IT ONLY TAKES A MOMENT
DISCLAIMER: Jack'n'Lizzie etc. do not belong to me. I make no money from the writing of this fan fiction.
A/N: Hello everyone! Well, this is it, the last chapter! I was originally going to make three full chapters and then a short epilogue, but once I had the epilogue written, I realized it fit better as a part of this chapter rather than by itself.
I would like to take this chance to thank everyone who reviewed: Sophies-Welt, XxIcexX, royalpinkdogs, elizabeth marie cullen, purplekirbyshaft, driver picks the music, Future Mrs. Sparrow, Florencia7, Sassy Sparrow, Malin, and Jenn1244. It think that's everyone, but if I forgot you, I apologize! You guys rock, I write this stuff for you!
I would also like to make a note of the title for this story. I caught a few minutes of "Hello Dolly" on TV a few nights ago and was inspired by one of the song verses. (It's also featured a few times in "Wall-E," for anyone who has seen that.) This is in no way a songfic, I just stole the title.
Italics are still flashbacks (as noted in Chapter 2).
Now, without further ado, on with Chapter 3!
And that is all that love's about
And we'll recall as time runs out
That it only took a moment
To be loved
Our whole life long
He was growing weaker, his strength fluttering away right before her eyes. Her heart thudded painfully in her chest. She couldn't believe this was happening… this just couldn't be happening. He tried to say something, but all that came out was a shaky final breath before his head lolled to the side, his eyes closing.
"No… no!" Elizabeth hadn't been in love with Will for quite some time, but the pain at what was happening was unimaginable. She didn't have to be in love with him to love him.
"Part of the crew, part of the ship… Part of the crew, part of the ship…" Their voices were eerie, ghost-like, and on any other day she would have been frightened by them. But not now. Now, she barely heard them. She just didn't care. She was crying all sorts of things… saying she was sorry, begging him to come back. Their voices were getting louder, closer, yet she was unable to register the danger she was in.
She remembered screaming, swearing she wouldn't leave him when she felt Jack's hands firmly grip her shoulders, pulling her away. Everything became very hazy then, like she was dreaming it all, watching it from a distance.
"Hold on!" he firmly instructed, firing his pistol.
When their feet left the deck, she was finally able to understand what was happening. He was saving her, again. That's how they'd met, after all. She forced her mind away from Will, then, as the only way of maintaining her sanity, and she thought of all the times Jack had come to her rescue. There was that first initial meeting, when he plucked her from a watery grave at the bottom of the ocean. Stupid corset. There was that time on the island… it was inadvertent, for sure, but by handing her that first bottle of rum, he planted the seed that sprouted the idea for their rescue. Then, of course, there was the fight in the caves. It happened so fast… she was running, saw Barbossa aim and cock his pistol and then a gun fired. Had Jack not shot him, she'd likely be dead. His intention was clearly not to save her, but he did nonetheless.
And then there was now… the two of them sailing high above the slate colored ocean waters. Jack had saved her again, saved her from drowning as the Flying Dutchman submerged beneath the water's surface. They were soaring high above that now, free… Jack had helped her fly. He'd given her wings. He'd given her freedom. And what had she done to deserve it? He'd saved her life so many times now and she had thanked him by taking his life away…
She could never deserve him.
The sound of heavy footsteps woke Elizabeth up, yet she was conscious before she could open her eyes.
Everything hurt… everything. Her muscles ached with fatigue, a burn she had not felt since the maelstrom. Her head felt like it had taken a severe pounding, like someone had slammed their fist straight into both of her temples. Her back felt pinched, like she'd done too much heavy lifting for her own good. Her lips felt dry, cracked from a lack of moisture, stinging her painfully with each minor movement. The palms of her hands felt like they were on fire. That had to be from the blisters she had earned from her tight grip on the Empress's wheel.
The Empress… it came flooding back to her… the sight of her crew, struggling to keep the vessel afloat, the terrified look on Tai Huang's face when he rushed to her side, shaking his head, knowing as well as she that they would not survive. But she had survived. Where was everyone else? She couldn't live knowing she was the only one who made it out… or had she made it out? She still didn't know where she was.
She squeezed her eyelids tightly before forcing her eyes open, her surroundings blurry and white. She took a few deep breaths, waiting for the adjustment, for things to become clear. She was in a room… a small room. The wine colored paint was peeling off the walls. She looked down and noticed that she was in a large bed, far bigger than the one in her cabin or the one in her old bedroom in Port Royale. A bed for a King… What was this place? Where was it?
The room was sparsely decorated. There was no area rug to cover the aged, wooden floorboards. The door was a different stain, but looked equally distressed. She looked to either side of her. Two washbasins flanked both sides of the bed. There was a small bureau and trunk on opposite walls and a rich, red velvet armchair in the corner.
Directly across from her was a large window, with a full view of the horizon line, the expanse of the ocean at her fingertips. It was cloudy outside… it looked cold and foggy, drizzly even. It reminded her of London. Standing next to the window, staring out was… a man. His back was to her. Her breath caught in her throat when she thought of who it might be. Tattered clothing, tan skin. The two hands that were clasped behind the man's back were adorned with several clunky rings. There was a tri-corn top atop his head, a mess of dark dreadlocks and braids spilling out from under it.
Jack…? She tried to speak, but couldn't. She swallowed roughly… her throat was painfully dry. She tried again. "Jack?" When she did speak, her voice was hardly recognizable. The man turned around and she could practically hear her heart breaking from disappointment. It wasn't Jack.
"Ah, yer awake," the man said, his voice gruff. "S'a miracle to say the least. That yer alive, that is."
"Who… who are you?" she asked, narrowing her eyes in an attempt to get a better look at him. He looked familiar, but with her mind as fuzzy as it was, she wasn't sure.
"Capt'n Teague Sparrow, yer majesty," he gave a slight bow before winking at her, flashing her a grin.
"You're Jack's father." It was a statement, not a question. She must have wound up in Shipwreck Cove… somehow…
"Aye, milady," he nodded, sauntering closer to her. She watched him with uncertain eyes as he stopped at one of the washbasins and picked up the water pitcher there, pouring the clear liquid into a glass. He leaned across the bed, careful not to spill any, handing it to her. "Ye must be thirsty." She didn't pause to say thank you as she snatched it from his hand and drank greedily, listening to him as he continued to talk. "I found ye meself a few days ago. Ye washed up on the beach." She gulped down air when she pulled away from the glass, looking at him with sad eyes.
"There was a storm," she whispered, looking down to her hands. She flashed up to him again. "Am I the… the only…"
"Survivor?" He nodded. "Aye. Looks like, anyways." She could feel the tears burning in her eyes but bit her lip, holding them back. She didn't want to cry in front of Teague, but she found it difficult, when he looked so much like his son. She wanted Jack… needed Jack… She felt the bed dip beside her and glanced over to see that he'd sat down. He was staring at her, his dark eyes boring into her soul. It was as if he knew her every thought. "I sent for him. He'll be here soon."
"I…" She quickly tried to formulate her thoughts. "I don't know what you mean."
"Jackie," he said, smirking. "Me son. He's comin' for ye and he'll be here soon." He winked. "Trust me. Boy's head over heels for ye, me dear."
Jack grumbled to himself as the Pearl came into the harbor at Shipwreck Cove. He did not want to be here. He could only imagine he was being summoned to some sort of Brethren meeting, of which he desperately didn't want to take part in. It was likely regarding Lizzie's… he closed his eyes and shook his head. He couldn't let himself think about that now, not with his crew, or what was left of his crew, watching him.
Had the message been sent by anyone else, he would have crumbled it into a little ball and tossed it over his shoulder, letting it collect dust behind his bunk. But as it turned out, it wasn't written by anyone else, it was written by his father. And when Teague Sparrow gave you a command, you better well follow it. Elizabeth might have been the pirate king, but in many ways, Teague had more authority than anyone else.
When the Black Pearl was a reasonable distance from the docks, he barked a few orders at his crew, telling them to stay put, for they wouldn't be in Shipwreck Cove long. He'd go into town, figure out what his father wanted, and leave. This little side-trip was interrupting a good deal of brooding, sleeping and drinking.
The row to shore was agonizing. He had little energy, which made rowing increasingly difficult. And with each stroke of the oar, he was reminded of the last time he'd been in a longboat, the night she… He shuddered. He had great difficulty thinking the entire thought. The night she died… On the journey there, there were a great many times when he wanted to just "fall" overboard and let the waves take him, let the ocean swallow him up. But he kept thinking of her, of the look on her face if she were to know what he'd done. Besides, Will Turner's face really wasn't the first one he wanted to see upon making it to the other side.
Jack reached the docks and hastily tied off the longboat, walking with long, quick strides towards town. He kept chanting his plan in his head. Get in, get out. Get in, get out. He ignored those who greeted him, leaving them watching him as he walked away. He didn't have time for any of that, nor the patience for niceties. Get in, get out. He prayed he wouldn't run into Barbossa.
He quickly made his way to his father's flat. Get in, get out. He climbed the three flights of stairs, gritting his teeth as he went. He didn't bother to knock when he got there and instead pushed the door open, finding his father sitting in his favorite chair in front of the hearth he built for his mother.
"Jackie," he stood up, a smile spreading across his face.
"Get in, get out," Jack muttered, trying to catch his breath from the brisk pace he'd kept up the stairs.
"What?" Teague's brow furrowed.
"'Come now,'" Jack said impatiently. Maybe in a few months time, he'd be able to come back and have a proper visit with his father, but now was not that time. There was a large bottle of rum sitting on his cabin desk, waiting for him. He was anxious to get back to it, not wanting the poor thing to be lonely…
He watched, his thin patience growing even thinner as his father took a deep breath and began to walk towards him. The old man stopped when he was right in front of him, his eyes deadly serious. "She's alive, boy."
"The girl," Teague said slowly. "Her ship, her crew… they all went down in the storm. But not her. Yer right, lad, she's a fighter."
"What are you talking about?" Jack asked in a whiny voice. Surely he couldn't be serious. And he better not be trying to mess with him… he never did understand his sense of humor.
Teague reached out and squeezed Jack's shoulder, keeping a firm grip. "I'm serious, Jack. She made it."
She. Made. It. It felt like his heart was dropping all the way down into his stomach, making him feel slightly ill and a little dizzy. Could it be true? Could such an incredible thing be possible? It always seemed that he was getting a second chance... could he be lucky enough to get one now? He pulled back and grabbed both of his father's shoulders, looking him dead in the eye.
"Where? Where is she?" He spoke quickly. With a simple tilt of his head in the direction of the main bedchamber, Jack was off. He stopped outside the door, his palms sweaty, his hand shaking, hovering above the knob. Get in, get in! The dizzy feeling had yet to subside and he wasn't sure which would come first, passing out or throwing up. Get in… He bit down hard on his lip and without another second's pause, he squeezed the knob and opened the door.
He stepped into the doorframe and everything stopped. There was no sound. There were only two people in the world. Him and her.
A small, fragile looking body was standing at the window. She'd been staring out to sea, but when she heard the door open, she turned to face him, a small smile curling onto her lips. She was so thin, gaunt almost. The nightgown she was wearing clung to her body, making her look smaller than she really was. There were bruises on her arms and a large, angry looking gash on her forehead. Her skin was pale, so pale, her eyes dark and sunken. She essentially looked like a skeleton with skin. But she was beautiful. She was alive and she was beautiful.
"He said you were coming," she said, her voice quiet and far away. He could see her eyes glistening and her voice cracked with her next sentence. "Oh, Jack…"
He quickly kicked the door closed with the heel of his boot before walking, practically running, to where she stood. He didn't pause or wait for her to react to his presence before wrapping both his arms around her lithe body and pulling her towards him. He kept one hand on her back and placed the other behind her head, cradling her against his chest. He lowered his mouth towards her ear.
"I love you, 'Lizabeth and I swear to every God there is that m'not lettin' you out of my sight again." He didn't care if he sounded like a ridiculous, love-struck fool and he didn't care if she didn't love him back. He swore to himself that should he ever get a second chance with her, that's what he'd say, and he fully intended to make good on his word. If he never spoke another true sentence again, let his last one be that.
He felt her body shudder and shake against him and he pulled back, quickly bending down and scooping her up into his arms. He walked her back to the bed and set her down, falling to his knees on the floor beside her. He watched, chewing his lip nervously as she took in several shaky breaths and blinked away tears. He reached over and brushed them off her cheeks with his thumb. "Don't cry, Lizzie. Yer alive, yer okay. Don't cry."
"I was coming to find you, you know," she said, clearing her throat and sniffling. She turned slightly onto her side, so she was facing him better.
"What for?" he asked, his voice softer than she'd ever heard it before. He was behaving in a way that she'd only dreamed about, making her heart swell for him.
"To tell you… to tell you I love you," she confessed, remembering his own recent words and how happy they had made her. Maybe… maybe hers would do the same for him. She watched, holding her breath as he smiled. Thank God.
"Next time send me a letter, an' I'll come to you," he whispered.
"I thought you were never letting me out of your sight again?"
"Never," he shook his head, brushing his hand over her brow. He watched with utter glee as her eyes lit up.
He didn't answer her with a yes or a no. He answered her in the only way that he could. He leaned close to her, gently pressing his hand against the back of her neck, and kissed her. Elizabeth was alive. She was alive.
Life had never been better.
Was that a hand? Trailing up her thigh towards her waist? Elizabeth opened her bleary eyes, smiling to see Jack leaning over her, a silly grin on his face. Her mind flashed to the previous night, to falling asleep with his hand stroking her hair. The sunlight pouring in through the window was a clear indication that he'd been there all night.
"Mornin', luv," he greeted, his voice was soft and hesitant. "Did ye sleep well, darlin'?"
"Mmm… yes," she replied, her grin broadening when he leaned down to kiss her. It felt so good to have his lips against hers, so right, so complete.
"Good," he said. "We've a big day ahead of us."
"Have we?" she asked, her hand lightly gripping his upper arm.
"Aye," he replied, nodding. "Today m'takin' you home."
"Where you'll never let me out of your sight again?"
"Well, nat'rally." He leaned down to brush his lips against hers again. "Lady permittin', of course." She laughed and nodded, wrapping her arms around his back as he pulled her against his chest. He was warm. She leaned her forehead against his chest, brushing her lips against the skin there.
It had only taken a moment for her to lose everything. She breathed in deeply, inhaling his scent as she smiled to herself. Then again…
…it only took a moment for her to find it again.
A/N: So that's it guys! Thanks for sticking with me and reading, now go review!
And for those of you who readShattered, I have posted a new poll in my profile. It's pretty important, as it will affect the way the rest of that story is written, so go VOTE!