Part One


"There will be an answer, let it be"

-Let It Be, The Beatles

A happy song in his heart, and a clever smirk on his face, Jack Sparrow sat in the Bonny Belle tavern at a table, waiting for potential crew members to join the ranks. After the fine walk with Arabella, Jack was fairly certain she would choose to come with on his most recent adventure, but he didn't want to take unnecessary chances. A new crew would be refreshing, Jack thought, tipping his hat over his forehead and leaning back in the creaky wooden chair. And besides, he could more than one option for his "one most trusted person."

That is why he went to North Carolina anyway, looking for Bell. He had heard from Bill years ago that he would be going to here if he had the chance. After he saw how Bill and Arabella…were, he figured this was his best bet for finding her.

Ah, Bell. Jack shook his head. There was a time, it seemed like a really long time ago now, but Jack realized that it was only a few years ago, where Jack would have given anything to be as important to Arabella as Bill was. To be the one she came to when she was scared, the one she was bound to. But, hey, that was a long time ago. His chance was gone, and she was getting married tomorrow. He should be happy for her. He breathes. He was happy for her.

He should tell Arabella that she should get married to Bill. He wanted her to be happy. He knew Bill could do that better than him. She needed someone like him; calm, steady, taming her ire and dependably trustworthy. Even if he was kind of boring.

He knew Arabella was weak to temptation, but he also knew that she was very remorseful and would hold it against herself forever if she made Bill upset. Now, as unlike Jack as it was, Jack was going to take his victory and, without cause, give it up. Why? He had at least a shred of goodness in him. At least when it came to Arabella. Jack knew he could get another girl, but he never really wanted another girl. He was still waiting for her, though he knew she wasn't coming. He knew she wasn't even aware that he was waiting. But he didn't mind.

Interrupting Jack's thoughts, a man knocks his knuckles on the wood of the table. "Allo," said the man. He looked like a pretty respectable sailor. A little scruffy, but that made him all the more likely to be a good pirate.

"Ay?" Jack asked, waking slowly from his rambling subconsious. "You here to sign up for the crew of the Black Pearl, the most fearsome pirate ship on the seven seas?" he guesses, hopefully.

"Uh… sure. But I was actually going to ask how you know that girl, Arabella. She seems like the kinda girl I'd like to meet, if you know what I mean," the man said, suggestively. Jack looked at the man a moment, his intentions now fully realized, disgust clothed Jack's features.

"In that case, you'd best stay here, the Pearl sails tomorrow, and if you wish to win her heart before tomorrow you'll have other arrangements." Jack bargained. He did not want this sailor to be drooling over Bell if she did decide to come. In fact, Jack didn't want anyone looking at Bell at all. He was sort of protective over her.

"Why tomorrow?" he man inquired.

"She's gettin' married tomorrow." Jack's words came out harshly. As if he was not only warning the man but cautioning himself.

The man's face fell. "Oh. That's a cryin' shame. Thanks anyway, mister." He dejectedly walks away. Jack sighs inwardly. He was no closer to finding new crewmates than he was when he began. Then, halfway back to his seat the gruff sailor has stopped and has turned back to Jack. "You're sure?" he checks.

"Positively," Jack answers, frustrated with the persistant sailor. The man turns back around to his seat and his drink with a sigh. Jack rolls his eyes, leans back, his hat falling back over his eyes as if nothing had happened at all. As it gets late, Jack falls into a dreamy half-sleep. He awakes to the sound of a mug clinking on the tavern's dented tables, his eyes fluttered open to the sight of a young tavern girl, picking up his almost empty rum mug. She is startled and looks at him with wild, curious eyes.

"I'm sorry, sir, very sorry," she apologizes. She is about fifteen. Her hair hangs in front of her eyes. Her voice is the wind, beautiful as wind chimes, but quiet as a breath.

"No problem, lass," Jack replies, heavy nostalgia passing over him. He is in the Faithful Bride, young Arabella Smith is standing in front of him. She pulls him out of harm's way and outside. Raindrops on her eyelashes, reflecting the candle, making him stare. She says the only thing that could make the moment better, 'I'll go with ye…' Jack is flying, for one unspoiled moment. The misty window of reality wipes the freedom away, reminding Jack that he may be a Sparrow, but he was still crippled and alone without her.

An evening later, Jack is sitting in the church, Sacred Heart. He looks up at the intricate stained glass window, casting feeble rainbow shadows from the fiery orange sunset over the sea. Christ's merciful gaze falling upon him, he feels unbearably out of place. Bill enters, looking no different from when Jack last saw him, just as sullen and stolid as always. An unnatural smile appears on his face, Jack realizes this must be the most important day of Bill's life. God as his witness, Jack promises to try to preserve this day for this joyless man, a friend of his, if he had any.

The organ humming deeply and the procession in position, the wedding began. Everything was perfect. Exactly the way it was supposed to be. When the bride opens the church doors, the collective audience gasps. Time slows to the beats of Jack's heart. He tries to turn forward, keeping his vow, but he is suspended. He senses her gaze, though he cannot see her eyes. He has to keep his promise. "Marry him," he breathes, taking all his strength.

Arabella is on the ground. Jack jumps to her rescue, only to find that Bill is already there, stabbing Jack with his eyes, and Jack wonders what this could mean. Would she come with him now? He couldn't help hoping errantly. After Bill takes her away, Jack sits outside the chapel, not willing to be watched by the glass, but not willing to leave her completely.

Jack thinks about trust. Perhaps she was his only chance at this grand treasure. This voyage was pointless without her, he grimly realizes. Or until he found another person in the world worthy of trust. Not too good a chance of that.

Jack's sad eyes glinted in the whispering glow of Bill's candle. "What are you doing here?" Bill asks, as much emotion as Bill allows himself to show, it was difficult to say what he was feeling, but Jack figured it was something angry. "Everyone else has left, yet you remain."

"How's the future Mrs. Turner?" Jack doesn't look at Billy.

"That is no buisness of yours. You were not invited to this wedding. Why did you come?" Bill persisted.

Jack didn't want to get Bill mad at Arabella, so he gives him a faint, strangled smile that doesn't touch his sad eyes. "Bless you both." He tips his hat and pushes the door open, and walks into the cold night air. Clearing his lungs with a breath of chilling air, Jack walks the dirt road, kicking a pebble and wishing.

Jack walked down to the port town again, a full dosage of melancholy musings in his head, when he hears his name on the wind. He stops, listening. After a moment of nothing, he continues walking, never counting out the occasional voice in his head, until he hears it again. This time, closer. He turns around to look behind him, and he sees a figure coming down the path. "Jack!" calls the figure, hardly noticable in the shadows, but Jack begins to go towards it.

Before long, Jack notices the long, pale white silk of her wedding dress, which she now dragged in the mud, her expensive heel shoes in her hand as she ran, her hair coming undone after hours of work and a smile on her tearstreaked face. When she reaches Jack, she is swiftly cradled in his arms, her only support after her sprint. She looks up at his face. He smiles his crooked smile and greets her awkwardly "Allo, luv, nice to see you, too." She lets out her laughter and tears. She collapses right there in his arms. Falling apart piece by piece, all it had taken so long to create.

There, by the side of the worth dirt path, Arabella tells him everything. Everything that she wished were different about Bill, everything he did that hurt her inside, and all that she couldn't tell him about why she could not marry him for the fear she may hurt him.

Far, away from it all
You and me with no one else around
A brand new start
Is all we need, it's all we need to mend these hearts
Back to the beginning*

Jack just listened. He knew that's all she wanted. No judgement, like she gets from Bill, no regrets, no take-backs, just letting everything she held in finally flow out.

Be still
Let it go*

Suddenly, she stops. "This is pointless. I have to accept these sad truthes, not just sit here and sulk about them." She paints on a brave face over her tears, standing from her seat in the cool nighttime grass.

Foolish one with the smile
You don't have to be brave

I'll gladly climb your walls
If you'll meet me halfway
Every time we fall down
But we're falling from grace*

Jack props up his torso with his elbows behind him. "Ignoring what's bothering you won't make it go away, doll. If you ever want Bill to change and start listening, you'll have to talk to him. I know he really loves you, and I know it makes him frustrated that you don't seem to trust him. You have to tell him if you want to make it better." Again encouraging his own loss, Jack releases these words, giving her a clear mind and another chance to walk back up that path.

Here's my hand and my heart
It's yours to take*

She closes her eyes, a tear leaking out, and her hair in her eyes. "Ye wouldn't mind if I…" Jack was almost certain her next words would be 'leave' or 'go home.' "…um, put off me revelation to him for a while?"

"Of course not," Jack answered earnestly.

With that, they made their way back down to the port, the pirate and the runaway bride, quite a pair, delighting in the townspeople's confused stares. For Jack and Arabella, the first time in a long time, things seemed to be going all right.

*Lyrics from "Be Still" by Kelly Clarkson