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The Dutchman
doyoufeardeath wrote in milliways_bar
[A man's pride is pricked.]

The inlet -- the sea -- is quiet. Sweet salt winds, a hint of tropical heat. Perhaps one smells the scent of cracked coconut, sweet milk spilling on the sand, an island treat, or the thick headiness of rum, beckoning one to sandy debauchery. One might hear parrots call in the distance...

Or maybe one smells the thick, corrupt aroma of a bloated corpse, of salt-soaked wood and tattered sails. One could DEFINITELY hear the sudden crash of the waves as a great, gray ghost ship cleaves the waters in twain and smacks the water like a hunting orca, only to start to come around hard.

The captain at the helm -- one Davy Jones -- howls his rage as he circles his prey; his crew, bound forever to the ship, labor under the Bosun's lash.

His voice splits the air like an osprey's call: "Didja think you could escape me forever, Jack Sparra'? There is no runnin' from fate! What Davy Jones claims is his, an' no man nor Milliways will part him from it!"

The harpoon is manned and aimed, and Davy Jones laughs like the Devil himself before an Angel's fall.

[The first thread on this post is for the Pearl and her crew. The rest of this post can have reactions, but obviously, Davy won't be tagging anybody. Avast -- I've come for you, Jack Sparra'!]

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The harpoons are cruel things -- iron talon and barnacles, sediment and salt falling off them as they fly, impact into the hull. The ropes are tough, but not enough that Will Turner's -- Bootstrap's Bastard, as Jones would call him -- sword cannot cut them with a few good hacks.

But there are more harpoons then there are men with swords. They just-- keep-- coming-- one after the other, arching through air, the heavy rope spiraling out behind them as they move with dark intent to bring the Pearl against the Dutchman like a bride to her groom; embraced and owned, a ring become a shackle.

Jones will not be denied. Not by



(-- and well below the deck, barely above the water: a white face pocked with barnacles, pressed to a barred porthole, staring out in numb shock --)

Too many of them, too solid, and too far out of reach. His hand clenches helplessly on the sword as Jack looks around wildly.

It's then he catches sight of Wellard, high in the air and clinging tightly to the rigging.

"Damnation-- lad, jump free of her!"

He keeps it barely below a shout, loud enough to be heard but not to carry to the murderous captain of the next ship--

(do you fear death?)

--or so he hopes.

The Pearl groans beneath his feet, decks and hull shivering, and Jack hurries back over to the railing.

"Be reasonable, mate." Jack tries a grin, even though his knuckles are white on the hilt of the sword. He gestures elaborately with his free hand, adding,

"I know where your heart's been taken, savvy? Now if you go and drag me down to the depths--"

A beat.


Jack grins.

"--who's to help you go and recover it from where it's been locked away and hidden, hey?"

The Pearl is being pulled and jerked about wildly, and the problem, for the moment is Not jumping free, it is-

("Did I fall, sir?")

holding on as to not go crashing down upon the deck.

With the lines swaying and dancing around him, he lets the rope slide though his hands to drop further down-

To the lowest yardarm, where the line tangles and catches around him. He struggles to grab his knife to cut the line-

("-and you never take care of yourself!")

-but Jack's question to Jones, even as the Dutchman keeps tightening its hold upon the lines to drag the Pearl down, makes him pause.

Just for a moment.

There is another crash of waves, heavy and harsh, against both ships; The Flying Dutchman seems to fold in on itself some how as it jerks downward; the lines tying the Pearl to it go taut, and the fate of the ship seems sealed:

Davy Jones has bound the Pearl to his vessel, and heads beneath the waves.

Although her captain says not a word, the Dutchman's descent is more than answer enough.

"Guess he didn't want to negotiate this time--bugger bugger bugger--"

Jack Sparrow stumbles violently as the deck pitches beneath his feet, catching himself hard against the side of his cabin. The feverish, desperately uneven flaring of the bright white light of the lantern in response to Jones's (the Sea's) awesome power catches his eye, and in the next instant he's sheathed his sword and snatched it from its hook.

He staggers to the railing as the Black Pearl begins to tilt downward, and there's a wildness to his grin and his glance both as his gaze meets Wash's horrified one.

"For you, mate!"

The lantern spirals through the air like a falling star as Jack sends it soaring in a long arc shoreward.

"Against that darkness we both know, savvy? Keep it burning-- don't let it go out--"

There's no time for anything more, as with a final creaking shudder the Black Pearl succumbs to the drag of the Flying Dutchman and begins her slow slide into the depths. The sea rushes in, dragging her down, drowning her

(to the Locker with ye!)

and the last to be seen of Jack Sparrow is the quick flash of a ring as he winds his hand in a lanyard and goes down with his ship.


It splashes into the water a few feet away from Wash.

It doesn't go out.

Wash's gaze has been fixed on the water, still roiling violently from the sinking ships but gradually smoothing itself out, calming again. Waves nudge the lantern closer to the shore, and it's only then that Wash slowly looks down at it, unfocused, dumbly, like he can't comprehend how it got there.

He straightens out his legs. Stands. Walks, limping, the last few steps to the shore as the waves recede and leave it caught in the sand.

And then he sits again, just beside it, and picks it up as he crosses his legs.

Oh, he realizes in detached observation, blinking down at the trembling glass. That's why it's shaking. Okay.

'It will not go out.'

Merriman's voice is quiet with the quietness that can only come from keeping one's emotions in extremely tight check. He had arrived just in time to see the Flying Dutchman surface from the lake, and had only been able to watch as the Black Pearl, her captain, and her unwitting passenger had been dragged down to the depths -- beyond Milliways, beyond the world's ends.

And now he is standing beside Wash, looking out across the lake.

The flame inside the lantern is burning too brightly to look at directly, like a blazing star within the glass.

Wash shuts his eyes against it. The light still colors the insides of his eyelids an orangeish pink.

It's doubtful whether he hears Merriman.

It's also kind of doubtful whether or not he can stand or move right now, and he's wondering -- still in that distant way -- why his hands aren't warmer if the light's that bright and they're clamped around the glass so hard, so maybe it's a good thing that the lantern won't go out, really, because if he holds on much tighter he's worried he might break the glass.

A price. Always a price.

He needs to stop shaking like this if he's ever going to get back home.

The course has been set. Jack Sparrow and Henry Wellard's fates lie in the hands of those who are willing to brave the treacherous waters between the world of the living and a world outside Time -- from which, it is said, men may never properly return.

'His story is not over.' More gently, now, as the lantern light dims to a radiance that is not quite so blinding. 'This much I know. Let that light serve as a promise of that.'

There is much work yet to be done for all who are involved in this new chapter of the story.

It is all the reassurance he can give, for now.

Wash's numb calm snaps, and for an instant, the look he turns on Merriman is blindingly furious.

It ratchets itself back as fast as it came.

Silently, after a beat, he nods, just once; he takes one hand off of the lantern with effort, uses it to push himself to his feet with even more effort.

And still holding the lantern like it'll dissolve into thin air if he lets go, he walks past Merriman with no further word, toward the main bar.

(I don't think I can come back here, he thinks.)

Minutes later, inside the bar, the front door clicks shut behind him.

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