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Sea-changes

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Third time's the charm.

Three times Jack's watched Barbossa sail away in his Pearl. One bitter morning post-mutiny; one golden afternoon, with Elizabeth Swann his consolation; and now, this sullen dusk. Mutinied against, again.

It's different now. Jack's not the man he was when he vowed vengeance. He's learnt a thing or two. That there's more of value than silver and gold. That death is parched and changeless. That monkeys have insanitary habits. That life is salt-sweet, a treasure to be simultaneously hoarded and spent.

Let Barbossa be the last of his kind. Jack has other horizons to seek.

*

All who die at sea come this way at last. He doesn't care for the company he's in, but is faintly relieved to see Becket trailing after him. Not that it matters. Not that much matters at all now.

He'd wonder if Will had made peace with his father: if Elizabeth had gone with Sparrow, in the end. But finds he doesn't care.

Here comes the boat to ferry him on. Here comes the rushing water carrying him away. And only a little of his heart hangs on, whispering that there's unfinished business, threats and promises, debts' redemption left unpaid.

*

Jack's alive: James is dead. Will, when he thinks about it, isn't sure which applies to him. He tries not to think about it very much.

It helps that his father's here after all these years, not the sea-changed wandering soul that Will recalls from his first watch on the Dutchman, but himself again, strong and smiling, kinder and more comprehensible than Norrington and Sparrow combined.

If Will ever has a son (which seems improbable, with one day's wedded bliss per decade) he hopes he'll be the father that he lacked.

He tries not to think of Elizabeth. He fails.