after throwing herself into Jack's arms with a bright smile.
"And I'm winning," said Jack, nuzzling her neck, which caused the Governor to move backwards rather abruptly.
"Fairly?" asked Elizabeth disbelievingly, drawing back and smirking.
"I will tactfully disregard this tactless question," said Jack, squinting.
Elizabeth kissed his nose, his chin, his mouth, and the drew back, giggling. "I told everybody just what a horrific husband I have," she said in serious tone, narrowing her eyes to hide her smile.
"Did you now?" Jack widened his eyes at her, smirking. "Surely you didn't enumerate all his numerous scandalous acts?"
"I did," Elizabeth shook her head with conviction. "I told them how you keep kissing my feet until I wake up, not letting me sleep." Jack snorted. "I'm sure it can be qualified as torture," she said pursing her lips.
Jack brushed his lips against hers. "I hope you didn't fail to mention that you keep waking me up as well," he whispered with a mischievous smile, kissing her again.
The Governor looked away, and was going to close the door and walk away, especially that after a few more kisses they disentangled themselves from each other, and were going to come back to their respective rooms, but then Elizabeth caught Jack's sleeve and pulled him toward her again.
"Is everything alright, Lizzie?" asked Jack, looking at her intently, and noticing a strange glint in her eyes.
She bit her lip and nodded, reaching out and adjusting his wig, even though it did not really need adjusting at the moment. Jack tilted his head to the side, and narrowed his eyes at her with a smile.
The Governor kept the door ajar, intrigued, even though somewhere on the back of his mind he was scolding himself for eavesdropping.
"I have something to tell you..." said Elizabeth almost stammering at the words, something that Jack found rather alarming. All of a sudden she found great interest in the way his buttons were aligned, straightening them, sheepish smile hovering over her lips. "I wanted to tell you something..."
"Elizabeth?" Jack propped her chin with his hand, forcing her to look at him.
She sighed. "I don't know how to say it to make it sound special," she said with a pout.
"Everything you say is special, luv," said Jack, and Elizabeth snorted. "What is it?"
Elizabeth sighed again, looking at him for a moment in silence, until she finally decided to speak. Taking a deep breath, and then taking his hands in hers, she looked deeply into his eyes and smiled: "We're going to have a baby."
The Governor almost fell over, so he had missed the very first expression that had appeared on Jack's face.
Jack stared at Elizabeth with wide eyes, and for a moment Elizabeth thought that she should have provided him with rum before telling him the news. He certainly looked like he was in need of rum.
"A baby?" he whispered, and Elizabeth nodded, biting back a smile, even though the expression of absolute astonishment - and fear, almost - on his face, was most amusing. "Little you," he said after a pause, the corners of his mouth beginning to turn upwards.
Elizabeth beamed, relieved. A small part of her had been afraid that he would not have been overjoyed, but now she could not understand how she could have ever been unsure of his reaction. "Little you," she said with a smile, placing her hands on his shoulders.
Jack grinned, and kissed her, cradling her face in his hands. "Little us," he said with an impish smile after breaking the kiss, and Elizabeth laughed.
Governor Swann cautiously withdrew, and noiselessly closed the door behind him, the sound of laughter accompanying him as he slowly walked down the corridor, smiling to himself.