Title: A Change of Course 1/?

Author: ElizabethGreenleaf

E-mail: chichirinoda2002@yahoo.com or elvenarcherlover@aol.com

Rating: R for now. Give me a few chapters and that rating will climb

Pairings: JS/WT, WT/ES (friendship, post-failed relationship)

Fandom: Pirates of the Caribbean

Summary: Post PotC, Jack/Will. Life for Will, and even Elizabeth will never be the same as for the first time they each take their lives into their own hands and Will comes to terms with who he is and who he loves.

Feedback: ::Holds up a sign that says "Feed the Starving Writer" and a big red arrow pointing to REVIEW:: Any R&R is greatly appreciated. I hope I have Jack IC, any suggestions welcome!

Archive: sure, just tell me where so I can come and visit! ff.n, aff.n, Savvy? (http://evolutionsx.net/savvy/), Debauchery (http://debauchery.deep-ice.com/), And Cat's stick-figure fan-comic will be posted on her site, http://home.graffiti.net/cocfansite/coc.htm There's a little paint picture of Stick figure Jack up there now ^^;;;

Genre: Drama/Romance/and a touch of Adventure

Disclaimer: If they belonged to me, do you think that it would have been Elizabeth and Will kissing at the end? I'm in a dorky mood, so I'm going to put this into a nice simple truth/logic table form for you, though if I screw it up, pardon me and don't tell my Philosophy Prodessor!): Theorem 1: If Will kisses Jack at the end of the movie, Will does not kiss Elizabeth, therefore they all belong to me (MWAHAHAHA). Theorem 2: If Will kisses Elizabeth at the end of the movie, Will does not kiss Jack at the end of the movie, therefore PotC belongs to Disney, Jerry Braucheimer, and anyone else that the movie reel says. It is logically impossible for both of these theorems to exist in a logical universe, therefore one sis true and the other is false. So what do you think? Aye, sadly, they be not mine, no matter what I be wishin' for. Therefore I beg ye not to sue, for I fear ye'll get no more from me than my collection of dust bunnies and fanfiction and maybe I'll had over a few plot bunnies to harass you while I'm at it.

Warnings: Spoilers, Angst, Lemony goodness, SLASH, if two pretty boys going at it in the bedroom isn't your cup o' tea, get out now me hearties, YE HAVE BEEN WARNED!!

Author's notes: Thank you Cat for making me write this, oh, and of course, thank you for the challenge, which I'll mention in AN at the very end of the fic; after the last chapter that is ^^

AN2: Thanks soooooooo much to Mel, my beta!!! I'm going to owe you a fic after all of this!

"// //" = dream

"* *" = thoughts

On with the fic! Arr!!!

Chapter 1: Of Sunsets and Letters

William Turner, a silent and stoic figure of a young man, stood knee deep in the salt water that was steadily rising as the tide came in. From his position beneath a stone bridge, he watched as the sun sank into the horizon, illuminating Port Royal and her ship filled harbor. Perhaps if he stared long and hard enough at the horizon it would appear. It would start as a small black spot, slowly growing larger until you could finally see the billowing black sails of the formerly-cursed ship. The Black Pearl. Just the thought of the ship was enough to send an inviting chill down his spine.

William smiled a bitter-sweet smile as he watched the sun slip beneath the waves. He sighed and waded back to the tree line and his hopefully still dry stockings and shoes, though his breeches were already wet to above the knee and it probably wouldn't make much difference. He found his shoes to be where he had left them, on top of a boulder beneath a palm-like bush. Sitting on the aforementioned rock, Will struggled to pull stockings onto still damp legs.

"Damn it!" He growled as he threw one of his shoes for no apparent reason. Well, that is what one would think. He had reason enough to be frustrated, angry even if one wanted to think of it that way -- but he had no right to take it out on his poor, defenseless shoe! Swearing, Will went in search of his ill-treated shoe as the thoughts and memories he had been trying to avoid flooded to the forefront of his thoughts.

i*Damn that walk. Damn that insufferably charming slurred drawl! Damn pirates!* /iWill thought as he approached his shoe, and again contemplated throwing it, only this time into the sea. Some shred of common sense remained within Will's head though, for he picked up the shoe, placed it on his foot, and walked towards the road leading into town. He also had enough sense to stop muttering about pirates, the Black Pearl, and above all, one Captain Jack Sparrow.

A voice that sounded suspiciously like his dear Elizabeth's rang in his head. i*You're a fool, Will! Listen to yourself think! Have you lost every shred of intelligence you ever possessed? You sound like a love-sick fool. Nearly every night for the past, what -- three months is it now? -- You have come out here and watched the sunset and prayed for a mere glimpse of that damned ship! It's not just at night either! You're at the docks in the wee hours of the morn hoping that she'll have anchored into port during the night. You are a fool, William! A damned fool!* /iWill sighed. Why was she always right?

Fitting his key into the lock of the smithy's door, Will was not entirely surprised to find it already unlocked. His heart fluttered in his chest. i*I didn't wait long enough! They came into port while I was walking home!* /i He opened the door cautiously nonetheless, his dealings with a particular aforementioned pirate in this very shop had taught him to be cautious. Inside, a figure stood with his- no /i back towards him.

"Elizabeth," he said quietly, hoping that none of his disappointment in finding her here rather than a particularly odd pirate permeated his voice.

Elizabeth turned towards Will, and even from a distance he could see the tear tracks on her face, not to mention her red and puffy eyes. She let out a small cry and practically threw herself into Will's arms and she began sobbing anew, quickly soaking his shoulder with her salty tears.

It was long moments before she was calm enough to answer any of the questions Will was biting his tongue to keep from asking. Elizabeth loosened her grip on Will and took a step away from him, wiping her tears with a handkerchief and smoothing her rumpled dress of some of its larger wrinkles. Elizabeth made her way to the nearest chair and sat down with less grace and finesse that Will had ever seen her use. Remembering his manners, Will put on the kettle to boil water for tea.

Elizabeth sat as if in a trance, unfolding, refolding, and re-creasing a peace of paper. Will, curiosity piqued, covered the distance between them. "May I?" He asked gesturing at the now-flimsy paper. Elizabeth seemed not to have heard him at first, for she continued to stair past Will, as if seeing something that was not there. Then suddenly she raised it up and passed it to him. Taking, or prying it, rather, from her hand, Will unfolded the paper. Upon closer inspection, he found it to be a rather official-looking document.

iDear Miss Elizabeth Swann,

I wish I could tell you this sad news in person, but this letter will have to suffice until such a time as I can return to port. It is with deepest regret that I must inform you of your father's passing. You have my deepest and most sincere condolences for your loss. He took ill some two weeks past, on the voyage here from Port Royal. He assured us all that it was nothing -- said that he had had the cough for months. By the time we were in port, his cough had turned deep and hacking. He saw a physician here, he said it was pneumonia. He died soon after that diagnosis, I am afraid. He was buried here with all the ceremony befitting a Governor of the Crown. Again, I send you my condolences and my deepest apologies. If you need anything, please do not hesitate to ask. I shall be returning to Port Royal as soon as can be.

Commodore Gregory Norrington

British Royal Navy/i

Will stood stock-still, holding the letter, shell-shocked. i*Mr. Swann, dead?*/i The denial swelled in his breast as he read and re-read the slip of paper. His revere was interrupted by the teakettle on the hearth. Will refolded the paper and placed it on the table next to Elizabeth before pouring tea for them both. He moved to sit, and then turned back to the shelf above the hearth where a bottle of brandy stood. Pouring a good amount into each of their cups before re-corking the bottle and placing it back on the shelf, Will finally sat down next to Elizabeth. Though she was usually adamantly opposed to the consumption of any type of libation, she drank her tea, which had far more brandy in it that Will's, without seeming to notice or care

"Oh, Elizabeth," Will murmured as her tears began afresh. "What am I going to do?" Elizabeth asked, her voice broken with tears.

She took a few deep breaths and stood, a look of cool resolve and finality fixed on her face. "I cannot stay here, in Port Royal; my house, my father's house, no, the /i House is not mine. It will belong to whomever their Majesties choose to appoint as the new Governor. I shall have to pack." Her voice was distant, and it pained Will to see her like this, but he knew not what to do to help her. "I suppose I could purchase my own home here, but it is not proper for a lady to live alone without a father, or a brother, or a husband to care for her and accompany her when she left the house. I suppose then I will be leaving for England soon. My mother and my father both had substantial estates near the coast. It has been dreadfully long since I have seen my home there. It will be nice to see it again..." She was speaking so impersonally and so flatly that Will was beginning to feel a sense of cold fear flowing through his veins.

"Elizabeth," He spoke evenly, hoping to distract her, but she kept on talking.

"I suppose the Commodore will ask for my hand again as soon as he is back in port. Maybe I should marry him, even if he is more of a heartless scoundrel than many pirates I know…"

"Elizabeth!" Will shouted at her, finally bringing her out of her trance-like state and back to the present. "Listen to yourself!" Tears began to fill up in her eyes as she looked at Will. He took a deep breath and pressed on, hoping to force some logic into her grief addled mind. "Elizabeth, do you realize that you just spoke of marrying Norrington!" Will's anger and disbelief in what he had heard filtered into his words.

"Oh, what do you know, Will!" She sobbed and yelled at the same time. "Do you know what it is like for me? Do you? You cannot understand that I will be forced to marry within the year or my reputation in society might as well be that of a Tortuga brothel girl! I must either return home to England and hope my Grandparents can find me a suitable husband, or I must marry someone here! Norrington is a good match! At least I could stay here!"

"Elizabeth, Elizabeth," Will soothed as he took her in his arms again and rubbed soothing circles on her back. "You are right, I do not understand, but I am trying." She continued to sob and Will did his best to comfort her.

A thought that had been creeping around in his brain came to the fore front again. He could ask for Elizabeth's hand again. He could sacrifice his life and future for her, to save her from a loveless marriage to Norrington or some other English lord. Could he really? Could he give up his dreams, those dreams that haunted his waking and sleeping moments? Could he put aside his longing for the sea for her? Could he do that for Elizabeth? If he did not act soon he would think too much on it and decide against it.

"We could marry, Elizabeth." Those words mad it sound so simple, so /i. She sniffled and pulled away from Will.

"What?" A myriad of emotions played out in her eyes as she tried to process what Will was suggesting.

"We could marry." Elizabeth turned from him but will grabbed her arm and forced her to meet his eyes. "If it is the only way for you to be happy and free from a marriage to Norrington, I will gladly do it. To keep you close I would gladly do anything. I told Jack that I would die for you and nothing has changed my mind." Elizabeth tried to move again, but Will's grip was as strong as the iron he worked with. "Look at me Elizabeth, I love you, I truly do." Elizabeth looked and gazed hard into his eyes.

"I love you too, Will," she whispered as tears silently continued to fall down her cheeks. "But I am not iin love/i with you." She raised a hand to silence his sweet words. "Neither are you in love with me. We both know this is true, there is no denying it."

"But Elizabeth, we could make it work!"

"No, Will! I will not have us spending the rest of our lives resenting one another for being tied down. This is not the life either of us wants."

"But you deserve so much more, Elizabeth!" He reached a hand out to wipe away her tears. She removed his warm, calloused hand from her face and held it between both of hers.

"As do you, Will. I know what I am doing. I know what I must do." She smiled faintly. "I will be alright. I swear to you." She let go of his hand and turned back to the table to collect her letter, which she slipped discreetly into her dress.(1) She turned again to Will. "Goodbye, Will." She kissed his cheek softly and then she was gone, leaving will with a heavy heart and naught but his thoughts and memories for comfort.






(1) According to Renee, who took costume history with the best costume teacher ever, she explained that women tied stuff to a belt of sorts inside their dress that was easily accessible to them if they needed it from (I think) a discrete slit in the side of the dress. Thanks, Renee!