Jack had already been taken up to the gallows when the disturbance had started, but the hangman had restrained him as Beckett, who had climbed up there too for his front row view of Jack's soon-to-be death, quickly sent a few of his men out to see what was happening.
Beckett was clearly frustrated that something was interrupting this event, but hoped that his men would soon put the situation right.
Jack peered curiously into the crowd and watched as someone on horseback rode closer, but thought that he must be imagining things. There was no way he could be seeing this. Maybe he'd already died, maybe that's why he could see his son.
But no. He couldn't be dead yet, he'd surly remember the last moments, dropping, the rope tightening and choking around his neck. The last breath from the lungs.
He wasn't dead, and neither did it appear was David. A smile spread across his face, as reality set in.
"No! You were dead! What is it with you blasted Sparrows!" the shout from Beckett snapped Jack back into the moment. "Quick!" the immortal turned to the hangman, "Do it! Hang him, now!"
"David!" Jack yelled, but the huge hangman pulled Jack across the platform and forced his head into the loop. Reaching out, he managed to pull the lever just in time so that Jack could not get away.
The loud bang rang across the courtyard, the bullet from Gibb's pistol travelling towards the gallows, ripping through the rope that hadn't had chance to tighten on Jack's neck.
Jack fell to the ground and looking around, saw that they had reinforcements in the form of his crew who were pointing their weapons ready at anyone who dared to move. He wondered how they had all got here, and how David cheated death, but knew he didn't have time to worry about that at the moment. Survival was first on the agenda. He forced himself onto his feet when David came past on the horse, and stopped to face the angry Beckett.
"Fool!" Beckett yelled at the boy, "You dare to come here and fight me and my men! Idiot boy! You can't think you'll win against us?"
"Well if I was strong enough to rise from the dead, I'll be strong enough to kill you." David quickly unsheathed one of the swords and tossed it down to his father, who caught it perfectly by the handle, and held a defensive position to the officers who were trying to approach him from the side.
David held his own sword ready, which made Beckett erupt with laughter, "Perhaps you don't understand, though you may have come back to life, you can't kill me, even if your swords are of a handsome looking nature!" he mocked.
"These swords are special, they are the only ones that can kill an immortal." David stated.
"Looks like the end of the line, 'eh mate?" Jack grinned up at Beckett, whose confidence was starting to falter, even if just slightly.
"Thats absurd!" Beckett snapped, but his tone quivered, and he turned to face Commodore Richmond, "Take those swords at once!"
"So you do believe me? Why else would you order them away?" David asked, but Beckett ignored his question.
The Commodore was quite unsure as to what he should do, and took an uncomfortable step towards Jack.
"He takes one more step, and hes dead." Jack said, addressing Beckett, "We'll kill all of your men first, then the way will be clear to take you out."
"Kill him, kill any of them, it does not matter to me!" Beckett scoffed, "I'll still get away Jack!"
The Commodore, looked quite disgusted at this comment, "You'd condemn us to death, sir?" he asked incredulously.
"Of course I would! You are as weak as everyone else! I don't need any of you! I'm the strongest and most powerful man here, I'll kill all of you by myself if I have to!" Beckett yelled insanely.
"Not this time, Beckett. Enough is enough." Jack said and reached up to the platform, and tugged at one of Beckett's ankles. The man fell with a thud, but managed to squirm free of Jack's grip and crawl away across the other side of the structure.
"Lets just finish this!" Barbossa yelled frustrated from behind, and he and the rest of the pirates started to fire their pistols, and lunge at the Navy officers with cutlasses. The fighting was soon turning into a bloodbath, but seeming to go in the pirates favour.
Jack had gone after Beckett with David following on his horse, but the immortal had managed to disappear from sight. David climbed down from the horse and joined Jack at his side.
With all of the fighting going on around them, they still couldn't spot Beckett. "It's good to see you son!" Jack yelled over the noise, smiling at David, "Seems it runs in the family to escape death, done it myself a few times."
"Well we're not out of this yet...but, y'know, it's good to see you, too um, dad." David managed.
"I guess I'll have to start getting used to hearing you call me that, eh?" Jack joked.
"Yeah, guess so."
Just then a limp uniformed body flew past them, forcing them to move, splatters of blood hitting them as it sprayed through the air in every direction.
"Look!" David stopped and pointed across the courtyard. He'd spotted Beckett trying to make an escape through another exit. Quickly, father and son followed after him, though they had to fight away other attackers as they went, the blades of their matching swords slicing easily at the enemy.
As they drew closer, Beckett turned and saw that he was being followed. He ran down a passageway in attempt to evade them, but still David and Jack followed.
After a short time, Jack and David found themselves at a dead end and skidded to a halt. Just as they were about to turn back, they heard laughter echo around them. Looking up, they saw that Beckett had managed to climb up onto the roof of a low building.
"For an immortal, you sure run like a coward!" Jack sneered.
"I'm no coward!" Beckett shouted in a poor attempt to defend his own pride.
"Then face us like a man!" David yelled.
"I really don't think that is necessary. My men will take care of you, they are still naive enough to carry on my orders right until the end."
"But if you don't face us, you won't get the chance to kill us yourself. Me, dead by your own hand, wouldn't that be something." Jack teased, "I'm giving you a fair chance to do just that, mate."
Beckett simply laughed again, it was deep and the sound rumbled through the stone buildings around them.
But as the rumbling grew louder, Jack and David realised that it was not Beckett causing the noise, for he too was now startled by it.
A strong vibration was felt underneath the soles of their feet, getting more and more intense, causing everything around them to shake and rattle.
There were shouts coming from the opening of the passage as people scrambled around the street, "Earthquake!" a woman shrieked.
Pieces of buildings were starting to fall all around them, and there was a yell from Beckett as the force of the shaking caused him to fall from the roof top and land just ahead of Jack and David.
As debris shattered on the ground just inches from them, jack made his move towards Beckett. Though immortal, the shocked man was unprepared for Jack grabbing him by the collar and propelling him into the nearest wall.
More stone and roofing material landed on the ground nearby, "We have to hurry!" David yelled to his father, "We need to get out of here!"
"We have to finish this first!" Jack said pressing the swords blade against Beckett's neck. The strangest thing happened then. Beckett's flesh hissed and started to blister at the touch of the cold steel.
Though the smell of the burning skin was enough to make Jack wretch, he resisted the bodily urge and instead, pulled the sword away. He watched Beckett writhe in agony as he held both hands to the scorched skin.
"I think we both have to run our blades through him, at the same time." Jack instructed his son, and they did just that.
What followed was a ghastly display. As soon as the blades were through him, Beckett's body convulsed and swelled as steam rose from every inch of him. The skin that was visible through his clothing boiled red and melted, his scream like the whistling of a wet log on a fire.
Jack and David stepped back but left the swords stuck in Beckett's rapidly self-destructing body. The odour was even more disgusting now and both Jack and David covered their noses with both hands.
They fought to stay standing upright on the quaking ground as they watched Beckett's body shrivel and blacken, before finally, the last remnants crumbled into a pile of ash. The swords fell to the ground, and Jack recovered them swiftly. "Time to go!" Jack yelled over the natural din.
They quickly ran back the way they had came, avoiding the falling brickwork and everything else that threatened to pummel them. When they had finally reached the main part of the fort, the courtyard was already a shambles. Bodies lay all over the place, those not killed by a pistol or blade, had fallen to injuries the quake had brought on.
Any survivors had already got away, as there were no signs of anyone living here.
"We're not going to make it!" David yelled, pausing and ducking just as there were more crashes, something showering them with thick dust.
"We'll be fine! We just have to get to the dock! We'll be safe in the water!" Jack shouted back, then he turned and looked into his sons eyes, "We can't give up now we've gotten this far, you hear?" They ran on for a few moments, but then heard an ominous tearing sound.
"What's that?" David yelled.
They both stopped running and looked back in the direction they had just come. A moving jagged line was chasing them across the ground. The quake was ripping it apart.
Jack and David stared in horror as the tear got wider and buildings started to fall into the ever growing gap, the rip line getting closer to where they were standing.
"RUN!" Jack yelled, tugging at David's arm, pulling him along.
As they rounded a corner as fast as their legs could carry them, David noticed the horse he'd ridden in on earlier, it was whinnying with fright., but otherwise looked unharmed. "I have an idea!" he shouted to his father, and changed direction, running to the horse. Usually it would be a bad ida to mount a spooked horse, but David figured it was their only chance to get to the dock in time. "Get on!"
Jack looked horrified at the thought of getting onto the jittery horse, but reached up to take the hand David had extended to help him up.
Once seated on the horse, Jack held tightly around David's waist. David dug his heels in and the horse bucked slightly, but they managed to stay on, then darted off.
Whilst David concentrated on controlling the horse, Jack looked back over his shoulder. The rip line was catching up with them fast now, leaving utter destruction in it's wake. It tore through dry dirt, and gravel as if it were nothing but thin paper being pulled apart. And it would soon happen right underneath them.
Jack looked to the front again, "Can't this thing go any faster?"
"We're nearly there!" David gasped, and sure enough they passed the edge of the town and could see the dock right ahead. Scores of people were clambering into boats, regardless of who owned them or who was skilled at sailing or not.
David pulled on the reigns, and the horse reluctantly stopped with such force, it's passengers nearly came flying off.
Jack and David ran the rest of the way to the dock, but as the earthquake's destruction was too near, they did the only thing they had time for; they dived straight into the water.
They were joined by others, muffled sounds of their shrieks could be heard as ears went under the water's surface. The water itself stirred angrily as the quake shook it, swirling he swimmers around and around.
Fighting against the strong current, Jack spotted David struggling under water, and swam towards him. He grabbed him tightly by one of his arms, and headed towards the surface. It was an effort with each move, their wet clothes a heavy burden, but eventually, they broke through.
Both of them gasped desperately for new air to fill their lungs, exhausted bodies aching.
Jack kept a hold of David, and swam a little further out with him.
At first David couldn't see where they were going, he was facing the wrong way and his eyes were still stinging from the water and it was easier to close them, but he felt something pulling him out of the wet, more hands grabbing him. He then felt himself being rested on a hard surface.
"Thank the lord! You both made it! We we're sure the ground had swallowed you up!" said Gibb's voice.
David then managed to open his lids, "Gibbs!" he half-smiled.
"Gibbs chuckled, delighted that his young shipmate had returned unharmed.
"Didn't think you'd get rid of us that easily, did you?" Jack said to his first mate, as he climbed into the small boat to join them. They swayed on the water quite a lot due to the after-shocks rippling through, but it felt a world better then what they'd just been through.
David pulled himself up into a sitting position and smiled at his father.
"Anyway," Jack said, meeting his son's gaze, "I have unfinished business to attend to."
"What happened to Beckett?" Gibbs asked curiously, changing the subject.
"Hes dead. For sure this time. We watched his body disintegrate in front of us." Jack informed him.
"Look! They made it back!" a familiar voice sudden said from the other end of the boat. It was only then that David noticed that Pintel was there, too, his chum Ragetti as usual was by his side.
Pintel was pointing further out. Everyone turned to see he Pearl and the Eternity waiting side by side in the distance.
"The rest of the crew survived?" David asked Gibbs.
"Most of 'em, thankfully."
"Barbossa?" Jack asked.
"Yes, him too."
Jack sighed, "No doubt he'll soon be wanting to try and steal the Pearl back from me."
David looked from his father, then back across at the ships, "Maybe you could offer him a compromise..."
Once back on board the Pearl, Jack thanked the surviving crew members for their help in aiding his rescue. Afterwards, he made his way over to Barbossa who was stood at the helm. "Barbossa," he said, "I have a very generous offer to make you."
Barbossa looked at Jack, scrutinising the seriousness of his expression, "Okay, lets be hearing it."
"Well, before this particular venture began, we had a little problem, that being we both wanted my ship."
"My ship!" Barbossa snapped.
"Whatever." Jack rolled his eyes, "Anyway, I was thinking...I'd promised you that once we'd found the fountain of youth, that I'd help find another ship for you."
"Well, there is a very obvious solution, don't you think?"
When Barbossa simply glared blankly at him, Jack continued, "How about I keep the Pearl, and you keep the Eternity? Mighty fair, don't you agree?"
Barbossa's lips suddenly curled up into a smile, "Actually, Jack. I'd say that is about the fairest thing you've ever suggested." he held his hand out for Jack to shake, "You have yourself a deal!" he chuckled.
"Good! Alls well that ends well, 'eh?" Jack beamed.
"Ah! So if you'll be excusing me then..." Barbossa said then took the steps down to the main deck. He stopped and talked to some of the crew on his way, then they all left with Barbossa over the side rail so they could transfer into the Eternity.
"Hey! Jack yelled running as quickly as he could in their direction. He leaned over the side and saw Barbossa grinning back at him. "What are you doing?" Jack demanded, "Where are you taking my crew?"
"Sorry Jack, but our deal didn't stipulate that I couldn't take a crew for me own; a crew as it happens, that was mine in the first place. So if you don't mind, we'll be leavin' now." again he chuckled.
"You....!" Jack balled his hands into fists and narrowed his eyes.
"It's okay, let them go. We've still got enough to crew the Pearl, David said as he and Gibbs joined Jack.
Jack felt his temper calm down, as he turned to face David, "And we have one more who needs to be trained up...that's if he wants to come along with his old man..." he last words came out awkwardly.
"Of course I do." David said.
Jack smiled tenderly, "You want to steer her?"
"Yes!" David replied excitedly.
Jack then barked out orders to the remaining crew so that they could get ready to set sail. The anchors were quickly pulled up and Jack let David stand at the helm.
Standing closely behind his son, Jack explained the basics to David, and they were off.
Jack smiled as they glided across the water, "Now...bring us that horizon..." he whispered.
THANK YOU to everyone who has stuck by this story, for reading and enjoying it, and most of all for your unwavering patience when I've been slow at updating! I just hope that you all enjoyed the ending, and I would love to hear what you thought. :-)