Jack just gaped. It was all he could do. How do you reply to goodbye?

His voice was gone, what else would it be? How do you respond to the shock?

But more importantly, he felt suddenly empty. Isn't that's what happens when your heart is ripped out?

And that was indeed what had just happened.

His heart was ripped, torn, wrenched from his chest, gone.

Just like her.

She was leaving him,

for good.

Jack didn't know what to do. What do you do when you're heart and soul decides it wants to leave?

He doesn't know what to say. He has faced more things in his short time on the Barnacle than most people have -will- in their whole lives.

But this he doesn't think he can take. How do you cope with something like this?

Arabella was leaving.

'She's Leaving,' he repeats to himself.

'and she'll be gone... You'll be alone'

Alone... Jack doesn't think he's ever had a worse thought.

Now he's back on the good boat -ship- Barnacle, and he doesn't remember how he got there.

He doesn't remember what words of comfort he had given her.

'That's the point, to be free.'

Something like that anyways.

But Jack felt anything but free.

His worn boots clunk dully on the old boards of the deck, and the sound is strangely distant, and cold.

'How fitting,' Jack mused. 'she's gone and even the ship feels it.'

Even Fitzy seemed to be affected by her absence.

But then again, how could you not?

How could anyone not?

Right now, in his grief and shock, he doesn't think anyone on the planet could have just walked away from the kind of blow he's just recieved.

Shell shock.

Gone, she's gone... Forever?

No.

Yes?

He didn't know anymore.

He didn't know anything anymore.

Arabella was always a constant, from the moment she saved his life, to her departure just moments ago.

Or was it hours?

Days?

He doesn't remember.

But then again, that's not really surprising, considering how much rum he's comsumed.

Drowning the sorrows.

Jack finally understands that phrase.

He was most assuradely drowning.

Drowning in his sorrows.

It's only right that he return the favor, right?

Drown the sorrows that were drowning him, only made sense.

Jack remembered the first time he had spirits, it had been a dark night, and his parents had been asleep.

A seven-year old Jack Sparrow had crept down the hall until he located the rum cellar that he dad spent so much of his time in.

But that had been for fun, for a wily youth.

This was anything but fun.

This was torture.

Jack knew that Fitzy must be worrying about him, but he didn't care.

He didn't care that he was probably going to have a hangover bad enough to kill tomorrow morning.

He didn't care that his ship was getting no attention at the moment.

He didn't care that his clothes were dirty from the four times he tripped over his own feet on the dazed walk back to the ship.

He didn't care,

about anything.

Jack started to question the wisdom of those damnable fish-tails.

How could they think that freedom was his greatest treasure, when here he was, free, and miserable.

'No, come on Jackie, you're smarter than that.'

He wasn't free,

not without her.

For the umpteenth time that night, Fitz knocked on the door, asking when he was going to come on deck.

For the umteenth time, Jack -with a rum bottle in one hand, and a scrap of Arabella's dress that she had used to bind a wound in the other- slurred back that he would take all the time he needed.

All the time he needed.

What a laughable consept.

As if time could bring her back, as if time could heal his heart, as if time could do a damn thing.

Jack threw his rum across the room in anger, and it shattered against the wall, golden liquid seeping into the ship's floorboards.

He slowly lowered his head into his hands.

Why was he acting like this?

He knew she couldn't stay forever.

'But that's just it,' he realized.

'you had just begun to believe that she would stay with you. You had started to have faith. Foolish of you Jackie, foolish.'

Another bottle crashed to the floor,

and then a chair,

soon joined by his bandana.

And now the scrap of fabric.

Tears pricked at the corner of Jack's usually cheerful eyes.

He wanted to scream, to strangle her mother, and take her for his own.

He wanted her home.

But she was gone, and as Jack knelt in the dark of his cabin, he thought about all the smiles, laughs, hugs, and kind looks.

Even the fights came as happy memories.

The way she would square her jaw, and put her hands on her hips.

The way that she felt in his arms.

But now,

it was all gone.