DISCLAIMER: Still not mine!
A/N: Well, here it is folks! The last chapter of the story. I would personally like to thank all who reviewed: Shvon, Florencia7, XxIcexX, driver picks the music, Nytd, Aenea Endymion, Ele the Goddess of Elements, elizabeth marie cullen, daffoldildances, PiratePrincess29, lina, Bits1212, Sassy Sparrow, and Lily Yamamoto. I'm pretty sure that's everyone, but if I forgot you, I apologize! Thanks so much for reading and reviewing my work. Your positive feedback is what keeps me writing, no joke. If you like my writing, feel free to check out my other stories. Including this one, I've written seven stories for Pirates of the Caribbean, all of them Sparrabeth.
Thanks again you guys! Now, on with Chapter 11!
The silence was killing her. Jack clearly didn't want her to go away, which made the act doing so all the more difficult. All she needed was for him to simply ask her not to leave, to tell her that he wanted her with him. But until he spoke the words… she couldn't stay based on a hunch. After all, maybe he was just being polite. Maybe his silence was a mere confirmation of the fact that he wanted her gone. Maybe he'd only asked her to join the crew in the first place out of obligation. She bit her lip, trying not to cry. She hated the idea of the past few months only occurring because he felt like he owed her something. If anything, it was she who owed him.
Elizabeth watched him as he rowed, wanting to catch his eyes, desperately waiting for an excuse to accidentally gain his attention. But his eyes were fixed ahead, towards the shore, at his hands, his boots… anywhere but at her. She forced herself to think about Will. She was doing this out of loyalty to him, even if it meant giving up her own desires. She was being a good wife, doing the right thing.
The longboat hit something and she grabbed the sides, turning around only to realize they'd hit the beach. Her heart sank a little. She really didn't want to be here. She would have much rather had Jack drop her off in Tortuga… hell, anywhere other than this place. Port Royale might have been home to her once, but it certainly wasn't any longer. But she knew Jack wouldn't drop her off in Tortuga alone, so she settled for the port closest to it.
"Home sweet home," Jack said as he stood up, interrupting her thoughts. He jumped out of the longboat and onto the sand. He grabbed the two leather sacks she had with her… everything she owned save for the chest. She understood why he wouldn't want to go near it. She grabbed it and tucked it under her arm, moving to step out beside him. He held out his hand and she stared at it for a moment. Just touching him couldn't hurt, could it? She took his hand. The warmth of his skin made her entire being feel warm. As soon as her boots touched the sand, she pulled back.
"Thank you, Jack," she said quietly, setting the chest down with her other things. Life certainly hadn't turned out how she thought it would. The sprawling estate up on the hill used to be her home. Now she could carry everything she owned on her back with ease. She knew which life she preferred, but at this exact moment, it was difficult to prefer anything.
"I could take ye into town, Elizabeth," he offered. "Find ye an inn to stay, if ye like." She was hoping he wouldn't say that. She would have just told him she was going back to the mansion, but she should have known he was too smart for that. A new governor, with his own family, lived there now.
"Thank you, but I'll be fine," she said, trying to make herself sound sure, strong. She wasn't sure yet if she'd been successful, but judging by the way he looked at her, she hadn't been.
"Ye sure?" His eyebrows went up in concern. There had once been a time when "concern" was not a word she'd equate with Captain Jack Sparrow. But she'd gotten to know him so much better since their initial meeting. She knew that there was so much more to him than his title, than what his legend suggested. Jack might have been a fearsome pirate, but he was a human first. In the time she'd known him, she gotten a glimpse of the real him, and she'd always wanted to see more… too bad.
"I'm sure," she nodded. The look on his face was a curious one. She couldn't quite tell if that was relief shining in his eyes or hurt. Whatever it was, she felt compelled to make it go away. She stepped towards him and wrapped her arms around him, hiding her face in his neck. "Goodbye, Jack."
Jack breathed in deep, letting his eyes closed as he took in her scent. He allowed himself to hug her back, for he knew this was the closest to her he would ever get. That kiss she used to send him to his death might have been of a devious nature, but it had been worth it. He'd was thankful to have ever kissed her at all. So why didn't he do it now? He was a pirate, after all. Wasn't he supposed to take what he wanted, damn the consequences? Yes, yes he was. But then again… no. He wouldn't do that to her. If she had any happy thoughts regarding him, any positive memories about their time together, then that's what he wanted to send her off with.
"If there's ever any trouble…" He thought about how he could finish that sentence without damning his reputation in the same breath. Remind 'er yer a pirate. "The Faithful Bride. S'a pub in Tortuga." He forced a smirk on his face, though to her it seemed natural. "Pleasurable company, good drink an' song. Ye can likely find me there." She nodded, but her eyes were sad. Idiot. "G'bye, Elizabeth."
She gave him a small wave as he turned back to the longboat. She couldn't believe after all they'd been through… skeletal pirates, fighting the kraken, the battle during the maelstrom and everything in between… that things were going to end this way. His back would be to her as he rowed towards the Pearl. He pushed off the beach with one of the oars and turned around, flashing her a smile. One of his golden teeth caught in the sunlight. The farther away he got, the less defined his features became. He was turning into a silhouette with every stroke of the oars.
His back was to her as he rowed towards the Pearl, leaving him unable to see her. She used this to her advantage. Instead of heading towards the town, she headed in the opposite direction, towards a sheltered area where she wouldn't be seen by town folk or incoming ships. She'd set up camp there and live off fish and fresh fruit until she came up with a better plan. Maybe she'd stow away and head to Tortuga or St. Lucia, even. Maybe she'd even go back to London, a city where she could disappear and start over. It was better than staying here, dealing with the scrutinizing stares of the people she used to consider friends.
When she reached the farthest end of the beach, where the sand started to become water-slicked rocks, she set her things down, breathing heavily. It had been a long walk and her hands were beginning to blister from the leather ropes sewn to the sacks she carried. The back side of her arm ached from where she'd held the chest. Thump-thump. The steady beating used to bring her comfort, but not anymore. It only served to make things worse.
Despite the throbbing in her toes and the arches of her feet, she walked forward, to where the waves were lapping up on the shore. She didn't care that her feet were getting wet as she leaned against a large, upright stone, at least four or five times bigger than herself. From where she stood, she could barely see the bow of the Black Pearl as she slowly turned away from Port Royale. She bit back her lip and tried to steady the heaving of her chest as it got farther and farther away, but it was no use. The tears fell anyways. She was away from him, away from the awful tension she felt and the pang of a love that could never be hers. Then why did it continue to hurt so bad? She fell back and sobbed. It wouldn't be long before her entire lower half would be wet from the waves.
The sun was going down as the Black Pearl approached Tortuga. In another hour or so, Jack would be able to make good his promise and loose himself in drink, women and song. As lovely as the notion was, he still knew it wouldn't make a difference. The evening would end in one of two ways. He would take a woman of questionable reputation back to an inn and then close his eyes, pretending all the while she was his Lizzie. Or, he would down a few drinks and end up alone, frustrated and depressed in his cabin. At this point, he wasn't sure which was worse.
The pegs of the wheel were gripped so tightly between his fingers, his tan knuckles had turned white. There used to be a day when being at the Pearl's wheel was all the therapy he needed. But those days were long gone. It seemed like the only thing that would make him feel better was the very same thing that made his chest hurt. And the crew's mood wasn't helping matters much, either. They moped around the deck like there'd been a death in the family. There might as well have been…
Jack felt someone move up behind him. He closed his eyes. Maybe when he opened them, he'd turn around to see it was her, that she hadn't really left, that she'd been at his side the entire time. But the fragrance of sweat, tobacco and rum was nothing like the soft aroma of honey and vanilla. He glanced over his shoulder.
"Do ye want me advice, lad?" Gibbs asked. The older gentlemen stared over his captain's shoulder, out to sea. Jack was secretly thankful for that. He'd never been very good at eye contact, except when it was meant to make his enemy shiver. And he wasn't quite sure whether or not he appreciated these bouts of wisdom from Gibbs. He was a weathered pirate who'd been on the sea much longer than he himself had been, but in moments of distress he became warm and soft-spoken. Jack had always known his own father growing up, but he'd gotten more parental advice from Gibbs in thirteen years than he had from his dad in a lifetime.
"No," Jack sighed. He smirked slightly and glanced over his shoulder again to see a pleasant grin on the other man's face. "But I s'pose ye've a mind to give it to me anyways, so let's have it."
"Sometimes…" Gibbs paused as if he were about to say something epic. "Sometimes a person can't change their minds on their own. Sometimes they need a little… persuasion." Persuasion. Jack's mind flashed to a hot, sunny day on the Pearl with his Lizzie nearby and her William far, far away. Later that very same day, he felt the cool metal of a manacle around his wrist with her warm, lithe body pressed against his own. That connection with her alone made him look back and think… I've had worse days.
"What are you gettin' at, Joshamee?" he asked, turning around.
"Did ye ask her to stay?" Gibbs chose that moment to make eye-contact.
"She didn't want to stay," Jack said with a groan.
"Yes! Besides… even if she did, she's married. R'member?" Gibbs smiled again and chuckled, shrugging his shoulders. "Somethin' funny?"
"Ye aware of who married 'em, right?"
"Aye," Jack groaned again. Just what was he getting at? He knew there had to be a point in his—his thoughts came to a halting stop. Will and Elizabeth exchanged vows before Barbossa. A pirate. Such a union might be recognized by the Brethren Court, but in everyday society it meant nothing. No paperwork had been filed and Jack knew no rings had been exchanged… all ten of Lizzie's fingers were bare. He closed his eyes and breathed in deep through his nose. He could smell the rain that was threatening to fall. He turned around to face Gibbs, one hand on the wheel. He motioned his head towards the crew on the lower deck. "Ye think they'll be terribly upset?"
Gibbs shook his head. "Tortuga'll still be there tomorrow night."
It had been raining for nearly two hours. Elizabeth sat with her back against the wall of the cramped, damp cave she'd taken shelter in. When she was a young girl, pretending to be a pirate, she used to run to that cave in search of buried treasure, a young Will Turner on her heels. She closed her eyes and let her head fall back against the wall. A part of her wished she could go back to those days, full of fun and innocence. But the greater part of her never wanted to forget the memories she'd made of a dark pair of eyes and a mess of tangled dreadlocks.
She had started a small fire that she intended to roast a fish on, but she had no means of catching said fish. She really wasn't that hungry, anyways. The chest sat beside her, encompassing the memory of an old friend. She'd given up on the notion of Will as her husband. Jack was gone. There was no use pretending anymore. She sighed and edged closer to the fire, warming her hands and face. Her skin might have warmed up a little bit, but her insides were cold. She looked at her hand, remembering how she felt when it was inside Jack's as he helped her out of the longboat. She wished she could go back to that moment… that moment of heat and peace… and stay there forever.
Her head shot to the side when she heard two rocks rustle against each other outside. She took a few deep breaths, forcing herself to accept that it was likely an animal scavenging for food. She had just turned back to the fire when a smooth, steady voice made her heart pound with nervous excitement.
"I'll have ye know that yer not an easy lady to track down." She placed her hands on the ground, as if to anchor herself from blowing away. The two halves of herself with arguing with one another. One half told her to stand up and greet him, while the other told her to stay put and stay guarded. One half told her to run to him, to seek the warmth her body craved while the other half told her she'd be better off cold. Whatever her mind was telling her, it didn't matter, for he was now walking towards her. He nonchalantly crouched on the other side of the fire and held his hands up. His dark eyes slowly made their way up to hers. "I lied to you, Lizzie." Lizzie. She was so glad to hear him say that…
"When?" She forced herself to speak, despite the fact that she could sit there and just stare at him in silence forever.
He studied her face with amusement. When. Take yer pick, dearie. Out of the sheer necessity to get the weight off his chest and shoulders, he'd keep it simple. "Two years ago."
She blinked a few times. "Could you be more specific?" THAT'S what she had to say? She wanted to ask him what he was doing there, how he managed to find her. But she was so lost in him, in all that he was, that she felt she had no choice but to just follow him, to take his lead.
"I was in the middle of makin' me grand escape. I told William I liked his hat. An' that wasn't a lie, it was a very fine hat, Barbossa would 'ave been envious. But… I told you… I told you that it wouldn't 'ave worked between us." He suddenly looked to her eyes with utmost seriousness. "That was a lie."
"Jack…" She began to feel claustrophobic, like the walls were closing in on her. She knew it was raining outside, but she didn't care. She had to escape. She hadn't made it more than three steps outside when she felt him grab her arm. He whirled her around to face him, but he refused to let go. "Let go of me!"
"No!" he shouted back. "Now ye can stay here and listen or ye can stay here and not listen, but yer not runnin' away."
"Jack, there's nothing to say!"
"There's plenty to say, an' you know it."
If she wasn't flustered before, she certainly was now. "Fine! Maybe it would have worked, but it doesn't matter! I'm married to Will!"
"No, no yer not." He smirked at her. How irritating! Why did he have to be smug, now was hardly the time for it!
"Yes I am!"
"Yer married because Barbossa says yer married," he retorted. "That might be fine and dandy accordin' to the code, but in the real world, the code means nothing. Show me where it's documented that yer married, show me the ring on yer finger! You owe him nothin', Lizzie, so stop lettin' him hold ye back." His words hit her like a ton of bricks and she was glad it was raining. That way he wouldn't see her tears. She knew full well that her marriage to Will wasn't viable. But there'd been a ceremony. They were man and wife in all but legality.
"It doesn't matter, Jack!" She tore her arm away from his grasp and began to walk away.
"Yes it bloody well does matter!" He walked after her.
"No!" She whirled around, surprising him. They were both drenched now as the rain refused to stop falling. "I promised myself to him!"
"Once upon a time ye promised yerself to him, but yer not the same person anymore. I know that, I know you know that and I think he knows that too." He once again took hold of her, but this time he gripped both arms, making an escape impossible. She knew in that moment, there'd be no more running. "Yes, I lied to you, but I'm willin' to spend a lifetime makin' it up to you. An' I know I'm correct in assumin' that you've told a few lies yerself." He paused, their eyes deadlocked on each other. "Tell me what you really want. An' don't lie to me."
She was frozen, right where she was. She was stuck between Jack and the rest of the world. She'd been at many a cross-road in her life and had been forced to make many decisions she wasn't ready to make. The bitter, cold rain kept falling. She looked down to his hands on her arms and realized that despite the angry weather… she was warm. With his touch, she was warm. She looked back up at his face and her chin began to visibly tremble.
"I want… I want…" She knew what she wanted. And she knew she wasn't going to hide from it anymore. But that didn't mean admitting it would be easy. So she'd go for it. She'd just spit it out, damn the consequences. She was sick of thinking about the right thing. Her eyes, softened. "I want you to take me home, Jack." She looked over her shoulder. She could see the Black Pearl fully now. "Take me home, Jack."
When she looked back at him, he was smiling. It was a contagious smile and she found herself smiling. He tugged lightly on her arms, pulling her to him. As she drew closer, he loosened his grip, and she thanked him by throwing her arms around his neck. He bent his head down and she tilted hers up. They met with a kiss the likes neither had experienced before. Both noted how right it felt, how perfectly their lips seemed to fit together.
She smiled as he deepened the kiss, his hands moving to his waist. Take me home, Jack… She'd inadvertently lied again. When she asked him to take her home, she knew he thought she meant the Pearl. Later she'd make a point to explain what she really meant. Home was not a house, it was not a ship. He was her home. You are "home" Jack. You are my home.