A/N: Here it is: The last chapter of Claiming!
I want to thank my reviewers, I love you all very dearly. Thanks for sticking with me through the entire story. I didn't think anyone would like it. It pains me to leave it, but both Jack and Elizabeth get along better without me now. And by the way, Jack might be a little OOC. But honestly, capturing the spirit of captain Jack Sparrow isn't a piece of cake!
Epilogue: Tearing Apart
Jack doesn't do the least bit of effort to walk silently, even though it's just about an hour until Norrington will wake up. Elizabeth, on the other hand, pads behind him, cowering and quiet, her arms wrapped around herself.
That's the very difference between them.
Elizabeth is balled up, she's supposed to be seen, not heard, she's supposed to be sweet and cooperative.
Jack walks tall, with his swinging walk, the walk he's proud of. Jack is proud of his weirdness, of his permanent drunkenness. Of the pirate he is.
That's the difference between them, and Elizabeth wants to get rid of it.
Now, Jack is going away. He will vanish in the humid, Caribbean morning air with one of the dinghies, and Elizabeth will try to come up with a good lie to her father about how Jack could escape without breaking the lock to the brig.
Jack is going away, and he's taking her heart with him.
But even though Jack is leaving, and seeing him go away will be the most painful thing Elizabeth has ever experienced, she will never regret that she fainted when Norrington proposed to her.
She will never regret her meeting with Jack. Because Jack taught her what freedom really is.
Freedom isn't to not do what other people want you to do.
Freedom is to go your own way. To do what ever you want, to fulfill your dreams, and don't care if they break a law, or if they bring a life of danger. If they involve a life as a pirate.
Elizabeth isn't free now. Not anymore.
But she will be.
She doesn't know, but one day, in a couple of years, she will go her own way, and she will be free.
Jack and Elizabeth are at the rail. Jack looks at the dinghy that hangs in the open air. He doesn't have a worrying cloud over his face. But there is a cloud, Elizabeth can tell that.
Jack moves his gaze over to her. And his brows furrows in an almost annoyed way.
"Are you afraid of something, Lizzie?" He asks.
Elizabeth looks at him, surprised. Damn, is it tears that make her eyes feel all scary and wet?
Jack grabs her arms that are crossed over her stomach and pushes them down. Kind of like the way he did in the bathroom.
"Stretch up your pretty self," Jack says.
Elizabeth smiles weakly. The tears can't fall, they can't!
When Jack has pushed her arms aside, he only lets go of one of them. The other one he lifts up, traces the inside of her arm with his lips without actually kissing her, until he reaches the thin skin on the inside of her wrist, where her pulse throbs twice as fast as usual just by having him near. Then, he kisses her there, his scratchy moustache tickling her arm.
Then he looks at her. His eyes are black, but not in the same way they were when they made love.
"Elizabeth," he says, in a very serious way for being himself. "You know I won't let you be, right?"
Elizabeth nods, still smiling. She's understood that. Jack takes what ever he wants. And he wants her. He's the first one that ever has, and maybe that's why it feels like someone is slowly tearing the heart out of her chest.
"I'll come into Port Royal once a year," Jack continues and moves his hands to her waist, leans his forehead against hers. "And if you want to get kidnapped by a big bad pirate while I'm there, I'll do it."
Elizabeth nods again. She's known Jack for a month, it's not supposed to feel like this when you're separated after a month!
"And meanwhile," Jack says, "I want you to think about me. If Will ever gets the guts to touch you, I want you to think about me. That you think about that you squirmed around like a bloody little worm every time I touched you. Can you do that?"
Elizabeth nods once more. She knows that if she says anything, her voice will crack, but she does anyway.
"I love you."
Jack sends her a crooked smile, even though she sees something that looks like pure sorrow in his eyes. Then he puts both hands around her face and kisses her, greatly, hungrily, deeply, before he lets her go and swings himself into the dinghy.
Elizabeth looks at him as long as she can after she heaved him down with mechanical movements, she even looks for him when the boat has turned into a dot that slowly fades away.
Then she allows herself to drop down on her knees onto the deck, her hands covering her face, and cry until she can barely breath.
Jack's body heat is gone.
The Caribbean has never been colder than it is now.
There it is… A completed fic! Thank you all, beloved readers, for taking your time to read this. Love you all. Please review, and I'll give you a cookie. See you!