Categories > Movies > Pirates of the Caribbean

At Life's End

by Darkseverus 1 review

Jack still smiles in the face of betrayal. One-shot vignette with DMC spoilers.

Category: Pirates of the Caribbean - Rating: PG-13 - Genres: Action/Adventure, Drama - Characters: Elizabeth, Jack - Warnings: [!!!] - Published: 2007-04-17 - Updated: 2007-04-17 - 1218 words - Complete

It was only against his better judgment that Captain Jack Sparrow of the Black Pearl paid any attention at all to the thrice-damned compass in his hand. In the end, though, the fact that the compass pointed towards what his heart desired most won out over his misgivings, and he slowly but surely turned the lifeboat around and headed back towards his beloved ship, his friends, and towards imminent disaster.

That didn't mean he didn't grumble and complain to himself the entire way back, however. Why he of all people had to abandon the chase for Davy Jones' heart just to save a ship full of fools from some not-nearly-as-dangerous-as-they-say beastie was completely beyond the scope of his comprehension. Will was capable of handling it - he'd gotten himself and others out of similarly dangerous scrapes before - plus Elizabeth was there as well, and Lord knew what she was capable of. He just couldn't see how the situation with his friends was dire enough that dear old Jack of all people was needed for everyone on board to get out alive.

Then he approached the scene of the gargantuan tentacles smashing and ripping and tearing at the bowels of his ship, and at the sight of so much destruction and with the screams of dying and bleeding men reverberating in his ears, he quickly shut up.

Lady Luck must have been smiling on him though, because somehow he managed to board the Pearl without getting himself killed or maimed in the process. The deck was in complete pandemonium, and it was only with a much-practiced eye that he quickly surveyed the situation and decided where he needed to be. He sauntered over to the top of the deck, stooped to pick up Elizabeth's fallen rifle - pausing only briefly to throw an ironic smile at her stunned face - and with all the feline grace of a king, he aimed at the barrels of gunpowder and rum that his friends had ingeniously gathered and fired.

The ensuing explosion thundered across the ship, and the monster shrieked in pain. Jack smiled slightly in triumph. The creature, with one last parting scream, retreated to the depths of the sea, freeing his poor battered ship from its grasp and leaving some - not all, but at least some - of the crew alive and breathing. True, they were injured and shaking and bleeding at varying degrees, but at least they were alive.

The crew cheered weakly at their victory, but Jack knew that the monster would return with a vengeance. He knew in the depths of his mind that all he had managed to do was to enrage the beast even further, and that did not bode well for the state of his already damaged ship. There was only one choice if he wanted what remained of his men to survive. They would have to abandon the Pearl.

It was then that he decided he would have to give the orders he dreaded giving the most. When the crew heard him grind out the words - face carefully expressionless and voice carefully controlled - they grew silent and stared at him incredulously. Gibbs tried to dissuade him, but Elizabeth and Will knew as he did that the creature would be back. They would have to evacuate if they hoped to live. There were no other options.

Eventually, with the help of Elizabeth and Will's persuasion, survival trumped all else and the crew obeyed. As the rest of the men disembarked, Jack elected to stay behind for one more moment. He told them that he wanted one last moment alone with the ship that he loved so much that he had one day promised his soul to Davy Jones just to save her from a cold grave at the bottom of the sea.

They knew that he loved the Pearl like he loved nothing else. It was a ship that he cared enough for that he called her his "freedom".

So they obeyed.

And as he alone stood on the wrecked deck of his beloved, stroking her mast both fondly and sadly, he decided that he would stay with her permanently. He thought that it would be fitting if the infamous name of Captain Jack Sparrow could only be killed by the sinking of the equally infamous Black Pearl. And besides, he knew that he would never have it in his heart to abandon her and captain another ship one day, so it made sense to him to fight for her one last time - even if the odds were impossible and the chances of success practically nonexistent.

He was about to turn around and tell the crew to leave without him when Elizabeth spoke from behind him. Her words were simultaneously kind and naïve, telling him that he really was a good man despite his furious and persistent claims to the contrary. He smiled and turned to face her with a smooth quip ready at his lips, but both his mind and his quicksilver tongue were effectively and suddenly shut down when she deftly stepped forward and kissed him.

His only thought was that she tasted exactly like he thought she would - like vanilla, strawberries, and the sea.

Her only thought was that he tasted dangerous - like a strange yet somehow still pleasant mix of saltwater, tobacco, alcohol, and foreign spices.

He kissed her the same way he did everything else - lazy, languid, with infuriating calm and in absolutely no hurry at all. His fingers danced lightly over her throat and long neck, and the taste of her lips and tongue on his own began to fog up his brain like a drug. As she sighed into his mouth and stepped forward to deepen the kiss, he couldn't help but chuckle triumphantly in the back of his throat, and he felt her smile against his lips in response. A moment later, however, a small voice in the back of his mind began muttering suspiciously, but he merely half-consciously swatted at it to be quiet and threw caution to the winds. It was only after the shackle on his wrist clicked shut with a note of finality that he realized that he had been had.

Still, though, he continued to kiss her with calculated gentleness. It was only after she pulled away that he stopped, stepped back, and met her eyes.

She said she wasn't sorry. He didn't ask for what. She explained the reasoning behind her actions. He didn't answer. She knew, somewhere in her heart, that it was because he had neither asked for an explanation, nor had he needed one. He instinctively understood both her and the reasons behind her actions automatically.

And then he smiled in the face of her betrayal - half amused, half sad - and called her a pirate.

It was only much later that she finally managed to tear her eyes away from a man she knew lived life more fully than most men ever dared to. She turned and walked away, heart cold and ridden with black guilt, as she abandoned Captain Jack Sparrow on a doomed vessel and left the man to his death.

And still he smiled.


Disclaimer: Any and all characters from The Pirates of the Caribbean are the legal property of Walt Disney Pictures and its appropriate affiliates.
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