Disclaimer: Unfortunately, I own nothing related to Pirates of the Caribbean. That belongs to Jerry Bruckheimer, Disney, and a bunch of other people. Only original characters and plotlines are mine.
AN: This is it – the end of the story! Thanks so much to everyone for reading and reviewing! My next story might not be up for a little while, as I feel that a break is needed. Keep a sharp eye out for it, though, in case I decide to post it early. Thanks again, and I hope to see you around soon!
"I honestly don't think there's a more stubborn pair than us on the Island," Jack said as he caressed my hair, while the other hand trailing up and down my arm.
I giggled and gently traced a finger on the flower tattoo that was inscribed on his chest. "And I must honestly admit that I don't know as much about love as I thought I did," I replied, smiling softly. "I suppose my job as a matchmaker was mostly due to luck and good timing. I mean, I didn't find a single wife for any of the crew on my own; that was mostly due to luck and chance meetings between Penny, Selene, and Rosa with the men."
"Oh, I wouldn't say that, luv," Jack said as he pulled me closer so that my head, rather than being on his shoulder, now rested on his chest and was tucked neatly beneath his chin. "I can hardly blame you for that, since most of the men weren't really putting on an effort to get on your good side. Granted, they wanted wives in the first place, but if you don't know the person you're trying to find a bride for, you can't find someone who will fit them, savvy?"
I sighed. "Well, I suppose so, but-"
He gently shushed me. "I'm not finished. You have a knack for knowing good people, which is why you convinced me to allow three strange women onboard my ship –that's something I wouldn't do for just anyone. True, you didn't match those women with a crewman, but you obviously thought they would at least "do" for someone onboard the Pearl."
He kissed my forehead. "And most surprising of all, you managed to get Anna-Maria, of all people, to take a shine to a lad! The fact that you were able to get her to act decently and spend time with him – without killing him – is more than enough to convince me that you're a good judge of character. More so that some other people I know."
Smiling, I tilted my head and pressed a kiss to his cheek. "Thank you, Jack," I whispered.
He grinned. "My pleasure, luv."
All was quiet for a few moments, and just as I was beginning to fall asleep, Jack spoke. "You do know that I love you, don't you Evie? I mean, really love you?"
He didn't give me a chance to reply. "I know I've been a bloody idiot," he admitted. "It's just…as a pirate, emotions and such just aren't the norm for us. Oh, we feel greed, jealousy, lust, and other things, but the good stuff, like love –well, that's an entirely different sea altogether.
"I'm usually not at a loss for words or courses of action, but when it comes to romance, I'm a fish out of water. I know that I blundered greatly when it came to my winning you over, so I solemnly swear right here and now that's going to change. What do you say, luv? Will you give me another chance?"
Smiling, I kissed him gently on the mouth, which quickly led to one thing after another…
A week later, we stood on the docks, fully prepared to set sail. The Pearl was stuffed to bursting with goods, everything from supplies to exotic objects to trade and barter with, and the crewmen were all onboard –minus the now pregnant Penny and Rosa, who stood waving at their husbands beside Selene, on the dock. The three of them would remain here and set up a nice place for any future brides that might be added to the bunch, and would remain here for a while, until their children were old enough to be taken onboard ship.
Anna-Maria, on the other hand, was onboard, with Adam working alongside her. Though she didn't know it, Gibbs and Rannoch had a secret running bet on how long it would be before she ended up joining their wives on Shipwreck Island. Thank goodness Anna didn't know, or they would be in for a world of pain.
"Now, Jackie, you come back soon for a visit, savvy?" Captain Teague was saying to my husband. "Your mum will want to meet your wife, and she'll never forgive you if you don't introduce them to one another."
"Aye, I promise," Jack said, looking uncomfortable as he spoke.
Biting back a sigh, I stepped forward and pressed a kiss to my father-in-law's cheek. "We both promise to come back and visit soon," I said, giving my husband a stern look. "Besides, I need to be back when my godchild is born."
Jack stared at me. "What do you mean godchild? How could Selene decide that already? The babe isn't due for another four months, at least!"
"Can't over-plan for this kind of thing, Jackie," Captain Teague gently chided his son. "Someday, you and Evie will have to make that kind of choice, just so you know."
I couldn't help but blush as Jack developed a slow, sly grin. "Aye, I suppose you're right," Jack replied, looking over at me. "Well, my dear Mrs. Sparrow, it's time to cast off. Any last words you'd like to share with your friends or father-in-law before we leave?"
"No, I've gotten that all out of the way," I told him. "Besides, we'll be back soon, won't we? I'm sure you can't wait to keep Gibbs calm when he has to come back for his own child's birth."
Teague sighed and gave me a farewell hug. "You shouldn't have said that, lass," he whispered teasingly into my ear. "If he thinks that keeping an expectant father company is nerve-wracking, he'll be in for it when his time comes."
Jack did indeed look worried as we pulled out to sea, his eyes focused on the horizon. It wasn't until we were a good distance away from Shipwreck that he called me to him at the helm, where he stood gripping the wheel with white-knuckled fingers.
"Jack, what's troubling you?" I softly asked him, moving to stand beside him. One of my hands reached out to gently touch one of his, an effort of mine to comfort and sooth him.
He sighed and removed his hand from mine, only to reach out and pull me against him. "Nothing, darling; just thinking about our future young ones, that's all."
Oh, that! "Well, it's nothing to look so solemn about," I teased, pressing a kiss to his cheek. "I'm sure we've a while before that happens. Just relax and focus on sailing the Pearl, hmm?"
The tension in his body seemed to drain out of him. "Of course, luv," he said, nodding in agreement. "You go have a talk with Anna about who is cooking dinner from now on. As much as I like Mr. Cotton, he's more useful at the helm than at the stove, and you've got more of Rosa's recipes memorized than anyone else."
Chuckling, I headed down below to the galley. There, Anna informed me that I was free to take over the cooking again, which I happily accepted.
As I put on a pot of water for boiling potatoes, I began rubbing my belly, wondering about the future.
'Bah, let the future come,' I chided myself. 'Right now, there's dinner to prepare!'
"…and then they made me their chief," Jack said, finishing the story he was telling the little girl on his lap, who giggled.
"Tell it again, Dad!" she pleaded, eyes going wide as she begged.
"Not now, Maria," I said, stepping into the room I shared with my husband. "Why don't you go play with Grandpa Teague? Your dad and I have to have a talk about your eldest sister."
Maria pouted, but hopped off her father's knee. "Will Grandpa tell me his story about how he beat his enemies in Madagascar? I like that one."
I hid a smile. "Only if you ask very nicely and don't let your Grandma Lilly hear him telling it. You know she doesn't like you or your sisters to hear that story."
Cheered by this, she ran off, leaving me to deal with my husband, who was giving me a very close look. "Evie, please don't tell me that Gibbs's boy has gone and asked for my Emily's hand. I won't stand for it if he has!"
Rolling my eyes, I took Maria's place on Jack's knee, my arms gently wrapping around his neck. "Jack, Emily's eighteen now," I reminded him, smiling at the memories of our long, nineteen year marriage. "Let her marry Carlos and settle down. It's what she wants, and I'm sure your mother will be thrilled at the prospect of more children to spoil. I don't think our twice-yearly visits to Shipwreck were enough to satisfy her in that prospect."
He scowled. "That was the whole point of those rare visits," he muttered. "The last thing I wanted was for one of my girls to fall victim to my mum's efforts at spoiling them –or worst of all, to one of Rosa's six boys! She should have gone and had two pairs of girls, like Selene, or one of each, like Penny."
"Or a mob of boys and girls, like Anna?" I smiled as his hand drifted towards my belly. "Maybe this one will be the boy you want so much," I teased as the baby began to kick. "After five girls, I'm sure that this one will be the Heir to the Black Pearl."
Jack chuckled and shook his head. "I'm thinking that it'll be Maria who will take over the Pearl. She's got her dad's pirate spirit, and her mum's beauty. With those, she'll be nay unstoppable as a pirate woman!"
"Well, she takes after her godmother and namesake," I said, sharing a grin with him. "Now, are you going to go talk to Gibbs about Carlos and Emily getting married soon? Because I'd like to see her wed before I give her another younger sibling."
He sighed. "Alright, I'll talk to Gibbs about it. No doubt Rosa's already planning the wedding; that woman always seems to assume things will turn out the way she wants them to."
"In this case, she's right," I teased. "Now, I'm going to see how Amelia, Mary, and Grace are doing. Then I'll see to feeding our boy –he always seems to be hungry, and I've a craving for pickles."
Jack grinned. "And how do you know it's a boy?" he asked, though there was a hopeful gleam in his eyes.
I shrugged. "A mother knows these things sometimes," I replied mysteriously. "Now, off we go."
A few minutes later, I waddled into Teague's study (my children's favorite gathering place), and tried not to laugh out loud. My dear Amelia, who had just turned sixteen, was reading aloud to her sisters from a thick volume of pirate tales. The moment she saw me, however, her dark eyes lit up.
"Did you tell Papa about Carlos and Emily?" she asked nervously.
Taking a seat near the stove, I smiled. "You mean, have I also told him about you and Joshua Gibbs?" I teased. "No, but I'm sure he'll find out soon. Just be prepared for any kind of battle that might break out. You're a bit young for marrying, so expect a long wait before your time."
Amelia shook her head in amusement. "It's your fault," she jokingly accused me. "You shouldn't have insisted that Carlos take Emily for all those walks on the beach, or that Joshua escort me on all my shopping trips into Shipwreck!"
Mary, Grace and Maria all looked at me. "Mama? Is Papa going to be angry that you're matchmaking?" ten-year-old Grace asked, looking worried.
I gave her a confident, assuring smile. "No, dear, of course not, sweetheart. It's just part of who I am and what I do."
AN: The end! Sorry, there will be no sequel, but I hope to see everyone (or at least some of you) at the next tale I spin on this website. Thanks so much for reading, and please don't forget to review!