THE KING'S CAPTAIN
DISCLAIMER: Yes, the kiddies belong to me! Jack'n'Lizzie still, even after this entire story has been written, do not belong to me. Someday I'll get over it… I hope…
A/N: Here it is you guys, the very last installment of the story! I'm kind of sad it's coming to an end. My birthday is tomorrow (Friday 7/25) and I wanted to finish this story before then. As I said at the end of the last chapter, this epilogue is not particularly long; I wanted to make it short and sweet. However, if you're still having Jack'n'Lizzie withdrawals, there are many talented writers on this website who can fill your void. I have also written several other Sparrabeth stories and have a few more in the works. Check out my profile for more info!
I would like to take this opportunity to thank every single person who reviewed, especially those of you who reviewed every chapter or almost every chapter… you know who you are! I'm sure you read this all the time, but I'll say it again anyways. This story would never have been completed if it weren't for you. Without your awesome feedback and support, I probably would have given up before ever writing a second chapter. You guys rock and I love y'all! Thank you so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so much.
Now (for the last time), without further ado, on with the epilogue!
July 22, 1792
"Yo ho, yo ho, a pirate's life for me…" A quiet voice effortlessly sang the words to the song her mother had taught her, barely audible over the distant crashing of the waves on the rocks below. The voice was so soft it could only belong to a child. The child took long strides as she made her way through the sea-grass, a light breeze ruffling her dark hair. She could hardly bare the anticipation of what was soon to come. She'd heard the legends all throughout her childhood and couldn't wait for sunset. She paused and turned around, taking a few short steps backwards. "Come on, Jack!" she called, raising a hand to shield her eyes from the setting sun.
"I'm comin'!" her little brother called back, breaking into a brisk jog to catch up. His tattered coat fanned out behind him. A tri-corner hat sat atop his head, dark brown, almost black waves falling from underneath. The splitting image of his father had his mother's heart, and so he stopped when he realized the other little girl was no longer by his side. He waited patiently and held out his hand as she caught up. "Hurry up, Gracie," he urged as she took her older brother's hand. She smiled up at him with admiration, wanting nothing more than to play with the "big kids."
"Jack, Emily, my darlings!" The children looked over their shoulders at the voice that beckoned them. "Don't go too far," it was their mother, who glowed not only from the sunlight surrounding her, but as a result of the full roundness of her stomach. Their two-year-old little sister, Madeline, was perched on her hip, wriggling with the desire to be let down. She finally gave in and let the toddler down to the ground, who ran as fast as her little legs would carry her to catch up with her older siblings. "And please watch out for your little sister! Make sure she doesn't get too close to the edge."
Elizabeth Sparrow stood upright, placing her hands on the small of her back as she did so. "Pretty soon, I'm not going to be able to carry her around anymore," she said with a slight chuckle, never tearing her watchful eyes from the four children.
"I don't think she wants you to, anyways," Rebecca laughed. The two women linked their arms together, walking at a pace that wasn't too fast for either of them. Rebecca's stomach was almost as big and round as Elizabeth's, being only a month behind in her own pregnancy. She'd been married to her dear Ragetti for a year and a half now and couldn't be more pleased that Jack had finally accepted him… well, tolerated him, at least.
"I see it! I see it!" They heard Emily cry, jumping up and down with excitement. She turned around to face her mother. "Mama, it's there!" Sure enough, the Black Pearl bobbed calmly offshore below them, her crew barely visible as they rummaged around on deck, securing the ship. It was nearly the same crew that had fought side by side with the children's parents ten years ago in the most intense battle any of them would ever take part in.
Elizabeth continued to live aboard the Black Pearl until Grace was born. However, having three very curious children running around, who all took after the ship's notorious captain, the "close calls" proved to be coming a bit too close, and Jack offered generous payment to his crew if they would help build two modest but lovely cottages by the sea, one for his wife and children and one for his younger sister and her future family.
As for Jack, he split his time evenly between his ship and his family, or so he would say. He often spent more time with his family, much more… several extra days, and sometimes even weeks, content as he ever had been. He never would have imagined that anything would take the place of his beloved Pearl, but he found that watching his children play on the beach, or telling them stories at night, or patiently teaching them every skill he knew was all he really needed to be happy.
He was surprised to find that the crew didn't mind their extended stays on land as much as he thought they would. They'd gotten older themselves, and breaks from the hard work at sea were required more often now. His crew had remained fiercely loyal to their captain, and if they got restless, Jack trusted them to venture of to sea and be back for him within the month.
He could not, however, completely ignore the call to the sea, and when he was gone, Elizabeth missed him with her entire being. He was never gone long, however, and he was never absent for a birthday or Christmas. Lizzie smiled and rested a hand on her protruding stomach, knowing he would be back and in her arms soon.
"Well I think we'd catch up to the children faster if you were to sit me down and just roll me along," she replied with an exasperated smile. "Jack better be ashore soon, or I assure you, this will be the last child he ever fathers."
"He'll be here," Rebecca said, reassuringly. "You know he wastes no time getting to land to see you and the children."
"I know. Besides, he promised he wouldn't miss the green flash…" Elizabeth's voice trailed off slightly. "…even though he is late." The two women looked at each other, the same thought running through their heads.
"He's always late!" they said in unison.
"Well, nat'rally," a strong voice came from behind them. They whirled around and Lizzie's face lit up at the broad, gold-flecked smile that greeted her. "I 'ave a reputation to uphold." She held her arms out as he walked towards her, the smile never leaving his face. When he reached her, he caught her lips in a firm, yet sweet, kiss and gingerly rubbed her belly. "And how are we this evenin', Mrs. Sparrow?"
"Better now," she smiled, her fingers tracing his jaw-line. She glanced over to see Ragetti warmly greeting his wife. It still felt odd to think of him as an in-law, considering how she once met the man… Once he was finished, he turned to Elizabeth and gave her an elaborate bow. She and Rebecca laughed while Jack just gave him an odd look.
"How are ye, Mrs. Sparrow?" he pulled away from his wife to acknowledge Elizabeth, giving her an in-law appropriate hug and a quick peck on the cheek.
"Anxious," she replied, the emotion evident in her voice. The four of them began walking through the grass towards the children, who were, as of yet, oblivious to their presence.
"Understandably so, but I assure ye, Mr. Turner will be ever the whelp-eunuch he was ten years ago," Jack stated matter-of-factly, eliciting an elbow to the ribs from his wife. "Sorry, luv, couldn't resist." He said with a cheeky grin. Elizabeth just rolled her eyes and smiled, well-used to Jack's antics after so many years with him.
"I don't think they've realize you're here yet," she whispered to Jack, releasing his hand as they approached the four children who stood close to the cliff's edge.
"Good," he whispered back. "Oi!" he shouted, four little heads whipping around to see him. "What's the meaning of this, ye scabrous dogs, all of ye should be hard at work! I should throw the lot of ye in the brig for such idleness!" Emily and Jack erupted into a fit of giggles whilst Grace cried out and ran to her father's open arms, throwing her arms around his neck. Little Madeline followed suit and Jack shifted his eldest daughter to one knee to make room for the other, kissing her on the forehead and Gracie on the cheek.
"Look, daddy!" Grace said, tugging at his jacket sleeve. She opened her mouth wide to reveal the vacant space where a tooth had once been.
"Would you look at that," Jack said in awe. "I bet that one earned ye a shiny trinket."
"Uh-huh, I got a whole schilling for it!" Jack smiled and kissed the top of her head, turning his attention to the other two.
"And how are me eldest? Lookin' after yer mama well, I trust?" Emily smiled and Jack nodded his head.
"Did you bring us something, father?" he asked enthusiastically, knowing full well that Jack always brought back a little toy or ornament from his travels.
"Ye bet I did, for all of ye," he replied, winking. Rebecca and Elizabeth glanced at each other, smiling.
"Mother, how much longer will it be?" Emily cried out, gazing out towards the horizon. Elizabeth smiled. Her inquisitiveness and sense of adventure could rival her father's.
"Soon, my love," she assured her. Jack stood upright and moved beside Elizabeth, scooping Madeline into his arms and blowing a raspberry on her cheek. He balanced the small child on his hip, snaking his available arm around his wife's waist.
True enough, the sun was melting quickly behind the ocean, casting a soft, orange glow over the water. The two families, one small, one large, stood together silently, watching with great anticipation as a flash of green appeared on the horizon.
TWENTY-ONE YEARS LATER…
Captain Jack Sparrow stood at the wheel of the Black Pearl, the inky black sky looming overhead and reflecting a thousand twinkling stars onto the glassy ocean surface. After so many years at sea, the mighty ship was still going strong as one of the last pirate ships to roam the ocean waters. He smiled to himself. He was on his way to the Caribbean to visit his three sisters, their families, and their parents.
"Tired yet?" He glanced over his shoulder to see Noah Sparrow, his younger brother and first-mate, approaching him.
"No, but I bet yer hopin' I am," Jack chuckled. "Few more days, Noah. Mum and dad will be happy to know ye haven't gotten yerself killed yet."
"Well, I'll just remind them that my brother is the infamous Captain Jack Sparrow the Second. He looks out for me." Noah replied, a hint of sarcasm in his voice. "I just passed Mary. She told me to tell ye that they children are waitin' in their cabin for their bedtime story."
"Of course," Jack sighed. "Take the wheel." Noah nodded and stepped up to the wheel, watching as his older brother made his way down the steps and towards the children's cabin, a cabin that he had once occupied as a child. Being on the ship flooded his mind with memories of his childhood, of his parents. His mother's golden hair would be fluttering in the breeze and she'd be telling him how much he looked like his father, how he was the splitting image… His father, a living legend many years retired from a hard life at sea, would be at the wheel. His dreadlocks and dark hair all around him.
"Son!" He would say. "Come 'ere an' I'll teach ye how to be a proper pirate…"
He finally reached the room and he pushed the door open quietly, in case the twins were already asleep. A boy and a girl, appropriately named Jack Sparrow III and Elizabeth Sparrow, after his renowned parents, were wide awake. They'd be seven in three weeks time.
"Dad!" Elizabeth wailed. "Jack's hoggin' the covers again!"
"Am not!" Jack whined back.
"Alright, alright," their father held up his hands and came to sit on the edge of the bed. "There be plenty o' covers to go around. Now. Yer mama says ye be waitin' for yer bedtime story." They nodded, eager grins on their little faces. "Well then, my luvs, what shall it be tonight?"
"The princess and the pirate!" Elizabeth cried out excitedly.
"Yes, yes! The princess and the pirate!" her twin brother repeated.
"Okay," Jack said with a chuckle. He shifted forward, his dark eyes coming to life as the story began. It was their favorite story. It was a story of peril and adventure, of triumph and occasional defeat. But more than anything… it was a love story. "Once upon a time, many years ago, there lived a princess and a pirate and they fell in love. Now it all started with a piece of Aztec gold…"