So it was that the ultimate confrontation happened on a pier in Tortuga in the pouring rain. Maris was furious and upset, and she was pretty sure Jack was too, though it was hard to tell with him sometimes. He was acting his usual swaggering self, not uttering a single serious word from the moment their eyes met after all those years. 'You haven't aged a day, love,' he all but bellowed, a sly smile on his face. His seeming indifference to the long awaited reunion rubbed her the wrong way. And thus had commenced an uncomfortable dance where first he chased her when she turned on her heel and stalked away, reversed when she chased him after they encountered two of his many past paramours and so on until they found themselves on the pier before the Pearl, engaged in a row that they had both likely been dreading since they last parted ways.
"It's not like you were completely honest with me, love. Why should I be honest with you? " Maris nearly gaped like a codfish, until she realized what he was referring to as he continued "You really haven't aged a day since I last saw you, what, almost twenty years ago? And then I find out you've been around longer than me dad? That's something you kept from me, Maris, after swearing you'd told it all."
"Yes, okay? Yes. It was the one secret I kept from you. But it's not exactly something I like admitting to myself, either, Jack." Confusion flashed across his features for a moment before he smiled, gesturing widely. There was a trace of anger in his eyes and his normally mellifluous voice was coarse, betraying how he really felt at that moment.
"Enlighten me, then." Maris was getting so worked up by this point that she felt like she had just run a mile, her breath coming hard and fast. Her head was starting to throb, and before she could stop herself, the words began pouring out of her mouth, the accent she inherited from her mother growing stronger the longer she spoke.
"I 'ave not 'ad it easy, Jack. My mother all but abandoned me when I was very young. 'Er fury at my father was too strong, and I favoured 'im far more than I ever favoured 'er. I remember the anger and the pain flashing in 'er eyes when she looked at me. And even when dat anger eventually faded, I could always sense 'er watching me when I visited. And I couldn't 'elp but visit. I don't know why I tortured myself; I suppose it was because she was all I 'ad. But she was always watching, waiting, sure that I was going to betray her too. After all, I was too much like my father already. It infuriated 'er, I think, seeing 'is features, 'is eyes stamped on my face. 'E betrayed 'er before my birth, and she never let me forget it. What little childhood I 'ad was spent making my way from port to port, begging my way onto ships, using every scrap of strength and stubbornness and talent I had to earn my way onto the sea. Learning to sail, learning to fight, using my instincts to brave seas no one else would.
"It's in my blood, Jack; the sea. I 'ave never been more at peace than when aboard a ship flying across de waves; the feel of de spray on my skin more precious to me than any jewel or treasure you could dream of. I got it from dem! Dey were the sea, Jack, my parents. My father? I 'eard you knew 'im, that you 'ad a deal wid 'im," her expression darkened ever so slightly, "and now, your friend, William Turner, is Captain of my father's ship! The new Lord of the Sea." A faint sense of satisfaction fluttered in her as Jack paled when she uttered those words. He knew now. He understood, but she didn't stop there. Her voice thickened as her pain began to surface through her resentment.
"And you knew my mother, though I don't tink I ever called her dat in person. De only one she ever really loved was my father. De rest of 'er love belonged to de sea. Maybe, on some level she loved me. She even wanted to teach me 'er magics and such once, but she 'ated me more, I tink, especially when I turned 'er down for the world my father loved. I reminded 'er of what she had done, and what 'e 'ad done to her, and what she 'ad lost. And no one can 'old a grudge as a goddess can, Jack. Dere is nothing in dis world more vengeful." It was then that the anger bled from her voice, and a great weight seemed to lift from her shoulders. She had held it in for so long, afraid to admit any of it out loud. Jack, for the first time since she'd found him in that bloody tavern, was serious, sympathy coming to light in his eyes. Maris sighed, feeling a deep exhaustion beginning to creep into her bones.
"So yes, I am de child of two immortals, and thus virtually immortal myself," a small, sad laugh escaped her lips, "and now dey're together again, or at least, dat's what I like to tink. And I'm alone, perhaps destined to live forever, like dey were supposed to. It's not exactly pleasant outliving everyone you become close to" She threw up her arms in a helpless gesture, before the dropped back to her sides. She had exaggerated a little. Since the battle within her mother's maelstrom, she had noticed changes in herself, signs of aging that she had never encountered before. It was enough to cause her to wonder if she was finally mortal, and no longer cursed with agelessness. Jack just stood there, watching her, his dark eyes unreadable. She was sopping wet, now, her dark hair and her clothes clinging to her. She also realized then that she was practically sobbing, her tears mixing with the rain that was still pouring down on them. She thought absently that she must look a fright, but really she was too tired to care. There was still so much that she wanted to say.
Jack beat her to it, though he didn't seem able to quite meet her gaze.
"Consider me enlightened, then," he looked up, his dark eyes meeting her ocean-hued ones, a half-smile coming to his lips, "but for the record, you didn't need to hide it from me, eh." Maris couldn't help but raise an eyebrow at that. Jack paused for a moment at the expression, obviously conceding after a moment. "Okay, maybe you had good reason." They stood in silence for a moment. Maris found her eyes wandering from Jack's steady gaze up to the Pearl. She hadn't been this close to it in—she sighed heavily. Jack followed her gaze, looking to the ship that had both brought them together and torn them apart.
"I have to wonder…had your Daddy-dearest known what the Pearl meant to you, would he have tried so hard to sink it…" Maris scoffed.
"To be honest, I don't tink he even knew of my existence, Jack. Not until he ran me down on Beckett's order." Jack looked over to her in alarm and disbelief.
"How are you not dead?" A small, unintentional smile came to her face at the expression on his, and the way his voice jumped an octave when he was startled; that had always made her laugh.
"Ah," as if that explained everything. Jack smiled widely at the change in tone. It wasn't long, though, before Maris' smile faded, her blue-eyes drawn again to the Pearl.
"It was as much my fault as yours that we lost her. I was arrogant, and fool-hardy. I t'ought dat all my experience, my years, my connection to de sea, made me invincible. De Pearl was my first real ship, and I loved her; I still do. Stealing 'er was de greatest trill of my life," a genuine smile lit her face, the memory of those years past drowning out her remorse for a brief, bright moment. She turned back to Jack, "and watching you taunt dat Little East India Company Agent—Beckett," she hesitated for a moment, making a connection that she hadn't before. Her briefly uplifted mood dimmed, then. "When 'e got 'is 'ands on you, I—"
"I know, love. That's why you came back to get me." He reached out, a hand coming to rest on her shoulder, genuine care in his smile. Her own hand rose of its own accords, gripping the fabric of his coat. There was a brand there, beneath the fabric, she couldn't help but remember. He smirked then drawing her attention away from less than pleasant memories, "it was a pretty good escape plan, if I do say so meself." A look of semi-serious outrage came to Maris' face.
"You got me shot! I wouldn't count dat as good." At least he had the grace to look embarrassed as he sobered. Then a look of guilt began to suffuse his features. It was an unnatural look, in Maris' eyes, for it was too serious and too deep. It didn't suit his spirit at all.
"No. I suppose it wasn't, especially when—" he practically choked on the name of their beloved ship. Even after all these years, and having the Pearl moored not ten feet from them, the mere memory of her going down in flames that day cut deep for both of them. Maris nearly broke down again.
"I'm sorry, Jack, for everything. It was as much my fault as yours, losing our ship," he looked to her, stunned at her outburst, "I started it all, stealing 'er from Beckett dat way, embarrassing 'im. 'E came after us because of dat de first time. Nothing that followed would've 'appened if it hadn't been for my pride and my irresponsibility. 'E chased us because of me. 'E sunk the Pearl because I was stupid. I made too many mistakes," he tried to stop her there, to interrupt, but she didn't give him the opportunity, "Please, Jack, let me get dis out. I 'ave to make tings right. Everyting you did, taking command, trying to get us away from 'im, abandoning de Pearl, you kept tings from turning out even worse. I couldn't see dat, not den. I was too proud and angry and 'urt. I blamed you for everyting, even though it was my fault."
One of Jack's many guilty expressions flitted across his face. "Not entirely," Maris frowned when he hesitated, ready to interrupt, but Jack continued before she could, "I may have, while maneuvering and conspiring to take the Pearl, deceived, tricked and or humiliated Beckett, making things rather more personal between us than you realize." Maris could only stare at him in bewilderment. "When you fell in love with the Pearl, before we took it together, I did try to take it by meself, and—well, lets just say it didn't quite work." Maris' eyes widened at the admission, memory of the many confusing things Jack had said to Beckett when they had finally taken the Pearl coming to the forefront of her mind.
"So dat's what you meant when you implied 'e 'ad—and de cuttlefish—de hat ting— " Maris was on the verge of laughing, the pressure that had been building in her chest easing. Jack grinned widely, his eyes glinting with mirth. Around them, the deluge was beginning to ease.
"Precisely, love." That time she did burst out laughing, and what tension remained between them began to melt away. After a moment her laughter quieted, and she sobered a bit.
"Why did you never tell me?" Jack smiled at the question, a tender expression she hadn't seen in an age resting upon his features. His hand shifted from where it still rested on her shoulder, coming to rest on her neck, where his thumb began to trace along her jawline.
"I almost did. I don't know why I didn't. Perhaps it was me pride." She didn't doubt that. Jack was nothing if not proud, in his own unique and often peculiar way, of course. Maris ran her hand up his arm, letting it come to rest on his chest.
"I missed you, Jack. Tings felt wrong wit-out you."
"'Course they did." As it always did, his indomitable cockiness surfaced. This time, though, it brought a smile to her face. It was familiar, and it was very much Jack Sparrow.
More than that, it felt right.
Sighing, she leaned into him, and he obliged her, his other arm coming up to wrap around her shoulders, his fingers entangling themselves in her dark, wet hair. From within their embrace, she couldn't help but raise her eyes to the Pearl again. It had been so long…
"Do you want to go aboard?" She tore her eyes away, looking up to him. A surge of excitement welled within Maris. She all but leapt away from him, her feet barely touching the ground as she practically flew aboard. She froze as she reached the top of the gangway, pausing for a moment to try and calm her racing heart. She had dreamed of this moment for so long. She took a step forward.
The instant her boot met the deck she felt like she had come home. Tears once again came unbidden to her eyes as she made her way across the deck toward the main mast, though there was no sorrow in them anymore. She heard Jack scoff gently behind her.
"You should know that I cannot abide a weepy wench. Positively dreadful, it is." She laughed through her tears, more out of joy than anything else. She turned back to Jack.
"You really did get 'er back." The pirate captain sauntered on deck in his familiar flailing way, gesturing widely at the empty deck of their ship before turning back to face her.
"I did." She raised a wry eyebrow, teasing him without words the way she used to, with only her expressions.
"Do I even want to 'ear 'ow?" A slightly terrified look passed over his face before that wide ridiculous smile took its place.
"Of course. It's a marvelous tale; full of bargains, curses, treasure and gold, mutiny, mermaids and a goat, Krakens and mean-tempered, fishy-faced miscreants, salty wenches distressing damsels and even an unintentional respite in the Locker. May even have been a miraculous escape or two. Fantastic story, I cross me heart. It's—"
"Unbelievable?" Maris bit back a smile. His many exploits were already becoming legend, so really, she had already heard a great deal of his story, but she didn't care in the slightest. She was excited to hear it all from his own lips; every crazy, astonishing, heartbreaking far-fetched, wonderful detail. He caught on instantly, falling into their old banter as though the years had melted away. A mock expression of hurt came to his face, his hand resting on his chest as if to say 'me? Unbelievable?' The wide smile returned to his face and he made a greatly exaggerated, sweeping bow, whisking his hat from his head.
"You may laugh at me, you may doubt me, but you may never keep me down for long. After all, who am I?" Maris laughed, her sea-blue eyes sparkling with joy and delight before leaping forward, throwing her arms around him. She landed a brief kiss on his lips before answering.
"Why, you're Captain Jack Sparrow."
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